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 -
Have the Government taken any steps with the view of obtaining the consent of the Imperial authorities to the coinage of silver by the Commonwealth?
– This subject is set down for consideration at the Premiers’ Conference proceeding in London.
In Committee(Consideration resumed from 17th July):
Division XVI. - Miscellaneous.
Item 132 - Brushware, viz. : -
Carpet sweepers, hairbrushes and combs (toilet), and booth brushes, ad valorem, 15 per cent.
N.E.I., including brooms, mops, crumb trays and brushes, ad valorem, 25 per cent.
Upon which Senator Lt.-Col. Neild had moved -
That the House of Representatives’ be requested to amend item 132, by adding to the special exemptions, on and after 1st August, 1902, the words “Painters’ and paperhangers’ brushes. “
– I am certainly surprised at the proposal which has been made by Senator Neild. In my wildest moments I did not anticipate that he would have made an attempt to place these articles on the free list. I thought that he would have only attempted to reduce the duty to 15 or 20 per cent. Assuming that the proposal is a serious one, as a good deal is at stake some little time must be taken up in refuting the statements which he made last evening, and which I shall prove to be wholly at variance with the facts. The honorable senator was extremely weak in his attack. I intend, if possible, to riddle his defences, and drive him to the last ditch, and make him surrender. When the livelihood of men is at stake, a proposal of this character deserves serious consideration. I hope that not only the protectionists will do battle for this industry, but that gentlemen like Senators Sargood and Symon who are open to reason will not follow Senator Neild in his destructive tactics. The honorable senator has stated that the Victorian brushes are not so good as the imported brushes, and also that for the higher class of work Victorian brushes cannot compete with English brushes. In the course of my speech I shall have to read a number of testimonials which have been received from persons who use Victorian brushware to prove conclusively that the honorable senator was absolutely wrong in the statements he made last evening.
– The honorable -senator is inaccurate in saying that I made any statements to that effect. I merely quoted such statements.
– If Senator Neild stands here and quotes statements, does he not take the responsibility for those statements 1 Does he mean to say that he was only an actor on the political boards last night t I assume that he is prepared to take the full responsibility for any statements he quotes. Let us hear some evidence about the quality of the colonial-made brushes. The Melbourne Tramway Co. has a large number of. establishments where painting is required to be done. It is not over friendly, I suppose, to the colonialmode article, but still it wants to get full value for its money. Writing to Messrs. Zevenboom and Co. on the 25th February last, Mr. H. J. Wilcox, the assistant manager, says : -
I am pleased to be able to assure you that the paint brushes we obtained from your good selves, and which we have been using now continuously for a good many years, are, in our opinion, of excellent material and workmanship. Our’ men are quite satisfied with them for our use, and we, or a fact, use hardly any but those of your make for our work, and we think them quite as good us imported brushes. You are at liberty to use this as you like.
That is the first testimony I submit to prove that Australian brushes are as good as imported ones. What does the Victorian Railway department, which, at any rate, will have full value for the money it spends, say of the colonial article? Writing on 17th January last to the some firm, the Secretary to the Railway Commissioner says : -
In reply to your letter of the 8th inst., I am directed by the Acting Commissioner to inform you that during the period of your contract with this department, 1896 to 1899, 90 per cent, of the paint brushes supplied were of colonial manufacture, and were purchased at a lower price than > the imported brushes, and gave satisfaction in use. I am to add that during the contract period, 1893-1896, only colonial-made paint brushes were used.
This, I think, is striking testimony in favour of our colonial work. Senator Neild hod a good deal to say last night with regard to the brushes used by artists and persons of that description. He- said that no colonial brushes could compete with the English brushes..
-Col. Neild. - I never said a word about English artists’ brushes.
– The honorable senator said that the finer class of brushes could not be made here, and the inference to be drawn was that no brushes could com-, pare with those of Kent and Co., the’ great English manufacturers. I. propose to read a statement which I think is unchallengeable, and which, I think, even Senator Neild will accept. It is a statement by Mr. Phil Goatcher, the well-known scenic artist, whose admirable work we have seen in the various threatres throughout the Common - wealth. We know, of course, that many people who could give testimonials of this discription do not do so simply because their interests lie in other directions. I know importers in Melbourne who privately bear testimony as strong as that which I have read to the value of colonial productions, but because their- livelihood is involved, and they do not desire to displease their importing friends, they will not append their signatures to statements for use in public. Mr. Phil. Goatcher, in reference to the highest grade of brushes in use, writes as follows : -
In accordance with the request contained in yow letter of Sth instant, it affords me pleasure to be in a position to state that the brushes manufactured and supplied by your firm for scene painting compare very favorably in every sense with imported brushes of a similar character.
I have no doubt that Mr. Goatcherwould privately give Senator Neild, who is his friend, similar testimony in even stronger terms. Messrs. James Moore and Company, of South Melbourne, who are known as one of the largest firms of timber merchants in the Commonwealth, write as follows in reference to an article which they use very extensively, and of which they tare certainly qualified to speak : -
V?e the quality of the brushes manufactured by you, I have used these for a considerable number of years past, and have found them very satisfactory. They are for the great majority of works quite equal to the imported brushes which I formerly used, and a better brush could not be desired.
M’essrs. .Delves and Company, of Ballarat, write -
I am only too pleased to be able to offer my testimony regarding what you require. Zevenboom’s paint and distemper brushes are, without doubt, par excellence of . any colonial-made brushes, competing, both in price and quality, with the best English made ; this being my decision after having had an experience extending over thirteen years.
I do not wish to weary the committee or swell the pages of Hansard but, as a fact, I hold in my hand eight or a dozen similar testimonials from people in all parts of the Commonwealth. I think I have proved that in this case, at any rate, Senator Neild has not “a leg to stand upon.” Mr. R. Salt, Verdon-street Williamstown ; Mr. H. Peake, Ballarat; Mi-. Alfred King, Geelong ; Mr. Wm. Nash, Geelong ; Mr. H. Stringer, Geelong ; Mr. A. Black, Warrnambool ; Messrs. Orr and Drew, Geelong ; Messrs. Allan and Son, Mortlake; Mr. H. Hambling, Williamstown ; and Mr. Geo. C. H. A. Jess, Mount Korong-road, Ballarat, all testify in similar terms to the value of the brushes manufactured in Australia.
– Where are the testimonials from “all parts of the Commonwealth”? Those read are all Victorian.
– If there is any doubt on the point I can take three-quarters of an hour in reading testimonials of that description, and only refrain from doing so because I do not want to occupy valuable time. I have already quoted six or seven testimonials.
– But these are all Victorian testimonials.
– At any rate, I have conclusively proved my position. I made a statement yesterday in regard to importing firms in New South Wales, and was given the lie direct by Senator Neild, who said that in that State this and similar industries are carried on without the aid of duties. I showed, however, that the people of New South Wales, who are always being held up to us as an example, do not, in regard to various articles of manufacture, do without the aid of the Customs-house. I stated that firms in New South Wales were actually importing brushware from Melbourne, one of the conditions of the orders being that the names of the importers, and not the names of the manufacturers, must be stamped upon the goods. Senator Neild, when referring to another item last night, said that it was not true that such a condition of things prevailed.
-Col. Neild. - I never denied that what the honorable senator has described may have been done.
– Senator Neild changes his ground again.
– The honorable senator can say what he likes - it is of no consequence - but I did not say what the honorable senator has attributed to me.
– Then I am bound to accept the honorable senator’s denial, and leave the matter to honorable senators who were present last evening. I am in a position to prove . that so-called importing firms in Sydney are buying Melbourne goods, with the stipulation I have described, and I suppose that, as in other cases, we shall find that these goods are palmed off as “best English.” Tasmanian Cascade ale is at the present time, and has been for some time past, placed on the New South Wales market and sold as best English bitter beer; and no doubt the other articles of manufacture purchased by these firms elsewhere in the Commonwealth are similarly dealt with. Senator Neild may know Messrs. H. H. Groth and Co., of 592 George-street, near Bathurst-street, who claim to be a respectable firm. The orders from this and other firms in New South Wales for brushware manufactured in Victoria have lately been so large that the workmen have had to work overtime iri order to supply them. One order alone sent by Messrs Groth and Co. to Messrs. Zevenboom was for £70 worth of goods, and last month the dealings were represented by a cheque for £168. I wonder if Senator Pulsford and other honorable senators from New South Wales know anything of the firm of Messrs. Gilkes, Massey, and Co., of 262 George-street.
– Both mentioned are reputable firms.
– Then let us hear what the latter firm have to say. They sent the following order : -
Please forward us twelve dozen 5-in. tin whitewash brushes as last, (branded “Tudor “).
That is one of the large firms to which I referred in my speech yesterday. I do not know whether these goods are sold as English or German, but there must be some reason for orders of the character indicated. I have another order in which the same stipulation is made that these despised Australian-made brushes, which were held up to scorn last night, must be branded with the name of this great importing house in Sydney. Messrs. Sandy and Co., who are perhaps the largest firm in New South Wales, have entered into negotiations with Messrs. Zevenboom for a supply of brushware, and again the condition is that the importer’s name must be the brand. I trust that in the future Senator Neild, when he makes statements or denies the statements of other honorable senators, will show better reasons for the course he pursues. I have proved clearly that the major portion of Senator Neild’s statement is absolutely incorrect, and that the firms in Sydney, who were supposed to be manufacturing without the aid of any duty, were obtaining goods from other parts of the Commonwealth. I have devoted only a very limited time to traversing the statements of Senator Neild, but I think I have said enough to cause the honorable senator, for very shame’s sake, to withdraw his motion. The honorable senator, who has been extremely industrious, brought under our notice two petitions, one from the Master Painters and Decorators Association of
New South Wales, and the other from the Trades Union of Painters in Sydney. I am indeed sorry that these gentlemen should be so unpatriotic. They want to live, but evidently they do not desire that anybody else shall live. Free-trade means selfishness. It is the doctrine of “ Look-out for yourself, and the devil take the hindmost.”
– What protection has the painter ?
- Senator Charleston, from the other side of the chamber, is constantly making all sorts of irrelevant interjections. I am dealing now with the petition read by Senator Neild from the Master Painters and Decorators Association of New South Wales. In opposition to the allegations contained therein I wish to put before the committee the testimony of the Painters Society of Victoria, and also of the Coachmakers Society, in regard to the value of our locally-made brushes. Last night Senator Neild declared that Senator Higgs and myself were liable to be deceived by any samples of goods which might be placed in our possession. He suggested that after all those samples might be of English manufacture, and went so far as to declare that even if they were good, the particular articles of local manufacture which passed into general consumption were of inferior quality. In this connexion I have taken the precaution to secure the original of a letter from the Painters and Decorators Society of Victoria - a society representative of the workmen of this State,, who are using these particular articles. These men not only do ordinary painting, but also high-class decorating. The secretary of this organization writes as follows : -
I am instructed, by resolution of my society, to inform you that, as practical users of colonial paint brushes for many years, we are quite satisfied with them, as we consider them equal to the imported article. We therefore hope that you will be successful in your endeavour to retain the reasonable measure of ‘protection passed-by the House of Representatives.
I remain, yours fraternally,
H. Seamer Secretary, Painters, Paperhangers, and Decorators Society, Melbourne.
That ‘is the testimony of the operativepainters of Victoria in regard to the quality of our colonial brushes. I have another letter in my possession from the Victorian Coachmakers Society. The members of this body do high-class work. Like Mr. Phil Goatcher, the scenic artist, they can tell when they have good tools in their hands, and they must have good tools in order to perform their work efficiently. Mr. F. Gibney, secretary of the Society, writes to Messrs. Doig and Co., as follows : -
I am instructed to inform you that my society, at its meeting on the (6th February, carried the following resolution : - “That we approve of the Government proposal of 25 per cent, on brushware, as it will protect an industry in which the articles manufactured locally are giving general satisfaction, both as to quality and price.”
Last night I was woefully disappointed that Senator Neild did not enter more fully into the argument that brushware constitutes the tools of trade of certain workmen. He touched upon that aspect of the question very gingerly. I should like to ask him whether brushware cannot be produced locally equal in quality to that imported from abroad. The brushmakers of Australia obtain their material from the same source as do Messrs. Kent and Co. and other large English firms, namely, from Russia. In this connexion I desire to quote a letter from Messrs. T. P. Lloyd and Co., addressed to Messrs. Zevenboom and Co. of this city. Messrs. Lloyd and Co. have large houses in London and St. Petersburg. That firm is the largest dealer in this particular class of manufacture in the world, and the document which I intend to read conclusively proves that the quality of the hair put into our colonial brushes is. exactly the same as that used by Messrs. Kent and Co. The letter is as follows : - 18 Camomile-street, London, E.C. 30th May, 1902.
Messrs. J. Zevenboom and Co., Melbourne.
Dear Sirs, - We have the pleasure to acknowledge receipt of your kind favour of the 23rd ult., with order for bristles, which has our very best and most careful attention. Our last few letters …… will have informed you that we had the opportunity of sending you some High Suchoys and White High Suchoys, which we sent on our own risk, thinking that you would be glad to have the goods, and knowing full well ourselves that we should not have a chance of shipping these qualities for some considerable time. We considered that we were looking after your interests in this matter, and can assureyou that at the time we had three or four buyers anxious to snap up every bundle of these goods. There is very keen competition with regard to these high class commodities, and, as the letter shows, the particular parcel referred to might have been sold over and over again, but it was sent out to Australia for the benefit of the unfortunate painters of New South Wales and others, for whom Senator
Neild so earnestly pleads. The letter continues -
We are, therefore, more than pleased to see by your letter of the 23rd ult. that you were in want of these goods, and we, therefore, do not forward a further quantity of the5¾in. Grey Suchoys, the5¼in. Grey Suchoys, and the White Suchoys. In fact, we have not got a single bundle in stock it the moment, but our shipment by the Omrah will have given you plenty to go on with. By this next steamer we are sending you one entire original cask of 4½-in. White High Seconds, and exceedingly regret, in this instance, that we have to charge you more money than the last shipment.
The brushmakers of Victoria do not mind paying a little more for their material if they can obtain a superior quality. They do not put cheap and nasty stuff into their brushes, but desire to use the best. Messrs. Lloyd and Co. continue -
Prices have advanced considerably in Petersburg, and we ourselves had to pay a big advance for these goods. The cwt. of German Okatka is exactly similar to that shipped by the Home and Britannia, and we are sending it at the same price. With regard to the 4½/4¾in. Siberian Suchoys, we have sent you one original cask of best dark flag Siberian Suchoys, in colours, and we are glad to be able to invoice this caskat the old price of £28, though the market price for these goods to-day is £29 10s. This quality we think you will find far superior to any of our last shipments, but we think it better to tell you that you must not expect, in future, to have this extra quality, as we only have one or two parcels a year , of this prime dark flag Siberian.
It does not appear from this that inferior bristles are used by local manufacturers. Messrs. Zevenboom and Co. procure the finest qualities that can be obtained in the market. The writers proceed -
The Siberian 2nd’s will be the same as last shipped, and at the same price; and for the¼ cwt. of6½-in. Grey Okatka we are sending you High Grey Okatka at £55, and think you will be well pleased with this little lot. With regard to the High Firsts, we are in some little difficulty as regards this line, as we have not a bundle of 5¾-in. High Firsts in stock, but we have a parcel on the road, for which we have had to pay in advance, and have, therefore, decided not to keep back the shipment for these goods. We are, therefore, sending you 1 cwt. of 6-in. Grey Petz Okatka at £48, and 1 cwt. 5¼ and up. selected L.B. Grey German Okatka at £50. This L.B. is considerably better in quality than the bulk of Grey Knots which we have been in the habit of sending you, and, as you notice, they run “5¼ and up,” and, we think, you will be in every way pleased with the goods. Our only fear is that the quality may be rather better than what you require. On the other hand, the 1 cwt. of Grey Okatka will work in very well indeed with it, and will reduce the price.
I would call special attention to this statement. I have the original invoices for five or six shipments, which show that the materials used by the local manufacturers are of the highest class. I again ask how it is that with material of this description, and with English workmen, or men who have been trained under English workmen, we cannot make brushes equally as good as those of English manufacture. Messrs. Lloyd and Co. conclude their letter as follows : -
With regard to the best Beau Blanc, as we ourselves hold the very best dressings of these goods, we are sending you from our own stock 28 lbs. each of the 3 inch, 3£ inch, and 3A inch, and have therefore not applied to Belier. He would not have given us off the lengths we required for you, and we do not feel inclined ourselves to take 220 lbs. at 3s. Id. from Go mm. to 120 mm. to execute your order. We are sure that you will be in every way pleased with the quality. Without further for to-day.
We are, yours faithfully,
P. Lloyd & Co.
Messrs. Zevenboom and Co. dealt for many years with a local firm which imported brushmakers’ material, but they found it to their advantage to import direct, and they have been following this practice for a number of years past. The proposal made by Senator Neild would result in the extinction of the industry in Australia. It is the Corman competition that we have to fear, and I desire to point out that, notwithstanding the high duties that have been levied in Victoria, the imports have been gradually increasing. In 1900 Victoria imported brushware from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ceylon, Japan, and the United States East Coast. The total value of the imports was £17,992, and the duty paid amounted to £5,096 lis. The brushmakers in Victoria work eight hours per day, or 48 hours per week, whereas in Germany they are employed for 66 hours per week, and the wages range from 15s. to 18s. per week. No restrictions are placed upon the employment of boy labour in Germany. When lads are apprenticed for three years they have to serve the whole term without payment, and in nearly every case the parent has to pay a premium. In Victoria the pay of the men em- i ployed in brushmaking is fixed by the wages board. Formerly, the minimum was £2 15s. per week, but recently it was increased to £3. Surely, when honorable senators realize the different conditions under which the work is done in Australia, as compared with Germany and other manufacturing countries, they will see that there is no possibility of our local manufacturers competing successfully, unless they are protected. The importations into Victoria from 1890 to 1900 inclusive, were as follow: - 1890, £15,890 ; 1891, £15,180; 1892, £11,408 ; 1893, £6,524 ; 1894, £8,328 ; 1895, £9,295 ; in 1896, £13,183; in 1897, £13,080; in 1898, £8,875 ; in 1899, £15,809 ; and in 1900, £17,992. These figures show that, notwithstanding the high duties in Victoria, the importations of brushware have been very considerable, and are increasing. I have here a letter from a German workman who is now a resident of Melbourne. He has been struck with the difference between the rates of pay in his own country and those which he receives in Australia, and he does not desire to see Australian workmen brought down to the position of German workmen. He writes -
As one whose interest is bound up in the wages board’s decision, and also in the result of the Tariff discussion, I, as a German brushmaker, wish to state that the average wages of German brushmakers in small towns is about 12s. 6d. per week, and in large towns about 18s. per week. The hours of labour are 66 per week, exclusive of meal time. The number of apprentices is unlimited. The term of apprenticeship is three years, during which .time the apprentice receives no wages, and, also, a premium has to be paid to the employer. Brushware is also made in the labour colonies, where the men receive about 4$d. per day, with board and lodging.
No doubt these labour colonies are excellent things in their way, but I deplore the fact that in the large centres of population in the old world men are driven by starvation and hardship to accept a wage of 4Jd. per day for making brushware. If this duty is removed, the markets of Australia will be flooded with goods made by persons receiving this low wage, and our workmen will either be driven out of their employment, or will have to accept similar conditions. Furthermore, on Tuesday last I showed by extracts from the Scientific American that the managers of the Sing Sing prison, New York, were asking for tenders for the employment of prison labour, and among the labour which they advertised was that of 50 brushmakers. I also read a similar advertisement in regard to the labour available in the Missouri penitentiary. I ask Senator
Neild to consider these facts, and to remember that the livelihood of men and women is at stake. Does he know anything of the hard and cruel straits to which those engaged in industrial life are often put ? Has he ever had to go back to his wife and family, after a long day’s search for work, to tell them that he can find nothing to do, and has received no wages. If not, I ask him to pause, and to withdraw his motion. It is our desire, as I am sure it must be his desire, too, to keep this industry within the Commonwealth, thereby providing our own people with work, which every one born into this world has a right to expect, under decont conditions and at a fair living wage.
– I do not propose to say much about the protective aspect of this duty, because Senator Barrett has so fully dealt with that question, and has, it appears to me, fully demonstrated that protection is necessary for the establishment of the industry on a fair basis, while it does not injure the users of the brushes. With regard to the argument that these brushes are tools of trade, and should therefore be admitted duty free, I wish to point out that only those tools of trade which cannot be manufactured at reasonable rates within the Commonwealth have been placed upon the exemption list. These brushes can be reasonably made within the Commonwealth, and therefore there is no reason for putting them upon the exemption list. I rise chiefly to put before the committee the financial and revenue aspect of this motion. I have here figures showing the actual collections from the duty upon the articles enumerated in this item during the eight months from October, 1901, to May, 1902, with the exception of the Western Australian collections in April and May, but I have estimated those collections at £300, on the basis of the £150 collected during the month of March. That amount, I may say, is not the highest amount which has been collected in any one month in Western Australia. Adding £300 to the figures in my possession, I find that the Commonwealth revenue from this item has amounted to £14,403, which is at the rate of about £23,000 per annum. The duty obtained from the brushes to which the motion moved by Senator Neild refers has not been separated from the revenue derived from the whole of the articles enumerated in the item, except in Queensland and in Victoria. I find that the importation of brushware into Victoria in 1900 was valued at £17,992, of which £5,532 represented painters’ brushes, and £12,460 other brushware. In Queensland, in the same year, the total importation of brushware was £13,461, of which £3,993 represented painters’ brushes, and £9,468 other brushware. The total importation of painters’ brushes into the two States amounted to £9,525, and of other brushware to £21,928. Those figures show that the ratio of the importation of painters’ brushes to other brushware was as 95 to 220, and, applying those figures to the Commonwealth collections, the revenue from the articles which Senator Neild’s motion affects would be about £9,500.
– That is very much like a snake story.
– I should very much like to know how the honorable senator proposes to disprove my assertion. On the most reliable estimate we can make we must lose a very large amount of revenue. We cannot afford to lose £9,500 upon this item. The remission of the duty is not necessary in the interests of the consumers of brushware, but it will injure the brushmaking industry throughout the Commonwealth. Upon those grounds I ask the committee not to agree to the motion.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - Senator O’Connor has not told us that brushmakers have to pay duty upon the bristles and other raw material which they import. If he had been able to do so, he would have given us a substantial reason for the retention of the duty. Senator Barrett referred to Germany ad nauseum, but the returns show that out of £40,000 or £50,000 worth of importations into New South Wales, no less than £27,000 worth came from the United Kingdom.
– They got the goods from Germany first.
– Only £8,000 worth came from Germany. There are plenty of opportunities for direct shipment from Germany ; in fact, they are very numerous to Sydney. Did not Senator Barrett read a number of statements from firms who were shipping bristles from England and other places to show that they were of good quality 1 He was averse before Senator O’Connor spoke - perhaps he may have changed his views since - to consider the brushes of painters as tools of trade. I gather that Senator O’Connor is willing to consider brushes as tools of trade. If any article used by a workman can fairly be represented as a tool of trade, surely it is the painters’ brush. Senator Barrett has been telling us about Melbourne firms who make brushes, and who are open apparently to pitt on any brand, . British or continental, which is desired.
– They do not do anything of the sort. It is the Sydney importers who do it.
– The honorable senator said that Sydney firms asked Melbourne manufacturers to put on certain brands, and that it was done. If honorable senators will take the trouble to refer to the original estimate of revenue in a normal year - that is when the operation of the protective duties has had full effect - they will find that from the whole of this item the Government estimated to receive £10,500. Yet to-day Senator O’Connor asks us to believe that on one small item in this large list £9,500 is involved. I have no hesitation in describing that statement as a snake story. No such sum as £9,500 is involved in this item. We have been willing, as a matter of agreement, to submit to some percentage of protection to various industries. I am “prepared to split the difference in this instance, and agree to a certain percentage, but I shall not vote for a 25 per cent. duty. I shall vote for a 15 per cent, duty in the special circumstances of the case. Seeing that practically all other tools are free, Senator Neild had very substantial ground for asking the committee to put these articles on the free list. When I remember that nearly everything which is made here is protected to a more or less degree, I am willing to allow some share of protection to fall to this industry.
– It is all very well for Senator Pulsford to describe the remarks of Senator O’Connor as a snake story. We all know how easy it is to make such comments. It is on a par with the utterance of our childhood when, notwithstanding how a boy was attired at school, we used to say - “ Giddy giddy gout, your shirt is hanging out.” Senator Pulsford has given us the old wheeze about the revenue which he has trotted out on, I think, every proposal to reduce a duty. We were getting a rest with regard to the amount of revenue, but he thinks that the committee is willing at all times to hear his juggling with figures. The free- trade party in the other House endeavoured to effect an alteration in this duty and did not succeed. The same tactics which are frequently pursued here were pursued there. A less prominent free-trader is put up to move a reduction to 10 per cent., and, when he does not succeed, another member follows with a proposal that the duty shall be 15 per cent., and if it is not successful some one at times proposes that it shall be 20 per cent. The records of the other House show that Mr. Conroy moved -
That the words “ on and after 13th March, 1902, 15 per-cent.” be added to the duty “ n.e. i., including brooms, mops, crumb trays, and brushes, ad valorem, 25 per cent.”
When that motion was negatived on the voices, Sir William McMillan, a more prominent member of the free-trade party, finding that the lesser light did not succeed in his attempt, moved -
That the words “and on and after 13th March, 1.902, 20 per cent.” be added to the duty “ n.e.i., . . 25 per cent.”
When that motion was defeated by 21 votes to 19, the other House decided that the 25 per cent, duty should remain. In New South Wales, of course, brushes were free, but the duty was 10 and 30 per cent, in Victoria, 25 per cent, in Queensland and South Australia, 20 per cent, in Tasmania, 10, 15, and 20 per cent, in Western Australia. In New Zealand and Canada the duty is 25 per cent. The Government has taken the view that 25 per cent, is a fair compromise. Senator Neild has mentioned that the painters’ operatives in New South Wales have petitioned that these brushes may be made free. Senator Barrett has very ably dealt with that portion of the subject, and I do not propose to discuss it at any length. I wish to point out, however, that, as New South Wales is a free-trade country, it was not at all possible that the operati ve painters could have any experience of brushes made in other parts of the Commonwealth. How could the brushes of Victoria compete there with the brushes imported from other parts of the world 1 Since the imposition of the Federal Tariff the importation of brushes from abroad has gone down by several thousands of pounds. Whereas the imports in 1900 were, valued at £50,000, they have now fallen to £45,000 or £46,000, owing to the use of colonial brushes. In 1901 the. importation of brushware into New South Wales was valued at £60 from New Zealand, £29,330 from the United Kingdom, £10 from Canada, £200 from Hong Kong, £57 from India, £14 from Austria, £114 from Belgium, £135 from China, £1,026 from France, £6,706 from Germany, £1,782 from Italy, £1,477 from Japan, £8 from Switzerland, and £2,124 from the United States. In passing, I ask honorable senators to notice the justice of the claim of the operatives in the Commonwealth that they will be exposed to competition with Japan, which, although it was only just starting to export, sent into New South Wales £1,477 worth of brushes in 1901. It has been claimed by Senator Neild, and the demand has been affirmed by others, that a 25 per cent.. duty will be prohibitive ; that hot only will no revenue be collected, but that the Commonwealth manufacturers will not be subject to any competition from abroad. Let us see what the Queensland statistics have to say on that point. In 1900 the imports of brushware were valued at £5,602 from the United Kingdom, £148 from Japan, £1,351 from Germany, £324 from France, £685 from Italy, and £678 from the United States, or a total of £8,7S8, in spite of a duty of 25 per cent. Senator Barrett has given the Victorian view, and now let me for a moment deal with the Queensland aspect of the case. I have received a letter from Messrs. M!cDonald Bros., of Brisbane, who commenced operations a few years ago in a very small, way, but by perseverance, industry and skill, are now engaged in the manufacture of all kinds of brushware. The letter is as follows : -
In view of the possibility of the Federal Senate asking the House of Representives to reduce the duty on the item “brushware” in the Tariff, we wish to inform yon of the disastrous consequences of such reduction to ourselves particularly, and to the brush trade here generally. The brush trade has been built up with the help of the measure of protection, which we have enjoyed, and, relying upon the permanency of the Tariff as j passed by the House of Representatives, we have made arrangements for the carrying on of a line of paint brushes in addition to the other branches of our business. Should the duty be reduced it would involve a very serious loss to our business and the discharge of a number of hands. We therefore beg leave to enter our protest against any reduction of the duty on brushware, leaving other persons to speak for themselves. We trust you will find it consistent with your duty to the general public to strenuously oppose any reduction of the duties here referred to.
From the same firm I have received the following communication : -
We understand that it is the intention of Senator Neild to move for a reduction of the duty on painters’ brushware. We wish to enter our protest against any reduction of the duty for the reasons as follows : -
A number of brushes which come under the heading of painters’ brushes are in reality very seldom used hy painters. We refer to fibre distemper brushes and nailed stock brushes, and tiny brush containing fibre in their composition. These brushes are stock lines with all grocers and ironmongers, and are used for whitewashing only. We would respectfully point out that any interference with the duty on the above goods would have a very bad effect on the trade generally.
We have only lately started manufacturing painters’ brushes of all classes, and are meeting with a good demand for same. Painters have expressed their approval of our manufactures.
We assert our goods are equal in quality to the leading brands of English manufacture, and much superior to any Continental brushes at present on the Australian market.
We are offering our brushes at a lower price than the imported article.
To secure the skilled labour necessary to manufacture painters’ brushes we have to pay a much higher rate of wages than is paid in England or on the Continent.
We hope to be able shortly to supply the whole Queensland demand and to participate n the New South Wales trade.
Honorable senators will notice the courteous way in which Messrs. McDonald express the hope that I shall feel it consistent with my duty to the general public to strenuously oppose any reduction of the duties ; and in making that request they forwarded me a number of samples of their manufactures. Senator Neild last night made some observation about the Senate being turned into a commercial travellers’ sample room, but I bring these brushes in order to show what can be done by local producers. I ask any honorable senator, who may be a. judge, whether these brushes are not equal to any imported from Germany, or even from the old country. It may be said that only samples of new articles are introduced to the notice of honorable senators, but I now submit for inspection a couple of brushes which have been in use for some time. They do not present a very artistic appearance, but even a layman can see what is the criterion as to quality. A poor brush would have disappeared long before it had reached this stage of service. The brushes are worn almost to the stump, and that shows in an unanswerable way the quality of the local manufacture. I may explain that these worn brushes were manufactured in Melbourne, I believe, by Messrs. Zevenboom. Last night Senator Neild quoted the operative painters, of New South Wales, and I should now like to quote the operative brushmakers in Victoria. They say -
Now at this critical stage of our industry, when the Federal Parliament are about to give consideration to the amount of fiscal protection the brush-making trade are to receive to enable it to keep in line with the advancement of industrialism, there are several strong reasons why the members of your honorable House should support the Government in their proposal to place’ a duty of 25 per cent, on all imported brushware into our Commonwealth. Under the former Victorian duties of 25 per cent, on paint and 30 per cent, on general work, the trade found it a difficult matter to compete with the foreigner. According to the official returns for the year 1900 an enormous quantity of paint and brushware was imported into this State to the value of £1 7,992, which, had that amount been manufactured locally, would have increased the number of operatives by CO. We have most to fear from the sweated conditions of cheap continental labour, where the hours are 70 per week and the wages extremely low, which enables them to compete successfully with our manufacturers, against the established principle of 48 hours per week. Nearly 25 per cent, of the imported brushware comes from Germany, who is bidding most determinedly to capture this .market, and if the Government proposal is in any way decreased this industry must assuredly fall into the hands of the foreign manufacturers, who are apparently indifferent to improve the cause of their workpeople, whereas several of our States have framed their Factories Acts, granting the operatives of the several trades their measure of protection. That, sir, is undeniably the case with our calling, and now we kindly ask you to grant that measure of protection to our employers by aiding the Government through with their proposal, meaning to us - an important and growing industry - justice. Our wages board have fixed the minimum wage at from £2 5s. to £2 15s. per week, but if these rates are to be maintained there must not be any mutilation of the proposition upon paint and general brushware. Our goods are equal, if not superior, to those imported, as verified by appended letters from the Painters and Decorators Society, and the Coachmakers and Painters Society of Victoria, expressing their utmost satisfaction as to the quality of colonial paint brushes, which they say are “ equal to those imported.” No increase in price will occur through the proposed duty of 25 per cent., but will give increased employment, and better conditions and wages. The manufacturers throughout the States have, and can, turn out any article in detail quite equal to the imported, if given the opportunity. Trusting you will give us your vote, which will stimulate the industry throughout the Commonwealth. - We are, yours respectfully, W. E. Doig, president, A. H. Allen, secretary.
The Painters, Paperhangers, and Decorators Society”- a similar body to that referred to by Senator Neild - wrote from the Trades Hall, Melbourne, on the 7th February, as follows : -
This society, believing that the policy of protection is the best for the Commonwealth, and believing that paint brushes can be and are made equal to the imported, this society has no objection to the reasonable proposed federal duty.
In addition, I have one or two affidavits which were sworn, as recently as this morning, before Mr. Edward McCarthy, J.P. The first is as follows : -
I, the undersigned, James Brand, make this affidavit, and declare that I was in the employ of G. B. Kent and Sons, of London, for thirteen years, working at the branch of dressing paint brush bristles, and declare that the class and quality of bristles used by colonial manufacturers is quite equal to anything used by British manufacturers.
That is the testimony of a man who at one time was employed by one of the leading firms in the old country. This is the second affidavit : -
I, William Benwell, make the affidavit and say that I served my apprenticeship with G. B. Kent and Sons, London, and was employed there for twelve years, and declare that the. painting brushes I am engaged in making for Zevenboom and Co., of Melbourne, are made of the same class of bristles, quite equal in quality in every respect.
Senator Barrett has handed me a letter written by Mr. D. Phillips, which goes to show that if local manufacturers are protected against foreign competition, there will be an ample supply of brushmakers’ material. The letter is as follows : -
In reference to the item, paint brushes, and brushes of a similar kind used by painters, I have the honour to state that I have for the past ten years imported, and kept in stock, every kind of bristles and other raw materials used in the manufacture of these brushes, and am able at anytime to supply from my present stock, and from shipments always arriving, any quantity of the finest Russian and other bristles used by the manufacturers of painters’ brushware throughout the Commonwealth. My past sales of this class of bristle have amounted to many thousands of pounds worth, and. at all times there is no difficulty in keeping the supply going. I am prepared to submit samples of all classes, if necessary, out of present stock.
Messrs. J. T. Burnip and Co., indentors and importers, of Melbourne and Sydney, write to the same effect. I ask honorable senators whether it is fair, by motions of the kind before us, to prejudice the interests of the operatives throughout the Commonwealth 1 Senator Neild led . the Senate to believe that his object was to place only the particular brushes used by painters on the free list ; but if the motion be carried, it will mean that all painters’ brushes, including those distemper brushes which are used in every household for whitewashing the kitchen or the fowl-house, will come in free. They are brushes which can and are being manufactured at a very low price. I wish to ask those honorable senators who have some respect for the interests of the States to pause before they transform the city of Brisbane into a deserted village.
– Oh, oh !
– The honorable senator may laugh. He reminds me of a man who lights a fire which develops into a big conflagration destroying thousands of pounds’ worth of property, but who is quite satisfied so long as his name appears in the flames. Certain firms have established small brushware businesses in Brisbane, and, as they have expanded, have gradually erected better premises - those of one firm being equal to almost any that can be found in that city. If brushware be admitted free that -firm will be compelled to close its factory, and the operatives who spent their early days in learning the trade will have no alternative but to seek some other occupation. We are not all lightning change artists, as some honorable senators are. The ordinary mortal cannot readily relinquish a trade a knowledge of which he has spent ‘years in acquiring, and turn his attention to something else in order to obtain a livelihood. Of course very many people can live by their wits, but the average operative who has arrived at man’s estate, and who probably commenced to learn his trade at nine, ten, or eleven years of age, cannot easily devote himself to some other form of industry. If there were the slightest danger of the people who will be thrown out of employment competing with Senator Pulsford in his particular line of. importing, or with Senator Symon in the law courts, do honorable senators imagine for one moment that the proposal which is now before the Chamber would be submitted ? Not a bit of it. I have every hope that if Senator Neild’s motion is successful it will receive very short shift in another place. The divisions taken in the House of Representatives conclusively show that free-traders and protectionists alike are willing to allow this item to remain at 25 per cent. The proposition to admit brushware free is a ridiculous one, which should not have occupied the time of this committee. It is a wellknown motto in trades unionism that an injury to one is the concern of all, and I feel convinced that when once the painters of New South Wales, who through want of knowledge have approached Senator Neild, discover what is transpiring in the remainder of the Commonwealth, they will join with the operatives of the other States in demanding the retention of the duty which appears in the schedule.
– I hope that the committee will not agree to the motion for a reason that has not been advanced by any senator who has yet spoken, and one which I hope will appeal to those upon the free-trade side of the Chamber who possess any feelings of humanity. In South Australia, as indeed in all the other States, laudable attempts have been made to assist a very unfortunate class of the community - the blind - to earn a livelihood. The most suitable callings in which they can engage, are the manufacture of brushware and wicker work, and mat making. I am sure that there is not an operative painter in New South Wales who would object to paying a little more for his tools of trade - an argument upon which so much emphasis was laid by Senator Pulsford - if he knew that by so doing he was assisting this most unfortunate class of the community. Last evening I listened with feelings of sadness to utterances which, to my mind, approached blasphemy. If the honorable senator, who was so eloquentin connexion with the claims of religion, would only study the character of the author of that religion, he would find that, for the very class for which I am’ now pleading, He entertained the greatest sympathy. I may be considered rough, rude, or even ignorant, and in many ways disqualified to advocate the cause of anybody, but I hope that nobody will ever be able truthfully to say that I was not prepared to extend sympathy to the blind of the community who have to earn a livelihood under such immense disabilities. I trust that those senators who have any feeling for this unfortunate class will givethe motion proposed by Senator Neild a short shift. I am sorry to have occupied the time of the committee, as I should like to have seen a vote taken long ago, but I could not resist the temptation to place before senators this aspect of the question.
– I occupied less than ten minutes last night in submitting this motion.
– The honorable senator spoke for 35 minutes.
.- Senator Barrett is evidently confusing two speeches, because I find that, even including the frequent interruptions which occurred, my remarks occupy only about two or three columns of Hansard. But it will necessarily take me some time to reply to the long speech which Senator Barrett has delivered this morning. Indeed, I have to answer several speeches, including that delivered by the Vice-President of the Executive Council.
– I spoke for only about five minutes.
– But sometimes it requires 50 minutes to effectively answer a statement which occupies only five minutes. I said last night of Senator Barrett that “ I did not doubt his honest)’ or sincerity for a moment.”
– What did the honorable senator say before that?
– I did not say anything about the honorable senator. I did not even mention his name. But after the exhibition which he has made this morning - an exhibition such as I have never witnessed in any other Parliament in the Commonwealth - I find that when I uttered the words which I used last night I made a mistake. His speech to-day consisted of two portions - one containing personal abuse of myself without the slightest warrant in truth, and the other a deliberate advertising of some firm in which Senator Barrett, to say the least, evinced a very kindly interest. The committee have been given details of certain commercial transactions. The correspondence of firms ranging from Siberia to Sydney has been read ad nauseam, and affidavits have been made by interested persons, who, according to their own statements, have been absent from England so long that they have lost the very influence of the establishment in which they worked. All these matters have been brought forward for what reason 1 That is, to prove that a Victorian firm, which has been flooding the Chamber with its publications, should be considered in preference to the people of the Commonwealth.
– There are many other firms concerned.
– The senator did not mention any others. He told us of the marvellous things which this one firm has done ; how it has actually ordered as much as a whole barrel of bristles in connexion with its manufacturing. The senator inhis speech misrepresented everything I said. Senator Higgs did me the justice to recognise that my arguments were based upon the representations of the painting trade, as put forward by the Master Painters and Decorators Association, and by the Trades Union of Painters in Sydney. Senator Barrett conveniently ignoredthe fact that I was speaking from those representations, and treated my remarks as if I was responsible for the facts upon which they were based. The whole Senate is as responsible for them as I am, because they are contained in petitions which we have received, and which have been read to us by the Clerk.
– I was referring to the honorable senator’s own statements.
– I made no statements, except upon the representations contained in the petitions to which I refer, in which it is set down that-
Australian-made brushes are sointerior in quality and make as to be quite unsuitable for painters.
That statement is contained in the petition signed by the president of the Trades Union of Painters in Sydney, and is entitled to at least as much respect as the ipse dixit of individuals who know nothing about the subject, or as the representations of people who are interested in the brush-making industry. I believe that Senator Barrett was lately secretary to the Trades Hall Council of Victoria, and yet he did his utmost to pour contempt and derision upon the statements of the trades union in Sydney. He thought that he was making little of me, but, as a matter of fact, he was belittling a trades union ; because all I did was to read from a petition presented by it to the Senate. I suppose that the fact is that this enthusiastic trades unionist is aggrieved because somebody other than a trades unionist has been found to act as the mouthpiece of a trades union.
– I will make inquiries about that. We may have a different statement.
– Does the honorable senator dare to charge me with fraud? It is contemptible, beneath the level of the lowest form-
– That language must not be used.
– ThenI should not be attacked as I have been.
– The honorable senator is only a political actor .
– The expression used by Senator Neild was disorderly, and I ask him to withdraw it.
– I withdraw it, but the expression was not ruled out of order-
– The honorable senator must not reflect upon my decision.
– I did not mean to do so ; but if you construe what I have to say as a reflection upon your ruling, I shall not offer the explanation which I thought I was entitled to offer. It is an extraordinary thing that a senator who reads from a petition duly presented to the Senate should be charged with fraud. The imputation is monstrous, and I ask that the words be withdrawn.
– The words which were used were quite in order.
– Very well, sir. The brush-making trade appears to require, not only a protection of . 25 per cent., but the exemption of all its raw materials. [Committee counted.] I find that boring, cutting, filling, flue or bottle brush machines, and shaping and trimming machines for brushmaking are admitted free of duty, while hog hair, sable hair, camel hair, and badger hair are also admitted free of duty. The duty upon brushware appears to have been imposed simply for the encouragement of one Victorian firm, and a projected Queensland firm. Senator O’Connor told us that the tools of trade which have been placed upon the free list were placed there because they cannot be manufactured within the Commonwealth.
– Because they cannot be manufactured within the Commonwealth at reasonable prices.
.- What is a reasonable price is a question of degree, which, I suppose, no one can satisfactorily determine. It is like the distinction drawn by , an old ship captain, who was asked to determine the difference- between sobriety and drunkenness, and who said that it lav somewhere between a glass and a barrel. I suppose reasonableness lies somewhere between no duty at all and a duty of 300 per cent., because Senator O’Connor will not say that any duties in the Tariff are unreasonable. As some of these duties are as high as 300 per cent., and others are as low as 5 per cent., we have a fair example of what the honorable senator might regard as reasonable. I find that among the machine tools of trade exempted are the following : -
Book-binding - backing, bench presses, bevelling, binding, blocking, book-rolling, bookrounding, ease rolling, case cleaning-, case making, cutting, eyeletting, embossing, finishing press and stand.
Surely it” is rather extraordinary if, after 30 years of protection, it is not possible for some, if not all, of these machine tools to be made in Victoria. I admit that there might. . not be the same chance of their being made in New South Wales ; but we are falling into the position of regarding the whole of the Commonwealth as dependent upon certain interests in Victoria. According to Senator Barrett, the interests of the painters and paperhangers of the Commonwealth are to hang on the fortunes of Messrs. Zevenboom and Co., of Melbourne. Among the other machine tools used in bookbinding that are exempted are : -
Glueing, indexing, laying presses, nipping presses, numbering, paging, paring, perforating, punching, ruling, scoring, stand presses, stapling, trimming, wire-stitching machines.
I find also that all the tools used in the bootmaking industry are admitted free of duty, and some of these are of such a simple character that there could not be very much trouble about making them here at a. reasonable cost. As I have before stated, the tools required for brush-making are admitted free of duty, and nearly every trade in the Commonwealth is represented amongst the exemptions of machine tools and tools of trade. Many of the machine tools used in the tanning and woodworking trades could be made here. Not only is there already a very long list of exemptions of tools of trade, but this can be extendedas Parliament may hereafter agree. The tools used for tile, pipe, and brick making are also on the free list. Does Senator O’Connor contend that these articles cannot be made here, or that they are better entitled to be admitted free of duty than are the tools of trade used by painters 1 Painting is one of the great trades iri Australia, because our climate is very destructive of paint work on exposed surfaces, and the painter’s brush is continually in operation. It must be borne in mind that painters’ and paperhangers’ brushes are very expensive, find wear out more quickly than perhaps any other trade implements. This affords another reason why the duty should be removed. Senator Barrett made a number of statements in support of Messrs. Zevenboom and Co., and gave them a very fine free advertisement, but he did not adduce the slightest evidence to show that anybody outside Victoria appreciated the brushes manufactured by that firm. An S-oz. brush costs about 7s., and the duty, amounting to ls. 10$d., would increase the price to the consumer to nearly 9s. Then, again, calsomune brushes cost, in the first instance, about 12s., and the duty of 27£ per cent, brings up the price to the consumer to over 15s. I would ask honorable senators if that is a fair burden of taxation to place upon one trade, out of the whole number in the Commonwealth, in the interests of one firm in Victoria. (Committee counted.) One part of my speech, which will be in answer to Senator Barrett, I shall defer for the present, in the hope that he may return. This trade is under a Customs ban in every detail. On everything it uses there is a heavy tax - how high, it is not needful to say. An attempt on my part to reduce the duties on varnishes to even 15 per cent, was defeated. Some of these duties run as high as 50 or 60 per cent. ; indeed, in some instances to between 70 and 80 per cent. On oils, paints, varnishes, colours, driers, and other articles, including, of course, brushes, the trade is the subject of attack. Why? Because most of these articles are in some form or other made in Victoria. That is the only possible excuse for singling out the trade for an onslaught at every point, including 27£ per cent, duty on their brushware. Senator Barrett is, perhaps, exercising ^ a wise discretion in remaining absent. I had hoped that he would be back by this time. As he chose, and under your ruling, sir, was justified in throwing a doubt on the validity of the petitions presented to the Senate, one on the 11th, and the other on the 18 th June, I shall read a letter dated 5th May, which was not placed in my hands in Sydney, but which I received here, from the honorary secretary of the Master Painters and Decorators Association of New South Wales -
At a general meeting of the Master Painters aud Decorators Association of New South Wales, held ou the 1st inst., it was unanimously resolved that the secretary write to the senators of this State, pointing out to them that the only tools of trade that are not exempt from duty are painters brushware, and to ask them to use their best endeavours to have this inequitable tax removed. In carrying out the wishes of my association, I need hardly say, by giving this matter your earliest consideration you will earn the best thanks of an important section of the community.
Yet Senator Barrett, without the smallest justification for his action, chose to throw doubt upon the validity of the petitions I presented a month later, and said he was going to make inquiries that would lead him to place a different complexion on the matter. I happen to know the president of the Master Painters and Decorators Association, and the president of the trades union. They are gentlemen of high position in their respective spheres of life. One signature I can swear to, and the other signature I have not the least doubt about, because the gentleman whose name appears at the foot of the petition came to the train when I was leaving for Melbourne one evening, and spoke to me about it. In one case the members of the association waited upon me in the form of a deputation, and stated their desire for relief, and made statements to me that appear in the petition. I submit that, while Senator Barrett was, to use a colloquialism, very cocksure that he had proved everything, and disproved everything I had put forward, the opinion of individuals, no matter how worthy they may be, is no answer to the deliberate statement of a great association ora powerful trades union. I wish to draw attention to the fact that no attempt was made to secure the opinion of any person out of Victoria as to the excellence of this line of Victorian brushes. Senator McGregor has said that I am making an onslaught upon those who are afflicted with the great calamity of blindness. Persons who are suffering from that great calamity do not make painters’ brushes, but brooms, and very good ones, too. The employes in the paint-brush -making industry of Victoria are not so numerous as the persons who are represented by this one petition from the painting trade of Sydney. So that if we have to choose the greatest good for the greatest number, even among’ the workers, there is nothing in the argument which is put forward by Senator Barrett, whose speech consisted chiefly of a denunciation of a statement I made yesterday, and a busy advocacy of the manufactures of one firm. For the first time in a long experience of parliamentary life I heard the private records of a firm read to influence a rate of duty. It is very seldom that a firm will descend to such a depth of degradation as to use its business correspondence - private communications - for that purpose. It is something so novel that I shall take every care that the persons who have had their confidence outraged in this contemptible manner shall know all about it. If Zevenboom and Co. are reduced to such a despicable and contemptible method of conducting their business, the sooner such’ a firm are wiped out of existence the better, not that they would be wiped outof existence by a reduction of the duty, because afirm who would be guilty of such practices as those would be guilty of any trade fraud which could be invented under heaven. A firm who would play such a part for the furtherance of their own ends would play any other part, no matter how mean, how contemptible, or how false it might be.
– The honorable senator knows that he forced me to produce that evidence.
– I did not force the senator to produce anything. I gave him credit for acting bond fide.
– The honorable senator said he was a commercial traveller.
.- What I said last night,I shall not burden honorable senators by repeating to-day. I was very careful in what I said, and if Senator Barrett had exercised half the caution I did, he would not have made the speech he did to-day. If I do not succeed in carrying this motion, I shall endeavour to reduce the rate of duty, because I think it is perfectly shocking that one particular trade in the Commonwealth should be singled out to be plundered on behalf of a single firm.
– I wish to say a few words in reply to some remarks made by Senator Neild, and also by some persons outside, more particularly some persons connected with the press, who imagine that this is a very small and insignificant industry. Supposing that it were ever so small and insignificant, those who are engaged in the industry deserve every consideration at the hands of the Senate. I find that in Brisbane, which is the largest centre of population in Queensland, there are 71 persons engaged in this industry.
– In making painting brushes?
– In making brushes of all kinds. I quiteunderstand that Senator Neild wishes to single out painters’ brushes, but I think that would be found impossible at the Custom-house, or, at any rate, would cause no end of trouble and difficulty.
– None whatever.
– A number of brushes of a different class would be brought in as painters’ brushes, and it is just as well to avoid that kind of thing. I have in my hand a communication addressed to Senator Dawson, but handed over to me, from a gentleman who had seventeen and a half years’ experience in the brushmaking establishment of the celebrated firm of Kent and Co., London, and further experience with other large firms. This gentleman asks Senator Dawson to exercise all the influence and power he possesses in order that this duty may not be interfered with, as it is necessary in order to protect the trade of the Commonwealth, with a view to securing those engaged in it fair remuneration and conditions of labour. ‘ That is not at all an unreasonable request, and the writer goes on tosay that he knowsof his personal knowledge that a large number of females are engaged in this industry in England at wages varying from 2s.6d. to 10s. per week.
– How many ?
– The number is not given, but Senator Neild, like myself, has some knowledge of Great Britain and the great centres of population there, and will agree with me, that in this industry as in a number of others, large numbers of females are employed, not because they are females, but because they can be got at a cheap rate.
– Of what year is the writer speaking ?
– The year is not mentioned, but the writer goes on to mention the case of a young girl, seventeen years of age. who earned 4s. a week, and who, when she asked for a rise, was told by her employer that she was remarkably well paid. The writer proceeds to say that wages of the women do not average more than 7s. per week of 56 hours, and he says that sweating is deep-seated and widespread. Surely Senator Neild cannot be void of human sympathy, though he seems inclined to treat some of these questions without that gravity and consideration they deserve. Senator Neild is an earnest free-trader, and I have no wish to impute unfair motives to him, though I must say that his free-trade ideas seem liable to carry him too far. I ask him whether he, as a member of the Senate, as a citizen of the Commonwealth, and a father of a family, wants to bring the wretched, miserable, brutal conditions of the old country to this young land. The action of the honorable senator and those who think with him can only have one result. These industries must cease to exist, or we must endure the deplorable conditions which prevail elsewhere. The mere cost of carriage and wharfage, which senators on the other side call “ natural protection “ is a mere bagatelle, when we take into consideration the conditions of labour in other parts of the world. We are now nearing the end of the schedule, and I urge on Senator Neild not to press his motion. There has already been an abundance of destruction, and I should be very sorry to see further injury done to Australian industries. In the galleries to-day are a number of persons interested in the industry, and, naturally, anxious as to the result of this discussion. The same anxiety is being felt in Brisbane and other parts of the Commonwealth, and there is no wonder that such should be the case. I find by a circular which has reached me that upwards of £50,000 is invested in this industry in the Commonwealth; and surely some consideration should be shown to the people whose interests are represented by so large an amount. Are the men who have served their apprenticeship and devoted many years to this manufacture, to be left without employment at a time of life when it is difficult to engage in another occupation 1 What are these men to do 1 I know that the motion is confined to paint brushes, but Senator Neild, from his knowledge of commercial life, knows that there are a hundred and one ways of bringing other brushes in under this heading. We must not jeopardize our own people, who have invested their capital in this industry. In some instances the capital is not much, but it may represent the savings of a lifetime and many privations. Why, in the name of all that is reasonable, humane, and commonsense should we attempt to put those articles on the free list, when the only results can be confusion at the Customshouse, injury to the industry, and no end of heart-burning and sorrow ? We have to consider the interests of 600 or 700 persons, and I again strongly advise Senator Neild to withdraw the motion. If, however, Senator Neild should go to a division and be defeated, I hope he will not proceed further.
– It has been stated here that there is no evidence qf the existence of the brush-making industry in any of the States except Victoria. On that point I wish to read the following extract from a letter which I have just now received from a company of brush manufacturers in Brisbane : -
The brush trade has been built up with the help of the measure of protection we have enjoyed ; and relying on the permanency of the Tariff as passed by the House of Representatives, we have made arrangements for the carrying on of the line of paint brushes in addition to the other branches of our business. Should the duty be reduced, it would involve serious loss to our business, and the discharge of a number of hands.
It has been claimed that this is the only instance in which tools of trade are not “free; but I suppose that position arises from the fact that in a great variety of industries the tools used must be obtained from outside the Commonwealth, no attempt having been made to manufacture them locally. In the case under discussion, however, the tools are made within the Commonwealth, and the manufacturers ought to have every encouragement. If it could be shown that the tools used in other trades can be reasonably made locally, I should favour the imposition of a duty.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - Senator Glassey has given us some rather remarkable fancy figures as to the capital invested, and the number of people employed in this industry ; and in reply I should like to lay before the Senate a few figures taken from the Statistical Register of Victoria. Instead of the capital invested, amounting to £50,000, according to the Statistical Register the value of machinery and plant is only £4,130. All this fuss is over £4,130 worth of machinery which, I suppose, was bought 30 years ago, and has been “ going to the dogs “ ever since. I find that the value of the land is £1 0,540, and buildings and improvements, £12,000. Here we have a total of a trifle over £26,000 representing, I suppose, the original value of the machinery and the present local value of the land and buildings, as ascertained by methods of taxation. As to the vast army of operatives of whom we have heard, I find that there are twelve establishments, five of which are so diminutive that they are worked by hand-power.
– That is in New South Wales?
– No ; I am speaking solely ofVictoria, and it must not be forgotten that these figures deal not only with the manufacture of painters’ brush ware, but with the entire brush and broom trade. I hear a sound of singing, and I would suggest that some kind of musical accompaniment is not an improvement.
– I have heard no singing, but I should say that there is no necessity why Senator Neild’s solo should have a musical accompaniment. If there is singing, or anything of the kind, I ask that it shall cease.
– There are twelve establishments and twelve overseers, six accountants and clerks, and four managers employed in this industry. You hear the singing now, sir.
– Order. If any senator is indulging himself in singing, I ask him to desist at once ; it is certainly very improper.
– The whole business is so gigantic that four messengers and carters are able to conduct the distribution of the goods which are turned out by all these magnificent factories.
– Is Senator McGregor disregarding the request of the Chair?
– I have not opened my month.
– Bid the honorable senator emit something musical or intended to be musical? If so, I ask him to desist from such conduct.
– In Victoria there are 156 males engaged in this industry, 58 females, and three boys under fourteen years of age.
– There are 317 hands employed.
– Is the honorable senator’s information superior to that containedi n th e Victorian Statistical Register ? His statements do not agree with the official returns, and personally I prefer to rely upon the latter. I have abundantly shown that the allegations which have been made regarding the number of people employed in this industry are entirely misleading, and that Senator Glassey in perfect good faith has given to the committee figures which are not as reliable as he imagined them to be.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 132, by adding to the special exemptions, on and after 1st August, 1902, the words, “ Painters’ and paperhangers’ brushes” - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 3
Noes…… … 20
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Senator Lt.-Col. Neild) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 132 by adding after the duty, “ Carpet sweepers . . ad valorem, 15 per cent. , “ the words, ‘ ‘ Painters’ and paperhangers’ brushes, on and after 1st August, 1902, 10 per cent.”
– Of course, I object to this proposal, and I hope that a division similar to the last one will take place immediately.
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … … 9
Noes … … … … 14
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Senator Lt.-Col. Neild) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 132 by adding after the duty, “Carpet sweepers . . . ad valorem, 15 per cent.,” the words, “ Painters’ and paperhangers’ brushes, on and after 1st August, 1902, 20 per cent.”
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … … 12
Noes … … … … 11
Majority … … … 1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Lt.-Col. Neild) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 132 . by adding to the duty “Brushware, n.e.i. … 25 per cent.,” the words, “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 20 per cent.”
– I shall oppose the motion. The reasons which were given to the committee for the reduction of the duty upon painters’ and paperhangers’ brushes do not apply to all other kinds of brushware. The committee decided to reduce the duty upon painters’ and paperhangers’ brushes, so that tools of trade should not be taxed ; but ordinary brushware cannot be so designated. It has been shown that the brushmaking industry requires protection, and no reason has been given for reducing this duty, unless it be that honorable senators feel bound to move the reduction of every duty upon the Tariff.
– When speaking upon the motion to reduce the duty upon painters’ brushes, Senator O’Connor pointed out that the actual revenue received from it was about £9,000, and as the estimated revenue of the Govern merit from the whole item is only about £10,000, the balance is a very small one. I think the duty should be reduced to 20 per cent.
– The long and very valuable arguments given to the committee this morning by Senators Neild and Barrett were on a motion to make painters’ brushes free of duty. I voted against that motion, because the arguments I heard did not convince me that they should be made free of duty, but I think that a duty of 20 per cent, upon ordinary brushware should be enough for even the most gluttonous brushmaker in Australia.
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 13
Noes … … … 11
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– I inadvertently voted in the division, having forgotten that I had paired with Senator Fraser. That being so, I ask that my name be removed from the division list.
– As the honorable senator acted inadvertently, I shall correct the list as he wishes, so long as no other honorable senator raises an objection to my doing so.
– I am very sorry to have to object to the removal of Senator Pulsford’s name from the division list ; but I hold that serious objection may be taken to allowing the name of any honorable senator who has remained in the Chamber during a division not to be recorded.
Item 133. - Coke, per ton, 4s.
– I should like the “Vice-President of the Executive Council to give us some reason for the presence of this odd little duty in the Tariff. It will affect practically only New South Wales.
– The duty has been imposed to protect the manufacturers of coke. I believe that Australian coke is manufactured almost entirely in New South Wales, and that nearly all the large mines in Australia are using locally-ma,de coke, so that imported coke is going almost out of use. The duty will preserve the trade as it is.
Item agreed to.
Item 134 (Cordage) verbally amended and agreed to ; and item 135 (Cork mats) agreed to.
Item 136. - Explosives, viz.: - Ammunition and cartridges, n.e.i., free; fireworks, aci valorem, 20 per cent. ; fuse, free ; powder, free.
– I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 136 by adding after the words, “Ammunition and cartridges, n.e.i., free,” the
I words, “and on and after 1st August, .1002, aci valorem ) 0 per cent. “
I have moved this motion because the committee decided, in dealing with item 72, that lead and shot should remain dutiable ; and I then promised that if that were done I would impose a duty upon ammunition. The duty was originally 20 per cent., but as the cartridge maker now gets his powder free, I think a protection of 10 per cent, should be sufficient for him.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - Whilst I think that the proposal of the Vice-President of the Executive Council is absolutely equitable, I would ask whether he proposes to ‘treat sporting powder in the same manner 1
– It seems rather anomalous to place a duty upon shot and upon cartridges, and to admit the powder free.
Motion agreed to.
– I would ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether he does not consider that he will be inconsistent if he does not propose to impose a duty upon sporting powder 1
– No. I stated that the duty upon ammunition and cartridges was originally 20 per cent., but that inasmuch as sporting powder was free, I thought that a duty of 10 per cent, would afford sufficient protection to the local manufacturers of cartridges.
– Whereas a certain amount of sporting powder is used for making cartridges, the whole of it is not applied in that way, because large quantitiesare used for muzzle-loading guns for which cartridges are not suitable.
– But what proportion of muzzle-loading guns are used nowadays?
– A very fair proportion. Sporting powder is also used in large quantities by sportsmen who make their own cartridges.
– When we were discussing the duty on shot I intimated that if the Vice-President of the Executive Council did not propose a duty upon ammunition and cartridges, I should . certainly do so. I concur with Senator Clemons that sporting powder is also a failsubject for a revenue duty, and seeing that there is a vast difference between the price of high-class sporting powder and the cheaper kinds used for muzzle-loading guns, a duty of 10 per cent, would not be very oppressive.
– I proposed a duty upon ammunition and cartridges simply to remove the anomaly arising from the free admission of cartridges, whilst shot was subject to a duty. I only asked for 10 per cent, for the protection of the local manufacturers, but if powder had been subject to a duty also, the 20 per cent, first imposed upon ammunition and cartridges would have been a fairer rate. As matters stand I do not wish to disturb the Tariff beyond the extent necessary to remove the anomaly.
– This is oneof the very few cases in which I have been able to support the Government. Whilst it may not be scientifically correct on my part to support Senator O’Connor, I think I am justified by the facts of the case. It must be remembered that powder is not used by itself, but that those who require it also have to use shot, which is subject to a duty, and that in this way they will be called upon to make a fair contribution to the revenue. Further, we shall be acting fairly towards those who are engaged in the manufacture of cartridges within the Commonwealth by admitting sporting powder free.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania). - I am astonished at the attitude assumed by Senator Millen. I thought he had some elementary notions about free-trade and protection, but I never heard a more extraordinary argument than that used by him to the effect that sporting powder should be admitted free, because those who use it will be called upon to pay a reasonable contribution to the revenue, through the duty levied upon the shot which they use with the powder. If the honorable and learned senator had a glimmer of common sense he would see that, owing to the prohibitive duty imposed upon shot, most of our requirements will probably be met by local manufacturers, and sportsmen and others will not be called upon to pay the impost. Therefore, the only chance the revenue has of deriving any benefit is from a duty upon sporting powder. I move -
Thatthe House of Representati ves be requested to amend item 136 by adding, after the words “ owder, sporting, free,” the words “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, ad valorem, 10 per cent.”
– I shall support the duty of 10 per cent, upon sporting powder, because I think the reasons given by Senator O’Keefe and Senator Clemons are conclusive. Senator Millen has admitted that his attitude is not scientifically accurate, and he certainty uses a most extraordinary argument when he says that, because a protective duty has been placed upon shot, no duty should be imposedupon powder. I might point out that the duty upon shot was retained, not because of any determination arrived atbya majority of honorable senators, but because the voting was equal, and therefore, by our constitutional rules, the motion for the reduction of the duty was not carried. Sporting powder is distinctly a luxury, and a legitimate subject for a revenue duty. The Vice-President of the Executive Council is constantly crying out for revenue, and we should assist him by imposing the duty now proposed upon an article used largely by pleasure-seekers.
– It is refreshing to hear the leader of the Government advocating the free admission of any commodity, and I have made up my mind to assist him in this instance.
– We have heard a good deal about the widow and the orphan and the poor man, and I ask honorable senators to think for one moment about the poor selector, whose holding is surrounded by vermin, and who has to depend upon powder and shot to save his crops. Do honorable senators desire to impose a duty upon the selectors, who, of all members of the community, are the hardest worked and the most poorly paid ? Some honorable senators have spoken about revenue, but have they thought of the destruction of revenue for which they are responsible in consequence of their actions in the past ?
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 11
Noes … … … 10
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator O’Connor) agreed to-
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the special exemptions to item 136, by adding the words, “and on and after 1st August, 1902, Fuse coil.”
Item1 37. - Photographic dry plates, sensitized films, and paper, ad valorem, 15 percent.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South
Wales). - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 137 by adding the words, “and on and after 1 st August, 1 902, Sensitized films and piper, free.”
I should be only carrying out the requests which have come to me from numerous quarters, if I tried to place dry plates as well as sensitized films and paper on the free list. But recognising the impossibility of success in that direction, I have limited my motion to sensitized films and paper.
SenatorO’CONNOR.- I do not object to this suggestion. When this duty was imposed paper was subject to a tax, but now that paper is free, it is only fair to make this exemption as a counterbalance.
Motion agreed to.
– With reference to the special exemption “ Ambulance lantern slides “ the word “photographic” should be inserted before the words “ lantern slides “ to make the provision workable. I suppose that a motion to that effect will be agreed to by the Minister.
– I wish photographic lenses to be placed on the free list.
– Let us get rid of the question of slides first.
– I had overlooked the fact that the word “ ambulance” stands before the words “ lantern slides.” Lantern slides are used very largely for educational purposes, and I desire to make photographic lantern slides free, irrespective of the purpose for which they are used. I suppose that very few ambulance lantern slides are imported.
– Ambulance lantern slides are admitted for the purpose of illustrating lectures in connexion with ambulance work. It is very desirable that special encouragement should be given to secure the latest possible slides, and for that reason this special exemption is made. There is no reason why photographers’ lantern slides should be admitted free, as they are made here very largely. I cannot consent to a proposal to place them on the free list.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the special exemption to item 137, by adding the words “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, Photographic lenses.”
It was understood, when lenses were placed on the exemption list, that photographic lenses were also included ; but it appears that, under a ruling of the Minister for Trade and Customs, photographic lenses are included in photographers’ accessories. When we were discussing the duty on cameras, I showed that photography is playing a very prominent part in our educational work.In South Australia alone we have a photographic society consisting of 112 active members, and if a heavy duty is imposed on their lenses, it will tend in a great measure to discourage their participation in a work in which we should all like our young people to take a deep interest.
– I cannot agree to the motion. The honorable senator has, I think, rather misunderstood the position. Under item 91, lenses n.e.i. are admitted free. When a photographic or other lens comes in without any fittings it is free : but a lens which is fitted up in brass, and is ready to be put in a camera, is dutiable, because then it is an accessory to the camera. Why should not a lens be dutiable when it is fitted up ? The duty is imposed for the purpose of giving our people some employment.
– The amount of revenue which will be collected on photographic lenses will bea mere nothing.
– There will be a great deal of revenue evaded.
– There may be something in that view. Not one of us wishes that result to occur. I have gone into this question perhaps not very minutely, but still with some degree of care, and I have come to the conclusion that Senator Charleston has made a very fair request, and if he presses for a division I shall certainly vote for his motion.
Motion (by Senator O’Connor) agreed to-
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the special exemption to item 137 by adding the words, “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, Prepared plates for engravers and lithographers.”
Item 138 (Pipes, smoking) agreed to.
Item 139 - Twine and yarn, viz. - Reaper and binder, per cwt., 5s.
Motion (by Senator Lt.-Col. Neild) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 139 by adding the words, “and on and after 1st August, 1902, free.”
– I hope that Senator Neild will not persevere with this motion. There is no reason why this article should not be dutiable. In the first place, if any must be imported it should pay a duty, and, in the second place, it can be made here.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - I did not wish to discuss this matter; but, in view of what Senator O’Connor has said, I may mention that Mr. David Syme planted 50 acres on his property, not very far from Melbourne, with a view of making this article there, but the price he could get was so poor that he allowed the crop to rot on the ground. This is a distinct tax on the wheatgrowers of Australia - one of the great industries which it is desired to promote. That is my reason for seeking to have this commodity placed on the free list.
–The raw material is not always grown in countries where. this manufacture is carried on. Since the United States of America have got control over countries where this material is grown, the export duty has been removed so far as concerns America, but not as concerns other parts of the world. We, in this Commonwealth are, therefore, at a disadvantage as compared with the United States, and the least we can do is to give our own people the benefit of this duty of 5s.
– I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 139 by adding the words, “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 8s.”
This industry employs 750 people, represents invested capital amounting to £225,000, and pays in wages £46,000 annually.
– These figures do not apply exclusively to the manufacture of reaper and binder twine.
– But reaper and binder twine is a part of the manufacture.
– The major portion of the industry is in connexion with large ropes.
– I know that. I suppose that every honorable senator has received a circular signed by the Adelaide Rope Works Company ; Messrs. Donaghy and Son, Geelong, Melbourne, and Adelaide; Messrs. Downes and Son, Moreland ; Messrs. A. Forsyth and Co., Limited, Sydney and Brisbane ; Messrs. Kinnear and Son, Essendon ; and Messrs. James Miller and Co. Proprietary Limited, Melbourne. That circular contains the following -
A peculiar development has taken place since the proposal of 5s. per cwt. on binder twine was passed by the House of Representatives. The U.S.A. Government has decided that the export duty on hemp, ruling in the Philippines, shall notapply on export to U. S.A. This means a preference of equal to 35s. per ton in favour of U.S. A. manufacturers, and as our competition is mainly against the surplus binder twine of the large U.’S.A. factories, we view the altered position with alarm, as the duty is practically reduced to 3s. 3d. per cwt., equal to 5 per cent., ad valorem, at which rate we cannot hope to hold our trade.
These are facts worthy of consideration. I may say that since the Tariff passed the House of Representatives, a large factory has been built for Messrs. Forsyth and Co., at Sydney, and at the present time the outlook, so far as binder twine is concerned, promises a largely - increased trade if a reasonable duty be imposed. I feel that I am only doing my duty in bringing this item under the consideration of the committee.
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 6
Majority … … 12
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
General Exemptions -
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend thegeneral exemption, “Articles imported by and for the use of the Commonwealth,” by adding, on and after 1st August, 1902, the words “or of any State Government.”
The words which I desire to have inserted were in the schedule as introduced in the House of Representatives, but were omitted at the last’ moment, when items were being rushed through without discussion. I do not intend to take up time by discussing the constitutional aspect of the question. I am aware that constitutional authorities in the Ministry are of opinion that the Commonwealth has the right to tax the imports of the States Governments, but I am also aware that equally eminent constitutional authorities, such as Sir John Quick, and others, hold that the Commonwealth has no such right. The question can only be decided by the Federal High Court. Assuming for the sake of argument that the Commonwealth has the right, I desire to discuss the question from the point of view of expediency and equity. While the bookkeeping sections are in operation there is no great practical objection to the Commonwealth taxing the imports of the States, whatever the objections may be as a matter of principle ; but it must be -remembered that in five years’ time the operation of these bookkeeping sections may cease, and the money received from Customs duties distributed per capita to the State Treasurers. If that be done - and I am afraid there is such a possibility, although personally I hope the bookkeeping provisions will continue - a most serious injury will be caused to the most progressive State in the Commonwealth.
– They are all progressive.
– I am glad to say they are, but some States are more progressive than others.
– The stronger ought to help their weaker brethren.
– Some of the States, especially the younger States, have inaugurated a spirited public works policy. In the newer territory, large areas have had to be opened up for settlement, by the construction of railways, water works, and similar public undertakings, and we are now talking of establishing State ironworks and other industries. If my motion is not adopted, the States will pay enormous sums to the Customs revenue; and, if the bookkeeping arrangement be discontinued, that revenue, instead of going back to the States which paid it, will be divided amongst all the States. In this way, those States which carry out the fewest public works will receive an unfair advantage. States which have the greatest expense will be penalized, while the benefit will go to the States which are the most retrograde. Another phase is that the money paid in Customs duties will in nearly every case come out of loan monies. If a State floats a loan for the purpose of building a railway, the money will be spent in purchasing material, shipping charges, Customs duties, and construction. If £500,000 be spent in purchasing material, a duty of 10 per cent, will mean £50,000, and this will be handed back to the States, and spent as ordinary revenue. That means that we are practically compelling the States by Act of Parliament to spend on non-reproductive works, or the ordinary working of the State, money which has been put aside for productive works. If the bookkeeping provisions are not renewed, even a worse state of affairs will exist, because some of the money will be spent by States which have not to the same extent adopted a public works policy. That system would, as I say, only penalize the progressive States, whose energy, I think, we ought to encourage. It is wrong, from a taxation point of view, to take money from a State which is developing the country by means of a public works policy, and hand it over to another State which is not so progressive. We shall create by Act of Parliament a pernicious system of forcing a State to use for ordinary expenditure money raised for reproductive works.
– That has been done for years.
– But there is no necessity for the Commonwealth to perpetuate the system. The principal imports by the States Governments consist of railway material, and if we tax those imports the States will be penalized to that extent. Further, if we impose a duty upon State imports, and the Commonwealth subsequently takes over the railways at cost price - as it may do - it will have to pay not only the actual cost of construction, but the taxation levied upon the material that has been imported by the
States. We should place no obstacle in the way of the latter adopting a progressive policy with regard to public undertakings, especially in view of the fact that Australia has been cursed by the construction of a number of private railways. In every case those railways should have been built by the States, which could have imported their material free of duty. Why should we deny to the States the same rights that are possessed by the Commonwealth, who can import free? I ask the committee to consider this matter seriously. I see no reason why they should be placed in the position occupied by individuals, and I think it should be our desire to encourage the States to undertake public works, and thus assist in settling people upon the land.
– No doubt the constitutional view of this matter is a very important one, but it is a question which we cannot settle. The Government have assumed that they have power to impose Customs duties upon the property of the States. It appears to me to be only right that we should have that power. If we have not, I should like to point out what will happen. There is no doubt that the trend of public opinion throughout Australia is more and more in the direction of the States Governments engaging in enterprises of different kinds. Doubtless the tendency in that direction will grow. If all goods imported by the States are to be exempt from duty, what will become of the revenue 1 Of course during the five years covered by the bookkeeping period, the question of whether or not duties are charged upon the imports of the States may not make veiy much difference, but afterwards it will be a matter of vital importance to our revenue.
– Will this Tariff be in operation then?
– The honorable senator is asking me a conundrum. I hopethat the Tariff will operate for a very long time. The proposal of Senator Smith, if adopted, would mean that we should lose an immense amount of revenue besides placing the States in a position which they ought not to occupy. Moreover, it would prove one of the most fruitful sources for the evasion of the payment of Customs duties. We all know what Government contracts are. A contract may be made with a State Government for the supply of certain material, and by the mere insertion in it of a condition that such material shall be imported by the State the contractor would escape the payment of duty. For these reasons, I submit that the committee should leave this item as it stands.
Question - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … .. 9
Majority … … 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I desire to move the omission of the general exemption, “ Articles imported by and for the use of the Commonwealth.”
– The honorable senator cannot do that. The committee have just rejected a motion bearing upon that particular item, and having reference to the imports of the States Governments. The words, “Articles imported by and for the use of the Commonwealth,” have already been agreed to, and the honorable senator cannot submit a motion relating to an exemption which has been passed.
– I wish to move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to add the following general exemption, ‘ Articles imported by the Government of a State, or by a Marine Board, for the maintenance and upkeep of lighthouses, lightships, beacons, and buoys.”
– Is that in order, Mr. Chairman?
– I submit that the last decision of the committee had reference to exempting from duty articles which are generally imported by the States Governments. My motion, expressly defines certain articles, and relates to services which are to be transferred to the Commonwealth.
– I would point out to the honorable senator that the greater includes the less. I therefore rule that the motion is not in order.
– I am exceedingly glad that Senator Smith questioned the right of the Commonwealth to tax the imports of the various States Governments, because the excellent answer given by the Vice-President of the Executive Council will immensely fortify the position which I intend to assume. I desire to omit the words “ or State Governors “ from the line “Articles imported by and for the official use of the GovernorGeneral or State Governors.”
Several Honorable Senators. - Move to omit the whole line.
– At the request of several of my friends, although it will deprive my arguments of a deal of their strength, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to omit, on and after 1st August, 1902, the general exemption, “ Articles imported by andfor the official use of the Governor-General, or State Governors. “
Senator O’Connor has declared that for many reasons it is undesirable that the States Governments should be allowed to bring in their imports free of duty. He pointed out that such a course would lead to fraud and evasion. For equally strong reasons it is unfair to allow the States Governors to import articles free of duty.
– The GovernorGeneral and States Governors have been allowed to importarticles for official use free of duty, upon the ground that they are officers of the Imperial Government.
– They sometimes give official dinners at which official champagne is consumed.
– I do not think that, under the most imperialistic construction, champagne could be regarded as an article for official use. This privilege has been allowed to the States Governors under the States Tariffs, and I think it is only reasonable to continue it.
– If the proposal had come from a member of the party to which I belong, it would have been described as a pro-Boer proposal.
Question put. The committee divided -
Noes … … … 4
Majority .. … 15
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the general exemption, “Scientific instruments and apparatus imported by and for use in universities, colleges, schools, or public hospitals,” by omitting on and after 1st August, 1902, the words, “ imported by and.’
I have been informed that some of the country hospitals are importing surgical apparatus and selling it, thus turning themselves into trading institutions. While I think it is desirable that universities, colleges, schools, and public hospitals should be allowed to import their instruments free of duty, I do not think they should be allowed to import instruments free of duty, and then sell them.
– I am willing to accept the motion if the honorable senator will amend it so as to also add to the exemption the words, “under departmental bylaws.”
Motion amended accordinglv, and agreed to.
Motion (by Senator Lt.-Col. Neild) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the general exemption, “Surgical and dental instruments . . . “ by inserting, on and after 1st August, . 1902, after the word “surgical,” the word “optical.”
– On behalf, and at the request of Senator Glassey, who is absent, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the general exemption, “Surgical and dental instruments and appliances (not being furniture), viz….. “, by adding on and after 1st August, 1902, the words, “ophthalmometers, retinoscopes, refractorneters, optometers, ophthalmoscopes, retinoscopy mirrors, phorometers.”
– There is no necessity for the insertion of those words, because the instruments referred to are admitted duty free, as surgical appliances for examining the eye.
– In that case, and upon that statement by the Minister, I shall not press the motion.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Motion (by Senator Millen) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the general exemption, “Surgical and dental instruments . . . indiarubber drainage tubing … by inserting, on and after 1st August, 1902, the word “ trusses “ after the worn “tubing.”
– I object to the motion, because trusses are made in all the States, and the exemptions have been restricted to those articles which cannot be reasonably produced here.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).As the cost of the locally-made trusses is four times as great as that of the imported article, my proposal is most reasonable, and I shall press it to a division.
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … 8
Noes … 9
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I wish to state that I voted upon the division by inadvertence. I was paired with Senator Symon.
– Of course, I can take no notice of pairs ; but if there is no objection to the division list being altered, I will not record the honorable senator’s vote.
– I object, for the reason previously given.
– A number of exemptions were made covering instruments for measuring the density of liquids, and as I overlooked instruments for measuring the density of substances, I now desire to include them in the list of exemptions. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to add to the general exemptions, on and after 1st August, 1902, the words, “ Instruments for measuring the density of substances.”
– I do not know what kind of instruments the honorable senator refers to, because I understand that substances cannot be measured unless they are reduced to a liquid form. I cannot consent to his proposal unless I know something about the instruments referred to.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - There are a number of substances which are half liquid and, half solid, and it is for measuring these that the instruments to which I refer are used.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to omit, on and after 1st August, 1902, the general exemption “ Works of Art, being statuary, and paintings framed or unframed, also windows for churches or public institutions, under departmental by-laws.”
These articles are within the reach of only very wealthy people, who, I am quite sure, will be prepared to pay a small amount of duty.
– What about our public parks and gardens?
– Most of the statuary to be found there is given by wealthy people, who ought to be prepared to pay a few pounds for the advertisement.
– The least we can do to encourage art is to allow works of art to come in free of duty.
– We can produce outworks of art at home.
– For the purpose of enabling us to produce works of art to advantage, and to educate our people, it is thought that the very best productions from abroad should be admitted free.
– I agree with Senator McGregor that we might very well tax statuary and paintings, but, on the other hand, 1 do not like taxing windows for churches and public institutions, because we have recognised the right of public institutions to have certain of their requirements admitted free. If the motion were divided in such a way that I could support Senator McGregor in his endeavour to impose a duty upon works of art such as are to be found in the homes of the wealthy I should support it. The whole of Senator O’Connor’s argument referred to public institutions, and hod no application to private individuals who, for their own luxurious purposes, import statuary or paintings.
– The least we can do is to show a little liberality towards art.
– We should be straining our liberality too far by allowing wealthy people to obtain their works of art free of duty.
Senator McGREGOR (South Australia). -I cannot abandon the latter part of my motion ; but I am willing that it should be divided, to enable Senator Clemons/to support mc in part. Windows for churches and public institutions are generally presented by wealthy people, to whom the amount of duty involved would be a trifling consideration.
– Of all protectionist duties an impost upon works of art would be the most objectionable. If the motion is agreed to, every painting bought for our national galleries, and every piece of statuary purchased for theornamentationof our parks and gardens, will be subject to duty. Our towns and cities sadly need to be beautified and improved by means of the liberal distribution of works of art, and we should be fully compensated for the loss of any duty by the educational effect exerted upon the people generally by the importation of high-class works.
Senator McGREGOR (South Australia). - I shall be glad if the motion is divided so as to meet the object of Senator Clemons.
– I object.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - I move - .
That the House of Representatives be requested to add to the general exemptions on and after 1st
August, 1902; the words, “ Articles imported by and for the use of registered friendly societies, under departmental by-lawn.”
All over the civilized world it is the practice for the Government of a country in which such societies exist to offer them every encouragement and assistance. Their correspondence is postage free ; their transactions are free of stamp duty. It is - customary, even in countries which we look upon as so benighted as Portugal, to give friendly societies rooms rent free.
– Postage is not free in all States.
-Col. NEILD. - In most States it is, and if my honorable friend will look at my report, of which I think he has a copy, he will find the matters specified in respect of which, all through Europe, concessions are granted by the Government to registered friendly societies. This proposal will not affect the great institutions of Freemasonry in the least degree, because it is not a registered friendly society.
– I cannot consent to pick out any special societies for this purpose. I know that Senator Neild refers to all friendly societies, but there are a great many societies quite as deserving of this concessionwhich are not registered friendly societies. I object to any societies being picked out as special recipients of a favour of this kind. There is no reason why revenue should be remitted in the case of friendly societies any more than in the case of other societies or individuals.
– I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to add to the schedule on and after 1st August, 1902, the words, “ That, in regard to all items consisting of more than one division, each subdivision shall be lettered alphabetically.
The Minister for Trade and Customs desires this alteration to be made for the convenience of reference, and I think the advantage of it will be apparent to honorable senators.
Motion agreed to.
Resolved (on motion by Senator O’Connor) -
That the Senate at its rising adjourn until Tuesday next, at 2.30 p.m.
Senate adjourned at 4.38 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 18 July 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020718_senate_1_11/>.