1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Are the ages fixed for the retirement of officers in the partially- paid and volunteer military forces of the Commonwealth and in the volunteer force of Great Britain, respectively, as under : -
– The following are the answers to the honorable senator’s questions : -
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, uponnotice -
-The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Postmaster-
General, upon notice -
– The following are the answers to the honorable senator’s, questions : -
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 3rd July, vide page 14156).
Division VI. - Metals and machinery.
Item 78. - Manufactures of metal, viz. . . .
Electrical machinery, ad valorem,, 15 per cent.
Upon which Senator Pulsford had moved -
That the House of Bepresentatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding to the duty, “Electrical machinery, ad valorem, 15 per cent.,” by adding the words “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 10 per cent.”
– The honorable senator must see that that is not a point of order arising out of the question before the Chair. It is a matter of personal explanation, which, I. think, should be made in the House.
– Does it not arise, as a point of order, out of conduct in debate ?
– It does not arise as a point of order out of the question before the Chair.
– I hope that no request will be made to reduce the duty on electrical machinery. It is fast superseding steam machinery all over the world. In London there is what is known as the “ twopenny tube,” running from the bank to Shepherd’s Bush, constructed by Americans, and worked by electricity. There is also a proposition before the authorities to convert all the underground railways in London, at an expense of £16,000,000, from steam to electricity. In Melbourne we have a scheme propounded to convert our suburban railways from steam to electricity, and to construct electric trams as feeders to our railways. In Adelaide they are about to convert their tramways from horse to electric power. In Sydney, and also in Brisbane, I think, they already have tramways worked by electricity. A . number of our mines are lighted and worked by electricity. This industry should be encouraged in Australia. Already it employs some 400 hands, and it would be a good thing for Australia to establish electrical machinery works in order that we might be able to trainouryoung people. Instead of having to go to Europe or America to learn their businesa it should be taught here. It appears to most people that electricity will come largely into use, and very rapidly so, too. If factories are established, experts will be brought here to train our people.
– The whole thing is in its infancy. New inventions are being discovered every day, and we do not wish to shut them out of the Commonwealth.
– We could bring in the experts, and have their ideas given effect to here as well as in America, Great Britain, or Germany.
– They would not leave a large market to come to a little place like Australia. We should get only second-rate men.
– We have had some first-rate experts from other parts of the world. Have we not had some of the best mining experts in the world ? Have we not also had dairy experts, tobacco experts, water supply experts, and sewerage experts ? ‘
– Did they remain here ?
– No, but they mapped out a scheme, or laid down certain lines to be followed. It is true that we do not retain these men, but eventually we shall have our own trained men, who will be in a position to carry out anything that is required. . It is of no use, however, to argue the question, because honorable senators on the other side will support the great importing industry under any conditions, and from their point of view, perhaps they are right. I think they believe that they are right, but they are misled.
– It is quite refreshing to hear the views which have just been enunciated. Electricity is a power that is being extended in every direction. New inventions are being discovered, and new ideas are being advanced every day, and yet we are called upon to do all we can to exclude from the Commonwealth these inventions, unless we are prepared to import the inventors. Cannot Senator Styles see the absurdity of taking up a position like that ? In a small population of 4,000,000 people, these experts do not find the field that they find in a large population, ranging from 40,000,000 to 80,000,000 persons:
– There are not 4,000,000 people in Belgium.
– Belgium is in proximity to populous countries on the continent, and an expert can quickly pass from one country to another. He has not to travel a distance of 14,000 miles. It should be the policy of the Commonwealth to do all it can to induce the importation of the best electrical machines which can be obtained, always bearing in mind that what is novel to-day will become almost antiquated within a few years in consequence of the great advances in discovery and invention. To impose a heavy duty on all electrical machines which may come into the Commonwealth is to take a very retrogressive step. Let us rather encourage these people to come to the Commonwealth with machines. We want to see our Commonwealth taking the same position in the world as some ofthe leading nations on the other side of the water are doing. We want to build up a Commonwealth that will be another America. We shall not do that by excluding all the inventions which come about in consequence of modern thought. Hew many new electrical appliances have had their birth in Australia ? Most of the new inventions are made on the other side of the world, where the bulk of the people are situated, and where the large markets exist. The electrical appliances required in this Commonwealth for many years to come will be a mere bagatelle as compared with those used in the more thickly populated centres. As we have determined in regard to engines, mining machinery, and other matters, to fix a uniform rate of 10 per cent., what would be thought of us if we were to turn round and say that the most modern system should be penalized by means of a high duty favouring the manufacturers of steam engines as against the makers of electrical motors and appliances 1 I hope the committee will realize that 10 per cent, is an Abundant duty. It is a revenue duty, and not one imposed for the’ purpose of exclud-ing any of the electrical appliances that are’ invented. It is a duty that will tend to the’ advancement of the Commonwealth. 40 f2
– Ithoroughly agree with- the statement of Senator Gould that we want to build up in Australia a great Commonwealth like America.. But we know that America has become a great country by adopting high, protective duties. If the teachings of history are to be any guide, for us, as America has developed electrical appliances and machinery under protection, the lesson we should learn is that instead of imposing a revenue duty of 10 per cent., .we should certainly have no less than 15 per. cent. In my opinion we ought to have a duty of 20 or 25 per cent, to enable this industry to be developed properly.
– How is it, then, that electrical works have been established in New Zealand without any duty ?
– We frequently hear statements made about New Zealand and New South Wales, but we find it easy to explode them when we come to look into the facts. Honorable senators opposite are. . continually talking of what is done in New South Wales, but on examination we find that New South Wales has been a failure in respect to most of the matters mentioned. Much has been said about the development of electrical science in Australia. At present, about 500 people are engaged in this class of manufactures. I am prepared to hear honorable senators opposite sneer at that. It is a very small industry, but it is capable of immense development. A few evenings ago it was shown that the industry of making agricultural implements in Canada has grown enormously from a very small beginning. Although, so far as population is concerned, Canada is only a little ahead of Australia, the Canadians are able to Send their agricultural machinery to all parts of the world. That is an example which we might follow in regard to electrical machinery. In our technical colleges, which are largely sub,sidized by the State. Governments, we are training scores of young men in electrical science, but ho’norable senators would shutup the very workshops that will give theseyoung men employment. We cannot keep them in Australia when they show talent, because we have not got the industry, and we have ‘ no hope of developing it if we ruthlessly destroy the business of the- manufacturers. It is,only within the last two or three years that we have been able to make a start in electrical engineering in Victoria. Our beginnings have been small, but some of the greatest electrical firms in the world commenced in a small way. The great firm of Siemens Bros., of Woolwich, started with less than 80 employes, and to-day they are employing 3,000 men. The great firm of Siemens and Halske of Germany, and Messrs. Brush and Co., and the Edison firm of New York, -were a few years ago infant firms ; to day they are gigantic undertakings. I know a firm in this city that two and a half years .igo employed only two men. To-day it employs upwards of 40. Only -within the last few years the Melbourne City Council has taken over the matter of electric lighting, with the result that in the City Council works alone there are 175 employes. Honorable senators opposite want to give this industry into the hands of the importers. That is the policy which Senator Pulsford and Senator Gould would like to pursue. I am totally opposed to a 10 per cent. duty. I should like to have a duty sufficient not only to start electrical manufacturing here, but also to insure the supply of dynamos and other appliances. Electricity is a power that is going to supersede steam, and I desire to see the engineers who are thrown out of employment in one branch of their trade, turning their attention to electrical science and becoming electrical engineers. I trust the committee will pause before striking a blow at an industry that must assume such vast proportions. I hope we shall decide to stick to the proposal of the Government.
– Senators Styles and Barrett have stated that in proposing the motion which I had the honour to submit to the committee last night I was actuated by a desire to help the importers to gain an advantage. Both those honorable senators must know that there is not a word of truth in that statement. Under my proposal the local manufacturers of articles of the character affected would have a protection of 10 per cent, against the importer, who has absolutely no advantages given to him. If I were to propose to knock off all the duty on imported machinery, and to impose an excise duty on local manufactures, there would be some sense in saying tha* I was trying to secure an advantage for the importer. As I said yesterday, the question really is one as between the producer of the article and the users of it. The producers of machinery are few in number, and the users are many. The users are the people, the producers are the few. Electrical ‘machinery is making great progress all over the world. In various industries electricity has been brought into play with great advantage, and we should see that there is no barrier greater than we can avoid in the way of the introduction and use of this the latest agent of civilization. According to The Victorian Statistical Register for 1900,” electrical fittings valued at £56,000, which were free, and telegraphic materials on the free list to the extent of £14,000, were, imported during the year. I do not know what are the importations of electrical machinery, but we should remember that to a very large extent electricity is now in the hands of the Commonwealth Government - through the Post-office - the States Governments, and the city corporations, and surely we ought not to restrict their operations indirections such as these, which are so important to the advancement of cities and States at large. The following very large list of electrical materials is to be found in the list of special exemptions : -
Accumulators or storage batteries, including glass cells used therewith, cable and wire (covered), carbons, incandescent lamps, testing meters and instruments, drj’ cells, translators, porcelain fittings (including lamp-holders), except switches over four inches in the base ; insulating tapes, meters, arc lamps and accessories, resistance coils, rheostats, static transformers and terminals.
I believe that I am not far wrong in stating that this list of exemptions covers a very large proportion of the materials required by makers of electrical machinery. If we- give them so much of their materials free of duty, should we be called upon to allow them to burden the buyers of electrical machinery to the extent of this duty ? In expressing our willingness to accept a duty of 10 per cent., we are making a very generous proposal ; we are agreeing to an impost far in excess of what we should accept if we were not willing to allow some revenue to be collected from this important item.
– I can support everything which has been said by Senator Styles, Senator Barrett, and other protectionists who favour the retention of this duty. At the outset, I desire to read the following communication which I have received in reference to this item’ : - 2nd July, 1902.
Dear Sir, - As we are informed that the importers are endeavouring to urge members to make electrical machinery (in the Tariff, now under discussion) free from duty, we beg to bring the following facts under your notice : -
– I wish to mention that I have not received a communication from any electrical importer.
– The letter continues -
Encouraging local industries. - If you are favorable to the policy of encouraging the manufacture, within the Commonwealth, of the country’s requirements, we claim that our industry is more entitled to consideration than any branch of engineering.
Claims of electrical machinery. - Electricity is gradually superseding steam, therefore the existing engineering works must gradually utilize their plants for manufacturing electrical machinery, otherwise they will virtually cease to exist. If you destroy our industry you also kill the engineering industry generally.
Knowledge of electricity necessary. - Electricity is acknowledged to be not only the motive power, but also the companion of everyday life (if not at present), of the near future. A knowledge of its use is therefore absolutely necessary, and every one must be trained accordingly.
How to be trained. - This cannot be done unless you have works where apprentices can receive 41 practical training, as it is beyond the reach of most to visit Europe for that purpose, and even those who could, would find great difficulty in getting into suitable works - being strangers. Theoretical training is very desirable, but quite useless expense without practical experience.
Encourage the most qualified men. - To sell machinery or erect it, a very crude education is required as compared with the knowledge necessary to design and build it. Therefore, unless manufacturing is carried on in Australia there are few openings for highly-qualified men to remain here.
Work already made by us. - We are in a position to makeany electrical machinery that is built elsewhere, and have already built, among other goods, motors and dynamos up to 500 h. p. Of all the motors running in Melbourne, we believe fully 90 per cent. are our manufacture.
Capitol. - Within the last twelve months we have put £2,000 more capital into this business.
Natural Protection. - On account of motors occupying so little space in proportion to their power the natural protection (viz., freight and other importing charges) is almost nothing, possibly 31/4 per cent., so that we depend entirely on a duty.
– That is absurd ; the exchange would almost amount to that.
– The letter continues -
On most machinery (other than electrical) such as steam-engines and boilers, there is a considerable natural protection, but this does not apply to our goods.
Qualification of our Management. - In justice to ourselves we have reluctantly to add the following particulars, regarding our Managing Director (Mr. G. Weymouth), who designs and takes charge of our manufactures. In 1 894, gained First Class Honours Medal and Goldsmiths’ Prize in the City and Guilds of London Technological Examination in Electric Lights and Power Transmission, and was subsequently awarded their full Technological Certificate. (This is considered thebestexaminationinEngland.) Was four years Assistant Electrical Engineer in two of the largest electrical works in England, and had the designing of all classes of electrical plant ; also he has been acting city electrical engineer to the Melbourne City Council. Apologizing for the necessary length of our remarks, and asking you to kindly consider favorably our claim, we beg to remain, yours respectfully,
For G. Weymouth Proprietary Limited,
P.S. - We would point out that 15 per cent. duty does not mean a difference to the consumer of 15 per cent. It really makes a difference only of about 10 per cent. Cost price at Antwerp, say £100, duty, 15 per cent. on £110 (viz., £100 plus 10 per cent.), £16 10s. ; importing expenses (say 121/2 per cent. on £100), £8. Cost price (to importer) in Melbourne £124 10s., add importer’s profit (which runs from 25 per cent. to 30 per cent.) say 25 percent., £31 2s. 6d. ; selling price to consumer (at least) £155 12s. 6d. : duty of £16 10s. on price to consumer (£155 12s. 6d.) = 105/8 per cent. Natural protection referred to on previous sheet is the difference between cost of importing the raw material and the finished article.
There are two or ‘ three very important observations in this letter which cannot be controverted. The first point that I wish to note is that Senator Gould asserted that an expert would not come to this country because he had a larger field elsewhere; that Australia, with its 4,000,000 of people, could not expect any qualified electrical engineer to come here. We know that scientific education is very readily obtainable both in the United Kingdon and in the United States of America as well as on the Continent of Europe; that, owing to the spread of education generally, the professions are becoming overcrowded, and that any expert’s assistance can be obtained by Australians if there is an opening for it. The very gentleman who came out here to assist the Melbourne City Corporation is an expert ; and Mr. Badger, the manager of the Brisbane tramways, is one of the most capable electrical engineers that could be found anywhere. Another point made in this letter, as well as by those who oppose the motion, is that we must have works in which our youths and young men may gain practical experience. In the various capitals we have technical colleges, largely subsidized by the States, endeavouring to teach the science of electrical engineering. The knowledge im- . parted by the electrical departments of these colleges is partly theoretical, and partly practical, and, as this letter points out, we require local works in which youths may be engaged after they leave the technical schools, or as soon as they commence the study of the science, and obtain a thorough practical knowledge. Another point to which I wish to draw special attention, because Senator Pulsford has lauded the great importing industry up to the skies-
– I have not.
– When we asked the honorable senator what was his aim in endeavouring to secure a reduction of the duties, he referred us to “ the great importing industry.” The writer of this letter states very truly that -
To sell machinery or erect it, a very crude education is required as compared with the knowledge necessary to design and build it.
Who will deny that that is so t Who will deny that all that is required in order to be an importer is a peculiar business cunning which 1 may not fit the possessor of it to construct a pigeon-house? Some of these people could not put up a shelf in their own kitchens, and yet they go out into the world and earn a lot of money as middlemen. Whom should we encourage? The people possessed of mere ‘business cunning, or the scientists or young Edisons of Australia? Let it be remembered that we cannot have any young Edisons in Australia unless we give them scope and opportunity for the exercise of their genius. Who will dare to affirm that America would ever have produced that great inventor if she had not had a protective Tariff and patent laws which protected his inventions? If we adopt the policy urged by free-trade senators, Australia will become one vast sheep-walk and cattle-run. I think it was Senator Charleston who said that our people could go elsewhere to gather knowledge of electrical work.
– I said nothing of the sort, I am on the board of a school of mines in which we are doing all we possibly can to instruct our youth.
– And yet, after the youth go through Senator Charleston’s college, and pass their examinations with honour, there is nothing for them to do. From a return to an order of the House of Representatives, I find that in New South Wales in 1900 there were 33 electric light establishments, employing 191 adult males. I do not see any mention of factories for the manufacture of electrical apparatus in that State, and I suppose that is due to the free- trade policy adopted there. In Victoria in 1899 there were two factories for the manufacture of electrical apparatus, employing 26 adult males. In 1900 the number had increased to five factories, employing 47 adult males.
– Andin 1901 there were twelve factories employing 190 adult males.
– That is certainly a very remarkable advance. I find that in 1900 there were in Victoria ten electric light establishments employing 176 adult males, and it must be remembered that these establishments require a good deal of electrical machinery. In Queensland in 1900, there were five electrical engineering establishments employing 82 adult males and 13 males between the. ages of fourteen and eighteen years. In considering this item we have to remember, that if electricity makes such strides as to largely supersede steam, the general, engineering establishments will have to turn their attention to the manufacture of electrical machinery or close up. Under the general head of engineering there were in Queensland in 1900, 43 establishments employing 2,112 adult males and 225 males between the ages of fourteen and eighteen years. This return makes no mention of any electrical establishments in South Australia.
– There are 75 hands employed in the construction of electrical machinery in South Australia.
– The honorable senator has a more recent return than I have. In the return before me they may appear under the general heading of engineering establishments, of which I find there were 41 in South Australia in 1900, giving employment v to 2,440 adult males. In Western Australia, I find that there were four electrical engineering factories in 1S99, giving employment to 72 adult males, Under the general heading of engineering establishments for the same year the number of factories given is 35, employing 779 adult males. I find no reference to electrical establishments in Tasmania, but under the comprehensive term of engineering establishments the number of factories given is twenty, employing -358 adult males, -and I find, ,also, that the wages paid were 9s. 4d. per day. Free-trade senators would prefer that people should be employed in electrical machinery establishments in Belgium at a lower rate of pay. They have some idea in their heads that if we allow electrical machinery and all other kinds of machinery to be admitted free into Australia we shall go ahead in some extraordinary way ; but they can give us no instance of the establishment of any electrical machinery works without the assistance of a Tariff. Those of us who are supporting a protectionist policy have the sure prospect that such a mass of evidence will be at our disposal during the next few years in support of the virtues of a protective Tariff that free-trade senators will not be -able to gainsay our arguments at all.
– I should like to say a word or two to Senator Gould upon the wonderful Commonwealth which that honorable and learned senator is anxious to build up ‘ in Australia, though upon every possible opportunity he aims a blow at everything which is likely to add to the growth of the industries of the Commonwealth. He says - “ Let us build up a great Commonwealth like America.” How was that Commonwealth built up ?
-Col. Neild. - By slave labour.
– At no period of her history has America made such marvellous progress as since the abolition of slavery. “Let us build up the Commonwealth,” is a beautiful phrase, but we want something more substantial than “ tinkling cymbals and sounding brass,” in order to put the Commonwealth on a sound and lasting basis. We are told that the best way to achieve this object is to abolish all our industries by the adoption of free-trade, and reduce this land to a vast sheep-walk. The idea of the free-traders seems to be that no consideration or sympathy should be extended to any industry which does not employ large numbers of hands and loom large in the public eye. But all industries must have a beginning, and they are having a beginning in Australia now ; and assistance is now asked in the work of making this a thriving and prosperous community. According to the return circulated by the Minister for Trade and Customs, it appeal’s that in February of this year there were 401 hands employed in connexion with themanufacture and repair of electrical machinery in the Commonwealth.
– That number has since been added to.
– Those engaged in this industry have taken a little heart under the Commonwealth Tariff, and have prepared for extending their operations ; but if motions such as that now before us are adopted, there is not the slightest doubt that development will cease and employment be lessened. In New South Wales, which is larger than Victoria, in the matter of area, population, wealth, and, it may be, also in ambition, there are employed only 65 hands, who are merely fitters of imported materials. In Victoria, where the people were wise in their generation and established protection, there are 47 hands employed, exclusive of 176 who find work in connexion with electric lighting. In Queensland, where there is an excellent electric tram service, which is being rapidly extended, 95 men are employed.
– Where does thehonorable senator get his figures t
– From a document supplied by the Minister for Trade and Customs’.
– They are not thesame as the official figures.
– They are later figures than those supplied by the Minister for Trade and Customs.
– In South Australia this industry finds employment for 76 hands, and there is no doubt that the encouragement given by the Commonwealth Tariff has stimulated this enterprise in that State. In Western Australia there are S7, and in Tasmania 32, hands employed in the manufacture and repair of electrical machinery. Further on in the document which has been handed to me, there appears the following: -
Now, as hereafter given, we can show that both in Victoria and New South Wales the above returns are under-estimated, and we may, therefore, assume that the other States are likewise. Our estimate of the hands in the whole of Australia employed in the manufacture of electrical machinery and fittings is, therefore, 498, made up as follows : - New South Wales, 65 ; Victoria, 144. ; Queensland, 95 ; South Australia, 75 ; Western Australia, 87 ; Tasmania, 32.
We are all anxious to see the Commonwealth built up, though we may differ as to the best means of achieving that object. Does Senator Gould really think it possible to build up a Commonwealth of any magnitude or importance under freetrade ?
– I believe it is.
– Then there is an almost impassable gulf between us.
– Senator Glassey is not such an ardent free-trader as he was.
– It is true I was a free-trader in the old country, but since coming to Australia and realizing the situation here, I have to support the policy which is best in the interests of the community in which I live. Considering the wages which are paid, and the general conditions of life in Australia, I do not believe that this industry can be carried on without reasonable protection. If the destructive policy of free-trade is adopted, nothing can result but discouragement to this and other industries.
– Senator Higgs desired to emphasize what has been said by Senator Styles and Senator Barrett to the effect that I speak on behalf of the importing interest. That allegation I altogether deny. I do not personally know, nor have I been approached, by any firm or individual interested in the importation of these articles. I can only say that things will get “ pretty sultry “ in the Senate if accusations of a character which the ordinary usages of legislative bodies preclude me from describing accurately continue to be made. No doubt there are methods of obtaining justice.
– Senator Charleston is a practical mechanic, who, I believe, is on the committee of the South Australian School of Mines. I do not know whether the theory or the practice of constructing electric machinery is taught there. If not it is rather an incomplete school of mines. I wish to ask Senator Charleston,” as a practical man, whether, if part of an electric machine were required to be renewed, it would not be advisable to have mechanics here to make that part. If the policy of the honorable senator were carried out the owner of the electric machine would have to import a new part. If we train our young people in schools of mines, and then refuse to give them an opportunity of applying their expert knowledge, surely they will migrate to countries where it may be made use of. All the trouble and the expense that we go to. for the purpose of training our young men will be wasted unless there is some opening for the employment of their energies. It is quite true, as Senator Charleston says, that I do not know much about electric machinery, but possibly I have read as much on. the subject as has any honorable senator. I am aware that he is a mechanical engineer, but I do ‘ not know that he has any special knowledge of electric machinery. If the difference between 10 and 15 per cent, would provide the Commonwealth with expert mechanics in this line, practical men like my honorable friend ought to encourage those persons who are following his own or kindred trades. That is what I should do if I were a mechanical engineer.
– Some doubt has been expressed in regard to the accuracy of the return which I handed to Senator Glassey. It is dated 14th February last, and was used by the Minister for Trade and Customs in the other House. It shows that in the various States which Senator Glassey quoted 401 hands were employed, and a late return goes to show that that number has since been exceeded by 97. The return has come from the Minister for Trade and Customs, and is, I take it, authentic.
– It is worth nothing at all. We do not get factory returns from the Customs officers.
– The mere fact that the honorable senator has denied its correctness will not damage it in the eyes of the committee. We have been making some advance in electric machinery. Messrs. G Weymouth and Company have been supplying electric machines to the Coal Creek Company, Cameron Bros., the Government of Western Australia, McGlashen and McHarg, and several other firms in this city. In the Argus of the 1st July I find the following report of a trial test, in Gippsland : -
The coal-cutter supplied by the G. Weymouth Proprietory Limited to the Coal Creek mine mine is of the long-wall chain type, and consists of an electric motor of 15-horse power, driving an endless link chain by means of worm and tooth gearing. Each link of the chain carries a cutter, which is secured by a bolt, and is easily removable if it requires to be changed or sharpened. The chain revolves over the end of an arm, which extends at right angles to the machine, and is adjustable so as to cut to various depths. The cutter is started at one end of the face, and feeds itself along the full length of the face, running on rails put down for the purpose. The width of the cut is made only 21/2 inches which can be put in for a distance of 3 feet or 4 feet as desired, for a length of 30 feet per hour. The cutter is similar to those used in Europe and America, and differs from the Ingersoll cutter, which is a percussion pick, driven by compressed air, and undercuts the coal in the same manner as the hand methods.
This machine is highly successful, and the firm are putting electric appliances into various gold mines throughout this State, Other trades are employed in conjunction with electrical manufactures. In connexion with the operations of the firm I have mentioned, 46 hands are employed in iron castings, blacksmiths’ work, steel castings, and brass castings. This industry is capable of very great expansion, and it ought to be encouraged by the committee. Senator Pearce has observed that, although we have had protection in Victoria and South Australia, we have not made the strides which he considers should have been made under that policy. It is only eight months since the City Council of Melbourne supplied the necessary power. As the honorable senator knows, we have only been able to make a start in this industry during the last two or three years. What are two or three years in the life of an industry? It is simply nothing. Even in the limited period which has elapsed since the introduction of the Federal Tariff the firm I have quoted have put £5,000 additional capital into their business. Since the Tariff came into force the people who are engaged in the industry have been stimulated in their operations, and are prepared to make still greater exertions. I trust that the duty will be retained.
– I think that this question has been sufficiently discussed from both sides. I do not wish to take up time in repeating arguments which have been used, and which apply to electrical machinery as toother kinds of machinery. If we are to have any regard to what will be the final result of parliamentary discussion on this question, we must have some regard to the way in which this duty was arrived at in the other House.Itis the result of a compromise with Mr. Knox who had moved in the matter. Directly and indirectly he is more largely interested in mining machinery than is perhaps any other man in Australia, and he was quite satisfied that in view of the free list including machine tools and other articles of machinery which are used in mining operations, this duty was a fair thing. An amendment to make electrical machinery free was withdrawn, and this duty of 15 per cent. was agreed to unanimously. Does any honorable senator believe thatafter all that took place in the other House it is likely to alter its decision, whatever view honorable senators may take now, and I suppose they will take the same view as they have taken in regard to other items of machinery 1
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - Since I last spoke an explanation has come into my hands concerning the source of the return quoted by Senators Barrett and Glassey. It seems that Mr. Thomas, in the House of Representatives, asked for a return to be prepared, and Mr. Kingston, the Minister for Trade and Customs, had it prepared. After it was laid before the House of Representatives it was found to be utterly unreliable. Mr. Kingston abandoned the return, and admitted that it was not reliable.
– With regard to the compromise referred to, I wish to say that Mr. Knox, in the House of Representatives, accepted the 15 per cent. duty because it largely coincided with the views he had expressed on the platform in Victoria as to supporting duties that were neither too high nor too low. He was returned as a moderate protectionist. But the free-traders in the House of Representatives were desirous of having the duty made lower than 1 5 per cent. Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding to the duty, “ Electrical machinery, ad valorem, 15 per cent.,” the words “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, 10 per cent.” - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 14
Noes … … … 12
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding to the duty, “ Electrical appliances, n.e.i., ad valorem 15 per cent.,” the words “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 10 per cent.”
I do not consider it necessary to make any speech, regarding this proposal as it is consequential upon that which the committee has already agreed to. The arguments advanced as reasons why the duty on electrical machinery should be reduced to 15 per cent. apply equally to electrical appliances.
-I oppose this suggestion ; but as it rests upon the same grounds as that which we have just dealt with, I do not intend to discuss it. I shall simply vote against it.
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 14
Noes … … … 12
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Item 78. - Manufactures of metal- Special exemptions.
– I should like to point out that in connexion with drill- wheel hoe cultivators there is an anomaly which I hope the Vice-President of the Executive Council will see his way to remedy. . The facts are simply these. The exemption list mentions drill -wheel hoe cultivators, but there are other cultivators which are not mentioned. There is no reason whatever why drill-wheel hoe cultivators should be put upon the free list whilst other kinds are not mentioned. There is nothing wonderful about the drill-wheel hoe cultivator, but the exemption of this particular class, while other cultivators are not on the free list, causes a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding on the part of the Customs authorities. Seeing that this is purely an anomaly, I ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council to move to omit the words “drill-wheel,” so that all hoe cultivators shall come in under the same category. I should prefer to have all hoe cultivators taxed rather than that a distinction should be drawn in this way.
– This is an anomaly which ought to be remedied. I have made inquiries, and apparently under the Tariff as it stands there is a tendency to admit free of duty one particular drill-wheel hoe cultivator which is known by that name and to impose a duty upon others. That is not intended. What is intended is that every hand-worked seed drill cultivator, such as is used in gardens and on small cultivation patches, should be free. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to omit the special exemption to item 78, “ Drill-wheel hoe cultivators,” and to insert in lieu thereof the words “ on and after 1st August, 1902, Hand-worked seed wheel drills, and hand-worked cultivators.”
– The exemption as it stands simply allows a seed drill, to which a hoe cultivator can be attached, to come in free. A gardener who required a seed drill and also a cultivator - and these cultivators have a rake attached to one pair of handles, weed cutters to another pair of handles, a hoe to another, and so forth - would have to pay a duty on all cultivators except one with a drill to which the hoe cultivator could be attached.
– These are not made in Australia. That is why they are included.
– I think the Vice-President of the Executive Council has agreed verv wisely to accept a modification of the Government proposal which will simplify the Tariff.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania).- The operation of the Tariff, as it stands, is that the cheaper and less effective implement is taxed, while the higher-priced and superior implement comes in free. On the face of it that is an anomaly. The most elementary kind of hoe-drill cultivator that has no other appliance attached to it is dutiable, but if there are any other attachments which make the instrument more valuable, and which, therefore, make it impossible for any poor man to buy it, it comes in free. Therefore, I urge the Vice-President, notwithstanding that the question of Australian manufacture is involved, to simplify the Tariff by simply using the words “ hoe cultivators,” instead of “ drill wheel hoe cultivators “ in the exemption. If Senator O’Connor will not put his motion in that form, I shall move that another place be requested to omit the words “drill wheel.”
– It would “be rather unreasonable to make an amendment of the kind suggested by Senator Clemons. We cannot detach these exemptions from the dutiable article. We have had a long discussion, as the result of which it has been agreed to suggest to another place that agricultural machinery should be dutiable at the rate of 10 per cent., and surely honorable senators do not desire to further reduce the duty upon things which cannot be made here. This exemption is made because these particular machines cannot be manufactured here. It may be that they are dearer than those which can be manufactured in Australia, but we have nothing to do with that. All cultivators, except the particular class named in the list of exemptions, can be made here ; and why should not they be made here if there is any serious intention to grant protection ?
– It would be better to strike out all cultivators from the list of exemptions, rather than have the present confusion.
– I should strongly object to anything of the kind. It would be a most. extraordinary procedure if, having lowered these duties, an attempt were made to add to the free list, and take off still more duty, or in any mere capricious way to strike an item off the free list without any particular reason.
– So far as these machines are concerned, the revenue is infinitesimal, and the confusion is great.
– There can be no confusion if my motion is carried. The word “ hand “ does not appear in the list of exemptions, and therefore the exemption as it stands might apply to drill-wheel hoe cultivators whether worked by hand or not.
– Very well ; I will accept the honorable and learned senator’s proposal.
Motion agreed to.
– Some of the fruit-growers of Tasmania have asked me to move that another place be requested to place pumps for spraying purposes on the list of special exemptions. I see that Strawsonizers, which are field - spraying’ pumps for dealing with grain, are already on the list of exemptions, and I think garden-spraying pumps should be added.
-I have a proposal to make, which, I think, will carry out - the honorable and learned senator’s desire. ‘ It was intended that the word “ Strawsonizers “ should cover all fieldspraying machines. It appears, however, that a certain firm has acquired the right to use it as a trade name for its particular manufactures, and, therefore, although this word was intended to cover all fieldspraying machines, its effect really is to allow only Strawsonizers of a particular manufacture to come in free. That was not intended. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the special exemption to item 78, “ Strawsonizers,” by adding, “and on and after 1st August, 1902, other field-spraying machines.”
– I do not think that the proposal made by the Vice-President of the Executive Council would carry out Senator Dobson’s desire, if the words “ and other field and garden-spraying machines “ were inserted after the word “ Strawsonizers.’
– I am a gardener, and I use these machines. As a gardener I have some trifling protection for my fruit and potatoes and a few other things. Spraying machines are manufactured in our own country, and I am quite willing - and I guarantee that the vast majority of gardeners agree with me - that this duty should remain. There is no necessity to place these spraying pumps on the free list.
It is free-trade going mad.
Motion agreed to.
Motion (by Senator O’Connor) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to omit, on and after 1st August, 1902, the special exemption to item 78, “ Turbines, steam and water.”
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to omit, on and after 1st August, 1902, the special exemption to item 78, “Linotype, monotype, monoline, and other type-composing machines.”
I should very much like to hear what reasons can be advanced for exempting these machines from duty. They can only be bought by the big newspaper proprietors. The proprietors of small newspapers and printers in a small way of business cannot afford to purchase them. We are here imposing taxation upon people in every class of life,and in this instance it is proposed to exempt from taxation the big newspaper proprietors, who are amongst the wealthiest people in the community. I raise the question for the purpose of eliciting some information, and I hope we shall hear some better reasons for the inclusion of this machinery in the exemption list than were given in the House of Representatives. The very invention of these machines has already conferred a vast benefit upon the proprietors of big newspapers, and has given them a great advantage over the proprietors of small. newspapers.
– It has also enabled them to dispense with labour.
– As the honorable senator says, these machines have enabled the proprietors of big newspapers to dispense with a large amount of labour ; and as they are beyond the power of purchase by the proprietors of small newspapers and printers in a small way of business, I trust the committee will show some sense of justice by agreeing to omit this machinery from the free list.
-I really do not know where Senator Pearce has got to now.
The honorable senator has been so long associated with free-trade that I do not think he can . know himself upon what principle he moves this motion. The reason these machines are placed upon the free list is first of all that they are complicated machines which cannot be made here, or which cannot be made here at a price that would be reasonable. That is a reason for placing upon the free list a number of other articles. Upon what principle does Senator Pearce wish to have this machinery removed from the free list ?
– Because we tax cotton; that is why.
– That is a new argument. What the honorable senator said in proposing the motion was that the inclusion of these machines in the free list puts the proprietors of small newspapers at a disadvantage. We must consider the immense advantage to the public generally of having newspapers which are able to disseminate the news of the world throughout the Commonwealth. No doubt to put articles and machinery which can be made in the Commonwealth upon the free list might be to injure our own people, besides giving up revenue ; but in this case, though we are giving up revenue to a certain extent, we are not in any way injuring our own people. We give up this revenue for the sake of having this complete and perfect type of machinery, which, we know, will be introduced wherever possible. It seems to me that the reasons which Senator Pearce has urged for removing this class of machinery from the free list are without foundation.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania). - We have heard some extraordinary arguments before to-day from Senator O’Connor from the point of view of revenue, but the arguments he advances upon this motion are most strained. To say that we should not tax this machinery because it is not made here, while the honorable and learned senator is always insisting that we must get revenue, seems to me to be the most absolute contradiction. If we do want revenue, the articles which cannot be made here are the very articles which should be taxed, because they must be imported. If we are to look for revenue from protective duties, which the Government seek to impose in the hope that they will kill importation, where are we to get the revenue when the aspirations of’ the Government in imposing these protective duties are realized 1 It is proposed here to exempt from taxation machinery which must be imported, and which is used by the most wealthy persons in our midst. When such things are exempt from taxation, while there are a hundred and one articles used by the poorer classes of the community which are heavily taxed, this Tariff becomes an absurdity.
Senator Major GOULD (New South Wales). - I differ from the view taken upon this matter by Senator Clemons, and I intend to support the Government. I regard this as a very legitimate exemption. The introduction of this machinery tends to cheapen the dissemination of knowledge throughout the community. Honorable senators say that the proprietors of the smaller newspapers cannot afford to get these machines, but the proprietor of every newspaper in the country whose circulation will justify it is prepared to get one of these machines if he can raise sufficient money, and I think it is only fair that an opportunity should be given him to obtain it at the cheapest possible price. Senator Playford interjected that the use of these machines displaces a certain amount of labour. The same cry was raised when the power loom took the place of the hand loom. It was said that that would mean ruin to the people, but we know that it did nothing of the kind, and that on the contrary it tended to cheapen the articles used by the community. I do not suppose that in these days a single person would be found to argue upon the other side of that question. We all know that every person in Australia desires to have his newspaper in order that he may learn the news of the day, and the more cheaply newspapers are produced, and the more widely they are distributed, the greater will be the benefit to the community at large.
– I am very glad that at last Senator Pearce and myself are agreed. It is a very unpopular thing for a public representative to set himself against the interests of the great newspapers. Some of the great newspapers of course hold us in the hollow of their hands as politicians, and they can crush us out at any time they choose. Although that is so, I believe the majority of the newspaper proprietors throughout the Commonwealth will be prepared to start out from scratch with the ordinary individual who works for a low rate of wages, and who has to pay something through the Customs towards carrying on the Government of the country. Linotype machines cost some £700 each, but they enable the newspaper proprietor to dispense with three compositors out of ever four. I remind honorable senators also that, prior to the introduction of these machines, the newspaper proprietors paid. ls. Id. for every 1,000 type set up, and the cost of composition has now been cut down to somewhere about 3d. or 3½d. per 1,000.
– At which kind of work do the men make most wages ?
– The men on the linotypes in good offices earn from £4 to £5 a week, and very expert hands may earn as much as £6 per week. But there is so much concentration of mental energy necessary in the working of the linotype that we are not yet in a position to say who is best off - the man who works the linotype or the man who picks up type by hand. A linotype operator will pick up 9,000 or 10,000 letters in an hour. That gives some idea of the strain which is involved in earning the £5 or £6 a week. The monotype or monoline form another class of machinery which is about half the price of the linotype, and saves labour to a lesser extent than the latter. This is an item as to which I think protectionists and revenue tarriffists can agree. Protectionists can take the view that the imposition of a duty may prompt manufacturers to establish branch factories in Australia, and the revenue tariffists may be satisfied with the revenue which undoubtedly will be derived. The attitude of Senator O’Connor, in opposing the motion, is only consistent with that which he has adopted all through, with only one exception ; he desires to adhere to the Tariff, because he considers it to be the result of a compromise between the free-traders and protectionists in another place. These machines are used mainly in the offices of the leading newspapers, the proprietors of which, though they may not be millionaires, are, many of them, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. The average, newspaper proprietor in the country must always remain a poor man, and cannot afford to purchase these appliances, owing to the fact that the cost of motive power and other expenses raise the price per machine to something like £1,000. We must aim at the large newspaper proprietors, who, in this instance, are fair game for a little taxation. I do not oppose the introduction of linotypes because they are labour saving ; we are beyond that stage. It is true that 80 years ago the men then engaged in the trade in which I have spent many years broke up the machines erected by the proprietors of the London Times; but the modern labour movement has never been in that direction. It is recognised that, in the long run, the working classes, if they do not benefit, ought to benefit by every labour-saving invention. The question is whether we, as members of the Federal Parliament, are to go down on our knees before the great newspaper proprietors ; and that, I hope, we will never do. Modern newspapers have immense power, but we should trust to their spirit of fair play, and call upon the proprietors to bear their fair share of taxation. At a later stage I hope we shall impose a duty on printing paper as well as on cotton goods.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania). - The only question before the Senate is whether this icem is a fair one on which to raise a little revenue, and I am inclined to think that it is. If printing presses and machines of the style which are used in small country newspapers are admitted free, I should not like to impose a tax of 15 per cent, or 20 per cent, on what I believe is knowledge and useful knowledge, though a moderate duty of 10 per cent, would be fair. Senator Higgs commenced by using an argument which is grossly unfair. Notwithstanding that the honorable senator half recanted at the end, I understood him to say that because linotypes and similar machines are labour saving we should therefore tax them.
– I was only anxious to show that the big newspaper proprietors can afford to pay more taxation.
– I am glad I misunderstood the honorable senator. In these days of competition, when a manufacturer can turn out an article, be it a newspaper or anything else, “by machines which save labour, down comes the price. “We all remember when the price of the .leading journals was reduced from 2d. to Id., and we know how the cost of advertisements is also sometimes reduced. That ‘is done because the proprietors have large capital, and are satisfied with less returns, or because of the employment of labour-saving appliances. I shall support the motion.
– - I am quite sure the sympathy of the whole Senate ought to be extended to Senator O’Connor, who for several weeks has been carefully balancing first on the revenue leg, and then on the protective leg, until to-day he has lost both limbs, and does not know, how he stands.
– I am standing on the Tariff all the time.
- Senator O’Connor cannot support a duty on this item in the name of protection, and he has repudiated a duty in .the name of revenue.
– What is the honorable senator going to do ?
– I am going to stand to my free-trade colours, and not help to enlarge the area of taxation. I am glad to see that type used in the ordinary printing office is on the free list. It has been said that owing to the use of the linotype the cost of composition has fallen very much, but it is well known that in recent years the amount of reading matter which the newspapers give us has become enormous. The linotype is largely used now for the printing of publications other than newspapers, and I always desire to make as free as possible everything that conduces to the distribution of knowledge. In New South Wales for many years, and at various times in the other States, it has been considered desirable to carry newspapers free of postage, and the new regulation in this respect is considered a great blow to the newspaper industry. There may be anomalies in the Tariff, but they are the anomalies of the- Government. If’ the exemptions were increased in regard to a great number of commodities, the Government would come nearer to my position j but I am not going nearer to their position by increasing the list of dutiable articles. I shall vote to retain the Tariff as at present.
– I intend to support the motion of Senator Pearce, because I fail to see why. exemptions should be made in favour of any class of industry. If we tax agricultural, mining, and other machinery at 10 per cent., there is no reason to make an exception of printing machinery of’ this class. Apart from free-trade or protectionist principles, I ‘ want to see some logical system prevail throughout the Tariff. All we have been able to do so far has been to reduce the duty on agricultural and other machinery to 10 per cent., and the same course should be taken in regard to the item under discussion.
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 17
Noes … … … 10
Majority … … 7
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– I wish to draw the attention of the committee to the provision in the special exemption column at the end of page 15. It is worded differently from a similar provision in State Tariffs. It places on the free list -
Any machinery, machine tool, or any part thereof specified in any proclamation issued by the Governor-General in pursuance of a joint address passed, on the motion of Ministers, by both Houses of the Parliament, stating that such machinery, machine tool, or part cannot be reasonably manufactured within the Commonwealth.
To a certain extent this provision threatens revenue. If the Government for the time being think that an item of machinery should come in free, for the sole reason that it is not manufactured in the Commonwealth, it is practically in their power, subject to the prescribed conditions, to allow it to come in. I think that from the revenue stand-point that is rather a dangerous proceeding, and I. should like Senator O’Connor to explain why the provision differs from a similar provision which is found in most Tariffs.
– The necessity for some such provision, I think, will be apparent to honorable senators. It is part of the policy of the Tariff to admit free tools of trade which cannot be made here, and inasmuch as new tools are continually being invented and made, and old tools are continually being improved, a cast-iron rule would not work at all, unless there was some possibility of bringing in a newlydiscovered tool which, perhaps, might be in common use elsewhere. That difficulty is got over generally by giving power to the Government to proclaim any tool or article which cannot be made within the Commonwealth, and that puts the responsibility on their shoulders. I admit at once that a very much more convenient and expeditious way of carrying out this object would be to leave the power in the Government subject to its responsibility to Parliament, but the view was taken by a substantial majority in the other House that Parliament ought to have more than the indirect control it has on Ministerial acts generally. And therefore it is provided that in any case where this alteration has to be made it shall only be done on a joint address passed on the motion of Ministers by both Houses of the Parliament, stating that the machine cannot be reasonably manufactured in the Commonwealth. Of course the term “ reasonably manufactured “ in the Commonwealth, means, first, that it can be manufactured effectually, and, secondly, that it can be manufactured at a price which will enable it to be purchased at a reasonable rate, and within a reasonable time. All that is involved in the word “ reasonably. “ If we are to have a provision of this kind, as we must have, I cannot imagine one that could be surrounded with more limitations than is this. This is the form in which I think it will be agreed to by the Parliament, and I dare say that a majority of honorable senators would wish to see the power regulated as it is here. I propose to leave it as it is.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania).-The Vice-President of the Executive Council has laid stress on the very point I wished to bring under the notice of the committee. He has stated that if both Houses agree that a particular article cannot be reasonably manufactured within the Commonwealth it may be permitted to come in free. The last division we took was in regard to linotypes, which cannot be manufactured within the Commonwealth. In voting for a dutyof 10 per cent. on them there was no need for us to consider whether the machines could or could not be made. here. But under the provision I am ‘discussing Parliament will have to vote as to a particular machine from the point of view of whether it can or can not he made within the Commonwealth.
– Either House could refuse to entertain a motion that was submitted.
– But Parliament would to a certain extent be stultifying itself by refusing to adopt such a motion concerning a machine that could not be made within the Commonwealth. I do not want to be put in the unpleasant position of having to vote against my own convictions. If I vote in support of the proposition that certain things cannot be made here, does it follow as a consequence that those things should be admitted duty free ? It is utterly unfair to frame the provision in such a way that because a tool cannot be made here it must be admitted duty free.
– I strongly object to the latter portion’ of the paragraph in question. My idea is that it is intended to limit the power of Parliament, which is only to be asked to pass a motion if it is convinced that a certain machine tool, or part thereof, can not reasonably be manufactured within the Commonwealth. Unless Parliament is prepared to make that statement, it is to be barred from asking the GovernorGeneral in Council to issue a proclamation making such machine tool duty free. I am perfectly prepared to give Parliament, at any time, power to ask the GovernorGeneral in Council to make tools of trade free, especially if they are essential to the carrying on of an industry. But Parliament should not be asked to limit its action to tools of trade that cannot be made within the Commonwealth. Parliament should have power to pass a motion applying to any tools of trade, whether they are made within the Commonwealth or not. There should be no limitation. As Senator Clemons has pointed out, we have just imposed a duty of 10 per cent upon the linotype, which, it is admitted, cannot be produced within the Commonwealth. I certainly shall support an amendment to strike out the last five lines of the paragraph.
– Both Senator Clemons and Senator Matheson have failed to suggest how they would provide for the contingency which must be met.
– This provision does not appear in any State Tariff.
– But a similar pro vision appears. What we aim at is this : Some tool may be invented or modified in such a way that it may be generally used in a trade. Why should a person who requires to use that tool be put in a worse position in regard to the new tool than to the old one ? . The old tool would come in under this exemption list ; but the new one would have to pay duty. What justice is there in that 1 There must be, some provision elastic enough to apply to such circumstances as they arise. The only way to meet the difficulty is by laying down a principle upon which Parliament can act. It would be worse than useless to pass a Tariff containing a schedule of dutiable articles, and placing a number on the free list, if it were to be within the power of the Minister and of members of both Houses of Parliament, simply because there was a majority behind the Government, to put other articles on the free list. If the Ministry could do that there would be no certainty as to the principle upon which the free list was to be worked.
– How can the hands of Parliament be tied 1
– The hands of Parliament can be tied by an Act of Parliament.
– Parliament can repeal it, though.
– Of course, Parliament can repeal an Act. No one can deny for a moment that it is within the power of Parliament to repeal this Tariff at any time. But there is such a thing as Parliament acting upon a continuous policy, and keeping faith with people who are embarking in industries or are engaged in business. Unless there is something like a continuous policy the benefits that, we hope from the Tariff will be valueless. The system under which we frame the Tariff is that there shall be certain exceptions to the list of dutiable goods, on the ground that the articles mentioned cannot be made within the Commonwealth at a- reasonable price. Speaking generally, tools are not made here. The reason is that there is not a sufficient demand for tools to pay a manufacturer to make them. Now that manufacturers have the whole - of Australia for a field, there may be room for one factory turning out tools, but it is unlikely that for a long time to come there will be any general manufacture of tools in Australia. For that reason, and so that the people who use tools shall not have to pay duty upon them, exemptions are allowed. The exemption list is placed in the Tariff on the supposition that Parliament will not at its own sweet will, whether a tool can be made here or not, insert a new provision doing away with a number of the exemptions or reversing anything embodied in the Tariff. Take the illustration given by Senator Clemons. He says that if Parliament is asked to express an opinion as to certain tools, the only point that arises is, whetherthetools can be manufactured within the Commonwealth ornot. His view is that merely because a Minister introduces a motion affirming that the tool in question can be manufactured within the Commonwealth, Parliament is bound to pass it. But nothing of the sort is the case. Parliament has the right to refuse to pass such a motion, on the ground that it does not think that the tool ought to be made duty free. I assume that in a House having a majority such as that which passed the motion in favour of a duty on linotypes, if a Government proposed that linotypes should be placed upon the free list because they could not be made within the Commonwealth, the motion would be one upon which an amendment could be moved, on the ground that such machines ought to be subject to duty. Therefore, it would be perfectly open to any member on such a motion to deal with the whole matter, and, if he thought proper, to vote against the motion. Senator Matheson puts the view that this is a limitation of the power of Parliament, and that it ought to be within the power of a Ministry to propose that anything shall be placed upon the free list on any ground that it thinks fit. My answer is that it would be a most dangerous thing to give Parliament the power, by mere resolution - not by Act of Parliament - to alter the whole scope and purpose of the Tariff. Suppose, for instance, that, by some remote contingency, honorable senators who sit opposite came into power, and that Senator Pulsford became Treasurer. He at once would say - “Here is a Tariff which has been sitting on my chest for the last two or three years, and which is on my conscience. I wish to get rid of it absolutely, but I do not want to enter upon a crusade against it. I will take the sting out of it by bringing in a list of 90 or 100 articles which I want to have placed on the free list.” If we are to have amendments of the Tariff, altering the very principle of it, they should be made by way of Act of Parliament. It ought not to be within the power of any Minister, or of any majority behind Ministers in both Houses by resolution, to undo the work which has been carried out under a Tariff such as this. That principle applies more particularly to a system of Customs duties with exemptions than to anything else. These exemptions are arranged after the most careful consideration, and after different interests have been adjusted. Interests grow up, manufactures are established, capital’ is invested in them, and Parliament is bound to keep faith with the parties concerned. It would never do to give Ministers power by mere resolution to undo practically everything that has been done before. If we are to have regard to the practical results of our work, we can best arrive at a satisfactory solution of this question by leaving the matter as it is.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania). - I admit that the Vice-President of the Executive Council has answered a great deal that has not been said, but, he has evaded the point which I made. That point is that we object to the principle that if anything cannot be manufactured in the Commonwealth it should be allowed to come in free of duty. Senator O’Connor has barely touched that objection, which we shall always maintain. If he really means that he has no objection to our adherence to that principle, and that he does not desire to disarm and gag us by means of this clause, I shall suggest an amendment which will meet his view, and at the same time meet ours. There are two ways of amending this provision. One would be to leave out the words “cannot be reasonably manufactured within the Commonwealth,” and to substitute for them the words “ shall be admitted free of duty.” If we were to make that amendment, however, we should place ourselves in a dangerous position. With much that the VicePresident of the Executive Council has said on that point I entirely agree. I agree that power should not be given to any Parliament to override by mere resolution an Act which has been properly passed. Therefore, I do not propose to move that another place be requested to make this amendment, which would really give effect to the principle we advocate. But I ask Senator O’Connor if, recognising the principle that has induced us to raise this discussion, he will not consent to the addition of these words, “and that it therefore should be admitted free”? If the honorable and learned senator will accept that proposal, he will meet the views of those of us who think that it is not an absolute necessity that a thing should be admitted free because it cannot be manufactured here, and who may recognise even that things should be admitted free although they cannot be manufactured here. If he will agree to that suggestion I do not think there will be any further opposition.
– It seems to me that Senator Clemons has had considerably the best of the argument with theVice-President of the Executive Council, but I do not think he has improved his position by his suggestion. By the use of the word “ therefore “ he practically admits all that the Vice-President of the Executive Council has claimed.
– I used the word “ therefore “ in order to get something done.
– If the honorable and learned senator wishes to give effect to his argument, he should move that another place be requested to omit the words “ cannot reasonably be manufactured within the Commonwealth,” and to insert in lieu thereof the words “ that in the opinion of the Parliament should be free of duty.” There should be no party question about this. If the Vice-President of the Executive Council were to move a couple of months hence that linotypes, for example, should be exempt, on the ground that they could not reasonably be manufactured within the Commonwealth, those of us who have voted to make linotypes dutiable, recognising that they cannot be reasonably manufactured here at the present time, would stultify ourselves by voting for that motion. We admit now that they cannot be reasonably manufactured here, and we should have to vote against a motion which set that forth as a ground for allowing them to come in free.
– I think that Senator Pearce has fallen into an error in supposing that any one would be tied down by the amendment suggested to a greater extent than appears on the face of it. I take it that it exactly carries out my object, as well as that of ‘Senator Clemons. If it were moved, for example, that “linotypes cannot be made in the Commonwealth and therefore should be admitted free,” an honorable senator could not affirm that proposition without believing every word of it. He might believe that linotypes could not be manufactured within the Commonwealth, but unless he also believed that therefore they should be admitted free, he would not vote for the motion. I have no objection to the motion. It carries out precisely our object, save that it will make members vote for a motion on terms pointing out that the article in question is to be made free because it cannot be manufactured here.
– I think the amendment suggested would make this provision very much worse, because it would emphasize the fact that the only ground upon which such a motion as that contemplated could be passed was that these articles could not be manufactured within the Commonwealth. As a freetrader I object to that. There may be many conditions entirely different, rendering it desirable to remove a duty.
– That discloses the weakness of the honorable and learned senator’s position. It shows that he wants to be able at any time to undo the Tariff; he cannot do that.
– A private member could not do so. It would have to be done upon motion by Ministers in both Houses, and I think it is desirable to leave in the hands of Ministers power to move a motion to remove a duty for any reason which may seem to them to be sufficient. It would be for the House to say whether the reason advanced was sufficient. As a f ree-trader, I cannot vote for the words as they stand, or for the alteration suggested. My inclination is to move that allthe words after “Parliament” be struck out; but as I understand that Senator Matheson is willing to move in that direction, I shall content myself by saying that I will support him. As a free-trader I object to vote for any words in the Tariff which say that the only conditions under which an ‘article of this type shall be placed upon the free list, is that it cannot be produced within the Commonwealth. There may be many other reasons which might cause us to desire that a thing shall be made free.
Senator MATHESON (Western Australia). - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the special exemption to item 78, “ Any machinery, machine tool, or any port thereof specified in any proclamation issued by the Governor-General in pursuance of a joint address passed on the motion of Ministers by bo ti i Houses of Parliament, stating that such machinery, machine tool, or part cannot be reasonably manufactured within the Commonwealth,” by omitting, on and after 1st August, 1902, all the words after the word “ Parliament.”
I point out that Senator O’Connor is not quite accurate in his statement of the principle adopted in respect of these exemptions. The honorable and learned senator has said that the principle is that only those tools and machines which cannot be manufactured in the Commonwealth shall be exempt, but I remind him that rock-boring percussion drills, included in the previous item, can be made in the Commonwealth. There are other articles upon the free list which I have every reason to believe can also be made within the Commonwealth, so that the principle to which the honorable and learned senator has referred has not been generally applied.
– It is a matter of very, grave doubt whether a power of this kind should be placed in the hands of any Government. Assuming that it is desirable that such a power as this should be given, safeguarded as it is supposed to be by requiring an address from both Houses of Parliament, I cannot but regard the words which it is proposed should be omitted as laying down an important principle, which no advocate of free-trade can support. I do not think this provision a wise one, but I am willing that it should remain if amended as proposed by Senator Matheson. If the proviso is allowed to stand, a protectionist Government would probably not submit a motion bringing it into effect at all.
– And a free-trade Government would. Which shows that the object of the honorable and learned senator is to undo the Tariff.
– A protectionist Government would not submit a motion to give effect to this provision, unless in respect of a tool or machine which could not reasonably be manufactured within the Commonwealth, and the carrying of such a motion would depend upon whether we had a free-trade or a protectionist Parliament. 40 g 2
The wisest course for the committee to adopt under the circumstances will be to agree to the motion.
– I think the whole of this clause ought to be struck out. To include a provision of this kind in the Tariff, is to place a power in the hands of the Government which no Government should possess. In my opinion the Tariff should not be interfered with, unlessby the passing of a Bill in the ordinary way. What would be the result, so far as. this Tariff is concerned, if we had a freetrade Government in power next week? They would begin immediately by resolution to hack and worry the Tariff beyond recognition. They would be exposed to continual . prompting on the part of the importer, an d there would be no security for the persons, whose money is invested in the industries of the Commonwealth. If any such provision is to be retained, the motion proposed by Senator Matheson ought certainly to be rejected. Speaking personally, if there is any reason for which I would admit an article duty free, it would be that it cannot reasonably be made within the Commonwealth. But I advise honorable senators to be exceedingly careful before they make a loop-hole such as this in the Tariff, which may be the means of bringing about great confusion in the near future. If this is. agreed to instead of having a definite law for the particular time, we should have theTariff subject to the caprice of whateverparty may be in power. It would be exposed to all the chances anc! changes of’ political life, instead of being founded upon something stable which the public can understand. What security would there be for any person engaging in manufacturing industries if the present Government by some chance were thrown out of power next week? None whatever. The Tariff might be passed and people might have embarked their money in the establishment of industries, and immediately a free-trade Government is placed in power a blight will fall upon those industries. The sword of Damocles will be continually hanging over the heads of those who have invested in them, and they will never know the momentit may fall. If there is any law placed upon our statute book which should givereasonable security, it is a Tariff law, because in such a law we are dealing first of all with taxation, and incidentally with the establishment of industries. If such a law is to be subject to the chance and change of political life, it will be built upon a shifting sand, and instead of encouraging the people to embark their means in the establishment of industries, it will discourage that form of investment. I hope the committee will agree to omit the proviso, or, in the alternative, to reject the motion proposed by Senator Matheson.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).I have gained a good deal of instruction from the debate as it has proceeded, and I propose to move the omission of all these words. That I may do so, it will be necessary that Senator Matheson should withdraw his motion.
– If a motion to omit the whole provision is not carried, shall I then be able to move my motion ?
– I propose to move the omission of all the words down to the word “ Parliament,” and, if that motion is not agreed to, Senator Matheson will still be able to move his motion.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Motion (by Senator Millen) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the special exemption to item 78, “ Any machinery, machinery tool, or any part thereof, specified in any proclamation issued by the GovernorGeneral in pursuance of a joint address passed on the motion of Ministers by both Houses of Parliament, stating that such machinery, machine tool, or part, cannot be reasonably manufactured within the Commonwealth,” by omitting on and after 1st August, .1902, all the words down to the word “Parliament.”
– I do not know whether the honorable and learned senator realizes the effect of his proposition. We have a long list of machines and tools here which are to be admitted free upon certain definite principles. What is the principle upon which the inclusion of these things in the free list depends ? It clearly is that there are certain tools and machines used in trades and manufactures placed upon the free list because we believe that the persons who use those tools and machines should not be subjected to an extra burden of taxation, and we assume that they will be subjected to such a burden if these articles are not admitted free, because they cannot be manufactured in Australia. If they can be manufactured in Australia, there will be no burden imposed, because those who use them can get them here as cheaply as they can be imported. That being the principle upon which the free list is recommended, would it not be absolutely unjust to leave the matter in this position - that whenever any new tool is invented for doing the same work as is done by a tool or machine mentioned in the free list, or when any modification or improvement of any of these tools or machines is made available, the persons, who desire to use them shall not have the benefit of the exemption from duty 1 To suggest that is to suggest that the piersons using old tools and antiquated methods shall be allowed to get the machinery they require in free, while persons who desire to use the best machinery, and keep up with modern methods of manufacture, are to be handicapped by a duty. Surely no honorable senator who realizes what he is doing will vote for a proposition which will bring about that result? I could understand any person who wishes to kill this Tariff, or any person who wishes to confuse the matter as much as possible so as to render the Tariff unworkable, voting for such a proposition ; but I cannot understand any one, free-trader or protectionist, who has been willing to carry the Tariff up to this point, and who admits that there must be some such thing as a free list including these articles, voting now for a castiron provision which will place the manufacturing industries at a disadvantage in the use of new tools and machinery. I hope that honorable senators will see that the motion proposed cannot be carried without creating such a confusion in connexion with the free’ list as to take away largely the benefits it is intended to confer. Senator Stewart seemed to assume that there was power given to a Minister to upset the Tariff in some material particulars. But honorable senators will realize that a motion of this kind, which has to be submitted by a Minister and carried in both Houses, will not be moved lightly or without very good reason. The probabilities are that the motion will not be submitted until it is found, in the working of the Tariff, that there are a certain number of tools and machines which ought to be admitted free on the ground that they cannot be manufactured in the Commonwealth. I hope the Senate will not for one moment listen to a suggestion which would almost totally destroy the usefulness of the free list.
– I hope there will be no alteration made in this provision. In its present form we have some idea of the intention. It would appear that its meaning is not clearly understood by the mover of the motion. The last vote given by the so-called freetrade party to impose a duty on an article which admittedly cannot bemade in the Commonwealth, places that party in a difficult predicament, out of which I refuse to assist them. At election times free-traders talk about protectionists erecting a “Chinese wall “ around Australia, but here it is proposed to erect a wall by a suggestion which, in the face of the previous vote, shows a remarkable lack of intelligence. That is a state of affairs which can be reconciled with neither free-trade nor protection, but only with the inconsistencies of the revenuetariflists.
– I hope the committee will not adopt the motion. Some such safeguard was intended by the Government, and is absolutely necessary in all Tariffs. In speaking on the item of mining machinery yesterday, I said that this provision did not go far enough, and I am still of that opinion. There ought to be a power left in the hands of the Executive, but as a provision of that kind cannot be obtained, the next best thing is to obtain an easy and secure method of correcting mistakes as speedily as possible. In the case of a mistake in the Tariff the element of time is most important, and the sooner a remedy is found the less injury is done to the general public. Senator Stewart urged that there should be fixity in the Tariff. In that I quite agree with him ; but fixity should not go to the extent of requiring the introduction of a Bill, and the re-opening of the whole fiscal question in order to correct one mistake. Every section of the Chamber might be agreed that a mistake had been made, and yet it would be impossible to apply a remedy without re-opening a discussion on the entire Tariff. In framing a Tariff it is utterly impossible to specify all the items which’ should be subject to duty or exempted ; and in the case of new inventions there would be no remedy without a power of the kind proposed. A similar power has been in operation in Queensland, under the Amended Customs Act, since 1896. It is contained in the following section : -
Machines and machinery, and parts thereof, required for mining purposes, agricultural, pastoral, or other purposes, which are not specified, and are of new invention, and of a description not heretofore made in Queensland, as may be exempted from time to time by the Governor in Council, and published in the Gazette.
In Queensland the matter is left to the Governor-in-Council, but under this Bill it is in the discretion of both Houses, and the power of initiative is restricted to a responsible Minister. Surely that is safeguard enough, in the face of the fact that there has not been a single instance of misuse of the power in Queensland.
– I shall vote against the motion.When speaking yesterday on the machinery duties, I expressed the opinion that this provision was cumbersome, and would be put in operation in very few cases. At the same time, it insures that no machinery shall be placed on the free list except by the decision of the whole Parliament : and such a provision can do no harm, and may on occasions do good. I do not intend to support alterations in the Tariff unless some important object is to be attained. I shall support any reduction in the duties that I consider necessary in the interests of the people ; but I cannot countenance senseless alterations moved by New South Wales senators merely for the sake of making as many suggestions as possible.
-I thought Senator Smith was a freetrader, but on the present occasion he has undoubtedly come over to the protectionist view. This is a clause which enunciates the protectionist doctrine in the clearest and most unmistakable manner, and I should have thought that a free-trader would look upon it with a certain amount of suspicion ; but Senator Smith rolls it round his tongue as if it were a sweet morsel, and considers it exquisite. While I agree that there ought to be a provision of this sort, I do not agree with the protectionist part of it, although I am a protectionist. If we provide that simply because an article cannot be made in the Commonwealth it shall be admitted free, we shall be acting on a wrong principle. Every intelligent protectionist has an idea that revenue is required in certain cases, and that, though there are circumstances under which it may be right to admit free an article which cannot be manufactured here, there are other circumstances in which revenue must be considered.
– SenatorClemons’ suggestion gets over that difficulty.
– If that difficulty can be got over, I shall be quite content ; but there are numberless articles which, though they cannot be made here, ought to pay duty. Parliament ought not to be tied down by a provision that if certain conditions apply, then certain results shall follow - that if an article cannot “reasonably “ - an ambiguous phrase - be manufactured in the Commonwealth, it shall be admitted free.
– That does not follow.
– With such a provision Parliament, if not compelled, would be strongly influenced in favour of placing an article on the free list. There ought to be some words inserted to guard against such a contingency, and then we shall have done all that is necessary under the circumstances. There should be some such power, but it ought to apply to the whole of the Tariff, and not only to this particular division. It would be a great deal better if this provision appeared in some special clause in the Bill, as in the Queensland Act of 1896, and in other Acts where it has been deemed advisable to give such a power.
– The difficulty in which Senator Playford finds himself will be overcome by the suggestion of Senator Clemons, which I said I was willing to accept to make more clear the intention of the provision, and that is to request the addition of the words “and that it therefore should be admitted free.”
– That makes it stronger.
– I do not think it does. Before a member of either House can vote for a motion for a joint address, he has to be satisfied first that the article cannot be manufactured in the Commonwealth, and, secondly, that if it cannot be made here, it should therefore be admitted free. If he is not satisfied that it should be admitted free then, even although it cannot be made in the Commonwealth, he can vote against the motion.
– The word “ reasonably “ is rather elastic.
– My honorable friend will find that it is very difficult indeed to make any provision applicable to a future condition of things unless it is elastic. If it is too hard and fast it is of no value, and the honorable senator, as an administrator of great experience, knows that under a free list of this sort tilings will be continually cropping up, which could not be dealt with otherwise.
– Will it not necessitate the moving of an amendment to the motion?
– No. If a member of either House cannot approve of the motion for a joint address as a whole, he will vote against it.
– It is a double-barrelled sort of thing.
– Men’s opinions are not to be controlled by mechanical means. A motion comes before each House of the Parliament, and if on any ground a member of either House does not wish to vote for it he need not. This provision expressly leaves every member of the Parliament an opening to vote against the motion, either on the ground that the article can be made in the Commonwealth, or on the ground that it should not be admitted free. The provision in the Queensland Tariff was worded in very much the same way as this. I hope that Senator Playford will see that his views are substantially carried out by the provision, at all events with the addition which Senator Clemons has suggested.
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 9
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the special exemption to item 78, “Any machinery, machine tool, or part thereof specified in any proclamation issued by the GovernorGeneral in pursuance of a joint address passed on the motion of Ministers by both Houses of the Parliament, stating that such machinery, machine tool, orpartcannot be reasonably manufactured within the Commonwealth,” by omitting, on and after 1st August, 1902, all the words after the word “Parliament.”
If we omit that portion of the provision which limits the operation of the joint address simply to those tools which cannot be manufactured within the Commonwealth, Parliament will then have power, by proclamation, to make any tools free, whether they are manufactured within the Commonwealth or not.
– An amendment of this sort, if adopted, would empower a majority in both Houses, session after session, to pass resolutions completely altering the whole effect of the Tariff. Whether honorable senators are free-traders or protectionists, there ought to be something definite and systematic about a measure of this kind, and therefore I oppose the motion.
– I rise to protestagainst this wasteof time.From what has taken place during the last ten minutes, Senator Matheson must know what is likely to happen to his motion. He should consider our feelings if he does not consider those of the commercial community who are waiting to see the Tariff settled.
Senator MATHESON (Western Australia). -We are merely interested in those persons who use tools of trade, and Senator Higgs apparently overlooks that fact. We are anxious that the Government should have every opportunity of making all tools of trade free in the interests of the users, and I do not consider that any motion which is likely to permit that to be done is a waste of time, although I can quite understand that Senator Higgs may think so.
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 2
Noes … … … 16
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Senator Clemons) agreed to-
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the special exemption to item 78, “Machinery, machine tool, or part thereof “ by adding, on and after 1st August, 1902, the words “ and that it should be admitted free.”
SenatorGLASSET(Queensland).- There are a few little items in connexion with electrical machinery to which attention should be given. The electricians in Queensland have found great difficulty in working with the Customs department in regard to the collection of duty on the various articles mentioned in connexion with electrical machinery. I do not know whether the fault is with the schedule as framed or with the administration of the department. The complaints, however, are very numerous. The gentleman who feels the difficulty most deeply is Mr. Trackson, of Brisbane, who stands very high as an electrical engineer, and is a reasonable man, of considerable tact and judgment. The facts which have come to my notice show that persons interested have been put to a great amount of trouble and that it is necessary to make the schedule clearer, in order to promote the smooth working of business transactions between the public and the department. The paragraph of the special exemptions with regard to electrical materials, mentions “storage batteries.” I think it should read “storage batteries complete, electrical and fittings.” Another difficulty that has arisen is in connexion with porcelain fittings that contain brasswork. I hold in my hand an article made of porcelain, in which there are four brass fittings. The Customs officers in Brisbane say that in consequence of the article containing brasswork it is taxable at a certain rate, whilst the porcelain is taxable at another rate. If the word “ complete “ be inserted, the whole article will be recognised as coming under one heading and not under two. Perhaps the object would be met by making an amendment lower down in the paragraph where occur the words “ porcelain fittings.”
– I have consulted the Customs officer present, upon the question raised by Senator Glassey, and I am informed that if duty has been charged upon fittings it is a mistake. If any brass-work is necessary in common with storage batteries, and accumulators, it should come in free. I have no objection, however, to the word “complete” being inserted after the words “ porcelain fittings,” because such an alteration would make the schedule clearer.
Motion (by Senator Glassey) agreed to-
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the special exemption to item 78 “ Electrical materials . . . Porcelain fittings,” by adding, on and after the 1st August, 1902, the word “ complete.”
– Fittings for electric light pipes and conduitsshould be made free. Someconf usion has arisen as to some little odds and ends which are not allowed to come in under the heading of “ pipes.” As these articles are absolutely necessary to connect the pipes together, it will only be carrying out the intention of the other Chamber if these little connexions are admitted free also. It does not seem right that fittings for electric light tubes and conduits should pay 20 per cent., while the pipes which they are intended to connect are admitted free. I therefore move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the special exemption to item 78, “ Electrical materials . . . terminals,” by adding, on and after 1st August, 1902, the words “fittings for electric light tubes and conduits.”
– The pipes referred to here are iron and steel tubes or pipes except riveted or cast. These iron and steel tubes are not necessarily connected with electrical appliances. They may be used for anything else. My difficulty in accepting the honorable senator’s proposal is that I understand that metal tubes are not used now to any extent for carrying wire cables.
– I am acting upon the suggestion of the Brush Electrical Engineering Company Limited, and surely they are authorities.
– It is impossible fairly to consider aproposal of this kind, when it is put before one at the last moment. At the present time I cannot see my way to accept the motion, but if the honorable senator will allow it to stand over until we . reach the end of the list, I will look into it.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - Perhaps I may be permitted to make a brief explanation. As the Tariff left the House of Representatives, wroughtiron pipes and fittings were on the free list. That has been interpreted by the Minister to mean specifically wrought-iron fittings for wrought-iron pipes. In consequence of this interpretation, fittings for electric light pipes, tubes, and conduits, which, being comparatively small in themselves, are made of cast metal, are required to pay a duty of 20 per cent, whereas exactly similar fittings made for gas pipes, being of wrought metal, are admitted free. The point is that for both gas and electrical purposes wrought iron tubing comes in free. But, while gas connexions and fittings are free, electrical connexions and fittings are charged 20 per cent. under a Ministerial order. That cannot be in accordance with the intentions of another place, and that is why I desire to place electrical unions on the same footing as gas fittings. No doubt strictly speaking, the Minister is doing his duty according to his lights, but I fail to see that there can be any objection to my proposal.
– I do not think the question relates altogether to the Ministerial decision. A great many of these difficulties arise from the desire of some of the officers of the Customs department to strictly carry out their duty. This matter should not be rushed. It is not a question of duty, but of so arranging matters that the department and the traders may work in harmony, and an end be put to the squabbles which take place between them. As the usual hour of adjournment is at hand, I suggest that the matter should be left over till Tuesday. I wish it to be placed on such a footing that there shall be no misunderstanding.
– I do not think there is any necessity to postpone this matter. On the face of it the Tariff is perfectly clear. This is not a proposal to clear up any difficulty, but an attempt to add something entirely new to the list of exemptions. I object to it. The exemption is in respect of wrought-iron fittings for wroughtiron pipes. Wrought-iron fittings are not made here, but there is any amount of casting done, and there is no reason why castings should not be made locally. That is why they are put upon a different footing. For that reason I cannot see my way clear to accept the motion.
– Wrought-iron fittings are made here.
– The honorable senator is in error.
– Wrought-iron fittings for gas pipes are certainly made here.
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … … 10
Noes … … … … 15
Majority … … … 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the special exemption to item 78, “ Electrical materials . . . terminals,” by adding the words “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, Telephones, telephone switchboards, instruments, and accessories.”
These articles have been and will continue to be imported by the Commonwealth for the Commonwealth service.
– If they are used by the Commonwealth they will be exempt.
– I wish to see them on the list of special exemptions. They are articles of eminent consequence in mines, where the)’ are used for the protection of life, and telephones are required for the furtherance of many important industries.
Motion (by Senator O’Connor) proposed -
That the committee have leave to sit again on Tuesday next.
– I wish to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council why the Monday sittings are being abandoned. I desire to see the Tariff disposed of, and this session brought to an end. I suppose the intention is to suit the convenience of some honorable senators who cannot be present on Monday, but I have to live in Melbourne all the time, and I object to the abandonment of the Monday sittings.
– I find myself in opposition to Senator Stewart. I have never believed in Monday sittings. I find them an almost intolerable burden. If it would facilitate the business of the Commonwealth I should not mind our’ sitting on Mondays, butI do not believe it would.Ibelieve honorable members of the Federal Parliament may make up their minds that they will be here seven or eight months in each year for the next five years. We have been in session now some thirteen or fourteen months, and next year we shall have the Judiciary Bill, the Inter-State Commission Bill, the consideration of the federal capital sites, the Estimates, and halfadozen other matters to deal with, which will occupy our attention for six or seven months. There is no greater error than to suppose that by sitting on Mondays we shall be able to get away sooner.We may settle down as quietly and as gracefully as we can to the prospect of a long drawn out session, and that we may pull through such a session we should not deplete our energies altogether by sitting on Mondays.
– I thoroughly agree with what has been said by Senator Stewart. We were given to understand when Senator O’Connor proposed a week’s adjournment that we should sit every Monday until we finish the Tariff. It is absurd that we should be brought back for one Monday sitting if the arrangement is to be broken through in this way. We are sent here to do the work of Parliament in as short a time as possible. I do not see why the Senate should adjourn from Friday till Tuesday every week because some honorable senatorscan conveniently reach their homes by train.
– The honorable senator took a nine mouths’ holiday on full pay.
– The honorable senator is stating what he knows to be absolutely incorrect. He knows that if I could have sat here I should have done so.
– I must ask the honorable senator not to discuss a personal matter.
– I am replying to a most objectionable interjection.
– Rising to a point of order, Senator Matheson has charged me with making a statement which I knew to be incorrect.
– I did not hear the honorable senator say that.
– I understood him to say so, and it will be seen from Hansard that he did say so.
– The honorable senator said that I took a nine months’ holiday. I say that is incorrect, and the honorable senator knows it. He knows that I was not away for nine months, and he knows that I was not away on a holiday.
– I must ask the honorable senator to confine his remarks to the question of whether the committee should sit again on Tuesday next. I deprecate these personal allusions. There are far too many of them.
– We were sent here to do the business of the Commonwealth, and it is utterly absurd to think that we can do it by sitting here but three days a week, andhavingthe business hurried through on Friday afternoons in order that some honorable senators may get to their homes. I know that I am trespassing upon the patience of honorable senators who desire to get away, and I shall sit down, though I could speak for another hour upon the subject.
– I hope the Vice-President of the Executive Council does not intend to drop the Monday sittings. Though the honorable and learned senator did not say so, we understood that when the Monday sittings were started they were to be continued until the consideration of the Tariff was concluded. It must be borne in mind that the House of Representatives has adjourned for a certain period in order that we may get the Tariff through, and that they may be able to go on with business when they come back. We have not progressed so far that we can now rest upon our oars. There are some sixty items of the Tariff still to be dealt with, and the more time we devote to it until the re-assembling of the House of Representatives the better. This is altogether apart from the consideration which I think the majority of honorable senators ought to show to those who come from very distant States. We have been here a very long time now, ‘ and these short adjournments at the week end are of no use whatever to many of us. So far as I am personally concerned, considering the part of Queensland from which I come, adjournments for a week, a fortnight, or even a month, are of no use, and I suppose that some of the Western Australian senators are in the same position. Now that we have been here for fourteen months, honorable senators, who from the commencement of the session have been able to get to their homes at the week end, should have some consideration for others.
- (Inreply).- When I asked the Senate to carry the motion to make Monday an extra sitting day, I expressly said that I would not ask honorable senators to sit on that day unless there was a necessity for doing so. The words I used were “if it becomes necessary.” I adhere to that position. I think there is not very much to be gained by sitting every Monday at this stage, and I do not propose to begin regular Monday sittings until we get nearly to the end of the Tariff.
– We began last week.
– The honorable senator is well aware that there was a special reason for our sitting on Monday last week, and that was that honorable senators were away the whole of the week before. I should like to remind honorable senators that Monday sittings are a strain upon Ministers, as well as upon members of the Senate. I have no department to administer, but my colleague, the PostmasterGeneral, has to administer a department, and there is Cabinet work which must be attended to. So far as I am concerned, there is a certain amount of labour connected with the Tariff which cannot be done unless there is at least one day in each week upon which the Senate does not sit.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator O’Connor) proposed -
That the Senate at its rising adjourn until Tuesday next.
-I move -
That the word “Tuesday” be omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ Monday.”
I need not repeat the arguments which have been urged in support of this motion. I can assure Senator O’Connor that if had known that the Monday sittings were to be dropped so speedily, I should not have consented so readily to the adjournment over Coronation week. It must be evident that if the Tariff is to be finished within the next two or three months we shall have to get along with the work more expeditiously than we have done hitherto. If we continue to sit upon Mondays we shall be able to do more and more work every week.
– The honorable senator has perhaps lost sight of the fact that on order has been made that the committee upon the Tariff shall resume its sittings on Tuesday next, and even if we do meet upon Monday we cannot possibly go on with the Tariff.
Question - That the word proposed to be omitted stand part of the motion - put; The Senate divided -
Ayes … … 18
Noes … … 4
Majority … … 14
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator O’Connor) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Senator MACFARLANE (Tasmania).May I ask the Postmaster-General if he has sent any instructions to the Deputy PostmasterGeneral in Hobart during the last two days with regard to private telephones?
. -Full instructions have been sent to the Deputy Postmaster-General in Hobart. The first instructions were sent to him more than a week ago. A communication has also been sent during the last few days.
– Arid the nature of it?
– As the honorable senator desires.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 4.20 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 4 July 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020704_senate_1_11/>.