12 September 1907

3rd Parliament · 2nd Session

The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

page 3145



– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, whether he will see that a copy of the report of the Navigation Commission is circulated amongst honorable senators before be moves the second reading of the Navigation Bill ?

Senator BEST:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · VICTORIA · Protectionist

– The report is being printed, and will, I am informed, be circulated to-morrow morning.

page 3145



Senator WALKER:

– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, whether he can lay before the Senate any information in regard to the agreement for taking over the Northern Territory from South Australia?

Senator BEST:

– I hardly know what my honorable friend refers to, but a ‘little time ago, when replying to a question, I stated that it was not the intention of the Government to seek the confirmation of this Parliament to the proposed transfer of the Northern Territory until the provisional agreement had been confirmed by the State Parliament.

Senator WALKER:

– Is the provisional agreement in print, and, if so, has it been circulated ?

Senator BEST:

– It is in print.

page 3145


Entry in Pair Book.

Senator Colonel NEILD (New South

Wales) [2.34]. -I desire to bring a question of privilege before the Senate, and of course 1 shall conclude my remarks with a motion. I regret that Senator demons is not in his place, and that I have not been able to acquaint him with my intention to bring the matter before the Senate, but if I did not avail myself of the first opportunity at my disposal I should have to let it stand over indefinitely. I suppose that I shall be met with a little difficulty. It is the matter of an entry in the pair book, which is provided by the Senate for the use of honorable senators, and which lies upon the table. 3146 Personal [SENATE.] Explanation..


– Order. I remind the honorablesenator that the Senate cannot take notice of a question of pairs. The pair book is simply placed upon the table for the convenience of honorable senators. Pairs are not entered in the Journals. Certainly they are entered in Hansard, but I do not regard the matter of a pair as involving a question of the rights or privileges of the Senate or of a senator. Standing order 112 says -

Whenever a matter or question directly concerning the privileges of the Senate, or of any Committee or member thereof, has arisen since the last sitting of the Senate, a motion calling upon the Senate to take action thereon may be moved, without notice, and shall, until decided, unless the debate be adjourned, suspend the consideration of other motions as well as Orders of the Day.

On two or three occasions the question of pairing has been raised, and it has been distinctly held by my predecessor that pairs cannot be taken cognizance of by the Senate. With this opinion I am distinctly in accord.

Senator Colonel Neild:

– Pardon me, sir, if you would hear what I wish to say you would see that the matter I desire to bring before the Senate is quite different from that with which you are dealing.


– If that is the case I shall hear what the honorable senator has to say before I give a definite ruling.

Senator Colonel NEILD:

– I shall state the facts very briefly. It was physically impossible for me to be present when the division on Senator McColl’s amendment to the motion for the second reading of the Bounties Bill was taken, and, therefore, I requested Senator Walker to arrange a pair for me.


– Order !

Senator Colonel NEILD:

Mr. President, it is not a question of the making of a pair or a dispute about a pair, but a question ofan alteration of a pair in the pair book being effected by an unauthorized person on the day after the division took place.


– I can see clearly what the honorable senator is aiming at. I do not consider that he can bring the matter forward as a question of privilege. Pairing is arranged for the convenience of honorable senators, and is not taken cognizance of by the Senate. That toeing the case, I cannot regard any question affecting an entry or a non-entry, or a change in the disposition of a pair into which an honorable senator may have entered, as involving a matter of privilege.

SenatorPearce.- Will it be possible for Senator Neild, in order to explain his vote, to refer to an arrangement of the kind under cover of a personal explanation ?


– I do not see how that can be done, because the principle is that an honorable senator is supposed to be present for the purpose of recording his vote. If, through illness, or other sufficient cause, he is unable to vote, then he arranges with another honorable senator for a pair, and that is duly entered in the pair book, and, I believe, recorded in Hansard.

Senator Colonel Neild:

– That is exactly the difficulty, sir.


– It is not an official record of the Senate.

Senator Colonel NEILD:

– Of course, sir, I recognise the accuracy of your ruling, though I beg to point out that our proceedings are governed by the Standing Orders, and that they contain no rule which prevents me from bringing forward this matter. With great respect to you, sir, I point out that in the Imperial Parr liament, under a long established custom, - pairs are not recognised. We have no long established custom, but only Standing Orders to guide us. I have investigated the code, and I see no rule which prevents me from raising, as a matter of privilege, the question, not of a dispute as to a pair, but of a written alteration of a record which has the effect of misrepresenting me.


– Order ! I cannot allow the matter to be pursued any further in this way. I have given my ruling. It may be quite true that in the Standing Orders there is no rule dealing with the question of pairs, but where they are silent, there must be some authority in the Senate to act, and that authority is placed in the Chair. I consider that it is my duty to give a ruling on a question of this kind. The Senate would be fed into all sorts of strange by-ways at different times if a President were not in the position to take the responsibility of giving a ruling. I rule that this is not a matter which can be raised by the honorable senator as a question of privilege.

Senator McGregor:

– Will it not be competent, sir, for the honorable senator to make whatever explanation he desires on the motion to adjourn the Senate?


Senator Neild will be quite in order in alluding to the matter then if he sees fit.

Personal [12 September, 1907.] Explanation. 3147


– The honorable senator if he has been misrepresented or misreported in the Chamber, is at liberty to make a personal explanation, but in doing so, he is not entitled to cast a reflection or make an attack upon any honorable senator. If he only wishes to make a personal explanation, and it is to be devoid of personal remarks, and this is the first opportunity he has had to do so, I shall not prevent him from proceeding, but I shall not accept a motion of privilege or allow him to refer to an honorable senator as having done anything which may be considered to be improper.

Senator Colonel NEILD:

– I bow to your ruling, sir. I wish to make a personal explanation.


– Is it the will of the Senate that the honorable senator be permitted to make a personal explanation ?

Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear.


– There being no objection, the honorable senator may proceed.

Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [2.41].- I thank the Senate. It was a physical impossibility for me to be present when the division on Senator McColl’s amendment to the motion for the second reading of the Bounties Bill was taken, and, therefore, I asked Senator Walker to effect a pair. I understand that he made an arrangement for a pair with Senator Trenwith. That pair was entered in the pair book, and duly chronicled in the press. The daily newspapers represent the pair as having been made between Senator Story and myself. Senators Walker and Trenwith are present, and can contradict me if I make an inaccurate -statement. The pair was chronicled in the press, but is not chronicled in Hansard. Another senator’s name has been substituted for my name in the Hansard record, and as the Hansard reporters are not able to make any statement on the subject, it is only just and proper that I should say that they have followed an alteration in the pair book which records the pair. I do not say who made the alteration. I am informed as to who made it, but following your ruling, sir, I do not wish to mention the name. I do not say whose handwriting I recognise in the alteration, but I dare say that it can be recognised by any honorable senator who looks at the pair book. I makethis statement to put myself right, and also to put the Hansard reporters right, because it is a remarkablethingthat a pair duly recorded in the press should be unduly recorded in Hansard. I think it would be an advantage to some extent - perhaps I should be trespassing beyond a personal explanation if I were to express an opinion on the matter, and, therefore, I refrain. I wish to put myself right, and to have a statement in Hansard to show that as a representative of the people I was not careless in respect of the division on Senator McColl’s amendment, which practically was the only division taken in connexion with the second reading of the Bounties Bill. I thank the Senate for giving me an opportunity to” make this explanation.

Senator STORY:
South Australia

– I should like to make a personal explanation in connexion with the same matter.


– Has the honorable senator been misreported or misrepresented ? It has been laid downthat a personal explanation cannot be made except in such a case. Senator Neild has made no charges against any member of the Senate except that he states that an. alteration has been made in the pair-book. That being the case, I do not see that any other honorable senator can make a personal planation with reference to the same matter.

Senator STORY:

– But the utterances of Senator Neild place me in a false position.

Senator Colonel Neild:

– Oh, no.

Senator STORY:

– Undoubtedly they do.


– I do not think that Senator Neild mentioned the honorable senator’s name.

Senator Colonel Neild:

– I did mention Senator Story’s name. I said that a pair had been made with him by Senator Walker and Senator Trenwith.


– That being so, and if Senator Story considers he has been misrepresented, he may make an explanation.

Senator STORY:

– I wish to say that a fortnight ago I arranged with Senator Millen to pair with him for the following 3148 Printing [SENATE.] Committee. day, and also for the following week if he could not be present, on certain questions, one of which was the second reading of the Bounties Bill. When I returned to Melbourne last week and examined the pair-book I found that some one had paired me with Senator Neild. I then went to the opposite side of the Chamber and asked Senator Clernons if he was responsible for pairing me with Senator Neild, as I had arranged to pair with Senator Millen. He told me that he had not done it, and did not know who had done it. I objected to being paired with any one without my permission, and said that I had authorized no one to pair me with Senator Neild. No one had any authority to pair me with Senator Neild. That is all that [ wish to say.

page 3148


MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers -

Military Barracks, Hobart, Tasmania. Memorandum by Mr. David Miller.

Judiciary Act 1903 and High Court Procedure Act 1903. - High Court of Australia : Rule of Court. - Statutory Rules 1907, No. 93.

page 3148


Report presented by Senator Henderson and read by the Acting Clerk, as follows : -

The Printing Committee have the honour to report that they have met in Conference with the Printing Committee of the House of Representati ves.

The Joint Committee, having considered all the Petitions and Papers presented to Parliament since the last meeting of the Committee, make the following recommendations with respect to such Petitions and Papers as were not ordered by either House to be printed, viz. : -

Geo. Henderson,

Committee Room, Chairman. 12th (September, 1907.

Western Australia

– I desire, by leave, to move -

That the report be adopted.

Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [2.50]. - I object. I have no desire to take the matter out of the hands of the Chairman of the Printing Committee, and if Senator Henderson will move that the report ‘be taken into consideration on another day I shall offer no objection. But it is customary for reports of Committees to be printed and laid before honorable senators so that we may know what is contained in them. While the report was being read by the Acting Clerk I was preparing an amendment which I intend to move at a later stage, and could not follow its terms. I therefore wish to have time to consider the report. I shall not object to a motion being submitted for its adoption on Wednesday next.

Western Australia

– I move -

That the report be printed, and its consideration made an Order of the Day for Wednesday next.

I should like honorable senators to grasp the position in which the Printing Committee is placed. We have endeavoured, and are endeavouring, by all possible means, to economize in the matter of expenditure upon printing. But the Committee meets weekly, and it would be very awkward if we had to hold over a report

*Tobacco Combine.* [12 September, 1907.] *Navigation Bill. .* 3149 presented to the Senate until a subsequent day if a document which we recommended to be printed were of an urgent character. While I have no desire to move the adoption of the report at this stage against the wish of any honorable senator, I would point out that my object was to expedite business, and not to have the report of one week's business of the Printing Committee overlapping its report of a previous week. **Senator Colonel NEILD** (New South Wales) [2.53]. - The report recommends that certain documents should not be printed. If that were agreed to it would absolutely prohibit the printing of them for the whole session. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Senator Best: -- They are already in print. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -- My desire was that the Senate should not adopt a motion which would preclude the possibility of printing any of the documents referred to in the report if it were thought desirable to print them. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: .page-start } page 3149 {:#debate-5} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-5-0} #### TOBACCO COMBINE {: #subdebate-5-0-s0 .speaker-K6L} ##### Senator CHATAWAY:
QUEENSLAND asked the Minis ter of Home Affairs, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that the British-Australasian Tobacco Company Proprietary Limited addressed communications to the Government on the19th and 27th ultimo, offering to give every facility for investigating the charges made against them ? 1. If so, have the Government replied to such communications; when, and to what effect? {: #subdebate-5-0-s1 .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING:
Minister for Home Affairs · TASMANIA · Protectionist -- The answer to the honorable senator's questions as as follow - 1 and 2. Communications of the character referred to have been received from the BritishAustralasian Tobacco Company, and, with other papers, are under the consideration of the Crown Law Officers. {: .page-start } page 3149 {:#debate-6} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-6-0} #### EXCISE TARIFF (AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY) ACT Messrs. May and Millar {: #subdebate-6-0-s0 .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 asked the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Can the Minister inform the Senate whether May and Millar, of Horsham, being manufacturers of agricultural implements, as specified in the *Excise Tariff Act* 1906, are paying Excise on such implements as are manufactured by them, as set out in the schedule of the Excise Act? 1. Have Messrs. May and Millar been declared exempt from the provisions of the *Excise Tariff Act* 1906? 2. If they have not been declared exempt from the provisions of the *Excise Tariff Act* 1906, why is it that no Excise is being collected from them for such manufactures as come within the scope of the Act? 3. If they have been declared exempt, will the Minister say under what provision 30s. per week has been declared to be a fair remuneration for labourers in this industry? {: #subdebate-6-0-s1 .speaker-JPC} ##### Senator BEST:
Protectionist -- The answer to the honorable senator's questions is as follows - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. to 4. Messrs. May and Millar, of Horsham, made early application to the Court, with a view to obtaining exemption. Their application, in common with the applications of other manufacturers, is set down for hearing before the President of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration on. the 24th instant. In the meantime, no Excise has been demanded. {: .page-start } page 3149 {:#debate-7} ### NAVIGATION BILL Motion (by **Senator Best)** agreed to - >That leave be given to bring in a Bill for an > >Act relating to shipping and navigation. Bill presented, and read a first time. {: .page-start } page 3149 {:#debate-8} ### BOUNTIES BILL *In Committee* (Consideration resumed from11th September, *vide* page 3091): First Schedule - >Fibres - New Zealand flax; (period), 10 years; (rate of bounty), 10 per cent. on market value; (maximum payable in any one year), , £3,000. **Senator Colonel NEILD** (New South Wales) [3.2]. - I move - >That the Chairman report to the Senate that until the Tariff now before Parliament has been finally dealt with, the Committee considers it inexpedient to proceed with the consideration of the Bounties Bill proposing the expenditure of upwards of one million pounds sterling, and involving taxation to the extent of upwards of four and a half millions sterling. I am aware- SenatorFindley. - On a point of order, is the honorable senator in order in proposing an amendment of that nature after the Bill has gone through its second reading stage and the first item in the Schedule has been agreed to in Committee? I submit also that the amendment is not relevant to the item now under discussion. {: #debate-8-s0 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- My ruling on this point is that we are governed in this matter first of all by standing order 251, which provides that - >A Committee shall consider such matters only as shall have been referred, to it by the Senate. The amendment proposed by the honorable senator brings before the Committee the questions of the Tariff, the expenditure of one million pounds sterling, and the imposition of taxation to the extent of four and a half million pounds sterling, all of which have not been referred to the Committee. I also rule the amendment out of order because motions which can be moved in Committee, other than motions dealing with matters referred to the Committee, are set out in standing orders 267-8-9 in explicit terms. They provide facilities for honorable senators to move that the Chairman report progress for the purpose of superseding the Committee and enabling the Senate to deal with any such expressions of opinion as are covered by the proposed amendment. I therefore rule that the amendment cannot be received. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel Neild: -- I beg to differ from your ruling, and will hand in my objection in" writing. *In the Senate:* The Chairman of Committees. - I beg tq report that in Committee on the T?ill tX for an Act to provide for the payment of bounties on the production of certain goods," on line 2 of the first schedule, item "New Zealand flax," **Senator Neild** submitted the following amendment - >That the Chairman report to the Senate that until the Tariff now before Parliament has been finally dealt with, the Committee considers it inexpedient to proceed with the consideration of the Bounties Bill proposing the expenditure of upwards of one million pounds sterling, and involving taxation to the extent of upwards of four and a half millions sterling. A point of order being taken, I ruled that, the amendment could, not be considered by, the Committee, because under standing, order 251 the Committee can only consider such matters as shall have been referred to it by the Senate; and that under standing orders 267-8-9 the methods of" moving " That the Chairman do now leavethe chair," or " That the Chairman do report progress," are set out, and that only in the form set out could such motions bemoved. I ruled that the amendment submitted by the honorable senator contained? matter which had not been referred to the Committee by the Senate. From that ruling **Senator Neild** has dissented in writing, in the following terms - >I beg to dissent from the decision of the Chairman to the effect that the motion submitted1 by **Senator Neild** is not in order under the Standing Orders. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel Neild: -- I submit for your consideration, sir, as I have already done for the consideration of the Chairman of Committees, that while standing order 269 provides that certain motions may besubmitted, but cannot be discussed, it is absolutely silent as to other forms of' motions that may be moved in Committee. I point out that these are forms which, intimes past, have been used for the purposeof obstruction in Committee; not in this. Chamber, of course, but elsewhere. Surely it will not be contended for a. moment by any rational person that, because the Standing Orders provide that three forms of motion in Committee cannot be discussed, therefore no other form of motion shall be discussed. If that wereso, ' no form of motion could be discussed in Committee. I submit that the wellknown rule of interpretation, *expressio unius exclusio alterius,* clearly covers thisground. Your legal training and experience, sir, will convince you that I am submitting a reasonable proposition. With respect to the other standing orders towhich the Chairman has referred, I submit that standing order 251 has absolutelynothing whatever to do with the question. It provides that - >A Committee shall consider such matters only as shall have been referred to it by the Senate. . If that standing order were to be interpreted literally, it would prevent the moving of any amendment which had not been> referred to the Committee by the Senate.. {: .speaker-K8W} ##### Senator Turley: -- No. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel Neild: -- The honorable senator will have his opportunity later. I am just now specifically addressing the President, and not the Senate. {: #debate-8-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### The PRESIDENT: -- I ask honorable senators not to interject whilst the honetable senator is discussing a matter which has been referred to the President. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel Neild: -- The motion I have submitted is in the nature of an amendment, which does not ask the Committee to consider anything except the proposal to adjourn the proceedings until a specific time for certain reasons that are given. It may be said that because there is a reference in the amendment to certain sums of money, the Committee is necessarily asked to consider the amounts referred to. That is not so, because those amounts are included, not as matters ' for consideration by the Committee, but merely in order to show, that there is a rational basis for the amendment. Standing order 267 is simply an authority for the moving of one class of motion. I doubt very much if we have a standing order 'authorizing the motion of dissent from the Chairman's ruling, and the reference to the President, and yet that is one of our practices found necessary in the conduct of business. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Standing order 258 provides for that. . {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel Neild: -- But there is no procedure provided in that standing order, and no authorization, except in the most indirect manner. As to standing order 267, I direct attention to the fact that it is repeated and included in standing order 269, and as a matter of fact is without virtue or validity, and need not appear amongst our Standing Orders at all ; standing order 269 providing all. that is necessary, and for .more than is provided by standing order 267. Standing order 268 is utterly inapplicable to the amendment I have moved, because it provides for something that I have not moved. I do not know whether I should be in order in taking any notice of interjections, but one was made which may possibly have reached your ear. I may be doing **Senator Pearce** an injustice in attributing it to him, but certainly it was made by some honorable senator, and it was to the effect that the amendment I have submitted is one which would have been appropriate on the second (reading. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- I never said so. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel Neild: -- I was not sure that it was the honorable senator who made the interjection, but some honora"ble senator certainly said that. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Senator Best: -- I said so. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel Neild: -- I am glad that the Vice-President of the Executive Council has pleaded guilty, because it puts me quite in .order in pointing out that I ' wished to move this amendment on the second reading, and should have done so had not the form of an amendment previously submitted rendered that course impossible. I do not know that it is necessary' that I should labour the matter in any way. I have pointed out briefly that standing order 251 does not apply in this case, inasmuch as there is no application to the Committee to consider anything. The amendment is that the Committee should cease consideration of the Bill, and not that- it should consider something new. Standing order 251 cannot be strictly applied, as in Committee we move all kinds of amendments which are not provided for in our Standing Orders, and are not included in any order of reference from the Senate to the Committee. I have pointed out that standing order 267 is covered by standing order 269, and it is therefore unnecessary to consider it; that standing order 268 has nothing to do with the question, and that standing order 269 provides only that three forms of. motion in Committee are not open to debate - necessarily leaving open for debate all other forms of motion. On the question of economy of time, which might- be considered to bear to some extent on the matter, I point out that everything that could be said in one speech on the amendment I submitted might be repeated in detail on every item in the schedule. There is therefore nothing to be gained by what I .regard as a far too strict interpretation of "fEe Standing Orders, because, even if your ruling is against me, I can still say everything I might have said on my proposed amendment, on any of the items in the schedule. I submit that the Standing Orders do not bear the singularly strict and restricted construction placed upon them by the Chairman. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Senator Best: -- The amendment submitted by **Senator Neild** goes to the very root of the Bill. It deals with the question of whether there should be a Bounties Bill passed or not, and that is why I took the opportunity to interject that it might have been a fair amendment for consideration on the motion that the Bill be now read a second time. Standing order 185 provides that- >On the Order of the Day being read for the second reading of a Bill the question shall be proposed " That this Bill be now read a second time." Standing order 186 provides that - >Amendments may be moved to such question by leaving out " now" and adding "this day six months," which, if carried shall finally dispose of the Bill ; or the previous question may be moved. The Standing Orders then go on to provide, in standing order 187, that - >No other amendment may be moved to such question except in the form of a resolution strictly relevant to the Bill. The motion which has been submitted by **Senator Neild** in the form of an amendment of an item in the schedule to the Bill reads - >That the Chairman report to the Senate that until the Tariff now before Parliament has been finally dealt with the Committee considers it inexpedient to proceed with the consideration of the Bounties Bill, proposing an expenditure of upwards of one million pounds sterling, and involving taxation to the extent of upwards of four and a half millions sterling. You will observe that, according to standing order 188, after the second reading, unless it be moved " That this Bill be referred to a Select Committee," or 'unless notice of an instruction has been given, The Senate shall forthwith resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole for the consideration of the Bill. The position, therefore, is that all the principles of the Bill were agreed to when the second reading was passed, and the Committee was ordered *(to* consider the details of the Bill. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel Neild: -- There is no such motion. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Senator Best: -- After the details have been considered it is within the power of the Committee to consider a motion " That the Chairman do report progress and ask leave to sit again." Standing order 269 goes on to provide that after the Committee has considered a Bill, with or without amendments, that particular class of report may be received. According to standing order 267 another class of report may be received. It is therein provided that a motion may be made " That the Chairman do report progress and ask leave to sit again." But the point is that the Senate, 'having ordered that the Committee should consider the Bounties Bill, **Senator Neild** calmly and coolly asks the Committee to report that it refuses to consider the Bill. The Committee has no power to say that it refuses to consider the Bill. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel Neild: -- My amendment was not that the Committee should refuse to consider the Bill. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The PRESIDENT: -- It was to delay consideration. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Senator Best: -- No, I 'think it .goes further. It reads - >That the Chairman report to the Senate that until the Tariff, now' before Praliament, has been finally dealt with the Committee considers it inexpedient to proceed with the consideration of the Bounties Bill- {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel Neild: -- That is not a refusal to consider it. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The PRESIDENT: -- That is to delay consideration. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Senator Best: -- I submit that we cannot ignore the fact that we all had knowledge in Committee that the Tariff, which, perhaps, is improperly referred to in the amendment, had already been tabled in another place. The Senate had full knowledge of that fact when it ordered the Committee to consider this Bill. The honorable senator's amendment is to the effect that the Committee should say that it considers it inexpedient to consider the Bill. I submit that it is not within the discretion of the Committee to say anything of the kind ; that inasmuch as the Senate assented to the principle of the Bill when it was read a second time, the clear, duty, of the Committee is to consider its details. Suppose that the amendment were in order, and that ultimately the Bill were reported ; what the Senate would then .do would be to refer the Bill back to the Committee, with a request to do their duty, and that is to consider its details. The clauses of the Bill have been passed by the Committee, and the details of the schedule cannot furnish a reason for a refusal to proceed with their consideration. While I admit that the amendment of **Senator Neild** might have been relevant to the motion for the second reading of the Bill, I submit that it is not relevant to the proposal to grant a bounty upon the production of New Zealand flax. Clearly, it is a proposal which touches the Bill as a whole, and not an amendment which is relevant to that item. On all these grounds I submit that the Chairman's ruling was, correct. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator Findley: -- Having listened to the discussion I am more convinced than ever that the point I raised in Committee is sound. The Tariff has not yet been submitted to the Senate, and if this amendment were accepted it would enable every honorable senator to discuss any item in the Tariff. **Senator Neild** might have quoted the figures correctly when he submitted his amendment. He knows very well that the Bill provides for a total expenditure of .£412,000, but in his amendment he asserts that it involves an expenditure of £1,500,000. By no stretch of imagination can I come to any other conclusion than that the amendment is entirely foreign to the Bill, and that if it could be moved in respect of the item " flax," it could be moved in respect of the last item in the schedule. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The PRESIDENT: **- Senator Neild** has pointed out to the Senate that had it been possible he would probably have moved an amendment of this character to the motion for the second reading of the Bill. There was standing in his way an amendment which had to be put, and when it was negatived that prevented him from submitting the motion which he has submitted in Committee to-day. There is no question that if it could have been submitted then and carried it would have delayed the passage of the Bill until the other matter referred to had been dealt with. The Senate, however, affirmed the principle of the Bill by agreeing to the motion for its second reading, and under standing order 251 the duty of the Committee was to - consider such matters only as shall have been referred to it by the Senate. Those matters were the provisions contained within the four corners of the Bill as it was read a second time. It was impossible for the Committee to consider any other question, and it was essential that every amendment which an honorable senator might desire to offer should be relevant to the clause or schedule under consideration. It cannot be said that the .amendment of **Senator Neild** is in any way relevant to the item before the Committee. It was submitted because, to use the honorable senator's own words, it is inexpedient to proceed with the consideration of the Bounties Bill, proposing an expenditure of upwards of ^1,000,000, and involving taxation to the extent of £4,500,000, until the Tariff now before Parliament has been finally dealt with. The amendment, if. carried, would have the effect of postponing the consideration of the Bill until that event. It cannot be said to be rele vant to a proposal to grant a bounty upon the production of New Zealand flax. Then the honorable senator raises a further question with regard to motions under standing orders 267 and 268, which have been quoted, and argues that the mere mentioning of certain motions does not prevent any other motion from being submitted. I point out to the honorable senator that the very maxim he alluded to, *expressio unius exclusio alterius,* is really against him, because the Senate, by its Standing Orders, has specified certain motions which may be submitted in Committee, and, according to my reading of that maxim, it exhausted the power of the Committee with regard to motions for the purpose of getting the Chairman out of the chair, and so getting rid of a Bill. I consider that the ruling of the Chairman of Committees was strictly correct, and that the amendment of **Senator Colonel Neild** was not in order. *In Committee :* **Senator Colonel NEILD** (New South Wales) [3.4°]- - Last night I was addressing the Committee on the subject of New Zealand flax, and. I quoted very briefly indeed from the evidence of three witnesses before a Select Committee of the New Zealand Parliament. If I remember aright there were only fourteen witnesses, but I only quoted, very briefly, from the evidence of three witnesses. In compliance with a suggestion of the leader of the Senate last night I discontinued my remarks in order that he or somebody on his behalf might move that progress be reported. Of course, I am aware that in Committee, where a senator can speak as often as he likes, it is not necessary to ask permission to continue one's speech on another day. Therefore I am not continuing my few remarks of last night, but beginning again. I propose to quote a few more extracts from the evidence of a very competent witness - apparently the most competent witness" procurable in New Zealand - with the object of showing that the proposal to pay a bounty *of £z°>00°* upon the production of New Zealand flax, at the Tate of .£3,000 per annum for ten years, is highly inexpedient. In the interests of the taxpayers, and particularly in the interest of those who, by reason of dangling this golden bait of *£3°>000* before the' eyes of some of the most industrious and worth citizens of the Commonwealth, will be induced, in ignorance, to 'abandon useful avenues of employment and industry and attempt to achieve the gathering Tn of this bounty bauble to their own detriment, because of the certain failure which will pursue them, I point out that the money for the bounties will have to be raised by taxation. Inferentially I submit that if one of the methods of taxation by which the money is to be obtained takes the form of an impost on Barbed wire, fencing wire, or wirenetting, we shall simply be robbing Peter to pay Paul - taking the money out of the pockets of agriculturists under the pretence of giving it back to them in the form of a bounty. The schedule to this Bill involves an expenditure of ,£533,000 in the course of fifteen years. Under the Constitution it is necessary for the Commonwealth to raise 15s. to return to the States, for every 5s. that it spends. We shall, therefore, have to tax the people to exactly four times the extent of the money required to pay these bounties. Four times £533,000 means £2,132,000. This is a proposition that staggers me, and if it does not stagger other honorable senators I can only say that they entertain ideas of public finance of such a character that I humbly submit that the Senate is not the proper field for their ambitions. In order to inveigle a few people into growing a patch of New Zealand flax we contemplate taxing; the whole' Commonwealth to the tune of. £120,000 a year. The proposition is extraordinary. In order to raise this sum it is proposed to place duties on almost everything that a man, woman, or child eats) drinks, or wears. {: .speaker-K3G} ##### Senator W RUSSELL:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- It is in the interests of the farming community. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -- The honorable senator is apparently one of those who think that by taking money out of the people's pockets we can make them rich, and that in order to enrich certain manufacturers we ought to tax every one else in the Commonwealth. If that is the honorable senator's idea of public finance, I am sorry that he came here, although I recognise him as one of our most worthy senators. {: .speaker-K3G} ##### Senator W RUSSELL:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- A farmers' representative. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -- Sometimes people fancy that they are representatives, but when the question is put to the test it does *not* always " pan out " in that way. Does he expect that the farmers of South Australia will rush into this scheme of New Zealand flax growing? {: .speaker-K3G} ##### Senator W RUSSELL:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- They would begreatly benefited by a reduction in the cost of harvester twine. I have used halfatonmyself on a single farm in twelve months. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -- If this industry became a success the .quantity produced would be far in excess of our requirements in the matter of harvester twine. {: .speaker-K3G} ##### Senator W RUSSELL:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- The world islarge. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -- To raise themoney for the payment of this bounty k isproposed that for every ,£5 worth of agricultural 'machinery i-m ported the farmer shall pay £6. That is the sort of thing; that my honorable friend favours. Because he used a few pounds' worth of harvester twine in twelve months he is prepared; to sweat every farmer in the Commonwealth, to the tune of 20 per cent, on every implement he requires. {: .speaker-K3G} ##### Senator W RUSSELL:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Do not talk nonsense ! {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -- I do not think that the honorable senator is doing justice to his own reputation in making such a statement. To raise the money for this beautiful industry it is even proposed, to put a duty of 40 Der cent, on teething, necklets for poor little babies. Even the suckling is to be penalized. The old people are to shiver at night for want of blankets because the honorable senator is willing to increase the price by one-third in order to raise money for these wretched bounties. Referring to an interjection made several1 times last night, I beg to state, for **Senator McGregor's** information, on the strength of a telegram just received from the Premier of New. South' Wales, that Dooley has not won. Last night I made some quotations, from the evidence of witnesses who gave evidence before the Select Committee appointed in New Zealand concerning the growth of New Zealand flax. Ohe of them, **Mr. Frost,** pointed out the effect of cutting New Zealand flax in the winter.. The witness showed the necessity of providing first-class instructors for the growers, to show them how to prepare their seed, for instance. It is no use inducing people to invest in an industry in connexion with which first-class expert knowledge is; required in planting with any hope of fruition. As far as South Australia is concerned, my honorable friend opposite ought to know that the only part of that State, where it would be possible with success to- cultivate New Zealand flax would be upon the flat patches in the Mount Gambier district. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- There is plenty of country down there. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -- But it is being put to better use than to grow New Zealand flax at 13s. 6d. per ton. I was wrong in restricting myself to the Mount Gambier district because on portions of the flats along the River Murray New Zealand flax can "be grown. On the other hand, it is now proposed, by a system of locking, to throw a lot of those swamp lands under water, and so they will not be available. **Mr. Frost,** speaking on behalf of the Association which he represented before the Committee, said - >We think that all graders should be thoroughly -successful millers, not men who make a ton or half a ton a week. I do not call such a man a competent miller. All these men, as soon as they are put in steam, their quality is down directly. I admit that I- do not understand what that means- >We want thoroughly competent successful men, who can turn round and tell the miller where his fault is. When there is a quorum present I shall proceed. *[Quorum formed.")* I was pleased to see **Mr. Feries** when, he was up there. I thought he was a thoroughly practical man. It would be a thoroughly practical man who could succeed in keeping a quorum together. *[Quorum formed.]* {: .speaker-K8T} ##### Senator Trenwith: -- I desire to call at- tention to the fact that the bells do not ring in the immediate precincts of the chamber. {: #debate-8-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The Acting Clerk will attend to the matter. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -- **Mr. Frost** continues - >Then I come to the scale under which flax is graded. The most serious complaint against it is the range. We consider that 14 points is too great a range for one particular quality. That I think, is the most serious difficulty, and I believe has been the cause of more serious deterioration than anything else. I sold a lot the other day of 73 point flax, and I said to the grader- " That is no use to me; I do not want it. Sixtythree does for me, the price being the same." I am ashamed when I look into the sheds at Auckland and see the flax. That is the opinion of an expert, although we are told that the industry has been flourishing in New Zealand for years. I say the grade of flax has gone down seriously. On Monday morning the quotation in Auckland was *£24* for " f.a.Q." and *£27* for " g.f." flax. Flax at 73 points fetches *£24,* and flax at 75' fetches. *£27.* I want to see the man who will show me that there is a difference of *£3 '* per ton in it. I can make tine flax, but I dc not intend to. It pays me better to .make a low grade. I take it that none of us is here, sir, for the benefit of the country. It is always pleasing to address the Chamber when there is a quorum present. *[Quorum formed].* Leaving out some portions of **Mr. Frost's** evidence for the sake of brevity, he goes on - >Our fields have been worked for about 35 years now, and the flax is not what it should be or used to be. We have there sworn evidence that the industry is petering out in New Zealand. That is the industry which the nation of Australia is asked to undertake - a nation that does not possess a defence force capable of defending any corner of its territory for half-an-hour. It is proposed to waste £45,000, and to tax the people to the tune of £180,000, in order to attempt to conduct in the Commonwealth a business that, after thirty-five years of experience, 5 seriously on the. down grade in New Zealand, where the plant is a natural weed. **Mr. Frost** proceeds - >It will not grow the same in three years as it would in two previously, through the severe cutting it gets. Consequently we get all sorts of leaf to deal with. There, again, is evidence that, if this socalled industry is to be of any advantage whatever to the people of , the Commonwealth, there should be what the Bill does not provide for, and the Government, do not propose - competent instructors to the unhappy people who attempt to deal with this botanic absurdity. We certainly think that the range in the "f.a.Q." class wants amending. I certainly do not believe in having two "fairs" such as from 65 to 70. I said to a merchant in discussing the point on Monday, " I can get *£24* for 63 points and *£24* for 73." We would sooner have only a five-point range. If it is " fair," it is " fair," and we shall get the same for it. It is similar to a farmer having, we will say, cocksfoot. He shows his sample and says,. " I have given you so-and-so." Another man has got machine-dressed, and he gets no more. He does not machine . again. It is the same with the flax. We do not want 73 points; we do not want 70. Sixty-three is quite good enough for me. We do not want the higher points. We are fighting against it, but it is forced upon us. I urge upon the Committee the undesirableness of inducing the taxpayers to enter into an undertaking of such an intricate character. I will undertake to say that there is no member in the Federal Parliament, and no official in the employ of the Government in any part of the Commonwealth who can tell any better than I can the difference between 63 and 73 point flax. If the people enter into this industry they may laboriously attempt a higher grade instead of a more useful grade of an ordinary character which will give them a larger return and an equally good price. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- I referred to the grading marks when addressing the Committee yesterday, and I think I gave particulars of what was meant by them. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -- I do not remember that portion of the honorable senator's speech. I was exceedingly busy yesterday. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- They give points thus : Stripping and washing, 30 ; colour, 25; scutching, 20; strength, 20; finish, 5 ; total, too. The highest grade, "superior," must, score 95 marks or over; "fine," 85-94; "good fair," 75-84; "fair," 60-74; "common," under 60. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -- Does not the Minister recognise from those very figures that the industry is a most intricate business, and not a simple Chinaman's garden kind of affair?. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- Hear, hear ! That is what we say. We do not think our people are unfitted to enter into an intricate business. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -- Does the honorable senator propose, on behalf of the Government, to supply instructors ? That is the last thing the Government think of. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- We could spare **Senator Neild** for a month or two. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -- The honorable senator could be spared for ever, to the advantage of the Senate and of those who are unfortunately his constituents. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- He cannot be spared now, because he is helping to keep a quorum for the honorable senator. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -- I should like one or two other honorable senators to keep **Senator McGregor** company, in order that we may have a quorum. *[Quorum formed-]* I now come to the evidence of Arthur Emmerson Mabin, of Levin and Company, Wellington, representing the exporters. He said - >I refer to one or two points that have come before the Committee. The first is regarding rejected flax, arid I think the view of the Chamber of Commerce is that all flax should be allowed to find its proper, market. There is no objection even to the worst grades going out of the Colony as long as they are branded according to the grade. For instance, flax is required for all sorts of purposes - for mixing with manilla, making binder twine, ropes, lashings, &c. And the stuff we at the present time are refusing to allow out of the Colony can find a good market in the United Kingdom, Australia, and elsewhere, .and it can do no possible injury to the trade as long as it is branded with the brand of its grade. The Minister, at the Conference, mentioned that binder twine could be made out of some of this rejected flax. I think we might let binder twine manufacturers look after their own interests, and they are not going to make twine out of a class of flax that will ruin the sale of their twine in the future. They will use rough flax for other purposes. Another point raised by **Mr. Frost** is with regard to the grading sheds. I think it is only right that flax should be graded where there is an accumulation of flax, whether in a grading store or not. This affects Wellington, where Blenheim and Picton flax passes through. It is desirable in many cases to have flax graded in the Blenheim store and shipped direct from there' without any overhauling in the Wellington store. A great deal of this gentleman's evidence is peculiarly applicable to New Zealand, and is not very pertinent to the proposed attempt to cultivate flax in Australia. It, therefore, may be passed over without any loss of advantage to the Committee. A great deal of the remainder of the evidence so largely follows that which I have already quoted, that it may also be omitted, unless honorable senators think that the evidence I have quoted requires confirmation. I might quote a great deal of highly technical evidence referring to the use of chemicals in the preparation of flax, but perhaps it will be sufficient if I refer honorable senators to this volume, which will be found as an appendix to the Journals, of the House of Representatives of New Zealand for 1905. It certainly comprises one of the most closely reasoned and carefully studied papers on the cultivation and preparation of flax that can readily be obtained. I have quoted from it in order to impress upon honorable senators that the proposed bounty is not one to be hastily agreed to. There is no particular virtue in the schedule as it stands, beyond the fact that it is not the schedule proposed by the Government, but the remnant of the schedule originally submitted. It contains; now only a portion of the original policy of the Government, and there is, therefore-, no reason why this item should not bestruck out in the same way that other items; originally presented have been. I suppose that I cannot refer to items which were struck out of the schedule in anotherplace, except by way of estimating the value of the present proposition. Palm oil, sunflower seed, and a number of other items were struck out in another place, and some people held that the palm oil proposal was involved in another Act of the Legislature. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I ask the honorable senator to discuss the item. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -- I was merely making a passing reference. {: .speaker-KVD} ##### Senator Mulcahy: -- I wish to call attention to the state of the Committee. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- There is a quorum present. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -- I was referring to the fact that, although, this item appears in the schedule, the Government need not fight it, inasmuch as they did not fight for some other proposals in another place, and they may be as willing to regard the wishes of honorable senators as they were to regard those of honorable members in another place. If the Minister in charge of the Bill is prepared to announce that the Governmnent will abandon this item, he will save a very great deal of time. If, on the other hand, the Government are determined that the item shall pass, then, in the interests of the taxpayers, I shall call for a division upon it. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- I again call attention to the state of the Committee. *[Quorum formed.]* {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -- I propose to bring my remarks to a close, because I do not wish to see the Government counted out on the Bill. If I discontinue my remarks, I do so on purely personal grounds, and out of consideration for the unhappy position in which Ministers in the Senate are placed. We recognise that there are two faithful Ministers and one faithful supporter, and, in the circumstances, it is hardly fair that this measure should be placed in jeopardy by a discussion of this item at greater length than is customary. If I have spoken at greater length than usual, it will be remembered that I did not speak on the second reading of the Bill, and, although in another way, I am making a speech which I was entitled to make at that stage. By way of recapitulation, I object to this item, because it proposes the starting of a pernickety industry without any guidance for those who might be induced by the proposed bounty to enter into it, and thus undoubtedly to be involved in loss and sorrow. I also object to the expenditure of .£30,000 in the form of bounties for the production of New Zealand flax - because that is what the proposal amounts to - on the ground that the money can only be raised by the taxation of the people in the most serious manner. The fourth column of the schedule represents a total expenditure of £77,500 as the maximum expenditure for any one year under the Bill. But I draw attention to the fact) that provision has already been made in clauses to which we have agreed, that the amount not expended in one year may be carried on to another. This involves a total expenditure, of £533,000 during fifteen years, and, as under our Constitution revenue to the extent of four times that amount would require to be raised, the Bill involves a total taxation of the people to the tune of £2,132,000. I further point out that the expenditure on this item alone would involve taxation to the extent of £120,000. Knowing what I know of flax, and in view of what I have read concerning the industry in New Zealand, I cannot conceive it to be my duty to vote for this item. My honorable friends opposite will accept my assurance that I do not take so much exception to many other items in the schedule. I shall not offer to every item the positive opposition which I am offering to this. I propose to be fair, as I hope I always am, and I do not mind telling my honorable friends opposite that I have been induced to speak at greater length than usual, and have not shown the same consideration for the Vice-President of the Executive Council and his colleagues as I should otherwise have been prepared to do, because of a certain happening of yesterday. That is a political happening, and not a personal one. The honorable senator knows perfectly well that this is not a personal objection. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- I beg to call Attention to the state of the Committee. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -- I shall not be responsible for any other call for a quorum. I have made my speech ; I have lodged my protest. *[Quorum formed.]* {: #debate-8-s3 .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON:
Tasmania .- I think that an impression had got abroad that **Senator Neild** would continue to speak for an hour or two. I fear that some honorable senators who desire to take part in the division mav take the ringing of the bells as a call for a quorum., and not as a c;'-!! for a division. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Senator Best: -- Ii) will be all right. Word has been sent round to honorable senators. 3158 *Bounties* [SENATE.] *Bill.* {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- The chief reason why I rose was to mention that **Senator Chataway** wished to point out that the experts have not suggested a bounty upon the production of ramie, because there was considerable difficulty with the machines. They say - >The difficulty with this plant is the decortication, no machine being on the market that will successfully accomplish the degumming process. The Governments of France and India have from time to time issued substantial rewards in this direction, but no results have been achieved. Mills in Great Britain advertise that they are prepared to buy the raw material, but in the absence of any trade it is not known whether it would pay to do so. To compete with Asia by the hand process is out of the question. The honorable senator desired me to mention that that trouble is being experienced in New Zealand with the machines which are required to treat this flax. We both think that the item should be deleted. I do not think that **Senator Neild** has done any good by discussing the matter at such length, because I fear that some honorable senators who wanted to be here to oppose the item have gone away ; as their patience had been exhausted a little by his eloquence. **Senator Colonel NEILD** (New South Wales) [4.35]. - If there is any misapprehension about the length of my remarks, I am quite prepared to continue them in the interests of those honorable senators who are absent. I do not want any one to be deprived of his vote under a misapprehension. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator Findley: -- Keep going. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- The honorable senator has finished his speech, although he has begun another one. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -I do not think that the observation of the honorable senator was strictly relevant. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator Findley: -- I call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum *formed.]* {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Colonel NEILD: -- If honorable senators wish to go to a division in the absence of those who are under a misapprehension, that is their business, not mine. Question - That the item " New Zealand flax " be agreed to- put. The Committee divided. AYES: 11 NOES: 0 Majority ... ... 7 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Item agreed to. Fibres - Flax and hemp ; (period), 5 years ; (rate of bounty) 10 per cent. on market value; (maximum payable in any one year) £8,000. Question - That the item be agreed toput. The Committee divided. AYES: 11 NOES: 4 Majority ... ... 7 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Item agreed to. Fibres - Jute ; (period) 5 years ; (rate of bounty.) 20 per cent. on market value ; (maximum payable in any one year) £9,000. {: #debate-8-s4 .speaker-K6L} ##### Senator CHATAWAY:
Queensland -- **Senator Neild** appears to have very successfully knocked the stuffing out of all opposition to the item by occupying the attention of the Committee for an inordinate length of time. I donot propose to follow his example. I wish to enter a protest against the adoption of this item, and I base my objection mainly upon the fact that the conditions under which jute is produced are not likely to obtain in Australia. Do honorable senators believe that we can establish in Australia an industry to compete with that of India, where the conditions are such, that people are compelled, in 'the open air under a blazing sun, to stand more than knee deep in water saturated with vegetable matter to clean the fibre? If honorable senators think that that condition of affairs can possibly obtain or is desirable in Australia, let them carry the item. I do not object to this item on the ground that an industry could not possibly be successful. I object to it on the ground that, even if it were successful, it would be undesirable. {: #debate-8-s5 .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGREGOR:
South Australia -- In- countries where primitive methods of treating products are carried on the reason is that labour is so cheap that it is not worth while for inventors to exercise their brains to invent machinery and improve processes. But if such an industry is established in Australia-, where there are difficulties to contend with in respect to labour, both machinery and improved methods- will soon be brought into operation, and that industry will be conducted *in* a different manner from that which is followed in countries where labour is so cheap. {: #debate-8-s6 .speaker-KOS} ##### Senator HENDERSON:
Western Australia -- This is one of the items which I indicated in my second reading speech that I should oppose. I oppose it precisely on the grounds mentioned by **Senator Chataway.** It is all very well to argue that, in countries where labour is cheap, no attempt is made to invent machinery,, but that when labour becomes expensive machinery will soon be introduced to economize methods of production. Whilst that may be true in some respects, I have read reports which convince me that the cost of establishing the jute industry in Australia would be too great to warrant us in making the attempt. I prefer to leave the industry entirely in the hands of the Indians. If they consider that jutegrowing is worthy of their efforts let them continue to produce it for a considerable time io come. I shall vote against the item. {: #debate-8-s7 .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER:
Queensland -- Is it likely that we can compete with Asiatics in the production of jute? This is an article that can only be produced economically by means of the most degraded form of labour. {: .speaker-KOS} ##### Senator Henderson: -- The process is degrading from beginning to end. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- The production of jute is degrading from the time when it is planted until it is manufactured. The Government are anxious to spend £412,500 on the promotion of agricultural industries. We are bound to consider the financial resources of the Commonwealth. It may be that we shall discover that we cannot afford the whole sum proposed to be appropriated. There are some industries which, if successfully established, would undoubtedly be very advantageous to us. The growth of cotton, and possibly coffee and tobacco, might be brought to the stage of economic success. It is just as well for the Senate to exercise its discretion, and to pick out those industries which are most likely to be successful. We import very little jute, and yet we propose to give an enormous bounty for its production. {: .speaker-K8T} ##### Senator Trenwith: -- We import a great quantity of jute goods. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- If that argument were applied to every ' article which we import and do not produce, we should be here almost to the crack of doom. What prospect of success is there for jute production in Australia? No indication is afforded by the report of the experts that it can be successfully grown in Australia, nor is there any reasonable hope of growing it under the labour conditions that prevail here. We should have to compete against, perhaps, the most degraded form of labour in the world. I do not doubt that the climate in some portions of Australia would permit jute to be grown. But the growth of the plant is only part of the difficulty. I am one of those who do not like to see our labour degraded, and for that reason alone I should oppose the item. But there are some agricultural industries which we have reason to believe might be made to succeed. Why waste money on growing an article like jute- when we ought to conserve our financial strength for the promotion of those industries which we have reasonable hopes of establishing? I feel sure that the Government have no wish to limit our choice with regard to these items. The Minister should leave it to the Committee to decide as between tobacco, cotton, coffee, and other articles for which there is a world-wide market, and upon the growth of which white people can be engaged. Why waste our resources upon an industry^ which cannot come within miles of being economically successful, seeing that we shall have to compete against Chinese and Japanese labour of the lowest kind ? Originally, it was- intended to _devote a large sum of money for the; encouragement of certain industries, but some items were reduced in another Chamber. Those who are opposed to this Bill in principle recognise that, as the second reading has been carried, they ought to choose those items for which there is the greatest prospect of success. If they prove successful, there will be strong reasons for the Government coming down to Parlia-ment again and asking for money for other bounties. I do not . pose in any way as an expert on this. item. If the Government persist in this proposal with regard to jute and other products, they are simply defeating the end which we are all anxious to attain. I urge the Committee to leave out this item, ' because other industries may want the money in later years, and may justify from the beginning the assistance offered to them. {: #debate-8-s8 .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING:
Minister of Home' Affairs · Tasmania · Protectionist [S-il- - Some honorable senators are apt to fall into a fallacy in dealing with the items in the schedule. Some of the arguments adduced in opposition to the proposal for a bounty for particular items are based on the assumption that we are forcing people into certain industries. That is not so. We simply hold out a prospect of a reward to such persons as may succeed in producing the articles in question of a merchantable quality in sufficient quantities and under the conditions laid down in the Bill. We do not force people into the production of those articles, nor, by passing the item, do we necessarily * take a step which will absolutely involve the Commonwealth in the expenditure of the maximum amount provided. The amount appropriated for some particular item may never be called upon, because individuals may not find it profitable to embark in the production of the article specified. If, on the other hand, they do succeed in establishing the fact that that article can be produced in the Commonwealth, under the conditions laid down in the Bill be it remembered, they will undoubtedly have done a great service to Australia - a service more than ordinary,^ if it be an article criticised as one in 'the manufacture or production of which degrading conditions must necessarily obtain. In the production of these, articles, in order to obtain the bounty, those degrading con ditions must be absent, as far as we can prevent them. The Government would have been neglectful of their duty if they had not included this article in the schedule of a measure for granting bounties for .productions from the soil. It is now said that certain of the circumstances under which jute is retted in India would not be tolerated in Australia. I cordially agree with that statement. Every member of the" Government is heart and soul with the principle that we do not want transferred to any area in the Commonwealth conditions such as prevail in certain industries in other parts of the world. But will honorable senators pursue such arguments to their logical, conclusion in every department of production about which the same thing has been said? It was argued until quite recently that it was impossible for Australia to grow sugar without the assistance of black labour, which was am indispensable condition, and that all the attendant circumstances of black labour must be inseparably associated with the industry if the industry was to succeed here. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator Findley: -- It was said that the work was' quite unfitted for white men. {: .speaker-K6L} ##### Senator Chataway: -- That may have been the statement of some people, but what the majority said was that Australia would have to pay for the industry, as it could not afford to pay the wages that would induce white men to do the work. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- It is not my purpose to raise a discussion now as' to the relative merits of white or black labour in the sugar industry. But I am not overstating the position when I say that it is not many years ago that those who might be looked upon as the best qualified to judge were fairly unanimous that black labour must be inseparably associated with the sugar industry if it was to remain a permanent industry in the Commonwealth. It was stated that the work was unfitted for white men. In the ordinary course of evolution, we have found that those statements were not based on fact, and that as a matter of actual experience white men to-day are doing the work which, a few years ago, many who were competent to judge said confidently that they were unfit to do. One of the objections raised in the past to the attempts to establish the cotton industry in the Commonwealth was that there was no machinery for picking . cotton. It was said that bonuses or rewards were offered for the invention of a suitable machine for that purpose. I am not in a position to say how far inventors have succeeded in that direction. {: .speaker-K6L} ##### Senator Chataway: -- We expect to try a cotton-picking machine in Queensland this vear. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- At any rate, that is only a matter of very modern development. Is it not reasonable to expect that when the people of a country like Australia, which'' enjoys many tropical conditions of climate and soil, apply themselves to the production of jute, they will bring to the retting of the plant ingenuity superior to that which has characterized the people of India in their production for many years past? {: .speaker-K6L} ##### Senator Chataway: -- The experts refused to recommend a bounty on ramie because there is no machinery in existence. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- I am not dealing with ramie. {: .speaker-KVD} ##### Senator Mulcahy: -- Are the Government recommending this bounty on the off-chance of getting a machine to do the retting? {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- I am simply answering the objections that have been put forward. Whether a machine is produced or not, we have yet to be satisfied that trie degrading conditions associated with the industry in India are inseparable from it in every other part of the world. I do not believe that they will be associated with it in Australia. If those conditions are inevitable here, the industry will not find a place in Australia, and the bounty will not operate. We are not taking this money irrevocably .but of the Treasury and putting it aside for all time. We must offer to our own people a prospect that, if they can succeed in establishing the industry and maintaining it on the conditions laid down in the Bill, they will, as the pioneers of an important development in the production of the Commonwealth, receive some reward. The experts' report states that' the imports of jute - I wish honorable senators to distinguish between jute and jute *goods* - for the year *]Q0t* amounted to 4,382 cwt., of the value of £5,265. That is small, but it is iri relation to the enormous consumption and importation of jute goods into the Commonwealth that the experts and the Government have been seized of the importance, and even the necessity, of including the item in the schedule. {: .speaker-KOS} ##### Senator Henderson: -- The Government are offering a bounty, not on jute goods, but on jute. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- The bounty is for the production of jute in the Commonwealth. I shall deal with the production of jute elsewhere, and show how, owing to the conditions surrounding the locality of its production, it is extremely difficult to get jute outside a limited area for conversion into jute goods. The experts state - >It was the unanimous opinion of the Conference that the cultivation of certain fibres is worthy of the most generous encouragement. Prominence was given to the matter of jute production. As the raw material of which bags are made, the question of jute supply vitally affects most producing interests in the Commonwealth. .The recent heavy increase in the price of all bags and sacks has caused some disquietude amongst farmers who arc naturally concerned when they find the price of the bag holding their wheat equal to an impost of 2d. per bushel. > >It is known that jute will grow readily all over the moister portions of Northern Australia. After dealing with the methods of retting the Indian product, they make reference to the Indian returns, as follows - >In 1904-1905, India had 2,845,000 acres under . jute, the crop being 7,450,000. bales, an average of about half a ton of fibre per acre. The price to-day, per ton, is *£26* 10s., c.i.f., so, on these figures, the industry should have a future in Australia. The importation of jute manufactures into the Commonwealth is considerable, approximating ^1,000,000 worth a year, and the amount is likely to increase.. > >Jute is one of the most cheaply raised and prepared of all fibres. It is inferior to flax and hemp in strength and tenacity, but suits admirably for bag and sack making. An extract from the *Town and Country Journal,* of as recent a date as" 17th April, 1907, is given in the report - >Woolpacks are dearer in Sydney than for the past 20 years. I shall show directly that the same condition obtains in other parts of the world, and that if we can grow jute in the Commonwealth, we shall be able, to find a profitable market abroad for it to an almost unlimited extent. {: .speaker-K6L} ##### Senator Chataway: -- Has not jute fallen in price during the last two years? {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- I am pointing out why we should produce our own raw material. If we have to depend on foreign countries for the supply of jute to be manufactured into jute goods, we shall never manufacture jute goods ourselves. If we produce our own raw material, we have an abounding market for it in the Commonwealth, and an almost unlimited market for it abroad. The article continues - >New packs, this season's importations, weighing n£ lb., in bales of 50 packs,, loose or fast lid, are 3s. each to-day in Sydney', as compared with is. gd. six years ago. An extra 3d. each pack is paid if the bales are broken. Packs shipped from Calcutta at the end of last season are to-day in Sydney 2s. 10d. each.' These high rates affect the squatters and sheep breeders generally. A great many more woolpacks are used now than formerly owing to the increase in the New South Wales clip. It is estimated that there are ten million more sheep in New South Wales than three years ago. There is also a greatly increased demand for jute for the United States and other parts of the world. Jute is nowadays used for a large additional number .pf purposes, as compared with a few years back. Particulars are given about the price of standard cornsacks, as follow - >New standard cornsacks are now 7s. 6d. a dozen in Sydney, in lines of 5 to 10 bales, as compared with 6s. 10d. this time last year. Cornsacks in two bale lots are 7s. 7d. dozen, in sympathy with the spurt in jute values in Calcutta. It is also stated - >Bran bags are 6s. doz. in Sydney, in bales of 50 dozen, as against 4s. gd. twelve months ago. > >Ore bags for holding silver, gold-, copper, and other ores are imported to Sydney in two sizes, viz., 16 oz. and 20 oz. each; 50 dozen to the bale. Ore bags are now 4s. a dozen in Sydney, by the bale, against 3s. 5d. twelve months ago. > >Thus the boom in jute is of serious moment to pastoralists, wheat-growers, and mining companies. **Mr. Suttor,** the New South Wales Trade Commissioner in the East, made a report on the jute industry, to which reference is made .in the *Farmer and Settler* of 24th May, 1907, which states that the Minister for Mines and Agriculture was in receipt of a report from **Mr. Suttor,** who wrote on the 31st March, 1907, on the jute supply as follows - >During my recent visit to Sydney, and after delivering an address before the members of the Farmers and Settlers' Association, at the Royal Chambers, Hunter-street, Sydney, I was specially questioned concerning the supply of jute goods and reasons for the then ruling high prices. > >During my visit to India I specially looked into the matter, and am now decidedly of opinion that the recent high quotations did not occur in consequence of any combine or corner in jute. > >The exportable surplus from a given crop depends upon local consumption. It is estimated that the area under jute equals 3,181,600 acres, producing about 353,600,000 lbs., or equal to 8,384,000 bales of jute of 400 lbs. each. Nearly the whole of the jute comes from Bengal, where there are 23,000 looms, an increase of over 16,000 during the last 23 years. Of recent years, the high cost of the raw material has considerably restricted the local consumption and the output of the mills. In the meantime, the foreign demands increased, the result being very keen, competition at increased prices. > >As an illustration : In August of 1905 the quotations for 400 lb. bales were rupees 41, or *£2.* 14s. 8d. per bale. In igo6 this price increased to *£3* 4s- 8d. per. 400 lb. bale. Later on in the report it is said that - >By recent experiments it has been ascertained that jute and rice can be cultivated on the same land as rotation crops, and this should certainly tend to increase the supply ; but whether such will keep pace with growing demands remains to be seen. Then, by means of statistics, an illustration is given of the enormous business donein jute goods, and it is shown that 'theexport of gunny bags ranged from. 200,099,449, valued at *£3,127,964,* in 1904, to 248,593,232, valued at £4,637,061, in 1906. It is most interesting to note to what places these exports, were sent from India in order that we may -see the extent to which Australia is interested in the matter. It is stated in thereport that " in 1906 the exports went *tothe* following countries." The countries are then enumerated, and Australia stands first on the list, and is shown to have imported! 43»594,o39 bags, value at ,£1, 106,242. Next to Australia comes England with an> importation of 32,193,985 bags, valued at *£571,* 583- Then follows China, Chile, the Straits Settlements, and other countries in order. The report further statesthat, in addition to gunny bags, India exported the raw material of jute to a number of countries which are given in the order of the value of the export to each. The first on the list is England, which imported 6,652,576 cwt., valued at £7,045,474. The export to Germany, of raw jute was valued at £3,229,181, that to France at £2,009,873, and1 to the United States at £1, 878^001, and so on. It has been said, by way of interjection, that, we are proposing to give a bounty only in respect to jute itself and that these figures have relation to jute goods, but I have already pointed out that it will be next to impossible for us to manufacture jute goods iri Australia unless we can succeed in producing the raw material within our own borders, because, notwithstanding the great output in India, there does not seem to be a sufficient supply to meet the world's demand. I propose to quote now from ari interesting number of the *Bulletin of the* *Imperial* *Institute,* No. 3 of volume 3, .for 1905. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- Who is responsible for it? . {: .speaker-K6L} ##### Senator Chataway: -- Are the Kew Gardens authorities responsible for it? {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- Honorable senators must be aware that there is an important body known as the Imperial Institute. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- I thought it was dead and buried. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- That shows that the honorable senator has been dreaming and not living, because the Imperial Institute has of late years applied itself assiduously to the consideration of the possibilities of the different parts of the Empire for the production of the raw material required by British manufacturers. {: .speaker-K8T} ##### Senator Trenwith: -- Queensland sent a very large number of exhibits to the Institute. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- On the back of this number of the *Bulletin* of the Institute there is a list of available papers on the resources of different portions of the Empire, and heading the list is Queensland, and then New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand in the order named. I should think, therefore, that my Queensland friend, as well as the Queensland Government and people, ought to be acquainted with the operations of the Imperial Institute. This publication contains an article on " The Cultivation of Jute and Similar Fibres," in which it is stated that - >Jute is one of the cheapest fibres, and is. employed for making the coarse cloths used for sacks, bags, bale covers, and tarpaulins. At present almost all the raw jute imported in the United Kingdom comes from Bengal. In the three years 1901, 1902, 1903 the average annual import was 325,000 tons; of this quantity 319,000 tons, or 98 per cent, of the whole came from Bengal. In recent years there has been a large increase in the machinery employed in India for jute spinning and weaving, and the export thence of " gunny " cloth, which is the name by which such coarse cloth is known in India, has risen from 307 million yards in the 3'ear ending 31st March, 1900, to 552 million yards in the year ending 31st March, 1904. Honorable senators will, therefore, see that the Indians do not confine themselves to the production of the raw material, but, having erected machinery on the spot, they turn the jute fibre into "gunny" cloth, which has been- exported in large quantities. The article goes on to say - >As a consequence of this, increasing quantities of jute are bought up in India, and the jute spinners of the United Kingdom, whose mills are mostly situated at Dundee, Experience a growing difficulty in obtaining the raw jute they require. This is two years ago, and before **Mr. Suttor's** report, to which I have referred. The difficulty then experienced has been rendered only more acute. The article continues^ - >To meet this emergency the Jute Importers Mutual Protection Association Limited of Dundee is endeavouring to introduce the cultivation of this fibre into the West African Colonies, so as to have further areas to draw from for supplies. The people who for years have been using the jute for conversion into bags, bales, sacks, and so on are experiencing considerable difficulty in obtaining the raw material from India, and that is shown by the fact that an endeavour has been made to open up new areas in West Africa for the cultivation of jute. {: .speaker-K6L} ##### Senator Chataway: -- Then the honorable senator should include our bastard jute in this item. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- Then some particulars concerning the cultivation of the article are given, and amongst other things it is stated that - >Jute thrives best in the hot, damp climates and moist districts of the tropical and subtropical zone. {: .speaker-KOS} ##### Senator Henderson: -- Where can we get a hot, damp climate in Australia? {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- That description would apply to certain portions of Queensland and Northern Australia - >After it has made a good start flooding of the land is not injurious, and it will even grow luxuriantly when half submerged in 3 feet or more of water. It is stated, however, that it is advantageous not to have too much actual rain, especially in the early part of the season, and that the best conditions are alternative sunshine and rain ; excessive rain is not injurious after the plant has reached a height of several feet. {: .speaker-K8T} ##### Senator Trenwith: -- Between Brisbane and Gympie there is plenty of land on which jute could be grown splendidly. {: .speaker-KOS} ##### Senator Henderson: -- There is no hot, moist land between Brisbane and Gympie. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- I should like the Minister to say what goods are manufactured from the four fibres for the production of which we are asked to give bounties. Are not practically the same goods made from them all? {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- No, so far as jute is concerned, the report which I have just read states that it is the raw material for sacks, bags, bale covers, and tarpaulins. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- What are New Zealand flax, and flax and hemp used for? {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- I will give the honorable senator the information directly. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- What is sisal hemp used for? {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- It is a finer fibre than the New Zealand hemp', and is not used for the manufacture of such coarse materials. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- From which fibre are wool-packs and wheat-bags made {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- From jute. I do not know .whether the honorable senator was present when! quoted from the report of the Conference of experts to the effect that the boom in jute is of serious momentto pastoralists, wheat-growers and mining companies. That is a conclusion arrived at by the Conference from a knowledge of the increase in the prices of wheat-sacks, woolpacks, and ore-bags. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- Would it not be sufficient to give a bounty for the production of two of these fibres? {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- If the growers find that they can more profitably cultivate only two of these fibres, they will devote their attention to them. The passing of the item does not irrevocably commit us to the expenditure of the amount voted. Somebody must successfully produce a particular article included in the schedule under the conditions laid down in the Bill in order to secure the bounty. I wish to refer to a statement in the article from which I have been quoting, which bears upon something that was said by **Senator Chataway.** In this article " retting " is explained, and also the immersion of the bundles of jute in water. It is said - >They are sometimes immersed in running water, but more often in stagnant pools; the former plan is said to give the best fibres, especially as regards colour. ... It is stated that the "stems should be covered so as to be protected from direct sunshine. In some places the bundles are turned over during the steeping. We recognise that these may be the conditions applying to retting in India, which has so far been practically the only source of supply of jute for the world. But we confidently believe that if our own people, influenced by the prospect of obtaining the bounty, enter upon the production of jute thev will operate on lines which will not involve the degrading conditions which may appertain elsewhere. We may rely upon it too that if they think that the conditions are inseparable from the jute indus try they are not likely to enter upon an experiment, bounty or no bounty. If they do not make an experiment there will be no financial responsibility on the part of the Commonwealth. After describing in some detail the retting operations, the article says - >The operations vary somewhat in different localities ; the fibre is sometimes first loosened by means of a wooden beater before separating it from the stem, and a thick plank or heavy piece of wood held firmly in position by posts driven into the bed of ' the pond is recommended as facilitating the washing process, by offering something . more resisting than water to dash the root-ends of the plant against, these being less perfectly softened by the retting than the upper parts. > >These primitive methods yield an exceptionally pure product, and the retting accomplishes the disintegration of the bundle of bast fibres. The process has not yet been superseded by machinery. The - average yield is a little over 1,200 lb. per acre, but " it is sometimes double this quantity. When I was speaking last night on New Zealand hemp or flax I referred to a report in which it was set out that the process adopted by the natives of New Zealand produced better results than the machinery which has since been adopted by white persons for extracting the hemp. In this article, dealing with jute, it is pointed out that the particular process which is adopted by the natives, and called ' retting, produces excellent results. But that has been the case with very many industries associated with the soil. If the early methods of converting wheat into meal were adhered to they might not appeal to honorable senators or the general community. But when a man of intelligence and education applies his attention to the production of necessities from the soil it does not follow that he will carry on an industry under the stagnation of primitive conditions. He will bring his intelligence and ingenuity to bear to see if it is not possible by mechanical processes to get through the work which, under more primitive conditions, was carried out directly by hand, and in a most laborious manner. Considering how - much this community in all its productive capacities is dependent upon a proper supply of bags at a reasonable cost for its different industries, we should hold out some prospect of reward to those who will embark upon the production of raw material, so that we shall not be dependent upon an unreliable market abroad. I hope that the Committee willi allow the item to stand. {: #debate-8-s9 .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON:
Tasmania -- I repeat that we should not lose sight of practical considerations, especially with regard to the production of four descriptions of fibre. I agree with **Senator Keating's** concluding sentences, but I contend that experiments ought to precede the grant of this bounty. I am supported in that view by the report of the experts, who say - >So far, only experimental plots of jute have been planted in the north; there is no record of its cultivation on an extensive scale. We are therefore compelled to fall back upon Indian experience' to form some idea of the returns which may be expected from the cultivation of this important commodity, and the conditions under which it may be profitably raised. By making experiments and working through the agency of the Agricultural Colleges, as well as by scientific education, we. ought to acquire Australian experience. The experts say that we shall have to go to an utterly different country for experience, and yet they unanimously recommend a bounty of 20 per cent, upon the production of the article. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- In Australia we have had no experience of jute growing upon which to base an estimate of cost of production and profit. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- On what evidence or experience does the Minister base his opinion that we ought to approve this bounty? The experts appear to have lost sight of every practical consideration. I have not read a more misleading report. Every line contains a remark which goes to show that it will be a splendid thing to give a bounty, but not a single fact or figure is adduced to show that it would lead to the establishment of a permanent industry. I should conclude at once that if we started to grow jute we should have to compete against India - a country with a population of' 300 odd millions, and in which black labour is paid at from id. to 3d. a day. If the experts expected the Parliament to approve of this bounty ought not they to' have dealt with the question of labour, shown that there is no hope of competing against India unless we impose a high protective duty, and also pointed out how persons engaged in primary industries would be affected if we imposed too high a duty upon their requirements? In my opinion the report of the experts is useless, misleading, in fact, dangerous. Employing general terms, a good case is apparently made out for every item by the experts, but when it is analyzed there is no case made out for half an item. It is only in India that jute will grow. Experiments have been tried in other parts, but it is only in the vicinity of Bengal that jute can be successfully grown. Yet these experts, in their report, say that wherever maize will grow jute can be grown. That I absolutely deny. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- No, they were referring to rice, not jute. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- I believe that they made that statement in regard to one of the fibres. In the Northern Territory where can warm moist climates with deep alluvial soil be found ? How much countryis there in the Northern Territory fit for growing rice"? I only saw one plot of that description, and that was on the banks of the Adelaide River. I defy any agricultural expert to point out how the flats of that river are to be treated. Between Pine Creek and Port Darwin I did not see or hear of any land of that description. I do not believe that we can successfully establish a jute industry. I think it is a piece of folly to propose a bounty upon the production of four different 'fibres. Why can we not act prudently and pick out two fibres to experiment with? What I should like the Government to do would be to spend £2,000 or £3,000 upon experiments to see whether we cannot grow a fibre which would supply the raw material for the bags used by our primary producers. I suppose that if we have to compete against black labour we shall be told that it cannot be done, even with the aid of a bounty, unless we impose a protective duty. Is it possible to have a duty upon every covering which the farmer needs for his products? Such an idea is absurd. I do not know what the Victorian protectionists think of this proposal. If they do not stand by the. primary producer and help him in every possible way, instead of taxing him out of existence, what will become of our export trade, of our boast that we export more per head than does any other country? That position cannot be maintained if we give a bounty upon the production of jute, impose a heavy duty upon the foreign article, and at the same time tax every farmer. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- If we use our primary products will not that be all right ? {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- It may be; but the honorable senator cannot tell me at what cost it will be done, or how far the grant of this bounty will make a success of jute growing. He has not the faintest notion of the import duty which will be required to maintain the industry when it is established. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator Stewart: -- Let us try. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- I do not object to' a trial, but I wish the trial to be made through the agricultural colleges and on experimental plots of fifty acres. Until we have made all the necessary experiments I think it would be. wicked, extravagance to give in a haphazard way bounties upon the production of four fibres, instead of upon the two fibres which are most suitable to Australian conditions. {: #debate-8-s10 .speaker-K8T} ##### Senator TRENWITH:
Victoria -- In the interests of the primary producer of whom **Senator Dobson** speaks, it is very desirable if we can to establish the successful production of jute. Speaking as a wheat grower, I may mention that six years ago I paid 5d. each, for very good bags; but one year ago my son paid 8d. each for very bad bags. That is the effect of the expansion of the use of jute goods. In Australia jute goods are going down in quality and up in price in a very rapid manner. {: .speaker-K6L} ##### Senator Chataway: -- The Tariff has had nothing to do with that. {: .speaker-K8T} ##### Senator TRENWITH: -- No, because the articles have been duty free. The wool producer and the wheat producer - the two largest forms of production, at any rate for export - are dependent in a large degree upon reasonable prices, for the covering of the goods which they want to export, and they are absolutely in the hands of persons abroad over whom they have no control. **Senator Dobson** has suggested that the grant of this bounty may lead to the imposition of a Customs duty. There is no necessary connexion between the two things. It might happen, I think probably would happen, that, if we successfully produced jute we would commence to manufacture jute goods. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- Without a duty ? {: .speaker-K8T} ##### Senator TRENWITH: -- I think it is possible. We have established the manufacture of some goods without giving them protective duties, and we manufacture many others cheaply and successfully with the assistance of protective duties. I shall be prepared to discuss the Tariff' when we have it before us, but I do not wish to involve the present issue in that. Honorable senators who know me are aware that there is nothing I delight in more than a Tariff debate, but I want to have it at the proper time. I rose to give the Senate the benefit of my actual experience as to the question at issue, and that is the experience of every farmer and every wool raiser in Australia - namely, that jute goods have been rapidly advancing in price, and rapidly declining in quality. {: #debate-8-s11 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western Australia -- - **Senator Trenwith** is,. I am afraid, rather unfortunate in having followed the Minister for Home Affairs. The Minister said that during the very years mentioned by **Senator Trenwith** wheat bags had increased from 6s. 10d. per dozen to 7s. 6d. {: .speaker-K8T} ##### Senator Trenwith: -- In quantities. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- In packs". No farmer would buy less than a pack at a time. There was an increase of 8d. per dozen bags. The probability is that that increase was due to a mere fluctuation of the market. In any case it amounted to less than id. per bag. {: .speaker-K8T} ##### Senator Trenwith: -- My experience is that there has been a steady and continual rise for the last six years. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- But there is no proof that that is due to scarcity. It may be due to a cornering of the market in Victoria, or to a number of other causes for which a bounty is not a cure. I desire, however, to come back to the statement made in reply to **Senator Henderson.** The sugar industry was used as an example. But the most extreme advocate of coloured labour never contended that sugar could not be manufactured with white labour. What the advocates of black labour contended was that sugar could not be grown with white labour. I was a member of the Senate when we discussed the whole question of the sugar industry in Queensland. Honorable senators can search the pages of *Hansard,* but they will not find that the assertion was made that white men could not manufacture sugar. The only question, was as to the growing. It has not been contended that white men cannot grow jute, nor does any one desire to make such a contention. Therefore, there is no similarity between the two conditions. The one is a question of growing, and the other of manufacture, because the retting of jute is the equivalent of the manufacture of sugar. {: .speaker-K8T} ##### Senator Trenwith: -- It is equivalent to the threshing of wheat. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- We are not dealing with the question of whether jute can be grown with white labour, but of whether the process of preparing it after it is grown is an industry in which we should encourage the workers of Australia to engage. Suppose we admit, for the sake of argument, that it is an industry in which we should invite white people to engage, both with respect to growing and retting, what are we going to do with the raw material? Is it to be manufactured into bags in this country, or are we to send it to India or Dundee to be manufactured ? {: .speaker-K8T} ##### Senator Trenwith: -- It could be manufactured in Sydney, .Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Perth.- {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Does **Senator Trenwith** imagine for one moment that we can manufacture jute goods in Australia in competition with India and Dundee, without a protective duty? Before we spend £15,000, we ought to know what is to be the ultimate destiny of the product. The path of the Committee has been smooth with regard to the other items in the schedule, because they are articles which are produced in countries similar to our own. Hempen fibre is an example. I have yet to learn that the manufacture of rope is an Indian industry. I think it is a white labour industry all the world over. The production of those fibres is carried on in the temperate zones of the world. But jute is an item of an altogether dissimilar character. No honorable senator has yet shown that in Australia we can manufacture wheat bags in competition with India or" Dundee, where the raw material is grown without a bounty and under natural conditions. Is any Parliament that may be elected in Australia for many years to come likely to put a duty on the wheat bags in which our produce is conveyed to the markets of the world? {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- Yes; the freetrade section of the Tariff Commission recommended it. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- If they did, they must be qualified for admission to. another place than Parliament, and I should say that any protectionist who recommended the same thing would be qualified for admission to the same place. Not only do I believe that the conditions are against the successful growth of jute in Australia, but I also believe that the industry is one that we should not endeavour to encourage. It is not worth while for us to spend money upon it, unless we intend to produce wheat bags in our own country. But if there is one thing that we must recognise, it is that if Australia had to depend on her own home market for the consumption of her wheat her farmers would dwindle by 75 per cent. It would cripple our farming industry. We have to depend on our exports, and we could not afford, to put a duty on bags,, and so cripple the farmers in their competition with foreign wheat. I ask the Committee, in all seriousness, whether they do not think that they are injuring the principle of bounties by retaining this item. It will bring discredit upon the whole system of bounty giving. I appeal to the Committee to strike out the item, because I feel sure that it has been put in without forethought, and without considering what is to be done with the jute if it is produced. « {: #debate-8-s12 .speaker-K8T} ##### Senator TRENWITH:
Victoria -- - **Senator Pearce** insists upon dragging in the question of protective duties, and he has asked the question whether any honorable senator would dream of putting a duty on wheat bags, inasmuch as the wheat we grow has to compete in the markets of the world. I venture to say that any one of us who saw a reasonable prospect of wheat bags being much more conveniently obtained, and at a cheaper rate,- as a consequence of a duty, would think of imposing one. I am not now saying whether that would be the effect of a duty upon, wheat bags, but I Have no hesitation in saying that it has been the effect of duties on a large number of things. The manufacture of manila rope and binder twine may be instanced. As a consequence, they, have gone down in price. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- Does the honorable senator contend that that was owingto protection? {: .speaker-K8T} ##### Senator TRENWITH: -- Undoubtedly I do. But, as I have already said, I do not wish to confuse the issue. The point is: that there is a large and increasing market for jute, and if we can develop its growth in this country, we shall be doing a good' thing, unless it has the effect, as a necessary concomitant, of employing labourunder conditions which are degrading. But I do not think that that is. a necessary concomitant. Certainly, labour cannot be employed under degrading conditions under this Bill. {: .speaker-K6L} ##### Senator Chataway: -- The Bill does not make any provision to that effect. {: .speaker-K8T} ##### Senator TRENWITH: -- The Bill provides that white labour must be employed,, and that standard wages must be paid.. We have a reasonable ground for assuming,. also, that the regulations will be in accordance with the spirit of Australian industrialism. The regulations must be submitted to us, not necessarily for overt indorsement, but for acquiescence or, if we choose, rejection. Therefore, we know that if jute is produced at all for the winning of the bounty it will be produced under conditions that are not degrading. **Senator Henderson!** and others are unnecessarily alarmed at the thought that the production of jute will lead to the degradation of Australian labour. It cannot do so under the provisions of the Bill. **Senator Pearce** pointed out that competition with India was necessarily a bar to our success. I happen to be intimate with an industry which is succeeding, developing, and extending very satisfactorily in Australia, although in direct competition with the penny-a-day labour of India. We are making a very superior class of leather known as glad: kid. We have not long been making it. The best quality is made from goat skins. We are sending to India for the skins, and producing the article cheaper than we used to be able to buy it when it was imported from abroad. One of the manufacturers tells me that while in India he was in an establishment where men were working for from i to 8 annas a day. Eight annas a day was the veryhighest wage for the most skilled men in the establishment, and an anna is about equivalent to an English penny. Yet we are competing and increasing our power to compete with, and buying our raw material from, the place where alone it can be obtained now - India. So that competition with inferior races who use primitive methods is not necessarily a bar to successful and cheap production - cheaper production than that of cheap labour with primitive methods. The work of retting jute is probably very disagreeable and undesirable work, but I question very much whether it is as disagreeable as some of the processes in fellmongery which is being -carried on with more or less success over the whole of Australia. No .person has yet hinted that our labour is degraded because of the disagreeable character of the work at which it is employed in that industry. Some of us have complained that our labour is degraded because of the low rate at which it has to work in some of these kinds of industries. I hope that we shall do everything we can to create numerous and diversified avenues of employment. **Senator Dobson** is mistaken in thinking that one of the four fibres specified in this schedule will serve the purposes of all of Them. I believe that New Zealand flax grown in Victoria is so fine and of so high a quality that it is capable of being made into linen. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- I suggested two instead of four. {: .speaker-K8T} ##### Senator TRENWITH: -- The whole four have separate commercial values. Some are used for making very coarse kinds of rope and string, and others for finer kinds of twine and threads. Each one of them is being used at present for separate commercial purposes in Australia. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- The Minister did not tell me exactly what goods are produced from the four different fibres. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- Reaper and binder twine is produced from New Zealand hemp. {: .speaker-K8T} ##### Senator TRENWITH: -- We must not be afraid to move in this direction, simply because objectionable methods may be employed elsewhere. If those objectionable methods are sought to be imported io Australia, the provisions of the Bill will preclude their application to the process of earning the bounty. That argument ought at once to disappear as a factor influencing ' honorable senators' minds. If it happens that jute cannot be produced without the adoption of those objectionable methods, the result will be that jute will not be produced here, and that, although we may have passed the Bill and provided the bounty, the money will not be paid. {: #debate-8-s13 .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY:
Victoria .- When speaking in support of the second reading of the Bill, I said I would endeavour in Committee to have certain items deleted, with a view to apply the amounts to what I considered more important items, in order to give every possible encouragement to industries which there was no doubt could be well established' in Australia. But, having been informed by the Minister that we should have to vote for the Schedule as a whole, or that, if we chose to strike out any item, the amount set- apart for it could not be applied to any other item, but must be deducted from the total of £412,500, I have made up my mind to support every item in the Schedule. As a protectionist, I should be untrue to my principles if I voted for the deletion of the item now before the Committee. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- If a duty had to be put on bags, I suppose that would be no objection to the honorable senator's mind? {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- I am a protectionist in every conceivable direction. If jute can be grown in Australia, and there does not seem to be any doubt about it, because if there is one thing the experts are unanimous *upon* it is jute - - {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- They are unanimous about all bounties. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- They are not so strong in their recommendations in regard to- other items. They point out that jute can be easily grown in Australia, and that the industry can, by encouragement, become highly profitable to the Commonwealth. We ought, therefore, to have very little hesitation in voting in support of their recommendations. We are always asking for expert opinions and advice, yet when they are given to us, some of us are indisposed to treat them seriously. It is argued that if we establish the jute industry in Australia it will be impossible to compete with other parts of the world where labour is worked longer hours and paid about onefourth of the wage of a white man in Australia. If that argument is. sound in regard to jute, it is sound in regard to every other item in the Schedule; in fact, it applies to every, industry that has been established in Australia under a protectionist policy. It may be true that in India they have not yet perfected a machine to supersede manual labour. As one who visited the East about two years ago, I know that there is little or no incentive for a man with an inventive mind to attempt to produce or perfect a machine to displace human labour there, because in many parts of the East labour is cheaper than any mechanical appliance. All the buildings in Hong Kong, some of which would bte a credit to any city in the world, were erected without machinery at all, because there human labour is cheaper than machinery. Although many different machines are used in other parts of the world, to-day in building work, that work is performed there by Chinese men and women. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- If they get machines to do this work, and have their cheap labour also, where shall we be in attempting to establish the jute industry ? {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- As a matter of fact, the machines to which I referred could be introduced in the building trade in Hong Kong, but they need care and attention, and cost large sums of money; whereas if the human machines become worn out they can be tossed, so to speak, on the scrap heap, and plenty more can be obtained to. take their places. No one who supports the retention of this item in the Schedule desires that the industry shall be established here under degrading or demoralizing conditions. It will mean a very big thing to Australia if the industry can be established. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- And a big duty, and a big weight on the farmer. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- I cannot understand the somewhat inconsistent attitude of certain honorable senators from Tasmania towards any proposal which has a colour of protection about it. One of the most profitable industries in Tasmania, which has done a great deal to advertise the State, not only in Australia but throughout the world, was established by the aid of bounties. I refer to the woollen industry. {: .speaker-KSH} ##### Senator Macfarlane: -- The bounty had very little to do with it. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- It had everything to do with it.. But for iti there would not be a loom in Tasmania to-day. {: .speaker-KSH} ##### Senator Macfarlane: -- They are so full of orders that it is impossible to get an order executed there in twelve months. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- That confirms what I say. {: .speaker-KSH} ##### Senator Macfarlane: -- The industry began without a bounty. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- The bounty was granted to the industry, and because of the bounty it has grown to be a very big industry in Tasmania. On the honorable senator's own admission the mills cannot meet the demand. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- Can the honorable senator show that the industry has succeeded because of the bounty ? {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- Other honorable senators as well as myself have made that statement in this Chamber, and it has been made by hundreds of the residents of Tasmania. The woollen industry is to-day well established in that State. The mills there have the reputation of turning out high-class goods, and it is reported that they cannot supply their orders. By the 3170 *Bounties[SENATE.] Bill.* evidence which he has submitted to the Committee the Minister has conclusively shown that there is a world's market for this commodity. Importations of the raw material and of 'the manufactured article to the value of over £1,000,000 are introduced to Australia year in and year out. The goods manufactured from jute are largely required by our pastoralists and farmers, and the raw material of jute can be utilized in many directions. If we encourage the establishment of the industry for the production of jute in Australia we shall soon have other industries established for the manufacture of jute good's. It has been stated that I said I desired that this item should be eliminated from the Schedule. I said so because I believed at the time that it might be possible to transfer the bounties proposed for the production of jute and other articles to other, and in my opinion more important, items. When I found that that was not possible,. I said' I was prepared to vote for every item in the Schedule, and I trust that the majority of the Committee will be found to be of my way of thinking. {: #debate-8-s14 .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH:
Western Australia -- In speaking on the second reading of the Bill,. I made it plain that I would oppose the inclusion of certain items in the Schedule. This is one of the items' about which I was very doubtful as to the course I should pursue. After the arguments in support of this item to which I have listened, I have come to the conclusion that it should be allowed to stand, and principally because I believe that over large areas of northern Australia it will be found possible to produce this commodity successfully by means of white labour. **Senator Trenwith** has mentioned that in Australia we can produce wheat in competition with the cheap labour countries of the world. I know as a matter of fact that one white man in Australia has cultivated no less than 200 acres on his own account. That is a feat which cannot be rivalled in any other part of the world. {: .speaker-K8T} ##### Senator Trenwith: -- I know one who has put in 460 acres, and he is a shoemaker and not a farmer. SenatorLYNCH. - If we can compete against cheap-labour countries, such as Russia and India, in the production of wheat, we can hold our own in the production of this commodity. It has been mentioned in the course of the debate that there are certain unpleasant features con nected with the production of jute which those who embarked in the industry would have to put up with. But our people put up with many unpleasant features connected with other industries in Australia, and we know that very many people are engaged in occupations which may be considered distasteful. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator Stewart: -- What about mining? {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- Or smelting? {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH: -- If we take mining, it will be admitted that it is not pleasant to work in the hot end of a 200-foot drive, and I can imagine that people would prefer the stench that is said to be associated with some of the operations of the jute industry to the unpleasant features of other occupations which could be mentioned. We shall be largely dependent on India for our supplies of jutegoods in the future if we do not take up the industry ourselves. The population of India is increasing, and whether the people of that country areprogressing or not there is little doubt that they will become the victims of the combines that are beginning to operate there. Once the combines get. to work and manipulate the labour of India for their own purposes the consumers of jute goods, and the raw material of the industry throughout the world, will have to payfor it. If the people of India advance they will necessarily ask more for their labour, and in that case more must be paid for the goods they produce. If, on the other hand, they do not advance, they will" only the more readily become the victims of the combines that are starting their operations in the country. I find that in 1906 we imported jute goods to the value of no less than £1,121,000. If those goods were produced in Australia their production would give employment to many people who are idle at the present time, and we should have an additional industry for the tropical portions of the Commonwealth. I believe that we can hold our own in the production of jute. It should not be forgotten that the methods of production followed in India are very old. Those who have visited the country recently know that the ox is still used for treading out the corn in India. We have advanced leagues in front of that industrial position. The jute industry cannot be started in this country without some encouragement ; if none is offered there will be no inducement to people to invest money in the industry and in view of the fact that we are very large consumers of the commodity, *Cancelled Mail Contract.* [12 September) 1907.] *Printing Committee* 3171 I think we have no alternative but to accept the proposal of the Government if we desire to have the industry established here. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- Does the honorable senator argue that we should give a bounty on sheep, because we import millions of pounds worth of woollen goods? {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- We export wool. {: #debate-8-s15 .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH: -- **Senator St.** Ledger suggests a very ridiculous analogy. He must know that in the early development of the country people took up what appeared then to be the most profitable employment. In the early history of Victoria, and of some of the other States, people left the sheep paddocks and flocked to the goldfields in the belief that they could make a better living. When the gold-fields were to some extent exhausted, many of the people were thrust back upon the next best occupation at which they thought they' could make a living. They were driven again from the pastoral to the agricultural areas. Agriculture has provided, and will continue for a long time to provide, profitable employment for the people, but our agricultural industries need to be varied. I believe that we should do what we can to foster new industries for the employment of our people. Although I must admit that this item is very close to what I consider the border line, I am prepared to support its inclusion in the schedule. Progress reported. *Sitting suspended from. 6.28 to 7.45 p.m.* {: .page-start } page 3171 {:#debate-9} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-9-0} #### CANCELLED MAIL CONTRACT **Senator Colonel NEILD** (New South Wales) [7.45]. - I rise to move - >That a Select Committee, with power to send for persons, papers, and records, be appointed to inquire into and report upon the acts and representations made by, and on behalf of, and *in* -connexion with, the persons concerned in the recently cancelled " Mail Contract." > >That such Committee report on the 30th September, 1907. > >That such Committee consist of Senators Chataway, de Largie, Guthrie, Keating, Macfarlane, Trenwith, and the mover. I have been on duty elsewhere, sir, and I am afraid that I shall have to speak without my notes. A quorum not being present, The President adjourned the Senate at 7.52 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 12 September 1907, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.