1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator CHARLESTON presented a pe tition from . the Council of Churches in the
State of South Australia, praying the Senate to give effect to proposals for the exclusive ownership and conduct of the retail trade in intoxicants by the Commonwealth in the federal capital.
– There is no obligation on a Minister or other member to answer a question. I did not catch the question, as I was not listening. Perhaps it would be better if the Vice-President of the Executive Council had moderated his reference to the question.
– I think if you, sir, had heard the question you would not have made that statement.
– Perhaps I may be permitted to put the question again.
– On the point of order, I think it would be better if the Vice-President of the Executive Council had characterized the question in less offensive language. It is, perhaps, going too far for him to say that it is grossly impertinent.
– Do I understand, sir, that under your ruling it is competent for one honorable senator to address another and say that his remarks are a -gross impertinence1!
– I think it would be far better if he did not do so.
– Then I understand that it can be done.
– If you, sir, suggest to me that I should withdraw any portion of that answer, I shall do so at once.
– I think it would be better to withdraw the expression.
– I withdraw the words “ gross impertinence,” and I substitute the words “characteristic impertinence.”
– I do not think that that is a withdrawal of the term. I ask the honorable and learned senator to withdraw it.
– I withdraw it absolutely. My reply is that I decline to answer such an impertinent question.
– I take the answer as an impertinence, too.
– I move -
That the Senate at its rising adjourn till ten o’clock to-morrow.
The matter which I wish to bring before the Senate, and which I think is of the gravest importance, and therefore worthy of most careful consideration, deals first of all with the message from the House of Representatives relative to the Customs Tariff Bill.
– Before the honorable and learned senator proceeds, perhaps it would be better that I should bring up a report on the same question from the Standing Orders Committee.
– I shall be glad to resume my seat if I shall not thereby be debarred from proceeding with ray speech.
– The honorable and learned senator will not be debarred from speaking. Three members of the Standing Orders Committee having considered the question of the procedure which it would be advisable to adopt on the receipt of a message from the House of Representatives dealing with the requests which have been made -by the Senate, resolved that the Chairman be asked to lay upon the table the following memorandum, which was prepared by the Chairman, and approved by them. I may explain that there were only three members of the committee present at the meeting, but two other members of the committee have concurred in the memorandum.
– Then it comes from the majority of the committee ?
– It comes from the majority of the committee, and reads as follows : -
The Senate has no standing orders, and no settled practice to carry out those provisions of the Constitution which refer to requests to be made to the Mouse of Representatives.
No question ought to be put to a House or a committee on which it is not competent to express an opinion, or on which it is not competent to vote.
It is not consistent with the position and dignity of the Senate to be asked to discuss a question on which it is bound by the. Constitution to come to one conclusion only ; and it therefore appears to me that the procedure on ordinary Bills is not applicable to Bills which the Senate may not amend ; and as it is clear that the committee cannot strike out a clause or an item in such Bills, the question that the clause or item stand part of the Bill ought not to be put. Some new procedure ought to be adopted to enable the committee to give effect to its wishes without a violation of the Constitution.
I suggest that the Chairman of the Committee should invite the committee to make requests by asking - “Has any Senator any request to make on this clause (or this item “), as the case may be. “When any motion to make a request has been disposed of, he should again invite the committee to make requests, and when no further requests are moved he should state, either -
If an request has been” agreed to, “I declare the clause (or item) passed as requested to be amended ; “ or, in case the Senate desires to take the latter of the two alternative positions which are stated below, “ That the further consideration of the clause (or item) be postpone;” or
If no requests have been made, “I de clare the clause (or item) passed.”
Of course, a request may be made to strike out the whole of a clause or an item, which, in such case, raises exactly the same issue as the motion that a clause or an item standpart of the Bill, and does not violate the Constitution.
The procedure in committee on the second stage, viz., when the Bill has been returned by the House of Representatives, must depend on which of two positions the Senate is prepared to take, whether
A clause or item on which a request has been made shall be considered as having been passed by the committee as requested to be amended;
Or whether the consideration of the clause or item shall be considered to have been postponed until after the House of Representatives has dealt with the request.
The first position (a) appears to me to be most advantageous and convenient, because -
It carries out as far as possible the analogy between requests and amendments ;
If the request is complied with the clause or item need not be further considered - the same result follows as when the
Senate makes an amendment in ordinary Bills to which the House of Representatives agrees ;
If the alternative position is taken up
the committee will be invited to consider whether or not they agree to amendments which they themselves have asked the House of Representatives to make - this is manifestly undesirable.
If position (a) is taken up the practice should be as follows: -
If the request has been agreed to no further action is necessary - no motion in respect of the request need be made. The result is just the same as when an amendment has been made by the Senate and agreed to by the House of Representatives.
When a request has been agreed to with a modification - a motion ought to be made that the modification be agreed to or disagreed to, or that the request be modified or someequivalent . motion (as the case may be).
When the request has not been complied with, the motion should be - that the request be again made, or withdrawn, or renewed in some modified form, or some equivalent motion (as the case may be).
I wish it to be distinctly understood that this is onlyan expression of opinion from the Standing Orders Committee. It does not bind the Senate or the committee. It is not a ruling from the Chair, because there is nothing to rule on. It is simply submitted for the information of the Senate, in order that it may arrive at the best possible solution of the difficulties which have arisen in consequence of their being no standing orders, and no settled practice in reference to these money Bills. It will be observed that this opinion goes no further than the proceedings which are to be taken to-day - it is not necessary at the present juncture to go any further - and that the paper depends, and the procedure which ought to be adopted depends, on which of the two alternative propositions the Senate is prepared to affirm. The first proposition is that the Senate has already, by making a request, agreed to the item or the clause in case the request is adopted by the House of Representatives, and the amendment made. That is a proposition which the Standing Orders Committee think ought to be adopted as being the most convenient, and the most consistent with the wish of the Senate to treat these requests, as far as practicable, as analogous to amendments. I think that we should be very careful to adopt a procedure that may be ultimately embodied in standing orders, which is the best possible and the most convenient, which will create the most harmonious relations between the Houses, which will vindicate the power and the position of the Senate, and will not violate the principles of the Constitution.
– I take it, sir, that this recommendation suggests that any action should be taken by private members rather than by the Minister in charge of the measure ?
– It does not suggest anything of the sort.
– It seems to rae that the first recommendation suggests that honorable members of the Senate are to be invited by the Chairman to take action whenever there is any motion to be moved.
– In answer to the question, I may say that if the practice suggested is adopted that is what will follow.
– This is in the first instance.
– No ; in the second instance.
– The question asked now relates to the procedure in the first instance.
– In the first instance the suggestion of the standing orders committee is the practice which has been adopted.
– We have passed that stage.
– The committee do not propose that any alteration be made with regard to that stage.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania). - I do not think it conceivable that any honorable senator present is not fully aware of the very great importance of the position in which we now find ourselves as a Senate ; but if there were any doubt upon the subject, the very careful nature of the memorandum which the President has thought it necessary to put before us for our consideration, affords additional proof. Deviating for a moment from the original motion, I should like to offer this criticism with regard to the memorandum.I recognise, of course, that it is a memorandum offered by the Standing Orders Committee for the consideration of the Senate, and that there is no means whatever at thedisposal of the Senate by which the suggestions made could now be adopted. At any rate, they could not be adopted to-day. In regard to the position taken up in the memorandum in the paragraph numbered (1), I should think the Senate would be unanimous in the expression of the desire that where any request has been made by the Senate to the House of Representatives, and such request has been agreed to, the matter should be regarded as ended. I do not think that upon that subject there can be any question whatever. Nor in fact doI think that there can be any doubt in regard to paragraph (2). But I. would offer this criticism : that while the memorandum states in paragraph (2), with regard to (A), that -
When a request has been agreed to, with a modification, a motion ought to be made that the modification be agreed to or disagreed with, we are confronted with this position - and I recognise at once that no standing order can get over it - that there is no absolute onus thrown by the standing order suggested upon any person in the Senate, not even on the leader of the Senate himself, to move the motion. It is that difficulty that goes straight to the root of the matter which we shall have to confront presently.
– Which motion does the honorable and learned senator refer to?
– I refer co paragraph (2) of the memorandum, dealing with what is termed position A. The same criticism would equally apply to paragraph (3), that- “ When the request has not been complied with, the motion should be that the request be made, or withdrawn, or renewed in some modified form.”
With that I entirely concur. But I offer the same criticism : that there is no indication that it would be obligatory upon any one to make such a motion, and I confess that I have grave doubts as to whether by a standing order there could be imposed upon any member of the Senate the duty of submitting such a motion.
– I might, perhaps interject for the information of the honorable and learned senator, . that I think the Government should take the full responsibility of moving the motion ; and certainly I intend to take it.
– I am delighted to hear that, and nothing is further from my desire than to take the conduct of business out of the hands of the representative of the Government. I am glad to know that the leader of the Senate is prepared to supply what, I venture to say, is an ellipse that could not be filled up by a standing order. I am also delighted to hear from the VicePresident of the Executive Council, that he intends to follow that method. But, sir, of course these remarks deal both with paragraph (2) and paragraph (3) - that is to say, with the second class of requests to which an agreement with a modification has been consented to by the other House, and also with that third class of requests with which the other House has disagreed. Coming at once to paragraph (3), may I point out to the Senate the nature of the message which has been sent down to us by the House of Representatives’? I do not wish - nothing is further from ray thought and desire - to offer any sort of unfriendly criticism as to the House of Representatives. I am not going to say that the other House has shown us any want of courtesy, nor am I going to indicate that such is my opinion by any devious method. But apart from any question of courtesy, which I do not raise, we are confronted with what seems to be the most serious difficulty in the whole of this question, owing to the nature and form of the message from the House of Representatives. The message that has been sent down to us deals, first of all, with those requests of ours to which the other House has given its consent, and which, as we are all agreed, are absolutely finished with. The message then goes on to deal with those requested amendments of ours with which the other House has agreed with certain modifications. Both of those sets of requests are numbered, and set out fully in the message itself. Then the next paragraph deals with the question of the date, which, of course, does not affect the Senate ; and, finally, a paragraph appears - a mere postscript, as it were - in which we read that the House of Representatives has not agreed to the remainder of the amendments requested by the Senate. Here we are at once confronted with this great and grave difficulty. When the message of the House of Representatives is properly before the committee, I do not see how it will be possible for the Chairman, having this message only before him, to allow us to deal individually - as, of course, we want to do - with all the various items to our requests as to which the House of Representatives has disagreed. That is the difficulty - and a very great difficulty it is - in which we find ourselves at the present time ; it raises the important question we have to solve now, and I must admit that I see no way out of it. The easiest way, I think, for the Senate to meet the present situation would be to go through the Tariff item by item. We should then find that, say, in regard to item 1, our request has been disagreed with. We could then deal with it, and so on right through. But the difficulty with which the Chairman of Committees has to contend in dealing with the message of the House of Representatives is, that he has to put before the committee those requests that the House of Representatives has agreed to, then to go on to the requests agreed to with modifications, and regardless of the order of the Tariff as we discussed it previously in committee, to take finally the requested amendments which have not been made, and in reference to which we have only a bald statement presented to us. Under those circumstances, what is the Chairman of Committees to do? What is the leader of the Senate to do ? What is there before the Chairman except the message as it stands ‘(
– The items can be divided.
– But in regard to the concluding words of the message the Chairman has no item before him, and the committee has no item before it.
– The committee will have the message before it.
– And it is the form of the message with which I am quarrelling. I raise this point in the hope that it will be settled before we go into committee, but, while raising it, I am not prepared to suggest any solution of the difficulty.
– The Customs Tariff Bill will be before the committee in the message.
– But it is perfectly clear that all the items will not be before the committee.
– Certainly they will.
– They are contained in the message.
– If honorable senators take the message they will see at once that the Chairman of Committees is in this difficulty - that in the message itself he has no particulars whatever as to the separate items that the other House has refused to agree to.
– We have them all in the Customs Tariff Bill.
– We shall have before us all the items with which the other House has not agreed.
– If I may take it that the Chairman of Committees will have before him not only the message, but the original Bill, the important difficulties I foresee will be overcome. I shall be delighted to hear- that that will be the pro:cedure, but it appears to me that we have no standing orders and no method of procedure whatever which’ will indicate to the Chairman of Committees that that is the course he should adopt.
– We can receive back no Bill except that which we sent away.
– I have already indicated that I am not prepared to move in any particular direction with regard to procedure, but I do submit this with confidence, that before the Senate resolves itself into committee - and as I understand the position we shall ipso facto go into committee when the President leaves the Chair - we should first determine upon the procedure that will have to be followed. We should say clearly that such and such a procedure shall be adopted. No other course will be consistent with our own dignity. We have to consider now, not a matter that arises and gives occasion for party strife or faction, but a course of procedure that must be a precedent for all future procedure in this Senate. The gravity of the position cannot be overlooked ; and whatever we may do, I urge upon the Senate, and especially upon the representatives of the Government, that we should, before resolving ourselves into committee, settle in some clear and definite way, in accordance with the wishes of the majority, what our procedure shall be. Before I sit down I would call attention to another difficulty that must arise one way or the .other before we have settled this Tariff question. During the previous debates upon the Tariff, owing to that section of the Constitution which requires that where the voting is equal, the motion shall pass in the negative, a section of this Senate was frequently disappointed in regard to the results of divisions. Some of us might perhaps like to fence round the question or to shirk it, but I do not care to do that. The question will undoubtedly arise again, and without any feeling of party spirit I urge the Vice-President of the Executive Council to deal with motions upon the Tariff in’ a manner consistent with the dignity of the Senate and the respect that is due to it. That respect the leader of the Government has always shown. I admit that frankly, and rely upon it in the future. I hope he will accept the situation as he finds it, and that if the onus and obligation rests upon him of making a motion upon which some such result as I have suggested occurs, he will at once accept the situation. I do not know that I can say anything more now, except that I have risen in order to urge that we might adopt some proper procedure before going into committee. I shall loyally accept the decision of the majority of the Senate, but whatever that decision may be, I urge that the procedure to be adopted should be determined before we go into committee.
– I rise at once to make a statement which I had intended to put before honorable senators upon the opening of the proceedings in committee. It is true that there can be no general discussion in committee, but I had intended - and I submit that I should have been in order - to make a statement for the information of the committee as to the procedure which the Government ‘intend to follow in dealing with this message. I do not complain of the question being raised in the form in which it has been brought forward by the honorable and learned senator. There can be no doubt that it is a very important question, and I daresay Senator Clemons was quite right in raising it in order to obtain a statement from the Government as to their intentions. But I do not wholly see how the procedure can be’ settled now and upon this motion. It appears to me that the only way in which it can be settled is by dealing with it when we actually get towork in committee. As a question arises the form of the motion will have to be dealt with there. The Government will propose it in the form which I am going to indicate, and if that form does not commend itself to the majority of the committee it will be open to any honorable senator to move an amendment. I think that before I resume my seat I shall be I able to satisfy the Senate that the course which we propose is the only one which can be adopted, and I submit that it is a perfectly simple one. Before stating the details, perhaps I may be allowed to say that the Government are glad to have the assistance which the Senate will obtain from the principles laid down in the memorandum which you, Mr. President, have read from the majority of the Standing Orders Committee. The position is this. We have sent our message to another place together with the Bill. The message contains certain requests which are numbered according to the order of the items with which we have dealt. The House of Representatives have amended the Bill in respect of the requests to whichthey have agreed. With regard to other requests with which they have not agreed they have referred in their message to the items and numbers in our message. The message has come back to us, and when we go into committee we shall take into consideration the items and the message from another place. That message refers directly to our own message, and to the numbers we have attached to our requests. It begins -
The House of Representatives returns to the Senate the Bill intituled - “A Bill for an Act relating to Duties of Customs,” and acquaints the Senate that the House of Representatives has considered the message of the Senate requesting this House to make certain amendments in such Bill, and has made the requested amendments, numbers 3, 9 (as to part), 17, 19 - and so on. It refers to the numbers contained in our message, and it is set forth in the concluding part of it that -
The House of Representatives has not made the remainder of the amendments requested by the Senate.
That is to say the House of Representatives has not made the remainder of the amendments requested by us, and referred to in the message of the Senate. ‘ Under these circumstances the committee will have before them the message from the House of Representatives, and necessarily the Senate’s own message to the House of Representatives.
– In what order shall we deal with them?
– Pardon me for one moment. Honorable senators will also have before them the Bill as amended by the House of Representatives. In these circumstances, it seems to me’ that the committee will take into consideration only the message and not the Bill. For example, they will take the first item in the Senate’s own message. If it has been dealt with in any way - as it must have been - by the message of the House of Representatives; a motion will be submitted accordingly. Perhaps I had better take an illustration as I go along, following the order of the requests. Bequest No. 1 has not been agreed to, and I propose to move in regard to it - “ That the Senate does not press its request.” My honorable and learned colleague and myself have considered very carefully the form of that motion. As suggested in the memorandumread by you, Mr. President, it might be put in different ways, but we thought it would not be advisable to put it in the form “ That the Senate withdraws its request.” We do not think that necessary. We do not wish to put it in the form “ That the Senate does not insist upon its request,” because the word “insist,” which is used in regard to amendments, is not applicable to suggestions. The form I havenamed will apply in regard to all the items which have not been dealt with as requested by the Senate. We come now to the second class of items; that is to say items in which a modification has been made. I propose to put the motions in regard to those in this form - “That the Senate agrees to the modification of the Senate’s request made by the House of Representatives.” Those modifications have been made in the Bill, and it appears to me that a motion in the form I have indicated will put before the Senate the question that we desire to decide. In regardto all these questions, Senator Clemons will see that there has been no intention on the part of the Government to shirk the position of having an affirmative thrown upon them.
– I at once recognise that.
– I may as well say that if I could see any way by which consistently with the proper carrying on of the business of the Senate, I could escape the negative, I should adopt it.
– Do not admit that.
– Why not be frank? In regard to these two classes, we propose to put the question in the form I have indicated. In regard to the third class, namely, items in regard to which the House of Representatives have agreed to our requests, I am entirely in accord with the opinion expressed in the memorandum read by you,Mr. President, that it is unnecessary for us to do anything. The position, therefore, will be this : We shall deal with the requests in the way I have indicated, and it appears to me that until the two Houses are in accord we should not touch the Bill. “When the two Houses are in accord, the Bill will be in committee in the form in which it is sent up to us by the House of Representatives, and in that form, and without any motion with regard to particular items, we shall report it finally from the committee. Then it will go on to the third reading stage. But until we come to the stage of absolute accord my view is - and I think it will commend itself to the majority of honorable senators - that we should not touch the Bill, but deal only with the messages. That is the procedure which I propose to adopt, and I see no difficulty in regard to it. It seems to me to be perfectly simple, and I hope that if honorable senators are satisfied with it, we shall be able to come at once to the real business of putting our procedure into motion, and dispose of the Tariff at the earliest possible moment.
– The procedure which the Vice-President of the Executive Council has outlined is one which, I venture to think, can give rise to no demur from any quarter of the Senate. There is one point to which I desire to direct renewed attention, for I aminclined to think that Senator O’Connor has not grasped the seriousness of the question raised by Senator Clemons when he dealt with the form of the message sent down to the Senate. Honorable senators must see that if only for the sake of convenience it would have been very much better if a different course had been pursued. It hardly seems to be a matter for which another place is responsible. I am satisfied that if the Government can see any value in the suggestion they will seek in future to give effect to it, if only to facilitate business. In their message the House of Representatives deal with three classes of amendments, but the schedule attached to it gives only one of the classes.
– The schedule gives the modifications.
– Exactly. The message has divided the requests made by us into three classes ; those with which the House of Representatives has agreed, those to which they have agreed with modifications, and those to which they have disagreed. In the schedule, however, we have only the one class set out. The consequence is that in order to see exactly to what part of the Tariff any request relates, we have to turn to the original Customs Bill, and we have to refer to this message as well as to some other document.
– We have only to go to our own message. If we find that the item has not been modified or agreed to, then we know that it is amongst those disagreed to.
– That statement would be convincing, if the weakness of it were not shown by the fact that the House of Representatives have inserted one schedule in their message. It would not have imposed any great additional work upon any one to have shown in one document the list of requested amendments and the way in which the House of Representatives have dealt with ohern. I put it that there ought to be only one document, just as there is in the case of an ordinary message dealing with amendments which can be made. I raise the point, not as a grievance against another place, and not as a matter which has any serious constitutional aspect underlying it, but as one of convenience.
– These have all been printed.
– Yes ; but in another document. Why could not the whole matter have been reduced to one document? If that had been done we should have been able to take the requests in the order enumerated. The Government recognise how extremely desirable it is that we should have this second schedule before us by pinning it on to the message.
– Does not the honorable senator know the reason for the omission.
– I prefer to think that it is merely an oversight. I hope the Government will see the necessity of remedying it.
– I am sure we must sympathize with Senator’ Clemons and Senator Millen in regard to their want of knowledge of the requests which havenot been agreed to by another place. They are very much in the same position as I was when the debate on the Tariff commenced in the Senate. At that’ time I had no idea of the proposals which Senator Millen and Senator Clemons intended to make in regard to certain of the items. The contention which they have raised seems to be very much like one that was advanced in the Supreme Court of Queensland upon one occasion when it took three hours to prove according to law, that there was a certain institution known as the Queensland National Bank in existence, although every man, woman, and child in Brisbane knew that it did exist. Honorable senators who are objecting to the inadequacy of the message know very well what requests have been disregarded. If the Clerk, or whoever was responsible for the form adopted, had taken greater trouble, and put 50 different numbers into the message, honorable members would, all the same, have had to refer to the other printed documents. I have here a schedule showing the requested amendments which have been made by the House of Representatives, and I take it that every honorable member has received a copy.
– The question is not worth discussion.
– I agree with the honorable senator.
– I am glad an opportunity has been afforded Senator O’Connor of explaining the course of action which the Government propose. But if honorable senators had taken the trouble to consider the constitutional position, they would realize that until the requests have been definitely dealt with one way or the other, it will be impossible to take the Bill a further stage. The Government are responsible for the Bill, and are obliged to take some action with regard to the course proposed by the other House. If honorable senators realize that fact, they will see that there can be no difficulty in regard to the way in which the matter should be dealt with by the Government. There is one point which has not yet been considered. So far, our requests have not been dealt with in the way in which ordinary amendments are dealt with. Had the Senate, in an ordinary Bill, made certain amendments, the other House in disagreeing with them would have given reasons for such disagreement. In this case, where the House of Representatives has declined to accede to our requests, the communication of that fact ought to have been accompanied by reasons. Standing
Order 194, under which the House of Representatives conducts its business, reads -
In any case, where a Bill is returned to the Senate with any of the amendments made by the Senate disagreed to, the message containing such Bill should also contain reasons for not agreeing to the amendments proposed by the Senate, and such reasons shall be drawn up by a committee of three appointed for that purpose.
Instead of baldly acquainting us with the fact that our amendments were disagreed to, the House of Representatives should have furnished reasons for the disagreement.
– We cannot refer to Hansard.
– As the honorable senator says, we cannot refer to Hansard. We may know from having read Hansard what reasons were assigned, but the message should have contained those reasons.
– The parliamentary practice is to give reasons only for insistence on amendments.
– If the honorable senator had listened, he would have heard the standing order which controls the other House.
– How does the standing order apply in this case 1
– We have sent requests to the other Chamber, and the standing orders were adopted on the 16th June, 1901.
– Those standing orders, I think, deal with amendments.
– That is so;, but I say that our requests are analogous with amendments, and if reasons were’ given in such cases, it would tend to the more harmonious working of the twoHouses, with the further advantage that we should have the reasons before us when we were considering particular items or clauses. I am sorry that course has not been adopted, though I am prepared to believe that there was no desire on the part of the House of Representatives to flout the Senate by either a non-recognition or a nonrealization of the position of affairs at this juncture. From what Senator O’Connor has said I take it that the Government, as is absolutely necessary, will submit motionsto either agree or disagree, or not to insist, on requests. May shows clearly, that, until differences are reconciled between the two Houses, a Bill cannot become law. On page 479, May says that,- if such agreement cannot be secured, the Bill is lost for the session. It becomes absolutely necessary, therefore, on the part of the Government, in order to insure the Bill becoming law, to reconcile the differences between the two Houses.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - Notwithstanding the bad form and bad temper displayed by Senator O’Connor this afternoon, I shallventure to, perhaps, “ rub his fur the wrong way “ a second time. We ought not to allow this debate to conclude - or shall I say this difficulty to pass? - without a recognition of the fact that the position has been created by the Government, and by Senator O’Connor, who has been made the subject of so much sympathetic compliment, for having devised a way of doing his simple duty as leader of the Senate. Senator O’Connor has, over and over again, refused to allow the Senate an opportunity of adopting, or, at any rate, of discussing, the standing orders which a committee of this Chamber have framed for our guidance in dealing with such difficult situations as that now before us. While we are quite willing to recognise that Senator O’Connor, as leader of the Senate, has done his plain duty this afternoon, and has taken up a dignified position, we also recognise that it is the one and only position he could take up. I am quite prepared to compliment the honorable senator on having done his duty, because every man does not do his duty in this world. That applies particularly to Ministers. We have had so many examples of the present Ministry not doing their duty that we absolutely go out of our way to compliment the Vice-President of the Executive Council on being virtuous. But the honorable gentleman, I find, is “beating his own joss,” as did the Chinaman when rain came not. Senator O’Connor is here flogging the Age, which, in a leader, told us this morning that we are a Chamber of revision and of no consequence. We are told in that leader that it is our duty to meekly swallow exactly and in every particular what the House of Representatives chooses to send us - that we must be silent and take no action that will indicate that the Senate has a soul of its own.
– Then the honorable senator does read the Age?
.- Certainly, I do. The Age is a most interesting journal, and is rendered the more interesting by reason of the leader which appears in its columns this morning. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has had the advantage of the assistance of the Age for a long time, but we find him now, as I said, “flogging his joss,” and proposing a course of procedure which I venture to say is both honorable and constitutional. After the speech of Senator O’Connor, and the promisehe has given, I think the difficulties of dealing with the questions to be submitted to us have been reduced to a minimum. I do not understand, however, whether it is proposed to take the Senate’s requests in order, no matter how they have been dealt with by the House of Representatives. The requests have been dealt with by the House of Representatives in three ways - by acceptance, partial acceptance, or rejection - and I do not quite understand whether Senator O’Connor proposes to deal with them according to their number, or according to the method of treatment in the other Chamber.
– If the honorable senator will allow me, I will answer that question at once. I propose that the Chairman shall go through the schedule as presented in the message from the House of Representatives. The schedule contains all the requests in which there have been modifications. After that part of the message has been dealt with, we shall take those requests which have been disagreed to, referring to our own message, and dealing with them item by item.
– Senator O’Connorsaid he would start with No. 1.
– I said that with a view of explaining how it was that wehad the whole matter before us, not necessarily as indicating an order of procedure.
– Then I understand that it is proposed to deal first with requests which have been partially agreed” to, and afterwards to deal with those which have been disagreed with.
– Yes ; in the order in which they appear in our own message.
.- I do not think it will be necessary at the present stage to enter into the constitutional question, seeing that the method proposed will permit the Senate to deal fairly and fully with the items. I am afraid, however, that if, in committee, we feel it our duty to refer to our constitutional rights, which, while admitted in the letter have been denied in the spirit by the other Chamber-
– The only question now before the Senate is that of procedure.
.- But I fear that when we get into committee it may be held by the Chairman that we can discuss absolutely nothing but the individual item then before us - that- we cannot make any reference to the future possibilities involved in the settlement for the first time of a very difficult and delicate matter. That is why I was making the reference I was, and, therefore, I think you will see that it involved the question of procedure. At the present stage, I can only express the hope that while the Chairman will limit discussion reasonably, he will not play the tyrant in the matter of discussing any con stitutional question which may arise, and will not tie honorable senators down too closely to the mere point of whether milk shall be dutiable at a1d. or at?d. per pint, or whether it shall be free. If we are to be restricted in the manner I have indicated, I suppose that the larger matters to. -which I have made reference would be properly discussable in the Senate on the receipt of the report of the committee. Possibly that would be the more convenient time. I have only to add that the procedure laid down by Senator O’Connor is one to which I suppose we can all cordially agree.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Senator DRAKE laid upon the table
Federal Electoral Bill. - Correspondence with the Premier of New South Wales.
Ordered to be printed.
Are English mails for the south-western district of New South Wales carried from Albury to Sydney, sorted there, and subsequently sent back again via Junee, involving a transit of nearly 600 miles unnecessarily ?
Would it not be possible for such mails to be sorteden route, and delivered without the transit named and from two to three days’ delay?
Are not English mails sorted during their transit through Queensland, South Australia, and Victoria, and thus speedily delivered in those States ?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Is it a fact that mail-drivers in Sydney are required to be ondutyevery Sunday from 5.30 to 7.30 a.m, and on every third Sunday frequently the entire day ?
Is it a fact that on Sundays, when the San Francisco mail arrives, the mail-drivers are often kept on duty without their breakfasts until . 12 noon ?
Is it a fact that for this Sunday work the mail-drivers receive no overtime allowance ?
Is it a fact that sorters receive overtime allowance for similar duty ?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Was not a temporary arrangement entered into by the Government with the Eastern Extension Cable Company in May last (at the instance of the Prime Minister), by which reduced cable rates were given to Victoria and Queensland?
Was not the desired concession granted by the Eastern Extension Cable Company on the distinct understanding that the Prime Minister would resume negotiations in London with the company?
Has the Postm ster-General received any word of this condition being fulfilled?
In view of the fact that the Cable Company may (in the absence of any agreement) increase rates to their old level, can he state whether there is any likelihood of a permanent agreement being entered into shortly ?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Motion (by Senator Drake) proposed -
That notice of motion No.1 , Government Business, be postponed until after order of the day No. 1 has been dealt with.
– I desire, sir, to know whether that notice of motion relating to expenditure on the Governor - General’s establishment can be considered before the motion of which I have given notice, and which contains these paragraphs -
The Governor-General is not required by the Constitution nor by the public opinion of the Commonwealth to maintain or occupy an establishment or home in each of the States, or in two States.
The proposal that State Governments shall contribute to the up-keep of the GovernorGeneral’s establishments is objectionable.
– The question which has been asked is, can the Governmentnotice of motion be taken into consideration before the notice of motion standing in the name of Senator Higgs. Certainly it can, because the Senate has ordered that Government business take precedence of private members’ business on every day of the week. Of course, if there were a day set apart for private members’ business, the honorable senator would be perfectly right in his contention ; but there is not.
Ordered (on motion by Senator Keating) -
That there be laid upon the table of the Senate a return showing the claims made from 1st January, 1901, until 3 1st July, . 1902, upon the Government of the Commonwealth by the several Governments or Government departments of the States, showing in each case the nature of the services rendered, materials supplied, or other grounds of the claim ; and also in each case whether the claim is settled, merely unsettled, or disputed.
In Committee (Consideration of House of Representatives’ message, vide page 15173).
Item 9.- Arrowroot, per lb.,1d.
Senate’s Request. - That the item be free.
House of Representatives’ Message. - Duty made Ad. per lb.
– I move -
That the modification of the Senate’s request made by the House of Representatives be agreed to.
It will be remembered that when the Tariff was introduced the duty on arrowroot was 1d. per lb. It was approved by the other House, but the Senate carried a request that the item be placed on the free list. The other House did not agree to that request, but has met the Senate half way by offering to reduce the duty to ½d. per lb. That, it seems to me, is a very fair compromise between two opinions. On the one hand the Government and their supporters believe that this is an industry which certainly ought to get the benefit of the protective duty of1d. per lb. It is a duty which principally affects Queensland. It concerns an industry which is of very considerable proportions, and which we all hope will become more extensive, and, therefore, we think that there ought to be a protective duty of a substantial character. On the other hand there are persons who hold the view that arrowroot is an article of food which ought to be made free. There is no doubt that a certain amount of protection is necessary in order to give this industry the encouragement for its expansion which it ought to have. We think it is a very fair compromise to agree to a duty of ½d. per lb., which will give a certain, although a very small protection, and which cannot prejudicially affect the cost of the article. As a matter of fact, the cost of Australian arrowroot is, and always has been less than that of most of the imported varieties.
– What is the difference in cost between Australian arrowroot and imported arrowroot?
– I have not the figures now, but in the previous debate it was shown that there is a considerable difference.
– About1s.11d. per lb.
– Under ordinary circumstances they do not come into competition, but there are special circumstances in which they may. It is in order to meet any circumstances which may arise, and to give a feeling of security to the grower of arrowroot that we think that this duty of ½d. ought to be imposed. In a case of this kind where the Senate is met half way as it has been, there ought to be a desire on the part of honorable senators to come to an agreement.
-I do npt think there will be any objection on this side of the Chamber to meet the Government with regard to this item, but it is only fair to say that we do not assent to this modified form of our request, on the ground put forward by Senator O’Connor, thatit should be regarded as a protective duty in connection with the growth of arrowroot in Queensland. Very strong opinions have been expressed in the other House as to the necessity of retaining a duty of some kind or other, and we are willing to show that we are prepared, where a sufficient reason is given, to deal fairly with these questions. We realize that where the two Houses have almost co-equal power in dealing with the Tariff, unless there is a possibility of a little give and take occasionally it will be practically impossible to arrive at any definite conclusion. We, on this side of the Chamber, are just as anxious as honorable senators on the other side to see finality reached in connexion with the Tariff. But at the same time we are not prepared to give up our honest and strong convictions on some items which will be debated at a later stage in connexion with the message.
– It is very satisfactory to hear the remarks which have fallen from Senator Gould. This duty very materially affects Queensland, and I am sure that its representatives in the Senate must regard his remarks in a. very favorable light, as I do. The duty of½d. per lb. will not give very much protection. At the same time it is not an item which is worth cavilling about from the free-trade point of view. I am very glad to see the spirit which has been manifested on the other side, and I hope that it will characterize honorable senators on that side when they are dealing with other items.
-I hope that honorable senators opposite will be prepared to meet us subsequently in the same way as we on this side are now prepared to agree with the House of Representatives.
Motion agreed to.
Item 15. - Paraffine wax, beeswax, and Japanese or vegetable wax ; also lard and refined animal fats, per lb.,1d.
Senate’s Request. - That the duty be reduced to¼d. per lb.
House of Representatives’Message. - Duty made ½d. per lb.
– I move-
That the modification of theSenate’s request made by the House of Representatives be agreed to.
It will be remembered that there were originally three matters dealt with under item 15. First of all, there were candles, &c, which, as the Tariff came to the Senate, had a duty of1d. per lb. placed upon them. With regard to the stearine itself, the duty was also1d. per lb., and the Senate made the suggestion to reduce the duty to½d. This suggestion has been adopted by the House of Representatives, and the amendment accordingly made. With regard to paraffine wax, the Senate carried the suggestion that the duty should be reduced from1d. to¼d. The House of Representatives, being unable to accept that suggestion, have agreed to a modification that the duty shall be½d. That is to say, that they propose to meet the Senate by doubling the duty as suggested, at the same time making it half what it was before. Under the circumstances, thatis a very reasonable proposition. The duty on stearine has been fixed, at½d. Stearine is one of the raw materials of the candle-making industry. It is proposed that paraffine wax shall be placed upon the same footing. Otherwise paraffine would come into competition with stearine. It is useless to impose a duty of½d. per lb. upon stearine if there is a lower duty upon paraffine wax which comes into competition with it. With the exception of the making of the stearine, candle manufacturing is little more than a matter of moulding. It is the stearine-making that is the important industry. The industry is one that involves the consumption of our own products and the use of a most expensive plant, as well as the employment ofa large number of men. Therefore, it seems to me that we should accept the compromise offered, and make the duty½d. per lb.
– I must oppose the motion submitted by the VicePresident of the Executive Council. In doing so, I wish to say,first of all, that if the duty on paraffine wax be made¼d. per lb. it will work out at about thesame as the duty of½d. on stearine. In each case, translated into percentages, the duty ranges between 12½ and 14 per cent. Because paraffine wax is the raw material in the manufacture of some kinds of candles, we think that it ought to be imported at as low rates as possible. I voted originally for the reduction of the duties on stearine and paraffine wax because I thought that the manufacture of candles ought not be allowed to become a monopoly, or at any rate ought not to be entirely in the hands of very large manufacturers. On the previous occasion the motion for the reduction of the duty was carried on the voices. It would have been carried by a very large majority if there had been a division. It was recognised that a reduction of the duty was fair to the small manufacturers. I consider that it is our duty to insist that the duty on paraffine wax shall not be more than¼d. per lb. One other consideration that touches the item is that whereas stearine is a necessary material in candle making for some climates, paraffine wax is almost an essential in other climates. In other words, the use of stearine in candle making is desirable in hot climates, and the use of paraffine wax in cold climates. These are excellent reasons for insisting upon uniformity in the rates imposed, and the duty we request with regard to paraffine wax is exactly the same ad valorem as a duty of½d. per lb. on stearine.
– I have looked into this matter carefully from information supplied to me by the candle-makers of Victoria and the other States, and I find that the very existence of the smaller manufacturers would be in the hands of the large manufacturers of stearine if the duty on paraffine wax were fixed at½d. per lb. The information supplied to me shows that the smaller manufacturers of South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania would certainly be squeezed out of existence, and they represented strongly to me that side of the question. The Senate on a previous occasion agreed to a reduction of the duty on stearine to½d. per lb. That was done largely on the representations of the smaller candle- makers. It also has to be remembered that paraffine wax is a very important ingredient in the manufacture of a certain class of candles, and that the article produced from this material is quite as good for illuminating purposes, and often for some purposes better even than candles made from stearine. I find that a duty of ½d. per lb. on stearine would amount to 12½ per cent., whilst the importing charges would be another 12½ per cent., so that the duty would really amount to an impost of 25 per cent. A duty of½d. on paraffine wax would just amount to double that of ½d. on stearine, because paraffine wax is just half the price of stearine. Consequently if the duty were fixed at½d., the manufacturers who use paraffine wax could not exist. Since the last discussion I have interviewed the same parties, who assure me that if this½d. is imposed on paraffine wax,it will have the effect of driving the trade of candlemaking into the hands of the large manufacturers. That is not a result that the committee should be disposed to permit. I trust therefore that we shall adhere to our former decision, which is a fair one.
Senator GLASSEY (Queensland).- There is a good deal of force perhaps in the arguments advanced by those who are opposed to accepting the compromise suggested by the House of Representatives. They think it would be unreasonable to adopt that proposal in the interest of the smaller manufacturers of candles. But is there any likelihood of the other Chamber backing down and not adhering to their proposal % There should be no haggling about this matter, for, although I think the Senate might very well take up a strong stand in regard to several of its requests, this is not one in which we should be justified in doing so. I favoured the request when it was originally made because I thought it was fair, but the spirit of compromise should prevail. The House of Representatives have met us fairly in regard to some of the requests, and I do not think this a matter of sufficient importance to justify us in taking up a hostile attitude.
– I hope we shall not approach every item in the spirit which has just been suggested by Senator Glassey. The arguments put forward by Senator Sargood and
Senator Clemons are unanswerable. They are logical and fair, and, as we can stand upon such firm ground, we are justified in asking another place to reconsider their decision.
– Reference has been made to the protectionist aspect of this duty, but we know that it is not a protective one, because there is nolocal manufacture of paraffine to be protected. The Government think the duty reasonable, for undoubtedly paraffine comes into competition with stearine, which is manufactured here. The duty of1d. per lb. has been reduced to½d., so that the protection which the Government proposed to give to the manufacturers of stearine has been reduced by onehalf. As pointed out by Senator Sargood, paraffine is a much lower-priced article than stearine ; and, therefore, if the duty is the same as that upon stearine, the percentage is much larger. The fact that it is a much cheaper article than stearine should afford some reason for checking its importation. If the local manufacturers of stearine are to have any protection we shall certainly help to secure that protection by imposing a duty upon an article which comes directly into competition with their produce. Tallow, a natural product, of which Australia will always have a superabundance, is used in the manufacture of stearine, and, where we can do so, it is desirable that we should encourage in every possible way the conversion of our own raw products into articles of a more valuable form. It is undesirable that we should, by fixing a very low duty, encourage the importation of an article which comes into direct competition with something which is manufactured from our own natural products. It was estimated that a duty of1d. per lb. on paraffine would yield £10,652 for six months, so that at the same rate of importation the revenue obtained from the duty of½d. would be over £5,000, and the difference between the revenue from the duty suggested by the Senate and that from the duty proposed by the House of Representatives would be between £2,000 and £3,000 a year This is not a question upon which we should talk about “ backing down,” and so forth. The general feeling throughout this Chamber, and, indeed, throughout the country, is that these matters should be compromised. There is a very general opinion in the country that, above all things, it is desirable that the Tariff should be settled as speedily as possible.
– I am sure that the majority of the committee are reasonable, although some honorable senators do not appear to have any of that sweet reasonableness that we might expect to be shown by those who approach this matter seriously. The Government proposal in another place, that the request of the Senate be not made, was defeated by a majority of two, and the modification now before us was made. In view of that fact, what hope can there be of getting our original request carried 1 The matter has been thoroughly debated in another place, and a majority have come to a certain decision there, which I am prepared to accept.
– I am not.
– No doubt I should be justified, from the protectionist stand-point, in urging that the original duty proposed by the Government should be adopted. I think honorable senators should make up their minds in regard to what they intend to do. They ought to be satisfied of the position which they propose ultimately to take. There should be no sham fighting. If honorable senators feel that the Tariff should be settled quickly, and the public mind satisfied as to the form it will take, we should dispose of it as speedily as possible. We can only dispose it by being reasonable, and when the House of Representatives has met us in a spirit of compromise, we should agree to the proposed compromise. If we had reached the requests with which the House of Representatives had disagreed, I could have understood the attitude taken up by certain honorable senators, but it is unreasonable for them to waste time in this way at the present stage.
Question - That the modification of the Senate’s request made by the House of Representatives be agreed to - put. The committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item 21. - Fruits and vegetables, n.e.i., per cental, 2s.
Senate’s Request. -That the item be free.
House of Representations’ Message. - That the alteration in regard to fruits be not made, but that the duty on vegetables, n.e.i., be reduced to ls. per cental.
That the modification of the Senate’s request made by the House of Representatives be agreed to.
Why should fruit growers not have the benefit of a reasonable amount of protection ? When the Senate is met half way, as it has been, by the House of Representatives, there ought to be a disposition to agree to the modification. We have many items of great importance to discuss, and if we begin rejecting small modifications of this character, what chance will there be of the two Houses coining to an agreement? Equally strong opinions are held by the members of both Houses, and we ought not to insist on our minor requests to the uttermost farthing. On the first occasion such items as these were discussed from the free-trade or from the protectionist point of view, but now another element enters, inasmuch as- in the interests of the community, the two Houses ought to come to a reasonable settlement. Speaking with the utmost possible respect of the Senate, I say that unless some disposition is shown to meet the other House half way in matters of this kind, we cannot expect progress to be made on more important items. .
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - I am willing to accept the decision of the House of Representatives in regard to fruits, but I consider that vegetables are in a rather different position. Under the latter head are several kinds of feeding stuff such as turnips, which in the present time of drought are selling at from 12s. 6d. to 15s. per ton in
New Zealand, and at present have to pay a duty of £1 per ton, or about 150 per cent. I desire to retain vegetables on the free list.
– Both fruits and vegetables are very largely produced in Australia, and it does not really matter whether duties are or are not imposed. At the present time of drought, of course, turnips may be useful as fodder, butwe are not called upon to legislate for an event which may not recur for the next 50 years.
Senator Major GOULD (New South Wales). - I hope such ‘ a drought may not recur for another 50 years, but turnips are a very important item at the present time. The duty amounts to something like £2 per ton, but I recognise that the Government in another place have consented to a modification, and seeing that so far as fruits are concerned the duty will be absolutely a dead letter, I am prepared to assent to the motion. I do not regard this as a very important item.
Motion agreed to.
Item 30. - Meats, fish, poultry, and game, viz., . . . Preserved in tins or other air-tight vessels . . . per lb., 2d.
Senate’s Request. - That the duty be reduced to Id. per lb.
House of Representatives’ Message. - -Duty made ll,d. per lb.
– I move-
That the modification of the Senate’s request made by the House of Representatives be agreed to.
This is an item -which involves both revenue and protection, and, on both grounds, it is only reasonable to accept the modification, The House of Representatives has given up a certain portion of the duty, and now asks the Senate to accept a compromise. I submit that it is a very fair way out of the difficulty, and that it ought to be accepted.
– I think that we ought to insist on the reduction of duty which we requested. A penny per lb. on tinned meat is a quite sufficient tax to place upon those who can get no other kind of food on the gold-fields. It was decided by a substantial majority of the committee that the duty should be 1d., and we ought to adhere to our decision.
– To my mind, it is more than ever important that we should endeavour to get the duty on these articles reduced to1d. per lb. The price of meat is going up all over Australia. It is impossible to foretell to what height it may rise. Very soon it will be impossible for persons in many parts of Australia to get fresh meat. Whether they like tinned meat or not, it will be the only classof meat that they can. get. I am convinced that we shall not be doing our duty to Australia unless we do our best to get this duty reduced to1d.
– I do not think that the argument of Senator Matheson is a sound one that in framing the Tariff we should be influenced by the very exceptional circumstances of the country at the present time. We have reason to believe that the drought is not likely to be of long continuance. According to the indications we have received, we have reason to hope that it is about to break up, and then the scarcity of meat, which we all deplore so much, will be overcome, and prices will become normal. In the meantime, seeing that prices are abnormally high, it would be very unwise for us to be influenced by that consideration in framing a Tariff which we hope will stand for a great many years. A duty of1½d. per lb. is a very fair compromise. A lower rate of duty would affect, to a certain extent, our meat preserving industries. We are quite able to tura out enough preserved meat to supply all the wants of Australia. It is not necessary to go outside Australia for a single tin of meat.
– Then we do not want a duty.
– It is very desirable that we should have a duty. What difference will½d. per lb. make in the price of meat in outlying places? With a duty of l½d. per lb., will the price of tinned meat be less than the price of fresh meat ? I do not think that a duty of Hd. per lb. can be found fault with by the consumers of preserved meat. It is quite right that the established industries should get some sort of protection. The duty will mainly fall on special articles which are imported in a preserved form, andnot on the general article of preserved meat, which is consumed so largely by miners and others in outside districts. I hope that this will be accepted as a compromise. I can hardly imagine a fairer compromise.
Senator Major GOULD (New South Wales). - If meat, fish, poultry, and game are fresh, smoked, or preserved by cold process they are dutiable at1d., but if they happen to be placed in air-tight vessels, including the weight of. the tins, they are subject to a duty of 1½d. The original proposal of the Government was to charge a duty of 2d. The Senate failed to see any reason why there should be a difference in the duty on the two classes. We made a very fair proposal when we asked the other House to put all these articles in exactly the same position. I hope that the committee will see its way to recognise that no distinction should be drawn.
Senator FRASER (Victoria).- We are immense exporters of preserved meat, so that the duty will be a dead letter. Special classes of fish and game will be imported, and that food is only used by persons who have cultivated special tastes. I agree that the duty ought ‘to be fixed at1d. per lb., but I do not think that the item is important enough to quarrel over. I hope that the time will come when,if labour is a little more experienced, we shall be able to preserve our own fish and game. We are very much behindhand in that respect.
– I hope that the committee will not be led to think that these are articles of luxury simply because they are described as “ poultry and game.” On the goldfields, I and others did not think that these were articles of luxury. When we got tired of one kind of “ tinned dog,” as it was called, it was simply a question of getting a supply of tinned game or poultry. But one article was just as objectionable to the miner as the other. It is only necessity which compels the people in the inhospitable interior of the continent to use these articles. I shall be no party to increasing the cost of living to those persons in the deserts of Australia, who in their occupations derive no protection from the Tariff. They have no right to be called upon to bear a burden of this kind. On the sea-board the people can procure all the luxuries of civilization, especially fresh meats, without much trouble. I believe that the Western Australian duties on Inter: State goods will be removed before the end of the year. But in the meantime I hope that the committee will insist upon the articles contained in this item being made duty free. This Ls merely a revenue duty, and therefore I hope that the protectionists will see their way to insist upon these articles being placed in the list of .special exemptions.
– The wording of this item is calculated to mislead, and evidently it has misled Senator Fraser with reference to fish, which is provided for in two other parts of the Tariff. Smoked or preserved fish comes in at a ‘duty of Id. per lb., while fish preserved in tins or air-tight vessels is also dutiable at Id. per lb. The word “ fish “ ought not to appear in this item, because apparently all fish is dutiable at Id. per lb. We are really left to consider whether the action of the other House is reasonable or unreasonable in respect o£ meats, poultry, and game. In my opinion, . the question really before the committee is the possibility of the introduction of tinned meat from New Zealand - an extremely unlikely possibility - and the introduction of a number of luxuries. Unquestionably, this item includes more largely luxuries than perhaps does any of the other food product line in the Tariff. It is intended to cover game, poultry, pate de foie gras, and all sorts of extravagant articles. It covers boned pheasants, preserved grouse, and all the paraphernalia of the swell hotel, club, and household. I shall not assist to create a difficulty between the Houses over the question o£ imposing a duty of Id. per lb. on those articles. There may , be differences’ of opinion as to what constitutes a free-trader, but, at any rate, I have been regarded as a free-trader throughout the whole of my political life. But I do not consider that when the Tariff imposes heavy duties on many articles of absolute necessity there is any reason why, as a free-trader, I should desire to create trouble between the two Chambers over a question of id. per lb. upon what are eminently articles of luxury. I shall vote -for the proposal that the proposition submitted to us by the other Chamber be accepted. I was extremely disappointed that the last item was disposed of while I was absent from the Chamber, attending to some correspondence. When I returned I found that the item of vegetables and fruit had been allowed to go by the board. That having been done, I cannot be a party to insisting upon a lower rate of duty being imposed upon luxuries.
– I hope that the committee will not agree to any course of action that will cause dissension between the two Houses of the Legislature with regard to this item. I urge that consideration to some extent for the reasons advanced by Senator Neild. It has been suggested by some of the representatives of Western Australia that this is a commodity which is very much, required in their State, and that by imposing the higher duty of l£d. per lb., those who us’e tinned fish in that State will be penalized. I do not pretend to speak about the requirements of that particular portion of Australia, but I can tell the committee that in regard to the particular portion: of the item embraced under the heading of fish, works have been established in the State which I represent, for ‘ the preserving and. canning of fish. The people interested in those works formerly considered that the market open to them was not sufficiently large, but in consequence of the establishment of federation and InterState free-trade . they have thought it desirable to extend their works. I refer particularly to the works established at St. Helens, on George’s Bay, and to other works that have been established at. Hobart, since the introduction of the Federal Tariff, for the purpose of preserving a great deal of the fish that is to be found swarming round the coast of Tasmania. The products of the works at George’s Bay have been reported upon most favorably by various persons who are capable of expressing an opinion on such matters, including Mr. Morton, one of the fisheries commissioners of Tasmania, and by other authorities who do not belong to that State. With regard to meats, I have heard recently that since the introduction of the Federal Tariff, certain of the persons who have been interested in the New Zealand meat industry have transferred, or contemplate transferring, a portion of their capital to Queensland, for the purpose of endeavouring to supply the Australian home demand.. That information is supplied to me by a representative of one of the Queensland houses. I do not personally vouch for its accuracy, but probably honorable senators from Queensland may take the cue from what I have said, and, if the information is accurate, will support my statement.
– What is the good of stating it if the honorable senator does not know whether it is accurate 1
– I have already said that I give the information, not as an absolute fact within my knowledge, but as something, reported to me. I know very well that persons are often inclined to speak from an interested point of view. Therefore, I merely make the statement for what it is worth, hoping that the honorable senators for Queensland will be able to corroborate it. But with regard to fish, I sincerely believe that in Tasmania alone we have all the facilities “for supplying the whole of Australia with what is required as a necessity. I trust that the committee will not insist on the original attitude of the Senate -with regard to this item, but will agree to the reasonable compromise suggested by another place.
Senator MATHESON (Western Australia). - We have just heard an interesting speech in regard to the preserving of fish, and as to the flourishing position of the fish preserving industry of Tasmania. But evidently Senator Keating does not know that this industry has been carried on and brought to such a satisfactory condition with the benefit of a duty of only Id. per lb. under this Tariff. The industry is not getting the benefit of the duty of Hd. per lb., which Senator Keating says is necessary for its existence, because under Item 36 it has been carried on with a duty of only Id. per lb. That is what we suggest should be the protection given to the meat industry.
– I told the committee that an impetus had been given the industry by the coming into force of the Federal Tariff.
– I quite agree that a duty of a Id. would give the meat industry an impetus if it required it. But it does not require a duty of even Id. I appeal to the committee to insist upon the request which was carried by such a satisfactory majority at an earlier stage. With regard to the objections of Senator Neild, did ever any one hear a more ridiculous argument than he advanced 1 He said that he regretted that he was not present when the item with regard to vegetables was dealt with, in order that he might have opposed the decision of the committee ; and because of that decision he intends to support Senator O’Connor’s motion on this occasion !
– The honorable senator knows that I said nothing of the sort.
– The honorable senator suffers from a shortness of memory.
– The honorable senator suffers from a shortness of common sense.
– We listened to the honorable senator’s statement with attention. 1 am sorry that he has forgotten it.
– I did not make it, and the honorable senator knows that I did not.
– I must accept Senator Neild’s statement. I can only leave him to reconcile his denial with Bansard when the report of his most intelligent utterances appears in print. I hope he will pay particular attention to his speech when he sees it to-morrow. Evidently Senator Neild has never had occasion to eat tinned fish.. He has no knowledge of our necessities in other parts of Australia, and talks of tinned fish as a luxury which is only used in hotels. I deny that. It is preposterous for any honorable senator to make -a statement of that sort, when by inquiry he could find out that tinned meats are absolute necessaries in 50 percent of the households of Australia, in consequence of the drought. At present the drought shows no sign of breaking up. Senator Drake takes what I consider to be a sanguine view of the prospects when he says it is already breaking up. It is true that we have had rain’, but it would take a great deal of rain to thoroughly break up the drought. For this reason I deprecate his appeal to the committee not to insist. I gather that Senator Keating takes exception to my remark that the duty imposed by the Tariff on tinned fish is only Id. Evidently the honorable and learned senator has not read far enough, and does -not see that the Tariff was amended as from the 3rd April, 1902. Tinned fish were left in this particular line up to the 3rd April, 1902, when the duty was fixed at Id. per lb. Item 36 sets forth that the duty on “ preserved fish in tins or other airtight vessels, including the weight of contents “ - and, I may add, the weight of the tins and the solder, is Id. per lb.
– From what Bill is the honorable senator quoting ?
– From the Customs Tariff Bill as sent down to us. It is really appalling to find that an honorable and learned senator who represents a State in which fish-preserving is a standard industry is so ignorant of what the Tariff proposes in relation to that industry.
– Another line in the item is -
Aleuts, fish, poultry, and game, viz. . . preserved in bins or other airtight vessels, including the weight of contents, 2d. per lb.
– The honorable and learned senator will see the line to which I have referred lower down in the same item. Tinned fish has been taken out of the first category, and with due regard to the industry in Tasmania, has been made liable to a duty of1d. per lb.
– And that is why the Senate requested another place to reduce the duty to1d. on a subsequent date !
– We did not do anything of the kind. We requested that the line still left subject to a duty of 2d. per lb. should be dealt with in that way, but “ preserved fish in tins or other airtight vessels,” had already been reduced to1d per lb. when we made the request.
– It is with that I am dealing.
– It is ludicrous for the honorable and learned senator to say so. He spoke of the way in which the fishpreserving industry was flourishing in Tasmania, and all that I desire to point out is that it is flourishing under a duty of1d. per lb., and not under a duty, as modified by another place, of l½d. per lb.
Senator KEATING (Tasmania). - The honorable senator who has just resumed his seat, and who seems to have a particular genius for discovering anomalies which no one else can see, has stated in the first instance that I represented the fish-preserving industry in Tasmania as being in a most flourishing condition. I said nothing of the kind.
– The honorable and learned senator said that those engaged in the industry were able to supply fish for the whole Commonwealth.
– I did not say the industry was in a flourishing condition. I said that in the past there had been established in Tasmania an industry that aimed at supplying the home demand for the particular commodities that come under the heading of “fish,” and that, with Intel-State free-trade and a certain amount of protection against the world, a great impetus would be given to the industry to which I referred.
– Under a duty of 1d. per lb.
– Let the duty be what it may : I said that this industry was established with the object of supplying the immediate home demand, and that with Inter-State free-trade and some measure of protection against the outside world, a great impetus would be given to those engaged in the industry, who were now endeavouring to supply the greater Australian market. I mentioned that there was one establishment in existence at St. Helens, and that another had recently been established in the vicinity of Hobart. The honorable senator has asserted that, because, in the Bill as it first came before us, there appears the line -
Preserved fish in tins or other airtight vessels, including the weight of liquids, per lb.1d., on and after 3rd April, 1902- the whole of the particular articles with which we are now dealing, so far as they relate to fish, are subject to a duty of1d. per lb. I say that is not so. If the honorable senator’s contention is correct, why did the Senate request that the duty be reduced to 1d. per lb., and why is the honorable senator so agitated in his desire that the committee should insist upon the duty being maintained at1d. per lb? The item, as quoted in the message from another place, reads -
Item 36. Meats, fish, poultry, and game, viz. . . Preserved in tins, or other air-tight vessels, including weight of contents, per lb., 2d.
Request of Senate. -1d.
Modification of the Senate’s request made bv the House of Representatives. - Duty made1½d. per lb.
Senator Matheson accounts for his attitude by saying that the request applies only to those articles which are not included in this line of the item. My argument related to the article which is not included in the item which was referred to, namely -
Preserved fish in tins or other airtight vessels, including the weight of contents, per lb.,1d.
I am going strictly by the item at it appears in the Tariff. If the amendment made in the original Customs Tariff Bill by the House of Representatives were intended to cover all classes, obviously there could have been no necessity for the insertion of the word “ fish “ in the first part of item 36.
– It was there originally.
– I am not concerned with that. I am dealing with the message as it comes before us. If the word “ fish “ were eliminated from item 37 as it appears in the message,, I should have nothing to say. I should leave the item to honorable senators for Queensland, who are better qualified to deal with the item as it applies to meats, and to the representatives of other States who are better qualified than I am to deal with the item “poultry or game.” We have the item in the message that I am dealing with, and we have the Tariff before us.
– There seems to be a mistake.
– If it is so, let it be a mistake. According to the message we have requested that the duty be reduced to 1d., and the House of Representatives are agreeable that it should be reduced to 1½d. If another place had stood by its proposal that the duty should be 2d. per lb., I should have been prepared to support it.
– If Senator Keating had carefully examined the original Customs Tariff Bill, he would not have made the error into which he has fallen. But having fallen into the error, he appears to be determined to justify his position. Item 36 in the Bill, as originally presented to us, contained the line -
Preserved in tins or other air-tight vessels, including the weight of contents, per lb. 2d.
We find, however, the House of Representatives inserted the new line -
Preserved fish in tins or other air-tight vessels, including the weight of liquid, per lb.1d., on and after 3rd April, 1902.
Our request was that the first line to which the duty of 2d. per lb. applies should be amended by the reduction of the duty to 1d. per lb., and now the House of Representatives proposes a modification of the duty to1½d.
– It is a well-known practice on the part of neophytes in debating societies to misrepresent what has been said by one speaker, and then having set up an hypothesis of their own to proceed to magnificently, demolish it. That is what I feel
Senator Matheson has done with reference to myself. The honorable senator put words and phrases and arguments into my mouth which never occurred to me, and he then denounced me for uttering them. I think such conduct leads to a great waste of time. I am not going to traverse the matter again, because it would only unduly occupy the time of the Senate, and lead, perhaps, to another speech. I shall satisfy myself, by pointing out that I did not use the ridiculous arguments that Senator Matheson has evolved from his inner consciousness, and applied to me.
– I sympathize with Senator Neild in regard to attacks made upon him by embryonic legislators. In regard to this item, I find, that another place agreed to our request that frozen meat should be free, and when they came to deal with another request relating to the same item, a compromise was agreed to on the voices. The free trade party in the House of Representatives, have agreed to the item as it now appears before us, . but honorable senators like Senator Matheson, who are anxious to ha ve their potted ham and chicken imported and admitted at the lower rate of duty, wish to create further trouble. They take up the attitude that we ought to object to the whole of this Tariff, because we cannot get cheaper potted chicken for our tables all the year round. Senator Matheson wishes to protect the pioneer. If he made inquiries, he would find that there are a number of meatpreserving establishments in Queensland which will be able, as soon as the Inter-State narrow, partisan, parochial duty is removed - a duty imposed by legislators of a similar type - to give the pioneers as much cheap tinned meat as they require. I hope that we shall not say that we are going to hang up the Tariff in the interests of Senator Matheson’s potted game.
Motion agreed to.
Item 59. Bags and sacks. . . .
Senate’sRequest. - That the special exemptions under this item read as follows : - Bags, sacks, packs and bales for bran, chaff, compressed fodder, potato, onion, ore, coal and wool ; also sugar mats, and corn and flour sacks, and hessian flour bags.
House of Representatives’ Message. - Requested alterations made, with the following amendment : - Omit “and hessian flour bags.”
– The Senate requested that certain articles relating to this item should be placed upon the free list
The request was really a modification of the list of exemptions as it came before us. The House of Representatives has accepted all the alterations except one, namely, the alteration in regard to the inclusion of hessian flour bags.’ The reason these bags have been excluded from the suggestion is that they are made to contain 60 lbs. or 70 lbs., and are used for sugar and a number of other commodities. As a matter of administration, it has been deemed advisable to make the exclusion as an act of justice to the manufacturers of the bags. The decision of the House of Representatives is perfectly reasonable, and ought to be assented to. I move -
That the modification ofthe Senate’s request made by the House of Representatives be agreed to
Motion agreed to.
Item 77. - Mangles, clothes-wringers, and washing machines, ad valorem., 20 per cent.
Senate’s Request. - That the duty be reduced to 10 per cent.
Mouse of Representatives’ Message - Duty made 15 per cent.
– I move-
That the modification of the Senate’s request mode by the House of Representatives be agreed to.
As honorable senators are aware, these mangles and washing machines come under the general head of metals and machinery, and the decision of the House of Representatives, besides being a compromise, places mangles on the same footing as agricultural, horticultural, and viticultural machinery. The reasonable amount of protection proposed in the modification ought to be accepted.
– I desire to stand by the request made by the Senate, for the reason that these mangles and washing machines are very necessary in the occupation of the poorer section of the community. A duty of 10 per cent, is the utmost that should be imposed, and for that reason I propose to vote against the motion of Senator O’Connor.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - The Vice-President of the Executive Council can hardly expect to be taken seriously, or suppose that the Senate will be willing to place the mangle of the poor old struggling woman on exactly the same plane as agricultural and general machinery. That mangles and general machinery are placed together in the schedule, I look on as more an accident than as representing any real connexion. The reduction suggested by the Senate was carried by a majority of eight, one of the largest shown on any of the items.
– Furthermore, the Senate has requested that the duty on agricultural machinery be 10 per cent.
– That is so, and I believe the Senate intends to stand by that request. Senator O’Connor appears to have entirely overlooked the fact that a considerable majority of the Senate were in favour of reducing the duty on agricultural machinery to the figure named. I am satisfied that the majority of the committee will maintain their request in regard to these washing machines, believing that the House of Representatives will, on second thoughts, regard it as reasonable.
Question - That the modification of the Senate’s request made by the House of Representatives be agreed to - put. The committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Division VI. - Metals and Machinery.
Senate’s Request. - That several new items be added to the special exemptions.
Mouse ofRepresentatives’ Message. - Requested additions made with an amendment in the item, “Manganese steel parts,” viz. : - Omit “1 per cent.” and insert “ 7 per cent.”
That the modification of the Senate’s request made by the House of Representatives be agreed to.
As the request went from the Senate, manganese steel parts, containing not less than 1 per cenb. of manganese, and used for “and worn “in grinding and crushing or pulverizing material, by coming into actual contact therewith” were placed amongst the special exemptions, and the House of Representatives now suggests an alteration in the percentage of manganese. This alteration is necessary for purposes of administration, and as no substantial difference is made,I hope the Senate will accept the modification.
– Though the item cannot be described as very important, it does possess a certain amount of importance. This is a matter in which I know what I am talking about. So far as the substitution of 7 per cent, for 1 per cent, is concerned, the other House might just as well have said that it should be 17 per cent. In the Tariff as it reached the Senate there was no clear definition as to what was meant by manganese steel parts. Thedepartment had decided, as an act of administration, that the only manganese steel parts which could properly claim exemption from duty were those sent out by an English firm called Hadfield’s. That is the only firm in the world which was getting the exemption while every other firm had to pay duty. The reason for that differentiation was that the department had accepted it as a fact that Hadfield’s steel parts were manganese steel parts. That is a very wide and vague definition. The object of the Amendment I moved was to set the doubt at rest, and to say that any steel parts were manganese steel parts if they contained 1 per cent, of manganese. The result of that amendment would have been to enable battery owners to buy the necessary parts of a battery from some other firm besides Hadfield’s. If we accept the amendment to substitute 7 for 1 per cent, we shall be continuing a monopoly, because, so far as foreign manufacturers are concerned, there are none except Hadfield’s which would come in. These parts are used chiefly in gold batteries. If we wish to hand over purchasers to Hadfield’s, a provision for 7 per cent, of manganese will accomplish that object. I do not know whether the Administration have had manganese steel parts broken up and analyzed, but they accept the statement from Hadfield’s because they manufacture under a patent that their manganese steel parts do contain this percentage. They deny that any other manufacturer in
England who exports puts in 7 per cent, of manganese. If we wish to do right in small matters we ought not to agree to the insertion of the words “7 per cent.” If we wish to avoid any semblance of lrypocrisy we should adopt 10 per cent. When I moved my amendment I was advised, and I believe well advised, by expert authority that 1 per cent, of manganese was sufficient for the purpose, and it was agreed to by Senator Drake, who was then in charge of the Tariff.
– The information which has been ascertained since that time is that the limit of 1 per cent, of manganese would not be safe. Even in pig-iron there is sometimes as much as l½ per cent, of manganese used, and all the steel castings contain a certain proportion of manganese, amounting to considerably more than that named by Senator Clemons. I am informed that in Hadfield’s manufacture there is 14 per cent, of manganese. The amendment of Senator Clemons was accepted, because it was believed. that the limit of 1 per cent, of manganese would be perfectly safe, but subsequent inquiry showed that it would not be safe, because nearly all steel castings contain manganese to a larger extent than that. That information was obtained, not from one source, but from several sources.
– Did not the Government ascertain that no one in the’ world besides Hadfield’s sent out manganese steel parts containing 7 per cent, of manganese ? No one does.
– The proposal of the Minister for Trade and Customs in the first place was to substitute 10 per cent., but after discussion, 7 per cent, was named as being the percentage which was safe. This decision was based upon the information which was furnished to the department that manganese is present in nearly all these steel castings.
– Where does it come from ?
– The manager of the rolling mills, South Melbourne, states that -
Manganese steel castings are not made in Australia, or rather, such are not considered as man - gauese castings in the trade. All steel castings contain a small proportion of manganese in their composition to harden and finish. It is impossible to tell the percentages of manganese steel parts without breaking and analysis.
The manager of the Steel Company of Australia, at Brunswick, states that manganese is used to a small extent in all steel castings, which they manufacture largely. We consider that 7 per cent, will be sufficient.
Motion agreed to.
Item Jil. Wicker, bamboo, cane, or wood, ari valorem, 20 per cent.
Senate’s Request - That axe and other unattached tool handles be placed under the special exemptions.
House of Representative!? Message . - Duty made 1 5 per cent, ad valorem.
– This request was made at the instance of Senator Macfarlane, who is very lucky indeed to get the duty reduced to 15 per cent. He persuaded the committee to agree to the request because the ordinary bushman uses some very precious kind of wood in his axe handle - hickory I believe he said. I suppose that what he was thinking of were the prize contests in Tasmania among the axemen, who, no doubt, use axes with hickory handles. We should not alter the Tariff to enable these competitors to get cheap axe handles. There is no reason why an ordinary axe handle should not be made here. I am informed that hundreds of them are made. It is quite absurd to suppose that the handles for other tools cannot be made here. There are not a great many ways in which’ we give protection to the man in the woods who works up timber in various forms. I think it is too liberal, to fix the duty at 15 per cent. But still, as it has been done by the other House, I think the concession of 5 per cent, might very well be accepted here. It was really under a misapprehension that the committee agreed to its request that these handles should be placed on the free list, and now that the matter is made clear, I hope it will see that justice is done to those who make these handles. I move -
That the modification of the Senate’s request made by the House of Representatives be agreed to.
Senator MACFARLANE (Tasmania).I should not ask the committee to adhere to its request were it not that a principle is involved. So far as I know, an axe is the only tool of trade which is taxed. The Government have always put an. article on the list of exemptions when it has been shown that it is a tool of trade, and the additional reason they gave in favour of that course was that it was an article which could not reasonably be made in the Commonwealth. 43 n
These hickory handles cannot be reason.ably made in the Commonwealth. I have received two letters on the subject from gentlemen who deal in these articles. Messrs. Jas. McEwan and Co. tell me that they know of no axe-handle factory in Victoria. In Tasmania, which is famed for its woods, all sorts of woods have been tried, and Mr. Charles Davis, the chief dealer in these articles, says that he can sell no axe handle which is’ not made of hickory. It will be remembered that Senator O’Connorurged that carriage spokes should be free,, because hickory had to be used. I hope toget his vote on this occasion, because noaxe handle is of any use which is not made of hickory. Surely the poor man in the*, bush is entitled to get his tool of trade free - equally with any one else ? It is the prin.ciple which ought to be kept in view.
– We-, must not lose sight of the fact that good! axe handles are purchasable at about ls.. each. Ten per cent, on a shilling is equal’, to about Id., and if the retail price is taken at ls. 3d., a duty of 15 per cent, means the - . addition of Id. to the cost. A good bushman will use one axe handle very often for - more than a week. If he is using his axe? every day perhaps his handle will last fortwo or three weeks. The difference between 10 per cent, and 15 per cent, means an increased charge of ½d. per week to the bushman. It is so small a difference that the-, committee ought not to hesitate in coming; to a decision.
Motion agreed to.
Item 120. Leather manufactures, n.e.i. . . .. ad valorem, 20 per cent.
Senate’s Request. - “That composition belting”-1 be made a separate line in this’ item at 10 per. cent. duty.
House of Representatives’ Message. - Duty made 1 5 per cent, ad valorem.
– I move-
That the modification of the Senate’s request , made by the House of Representatives be agreed to.
The duty originally was 20 per cent. Thesuggestion made by the Senate was to re-, duce it to 10 per cent. The House of Representatives now offers to make the duty 15 per cent. It is hardly necessary to say much in support of a compromise which is so equitable.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania).- While. I shall not insist upon a division on this, item, I am not disposed tacitly to adopt an attitude of compromise with, regard to.- all these proposals.Fortunately we are getting to the end of the list of suggestions which have been partly accepted, but there may be others of a similar kind in the future. I do not like compromises very much, and ana not going to accept such a proposal because it is made as a compromise, particularly when it has been framed by the party opposed to me. While I do not intend to call for a division, I would point out that by accepting what is proposed we shall be making composition belting pay a duty of 15 per cent., whilst other mining machinery pays 10 per cent. What I particularly object to is the use of the word “ compromise “ as an absolutely irresistible argument.
Motion agreed to.
Item 123. Paper, manufactured.
Senate’s Request. - Addition to special exemp tions of stay paper and stay cloth under departmental by-laws.
House of Representatives’ Message. - Requested addition made, with the following amendment : - Omit “ under departmental by-laws “ and insert “ gummed on one side in rolls cut to a width not more than one inch.”
– I move-
That the modification of the Senate’s request madeby the House of Representatives be agreed to.
The only question here is as to the method of carrying out the request of the Senate. It was suggested, on the motion of Senator Millen, that stay paper and cloth should be admitted free under departmental by-laws. Apparently it is necessary to have something more definite, and, therefore, it is proposed to insert the words which form part of the motion and which carry out Senator Millen’s intention.
Motion agreed to.
– There appears to be an omission from the schedule. The Blouse of Representatives has agreed to requests numbers 87 and 89 in part, but this schedule takes no notice of those amendments.
– We can only deal with what is contained in the schedule at this stage. We shall have to deal with the matter to which Senator Sargood calls attention before the whole question is disposed of.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania). - I see that amendment S7 deals with explosives, and amendment 89 with photographic dry plates. They should be mentioned in this schedule which contains a list of suggestions accepted by the House of Representatives with modifications.
– I quite admit that the list of modifications with which we have been dealing contains no reference to amendments 87 and 89. I am inclined to think that we shall have to refer to the Bill itself for the purpose of dealing with them.
– The only requests dealt with in this schedule are those with regard to ‘which modifications have been made. Where the House of Representatives has, in regard to items which were capable of division into two parts, accepted the Senate’s suggestion as to one part, and has not accepted it as to the other, the item is not contained in this schedule. In orderto find out what has, and what has not, been accepted, we have to look at the Bill itself. We now ha ve to proceed with the consideration of those requests of the Senate which the House of Representatives has not made.
Item 1. Ale and porter, and other beer, cider and perry, containing not less than 2 per cent, proof spirit, via. , in bottle, per gallon,1s.6d.
Senate’s Request. - “That the duty be reduced to1s. 3d.”
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amend ment not made.
– I move-
That the request be not pressed.
This is an item in regard to which the Senate reduced the duty on ale and porter, bottled, from1s. 6d. to1s. 3d. It also suggested a reduction of the duty on ale and porter in bulk, from1s. to10d. In regard to both duties, the House of Representatives has refused to accept the suggestion of the Senate. I urge the committee not to press the request, for the reason that, in the first place, it has been estimated that the loss of the revenue from the reduction would amount to something between £20,000 and £24,000 a year: We are not in a position in which we can afford to lose that amount of revenue.
– It means nearly £9,000 a year revenue to Queensland.
– The loss will be very heavy upon those States which can ill afford it. It may be said that a reduction of the duty will lead to increased importations. It may be so to a certain extent, but what, would be the consequence ? In the first place, the increased importations would not be sufficient to make up the loss, and allowing for increased importations, there would yet be a loss of from £20,000 to £24,000 a year In addition to that, if there should be such an increased importationas to makegood that loss, it would largely interfere with our own brewing industry . The position is clear that we must either lose this large amount of revenue or interfere very seriously with an in dustry giving employment to a large number of persons in the trade and in the different trades incidental to it. This is one of the articles which in all tariffs and in all circumstances have been held to be a proper subject for revenue, and above all things it is a proper subject for a duty in a Tariff such as this, under which we must secure revenue. I hope, therefore, that in the circumstances the committee will not press its request.
– Irise to ask the committee to insist upon the reduction which it has requested. I think I shall be able to give honorable senators information which will enable them’ to see that they should almost unanimously support the position which I takeup. Some of the facts in relation to this item are rather startling in their significance. I donot understand the way in which the Government talk about the duty. It. almost appears to me that they must employ two sets of experts - one to supply them with information at the inauguration of the Tariff, and another set to supply them to-day with counter evidence. When the Tariff was originally introduced it was stated that the revenue anticipated from this big duty in New South Wales was £50,000, notwithstandingthe fact that atthe lower rate of 6d. per gallon for beer in bulk, and 9d. per gallon for beer in bottle, New South Wales actually collected in 1900, £53,470. Yet the Government anticipate that they will obtain only £50,000 from these much higher duties. The Government gave us estimates at the inception of the Tariff discussion which were entirely different from those put forward by them to-day. They estimate that the duty on beer will yield £150,000, and the committee will see that that amount, for every 3d., represents about £25,000. Thus the Government seem to ask us to believe that if we take off 3d. per gallon we shall lose £25,000. I suppose that if we were to take off two or three more threepences, the whole of the revenue would go t I propose to give the committee some information which will enable them to see at a glance that high duties on this article destroy the revenue obtained from it. I have always met the Government absolutely on the revenue side of their case. In New South Wales the duties were 6d. and 9d. per gallon on bulk and bottled beer respectively ; in Victoria they were10d. and1s. 3d. per gallon, and in New Zealand they were 2s. per gallon. In 1900, the consumption of imported beer in New South Wales was 1,651,600 gallons, in Victoria it was 553,474 gallons, and in New Zealand it was only 188,491 gallons.
– Because of the local brewers.
– The revenue received during that year in the respective colonies was £53,470, £33,749, and£18,849. To enable the committee to obtain a better grasp of this question I have cast out these figures on the basis of a population of 1,000,000. The result is extraordinary. On the basis of 1,000,000 in each case the consumption in New South Wales was equal to 1,215,000 gallons; in Victoria it was equal to 461,000 gallons, and in New Zealand it was equivalent to 231,000 gallons. The revenue collected was equal to £39,000 per 1,000,000 people in New South Wales, £28,000 in Victoria, and £24,500 in New Zealand.
– Does the honorable senator attribute that to the difference in the duty ?
– Not absolutely, but I will supply the committee with some information which shows that it is due almost entirely to the difference in duty. It is clear from the figures I have just given that as rates are increased revenue is decreased. It is noteworthy that in every colony in which the duties on ale and beer were largely increased the result was to lower the consumption and reduce the revenue. In 1877 the consumption of imported beer in Victoria was 801,245 gallons. The duty was then only 9d. per gallon, and at that rate Victoria collected £35,000 from the item. In 1888- and of course it must be remembered that that was a special boom year - Victoria consumed’ 1,403,771 gallons of imported beer, or three times the quantity consumed at the present day. In that year the duty was also 9d. per gallon, and the revenue was practically the same as that obtained in New South Wales. In 1892 the
Government, in order to obtain more revenue, raised the duty. The alteration was made in the middle of the year, a duty of1s. per gallon being fixed on beer in bulk, and1s. 6d. per gallon on bottled beer. The consumption for that year was only 985,381 gallons. For the next three years the rates remained the same, and the consumption dropped to 484,335 gallons in 1893, 483,786 in 1894, and 404,605 in 1895. In 1895 the Victorian Government found that they were losing revenue, and among other alterations then made in the Tariff was one affecting the duty on beer. With a view to bringing in more revenue, the Victorian Government deliberately proposed a reduction of the duty to the very rate which the Senate has suggested, namely, l0d. per gallon for beer in bulk, and1s. 3d. per gallon for beer in bottle. After 1895 the consumption of beer in Victoria gradually increased until in 1900 it amounted to 553,474 gallons, from which a revenue of £33,749 was obtained. The fact is clear that tha enormous addition made to the old duty of 9d. per gallon destroyed the large importations into Victoria, and it is also clear that the small reduction of the duty made in 1896 brought back a small amount of that lost importation. If honorable senators refer to the report of the Victorian Tariff Board, which sat in 1894, they will find this paragraph -
We think that a smaller duty will bring in a greater revenue, and in response to the general demand from both the wholesale and retail branches of the trade, we recommend a reduction. We do not think that imported beer enters into very close competition with Victorian beer, or that any injury will be done to the local industry. The decreased importation of the past year does not appear to have caused any increase of business in the breweries of the colony, and we do not think that the large importation which we believe will follow a decrease of the rates will cause any diminution of the output.
It was upon that report that the Victorian Government proposed the reduction I have named. The proposition that the reduction should be made was in the hands of Mr. Best, now Chairman of Committees in the Senate, and I propose to give one or two brief extracts from the remarks which he made upon that occasion. Speaking of the increase in the duties, he said that -
The result of this had been to cause a considerable decline in revenue. The increases of duty made in 1892 were not asked for by anybody, and since July, 1892, there had been a shrinkage of about 66 per cent, in the revenue from this source.
– That was owing to the bad times.
– I admit that it was very largely due to that cause. Senator Styles was a member of the State Assembly at that time, and he voted with Senator Best for this reduction. I hope that he will support me now. Mr. Best continued -
It was an important fact that the demand for the reduction had been made by the importers, and that the only representative of the local industry who was called (Mr. McCracken) stated at once that he had no objection to the reduction.
After quoting the figures relating to New South Wales, Mr. Best said -
There was, therefore, room for an increase of revenue in this connexion. . . . He wanted it to be thoroughly understood that the only object the Government had in view in this matter was to increase the revenue.
This shows what was the result of Victorian experience. The duty was increased enormously, and revenue was killed ; and I need not say that under similar circumstances the same result will follow under the Commonwealth Tariff. The Government estimated that their proposals, under the head of stimulants, would reduce imports by some £200,000 or £300,000 in a normal year.
– Does the honorable senator suppose that a reduction equivalent to½d. per bottle will make any difference in the price of the bottle?
– The Government stated that, under their proposal, there would be a material reduction of revenue, and it is only reasonable to suppose that if the process were reversed, the revenue would be increased. In 1899 the various States collected on imported stimulants the sum of £2,027,531, whereas the Federal Government estimate that in a normal year the revenue under this head will be only £1,959,306. It is mainly in the matter of beer that there is a difference in the duties. For Victoria the Government estimated, when the Tariff was introduced, that the revenue would be £33,500, notwithstanding the fact that with a lower duty in 1900 the revenue was £33,749. While the Government propose . to raise the duty from1s. 3d. to1s.6d. per gallon, they do not expect to receive any more revenue. The rate has been doubled in New South Wales, and if importations are not effected, the revenue ought to be £100,000, but all the Government contemplate receiving is £50,000. If honorable members are in earnest in wishing to regard this matter from a revenue point of view, they will take note of these facts.
– The honorable senator is not in earnest, and will not proceed to a division.
– I shall most decidedly proceed to a division. I have been supplied with some information from the Sydney agents for McEwan’s ale, and I find that in 1899 the sales amounted to 541,000 gallons, in 1900 to 568,000 gallons, in 1901 to 526,000 gallons, and in the seven months which have expired of 1902, to only 148,000 gallons, showing, a falling off by more than one-half. That bears out the original estimate of the Government, that by doubling the duty one-half of the importations would be destroyed ; and, in the face of the declaration by the. head of the Government, that the object was “ revenue without destruction,” this seems a strange state of affairs. If trade be destroyed by duties which are on the verge of being prohibitive, revenue must suffer, and my contention is that by sustaining the demand of the Senate, the revenue will be preserved. All that the Senate has asked is, that this duty may be placed at the high level of the Victorian duty, and the statement by Senator O’Connor, that a reduction of 3d. per gallon will mean a sacrifice of £25,000 is altogether erroneous.
– I am always very dubious about figures, which can be employed to prove almost any fallacy. It is said that a reduction of the duty by 3d. per gallon in Victoria decreased the revenue, but it is quite forgotten that at that time Victoria was passing through a crisis, and the people had no money to spend on luxuries. After the duty had been lowered there was a revival in business, and more beer was drunk, thus making it appear that the reduction of the duty was the cause of the increased consumption.
– But the State had not recovered. There is not half the beer drunk that there was 25 years ago.
– Considerably less imported beer may be consumed for the reason that the people are drinking more Australian wine and local beer. All the surrounding circumstances must be known before it can be said that a set of figures show that a certain result will follow certain conduct. Any reduction of duty which does not result in increased demand must cause a loss, and it cannot be pretended that a reduction equivalent to id. per bottle will increase consumption. I can understand a case in which the reduction of a duty may lower the price and benefit the consumer ; but, in the present instance, the only person who will benefit will be the importer, the manufacturer, or the publican. The poorer people drink bulk English ale, and any reduction such as that suggested cannot possibly make any difference in the price of a glass. A reduction can only result in a loss to the Treasury of an article which free-traders and protectionists alike have admitted is a fair subject for taxation.
– What about the excise?
– The excise is not the question at present. I can quite understand a duty being placed on a luxury to such an extent that consumption and revenue are killed. When Treasurer of South Australia, I fixed the duty on champagne at something like 12s. per gallon, and my successor, with the idea that he could raise more revenue, fixed the duty at 15s. The only result, however, was that he did not receive as much revenue as I had under the lower duty. The duty of1s. 6d. per gallon on bottled beer is fair, and, so far as I know, no one grumbles at it in South Australia. The reduction of the duty was one of the greatest mistakes ever made by the free- trade party. This was one of the first items on which that party elected to exercise their ingenuity ; and to show their power, they called a division, with the result that they decreased the revenue and inflicted an injury on the Commonwealth.
– I think that in relation to this item the committee should consider what reason there is for adhering to its request. I voted for that request, and I still believe that the decreased duty would yield a larger revenue, but I must say that it is open to doubt whether that result would follow. We should take care that we stand on very strong ground when we disagree with the other House. I would urge Senator Pulsford to withdraw his opposition, seeing that there is such room for doubting whether the result which he anticipates, and which I believe would follow, would occur.
– The consideration which weighed with the Senate on a previous occasion, and which, I believe, weighed with the other House, was whether more revenue would be obtained from the higher or lower duty. Senator Pulsford has submitted some statistics which are strongly in favour of the contention that it would increase the revenue if we decreased the duty as we proposed. Is it a reasonable thing to say that we are going to throw away an amount of revenue from the duty on stimulants? Although Senator O’Connor has said that there is not very much relation between the local article and the imported article, nevertheless, there is some relation, and the excise duty was fixed at 2d. or 3d. per gallon the other day because the import duty had been reduced to ls. 3d. per gallon. That is a point which should be considered. My own idea is that we should get as much revenue as possible from this item. If I were convinced that the heavier duty would raise a larger revenue I should advise its acceptance. . So far as I can judge, our first proposition would be much better than that which is submitted by the Government. I regret that the Excise Tariff Bill has passed out of our control. Because if it were still before the Senate and an import duty of ls. 6d. per gallon on bottled ale and porter were imposed, I should have been prepared to support an increase of the excise duty. However, I am called upon to say whether ls. per gallon is not ample protection to the local manufacturers, and my inclination is to support the view of Senator Pulsford.
Senator O’KEEFE (Tasmania).- For the information of Senator Gould who regards this item purely from the revenue standpoint, I may mention that the other day a large importer of wines, spirits, ales, and stouts, and a staunch free-trader, made this statement : - “ The Senate acted very foolishly with regard to the duties on ales and stouts. The public will not get the benefit of the difference between ls. 6d. and ls. 3d. per gallon. I am honest enough to admit that it will go into my pocket. There will be no increased importation, because the public will not get the article supplied at a cheaper price than they do.” Senator Keating, who. is absent, has the authority of this gentleman to use his name if he likes.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - I am very much disappointed with some of the arguments I have heard. While such a thing as has been referred to by Senator Pearce may be true in one State, it may not be true in others. The committee ought to grasp the full significance of the figures which I used, and which show that with a big rate of duty the consumption was 231,000 gallons in New Zealand, 460,000 gallons in Victoria, and 1,215,000 gallons in New South Wales, increasing as the rate was reduced. One after another, each State increased the duties, with the result that the consumption fell. It may be true that here and there the amount of the reduction of a duty may not be immediately distributed to the customers, but it must come to them eventually. I have heard it said that so much a gallon is only £d. per bottle. I believe that the majority of the consumers buy imported beer by the dozen, so that it represents a charge of 6d. per dozen. I am quite certain that a duty cannot be reduced without the public ultimately getting the benefit of the reduction. I cannot understand honorable senators failing to see the full force and significance of the facts I have submitted. No one has ventured to contradict or try to upset the conclusions which were arrived at by the Victorian Parliament, when, some five years ago, if decided to lower the rates to the very amounts of which the Senate has approved, in order to increase the revenue. This statement was made by Senator Best, and it has not yet been contradicted. Nor has any attempt been made to upset the original estimates brought in by the Government. When the Tariff was brought down, a statement was tabled in which the Government showed that they expected that their increased duties would decrease the importation immensely, and lead to a very large decrease in the revenue. If aa increase of the rate will lead to a decrease in the revenue the converse must be true - ‘ that a decrease in the rate will lead to an increase in the consumption. I hope that the committee, recognising the force of the figures I have used, will adopt my suggestion.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - This question appeals to me from a somewhat different stand-point. I understand that we have arrived at a stage at which we are making some concession to the other House. We have made known our requests ; we have had a very large number of them refused, and now we are trying to discover some method by which we may hope eventually to arrive at a mutual agreement. This is, I think,one of those items on which the committee might reasonably give way. I should have preferred that offers of compromise should come from the other Chamber, but as the Senate has decided to hold out the olive branch to the House of Representatives, I conceive that this is one of those items upon which that offer might well be made. The brewing trade of the Commonwealth is undergoing developments. The figures Senator Pulsford quoted were for the year 1900, and, consequently, are somewhat out of date. In New South Wales, for instance, there has very lately been a great improvement in the brewing of lager beers. I believe that the taste for colonial ale is acquired. I never acquired it myself, and cannot speak from personal experience. But I have certainly noticed that where formerly English ales used to be placed before people under certain circumstances, it is now quite common for English ale to be shouldered out by the colonial article. That process is likely to continue to extend, particularly in view of the larger opportunities that the great brewers will have under Commonwealth conditions. Therefore, however reliable Senator Pulsford’s figures may be in regard to the past,, they may be an unreliable guide to the future. This is one of the items upon which we might wisely give way if we are going to give way on any. I should have preferred the whole list of our requests to be forwarded again to the House of Representatives, and to let the offers of compromise come from them. But as the committee has decided upon following the opposite course, and I have to select those items upon which I think it is wise to give way, this matter appeals to me as one with regard to which the committee might very well concede what is asked for by another place.
– Senator Pulsford has contended that if the decision previously arrived at by the Senate is adhered to it will be likely to increase the importation of beer, and thus increase the revenue. The honorable senator has given us a host of figures, which I am not going to say are incorrect, but he draws the most peculiar conclusions from them. What is going to cause increased importation ? What is to induce the larger consumption ? Is it to take place in consequence of the lessened price ? In what way is the price to be reduced to the consumer 1 Does the honorable senator believe that the consumers will get their beer cheaper by so much per pint or per glass? Is it possible for the price to be reduced to such an extent as to increase consumption ? The -whole operation of the increased duty will be in the interests of the importer and of the publican. It is perfect nonsense .to argue that the consumer will benefit from reducing the duty on beer. It is of no use attempting to blind the eyes of the people by such plausible and superficial arguments as have been advanced by my honorable friend. The reduction of theduty as proposed would lessen the revenue of Queensland to the extent of £S,000 or £9,000 a year. The people of that State are considerable consumers of beer. They drink about 5,000,000 gallons of locally brewed beer per annum, besides a large quantity of imported beer and porter. But the reduction of the duty would not increase the importation of beer into Queensland to the extent of a gallon, though it would increase the profits of importers and of the publicans, who will take care that the extra profit goes into their own pocket. It is perfect moonshine to attempt to gull the public with the idea that they would benefit from such a proposal as that made by Senator Pulsford.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - The committee cannot expect me to remain silent under such a torrent of absurdity as that with which Senator Glassey has favoured us. During the discussion on this subject, I have never once referred to any desire on the part of the local brewers of” beer to make extra profits. It has been left for Senator Glassey to say that I have been acting solely in the interests of the importers. I draw attention to this gratuitous assertion and say, that . it is uncalled for. I have no connexion with anybody in the importing trade in any shape or form. My. action has been from the point of view of the public interest and public revenue. I claim that I have conclusively shown that my proposal would tend to . increase the revenue. Senator O’Connor and others believe - and I am willing to admit that they honestly believe - that the higher duty will bring in more money. But, at any rate, my proposal has been put forward simply from the point of view that the lower duty has in the past brought in more revenue, and would do so in the future.
Senator KEATING (Tasmania).- I am surprised that Senator Pulsford should endeavour to insist upon his proposal, seeing that he regards himself as a revenue tariffist. The original request of the Senate was for the reduction of the duty from1s. 6d. to1s. 3d. per gallon for bottled beer, and from 1s. to10d. upon bulk beer. The difference to the importer would be nothing more nor less than the difference between from½d. to¼d. per half-pint. During the course of a recent visit to Tasmania I had some conversations with persons interested in importing these commodities, and they told me that the difference in the duty would be pocketed by themselves, the importers. They admitted that the revenue would lose absolutely by the reduction. Even assuming that the duty upon imported bottled beer were reduced by½d. per quart, is it likely that the hotelrkeeper would charge the consumer so much less, and that the demand for imported beer would therefore be so much greater ? Certainly not. Senator Clemons is as strong and logical a f ree-trader as there is in the Senate, but I believe he will agree with me on this point, as the information at his command is the same as that which has been supplied to me.I hope that, for the sake of the revenue, the committee will not insist upon maintaining its original attitude.
Motion agreed to. “Item 1. Ale and Porter . . . Other, per gallon,1s.
Senate’sRequent. - That the duty be reduced to 10d.
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amendment not made.
Motion (by Senator O’Connor) agreed to - “That the request be not pressed.
Item 5. Tobacco, viz. . . . Cigars . . . per lb.,6s. 3d., and 15 per cent.
Senate’s Request. - That, the duty be altered to a fixed rate of 7s. per lb.
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amendment not made.
– I move-
That the request be not pressed.
This matter may be looked at from the point of view of revenue, and also of protection. So far as the revenue aspect is concerned, I do not think that the request, if adopted, would make much difference in regard to the revenue.
– If anything, it would slightly increase it.
– The difference would be so slight, that it is not worth considering. The point of view from which I think this matter should be regarded is the incidence of the duty. As honorable senators are aware, there is a vast difference between the prices of the different kinds of cigars - probably a larger difference than there is in regard to many articles which are a luxury. There is the difference between the 3d. cigars, which work out at something like 2s. id. to 4s. 6d. per lb., and the more expensive kind of cigar, which varies in price from something like 1 2s. to about 18s. per lb. It is obvious that the effect of the fixed duty of 6s. 3d., and the ad valorem duty of 15 per cent., is to make the higher - priced cigar pay a great deal more than does the lowerpriced one. On the other hand, the effect of the duty requested by the Senate would be to press much more heavily upon the lower quality, which is most generally purchased, and to press comparatively lightly upon the higher-classed article. So far as we have been able to lay down any principle in regard to these things, we should adjust the burden of taxation so that it will fall more heavily upon the more expensive article and less heavily upon the less expensive article. It may be asked, “ Why not have an ad valorem duty all round ? “ In the first place, the reason is that the revenue would fail, because the duty on the lower-class article would not return very much revenue, while there would also be difficulties about collecting it, and about declaring values which we do not wish to encounter to a greater extent than is necessary. The effect of the Senate’s proposal, while not increasing the revenue, would be to place a comparatively heavier portion of the burden upon the lower class of cigar, and a comparatively lighter burden upon the higher-class article. That is not as it should be.
– The objection applies to all specific duties in the Tariff.
– It does not, for the reason that the prices of cigars vary very much. The Victorian statistics for 1900, which may be taken as a guide, show that there were 168,000 lbs. of Havana cigars imported into this State during that period. Of that quantity 51,000 lbs. were valued at £47,000, or something like 18s. per lb., so that out of the 168,000 lbs., nearly one-third was of the value of about 18s. per lb. That shows that a large proportion of the cigars which are imported are of the higherquality. What reason is there why that large proportion should not pay a heavier duty ? If we impose the fixed duty of 7s.’ per lb. all round, we shall levy upon them exactly the same duty as we charge upon the remaining two-thirds - representing the cheaper kind of cigars - which are imported. Therefore, from the point of view of the proper incidence of this tax, the amendment suggested ‘by the Senate should not be made. There is another consideration. The operation of the duty, if amended as requested, would certainly be to give the Australian cigar - what we have generally described as the 3d. cigar - a very much larger amount of protection than, perhaps, my honorable friends of the Opposition intend. It would give a protection of something like 4s. a pound upon the ordinary Australian 3d. cigar. I think it was Senator Symon who moved this request, and it was his intention that the excise should be increased. An attempt was made to do that when the Excise Bill was before us, but without success, with the result that the lower class of cigar would be left’ with certainty a very much higher rate of protection than it enjoyed before. Whether that was the intention or not, the whole question may be summed up in a nutshell. The revenue would not be affected by this alteration, but the incidence of the tax would be affected, and affected in a direction which, I submit, would violate the well-recognised rule that the more luxurious articles should pay the higher duty. For these reasons, I say, that, looking at the matter upon its merits, the request should not be pressed. There is another reason why the motion should be carried. We have now come to the position, that majorities in both Houses have fought strenuously about this duty. If each House holds to its own opinion, agreement will be impossible. One or the other must give way, and in the interests of the public it is our duty to come to an agreement of some kind. As there is nothing to be gained by the revenue, or by the consumer, is it worth while, merely for the sake of sweeping away this composite duty, to press this request. If honorable senators will analyze the reasons which actuated them in making this request, they will see that that which seemed to have the most prominence was that this was the last of the composite duties left in the Tariff, and that, therefore; it ought to be struck out. Now that we have reached .this position, and that there is another and bigger issue involved, which was not involved before, I would ask honorable senators to consider whether it is worth while to disturb the adjustment of taxation, to give more protection than was intended to be given, and to make this alteration, for no substantial reason except that it may be to deal a blow at the system of composite duties. In this case, a composite duty does no harm.
– Composite duties are in force in Canada.
– As my honorable friend reminds me, composite duties are not a new-fangled idea ; they have been applied to many items in the Canadian Tariff, with very good results. They have had the effect of ensuring a certain amount of revenue where it is required, and of adjusting the burden of taxation very fairly.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - I think that Senator O’Connor is under a misapprehension with regard to the existence of composite duties on cigars in Canada, although there may be some in relation to other articles.
– I was referring to composite duties generally. .1 do not know whether there are any on cigars in Canada.
– In the United States composite duties were placed on cigars, and they killed the trade. I am in a position to know that that was the effect. The honorable and learned senator’s argument based upon the inequality of a fixed duty upon articles of varying value, is no doubt very accurate in a general sense, but I would appeal to him to say whether it is not a fact that almost without exception the fixed duties in this Tariff will operate most unevenly in respect of the values of articles. For instance, we have the same duty on wine whether the wine is worth many shillings per quart or only many pence. I could apply the argument to a great many other items in the Tariff. What about sugar ? We have a uniform duty on sugar no matter what the value of it may be.
– But is there the same difference in the values of sugar as there is in the values of cigars 1
.- Perhaps the difference is not quite so great ; but there is another proposition which I should like honorable senators to consider. A composite duty on cigars amounts to so heavy a sum that it is practically impossible for importers to pay it and take the goods out of bond. In Sydney, and I presume the practice is the same in Melbourne, cigars are sold in bond more largely than is any other article. During the recent adjournment of the Senate, I had an opportunity in Sydney of seeing the ill -effects of an ad valorem duty on cigars. I was shown correspondence threatening legal proceedings, arising out of the fact that when an importer sells cigars in bond there is at once a great rumpus raised by the buyer about the difference between the declared value at the time of import and the value at the time of sale, the latter being necessarily much higher. The value of the goods as declared is the value at the place of export, plus 10 per cent, to cover charges. But that percentage does not by any means cover charges ; and, according to the papers shown to me, the total cost of importation amounted to something like 48 per cent. Fraud was alleged against the merchant who sold the cigars, but after much correspondence the solicitors for the buyer were finally satisfied and withdrew all allegations and apologized. But the unfortunate importer was compelled to disclose to the buyer every stage of the business, and it is very undesirable that, by introducing ad valorem duties on goods which can scarcely be dealt with out of bond, we should give rise to allegations of dishonesty and threatened law suits. One of the greatest troubles with which commerce can be inflicted is that of legal proceedings ; and to avoid litigation the importer is compelled to disclose all the details of his business, thus acquainting the buyer, without cost or trouble to the latter, with knowledge which has been gained by costly experience.
– In the case of cigars no more has to be disclosed than in any other case where there is an ad valorem duty and the goods are sold in bond.
.- -There is no line so largely sold in bond as cigars. Most cigars are imported from Cuba and Manilla, although some may come from Hamburg and other places. Liquors are most largely imported from British speaking countries, and it is much easier to import from a part of our own Empire than from a foreign country. It is much more costly to obtain knowledge of foreign trade than it is to obtain knowledge of
British trade, and the former is of the greatest value to the man who obtains* it. Knowledge is power and money is business, and it is very hard that owing to an ad valorem duty, a man should be compelled to disclose to the buyer of a single bonded certificate all which long experience and, perhaps, many unfortunate transactions have taught him.
– The only knowledge disclosed is the invoice value of the cigars, f.o.b., with 10 per cent, added.
.- No ; the importer has to disclose his shipping charges, freights, and every detail of the transaction’ and that took place in the case which was brought under my notice. As showing the effect of this, the importer said to me - “ I have always been a bit of a free-trader, but if this is going to be the sort of thing I am to be subjected to, I am prepared, at the first general election, to write a cheque for £100 in aid of the funds of the New South Wales free-trade party.” It will be seen how much an importer is affected when he breaks out in that manner, not so much in defence of any particular principle as in defence of his rights as a trader. I am. not discussing whether or not such an attitude is reasonable, but it affords an instance of the importance of this question to a man who has not hitherto worried himself very much about fiscal matters. When the specific duty was introduced I had great doubts as to whether ! should vote for it,and I pointed out that it would fall more heavily on the cheaper article. I recognise this still, but I take it that under the excise laws we are enlarging the local output of cigars of the cheaper class, and according to the arguments we have heard used, the specific duty will not operate to the detriment of the consumer of those goods. I do not think that the quantity of the more costly, cigars is a serious matter, because we are told by the Government that the alteration in the method of paying the duty will practically make no difference in the amount of the revenue. For the reasons I have given, and for other reasons which Senator O’Connor, without waiting for the attack, answered as well as circumstances permitted, I hope the Senate will abide by its previous decision. I voted with the Government in the last division, and if I am against them in the present instance, it is an evidence of my absolute fairness and freedom from party feeling.
Senator Major GOULD (New South Wales). - A good many of the remarks made by Senator Neild would have been made by myself, had I spoken just now. I recognise that a great many difficulties must arise in connexion with this particular article in trading transactions. One of the reasons which Senator O’Connor gave in support of his motion was that one or other of the Chambers must give way. I do not think that Senator O’Connor has any right to ask this chamber to give way for a reason of that character.
– Surely it is a truism to say that one or other of the Houses must give way t
– But why does it become necessary for this House to give way? Why should the other House not give way just as readily 1 The Senate has endeavoured to meet the Government proposal very fairly. According to some figures supplied me by a senator, it appears that the average value of cigars imported into Victoria in 1897-S-9 - and it may be taken as the average value in the other States - was 7s. 7d. per lb. In the first instance; the Government proposed a duty of 5s. 6d. per lb. and 15 per cent., but that was afterwards raised to 6s. 3d. per lb. and 15 per cent. Taking the average value of the cigars at 7s. ‘ 7d., and the Government proposal at 6s. 3d. per lb. and 15 per cent., it would raise the price of the duty on the cigars to about 7s. 1-Jfd. The committee, in dealing with this matter before, realized how’ close that would be, and proposed to increase the 6s. 3d. to 7s. per lb., without an ad valorem duty. Virtually there was an attempt made to give the Government the very revenue which they sought to obtain, and which they are now seeking. The Senate has already approached the House of Representatives with this modified proposal which might well have been accepted.
– That proposal would mean a higher duty on the cheaper cigar.
– I admit that wherever there is a specific duty on an article of different grades of value, it presses more heavily on the cheaper article.
– Not necessarily ; a merchant averages.
– But I am speaking of the article itself.
– Then the honorable senator is theorizing, and not treating thematter from a practical point of view.
– I am nob theorizing. I am replying to the contention of Senator O’Connor, which was indorsed by Senator Drake, that with a fixed duty the lower grade of cigars will pay the higher duty. But the same argument might be used in regard to any other article of which there is more than one quality. As Senator Sargood pointed out, merchants average, and so I have averaged the value of the cigars imported during the years mentioned. The Senate has already met the House of Representatives, it is undesirable to have ad valorem duties, and, excepting in the present instance, specific duties have been preferred. If ad valorem duties were a disfigurement on the Tariff in regard to other articles, they are equally a dis.figurement in regard bo this particular article. As ib is admitted that it would involve no loss of revenue, we might very well get rid of this ad valorem duty, even although the bax would press a little more heavily on the cheaper than on the dearer cigars.
– Making the poor man pay.
– Wherever” my honorable friend has seen an opportunity bo impose a tax ‘he has made the poor man pay. I consider that good reasons have been given for not departing from our request.
– I should like to make a statement in reply to what has been put forward by Senators Neild and Gould. In the- first place I propose to put into figures an argument I used just now as to the difference in the incidence of the duty which is brought about by this suggestion. When the Bill came to the Senate all cigars were subject to a duty of 6s. 3d. per lb., and 15s. percent, ad valorem. On the cheap cigars - what are commonly called the threepenny cigar - the duty amounted to fis. Sd. per lb. On the expensive cigars, which rise in value to 18s. per lb., the duty amounted to 8s. 6d. per lb. Under the suggestion which is now made, an additional 4d. per lb. would be charged on the cheaper cigar, and ls. 6d. per lb. less on the dearer cigar.
– A merchant, in selling, averages, and the consequence is that the retail buyer does not pay any more on the low-priced goods.
– I. am dealing, not with the position of the retailer, but with the position of anybody who deals in cigars. It is impossible to say that, by any system, you can make any average between the lower and the higher priced cigar which will relieve the cause of that incidence. With regard to the clearer cigar, about a third of the imports into Victoria averaged in value 18s. per lb. Is it right to shift the entire incidence of the duty so that, instead of the bulk of the revenue being collected on the higher class of cigar, which may be described as a luxury, it should be collected on the lowerpriced cigars ? There is no doubt that in every case when goods -are bought in bond there must be a certain disclosure of the value. I do not know the details of the case to which Senator Neild referred, but I know what is the law, and I have ascertained what is the practice in the Customhouse. All that it is necessary for a bonded certificate to disclose are the marks on the packages, the lj umber of packages, the ship by which they came, and the invoice value, free on board. In a case where the Customs authorities are not satisfied that the importer is declaring the true value they have the right to make full inquiries, and then the importer may be bound to disclose the most secret matters of business, but that information does not appear on the bonded certificate. A sale of goods in bond is very frequently, and,” I think, generally, carried out by a sale of the bonded certificate. What the purchaser from the original importer sees and knows anything about is the bonded certificate. All we have to deal with is the position in which a person who sells cigars in bond is placed. All he -needs to disclose is what appears on the bonded certificate, and, to describe its contents in a few words, all it discloses is the invoice value of the goods. A great many importers object to disclose that information because they wish to make as big a profit as they can. But is there any reason why, in the interests of the public, in the interests of a fair adjustment of this taxation, the invoice value should not be made known ? Is there any reason why, in cases of cigars, that rule should not be applied? When the arguments of my honorable friends come to be boiled down, it is found that they object to 0the importer who sells the cigars being obliged to disclose the invoice price. 1 Is that any reason why we should take up the position of disagreeing with the conclusion which has been arrived at in the other House by a majority of eight ? The grounds which have been given certainly do not justify the committee in insisting on this alteration in the incidence of the duty.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - The central objection to this composite duty is that it unnecessarily clashes with a long-established custom of trade. I cannot conceive that it is necessary to disturb the ordinary course of a merchant’s business if it does not do any good to the Government. This statement about the 15 per cent, duty being imposed with a view to differentiate between the poor man and the other is a mere subterfuge, because the poor man does not buy cigars. Tobacco which is the poor man’s smoke is subject to an import duty of only 3s. 3d. per lb., whereas cigars, at the rate which we propose, would all be subject to a duty of 7s. per lb. Surely that is a very fair differentiation, and does impose a very much heavier duty on the smoking material of the wealthy man? I do not think that there is any other case in the Tariff in which such a clear and satisfactory differentiation’ is made between the article used by the poor man and the article used by the rich man. The main objection to this duty on the part of the persons in the trade is that it lets their customers know the cost price. I can imagine that the case referred to by Senator1 Neild arose in this way. The merchant sold a certain quantity of cigars, and said that they cost so much. He might count what the cigars cost him in his warehouse, and reckon that he sold them at a reasonable advance on that price. But when the buyer went to clear them at the Custom-house it was found that there was another valuation, and the difference was so considerable that there was a quarrel. But the difference all the time had been a true difference. The value given to the Customs had been the cost price at Manilla or Havannah, wherever the goods had been brought. I hold in my hand a letter from a gentleman in the trade, who says -
Re ad valorem duty on cigars. - If this be retamed, it will mean the utter destruction of my Inter-State business. I know that I am only one atom of society but I have as much right to existence as any other one atom.
I do not see any reason, why, for no good to the State and the -revenue, we should legislate against the long-established custom of the trade. Surely, as Senator Neild very clearly and ably explained, if a man has spent long years in finding out good sources of supply and, has got together a good trade, that is his property. It ought not te be lessened in value to him, and he ought not to be interfered with, especially if the State is to derive no benefit from the interference. It is admitted by Senator O’Connor and Mr. Kingston, that there is nothing in what is proposed from the point of view of revenue, and that the 7s. is substantially the equivalent of 6s. 3d. and 15 per cent. Why, then, should this exaction be imposed on the cigar trade 1 We are apt to be misled by the existence of a tax at per lb., but the duty of 7s. per lb. would mean that any person importing one ton of cigars would be liable to pay the Customs £784. The consequence of this system is that cigars are almost universally sold in quantities in bond. The shipping value must be given to the Customs, and when the buyer in the adjoining State takes a quantity of them he has to be given that information, and he knows the margin of profit on which his seller is dealing. There is another point. It is the merest subterfuge in the world to say that this 15 per cent, enables a very satisfactory differentiation to be made between the respective values of cigars, and the statement that Senator O’Connor has made in this connexion is rather ridiculous. It is admitted that 15 per cent, is practically the equivalent of about 9d. per lb. Consequently, 6s. 3d. per lb. is equivalent to about 125 per cent. Now, 125 per cent., plus 15 per cent., is 140 per cent. That means that the Government propose a duty on cigars which is equivalent to an all-round ad vtdorem rate of 140 per cent. Yet they come to us and say - “ We will secure a fair charge as between low class and high class cigars by charging 15 per cent, ad valorem, and we will convert the 125 per cent, duty into a specific duty.” Is not that ridiculous? Yet the Government say that they are making the rich man pay and letting the poor man off. The poor man is not affected much by the duty on cigars, but the differentiation between high class cigars and low class cigars is ludicrous.
– Are there not more 6d. cigars than 3d. cigars sold?
– Possibly, but it is not worth while to discuss the duty on cigars worth 18s. per lb., because the quantity of cigars of that value which are imported is not great.
– They amount to a third of the whole quantity, taking theVictorian importations.
– I do not think they do, if 9d. in the £1 is a fair representation of 15 per cent, ad valorem. It cannot be so ; and it is admitted that 9d. and 15 per cent, are fairly representative one of the other from the revenue point of view. I submit, therefore, that there is nothing in this differentiation between the cost of high and low class cigars, and that there is a very strong reason, on the ground of the ordinary customs of the trade, why we should again ask the House of Representatives to agree with our request. I cannot conceive that if the other House were to thoroughly understand the real ground of objection to this duty, they would persist in not agreeing to our request. I rather believe that when the ground on which our request is based is made quite clear to them, they will at once accede to it.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - I thought I had made myself quite clear a few minutes ago, but as my honorable and learned friend theVicePresident of the Executive Council evidently did not understand me, I will give, without names, in a few words, the actual facts of the transaction to which I referred. A cigar merchant undertook to import and supply a certain quantity of cigars to a retail house. The price of the cigars was settled. The goods were imported, the bond certificate was handed over to the buyer, and the account was rendered for the price agreed upon. When the buyer went to pay the duty, he found there was such a difference between the price charged him and the declared value at the time of importation - which was the value at the place of shipment, plus the 10 per cent, to cover costs of importation - that he made, through his solicitors, accusations of fraud against the merchant. A very sultry correspondence ensued, and eventually the merchant avoided legal proceedings and got out of the accusations of fraud - and, let it be remembered, that there is nothing more detrimental to any business man than to be made the subject of charges of that sort - by disclosing full particulars to the buyer. He was compelled to disclose the sums he had had to pay as shipping charges, and the amounts that had been paid on each item of charges from the place of shipment to the time of delivery.
– That is an illustration of how it operates in favour of the purchaser.
.- And to the great detriment of the merchant. To prove that these charges were correct, the merchant had to produce the original documents, and give away the name of every person connected with the business.
– Where was the fraud?
– There was no fraud, but there was an allegation of fraud, because the difference between the selling value and the value at the port of shipment, plus 10 per cent., was so great that the buyer’s solicitor wrote the letters which I have mentioned. As I have already pointed out, the transaction of business with foreign countries and in foreign languages is very much more costly than the transaction of business in one’s own language, and in accordance with business customs that are well known. In this case the unfortunate merchant, after years of trouble spent in gaining his experience in competition with other people who knew as much, was called upon to disclose the name of every wharfinger and shipping agent and the maker of the cigars with whom he had done business, and to give the whole “show” away, to use a colloquial phrase ; so that the next time the retail dealer wanted to import a case of cigars, having learnt the way it was done, he could import them himself. It may be said that this was in the interests of the buyer, but wholly against the merchant, and we ought so to draw our laws as not to destroy the value of the knowledge that is so essential to a man of business. Good-will of a business consists of the knowledge of facts connected with the business. Large sums of money are sometimes paid for the goodwill of a business. The good-will of a newspaper consists largely of knowledge and connexion of the staff of agents who conduct its sale. It is a costly thing to gain this knowledge. We often find it placed in the “balance-sheets of companies as an asset. Sometimes such knowledge is valued at thousands of pounds. 1 Senator Sir Frederick Sargood. - I am only astonished at the merchant giving up that information.
– He had to, or stand the risk of legal proceedings.
– There was no danger about that.
– I do not know whether this gentleman is a specially nervous man, but I know that he is a man of considerable business experience. I make this statement in all good faith as pointing out the difficulty which has arisen. The difference between us so far as the buyer of the cheaper and the purchaser of the more expensive cigars is concerned, relates simply to 15 per cent.
– Not 15 per cent, of thewhole duty, but 15 per cent, of the value of the articles, which is a different thing.
.- As Senator Pulsford pointed out, it really amounts only to a difference of 9d per lb. Senator O’Connor and the Minister in another place stated that a fixed duty of 6s. 3d. per lb., together with 15 per cent, ad valorem duty, would practically produce the same result as would a fixed duty of 7s. per lb., without any ad valorem duty. Therefore, my honorable and learned friend will see that on his own statement, in a practical and broad way, the 15 per cent, amounts only to 9d. per lb. That is the sole difference at issue - whether there should be a fixed duty of 7s. per lb., or a fixed duty of 6s. 3d. and an ad valorem duty of 15 per cent., the 15 per cent, being a penalty on traders. With all deference to the Vice-President of the Executive Council, I think that he has not given sufficiently good reasons to induce me to alter my vote.
Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia). - This question can really be put in a nutshell, and I am astonished that my honorable friends on the other side should fight it. In the first place they admit that the revenue under the duty suggested by them would be the same as that received under the Government proposal. They have to admit on the other hand that men who smoke the cheaper class of cigars, and who, we presume, are not so rich as those who smoke the higher grade, will be penalized to a certain extent. They have also to make another admission, which comes very strangely from free-traders, namely, that their proposal would absolutely increase the protective incidence of the duty.
– “We said that we were surprised to hear Senator O’Connor and Senator Playford take any exception to that.
– We are not wild and rabid protectionists. I imagine that we would be described as moderate protectionists. We are not protectionists who have run mad as the free-traders appear to have done in certain directions. The Government have imposed what we believe to be a fair protection for the cigar-makers of the country, and yet honorable senators opposite propose that the duty should be altered so as to increase tlie amount of protection. According to the principles which they profess, honorable senators opposite are seeking to do what they ought not to do. There is really nothing in the suggestion that the ad valorem duty is objectionable to the importer. I can thoroughly understand that importers who have been dealing with foreign countries, and who in the past have had simply to pay a fixed duty, do not like the idea of an ad valorem duty, because they have been in the habit of transacting their business in bonded warehouses. That is to say they have bonded their imported cigars, and not attempted to sell them until they have been able to find a customer who wanted to take them out of bond. Having found that customer, they have been in the. habit of giving him a certificate, which he has simply presented at the Customhouse. But with an ad valorem duty of 15 per cent, the importers have to declare the value of the cigars, or at all events what they put down as the value, which may be a very different thing. In that way a little information is gained by customers, which makes them very suspicious that in the past they have been grossly deceived in regard to the statements made. If we can do anything in the Tariff to keep people straight and truthful in their dealings one with another we ought to do it. My experience as a Treasurer administering a State Tariff is that ad valorem duties help the customer as against the importer in cases like this. Senator Neild assumes that the customer will gain by this system, and that the importer is the man who will lose. The customer will see the enormous profits that the importers have been making.
Probably when he does he will kick, and possibly enter into competition with them.
– The honorable senator had specific duties in South Australia.
– I know that; but I do not say- that everything done in South Australia was done in the very best possible way, although we made our work as perfect as possible, having regard to the information in our possession at the time.
– This is the first time the honorable senator has made that admission.
– No. I never placed any tax upon reapers and binders, and I have admitted that we made a great mistake in failing to do so. I do not mean to suggest that the South Australian Tariff was absolutely perfect. If I had to frame a new State Tariff, I should probably make it considerably different from that which I framed in 1887, because my increased knowledge would enable me to look at matters from a different stand-point. I am able to see the improvements which could have been made in the celebrated South Australian Tariff which formed the model of that presented originally in the House of Representatives.
– When the honorable senator’ framed, that Tariff he probably did not know that there was a fixed duty of 12s. 6d. per. lb. and an ad valorem of 25 per cent, on cigars under the Canadian Tariff.
– I did nob. I believe it is an advantage to the customer that there should be an ad valorem as well as a fixed duty. The duty will reduce the protective incidence, and that certainly ought bo appeal bo honorable senators opposite. It will also produce a little more revenue, which is likewise an advantage. In these circumstances is it worth while asking another place bo reconsider their decision, when the whole matter amounts bo nothing and when our free-trade friends opposite are absolutely seeking to take the place of protectionists, and to increase the protective incidence of the Tariff?
Question - Tha t the request be not pressed - put. The committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item 5. Tobacco, viz. . . . Cigarettes, including the weight of the outer portion of each cigarette, per lb., 6s. 6d.
Senate’s Request. - That the duty be increased to 7s.
House of Representatives’ Message - Amendment not made.
That the request be not pressed.
No doubt this amendment was suggested with a view of subsequently increasing the excise in order to obtain more revenue, as it was said, and to reduce the protective incidence of the duty. As the excise was not altered, the Senate’s request really is that a higher duty should be imposed, which in the circumstances would not bring in more revenue, while it would give a greater protection to the cigarette-makers than ever was intended.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania). - It goes without saying that no honorable senator on this side of the committee adheres to the original request made by the Senate. We proposed that the duty should be increased so as to place it on a level with the duty upon cigars, and in the distinct hope that we should be able to increase the excise duty. As we failed to increase the excise, we must concur in what Senator O’Connor has said. If, however, there were any means by which, instead of increasing the duty from 6s. 6d. to 7s., it could be reduced to 5s., I should like to see that course adopted.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - In my opinion, honorable senators who have spoken are not at all concerned about cigarettes, which are used by the general ruck of the community - the men in the street who earn only small wages. We do not observe any of the enthusiasm which was displayed over the last item. The man who can afford to smoke shilling cigars will be able to buy them much cheaper than he would have been able to buy them with the composite duty. Certain honorable senators battle only for the bottled beer and high-priced cigars, taking no trouble whatever about the plain and humble cigarettes.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).Personally I have accepted a number of the items as they have been returned from the other House, with the idea that by so doing a compromise may be arrived at. But if, when we agree to insist on a request, we are to be taunted, and we are to be treated in the same way when we do not insist on a request, I shall follow my own fiscal inclinations, and vote for the items as they left this Chamber.
Motion agreed to.
Item 10. Bacon and hams, partlyor wholly cured, per lb., 3d.
Senate’s Request. - That the duty be reduced ‘ to 2d. per lb.
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amend ment not made.
That the request be not pressed.
This is principally, though not altogether, a question of protective incidence. A certain quantity of expensive hams from England and America will always be imported no matter what duty may be imposed, and as pointed out by the Treasurer a little while ago, the revenue collected on the basis of 3d. per lb. during the last twelve months will be £6,000. If the duty be reduced it will be necessary to import 50 per cent, more in order to make up the revenue, and if that were done the importations would be so large as to seriously interfere with the local industry. I take it that the first consideration of my friends opposite is the interests of the consumer, and I ask whether those interests can, under ordinary circumstances, be in any way affected by the difference between 2d. and 3d. in the duty.
Senator Major GOULD (New South Wales). - This question was considered very fully by the Senate, and the conclusion was arrived at that a duty of 2d. was quite sufficient. Senator O’Connor proposes that bacon, which is worth about 4d. per lb., shall, along with York hams, which are worth1s. or1s. 2d. a lb., pay a dutv of 3d.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - This afternoon Senator O’Connor on behalf of the Government and the other House, asked the Committee to place a duty of l£d. per lb. on articles of luxury, such as game and poultry. And now he insists that weshall place exactly double that rate of duty on such common articles of daily consumption as hams and bacon. It does not seem to rae that there is the smallest effort towards consistency between the two proposals. If boned pheasant, tinned peacock,, preserved grouse, and other luxuries are to come in at a duty of 1½d. per lb. under the aegis of Senator O’Connor, how can he reconcile it with his conscience - how dare he attempt to fold his eyes in slumber to-night when he knows that he has. been insisting upon the imposition of a duty of 3d. per lb. on ham and bacon. Is there any consistency of idea or principle there 1 I hope that he will not press his motion, because he admits that it is really a tax to operate only when people are “ hard up.” It is not to apply when people are well off. The tax-gatherer is only to come round when the poor taxpayer has not the wherewithal to meet the ordinary needs of life. That would not apply to all the luxuries which come in at a duty of l£d. per lb. These are cooked and prepared for the table in the majority of cases, and in regard to which there is nothing like the same loss of weight, as there is in the cooking of bacon. It should be remembered by honorable senators that the tax on bacon is increased very greatly by reason of the reduction in weight in the process of cooking. With every desire to conciliate honorable members in another place, I must press the request for a reduction of the duty in this case.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - The senators for New South Wales seem to have come here to help that State at the expense of Queensland, in which farmers depend very largely on hams and bacon for a considerable portion of their monthly income. They are able to do well in the industry in districts which are not affected by the drought. Farmers who five years ago used to live in the poorest way are now doing fairly well owing to the operation of the State tariff, and owing, I suppose, to the prospect of a similar tariff being adopted by the Commonwealth.
Question - That the request be not pressed - put. The committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senate adjourned at 10. 4 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 26 August 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020826_senate_1_11/>.