2nd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether he will lay upon the table of the Senate a copy of the return relative to the conduct of canteens, which was tabled yesterday in another place in reply to a question asked by Mr. Kelly?
– I shall obtain a copy of the paper, and lay it upon the table of the Senate.
– I beg to bring up a report from the Printing Committee, and to ask that it be read.
Report readby the Clerk.
Motion (by Senator Henderson) agreed to -
That the report be printed, and taken into consideration an Thursday next.
SenatorGUTHRIE. - I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, if he has received a complaint from the men composing B class of the Naval Reserve in South Australia, and, if so, whether he has dealt with it?
– A complaint . was forwarded to me by the honorable senator, and I sent it on for report. I have not yet received & report, but I hope to get one in the course of a day or two.
askedtheMinister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
What is the number of the Australian-made harvesters exported in 1905, the value of which is stated to be. £30,110?
– The answer is, 418.
Debate resumed from9th August (vide page 2578), on motion by Senator Playford -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– So far as the regulation or control of monopolies is concerned, this cannot be considered in any sense a party measure, for every one knows that the policy of the Labour Party with respect to monopolies is entirely different from that referred to therein’. We, as a party have long recognised that when any business or industry becomes a monopoly, the only effective remedy is to nationalize it At the same time, seeing that it is not within the power of this so-called Socialist Party to carry into effect its policy, we are prepared to support the Government in their endeavour to control in some manner what might become dangerous monopolies in the Commonwealth by means of this Bill. It deals with two entirely different subjects, namely. the control of dangerous or restrictive monopolies, and what has been characterized as dumping. I intend first to make several references to thatportion of the Bill which deals with the former subject. I was rather surprised yesterday, when listening to the very lengthy and very able speech of Senator Symon. At all times he is an adept in destructive criticism, but in this instance I think that he went a little too far, if his object was to impress members’ of the Senate, or even any one outside. In the first place, he asserted that there are no destructive monopolies, or monopolies which in any way can injure the trade or commerce of the Commonwealth, and that the measure is unnecessary. He next said that it was legislation of a character which, if enacted, could not be put into operation. Incidentally, he clearly demon,strated that the members of’ the legal profession would be able to drive the proverbial coach -and-f our through its provisions. I really do not know what the honorable senator would have us to do. He suggested that the measure had only been brought before the present Parliament by way of pastime; that, as there was nothing else of very great importance to do, we might as well be discussing it as anything else. If there are no destructive monopolies, and this legislation, if enacted, would be of no consequence, what occasion for alarm is there? Yet there is a considerable amount of alarm in the minds of some persons in the Commonwealth. Senator Symon gave evidence of the existence of this feeling, because he said that certain persons had interviewed him, and pointed out the dangers which might arise from the passing of the measure. The statements made by the honorable senator were of a very contradictory character. At one moment, he said that there was no necessity for the Sill ; the next moment he said that it was no good ; then he stated that there was no cause for alarm ; and in the next breath he declared that there was alarm, and that persons had pointed out to hiri .where the danger would arise. The honorable senator asserted that it was only where protective duties existed that monopolies were possible, and he issued almost a challenge to honorable senators on this side to show where in any freetrade country monopolies had existed. The Minister of Defence, in introducing this measure, pointed out that a monopoly existed thousands of years ago in Greece, when Thales cornered the olive crop. Great Britain is a free-trade coun- try j and I can remember when a gentleman named Henderson - I do not know whether he was related to our illustrious senator- cornered all the indigo, with the result that in one year’s transactions he took a million pounds more than he ought to have taken out of the pockets of the people.
– None of it came to . my share !
– Perhaps that is why the honorable senator looks so blue ! I also call attention to the fact that at the present time a monopoly exists in Great Britain in the cotton thread trade. I can remember, and I am not a verv old man, when several industries of that description were scattered over Great Britain. But they have all been brought into one monopoly even in a free-trade country.
– That is one of the beneficent trusts.
– I will deal with so-called beneficent trusts a little later on. I call attention to something which occurred in Adelaide some years ago, when there was very little protection in that State. There was a gentleman connected with- the Warhouse family, who used to run a business not far from the corner of King William and Rundle streets. On one occasion he thought that it would be a good thing to get control of all the currants that are used by bakers and housewives. He did so, as far as he could, with, the result that in a very short time he nearly doubled the price. Would Senator Pulsford say that that was a beneficent monopoly ? Will any one tell me that the Colonial Sugar Refining Company is not a monopoly? Whether it is a beneficent monopoly I am not in a position to state, but whether it is destructive of other industries in Australia or not, it is in a position to exercise a very serious, influence over them, and in that respect comes to the verge of danger. We have granted bounties to growers of sugar cane.
– Because this Parliament did away with their labour.
– The honorable senator need not get excited. He knows very well that all his efforts will not alter that policy. Those bounties were granted for the purpose of encouraging the employment of white people. Is it not possible that the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, through its monopoly, will be able to defraud the growers of- cane to a considerable extent of the bounties which the Government has granted to them foi that purpose?
– The cane farmers are crying out against the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, and want the industry to be nationalized.
– I am not surprised ait that, after what I saw and heard when I was in Queensland. Is it not bordering on danger that that company has it in its power to take away from the cane growers a portion of what the Commonwealth, in its wisdom, has granted to t’hem? Is it not possible for the Colonial Sugar Refining Company to extract from the public more’ for their sugar than they ought to pay? In Queensland statements have been made to me with respect to the enormous difference between the price that the cane-growers get and the price which the Colonial Sugar Refining Company charges to business people. Of course, if the company reduces the. price of sugar a few shillings per ton that is proclaimed ali over Australia ‘ as an act of grace, but scarcely a word is said when the company increases the price to the consumer. Those facts prove clearly that there is a monopoly in that respect bordering on dangerous ground. It is time something was done to prevent more injury than has been occasioned in the past, both to the growers of cane and to the consumers.
– The only way to prevent the danger is to nationalize the industry.
– I have already stated’ that the plan of my party is to nationalize monopolies of that description and so remove any danger that may exist while the industries are in private hands.
– Make it a national monopoly, in fact.
– A national monopoly is in the interests of everybody, but such a monopoly as I am referring to is only in the interests of the shareholders of the company. We have also in the Commonwealth a tobacco monopoly. Some time ago the Senate appointed a Select Committee to inquire into its operations, and the Government converted the Committee into a Royal Commission. Probably we shall hear from some of its members more about the dangers that may arise out of that monopoly. Then I have heard whispers in some parts of Australia with respect to a shipping monopoly. I do not know whether it is dangerous, but that “ there is a monopoly, no one can deny.
– I thought it was a combine, not a monopoly.
– If an individual monopolises an industry it is objectionable, and I do not see that it is less objectionable if a number of individuals combine for the same purpose. I agree to a considerable extent with both Senator Symon and the Minister of Defence that a monopoly may render a service to the community, and may, during some portion of its history, be not injurious. Many years ago companies were established in the United States to extract oil from the earth. The method of carrying on the business was found to be expensive, and gradually the companies amalgamated. Through the great business ability of a gentleman named Rockefeller, they were organized in one huge combine or trust. As long as the object of that combine was the extraction of oil at a cheaper rate, economising labour, supervision, and management, it was not injurious.
– It was illegal, all the same.
– It would not be illegal under this Bill. It would have to be proved to be injurious.
– I beg to differ from the honorable senator.
– We shall pay every respect to Senator Millen when he expresses his views on this Bill. I have never heard him express any opinions that were extremely selfish or parochial. The honorable senator is entitled to the respect of the Senate, and his arguments will receive every consideration. I desire to point out, however, that so long as the monopoly I have mentioned - this combine 01* trust - acted reasonably towards the people, not only of America, but throughout * the world, it was not objectionable. It was only when a complete monopoly had been secured, and prices were fixed that enabled the promoters to amass millions which ought to have remained in the pockets of the people, that the danger arose which required legislation. It is in order to control monopolies and prevent their arriving at that stage, that, in my opinion, the Government have introduced this ‘Bill.
– Hear, hear.
– Senator Symon contends that there is no necessity for the Bill - that no one has been crying out for such legislation’ - and he defies any one to show that any monopoly in Australia has proved repressive or dangerous. But arc we to wait until the people are fleeced, and the injury is done; are we to wait until a monopoly gets such a hold on the country that it is in a position not only to rob the people, but almost, as it were, to put a ring around the Government and Parliament, which we shall be powerless to break? Many instances in our everyday life show the folly of waiting too long. Time and again deputations wait on Railways Commissioners, or Ministers of Railways and Works, with requests that gates shall be erected, or a watchman or signalman employed, at what are regarded as dangerous crossings. In> such cases we often hear the argument that the traffic does not justify the expenditure, and that no one has yet been killed or maimed. Suddenly, however, a catastrophe occurs, and causes consternation all over the country. Not only a few sheep or cattle, but, it may be, half-a-dozen people, are killed, and several’ injured ; and then, almost before we have time to rub our eyes, men are employed to erect gates for the protection of the public. All the loss of life and damage to property might be avoided if those in authority would only take warning; and, as the possibility of danger is always there, they must be regarded as neglecting their duty. As a preacher declared in another connexion, the Parliament, or the Administration, may, under such circumstances, be said to be guilty of the murder of the people who lose their lives.
– The honorable senator had better be careful, or Mr. Bent will have something to say to him.
- Mr. Bent and I are very good friends, and I do not say that he is worse than anybody else in authorityIt is always the way in this world to ask us, in the matter of reform, to wait a little logger- to wait until somebody is killed or injured - when it will, it is said, be time enough to take precautions such as those suggested in the case of the railway crossing, or embodied in the measure we are discussing. Senator Symon asks us to delay legislation until some industry is injured, and the community has been fleeced, and is beginning to squirm ; but innumerable instances could be quoted, on both sea and land, where neglect to take precautions hasresulted in disastrous consequences.
– That fact has gwen us the proverb, “ Delays are dangerous.”
– Senator Symon, asserts that this measure would never havebeen introduced but for the influence of a certain ‘individual. We all know1 towhom the honorable senator referred.
- Senator Symon, mentioned the name.
– The gentleman, referred to by Senator Symon is Mr. HughVictor McKay. I may say that Mr.. McKay is no relation of mine, and that I am in no way concerned in his business. If Mr. McKay did not comply with the laws of the country, I should be just as severeon him as on anybody else; and he is just as likely as any of his rivals to come under the operation of a measure of this, kind, if he attempts to create a monopoly to the detriment or ‘injury of the public inany of the other States. Senator Symonread a long list of the machines which are manufactured by Mr. McKay, and madea statement in reference to the manufacturers of South Australia, which, from my own knowledge, and as the result of several conversations with them, I am in aposition to deny. Not one of the manufacturers of South Australia has ever made any_ complaint or said a word against thecompetition of any other manufacturers in Australia since the Commonwealth came into existence. Whatever complaint may have been made before Federation, there has been none since, because the South Australian manufacturers say, “We are all Australians now, and are all under the same conditions, and if we cannot conduct our business, and manufacture as effectively as our competitors within the Commonwealth, we deserve to go down.”* What these manufacturers complain of is the competition of outsiders, who adopt methods and means to which the manufacturers of Australia have not yet descended. I hope honorable senators will pay attention to the figures presented by Senator Symon, because they show exactly the factsof the case. The effective manufactureof these harvesters in Australia was first carried on by this same Hugh Victor McKay, and he sent them to South Australia, as he did to other places. Therewas then no competition from Canada or America, owing te the fact that such machines are not suitable to the climate and conditions which there obtain, and even now they are not used in those countries except to 31 very inconsiderable extent. Mr. McKay, like many others in business, persevered and worked successfully in the manufacture of an effective machine, which, as I say, he sold im South Australia, where the climate and other conditions are suitable to their use. Mr. McKay, I suppose, sent twenty machines to South Australia, when none were sent by the MasseyHarris Company, or any other firm, and none were manufactured within that State itself. Does Senator Symon blame Mr. McKay for doing, what he did ?
– Senator Symon expressly said that he did not blame Mr. McKay.
– I do not think that any one could, blame’ Mr. McKay for carrying on a worthy enterprise. At the cost of much labour and money, Mr. McKay, after several years, succeeded in obtaining a fair price for his machines. Then the competition began, first of all at the hands of manufacturers in South Australia. So far as I know, Mr. McKay has never complained of this competition, although, to my knowledge, South Australian harvesters have been sold in the Mallee districts of Victoria and elsewhere. But after Mr. McKay, Messrs. Nicholson and Morrow, Messrs. Robinson and Company, Messrs. James Martin and Company, and others had developed the manufacture of these machines in Australia, they were copied in the United States and Canada, and then began the competition from oversea. The people “here who had, as it were, ploughed and harrowed the ground, and at the expenditure of much labour and money—
– Who had invented that machine.
– I shall not saly that those people invented the machine.
– They developed and perfected it.
– That is so. So “ far as I know, the idea of the machine may have been known to Noah, though I am not aware whether Noah was a cultivator of wheat. It may be thousands of years old ; but, at any rate, the machine was developed and perfected in Australia, in order to suit Australian conditions; and those who did that work ought to be protected against any unjust or inequitable competition. That, indeed, is all that the Bill attempts to do, either in regard to the restraint of monopolies, or the prevention of dumping. The control of a great industry by a combine, a monopolistic trust, or even by an individual, does not render that industry injurious ; and until it is injurious, legislation such ,as this cannot interfere. Senator Symon also referred to another matter. The honorable senator told us that a gentleman in connexion with the industry to which I am about to refer, interviewed him, in common with members of both Houses. In my opinion, people thus interested have every right to place their views, before us, and to show how legislation of this kind is likely to affect them. I am referring now to the boot manufacturing trade. Some fourteen or fifteen years ago, machinery was invented in America for the purpose of manufacturing boots and shoes. It was developed and perfected by a number of companies in that country. After all the operating companies had come together, and entered into one large combine, they extended their business to Australia. They came here with what is known as the Goodyear machinery for the manufacture of boots and shoes, and under the title of the United Shoe Machinery Company of America, they are operating in Australia to-day. Just as the manufacturers of harvesters in Australia have ploughed the ground, harrowed it, and tilled it in connexion with the development of that machinery, so I believe the ~ United Shoe Machinery Company of America have carried out the same work in that country in connexion with the manufacture of boot and shoe machinery. On that account, I think they are entitled to every consideration. I should, be the very last member of the Senate to attempt to do anything that would injure the boot manufacturing industry of Australia. It gives employment to thousands, and supplies the wants of the people in a very effective manner. I am sure that every member of the Senate would hesitate to do anything which would put the slightest obstacle in its way. Whilst the United Shoe Machinery Company was carrying on its business legitimately there could be no objection to it, nor is there any very serious objection to it now. But, like the sugar monopoly and the tobacco monopoly, this company . is now spreading its nets over the boot and shoe industry of Australia in such a manner as to threaten to exclude every one else. I should like to ask honorable senators, whether they believe that there is any genius, intelligence, and perseverance to be found amongst the people of Australia? I know that we have people possessed of all those qualities, and it is the duty of the different Parliaments of Australia to give them every opportunity to display them to the fullest possible extent. Now, what is the position in relation to the United Shoe Machinery Company? If Senator Symon invented an effective machine for the manufacture of boots and shoes, what could he do with it?
– He could patent it.
– He could.
– And then sell the patent.
– Then he would have to sell the patent. He would be obliged to go to the United Shoe Machinery Company, and say, “ I have something good here. If you care to take it over, I will patent it, or you can do so. We can arrange that betweenus, and if you think it is worth so much, I will take that for it.” He would have to take whatever the company offered, because he could not go anywhere else with his machine. If he refused to take what the company offered, what position would he be in? His machine could not be used.
– The company might do as combines have done in America ; they might pirate it.
– It could not be used by the boot and shoe manufacturers of Australia. I shall prove that in the only way I can by giving the Senate some idea of the operations of this company. I do not take this course from any spirit of antagonism to the company, because if this Bill is passed, there will be nothing to prevent the company carrying on their business with the boot manufacturers of Australia. So far as they are concerned the only difference which the passage of this Bill will make is that they will not in future be able to bind those manufacturers hand and foot. I propose afterwards to show if I can what will be the effect of this legislation on the machinery industries of Australia itself. I have before me copies of certain clauses in the agreement which the United Shoe Machinery Company compels all its clients to sign. They maysay that they do not carry out this agreement to the letter, but they undoubtedly have the power to do so, and if an individual manufacturer displeases the representatives of the company, he must put up with the consequences. Clause 6 of the United Shoe Machinery Company’s agreement is to the following effect : -
The lessee shall as and by way of rent for the use or hire of the leased machinery during the continuance of this lease pay in advance to the lessor on the day of in each year, during the continuance of this lease, the sum of£1512s. 6d. The lessee shall purchase exclusively from the lessor all fastening and other material used by him in or in conjunction with the leased machinery, and the boots, shoes, and other footwear made or partially made therewith, and shall pay therefor in cash on delivery ; provided, however, that in case at any time or times when the lessee shall require fastening or other material for use in or in connexion with the leased machinery, the lessor shall be unable or unwilling to supply to the lessee such fastening or other material, and at a price not more than five per cent (5 per cent.) in excess of the price for which the lessee can obtain such fastening or other material of equal quality elsewhere, the lessee shall be free for so long a time as he is unable to obtain the same from the lessor as aforesaid to purchase such fastening or other materials he shall require for use in or in connexion with the leased machinery elsewhere.
Then clause 10 provides that -
Upon the expiration or termination of these leases or any extensions thereof, from any cause whatever, the lessor shall be immediately entitled to the possession of the leased machinery free from all claims or demands whatsoever, and the lessee shall forthwith at his own expense deliver the leased machinery complete and in good order and condition to the lessor. The lessee hereby grants by way of easement or right to the lessor, its successors, and assigns, and such workmen or others as may be authorized by the lessor or its successors or assigns for that purpose, full right, power, and authority to enter upon the premises at Abercrombiestreet, Eveleigh, Sydney, New South Wales aforesaid, and into every part thereof where the leased machinery or any part thereof may be, and to take possession of the leased machinery, and take away the same, at the cost, risk, and peril of the lessee, and the lessee in addition and without prejudice to any other rights and remedies of the lessor hereunder, shall thereupon pay to the lessor such sum as may be necessary to put the said machinery in good or complete order and condition. And the lessee hereby for himself, his heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns, including his permitted sub-lessees or tenants, covenants with the lessor, its successors and assigns, to the intent that this covenant shall run as a burden binding the said premises that the lessor, its successors and assigns, shall at any time during the continuance of this lease, or so long as the said machinery, or any part thereof, shall remain or be in orupon the said premises or other premises of the, lessee, possess and be entitled to use and exercise such easement or right as aforesaid.
Clause 11 provides that -
A notice in writing, signed by the president, a vice-president, the treasurer, or the Australasian manager of the lessor, or by any assignee of the lessor’s rights hereunder, and posted by registered letter addressed to the lessee, or delivered at his usual or last known place of abode or business in Sydney, New South Wales, that the lease hereby granted is determined or shall be determined at the expiration of a certain period, shall be a sufficient determination of the lease from the time of posting or delivery of such notice, or from the expiration of the period therein mentioned, as the case may be. Any cancellation or termination of this lease shall not release the lessee from his obligation to pay for fastening or other material, duplicate parts, extra mechanisms, tools and devices, delivered prior to such cancellation or termination, and shall be without prejudice to any other rights or remedies which the lessor may have for violation of contract, use of machines without right, or use of patented inventions without license, and in no case (excepting as hereinbefore in clause Eight expressly provided in case within six years and eight months from the date hereof, the lessor shall cancel and terminate this lease upon sixtydays’ notice without breach) shall the lessee have any claim for the repayment of any sum or sums, or any part thereof, which he shall have paid as consideration for the grant of this lease, or for fastening material, or otherwise in respect of the leased machinery.
The agreement continues-
Unless sooner terminated by the lessor because of breach thereof on the part of the lessee or otherwise as herein provided, this lease and license shall continue during the continuance of any lease of any Goodyear Outsole Stitching Machine, Goodyear Welt Shoe Machine, or Goodyear Turn Shoe Machine, now existing between the lessor and lessee, or which may hereafter be granted by the lessor to the lessee, but the lessor may at any time at its option cancel and terminate this lease and license by giving notice in writing in the form and manner described in the last preceding clause hereof. Such notice shall take effect on the expiration of sixty days (60) from the date of posting or delivery by hand as the case may be. In this case this lease and license shall thus be cancelled within six (6) years and eight (8) months from the date hereof, then within twenty (20) days from the receipt by the lessor at its office at Sydney, New South Wales, of the leased machinery, complete and in good order and condition, the lessor shall credit to the lessee’s account with a sum equal to the “ lease premium “ paid by the lessee hereunder, less a discount therefrom at the rate of 15 per cent. (fifteen per cent.) per annum for each year, or fraction thereof, as shall have expired from the date until the delivery of the leased machinery by the lessee at the office of the lessor at Sydney, New South Wales, and less a sum equal to any Custom duty paid by the lessor on the leased machinery, the cost of originally conveying the said leased machinery to the factory or premises of the lessee, the cost of erection of the same, at such factory or premises, the cost of instructing the lessee, his operatives, servants, or employees, in the proper use of the leased machines, or if there should be no account between the lessor and the lessee, then the lessor shall pay the lessee a sum equal to the “ leased premium “ less such discount and deductions as aforesaid.
Now I wish to ask honorable senators whether, if a company has power to put any individual manufacturer under such “ restraints as are indicated in the clauses of the agreement which I have quoted, that does not amount to a restraint of trade? It may be said, and no doubt it has been said, that this company has never done anything of the kind, but I deny that.
– Could not the holder of any patent do the same?
– He might, if he could.
– Does the honorable senator object to the boot and shoe manufacturers being required to return the machinery in good order and condition? What portion of the agreement does he object to?
– I object to that part of the agreement which compels the lessee to purchase all fastenings and materials to be used in connexion with this machinery in the manufacture of boots, shoes, and other footwear from the company, and to pay up to 5 per cent. more for them than the pricefor which he could get them anywhere else. I object, also, to the lessor having the power, if a manufacturer adoptsany other machines to say, “ This contract must terminate.” Clause 11 of the agreement gives the company power in such a case to terminate the contract at sixty days’ notice. It might be said that that has never been done, but I shall give an instance where it has been done. It has been done here in Victoria. The copies of the clauses to which I have referred were taken from an agreement drawn up in Sydney.
– The same agreement is used all over the Commonwealth.
– Of course it is, but a particular instance of notice being given in the terms of clause 11 of the agreement occurred here in Victoria? In proof of this I quote the following letter : -
United Shoe Machinery Coy., Sydney, N.S.W., 15th February, 1906.
Mr. Henry Best, Shoe Manufacturer, 282 Wellingtonstreet, Collingwood, Melbourne.
You are hereby notified that we have elected to terminate the leases and licencesgranted. to you on the 30th day of April, 1903, and the 28th day of September, 1904, respectively of : -
for the reason that you haverefused or neglected to perform the conditions of the same.
The said leases and licences are hereby accordingly terminated, revoked, and annulled ; and we hereby forbid you and all other persons to use the said machines or either of them hereafter, or to use any of the patents which by the said leases and licences you were authorized to use. And we hereby notify you that we shall by our proper agent, take possession of the said machines, free from any right, title, or lien of any nature whatsoever which you may have had prior to this cancellation, or which any other person may claim to have in the said machines.
United Shoe Machinery Company, (Signed) R. L. Alley, Australasian Manager.
– Does the honorable senator know what the breach of contract consisted in ?
– The use of another machine.
– The agreement was annulled because Henry Best obtained a machine which he thought would be more efficient, and set it up in the same room with the Goodyear machinery. It has been said that the notice for the termination of the contract was given not on that account, but because Best owed the company some money. But it is a very peculiar fact in connexion with this incident that, when; the other machine was refused, the Goodyear machinery was allowed to stand there, and has been in operation in the factory every since. I have here a letter from Mr. Edward Fitzgerald to Henry Best and Company -
Imperial Chambers, Bank-place;
Melbourne, 15th February, 1905.
Dear Sir, - Referring to our interview with you this morning by the Melbourne manager of the United Shoe Machinery Company, when notice of cancellation of your lease from the company was served on you, and you forceably refused possession of the leased machines, I am now instructed to give you notice that if delivery of the said machines is not given to the local officeof the lessor on or before Saturday next, the 18th inst., legal proceedings will be in stituted for their recovery - for all sums due and owing by you and damage for illegal detention.
Yours truly, (Signed) Edward Fitzgerald.
This shows that what I have stated has been done. It may not have been done very often, but there is the one death at the crossing to which I referred some time ago. The one death has ‘ already taken place, and it requires only that the company should obtain a firmer foundation for their monopoly to make similar conditions applicable to every other manufacturer of boots and shoes In Australia. As a matter of fact, it is the fear that they may be deprived of this machinery, which, more than anything else, is making them dread the operation of a Bill of this description. But I say to the boot and shoe manufacturers of Australia that they need not be afraid. There is nothing in this, Bill to prevent them using the United Shoe Machinery Company’s machines, but, under this measure, although they may find it advisable to do so, they will not be bound to buy their fastenings and material from the company. On the other hand, there is nothing in the Bill which would justify the United Shoe Machinery Company, or any representative thereof, in withdrawing its business from Australia. It would only be placed on exactly the same footing asany other company. Yesterday Senator Symon indicated that this was the ‘only machinery which could be used, and that it would be a calamity to the boot industry if the manufacturers were deprived of its use. It is necessary for those who hold a different view to prove that there is no occasion for alarm. I shall proceed to show that the industry can be carried on without this machinery. Messrs. Bedggood and Company, one of the largest boot manufacturing firms here, have addressed the follwoing letter to the Melbourne representative of the Standard Rotary Company : -
We are very pleased to be able to answer your inquiry re the working of your machines by saying that they are quite up to what your company said they would be. In fact, we are better satisfied than we had hoped to be, seeing the difficulties that we were placed under by being the first who started this machinery in Australia. The. old Goodyear machines that we were running are not to be compared with the machines you have supplied, and best of all, of course, isthe fact that we have been saved from the pernicious royalty system. We bear no grudge against the Americans, far from it, but we don’t like to put labour into making our goods, and then divide the profits with an irresponsible party having the good fortune to control a few patented lines.
There is an instance of one of the largest manufacturers in this State being more than satisfied with British machinery, and that ought to please Senator Walker, Senator Fraser, and several other of the ultraloyalists in this country. The only difficulty which the Standard Rotary. Company, of Great Britain, finds in establishing the British manufacture here is the competition with the United Shoe Machinery Company, of America. It would have no difficulty in that regard but for the clauses in the agreement that compel the lessees of the American machines to employ no other machines in connexion with them. I have no grudge against the United Shoe Machinery Company. I only want the company to conduct its business in a legitimate manner far as I am concerned, it is welcometo remain in Australia, and to do all the business it can., until the day of judgment, so long as that business is done fairly, and in equal competition with our own people and the people of Great Britain. It may be said that it would never act unfairly. In order to show that the United Shoe Machinery, Company has not acted fairly, I have brought here a copy of an affidavit made by Mr. William Marshall, who in 1901 had a large boot and shoe factory in Port Melbourne. It is as follows: -
I, William Marshall, of 30 Russell-street, Melbourne, formerly of Nott-street, Port Melbourne, shoe manufacturer, do hereby make oath and say that -
In the year nineteen hundred and one (1901) I entered into a contract with the United Shoe Machinery Company of America, for the leasing of a consolidated hand method lasting machine. One of the conditions of the lease was that I had to pay them about seventy pounds (£70) cash when the machine was installed, and thereafter a royalty of fifty-two pounds (£52) per annum (this is as far as my memory serves me).
The United Shoe Machinery Company further protected themselves by insuring the machine for the sum of three hundred orthree hundred and fifty pounds, for which I was conditioned under the lease to pay the insurance premiums. On 17th September, 1901, my factory was totally destroyed by fire, and in the general destruction the lasting machine was ruined.
The United Machinery Company not only collected the insurance on the machine, but, acting under another condition of their “lease,” demanded and took possession of the “remains” of the machine, and would not make any refund of the original payment (seventy pounds), nor would they rebate anything out of the insurance money, which they collected, and the premium for which I had paid.
As far as I remember, the machine was installed only about two months prior to the happening of the fire. It had therefore hardly been used.
Declared before me this 19th day of July, in the year 1906.
j. Ham, J.P.
– They insisted upon the letter of the bond. ,
– The company extracted its pound of flesh, and all the blood it could get therewith.
– Has the company got the£300 ?
– The company claimed the£300, and, I understand, got it. I have also a letter which still further confirms that of Messrs.Bedggoodand Company. It isfromapartnerinthe Marshall Shoe Company, whose premises at Port Melbourne were burned out. He says -
With reference to our conversation of yesterday - we are pleased to hand you this letter, and express the hope that its contents may be of some service in bringing home the fact that some very stringent provisions are necessary where “ Trusts “ are operating.
As we have already told you, it is our fixed intention to have absolutely nothing whatever to do with the United Shoe Machinery Company, or, in fact, with any “Trust” which handles business on the lines of that company.
We are not hesitating at all to enter upon a manufacturing scheme involving an outlay of at least£10,000 for building and plant, and providing for a turn-out of at least 8,000 pairs of men’s welted shoes per week. Wearenotinthe least disturbed to-day in a prospect of this kind, because we can buy outright shoe machinery from your company as well as from the German company, which will not only perform the same kind of work, but, moreover, will do it so that not even one of the United Shoe Machinery Company’s experts could say definitely on which machinery the shoes had been made.
The most happy feature about the conditions under which we are going to work since we have been able to order from your company, machinery which does the same work as the United Shoe Machinery Company’s welting plant - is that we can withoutanyrestriction, and as a matter of fact, have already ordered several machines from local machinists - such a proceeding would never be tolerated by the United Shoe Machinery Company - if they could supply any of those machines.
You know thestand they have taken with many of the manufacturers before now - in fact, their leases are in themselves quite sufficient evidence.
At any rate, what with the help we are getting from your company, as well as from the Germancompany.andthe privilege we now have of buying locally - any machinery (not patented) - we are not the least afraid of being unable to hold our own.
If we can furnish you with any further information, we shall be most happy to do so.
The position I want to put to honorable senators is that, in Richmond, the Marshall Shoe Company are employing the machinery of the Standard Rotary Company and other companies, and are installing machinery designed and manufactured in Victoria. Under the conditions I have read, it would be impossible for a lessee to instal the machinery of a Victorian manufacturer without the consent of the United Shoe Machinery Company, which, according to the conditions of the lease, would not be granted. The fact is that if a person in Victoria had the capacity to invent a machine equal or superior to anymade by that company no opportunity for its use could be obtained except by selling to its representative the patent, probably for the price of a song. I wish to do away with that undesirable restriction, and to put shoe machinery manufacturers in Australia on the same footing as the manufacturers of similar machinery in other parts of the world. The only way in which that can be done is by preventing agreements such as I have indicated - that is, by passing legislation such as is proposed in the first part of this Bill. The boot manufacturers of this country have no cause, for alarm. As they have been to Senator Symon, so they have been to me and other members of Parliament to submit their case. The very first objection they made to the ‘Bill was in regard to clause 4. We were advised that, in order to make the meaning clear and definite, it was necessary to insert at the beginning of sub-clause 2 the words “ after the passing of this Act.” We pointed out that the Government had already declared that it had no intention of interfering with existing contracts. I - took the trouble to see the Attorney-General on the point. I would have seen Senator Symon, only that I did not think that he was under any obligation to tell me. In his speech he might have explained the position; but he did not do sq, . and therefore it was necessary that I, as a layman, should get legal advice, and get it as cheaply as possible. The Attorney-General thoroughly satisfied me that there was no necessity to insert the words “ after the passing of this Act,” because the expression “ in contravention of this section “ is used in the sub-clause. He pointed out that nothing could be done in connexion with any contract made be- fore the passing of the Act, because such a contract could not have been’ made in contravention of the section. H,e said that what was suggested was not a form of legislation which it was advisable to use. He added that to provide in a Crimes Act that “ after the passing of the Act “ murder would be an offence punishable by death would indicate that before its enactment murder would not be an offence at all. To enter into an agreement is not a crime, either morally or legally. Any agreements which had been entered into before the passing of the measure could not be interfered with, so that there is no necessity to use the words “ after the passing of this Act.” A similar amendment was asked for in sub-clause 2 of clause 5. Now, if it is unnecessary in clause 4, it is also unnecessary in clause 5. It is made clear throughout the Bill that the evil must have arisen since its enactment before administrative action can be taken in connexion with a breach of any provision. I think it will be seen that it really provides for everything that is necessary. The same principle is embodied in clauses 8, 9, and 10. Senator Symon had very serious objections to the use of the expression “ with intent.” I dare say that, if he moved an amendment for their omission, he would have the support of a majority of honorable senators.
– The reference is to a criminal offence.
– That is why the expression is used. It is only used in the case of a criminal offence.
– What Senator Symon was dealing with was the difficulty of proving intent.
– Yes. And the use of the expression “ intent “ is really not a blemish on this Bill at all, but is in favour of the .very people whose cause Senator Symon has been advocating. I pass now to clause 15. If honorable senators,- having read that clause, can prove to me that it is really necessary, I shall be prepared to support it. As I understand, if any person wants to be honest when he is doing something very doubtful, he can go to the AttorneyGeneral, and put the conditions before him ; the case can be advertised in the Gazette, and then if the transaction does take place the person will be in a better position than any one else. As I have said, if honorable senators are able to show to hazy individuals like myself that that provision is necessary, I shall support it. Then we come to the clauses dealing with dumping. I might cite several cases of dumping to a limited extent which have occurred in Australia, but it is not my intention to weary the Senate with them. This legislation is only for the purpose of preventing dumping when it becomes an injury to the producers, workers, and consumers of Australia, and it will be admitted, I think, that it is legitimate for us to attempt something of that kind. complaint has beer, made that the Comptroller-General of Customs is to take the initiative under this measure. Somebody must take the initiative, and I do not think that any one would be in a better position to judge of the effect of any importation than, the ComptrollerGeneral. He has to report to the AttorneyGeneral, who has to give’ his sanction to proceedings. The AttorneyGeneral would surely bring the matter before the Government. So that there is every safeguard.
– I do not think that that is much of a safeguard.
– I will tell the honorable senator what is a better safeguard than any. If he looks at clause 26 he will recognise that the ComptrollerGeneral will seldom do anything unless his attention is called to the necessity for taking action, or unless the case becomes so flagrant that he cannot shut his’ eyes to it. If statements are made to him that are likely to mislead him, clause 26 provides that the individual so offending mav be fined £100
– Suppose the person complained of were one of the 6s. a week boys in Mr. McKay’s industry?
– Does the honorable senator think that the ComptrollerGeneral of Customs is an idiot? Is it to be supposed that he would not read the Act, and would not know what his duties were?. If a man, a boy, or a woman came to him to make complaints, would he not consider his or her position ? The honorable senator can disabuse his mind of any apprehension as to the carrying out of the dumping provisions. I had no intention when I commenced to speak at the length that I have done; but seeing that such an influential member as Senator Symon occupied our time to such an extent yesterday after noon with contradictory arguments and sophistries, I thought it was necessary to deal fully with the subject. I hope that every honorable senator will give fair consideration to the Bill, and that when- it passes the Senate it will Le no worse, but a great deal better than it is now.
– When Senator Playford moved the second reading of this Bill, he assured the Senate that it had been carefully prepared by the Attorney-General, and that the other branch of the Legislature ‘ had bestowed an immense amount of pains upon it. I fail to understand the purpose of that assurance, unless it was an intimation to the Senate that we are expected to accept the Bill as’ a matter of form, and are under no obligation to examine its provisions closely. I have not assumed that the Minister meant that, but I earn see no purpose in; his statement unless it was a sort of appeal to us to accept the measure without very close criticism. No matter what amount of pains may have been bestowed upon the Bill elsewhere - no matter if the Attorney-General burnt midnight oil in the preparation’ of its provisions - in no sense can this branch of the Legislature shirk its responsibilities, unless it at once admits either dereliction ‘of duty or incompetence to perform it. I wish to give one or two reasons why we should examine the measure very closely. The first is that it is a kind of legislation with which we are not familiar. It is, as far as we are concerned, a legislative experiment; and whether it may be for good or ill, it certainly does require that we should extend to it all the consideration of which we are capable. Another reason why I think it demands close examination, is that, although it has had all the care bestowed upon it to which the Minister of Defence has referred, it has already undergone several changes. In 1905, a similar Bill was introduced. In the early part of this session another made its appearance. Finally that was recast; and now we have this measure modified by amendments in the other House into the shape in which it comes before us. So that, in spite of all the pains and thought that have, been given to the Bill, it is quite evident that there has been a process of uncertainty about its early stages; and that, I think, casts upon the Senate the obligation to look as closely into its provisions as we can in order that, if it is to” be passed into law, it shall be reasonably free from defects, and shall, as far as we can compass it, be effective in achieving the objects we have in view. I want, in criticising this measure - and I recognise the difficulty, to avoid to some extent treading upon the ever-present fiscal question; but I do desire to ask my protectionist friends - and I trust that I have some - to try to meet me upon a sort of neutral ground. I desire to approach it from the stand-point of one who, whether he believes in it or not, recognises that the policy of Australia, as represented by its Tariff to-day, requires that a reasonable amount of protection shall be given to Australian industries,” and that a stimulus shall be applied to those industries by means of a Tariff. In no sense do I forego my free-trade views, but I am trying to indicate a ground upon which, I think, both free-traders and protectionists may meet for the purpose of considering whether this Bill is advisable or not, and whether it will accomplish what it professes to accomplish or will go beyond it. There are three principles which I desire to assert as those which I think ought to guide us in consideringany measure coming before this Senate. The first of those three principles is. that it should honestly and clearly express its purpose, or, in other words, that it should not have an outward appearance and an entirely different inner meaning. The second is, that those responsible for the Bill should accept a maximum, andleave a minimum of legislative responsibility to those who are charged with its administration. The third is that we ought to legislate only after making ourselves acquainted and familiar with the utmost and latest information that it is possible for us to obtain. I think that no one will dissent from those, as three rules which may reasonably be accepted as safeguards in dealing with legislation. In my opinion, this Bill offends all three of those rules, and I shall proceed to show why. In the first place, I have stated that I think that legislation ought openly, and without ambiguity to state what its purpose is, and that the purpose which it professes to achieve shall be achieved, so far as we, being imperfect mortals, can attainthat end. This Bill, I think, whilst aiming at one particular matter - and to that extent I am partly in sympathy with it - goes much beyond that end,and has a more immediate purpose, which is not set out either in the title or in the protestations of those who are supporting it. It professes to be a Bill for the Preservation of Australian Industries, and for the repression of destructive monopolies. Now. so far as its clauses, are covered by that title, I shall give it a cordial support. But I wish to point out that it has a much wider scope, and that, as I shall have to show, outside the clauses which I say are covered by its title, it means one of two things. It either means prohibition, or it means nothing.
– “ Nothing “ cannot be one of two things.
– It either means prohibition, or it is a piece of wastepaper.
– The honorable senator may put it in that way if he likes.
– I am always anxious to adopt the views of the Minister of Defence whenthey coincide with my own. I wish to point out the justification for the remark that the Bill either means prohibition or is so much waste paper. I invite honorable senators to turn with me to clauses 4 and 5. Those two clauses, for the purposes of my argument, may be regarded as one. The only difference is that one deals with corporations, and the other with persons; but their effect is the same. Therefore, although I deal with clause only, my remarks cover clause 5 also. Clause 4 states that -
Any person who, either as principal or as agent, makes or enters into any contract, or is or continues to be a member of or engages in any combination, in relation to trade or commerce with other countries or among the States -
with intent to restrain trade or commerce to the detriment of the public ;
If the clause stopped there I should be entirely with if. It would accomplish the purposes for which the Bill has been brought forward - that is, the repression of trusts and monopolies. It would be an honest and straightforward way of dealing with the subject. But the clause goes further, and says -
The language is beautiful, and the sentiment commendable. But we are dealing with something more than mere platitudes ; and I desire to show the effect of this paragraph, if added to the earlier portion of the provision. First let me point out that paragraph a, which has reference to the restraint of trade or commerce, would be quite sufficient to deal with every suggested instance of combination, pool, or trust in the country to-day. That paragraph would meet the shipping combination, if one exists, and also the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, if that be a monopoly.
– Does the honorable senator say that that paragraph would be sufficient, without the provision for any penalty ?
– I am not now making any suggestion in regard to the penalty, but drawing a distinction between paragraphs a and b of clause 4. Paragraph a is a general intimation that any contract or combination with intent to restrain trade or commerce to the detriment of the public is wrong, and will be repressed. That portion of the clause has my cordial support, because it comes fairly within the compass of the title of the Bill, and it would accomplish everything in the way of preventative or remedial legislation, that even the most ardent supporters of Australian industries could desire. But I am trying to show that the clause passes beyond the compass of an anti-monopoly Bill, and brings us dangerously near the line of prohibition when it contains the words of paragraph b, which I have read. I. desire to justify and elaborate that position as briefly as I can. To enable me to complete my argument. I ask honorable senators to note clause 6, paragraph b of which - I leave out paragraph a, which has reference to a commercial trust - provides that competition is unfair when it “ would probably or does in fact result in am inadequate remuneration for labour in the Australian industry.1’ I desire honorable senators to connect paragraph b of clause 6 with paragraph! b of clause 4, and they will then see that it would only be necessary for those engaged in an industry to show that any line of importation would be detrimental to them, in order to prove that unfair competition existed, and to bring the importers under paragraph b of clause 4. Honorable senators, who are protectionists, if thev want prohibition, should at least honestly say so, and submit a measure clearly providing for the prohibition of certain imports. But if that is not the desire of honorable senators, and even if there is a fault in. the position I now put before them, I ask whether it would not be possible, in a case where the workmen or employes of an industry - I leave the employer alone - were injured by any importations, or where it was feared they might be injured, to set in motion the machinery provided by this Bill, with the effect of absolutely stopping those importations? Do my honorable friends desire prohibition? I am not now saying whether prohibition is right or wrong; it may be extremely desirable, or it may not. I do not propose to argue the question ; but I say that if prohibition is desirable it is incumbent on those who so believe, not to achieve it by a measure which ostensibly aims at something else, but to seek parliamentary and public sanction to a Bill which clearly prohibits the introduction of certain or of all imports. I know that I shall be told that it would be necessary before we could stop importations, to prove that the intent of those who were responsible for them was to destroy or injure, by means of unfair competition, any Australian industry. I desire to look at the word “ intent “ from two points of view. First of all, as shown by his interjections last evening and this morning Senator Trenwith evidently holds that it would be incumbent on the prosecution or the complainant to prove the intent.There are two ways of proving intent, so far as I know, though the ingenuity of Senator Trenwith may enable him1 to discover more.
– Two are enough, and one would be sufficient.
– So far as I. know, there are only two ways of determining intent ; one is to judge by some clear admission on the part of the party charged, and the other is to judge by his act, and the consequences of his act. I shall first consider the former method, because Senator Trenwith seemed to lay stress on the extreme leniency and equity of the Bill when he interjected that the intent would have to be prove’d. Does any one expect to get a conviction against an importer if we have to prove intent by the first method ? Does any one expect that any agreement made between an importer and a manufacturer in another country, or between, parties here, would commence by setting out in the preamble that the undersigned so-and-so, “being desirous of injuring, by means of unfair competition, any Australian industry.”? Does any honorable senator’ suppose for a moment that such a declaration would be found in any preamble to an agreement?
– Not much !
– I agree with the honorable senator for once. How can intent be proved except by the act and “its consequences? If the honorable senator admits that-
– I cannot admit that.
– Senator Millen may move to strike out the word “ intent “ if it so pleases him.
– Senator McGregor was not here when I pointed out that, so far as the earlier portion of clause 4 is concerned, I do not care whether the word “intent “ remains or not. My view is that whether ‘ 1 intent “ be there or not, it will make no difference - that we must determine a man’s intention by what he’ does, and the results of his action. I know of no other way in which we can determine intent in a criminal offence, unless, of course, a man makes a confession. But our ikings of commerce are not generally the men to make confessions the .moment they are confronted with an intimation that the Court desires their attendance.
– They will sometimes confess that the other fellow is wrong.
– In that case some amount of credence may be attached to a confession. But, as we can judge intent only by the act and its .consequences, it follows that where any importation does result in injury to an industry, we must assume that the mar. responsible for the importation intended that injury.
– Oh, no !
– What is the alternative ? How does the honorable senator propose to prove intent?
– I shall show later on.
– I shall await with keen interest the flood of light which the honorable senator promises to shed on the matter. To me it seems that there are no other alternatives but those I have suggested; either we must look for some evidence on “the part of the man himself - something he has written, said, or done - or we must be content to determine his intention by what he does and the results which flow from his action. That being so, we may discard all reasonable hope of ever finding any documentary or other admission on the part of those responsible for the importation, that they are importing solely, or primarily, or even incidentally, with a view to injuring an Australian industry. They would not make the admis-1 sion even if it were true.
– Probably it would not be true.
– We can only judge the intention by the act and its consequences.
– Hear, hear !
– I am glad the honorable senator applauds that statement.
– But the honorable senator said we could judge only by the consequences.
– I said that we could judge only by the act and its consequences.
– That is a different thing altogether.
– According (to the Bill, the act would be the importation, and the consequence of the importation would be to seriously disturb an industry, or to cause, in the minds of those engaged in the industry, a reasonable and perfectly honest and understandable fear that their business would be disarranged and their remuneration lowered. The moment that was shown, there would be proved an intent to injure an Australian trade; there would be the result of the act, and from that result we would have to judge the intention. If that be so, we would have absolute and lawful prohibition. The moment any importation took place and there was a nutter in some little factory, no matter how small, it would only be necessary for an employer to approach the authorities and point out that,, as the result, his employes would receive inadequate remuneration. Thereupon the machinery of the Bill could be put in force, which would enable the authorities to prohibit the importation.
– Would enable, but not compel.
– The interjection of the Minister means that there would be discretion - that some people’s goods would be admitted, and other people’s goods kept out. Is that so ? Is Mr. Hugh Victorious McKay to have his way in this matter, and other individuals to be brushed away from the Minister’s doorstep? Surely the Minister does not mean that.
– The honorable senator is citing an instance in which a man would have no case, and inferring that the authorities would proceed.
– I say that under the Bill there would be an excellent case.
– It might be only, some little twopenny-halfpenny affair.
– There would be no case unless it were proved that the importation was with design to injure an industry.
– I ask the honorable senator how he proposes to prove design, except by what is done, and the results which follow.
– Mr. McKay had no case, and yet see the result !
– I shall await with a great deal of curiosity the explanation which Senator Trenwith has promised, showing some other means of determining the intention, except the two I indicated.
– Every one admits that there are those two means ; but at another point, the honorable senator said that the consequences would prove the intent ; and from that view I dissent.
– I went through the various stages, and showed that the act would be the importation; that is, the first piece of evidence which . would prove the intention of the importer. Or it might be the act of entering into an arrangement here with some one from the other side of the world, for the despatch of goods. The consequences of that act might be a serious disturbance, or a fear of disturbance - it would not be necessary to have an actual disturbance - in some one of those little struggling industries of which Senator Trenwith has constituted himself so ardent a champion. In such circumstances the Minister might come along and say-
– But unless there was a case the Minister would not act.
– But there would be a case under the Bill, inasmuch as there would be a fear in their minds-
– There must be something more than a fear.
– There would be a case, inasmuch as there would be a fear in their minds that the competition would result in creating substantial disorganization. In my early remarks I pointed out that there were three rules. One rule is that the Legislature in proposing legislation should accept a maximum of responsibility, and leave the minimum of responsibility to the administration. But Senator Playford’s interjection shows that it would be possible for the Minister to say, “Yes, Mr. McKay, come in ; what can we do for you?” And then the Minister might turn round and say to another person, “ We cannot listen to you; your case is not one which appeals to us.”
– One is the “real McKay,” and the other is not.
– Exactly. I am sure that if Senator Playford were not a Minister in charge of this measure, and we were having a friendly chat in a more comfortable portion of the Chamber, he would be the first to admit that Parliament ought, as far as possible, to frame such laws as would render it impossible for any official or Minister to make “ fish of one and fowl of another.” The Minister must admit that as a principle.
– But it must be departed from in cases.
– I recognise the limitation placed on a gentleman who accepts the position of a Minister. The position has its advantages, but it also has the disadvantage that a Minister is often called upon to support measures containing principles which he is ordinarily not prepared to indorse.
– Has the honorable senator ever been a Minister?
– The country has not yet had the benefit of my services in that capacity ; but I ask the country not to despair. Before I pass from this matter, I should like again to emphasize the fact that if this Bill is honestly intended for the repression of destructive monopolies, and the preservation of Australian industries, and is not intended merely for the prohibition of imports, paragraph a of clause 5-
With intent tc« restrain trade or commerce within the Commonwealth, to the detriment of the public will be sufficient to do all that is required, and that part of the Bill I cordially support. In further proof of mv contention that this Bill - if it means anything, and if those who so ardently support it derive any hope at all from it - is a Bill to effect prohibition of imports, I return again to the dumping clauses. Honorable senators will see in clause 18 the same class of legislation as is provided for in clauses 4 and 5. In sub-clause 1 of clause t8, it is provided that for the purposes of this part of the
Bill competition shall be deemed to be unfair if -
That is proof again of the intent of a person to do something made wrong by this Bill. If a person imports, or, if honorable senators please, “ dumps “ goods in Australia, with the object of selling them at a lower price than will pay the Australian manufacturer of similar goods, the Minister is empowered at once to prohibit the importation! of those goods. Here, again, there is a portion of the Bill which would have been quite sufficient to meet what is ordinarily understood by dumping, if the intention had not been to go beyond that, and provide machinery for the prohibition of imports at the discretion of the Minister. I ask honorable senators to turn to paragraphs c and d,’ of sub-clause 2 of clause 18.They will find that it is provided that competition shall be deemed unfairun less the contrary is proved -
– What is referred to in both of those paragraphs is done every day, andevery hour of the day.
– I am not saying whetherthey are right or wrong ; but I say that those two paragraphs would be ample to provide for what is popularly understood by dumping - that is., the flooding of the market with the surplus products of other countries, or the bringing to our market of bargains picked up elsewhere. They would be ample to meet such cases, if those who are responsible for this Bill were content with that. But they wish for machinery not merely to enable them to keep out the surplus products of other countries, but to treat as dumping the importation of any goods which, if sold here at a less price than similar goods manufactured in Australia, would threaten to disturb an Australian industry. That is proved by the use of the words in paragraph a of clause 18, describing unfair competition - if under ordinary circumstances of trade it would probably lead to the Australian goods being no longer produced.
That means that if any importer who has the audacity to attempt to bring into Australia a line of goods, no matter under what conditions they may have been produced, in such a way as to enable him to slightly undersell the Australian product, so as to cause a disturbance in an Australian industry, he may be dealt with under one or other of the provisions of this Bill, which enable the Minister of the day absolutely to prohibit the importation of such goods. Let me anticipate one objection which may be taken to that general statement of mine. Sub-clause 3 of clause 18 provides that -
In determining whether the competition is unfair, regard shall be had to the efficiency of the management, the processes, the plant, and the machinery employed or adopted in the Australian industry affected by the competition.
Here is another of those nicely-rounded phrases the full value and beauty of which I should readily appreciate on the platform. But what does it mean here? I say that we may have an Australian industry the management of which, and the processes, plant, and machineryin connexion with which, are as up-to-date as enterprise, skill, ingenuity and capital can make them, and yet it may not be possible for that industry to compete with the products of similar industries in older countries of the world, for the simple reason that the local market may be too small.
– No such case could arise, because we should never have a local factory established under such circumstances. No one would establish a factory for such a limited market.
– Then I put this question to the Minister : Do these conditions exist in all the industries in Australia? Are none of them ahead of the requirements of the country? Have we no industry the establishment of which has been a little premature? The honorable senator, by his interjection, affirms that all the industries of Australia have been called for by the condition of things in the country, and that no one who has established an industry here has erred by being too enterprising, or misjudging the position.
– I say that no one would establish a factory with perfect machinery unless he was satisfied that there would be a market for his products.
– It has been repeatedly stated by the advocates of higher protective duties that, although the management of a local industry may be efficient, and its machinery up-to-date, it is not able to fairly compete with the products of similar industries imported from other countries.
– Because wages here are so much higher.
– For instance, our tanners could not compete with the tanners of Ceylon, where men work for two annas a day.
– That is exactly in accordance with what I am now contending, that, when any one attempts to bring goods here for sale at a lower price than that at which similar goods can be produced in Australia by efficient management and up-to-date plant, those goods will be prohibited.
– Is it not peculiarly the function of a Tariff Act to deal with that?
– The honorable senator was probably not here when I pointed out that, if prohibition of imports is desired the honest and decent thing to do both by ourselves and the country is to come down with a Bill providing for their prohibition, and indicating the particular lines of goods the admission of which is regarded as injurious. The great advantage of the adoption of such a course would be that it would have the element of certainty. I do not suppose that the Government would in such a case submit a measure of one clause prohibiting all imports. They would be able to make a selection of the particular imports they thought should not be admitted, and by prohibiting their importation they would leave a large volume of other imports, free from the uncertainty which this Bill undoubtedly creates, and free also from the opportunity for the exercise of that Ministerial preference or idiosyncrasy to which my honorable friend referred us just now.
– When we tried to do it by the Tariff the honorable senator was in opposition to us, and would not let us do it, and when we try another way he is not satisfied either.
– Then the Government are trying to do it by this means ?
– No, no; I did not say that.
– I invite the attention of the Senate to the Minister’s interjection. The honorable senator says that when the Government tried to do it - that is to provide for prohibition - by the Tariff we objected, and now, when they try to do it by this means, we object again. I thank the honorable senator for his admission. It is in perfect conformity with the interjection made by Senator Trenwith last night, and, as I shall show the Senate, it is in entire conformity with the statement with which Sir William Lyne presented the first of these Bills in another place in the session of 1905. Let me pass from that subject with this concluding remark : It appears to me that, under this Bill, the more effective outside production becomes the more the importations of that production will violate this measure.; The more cheaply production is carried on outside, and the more cheaply goods from abroad are landed here, the more violently they will come into conflict with this measure, in which we are asked to say practically that no goods shall be imported here for sale at a lower price than that at which we can make and sell them ourselves. I put aside for the moment the question of trusts and monopolies, in connexion with which I am entirely - with honorable senators opposite. My objection is to the power sought by this Bill to stop imports coming into this country and being sold at a slightly lower price than the products of Australian industries. I can give one or two instances, picked up quite casually of late, showing how this Bill might operate to the injury of legitimate trade. I have not looked for any of these instances, but I happened to be reading the newspaper the other day, and came across a telegram from a place called Coffs Harbor, a picturesque .seaport of New South Wales. I found that a meeting of dairymen had been held there, and that a combination was to be formed between them and a gentleman who offered to put up a butter factory to facilitate the marketing of the dairy products of the district. This gentleman would enter into the contract on one condition only, and that was that the dairymen would agree to give him the whole of their business for a fixed period. I say that that is ari’ absolutely justifiable,^ beneficial, and business-like operation”. But it offends against this Bill. A number of dairy farmers iri the district, without any means of getting their products away to the markets of the world, are looking around for some one to provide them with a butter factory. I admit that it was competent for them to provide a factory by co-operation, but they do not appear to have been in a position to do so, or they preferred that some one else should establish the factory. A gentleman with capital comes along, and says, “ I am prepared to erect a factory and to take on my shoulders the business of manufacturing your cream into butter, but I shall only invest my capital in the enterprise upon your undertaking to give me the whole of your business for a period of three or five years.”
– Whom would that injure? That would not be in restraint of. trade.
– Can the honorable senator point to ‘any provision in this Bill which would prevent such a legitimate arrangement ?
– This Bill would not interfere with it at all.
– One moment. There is no particular necessity for three or four honorable senators to become excited, or, if they must do so, let me suggest that they take it in turns. So far as I can unravel the cross-fire of interjections, I am asked to indicate the particular provision in this Bill which would be violated by such a contract as I have indicated. I say at once that clause 4 is violated as much by that proposal as by the shipping combine. The principle in the one case is exactly the same as in the other, and exactly the same as in the agreement submitted by the United Shoe Machinery Company, to which Senator McGregor referred. Senator McGregor quoted clauses of that agreement with the approval, apparently, of the Senate, under which the, company undertook to supply machinery to individual manufacturers conditionally upon their undertaking not to do business with any one else.
– And keeping a preference of 5 per cent.
– That was a second point on which I agreed with the honorable senator, but I have referred to one which is sufficient for my purpose. I asked Senator McGregor to indicate the portion of the agreement which he was quoting, to which he objected. I agreed with the honorable senator in his objection to the preference of 5 per cent. The condition that any manufacturer shall be bound to deal solely with a certain person is the principle of the sugar combine, and the same principle is found in the instance I have just quoted.
– The honorable senator said just now that he would vote for that part of clause 4.
– Of course, I did.
– And now the honorable senator says it will be injurious.
– The honorable senator might have waited until I had finished my observation. T am pointing out that the Bill, as he admitted in reply to an interjection of mine, makes no difference between a beneficial trust and an injurious trust when they come under its operation. The reason why I bring up these matters is to show that whilst it may be extremely desirable to legislate in restraint of injurious combinations, there is a class of combinations which are not only beneficial, but, I contend, without fear of contradiction, absolutely necessary to the development of our commercial life. We must be careful that in trying to restrain injurious monopolies we do not also cripple or prohibit that useful combination of capital which is taking place in every direction. I wish the Minister to show me how, except by an act of Ministerial grace, he could differentiate in has treatment between the butter combine at Coffs Harbor and the United Shoe Machinery Company’s agreement referred to by Senator McGregor? I now come to another matter, and here I get a little more clearly within the four corners of the Bill.
– The honorable senator requires to.
– I am not speaking with the slightest hope of carrying conviction to Senator Best, for in my wildest dreams I never anticipated that anything I could say would in any way influence his preconceived judgment. I need only remind honorable senators that the Bill singles out pools, trusts, and combinations for special treatment. I propose to invite the Minister’s attention to a particular matter, in order that immediately the Bill is passed he may take action to stop a certain importation, and if ‘he ventures to do so I shall watch, the result with interest. Not long since the Government of New South Wales invited tenders for the supply of 5, 000 miles of rabbit netting from the manufacturers of the world. A combination, or, if it is preferred, a trust, ‘of English manufacturers, put in a tender to supply the whole quantity, apportioning amongst themselves the proportion which each company should furnish. I believe that it comes nearer to the definition of a pool, as understood in America, than to anything else. This association embraces six well-known English firms, whose names I need not give. The Government accepted the tender, and shortly the netting will be shipped. The effect of its importation will certainly be to seriously disorganize the one netting factory we have in New South Wales. In two senses the contract will violate the provisions of this Bill. In the first place, the tendering association is a trust, combine, or pool on the other side of the world ; and in the second place, the introduction of this netting at a price which is probably from 30 to 40 per cent, below the price of the local product, must seriously disorganize the one industry we have in Australia for the manufacture of that article, and even if it does not immediately disorganize it, it certainly will come within the clause which deals with importations, “ probably “ resulting in an inadequate remuneration for” labour.
– The honorable senator must remember that they need not combine in that way again.
– I am giving two instances where I venture to say there has been a -beneficial result from the combination. Will any honorable senator dispute that in both these cases the combinations are justifiable, desirable, and advantageous ?
– In the latter instance the companies might have tendered at a lower price if they had acted separately.
– That, of course, is a matter with which I am not dealing. Under this Bill it would be competent for the Minister to prosecute in both those cases.
– It is to be hoped that he will.
– My honorable friend must be seeking a revolution, because I venture to say that the Minister of Defence, at the head of ‘ his troops, would be necessary in order to prevent the landing of that netting at Sydney. It would be a repetition, in a reverse way, of the Boston episode of some generations ago. I do not believe that the Government would attempt to put the Act in force to prevent the carrying out of that contract, and, if it would not, I want to know where it would step in. If it is competent for the State Government to enter into a combination with a trust in England for the importation, of netting to the serious disturbance of affairs in Lysaghts factory in Sydney, and the Commonwealth Government is going to stand by, when will it step in ? Is it also going to stand by when some individual attempts to do the same thing on, perhaps, a larger scale ?
– In some places, there are Wire-netting Boards, which are in a sense local governing boards, and occasionally they import wire-netting.
– I do- not know whether the Boards import, or whether the State imports for the Boards.
– Usually the State imports.
– In New South Wales and South Australia, the State imports, and in Queensland, I think, the State either imports or guarantees the accounts of the Board. It is immaterial, however, whether it is the State or the local governing Board that imports. There is the fact that the importation will take place, in direct violation of this Bill, should it become law. I venture to say that the Government would remain silent while the violation went on. It would not dare to move in a case of that kind.
-CoL. Gould. - An individual might move though.
– Is the Common- wealth Government going to remain inactive when a State Government breaks the - law, and only to move when a private individual comes along to interview them? Are we to have further instances of Mr. McKay pouring his piteous tale into the too receptive ear of Sir William Lyne, or is the Government going to move? Surely there ought to be a clear indication laid down as to what might be done, and what might not be done. To pass a measure of this kind, unless it is intended that it shall Le carried out in its entirety, is practically to say, “ We will allow importations when the Minister approves, and we will prohibit them when he disapproves.”
– Really, it is making fish of one and flesh of another.
– Just now the Minister made that admission in one of his happy interjections. He said that in many Bills the Parliament gave power to Ministers, but that they did not always exercise it, and that I took to be an admission that it was not intended always to put the stringent provisions of this Bill into active operation.
– That is. what is called the “new politics.”
– The Bill assumes a little common-sense on the part of the Minister as the Immigration Restriction Act does.
– We all have a great opinion of our own common-sense. I have affirmed that the object of the Bill is to achieve not merely the repression of monopolies, but the prohibition of imports. I desire now to quote from a gentleman who should be an authority on this subject, and that is Sir William Lyne, who, speaking on the 13th December last, said -
X feel that no excuse is necessary for the introduction of the Bill, but if it were, it could be found in the statements published in the newspapers of the United States of America, showing dimensions to which enormous octopus trusts of that country have grown, and the harm which they have done, not only by their cheap exportations of manufactures to other countries, but by buying up and destroying the smaller internal business concerns of the United Slates.
Is this Bill required to restrain future exportation ? Is it seeking to restrain Mr. McKay from selling his harvesters to the outside world possibly for less than he charges here? My honorable friends know that that is not the purpose of the Bill. It has been pourtrayed both outside and inside the Parliament as a measure to cive increased protection to those engaged in the manufacturing industries. In a recently published1 address Senator Trenwith was very emphatic on the necessity of a Bill to give a larger measure of protection, in order to shield the local manufacturers.
– Hear, hear ! A protectionist Tariff.
– A protectionist Tariff, complete and effective.
– My honorable friend takes me back to the point. If the protectionists think that we ought to have such a Tariff as would amount to prohibition
– The honorable senator was professing to quote me, and I gave the instance in which I used the expression.
– I accept the correction, but subject to that I would point out that in a recently published address my honorable friend did point out the desirability of having a Bill of this kind, which, by stopping or checking, importation, would give a larger market and greater protection to those engaged in our manufacturing industries. I do not profess to quote his exact words, but that was the substance of his address. I do not quarrel with it on the present occasion, because there will be a time for us io argue the fiscal question. Those protectionists who believe that we should have a higher measure of protection, even up to the limit of prohibition, ought not to seek to obtain it bv a subterfuge such as this Bill would be if it really had that object in view; but they ought to come down with an honest, straightforward Tariff or a prohibitory proposal, so that both Parliament and the country could know what they were invited to assent to. In support of the view that the real object of the framers of the Bill is net to deal with trusts and monopolies solely - I assume that it does that - but also to obtain a larger measure of protection without the direct mandate of the country, or without even the courtesy of informing the country of what they arc doing, I shall now make a further quotation from Sir William Lyne -
Surely it behoves us in this young Commonwealth »to extend to our native industries more protection than we have hitherto afforded them. The protection which they at present enjoy is almost a myth.
That statement was made, not in submitting a Tariff proposal, but in submitting an Anti-trust Bill to the other House, last December, and it is entirely in conformity with the interjection of Senator Trenwith. I do not propose to more than briefly touch upon the genesis of the Bill, seeing that Senator Symon has dealt very fully and effectively with that aspect of the case. I reaffirm that we should never ha,ve heard of the Bill but for the very skilful Americanlike agitation which Mr. McKay launched upon this country. Apart from the fact that he haunted the lobbies at that time, we can trace his hand 111 &. variety of newspaper paragraphs, and notably the one regarding the dismissal of his hand’s at Ballarat, tis we know now, for the purpose of bringing them down to a district outside the operation of*the Wages Board. We can see that he has not been slow to learn the lessons of the great American trusts of which he professes to be so much in fear.
– I suppose it was because he was frightened.
– Of what?
– -The proper terri to apply to Mr. McKay is not fear, but greed. There is no evidence that during the last few years he has not done an increasing and increasingly profitable business. If any of the figures which have been given, or any of the statements which have been made, are distasteful to Mr. McKay, he has himself only to blame, inasmuch as, whilst other manufac.facturers were prepared to submit their books for examination to the Tariff Commission, he discreetly refused. If, therefore, we use figures which are not strictly accurate, the fault is his own, and the remedy is in his own hands. That much is absolutely proved by the evidence given before the Tariff Commission. I am not speaking of evidence given by the importers, but by those connected with the manufacture of harvesters. First of all, it has been proved that there have been increased exports, and that the manufacturers have been making more money than they formerly did. May I ask what justification there is in that for paying too ready an attention to the complaints of Mr. McKay?
– If what the honorable senator says is true, this Bill would not effect the harvester industry.
– I say that under this Bill it will be open for the Minister, if he listens to Mr. McKay, to absolutely stop .imports. Twelve months ago, or less than that, Mr. McKay told this Parliament, and caused paragraphs to be published - whether he was responsible or not, statements were made on behalf of those engaged .in the industry- - to the effect that there was to be a diminution of employment because of the importation of harvesters. Those statements were published’ broadcast throughout the country in the journals devoted to the interests of protection. The Age re-affirmed them, and wrote leader after leader pointing out that in consequence of these importations the wage-earners’ interests were seriously threatened.
– As a matter of fact that happened.
– I will accept that statement. Senator Trenwith says that it is a fact that, as a result of importations, the wages in the industry were injuriously affected.
– That is, the amount of employment was lessened.
– Four hundred odd machines came in which might have been made here.
– But 400 machines went out of the country in competition with other manufactures ; and it would have been quite competent for these people, who have a monopoly, which the honorable senator professes not to believe in, to sell their machines in the country, and not export them. My honorable friend said just now that the Bill would not affect the harvester industry. I am pointing out that if the Minister decides to carry it out literally the representatives of the employes who, as Senator Trenwith says, have been injured, can commence an agitation, and point out that, as the result of importations, their wages have been, or are likely to be, diminished, when the importations may be prohibited. I want to follow this a step further, and deal with the statement that wages were reduced.
– I wish to be perfectly correct. What I mean is that employment was reduced, but I do not allege that individual wages were reduced.
– The honorable senator means that the total number of hands employed was less?
– I mean that in connexion with this,, branch of the industry employment was reduced.
– In the making of harvesters, wages were reduced?
– Employment was reduced ; fewer hands were employed.
– But more machines were turned out.
– Senator Trenwith means that if Mr. McKay gets a monopoly more hands will be employed.
– What I mean is what I said - that during last year fewer hands were employed on harvesters than in the previous year.
– The evidence given before the Tariff Commission shows that more machines were made. The reason of the disparity is one that we cannot affect by any legislation which we pass; that is, that bv the use of more efficient machinery you are bound to have a greater production with less employment of labour. That is what has happened in this industry. The honorable senator knows that as well as I do; and it is merely throwing dust in the eyes of the people to point to the fact that fewer hands were employed in making these machines, unless it is also pointed out that more machines were made. Let me quote from the evidence of the Tariff Commission. Mr. Moore was asked, in question
Can you say of your own knowledge whether other firms are suffering loss from the operations of the Tariff?
His answer was -
None that I know of are losing.
Then some pertinacious questioner, whose identity is not revealed by the number of the question, asked (question 161 75) -
Are you getting no more than the same rate of profit now that you did before? -
The answer was -
Perhaps a little more.
That is exactly what I should expect with more efficient machinery, when, although fewer hands are employed, more capital is put into a business. It may not then be an unreasonable thing to expect a little more profit. That seems to me to be only a natural consequence4 and it applies to every business. Let there be no mistake as to what the manufacturers of harvesters want. The same witness was asked -
How do you put your case?
He replied -
Briefly, I claim that a duty should be imposed which would cause Hie importation of stripper harvesters to be discontinued.
That ds an honest, straightforward, and clear declaration. Is this Bill the answer to it, and, if co, is it equally straightforward and clear? The manufacturers of harvesters who came before the Tariff Commission had no ambiguity about what they asked for. There was no deception, no cloaking of their real object. The agitation which we have had in reference to the harvester question was part pf the policy of these manufacturers to secure the prohibition of importations, and the answer to it has been the introduction of this Bill, which I venture to say, if it is put into operation, will absolutely insure prohibition. That is the object of it. On this subject of the inevitable tendency of capital to aggregate by means of superior machinery superseding inferior machinery, and that is what is taking place in the Sunshine Harvester Works, let me quote from this morning’s Age - a journal which my honorable friends opposite will admit la occasionally right in its statements-
– I will admit that, even in the case of the honorable senator !
– With all its astuteness, the Age of this morning publishes in a leaderette what is, from its point of view an unfortunate statement, having regard to the fact that the Senate has before it this very Bill. It says: -
Economic production in the last resort depends on the magnitude of the operations, and this points to concentration as the necessity of the times. How this works out may be seen in the fact that in the last ten years the men in the German iron trade have increased by 47 per cent., but their output has increased by 84 per cent. This is the result of improved machinery and concentration of effort. The result is that German wealth is multiplying ‘at an unprecedented rate. The income assessable for taxation increased by about ^27,000,000 in a single year. Germany is not altogether free from the unemployed problem, but the Fatherland has grappled with it much more successfully than England has.
That is exactly the case, and it is the one argument brought forward by those who, like honorable senators opposite, es’pouse the socialistic doctrine which occasions me serious thought. It is a recognition of the continually growing accumulation of capital which we are not going to stop by this puny piece of legislation.
– It is only Mrs. Partington’s broom !
– It is the one thing which we cannot deny, however much we may profess to explain it. It is there in spite of us, and in some way or other we shall have to deal with it. This Bill certainly fails to deal with it. I will cite one who surely ought to be able to speak with authority on the subjectnamely, the President of the United! States. His opinion will, at any rate, be accepted bv the Minister, in view of the fact that my honorable friend referred us largely to America. The President of the United States has indicated that the big trusts of that country cannot be dealt with by such legislation as the Government proposes in this case. The Minister here says that you can repress them. The President of the United States admits at once that you cannot. He points out, as the Age does in the article which I have quoted, that the trust is but the crystallization of that concentration and aggregation of capital which is going on everywhere, and he adds that to attempt to repress that movement is idle, and that our effort must be directed to regulate and control it.
– That means pure Socialism.
– Well, as I have said before, that is the one point which has occasioned’ me serious thought with regard to the socialistic programme. It has occurred to the President of the United States, as it ought to occur to honorable senators, that it is impossible to sweep back the great economic forces which are at work by a piece of legislation like this. What you mav do is to divert the tide of monopoly from one channel into another. You may stop the operation of monopoly from outside by creating monopoly inside, but you are not going” to stop the aggregation of capital, or the coreen- ‘tration of effort, by any such means.
– It is possible to control a monopoly inside easier than one outside.
– - The Americans have not found that to be so.
– They are controlling the trusts in America now. Only recently the Court fined one man /3, 000, and put him in gaol for three months.
– As to what has happened in America, clearly Senator Playford has not been so closely watching events as would appear from his statement. If he had been, he might have noticed a discussion upon an Act recently passed by the United States which was aimed at trusts without mentioning them. I refer to a debate upon a Bill to enable the manufacturer of denaturized alcohol. The object of that Bill Avas largely to fight the Oil Trust by making the manufacture of alcohol free. It was admitted bv those who supported the measure when it was going through Congress, ar.d by the American press, that it would strike the most effective blow yet attempted at that trust.
– That was not the sole object.
– But the Bill would never have passed but for the desire to strike a blow at the Oil Trust. I do not mean to say that that was the only reason that was given, but it was the reason which influenced a number of votes and determined the issue.
– It illustrates the fact that there is no better way of fighting a monopoly than by increasing competition.
– Exactly, and that is what the United States Congress has done in this instance. I invite the attention of honorable senators to an interesting article in the Scientific American, published only two months after the decision of Congress, and which deals with a multiplicity of small inventions, having for their object the utilization! of this product, to make it available to the various rural industries of the country. The article is published in the Scientific American for the 2nd June, and if honorable senators refer to it, they will find it to be informative.
Sitting, suspended from 1 to 2 .p.m.
– Prior to the adjournment I had dealt with two out of the three principles which I suggested ought to guide us in our legislative work. I propose now, as briefly as I can, to refer to the third principle, which is that in our legislation we ought to act in. the light of the fullest possible information we can obtain, or which is obtainable. In saying that this Bill does not meet with that condition, I refer, of course, to the fact that we are legislating now without that information which, with a short delay, would be made available to us as the result of the work of the Tariff Commission. That Commission has been sitting for some months, has travelled over a large portion of the Continent, and has taken a vast amount of evidence, and its labours are, at any rate, so far as a portion of the commerce of the country is concerned, nearly completed. It seems to me that ‘after months have been wasted, or occupied, and the country has been put to the cost of thousands of pounds, it is not business-like for us to proceed to legislate until we have the advantage of such information as that
Commission can afford us. The Minister of Defence, in reply to an interjection on the subject, stated that he was a member of the Tariff Commission for a considerable length of time, and that, whilst the Commission had collected a little information, he could tell honorable senators that it was all in the one direction. Against that statement by the Minister of Defence, I remind honorable senators of the remarks made by Sir John Quick, the Chairman of the Commission, and by Mr. Fowler, a member, both of whom expressed the opinion that the information which would be made available as a result of the work of the Commission, would have an important bearing on the subject, and would be extremely useful to the members of this Parliament, and that it should be in their hands before they were asked to give a decisive vote on this Bill. 1 think we may safely take the two members of the Commission I have mentioned - who, unlike the Minister of Defence, are still members of the Tariff Commission - as the safer guides. Ever* if the Minister’s statement be correct that the Commission has gathered only a little - information-
– That was while I was al member.
– The Minister will see that I am not challenging his statement, but merely arguing the point. Even if we accept the Minister’s statement that the Commission collected only a little information, it is better that we should have it rather than proceed to legislate on the noinformation with which the Minister supplied us - a little is better than none. It is impossible, even by stretching the terms of courtesy to the fullest extent, to say that the Minister of Defence, in presenting the Bill, gave us any enlightenment as to the industries of the country. The honorable senator dealt with generalities, so far as our manufactures are concerned, and made a great many statements relative to America, but in no sense did he attempt or pretend to furnish evidence showing the condition of the industries which this Bill is supposed to assist. We should be only acting in a way that would commend itself to the common-sense of the people in anything but politics, if, having had this Commission at work at considerable cost for many months, we deferred our final consideration of the Bill, until its reports were in our hands.
– This was all argued out in the other House.
– Here we have the old argument again; and I am really surprised. I observe, with a great deal of regret, that at. a time when there is a general tendency outside to overlook or ignore the Senate, we have remarks from a responsible Minister, and the leader of the Senate, that can only tend to confirm and strengthen that public opinion.
– When a Bill is sent from the Senate, another place may say the same and does say the same.
– Does it?
– We can say anything ; but it does not follow that because the Senate has dealt with a Bill, the other House ought in any way to shirk its responsibilities.
– Decidedly not.
– Nor doer it follow that because the other House, so far as it is able, or according to its lights and wisdom, approves of a Bill, therefore we ought to accept that fact as abundant evidence that the Bill is all right, and that we have nothing to do but to pass it in a formal way. I have frequently placed before the Senate my view as to the position which this branch of the Legislature ought to occupy. We must be extremely optimistic if we shut our eyes to the fact that the Senate does not stand as high as it should in the public estimation. We shall still further weaken our position if we show, by assenting to such a suggestion as the Minister has made, that we are merely a Chamber to register the decrees of the other branch of the Legislature. However, I now return to my contention that we should deal with this Bill only after we have been placed in possession of that fund of information which the Tariff Commission must have collected. I desire now to show, in support of my plea for a little delay, that, even according to the Ministry, there is no urgency regarding this Bill. Senator Playford, in introducing the Bill, said -
I submit that it is a great deal better for us to place this measure on the statute-book now than to wait until the evil actually exists.
Sir William Lyne, in) a newspaper interview reported on Monday fortnight, said -
It has three great principles. . First of all, it is a Bill for the future rather than the present. It aims at preventing restraint of trade.
Here are two admissions, one by the Minister in charge of the Bill in another place, and the other by the Minister here, that this is a preventative measure, and is intended for the future rather than the present. Clearly, therefore, on the showing of the Ministry, there is no particular urgency : certainly no urgency which to my mind would justify us im finally dealing with the Bill until we have been placed in possession of the evidence which the Tariff Commission has collected. While quoting the utterances of Ministers, I cannot view without some measure of suspicion the remarkable change of front on their part regarding the urgency, or the want of urgency, of this measure. Although they now tell us that this is a Bill entirely for the future, and not for the present, the same Ministers were, only a few months ago, giving to the country quite a different story. Sir William Lyne, in December last, when introducing the first Anti-Trust Bill, said-
This Bill has been introduced to prevent the possibility of serious important trouble occurring during the next hine or twelve months.
In the same speech Sir William Lyne went
On to say -
That precaution is taken for the purpose of preventing the wholesale importation which, according to the rumours we have, might otherwise take place. I must admit that they are only rumours, so far as the harvester question is concerned. We have no authentic information as to 2,000 harvesters being on the water or as to any number being made, but I have no doubt that a large number of orders have or will be given, and that unless we pass this legislation the machines will be here before next spring. . .
Well, the spring has come and gone, and we have an assurance from Ministers now that this is a Bill for the future. Concluding that portion of his speech, Sir William Lyne said -
The first and best thing to do is to prevent an influx of the productions of those monopolies such as has already created trouble to many of our own people.
It is clear that Sir William Lyne contended that the trouble did exist, because he spoke of the “ trouble to many of our own people” - the already created trouble. I shall not weary honorable senators with quotations, but I should like to remind them of the pathetic appeal made by the Attorney-General, when he implored Parliament not to go into recess without passing the Bill. The Attorney-General made the touching, reference to imaginary consequences, that Ministers, like other honorable members, were extremely anxious to get away to enjoy their Christmas dinners, but that they dared not think of doing so when thev knew that hundreds, and thousands probably, were watching the fate of the Bill with anxiety, knowing that but for its passage there would be no Christmas dinner for them.
– Figurative statements !
– Call it “ high falutin’.”
– Senator McGregor suggests that I should call this touching appeal “high falutin’ “ ; but that is not the term I should apply to it. It was a statement made by a Minister nine or ten months ago, imploring Parliament to deal with the Bill as a matter of urgency. Now we are told by Ministers that this Bill is not at all urgent, but is for the future, and not the present. I admit that the courtesies of parliamentary life require one to place certain restraint on his language, but if this happened in commerce, or in any private transaction, would we not naturally view with some suspicion an assurance given by, gentlemen who, within a few months, have turned such an absolute somersault? It seems to me, in view of the assurance that Ministers have given, thai there is no necessity for the Bill now, and that if the Tariff reports be so nearly completed, there is something a little suspicious behind the undue haste with which we are asked to pass the Bill. It occurs to me that this haste probably arises from a fear on the part of the Government and their friends that the Tariff Commission’s reports, instead of lending support to the measure, will possibly show that it is unnecessary, or that certain of its material provisions ought to be seriously amended. I ask Ministers and honorable senators to regard the Bill as they would a matter of personal interest to themselves - as it is, and as it ought to be - and to say whether in dealing with their private concerns, they would, after appointing some one to take evidence and report on a certain branch of their business, take action before receiving the report, which, might have an important bearing on the matter. As businesslike and common -sense people, we should wait until the report was in our hands before we decided to make any radical alteration ; and that is exactly what I ask the Senate and Ministers to do in relation to this Bill. There is no necessity to tie our hands or delay proceedings if honorable senators assent to the view that this Bill ought not to pass out of our purview until we have the reports of the Tariff Commission. We could agree to the second reading, and even take the measure through the Committee stage if we liked, or, having agreed to the second reading,, we might suspend further progress until we have the reports. As a third alternative, we might have the delay at the third-reading stage. However, I ask honorable senators to assent to the proposition that this Bill ought not to leave the keeping of the Senate until we are fully armed with all the facts, figures, information, and recommendations of the Tariff Commission. I have dealt with certain of its provisions, and now I desire to draw attention to certain omissions. It seems to me that it is wanting in two very material factors. As a natural complement to the Bill there ought to be an ample provision to protect the employes engaged in the industries which are to receive benefit. Although there are clauses here which do connect the producers, the workers, and the consumers, it is obvious to those who look at the Bill quite apart from party considerations that there is no adequate provision of the kind to which I refer. On whatever side they sit, and to whichever party they belong, honorable senators will accept the proposition that whenever by legislation we seek to confer benefits upon those engaged in industries, they should not be conferred solely upon employers, but, as far as possible, be distributed fairly between employers and employes. I say that this Bill fails in that regard. Beyond the general clause, in which “ workers are referred to - and to which, in the light of what we heard yesterday evening, I might refer as a picturesque clause - there is nothing in this Bill to protect the rights and interests of the workers. Sir William Lyne, in dealing with this matter, said -
I shall not take any action to help the manufacturers in this or in any other industry unless I get an assurance that the price is going to be a reasonable one.
That is perfectly fair as between manufacturer and consumer, but this Bill does not contain any assurance of the kind. We have here no assurance that the manufacturers are going to charge only reasonable prices, nor have we any guarantee from them that their treatment of their employes will be equitable and reasonable. Both these objections to this measure should be remedied before it is passed by the Senate.
I am not quite clear on the point, but I believe a.n effort was made elsewhere to deal with this matter, and certainly if this is to be a complete and evenly-balanced measure it should contain some provisions of the. sort. I may be met again with the statement that by the clause in which producers, workers, and consumers are bracketed, the interests of workers and consumers are fairly protected. But in answer to that, I point to the disclosures in the press to which Senator Symon referred yesterday, as showing that the condition of the employes in the harvester industry cannot be said to be satisfactory. It would be impossible to pass this Bill into law and deprive the proprietor of the harvester factory indicated of its benefits without at the same time depriving other manufacturers of harvesters, who are treating their employes fairly, of the same benefits. I at once admit the difficulty of dealing with the matter under the machinery here provided. But I do say that, if we are going to confer an increased measure of protection in the interests of the manufacturers, we should enact some provision which will guarantee that the employes in their factories will be fairlytreated, and that the public will not be fleeced. Whatever this Bill may profess to aim at, we know that in practice it is those who are engaged in an industry who take an active part in appealing for fresh legislation or for the repeal of existing legislation, by which their interests may be affected. In connexion! with certain cases brought before the Arbitration Court of New South Wales, Judge Heydon pointed out that a, very erroneous impression prevailed, under which it was believed that employers and employes had only to arrive at an agreement for the apportionment of the profits of an industry between them in order to secure the sanction of the Court. Judge Heydon, however, said that it was necessary for the Court to interpose in the interests of the public, and he pointed out that, whilst unions of employers and employes we:’e existing bodies in a position to come before the Court, and give expression to their views, the public was without organization, that there was no one to come forward on its behalf, and it was, therefore, the duty of the Court to step in and say that no arrangement should be made between employer and employe to the detriment of the public. I should like to know what will happen under this Bill? Who will speak for the public in this matter? The only way in which we can protect the public will be by the adoption of some such provision as that enacted in Canada or in New Zealand - that where an effort is made on the part of the manufacturer to raise prices, there shall be a lowering ot the duties, in order1 that external competition may be applied as a corrective to the action of the manufacturer, who, taking, advantage of the protection extended to him, seeks to unduly fleece the public who may be compelled to buy from him. The Canadian Act provides that, in the event of any disadvantage accruing to the consumers, in the case of articles on which duties of Customs are imposed, the articles shall, be placed on the free list, or the duty shall be reduced in order that the public may have the benefit of competition. That is a reasonable protection in the interests of the public. Unless honorable senators desire to place local manufacturers in a. position to absolutely dictate prices to the local consumer, they will sympathize with the view I have expressed as to the necessity for providing some safeguard. If it should be said that the clause I have already quoted, in which producers, workers, and consumers are bracketed, is sufficient, I should like to ask why there is a special provision for the protection of the consumers of agricultural machinery. Subclause 8 of clause 21 provides that in the case of certain agricultural implements, which are set out - the Justice shall inquire into and determine the question whether the goods are being imported, with the effect of benefiting the primary producers, without unfairly injuring any other section of the community of the Commonwealth.
That provision is in the interests of the consumers of agricultural machinery, but its insertion, clearly proves that the clause in which producers, workers, and consumers are bracketed, is not regarded as affording sufficient protection to consumers who use agricultural machinery. A special measure of protection is extended to them, but why?
– Because some honorable member in another place was playing to the gallery
– I admit Senator McGregor’s competence to judge as to an art of that kind.
-Col. Gould. - Is Senator McGregor prepared to strike out that provision ?
– I am not particular. I do not think that it is necessary.
– But if it is absolutely fair to direct the Judge to inquire into and determine the question whether goods used by the farming population are introduced with a view to benefiting the primary producers without unfairly injuring any other section of the community, it is equally fair to make similar provision in connexion with the importation of mining machinery.
– It should be the same with respect to everything.
– I quite agree with the honorable senator. I say that if it is decided to afford a greater measure of protection to local manufacturers, we should have a guarantee - and there is only one way in which we can have it - that they shall not be placed in such a position as to be able to unduly levy toll upon the consumers of the country, or to treat their workmen unfairly. These are two propositions which honorable senators are not likely to dissent from ; but the question is whether they will be prepared to assist me to provide means by which such provisions as I have indicated shall be incorporated in this Bill.
– We have - tried that often, and the honorable senator has never given us any assistance. We shall be glad to welcome him to the right side at last.
– Unfortunately for the honorable senator’s interjection, what he and his friends are always trying to dc is what the Government are seeking to do under this Bill. I say. that I am opposed to monopolies, and am willing to restrict and restrain them ; but they add to their proposals provisions which cover very much more, and because I am unwilling to swallow the whole Bill, Senator Stewart wishes to make out that 1 am opposed to a particular portion of it. That is not a fair position to assume. I say that I shall be glad to be associated with any other honorable senators who agree with me in assisting the passage of that part of the Bill dealing with destructive monopolies, but I say also that we should provide some safeguard in the interests of consumers and workers if we are to give increased protection to the manufacturers. Senator Symon last night referred to the uncertainty which a Bill of this kind would create in the minds of those engaged in commerce and industries generally. I do not propose to labour that point. I think it is accepted by everybody that the more definite and certain we make our legislation, the better it will be for all concerned. I wish honorable senators, if thev believe that the time has arrived to shut out certain importations, to recognise the great advantage which would arise from a simple measure of prohibition as compared with the provisions of a Fill such as this. A measure prohibiting certain imports would, if passed, leave all other branches of trade absolutely free and unrestricted, and those engaged in them would have absolute knowledge that there was no law in existence threatening their interests. But if we pass this Bill, the object of which may be to prevent the importation of half-a-dozen lines of goods, we shall throw those interested in all other importations into a state of uncertainty. It is for that reason - and because I believe that it is highly desirable, in the interests, not merely of importers, but of all engaged in trade and commerce, and of the country, that we should reduce the element of uncertainty to an irreducible minimum - that I ask honorable senators to consider” whether it would not be better for the Government to bring in a simple proposal, following the lines of the New Zealand Act, indicating the class of goods desired to be prohibited, and then leaving all other branches of importation to be dealt with by the Tariff. If that was’ not sufficient, I say that it would be far better for the Government to deal with this matter by the Tariff, which would afford a means by which Parliament itself might say to what extent importations should be controlled. To deal with the matter in this Bill is to leave it to outside influence, to political influence, to the personal equation of a Minister, and, it may be, to the varying attitudes of a jury, to say what shall be the law of the land. I do urge, in the circumstances, that it is extremely desirable that, instead of adopting this course, Parliament should itself take the responsibility of saying to what extent importations shall be prohibited or permitted. That can be done adequately and fairly by means of the Tariff. I desire now only to thank honorable senators for the patience with which they have listened to me, and to repeat again that, so far as the provisions of this Bill provide for repressing destructive monopolies, and are aimed at any restriction upon the freedom of trade and commerce, I shall support them loyally and heartily. But, so far as those provisions are concerned, which to my mind, indicate either an electioneering placard, or which spell prohibition, I shall give the measure my unhesitating disapproval and my hostile vote.
-Col. GOULD (New South Wales) [2.28]. - I had hoped that some honorable senators on the other side who intend to support this Bill would have taken advantage of the opportunity to say a few words before the debate closes. One is led to believe that there is almost a conspiracy of silence, or a conspiracy of absence, on the part of honorable senators who are disposed to support the Government in this matter. It is not fair to the Senate that there should be a danger - as apparently there was, when after the question had been put, I rose - of the debate on so important a Bill being closed after one speech from the Minister in introducing it, a speech from the leader of the Opposition, another from the leader of the Labour Party, and one from Senator Millen. It is difficult to follow others who have spoken on the same side, and who have gone into the matter as fully and as clearly as Senator Symon and Senator Millen have done. In view of the fact that the Bill was debated in another place for a considerable length of time, and that there was very strong opposition shown to it, as well as strong evidence of support for it, it would be a mistake if we were to so belittle the position of the Senate as to admit that all that need be said here on the second reading of this Bill has already been said. It is only fair to the public generally that honorable senators should not only record their votes, but voice their reasons for adopting a policy which, although it might be expected to emanate from the Government, is absolutely new and experimental. Before a policy of that character is adopted we ought to know the opinions of the whole of the members of both Houses, so far as they can be expressed. Certainly there are no members of the Senate who are not quite capable of giving expression to their opinions if they see fit to do so. The unwillingness to speak, therefore, does not come from unpreparedness or unfitness to discuss the question, but from a desire not to prolong the debate. It has been admitted by several honorable senators that the Bill contains some principles which might fairly be accepted by the country, but still they hold the view- and it is a view which I strongly support - that this is not the time to legislate in thisway. It is utterly absurd for Ministers to come down andsay, “We want to make provision against the possibility of something happening in the future,” when there is no reason to believe that there is any probability of that thing occurring. For more than half-a-century responsible government has existed in Australia. During the whole of that time the citizens of each State have done the best they could in order to promote their own prosperity, and of course the prosperity of the country as a whole. But no State Parliament has ever been asked to legislate so as to prevent monopolies!, or trusts, or combines, or to stop dumping, all of which things we presume are dealt with by this Bill. Of course, during that time we have had protectionist States. Victoria, for instance, went up to the high-water mark of protection. She seemed to consider that it was the policy which would best suit her interests, and best promote the interests of the community at large. How far it has done so is another question, and one on which I suppose there is a possibility of difference of opinion. I know that the protectionist policy of Victoria. did. not compare at all favorably with the free-trade policy of New South Wales. In my opinion, the best policy is to make the trade of a countryas free as possible - that is, within reason - and not totry to coddle various little industries in order to protect a few individuals, or even in order, as might be imagined by some persons, to protect our own people solely and at the expense of the world. It will be found that a country cannot protect its own people in that way, and that they will suffer from the enactment of restrictive legislation. Let it always be remembered that Australia contains only a handful of people, and that until it gets a much larger population it will be utterly impossible for us to manufacture every possible article which may be required. No doubt if we chose to put a certain restriction upon trade we might do almost anything we liked for the benefit of a few individuals. Who are the persons to be considered in connexion withany legislation - the handful of persons who are engaged in a particular branch of industry, or the people who are scattered throughout the length and breadth of the country ? We are told that there is a certain number of persons engaged in the manufacturing industries. But we are asked to close our eyes to every other class. I ask honorable senators whether the bulk of the people in Australia are employed in manufacturing industries or in primary industries ? No new country can be great unless it first of all develops its primary industries. Take the wool-growing, the farming and dairying, and the mineral industries. Are not these the industries upon which this country has been built up, and which sustain it to-day ? I do not desire to belittle the importance and value of manufacturing industries, but I contend that, like a child, a country must grow gradually. In a young country we need to develop first the primary industries. Those industries which are natural to the soil should not be handicapped in order to benefitother industries which, under ordinary circumstances, would come into existence at a later date.
– In this Commonwealth, the State which has been mosthampered is the most agriculturally progressive.
.- I admit that for many years the State of Victoria was in the van of agricultural industry, but it only attained to a certain standard. Victoria had a small territory with convenient ports, but the larger Colonies, with their greater areas, had great primary industries to look after. So far as the pastoralindustry was concerned, every State was ahead of Victoria, and, therefore, it developed its agricultural areas. But now we find that those States are developing their agricultural resources at a very great rate.
– Simply because of protection.
.- No. Prior to the establishment of the Commonwealth, New South Wales - and I believe it was the case with other States - was pushing ahead, and had absolutely over taken Victoria with regard to population and agricultural industries.
– The big increase in the wheat area of New SouthWales took place after Mr. G. H. Reid had repealed the duty imposed upon wheat by the Dibbs Government.
.- That is so, notwithstanding the immense distances which the wheat hadto be hauled. Since Federation, we have established a system which may be regarded as protective. I presume that Senator Trenwith will say that, although it is not sufficiently protective, the system is not free-trade, but revenueproducing.
– A revenueproducing system which is incidentally protective.
.- It has not been the means of increasing the prosperity of any one of the primary industries of this country. It has been shown that, in Vic-, toria, wealth to the amount of £33,000,000 or £34,000,000 was produced last year, being an increase upon the wealthproduction in the previous year. But in New South Wales, where the great pastoral industry and the great mineral industries, other than gold, are established, wealth to the amount of £45,000,000 or £46,000,000 was produced last year. The figures show that both States materially improved their positions during the year, but that was not due to any policy adopted by this Parliament. I do not know how much wealth was produced directly by the manufactures of Victoria, but I venture to say that it did not come to more than a third of the total, and that the other two-thirds must be credited to the purely primary industries. Although this is not directly, it is indirectly and very clearly, a. Tariff Bill. It proposes to place the whole policy of this country in the hands of one man. The Minister did not attempt to say, “ Here is a Bill under which, by the fiat of one man, we shall be able to establish a prohibitive Tariff and prevent the importation of certain implements which may be required for the country, in order to benefit a single manufacturer or a set of manufacturers.” If he had made that statement to the Senate we can imagine what an outcry it would have raised throughout Australia.
– It would not have been true if I had said it.
.- I ask any honorable senator to read the Bill, and see whether, by the fiat of one man, it would not be possible to prohibit the importation of certain goods.
– The honorable senator said, “ To benefit a single manufacturer.”
.- During the debate a great deal has been said in regard to a certain firm. If one-half of it is correct, there has not been too much said in derogation of the policy adopted by the firm. . I do not wish, however, to deal with any particular firm, but to discuss the question on broad lines, and to inquire whether this is ameasure which will operate in the interests of the community as a whole, or in the interests only of a special body of men. It has a history, and has appeared in various forms. In its original form it placed much more power in the hands of the Minister than it now does. In the other House certain alterations were made,notably to enable a Justice of the High Court to deal with cases in particular instances. But the whole policy of the Bill has, from its inception, been one of prohibition and interference with the free play not only of commerce, but of a man’s industry. That is not a policy which should be adopted by this country. Suppose that the introduction of harvesters has caused a fall in price of the local article, or a decrease in local production. Who has been the gainer? Are not the farmers to be considered? Are not the farmers amongst those who give life-blood to the whole of the Commonwealth?
– They would be the greatest gainers under the Bill.
– It would not benefit a single article which a farmer, could produce. If the honorable senator could show that by raising the prices of agricultural implements it would benefit the farmer, then we might say well and good. If he could show that while the farmer would be called upon to pay . £100 for an implement which he can buy to-day for £80, he would get £120 instead of £90 for his produce; then, perhaps, we should have to admit that the farmer would make a little gain.
– Will not the honorable senator show how the Billwould make the farmer pay £100 instead of £80 for his implement?
– McKay showed that.
– No, he did not.
.- By protectionyou artificially cause an increase of prices.
– Let the honorable senator show that.
.- What is the object of protective duties ?
– To maintain the home market for the home manufacturer, so that he may be able to work cheaper.
– -How often has it been so?
– Let the honorable senator take the records of the United States, and he will find that articles manufactured there are sold abroad at prices from 20 to 50 per cent. lower than are charged to American citizens. Perhaps the honorable senator means that, by means of internal competition, prices will be brought down?
– Then that means that,, instead of a man getting 8s. perday for his labour, he will get, perhaps, 6s., as has been the case in Germany and other protectionist countries. If we contrast the rates of wages paid in Germany and England, and the prices paid by consumers in America and England, we find that the English wages are higher and the English, prices lower in every case.
– A Commission from Germany showed recently that wages are as high in that country as in England.
– I venture to say that, if the honorable senator examines the facts closely, he will find that they are not so strong as he seems to imagine.
– The statements are made by labouring men.
-Col. GOULD. - A great deal depends upon the preconceived opinions of those who are placed upon Commissions. Has there been any demand for legislation of this description? In the States before Federation, no such Bill as this was attempted to be passed. Senator Millen has quoted a statement by the AttorneyGeneral that numbers of people would be unable to get their Christmas dinners for want of a measure of this kind. But we went into recess without passing the Bill then before Parliament. It has been reintroduced in an entirely different form. That shows that there was a mistake in regard to the original measure. Then take the Chambers of Commerce throughout Australia. Not one of them has pronounced in favour of this Bill. Are not the representatives of the Chambers of Commerce men who are interested in this country ? Is it to be sup posed that they would oppose any measure which was essential for the welfare of Australia? I decline to believe it.
– Chambers of Commerce are more prone to pass condemnatory resolutions than otherwise.
– Unfortunately they have too much occasion to do so. The Chamber of Commerce of Sydney is composed of men who are vitally interested in the prosperity of this country, as well as, of course, in the prosperity of their own businesses. The chairman of that body said, as one of a deputation that waited upon Mr. Carruthers -
The Chamber has studied this Bill very carefully. We are convinced that it cannot fail to promote constant litigation between the public and the Department that has it in hand. It seems to us that this Bill will create so much uncertainty that the mercantile community willbe rather afraid to carry on their ordinary business.
That is not a random statement. It is made by a gentleman in a responsible position, after due consideration. It is incumbent upon this Parliament to consider opinions of that kind. I admit that no petition has been presented to the Senate against the Bill. But here is an expression of opinion from a deputation which waited upon the State Premier, regardinghim as being concerned in everything pertaining to the well being of New South Wales. Mr. Carruthers, in reply, admitted that this matter came within the ambit of the Federal Parliament, and said that he could not interfere. He told the deputation that they must approach their representatives in this Parliament. No exception can be taken to Mr. Carruthers’ statement in that respect, though I daresay that if he expressed his personal opinion it would be strongly condemnatory of this Bill. It may be asked whether the statement of the Chairman of the ‘Chamber is justified. The whole Bill bristles with reasonswhy we should say that it is. Under this Bill it will be an offence to enter intoany contract or be a member of any combination with intent to restrain trade or commerce to the detriment of the public.
But it is, a common law offence to do anything to restrain trade to the detriment of the public. The law may not be so strong as some honorable senators would like it to be. but this Bill goes too far altogether. Then again, it is to be an offence to destroy or injure any Australian industry the preservation of which is advantageous to the Commonwealth, having due regard to the interests of producers, workers, and consumers.
Then we have clause 6, which deals with unfair competition ; and amongst other things it provides in sub-clause 2 that - in determining whether the competition is unfair regard shall be had to the efficiency of the management, the processes, the plant, and the machinery employed or adopted in the .Australian industry affected by the competition. That is a direct incentive to people not to keep themselves abreast of the times by utilizing labour-saving machinery or adopting efficient processes.
– Surely it has the very opposite effect.
– Say that there is a factory which manufactures some particular article in Melbourne, and that it has allowed its machinery to get a little bit out of date. Say that another manufacturer in New Zealand makes the same article with up-to-date plant and machinery.-
– In that case no action could be taken under this Bill.
.- The Bill says that regard shall be had to efficient management. The Melbourne factory may have a manager who is as efficient a man as can be obtained, but the New Zealand factory, in addition to having improved plant, may be managed by a man of superior calibre. The consequence will be that it will be held that the New Zealand product competes unfairly with the Melbourne article.
– No, there is no redress in such a case.
.- But the Bill attempts to give redress if the Australian manufacturer says “It is quite impossible for us to compete with the importer.”
– The manufacturers must keep up-to-date, or they will get no redress under this Bill.
– I maintain that the measure will operate as a direct incentive to inefficiency. Then, take this case : With a limited population, there is naturally limited production. Where there is, a great population there is great production, and the manufacturers are able to send large quantities of goods out of thf. country at a cheap rate. But this Bill practically says that goods so cheaply manufactured shall not be allowed to come into Australia. Is that fair? It may be advantageous to the individuals who are producing articles in small quantities, but is it advantageous to the public? In whose interests ought we to legislate? We ought not to pass Bills for a mere handful of people engaged in any particular industry. No doubt if we pass Acts which enable manufacturers to charge a high price, and to have the market for themselves, it will be possible for some of them to say, “ We are finding employment for your sons and daughters “ ; and possibly one or two of them will be able to engage a few more hands. But that will not show that the legislation is beneficial to the country generally. This Bill will operate most unjustly to the consumers for the fanciful advantage of a few manufacturers. ‘ Coming to the question of dumping, what are we asked to do? We are asked to restrict competition. Take a case that occurs everyday : Goods made for a particular season are sold at perhaps 50 per cent, less when the season is over. Would it be fair to attempt to interfere with particular sales, such as are held by all storekeepers, particularly by those in a large way of business? Would it be fair to prevent those storekeepers from disposing of out-of-season goods, simply because a number of small store-‘ keepers had not been able to dispose of similar goods, and could not afford to make a sacrifice sale? In the old country, a manufacturer , might, have in stock certain goods which were not quite up to his standard, and, as in many “ similar cases, he might desire to dispose of them for what they would fetch. Frequently such goods are sent out to Australia, and though not of quite first-class quality, are still good enough for the people to purchase.
– Not good enough’ for England, but good enough for Australia 1 <
– Australia, is a good1 rubbish heap !
.- For that matter, so is Great Britain anr! every country in the world. For instance, there might be a carpet of good solid manufacture, but containing a single blemish. That carpet would be just as comfortable and convenient on the floor of Senator Guthrie’s house or my own as a. more expensive article; and it would be very wrong to describe it as- rubbish, because, on account of the blemish, it could be sold at a low price. Under the Bill, however, such an article would come within the meaning of dumped goods, on the ground that it could not be produced at the price at which it was sold. If the desire be to make Australia an expensive place to live in, by all means let us have this kind of legislation ; but we must remember that the additional expense would fall on people who, in their own industries, would not get one penny more for their productions. If Australia were made an expensive place to live in, would the pastoralist get one farthing more for his wool in Great Britain? Would the wheatgrower get1d. a bushel more in London? Would the producer of minerals be any better off? We know perfectly well that the prices of all these primary products are regulated outside the Commonwealth. In none of the primary industries can we regulate prices; and these are the industries in which the majority of thepeople. are engaged, and which represent the bulk of the wealth of the country. Is there a desire to drive people from primary industries into manufacturing industries? As I said before, I have no wish to belittle manufacturing industries, which must develop in the natural course of events; but, at the same time, we need not drive the people into factories sooner than is necessary. Where do we find ‘ the bone and sinew of the country ? Not in the.factories.
– In the blacksmith’s shop.
– In the blacksmith’s shop, and on the farm - amongst the men who are engaged in the pastoral, agricultural, and mining industries.
– How many are employed in the pastoral industry?
.- A great many more are engaged in the primary industries than in the manufacturing industries.
– I am asking as to the pastoral industry.
.- I have already said that I am not in a position to give the absolute statistics in regard to particular industries; but I know that, at least two-thirds of the people of this country are engaged in primary pursuits; indeed, I doubt whether as many as onethird are employed in manufacturing.
– The transport industry is a big one, and it is neither primary nor manufacturing.
.- Yes, and how is the transport industry kept going, except by the primary industries?
– It is very largely kept going by the manufacturing industries.
– More largely than by the primary industries.
– I would not say that.
.- The primary industries constantly employ the transport industry. I should like to draw the attention of Senator Trenwith and others to the statistics given in the paper which has been circulated, dealing with trust and antitrust legislation in the United States and Europe. In that paper, there are shown the prices given for various articles in the United States, ascompared with prices given for the same articles in foreign countries to which they are exported. For instance, wire nails manufacturedinthe UnitedStatesaresoldinthehomemarket at $2.05, and in the foreign market, at $1.30 per 100 lbs. ; galvanized wire rope is sold in the home market at $9.70, and in the foreign market at $3.12 per 100 feet; table knives- are sold in the home market at $15, and in the foreign market, at $12 ; farm waggons are sold in the home market at $65 as compared with $39 in the foreign market; sewing machines are sold in the home market at $45 as against $27 in the foreign market ; and steel rails’ are sold in the home market at $28 as compared with $23 in the foreign market.
– Every one of those articles has a heavy protective duty in its favour.
.- Tin plates, typewriters, lawn mowers, and other articles show similar differences in price, proving clearly that the cost is enhanced to the consumer in the home market.
– We cannot buy in Australia to-dav an American, typewriter at anything like the price at which it is sold in America.
-I can only quote from the information which has been placed before us officially.
– I know from experience.
.- According to the paper from which I have quoted, typewriters are sold in the home market at $100, and in the foreign market at $55 to $65. The price all depends on the quality and make of the typewriter ; but I venture to say that I could get an American typewriter in Australia to-day for less than $100. Under this Bill, the Minister may determine to prohibit the importation of particular articles; and, that being so, would he not be able,, if he thought fit, to direct prohibition in order to benefit one, two, or three particular firms at the expense of the consumers of the article in question ?
– The Minister could not do that, because the question would have to go before the Judge.
– The ‘ Minister and the Comptroller-General are given power to do a certain thing.
– Only to make preliminary inquiries.
.- I observe that in certain cases the Attorney-General has to give permission before proceedings are taken, but in other cases no permission whatever is necessary, any individual being at liberty to institute a prosecution. I am speaking as to the provision dealing with the intent to restrain trade or destroy industry.
– I thought the honorable senator was referring to the question of dumping.
.- In regard to the offences for which a penalty of £500 is provided, any individual in the community may set the law in motion.
– I understood the honorable senator to be referring to dumping, and it was to that part of the Bill my remarks were confined.
– In regard to dumping, a certificate is to be obtained from either the Attorney-General or the Comptroller-General - I am not sure which - before proceedings are taken ; but in regard to the repression’ of monopolies, any one may institute proceedings, and cause a great deal of difficulty and expense to the individual who is made the defendant. Such proceedings may, or may not, be malicious; and it is not of much use to talk about there being a remedy afterwards, when the person against whom the remedy is sought may be a man of straw. If we are to have this kind of repressive and restrictive legislation, it ought to be hedged round with protection for the individual ; and before proceedings are taken, it should be necessary to obtain the permission of the Crown Law officers.
– Would not the ComptrollerGeneral consult the Crown Law officers ?
.- In regard to the repression of monopolies, there is no restriction - any person may lay an information.
– But any person cannot start a prosecution.
– No proceedings should be taken except directly by the Crown Law officers. A man might give information to the Crown, but he ought not to be at liberty to take proceedings without the authority of the AttorneyGeneral for the time being.
– Does clause 10 not cover the point
.- That merely refers to an injunction.
– Is it not the intention to have a certificate from the AttorneyGeneral.
.- I do not know what the intention is, but if there is not already a provision of the kind, I hope honorable senators will see that an amendment is inserted providing that the authority of the Attorney-General shall be necessary for a prosecution.
– Clause 14 provides that no criminal proceedings shall be instituted, except with the authority of the Attorney-General or some person authorized by him.
– It is possible that that clause provides what I desire.
– A person injured may, according to clause 11, go straight to the High Court.
.- That is an ordinary common law action.
– As under the Sherman Act, the Attorney-General also may go to the High Court and obtain an injunction.
.- A great deal has been said in regard to the question of intent ; and there is no doubt that it would be most dangerous to have legislation which would punish people for offences they never intended to commit. In criminal matters there must be an intent to do wrong, coupled with an act ; and, therefore, it was wise to make this provision for the proof of intent, in order to provide some kind of protection for the individual who might inadvertently commit an offence. There is no doubt that under other legislation people have been severely punished for technical breaches of the law, which were presumed to be crimes ; and even under the Bill, as it stands, a certificate given by the ComptrollerGeneral in certain cases is to be taken as prima facie evidence of certain acts, and the onus of proof to be thrown on the defendant. Clause 18 provides -
In the following cases the competition shall be deemed unfair unless the contrary is proved : -
In all these cases, the competition is to be deemed unfair until the contrary is proved, that is to say, the Bill throws the burden of proof on the defendant. I say that that is unfair and unjust.
– It is done in the Customs Act.
.- It is, and it is done most unjustly and unfairly in the Customs Act also.
– These provisions are to be found in Customs laws all over the world.
.- I am well aware that very strong powers must be placed in the’ hands of Ministers to insure the proper control of the Customs. I am aware also that those powers can be abused, and I am very sorry tosay that they have been seriously abused in the Commonwealth. I therefore object to the perpetuation of a system which appears to me to be contrary to all principles of justice and fairness. Under this Bill, we are asked to say to importers, “You are guilty of unfair competition, and it is now for you to prove that you are not.” It is proposed that the authorities shall affirm that the importer is guilty of unfair competition, and that he shall have to prove a negative. I repeat that that is neither fair nor just. We have claimed from this side that no reasons have been given to show any necessity whatever for the introduction of this Bill. The only attempt made by honorable senators opposite to meet our contention has been to allege that certain monopolies exist in connexion with the tobacco industry, the shipping industry, and the Colonial Sugar Refining Company. At the same time, it is admitted that monopolies may be beneficent, and that their operations may be of advantage to the community at large. I join issue with honorable senators who claim that the enterprises to which they have referred as monopolies are monopolies in the strict sense of the term, or that their operations are dangerous to the interests of the community. A number of men are the pioneers of an industry, and as soon as it becomes sucessful, we invariably find some persons ready to cry out that it has become a monopoly. If we desire that this shall be a progressive and prosperous country, we should be prepared to help individuals in every way we can to make their enterprises successful’; otherwise persons who are disposed to be energetic and enterprising will lose heart, and will not strive to benefit themselves or the country. The industries which have been referred to by honorable senators opposite are largely Australian industries built up by honest effort, and, instead of attempting to pull them down, we should rather assist them in every way we legitimately can.
– That is the intention of the Bill.
.- If it is, I hope that it will be carried out, but, before I resume my seat, I must enter my protest most emphatically against the excessive amount of legislation with which the Commonwealth is being inundated. Parliament is not constituted merely for the purpose- of passing legislation, whether it is required or not. Not only the Commonwealth, but some of the States, would be very much better off with a great deal less legislation than they have had, and a great, deal more of careful administration calculated to make Australia attractive to people in whatever industry they may be engaged. Instead of adopting that course, we are hampering industry, and putting everything into leading strings. We are placing in the hands of men possessed of no practical knowledge the power to regulate and control- all the industries of the Commonwealth. I ask honorable senators to consider the men who have occupied positions as Ministers of .the Crown in the Commonwealth, and to point out the “Admirable Crichton “ amongst them who has personally known what was best to be’ done in the conduct of tha industries which, by our legislation, we have absolutely placed in- fetters. Whilst I should be prepared to assist the Government at all times to put down abuses and injustice wherever they are found to exist, I shall not be a party to the passing of -legislation conferring powers of the most drastic character upon Ministers in anticipation of something which may happen. When ‘ these evils arise, it will be time enough to deal with them, and we must then be careful not to pass legislation which is likely to have the effect of injuring industries of value to the country. My determnation in regard to this Bill is to vote against the second reading, and, should it pass that stage, and go through Committee, I shall probably be found dividing the Senate on the third reading, because I consider that it is entirely unjustifiable, and unnecessary, and an absolute interference with the rights of individuals, which should not be attempted by any Government or Parliament that has any respect for the welfare and liberty of the people over whom they are called upon to preside.
– After the speeches which have teen delivered by Senators Symon, Millen, and Gould, it is scarcely necessary for me to say anything on the second reading of this Bill. But there are one or two points to which I propose to briefly allude. I agree with those who have already said that this is really a prohibition Bill. I dread the introduction in a great country like Australia of anything approaching the prohibition of imports. Those who desire- such prohibition should have the manliness-‘ to bring forward a proposal to amend the Tariff in that direction. The Bill soclearly infringes individual liberty that I propose to give the Senate the benefit of” a few lines from Professor J. Shield? Nicholson, Professor of Political Economy1 in the University of Edinburgh. He says, on the subject of liberty - ‘
But do you think that any strength of imagination, or any persuasiveness of words, could in-‘ duce the people who had felt the benefits anc?’ the manliness of liberty again to submit toslavery in any shape or form? Do you think., it would reconcile them if their masters were( to be a central assembly elected by themselves,, with committees and sub-committees ad infinitum until we reach the state-bailiffs, overseers, and? managers chosen, we will suppose, by competitive examination ?
The opposition between real progress and ideal Socialism on this question of liberty cannot be shown by one example, or even by many. It isan opposition that is marked throughout. Slavery,’ large as it looms before us, is but oneexample. Liberty is as essential to the reas n. as to the spirit of mankind. Every revolution in-, science, every radical invention in mechanical’ appliances, has, in the past, been opposed by some form of authority, if it be only that most: deceptive but most oppressive of all - public opinion.
– Has not some one said -
O liberty ! liberty ! how many crimes arecommitted in thy name !
– Senator Symonlast night informed us that the earning, power per head of population in Canada is j£i6 5s. ; in New South Wales, /Ti 4 14s. ; in the United Kingdom, £fi 18s. 6d. -r and in Victoria, ^27 19s. 6d. That showsthe absolute non-necessity of this kind of legislation, especially as regards VictoriaYet Victorians are, I suspect, the greatest, sinners in desiring it.
– Why call them sinners ?
– Perhaps the hon’orable senator would prefer that I should call them saints. I believe that good may come out of evil as regards this measure, because I think that it will give the antiSocialistic Party a splendid handle at theapproaching general elections in every’ State, with the exception, possibly, of saintly Victoria. From whence has come’the demand for this Bill ? We know well ‘ enough. Senator Gould quoted a part of the measure which indicates its source. Itr clause 18, sub-clause 2, it is provided that-
In the following cases the competition shall be deemed unfair unless the contrary is proved -
If the competition would probably or does in fact result in an inadequate remuneration for labour in the Australian industry.
There is a great difference of opinion as to what is inadequate remuneration.
– Not enough to live on.
– Below the minimum wage.
– I have no desire to starve anybody. I have been an employer of labour, and I defy any one to say that I ever starved my employes. I do not believe that any employer in Australia desires to do so. Australia is the home of liberty for the labouring classes.
– Is it? .
– Of course, it is.
– Liberty to starve.
– Oh, bosh! Where is this demand? Echo answers - Where? I think that the only reply I can give is that that clause is intended to benefit a wellknown manufacturer in Victoria. No doubt the Bill would prevent free competition, and would punish the great multitude of consumers for the benefit of a comparatively small, handful of manufacturers. It is impossible to name any article the consumers of which are not infinitely superior in number to the manufacturers. Therefore, the Bill would punish the many for the benefit of the few. I advocate the greatest good for the greatest number. Again, protection is really a matter of monopolies and trusts. Where else in the world are such great trusts formed, and such ‘enormous fortunes made, as in the United States, a country which boasts of having a protective policy? The incubus of multi-millionaires there has, I suppose, implanted a fear in the minds of many persons that we might get the disease here; but I’ do not think that probable. Senator McGregor made an allusion to the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, and spoke of it ‘as a monopoly. What is a monopoly? A monopolyis surely a business’ or enterprise which belongs to one person or corporation. There are, to my own knowledge, three distinct sugar refining companies inAustralia - ‘namely, Messrs. Poolman and Co. ; the Millaquin Refining Company, at Bundaberg; and the Colonial Sugar Refining Company. To call any one of them a monopoly is a misnomer.
– What percentage of the trade do the two first-named companies do?
– That is a mere matter of detail. The Bill aims also at the prevention of dumping. To begin with, “ dumping “ is not an elegant phrase, although it is expressive. Here, again, the public might be deprived of a great benefit which they now enjoy. Frequently there are large sacrifices made by persons at Home owing to bankruptcy, fires, and so forth. Is there not a danger that the public would be deprived of the benefit accruing from the sale of such stocks here ? I know that Senator Playford has said that the Bill is not intended to apply to a case of that sort. I was very glad to hear the statement ; but in Committee . that ought to be made perfectly clear. I am altogether opposed to artificial barriers against trade. Again, clause 21 provides that the decision of the Justice shall be final. Why should there not be the right of appeal against the decision of a single Justice ? Is it not possible that a single Justice may make an error? There is supposed to be wisdom in “ a multitude of counsellors,” and I believe that, as a rule, there is more wisdom in a Bench of three Justices than in a single Justice. Certainly the public would have more confidence in the judgment of the former. Undoubtedly this measure would promote litigation. Some persons believe that that would be a good thing, but I do not. I have had the pleasure of being served with a writ for £1,000, which I am very glad to say was withdrawn. While it was in my hand, however, I had a very uncomfortable feeling, and I can sympathize with persons who, although perfectly innocent, receive writs occasionally. In my case it did not cost me a penny, I am glad to say. I promised not to make a long speech. I now take my leave of the ‘Bill for the time being. I shall vote against its second reading, and in Committee I shall endeavour to introduce amendments to give effect to my own views, and the views of those whom I represent.
Debate (on motion by Senator Best) adjourned.
– I move -
That the adjourned debate be an order of the day for Wednesday next.
I trust that honorable senators will come prepared to sit late on Wednesday, in order, if possible, to pass the second reading of the Bill.
– What does the honorable senator call late?
– Until n o’clock.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– - I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
At this hour of the sitting it would not be possible for me to occupy the attention of honorable senators at very great length. The< object of the Ball, which has been in their hands since the 25th ‘July, is to provide for an increase of the numerical strength of the High Court of the Commonwealth, and also to enable that body to regulate the admission of persons to practise as barristers or solicitors in any Federal Court, and to prescribe the conditions and qualifications for admission, and the continuance of the right to practise. The latter is, of course, the minor portion of the Bill. It is nearly three years since the Parliament created the High Court as the tribunal to exercise in many respects the judicial power of the Commonwealth. I say “in many respects” because it was not to exclusively exercise that power. Both directly and in general terms we have invested States Courts with Federal jurisdiction. By the provisions of certain Acts of Parliament we have also indirectly invested different States Courts with jurisdiction to determine matters arising thereunder. When the Judiciary Bill was introduced into the other House in 1903 it contained a provision for the appointment of five Justices. In their wisdom the members of that House decided to reduce the number from five to three. When the Bill arrived in the Senate there was some disposition to reconsider the question of establishing the High Court with five Justices at the beginning. However, no action was taken in that direction here, although certain honorable senators !had so expressed themselves. It was also stated by some honorable senators that three was quite a sufficient number, and considerable doubt was expressed as to whether there would be any work for them to do, at any rate for a considerable time. As honorable senators are aware, the High Court occupies a unique place in connexion with our political organization - a place which is in some respects analogous to that occupied by the Supreme Court of the United States. In other respects it differs from that very high and august tribunal. But apart altogether from the position which is assured to the High Court by the provisions of. the Constitution, I venture to say, without fear of contradiction, that it has npt only warranted its establishment^ but has commanded the confidence of the people of the Commonwealth to such a degree that there can be no doubt lingering in the minds of any member of the Senate as to whether we were right or wrong in establishing that body as far back as 1003. The work which it has done has been verv great in point of volume. It has also been verv important and very far-reaching in its consequences, and of the first order, so far as its quality is concerned. I venture to say that those who are best competent to judge are quite convinced that the Justices apply themselves to’ the consideration of the questions which are submitted to them, and to the discharge of their functions, in a way which leaves little, if any, room for adverse comment. I might occupy the time of honorable senators at great length in pointing out how far the jurisdiction of the Court extends, and remembering how extensive it is they would realize how, with a tribunal commanding the confidence which it does, the work must be ever increasing. But as mv time is necessarily very limited, I would invite the attention of honorable senators to an excellent table, which is contained in the last volume of our Statutes, and which sets out rather succinctly the jurisdiction of the High Court. In the fable of Commonwealth legislation from 1901 to 1905, on page 19, appears a reference to the Judicature; in the lefthand column of the table appear in order the sectional of the Constitution dealing with the High Court; and then opposite each section appears a reference to the jurisdiction exercised by the High Court. On referring to sections 71 and 72 of the Constitution, which respectively provide for the number of Justices, and for the appointment and remuneration of the Justices; and section 73, which makes provision with regard to the appellate jurisdiction of the High Court, we find that that appellate jurisdiction is provided for in the Judiciary Act 1903, sections 34, 37, 39, and 43; in the Papua Act 1905, section 43 ; and in the Copyright Act 1905, section 73, sub-section 2. Then, of course, reference is made to section 76 of the Constitution, which confers original jurisdiction on the High Court. That is the section which deals with jurisdiction in matters relating to treaties, the representatives of foreign countries, and so on. Then we have a section of the Constitution which provides for the jurisdiction of the High Court in cases arising under .the Constitution, or involving its interpretation with the supplementary provision of the Judiciary Act of 1903, section 30. And next, dealing with the second portion of the constitutional provision in section 76, with regard to the Parliament conferring jurisdiction upon the High Court, we find that it has passed quite a number of Acts in which jurisdiction is conferred upon the High Court to deal with matters arising thereunder. These are enumerated here as the Customs Act 190-1, Excise Act 1901, Post and Telegraph Act 190T, Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act 1901, Commonwealth Electoral Act 1902, Defence Act 1903, Patents Act 1903, Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904, and Trade Marks Act 1905. I am inviting the attention of honorable senators to this table, because I think that if they desire to consider what jurisdiction the High Court is capable of exercising, thev can most readily find it by reference to this very handy document. Dealing with section 77 of the Constitution, so far as it bears upon the jurisdiction of the High Court, we find that it is one exclud ing the jurisdiction of States Courts, and we are referred to the Judiciary Act 1903-4, sections 38, 39. 57, and 59. Further on, this table deals with the genera.1 judicial powers of the Commonwealth, and the judicial power that is exercised and vested in the High Court, and in States Courts that may be vested with federal jurisdiction. Honorable senators will see., therefore, that, apart altogether from its appellate jurisdiction and its original jurisdiction, which are directly conferred upon it by the Constitution, the High Court enjoys further the original jurisdiction that this Parliament has conferred upon it in exercising the powers given us by the Constitution. Further than that, it exercises in many matters that jurisdiction concurrently with States Courts, and exercises other jurisdiction! to which I have just made reference.
– Where is the power given to hear appeals from one Judge of a State Court?
– That has been decided in Parkin v. James. I think that this table will considerably facilitate any reference which honorable senators may choose to make to the powers that mav be exercised by the High Court, I am dealing, of course, in the main, with, the jurisdiction that the Court enjoys, apart altogether from its appellate jurisdiction, and for that purpose I have made reference to this table, and suggested to honorable senators’ that it may be a fruitful source of information if thev desire to consult it for the purpose of ascertaining how far the High Court is invested with jurisdiction. Having stated these facts as to the powers of the High Court, I may now point out that since it’s establishment it has been engaged in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction in visiting at least more than once each of the States. In the case of Victoria and New South Wales, it has been so engaged very frequently. It has been so occupied for a considerable portion of each year. We have to consider the amount of time that the Justices of the Court can actually -devote to sitting in the Court and listening to the arguments presented to them, upon which they have to form judgments that have to be published, not only for the guidance of the legal profession, but of the community generally. By consulting the papers that have been tabled containing the correspondence that has passed between the Department of theAttorney -Genera] and the High Court, honorable senators will learn that the work done bv the Court must necessarily have involved a severe strain’ upon the gentlemen who occupy seats upon the bench. Mr. Castle, the Registrar, in his letter of the 2nd May, points out that the Court was established on the 6th October, 3 903 ; and he goes on to say -
Before the close of the year the Court had sat on 12 days, and had heard 2 appeals and 8 motions and applications.
In igo4, the Full Court sat on 112 days, and heard ?g appeals and 40 motions and applications. In that year, 37 original proceedings were instituted, and in actions or cases were heard by single Justices. These included several election petitions, disputing elections or returns.
In 1905, the Full Court sat on 150 days, and heard 64 appeals and 72 motions and applications. Iri that year, the number of original proceedings instituted was only 16, but the increase in the appellate work was most marked.
In 1906, the High Court commenced its sittings by sitting at Hobart on the 19th of February. The sitting there occupied 5 days. From Hobart the Court caine to- Melbourne, and commenced a sitting on the 27th February, which occupied 25 days. The Court then proceeded to Sydney, and commenced -a sitting there on the 2nd April, and after sitting some days proceeded to Brisbane, and held a sitting there on the 17th April, and after finishing its sitting, returned to Sydney, and resumed the sitting there. This sitting theCourt was unable to complete before it had to leave for Melbourne, to commence a sitting on the 28th May, where a long list was awaiting it. The Court continued sitting until the 29th June, when it adjourned for the winter vacation, leaving several cases undisposed of. Up to the 30th June, the Full Court had, in 1906, sat on in Melbourne for 50 days, Sydnev 31 days, Brisbane 4 days, and Hobart 5 days, making in all 90 days, and heard 42 appeals, and a large number of motions.
In 1906, the High Court has continuously been engaged from the close of the summer vacation until the commencement of the winter vacation, either in holding sittings or travelling to hold sittings. As the greater part of the business before the Court had to be dealt with by a Full Court of three Justices, no Justice has been available to try original jurisdiction cases, or cases in the Court of Conciliation and Arbitration. Notwithstanding the continuous work, the Court has been unable to dispose of all the business on the lists, .and certain cases have had to stand over until the next half-year. In Sydney, there are 8 cases now awaiting hearing, in Melbourne 5, in Brisbane r, and in Perth several more. The Registrar at Perth expects that there will be quite 20 cases for hearing by the time the Court sits there in October next. The Deputy-Registrar in Melbourne expects that 2 or 3 additional cases will be set down within the next few days.
In addition, one of the Judges of the High Court is, under our legislation, President of the Court of Conciliation and Arbitration. So far no work of any kind, has been done by the President of the Arbitration Court, except, as honorable senators will see from a perusal of the correspondence, to adjourn a matter which was brought before him, and in which he was asked to determine the time and place for The hearing of a dispute. So far there is nothing to indicate that that dispute can be taken by the President of the Court at any time during the current year. It was in consequence of this fact being brought to the notice of the Government, spontaneously by the President of the Arbitration Court, in a letter which appears in the published correspondence dated the 25th April, 1906, that action was taken. He pointed out the reasons for this delay in proceeding with the business, and a report was called for from the Chief Justice of the High Court, after consultation with his colleagues. That report appears in the form of a letter dated the 8th May, 1906. In the first letter from the. President of the Arbitration Court he sets out that a dispute had arisen between the Merchants Service Guild of Australia employes and the Commonwealth Steam-ship Owners’ Association, and that, on the 5th April, the parties ‘came before him’’ to fix a time and place for hearing. He realized that the matters involved were-!-
Issues of vital interest to both parties, and of vast importance to the public - and stated that - a month’s continuous sittings of the Court at least, in my opinion, would be necessary for the hearing.
But he states that it is impossible to find even two or three days much less a month, which would not be fully occupied, consequently he. had to adjourn the application until August -
In the hope that some change might before then leave an interval in the High Court appeal business, but I see at present no prospect whatever of such an interval.
He points out that this condition of things has arisen through the steady growth of the appeal business of the High Court, and that the indications are that this increase will continue. He goes on to say -
Unfortunately, therefore, a delay amounting to practically a denial of justice to the parties in this dispute has become inevitable.
He adds -
In other words, so long as the High Court consists of three Judges only, it is .impossible that one of those three Judges can adequately discharge the duties of President of the Com- ‘monwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration.
In consequence of that communication, which, as I have said, was spontaneously forwarded by the President of the ‘Court, a request was sent to the Chief Justice that he and his colleagues would furnish a report upon the business and prospects of the High Court. I need not read the whole of the papers appearing in the published correspondence. It is sufficient for me to direct attention to the fact that the learned Chief Justice says in paragraph 2 of his letter -
From the end of the winter vacation of 1905 to the summer vacation, with the exception of one day in Perth (when I tried a case with a jury), and one week in November, the High Court was continuously engaged, when the mcm- bers were not actually travelling, in hearing business requiring the presence of three Justices (except a very few cases’ which two Justices had formal jurisdiction to hear, but which it was desirable should be heard before the Full Court of three). During the one week referred to, I sat in Melbourne for the trial, with a jury, of an action pending in the original jurisdiction of the Court. During the same week Mr. Justice O’Connor sat in Sydney for the trial of an action, and sittings at which Mr. Justice Barton was to have presided were appointed to bc held in Adelaide for the trial of other actions, which at the last moment were settled.
Later on he says -
Since the end of the summer vacation, the Full Court has been continuously sitting in Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane, and again in Sydney. The Melbourne sittings were extended for a week longer than the period first allotted, with the result that all the business, which included some arrears from 1905, was disposed of, with the exception of one case.
So far as it is possible to form an estimate for the future, we think that the appellate business of the High Court is likely to keep it engaged almost continuously throughout the year. We are at present unable to fix any day before the end of this year for the hearing of a case before a single Judge.
Later still he says -
It has fortunately happened that hitherto ill of us have enjoyed good health, and the business of the Court has not been interrupted for mere than two or three days in all from temporary indisposition of the Justice.
Since Mav one of the learned Judges of the High Court has been ill. I do not know whether his illness continues, but I noticed that quite recently it was necessary for the High Court to postpone the consideration of matters that required the attendance of three Judges, and to take up at the Sydney sittings only those matters that could be dealt with by two. That is always a possibility at present in relation to cases that require the attendance of three Judges. We must always contemplate the possibility of illness on the part of one of them, and, in the event of that occurring, there must be a suspension of the business of the Court, at all events, s» far as concerns that business which, requires the attention of three Judges. The learned Chief Justice says - and this fs the last passage which I shall quote -
The present continuous pressure of work leaves us very little time for research, and for the preparation of written or even oral judgments. We do not think it desirable that a Court of final appeal should work at such constantly high pressure, from which, however, there is no prospect of escape so long as the number of Justices is limited to three.
Those honorable senators who are members of the legal profession know very well that when the High Court or any Court of Appeal proceeds to the determination of mat.ters in its appellate jurisdiction it must carefully and cautiously weigh every argument presented to it ; it must recognise the fact that its decision involves either sustaining a judgment that has been given after careful deliberation, or reversing it. Consequently, the care and attention required from a Court of Appeal can never be less than that required from a Court of lower jurisdiction; and if the Justices are constantly kept sitting or engaged in travelling from one sitting place to another, and are not afforded a reasonable time for the discussion of arguments that may be presented to them, and for the preparation in proper form of their.ultimate decisions upon these important questions, the result must be to very seriously impair the efficiency and quality of their work. The Chief Justice was asked to what strength he would recommend that the High Court should be brought. In a short communication of the 20th January, which also appears in the papers, he states -
We are of opinion that the strength of the bench should be increased by the appointment of two additional Justices.
In consequence of that expression of opinion this Bill has been introduced. All the fact’s are succinctly set forth, in the correspondence, a perusal of which will convey to honorable senators, far better then the words of myself or any other honorable senator, the absolute necessity for this august institution being numerically strengthened if it is to maintain” the high position it has hitherto occupied. I know that some members of this Parliament are of opinion that the circumstances might be met by increasing the number of Judges by one. However, that is a matter that mav be dealt with later in the consideration of the measure ; but I point out that, it may, and possibly very often will, prove desirable and advantageous that a full Bench, as distinguished from a Full Court, technically understood, should sit in determination of very important constitutional questions. Under the circumstances, 1 think that the least number of Judges we should have is five. I can add nothing to the pertinent remarks contained in the letter of Mr. Castle, who summarizes the work that has been done by the High Court, and sets forth the work that is expected to be completed by the end of the year ; nor can I add to the remarks of the Chief Justice himself, in the report as to the present and future business, supplied in compliance with the request of the Prime Minister. These communications in themselves should be sufficient to satisfy honorable senators that the present occupants of the Bench are working at very high pressure. Although we may admire their industry and the quality of their work, we cannot expect flesh and blood to long stand the severe mental and physical strain to which they are subjected. I, therefore, hope honorable senators will receive this Bill in anything but a party spirit, and will assist in the endeavour to establish this institution on a firm and solid foundation, so that it may continue to be, as it has been since its creation, a credit to the Commonwealth.
Debate (on motion by Senator Clemons) adjourned.
Senator PLAYFORD laid upon the table the following papers: -
Statement showing where military canteens are established, their receipts, and the number of men attached.
Return relating to military canteens.
Ordered to be printed.
Motion . (by Senator Playford) pro posed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– Is it the intention of the Government to proceed next Wednesday with what is called the Anti-Trust Bill, or are other measures to be given precedence ?
. -The Australian Industries Preservation Bill will, unless something extraordinary takes place, be kept at the head of the notice-paper until it is disposed of.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 4.5 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 10 August 1906, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1906/19060810_senate_2_33/>.