2nd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, without notice, if he has observed in this morning’s Argus a cablegram from New Zealand, which affirms that Sir Joseph
Ward has stated that the High Commissioner for that Colony will be instructed to enter into negotiations in order to arrange that the steamers now being built for the Commonwealth mail service shall pass directly from Adelaide to New Zealand. I desire to know whether the honorable senator has seen the paragraph, and whether he can give the Senate any information as to its authenticity ?
– I did see the paragraph this morning, and it was the first intimation I had of any such intention on the part of the New Zealand Government. If my honorable friend will give notice of a question, I shall endeavour to get the information for him.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Attorney - General, without notice, the following questions, which in my absence dropped from the notice-paper the other day : -
Whether the Statutory Rules under the Commerce Act laid upon the table of the Senate on 2nd August, and described as Provisional Regulations, have the force of law ? Also, whether they come under the provisions of the Customs Act regarding regulations, which require Parliament to take action to disallow them if it so desires within fifteen sitting days.
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow: -
– Arising out of the reply, I desire to ask the Minister of Defence whether, as Friday next will be the last day for dealing with the regulations, he will afford the Senate an opportunity to discuss them before that date?
– If the honorable senator will give notice, I shall give him an opportunity.
– There has been a motion on the notice-paper for some weeks.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether he will ascertain how far the Govern- merit propose to deal with Tariff questions in the brief period at their disposal before the prorogation takes place.
– When will that be?
– I desire to know whether the Government propose to deal with any further reports from the Tariff Commission, if received?
– Of course, I shall make the inquiry at the request of the honorable senator, but it might be as well if he would give notice in the usual way, sothat we may have a distinct record of the question and the answer.
– I desire to askthe Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs the following two questions, which were not answered yesterday whenasked upon notice : -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Motion (by Senator Playford) agreed to-
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until to-morrow at 3.30 p.m.
Motions (by Senator Higgs) agreed to -
That there be laid on the table of the Senate a copy of the preliminary and the final reports of Messrs. McLachlan, Garran, and Allen concerning the Richmond case in New Guinea ; also Mr. Atlee Hunt’s memorandum or report regarding the same case.
That there be laid on the table of the Senate a copy of the papers in connexion with the
O’Brien case in British New Guinea.
– Some time ago I promised to lay upon the table of the Senate a balance-sheet in connexion with the refreshment department, but I have not been in a position to perform my promise until now. Ibeg to lay the document upon the table.
Motion (by Senator Sir Josiahsymon) agreed to -
That the document be printed.
Motion(by Senator Playford)proposed -
That the debate on the motion for the second reading of the Supply Bill (No. 2), which was interrupted by the count-out of the Senate on Friday, the 24th August, be resumed forthwith at the point where it was interrupted.
– I think it is a matter for congratulation that the Senate has at last discovered itself. For nearly five years we have sought for a weapon by which we might punish a Government if we so desired. On various occasions we have passed resolutions concerning the conduct and attitude of different Governments towards the Senate, but never until the present time have we discovered any effective method of giving expression to our protest. Our resolutions have been passed by with a most amused remark or sarcastic reference to the powers of the Senate. We have never been able toget the Senate to take very positive action to enforce its view. I dare say that if the time should ever come when the Senate will deem it necessary to reject a Bill, not once but a second time, if the measure is important enough it will stand to its guns. But there are minor occasions on which it is necessary that it should express its opinion.
– On what has it expressed its opinion now?
– The honorable senator is too well informed with regard to the discussion of matters in the Federal Parliament not to know what was the expression of opinion, and the reason for it. There are times when both the present Opposition
– And the future one?
– The future one, if the honorable senator likes to put it in that way, and honorable senators on this side are in accord, and wish to express in an emphatic manner their views with regard to the action of the Government.
– It is a funny way to do it by playing the part of the truant.
– It might be a funny way to do it in an ordinary Legislature, and it might be a peculiar way in a Legislative Council. I am sorry to think that some members of another place, and a section of the public and the newspapers, have not got over the impression that the Senate is a mere Upper House. It will be well for them and the public generally when they get to realize that it is something more.
– Will the honorable senator connect his remarks with the motion?
– I thought I was doing so. The motion contains a reference to the count-out on Friday, and I propose to come to that. The weapon which we. have discovered is one which - comes down as still as snowflakes fall upon the sod.
It must not be used thoughtlessly, and I am sure that honorable senators will find it very effective. If on non-party questions, or even on party questions - and I am not singling out the present Government for distinction - a majority of honorable senators find it necessary, to express their opinion, the most effective way which we have discovered up to the present time is a count-out.
– Is to stop supplies.
– We might have to do that later on, but the count-out will be a very effective way to bring before the public any action on the part of a Government which we think should be specially emphasized.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [2.45]. - Whilst I thoroughly agree with the sentiment with which my honorable friend opened his remarks - that it is essential that the dignity, the importance, and the power of the Senate should be maintained on all occasions, I am not a;t all sure - in fact, I am convinced of the contrary - that a count-out is exactly the weapon which it ought to use. There are many other and more effective ways in which it can assert itself, and whilst I concur in what my honorable friend has said as to the tendency of late - in fact, during the last five years - to consider that the Senate has not maintained the high place under the Constitution which was anticipated for it, still we have not, I think, utilized the powers; and weapons which are in our hands, and which are much more effective for the purpose than a count-out. A countout establishes nothing. If the Senate is unanimous, or if a majority of honorable senators so desire, they have other ways of asserting their opinion on the conduct of the Government. I need not indicate what thev are, and perhaps it would not be relevant to do so. A count-out, I repeat, establishes nothing, except that in the minds of the few who are in the chamber at the moment there is a feeling that if there is important business on the notice-paper, it is not fair that it should be transacted with a minimum number of senators present. That is all it indicates.
– It meant more on Friday. It meant stopping the grant of supply.
– I was not here on Friday- I am merely referring to Senator Higgs’ suggestion that the Senate has discovered itself, and has found one more and glorious weapon. I scarcely think that it is the best weapon to use, or that which will best effect the purpose, although, if on the occasion of a count-out, it were possible that the reasons for that event and the particular conduct which was sought to be censured were brought under the notice of not merely the Senate but the public by that means, then what my honorable friend has said would, I think, be well founded.
– We seize the first weapon that comes to hand.
– I do not wish to discuss that, because I was not here. Whilst quite agreeing with what Senator Higgs said, that we ought, on all occasions, to avail ourselves of every weapon we possess to maintain the control and the power of the Senate, to assert it on the highest possible ground, I doubt whether a count-out is exactly that weapon. It has its uses. There may be reasons for employing it that are not generally known, and it is because of the inability to have them plainly stated in the face of the Parliament and public that I think it will scarcely avail my honorable friend for the high purpose which I, in common with him, desire to see carried out.
. -As one of those who deliberately walked out of the Chamber on Friday as the only way to enter a protest against what I considered to be the unfair action of the leader of the Senate, I candidly admit that .that was my reason for taking that course. I am more in accord with, Senator Symon than with Senator Higgs. It is not, perhaps, the best way for the Senate to enter a protest, but on that occasion there was no other course open to us.
– There is such a thing as masterly inactivity !
– Several honorable senators, including myself, asked, perhaps in rather a heated way, that certain information should be given to the Senate on a vital question of policy. I was one of those who objected to certain action which the Government had taken. Without going into the merits or demerits of that action to-day, I think it would have been only courteous on the part of the Minister of Defence if, when replying to the debate on the first reading of the Supply Bill, he had given the Senate some reasons for what had been done. Instead of doing that, however, the leader of the Government, as it seemed to me. deliberately and intentionally ignored the complaint of those honorable senators who had taken objection. It was this fact that caused me to feel that the leader of the Government had not done a fair thing, especially as the honorable senators to whom I refer are amongst those who have been consistent supporters of the Government. But whether they are supporters or opponents, the leader of the Government owed it to the Senate to give some explanation, at least, of the action to which exception was taken. But when he deliberately ignored those honorable senators, and further said that he did not think it necessary to reply - he may not have meant all his words implied to me, at least - it seems to me that any course of action that suggested itself, even on the spur of the moment, was justifiable. My reason for walking out of the Chamber on Friday last, and thereby assisting to block business, was my dissatisfaction with what I considered the unfair treatment and want of courtesy displayed by the leader of the Government.
– I think I might ask the Minister of Defence to give honorable ‘ senators some indication of whether or not we shall be able to proceed with business this afternoon. From a statement which appeared in a newspaper recently, it appears that Senator McGregor affirmed that the business would proceed conditionally on the Labour Party receiving a “ humble apology “ from the Government. The Senate, I think, has a right to know whether that humble apology has been tendered, and, if so, something of the terms in which it has been couched.
– We are waiting for the honorable senator’s apology on the part of the Government, for whom he spoke the other day.
– It would save a great deal of time if we had the information I ask for. As to Senator Croft’s interjection, I car.’ only say that it seems to me that on Friday last I unconsciously contributed to the discomfort which the Government experienced, by taking what, for me, was the unusual course of saying a. word or two on behalf of the administration of the Government. I desire to assure the Minister that it is not frequently that I make that error, and that I shall see that the occasions on which I do so in future are as few as possible.
– I hope that the very best of feeling will be maintained in the Senate, notwithstanding what may have happened on Friday last. In fact, we have evidences of that good feeling now, when honorable senators seem prepared to assist in every way to carry out the intentions of the Government, and thereby forward the work of the country. Even Senator Pulsford today exerted himself in assisting the President, when he desired Senator Higgs to connect his remarks with the question before the Senate. The very fact that the leader of the Opposition, Senator Symon, has given expression to the opinion that a count-out is not the best means by which to maintain the rights of the Senate, is another proof of kindly feeling towards the Government. This, of course, must be cheering to the Government 1 but we must not forget that Senator Symon was not present on Friday, and is, therefore, not fully seized of the circumstances. The Government must be congratulated on the fact that now, for the second time, Senator Millen has got up to take their part.
– I was apologizing for having done so once.
– On Friday, the quarrel was not with the Opposition, but with the Labour Party. I have heard Senator Pulsford, and other members of the “ Mac- Walker “ party, including Senator Gray; declare that the Government are kept in office by the Labour Party.
– Is it not a fact ?
– It did not look like it on Friday. I have heard it declared that the Government had to come to the Labour Party in order to get assistance in me formulation of the Government policy.
– And we all believe it.
– It has been said that, unless the Government do what the Labour Party desire, the Government must suffer. But the very complaint made on Friday last was that the Government have, all through thesession, accepted the support of the Labour Party, while - and here I use a word so often repeated by Senator Guthrie yesterday - I “ defy “ any honorable senator to show that the Government have done anything to carry out any portion of the policy of the Labour Party.
– That is why the Labour Party are kicking!
– Further, there are a great many acts of administration and legislation which are not embodied in the policy of the Government, but which the Labour Party are well known to favour. Notwithstanding all this, the Government have done everything they could to show that they have no desire to consult, satisfy, or in any way conciliate the Labour Party. The Labour Party were never consulted as to the policy of the Government; indeed,
I might almost say that, in regard to administration, the Government have despised the Labour Party.
– Still the Labour Party keep the Government in power !
– It is better to have a disease that may linger on for half a lifetime than tobe afflicted with a disease so painful that, as the Irishman says, we are dead half the time we are alive. So far as I am concerned - and, I believe, I may speak for other honorable senators - the action taken on Friday last was not prompted by any dislike to the representative of the Government in the Senate. That action was due to the way in which the Government had treated the Labour Party throughout the whole session, andare endeavouring to treat that party now. Evidence of that is very plain here to-day. When the Government do anything that is not in accordance with whatever agreement may exist between them and the Labour Party as to the support of the latter during the session, the Opposition are always prepared to jump into the breach, as they are doing to-day, and defend the Government.
– The honorable senator has not laid that agreement on the table.
– In the discussion on the Australian Industries Preservation Bill we have heard a good deal about what is known as a “ gentleman’s agreement “ ; and, as the members of the Labour Party are all gentlemen, and endeavour to keep their promises, they look to the other party to any agreement to do the same. The Opposition, some time ago, resented similar treatment at the hands of the Government, and I can remember the indignation which was felt, and even given expression to, by members of the Opposition when certain action was taken before, or when, this Government came into power. We members of the Labour Party are always willing to accept the assistance of the members of the Opposition who are prepared to join with us in protesting against what we consider to be unfair treatment in connexion with any promise that may have been made as to support to be given to this or any other Government. Seeing that a protest has been entered, and that the people of Australia now know why a certain party in the Senate took that action, we are satisfied to support the Government in carrying on the business of the Commonwealth. I think I ought to refer to what Senator Millen said with respect to the humble or abject apology which ought to be tendered to the Labour Party by the Government.
– I did not say that the apology ought to be tendered; it was the honorable senator who said that.
– I suppose that, because I bear a Scotch name, and a Scotchman is never supposed to make a joke or be frivolous, the honorable senator took that statement seriously.
– We accept the honorable senator as an exception to the rule, so far as frivolity is concerned.
– Probably Senator Millen, not being a Scotchman, could not see the joke, though he may, perhaps, realize it in a week or two. I hope the business of the country will be carried on expeditiously, and that the Government will bear in mind that, if they desire support, they must treat in a fair way those who are endeavouring to honestly support them.
– Then the count-out was a joke?
– No, the count - out was not a joke.
– Seeing that there is a disposition this afternoon to act as though the session was to last for all eternity, I might as well take a little part in the proceedings. I was very much gratified .to hear several senators talking as if they were greatly concerned about the dignity of the Senate. To listen to those honorable senators, one would think that the Senate had no dignity ; indeed, after hearing, them, I am almost compelled to’ come to that conclusion. If the Senate had any dignity, honorable senators would not be required to protest so often. I am sorry I cannot agree with Senator Higgs as to the effectiveness of the wonderful weapon he has just discovered - this wonderful weapon of the count-out. The -honorable senator pointed out that we had long been hunting, like some blackfellow, for a boomerang or spear with which to convince the Government that we disapprove of their action, and that we had at last found the weapon. I ask in all seriousness what has that weapon accomplished? It has been thrown at, and has hit and rebounded off the hide of, the Government, who stand exactly in the same position that they did on Friday. What have we gained by exploding this bomb under the nose of the Government? Have we had any explanation about their defence policy? Have they given us any information with reference to New Guinea? No; we stand in exactly the same position that we did on Friday afternoon. If Senator Higgs is in earnest, and really desires that the Senate shall stand on its dignity and take its place as a live portion of the Commonwealth Legislature, there is one course, and one course only, open to the honorable senator and those who think with him. That course is to vote against the motion of the leader of the Government. By doing so, and by rejecting the motion we shall most effectually bring the Government to their bearings. _ But as to a count-out, we might as well tickle the nose of a crocodile with a feather. The leader of the Government himself was very glad to have a count-out on Friday afternoon. He knew perfectly well that the ire of the Labour Party would subside by Tuesday - that the tiger would by then be as docile as possible. To all intents and purposes, so far as I can discover, that is exactly what has happened. As one who. alone; with other honorable senators, has taken exception to the conduct of the Go vernment on various occasions, I intend to vote against the motion, and to continue taking similar steps until the Government have given as the information and explanation which were asked for by certain honorable senators on Friday- last. If other honorable senators are in earnest, and wish to maintain the dignity, power, and prestige of the Senate, here is a splendid opportunity. Let them stop all discussion on this Supply Bill until the information asked for has been given. The Government would then find that at last they had bumped up against something. I do not know whether the members of the Opposition would assist the Labour Party in opposing the motion ; but, in any case, I shall give them an opportunity to show what they are made of. I intend to carry the feud out to its proper conclusion by voting against the motion.
– I desire to say a few words in reference to what has been said of me personally. Senator O’ Keefe, from a statement he made, appears to look on my action in not replying as to the matters introduced by Senator Higgs on Friday last -relating to New Guinea, as unfair to the Senate. Senator O’ Keefe contends that it .was my duty to have replied, and that because I did not the Labour Party were perfectly justified in showing their dislike - I shall put it that way-
– Their displeasure.
– Their disapproval of my action. I ask honorable senators to consider the position for a moment. First and foremost, the affairs of New Guinea are not dealt with by my Department. I cannot be expected to have a general knowledge of all matters connected with the Departments of my colleagues; that is simply impossible.
– Was the Minister not a party to the appointment of. the Royal Commission ?
– The course usually adopted under such circumstances is to give notice, so that the leader of the Government in the Senate may have an opportunity to inquire into the facts, and put himself in a position to reply.
– But there -were matters connected with the honorable gentleman’s own Department in regard to which he would not reply.
– I did reply as to those matters. However, at present I am dealing with the affairs of New Guinea, to which reference was made by Senator Higgs on Friday last. I did reply as to the Defence Department, as well as I was able to on the spur of the moment.
– The Minister replied by saying that we could not agree amongst ourselves.
– Surely I might be allowed to say that - it was the truth.
– Certainly the honorable senator should be allowed to say that, but it was not a reply.
– I replied in other language, and only referred incidentally to the difficulty created by the fact that a great many people had different views on the subject of defence. However, I had received no notice that any reference to the subject of New Guinea was to be made, and therefore, I was not in a position to reply. Previously, however, Senator Millen had replied to Senator Higgs.
– My point is that Senator Millen is not the leader of the Government.
– I had no more knowledge of the subject than had Senator Millen, and all I could have done would have been to repeat what that honorable senator had said. I referred to what Senator Millen said, stating that I was not able to give more information than he had clone in reply to Senator Higgs, and that therefore I had nothing further to say on that subject.
– It must have been in Senator Millen’s department then?
– No, it was not. His answer having been given, I considered that it was quite sufficient for me to say that I had no further information, and that therefore I did not wish to take up the time of the Senate on the subject. I never had, it in my mind to say anything that was distasteful to any honorable senator. But a Minister is not expected to answer every question on the spur of the moment. Had not Senator Dobson an equal right to say that I did not answer every question that he put to me? Had not other honorable senators a right to say that I had not answered them? But Ianswered those questions relating to my own Department as well as I was able; and I never had the slightest intention to snub the members of the Labour Party, or any other party. If some honorable senators are under that impression, they are doing me an unmistakable injustice.
– They are getting the apology now !
– I am making no apology whatever. I am simply saying that if honorable senators considered that the statement which I made was unfair to them, I certainly had no intention that it should be so.
Question put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 17
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 24th August(vide page 3381), on motion by Senator Playford -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
.- I notice in the schedule attached to the Bill that there is a vote for the Administration of New Guinea, and a vote for the Defence Forces. I shall, therefore, be in order in speaking on matters relating to those subjects. As to New Guinea, it will be within the recollection of the Senate that when, last year, Parliament passed the Papua Act, there was astrong expression of opinion from a large number of honorable senators as to what should be the guiding principle for the future government of the country. We were led to believe by the representative of the Ministry that Papua would be governed in accordance with the ideas then expressed. It has been a matter of profound disappointment to a great number, myself included, to find, so far as we can judge from the manner in which the affairs of the, Posses- sion have been dealt with by the Government, that all our desires are being completely ignored. For instance, no expression of opinion could be stronger than that made by a number of honorable senators, that the Administrator of Papua should be an Australian, who would be able to govern in accordance with Australian sentiments and aspirations. But, instead of the Government redeeming the promise then made - because there was an implied promise that effect would be given to that desire - it went out of its way to offer the Administratorship to a gentleman who is not an Australian, and who could hardly be expected to govern the Possession in accordance with Australian sentiment and ideals. The Government, being disappointed in its desire to appoint a certain gentleman, has proceeded to shelter itself behind a Royal Commission, appointed to inquire into the present administration, and into matters connected with the Possession generally. When a Government, by its very existence, acknowledges that there is a man in Australia good enough to be the head of the Administration of this great Continent, it is quite up to that Government to recognise that there must be some other Australian good enough to be the Administrator of that small Possession. If an Australian is good enough to be Prime Minister of this Commonwealth, why cannot we find an Australian who is good enough to govern the only Possession we have outside the borders of Australia? How can we expect to get an Imperial officer, or some person from Great Britain, who has had no previous experience in opening up any new country - much less in opening up a new tropical country - and who has no acquaintance whatever with Australian sentiment, to govern this Possession as we desire to see it governed? It is not possible. The Government should not have run away from its responsibilities, but should have appointed some one in Australia to the position. I know personally, that so far as New Guinea officials are concerned, they are mostly absolute failures, who have been pitchforked into positions over there. Some officers who have been there have been the ne’er-do-well hangerson of aristocratic families, whom those families were glad to shift away, because, so long as they were nearer home, their relatives were continually afraid that they would be a disgrace to them. It may be satisfactory from the point of view of aris tocratic families that they should be able to shift their ne’er-do-well relations’ to Papua in this fashion, but it is not well from the point of view of Australians, who have the responsibility of administering the affairs of the country. Perhaps some honorable senators may consider that the remarks which I have allowed to fall with regard to the character of some of these officials are a bit too strong. But they are not strong enough to cover the actual facts. I know of my own certain knowledge that one man was appointed simply and solely on the ground that he had certain highly- placed relatives in this country, and that he had to be run out of New Guinea because of his conduct there. Afterwards that same man had to be smuggled out of Melbourne by his highly-placed relatives to avoid the officers of the law. These are the people who have been appointed to positions within the gift of the Government over there. The sooner we determine to have a better system of management the better. What is the position at the present time? The Government, in compliance with a request made by the. Administrator, Captain Barton, has ap pointed a Commission to go to Papua to inquire into .the management of affairs generally. We have already had two Papuan Commissions. Last year the Secretary of the Department of External Affairs was sent over at considerable expense to inquire and report. He did so, and his report has been before honorable senators. After the Richmond case another Commission was appointed. Now we have a third appointed at the request of Captain Barton - a request which was read to the Senate yesterday, and which I say is a. very lame document on the face of it. lt is a very short statement, saying that thereare rumours going round as to dissatisfac-tion with the administration, and requesting that a Commission be appointed to inquire. No details are given. No strong reasons are put forward. But the very moment tha Government received the request it almost rushed into the arms of Captain Barton, and appointed a Commission. To me it looks very much like a “ put-up job.”
– If Captain Barton had been ordering a dozen bags of corn he would have used as many words.
– If he had been giving an order to his valet about going out duck shooting he would have given as many details as are contained in this letter. It looks as though the Commission was appointed simply to allow the Government to shelter itself behind this device, and to run away from its obvious duty. The duty of the Government is to see that the affairs of Papua are efficiently and properly administered. I require no Commission to tell’ me that the affairs of the Possession have not been well managed, because it is a self-evident fact. Any one who has taken interest in New Guinea affairs must be aware that the administration is a total and absolute failure. In addition to the revenue produced in the country, it costs this Commonwealth ,£20,000 per annum to administer the Territory, and we know that this money is spent on a little nest of officers who do nothing. There is not even a couple of miles of efficient road there yet. The white population is seething with discontent. In every respect the administration is a failure. Why go to the needless expense of appointing a Royal Commission to tell us so? And even after we have paid the members of the Commission, it is doubtful whether they will tell us the real state of affairs, because reliable evidence will not be placed before them. They will obtain evidence from the Administrator himself, and from his officers, who are absolutely dependent upon him for their positions. It is not to be expected that the Commission will obtain any really impartial evidence.
– Does not the honorable senator think that the Commission will go round and get evidence, independently of the Administration?
– We know further that there is a sort of reign of terror established in New Guinea at the present time, and that any man who sets himself to in any way thwart the desires of those at present administering the affairs of the country, finds’ it made so hot for him that he has to clear out of it. I am personally acquainted with many men living in New Guinea, and. rightly or wrongly, that is the feeling they have. That must be admitted to be a highly unsatisfactory condition, of affairs. There is a very simple way out of the difficulty, and it is for the Government to assume their proper functions, and’ to exercise the responsibility which this Parliament has placed upon them. They are unworthy to occupy their present position if they are not prepared to accept that responsibility. It is a lamentable thing to find the Government sheltering themselves on every possible occasion behind some Royal Commission. In my view, the only way in which we oan manage New Guinea is the very simplest way, and that is by the appointment as Administrator of an, Australian who will know what ought to be done in the development of a tropical country, and what is necessary to safeguard the interests of the natives of the Territory. We want a person in the position who will do something; by opening up roads, and other such works, for the development of the country, instead of sitting down in an office, drawing a salary every year, and having nothing to show for an annual expenditure of £43,000. That is the present position in New Guinea., and the- longer it is allowed to continue, the worse the position will become. There are plenty of men in Australia capable of administering the government of New Guinea,- men who’ have had experience in the opening up of tropical country, in the conditions which there prevail, and who have been in the habit of dealing with aboriginal natives. They are certainly far better fitted for the thousand and one duties which would fall to the Administrator of the Possession, than any hanger-on of an aristocratic family of the old country could possibly hope to be. I hold that the Government are deserving of censure for neglecting to carry out the express wish of Parliament by proclaiming the Constitution of the Territory, and establishing an Administration. When I endeavoured to have certain ‘amendments inserted in the proposed Constitution, I was told that although a majority of honorable senators were in favour of them, it would be better not to press them, because if I did, we should lose the Bill, and New Guinea would only be so much longer without a Constitution. It now appears that it would noi: have made the slightest difference if the Constitution enacted for New Guinea had been delayed for another twelve months, since it has been allowed to remain a, dead letter since the day it was passed. How long is this state of affairs to continue? How long will it be before the Government assume their proper responsibility, and rectify the shameful state of affairs at present existing in New Guinea? I am satisfied that the people of Australia, are not satisfied that things should be allowed to go on as they have been for some time past, and I warn, the
Government plainly that unless something is done to rectify the present position <:f affairs, I shall, on every available occasion, be prepared to criticise their action, or rather, inaction, as strongly as 1 possibly can. I hope that in future the Government will accept their proper responsibility in this matter, and will pay some respect to the wishes of Parliament, and, I venture to say, of the country. I hope they will undertake to put an end to the present position by the appointment of Australian officers to administer British New Guinea, in accordance with Australian ideals and sentiment. There is another matter to which I should like to refer, and that is in connexion with the Defence Department. It appears to me that so long as the government of the Commonwealth is conducted as at present, our aspiration to be considered a self-governing people will remain little more than an aspiration or a pretence. Selfgovernment should mean, if it means anything, government by ourselves in accordance with our own ideals. I have pointed out that in the case of New Guinea, instead of the Government endeavouring to govern that Australian Possession by Australians, and in accordance with Australian sentiment, they appear to desire to import Imperial officers to administer the Territory in accordance with Imperial ideas. If that be trie object in view,” why did we take over New Guinea at all? Why could we not have left the Possession to the Imperial authorities to manage it as they ‘pleased? Having (undertaken the responsibility, the Government have run away from that responsibility, and what in such a case becomes of the principle of selfgovernment? The same thing holds good with regard to the question of defence. The Government, instead of formulating a defence policy for Australia^ run away to the Imperial Defence Committee, and ask the members of that Committee to formulate a defence policy for us. Is that selfgovernment ? , If we are to go on in that way, we might just as well have remained an appendage of the Imperial Parliament and Imperial authorities.
– That is all we are.
– Exactly; and I desire that we shall be something more than that. I believe that we in Australia should be a thoroughly self-governing community in every respect. Whilst owing nominal allegiance to the British Crown, we should exert our rights of self-government to the fullest possible extent. That, however, will be impossible if the Federal Government are content to run away from their responsibilities, and if, because of their own incapacity to formulate a defence policy, they are prepared to shelter themselves behind the report of the Imperial Defence Committee, and the reports of endless committees and commissions of inquiry.
– They cannot even tell us why Captain Crouch surrendered.
– If we are to refer in these matters to the Imperial Defence Committee, self-government with us is but a farce. I am not content, nor is the majority of the people I represent content, that the great Defence Department of the Commonwealth should be conducted in any such way. The people of Australia Have ideas of their own, and desire that they should be put into practice. The sooner Ministers recognise that fact the better for themselves. If they do not, the people will soon find a Government who will. When the last Supply Bill was before us, I made some reference to the necessity for the establishment of an Arms and Ammunition factory in Australia. The Minister pooh-poohed the idea, and contended that the cost would be too great, but I say that no cost can be considered too great that is necessary to insure our safety in the hour of danger, and there is absolutely no safety for us in this respect unless we can manufacture our own arms and ammunition. The supply of arms and ammunition that can be kept in stock is necessarily limited, and might possibly not amount to more than would suffice to meet the requirements of a month or two on a war basis should hostilities actually be commenced. It is quite within the bounds of possibility that our communications oversea would be cut off, and we should then be absolutely helpless, notwithstanding the manhood of the nation, unless we were able to arm our own people. There is only one way in which we can be sure of , being able to do that, and that is by the establishment of an arms and ammunition factory of our own. It must be admitted that our provision for defence is farcical if it is not sufficient, and it should be made sufficient at whatever cost. It is somewhat peculiar for a protectionist like the Minister of Defence to contend that we should not establish a local arms and ammunition factory, because it might cost a little more per lb. to manufacture cordite in Australia than to import it, or to make or repair guns in Australia than to import them. I point out that the matter of national defence is one which cannot be governed by considerations of pounds, shillings, and pence ; that no cost can be considered too high to insure our safety in the hour of trial. I object mainly to the fashion which would appear to be coming greatly into vogue in Federal politics of the Government running away from their- responsibilities, and sheltering themselves behind royal commissions on every possible occasion. That has always been the refuge of a Government which have lacked sufficient courage and capacity to tackle any great question on their own. I object for this reason to the appointment of the New Guinea Commission, and to the various Committees, inquiries, and reports in connexion with the Defence Department. Nothing is ever done. The reports are pigeonholed, they have grown to be mountains high, and it would now be a superhuman task for any man to undertake to read them all. Any ideas which the Department of Defence might have had have been covered over with a mass of verbiage. What we require is a plain, straightforward commonsense defence policy, and if the present Minister of Defence is unable to initiate such a policy, the sooner we get a Minister who is capable of doing so the better it will be for the country. My criticism may appear to be somewhat harsh, but I have no desire to be unduly severe upon the Government. My chief desire is to induce them to do what I know the people of Australia desire that they should do. and that is to conduct the government of the Commonwealth, and of New Guinea, in accordance with Australian ideas, and to establish a national system of defence that will be satisfactory to the manhood of Australia. If the Government will do that they can be assured of the support of the country, and of Parliament, and that generous assistance will be given them by Parliament in the passing of the necessary supplies. The Minister of Defence partly promised last session that during the recess he would formulate a defence policy, but the honorable senator has not done so.
– I said that I hoped to be able to do so. but I have not.
– That is because the honorable senator instead of tackling the question himself has referred everything to Boards, and to the Imperial Defence Committee.
– I could not think of formulating a defence policy of my own without the advice of experts.
– The question has been under consideration since the formation of the Commonwealth. How many years does the honorable senator want? Can he guarantee that we shall be absolutely free from aggression while he keeps his considering’ cap on ?
– We are free enough now.
– We are free” for the time being, but can the Minister guarantee the continuance of that freedom for one day?
– I think we can.
– The man who says he can is living in a fool’s paradise. Senator Playford. - Oh, no.
– Every man is eating, drinking, and making merry, and when the disaster comes he will say, “ Who would have thought it ?” The way in which to avert disaster is to be prepared to fight if ever the need should arise; and at present our promise of safety is a mere sham. We shall have no assurance against disaster unless we prepare to fight our own battles when the time should come. I hold very strong! v the feeling that our defence policy should be a national one, and entirely apart from the Imperial defence policy.
– Would not an Imperial defence policy suit the honorable senator ?
– For Australia we should have a national policy, and if we desire to take part in an Imperial policy, that should be a separate thing.
– To work in unison with the Imperial policy?
– Certainly. Any Government which fails in its duty to provide a national policy for Australia are. I am sure, courting disaster, and will meet with a very bad set-back from the people.
– I desire to say a few words in reply to Senator Givens, who has referred to the troubles we have had in Papua.
– And the Government will continue to have troubles there while the present policy is pursued.
– There is no doubt that, for a great many years, we have had trouble in connexion with the Possession. It appears at present to range round the Acting Lieutenant-Governor, Mr. Barton, who, I understand, was originally a civil servant there. I forget in what capacity he was employed., but I think it was in connexion with the police.
– He was Resident Magistrate in one of the districts.
- Mr. Barton had experience in British New Guinea, and his experience in th’e position of Acting Administrator has extended to nearly two years and a half.
– For how long was he appointed?
– I do not know, I have not the particulars here. The Prime Minister sent his Secretary to British New Guinea to make a report, which honorable senators have read, and which contains nothing to the disparagement of Mr. Barton. But after Mr. Hunt had left the Possession a man named Richmond - a civil servant there - brought a charge against Mr. Barton, to the effect that he had altered a minute by adding to it.
– He is a captain in one of His Majesty’s regiments, and “ Captain Barton “ is his proper title.
– It makes no difference whether he is a captain or a sergeant or a lieutenant. He is a man, I suppose, and as such he ought to receive every consideration at our hands, and not to be unjustly or unfairly treated or hounded down. With reference to the charge made by Richmond, there was appointed a special Board of Inquiry, which, if I remember aright, consisted of Mr. McLachlan, the Public Service Commissioner ; Mr. Garran, who is well known to honorable senators as an annotator of the Constitution in conjunction with Sir John Quick; and Mr. Allen, who is Secretary to the Treasury. As the result of an exhaustive inquiry, the Board absolutely exonerated Captain Barton from all blame, and fixed the blame upon his accuser, who was disrated, and sent to a more outlying part of the Territory. Meanwhile, as I am informed by the Prime Minister, complaints were coming to him from diggers, storekeepers, and others in Papua more particularly in regard to the administration of the land laws. Although he was not prepared to dispense with the services of Captain Barton, still he felt that if he could get a gentleman who possessed special knowledge, and had Had practical experience in that country, it would be a wise thing, in the circumstances, to secure his services. There was a man who, for years, had been governing it as a Possession, and who was admitted on all sides to be a most highly successful Administrator, and the Prime Minister very properly thought that if he could secure his services he would be doing the right thing. He did not take this course for the purpose of snubbing Captain Barton, because he felt that, although he had never communicated with Captain Barton on the subject, that gentleman would readily retire in favour of a man possessing unique qualifications for the position. Some honorable senators seem to think that it was a put-up job on the part of Captain Barton to apply for a Royal Commission. I am informed that it was nothing of the sort. The Prime Minister says that, so far as he is aware, Captain Barton did not know at the time he asked for the appointment of a Royal Commission that he was in communication with Sir William McGregor on the subject. He decided to order an inquiry, because he believed that that was the very best way to find out to what extent trouble existed, and how it would be possible to prevent a recurrence of it.
– Does the Minister think that the administration of affairs of Papua at the present time is a success ?
– I do not know. I have not administered the Department of External Affairs, and I do not pretend to make definite statements on the subject. It may be not the fault, but the misfortune, of Captain Barton to be surrounded by men who do not act loyally towards him. The honorable senator has pointed out certain officers who, in his opinion, were highly improper persons to be appointed in any circumstances. Being subordinate officers, it can be readily understood that they might make it almost impossible for Captain Barton to govern the Territory. No man can govern a territory, command a regiment or a ship unless he has the loyal support of his officers, and also of his men.
– Who appointed those officers?
– I do not know, but I should imagine that many of them were appointed before we took office.
– They ought to be cleared out ; but the Government are not strong enough to do that.
– The honorable senator spoke of the absolute and total failure of the Government, and of officers being unfit. If that is the case, why should he object to the appointment of a Royal Commission? Is it not to inquire into those very things?
– How many inquiries will be necessary?
– Having failed to secure the services of Sir William McGregor, we have no one here with special qualifications for the position.
– There are plenty of good men in Australia.
– It is a great deal better to have a Royal Commission to inquire into the matter, and to give the Government the best advice on the subject before a Lieutenant-Governor is appointed. I now come to the question of appointing an Australian’ to the position. For many years my principle has always been to appoint our own citizens in preference to outsiders in practically every case, except such a unique case as that of Sir William McGregor. I have no doubt that in the future an .Australian will be appointed to this position, if it is found that the present occupant is responsible for what is called the misgovernment of the Territory. But if he is not, and we cannot get a man with a better knowledge of tropical countries, and with more experience, why should we dismiss Captain Barton and put another man in his place?
– Because so far the government of the Territory has not been a success, but a failure.
– Does the Minister of Defence say that if it cannot be proved that Captain Barton is incapable, he must be appointed to this position?
– No, I do not. I would say that it is necessary to prove the affirmative. We must believe that he is capable.
– We want somethingmore than mere belief.
– I know that the whole question is surrounded by very great difficulty. If honorable senators will take the trouble to look up a speech which was delivered on the 23rd August, 1906, bv the Prime Minister, in reply to statements exactly similar to those which have been made here by Senator Givens, they will see the answer which can be given. Sena tor Givens has charged me, as Minister of Defence, with being in favour of the appointment of Imperial officers.
– I did’ not say anything of the kind.
– I misunderstood the honorable senator, because I took down those words.
– I said that on every occasion the honorable senator was in favour of committees and commissions of inquiry, instead of doing the work of his Department.
– I heard the reference to commissions of inquiry ; but the honorable senator charged me with being in favour of appointing Imperial officers.
– Of getting advice from Imperial officers.
– That is another point.
– I charged the Minister with being on every occasion in favour of appointing boards of inquiry, instead of himself formulating a national policy of defence for Australia.
– But subsequently the honorable senator said that I had always been in favour of appointingImperial officers. I have never been in favour of their appointment. I have been criticised very severely because during my term of office I have got rid of two or three of them. I had placed in the GovernorGeneral’s speech a special paragraph with regard to that very subject, and the Government are now pledged to the appointment of Australian officers to the Military and Naval Forces, and to ‘the appointment of Australian citizens to positions in the Public Service, wherever favorable and fit men can be secured. The honorable senator also asked why I appealed to the Imperial Defence Committee for advice with regard to the defence of the Commonwealth.
– The Minister asked them to formulate a policy for him.
– No; we asked the Imperial Defence Committee, not to formulate a policy, but to make recommendations. Our own officers, who possess local knowledge, will be able to say whether they agree with the recommendations or not, but because the Imperial Defence Committee have made recommendations there is no necessity for us to adopt them. When there were in Great Britain Imperial officers who were of the highest standing, and had had the greatest experience - far greater than our own men could possibly have had - when there was a Colonial Committee of Defence, which advised the States prior to Federation, and which has since advised the Commonwealth ; when I received from my officers all sorts of conflicting recommendations, and when, not being an expert, I could not very well decide between them,. I thought that the best thing I could possibly do, in the interests of the Commonwealth: was to ask the highest authority in the British Empire to give us the benefit of their advice. I submit that, taken as a whole, their advice is excellent. Let me take one point on which my officers were not absolutely agreed, and that ‘ is the character of the guns which should be mounted here. The Imperial Defence Committee recommended a uniform type of gun for use throughout the Commonwealth, namely, the 6.7, which is one of the best guns to be procured. An ordinary 6-inch gun is not to be compared for excellence with the 6.7 gun, which contains all the latest improvements. By the adoption of the superior gun we shall be able to save something like ^16,000, while maintaining our fixed defences in a state of equal, and even greater, efficiency. The 6.7 guns require a smaller number of men to handle them, and, because of this, there will, of course, not be the necessity to employ so many permanent members of the force. Other recommendations have been made by the Imperial Defence Committee; and these we shall have to consider. For instance, it is recommended that the fixed defences at Albany, and also at Fremantle, shall be abolished; and it is for us to decide whether that step shall be taken. What I desire to point out is that these recommendations are made by some of the highest authorities to whom we could appeal. At the same time, we are not bound to adopt all their recommendations, and I do not suppose that we shall.
– After considering the recommendations, how long does the Minister think it will take to formulate a defence policy ?
– I should say not more than a month. I ha.ve brought matters to a point at which I can lay before my colleagues what I believe should be the policy for the present, and for the near future. I cannot, of course, lay down a scheme for all time, because, in matters of defence, there is constant change, requiring modification in the methods of administration and organization. The Boer war taught the British Generals that there is not that necessity which was previously insisted on for men. to be drilled and dressed up on parade, with a view to going through certain evolutions, but that the best men for the defence of the country are those who, with, perhaps, only a slight knowledge of drill, have received a thorough training in the use of the rifle. It will be seen that an alteration of the kind indicated will, to some extent, do away with the necessity for regular troops ; and a modification in this direction may be seen in the proposals recently laid before the House of Commons by Mr. Haldane. I think the Government have done quite right in getting the best information possible before submitting a defence scheme to Parliament. The establishment of a factory for the manufacture of small arms and shells was recommended by Major-General Hutton years ago, and has been approved of, I think, by every Government up to the present. No doubt it is exceedingly desirable that the Commonwealth should possess such a factory, though this is not so important as we might be led to suppose from the remarks of some honorable senators. However that may be, there must sooner or later be a factory of this kind in the Commonwealth, though, singular to relate, no proper information has been obtained on the subject. Information is being obtained now. It will be remembered that last year, when the subject was before us, I pointed out that the smallest establishment for the manufacture of small arms and shells would cost at least ^150,000.
– Twice that amount will be thrown away by the adoption of penny postage.
– The question of expense must be considered ; we must not rush into any lavish disbursement in this connexion before we are ready. My own opinion is that enterprises of this kind should be built up by degrees ; and I have asked for plans and estimates for the most modest small arms and ammunition factory that can be worked with economy.
– Get a bullet mould !
– This is a much more serious matter than the honorable senator seems to imagine. In Canada the manufacture of small arms for the Government is carried on by a company, which turns out the Ross rifle - a very different weapon to that favoured in the Commonwealth. This manufacture by a company has been going on for only a comparatively short time; and, from the last report which I read’, the venture does not appear to be proving very satisfactory. I do not approve of the manufacture of small arms and ammunition being carried out by a private company. Such work ought to be carried on under Government supervision - that is the best policy under the circumstances. I hope that whoever may be Minister of Defence in the future will be able to lay before Parliament a proposal for the establishment of a small arms factory, which I think must be situated at Lithgow, in New South Wales, where the coal and irqn are on the spotv I need not say more than that this is a usual .Supply Bill, making no more than the ordinary provision based on last year’s Estimates. No new appointments or new works are dealt with in the schedule.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clauses 2, 3, and 4 postponed.
.- I see that there is an item of ,£5,000 towards the expenses of the Administration of New Guinea. I suppose that this is the usual quarterly contribution - that no provision out of the ordinary is made?
– It is the ordinary quartely contribution based on the amount voted last year.
Schedule agreed to.
Postponed clause 2 (Issue and Application of £748.363)-
.- In the Department of the Treasury there is an item of £3,600 for salaries under the heading of “ Government Printer.” I desire to know how this amount is made up?
– - This is the usual amount based on that voted last year for the same purpose; that’ is, the £3,600 is one-fourth of the amount voted on the Estimates last year.
– Is it a vote to the Government Printer for the printing necessary for the Commonwealth?
– Undoubtedly, and also for the payment of salaries.
. In the Department of the PostmasterGeneral there are votes for the conveyance of mails, cables, and ocean mails in connexion with Tasmania. I desire to know whether the conveyance of- mails and cables involves any alteration of the present methods, or whether the votes are simply to meet current obligations?
– - The votes are only to meet current obligations, and I understand they are based on the figures supplied/ to honorable senators in connexion with the Budget.
– The votes do not commit us to any new policy.
Clause agreed to.
Postponed clauses 3 and 4 and title agreed to.
Bill reported without requests; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 28th August, vide page 3436) :
Clause 7 agreed to.
Clause 8 -
Any foreign corporation, or trading or financial corporation formed within the Commonwealth, . which monopolizes or attempts to monopolize, or combines or conspires with any person to monopolize, any part of the trade or commerce within the Commonwealth, with intent to control, to the detriment of the public, the supply or price of any service, merchandise, or commodity, is guilty of an offence.
Penalty : Five hundred pounds.
Every contract made or entered into in contravention of this section shall be absolutely illegal or void.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [4.16]. - This is a clause which enables the Commonwealth to interfere with a trade or undertaking carried on within the boundaries of a State. It is more specific in that respect than the clause upon which a constitutional question has already risen, namely, clause 5. It would prevent a trading corporation or a financial corporation from carrying on its own business * within the boundaries of a State, even although the State law did not apply, and the operations of the company might be beneficial in the estimation of the State. It raises identically the same point as we previously discussed, as to the position in which the Bill places- an individual, or a combination of individuals, who may be guilty of the grossest possible monopoly in the estimation of a State to the detriment of the community within the State. That individual or combination of individuals may indulge in monopoly to his heart’s content, and to the great disadvantage, it may be, of the whole or part of the community, while an incorporated company on the other side of the street will not be able to do so. There will thus be two sets of laws. A combination of individuals in the form of a partnership may do all the evils sought to be cured by this clause, but the same combination of individuals if they choose to register themselves as an incorporated body will Le liable under this legislation. I do ask honorable senators whether, from that point of view alone - without going into any subleties of constitutional law - -the situation commends itself to them ? How could they justify that position when they go before the electors, as a number of us have to do within a few weeks? It would be impossible. We should be rightly accused of being traitors, not to the rights of the States so much as to the rights of the traders within the State. It is impossible for any man to justify to his constituents the making of fish of one and flesh of another by declaring that4 because the registrar of companies has given a certificate as to the existence of a corporate body, it shall be liable to the penalties and punishments of this Bill, whilst, because a number of individuals have chosen to dispense with that certificate they shall be free. Anything more unjust was never perpetrated. _ I feel perfectly satisfied that none of us” can justify either to our judgments or om political consciences the enactment of it on the eve of an election without giving the people of the States an opportunity of saying whether or not they will come under the operation of such a law.
– Under this Bill, an attempt is made to make a certain’ thing an offence, and, according to Senator Symon ‘s argument, as I understand it, because we have not the constitutional power to catch all who commit that offence, we should let all go scot-free.
– That was not my argument at all.
– That is what the honorable senator’s argument amounted to.
– I say that, first of all, we have not the constitutional power to do what is proposed; and, secondly, we should not give immunity to one man for doing exactly the thing for which we punish another, simply because he happens to be a corporation under this Bill.
– I am not so presumptuous as to pretend to argue the constitutional question with Senator Symon, but, as he was not present when the matter was previously discussed, I direct the honorable and learned senator’s attention to paragraph xx. of section 51 of the Constitution. Whatever may be the meaning of the words as used in the Constitution, they have been introduced into this Bill, and if the Constitution does not give us the power, as the honorable senator contends, the provision with which he finds fault will not be operative. The contention that because we have not the power to prevent every one from doing what we regard as an offence, we should not, therefore, prevent corporations from doing it, is a kind of reasoning which will not go down with the Committee. I am prepared to go as far in this matter as the Constitution permits. If the Constitution does not give us all the necessary power, and what we do requires to be supplemented by the States’ Parliaments, we must leave to them the responsibility for their share of the work. If it is agreed that what is here dealt with can be regarded as an offence, and the Constitution does not give us the power to cover the whole ground, the responsibility formaking the law uniform must rest with the States Parliaments.
.- Some honorable senators do not yet quite understand the constitutional point which Senator Symon has endeavoured to put before the Committee on more than one occasion. The point, as I understand it, is that under the Constitution we have the power to regulate only trade and commerce with other countries and among the States. Clause 7 of the Bill keeps to that, but in clause 8 we are asked to set aside the words of the Constitution, and in the case of a corporation, to legislate in respect of trade and commerce in any part of the Commonwealth, which means legislating with respect to trade in a particular State.
– The clause quotes the words of the Constitution.
– I am pointing out that that is exactly what it does not do.
– “Any foreign corporation or trading or financial corporation.” Those are the words of the Constitution.
– I say that the clause does not use the words of the Constitution, because, with respect to our power to deal with trade and commerce, we have to look to paragraph 1. of section 51, and in clause 8, where it is proposed to penalize corporations, we are asked to depart from the words of the Constitution, and to attempt to regulate the trading of a corporation in a particular State. We have no power to interfere with trade in Tasmania or in any other State of the Commonwealth.
– Then to that extent the clause will be inoperative?
– Senator de Largie regards certain operations as an offence, and believes that if we cannot punish such offences within the boundaries of a particular State, we should stretch the Constitution to enable us to do so.
– I said nothing of the kind.
– We should attend to our part of the business, which is the regulating of trade and commerce with other countries and among the States, and it is for the States Parliaments to regulate trade within their respective States. Do not honorable senators see that this proposal is the grossest attempt to interfere with States rights that was ever submitted to the Senate ?
– Look at paragraph xx. of section 51 of the Constitution.
– That does not help the honorable senator in any way, because under that paragraph we have power to make laws with respect to corporations and trading companies. Honorable senators propose to carry that power back to paragraph 1. of section 51, conferring the power to deal with trade and commerce, and to contend that in that way we have the power to interfere with trade in a particular State. There are references in section 51 to bills of exchange and promissory notes. We have the power to enact legislation concerning them. But if the reasoning of some honorable senators be correct, we have only to take that paragraph in conjunction with paragraph 1 of section 51, and claim that we have the power to deal with trade and commerce so far as it is affected by bills of exchange and promissory notes in any particular State. I ask honorable senators to say whether they think we can do that ? We have also under the same section of the Constitution the absolute control given us with respect to immigration and emigration ; but will my honorable friends contend that that, in conjunction with the paragraph1. of section 51, gives us the power to make laws restricting the trading powers of immigrants? In this measure we are being asked to differentiate between a company and a private individual. Do honorable senators contend that in the same way we should have the power to differentiate between an immigrant newly arrived in Tasmania and a citizen of Tasmania who has been in the State all his life, simply because we have the power to deal with trade and commerce as well as the power to deal with immigration? Senator Keating should tell the Committee whether he really believes in this clause as it stands. We must have a division upon it, because there are some of us who believe that we should place on record our protest against what we consider to be unconstitutional and illegal. We are bound to protect States rights in this matter, and must have a division on the question. The time will come, and no doubt very shortly, when the High Court will be called upon to decide the point, and it is as well that it should be shown that some members of the Senate have not lost their heads over this business.
– The High Court will not take the slightest notice of what honorable senators do.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia.) [4.42]. - I wish to say that I quite appreciate the position taken up by Senator de Largie. It is clear that the honorable senator is impressed with the fact that this measure proposes an inequality in the treatment of different persons, but he says that it must be left with the States Parliaments to make the legislation uniform. I remind the honorable senator that it is our duty to make our legislation uniform, and the Constitution only empowers us so to do. If we are to have legislation that is lop-sided, it must strike any honorable senator either that the Constitution which permits such a thing must be wrong - and that can scarcely be contended with respect to our Constitution-
– I think that there is a defect in it.
– Even if there is that suits the argument I am putting to the honorable senator equally well. If this is lop-sided legislation, and is not uniform, it is legislation that we should not pass, because the Constitution really empowers us to enact only uniform legislation. It would be a serious blemish on the Constitution if it could be said that it enabledus to provide that in respect of the same act one man should be liable to punishment and another should go scot free. It would be a very sad thing if we were to be obliged to attribute such a blot to the Constitution. I am not putting the matter as a lawyer, but as the man in the street might put it, and as it must appeal to one’s common sense and moral sense. The basis of the Constitution is equality in citizenship and trade. That is its basic principle, and yet we are here asked to give it the go-bye - to discriminate, to enact an inequality, and to leave it to some other Legislature if it pleases to remedy theinequality. I have no desire to press the constitutional question further, but I point out that this Bill is one dealing with trade and commerce. It is introduced for the purpose of enabling us to give effect in a particular directionto that power conferred upon us by the Constitution to make laws with respect to trade and commerce. The only laws we can make on the subject are those which affecttrade and commerce with other countries and among the States. But under cover of another power in the Constitution, enabling us to legislate in regard to a particular and specific matter, we are being asked to extend our powers of legislation in respect to trade and commerce. This is not a Bill dealing with foreign corporations or trading or financial corporations formed in the Commonwealth, but a Bill dealing with trade and commerce between other countries and among the States.
– Not necessarily.
– Yes. If it is not a Bill dealing with trade and commerce it is nothing. We have no right, under a subterfuge or pretence, because there are other words in the Constitution, to say that we are going to legislate as to something else, namely, as to something which relates to the status or position of those corporations.
– Does the honorable senator say that we have no power to deal with anything but the status of such companies ?
– In dealing with trade and commerce we have no power to make that an offence in one man which is not an offence in another.
– I appreciate the way in which Senator Symon has approached the clause on this occasion. To a certain extent, the question that may arise under clause 8 is similar to that which was threshed out at great length on clause 5, and for that reason the honorable senator, while not altering the opinion which he then so forcibly expressed, refrained from speaking as to the constitutional power of this Parliament to deal with corporations to the fullest extent that has been claimed by us. I do not intend to deal with that matter, but to confine myself entirely to the argument which was used by the honorable senator in support of his objection to the clause. On a previous occasion he expressed his opinion on the constitutional point very emphatically, and other honorable senators, as he says, differed from him. So far as that is concerned I do not intend to refer to it. My honorable friend suggests that if the clause were carried it would lead to what might be considered an anomaly in our industrial life. ‘ For example, he suggests that a trading corporation carrying on business in a certain city and not operating outside the boundaries of the State in which it was situated would come under the penal provisions of the Bill ; while on the other side of the street there might be an individual trader or a partnership or a firm, not being a corporation, carrying on a similar business ; but the penal provisions of the Bill would not apply. I admit now frankly that that would be an anomalous state of affairs. But while I admit that such an anomaly might result from the passing of the clause, I do not think that we can thence necessarily argue that we are exercising powers which are not given to us by the Constitution. Let me assume that in the Bill we did not touch, corporations as such at all, but confined ourselves entirely to individuals, and made penal such a thing as combination in restraint of trade or combination for the purpose of destroying or injuring, by means of unfair competition., any Australian industry ? I leave out of consideration altogether the question of corporations and the power which we assume to exercise under paragraph xx. of section 51 of the Constitution. Of course^ our powers with regard to individuals are confined to Inter-State trade and commerce, or trade and commerce between the Commonwealth and outside countries. We might have on one side of a street in a city or town a man or a firm carrying on business the ambit of which was Inter-State, and by reason of the fact that he was carrying on Inter- State business, or his business was such that it brought him into trading and commercial relations with the outside world, he would come under the penal provisions of the Bill. On the opposite side of that street we might have a man conducting a business of a similar character, but which was confined wholly within the limits of the State. The Bill could not touch him. Would not that also be an anomaly ? Would any one argue, from the existence of such an admittedly possible anomaly, that we were going outside our powers?
– There is no anomaly in that, because the one is limiting his trade to the State and the other is doing Inter-State trade. When we deal with Inter-Sate trade we deal equally and uniformly with all.
– Quite so; but, still, it would be an anomaly.
– The State could rectify that anomaly.
– That is not an anomaly because the Minister is comparing two things which are altogether different. An anomaly exists here, because we are dealing with two things which are the same.
– I will assume that in the Bill we made no provision in regard to companies as companies, that we dealt with only individuals, and that clauses 5 and 8 did not exist. We might have Jones and Company, on one side of a street and Brown and Company on the opposite »si de carrying on a similar class of business. The business ramifications of the former firm extend beyond the State, and, therefore, it would come under the operation of the mea-. sure, but Brown and Company, who do not operate beyond the limits of the State, would not. Whether that is an anomaly or not, in the sense suggested by. Senator Symon, is another thing.
– They are both on the same footing as to their State trade.
– Let me now compare that with the other anomaly which has been given as an illustration. On one side of a street we might have Jones and Company, who are carrying on business within the State only, and the Bill would not touch the firm. On the other side of the street we might have Brown and Company Proprietary Limited, carrying on a similar class of business. We say thatwe can touch that firm simply by reason of the fact that it is a trading or financial corporation formed within the limits of the Commonwealth, or, perhaps, a foreign corporation. That may be an anomaly ; I do not say that it is not.
– It is not a discrimination.
– It is not a discrimination.
– Yes, it is.
– In the case of the other anomaly, it is a question of one firm carrying on Inter-State trade, and another firm carrying on trade within the State. I contend that neither anomaly argues that we are exceeding our powers in legislating in this way. But they both bring home forcibly to our mind the fact that we are working under a limited Constitution - that the complete political powers of the Australian people are distributed amongst two sets of legislative bodies - the Commonwealth Parliament on one side and the six States Parliaments on the other. In nearly every domain of legislation possible to us, we find that a limit lies somewhere. If we are going to exercise our legislative power up to the limits imposed upon us by the Constitution, there will remain beyond those limits, in many cases, a wide field for possible legislation in the States, and it will remain for the States if they desire to supplement or complement our legislation. In the case of the Commerce
Sill, the same class of objection was raised. It was said that we were endeavouring to make only certain people honest when we were proposing” to compel them, if they marked their goods at all, to mark them with a correct description so that the public should not be misled. It was objected then that we could deal with only imports and exports, and with InterState trade. We dealtwith the subject, knowing that, so far as trade within a State was concerned, the State Parliament might follow our example, or refrain from doing so. The same thing applies now. I do not think we ought to argue in any case that, because what seems to be an anomaly will result, we are necessarily taking a strained or crooked view of our powers under the Constitution.
What we must conclude is that we are simply exercising powers which are conferred upon us not in full and unlimited terms, but in a limited fashion.
– In the case of the Fraudulent Marks Bill, we did not restrict ourselves to trade between one State and another.
– I referred to the Commerce Act.
– I thought that the Minister was speaking of the other Act, because in that case we interfered with trade within a State, and in doing so, 1 think we exceeded our constitutional powers. I understood the Minister to contend that if Brown had a shop in Victoria, and also a shop in New South Wales, he would come under the Bill, but clearly he would not. In each case, he would he a private trader, because his trade would be limited to the one State. It would be only so far as his operations comprehended trade between one State and another that he would come within this measure, and, as I contend, within our constitutional power.
– I said that if his trade were of an Inter-State character, he would come within the measure.
– Then the anomaly which the Minister was pointing out, disappears entirely, because in the case I cited Brown would be confining the business of each shop to the State in which it was located. But the anomaly to which Senator Symon and others have drawn attention would be a real one. That is a case where we should have two bodies, one being a private firm and the other a corporate firm on opposite sides of a street, doing business strictly within the limits of one State. I wonder that Senator de Largie did not notice that the point of contention is as to whether we have constitutional power to pass the provision in question. The Government contend that it is conferred by paragraph xx. of section 51, but we contend that upon a true interpretation of that paragraph the power is not given to us.
– On what does the honorable senator rely for any limitation to that power?
– On the power in regard to trade and commerce which is given to us in paragraph 1. of section 51, supplemented by section 98, which expresses the exact limit of that power. It was very admirably pointed out by Sen- ator Millen that we have power in regard to arbitration and conciliation in case of disputes extending beyond a State ; but it has not yet been contended that, because we have power under paragraph xx. of section 51 of the Constitution in regard to corporations of various kinds, we therefore have power to bring corporations within the Arbitration and Conciliation Act.
– There is a specific limitation.
– There is a specific limitation in paragraph 1. of section 51 in regard to trade and commerce, and there is a specific limitation in regard to our powers relating to arbitration and conciliation. If the contention be good that paragraph xx.’ gives us plenary powers in the case of corporations, so that we may extend the limits of our power in regard to trade and commerce, the paragraph would equally enable Us to include arbitration and conciliation. The reasoning seems to be absolutely complete.
– What is the meaning of paragraph xx. ?
– It gives us power in regard to foreign corporations and trading or financial corporations, but not so as to extend the expressed’ limits of paragraph 1 in regard to trade and commerce. When a reading of the Constitution produces such a startling anomaly as that a man trading on one side of the street is exempt from the law, while a corporation trading in exactly the same way on the other side is within the law, we doubt the correctness of the interpretation.
– It is an anomaly, but it is not due to any discrimination by us.
– There is no anomaly if my reading be adopted, namely, that we haw power over foreign corporations and trading or financial corporations within a State, but not so as to enlarge the power conferred by paragraph 1. of section 51 of the Constitution. With regard to trading operations, not of any particular individuals, but as between one State and another, or between a State and countries outside Australia, we have absolute power ; but the whole power with regard to trading within a State belongs to the State. There we see the harmony of the Commonwealth Constitution; each State is a separate sovereign State, the Government under each State Constitution having full power with regard to all trade within the State. To follow Senator Keating again, the- underlying principle of the Constitution is that matters which can be more efficiently dealt with by the Commonwealth Government are handed over to the Commonwealth Government. What are they? They are matters in which the interest of one State impinges on the interest of another. It may be merchandise marks, or laws relating to trade and commerce - such a law as is now under discussion- - where the interests of two States, or the interests of a State and the interests of .an. outside community, impinge. The Commonwealth then steps in and takes charge. But the genius of the Constitution is that everything in a State shall be within the power of the State Government under the State Constitution. The burden rests on the honorable senators who take an opposite view from myself to show that their interpretation does not lead to anomalies such as would constitute almost an absurdity, and be absolutely contrary to the underlying principle of the Constitution.
– It will be remembered that, in the course of the second -reading debate, Senator McGregor, and afterwards Senator Guthrie, mentioned the United Shoe Machinery Company, and pointed out that it never actually sells its machines, but hires them out on the royalty system. It was pointed out then that if a manufacturer found it necessary to employe say, halfadozen extra machines, he must get them from the company on the terms I have indicated, no manufacturer being allowed to employ machines of any other make. Senator McGregor, in the course of his remarks, mentioned the case of Mr. Best, a wellknown boot manufacturer of Melbourne, who, on one occasion, installed a machine, or machines, the product of some other company, and who immediately received notice that the United Shoe Machinery Company proposed to withdraw from his establishment their machines held by him. Subsequently, in an affidavit, which has been laid on the table of the Senate, Mr. Best denied that the United Shoe Machinery Company had withdrawn their machines for the reasons stated. I have in my possession an accurate copy of an agreement, not such an agreement as Mr. Best signed, but one which is handed to every manufacturer who desires to use any of the welting or stitching, machines owned by the United Shoe Machinery Company.
In this agreement it is distinctly laid down that, when a manufacturer purchases one set of machines, he must, if he can, use them to their fullest capacity, and that, if at any time he finds the work more than the machines in his possession will perform, he must not purchase any machine from any other manufacturer, but must obtain what he requires from the United Shoe Machinery Company. According to the actual wording of the agreement, there is nothing to prevent a manufacturer doing the work by hand ; but, in these days of machinery, such a concession need not be seriously considered. The documents which have already been laid upon the table in this connexion indicate perjury on the part of some person somewhere.
– Do I understand the honorable senator to say that the agreement in his possession is not the agreement that Mr. Best signed?
– It is not the identical agreement that Mr. Best signed, but an agreement handed to me by another manufacturer, whose name, for obvious reasons, I am not at liberty to mention, though I may say that he is a constituent of Senator Millen.
– All that the honorable senator is saying is that this is an agreement signed by somebody.
– It issigned by every manufacturer who-
– Do I understand that the honorable senator cannot affirm that Mr. Best signed it?
– That is so.
– Then this agreement has no bearing on the affidavit that Mr. Best made?
– I do not want to give Mr. Best, or any one else, another opportunity to reply in the left-handed way adopted before. I do not want to enable Mr. Best to swear an affidavit that he did not sign this particular agreement: but I say that every manufacturer, including Mr. Best, who requires certain machinery from the United Shoe Machinery Company must sign a similar document.
– Is Mr. Best not a manufacturer ?
– He is.
– First the honorable senator says that the agreement must be signed by every manufacturer, and then he says that Mr. Best did notsign it.
– I do not know that Mr. Best ever required the machinery specially mentioned in this agreement, but if he has the machinery then he has signed an agreement similar to this.
– Then the agreement can have no bearing on Mr. Best’s affidavit.
– The agreement is as follows : -
UNITED SHOE MACHINERY COMPANY.
Goodyear Lock-Stitch Outsole Stitching Machine Set.
Lease and License, No.
This lease and license, made this day of190 , between United Shoe Machinery Company, a Corporation organized under the law of the State of New Jersey, United States Of America, having its principal Australian office at Sydney, New South Wales (hereinafter referred to as the lessor) of the one part, and of (hereinafter referred to as the lessee, of the other part :
Witnesseth that the lessor in consideration of the covenants and agreements on the part of the lessee herein contained doth hereby lease unto the lessee and license the lessee to use under any patents affecting any invention which are or hereafter shall be embodied in any of the machines hereinafter designated and belonging to the lessor or under which the lessor has the right to grant a license, the machine or machines of the Goodyear department, of the lessor, designated by number or numbers in the following schedule : -
Schedule of Machines.
Goodyear Welt and Turn Shoe Machine No.
Goodyear Universal Inseam Machine, No.
Goodyear Bobbin Winder (Universal), No.
Goodyear Outsole Rapid Lockstitch Machine No.
Goodyear Bobbin Winder (Rapid), No.
Extension Edge Attachment (A), No.
Extension Edge Attachment (B), No.
Welt Bevelling Attachment, No.
Goodyear Welt Sewing Machine (D), No.
Goodyear Channeller (Turn), No.
Goodyear Channeller (Insole), No.
Goodyear Channeller (Outsole), No.
Goodyear Universal Welt Beater, No.
Goodyear Universal Shank Skiving Machine No.
Goodyear Universal Inseam Trimming Machine No.
Goodyear Universal Rounding and Channelling Machine, No.
Goodyear Channel Opening Machine, No.
Goodyear Automatic Sole Levelling Machine, No.
Goodyear Rotary Sole Laying Machine, No.
Hadaway Stitch Separating Machine, No.
Goodyear Channel Laying Machine, No.
Goodyear Flexible Sole Machine, No.
Goodyear Moulding Machine, No.
Goodyear Turn Shoe Trimming Machine, No.
Goodyear Lip Turning Machine, No.
Goodyear Direct Levelling Machine, No.
All these make one complete set of machines in what is known as a “ room “ in a factory: - and all or any of the machines mentioned in the above schedule that may hereafter be delivered by the lessor to the lessee and any duplicate parts, extras, mechanisms, tools, and devices relating thereto, or used in connexion therewith, now attached or delivered with the said designated machine or machines respectively, or which may at any time hereafter be obtained from the lessor or be added thereto by or with the consent of the lessor (the whole of the machine or machines, duplicate parts, extras, mechanisms referred to as “ the leased machinery “) subject to conditions hereinafter contained.
And that the following are agreed to as lease and license of the leased machinery, each and all or which the lessee hereby covenants with the lessor to keep and perform.
Then follow the terms of the agreement -
One. - The lessee shall pay to the lessor immediately after the execution thereof of the sum of£ , as a “ lease premium,” and a further sum of£ , as an “ installation fee,” the lessee shall also pay the cost of carriage of the leased machinery from to the place of installation of machinery. The lessee shall further pay to the lessor during the continuance of this lease and licence a monthly rent for the use or hire of the leased machinery determined in accordance with the terms of clause 7 thereof.
Two. - The leased machinery is and shall remain the sole properly of the lessor, and the lessee shall have no right of property therein, but only the right to use the same upon the condition herein contained. The leased machinery shall only be used by the lessee or by operatives in his direct employ, and only in the factory now occupied by him at , and shall not be removed from such factory without the written consent of the lessor. The lessee shall obtain from the landlord of the said factory, and shall hand to the lessor on the execution of this lease and licence a binding undertaking signed by such landlord, not to distrain or attempt to distrain upon the leased machinery or any part thereof for rent or other sums of money which may at any, time be clue to him from the lessee. The lessee shall not assign, mortgage, pledge, or sub- let the leased machinery, or any part thereof, nor attempt to do so, or allow any other person, firm, or corporation to use it, whether for or without any consideration, nor transfer all or any rights under this lease and licence without the written consent of the lessor’ first had and obtained ; nor shall the lessee take any steps or do any act lending towards such results, or towards a removal of the leased machinery.
Three. - The lessor and its agents and employes shall at all times have access to the leased machinery for the purpose of inspecting it, or watching its use and operation, or of altering, repairing, improving, or adding to it, or determining the nature or. extent of its use, and the lessee shall afford all reasonable facilities therefor.
Four. - Without the written consent of the lessor the lessee shall not himself or shall be allowed or suffer any other person, firm, or corporation to make any addition, subtraction, change, or modification whatever to, from, or in the leased machinery or its regular working condition ; or injure, deface, or remove any plates, cleetes, numbers, or inscriptions now or here after impressed on or affixed to the leased machinery by the lessor or its agents.
Five.- The lessee shall at all times during the continuance of this lease and licence, at his own expense, keep the leased machinery in good and efficient working order and condition, and shall obtain exclusively from the lessor, and shall pay therefor at the regular prices from time to time established by the lessor, all the duplicate parts, extras, mechanisms, and devices of every kind, needed or used in operating, repairing, or renewing the leased machinery. Such duplicate parts, extras, mechanisms, and devices shall be held by the lessee under the terms of this lease and licence as part of the leased machinery, and shall remain the property of the lessor.
Six. - The lessee shall pay all rates, taxes, assessments, and outgoings which may be levied upon or in respect of the leased machinery, or in respect of the lease and licence, or the right of payment hereunder upon whomsoever assessed or upon the said lessor in respect of royalty moneys hereby made payable.
Seven. - The lessee shall pay the lessor monthly as and by way of rent for the useor hire of the leased machinery during the continuance of this lease and licence at the rate of twopence half-penny for each and every one thousand revolutions made by the main cam shaft of the Goodyear OutsoleRapid Lockstitch Machine hereby leased and licensed as indicated or registered by the indicator attached to such machine by the lessor. The said rent for all revolutions of the cam shaft which have taken place during each calendar month shall be paid by the lessee on or before the fifteenth day of the next following month.
Eight. - The lessee shall use the leased machinery to its full capacity so far as the the manufacture of boots, shoes, or other footwear made in his factory will permit, and in case the lessee has more work of the kind than the leased machinery is capable of performing, the lessee shall lease from the lessor a sufficient number of similar machines under leases and licenses similar to these presents, to perform the whole of such additional work, or such part thereof, as shall not be done by hand. The leased machinery shall not be used except in the manufacture of boots, shoes, or other foot wear known in the trade as “ Goodyear welted,” which are or shall be welted and soles stitched, on welt sewing and stitching machines leased to the lessee by the lessor, and upon all of which stitching machines the lessee is continuing to pay to the lessor rental at the rates assessed by the lessor.
– Is all this relevant to the clause?
– Is there very much more of it?
– If the honorable senator had objected when Senator Pulsford was reading an affidavit with regard to this same question, it would have saved me from the task of reading the documents.
Nine. - On or before the fifth day of each calendar month the lessee shall furnish to the lessor upon forms or in books to be supplied by the latter, an exact statement of the revolutions of the cam shaft of the Goodyear Outsole Rapid Lockstitch Machine, hereby leased, which have taken place during the preceding calendar month. The lessee shall sign these monthly statements, and, if so requested by the lessor, verify the same by statutory declaration. If the said Goodyear Outsole Rapid Lockstitch Machine has remained idle during the whole or a part of any month, the lessee shall make mention thereof on the said statement, and upon the request of the lessor give a full information and explanation regarding the causes thereof.
Ten. - The lessor may attach to the leased machinery, or any part thereof, an indicator or indicators to register the number of revolutions or movements of any part or parts thereof, and the lessee shall not himself nor shall he allow or suffer any person (other than the lessor or its agents) to disturb or interfere with any indicator or indicators attached to the leased machinery or any part thereof. In case any indicator thus attached no longer registers accurately or is disturbed or out of repair, or the glass covering the dial of any such indicator is removed or broken or injured, then and as often as the same shall happen, the lessee shall immediately give notice thereof in writing to the lessor, and at the same time explain the circumstances under which the same has happened ; and in such cases and for so long a time as the indicator fails to indicate or register accurately, or remains disturbed or out of repair, or the glass covering the dial is removed, broken, or injured, the lessee without prejudice to any other rights of the lessor hereunder, shall pav to the lessor as rent, instead of the sum fixed in clause 7 hereof, the sum of threepence per pair for each pair of boots or shoes or any part thereof, in the manufacture whereof the leased machinery or any part thereof shall have been used. Independently of any indicators that may be placed upon the leased machinery, the lessee shall keep full and accurate accounts showing the number of boots and shoes or parts thereof in the manufacture of which the leased machinery or any part thereof shall be used, and shall allow the lessor at all times by its agents to examine and to take copies of such accounts, and the lessee if so requested by the lessor shall verify the same by statutory declaration. In addition, all book entries and accounts whatsoever made or kept by the lessee, which may serve to indicate the number of boots and shoes made by the. aid of the leased machinery or any part thereof, shall at all reasonable times be open to the inspection of the lessor or its authorized agents, and the lessee shall produce all such books and accounts upon request, and shall, if so required bv the lessor, verify the same by statutory declaration.
And that the following agreement, stipulations, and provisions are agreed to : -
Eleven. - The lessee admits the validity of each and every of the letters patent and certificates of Provisional Protestation granted to or held or owned by the lessor, either now or at any time during the currency of this lease and license, or under which the lessor is or shall be authorized to grant a license affecting any of the inventions which are or hereafter may be embodied in the leased machinery. The lessee also agrees that he will not directly or indirectly infringe or contest the validity, of any of the said patents or certificates, or the title of the lessor, or the lessor’s licensers thereto. In case any of the patents now or hereafter owned by the lessor, or under which the lessor is or may hereafter be authorized to grant a license, should expire or be declared invalid, this lease and license shall be in no way affected thereby, nor shall the termination or cessor of this lease and license from any cause whatever affect in any way the provisions of this clause, or release, or discharge the lessee from the admission and estopped herein set forth.
Twelve. - Any breach or default on the part of the lessee in respect of any of the conditions herein contained, or of any of the conditions contained in any other lease and license for the time being existing between the lessor and lessee whether as the result of assignment to the lessor or otherwise, or the insolvency or bankruptcy of the lessee, or the making of a receiving order against him, or the execution by him of any bill of sale, deed of trust, or assignment for the benefit of his creditors, or the making of any composition or arrangement with his creditors, or the levying or attempted levying of any distress, execution, or attachment upon the leased machinery or any part of it, or upon any of the property of the lessee, shall entitle the lessor, at its option, to cancel and terminate forthwith this lease and license, and all or any other lease and licenses then existing between the lessor and the lessee, whether as the result of assignment or otherwise, notwithstanding that previous breaches or defaults may have been unnoticed, waived, or condoned by or on behalf of the lessor. Notice of such cancellation and determination shall be given in writing, signed by the President or Vice-President, the Treasurer, or the Australian manager of the lessor, and either delivered or posted by registered letter to the lessee’s usual or last known place of residence or business. Such notices shall take effect from date of posting or delivery, as the case might be. Any cancellation or termination of this lease or license shall not release the lessee from his obligation to pay the rent hereby reserved for the period prior to such cancellation or termination, or to pay for duplicate parts, extras, mechanisms, tools, and devices delivered prior thereto, and shall be without prejudice to any other rights and remedies which the lessor may have for breach of contract use of machines without right or use of patented inventions without license.
Thirteen. - This lease and license shall continue unless sooner terminated by the lessor because of breach thereof on the part of the lessee or otherwise as herein provided for twenty years from the date hereof, but the lessor may at any time, at its option, cancel this lease and license by giving sixty days’ notice of its intention so to do, given in writing in the form and in the manner described in the last preceding clause hereof. Such notice to take effect sixty days from the date of posting or delivery, as the case may be. In case this lease and license shall thus be cancelled within six years and eight months from the. date hereof, then within twenty days of the receipt by the lessor at its office at of the leased machinery complete and in good order and condition, the lessor shall credit the lessee’s account with a sum equal to the “ lease premium “ paid by the lessee, less a discount therefrom at the rate of fifteen per cent, per annum for each vear or fraction thereof that shall have expired from the date hereof until such receipt of the leased machinery, and less a sum equal to 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 employes 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 to the lessees a sum equal to the “lease premium,” less such discount and deductions as aforesaid.
Fourteen. - Upon the expiration or termination of this lease and license, or an extension 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 and all parts and accessories relating thereto or used therewith complete and in good order and condition to the lessors or its office at . The lessee hereby giants by way of easement or right to the lessor, .its successors and assigns, and such workmen or others may be authorized by the lessor or its successor or assigns for that purpose, full right, power, and authority to enter upon the said premises at aforesaid, and in every part there of where the leased machinery or any part thereof may be, and 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 leased machinery in good and complete order and condition. And the lessee hereby for himself, his heirs, administrators and assigns (including his sub-lessee or tenants), covenants with the lessor, its successors, and assigns, and to the intent that these covenants shall run as a burden binding said premises that the lessor, its successors and assigns shall at all times during the continuance of this lease and license, or so long as the leased machinery or any part thereof shall remain or be in or upon the said premises possess and be entitled to use and exercise such easement or right as aforesaid.
Fifteen. - If upon the expiration of the full term of this lease and license, the lessor does not request the return of the leased machinery, and the lessee does not return the same, then this lease and license shall be extended indefinitely as to term, and the leased machinery shall continue to be held and used under and in accordance with the conditions hereof. But hereafter either the lessor or the lessee upon sixty days’ notice in writing to the other may terminate this lease and license, whereupon the leased machinery shall be delivered forthwith to the lessor as hereinbefore provided.
Sixteen. - None of the terms or conditions of this lease and license shall be held to have been waived by any act or knowledge of the lessor, its agents, or employes, but only by an instrument in writing, signed by the president, or vicepresident, the treasurer, or the Australasian manager of the lessor.
Seventeen. - The term “lessor” shall include the said United Shoe Machinery Company, and its successors and assigns. All conditions and agreements binding on the lessee shall be binding on and enforceable against his legal representatives. In the construction of this instrument words relating to the number and gender of the parties shall be read according to the real number and gender, and when the lessees consist of several persons, and they sign this instrument either individually or by a firm name, such signature or signatures shall bind all of them both jointly or severally, to all the obligations on the part of the lessee herein contained. In all cases in which the lessee is a corporation, the provisions contained in clause 12 hereof as to the lessee becoming insolvent or bankrupt shall apply also to the issuing by such corporations of any notice convening any meeting with a view to or any petition being presented for the winding up of such corporation.
– I should like to move that the paper be laid on the table of the Senate, and printed.
– I do not think that the honorable senator would ‘be in order in moving such a motion in Committee.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales) [5.38]. - I think it would be rather novel if an honorable senator were permitted to get up in the middle of a debate and move that a document be printed. I presume that Senator Croft read the document with the idea that it would be printed in Hansard, and that honorable senators should have an opportunity to read it. But we have something much more important to consider than whether a particular agreement is reasonable or unreasonable. What I wish honorable senators to determine is whether it was ever contemplated that under the Commonwealth Constitution there would be any difference in the treatment of different bodies under, the laws that we saw fit to enact. For my present purpose I assume that the provision we are now considering is within our powers under the Constitution, although later on I shall show that according to my view it is entirely beyond them. I assume, for the sake of argument, that it is within our powers, and I then take up the position that the Constitution was not .granted to us in order that we might differentiate in our laws between corporations and private individuals, or between private individuals and States. I think it will be admitted from a review of the whole scope of the Constitution that it was never intended that we should pass any legislation which would differentiate in its operation in any way whatever. If honorable senators will turn to paragraph ii. of section 51 of the Constitution they will find that it reads -
Taxation ; but so as not to discriminate between States or parts of States.
So that in that respect our legislation, whatever it may be, must be uniform in its application. But if the contention of honorable senators is that we can read one paragraph of the section into another, it might be contended that paragraph 11. can be read into paragraph xx. dealing with foreign corporations, and trading or financial coporations formed within the limits of the Commonewalth in such a way as to provide that those corporations might be the subject of taxation in a special way. It is contended that paragraph 1. of section 51 can be read into paragraph xx. so as to enable us to controlthe operations of corporations trading within a State. If that reasoning be sound it might be contended that we could have one form of taxation applicable to private individuals and another applicable to corporations and trading companies. Honorable senators will agree at once that that would be unjust.
– We can have taxation of corporations as corporations just as we have taxation of publicans as publicans.
-.-Col. GOULD.- We specially tax the publican because we give him special privileges with respect to the sale of liquor, and so on, that are not given to other persons. But would it not be very unjust to say that we shall put a special tax upon corporations which shall not be imposed on individuals or persons in partnership who have not registered themselves as corporations? There might be a partnership of ten, twenty, or thirty individuals who would escape such taxation, whilst if they agreed that it would be better that they should become incorporated, the same people would become liable to the taxation. If honorable senators will look at section 99 of the Constitution they will find that it is there provided that -
The Commonwealth shall not by any law or regulation of trade, commerce, or revenue, give preference to one State or any part thereof over another State or any part thereof.
There, again, we have evidence of the spirit of the Constitution - that there should be no preference and no differentiation. It may be contended that that deals only with one particular set of matters in connexion with the States themselves. But if it be the intention of the Constitution to prevent the States from being unfairly dealt with, surely it is equally the intention that individuals and corporations should be placed in the same position?
– We do not propose to deal unfairly with anybody.
.- Isay that in this Bill we are being asked to go against the intent and spirit of the Constitution. I am assuming, for the sake of argument, that what is here proposed can be clone, but I say that it is against the spirit of the Constitution to attempt to do anything of the kind.
– Does the honorable and learned senator contend that we could not levy a special tax upon a foreign corporation ?
.- I say that it is not the intention of the Constitution to give us the power to deal differentially in our legislation.
– Does the honorable and learned senator commithis reputation to the contention that we have not the power to impose a special tax on a foreign corporation ?
– If Senator Best had followed my argument he would have seen that I am contending that it is unjust, and that it is entirely against the spirit and intention of the Constitution to make any discriminaton either in respect of taxation or any other matter. At present I am assuming that the Commonwealth Parliament has the power to do what is proposed. By-and-by I propose to point out that in my view we have no such power. I need not weary honorable senators by going through the various sections of the Constitution, but we know that originally the object of Federation was to enable the Commonwealth authority to have power to deal with all matters of general concern affecting the States forming the Federation. It was not intended that we should interfere with States rights, except where that power is specifically set forth, and it is set forth only with respect to matters which can be better dealt with by the Commonwealth than by the individual States, which would perhaps adopt diverse legislation to deal with the same subject.
– We are not interfering with States rights, but are exercising our powers under the Constitution according to the honorable and learned senator’s own assumption.
.- I am assuming that we have the power proposed, but at the same time I am pointing out that the spirit and intention of the Constitution are that the Commonwealth Parliament shall take in hand only such matters as can be better dealt with by it, as representing the whole of the States, than by the individual States. These are matters of universal concern affecting outside persons, and upon which it is better that our legislation should be uniform. In this case I ask whether it is fair or just to say to the persons forming a corporation, “ Because you are a corporation you shall be placed under certain limitations and restrictions which would not apply to you if you were trading as individuals “ ? I say at once that it is against the spirit and intention of the Constitution that we should pass any legislation of the kind. I say further that it is a most unwise thing for us to do. If the proposed law is within our power, it is still unwise for us to attempt to pass it, for the simple reason that by so doing we shall be discriminating, and may bring about a conflict between the Commonwealth and the States. While we may possess very great powers, it will be admitted that it is better that they should not be pressed to the breaking point, causing difficulty and friction. In view of the feeling existing between the Commonwealth and the States at the present time, it is well that the rights of each should be respected. I now come to consider whether what is proposed is really within our powers under the Constitution, and, with all due respect to Senator Best and the authorities cited by that honorable and learned senator, I think that we are here being asked to go entirely beyond our powers. Senator Baker, dealing with the question the other day, referred to the history of the paragraphs of section 51 of the Constitution, and, dealing with paragraph xx., explained that the omission of the reference to the “ status “ of foreign corporations and trading or financial corporations formed within the limits of the Commonwealth was only regarded as a drafting amendment.
– Each one of the thirty-nine paragraphs of section 51 confers legislative power absolutely.
– Of course it does : but the question is how far it confers power.
– Where no limitation is expressed, as far as we like to go.
– Senator Baker told us that the whole of the debate with respect to paragraph xx. of section 51 had been with regard to the status, position, and creation of corporations, and that when the matter was taken on a step further, and the alteration made, it was accepted as a drafting amendment, and was never meant to cause a departure from the original intention of the framers of the Constitution. Senator Drake, in his contribution to the debate, also quoted largely the history of the matter, going back to the Convention of 1891. We have, therefore, had the intention of the framers of the Constitution in this matter placed clearly before us. I admit at once that where a section of a Statute is absolutely clear and distinct the Court will construe it according to the words used, assuming that the Legislature intended the ordinary construction to be placed on those words. It then becomes necessary to inquire whether there is any doubt or difficulty in regard to the matter, and I ask honorable senators if there is any doubt or difficulty here. If there is, we may depend on it that it will not be taken to drive the law to an extreme; but, on the contrary, an attempt will be. made to bring everything into harmony. If we are dealing with trade we have only limited powers. Whatever subsequent paragraphs of the section may provide with respect to foreign corporations, and trading and financial corporations. I hold that, so far as our power to deal with trade and commerce is concerned, it is covered and controlled by paragraph 1 of section 51 of the Constitution. Senator Trenwith may shake his head. But looking at paragraph1. of section 51, under which we are given power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to-
Trade and commerce with other countries and among the States -
I hold that we are limited by that paragraph in our legislation dealing with trade and commerce.
– Each one of the thirty-nine paragraphs of section 51 gives us the power to legislate for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth.
.- With respect to what?
– In this instance foreign corporations and financial trusts. The honorable senator has mentioned only one of the paragraphs of the section.
– The intention of the Constitution was to give us the power to legislate with regard to trade and commerce, and that power of legislation is limited to trade and commerce with other countries, and among the States. That is the provision under which this Bill has been introduced at the present time.
– I, for one, do not admit that.
– It is introduced under section 51, which includes the whole of the thirty-nine articles.
.- Then will the honorable senator tell me that it would be reasonable to deal in this Bill with the question of “ Naturalization and aliens,” which I find in paragraph XIX. of section 51 ? Of course, each of these paragraphs is intended to be taken separately. When honorable senators tell me that, by virtue of paragraph xx. we can bring about a different system of dealing with trade and commerce than that specified in paragraph 1., I submit, with all due respect, that if ever the matter is decided by the High Court, those who hold that view will find that they are absolutely wrong. I admit that in this I am adopting the dangerous course of prophesying before the event. Paragraph xx. gives the power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to -
Foreign corporations and trading or financial corporations formed within the limits of the Commonwealth.
But I say that our power, so far as trade and commerce is concerned, is unmistakably limited by paragraph 1. of section 51. If we had not the power given us under paragraph 1. to deal with trade and commerce with other countries, and among the States, we should not be able to deal with trade or commerce at all under this Bill.
– Oh !
– I say we should not, because we have provision as to what we can do in connexion with trade and commerce set out in paragraph 1.
– We are dealing with the Constitution as it is.
– That is so; but every honorable senator is aware that the Commonwealth Parliament is a limited
Parliament. It does not exercise supreme control over the whole of the Commonwealth, as the Canadian Parliament does over the whole of the Dominion of Canada.
– It does within the limits of section 51.
.- We have supreme power within the limits of section 51, but perhaps the honorable senator will agree with me that if paragraph xx, ofsection 51 had been omitted, there would have been no provision under which foreign trading corporations could be dealt with. On the same line of reasoning we derive our power in regard to trade and commerce from paragraph 1. If, apart from paragraph 1. we have any power to deal with trade and commerce, as Senator Best would lead us to suppose, then the moment it was exercised it would introduce a limitation, and that limitation could not be extended by any indirect process of reasoning. I feel quite satisfied that under the trade and commerce power we cannot deal with either men or corporations when they are merely trading within the limits of a State, because that jurisdiction is reserved to the State. I hope that honorable senators will treat all persons and bodies alike as far as they possibly can.
– In the Bill, every one who becomes a corporation will be treated in exactly thesame manner.
.- The honorable senator knows as well as I do that if a number of persons form themselves into a partnership they can enter into exactly the same class of trade or business as a corporation. He holds that, because they have not become a corporation, therefore they arenot liable to the penalty prescribed for an offence under the Bill ; but a corporation is so liable. Does he not perceive that a corporation is merely a collection ofpersons who, for business purposes, get themselves incorporated by Act of Parliament or registered under a Joint Stock Companies Act? It is manifestly unjust to enact that, because those persons have formed themselves into a corporation, they shall be liable to certain restrictions in trade to which they would not have been liable if they had remained merely a partnership. It may be argued that there is a difference of opinion on that point, and that, therefore, we should enact the legislation and leave it to the High Court to determine its constitutionality. I entirely object to legislating on that line. We, as representatives of the people, ought to satisfy ourselves first that a proposal is reasonable, and, secondly, that, if reasonable, it comes within the scope of our legislative powers. In my opinion, this proposal is unreasonable, and contrary to the spirit of the Constitution, and, therefore, it should not be enacted. I go further, and contend that it is beyond the powers conferred upon us by the Constitution, and that even if it were not. it would be most dangerous and undesirable, if it were passed, in its present form.
Question - That the clause stand part of the Bill - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 9 -
Whoever aids, abets, counsels, or procures, or by act or omission is in any way, directly or indirectly, knowingly concerned in or privy to -
the commission of any offence against this part of this Act ; or
the doing of any act outside Australia which would, if done within Australia, be an offence against this part of this Act, shall be deemed to have committed the offence. Penalty : Five hundred pounds.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [5.54]. - Does the Minister think it desirable to introduce into the clause the words “or omission”? How can a man by omission aid or abet anything ; Or how can he by omission be knowingly concerned in or privy to anything?
That the words . “ or omission,” line 2, be left out.
– The words contained in this aiding and abetting clause are, I think, speaking from memory, words which have appeared in the corresponding provisions of several Acts. I do not know that there is any very strong reason why we should deviate from a well-established form of draftsmanship.
– But where is the well-established form?
– For instance, . in the Electoral Act we make provision for aiders and abettors of offences to be equally punishable with the offenders.
– That is quite correct; but not by omission.
– I am not prepared at a moment’s notice to enumerate the number of cases which might occur, and which could only be covered by the word “omission.” I propose to give an illustration of the possibility of the commission of an offence by omitting to do a certain act. In clause 4 we provide 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, &c.
Let us assume that a man is being prosecuted for continuing to be a member of a combination. Suppose that a number of persons were in a combination prior to the passing of this measure, and that one or either of them simply omitted to dissociate himself from the others, and so break up the combination.
– Then he would still be a member of it.
– Yes ; but, asI said just now, I am merely illustrating that it is possible for an offence to be committed by an act of omission.
– But that would not make him an aider or abettor.
– No. Unless we have very good reason for departing from a well-established form of drafting, we ought to retain the words “ or omission,” so that the clause may cover all possible kinds of aiding and abetting. I do not know, as I said at the outset, that I could enumerate the instances which the use of the word might cover, and which otherwise the clause would not meet. The illustration I give is an illustration of the commission of the primary offence by omitting to do a certain Act, and not the commission of the offence of aiding and abetting. It is quite conceivable, and I think that honorable senators can very readily realize, that in many instances in which a man might aid and abet the commission of an offence, it would not be by active interference, but by omission to perform a duty which had been cast upon him.
– Suppose that a man omitted to give information about the existence of a combination, would that render him liable to the infliction of a penalty ?
– I think not. Even if it were possible or reasonable to say that it is not likely a mancould be guilty of an offence of aiding and abetting by omission, what is there to be gained by omitting the words ?
SenatorSir Josiah Symon. - That is not what the Bill says; the offence is not aiding and abetting by omission, but being, by omission, “ knowingly concerned.”
– A person by omission may be directly, or indirectly, counselling or procuring the commission of an offence. Would the clause not reach a person who was responsible for the issue of a periodical or newspaper, and who, by an omission, was knowingly concerned in counselling or procuring the commission of an offence ? I make this suggestion as an illustration for the consideration of honorable senators. It seems to me quite possible that in many cases a man may, by omission, be knowingly concerned in counselling or procuring the commission of an offence, and, if so, he ought to come within the provisions of the law.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales) [6.2]. - Can Senator Keating point in this Bill to any duty cast on an individual to give information in regard to those offences? The offences are entering into a combination with intent to restrain trade, or to destroy an Australian industry by unfair competition. Suppose I happened to know, or to believe, there was a combination in existence, would I be liable under the clause to punishment if I were not prepared to become an informer?
.- Let me direct the Minister’s attention to the words “or by act or omission is in any way directly or indirectly knowingly concerned in or privy to “ the commission of an offence. The meaning of “ privy “ is to have some knowledge of an offence, and I ask whether if a person who did not inform would be liable to a penalty of£500?
.- The case contemplated by the. clause is quite different from that of a man who witnesses or knows of a felony. These are misdemeanours - offences of an artificial character, created by Statute in order to protect ordinary trade or commerce. We ought not by means of legislation to render a man liable to a penalty of£500 if he does not become an informer as to something that he suspects.
– That is not what the clause would do.
.- Whoever aids, abets, counsels, or procures the commission of an offence is properly punishable ; but it is not reasonable or right to say that by an omission a man becomes privy to the offence.
– Does the honorable senator say that a man should not be punished if he is guilty of an offence by an act of omission?
.- If a man simply suspects, or believes, that there is a combination, it is no part of his duty to give information, and he ought not to be liable to a penalty of£500 for his omission to do so.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 10 to 16 agreed to.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [6.7]. - I move -
That the following new clause be inserted to follow clause 16 : - “16a. This part of this Act shall not extend nor apply to, nor shall the term ‘imported goods’ include goods of British manufacture.”
I move the insertion of the new clause at the present stage, but I shall be perfectly satisfied, if the Government or the Parliamentary Draftsman, in the event of its being passed, think it desirable, that it should appear in some other part of the Bill. I submit the clause in order to afford an opportunity to -give some practical effect to the desire so frequently expressed to establish a preference for the mother country. The present is a particularly valuable opportunity to give expression to our views in this regard, if we are in earnest about them. There has been a great deal of talk on the subject of preference to Great Britain.
– The honorable senator does not believe in preference to Great Britain.
– Most emphatically I do, though my method of affording preference may be not that which” the honorable senator would adopt. On many platforms and on many occasions, we have heard much eloquent talk in favour of preference to the manufactures of the mother country. In England, politicians and statesmen, in order to change the fiscal system of the mother country, have made use of what they believe to be the strong and crystallized sentiments in favour of preference. Those statesmen and politicians have spoken of “ offers “ from Australia in this connexion, though I am not aware that any definite offers of the kind have been made by any responsible public man in Australia to justify the statements which have been circulated in Great Britain and Ireland during the last three or four years. I think that many of those statements have been unjustifiable; but, at any rate, a Bill of this description presents an opportunity of which we may avail ourselves in order to show that when we are legislating in this extremely drastic way to prevent or prohibit importations, into this country from oversea–
– With the intention to destroy an Australian industry.
– If the honorable senator will allow me to proceed, he will. I think, admit that my view is the correct one. When we are legislating for the purpose of preventing or prohibiting the importation into this country of goods which may enter into successful competition with the goods of traders or manufacturers in this country - because that is what is meant bv injury - Ave have an opportunity to provide that the law shall not apply to the people or manufactures of England, Scot land, and Ireland. When something was said in this connexion the other day, the Minister of Defence interjected to the effect that the Government would oppose a proposal of the sort. I Avas sorry to hear the Minister give that intimation ; but, at any rate, the amendment I now propose will afford an opportunity to those who have hitherto expressed themselves as being anxious to have preference shown to the mother country, to git’e effect to their present so-called opinions, and deny that preference. The Minister of Defence, the other day, said that preference would mean preference for dumping ; and my only feeling is that the honorable gentleman has become a slave to the expression. We all admit that dumping is merely the bringing in of goods in competition Avith local manufactures here; and, according to the Bill, if imported goods, as they always must, reduce the profits of manufacturers of similar goods in Australia, they are to be regarded as injuring an Australian industry. This is a Bill to prohibit, as far as possible, importations into this country, on the ground that, by reducing the profits of manufacturers in Australia, they will injure Australian industries. It is necessary for those who say that they are in favour of preference Avith the mother country, to show that they are not merely using fine language. They cannot hide their real intentions by a Bill which uses the expression “ dumping” - a word of no meaning except that casual meaning which was so effectively derided the other day by Senator Findley in his excellent speech. It is of no use ‘to burke the fact that this Bill is intended to interfere Avith importations. It is intended to prohibit them, if they reduce the profits of manufacturers in this country. I Avant to give a preference to importations from the mother country as against those from foreign lands.
– What about giving a preference to our OWn manufacturers?
– That is being done in other directions. The supporters of preferential trade say, “ We are in favour of giving a preference not by reducing carriage rates in favour of the mother country, but by raising them against foreigners.” But by this Bill the Government is going to raise barriers both against foreigners and the mother country.
– We are against unfair competition, no matter whence it comes.
– Surely if the supporters of this Bill are believers in preference to the mother country, they should exempt her from its operation. In New Zealand the Act passed by Parliament had not this blot upon it. The late Mr. Seddon was not a talker, but a doer. He did not orate on the public platform about preference to the mother country, and when it came to legislating, treat the whole thing; as a sham and a delusion. There was no hypocricy in his professions. He dealt with the matter fairly and honestly. Senator Playford quoted the legislation of New Zealand as a precedent. But what do we find? In this veryBill, in regard to the importation of agricultural machinery - which we all know is the particular kind of importation that has led to the Bill being introduced-
– Our agricultural machinery does not come from Great Britain.
– Then why cannot my amendment be supported?
SenatorPlayford. - This Bill covers more than machinery.
– We know perfectly well that the fountain from which this Bill has come is the agricultural implement industry, and particularly the harvester manufacturing industry. The Bill would never have seen the light of day but for the machinations, as I call them, of one particular manufacturing firm in this State.
-we have heard all this very often.
– The honorable senator will have to hear it again.
– The statement is very unfair, in view of the fact that manufacturers of the whole of the States have jointly issued a circular in connexion with this question, signed by at least a score of them.
– Senator Findley did not agree with the honorable senator in his view of the matter.
-A thousand circulars will not alter the fact that this Bill owes its origin to a particular firm of manufacturers whom I need not name. It is public property. No. more instructive speech has been delivered on this subject than that of Senator Findley, and we are justified in taking it as proved that though the Bill does cover other kinds of importations, it nevertheless owes its origin to the harvester industry, coupled. it may be, in a lesser degree with the manufactureof general machinery. In the New Zealand Act, the following section was introduced, and I quote is as a precedent in favour of my proposal -
For the purposes of this Act implements of British manufacture shall be deemed to be manufactured in New Zealand, and the importers of such implements shall be deemed to be manufacturers thereof in New Zealand.
That section, which is a credit to the New Zealand Legislature and to the late Mr. Seddon, shows that has advocacy of preferential trade with the mother country was sincere, that it was not merely lip service, and that he was prepared togive effect to it in a practical form.
– What would the honorable senator do if the trusts removed their operations to Great Britain?
-When that time came I should be perfectly prepared to see legislation passed dealing with the subject. Will not this Bill be treated in Great Britain as a Bill to prohibit importations from that country, just as much as from foreign lands ? It may be wrong to draw inferences of that kind, but they will be drawn. We know what inferences were drawn, and what things were said about Australia, in connexion with the Immigration Restriction Act, for instance. Many of them, in my opinion, were unjust; but similar things will be said of this Bill. What harm will be done by inserting my amendment? It puts in a practical form a sentiment upon which we are all agreed. Will the Minister mention any manufacturers in Great Britain who are now doing mischief in this country ?
– Will Great Britain give us any preference?
– Let us be the first to make the offer.
– I do not subscribe to that doctrine.
– We have heard it said from the platform that those who are free-traders do not agree with giving a preference to the mother country.
– When did the honorable senator become anadvocate of preferential trade?
– I have been a sincere advocate for preference all my life, and I am still. I seek to give effect to it now. This drastic measure ought not to be applied to importations from Great Britain. Unless the Minister of Defence can mention any mischievous importations from the mother country that are destroying or injuring industries in Australia. I may very fairly ask him to reconsider the intimation he gave by way of interjection, and to support my proposal.
– I cannot assure Senator Symon definitely that there are importations from Great Britain which are injurious to our industries. When introducing the Bill I admitted that I could not definitely put my finger on trusts and combines that were injuring our manufactures. But I said then that, as certainly as light follows darkness, and as the sun rises in the east every morning, the experience that we have gained of trusts and combines in America shows that the great majority of trusts do eventually become injurious to the public interest, and that we may expect the same thing to happen here. It is a great deal better to have legislation to meet such evils than to have to pass Bills to cope with them after they have done a considerable amount of mischief. I cannot say that particular manufacturers are at present injuring Australian industries, or are doing any of the things enumerated in the first sub-clause of clause 19. Certainly I cannot say that in regard to British manufacturers. At present we are more likely to receive dumped goods from America than from England, especially machinery. New Zealand has been mentioned by Senator Symon as a State whose example we should follow. But it has to be remembered that in New Zealand there was no competition from Great Britain in respectto machinery, and that the particular Act referred to has now been relegated to the limbo of forgotten things. Its operation ceased on the 1st of August. Why should we follow the example of New Zealand ? We have to protect ourselves against dumping from any part of the world, Great Britain included. We have a right to say to the manufacturers of Great Britain that they ought not to import goods into this country with the intent to destroy our industries which pay good wages to employés. Why should we allow British manufacturers to injure us, whilst we say that American and foreign manufacturers must not do so? We put them all on exactly the same footing.
– Who is the British manufacturer who is going to injure us?
– If they do not injure us they have nothing to fear from this Bill, and no harm is done if they are not specially excluded from it.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
SenatorP LAYFORD. - The object of the amendment is to except British goods from the dumping provisions of the Bill. That is proposed on the ground that we should give a preference to the people of Great Britain. I hold that such a preference can only properly be given by one of two means - by an alteration of the Tariff, increasing the existing Customs duties against all foreign goods, and allowing them to remain at their present rate as against British goods, or lowering the duties against British goods, and allowing them to remain as they are against foreign goods. I contend that this Bill is certainly not the place in which to introduce any such proposal for preference to Great Britain. This part, comprising the provisions relating to dumping, has been proposedfor an object, and that object is to prevent the destruction of our own manufactures by unfair competition. If the amendment be introduced, what will be the effect ? We shall practically say, “ We are quite willing to allow British manufacturers to dump their goods into Australia to any extent they please to the injury of our own manufacturers and traders, and, although the results may be to throw our own people out of employment, we shall only interfere in this matter where the foreigner is concerned.” I say that that would be a wrong principle to adopt. If we desire to carry out preferential trade with Great Britain, it can only properly be done in one of the two ways I have mentioned. To attemptto provide for it in the way proposed in this amendment may be said to be almost an insult to Great Britain.
– It is quite an insult.
– What is proposed is that we shall say to the people of Great Britain, “We are prepared to give you a preference in trade. We do not believe in dumping, and have made provision against it. We will not on any account permit the foreigner to dump his goods into Australia, but we will allow you to do so if you please, to the injury of our own manufacturers and people.” I say that that would be a grievous mistake. This is not the proper place in which to introduce any preference to Great Britain, and I, therefore, trust that the Committee will not support the amendment.
– I have been very pleased to hear the leader of the Senate say that he is not prepared to accept the amendment. If there be any virtue in this Bill, I think it will be found to be centred in these provisions against dumping. This is the part of the measure which I feel will become most effective, and of most use to Australian industries in its operation. I have nothing to say against England. Having due regard to our own interests, I am not opposed to our giving whatever advantage we can to that country. At the same time, I am not one of those who are prepared to say, “ So long as it is England that is injuring us, never mind the injury. We can afford to grin and bear it so long as we know that the injury is being done to us by the people of the mother country.” If we. are to protect the industries of Australia from the kind of trade contemplated in these clauses, we can do so only by treating England, and every other country, on exactly the same footing. I believe that to discriminate here in the way proposed would lead us in to a. very great deal of trouble. I am accustomed to look upon packages of English merchandise as packages of so much sorrow and oppression. Not thatI blame England for that. England is, in the matter, merely subject to the system to which nearly all the countries ofthe world are subject to-day. She is groaning under a burden of wrong-doing, I repeat that I am afraid that if we discriminated here in the way proposed, we should land ourselves in a very great deal of trouble, and the time would not be long in coming when even the application of these dumping provisions to the foreigner would be found to fee in reality a thing of the past, because foreign-made goods of all countries would be sent to us through smart men in Great Britain.
SenatorMulcahy. - They would have to be marked as being sent through Great Britain.
SenatorBest. - They would be made up in Great Britain.
– We know that they would be made up in Great Britain. The whole business would be beautifully fixed up, and if we attempted to enforce any such discrimination as is proposed by the amendment, we should have goods made in all parts of the world shipped from England to Australia by English shippers, and claimed by English manufacturers and merchants, with the result that our attempt to prevent dumping would have become absolutely useless. Now that we have set about dealing with the matters covered by thisBill, I repeat my view that to the provisions with respect to dumping we should direct our most careful attention, because I believe that from them we are likely to receive the greatest benefit. I think that this is the part of the measure to which we must look for an effective weapon to prevent the extermination of some of our Australian industries, and, in the circumstances, I support the leader of the Government in the Senate in his opposition to the amendment.
– There is a touch of cruelty about this amendment of Senator Symon’s. It has very much the effect of making a puncture in a bladder. It lets out the air. The amendment does something to expose the character and quality of the boasted desire to do something for the mother country which we have so often heard expressed. At the same time, I think that the Government are greatly to blame for leading people on the other side of the world to believe that they are permeated with a desire to do something special for them. It is very much to be regretted that they should allow such ideas to get abroad, because now after such declarations as have fallen from the leader of the Government in the Senate, they are made to look rather silly. I have here a copy of the British Australasian of19th July, and I find it rather interesting to note what is said in this periodical with regard to this very Bill, and the expectation held with respect to it in certain quarters in Great Britain. A leading article in the publication is entitled “A Blow at the Trusts,” and here are two sentences from it -
The more important provisions of this Bill are given in detail in an article which appears in another page of this issue. It will be seen that Australia has entered very seriously upon a campaign to prevent the dumping of foreign-made goods in Australia, to the detriment both of Australian and English manufacturers.
The believers in preference at Home imagine that the Government out here, permeated with the idea of preference, considered the position of the manufacturers of England and of Australia as being on the same footing.
– And that the English manufacturers ought not to be subjected to this Bill. That is what the article says.
– It does not say that or anything like it.
– I think that it does. If the honorable senator will permit me I shall read the last sentence again -
It will be seen that Australia has entered very seriously upon a campaign to prevent the dumping of foreign-made goods in Australia, to the detriment both of Australian and English manufacturers.
– On a point of order, I direct the attention of the Chairman to standing order No. 400, and ask whether Senator Pulsford is in order in reading extracts from a newspaper referring to a debate which’ has taken place in this Parliament ?
– I hardly see how it is possible for anything to have appeared in the British-Australasian concerning a debate on this Bill in the Senate. I think the honorable senator is in order.
– The article concludes with these words -
Thus Australasia is armed for the Empire against the whole foreign commercial world.
I wonder what the writer of this article will have to say about the utterances of Senator Playford?
– Is the writer an Aus tralian ?
– I do not know who the writer is, but the BritishAustralasian is published in London, and is a periodical well known in BritishAustralasian circles.
– It is a publication which, rightly or wrongly, on Austalian questions is regarded authoritatively in England.
– The writer could not have taken the trouble to read what took place in another branch of the Legislature, or he would not have written in the way he has done.
– This issue of the British-Australasian is dated 19th July.
– :I suppose that was before, the Bill was debated?
– I dare say, but what I am directing attention to is the belief that has been engendered in many British circles as the result of utterances by certain Australians as to what they intended to do. I say that the amendment proposed by Senator Symon has the effect of letting the stuffing out, and exposes in all its bare nakedness the utter selfishness which lies at the bottom of these professions of special regard for the mother country. There is no intention on the part of those who profess to desire preferential trade with, Great Britain to give up a farthing’s worth of anything. That is the real truth, and the sooner every one concerned is made aware of it the better. Honorable . senators know that I am no believer in any good being likely to arise from a policy of preference adopted, we will say, by England. Of course, we have here a bad policy in force, and I am ready to do all I can to reduce its evil effects. Any proposal, no matter where it emanates from, which is calculated to restrict the operation of legislation likely to decrease our trade, will have my support, and therefore I cordially support the amendment.’
– I am astonished that honorable senators should discuss the amendment seriously at all. I recognised that Senator Symon was chaffing, us.
– Indeed I was not, but I am glad the honorable senator takes it good humouredly,
– If the honorable and learned senator was not. ‘ then I am astonished at the sort of preference he desires to give to the mother country, This is a Bill designed to prevent persons combining intentionally to destroy Australian industries.
– Where does the honorable senator see that in these clauses ?
- Senator Symon proposes that this Bill shall not apply .to Great Britain.
– The honorable senator is thinking of Part II.
– Well, dumping with the intention to destroy Australian industries is just as baneful as any other operation with the same object.
– There is nothing about any such intention in these clauses.
– Assuming, that the intention to destroy is just as baneful when emanating from Great Britain as it is from any other part of the world, we may also assume that it is not likely to come from that quarter.
– And if it does not come from that quarter, why should not the honorable senator say so?
– Because, in saying so, v/e should be saying, possibly, that England might want to dump goods here with the intention of destroying Australian industries, That would be offering to her’ an insult to which I, for one, shall be no party.
– But it is being inflicted upon her by the Bill.
– No. In the (Bill we are saying to all and sundry that we do not intend to allow certain things to be done which are injurious to us, which are not honorable, and which are not fair trading on the part of those who undertake to do them. We should, I am confident, insult Great Britain by saying that we exempt her from its provisions. It would be just as friendly to Great Britain if, when we were passing a law to prevent thieving, we were to provide that it should not apply to thieving done by Britons.
– Where are harvesters made by Massey-Harris ?
– In the British Empire, but not in Great Britain, of which alone I am speaking at this moment.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that Massey-Harris are thieves ?
– I do not wish to say in reference to any person anything which is offensive.
– But the honorable senator can say it by innuendo.
– No; I am merely presenting an illustration. The Bill is intended to prevent the destruction of our industries, and the amendment says, in .effect, “It is true that there is evildoing in connexion with our industries ; but we propose that it shall not be prohibited so far as it originates in the mother country.”
– That is not what my amendment says.
– It says that the mother country shall be exempted from the provisions of the Bill.
– No ; it says that we do not believe that England exports goods for that purpose, or with that intent.
– If the honorable senator wants to pass a declaratory resolution with reference to the integrity of Great Britain, I shall not be averse to’ voting for his proposal ; but that is not what he proposes now. As I said, he was only chaffing when he moved the amendment. I am quite sure that, if it were within his power to inflict such an insult upon Great Britain, he would not be prepared to do it. His amendment is sub.mitted for the purpose, if he can, from his point of view, of poking a little fun at the Bill, and I do not propose to discuss it seriously. It is obviously absurd’ to say, “ We will pass a Bill against wrong-doing, but will permit anybody, evert our nearest relative, to do that wrong.” It would be an insult to them to say so.
– I desire to say a few words, be-‘ cause I gave notice of a similar amendment. It is most extraordinary that the Government, with Mr. Deakin at its head,, should object to .an amendment of this kind, having regard to the fact that only a few years ago he was writing to Mr. Chamberlain, who said that he was encouraged to believe that Australia would not object to British manufactures being imported into Australia. He used that as an argument why his policy of -preferential trade should be adopted in Australia;. But now we have a Government which would prevent British goods from coming in and not because we have been hurt, for there is no evidence to that effect. In the Bill we are really crying out before we are hurt. We ought to take a leaf out of New Zealand’s book, and give British manufactures a preference, ort at least, we ought to take a leaf out of Canada’s book, and, if goods are com-, ing in here to the detriment of our own manufacturers, raise the duty against them. It seems to me that the profession of the Government in regard to preferential trade is now shown to be a farce. I feel very strongly that they are not behaving in the way in which they are expected by England to behave.
.- I agree with Senator Trenwith that there is nothing morally wrong in the practice of dumping as it is described in the Bill. Under certain circumstances1, a country maybe quite justified in prohibiting the introduction of goods; but I do not see that the enactment of a law of that kind would make the practice morally wrong. It would be enacted simply as a matter of expediency, in order . to promote the supposed well-being of the country. Let us look at’ one of the cases in which com- petition will be deemed unfair unless the contrary be proved -
There is nothing morally wrong in such competition. Under the circumstances described, it may suit our purpose to prohibit the importation of the goods, but it cannot be said that there is anything wicked or vile in their importation.
– Besides, it may be a proper thing to prohibit them. A man may be selling bad stock at less than cost price.
– Quite so. For certain purposes it is proposed to prohibit the introduction of these goods, as being calculated, perhaps, to do injury to persons whoare trading in similar articles here. But it is a pure trade transaction, and it is simply a matter of expediency for us to consider whether it is desirable that they should be excluded. It ought to be remembered that the alternative to prohibition is not unrestricted competition, as some honorable members seem to assume, because the Tariff would still continue in operation. I will not say that the duties are right in all cases. Perhaps they might with advantage be made higher in some cases and lower in others. But the Tariff was solemnly agreed to by the Parliament as being adequate to protect our industries. What the amendment proposes is that in regard to all the world the Tariff shall remain in operation as it stands, but that in the case of foreign producers or manufacturers there should be the Tariff plus this possible prohibition. That is very similar, indeed, to the proposals for preferential trade which were submitted to the country less than threeyears ago. What the protectionists who were in favour of preferential trade with Great Britain proposed then was that the Tariff should remain with a certain addition in the case of foreign imports.
– That was not so with all protectionists. able senator means that some protectionists were in favour of imposing higher duties at once.
– Or re-adjusting our own Tariff first.
– I can quite understand that amongst a body of protectionists who desire to protect the industries of the country, there must always be some who are in favour of imposing very much higher duties on particular articles, and of allowing the Tariff to remain as it is in regard to other articles. The contention of the Protectionist Party, or, perhaps I should say the Government Party, at the last election was that they desired preferential trade with Great Britain, and that was held to mean the addition to the Tariff of a certain percentage in the case of foreign imports, so as to give a preference to Great Britain. This Bill proposes a protection to industries by another method than the Tariff, and one which goes further. It is somewhat different in character, but the object aimed at is the same. Instead of protection by means of a high Tariff, it is to be protection by means of a Tariff with possibly prohibition in certain cases.
– The other protection would work by rule of thumb.
– Protection by means of the Tariff is, in my opinion, preferable, because it operates all round, and applies equally to large as well as small industries. My point at present is that this prohibition is to come in and operate when the Tariff fails to give the necessary protection to local industries.. Therefore the case is very nearly on all-fours when we come to consider preferential trade. What the amendment proposes is that against all the world there shall remain the Tariff, which, of course, may be altered from time to time, but against foreign countries there is to be the Tariff and possibly prohibition in certain cases. Surely that is the principle of preferential trade which the Deakin Government, of which I was a member, advocated at the last general election. I feel that it is only reasonable and proper for me to vote for the amendment.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [8.14]. - I should not have risen to speak again but for the attempt, good humoured but laboured, of Senator Trenwith to treat the amendment as a piece of chaff, and for that reason not to enter upon a discussion of it. I do not regard anything that concerns trade relations within the Commonwealth, or with the mother country or foreign nations, as a matter to be approached in a spirit of levity, or to be the subject, to use my honorable friend’s expression, of “ poking fun.” It is altogether too serious a matter to be treated in that way; and while I thoroughly appreciate the good humour which it bespeaks on his part, *ld the unfailing friendliness which he exhibits towards any proposal I make, although he may be very hostile to it in reality, I do not think that it is quite the way in which the amendment should be treated, and I do not thank him for his remarks from that stand-point. Senator Playford has not met the situation at all.
– Rather too much, I think.
– If that was the way in which my honorable friend dealt with the matters relating to Papua and Defence, concerning which he was asked to supply information, last Friday, I do not wonder at the summary method of a countout, which is. not applicable in ordinary circumstances, being resorted to.
– That is not a threat ?
– No. As I was not here, Ailat throws a little light on the attitude adopted by the honorable senators then present, showing their feeling of displeasure at the course taken by the Minister of Defence. But my honorable friend says that the Tariff is the proper means to deal with the question of trade, and that there are two ways under the Tariff of giving preference - one by raising the duties against the countries which ought not to have the preference, so as to lea.ve a kind of bastard preference for the country supposed to Wave the benefit; and the other by lowering the Tariff in favour of the preferred country. The latter is the method which. I should support, but the other is the method that honorable senators of different fiscal views from myself would adopt. That, however, has been disposed of altogether by what Senator Drake has said. ‘ Without elaborating, I wish to emphasize the remarks of that honorable senator, to the effect that under the present Tariff we may, in certain directions, attack the importation of agricultural machinery, which I repeat is the origin or cause of this Bill. There may or may not be a higher Tariff imposed on such machinery this session, but. whatever the Tariff may be. there will always be this Bill superadded. Bv the Tariff we seek to keep out the goods of other countries, either wholly or in part; and if the Tariff is not enough there will be this Bill, which will give the same kind of protection, but, it may be, to a greater extent, and altogether prohibit importation. Senator Drake has made it perfectly plain that this, in a sense, is a Tariff Bill - a Bill to prohibit imports. The only difference between it and a prohibitive Tariff is that there is introduced the element of injury to some particular local industry. But every importation, to a certain extent, injures local industry. The kind of injury is not defined, and it may be the same which it is sought to prevent by the Tariff. As Senator Drake. has put it, this is essentially a Bill in which we can give effect to the principle of preference if we sincerely believe in that principle; and that is what I ask the Committee and the Government to do. I am not now advocating preference as against those who think there should be no preference; all I say is that those who believe in preference have no reason to say that this is not an opportune time to give effect to the principle. The Minister of Defence and Senator Trenwith advanced the most extraordinary argument I ever heard.
– No doubt.
– I know Senator Styles’ views on protection, and I respect him for the assiduity with which, in season and out of season, he seeks to give effect to them. I felt sure, however, that he would agree with me as to the extraordinary character of the argument that this amendment, if carried, would insult Great Britain. Why should the ‘ amendment insult Great Britain? It is an insult to pass a. Bill directed against Great Britain as well as against foreign nations, when we are not able to cite one single instance of the importation of English manufactures with the intent to injure or destroy Australian industry. This Bill is a gross insult to England. My amendment is simply a declaration that we in this Parliament believe that nothing of the kind was ever done, or ever will be done, by England. It is all very well for the Minister of Defence to laugh. We at present keep English manufactures out by means of the Tariff, and I ask why we should insult England by saying that the Tariff is not sufficient - that the manufacturers of the mother country will send their goods here with the intent to destroy or injure the manufactures of Australia? English manufacturers send their goods here in order to sell them, and in the process of selling other manufacturers have, of course, to take their chance. The object of protection is to equalize the chances; but this Bill is introduced in order to prevent what is said to be a mischievous kind of importation of agricultural implements and, of course, other goods from America, Canada, or other places. Why, then, should we include England? If instances could be shown in England similar to that of the harvester combine, or the Standard Oil Trust, there would be some justification for the Bill; but the Minister candidly and frankly says that he is unable to give any such instance.
– There would most likely be instances if the matter were. leftopen.
– Why should my honorable friend insult English manufacturers by saying that?
– Does Senator Symon say that such instances are not known on the part of England?
– So far as I know, there are not.
– Then I shall’ give some instances when the honorable senator has finished.
– I know that Senator McGregor is an encyclopaedia of knowledge of wicked things known to none of us. The fact is that legislation of this kind’ gives Australia and Australian legislation a bad flavour in England. I do not agree with those who “ run down” Australia, or take advantage of bad legislation to do so. I scorn people who are guilty of that kind of thing ; but I have sense enough! to know what is said, and what will be said, if we continue to pass measures such as the Immigration Restriction Act. Such legislation simply gives a handle to the enemy. From what I observe now, it is quite evident that the Minister of Defence and Senator McGregor have “ made it up.” It is not now Senator Millen, but Senator McGregor, who is called to the aid of the Ministry ; and I am quite sure we shall not have a count out to-night.
– I thought the honorable senator would have rejoiced over our “ making it up.”
– I do; I like to see the honorable senator and the
Minister of Defence throwing themselves on each other’s necks in this affectionate way. I was pointing out that if we pass legislation of this kind we give a weapon to the enemy.
– If we pass the amendment we shall give a weapon to the enemy.
– What enemy ?
– Foreign countries, who would import to Australia through Great Britain.
– As the Minister knows, that is not an original remark, because it was made by Senator Henderson a few minutes ago. At present I desire to call honorable senators’ attention to the fact that the Bill, in its present form, will give a handle to those who are hostile to Australia, and only too willing to be adverse critics of this country and its legislation. The newspaper quoted by Senator Pulsford is, I know, regarded in England as, to a large extent, the exponent of Australian feeling. It will be seen that there was an impression, when this Bill was introduced, that it was an instalment of preference, for the purpose of defeating the accursed foreigner, and keeping his goods out of Australia for the benefit of Australian and British manufacturers.
– Hear, hear ! that is so 1
– Then why should Senator Trenwith not support my amendment?
– The amendment would allow English manufacturers, if they so desired, to introduce their goods into Australia! in an unfair way - a way which I do not contemplate they desire to take.
– What the Bill says is that English manufacturers threaten to do what Senator Trenwith has indicated. If we pass the amendment, and English manufacturers resort to nefarious practices, we can have fresh legislation. It is much better in legislation of this kind, which imposes penalties, to say that we do not mean England, against which country we have no complaint. Senator McGregor says that he is going to cite some instances ; but there is no complaint to be made now, and we do not believe that England would do such an unkind and monstrous thing as to send goods here with the intention to destroy or injure our industries. The reasons which have been offered from that standpoint against the amendment have no strength or substance.
– The amendment is a declaration that we expect English manufacturers to do those things, and it offers to exempt them if they do.
– Surely that is a far-fetched assumption.
– The amendment is capable of no other reading.
– The amendment means the very opposite. It declares that there are no instances of the kind, and that we do not believe English manufacturers would be guilty of such a thing. But I am sure that it is hopeless to attempt to convince Senator Trenwith. If an angel came down from heaven, it could not offer any inducement to Senator Trenwith to change his mind, so wedded is he to this particular measure. At the same time, the position appears perfectly plain from the point of view of those who think that this legislation has been introduced in the interests of British and Australian manufacturers as against foreign manufacturers ; but when the Bill is thoroughly understood, we shall have very different articles in the British-Australasian and other newspapers, and we shall scarcely be entitled to complain if our legislation meets with still further hostile criticism.
– What have they to do with our legislation ?
– The honorable senator knows, I am sure, that I am not likely to be influenced in my legislative work by such articles. But when we condemn the critics we ought to remember that we have given them “the material on which, they base their criticism. I now come to the point raised by Senator Henderson, and referred to by Senator Playford by way of interjection, as to the possibility, in practical working, of foreign goods’ being imported through England to Australia.
– All the goods would not be from foreign countries; a part would go to England, and have a little done to them before being exported to Australia.
– That is another phase.
Seantor Playford. - That is one way of dumping.
– But that could be done under the Tariff.
– The Tariff does not discriminate between foreign and British goods.
– If we had a preferential Tariff, exactly the same sort of thing would happen.
– Very possibly.
– That is as large an admission as I am entitled to ask for, and it shows that exactly the same arguments and reasons which apply as against my amendment, would apply to a preferential Tariff, which is advocated, and rightly so, from the point of view of my honorable friend, and those who think with him in the matter of protection. The practical difficulty being indentical in both cases, there is no reason against the passing of my amendment. If honorable senators were against preference under proper circumstances and conditions, the objection would be right enough, but if they are not against preference it is clear that my proposal is quite as much entitled to support as a preferential Tariff would be.
– I admit at once that Senator Symon’s amendment has exercised my mind a good deal. I agree to a certain extent with what he has said in proposing it. I agree with him in his support of some preference to Great Britain in our Tariff. Three years ago, when I was addressing my constituents in Perth. I advocated giving a preference to Great Britain, and am still in favour of that policy. Senator Symon has pointed out that the clause means prohibition under certain conditions, and there is a fear that it mav be misunderstood in Great Britain. We are well aware that our Immigration Restriction Acts - which, as amended, are really good Acts, and should remain exactly as they stand - were misunderstood through the British people being misinformed as to their intention. A great deal of injury was consequently done to the Commonwealth in respect of attracting desirable immigration. Senator Symon also pointed out that we are imposing penalties which mav be applied to British manufacturers, although no instance has been given of their having done wrong to our traders.
– What does the honorable senator mean by penalties?
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.Surety prohibition is a penalty. But another question has arisen in my mind. Why is this proposed exemption confined to the British Isles, and not proposed to be applied to other portions of the British Empire in which the Anglo-Saxon race exists - such, for instance, as Canada? The answer will at once Le made that if the exemption were extended to Canada it would mean that the line of manufactures that Senator Symon says this Bill was specially introduced to prevent the importation of under certain circumstances, would be exempted from the operation of the measure. In another place a Bill has been introduced to impose specific duties on stripper harvesters. It is not proposed to make any differentiation between Great Britain and any other part of the world with regard to their importation. If. when that measure comes before the Senate, Senator Symon proposes that a preference shall be granted to Great Britain, I shall be prepared to support him. But the Bill now before us was, we are informed, introduced specially to deal with stripper harvesters. I am inclined to agree with that view to a large extent. If, therefore, we read into this Bill an application to stripper harvesters specifically, instead of to manufactures generally, we shall find that it is now proposed to give a preference to Great Britain in the importation of stripper harvesters, although a Judge of the High Court may find that they are being introduced at a specially low price with the object of destroying an Australian industry.
– Great Britain does not manufacture stripper harvesters.
– But she may do so The Canadian and American manufacturers may commence to manufacture in Great Britain if she is exempted from the dumping clauses. It appears to me that this is the wrong Bill in which to propose to grant a preference to Great Britain. We propose in this measure to punish those who are endeavouring to injure us. But Senator Symon’s amendment proposes that we shall not punish dumpers who desire to injure us if their goods come from Great Britain. That is very altruistic, and ethically admirable as far as it goes ; but if we apply it to this Bill we practically say that we will not inflict any punishment on our kinsfolk who do us wrong,- whereas if we apply it to the Tariff Bill to which I have referred, and which is now before another place, we shall say that we do desire to give a. preference to British manufacturers over others who honestly compete with us. I should prefer to give a preference to Great Britain under the Tariff proposals, and not in a Bill which is introduced with the special object of punishing those who attempt to injure Australian industries. I shall vote against the amendment.
– It is regrettable that the Minister in charge of the Bill did not make some introductory remarks about the part relating to dumping, to enable honorable senators to form a fair judgment on what the Government and its legal advisers consider will be its effects. I cannot say that I have followed Senator Symon’s reasoning, although I intend to support his amendment. I will, however, give mv own reasons in favour of it. -I agree with Senator Trenwith that the natural interpretation that would be put upon any exemption of Great Britain from the -provisions of this Bill, would be that we desired to show a preference to British dumping. But what is overlooked is that we are now dealing with a portion of the Bill which proposes to make a crime of a thing which is done every day, and done most legitimately in the ordinary way of trade.
– That is a reason for voting against the clause, but no reason for an exemption in favour of Great Britain.
– I wish the Min,ister would explain his own views in his own time. An explanation on behalf of the Government would come better from him if he were on his feet. It is quite a common thing for goods to be .purchased in Great Britain as well as in foreign countries at a price greatly below their cost of production, and below the market price in the country where they are purchased. Australian merchants are constant! v importing goods from Great Britain, especially towards the ends of seasons, at a price below the cost of production. These goods are brought out to Australia, and sold cheaply with every advantage to the people of this country. We are going to make that practice an offence if this Bill is strictly interpreted. I wish to ask the legal representative of the Government in the Senate a question. I wish to know whether under this Bill unfair competition is merely part of an offence, or the whole offence? Is a man merely introducing goods which have been- purchased at a price below the cost of production, by so doing, to be held to be guilty of “an intent “ to injure an Australian industry? “ Unfair competition “ is denned in clause 1 8, paragraph c of sub-clause 2, as applying to cases where the imported goods have been purchased abroad - at prices greatly below their ordinary cost of production where produced or market price where purchased.
That frequently happens, and I wish to know whether that alone would constitute an offence punishable by the forfeiture of the .goods?
– While Senator Symon was speaking in reference to what Great Britain might do, is doing, or has done in the past, I made an interjection to show that it is not exempt, any more than is any other country in the world, from practices in trade that are not altogether of a righteous character. We have only to look back to the time of the Boer war to find that her merchants of undoubted integrity sent shoddy war materials to South Africa, and thus endangered the lives of citizens of Great Britain. We have only to look at what is being done to-day to find that they are capable of little tricks of this description, for we learn that in connexion with the butter industry in which Australia is interested they are prepared to adulterate their goods in every shape and form with the object of deceiving their own people. Surely if they are capable of doing that, it is not too much to suppose that they are capable of doing to the injury of the Australian people what would be regarded as illegal under this Bill ? Senator Symon asked for instances in which anything of the kind complained about had been done. There are manythings that are required and can be manufactured in Australia that cannot be protected by means of the Tariff, and it may be that in those cases the provision of such a measure as this would be the only protection that could be afforded. It is not so long ago since a South Australian smarted an industry in Club House Lane, North Hindley-street, for the purpose of manufacturing blacking. He went to a large distributing house in Adelaide. I do not know that there ‘would be anything improper in mentioning the name of the house in question, but it is not necessary that I should do so, since I can give the name to Senator Symon or any other honorable senator who may be curious on the point, and they will be able to make inquiries for themselves.
It has been said that this Bill might protect the large, but would not protect the small manufacturers. The person to whom I refer was a small manufacturer, and he went to this distributing house and said he had an article equal to anything on the market. It was taken up by the distributing house and put on the market. I point out that every outside manufacturer is under this Bill rightly regarded as foreign, whether he be a British manufacturer or a manufacturer of any other country. The man walking about Bourkestreet out of employment as the result of operations with which this Bill is intended . to deal will be just as hungry, and’ his family will suffer just as much, whether the competition which has led to his trouble be that of British, German, or American manufacturers.
– Or New South Wales.
– We are dealing;, with foreign countries in this measure. This is not a Bill against New South Wales. The distributing house to which I have referred took up the local manufacturer’s blacking and put it on the market, with the result that the British article with which it came into competition was not required, and immediately a. letter came from the great firm of Day and Martin of England, asking why the demand for their goods had fallen off. A reply was sent back stating that a local manufacturer was turning out an article of equal quality at an equal or a lower price, and they were putting it on the market. The reply to that was that there was a consignment on its way out free of charge, and it might be put on the market at any price. That is the kind of competition this Bill is designed to prevent.
– And that the amendment would exempt.
– Exactly. That is something which has really occurred, and occurred in connexion with importations from Great Britain.
– Day and Martin must have made public their own letter.
– Oh, no; some one else might have done that. There are ways and means of getting information.
– There is such a thing as unfounded rumour.
– Will Senator Symon deny that this establishment was set up in Club House Lane, that the man to whom I have referred got his article on to the market, and was shortly afterwards “ knocked out “ by a consignment of the description I have mentioned? I am making a -statement with knowledge, and of course Senator Symon can deny it if he pleases. I am not going on any rumour.
– The honorable senator referred to a letter from Day and Martin.
– Is the honorable senator going on affidavits?
– I am going, on information which satisfies me that the statement I am making is correct, and the instance I have given furnishes a sound argument against the amendment. Honorable senators have already referred to the dangers we’ might run. should the amendment be passed, of getting continental and other goods transferred to Australia through Great Britain. No argument which Senator Symon has so far advanced has disabused the minds of honorable senators on this side of the existence of that danger. I have given a special instance. I know of other like instances .that have occurred, and I know that they are likely to occur in future. I have no greater faith as the result of my own knowledge in the honesty of British business people than I have in that of the business people of any other country, and I am therefore going to oppose the amendment.
– - I propose to say but a very few words to defend the position I take up. I am an out-and-out free-trader. I do not believe in preference to any one, but when I am called upon to deal with a measure which is calculated to do such a vast amount of injury to the great body of the people of the Commonwealth represented by the consumers, and an amendment is moved which is likely to lessen that injury, I have no hesitation in supporting that amendment.
.- I am a firm believer in preferential trade, and I shall take advantage of every opportunity I can to give practical effect to mv views. It is contended that this is not the time, nor is this a fitting measure, in which to introduce such a provision for preference. But I am bound to say that Senators Playford and Trenwith have not convinced me that this is an improper occasion for the introduction of the principle. What is meant by dumping? There may be two or three classes of dumping. The dumping which I believe to be unfair, and which I think should be prevented, is that carried on by the manufacturers of the United States. They have an enormous home market of 80,000,000 people, and are protected by a wall of protective duties. They keep their factories going night and day. with the result that they have very large quantities of surplus products, which they dump in every part of the world at prices very much below cost price, and yet, on the year’s transaction, can show an enormous profit. That cannot be compared in any way with the kind of dumping of which the manufacturers of Great Britain are capable. Great Britain is without any protection whatever, her markets are open to the whole world, her manufactures are, in the main, produced to order, and if there is any surplus of manufactured goods in Great Britain, what are the manufacturers to do with them?. Do our honorable friends opposite desire that they should be prevented from selling them? If this is a proper measure for Australia to pass every other part of the Empire might pass similar legislation, and; in that case, what could the British manufacturers do with their surplus goods? There is all the difference in the world between the dumping of Great Britain and of America. We know that the manufacturers of the United States are keen on getting possession of every market in the world, and are prepared to destroy the industries for the sake of profit. An. isolated case of the kind might be quoted in connexion with the operations of the British manufacturers, but that is not the way in which British trade is generally carried on. I should like to ask our honorable friends opposite what they think will happen if goods sent here from Great Britain in the ordinary way of trade, and as they have been sent here for years past, are not admitted into Australia? Will that be likely to increase or to decrease the unpopularity of Australia in Great Britain which has arisen as the result of our legislation.
– -ur what is represented as our legislation.
– No, because the people of Great Britain have had an opportunity to read the Acts we have passed. I say that by our legislation, and its administration, we have rightly incurred unpopularity in Great Britain.
– The honorable senator should not reflect upon Acts of this Parliament unless he moves for their repeal.
– I was answering Senator Smith’s interjection.
– The honorable senator said that we had rightly incurred unpopularity in Great Britain.
– I do not know that that is reflecting upon the Acts of this Parliament, but 1 repeat my statement that we have rightly incurred that unpopularity. We have not shown the slightest regard for Great Britain. Her markets have been freely thrown open to all our exports of wool, meat, and butter, though they must, in some way, have injured her landowners, tenant farmers, and agricultural labourers, and yet honorable senators refuse to grant the small modicum of preference asked for in the amendment.
– We have given Great Britain preferential treatment in our immigration law.
– We did so only at the last moment, and only after our unpopular and unjustifiable legislation had been allowed to remain on the statute-book for a few years.
– The honorable senator should not join the “ stinking fish party.”
– I am not afraid of the “ stinking fish party,” but I should be very sorry to join the “Australia for the Australians “ party, or what I call the selfish party. We shall never form a nation by selfishness, injustice, tyranny, and wrong. The Minister talked about an offer, and I think there has been an offer.
– It was not the Minister who talked about the offer, but Senator Symon.
– The Minister, I think, said that there had been an offer.
– I never said a word about it.
– At .the Premiers’ Conference, in 1897, Canada made a distinct offer to continue the preference already given of 33 per cent, in favour of British goods, and also to give a higher preference with respect to goods to be stipulated. At that Conference the representatives of Australia, Natal, and. I believe, other Colonial Possessions of the Empire, agreed that when they went back to their respective States thev would endeavour to pass legislation providing for preference to Great Britain. What has been done since then? We have had nothing but talk, which appears to entirely satisfy our friends of the Deakin Ministry. Senator Trenwith seemed to think that the one argument which clinched and disposed of the amendment was that it was an insult, but for once I think that our clear-headed friend made a. slip. He has spoken of the Bill as one toget rid of wrong-doing. There is a kind of dumping which is not wrong-doing, but ordinary trade. In the same connexion, the honorable senator illustrated his argument by a reference to the case of a Bill to prevent thieving, and said that in this Bill no insult is offered to Great Britain but that to pass the amendment would be an insult to her. It is unfair to assume for a moment, let alone to declare in an Act of Parliament, that Great Britain has been, or might be, guilty of the tyranny, the gross wrong-doing, and the injustice which have been practised by manufacturers in the United States.
– If she is not, then the. Bill will not touch her.
– It is all very fine for the honorable senator to make that interjection, but I am now dealing with the question of insulting Great Britain, and the only insult I have heard offered to her has come from the opposite benches. If we agreed to the amendment we would show our faith in her superior honesty. We all know that the English merchant is the most honest on the face of the globe.
– That is not saying much.
– The honorable senator may get out of the position in that way if he likes, but we have to take the standard of the world, and, so far from putting the British merchant on a level with the trust merchant of the United States-
– I do not.
– Well, some of my honorable friends opposite said that they would trust the British merchant no. more than the trust merchant of the United States. I decline to insult the merchants of the mother-land in that way. I ask the Ministers to consider what Great Britain is to do with her surplus manufactures.
– I think she might consider that point herself. We have quite enough of our own to consider.
– No doubt Great Britain will expect fair play and fair treatment. Considering that her markets are open to us, she will expect some of that reciprocal action which we talk about.
Mr. Deakin is such a superb orator that he thinks it is quite enough to talk about a subject, and to do nothing. We ought to consider how the mother country is to get rid of her surplus manufactures. I pr ess that point upon the attention of every honorable senator. If every Colony within the Empire were to pass a similar measure, how would my honorable friends expect Great Britain to dispose of her surplus manufactures? Is it a fair and right thing for the Parliament of the Commonwealth to legislate in this way ? Are we an Empire or are we not ? This afternoon, I heard some honorable senators talk as if they wanted Australia to have a separate system of defence, a separate system of trade, and, I suppose, a separate flag, and a separate King.
– The honorable senator ought not to allude to a former debate of the present session.
– I think it was said in this debate.
– It was said in the debate on the Supply Bill.
– I shall support the amendment most willingly. But if the clause is passed, and goods from Great Britain are excluded under its operation, we shall become even more unpopular than we are, and the mother country will think still less of our sense of justice.
– Senator Mulcahy has asked for information in regard to the effect of paragraph c of sub-clause 2 of clause 18. That point will come up for consideration after the present amendment is disposed of.
– It has a bearing on this amendment, though.
– According to the paragraph, the competition shall be, deemed unfair unless the contrary is proved -
If the imported goods have been purchased abroad by or for the importer, from the manufacturer or some person acting for or in combination with him or accountingto him, at prices greatly below their ordinary cost of production where produced or market price where purchased.
By passing the provision, we should not be making that an offence, nor should we be making it the sole test for determining whether or not he was committing an offence in the way of an illegal dumping. We should be declaring that that fact in itself should be deemed unfair unless the con trary were proved. Let me state the procedure which would follow in regard to an individual whom it was desired to bring under the operation of the penal provisions of this part of the Act. The ComptrollerGeneral would have to receive a complaint in writing, that an importer was dumping goods with intent to destroy an Australian industry, and thereupon he would issue a certificate. It would contain the particulars stated in sub-clause 2 of clause 19, namely -
But before issuing that certificate to the Minister, the Comptroller-General would have to give the importer an opportunity of showing cause against its issue. It might be that the Comptroller-General would put before the importer the fact that he had bought the goods abroad at a, ridiculously low price. And at that stage, as between the Comptroller-General and importer that would be primâ facie evidence of unfair competition or intended unfair competition. If the importer could satisfy the ComptrollerGeneral that, notwithstanding that fact, it was not his intention to enter unfairly into competition with an Australian industry, the certificate need not go on. But if he failed to satisfy, or did satisfy, the Comptroller-General, and the latter still forwarded the certificate on to the Minister, then the matter would not be determined, but would, by order in writing, be referred by him to the Justice. What he would refer would not be the mere fact whether the man had bought cheaply abroad, but the investigation and determination of the question whether the imported goods were being imported with the intent to destroy anAustralian industry. Of course, the Justice would also take into consideration the fact if it were established before him, that the goods were bought cheaply abroad, and give to the importer the opportunity of disproving that he had the intent alleged against him.
– Suppose that a man had made at Home a very large purchase of a particular article, say ladies’ mantles, quite innocently, and with intent to carry on. his business in the ordinary way, could that be construed into an intent, if it actually had no such effect?
– Undoubtedly. The Justice could, perhaps in error, draw an inference from certain circumstances, which my honorable friend would not. But it would all depend first upon the evidence which would be furnished to the ComptrollerGeneral, and secondly upon, the evidence which would be furnished to His Honour, and the effect which it would have upon his mind. We are anticipating the discussion of the provisions to some extent. I think my honorable friend will see that the fact of buying cheaply abroad would not end the matter, so far as the importer was concerned. A procedure of a somewhat lengthy character would then have to be followed, and that would necessitate a considerable amount of investigation, during the course of which the importer would have every opportunity to display his bona fides. As one who has spoken in favour of preferential trade with Great Britain, not merely at the last election, but at the first election. I am extremely gratified to find so many adherents to that principle during the course of this discussion.
– Yes ; but we do not mean to raise the duties against the foreigner, and to leave them as they are against Great Britain.
– I do not know what my honorable friend means ; but when the opportunity comes to put this question to a practical test I shall certainly welcome his support. This part of the Bill deals with what we might call illegitimate competition with Australian industry. If my honorable friends say, “ Very good, let this provision stand so far as illegitimate competition comes from abroad, but let us exempt English trade,” does not that postulate the possibility of illegitimate competition coming from England? If, however, no reference were made to any country we should stand in a far better position. Under no circumstances should we welcome illegitimate competition from any quarter. If it is bad it is bad wherever it comes from.
– Because of the illegitimate trading of the United States it is proposed to penalize the mother country.
– The honorable senator told us a few moments ago that it is impossible to expect illegitimate competition from the old country. If we do not, then we are not penalizing her. If, how ever, we expressly exempted English traders from the penalties of illegitimate competition, we should at once practically put in the forefront of the Bill that we believe that our manufacturers were going to be competed against unfairly by them.
– The whole of my honorable friend’s argument depends upon illegitimate competition. Suppose that at the end of a London season a man were to buy a very large quantity of goods at a very low price?
– That has no bearing upon my argument at present. I am not discussing what is illegitimate trade in every instance. So far as we do agree with this part of the Bill, we agree that a certain class of trade, which we can only designate in general terms, is illegitimate and unwarrantable competition with our own industries, whether it comes from Great’ Britain, or elsewhere, and to which those of us who are opposed to it will object. If we set out in the Bill that if the competition comes from Great Britain it shall Tie exempted from the ordinary treatment meted out to the others, it will be an indication to the people -of that country that we are inclined to believe that we may expect illegitimate competition to come from that quarter. I am sure that if Senator Dobson will only look at the matter in that way he will see that this is not an attempt to establish preferential trade, although it may be the. preferential treatment in respect of a certain class of trade.
– This is supposed to be a Bill for the preservation of Australian industries, and for the repression of destructive monopolies. If it were a Tariff Bill, or a Preferential Trade Bill, I could understand the perfervid speech of Senator Dobson, and the arguments of Senator Symon ; but it is not a Bill which proposes to accord preferential trade to Great Britain, or any other country. Nor is it a measure which proposes to enact certain duties of Customs.
– It is rather better than a’ Tariff Bill.
– It is a Bil] for a specific object.
– It is an out-and-out Protection Bill.
– We have . to read clause 16 in conjunction with clauses 17, 18, and 19. In sub-clause 2 of clause iS I find that, in the following cases, the com- petition shall be deemed to be unfair unless the contrary is proved: -
WhenI read those two paragraphs, I ask, is the hardship going to be any less to the Australian workman if he is thrown out of employment by the dumping of goods that come from Great Britain rather than it would be if they came from any other country ? Will the hardship be any the less to starving wives and families, or to those whose capital is invested in Australian industries? I remind Senator Dobson that these dumping clauses are not aimed at Great Britain, or any other part of the world, but are aimedat the goods of any or every country. The remarks of the honorable and learned senator would lead one to believe that the clauses were aimed at Great Britain as a kind of insult.
– I did not say the clauses were aimed at Great Britain, and I merely asked that Great Britain should be exempted.
– It is not England, or any country which inflicts the injustice, but a few manufacturers in England, Canada, America, or any other country.
– I point out that under the Bill it is not the manufacturer in Great Britain who is penalized, but the importer in Australia who brings the goods.
– That is a view which may very properly be taken by such an ardent free-trader as Senator Symon; but as a protectionist I do not desire the benefit of temporary cheapness if it is to be obtained at the expense of permanent injury to Australian industries and workmen. I repeat that it is not Great Britain as a country which is aimed at, but the manufacturers of Great Britain, and therefore, the question as to whether the legislation is an insult to Great Britain ought not to enter into the discussion. The question is whether this legislation is right and proper as applied to manufacturers, trusts, and combines in any part of the world, including Great Britain. This is not a Preferential Trade Bill, nor a Tariff Bill, but a measure which, as shown on the face of it, is intended to preserve Australian industries, and repress destructive monopolies which may do injury to Australian industries, and, incidentally, throw Australian workmen out of employment. It is because I think there is a danger of that kind that I support the Bill as it stands.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales) [9.19]. - I am glad that Senator Symon has proposed this new clause, because it affords an opportunity to hear what certain honorable senators have to say in order to excuse themselves for not adhering to principles which they advocated on the hustings, and which sounded very grand and noble, but which I know they, as protectionists, cannot possibly believe in.
– The honorable and learned senator does not know.
– I only judge by circumstances.
– The honorable and learned senator never heard me say anything about preferential trade.
.- That is probably because I never heard the honorable senator on the hustings. At any rate, protectionist senators have gone from place to place throughout the Commonwealth advocating preferential trade, and condemning free-traders on the ground that the latter are not in favour of the principle. But the Commonwealth has beenin existence now for six years, and I ask whether any one of those honorable senators has raised a finger to bring about preferential trade. As a matter of fact, preferential trade has simply been used as a parrot cry in order to cajole the electors. The Prime Minister, like his colleagues and followers, has gone from place to place talking about preferential trade, and about binding the Empire closer together ; and in this way the people at Home have been led to believe that some offer in this connexion has been made by Australia. Has any offer been made, or will any offer be made? Canada has shown a desire to bring about preferential trade; but honorable senators opposite, with their views on protection, will do precious little in favour of preference to Great Britain, while they are prepared to take all they can get from the mother country. Honorable senators who have spoken to-night have given what they believe to be excellent reasons to excuse themselves for refusing to give the slightest preference to Great Britain.
– To excuse themselves !
.- Yes. We have been told that the amendment is an insult to Great Britain. As a matter of fact, the amendment really is a declaration that we are not attempting to legislate against the mother country.
– That is obvious throughout the Bill ; we are legislating only in defence of ourselves.
.- But how does the honorable senator propose to bring about preferential trade or treatment?
– Quite easily.
.- Is it by raising a barrier high enough to keep out British goods, and then building a barrier a little higher in order to keep out ‘ the goods of other nations? We are told that protectionists are prepared to raise the Tariff as against the foreigner, and to leave it as at present against the Britisher.
– In short, the protectionists desire prohibition against British goods, and a little more prohibition against foreign goods.
– One honorable member has declared that he is willing to lower the duties in favour of Great Britain while keeping the Tariff as at present against foreign nations. By that means, we should be able to give the Britisher an opportunity to get some footing in our markets in preference to the foreigner.
– Then the honorable senator’s argument really is that nobody has a footing in our markets now?
.- I know that the honorable senator will, if he can, take care to prevent anybody getting a footing in our markets unless manufacturers come to one of the States to manufacture the goods required by our people. Of course, that is quite right from a protectionist stand-point, and if I were a protectionist, I should throw on one side all this talk about preferential trade. There are precious few protectionists who believe in giving preference to Great Britain. They are quite willing that Great Britain should impose ‘ a duty on wheat as against the foreigner, because then Australians might get command of the market and obtain better prices. But, if we get an advantage of that kind, we must give something in exchange; in any case, I do not believe the mother country would impose duties as against outside people in favour of the
Australian Commonwealth if we will not do anything to advantage the mother country.
– Then the honorable senator is a preferential trader?
.- The honorable senator knows that I am a free-trader. Of course, we realise that the new clause will not be adopted, but, as I have said before, I am glad that it has been proposed, because it has caused honorable senators to show that, after all, they are not such ardent preferential traders as they try to lead the electors to believe.
– - For several reasons, I intend to vote against the proposed new clause. First, I do not consider that this is a proper Bill in which to deal with the question of preferential trade, which, so far as I understand it, is a matter of negotiation between Great Britain’ and the Commonwealth. I do not know whether any distinct offer has been made bv the Commonwealth.
– No statutory offer has been made, but so far as can be done without a Statute, there has been an offer.
– Without pledging the Commonwealth to anything.
– At the last general election in Great Britain, the people declared by a large majority for free-trade, as against the principal of preferential trade. That being so, I do not see how we can approach the people of Great Britain on the matter, and I really see no reason why we should. What is the object of the Bill, and what ought to be our object here as members pf the Australian Parliament and citizens of the Australian Commonwealth ? The object of the Bill is the preservation of Australian industries, and our object as members of this Senate, and as citizens of the Commonwealth, ought to be the preservation of such industries as we have, and the creation of new industries. Surely that is an end which every Australian ought to assist to attain. Some honorable senators have said that we get cheap goods, which are dumped down at the end of every season, whereby the people of Australia benefit. There may have been benefits in the past, when we had no manufacturing industries of our own, but now that we are endeavouring to manufacture such goods as we can ourselves, it would be the most foolish policy imaginable’ to allow anything in the shape of dumping to take place. In my opinion, it is absolutely impossible to establish new industries unless we take precautions against dumping. It is almost as impossible to establish’ an industry, if we permit competition by the great firms in Europe and America, as it would be to fortify Melbourne under the fire of an enemy. If we are to raise fortifications sufficient to protect us against invasion, we must do so before the enemy appears in sight. If we are to protect our industries in such a way that they will grow strong enough to look after themselves, we must do so by establishing some barrier against dumping. I do not know whether the aspect of the question to which I am about to refer has ever struck honorable senators, but it always appeals to’ me with very great force. All trade is war - all commerce is war. Hundreds of thousands of lives are sacrificed every year in the war of commerce as remorselessly as in wars between nations. Men are mowed down bv the hundred and the thousand just as surely 1n commerce as they are by the bullets and bayonets of an enemy. Our object here ought to be to do everything in our power to prevent people being destroyed by any such system. Some people will tell us that we cannot afford to dispense with the cheap goods which other countries - from philanthropic motives, I suppose - send to us. Can we not? Why, as a; matter of fact, is there at the present moment such a superfluity of capital in Australia that people are rushing all over the place looking for investments and unable to find them? Large sums of money are being, sent to Great Britain for investment. Wealth that has been wrung out of wool, out of mines, from agricultural sources, and from other veins of industry, has been accumulating to such an extent that it is difficult to find profitable fields for its employment. We. are producing, as our statisticians and politicians are fond of telling us, more wealth per head than any other people in the world. I want to see that wealth distributed somewhat more equally than it is. Let us use1 some portion of it to create industries in our midst that will give employment to our young mert and our young women. That ought to be the desire j of every man who loves this Commonwealth and who wishes to see it prosper. It does not matter to me whether dumped goods come here from America or from Great Britain. I am opposed to them in either case. As regards the unpopularity of which Senator Dobson has spoken, I do not care “two dumps “ about it, to use a vulgar phrase. It does nob trouble me what Great Britain thinks of our legislation. We must stand upon our own legs, not lean against Great Britain or any other nation. We have borrowed large sums of money, and we will pay every farthing of it. We have never failed to pay our annual interest promptly, and I do not think we ever shall. I do not see where the obligation comes in. If we want money, and Great Britain will not lend it to us, we can get it from New York, which is rapidly becoming the financial centre of the world. In a few years we shall not need to go outside Australia for money to develop our resources. We shall, I trust, be able with- money of our own*, not only to develop such industries, as we have, but also to establish new ones. The nearer we approach to that time the better I shall .like it. Therefore I shall vote against the amendment.
– It is quite refreshing to observe the enthusiasm which the members of the Opposition have infused into the debate, when we remember that some of the leaders of the free-trade party have been’ talking about sinking the’ fiscal issue. It shows that, after all their talk, the “dry dog” *is going to be allowed to live for a little while longer. The members of the Opposition have been refurbishing the old arguments for free-trade, which we understood was to be thrown overboard. But the laughable part of the debate is that nearly adi the speakers who have supported Senator Symon’s proposal are members of the legal fraternity. I should like to know how much preference they would give to British lawyers who might come here. Why, these lawyers are so very narrow that, even when a member of their own profession crosses the borders of one of the States, they will not allow him to practice in a State in -which he has not been formally “admitted.” These are the men who get up and lecture us on the priorciples of preference 1 Why should we give any preference to Great Britain? Is she giving any preference to us? After all, the question is not one of preference in trade, but of preference in dumping. If dumping is an evil, why should it be any less am evil because it is practised by merchants in Great Britain rather than by those of any other country? Senator Dobson tried to make a great deal out of the contention that the merchants of England are very much more virtuous than are those of other countries - that they do not practise the same kind of commercial morality as marks the conduct of Americans, for example. For the life of me, I cannot see the slightest difference. I believe that there isi quite as high ai standard of commercial morality in the United States as in England. It is all a question of profit. I lived long enough in the old country to know that the same unscrupulousness in trade obtains in the United Kingdom as in other parts of the world. It is true that I came from a part of the British Isles where the commercial morality is perhaps a little higher than it is in England ; but even in the place where I had the honour to be born I found that merchants and shopkeepers were prepared to practise commercial trickery, and to palm off on customers articles from which they could derive the greatest amount of profit. We need not be surprised at that. It is the sort of thing that prevails everywhere. I should like to know why I should go out of my way to force principles upon the people of the old country that they have formally repudiated. It is only a few weeks since there was .a general election in Great Britain. What was the result? The issue turned to a considerable extent on the fiscal question. The matter of preference was placed before the electors ; but they did not agree with that principle. Why should we force it upon them when they are not inclined to accept it ? I hope that the amendment will be negatived.
– I find that I omitted one sentence from the article from the British Australasian which I quoted earlier in the debate. I think 1 should have read it. It is as follows : -
This Bill is the necessary complement of a measure which, as we hope, will be presently introduced into the Australian Legislature, providing for preference in Australia to Englishmade goods against those of any foreign country.
Honorable senators cannot but take notice of the strong view that is being expressed in England, and of the keen expectations there entertained of something like Senator Symon’s amendment being adopted by this Parliament. What feeling concerning this debate will be entertained in England? It has thrown a strong, almost a lurid, light on the possibilities of preferential trade. The same ideas as have been expressed to-night will be expressed when any proposals for preference are brought forward. We shall be told that preference cannot be given to Great Britain because goods from foreign countries will be sent through England. All sorts of assertions will be made with a view to show how impossible is any policy of the kind. But one thing is very clear to me - that if Australia were not federated to-day,, we should have Victoria and some of the other States passing on their own account Bills such as this. We should have parties in Victoria fighting for Bills to prevent the dumping of goods from the surrounding States; and we should have the other States following suit. This consideration will give honorable senators some idea of the policy which we are pursuing towards Great Britain.
– It is quite exhilarating to one who, like myself, has been quietly listening to the debate to find that those honorable senators who all their lifetime have been posing as great free-traders, and as opponents of anything- that interfered with trade, are now posing as the champions of preference. Senator Pulsford has frequently, by writing, on the public platform, and in this Senate, declaimed against the principle of preferential trade.
– I have not changed a fraction.
– But he is an ardent champion of preference in connexion with this Bill. All that the Bill proposes to do is to prevent certain things being done which would injure Australian industry. It is intended to prevent unfair and illegitimate competition. It does not matter a straw to the people of Australia whether the illegitimate competition comes from Great Britain, the United States, or anyother country. Our people ought to be protected against it, no matter whence it comes. My principle is to prohibit any one from doing anything to injure the industries of this young nation of ours. Those honorable senators who are in favour of subjecting the people of Australia to illegitimate competition will next be wanting to give a preference to British burglars. That is the logical outcome of their arguments.
– Does the honorable senator hold that the Australian burglary industry ought to be protected ?
– Senator Walker certainly wants to give the British burglary industry a preference. He wants by means of illegitimate competition to give certain people a right to injure the industries of Australia, and to rob our workers at their own sweet pleasure. It is almost impossible to imagine Senator Walker filling the part of the man described by Byron as -
The mildest mannered man
That ever scuttled ship or cut a throat ; and yet he does it ! We desire, if possible, to protect Australian industries and the Australian people from the evils which trusts and combines have been shown to have inflicted on the industries and people of other countries. That is a perfectly legitimate object; but we may differ as to whether this Bill will accomplish it.
– Does the honorable senator think that it will?
– I do not believe that it will be found to be as effective as some of its friends desire, or as some of its opponents believe it will be.
– It will be like a chip in porridge.
– To some extent I believe it will. At the same time, while we are making the attempt to pass this legislation, we should do all we possibly can to make it effective, and we certainly should not deliberately try to render it ineffective. An amendment which is designed to permit illegitimate competition, with the object of injuring Australian industries, is one which any Australian who has the welfare of the country at heart should be ashamed to advocate. I am opposed to the amendment as something which is designed to weaken the effect of the Bill. I feel sure that the Committee will not assent to it, and I am therefore prepared to allow it to go to a vote without saying anything further on the matter.
Question - That the proposed new clause be inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 8
Question so resolved in the negative.
Proposed new clause negatived.
Clause 17 -
Unfair competition has in all cases reference to competition with those Australian industries the preservation of which, in the opinion of the Comptroller-General or a Justice, as the case may be, is advantageous to the Commonwealth, having due regard to the interests of producers, workers, and consumers.
.- I wish upon this clause to state the reasons why I think that, as a means of protecting local industries, a Tariff is preferable to the provisions of this Bill. A Tariff deals fairly with all industries affected by it. If we increase the protective duties imposed we give a benefit to that extent to all the industries concerned. In this clause, however, a discriminating power is given to the Comptroller-General or a Justice to say which industries shall receive the protection of this measure. Without contravening the Standing Orders, I think I might refer honorable senators to the last sub-clause of clause 18. which provides -
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.
I understand that the construction put on that provision by Ministers is that the protection of this measure shall not be extended, generally speaking, to any industry unless its processes, plant, and machinery are up-to-date. That is to say, unless it is a top-notch industry it is not to be entitled to the benefit of the protective provisions of this Bill. What is almost certain to happen is that the Comptroller-General, when called upon to discriminate between industries, will refuse the protection of this measure to those that are young and struggling, and that most require help. It is always advisable, where possible, to quote a concrete case to illustrate an argument. It may not always be the strongest case, or entirely appropriate, but it helps to concentrate attention on the way in which a measure will probably be found to work. On the second reading I referred to the way in which the Bill would probably operate in connexion with one of the small industries of Queensland. What I said was this -
The provision will operate most unfairly if it operates at all in regard to a Stale like Queensland. Suppose we wanted foreign coffee to be prohibited for the benefit of the small coffee industry in Queensland?
On that Senator Playford interjected -
If it were a small industry it could not supply the whole of the wants of the Commonwealth. The importation of coffee will not be prohibited for the benefit of a small industry like that. It would be absurd. We should stop all coffee drinking if we did that.
We have in Australia a number of industries scattered over the enormous territory represented by the various States. We may have the same industry in different stages of development in different States. In one it may be employing a great number of hands, and may be carried on with the most modern plant and machinery and up-to-date processes, whilst in another it may be in a comparatively infant condition, and giving employment to comparatively few hands. I take again the case of the coffee industry in Queensland, and in connexion with that I might again emphasize what I mean. We have imposed a protective duty of 3d. per lb. on coffee for the protection of coffee-growers, whether large or small, and that I think is the better means of protecting the industry. But when we come to use this method of prohibition for the purpose the result may be exactly as I have suggested. A complaint may be brought under the notice of the Comptroller-General that the coffee industryis being swamped bv- importations from abroad, and if that officer takes the same view of the matter as does the Minister he will say, “ That is only a paltry little industry carried on away in a remote part of Australia. Let it go; it is not worth preserving. Let us attend to this complaint which comes from the proprietors of a big factory in Melbourne, where they have up-to-date appliances, and let us consider what their complaint is. That is the kind of industry we must protect.” Why should there be this discrimination?
– I should think that it would be the small industries that would require to be coddled.
– That is not what is provided for by this Bill. Clearly, from the way in which this measure is to be interpreted, the benefit of it is to be reserved for factories carried on with the most modern processes and up-to-date plant and machinery.
– If there is anything in the contention that an industry can be destroyed’ by dumping, surely the honorable and learned senator does not desire that a full-grown industry should be destroyed any more than an infant industry?
– Why should the small industry be required to wait until the big one calls out? It may be unavoidable, but the small industry may be just as much hampered by the big Australian industry as by importations from abroad, when we take into account the protection which each may be given under, the Tariff. The small industry may go on struggling and be at length squeezed out of existence by the operation of the big Australian factory and the importations from outside. It will be unable to obtain any protection under this Bill, because when those concerned in it make a complaint, the ComptrollerGeneral will say, “ This is only a paltry affair, and is not worth preserving.”
– This is a Commonwealth measure, and will cover the whole of the industry in the Commonwealth.
– If the proprietors of a big up-to-date “factory ask that the provisions of the Bill be put into operation for their benefit, that may be done, and the small man may secure a benefit as the result. But he would not get any benefit until the big man cried out.
– That -would not necessarily be so.
– The clause need not necessarily have the effect of stopping importations all over the Commonwealth. Suppose that a complaint were made in regard to a shipment which was coming, per: haps, to a port in a State, and that action were taken under the Bill. The shipment would be held up simply for the benefit of the industry in that part of the Commonwealth, and if no other complaints were made, shipments under similar circumstances might continue to come to other ports.
– There is no clause which specifies any particular shipment.
– The clause does not mention a particular shipment. But sup- pose that a complaint were made that an importer was importing certain goods. If he were found guilty, his goods, or the amount which had been deposited, would be confiscated. But other importers, if no notice were taken of their action, could continue to import into other parts of the Commonwealth under exactly, similar conditions.
– Surely the persons who were interested would call attention to the other imports coming in, if they were coming in under similar conditions.
– Perhaps they might not be coming in under exactly similar conditions. It is not, as I thought it was when I first read the Bill, as though there would be a prohibition that certain goods should not be imported to any part of the Commonwealth and sold at a certain price.
– The clause is open to that construction.
– I cannot find that it is, and in the debate on the second reading I think that one of the Ministers indicated that, according to their reading, the prohibition would apply to only a particular importer. I think, at the present time, although I am open to conviction on the subject, that each case would have to stand on its own merits.
– That would be giving a mere local application to the Bill.
– It appears to me that, even if the prohibition were to apply to all parts of Australia, the ComptrollerGeneral could still discriminate as to where the benefits of the Act should be given, and where they should not be given. Let me take the case of another trade which, I think, will appeal to a good many honorable senators, and that is the manufacture of buggies. Some factories in the country are not what might be called right up-to-date, in that they are not equipped with the latest machinery and appliances. It would seem that, by clause 18. they would be excluded from the operation of the law, because it says -
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 seems to mean that before a manufacturer could ask that the power of prohibition should be put into operation for his benefit, he would have to show that there was no fault whatever in his management, and that his processes, plant, and machinery were up-to-date. The manufacture of buggies is carried on all over the Continent, but in a great many places it must be carried on under circumstances which do not tend to the most efficient means of production. For instance, a small country factory, which turns out a score of different kinds of buggies in the year, is at a very great disadvantage, and it seems to me that, according to clause 18, country factories would not get the benefit of the Act at all.
– If they were able to compete against up-to-date factories within the Commonwealth they would not be affected by the Act in any way.
– Distance might help them there, although, in that case, they would not get the benefit of the import duty. They might be struggling along against the competition of large up-to-date factories in the big cities. Suppose that a complaint came from a buggy manufacturer in an out-of-the-way part of the Commonwealth to the Comptroller-General, that he could not stand against the competition of the imported article at the present duty. Apparently, that officer would have a discriminating power to refuse any help to that factory. He could say, “ No, this protection is not being asked for elsewhere, and yours is a paltry affair, which is not worth preserving.” That position would continue until a big up-to-date factory cried out, and when it did, then the ComptrollerGeneral, I presume, would say, “ This is an important industry, which employs a great number of hands in one of the big States, and it must be protected; consequently, we shall put the provisions of the Act into operation.”
– Does not the honorable senator think that he would protect the smaller ones ?
– When I look at subclause 3 of clause 18, I think not. When I quoted the Minister’s words with regard to the coffee industry in Queensland, it looked to me as if the Comptroller-General had the same idea as the Minister had, that he would not look after the small factory, but would say, “ This is a paltry affair in a remote part of Australia, and is not one of the industries worth preserving.” If he will have to look after the small as well as the big industries, what is the meaning of the clause? Why should we not have a provision discriminating between those industries which are worthy of being preserved, and others? I cannot see any justification for the clause, and therefore I shall vote against it.
– Senator Drake has raised the question of whether, when a complaint had been lodged with regard to a particular shipment it would have any effect upon other similar shipments by other individuals. If honorable senators will turn to sub-clause 1 of clause 21 they will find that under that provision the Justice will have the power if he sees fit - to inquire as to any goods, things, and matters whatsoever which he considers pertinent, necessary, or material
Furthermore, sub-clause 4 of that clause says - in addition to the Comptroller-General and the importer, the Justice may, if he think fit, allow any person interested in importing imported goods to be represented at the investigation.
Itappears to me that those two provisions are intended to meet just such a case as Senator Drake has referred to. Suppose that a shipment of a particular line of goods were being made to Brisbane, the authors of the Bill evidently recognised that it would be idle to stop the shipment if simultaneously other shipments were taking place to other ports. Therefore, the Justice has been empowered to take note of every shipment similar to the one in respect of which a complaint has been lodged, and then as equity required to grant a status to persons interested in the other shipments to which his attention had been directed.
– I doubt that.
– I now come to what I take to be the main argument addressed to the Committee by the honorable and learned senator, and, if I understand it aright, it really amounts to a plea for inefficiency. He has stated that if the Bill were put into operation it would only be done in the interest of large, well-equipped and up-to-date factories, and that the little establishments scattered about Australia, which we may assume would have a less efficient plant and less capable management, would not be benefited in any way. The honorable and learned senator must know that under the clause we are required to take into account, not merely the interests of those engaged in a particular industry, but also the interests of consumers.
– If a big manufacturer were affected he would make a complaint to the Comptroller-General, and they would receive the same measure of justice as he would.
– Apparently Senator Drake has fallen into the error of regarding an industry as one particular establishment. The term “industry” as used in the Bill does not refer to a particular wheelwright’s establishment in a remote country district, but it embraces all establishments of that kind which would be grouped under one head for statistical and other purposes. In the case of the industry of buggy-making, for instance, it would not be sufficient to say that a particular establishment in a certain State was being injured by the importation of foreign buggies; the onus would be thrown upon the complainant to show that the industry as a whole was being injured by the importation.
– That is certainly what ought to be provided.
– I am not saying whether the clause is right or wrong, but merely stating that in my opinion it is intended to regard an industry as a whole. Whether that would give the amount of protection which is thought desirable is quite another matter. I would point out to Senator Drake that if we were to have a law to prohibit importations until the least efficient establishment in an industry was brought to an up-to-date standard, it would remove all incentive from the progressive establishments to produce economically for the people of the country.
– That shows that the thing is wholly bad.
– Surely my honorable and learned friend has not waited all this time to determine that the Bill is wholly bad ! I amquite in accord with him, and no amendment which could be suggested could make the Bill good. At the same time I think it would be possible to insert an amendment which would make it even worse than it is, and the amendment suggested by my honorable and learned friend, if adopted, would make the Bill even worse than the successful efforts of the Government have done.
– The honorable senator thinks that there is a lower deep than even this deep may reach.
– I think that the Government have just missed that. It is utterly revolting to all our ideas of progress that we should ‘ take a’s the standard of industry, not the most efficient or the best managed branch, but the least efficient and worst managed.
– That is not what Senator Drake points out.
– What SenatorDrake points out is that there is no help for the inefficient establishment, and his object must be to urge that the Bill ought to protect and help it.
– By a protective duty.
– I do not see how we could help these little struggling establishments by a protective duty. Even if we had absolute prohibition, the little industry would still have to meet the competition of the big and well-equipped industry. In the buggy trade, for instance, establishments spring up because locality and distance are, in themselves, sufficient protection. It is to a very large extent the local demand which induces wheelwrights to start in country districts; and this Bill will not affect them in any way. If these establishments were brought into competition with the bigger establishments in Sydney and the other cities, they would have to go .down in the struggle.
– They have the protection of distance.
– The protection ot distance and circumstances.
– Then, so far, protection is effective to establish industries.
– Undoubtedly, if my friend calls that protection; but it is protection apart from law. It is a perfectly free-trade industry, inasmuch as those engaged in it are not . enabled by means of a Tariff to take more out of my pocket than I am willing to part with. I emphasize the fact that Senator Drake, if I correctly understood him, appeared to think that we should take as the standard of the Australian industry worth preserving, not the most efficient, but the least efficient in any particular line.
– I am pleased to say that the honorable senator who preceded me has saved me the trouble of advancing a number of arguments. I agree with almost every word said by Senator Millen, who has, in my opinion, demolished Senator Drake most completely. Senator Drake did not keep closely to the clause, but dealt with the Bill in a general way. He started with a false assumption that if a complaint were made against a shipment of goods, as destroying an Australian industry, prohibition would be brought about. It does not necessarily follow that prohibition would result from any such complaint, but, on that false assumption, Senator Drake was led on to a false conclusion regarding the little industry of coffee-growing in Queensland. If the honorable senator will look at clause 22, he will see that the determination, when published, will have the effect of a proclamation under the Customs Act 1901, “ prohibiting the importation of the goods either absolutely or subject to those conditions or restrictions or limitations as the case may be.” It is not necessary, therefore, to prohibit the importation of goods in every case ; and the small industry of coffee-growing in Queensland will not be affected by the Bill. That industry has a protective duty of something like 3d. per lb., and such prohibition as the honorable senator alluded to would be most stupid, because it would mean that the great majority of people in Australia would not be able to use coffee.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [10.20].- I am also very glad that the third Minister in the Senate has so lucidly expounded the views of himself and his colleagues on the subject; but I think we have drifted a little from, what was said by Senator Drake. The first criticism of that . honorable senator was that the ComptrollerGeneral can only act on a complaint as against a specific importer of specific goods. According to clause 19, when the ComptrollerGeneral receives a complaint, and has reason to believe that any person, either singly or in combination, is importing goods with intent to destroy or injure an Australian industry, he has to deal with a specific importation bv a specific person, who may be a company. That complaint may be made in Melbourne, while another importer in Adelaide would be importing the same goods, in regard to which no complaint had there been made, and which, therefore, would not be subject to prohibition. Senator Drake points out that such a state of things is not intended by the Bill. Senator Millen was under the impression that this position could be remedied bv sub-clause 2 of clause 21, and subclause 4 of the same clause ; but I think the honorable senator will see that that is not so.
The Justice, in inquiring into the matter, and determining the question under subclause 5 of clause 19, may, of course, inquire as to such goods and matters as are material to the question of whether the particular shipment interferes with an industry ; he cannot under that complaint inquire whether other shipments have been admitted without complaint in Adelaide or any other port of the Commonwealth. Therefore, under the clause as now framed, there might be prohibition ofa shipment in Melbourne with the risk of confiscation, while whole shipments of the same goods were being admitted in other States, from which they might be poured into Victoria.
– I think the amendment of which I have given notice would meet that case.
– If so, I shall be very glad. I merely wish to emphasize what Senator Drake said, and to point out that this is a matter which ought to be remedied. But the more one discusses the Bill the more one sees how absurd, complex, and useless it proves to be. If the position be as Senator Drake understands it, it is certainly very serious and vicious to place an instrument on the statutebook which might be made the means of crushing a struggling industry for the benefit of a large and established industry. Senator Millen drew attention to the fact that a large industry, with up-to-date machinery and management, might be willing to stand by and see the small industry crushed out by importations, before making any complaint of injury. That would be a very unfair position. Then a burden too heavy to be borne is placed on the ComptrollerGeneral when he is asked to say whether an industry is advantageous to the Commonwealth, having regard to the efficiency of management, the processes, plant, and machinery. If that means: anything it means that if the plant is not up-to-date the industry will not be worth preserving. I agree with Senator Millen that clause 18 does not really bear that meaning, at any rate in regard to the first part, because if it were so it would be necessary to read the word “industries” as “businesses.” It is not “businesses,” but “industries,” as Senator Millen has pointed out, that are dealt with. Just think what the clause is, considered along with the antecedent clause. According to the interpretation, “ industries “ does not include industries in which the majority of the workers do not receive adequate remuneration, or are subject to unfair terms or conditions of labour or employment. I make no complaint, but this might have the effect of preventing an industry receiving the benefit of the Bill and protection against dumping, at the behest of the workers engaged in if. I am not complaining of that. It is only another way pf expressing the principle of preference to unionists. But what I complain of is that it is left to the Comptroller-General to put the law in motion. The Comptroller-General has to be satisfied whether there is an adequate remuneration for labour and whether proper conditions are being, observed in the industry. In order to find that out, he has to make an independent investigation, and he may declare that remuneration to be inade»quate which perhaps the Wages Boards and the Conciliation and Arbitration Courts of the States have declared to be adequate. He is not to be bound by their decisions. We are setting up a new and independent tribunal which may declare that the decisions of these Boards and Courts do not provide for an adequate remuneration.
– He is not very likely to do it though.
– Is the Comptroller-General to have a free hand or to be shackled ? If he is to have a free hand, what is there in this Bill to compel him to recognise the decisions of Wages Boards and Arbitration Courts?
– He will take their decisions as a guide.
– He may. But no one can deny that we are setting up an antagonistic tribunal.
– And taking away the functions of the States.
– I do not wish to follow up what is called the bogy of States rights, though Senator Mulcahy is quite right in his interjection. Why should we give a Commonwealth officer power to reverse decisions arrived at by States Wages Boards and Arbitration Courts ?
– All that the Justice or the Comptroller-General can do is to say that the wages paid in an industry are not sufficient, and he may thereupon refuse to grant relief under this Bill.
– That is exactly what may happen.
– But the decisions of Wages Boards have nothing to do with dumping. The Comptroller-General has.
– The Government in this Bill has provided that industries are to be protected against dumping, and before the dumping; clauses are put into operation the ComptrollerGeneral has to be of opinion that the remuneration of the workers and their conditions of labour are satisfactory. My point is that these matters are settled in the States by proper tribunals. Why should we enable a Commonwealth officer to say that a particular industry in South Australia shall not be protected against dumping because the wages are not adequate, althougha State Arbitration Court may say that they are? Is that a right thing to do? Is that what the Senate, which is supposed to protect the rights of the States, ought to do? I agree that what is meant by the Bill is an industry and not merely a business here and there. It is not merely an industry in a particular State that is referred to. Unless it can be shown that in anindustry the majority of the workers all over Australia are receiving adequate remuneration, and that that industry all over Australia is in the opinion of the ComptrollerGeneral advantageous to the Commonwealth, there is no protection against dumping for it. Is not that ridiculous? I know that it is hopeless to tryto amend the Bill. But this point is well worthy of the consideration of the Minister and his colleagues. I say that in all seriousness, and I hope that between now and to-morrow they will see whether they cannot change the phraseology so as, at any rate, to make the Bill attain the purposes desired in a really sensible and effective way.
– This question has given rise to an interesting discussion upon side issues. The point taken by Senator Millen, for instance, that this clause would operate as an all-round prohibition throughout Australia, is one with which I cannot agree. My opinion upon that point is that of the Minister, and I think that Senator Symon holds the same view. I am hot at all confusing businesses with industries. I agree that “ industry “ means a process of trade or manufacture carried on all over the Commonwealth. But I do not lose sight of the fact that the same industry may be carriedon in different States under different conditions as to wages.
There are Wages Boards in some States, and in others; there are none. In some States, wages may be much higher than in others. There will necessarily be different standards for the remuneration of labour in different States. I do not wish honorable senators to be in doubt as towhat my objection to the clause is. I believe that, as a means of protecting industries, a Tariff is better than the system of prohibition provided by this Bill, because whatever the measure of protection may be, a Tariff operates upon the big man and the small man indiscriminately. But what will be the effect of giving the Comptroller-General power of his own motion to say that a certain industry shall be protected by the means provided by this Bill, and that another industry shall not be protected? Iam supposing an industry which has first of all passed the first barrier, and is declared to bean industry within the meaning of this Bill. That is to say, it must be an industry in which the majority of the workers receive adequate remuneration, and are not subjected to unfairterms and conditions of employment. That industry in one State may be injured by importations in the manner described in clause 18, which sets forth the different kinds of injury constituting unfair competition. If there be an industry that fulfils those conditions, and which is at the same time being subjected to unfair competition, so that the workers are driven out of employment, it should be entitled to the protection of the Bill. It ought not to be within the power of one individual - the Comptroller-General- to declare that it is not worth preserving,
Question - That the clause stand part of the Bill - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 9
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause agreed to.
Order of Business.
– I move -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
In submitting this motion I may be allowed to statethat I trust honorable senators will assist the Government to pass the few remaining clauses of this Bill as early as possible to-morrow, because it is necessary that we should consider the Constitution Alteration (Senate Elections) Bill, which will appear second on the paper, and the second reading of which my honorable and learned colleague desires to move. It is necessary that that Bill should be passed two months before the elections. It is being introduced very properly, I think, in the Senate, and must go on to another place. I trust that honorable senators, if they approve of the measure, will be prepared to assist us in passing it as early as possible.
– Will the Minister say whether he intends to afford an opportunity to deal with the Commerce Act regulations?
– It is probable that the honorable senator will have the opportunity he desires to-morrow during private members’ time, as I understand that Senator Dobson and some other honorable senators are willing to give way to him. If he is not given that opportunity, I shall be prepared to keep my promise, and give an opportunity for the discussion of the matter on Friday afternoon.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.50 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 29 August 1906, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1906/19060829_senate_2_33/>.