3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m. and read prayers.
– Referring to a statement appearing in this morning’s news- papers to the effect that the Government have practically terminated negotiations with the London County Council for the acquisition of a site in the Strand for Commonwealth Offices in London, and are now directing Captain Collins to open negotiations with a view to acquiring a site elsewhere, I should like to ask whether the information supplied by the press is correct, and, if so, whether the Vice-President of the Executive Council will give honorable senators his assurance that before any negotiations on the subject have been completed the Senate will be consulted?
– The position of the matter is that no further developments have really taken place. The London County Council have not accepted our offer for the site originally suggested. The Council’s plan which has been referred to was forwarded to Captain Collins for our information. It is scarcely likely that any additional offer will be made to the London County Council. I have no doubt whatever that if any negotiations take place for another site the Senate will be consulted before they are completed.
– Before the country is committed.
– The Minister has, inadvertently probably, failed to say whether fresh negotiations were being opened. ‘
– So far as my information goes up to the present moment, no fresh negotiations have been opened.
– I wish to ask the Minister of Home Affairs with what object notice has recently been issued to fruit-growers in Tasmania that the Commerce Act will be most vigorously enforced during the coming season, in view of the fact that a public announcement was made last year by members of the Government to the effect that the regulations then in force were being satisfactorily carried out?
– The question concerns the - Department of the Minister of , Trade and Customs,, and if Senator Macfarlane will give notice of it I have no doubt that he will be furnished bv my honorable colleague with an answer. However, I should like to say in regard to the first statement that I noticed another state7 ment in the Hobart Mercury, of Monday or Tuesday last, to the effect that Sir William Lyne, as. Minister of Trade and Customs, had hurried over to Tasmania at the time of the Federal elections and informed the fruit-growers that the Commerce Act regulations would not be carried out, and further that I had made a promise, which the newspaper described as a “ tacit” promise, that the Act would not be enforced, and that in consequence of Sir William Lyne’s promise and my tacit promise I was permitted to go back to the Senate. I wish to describe these statements of the Mercury as unmitigated untruths. I made no such promise as that which has been attributed to me. Sir William Lyne did not visit Tasmania until a month or five weeks after the elections, and he then reiterated what I had previously said, that in the early days of the administration of the Commerce Act it would not be administered harshly, and that its provisions would be brought into force gradually until the people should become accustomed to them. But as for saying that the provisions of the Commerce Act would not be carried out, or the regulations under -it enforced, that is a misstatement, though whether made designedly or not I am unable to say. Perhaps Senator Macfarlane will give notice of the question he has asked.
– What led to my question was that members of the Government had previously said that the Act had been satisfactorily administered.
– Quite so, but ‘ I was referring to the other statements which had appeared.
– I understand that an important report has been received from the Mines and Lands Department of Papua, and, if so, I should like to ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council whether the Government have any objection to lay the report on the table.
– It is quite correct, as stated, that a report has been received from the Lands Survey and Mines Department of Papua, and I have pleasure in laying it upon the table.
– To the best of my belief, the sum referred to by the honorable senator has been paid, and if he desires any further information, and will be good enough to give notice of his question, I shall be glad to supply him with it.
– I wish to ask the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral whether there is any objection to lay upon the table of the Senate, copies of all documents relating to- the classification of the position occupied by, and promotion of Mr. E. A. Blakney in the General Postoffice at Hobart?
– Personally, I see no objection to complying with the honorable senator’s request. I am under the impression that in such cases it is necessary that the papers should be laid on the table of the Senate. Papers were laid on the table yesterday relating to the classification of some position in the Public Service, and that, I know, was done pursuant to statute. If that be so, the provision, if applicable, will no doubt be followed in the case referred to by the honorable senator, but whether it is the law or not I shall have the matter brought under the notice of the Public Service Commissioner in order that, as far as possible, what the ‘ honorable senator desires may be done.
– Will the Government inform the Senate what steps have been taken in connexion with the survey of the north-west coast of Australia?
– An agreement has been arrived at between the Governments of the Commonwealth and Western Australia to share the cost of half the expenses of the work, the other half being borne by the Admiralty. As soon as “that arrangement was completed representations were made to the Admiral commanding the Australian Squadron as to the necessity of beginning the work as soon as’ possible, but as it appeared from the Admiral’s reply that it was doubtful whether any vessel could be assigned to this survey at an early date,, the Secretary of State for the Colonies has been addressed on the subject. His attention has been directed to the gravity of the existing dangers .to navigation in that locality, and he has been asked to urge the Admiralty to lose no time in commencing the survey.
– I wish to ask the Minister of Home Affairs if he has any information to give me regarding the desirability of introducing the French system of receiving telegrams late at night and transmitting them through the post in the morning.
– The honorable senator asked a question on this subject on Friday last, and I told him in an interim reply that I had no doubt that the matter had previously been under the consideration of the Post and Telegraph authorities, but would find out whether that was so and furnish him with full information. I have received from the Secretary of the Postmaster-General’s Department in response to my request a communication under the direction of the PostmasterGeneral to the following effect -
I have the honour, by direction of the PostmasterGeneral, to inform you the question of the introduction of a system of delayed telegrams has been under the notice of this Department from time to time, and it has been found from the inquiries which have been made as to the result in those States where it has been tried, and also in New Zealand, that the system has nowhere worked with satisfaction to the Department and the public, and that in every instance it has been abandoned. It has been tried in New South Wales, South Australia to a limited extent, Tasmania, and also in New Zealand, with results that would not justify its introduction into the Commonwealth.
The telegraph lines and telegraphists operating between large centres are fully employed till a late hour at night on press and other business, and it is not considered that any advantage to the .public would compensate for the additional hours which telegraphists would have to work, or the overtime which would have to be paid them.
I am to add that the rates for transmission of telegrams are lower in the Commonwealth than in any other part of the world when distances are taken into consideration, and it is considered that no good reason exists why any further sacrifice of revenue should be made or additional work imposed upon the officers of this Department by the introduction of a system which has been so- widely discredited.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers -
Postmaster-General’s Department - Correspondence relating to the position of Assistant Secretary, not included in the Third Report of the
Public Service Commissioner, dated 14th November, 1907.
Ordered to be printed.
Papua. - Report by the Commissioner for Lands on the progress of the Territory. Dated 24th December, 1907.
Defence Acts 1903-1904 -
Regulations for the Commonwealth Military Cadet Corps. - Statutory_ Rules 1907, No. 121.
Regulations for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 3.
Financial and Allowance Regulations for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth. - Statutory Rules1908, No. 4.
Financial and Allowance Regulations for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 5.
Financial and Allowance Regulations for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth. - Statutory Rules1908, No.8 .
Regulations for the Commonwealth Military Cadet Corps. - Statutory Rules 1908, No.9.
Commonwealth Public Service - Third Report of the Commissioner. Dated 14th December, 1907.
Further papers on the subject of the prohibition of the transmission through the Post of letters, &c, addressed to Freeman and Wallace.
The Acting Clerk of the Parliaments laid on the table -
Return to Order of the Senate of 14th November, 1907 -
Cadet Force : Cost of Clothing, Drilling, and Arming.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New. South
Wales) [2.45]. - I desire to call attention to an unfortunate misprint which appears in the last proof number of Hansard. I have never had occasion totake exception to the accuracy of our Hansard reports, but unfortunately a misprint has crept into the last issue, and as it affects other honorable senators besides myself, perhaps I may be permitted to mention it with a view to rectifying the error by substituting the proper word for the one which is employed. I am represented as having said on 23rd January, page 7581.
Before this Chamber has done with the Tariff, if I understand the feelings of honorable senators on this side at all, we will give the Government another drag along, and put a few more protectionist spokes into the Ministerial wheel.
The word which I did use - and the context clearly shows it - was not “ protectionist “ but” preference. “ A slip has evidently been made by the linotype operator. As the use of the word “protectionist” to a certain extent reflects upon other honorable senators sitting upon this side of the Chamber as well as upon myself, I think it best to mention the matter thus publicly lest I may be challenged hereafter with having made the statement.
– I would remind Senator Needham that interjections are disorderly, and I ask the speaker not to reply to them.
– Without replying to the interjection I may say that I had no opportunity of revising the proof of my speech upon the occasion in question, because I was not in Melbourne when it was issued. I look upon the error purely as a misprint, and not as a mistake on the part of the Hansard reporters, who certainly do their work in the most admirable fashion. I am sure it would not be proper for me to say one word about the manner in which they discharge their duties, because it has never been questioned and never will be. But the word in the extract which I have quoted should certainly be “preference” and not “ protectionist.”
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Whether the instruction recently issued by the Postmaster-General, that when men were employed at any trade the standard rate of wages for that trade should be paid by the Department, is being observed in Adelaide as regards the painting of telegraph poles?
– The followinginformation has been furnished by the Deputy Postmaster-General, Adelaide: -
We have only one painter, and he is paid standard rate. Painting poles forms part of the work of permanent linemen who are paid salaries fixed by Public Service Commissioner, ranging from£114 to£126 a year.
– Arising out of the reply, I wish to ask the Minister whether the information supplied to him has been received from Adelaide since I asked the question yesterday, and if not will he cause inquiries to be madeas to whether there is any truth in the statement that a man is now being employed by the Department at less than the trade rate of wages?
– The reply which I read was furnished to me by the PostmasterGeneral’s Department after 2 o’clock to-day. When I first read it, I assumed from its terms that it was a copy of a telegram which had been received to-day. by the Postmaster-General. I will, however, make inquiry into the matter andlater on will furnish the honorable senator with the information which he seeks.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable senator’s questions is as follows : - 1 and 2. The Government has not had the question under consideration. Parliament has in the Commonwealth Public Service Act already expressed itself as preferring a scheme of life assurance rather than one of superannuation for the Commonwealth Service.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
– Arising cut of the answer, I desire to ask the Minister of Home Affairs whether the waggons referred to were any of those recently contracted for and built on behalf of the Defence Department?
– I am not in a position to say. I really do not know what the waggons were that Senator Savers referred to in his question.
– I do notknow what particular ones they were. If Senator Neild will ask me that question when the Senate meets to-morrow, I am sure that I shall be able to furnish him with a reply.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 29th January, vide page 7700):
Division IV. - Agricultural Products and Groceries.
Item 40. Candles, Tapers, and Night Lights : -
Paraffine Wax, wholly or in part, per lb. (General Tariff), 2½d. ; and on and after 19th October, 1907, 2d. ; (United Kingdom), 2d. : and on and after 24th October, 1907,1½d.
N.E.I., per lb. (General Tariff),1½d. ; (United Kingdom),1d.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [2.52]. - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 40, paragraph a (imports under General Tariff),1½d. per lb.
I shall not occupy a long time in arguing this or any other motion that I may deem it proper to submitin relation to the Tariff ; but the proposal is a large increase upon the previous duty, and candles must be regarded as necessary appliances in connexion with one of our most important primary industries - mining. The proposed duty will not only affect the households of the people, but most seriously affect the mining industry of Australia; and as it is quite clear from the figures placed before the Senate that the Tariff is yielding a very much larger revenue than it was expected to yield, notwithstanding reductions made in another place,, it seems to me that I am submitting a very mild proposal when ‘ I seek to reduce the duty by £d. per lb., and to such an extent give some relief to the mining industry, which employs an infinitely larger number of workers than the candle industry of the Commonwealth is ever likely to do. For every man employed in making candles, ‘ there are a hundred employed in using them. Such a form of protection as is here proposed may be all very well for -a few people living about a city, but it is painfully antagonistic to the development of the great mineral resources of the Commonwealth, which, while very profitable occasionally,, are nevertheless extremely uncertain, and more often leave a loss than a profit on the outlay. The mining industry ought not to be singled out specially to tear a heavy burden, seeing that the results of that industry are so uncertain.
– A good case can certainly be made out for the candle industry. Prior to the imposition of the original Commonwealth Tariff there obtained in four of the States a duty of 2d. per lb., in another of the States a duty of, I think, 25 per cent., and in New Zealand a duty of 2d. ; 2d. per lb. was the recognised duty. In the Commonwealth Tariff the duty was reduced to id, Largely as the result of that reduction the candle industry has been struggling, and indeed was one of the strangled industries in connexion with which a revision of the Tariff was asked for.
– The figures absolutely deny it.
– The figures most conclusively establish the position which I am putting.
– Then quote them. Quote the number of hands employed.
– I propose to quote them. I do know that the majority, of the candle companies have been unable to pay any dividend whatever during the past five or six years.
– Where is the evidence of that?
– I have most excellent information on the subject.
– The honorable senator’s last statement is absolutely inaccurate.
– I shall give honorable senators my authority, for the statement. I hold in my hand a letter from Mr. Kitchen, the managing director of one of the companies.
– Of several of the companies.
– At any rate, this letter is from him, and he is a gentleman of repute, on whose word we may rely.
– What ! He is a gentleman of “repute” - he has a reputation, certainly !
– I do not think it fair to make those reflections on a man who holds a high position in the commercial world.
– The Minister invited the interjection.
– At any rate, this is what Mr. Kitchen says -
The position is briefly this, that since the imposition o£ the first Federal Tariff, the several companies carrying on the candle industry in the various States have been unable, in the majority of cases, to pay any dividend to their shareholders ; this company, having other interests, has, at times, been able to pay a dividend of two and a half per cent. only.
I ask honorable senators how the companies could attempt to pay their employes a fair and reasonable wage under suck unprofitable conditions. Mr. Kitchen goes on -
I wish, therefore, to impress on you that the duties, as proposed by the House of Representatives, are the very lowest on which a living profit can be earned.
That is the statement of Mr. Kitchen ; and it is for honorable senators to accept it for what it is worth. I can only testify that Mr. Kitchen is a gentleman of repute, whose word may be relied on in this connexion. I do not think that he would jeopardize his position, or his indus try, by any misrepresentations. This industry was the subject of investigation by the Tariff Commission, and the protectionist section, recognising it to be a struggling industry in regard to which a duty of i.d. was riot sufficient to enable it to be carried on at a profit, recommended a duty of ad. The free-trade section of the Ta;rifT Commission recommended a duty of 20 per cent., which I think, though I cannot say definitely, is equal to a duty of about id. I may point out that the imports in 1903 were 3,352,000 lbs. ; in 1904 they were 3,444,700 lbs. ; in 1905 they were 3,211,600 lbs.; and in 1906 they were
I>%57:315 lbs. Honorable senators may suggest that the cause of the reduction in the imports was the progress of the industry and its rehabilitation; but such is not the case. I have made inquiries at the Customs Department, and I am assured that the reduction is not a Tariff effect. Honorable senators will observe the consistency of the importations from 1903 to 1905.
– In 1902 the importations were about 1,000.000 lbs. less.
– I see that in 1902 the imports were 2,081,700 lbs.
– So that the increase in ‘ imports was . evidently not due to any falling off in the local industry.
– The three years I have cited conclusively show the hold that the importers have obtained on the market ; and it is not from’ the United Kingdom that the fiercest competition comes. As a matter of fact, the United Kingdom supplied only 130,000 lbs. in 1906 as compared with 1,720,000 lbs. imported from Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands, which practically command .the import trade. Bearing in mind the fact that stearine is a large basis for the production of candles, and that stearine is a product of tallow, 878,699 cwt. of which was exported from Australia in 1906. I invite honorable senators to say that this is essentially a native industry which should supply every candle we burn.
– But we are not now dealing with the duty on stearine.
– Stearine is a very important component part of a large number of candles, and stearine being founded on tallow, the chain of connexion shows us a most important native industry, which ought to be effectively protected and encouraged.
– Can the Vice-President of the Executive Council give us the reason for the great drop in the imports of over 1,000,000 lbs. ?
– I cannot; but I have made inquiries, and I am assured by the experts of the Department that the drop is not a Tariff effect. I can, of course, make further inquiry, and so ascertain the cause. However, it is clear that this industry is not effectively protected as it should be; and, under the circumstances, I trust honorable senators will retain the duty as now proposed.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [3.7] - I do not like to allow this item to go to a vote without briefly stating my view. Whatever our fiscal opinions may be, we are all animated, I think by a desire to redress anomalies, and remedy any mischief or injury that may have been created by any peculiarity in the duties. At any rate, that is my view, except in regard to duties on foods and other items of that kind. Candles are a purely manufactured article, ana were said to be one of the causes of the outcry in relation to strangled industries. Thisis a pure matter of business, and not one of feeling ; and we are entitled to know before we vote, where is the evidence that the candle industry was strangled under the duty of1d. It is quite clear that there is no evidence of it in that authoritative compendium known as the Tariff Commission’s Reports; otherwise the Vice-President of the. Executive Council would have quoted it for our information. In lieu of any evidence of the kind, the Minister produces a letter from the monopolistic candle maker of Australia, Mr. Kitchen.
– He is one of several.
– At any rate, I have always heard that, excepting an instance in Tasmania, Mr. Kitchen overshadows all the manufacturers. After the Tariff has been passed by the House of Representatives, and presented to us, it is a very significant and suspicious circumstance that Mr. Kitchen is the only man, apparently, who has, by a semi-private letter, addressed to the Government in a kind of buttonholing way, which is highly improper
– There is nothing very private about the letter, seeing that I have read it.
– We ought to object to this lobbying. This is not the way in which information should be given to the Committee. The statement is entirely one-sided, coming from an interested source, and very vague. The writer says that a majority of the candlemakers were not able to make ends meet. We have no evidence of that. Any person may make a statement of that kind. But are we to vote for huge duties to put additional profits into the pockets of those who make statements which we have no means of checking?
– The Tariff Commission had means of checking the statements which were put before them.
– The statements placed before the Tariff Commission have not been quoted.
– The recommendations of the Tariff Commission have been followed.
– I attach fair weight to the recommendations of the Commission,but I cannot forget that half of its members were saturated with protectionist notions, while the other half were free-traders. What evidence is there that candle-making will be a ruined industry if the duty is reduced to1d. per lb. ?
– We import nearly 2.000,000 lbs. of candles.
– My honorable friend is as hot a protectionist as were the protectionist members of the Tariff Commission. But that fact is not evidence proving that candle-making will become a strangled industry if the duty is reduced to1d. per lb.
– Are we to wait until an industry is ruined before endeavouring to protect it?
– The cry was that industries were being strangled and ruined ; that the pattering of bare feet was heard. But when we ask for evidence that an industry will be ruined without further protection, we are met by the exclamation- “ Are we to wait until industries are ruined?” Statistics show that the candle-making industry has thriven under a duty of1d. per lb. In 1902 the importation of candles was about 2,000,000 lbs., and in 1903 increased to over 3,000,000 lbs., but in 1906 it decreased by one-half. In the interval a uniform duty of1d. per lb. had been imposed, and, presumably, up-to-date machinery installed, and therefore local manufacturers were in 1906 able to prevent importations to the extent of 50 per cent. I hope that the duty will not be increased on the faith of a statement such as that contained in Mr. Kitchen’s letter. We wish to do what is fair and just in these matters, and therefore I am willing tolisten to any evidence that may be given in regard to the state of any industry. But Mr. Kitchen, who seems to have almost a monopoly of candlemaking in the Commonwealth, appears to be also a manufacturer of stearine, and the candle manufacturers of Tasmania, instead of asking that the duty on imported candles may be doubled, ask for protection against him. He is filling his purse, so to speak, from two sources, and desires, not only the doubling of the duty on imported candles, but also the doubling of the duty on imported stearine. The Tasmanian manufacfacturers protest against the increasing of taxation on their raw material, and in a circular, a copy of which has, I presume, been sent to other honorable senators, say -
We the candle manufacturers of Tasmania, beg respectfully to bring under your notice a few reasons why the duty on paraffine wax and stearine should be reduced to¼d. perlb.
During the past few years, since the Federal Tariff of½d. per lb. was imposed, three candle industries which did a fairly large business, employing a . large number of hands, have been obliged to close down.
– Do the writers say how many hands were employed ?
– The honorable senator asserted yesterday that twenty hands was a large number, and that if only one man was employed in an industry he was entitled to be protected. As my. honorable friend is a gentleman of imagination, he may imagine, if he likes, that in this case 1,000 hands were employed.
Two of these were in Tasmania, and one in New South Wales - they are ruined industries - while another small firm in Sydney has informed the writer that their machines’ are practically idle, they giving their attention to the manufacture of other goods, as the candle department did not pay. Thus you will see that if the increase from½d. to1d. per lb. is insisted on, then every small candle industry in Australia - that is what Mr. Kitchen wants - will have to close up, and their business handed over to the three or four large stearine manufacturers - a big monopoly over again - who can, owing to the high duty on raw material, combine and prevent any small industries starting, and charge a very high price for their candles. It may be asked why we. in Tasmania do not start a stearine plant. In the first instance, the capital required is very great, and therefore the output must be great to make the plant pay, and. the population is not large enoughto consumethe goods. Again, the people of Tasmania, owingto the cool climate, prefer a paraffin wax candle, it being a much clearer, brighter burning article, showing a better light in a cool climate, than a stearine candle. Paraffin wax is not, and cannot be, manufactured in the Commonwealth in sufficient quantities to supply the demand. One firm in New South Wales only make a little for their own use, but their output must naturally be limited, as paraffin is a by-product of kerosene oil. They, therefore, cannot get sufficient for their own use, they being also candle makers, and have to import their wax.
– Yes; but we are not on. that item at the present time.
– We are on the ruined industry.
– Everything my honorable friend has read relates to the item of paraffine wax.
– It does not doanything of the kind; it shows the cause of the ruined candle-making industry.
– It objects to an increased duty on paraffine wax.
– As Senator Millen reminds me, there is a direct relation between the raw material and the manufactured product. What we have to do is tofind out the cause of this strangulation, and this document is conclusive.
– No; it is the cause of the increasedtrade which we are trying to find out.
– That is a protest against an increase of the duty on paraffine.
– I withdraw my last statement, and say that we are trying to find out the cause of the in crease in the manufacture of candles.
– That document relates to an increase of the duty on paraffine wax.
– It continues -
And, as a matter of fact, their manager has informed the writer that they (the only firm in Australia who make any paraffin wax) would prefer the duty on paraffin wax reduced at any rate until such time–
That is another piece of evidence that they do not want this duty increased, but want the duty on paraffine wax reduced.
– And is not that a conclusive reason why we should not double the duty on candles?
– at any rate until such time as they are in a position to supply more than they themselves can consume. We, as candle manufacturers, naturally keeping closely in touch with what goes on in the production of our raw material, believe it will be many years before Australia can supply the demand for this article, and even then the duty might well be. a protective but not a prohibitive one, which is proposed at present. Why, therefore, impose such a duty that will for all time close up all- small candle industries, and give a monopoly to the few large ones, who can then for all time prevent others, starting?
I venture to submit to the Committee that nothing could be more convincing than that statement. There we have first of all proof of injury to this particular industry. It is not due to the cause which .the honorable senator suggested as a ground for increasing the duty, but it is attributable to another reason, and if we yield to this request to double the duty we shall do a great injury to all the outside small candle manufacturers, assist to promote a monopoly, and fall into a trap set by Mr. Kitchen, who has nothing to complain of except that perhaps his profits are not so large as he would like them to be.
– That circular is a protest against increasing the duty on paraffine wax, and does not contain a word about the duty on candles.
– My honorable friend is a man of great intelligence, and surely he recollects that he has just made a statement that this is a strangled industry, and that the strangulation was due to the duty on the manufactured article being only id. per lb. We have here the statement of those who say that their industry has been strangled, and that their factories have been closed not because of the duty on the manufactured article being id. per lb., but because Mr. Kitchen’s hands are played into by f- duty on stearine, which is twice as large as it ought to be.
– That circular does not’ refer to the duty on- candles.
– We do not import any stearine.
– Does not my honorable friend rest his case on the plea that the candle industry has been injured and in some cases ruined ? Here we have an instance of factories being closed not because of the insufficiency of the duty but for another reason, and that, reason has been shown. When we come to the item of paraffine wax we shall be able to deal with that, but we must deal first of all with this unconscionable request by Mr. Kitchen, the monopolist, to increase the duty on the manufactured article by 100 per cent. We will deal with him in . regard to the duty on stearine - his other manufacture - when it is reached. With regard to the second column to which reference has been made, Senator Millen has asked Senator Neild about the preference. Parenthetically I may say that I would rather that Senator Neild had moved a request to reduce the duty to id. per lb., as it was previously, but he has not done so.
– I will ask leave to withdraw my request if the honorable senator will move in that direction.
– Oh no, so long as there is a reduction I shall be satisfied, and if Mr. Kitchen wants a little more my honorable friend in his generosity is giving it to him. He said that he was going, to maintain the preference of id. per. Ib. in favour of British imports in the next column. I think it would be a legitimate thing, because the figures which have been referred to have shown that, unlike the trade in biscuits and blue, England has not the command of this trade,
– This is a better case for giving a preference than is any one of the others.
– I quite agree with my honorable friend, because undoubtedly what underlies preference is the encouragement of trade with the United Kingdom. If there be already a trade the reason for preference does not apply. But in this case the figures which have been cited show that the trade is in other hands, and therefore if we wish to encourage the candle-making industry in England and the exportation of candles to Australia a preference may be fair.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on “ Paraffine wax candles,” paragraph a (imports under General Tariff), 1½d. per lb. (Senator Colonel-‘ Neild’ s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
– Recommendations have been made by both sections of the Tariff Commission, but I notice that it often happens that one section have in some instances put their recommendations in percentage form. It is very difficult to calculate the relation of a percentage to the trade price of the article in question.
– I usually give the information.
– I suggest that some trade list might be circulated for the information of honorable senators. I dare say the Customs Department would be able to give us information as to the price of articles. It is true that the price varies from time to time, but I think we might be furnished with particulars relative to percentages and tradeprices.
– I desire to propose that the House of Representatives be requested to leave out the preference duty in regard to candles. If I had any lingering doubt in my mindon the question of preference to Great Britain it was cleared up yesterday by the statement of the Vice-President of the Executive Council when he told us that the practical object of this Tariff was to conserve Australian interests. We are endeavouring to establish industries in Australia, and to foster and encourage our own manufactures. We are also as far as we can endeavouring to provide that the employes of the various industries shall receive fair and reasonable remuneration. I am well aware that I am forbidden to enter into a general discussion on the preference question, but it may have been gathered from remarks previously made by me that our preference offer to the United Kingdom has been treated with contempt. These preference duties would encourage the importation of articles from a country where the conditions of labour, and its remuneration, cannot be compared with what obtains in Australia.
– What country is that?
– Great Britain.
– Does the honorable senator say that after what his colleague, Senator E. J. Russell, said yesterday as to the manufacturers of biscuits ?
– It is only a few years since I worked in the United Kingdom, and I know what I am speaking about. I do not intend to vote for preference duties. Whatever articles we import from Great Britain should, I consider, pay the same duties as those imported from other parts of the world. I may be accused of being disloyal in moving to omit preference duties. I will stand that accusation. I think that the whole proposal is a bit of mock sentiment put forward with the object of spreading the spirit of Imperialism throughout Australia.
– I think that the better form for putting amendments of this character will be to submit the question- “ That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty in the second column “ so much. Honorable senators will notice that certain dates are mentioned in the second column. Obviously we could not remove those dates, because the duties have been operative since those dates were placed there. The question now submitted by Senator Needham will be -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 40, paragraph a (imports from the United Kingdom), 2d per lb.
– We have to recognise that a certain principle has been laid down in the framing of this Tariff, and unless exceptional reasons are given for ignoring that principle it should be adhered to. Therefore I cannot support such a request as that submitted by Senator Needham. We are aware that very good candles are made in Great Britain. One of the best is the Broxburn candle, which is made principally in the Lothian districts of Scotland, and is one of the finest candles produced. It enters into com- petition in Our market with the American candle. It is a good thing to give an industry of that kind an advantage over industries conducted in foreign countries. I assure Senator Needham that the conditions in the candle-making industry of Scotland are not, by any manner of means, such as have been represented by him. If you were to search the whole of Scotland you would not find a higher or better wage paid for unskilled labour than that paid in the works to which I am referring. I know something about the matter, because I was employed at those works myself. It is many years ago, I admit, but I believe that practically the same conditions obtain to-day as existed at tlie time to which I allude. In granting a preference to candles coming, at all events, from Scotland, we shall not be encouraging the introduction of goods made by sweated labour to compete with our own products. I hope, therefore, that the Committee will retain the present measure of preference.
– I would ask Senator Needham to withdraw his request. As has been very properly pointed out by Senator de Largie, the principle of preference in relation to certain items is a distinct feature of the Tariff, and the Government intend from first to last to fight for it. I claim. that the Senate, by agreeing to the second reading of the measure, has accepted the principle, and this is a case’ in which it may fairly operate. Under present conditions the importations of candles from the United Kingdom are very small, only 130,000 lbs. having been introduced in 1906, whereas 1,720.000 lbs. were imported during the same period from Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. That being so, there is some reason for granting a preference to candles made in the United Kingdom, and, in the circumstances, I would urge mv honorable friend, to withdraw his proposition.
– To my mind, the remarks made bv Senator Needham are very pertinent. If I correctly understand the intention of the Government, the great object they have in view in submitting these preferential proposals is to give manufacturers in the United Kingdom a chance to secure that trade which to some extent is passing into the hands of foreigners. We desire, so far as is consistent with the preservation of our own industries, to” assist those of the United Kingdom, and in . that way to benefit British workers. There is no reason why, in our efforts to Assist the workers and traders of Australia, we should not have a kindly feeling towards our. working kindred in the Old Country. I dissent altogether from the principle of constructing simultaneously a preferential and an ordinary Tariff, designed to serve revenue, manufacturing, and industrial purposes, and the only reason .why I sympathize to some extent with the preferential proposals of the Government, is that I recognise the possibility - which we hope will be realized - that ultimately the conditions of the British worker will be improved. Having done our duty to our own workers, surely we should extend some consideration to those of Great Britain, from which we have sprung. It is for these reasons that, on the question of preference, I am inclined to go to some extent with the Government.
-46]. - This is a suitable occasion on which to make a few observations upon the question of preference, which I Have not yet touched upon. The British workers for whom preference is desired, are taxed to protect their country, and yet there are apparently some honorable senators who would assist the foreigner to compete with them.
– They are taxed to maintain the Navy.
– Certainly. I may be permitted at least to mention the service that is rendered to Australian trade by the contributions of the workers of Great Britain to the Imperial Navy. Without that Navy in time of war we could not hope to maintain, as. they exist to-day, our avenues of commerce across the ocean.
– Where would Australia be without her connexion with the Old Country?
– Humanly speaking, she would be a mere fly Spot
– If the Australian workers had to contribute towards a Navy as much as the British workers have to do, they would not be quite so enthusiastic about the establishment of one.
– That is possible, but even if I desired to discuss mat question I should not be allowed at this stage to do so. I hope that what I have said on the question. of preference will be kindly remembered, so that if on every occasion that it is raised I do not address myself to it, it will not be supposed that I am weakening on the subject. I have been, as is fairly well- known, a very active free-trader, but I lost free-trade with Federation, and now take up that’ principle which seems to me to offer the best opportunities for the development of the Empire of which we form a part.
– Is the honorable senator really a free-trader or a revenue tariffist ?
– I cannot be a free-trader under the Constitution, since it makes free-trade impossible. I am a supporter of the principle of preference, and as it is called in question in connexion with this item I shall have a great deal of pleasure in voting against Senator Needham’s request.
Item agreed to.
Item 41. Solid Spirit Heaters, including the weight of the immediate containing package, per lb., id.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [3-48]. - In accordance with the notice I have given, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duly on item 41 (imports from the United Kingdom), £d. per lb.’
– Can the honorable senator tell us what these things are ?
– I cannot ; I am simply taking action on the question of preference. Spirit heaters, as I know them, are mechanical appliances, but, apparently, this item relates to what an Irishman would describe as something in the nature of “a solid drink.”
– It is not worth troubling about.
– Perhaps not, but if there is anything in the principle of preference, let us maintain it all through the Tariff.
– Will the Vice-President of - the Executive Council kindly inform the Committee what this particular commodity is?
– A solid spirit heater is, I understand, a sort of night light made of wax saturated with spirit. As honorable senators will see, the duty proposed is in accordance with the old Tariff, and also, in accordance with the recommendation of section A of the Tariff Commission. It is a very small item, and is practically included’ under item 40.
– What is the extent of the importation?
– It is very small, but, as it is included under item 40 in the old Tariff, it is quite impossible to give exact information on the subject. .
– In view of what the Minister has said, I ask leave to withdraw my motion.
Request, by leave; withdrawn.
Item agreed to.
Item 42. Stearine, paraffine wax, beeswax, carnauba, ceresine, and Japanese or vegetable wax, per lb., ‘ id.
– I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 42 by making the duty on stearine and paraffine wax £d. per lb.
Honorable senators will notice that item 42 includes other articles which I believe are also used in the manufacture of candles, to which my motion does not apply. In view of the discussion which took place on candles, and, further, because I have reason to think that honorable senators are fairly familiar with the details of the candle-manufacturing industry, I shall say no more in support of my motion than that stearine and paraffine wax enter very largely into the manufacture of candles, and, quite apart from the fiscal question, honorable senators should balance the benefit which might be conferred by cheapening a raw material of the large candle-making industry as against the smaller ‘advantage which might be conferred by an increase of the duty upon those whose operations are limited to stearine and paraffine wax. It is well known that the candle manufacturers who are really in trouble are the smaller men, and the imposition of increased duties would, to a still greater extent than is the case at present, place them in the hands of the larger manufacturers of candles, who also manufacture stearine and paraffine wax. If in the imposition of a duty we have any choice, we should exercise it for the benefit of the small struggling man rather than for the benefit of wellestablished concerns carrying on large operations and with any amount of capital behind them.
– But is it not asserted that if we give protection to the industry enough paraffine wax can be produced in New South Wales to supply the whole’ of Australia ?
– Certainly not in any time which we need consider. What, might happen at some future time I do not know. When the kerosene industry in New South Wales is sufficiently established to supply all the paraffine wax required, it will be time enough for the Government to ask Parliament to amend the Tariff to meet the altered conditions. At the present moment, all the paraffine wax made in Australia may be regarded as a negligible quantity. An important factor in this matter is the local manufacture of stearine by the larger candle manufacturers. We know that an enormous capital is required to put up a stearine plant, and the larger manufacturers are thus in a position to control the sources of supply of a commodity required by the
Smaller candle manufacturers. With a duty of Jd. per lb. on stearine they have captured the Australian market, and would be able to hold it without any duty,’ because the price of stearine is lower in Australia than in Europe. In the circumstances, it may be asked what objection there is to a duty of id. per lb., and the objection is that as these manufacturers of stearine already control the market they might put the price up beyond a certain figure, whereas with a reduction of the duty there would at least bc some opportunity afforded for the importation of a certain Quantity of the article, which they need not fear so long as they kept down the price. I have all the time striven for brevity in the discussion of. the Tariff, and I therefore submit my motion without further comment.
– I have not definitely made up my mind as to the vote I shall give in connexion with this item. Whilst’ I have listened attentively to what Senator Millen has said, I am informed that the Commonwealth “Oil Company of New South Wales at the present time employ about 1,000 men; that they have works at Airlie and Woolganand retorts at Capertee and Hartley. I am further informed that at their works they ma.ke fuel oil, lubricating oil, petroleum spirit, benzine, and paraffine wax.
We know that paraffine wax is a by-product of the industries in which this company is engaged, and they assert that if they are 0 given the measure of protection embodied in the schedule they will be able to make all the paraffine wax required in Australia. They . desire to be relieved in a measure from Eastern competition.
– Could they not succeed, with a duty of Jd. per lb. ?
– Evidently not.
– They are asking id. But is there any evidence that a duty” of id. per lb. would not give them the protection they need?
– I have no evidence as to that, but apparently they have not found a duty of id. per lb. sufficient.
– The company is hardly yet in existence.
-‘It is said .that they employ 1,000 men. It is true that their industries are in the process of development, but . the probabilities . are that with sufficient encouragement and an adequate measure of protection, to which thev are entitled, the number of hands they employ would be considerably -increased.
– The honorable senator can give -that company substantial protection only by voting for a duty on kerosene, ls he prepared to do that?
– If I am satisfied that kerosene can be produced in New South Wales, or in any other State. I consider it my duty to Australia to support a local industry, irrespective of the State in which it is established.
– The company referred to cannot supply paraffine wax ; they admit that, because they import it themselves.
– They admit nothing of the kind. They say that they can manufacture all the paraffine wax required in Australia.
– They are importing paraffine wax.
– Of course they are, at present, but the object of the proposed duty is to enable them, to start the industry for its manufacture.
– They have started their industry, but they cannot get the kerosene from which to make the wax.
– I am not in a position to say definitely whether they can get the kerosene they require or not; but it is strange that they should employ 1,000 men if there are no results from their industry.
– The honorable senator is assuming that the manufacture of paraffine wax is the object they aim at ; but it is not.
– I do not assume anything of the kind. I know that paraffine wax is a by-product of the industry in which they are engaged; but a duty of id. per lb. on the article would help them in the business they are endeavouring to build up in Australia. If a duty of Jd. per lb. were sufficient, why should they be importing paraffine wax as stated by Senator Macfarlane? If they find it cheaper to import paraffine wax than to manufacture it for themselves, it is clear that a duty of Jd. per lb. is insufficient.
– I should not have spoken on this item had I not desired to inform Senator Findley and others who are anxious to retain the proposed duty of id. per lb. that what Senator Millen has just said was fully considered by the members of the Tariff Commission, who came to the conclusion that in the interests of the smaller industries connected with the manufacture of candles a duty of Jd. per lb. would be sufficient to enable the manufacture of stearine and paraffine wax to be carried on, if people were prepared to go’ into the industry thoroughly, while it would prevent any overcharge being made by local manufacturers of stearine upon competing candle manufacturers. As Senator Millen has pointed out, the local manufacturers of stearine have already captured the market under a duty of ½d. per lb. And I am entirely satisfied that when the manufacture and manipulation of kerosene is carried on in Australia -those engaged in the industry will be able to compete with outsiders under a duty of d. per lb. on paraffine wax. The difficulty is that paraffine wax is used for many purposes other than the manufacture of candles. It is used, for instance, in the preparation of paper required for the packing of butter and commodities of that description. In the circumstances, we should not impose a higher duty upon the article than is- absolutely necessary. The Tariff Commission considered that since it is shown that we have the raw material for the purpose here a duty of Jd. per lb. is sufficient to ultimately establish the industry for the manufacture of paraffine wax in Australia. ,
– Then why did the Government propose a duty of 1d. ?
– I do not know. The Government have done many things for which I am not responsible. I am giving honorable senators the information which induced the Tariff Commission to recommend a duty of £d. per lb. on this article. The object is not to prevent the manufacture of paraffine wax and stearine, but to prevent those who might otherwise obtain a monopoly of the manufacture of these articles from hampering other producers in Australia. That is why I now propose to support the motion moved by’ Senator Millen.
– In the face of the representations made by Senator McGregor, it is no doubt difficult to impress the Committee with the complete necessity for the increased duty proposed. It is only fair that I should inform honorable senators of the representations made to the Government in regard to this matter. A certain amount of paraffine wax is made in Australia at the present time, whilst all the” stearine required is of course made in the Commonwealth.
– Because we have the raw material.
– That is so, and I have explained that we are exporters “of tallow which is the raw material of stearine. It has been represented to us by the Commonwealth Oil’ Corporation of New South Wales that if they receive the necessary encouragement they can make all the paraffine wax required to supply the Australian market.
– Does the honorable senator refer to the Shale and Oil- Company?
– I believe that the Commonwealth Oil Corporation have bought out the New South Wales Shale and Oil Company. There appears to the Government to be no reason why this industry should not become a thriving industry in the Commonwealth, and when we have this company giving us an assurance that they can mike all the paraffine wax we require, we think they should be given anopportunity to do so.
– Thev would manufacture it in connexion with their kerosene operations.
– Undoubtedly ; it is a byproduct of the other industries in which they are engaged. Mr. G. P. Clarke, writing on behalf of the Sydney Soap and Candle Company Limited, and dealing e with’ the candle and other duties, says -
Thus our stearine industry- a purely Australian one, employing Australian tallow as a basis - is greatly jeopardized by the present inadequate duty on wax.
At the present time upwards of 6,000,000. lbs. of paraffine wax, of a value of £76,345, are annually imported into the Commonwealth.
– The average for the past two years was very much less than that.
– The figures which I have quoted relate to the year 1906. I ask honorable senators to note where this .paraffine wax comes from. I find that in the year in question ,£3,311 worth came from the United Kingdom, whilst the quantities imported from other countries were valued as follows: - Burmah, ,£6,128; India, £14,703 ; New Zealand, £46 ; Straits Settlements, £13,818; Belgium, £^15; Borneo, ,£4; Germany, £10; Java, £985 ; Sumatra, £2,000 ; and the United States of America - no doubt the Standard Oil Company supplied this - £[35,317.
– The United States export so much’ paraffine wax because they have the raw material on the spot.
– Quite so, but we possess the shale in New South Wales, and we have the assurance that, granted the necessary measure of protection, paraffine wax can be produced locally.
– What the Government want - as Senator Millen has said - is a duty upon kerosene.
– Not for present purposes. The Government do not feel justified in disregarding the representations made by this particular company. Writing upon this subject, Mr. Kitchen says -
I would particularly emphasize the fact that it is just as essential to the candle industry of Australia that the proposed duties on paraffine wax and stearine should be maintained, as the duty on candles. Paraffine wax and stearine are both really the finished article, needing merely to be moulded into candles on arrival here. If these items, therefore, are allowed to come into the Commonwealth at a low rate of duty, they compete with the local candle maker in just the same way as if candles are allowed to come in at the same rate.
Then the Secretary pf the Candle, Starch, Soap and Soda Employes Industrial Union of Victoria writes -
I have been instructed by the members of the above union to ask if you will kindly support the highest possible duty on paraffine wax used in the manufacture of candles - a duty at least erju.il to that placed upon imported candles.
These are the representations which have been made to us oh the subject, and, underline circumstances, we feel that, the industry should be given a chance. As indicating the substantial hold which importations have upon the Commonwealth, I may mention that in 1902 we imported 5,116,200 lbs. of paraffine wax; in 1903, 5,558,504 lbs.; in 1904, 1,206,900 lbs.; in 1905, 3,665,015 lbs.; and in 1906, 6,363,900 lbs., of a value of ;£7<5,345-
– They show the enormous development which has taken place in our candle-making:
– Assuming, of course, that it was all used for that purpose.
– Does the VicePresident of the Executive Council attach more importance to the representations of interested parties than he does to the judicial conclusions of the Tariff Commission?
– I have attached the greatest importance to the recommendations of the Tariff Commission. But I have endeavoured dispassionately to tell my honorable friends the nature of the representa.tions which have been made by interested parties, who certainly have a right to make such representations if they feel that the recommendation of the Commission are not satisfactory to them. As Senator Dobson knows that these are the representations of interested parties, he will accept them for what they are worth, and discount them according to the nature of his own views. I think I have shown, upon the assurances of those who are at present engaged in it, that the industry is capable of development in the Commonwealth.
-. - By sacrificing Tasmanian candle makers?
– I should be very sorry to do that.
– But the VicePresident of the Executive Council is doing it.
– I do not admit that. Of course, if we could have all our candles made of stearine rather than of paraffine, that would overcome the difficulty.
– I should like to read a few reasons why the’ duty on paraffine wax should be reduced. They emanate, it is true, from interested parties, but the latter prove their bona fides by showing the precarious state of their industry. They say -
Paraffine is not and cannot be manufactured in Australia in sufficient quantities to supply the demand.
The proof of that statement is to be found in the fact that the Commonwealth Oil Company, which is the only producer of paraffine wax in Australia, declined an order for 500 tons, the supply of which was to be spread over a considerable period.
That company is actually importing paraffine wax for its own purposes. Further -
It is a raw material of many industries besides the manufacture of candles. There is an ever increasing demand, hundreds of tons being used during the last few years in the manufacture of various grease proof papers for packing butter, confectionery, and other products for export.
By its use for candle making, a superior and cheaper candle is obtained for household purposes as a candle made of about half paraffine wax and half stearine is much harder than the pure article.
The only firm in Australia who manufacture paraffine wax (the Commonwealth Oil Company), have admitted through their manager that at present a reduction of duty would be an advantage to them as they have to import to supply their demands for making their own candles.
Sir William Lyne promised the Tasmanian firms, also Mr. Storrer, of Tasmania, that he would endeavour to give us a reduction of the duty and not collect more than½d. per lb. until such time as Australia could supply us in Tasmania with all. the paraffine we needed, thus admitting that it was necessary for the welfare of our industries that not more than½d. per lb. should be collected. This promise has not been carried out.
If ever sufficient paraffine wax is manufactured in the Commonwealth it will only be done by one large combine who will also be candle makers. Is it wise for the welfare of Australia to have a prohibitive duty of1d. per lb. - a ¼d. will be ample protection and will prevent monopoly in the candle trade.
If the duty is not reduced all small candle manufacturers must close and for all time any firm endeavouring to start without a huge capital will be prevented from doing so.
The labour employed in making paraffine wax candles is the same as in making stearine candles.
If honorable senators will turn to the report of the Tariff Commission, they will find that that body, which recommended the imposition of aduty of½d. per lb. upon paraffine wax, advanced very good reasons why they regarded that rate as ample. They say -
We are of opinion that the evidence shows clearly -
That the manufacture of stearine is carried on profitably by several manufacturers in the Commonwealth, and could be profitably produced without any fiscal aid if modern plants were employed.
That the present duty of½d. per lb., i.e., £4 13s. 4d. per ton, is equal to between 13 and 15 per cent, upon the normal shipping value in Europe, and that the natural protection in freight and charges approximates 10 per cent, in addition.
That the use of paraffine wax has been of advantage to the industry of candle manufacture within the Commonwealth as a whole.
That the present duty of½d. per lb. on paraffine wax is equal to about25 per cent, on the shipping value of the quality chiefly used by candle makers and about 14 per cent, on that of the highest grades.
That if any higher duty was imposed it would have the effect of placing the majority of candle makers at the mercy of the manufacturers of stearine who are themselves competitors for the trade in candles; or of compelling the former to put down expensive plants for the manufacture of stearine, for which purpose the existing plants are more than sufficient for the whole requirements of the Commonwealth.
The Commission recognise that indications point to the existence of a combine in Victoria for the production of stearine by large and expensive plants. By the use of such plants one or two manufacturers are able to produce stearine at a cheaper rate than that at which it can be produced by the smaller manufacturers. If the latter could obtain paraffine wax at a lower price they would be enabled to mix it with stearine, and thus produce a) first-class article whilst maintaining a living wage.
– I propose to read one or two extracts from the report of the B section of the Tariff Commission- extracts which have a very close bearing upon the danger of monopolies being established in connexion with stearine. Upon page 88 of their report they say -
Notwithstanding the number of makers it was asserted by several witnesses that there was little competition amongst them, one firm controlling three of the largest plants, and being in alliance with two others. Tasmanian candle makers were afraid of. being at the mercy of such makers, and some evidence was given of a refusal to supply stearine some years ago. Another witness admitted that he had been, so far, treated fairly by one of the larger makers.
If that evidence be reliable, it is clear that a monopoly exists, and under these circumstancesI should like to know why we are asked to increase the duty. With regard to paraffine wax, the B section of the Tariff Commission state -
It was stated by witnesses that although the wax produced in New South Wales from shale was of a high quality, it could not possibly be sold in competition with that produced from the oil wells.
I suppose that refers to the oil wells of the United States -
At the same time it was admitted that the present duty of½d. per lb. represented from 10 to 25 per cent, of the value of American wax chiefly used in Australia; also that the duty could be safely reduced to¼d. per lb., or 12 or 13 per cent., to the benefit of the candle manufacturers of the Commonwealth without prejudicing the Australian wax industry, which practically did not attempt to supply requirements.
Those extracts, taken in conjunction with what Senator Macfarlane has said, afford absolute and conclusive evidence that there is no real need for the increase of duty, which, if agreed to, will play right into the hands of a monopoly.
– The introduction of paraffine wax into Australia does not go back beyond the year 1893. Prior to that, and even at the present day, a really good quality of candles was made, and is being made, in Australia without any admixture of paraffine wax.
– Candles of the best quality.
-Of the very best quality.
– Paraffine wax candles are inferior.
– We know, from our experience during the recent hot spell, what paraffine wax candles are like. Since the introduction of paraffine wax, it has become a favorite ingredient with candle-makers, . being imported to the extent, as quoted by the Minister, of over 6,000,000 lbs. last year. What other interest is suffering by reason of that enormous importation ? “ It is driving out of the market the stearine that otherwise would be produced and used here to the same extent. Until it can be shown, that stearine candles are of a worse quality, and are sold at. a higher price, than paraffine wax candles, I see no reason why we should encourage the introduction of this pernicious article, because it is’ pernicious in so far as it discourages the use of our own native crude products. As a result of the introduction of this foreign commodity; we are shipping to the other markets .of the world our own native product of tallow. Even during the drought years, when we were supposed not to be able to produce tallow, we were shipping it away at the rate of 300,000 cwt. a year. In order to make good those vast shipments of tallow, we had to purchase paraffine wax from the Standard Oil Company. Senator Symon and others spoke in a very creditable strain against the encouragement of monopolies, but while they inveigh and rail against monopolies in Australia, they seemingly have every sympathy with and the tenderest of feelings for the monopoly that exists in America - the Standard’ Oil Company. Paraffine wax, as the Minister has shown, is largely an American product, and the evidence of Mr. Clarke before the Tariff Com mission was - “ So far as the supply of paraffine wax is concerned, we -are completely in the hands of the Standard Oil Company.” The alternative, as is alleged by some honorable senators, is for the Australian manufacturers to put themselves in the hands of Mr. Kitchen.
– Only half the importation of paraffine wax comes from America.
– More than half comes from America, and the Standard Oil Company controls the market.
– Because it comes from America, it does not follow that it comes from the Standard Oil Company.
– The principal seller of paraffine wax on the market to-day is the Standard Oil Company and, according to Mr. Clarke’s evidence, the Australian buyers of the article are at the mercy of that company. Are we to compel our candle manufacturers to continue in the grip of that company, or are we to turn them over to the local monopolist, Mr. Kitchen ? When it becomes a question of choosing between a monopoly in the distance and a monopoly here, which can at least be made amenable in some degree to our own laws, I-intend to choose the local monopoly.
– Neither of them is a monopoly.
– I am sure the honorable senator does not dispute the opinion cf his quondam leader, Senator Symon, who described Mr. Kitchen to-day as - I forget the adjective which he used, but it was certainly not complimentary - a monopolist. The whole trend of the speeches against this duty has been in the direction of- labelling Mr Kitchen as the monopolist of the Australian candle trade. If we reduce the duty to id., it will leave the consumers of paraffine wax at the mercy of the Standard Oil Company. I favour accepting the less of the two evils - the monopolist in our midst. One argument that appeals to me very- strongly is consideration for Tasmanian interests. I regret that any vote of mine should be cast in the direction of destroying any industry or wasting the hard-earned money of any person engaged in it. But when . dealing with questions of this kind affecting the national welfare, we must put out of our minds altogether considerations of a personal or even of a local character, take a wider view, and attempt to ascertain what will be the ultimate effect of our votes upon the general prosperity. By making the duty only Jd. we shall continue to displace tallow and stearine, both essentially Australian products, from use in the manufacture of Australian candles. The Tasmanian manufacturers have my sympathy, but I regret that they cannot have anything more. I might remind those Tasmanian senators who wish to reduce this duty that other States in the Commonwealth have their initial difficulties to overcome just as Tasmania has had. We have in Western Australia similar industries established, and up to the present they have not been in need of any cheap paraffine wax in order to achieve prosperity. So far, I have had no application from .’them for any reduction of this duty. But, apart from the peculiar interests of Tasmania or Western Australia, I am not going (o encourage the introduction into Australia of a raw material which, will have the direct effect of ‘ousting our own products of- tallow and stearine from use in an Australian industry.
.- Senator Lynch is always fair, and I am sure that the reason why he is going to vote on this occasion rather, in a contrary direction is that he does not appreciate the rue position. If he votes for the amendment, he will not injure in any way the manufacture of stearine. It has been proved that a duty of £d. per lb. on wax and stearine has enabled the stearine manufacturers to succeed. I would point out to the Vice-President of the Executive Council that this is . essentially an item with regard to which he ought to exercise his judicial faculty, and refuse to listen fo the representations of interested parties. The first Commonwealth Tariff was built up upon the just aphorism pf “revenue without destruction.” In 1902, when we were passing that Tariff, I think every member of Parliament would have said that every industry then existing in the Commonwealth, no matter how humble, must, if possible, be promoted and not extinguished. If there is a way out of the difficulty in this case, the Minister should take that way which protects the small industries, even though they be Tasmanian industries, and at the same time allows the other industries to flourish. I assert most unhesitatingly that, after .taking, I think, ten days in the Senate to argue out the question as to the use of paraffine wax and stearine in the candle factories, the compromise we came to at that time was fair and just, and enabled all parties to carry on their business successfully.. The proposal .the Government now put before us is neither fair nor just, and will- absolutely shut up the Tasmanian candle factories. The simple facts are that under the old compromise Tariff the duty was id. per. lb., and that both sections of the Tariff Commission have practically recommended that it should so remain. ‘ The free-trade section df the Commission recommended, not 20 per cent, as stated in the document before us, but only 16 per cent. After listening to the whole of the evidence, including that taken in Tasmania, which the Vice-President of the Executive Council and his Customs officers have not done, the two sections- of the Commission came to the conclusion that they could not justly recommend the increase of this duty to id., and suggested that it should be Jd. or lower. The Government are ignoring the compromise of the old Tariff, and ignoring both sides of the Tariff ‘ Commission, which was a judicial tribunal. The leader of the Senate asks us now to throw overboard, as the Government have done, the whole of that evidence, and listen to the representations of Mr. Kitchen. I do not believe that Mr. Kitchen is any less honorable than I am, but he has virtually the control of the whole candle industry of the Commonwealth. A man of that sort cannot take, as the Minister should take, a judicial view of the matter. The whole of his interests are bound . up in twisting this Tariff, if he can do so, to suit his own pocket, and in doing that he is most cruelly and unjustly trying to crush two or three factory-owners in Tasmania, Senator Macfarlane lias already read one very telling sentence from the report of the B section of the Tariff Commission. They wind up by saying -
That there have been in the past combinations in restraint of trade, and there is a grave clanger, if Parliament should increase the duties on stearine, and more especially on paraffine ‘ wax, of the crushing out of small manufacturers, of causing a decrease in employment, and of establishing a monopoly to the prejudice of the public.
The Government are ignoring these facts, and also the promise of Sir William Lyne, when approached by the small manufacturers, that no duty higher than Jd. would be imposed. The present proposal of the Government will act entirely in the interests of the big men on the mainland, and crush out the small men in Tasmania ; and it lies with the Vice-President of the Executive Council to give the Senate reasons why the recommendations of both sections of the Tariff Commission are ignored. It is not fair and right that, by the imposition of the duty of id., the small manufacturers’ should be placed at the mercy of those who are in a position to exercise a virtual monopoly.
– The honorable senator forgets that I said the Commonwealth Oil Corporation of New South Wales are making paraffine wax and stearine.
– But are the small men to be ruined in the meantime? Sir John Quick, who took the greatest trouble over this matter, and sifted the evidence of Mr. Kitchen and others, expressed the following opinion in the course of the Budget debate in another place -
At the same time we recognised that there were candlemakers in Tasmania and New South Wales who were making composite candles - that is candles composed partly of stearine and partly of paraffine wax - and we declined to accede to the request to increase the duty upon paraffine wax and the raw material, .because any such action would oppressively affect the manufacturers in question.
Does the Vice-President of the Executive Council desire tooppressively affect the small manufacturers? Although the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission held out that warning, the Government, for some reason, and without offering us any explanation, adopt a course which, as I say, will have a crushing effect on those engaged in the industry in a small way.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [4.39]. - I have refrained from expressing my views, because, when we were considering another line, I read a letter from the Tasmanian manufacturers, setting forth their case very briefly and tellingly. I have listened with great attention and interest to the additional material laid before the Senate this afternoon. One wonders, first of all”, how the Government came to propose a duty of id., and, secondly, how the House of Representatives ever came to accept such a proposal. It is admitted that a duty of id. will very seriously injure, and, in fact, ruin, a number of outside candle-makers, .particularly those in Tasmania, and one or, perhaps, more in New South Wales. Even Sir John Quick, in the passage quoted by Senator Dobson, declares that an increase in the duty would have an oppressive effect. If we can divide and disperse the candle industry over the Commonwealth, so much the better, because any move in that direction is opposed to monoply. Senator Lynch says that he extends his heartfelt sympathy to the ruined candle-makers; and all that Senator Millen’s motion asks the Senate to do is to translate that sympathy into material help, or, rather, into an abstinence from increasing the crushing load already imposed. I am sure that Senator Lynch, as a true Australian, is desirous of averting ruin from any ,of our industries, and would be the first to assist in preventing further oppression. I should have been glad to hear from the Vice-President of the Executive Council some reply to the quotations which have been read, and which destroy or cripple any claims to an increased duty, but the honorable senator has told us that, while no evidence in favour of an increase could be produced when _ the duty of id. was imposed, he had obtained further light since. That further light”, however, has come from the obscuring source represented by Mr. Kitchen ; and I should have liked to hear read the second letter from that gentleman when we were dealing with the duty on candles.
– It is all in the same letter.
– But the Vice-President of the Executive Council carefully omitted to read that particular part in which Mr. Kitchen so ingenuously admits that, when paraffine wax .is obtained, all that is necessary is to put it into moulds in order to obtain candles. Had we been aware of that fact, I do not think that we should have doubled the duty on candles. The whole labour employed is practically insignificant. However, the duty on candles has been passed. We have the unanimous decision of the Tariff Commission, now supplemented by a statement from Senator McGregor as to what actuated the. protectionist members in coming to the conclusion that ai duty of £d. was enough. While we do not hold ourselves bound by the recommendations of the Tariff Commission if they appear to us inapplicable, we ought, in the interests of the taxpayer, to give some attention to the very cogent reasons which induced them to come to their decision. The case on behalf of the Tasmanian manufacturers is fortified bv the uncontradicted statement that when the Tariff was introduced Sir William Lyne promised that the duty should be £d. ; and possibly buttonholing and lobbying is accountable for the doubling of the impost, Mr. Kitchen, I suppose, put himself into communication with the authorities, and Sir William Lyne, weakly yielding to the influence, went back on his promise. That is not the way in which to assist an industry which claims - and, unlike many other industries, rightly claims - to have been seriously affected by the duty. On these grounds itseems to me that the case for a smaller duty is amply made out, and, in view of the acquiescence accorded to the proposal of Senator Millen, I hope the Government will not press for a duty of 1d.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 42 by making the dutyon stearine and paraffine wax½d. per lb. (Senator Millen’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … ….18
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Item 43. Lard and Lard Oil ; and Refined Fats, n.e.i., per lb.,1d.
Item agreed to.
Item 44. Mixed or Compounded Waxes, liquid or solid, per lb.,1d.
Item agreed to.
Item 45. Confectionery, Cocoa and Chocolate, viz. : -
– I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 45, paragraph a (imports under General Tariff), 2d. per lb.
I should move a still further reduction if I thought that there was any possibility of carrying it. It may surprise honorable senators to hear that the recommendation of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission was that the duty on confectionery should be 2d. per lb. Had the free-trade section recommended that rate, I should regard it as a waste of time to draw attention to the matter, but the recommendation having come from strong protectionists, surely attention will be paid to it by the protectionist members of the Committee. Personally, I think that a duty of 2d. per lb. far more than covers the difference between the labour cost and price of materials elsewhere and those which our manufacturers have to pay. Of the chief ingredient of confectionery, namely sugar, Australia produces sufficient to meet her own requirements, so that it is not a highpriced commodity, while1d. per lb. more than covers the difference between the cost of labour in the Commonwealth and its cost in any other part of the world from which confectionery is imported to Australia. The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission gave the fullest consideration to all the questions involved, and I am surprised that the Government proposed a rate so much higher than that which they recommended. If the rate of duty is increased beyond what is necessary to establish the industry, the prices of confectionery will go up. It is, or soon will be, the avowed object of the Government and its supporters to increase prices.
– Not necessarily.
– It would be’ better . to prohibit the importation of confectionery than to impose what is practically a prohibitory rate.
– Perhaps this duty is intended to be prohibitory.
– I - would sooner vote for direct prohibition. I do not think that any protectionist will deny that rates of duty act as a strong incentive, and afford a good opportunity, to local manufacturers to increase their prices unduly. The Tariff rate gives them an indication as to what prices they may charge. If the importation of any particular article were- absolutely prohibited, this indication as to price would disappear ; but if the Committee allows its protectionist idea to run riot, and increases the rate from 2d., recommended by the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission, to 3d. - it might just as well increase it to 4c!., sd., or 6d. - consumers will have to pay more for their confectionery, whether they buy the imported or the locally-made article. These high rates take out of the pockets of the people more than they should be called upon to pay. A duty of 2d. would amply satisfy the best Victorian manufacturers. Of the witnesses who came before the Tariff Commission, the man most largely interested in the confectionery trade in Australia seemed to me to combine energy with great ability in administration to a greater extent than any other. Mr. Macpherson Robertson would be abundantly satisfied with a duty of 2d. per lb., which would enable him to continue his industry as satisfactorily as he has conducted it in the past. ‘ All the facts show, and it is a matter of commo;i repute, that he at any rate is conducting - well, I admit - a very successful business. He is employing labour on good terms and under good conditions. If honorable senators think it necessary for him to have any protection at all - amd I believe that he could compete on level terms tomorrow .with the whole world - a duty of 2d. per lb. is, even in his opinion, ample. For these reasons I hope that the Committee will not arbitrarily, and without justification, as the report of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission abundantly proves, raise the duty from 2d. to 3d.
– Perhaps the Minister will state from what countries the imports have come?
– In 1906, we imported from the United Kingdom 2,776,596 lbs. of confectionery, and from other countries. 407,538 lbs. I hope that honorable senators will see their way to support the item. It. relates to what is essentially a native industry, and one in which we should command the whole of the trade. The basis of the commodity is sugar, and in its local manufacture Australian sugar is used. It is true that the cocoa beans have to be imported, but the employes in the industry are specially skilled in the manufacture of the beans into confectionery. We have managed, I admit, to establish many of these industries; and to suggest for a moment that with those vast businesses throughout the Commonwealth there is any chance of the consumer suffering is to submit a proposition to which, I think, my honorable friends will not readily agree.
– It is a fact, though, that the consumer is suffering.
Senator -BEST.- Not at all. Throughout the Commonwealth confectionery is very cheap, and necessarily it is so by reason of the large industries which are competing one with the other. Our importations of confectionery are very considerable. In 1906, for . instance, we imported 3,184,134. lbs., on which duty to the amount of ,£27,000 was paid. Why should that be so? Australian confectionery, is equal to the best confectionery that we get from abroad.
– The consumers do not seem to think so, else we should not import over 3,000,000 lbs. of lollies.
Senator BEST. Fancy confectionery is imported, and some of it is used for decorative and other purposes.
– That is another line.
– It all conies under the heading of Confectionery. Fancy confectionery is consumed to a certain extent, but it is one of the most luxurious articles in which persons could think of indulging.
Those who are so luxurious as to buy the very expensive class of confectionery should be permitted to pay for it.
– The little children, out of their savings in the bank ?
– No; it is not the little children who eat that class of confectionery.
– My honorable friend wants toget at their pennies in the savings bank.
– My honorable friend need not suspect for a moment that the little children buy any confectionery of that kind. What they eat is essentially Australian confectionery. My contention is that we should command the whole market, and I shall be glad to learn that this duty of 3d. per lb. will be prohibitive.
– Will the honorable senator agree to strike out the preference to British confectionery?
– I think not. That is a principle in the Tariff, and I desire that it should remain. Let me now draw the attention of honorable senators to the importations, in order to show how inadequate was the duty in the Tariff of 1902. In 1902 the imports were 2,741,423 lbs.
– Cannot the honorable senator give us the value of the imports?
– I do not happen to have the figures here. In 1903 the imports were 2,551,227 lbs. ; in 1904, 2,682,842lbs. ; in 1905, 2,696,556 lbs., and in 1906, 3,184,134 lbs.
– Let me remind the Minister that the years from 1903 to 1906, especially the last-mentioned year, were our most prosperous years.
– Surely my honorable friend will see that that is no answer to my contention that, as shown by the increased importations, the old duty was inadequate. The value of the confectionery imported in 1906 was - from France,£1,066; from Germany,£1,213; from the United States, £16,962 ; and from the United Kingdom, £93,674. Iask honorable senators whether it is not a reasonable thing that our own people should be permitted to manufacture that vast quantity of confectionery, especially when it is recognised that it can be made just as well and as skilfully here as abroad ?
– Cannot the Minister tell us the increase in thenumber of factories and of workmen ?
– No. In several cases I have asked to be supplied with that infor mation, but I have been informed that there is some difficulty in getting it.
– The honorable senator knows that there has been a great increase, does he not?
– An enormous increase.
– That may be so, but the point I am making is that in a case of this kind we should get the benefit of the whole market.
– It is a great pity that the honorable senator does not give us the other side of the question.
– I shall not be sorry to learn that a duty of 3d. per lb. will act as a prohibitive duty, because I consider that this is one of the native industries where we are justified in reserving to ourselves practically the whole of the market.
– The honorable senator might have mentioned that we export£14,000 worth of confectionery.
– That may be so, and it is by reason of the fact that we command our own market.
– Then, why raise the duty?
– My honorable friend will see that if we do not adequately command our market, the competition willbe so keen that, ultimately, if it continues at the same rate, it may seriously affect the number of hands employed in the industry.
– What about the Confectionery Combine?
– My honorable friend will see that the imports have been increasing year after year, and, in order to stop that increase, we are anxious to make the duty effectively protective.
– The honorable senator is not dealing fairly with the Committee when he does not give the other side of the question. The facts ought to be furnished here.
– What other side is it that the honorable senators refers to?
– I want to know the increase in the factories, the output, and the hands.
– My honorable friend is perfectly at liberty to give thatinformation to theCommittee. I do not deny that there has been an increase in the work.
– The honorable senator ought to give the figures to us.
– Not at all. As a matter of fact, I did ask for the figures, but there is some difficulty in getting them, as these matters are under the control of the States.
– There ought to be no difficulty in giving us the truth.
– My honorable friend will find that he has a very great deal of information in connexion with every item.
– As it suits the Minister.
– There is no use in my honorable friend making an absurd suggestion of that kind. Here is a copy of the Tariff which has been circulated, and opposite to each item is given a very considerable amount of information. . If my honorable friend wants other information he is at liberty to get it. .
– I thought that the honorable senator would give it to us.
– I have given to the Committee everything which is atmy immediate disposal. I appeal to my honorable friends to say that in the case of the confectionery industry we are entitled to the whole of the market.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia)[5.1 8]. - The attitude of Senator Best on this item is very simple and very easily understood. There is no argument for increasing the duty in order to protect a diminishing industry. It is not put to us that the object of the increase is to rehabilitate a strangled manufacture. It is put on the bare ground that we ought literally to have prohibition, and that the duty is intended and expected to be prohibitive. That is quite a new feature in this Tariff, I take leave to say with great respect.
– It is not quite consistent with the preferential policy.
– Not quite.
– But I am taking the two duties together ; I know what is to follow.
– Yes, but the original proposal was to add1¾d. to the recommendation of the Tariff Commission - practically to double their recommendation - with nothing to justify it except the suggestion of Senator Mulcahy. It would be much bettter to have a straightforward prohibition of the importation of any confectionery from England, which is the largest exporter of the article to Australia. Of course, the imported confectionery is mostly of a kind which is not made here. That fact is apt to be forgotten. The palates of the consumers - and some of us who are grown up like a few lollies occasionally - vary. A great deal of this imported confectionery is of a kind not made here.
– I think that my honorable friend is misinformed.
– No ; it must be so; and I will tell my honorable friend why. He has given to us the other side; but I rather fall in with what Senator Dobson has said, that although it would be impossible for any Minister to have all the information which each of us might require, it would have been a very important thing on these matters, which are supposed to rest on the plea of assistance to injured industries and so forth, that we should have some information with regard to the admitted increase in factories, the consequent increase in the number of workmen employed, and the developments in the industry under the Tariff as it stood. But in the absence of that information, we have, what has been casually alluded to already, the fact that since the commencement of the Commonwealth, Australia has become an exporter of confectionery, and that the exports have gone on increasing. They have fluctuated in different years, as, of course, all trade does, but in 1906 the exports amounted to 371,116 lbs. So that not only has there been, as the Vice-President of the Executive Council candidly admitted, an increase in the number of factories and workmen employed, but an increase in the output. The local consumption of locally - manufactured stuff has no doubt had the effect of decreasing the consumption of. imported stuff, but the exports of Australian made confectionery have increased ten times over during the last four or five years. In 1902, the exports were 43,245 lbs. In the next Year they had increased five times - to 225,006 lbs. In the following year the exports had doubled again, to 478,643 lbs. In the next year they had increased to 556,864 lbs.In 1906 they fell off somewhat - to something under 400,000 lbs. - probably because there was a greater consumption ofthe locally-manufactured article.
– Is that a good thing - that we should have a market abroad and export our goods?
– Does the honorable senator object to exports ?
– It is a good thing that we should export.
– Why should we not export?
Senator- Trenwith. - I say that we should; I am glad that we do; arid protection has enabled us to do so.
– But my honorable friend must see that it is a fair inference that the reason why we consume such a large quantity of imported confectionery is that it is a. different kind of confectionery from that made here._ If the local manufacturers have all the necessary appliances, the experience, and the skill, with the cheap sugar and other advantages they enjoy, and if, nevertheless, confectionery is imported, it must be a different kind. I dare say that in time the local manufacturers will even be able to overtake that quality of confectionery which is now imported, and which a great many people seem to like. We have just dealt with a very important duty on paraffine wax. We were all impressed by the fact that both- sections of the Tariff Commission recommended a particular duty, to which the Committee assented. We can have no better guide, as a general rule - there may be exceptions, but it is for honorable senators opposite to point them out - than the fact that’ the two sections of the Tariff Commission have united in their re-‘ commendation. They have united in recommending a duty of 2d. on confectionery. I wish to read a paragraph from page 8 of the report of the protectionist section of the Commission. They have critically analyzed the evidence on both sides, and they wind up with a paragraph summarizing part of that evidence - ‘
A manufacturing confectioner in Western Australia, at the close of his examination in relation to a claim for an increased duty on liquorice, was asked - “Do you intend to give evidence in connexion with confectionery ?” and replied - “ No ; it (the Tariff) does not affect us in regard to confectionery ; it is only the Australian competition that affects us. I do not think the oversea competition is worth considering. The confectionery trade is strong enough to stand on its own ; it is established now. It is not the Englishman who is cutting us out, it is that we. are cutting out one another; that is where our profits go.”.
Then the Commissioners say -
In spite of the statements made that the Commonwealth Tariff has been injurious to this industry, the evidence shows that during the period it has been in operation there has been a large increase in the manufacture of confectionery generally, and in the number of workers employed. Some of the witnesses asking for increased duties had only commenced business since the Tariff was imposed, and were doing fairly well, although their output was neither as large as they desired nor as it would be, if importations were reduced.
In parenthesis, the Commissioners give references to the evidence of a number of witnesses, and they conclude by stating that-
Witnesses also stated that wages had increased.
So that, from every point of view, the old duty has been amply sufficient. Under it the industry has developed. Importations have increased by leaps and bounds, and more people have been employed. The pro- tectionist report of the Commission is signed by- Sir John Quick, Mr. Clarke, ex-Senator Higgs, and Senator McGregor, and they have recommended the duty now proposed by Senator Clemons, namely, confectionery n.e.i., 2d. per lb. Therefore, I venture to say that as we were guided in regard to the duty on candles by the fact that both sections of the Tariff Commission were at one, so we should be guided by their advice in this instance, and should leave the duty at 2d., under which the industry has greatlyflourished, the consumption considerably increased, more factories have been erected, and more workmen employed, while the exports have risen to ten times what they were before the first Federal Tariff was introduced.
– The honorable senator who has just sat down has referred with great satisfaction to the fact that in the confectionery trade we are exporters. I agree with him that it is an extremely desirable thing that we should export. But it is only desirable because it gives added employment to our people, and added profit to our commercial men ana manufacturers’. ‘ If ‘it is such a splendid thing that we should have achieved an outside market of . 400,000 lbs. of confectionery, surely it is a better thing that we should do something to control and capture the market for the 3,000,000 lbs., of imported confectionery ? That is a selfevident proposition.
– We shall do that in time.
– If it he a good thing to do, it is good to-do it as quickly as we possibly can.
– What was the use of appointing a Royal Commission if we are not to take its advice?
– - I did not ap- point the Commission, nor was I in favour of its appointment; but that is altogether apart from the question. What we are considering is not whether a particular Royal Commission did good work or not, or whether we should follow its dictates, but whether we should, according to our own judgment, do the best we can for Australia and Australian industries. We have, in connexion with sugar, practically captured our own market.
– And a pretty price we pay !
– We have paid, as Senator Clemons points out, a very considerable price for it ; but we think- it is worth the price.
– We do not pay any more for our sugar than do confectioners in England.
– My honorable friend is. arguing splendidly from the view that I am presenting. We have captured our own market for sugar, and, as my honorable friend points out, we do not pay a penny more for it than is paid in England, nor more than we should pay if we had not captured the market.
– We pay precisely £6 ner ton more than we ought.
– That is what my honorable friend alleges, but has never yet been able to prove. Exactly the same principle is involved in regard to confectionery. The sugar of which lollies and confectionery are made we do produce. Is there any reason why Australian skill and intellect should not produce from our own sugar the confectionery we require, .made to any standard that can be required?
– Can it not be done with a duty of 2d. per lb. ?
– If that is not enough - and it is proved to be insufficient from the fact that, although our industries have developed - and I am proud that they have developed, and that they have done so because of the duty of 2d. per lb.- -
– Is this a “ ruined “ industry ?
– No ; who said it was? It is a developing industry. It is concerned with a. trade the whole of which our manufacturers ought: te? have. Is it an offence to have a prosperous and developing industry in Australia? Honorable senators argue as if it were. Whenever a prosperous manufacturer can be found anywhere. he is spoken of in the most opprobious tterms.
– By whom ?
– It has been done here to-day. We have in Australia a confectionery industry of very considerable magnitude, and it is carried on under conditions advantageous to our workpeople.
– There was said to be an iniquitous combine in the industry a few weeks ago.
– I am not dealing with what some person else has said, but with the fact that we have developed an industry, and are extending it. But, notwithstanding that, we have a demand in Australia for confectionery that is in excess of our ability to supply under existing circumstances.
– No; it is a demand for confectionery that is not made here.
– The honorable senator may be right, but that does not alter the fact. It only shows that the protection so far has not been sufficient to enable us to cover the whole area of manufacture. In other words, whilst the industry has been developed very satisfactorily, our manufacturers are not yet able with the protection ‘ they have, to cover the whole area. Imports are increasing, and our consumption is also increasing very materially. I recognise that Senator. Clemons is thoroughly consistent. If I held his views I should adopt . the attitude that he is taking up. He feels that every Customs duty, except for purely revenue purposes, is iniquitous.
– I think that every Customs duty that we have interferes with industry in Australia.
– That is an understandable position.
– According to the honorable senator, we should produce everything we want. If that were the position in every other country, we should have only our home market to supply.
– We need the widest market we can get ; ‘ obviously we have not got it since we import annually over 3.000,000 lbs. of confectionery, not including cocoa and chocolate. It is satisfactoryto know that we have developed an export trade to the extent of 400,000 lbs. per annum, but the ‘ position would be still better if we had an export of, say. 5,000,000 lbs. If it would be good to have an export trade of 5,000.000 lbs., and the work involved in producing that quantity of confectionery, it would be equally good to be giving employment to the same amount of labour in supplying our own people.
– As long as we did not take the money out of the. pockets of the people.
– As to that, I would point out that we have had for a considerable time a duty of 2d. per lb. on confectionery, while sugar costs at least 2d. per lb., making a total of4d. If my honorable friend’s argument, therefore, were correct, confectionery could not be purchased under 4d. per lb., since, according to his implied contention, we must at least include in the cost the duty and the price of the material, as well as the cost of the labour, which I have not yet mentioned. But, as a matter of fact, large grocery stores in Melbourne frequently advertise lollies at 3½d. per lb.
– That shows that they are adulterated.
– The honorable senator is mistaken. The lollies advertised at the price I have mentioned consist of pure boiled sugar.
– That is what they ought to be .
– My honorable friend would, of course, imply that everything made in Australia is impure, and that all that is imported is pure. I venture the opinion that the confectionery advertised, under a duty of 2d. per lb., at 3½d. per lb. retail is pure, and the fact that it can be retailed at that price is an evidence that the wholesale price is less. If these lollies can be sold wholesale at less than 3d. per lb., that clearly answers the argument that the duty is added to the cost, and that the consumer pays it.
– Evidently the honorable senator does not know a great deal about the confectionery trade.
– I know a great deal about what I buy and use. I would therefore urge that this duty - without regard to the question of how it was recommended - cannot possibly injure the consumer, but may, and probably will, in the immediate future give us that 5,000,000 lbs. of trade which we are at present losing.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [5.40]. - One always likes to listen to the exceedingly logical addresses of our most good-natured friend, Senator Trenwith, and I hesitate to answer him in a manner that he might possibly consider lacked the fine feelings of friendliness which I entertain for him. But he has been representing the confectionery trade of Melbourne–
– I did not deal with Melbourne.
– I am sure that my honorable friend’s observations have not extended any further . If they had he would not have delivered the address thathe has. He has been representing that the lollipop trade of Melbourne is a kind of benevolent institution ; he has been telling us that sugar costs 2d. per lb., and that pure, unadulterated lollipops, made of boiled sugar, are sold by the philanthropic lollipop-makers of Melbourne at1½d. per. lb.
– No; I said 3½d. per lb.
– I am sure that the honorable senator said1½d. per lb., but that might have been a lapsus lingua;. The honorable senator probably knows that, according to the figures that are involved in these various interesting and fictional publications that are leading so many honorable senators from the paths of grace, and inducing the thinking of inexpressible things, a vast deal of confectionery is manufactured from a variety of materials other than sugar sold at 2d. per lb.
– Of Paris greenglucose, and other things which would kill at a mile.
– The honorable senator is speaking of imports.
-“ Methinks the lady doth protest too much.” We have it now from the off-side leader of the Government in the Senate that all the confectionery made in Victoria is the pure, unadulterated, benevolent product of a virtuous mind and a generous hand, that all that is imported comes from the wicked manufacturers - devilishly disposed importers - and that, altogether, importers are surrounded by an atmosphere of villiany too awful to contemplate.
– The honorable senator admirably expresses my thoughts !
– I thank the honorable senator; but I do not think we ought to adopt the view that all that is locally produced is pure, and that all that is imported is villianous. If that were the case, how did Senator Trenwith, who was once young - and who, I dare say, has forgotten the incidents of his youth - survive it? He has admitted that there still lingers about him a strong desire and a plaintive regard for the sweets of youth ; because he tells of the lollipops that he uses. I congratulate the honorable gentleman on being still so pleasantly juvenile. But how did all the youngsters get on in the days gone by ? However, it is unnecessary to discuss the question at length. I do not think that we need so large an increase of the old duty, and I shall vote for the request.
-45J- - Although I do not regard as .absolutely infallible the declarations of either section of the Tariff Commission, very few persons have a greater respect than I have for the work of that body, and 1 think that a serious responsibility is taken by the Government, or either House, in venturing to go beyond any recommendation unanimously made by it. I feel it to be almost, a matter of duty, in the absence of very strong reasons to the contrary, to accept the unanimous decision of both sections of the Commission but in this case I find myself in a very serious difficulty. I am a believer in preference to Great Britain, and my difficulty- is that if we accepted the request now before us, I could not, as a protectionist, agree to a preference being granted to the United Kingdom in the direction of reducing, as would be necessary if this proposal were agreed to, the general Tariff of 2d. per Ito. It seems to me, however, that by a modification of the request which will be proposed later on, we can strike the happy medium and afford the Australian producer of confectionery as much protection as he ought to have. He has teen enjoying a protection amounting to something over 25 per cent, on the value of the product. That is very satisfactory, seeing that the manufacturer has at hand the major portion of his raw materials, and that they can be obtained here as cheaply as anywhere else. That being so, I think that he has been sufficiently protected, and that we might well impose a duty of 2d. per lb. on imports from the United Kingdom, and possibly place an additional impost on imports from other countries. Of the total imports of confectionery only about 400,000 lbs., of the value of ,£16,000, come from countries other than the United Kingdom, so that we have in this case an opportunity to grant a substantial measure of preference.
.- In giving way to Senator Clemons, I pointed out that I preferred my own request to his, and one reason for my preference has just been stated by Senator Mul cahy. I am a great believer in the principle of preferential trade, and desire it to be substantially recognised in framing this Tariff, so that we may determine a few years hence its effect on the trade between Australia and the Mother Country. Another reason why I cannot vote for Senator Clemons’ request is that I, like Senator Mulcahy, have some respect for the decisions of the Tariff Commission. If we reduced the general Tariff on confectionery to 2d. per lb., and the duty on imports from Great Britain to 1½d. per lb., we should go below the recommendation of both sections of the Commission. I ask honorable, senators to support me in a request that the general Tariff be 2½d. per lb., and that in respect of the United King: dom 2d. per lb., for that would not mean going below the rates recommended by the Commission. After taking a great deal of evidence, they recommended that the old duty should be increased by 100 per cent. Such an increase should be .sufficient to satisfy even Sir William Lyne. Should it not be enough to satisfy almost every one else? If it had not been that Sir William Lyne was briefed, I suppose by some of the big manufacturers, the duty recommended by the Tariff Commission would have been adopted. However, nothing seems to satisfy the honorable gentleman, and, not content with a recommendation to raise the duty 100 per cent, higher than that under the old Tariff, he has proposed that it should be raised by 400 per cent.
– If the duty under the old Tariff was not half enough, an increase of 100 per cent, would not do.
– The honorable senator should not make an interjection contrary to the facts. Unfortunately for him, the duty under the old Tariff was sufficient. I refer him to the report of the free-trade section of the Tariff Commission in support of that statement. They say -
We consider it fully demonstrated that under the existing duties the confectionery industry has not materially suffered from oversea competition, but on the contrary as a whole has steadily developed and prospered. We cannot therefore support any suggested increase of the Tariff on this item.
Turning to the report of the protectionist section, I find that they say -
The importations which the alterations in the Tariff had encouraged do not seem to have encroached to any material degree upon the ordinary .well-established business of confectionery factories in the Commonwealth.
I would like to ask honorable senators opposite whether they do not admit that the confectionery business has been firmly established, and is progressing and flourishing ?
– The imports of confectionery are progressing also.
– The output of the Commonwealth factories has increased, and if the imports have also increased, that only shows that there is a certain class of confectionery, and particularly chocolate confectionery, which we cannot or do not make here, and, further, that the people are becoming accustomed to buy enormous quantities of sweets, so that there is room for the imported as well as the locallymanufactured article. I join issue with the VicePresident of the Executive Council, who argues that because over’ 3,000,000 lbs. of confectionery, as classified in the old Tariff, is imported annually, the duty we impose should be sufficiently high to transfer- the whole of that trade to Commonwealth manufacturers. I join issue with what I call the ultra protectionists on that point, and I say that no moderate protectionist could possibly subscribe to such a doctrine. The Government desire in connexion with this item, and I suppose in connexion with every other if they could get the Senate to vote sufficiently high duties, to shut out all importation. If we did that, I would say - God help the Commonwealth !
– - That would be helping the Commonwealth.
– If we did that, what would happen would be that the skill of the local manufacturer and his power of initiative would fall off.
– That has not happened in America yet.
– We should have no variety of manufacture, and we should have monopolies and restraint of trade. The local manufacturers, having .secured ‘the whole, of the market and shut out all imports from the rest of the world, we should have “ a pretty kettle of fish.”
– I ask. the honorable senator to deal with the duty on confectionery.
– I admit that I am getting into a general argument on the question, but I cannot answer the statements made by Senator Best without doing so. As the mouthpiece of the Government, the honorable senator has said that he desires to absolutely exclude all imported sweets from the Commonwealth, and this doctrine of the exclusion of- imports is one to which no man of common sense can subscribe. I find that in this matter the Government are going absolutely against the evidence. I have here a copy of letters from manufacturers and confectioners’ associations, showing that all they want is a duty of 2d. per lb., and yet the Government are proposing an increase of nearly 100 per cent, beyond that duty.
– No, only 50 per cent, above a duty of 2d. per lb.
– They are asking for nearly 4d. per lb. Here is one statement which has been supplied in connexion with this item -
We the undersigned manufacturers of Sydney, New South Wales, respectfully submit that we consider the proposed duty on confectionery of 3d. per lb. to be excessive, and we would strongly urge that no change be made beyond bringing chocolate into line with ordinary confectionery, viz., by making the duty a uniform one of 2d. per lb. all round.
How can the Government justify their proposal in the face of that evidence from the manufacturers themselves? Who has given them their brief on this occasion ? Who” is the Mr. Kitchen who has come forward in this instance to say that he is starving and struggling and will continue to be so unless he gets the benefit of this enormous increase of duty ? We have heard what some of those interested in the local factories have to say, and I ask the Committee to listen to what others of them have said -
That this meeting of the Manufacturing Confectioners’ Association of Victoria views with alarm the large increase of imported chocolate confectionery on the local market, and in the interests of Australian manufacturers they consider that chocolate containing any ingredients whatsoever should be classified under its correct heading, viz., confectionery, and pay a duty of 2d. per lb.
Through some. misunderstanding of the item an enormous quantity of chocolate confectionery was introduced under a duty of id. per lb., and viewing with alarm this enormous increase of importations they asked for a duty of 2d. per lb. The manufacturers of confectionery in Victoria and New South Wales join together and all they ask for is a duty of 2d. per lb., which is a fairly large demand since it represents an increase of 100 per cent, upon the duty under the old Tariff. We have, heard nothing from Senator Best or from any honorable senator on the other side to justify the enormous and excessive duty proposed. I am very sorry that I cannot vote for the motion moved by Senator Clemons, because, while I think that 2d. is the highest duty that should be imposed, I cannot miss the opportunity of providing for a preference to’ manufacturers of the United Kingdom.
– The honorable senator will not be giving a preference by putting d. on to the duty, and taking it off again.
– Most of the imports of confectionery come from Great Britain. By accepting my suggestion, the Senate will be supporting a Tariff of 2d. per lb. on those imports, which is in accordance with the recommendation of both sections of the Tariff Commission-.
– England has the trade already.
– That is so, and if we made the duty under the general Tariff ad. per lb., and I proposed that it should be 1½d. on imports, from the United Kingdom, that would be reducing the duty on the bulk of the imports below that recommended by. the Tariff Commission.
– That would be a distinct preference, but the honorable senator would give no preference in the other way.
– My suggestion is that the duty under the general Tariff should be 2-Jd., and that it should be 2d. per lb., the duty recommended by both sections of the Tariff Commission, on imports from the United Kingdom.
– Why not 3d. under the general Tariff?
– Because the manufacturers themselves do not ask for that duty.
– Nor do they ask for a duty of 2½d. per lb.
– I admit that. I regret that I cannot obtain from SenatorBest the information for which I asked. Considering the evidence before him, that the manufacturers themselves would be quite content with a’ duty of .2d. per lb., and that the statistics show that the imports are increasing, I think the honorable senator, by telling only half the truth, and rot putting the other side, Kas not dealt fairly with the Commitee. Side bv side with the increase of imports there is an increase in the output of the local fac.tories, and it is shown that they are progressing and flourishing.
– If it is of any use to the honorable senator, that may be admitted by honorable senators on this side.
– To what ex ten.t is it admitted? My complaint is that in dealing with an item of this sort, and in view of the fact that the Government has * departed from the recommendation of the Tariff Commission, the Vice-President of the Executive Council should have stated both sides of the case.
– The increase of imports show that the local factories have not succeeded to the extent of keeping importations out of the market.
– The consumption of sweets, especially of the higher-class goods, is increasing, and side by side with the increase of imports we have the progress of the local factories.
– That is so. but we are not quite retaining our own market.
– We are, and the consumption in our own market is increasing. On Senator Trenwith’s showing, the leader of the Senate has not put all the facts in connexion with this item exhaustively before the Committee. I have said that I am sorry I cannot vote for the request moved by Senator Clemons. If h is carried, well and good, and I shall then try to secure a preferential Tariff. But after his motion is disposed of I shall move in the direction I have foreshadowed.
Senator FINDLEY (Victoria^’ [6.2].- Senator Dobson has said that numerous communications have been received from different manufacturers of confectionery in the various States to the effect that the proposed duties are far too high, but il will be found that the bulk of the evidence given before the Tariff Commission by those engaged in the confectionery business in the various States, and in a position to understand exactly what is necessary, is to the effect that the . old duty was insufficient. A Tasmanian manufacturer of confectionery when before the Tariff Commission contended that the duty on gum goods, such as jujubes should be 3d., and not 2d… per lb. He said that if (he duty w.ere fixed at 3d. he would be able to secure the trade, and to employ a ‘large number of hands. The same kind of evidence was given bv almost all the witnesses examined in the various States bv the Commission.
– That is with respect to one item.
– I shall deal with the others by-and-by. Further than that, the bulk of the manufacturers stated that from their point of view they were in a better position under the old State Tariffs than underthe Commonwealth Tariff of
– Does the honorable senator think that because a manufacturer asks for a particular duty it should be immediately given to him ?
SenatorFINDLEY.- No.; I take the circumstances of his industry into consideration. Prior to Federation, the duty under the State Tariff in Victoria was 2d. per lb. In Queensland there was a duty of 4d., and in South Australia a duty of 3d. per lb., whilst in Tasmania - one of whose representatives is now making a strong protest against the duty of 3d. per lb. - there was prior to Federation a duty of 4d. per lb. on chocolates.
– That was purely a revenue duty.
– If the duty were imposed for revenue purposes only, there is all the more reason why it should not have been so high.
– Of what use is it for the honorable senator to go back to ancient history ?
– The matter is important to Tasmania, where for a long time Senator Dobson had a good deal to do with the legislation enacted by the State Parliament.
– The duty referred to was purely a revenue duty. We had no confectionery factory in Tasmania in the early days.
– If a duty of 4d. per lb. were now proposed purely for revenue purposes, the honorable senator would still oppose it on the ground that it wastoo high. A duty imposed for revenue purposes is all right in Tasmania, but imposed from the protectionist point of view is all wrong. Mr. MacRobertson, who is probably one of the largest manufacturers of confectionery in Australia, said -
We have been literally swamped with chocolate confectionery. I suppose that fully thirty British and continental manufacturers now have their goods upon our market.
There canbe no doubt that if sufficient protection were given to the manufacturers of this class of confectionery, many more men, women, and boys would be employed in the local factories. Senator Dobson desired to know why the importations had increased under the Federal Tariff. In 1903 the importations of general confectionery into the Commonwealth exceeded the importations under the old State Tariffs in 1899 by 1,090 tons, and there was also an increase in the importation of cocoa and chocolate confectionery by 1,020 tons. The value of the former was about £120,000, and of the latter £138,000. The figures show conclusively that these particular commodities have not been adequately protected. With a sufficient measure of protection they can be manufactured in Australia, and will provide employment for Australian workmen.
– That is what induced the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission to recommend the doubling of the duty.
– We have also to consider the varying industrial conditions which obtain in respect of this industry. When before the Tariff Commission, a witness named Geddes, who has been associated with it for a very long period, instituted a comparison between the wages conditions which obtain in it in Australia and those which prevail in some of the countries from which we import large quantities of confectionery. He said that in 1902 over £100,000 worth, duty paid, of foreign confectionery was imported into the Commonwealth, excepting Queensland.
– What does he call “ foreign “ confectionery - that which comes from the United Kingdom ?
– I suppose so, seeing that at the time he gave evidence we had not agreed to accord preferential treatment to British goods. He continues -
The duty of 2d. per lb. upon that quantity would amount to £19,984, which, added to the import value, gives a total of£100,148. If we allow one-half of that amount as being the sum that would have been spent in wages if the goods had been made here, and we calculate the wages at £2 per week, we can see that the manufacture of that quantity of goods here would have provided fifty weeks’ work for 500 men.
He went on to point out that in Victoria the wages paid and the conditions which obtain in the industry are regulated by Act of Parliament. In this State manufacturers are allowed to employ only one apprentice to every three journeymen. Mr. MacRobertson, whogave evidence before the Tariff Commission, declares that the manufacturers in Victoria are worse off now, so far as their raw material is concerned, than they were under the old State Tariff. He pointed out that there was nearly as’ much duty levied upon their raw material as was imposed upon the manufactured article.
– But they have a wider market now.
– That is quite true, but the honorable senator must recollect that they have not nearly obtained control of the Australian market. As a protectionist, I say that we cannot impose too high a duty until our manufacturers have captured the home market.
– What would the honorable senator call “capturing the home market “ ? Does he mean capturing it to the last pound’s worth?
– It is impossible to do that, for the reason which I advanced yesterday, namely, that some persons will always pay fancy ‘ prices for particular brands <~>i goods which they desire.
– When both sections of’ the Tariff Commission, after thoroughly sifting the evidence tendered to that body, have arrived at a certain decision; I intend to pay great respect to their recommendation, and unless some special reason is disclosed for departing from it, I intend to give it my adhesion. I consider that the Government have simply gone mad in regard to protectionist ideals-
– The honorable senator cannot drag in the poor old widow upon this occasion.
– I can do more than that. I can speak for the widows and for the little children. I say that our confectionery should be manufactured in a perfectly pure atmosphere and under healthy conditions, and I am sorry to say that such conditions do not obtain in Australia at the present time.
– They do in Victoria.
– A class of confectionery is being produced at such a low figure that it cannot possibly be a healthy food. In New South Wales and Victoria I have seen grocers give away confectionery which was absolutely unfit for human consumption. It is positively absurd to urge that confectionery can be manufactured from pure toiled sugar and sold at 3d. per lb. Not only has it been sold for 3½d. a lb., but I know that it has been sold for 2 ki. per lb. Under what conditions can it be manufactured? Senator Findley has stated that until very recently no duty was levied upon confectionery in New South Wales. Will it be believed, then, that one of the largest manufacturers in Australia was able to build up his business there under free-trade conditions? I do not say that he did not desire the aid of protective duties. I believe that he did. But it is upon record that ‘his particular firm, which is doing one of the largest businesses in confectionery in Australia, does not desire any increase in the old rate of duty. What evidence has been placed before the Committee regarding the necessity for increasing the impost recommended by the Tariff Commission ?
Senator Findley.Is Mr. Woodhill a large manufacturer in New South Wales?
– No. . But the firm to which I have referred is the largest manufacturer of confectionery in New South Wales, if not in Australia. The goods which it produces are a credit to the Commonwealth. Senator Trenwith has given expression to some “very strong views. He voiced his delight that Australia was now ?.n exporter of confectionery, and he expressed the hope that she will soon supply all the sweetmeats that we require. I e:ho his wish entirely, if that result can be achieved under equitable conditions. But I ask honorable senators to reflect for a moment upon the advantages which our manufacturers already enjoy. They can obtain their sugar for a little less than 2d. per lb. Then they have a protective duty of 2d. per lb., which is equivalent to /~i8 per ton. In addition, the foreign manufacturer has to pay freight charges and various commissions. In these circumstances, it seems incredible that our- manufacturers are not able to build up successful businesses.
– Thev cannot do so because of the unfair conditions which obtain in other labour markets.
– I have not heard of any unfair conditions which prevail elsewhere, and which do not obtain in Australia.
– Yesterday we heard something about the conditions which obtain in a Victorian factory.
– One of the factors which we have to consider in the development of Australian industries is the competition that we have to face with the United Kingdom and other European countries in regard to the quality of our goods. I venture to say that the manufacturer in Australia who equips himself with the most modern means of production confers an advantage, not only upon other manufacturers, but upon the people as a whole. I have no hesitation in saying that a duty of 2d. per lb., which is equivalent to £.18 per ton, should be a prohibitive duty. If it is not so, there must be something radically wrong with the conditions under which our factories, are conducted.
– We have to comply with the provisions of the Pure Foods Act and the Factories Act. The existence of these measures compels us to do things well.
– All these things in moderation are good, but they do not affect my argument that the competition of other countries should be an education to us in improving the conditions under which our businesses are conducted, and the quality of the goods which our manufacturers produce. If that competition is killed, one of the most important elements in the development of our manufacturing interests is killed also.
– Does not the honorable senator think it is better to have healthy competition within than competition only from outside?
– We need healthy competition from wherever we can get it, not only in. confectionery, but in every branch of industry. We have gained much of our knowledge in Australia, from the pioneers of industries- in other lands. In any modern confectionery, manufactory here, it will be found that the machinery in use and the methods employed in treating the raw material have been to some extent copied from other countries. I ask the Committee to consider in all earnestness bow far they propose to eliminate from Australian conditions those educational factors. The people of Australia do not buy imported sweets simply because they are imported sweets. The shopkeepers have to pay more for them, and they are bought bv the public because they are considered healthier for the children and of better quality, or at all events tetter suited to individual tastes than are many of the local products. The large manufacturers at Home, who have built up successful businesses and earned a name throughout the world for their cocoa, chocolate, and sweets, have gained that name-
– By advertising.
– No amount of advertising will bring success unless’ the goods advertised can bear the test of quality. The importations which come here now come here because the public believe that their quality can be more depended upon than can that of much that we manufacture. For these reasons I intend to support the recommendation of the Tariff Commission.
– No more powerful argument in favour of the duty proposed in the Tariff can be advanced than the figures showing the imports since the establishment of the Commonwealth. A duty of id. per lb. was imposed by the first Commonwealth Tariff, with the result that the imports of confectionery alone have risen from 2,741,000 lbs. in -1902 to over 3,000,000 lbs. in 1906. This is now proposed as a protectionist Tariff; to assist Australian industries, and those figures should be ample argument in favour of adopting an effective protective duty. The former duty of id. per lb. has been clearly shown to be insufficient. Are we content to allow those imports to come in in. the future as we have in the past? To those of us who believe in protection it does not appear to be wise to do so. Senator Gray was in error in stating that the industry flourished in New South Wales under free-trade. Prior to Federation the industry iri that State had the benefit of a duty of id. per lb., which is not free-trade, or anything like it, and had a prosperity of a kind.
– I suppose that was put on as a revenue duty..
– Incidentally it had a protective effect. We are now asked to go back to ai revenue, or free-trade rate, whichever honorable senators opposite choose to call it. We do not know whether the Tariff Commission, when both sections of it recommended a specific duty of 2d. per lb., took into consideration “ the probability, which has since developed into a certainty, of increased duties being imposed upon the raw materials of this industry. At least three of the raw materials are to be saddled with an increased impost. Gelatine, which was formerly on the free list, is now dutiable at 40 per cent.
– Is the honorable senator going to support those increased duties?
– I shall certainly not lend a helping hand to reduce the duty on confectionery towards a free-trade level, on the slender probability of the duties on the raw materials being reduced later on. Almonds are now dutiable at 4d. per lb. instead of 2d., find glucose, which is sometimes referred to as deleterious,’ but which is certain to. enter largely in the future into the manufacture of confectionery, is to bear a new duty of 4s. per cwt. If the Tariff Commission did not have in their minds the contingency that those higher rates would be imposed on the raw material, then their recommendation for a’ duty of 2d. per lb. on confectionery is absolutely valueless, and we are left free to consider what will be a fair duty in view of the altered circumstances.
– Was not 2d. recommended by the Commission with a knowledge of those altered duties on the raw materials ?
Senator -LYNCH. - I do not know.
– Look at the Tariff Commission’s reports, and you will see.
– I am assuming that the Commission dealt with the conditions of the industry up to the time when the inquiry was made.
– They recommended 25 per cent, on the more valuable confectionery.
– Is there any importation of almonds ?
– There is a large and growing local production of almonds, but, at the same time, we are not yet independent of supplies from abroad.
– Then the duty is going to put up the price of almonds?
– If imported almonds are used, I should say so.. I quite anticipate that in the case of many articles the duty will increase the price until such time as the local production is able to meet the demand.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.4.5 p.m.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South. Australia) [7.45]- - Before a division is taken, I should like to say a word or two suggested by the remarks of Senator Dobson. The issue is a very simple one, namely, whether or not 2d. is an adequate and effective protective duty? The Tariff Commission have reported that it is adequate. The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended that the duty should be ad. ; and Senator Dobson agrees with that view, but does not propose to vote for such a duty, because of a feeling that he would like id. added to the general Tariff in order to give a pretended preference to that amount in favour of Great Britain.
– The present request will no doubt be followed by another to fix the duty as against England at a lower rate.
– Will ‘ the Minister agree to that proposition?
– I ask whether it is not the intention of the mover to propose a corresponding decrease?
– It is not my intention.
– If we are agreed that 2d.’ is sufficient, we ought to vote for it; but Senator Dobson seems to feel a sort of .timidity as to voting for 2d. because he desires an appearance, at least, of preference “to England. In my opinion, we ought to do the right thing in the one column, and take our chance in regard, to the other column, though at the same time I sympathize with the feeling which prompts Senator Dobson. I have no business, of course, to say one. word of reproach to the honorable “senator, but I point out to him that, in regard to a suggestion even of real preference on confectionery, there are many considerations which do not apply to other items. Free-trader as I am, I recognise that confectionery is not a food or a necessary of life; it is not even like blue, a necessary of a humble occupation. We must all admit that confectionery is a luxury, perhaps a harmless luxury, the enjoyment of which we are disposed to encourage ; but I appeal to Senator Dobson whether it is worth while voting against what he believes to be an adequate and effective duty, merely for the purpose of adding another id. in order to take it off again under the colour of preference? It strikes me that we may be apt to lose sight of. the single issue before the Committee, namely, whether 2d. is an adequate and effective duty.
Senator McGREGOR (South Australia). [7-52l- - I listened with some little interest to the long statement made by Senator Symon.
– Long statement !
– It was rather long, combined with all the other statements made by the honorable senator on the same subject. But the honorable senator is entirely in error. When he tells us that it was the unanimous opinion of the Tariff Commission that 2d. was sufficient, he forgets to say that, in addition to the 2d., it was recommended that 25 per cent, should be charged under certain conditions.
– I know that perfectly well.
– Then why did the honorable senator, to be fair, not tell the Committee so?
– Because I had read it all before.
– The honorable senator endeavoured to make the Committee believe that both sections of the Tariff Commission were unanimous in the opinion that 2d. was sufficient to protect this industry. But that was not the recommendation of both sections of the Commission.
– It was, up to a certain point.
– Yes, up to a certain point. I ask Senator Clemons whether, if we agree to 2d. as the duty against Great Britain, he will be prepared to support the further recommendation of the Tariff Commission, that when that duty does not amount to 25 per cent, of the value of the importation that rate shall be charged? Or will he agree that when the price of the imported confectionery is above is., a duty of 25 per cent, shall be charged ?
– I will agree to support every one of the recommendations ot the protectionist section of the Commission preferably to the Government proposals.
– That is all right. But the position I am in is that, as a member of the Commission, I was satisfied that, up to- a certain stage, 2d. was sufficient against Great Britain as well as other countries, but I felt, further, that it was also necessary to have the alternative 25 per cent-. The Government, or another place, however, decided to do away with the impost of 25 per cent., and adopt the higher duty all round. What am I to do in the circumstances? I intend to support the higher duty all round, because the impost of 25 per cent, is out of the question at the present time.
– Why is it out of the question ?
– Because it is not before us.
– We could put it before us.
– If Senator Clemons, when he moved his request, had indicated that he was prepared to adopt the 25- per cent., that would have reassured me that he intended to do what, would satisfy the whole of the members of the Tariff Commission.
– I tell the honorable senator again that I am prepared to vote for the suggestions of the protectionist members of the Commission. I had nothing else in my mind at the time.
– If I desire to give Great Britain a preference, the duty in the general Tariff must be raised. I do not care whether the general Tariff be 2½d. or. 3^-d., I am not prepared to go below 2d. in regard to Great Britain or any other country. I should prefer duties of 3d. and 2Ld., because the 25 per cent, that we thought necessary to protect certain classes of confectionery has been knocked out. I ‘hope honorable senators will note that those who are attempting to reduce the duty never indicated to the Committee that an impost of 25 per cent, was in question; and I hope the vote will be against Senator Clemons’ request. When this industry was under consideration by the Tariff Commission, I agreed with Senator Clemons in very many instances, and I do so still in regard to other lines that we cannot discuss at present. If the honorable senator is prepared to take action in the direction I have indicated, he will find me supporting him.
– I should like to point out one or two reasons which have induced me to arrive at my decision on this item. Originally the duty was 2d. on confectionery, with id. on cocoa and chocolate. One of the pledges given by myself at the election was to remove anomalies ; and, surely, . it was an anomaly that cocoa and chocolate, which are largely confectionery, should be admitted at id., while other forms of confectionery were charged 2d. I feel under, an obligation, therefore, to remove this anomaly in the only way in which I think it can be honestly removed, and that is bv bringing cocoa and chocolate to the level of other confectionery. That means that [ must give my vote for a duty of 2d. There is now the question raised by the preference policy inaugurated by the Government, and- I unhesitatingly say that I am in favour of preference. In saying that, I do not believe that the Government have given anything like substantial preference; but that, however, does not pre vent my taking the small crumbs which they have allowed to fall from their table. I am confronted with the position which Senator McGregor has pointed out, namely, that the only way in which we can have a duty of 2d., and, at the same time. give preference in favour of Great Britain, is by having the preferential duty 2d., and the general Tariff higher. If I understand figures, there is no other way in which it can be done. Great Britain sends to us 80 per cent, of our importations of cocoa, chocolate, and confectionery, so that a. preferential duty of 2d. on British imports would mean a duty of 2d. on So per cent, of our importation.’ The general opinion of the Committee seems to be that 2d. would be a fair duty.
– It is a prohibitive duty.
– Then the honorable senator proposes to ‘apply a prohibitive duty to the whole of our imports.
– If the general duty were 2d., the 80 per cent, of the importation which comes from Great Britain would not have to pay more than under the honorable senator’s proposal.
– In view of the pledges given bv myself and my party at the election, I must vote for a general duty at least as high as 2d. ; indeed, in order that British imports may have a preference, I must accept a higher rate under the general Tariff. In politics one must be practical. There could be nothing more foolish than to imitate the boy who, thrusting his hand into a narrow- necked vessel to grasp a fistful of nuts, found himself unable to get anything. Honorable senators on this side of the chamber, although holding somewhat divergent views, have endeavoured, in order to economize public time, to arrive at some arrangement.
– In other words, they have held a caucus.
– We have, on one or two occasions, shown that we appreciate the advantages of common action.
– All the advantage is being secured by the Government.
– No; because we have carried votes against them.
– How many has the honorable senator carried against the Government?
– Two. How many has my honorable friend carried ?
– None for them.
– For the advancement of public business, an effort has been made by those on this side of the chamber to arrive at an understanding which will enable us to get a little of what we want, and prevent us from losing everything, a? we should do by each fighting for his own hand.
– I had not intended to speak on this toothsome subject ; but so many honorable senators have addressed themselves to it, that I fear that, unless I say something, my constituents may think that I am not obeying the instructions which they gave when they elected me. The verdict of the people at the last, and at the previous, election was for more protection.
– It was just the reverse.
– The fiscal question was not the only one before the constituencies.
– Yes, it was. Senator Needham. - Not in Western Australia.
– Western Australia is only a fly-speck.
– The fiscal question is not the concern of the Labour Party.
– Anything tending to promote the welfare of labour is a concern of the party. I ask those who favour the new protection, which is to bring the workman, as well as the employer, under the shadow of our protectionist policy, how that can be done if the Tariff wall is not built sufficiently high ? The question, did a duty of 2d. per lb. protect, is answered by the figures relating to -the importations of last year, when we imported 7,000,000 lbs. of sweets, or 2 lbs. for every man, woman, and child in the Commonwealth. Some one else ate my share. We spent .£116,000 of good Australian money in giving employment in the making of lollies to people in Great Britain and elsewhere, and we taxed the lolly-eating section of our population to the extent of £40,000. The rates agreed to by the House of Representatives - 3d. and 2½d. per lb. - are too low; but if I cannot get 3½d. and 3d., I shall take Senator Mil len ‘s advice, and accept what I can get. The mandate of the people was to impose duties that would protect, not revenue duties. We were sent here to make the Tariff an instrument for the creation of industries, not for the raising of revenue.
– That may have been the mandate of the people of Queensland.
– Sydney was never so prosperous as it is under protection. It is growing like Jonah’s gourd, though I hope that it may not wither as suddenly. If the rate under the general Tariff is reduced to 2d., and a preference is given to British importations, we shall be in a worse position than we were in under the old Tariff, because 80 per cent, of the imported confectionery comes from Great Britain. Therefore, I shall vote against any preference if the general rate is reduced below 3d. Indeed, I wish to see the importation of lollies stopped altogether. We produce our own sugar, and everything necessary for the manufacture of confectionery. There are thousands of young persons growing up every year who require employment, and we have capital which we have now to send abroad for investment. Let us therefore build up industries in Australia. Great Britain can look after herself, and so can the importer.
– Cannot the manufacturer ?
– If he could not, he would not be a manufacturer. I hope that the worker, too, is able to take care of himself.
– What about the unfortunate consumer of lollies?
– He is the victim.
– No. Each new industry that is created in Australia confers a boon upon our people, and therefore they are willing to pay for the establishment of industries.
– The honorable senator saYS that he desires prohibition.
– I have not said so. What is the meaning of the word “ protection “ ? It means to safeguard, to shield against injury. What I mean by protection is to safeguard our own industries against the competition of other countries.
– What the honorable senator means is not to allow the other chap to bring in anything.
– I am not troubled about the other chap bringing in anything. Why should I be so troubled? If he did not want our goods, he would not buy them, and if we did not want h;s goods we would not- buy them. If Great Britain could produce all her wool she would not buy a single ounce of that article from Australia. If she could produce all her meat she would not buy any of our meat. So why should we trouble about her? If we can make all our own lollies, why should we not do so? Why should we not encourage this industry? Why should we not protect ourselves against the competition of Great Britain, and, for that matter, of every other country. The old duty, as I have pointed out, did not protect. We shall be justified in trying to see whether duties of 3d. and 2jd. will protect. I do not see how it is possible for any one to advocate the passing on of a. share of this protection to the workers unless it is raised very considerably above what it was under the old Tariff. I intend, therefore, to vote in the first place for a’ duty of 3d., and it will depend entirely upon developments whether or not I shall vote for any preference to Great Britain in the circumstances.
– Whilst Senator Millen was speaking, hereminded me of a small musical instrument known as the Aeolian harp. The chief characteristic of that instrument is that’ its tone entirely depends upon the direction of the wind. I can quite understand Senator Millen now taking a clear view, as he generally does, of the way in which the political wind is blowing. The tones we have heard from him on this side, which is supposed to be the free-trade side of the Senate -
– Not at all ; the antisocialistic side.
– The honorable senator may mix up anti-Socialism with the Tariff, but I am unable to do so.
– I am not mixing them up.
– Coming back to the question of preference, it has been indicated by several honorable senators that in moving my request to reduce the duty in the general Tariff to 2d. per lb. I intended to follow it up with h request to fix the duty on British confectionery at 1½d. per lb. I meant nothing of the sort, and I would not vote for such a proposition if it were moved by any one else. I wish to indicate my views in regard to preference to Great Britain. I have already said that, in order to save the Australian taxpayer from suffering what I consider a burdensome load, I should take every opportunity, even the specious pretext of British preference,, to relieve him. But with regard to an item like confectionery, I think that there is not the slightest chance, by any kind of British preference, of reducing the burden on the taxpayer. What, then, is the only other reason why one should consider preferential trade? The only other reason I can find is that we desire to assist Great Britain to compete in our markets. I do not believe that she wants any assistance at all. My opinion is that if our mar- kets are open to the world, Great Britain will be perfectly well able to take care of herself, and any of these illusory preferences which we are offering are almost an insult to her, and certainly have no practical value. Senator Millen seems to think - and I admit at once that from my long and friendly association with him I am astonished that he should–
– Adhere to his election pledges ?
– I, of course, do not know what the honorable senator’s election pledges were.
– I do.
– I would be the last man to blame the honorable senator for adhering to his election pledges, and he knows that well enough. But whether he made pledges to his constituents or not, I am merely referring to his attitude on this question. He seems to think that if we impose a prohibitive duty of, say, 2½d. per lb. against the rest of the world, and an almost equally prohibitive duty of 2d. per lb. against Great Britain, we shall give a preference.
-Which the honorable senator is proposing, and which he recommended.
– That is not in accordance with the honorable senator’s usual fair play. He ought to know that when I moved my request I carefully said that, so far as I was concerned, I would make the duty on confectionery as low as possible, but that I had not the slightest chance of carrying a request for a duty less than 2d. per lb., and a very small chance indeed of carrying that; I would, however, go as far as I could go in the direction of removing this burden of taxation. The honorable senator knows that I moved my request under those circumstances, and with that distinct preamble. I am surprised that he has publicly announced himself in accordance with the Government scheme of preference.
– I did nothing of the kind ; I absolutely repudiated it.
– The honorable senator may repudiate it in his words, but he has given us clearly to understand that he is going to indorse it by his vote, and that, in this case, he intends to offer to Great Britain that sort of preference which is represented by the difference between 2½d. and 2d., both rates being to all intents and purposes prohibitive. I will not, under any circumstances, indorse such a sham preference as that. Whether this duty is carried or not, I will not be found supporting any preferential policy.
– If a duty of 2d. is prohibitive, how is the honorable senator striking off any burden from the taxpayer?
– I have already answered that question. A duty of 2d. per lb. is to a certain extent prohibitive.
– To a certain extent ! The honorable senator is qualifying it now.
– I regard a duty of 2d. per lb. as prohibitive, but I regard the duty of 3d. in the Tariff as worse. If the honorable senator had listened to what I said, he would knowthat Iregard a duty of 2d. per lb. on confectionery as a distinct incentive to every local manufacturer to put up the price of his commodity. And the local manufacturer, working under a duty of 3d. per lb., would be still more likely to charge the consumer a higher price. I may be wrong in that assumption ; but that is the one on which I. have to work ; and because I think so I do my best to reduce the amount which the consumer has to pay for his confectionery.
– How does the honorable senator regard a duty of 2d. per lb. as prohibitive, when over 3,000,000 lbs. of confectionery were imported thereunder?
– My answer to that question has been given more than once. It must be obvious to any one that in present circumstances the Australian manufacturers do not supply confectionery in the many varieties that consumers want. The importations are confined largely to the kinds of confectionery which Australian manufacturers do not make. We had very clear evidence on that subject before the Tariff Commission. The local manufacturers said that they did not make all varieties of confectionery that could be purchased anywhere in the world, and that where any varieties were lacking a certain quantity of such confectionery was imported.
– That does not explain the situation at all, because a large quantity of confectionery that is made here came in despite the duty.
– In the Commonwealth there were some purchasers who wanted certain brands of confectionery. They were unable to get their requirements from the local manufacturers, and therefore they bought the imported article. After giving careful attention to the matter, I have not the slightest doubt that that is the explanation of the importation. But I admit that if there are protectionist senators who think that there should be no new varieties of confectionery, that every one in Australia should eat only the sorts made here, they can put on a duty which will be prohibitive.
– What sorts of confectionery cannot be made here?
– I am not a confectioner, but I can assure the honorable senator that a good many sorts cannot be made here. What I am stating is based on sworn evidence, but it is not used by me as an argument to support my motion.
– We cannot make Fry’s or Cadbury’s confectionery, but we can make something equal to theirs.
– That is not the question at all. We make the ordinary forms of cocoa, just as those firms do, but there are many varieties of confectionery which we do not make at the present time. I know perfectly well that protectionistsmay reply, “Put on a heavy duty, and there is no variety that we will not make.” If the argument is worth anything, let it be. used. It does not appeal to me, because I do not think that it is soundly based. I do not believe for a moment that Australia will ever make all the varieties which the rest of the world can make. I believe that to-morrow Australia would be unable to put on yesterday’s hat if it found itself in that position.
– Can the honorable senator explain the increase in importations during the last sixyears, seeing that his argument is confined to special brands of confectionery ?
– I do not think that there has been an increased importation.
– Well, there has been.
– The figures furnished to the Tariff Commission did not show an increase.
– I can tell the honorable senator the imports.
– The honorable senator is, perhaps, aware that the term “ confectionery ‘ ‘ comprises a number of different items. Under the old Tariff all sorts of things were classed as confectionery which are not so classed now. It included many things which, properly, ought not to be described as confectionery.
– I think that liquorice was the only thing in addition to those which are set forth here.
– No. I have not time to go into that matter now, but I can assure the honorable senator that, according to the evidence before the Tariff Commission it was extremely hard to separate the items, and that “ confectionery “ included many articles which properly ought not to come under that term. I will not vote for preference if it simply means an attempt to help on the industries of England, but wherever it gives me an opportunity of reducing the burden of taxation on the Australian consumer it will receive my support, if I cannot get that reduction in any other or better way.
– I would not have risen to speak but for some remarks which fell from Senator Stewart. He said that he was a protectionist, and received a mandate at the last Federal elections in Queensland as a protectionist.
– When I was elected.
– If my memory is correct, the honorable senator also included the last Federal elections.
– I was not a candidate then.
– So far as the honorable senator can interpret the verdict of the Queensland elections on the question of protection, will he explain to the Committee how it was that the Deputy Chairman of the Tariff Commission, who was a pronounced protectionist, was overwhelmingly defeated by the candidates who were returned ?
– It was not owing to the Tariff.
– As we have pointed out over and over again, both sides in that contest in Queensland agreed to sink the fiscal issue. As Senator Chataway has pointed out, only at one meeting was the question distinctly put to him, and I think that at not more than two or three meetings was it put to us directly. I take this opportunity of saying that my leader, Senator Millen, has admirably and, I think, quite accurately, expressed the views of most honorable senators on this side of the chamber; and likewise the views which the people of Queensland hold on this vexed fiscal question.
– I ask the honorable senator not to discuss the general question, but to confine his remarks to the matter before the Chair.
– But surely 1 shall be allowed some latitude in replying to a remark made uninterruptedly by Senator Stewart, as to the verdict of the Queensland people?
– The honorable senator says that Senator Stewart made certain remarks uninterruptedly. That is so. But I asked him to desist, and he did. I have allowed Senator St. Ledger to make a remark in reply, and I now request him to confine his speech to the subject before the Chair.
– Of course, the fact which I have mentioned speaks unanswerably as to the decision of the Queensland people. On the whole, Senator Millen has admirably presented the position which we take up, and which I think we on this side of the chamber intend to take up, in considering the conflicting issues raised in this Tariff. With respect to confectionery, I cannot forget the startling correspondence which appeared in the Argus in the early part of September last about the combine in the trade. Charges were made by most reputable men under their own signatures. The correspondence was long, clear, and precise, and it went to show that there were some suspicious and dangerous practices growing up to the oppression of the trading community of Australia.
– To the oppression of the consumer.
– And also to the oppression of the consumer, because ultimately it falls upon him. Therefore I am inclined to think that the duty on confectionery under the old Tariff, which brought about a flourishing state of trade, and under the auspices of which a combine grew up, against which strong evidence was produced, is one that should not reach the limits proposed by the Government. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has pointed out that the importations of confectionery have increased. But the years mentioned, 1903 to 1906, were years of increasing prosperity in this country. . Consequently the purchasing powers of the community were very much greater than they were in former years. That probably accounts for the increased importations. The very years of our prosperity when we were enjoying the blessings of Providence are now dragged in as a reason for increasing duties which were already high. Almost every article imported was consumed in unusually large quantities during those years. But that consumption cannot be justly attributed to a defective Tariff. The question of preference also has to be considered in relation to this item. It is a vexed question, and it is difficult to devise a course which will do justice to all conflicting interests. But here again I think that our leader, Senator Mil.len, has indicated the - right position. Senator Trenwith, putting; as he usually does, the argument from the Victorian protectionist point of view very strongly, says, “Look at those large imports; let us shut them out ; we want an increased duty for that purpose.” But Senator Trenwith is a strong supporter of a Government which has brought down preference proposals. I will not charge Ministers with insincerity in this matter. I dare say that they believe in what they have professed. But we must have a brand, of preferentialists in this country different from that which. exists in Canada. Prior to 1900, when Canada instituted her preference policy, the imports from. Great Britain showed a tendency to decrease. But when in that year Sir Wilfrid Laurier brought in his preference Tariff, the importations of British goods increased.
– ;Th at will happen here also.
– One of the strongest arguments used bv the present Prime Minister and bv the Tariff reformers in England was based upon the increase of British trade in consequence of the Canadian policy of preference.
– I ask-the honorable senator to confine himself to the question before -the Chair.
– I shall sum up by pointing out that the object of honorable senators opposite is .confessedly not to increase but to decrease British imports in this line. Our preferentialists, instead of endeavouring to create avenues for British trade, use arguments to show why .we should make our Tariff high to prevent importations. Senator Millen has steered a wise course in connexion with this matter, and has dealt with the situation very ably. I shall vote with him.
Senator MACFARLANE (Tasmania1* [8.39I. - I should like to explain why I cannot join with Senator Millen as to thc item before the Chair. I cannot ‘shut mv eyes to the fact that the recommendation of the protectionist members of the Tariff Commission was that’ there should be a duty of 2d. per lb. on confectionery. But they added the proviso - confectionery “ of which the invoice value, including the inside packages, if any, exceeds1s. per lb., 25 per cent.” A duty of 2d. per lb. is a fair one. An increase was asked for only by a few members of the trade, who had started in business since the Federal Tariff was first imposed.
– They were really suffering from internal competition.
– And poor machinery.
– There is another point which I should like the Committee to notice. In an addendum to the report Senator Clemons, Senator McGregor, Mr. Fuller, and ex-Senator Higgs recommend that -
Confectionery of any kind whatever containing glucose paraffine wax or plaster of Paris, should pay a duty of 4d. per lb., and that the local manufacturer should pay an Excise of 2d. on confectionery of that kind.
– Plaster of Paris is a poison; we kill rats with it.
– Yet we import quantities of confectionery partly made from plaster of Paris.
-It is a very important point. I myself have frequently bought sweets and found that the almonds were coated with plaster of Paris.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on “ Confectionery,” item 45, paragraph a (imports under General Tariff), 2d. per lb. (Senator Clemons’ request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 17
Question so resolved in the negative.
.- I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 45, paragraph a (imports under General Tariff), 2½d. per lb.
I intend subsequently to propose that the duty on imports from the United Kingdom be. 2d. per lb. After the long debate which we have had I do not think that there is any occasion to enter into a long argument. A duty of 2½d. will afford ample protection. We already have a large export trade, and the report of the Tariff Commission goes to show that instead of the imports of confectionery being a danger, the local industry is increasing every day.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [8.45]. - I understand that this request has been agreed upon at a caucus upstairs, and, as it is in accordance with a notice that I have already given, I am pleased to support it. In view of the fact that Senator Trenwith has informed us that the price of sugar is 2d. per lb., and that he can buy lozenges at 3½d. per lb.–
– He buys them only to give away.
– I hope that my honorable and esteemed friend is one of the happy recipients of the “ give away”; I am not in the habit of giving any one away. If, as Senator Trenwith says, the price of sugar is 2d. per lb., and lollipops consist largely of plaster of Paris, the selling price - 3½d. per lb. - is abnormally high. A duty of 2½d. per lb. ought surely to be sufficient-, whilst a duty of 3d. per lb., which is the primary price of the sugar, increased by 50 per cent., is simply preposterous. Even an impost of 2½d. per lb. is so exceedingly liberal that it ought to satisfy any one but the most greedy protectionist. It is positively ludicrous to sit here and listen to gentlemen or senators–
– There is no distinction.
– I believe that members of this Chamber are by law senators; but I do not know that they are by law anything else.
– Some of them are.
– They are not all colonels.
– I am musically inclined, and have no objection to singing a solo to the chorus of others if they will only give me a fair start–
– The honorable senator blows his own trumpet so often that no one else can get a chance.
– I ask my honorable friend to remember that he has in another direction capacitiesthat I need not indicate. I should like to keep my remarks somewhat close to the subject, but when I am interrupted in this awful manner, it is impossible for me to do so. It is extraordinary to sit here and listen to wild harangues in favour of manufacturers by some honorable senators who, a little while ago, declared that the self-same men were a most awful curse to the community, in that they constituted a combine that was doing I cannot tell how much injury to I do not know how many people. These confectionery manufacturers, a few weeks ago, were the most awful collection of creatures in the Commonwealth, in that they had agreed to put up prices. We now find that some of those who were condemning them wish to put up the prices for them ; some honorable senators are constituting themselves a combine, to enable the manufacturers of confectionery to charge higher prices than they were charging before. Regarding a duty of anything above1d. a lb as an extortion, I shall vote for any reduction that is proposed. The request now before us is absolutely in accord with a. notice that I gave something like a month ago, and I hope very sincerely that a majority of the Committee will carry it, and agree to reduce the extortionate duty of 3d. per lb., if it is by only½d.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Dobson) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 45, paragraph a (imports from the United Kingdom), 2d. perlb.
– The debate has certainly been a prolonged one, and I feel that there have been adduced facts and evidence which go to show the absolute necessity for increased protection for the confectionery industry. The argument on the other side was that the duty of 2d. per lb. was practically prohibitive, but a statement of the imports has shown most conclusively that that is not the case. The Government, in making their proposals in this connexion, had the fullest recognition of the recommendation of the Tariff Commission. As honorable senators will remember,the Commission recommended that confectionery of the value of1s. per lb. and upwards should be dutiable at 25 per cent., which is 3d. per lb. As a matter of fact, every class of confectionery below a value of1s. per lb. is manufactured here ; consequently the Government adopted an all-round protection of 3d. per lb., with a. preferential duty of 2½. per lb. in favour of Great Britain. I submit that a reduction of the duty below 2½d. per lb. would have a very serious effect on our own manufacturers ; it would make ineffective the protection granted. As I have indicated from the outset, we must have regard first of all to our own manufacturers - a first regard for our own industries. We do not intend to sacrifice this industry, so far as we are in a position to protect it. We felt that in making a concession to Great Britain by reducing the duty to 2½d.per lb. we were cutting down the rate to the lowest limit; but we are now invited to reduce the duty to 2d. per lb. I amgoing to ask honorable senators, in view of the knowledge they possess that such a duty is insufficient, to say that the duty of 2xd. shall remain.
– Manufacturers say that it is sufficient.
– They say nothing of the kind.
– Manufacturers in Sydney, and in Melbourne, teo, say that it is.
– I believe that one manufacturer in Sydney - a Mr. Stedman - -who is a larger importer than he is a manufacturer, has said so.’
– He is ‘ no more an importer than is any other manufacturer.
– Is he an’ importer?
– The same as other manufacturers are.
– He is an importer, and, so far as my information goes, he is a larger importer than a manufacturer.
– That is absolutely incorrect.
– That, however,” is not the point. We have to decide whether we are prepared to grant reasonable and effective protection to one of our own industries. I venture to say that every lolly that is consumed here should be manufactured by our own workmen; yet we find that something like £i 16,000 - money belonging to this country - is annually paid abroad, part of which goes to pay the wages of other workmen in the industry. When we know that our workmen are competent to produce these particular classes of manufactures, of a quality equal to what can be made abroad, we have aright to say that they shall have the first choice.
– How many workmen in Australia do the English people keep by the purchase of Australian goods ?
– They buy nothing they do not require. r
– At the present moment, that is entirely beside, the question. The sole question we have to decide now is : Are we going to effectively protect one of our largest, most important, and valuable industries ?
– Are ‘ the Government going to run away from their policy of preference ?
– The honorable senator knows that I am . not running away from the policy of preference. ‘ He knows also that he has in this instance destroyed our policy of preference. He must be aware that- I am determinedly adhering to the minimum duty the Government have recommended.
– The Government proposed a duty of. 3d. and the House of Representatives made a reduction. That is intelligible, but it is not intelligible for honorable senators to put a £d. on the duty for the purpose of taking it off again.
– The position of the Government is .clear. A duty of 2½d. per lb. against imports from Great Britain is regarded by them as necessary if we are to effectively protect this industry, and if honorable senators reduce the duty on imports from abroad by they will be doing a serious injustice to one of our most valued industries. In all the circumstances, I ask the Committee to retain the duty at 2jd. per lb., as proposed bv the Government.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council has invited the Committee to consider that the duty of 2d. per lb., which he says hitherto prevailed, did not prove prohibitive. Are we to take that as a declaration that the Minister is seeking under this Tariff to impose prohibitive duties ?
– I was not talking about the Tariff generally, but about this particular item, and I think we should have the whole of this trade.
– Are we to understand that the duty .proposed in connexion with this item is intended by the Government’ as a prohibitive duty?
– The honorable senator is making a mistake. My statement was made in answer to the allegation of Senator Clemons that 2d. per lb. was a prohibitive duty.
– And the Minister went on to say that the imports showed that it was not, and that that was why the Government proposed a higher duty. Clearly the objective of the Government in this matter is a prohibitive duty. I should have supposed that the VicePresident of the Executive Council would have been candid enough to say so distinctly now, when he said so inferentially only a few minutes ago.
– I did hot disguise’ the fact that I wanted the whole of the Australian market for this industry.
– Then what becomes of the Government policy of preference?
– Honorable senators opposite have destroyed it.
– I shall crave leave to say a word or two upon that aspect of the question in a few moments. The Minister made a statement, I believe inadvertently, which was calculated to mislead the Committee. He pointed out that the previously existing duty of 2d. per lb. had not prohibited imports, but surely he could not be ignorant of the fact that 2d. per lb. was not hitherto the prevailing duty, and that a large proportion of the imports came in under a duty of id. per Jb.
– The duty on chocolates was id. per lb.
– That is so. I think I am correct in saying that one-half of the imports were introduced,- not under a duty of 2d. per lb., which the Minister has affirmed was an ineffective duty, but under a duty of id. per lb., which is half the duty now proposed. It appears to me that even if we accept the contention of the Vice-President of the [Executive Council, that the hitherto prevailing duty is insufficient, we shall be doing quite enough if we increase it by 100 per cent. We shall do so if we fix the duty at 2d. per lb. Does the Vice-President of the Executive Council contend that double the hitherto prevailing duty will be insufficient?
– The duty the honorable senator refers to affected only a portion of the imports.
– I find that the value of the total imports of confectionery, cocoa, and chocolate is given at .£331,000, and of this importation £215,000 worth came in at the lower duty, and £ ti 6,000 worth at the higher duty.
– If there were 3,000,000 lbs. of confectionery imported, one-half of the imports did not come in at the lower duty.
- Senator Trenwith is speaking of pounds weight of both, whilst I am speaking of pounds value of confectionery, not including cocoa and chocolate. I have noticed that honorable senators opposite, when dealing with low-priced commodities such as lollies, like to roll out the number of pounds weight of importations. Described in pounds weight, the import appears to be so much more serious,, but I prefer to quote the cash value, to give honorable senators some idea of the real extent of the trade. If the declaration of the Minister that he desires this duty to be prohibitive is correct, then I ask what’ becomes of the pro testations we have heard in favour of preferential trade? What becomes of the statement of the) Minister, and also of Senator Trenwith, in defining protection? They have said that they ask for duties sufficiently high to equalize the conditions here and elsewhere. Will they contend that a duty of 2d. per lb. on this item would fail to do. that? Do honorable senators know what percentage that duty represents, and what proportion it bears to- the cost of labour in this industry? I saw, from one of the Tariff Commission’s reports, that the cost of making 1 cwt of lollies was said to be 3s. 6d., and a duty of 2d. per lb. on a, hundredweight of lollies would many times exceed the cost of labour in their manufacture.
– Does the honorable senator give that as the cost df manufacturing the imported goods, because that is what we are discussing
– I cannot say whether it is or not, but I do not suppose that it is. As the previously prevailing duty upon a large proportion of the imports was id., and not 2d. per lb., before we raise the duty to 2½d. we should, as reasonable men, assume that a duty of 2d. per lb. will be sufficient until we see what the effect of that increase will be. I think that such an increase of the duty would be ample, and I shall vote for Senator Dobson’s motion, because, if we are sincere on the subject of preference, it will afford us an opportunity to benefit British trade without serious detriment to that of Australia.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [9.8]. - The somewhat vehement argument of the Vice-President of the Executive Council does not appeal to me in connexion with this item. But I am sorry to say that I am unable to go any further with Senator Dobson in the matter.
– Oh !
– My honorable friend need not say “Oh-.”, I think I have made it perfectly plain that I am against preference a.s preference, but that, as I said yesterday, I am prepared to vote for a legitimate preference in connexion with an item when, for example, it involves a reduction in the price of foodstuffs or of any of the necessaries of life. As I pointed out to Senator Dobson, in the first instance, confectionery is a luxury.
– Is it ? I should have thought that it was a necessary.
– Then I entirely disagree with the honorable senator, but I shall not ejaculate “ Oh,” because he says that lollies are a necessary of life.
– What about tobacco?
– Does the honorable senator think tobacco a necessary of lite
– I do, according to the standard of living in Australia, although I am not a smoker.
– Then I hope the honorable senator will become a smoker, so that he may acquire that fine equanimity which distinguishes smokers as a class. But I would point out that con- ‘fectionery is a luxury. Certainly it is not a necessary of life - it is not a food. The figures quoted by Senator Millen earlier in the evening conclusively show that under a uniform duty Great Britain, in competition with other countries which produce confections and send them into the Commonwealth, already enjoys 80 per cent, of the trade. From the point of view of a preferentialist - which I am not - it strikes me that it is absurd to say that we are going to encourage British trade by imposing an additional duty oT A. per lb. If I believed - which with great respect to the Vice-President of the Executive Council I do-not - that the proposed duty would prove prohibitive other considerations might weigh with me.
– I have never said that the duty will prove prohibitive.
– I do not think that it will. I think that 2d. per lb. is an adequate and effective measure of protection, but I cannot believe that an additional duty of Jd. per lb. will prove prohibitive. I shall vote, in favour of reducing the .duties upon foodstuffs, upon the necessaries of life, and upon other commodities which fall within that category.
.- I regret very much that Senator Symon .has slipped from the excellent position which he occupied when he voted to extend a preference to the Mother Country in the matter of blue. Of’ course, it is human to err, and I merely express regret that upon this item the honorable senator cannot take the view that he previously entertained. I utterly fail to understand the logic of. his arguments. Just now he cast a vote in favour of admitting 100 per cent, of the imports of confectionery into the Commonwealth at a duty of 2d. per lb., but now that a proposal has been made to admit 80 per cent, of them at that rate, he declares that he cannot support it.
– For what reason is the honorable senator proposing an extra duty upon the 20 “per cent. ?
– That has nothing to do with the matter, ft is for the honorable senator to determine whether - seeing that he cannot secure the admission of 100 per cent, of the imports of confectionery at 2d. per lb. - it would not be advantageous to secure the admission of 80 per cent, of them at that rate.
.- Seldom in my political career have I been more astonished than I was at the speech delivered just now by Senator Symon. Senator Millen has most effectually scattered his confused arguments to the winds. Senator Symon voted to make 100 per cent, of the imports of confectionery into the Commonwealth dutiable at 2d. per lb., and he has since attempted to explain whyhe cannot support a proposal to admit 80 per cent, of them at that rate. I wish him joy of the confusion into which he has got himself. This great free-trade leader now has a chance of reducing the duty upon confectionery, but for some reason or other, best known to himself, he is not going to avail himself , of it. The Vice-President of the Executive Council will find that he has made a mistake in running away from the preferential trade policy of his leader.
– I have not done so.
– I have -recently been perusing the debates upon the Tariff which took place in the House of Representatives, and I find there the most distinct evidence of the existence of a rigid combine in confectionery.
– Then, it can be dealt with under the provisions of the Australian Industries Preservation Act.
– By the imposition of the high duties proposed we are encouraging manufacturers to combine, and we are putting it into their power to crush the smaller men- engaged in. the industry. The members of the Government have been briefed bv two or three big manufacturers who have influence, and thev are playing into their hands. I read wilh very great interest the speeches delivered by the Prime Minister in England, when he talked most eloquently about binding the
Empire together by means of preferential trade. But the Vice-President of the Executive Council has run away from his leader upon that question. I should like to know what the people of Great Britain would think of this debate if they could hear it, and of the sincerity of our Prime Minister. With regard to the item of chocolate, I wish to tell Senator Symon that chocolate is a food product. To a very great extent it is a necessary of life. The honorable senator has attempted to draw a line between food products and luxuries. He has declared that biscuits and confectionery are luxuries. The members of the Government who imagine that they won their seats upon a protective policy, have made protection their trump card, and they now wish to impose inordinately high duties upon the various items enumerated in the Tariff - duties which will undoubtedly injure the prosperity of the Commonwealth. I hope that the Vice-President of the Executive Council will live to find out the mistake he has made in this and other items. He is not content with raising the duty 1 00 per cent., but tries to secure an increase of 300 per cent, or 400 per cent, if he can get it. What common-sense is there in that ? Is it holding the scales of justiceequally between those who do not want a duty and those who want protection? My honorable friend talks about effective protection, but he means prohibition. He has actually departed from the illustration of effective protection which he gave in his second-reading speech.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [9.22]. - The hysterical remarks of my extremely excitable friend, Senator Dobson do not disturb my equanimity in the slightest, but I wish to point out to him the extraordinary position in which both he and Senator Millen are placed. He, and Senator Millen also, in assuming to lecture me–
– Heaven forbid !
– The honorable senator may well say that, because he must now repent himself of having attempted to do so. They say that, simplybecause I will not vote for preference, to which I entirely object–
– The honorable senator will not vote for a duty of 2d.
– Of course, I always accept every reproof in the kindest fashion, but my honorable friends have forgotten that they united to oppose a reduction of the duty to 2d. upon the full 100 per cent, of the imports. They now complain that I will not vote for a duty of 2d. on 80 per cent, of the imports. It is only a few minutes since they refused to vote for a duty of 2d. on the 100 per cent, and reduce the price to the consumers.
– Because we knew we could not carry it.
– They did not try. Why did they not? I do not wish to use any hysterical expressions. It is not proper, as we are friends over here, but Senator Dobson ‘s remarks are calculated to introduce a rift into the lute. He ought to remember that we might, in the consumers’ interest, have carried 2d. for the whole of the imports if he had assisted us. I do not say that we would or would not have done so, but it comes very ill - and I put it in the friendliest and kindliest way - from my honorable friends, after what they did, to complain that I decline to support them in getting a duty of 2d. on 80 per cent, of the imports after they defeated2d. on 100 per cent. They ought to remove the beam from their own eye before they attempt to take the mote out of mine.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on “ Confectionery,”, item 45, paragraph a (imports from the United Kingdom), 2d. per lb. (Senator Dobson’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 45, paragraph a (imports from the United Kingdom), 3d. per lb.
I am quite aware that a vote has already been taken which, if agreed to by another place, will reduce the duty on imports under the general Tariff to 2½d. But, while I recognise the right of the Committee to arrive at that decision, I also recognise that our decision is not final, and I want to make sure that in this particular item no preference is given to Great Britain.
– Or in any other item.
– Or in any other item in the schedule.
– The honorable senator wants to give a preference to other countries.
– That will not happen if what I think will eventuate takes place. The further this discussion goes, the more pronounced is my opinion against preference. The Vice-President of the Executive Council said this afternoon that he was desirous that the Australian manufacturers of confectionery should command the whole of the market. Yet he is prepared, on behalf of the Government, to give a preference to the country that sends here about 85 per cent, of the confectionery imported. That is scarcely compatible with a desire to conserve the Australian market. When we recognise, as the honorable senator has pointed out, that in sugar we produce the foundation of the industry, and that we are quite able and prepared to manufacture any special confectionery which may now be imported, I do not see where his consistency lies. Fearful lest another place may upset the vote which has been taken this afternoon in reducing the duty in the first column to 2½d., I submit my motion, which, if adopted, will insure the carrying out of the desire of the leader of the Senate, as the representative of the Government, to capture the whole of the market.
– I thought that what the Minister desired was preference.
– If the VicePresident of the Executive Council makes any more statements, such as he has made this afternoon, on confectionery, I shall be under the impression that he has no belief in preference. I desire to make it perfectly clear that, so far as preference is concerned, I shall on every item in the schedule be found in opposition.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on “ Confectionery, “ item 45, paragraph a (imports from the United Kingdom), 3d. per lb. (Senator Needham’ s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 26
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [9.38]. - I do not know whether honorable senators are exactly aware of the use of cocoa butter, which is dealt with in paragraph f of the item. This is not a luxury, or an article of confectionery, but is used in the practice of medicine and the healing arts. The Vice-President of the. Executive Council smiles at that statement.
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 45, paragraphF (imports under General Tariff), by making the duty on cocoa butter1½d. per lb.
I confine the reduction to cocoa butter, because it is used purely and wholly in medical treatment, while the other articles mentioned in the item are used in connexion with the mating of sweetmeats. If honorable senators are willing to give the concession in the interests of the healing arts, they will vote with me; but if they are not, they will vote against me, even though I might occupy half-an-hour in repeating the arguments which I have briefly placed before the Committee. I shall in this, and in future instances, do what I can to secure reductions on duties affecting the practice of medicine and surgery, and I hope that honorable senators, in their consideration for suffering and disease, will agree to them.
– If the honorable senator realized what is the chief medicinal use of cocoa butter, he would be less persistent in regard to the reduction of the duty. This article is mainly imported for use in the making of confectionery.
– What is the value of the importation?
– The importation of cocoa butter, caramel, caramel paste, and caramel butter, in the last year for which we have figures, reached 130,787 lbs., on which duty amounting to£579 was paid. It is impossible to say how much of that was cocoa butter, but the quantity imported and usedfor medicinal purposes was insignificant.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [9.46]. - The honorable senator, with his usual courtesy, his usual bland smile, and his usual absence of facts to support his assertions, has attempted to refute what I have stated ; but he is an adept in the art of bluffing, and, under the circumstances, I do not feel inclined to withdraw my request. He admits that he cannot differentiate between the importations of cocoa butter for medicinal purposes and the total importations under the item, and yet he tells us that the medicinal use of cocoa butter is infinitesimal. Defeat will not place me in the wrong ; but I ask those who intend to vote against me to remember the phrase of that great statesman, Lord
Beaconsfield, “ The greatest satire is a majority.”
– Perhaps the Minister will tell us why the duty on these articles, which was 1d. under the old Tariff. - the rate recommended by both sections of the Tariff Commission - has been raised to1¾d.
– The rate was raised consequent upon an increase of duty on item 45.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 45, paragraph f (imports under general Tariff), by making the duty on cocoa butter1½d. per lb. (Senator Neild’ s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 45 by’ adding the following paragraph: - “ G. Confectionery of any kind containing glucose, paraffine wax or plaster ofParis, per lb., 4d.”
The question of the use of these articles in confectionery, especially the use of glucose, was considered very seriously by the Tariff Commission. My request embodies a recommendation by four members of that body, whose names I will give in order to show that into the consideration of the matter no question of free-trade or protection entered. It is recommended by Messrs. J. S. Clemons, G. W. Fuller, W. G. Higgs, and G. McGregor, and the object is as far as possible to exclude the importation of deleterious confectionery. When we come to deal with the Excise Tariff Bill it is my intention to submit a similar request, so as to make it impossible, so far as it can be done by the imposition of a heavy duty, for any persons to offer to consumers confectionery which is injurious. Of course, it is unnecessary for me to remark that no one desires toeat such confectionery or to know it is sold in the Commonwealth, no matter where it is made. Concerning the use of glucose in confectionery the four members of the Tariff Commission whom I have named made this report -
Important and definite evidence was given on this subject by Mr. Wilkinson, Government Analyst for Victoria. His evidence, detailed on pages 527/529,maybe summarized as a clear indication that the use of glucose in confectionery is undesirable and unnecessary ; that it means a commercial advantage to manufacturers and a disadvantage to consumers, and that it is used as a substitute for sugar or fruit juices. This opinion was supported by a manufacturer (Caffrey). It was further confirmed by the cross-examination of a witness in Victoria (Hoadley). An important witness, who to some extent depended on the use of glucose, had no objection to provisions for identfying confectionery in the manufacture of which glucose had been used (MacRobertson) ; as to the amount of glucose in imported confectionery ; in locallymanufactured. Evidence was also given showing that both paraffine wax and plaster of Paris occasionally entered into the compositionof confectionery.
– What does the honorable senator propose to do in regard to locally-made confectionery ?
– When we come to deal with the Excise Tariff BillI propose to move a request for the imposition of an Excise duty upon confectionery containing glucose, paraffine wax or plaster of Paris. The honorable senator will recognise at once that into my proposal no element of the fiscal question enters. It simply represents a desire by four members of the Tariff Commission to prevent the consumption of deleterious confectionery. There can be no question about the impropriety of using paraffine wax and plaster of Paris. As regards the use of glucose I will briefly explain how it is made and how the danger to the consumer of confectionery arises. Glucose is an artificial production, which is used as a substitute for sugar. In its manufacture it is absolutely essential that sulphuric acid should be used, but subsequently, in order that it may be used as an article of food, efforts are made to get rid of that acid. The evidence we had, especially from Mr. Wilkinson, who assisted us very materially, and holds very strong views on this point, wasthat it was practically impossible to entirely remove the sulphuric acid. We were told by that gentleman that if in that process sulphuric acid were changed to sulphurous acid the danger to the consumer of the confectionery remained. Some witnesses attempted to show that when sulphuric acid was replaced with sulphurous acid the injury to the consumer was comparatively slight. I regret that I have not with me a long letter in which Mr. Wilkinson reiterated to me the very strong views which he holds with regard to the danger of using glucose in confectionery. No one could be more determined on that point than he was, and speaking as he did in his capacity of Government Analyst for Victoria his opinion is worthy of our consideration.
– Can we detect when glucose is present in confectionery ?
– Perfectly easily. As to why glucose is used in confectionery instead of sugar the answer is very simple. It is used because it enables the manufacturer to put more water into his confectionery. Of course, the object of every confectioner - and I am not speaking of Australian manufacturers only - is to get as much solidity aspossible at the lowest possible expense. By using glucose he is enabled to put more water into his confectionery than he could do if he used sugar or fruit juices. That is the conf essed and obvious reason for the use of glucose. But no one has said that it is a desirable substitute for sugar.
– Is it dangerous ?
– It is of course dangerous.
– Is there any evidence as to the extent to which it is used ?
– There is plenty of evidence of that. It is largely used at present, both in Australia and by manufacturers abroad.
– Will not the Pure Food Act apply to mixtures of that kind?
– I think one of the witnesses complained that the cost of a raw material which includes glucose has been increased.
– There may be men here, just as there are in England and elsewhere, who would not like to be compelled to use sugar instead of glucose. But what is our position? So far as any glucose is used it supplants sugar, and so far as sugar is desirable as an ingredient in confectionery manufacture, we have it in Australia in unlimited quantities, and ought to use it. But that is a consideration which is beside the much more important question that glucose is decidedly not wholesome. I do not think that I need point out the evidence which we received showing how much glucose is used, but I can assure honorable senators that the quantity is considerable. As to any heartburnings that might be caused by my proposal, obviously there would be none arising on fiscal grounds, because I am just as desirous of excluding the use of glucose where the confectionery is imported as in the case of local manufacturers. As 1 have already said, I shall move when we come to deal with the Excise duties an Excise on confectionery containing these prescribed articles of 2d. per lb. If any honorable senator asks “Why 2d.?” I reply that I have in anticipation respected the decision of the Committee with regard to the import duty. As we have an import duty on confectionery of 2d. ner lb., I quite agree to make the difference between the Excise duty and the import duty on confectionery containing these ingredients 2d. Therefore I am not attempting in that way to injure local manufacturers who use glucose. I again point out that the proposal has the warm support of Senator McGregor, ex-Senator Higgs, and Mr. Fuller. We gave the matter very close and careful consideration, and I hope that the request will be carried.
– I should have been very pleased if my honorable friend Senator Clemons had circulated this request. I confess at once that he has taken me somewhat by surprise.
– The recommendation is in our report.
– But the request has not been circulated as a proposed amendment of the Tariff. I cannot therefore feel justified in consenting to it on behalf of the Government without realizing to the fullest extent what it actually does mean. I am aware that glucose is a largely-used constituent - to the extent of hundreds of tons - in the manufacture of confectionery.
– The proposed duty would burst up the Victorian jam industry !
– While I greatly respect the opinion of Mr. Wilkinson, who, I quite agree, is a very high authority in these matters, I am also aware that there is a considerable difference of opinion amongst experts as to the use of glucose. A large number- of experts say that glucose as it is used in confectionery is not injurious. It certainly is a fact that, although we have very severe adulteration laws in operation in the various States, hitherto there has been no prosecution against those who use glucose as an adulterating material.
– There has been a long inquiry about it.
– But the point is that there is a difference of opinion on the subject. I am apprehensive that by agreeing to a proposal of this kind we might do injury to the industry. I admit at once that the consumer has a right to Le protected.
– This request operates against importations as well as against local manufactures.
– That is quite right. My honorable friend has also told us that he intends to propose an Excise duty to the same effect.
– But to half the amount.
– Still it will be a big tax. So far as plaster of Paris is concerned it is obviously a rank adulterant under the. present law-
– I can assure the Committee, as a matter of fact, that the danger from glucose is greater.
– My advice is to the contrary. Under these circumstances I certainly could not accept the request.
– Could not the item be recommitted at a later stage when we might have further information?
– Let the request be inserted and we can recommit afterwards.
– The correct course would be to pass the item as it stands and recommit it afterwards for the reconsideration of Senator Clemons’ request when we have further information.
– Better insert ‘the request now.
– I think not; all sorts of accidents, might happen.
– The Commission’s report has been in the hands of the Government for months.
-The other Chamber fully considered the matter, and as they did not insert an amendment regarding the use of glucose, that - although no reason why we should not make a request if we choose - is a reason for caution. So far as I am advised at present by the departmental officers the experience is against the proposal. Further, if it were agreed to it would involve a chemical analysis of all the confectionery coming into the country.
– Under the Commerce Act we have full power to deal with adulterants. If any adulterated confectionery were to come into the country and we had reason to suspect that it was dangerous to health, we could exercise our powers under the Commerce Act.
– Does not the Minister consider glucose to be an adulterant?
– I do not, as at present advised, consider it an adulterant.
– We are told that confectionery is made of sugar.
– So it is; this is only one of many constituents.
– May I remind the Vice-President of the Executive Council that Senator Trenwith said just now that glucose is stuff that “ kills at a mile.”
– It may not be harmful when used in confectionery in the ordinary way.
– Used in confectionery, Senator Trenwith says, it “ kills at. a mile.”
– I would suggest that the request be not pressed. I shall take an opportunity to consider the matter, and if I find that there is .justification for the view that has been urged, I shall be very glad to recommit the item with a view to its being further dealt with.
– I, with Senator Clemons, feel very strongly on the question of the use of glucose in the manufacture of confectionery, or indeed any food or drink. The insertion of the amendment, since it deals only with imports, could do no harm. Senator Clemons1 proposal, with respect to the Excise, seeing that he is prepared to support such a high duty on the imported article, is only reasonable ; under it, the ratio of protection would still be maintained. The Vice-President of the Executive Council is an eminent lawyer, and I would remind him that in law it is the practice to give the benefit of the doubt to some one.
– To the criminal. Who is the criminal?
– I am going to show to whom the benefit of the doubt ought to be given. Should it be extended to the importer, the manufacturer, or the poor unfortunate consumer, who opens his mouth and shuts his eyes, and waits for whatever we send him ? In a case of -this kind, it should be given to the children of the Commonwealth, who are the largest consumers of confectionery. There are on record a great many instances where the use of glucose has proved not only injurious, but fatal. In England, a short time ago, a number of people were poisoned by drinking beer, and it was distinctly shown that the poison found in it was introduced by the use of glucose in its manufacture. There may be a slight measure of doubt in favour of or against the use of glucose, but with these facts before us, surely it is our duty to give the benefit of that doubt to the people of Australia. In the United States of America, there are in operation very’ strict laws with respect to the use of glucose. Senator Best has said that we have in force in Australia strict laws relating to the purity of foods and drugs. We have in some of the States, but in others we have not. In some States where there are strict laws of the kind in force, they are not properly administered. That is another reason why we should take action. In what way does the danger arise ? It arises from the necessity of using in the manufacture of glucose plaster of Paris, sulphurous acid, arsenic, and other ingredients which are dangerous to health. In America, foods are analyzed, and are not permitted to be used unless they pass a very high standard. Here, as a general rule, we have no such system, and we should therefore do something under the Tariff to protect our own people. The evidence of the manufacturers in Australia is that the use of glucose imparts to confectionery a chewing consistency, and makes it soft. In other words, they say that confectionery in which glucose is, used does not crystallize so readily as does that in which sugar only is employed. Yet it was clearly shown before the Tariff Commission that the same quality can be secured by the use of other ingredients, such as fruit juices, which may be a little more expensive, but are far more wholesome. There was a time when no glucose was used in the manufacture of confectionery in this State, and the people who consumed lollies then fared very well. A few years ago, only a few hundred tons were used in Australia ; but now thousands of tons are consumed. This is an indication of the growth of the use of glucose in the manufacture of confectionery. Senator
Clemons seeks to prevent the introduction of confectionery containing glucose from any other part of the world where there is no guarantee that there is any supervision over its manufacture. I think that we shall be acting wisely by protecting to that extent the people of Australia. The VicePresident of the Executive Council has raised the objection that this would necessitate an analysis being made in respect of every importation of lollies. There would have to be at least a declaration by the importer or the manufacturer abroad that his imports contained no glucose, and if we found that such guarantees were valueless we should prohibit the importation of goods by those who gave them.
– And destroy those which had come in.
– And destroy them at the expense of the importer or manufacturer. I hope that the VicePresident of the Executive Council will agree to the request. He will have an opportunity to make inquiries, and if before we have finally dealt with the schedule he can prove to the satisfaction of the Committee that those who are endeavouring in this way to protect the interests of the consumer are wrong, I am sure that the Senate Will be willing to recommit the item and reverse its decision. For these reasons I trust that the Vice-President of the Executive Council will not oppose the request.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [10.19].- I do not exactly understand this enthusiasm about the exclusion of confectionery - that may contain glucose or plaster of Paris - such as Senator Trenwith says he has been in the habit of consuming for some time without suffering any ill results. I do not understand it in the absence of any indication of a similar enthusiasm for a proposal to keep out glucose from Australia, or to prevent its use. It is well known that for every pound used in connexion with confectionery, tons are used in the manufacture of alleged jams. Senator McGregor pointed out that glucose had been used with fatal effect in the making of beer. I think that Mr. Judkins and a few other enthusiasts would probably tell him that it was not glucose, but beer, pure and simple - or impure and simple - that killed the persons in question. I shouldvote for the , motion, even if it were a request to impose a duty of 6d. per lb. upon these goods, because I find a Ministry absolutely struggling to achieve, if possible, the introduction of impure food. I cannot understand a gentleman of the highly intellectual calibre of the Vice-President of the Executive Council struggling against fate in an effort to poison the children of the community by securing the introduction of glucosecumplasterof Paris lollipops. The thing is so utterly absurd that putting aside the wild hilarity that assails me I should be prepared to vote for a duty of 6d. per lb. on these poison-laden articles of confectionery which Senator Best seems to have taken under his wing with a gentle fluttering of Ministerial feathers.
– Why not prohibit their introduction altogether?
– I would vote for that. It is useless to talk aboutour diminishing birth-rate when the Minister insists upon poisoning; the children who do come into the world with glucose and plaster of Paris lollipops. I should be prepared to vote for any duty that would keep such stuff out.
Request agreed to.
– I may find it necessary to recommit the schedule, and I shall, not therefore press for a division:
Senate adjourned at 10.25 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 30 January 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1908/19080130_senate_3_43/>.