3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– Is it the intention of Ministers to take steps to establish a Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau before the Premiers assembled in Conference have approved of it?
– The Government hasalready intimated its intention of establishing such a bureau, and has made it known that a Bill will be introduced for the purpose, though I cannot say exactly when.
– Will this be done if the Premiers in Conference disapprove?
– The Government will take such steps as it thinks proper inthematter, and will give effect to its own policy.
– In view of the prohibition on the importation of stock from Western Australia imposed by the Governments of some of the eastern States, will the Government request the relaxation of their regulations, and, failing compliance with that request, hasten the passing of the Quarantine Bill, as an alternative remedy for the preservation of Inter-State freetrade?
– It is the intention of the Government, quite apart from the matter referred to, to hasten the passing of the Quarantine Bill. If the honorable senator wilt give notice of his question,I shall be prepared, later, to give a. more definite reply.
– Is the Minister aware that unskilled workmen employed in the pole yardof the Telegraphic Department at 8s. a day are displacing skilled artisans at 10s. a day, despite the promise of the Department, given on 27th October, 1906, that the work should be done by skilled men?
– I have set inquiries in train, and hope to be able to answer the question later in the day.
asked the’ Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
Has the Government vet dealt with the recommendation of the Public Service Commissioner regarding sustenance allowance in North Queensland ? What is the nature of the recommendation ?
– The answer to the honorable, senator’s question is -
Owing to the pressure of other urgent matters, the Government has not yet had an opportunity of dealing with the question, but will do so at an early date. The Commissioner has recommended that an additional twenty-four stations in North Queensland be placed in Scale i. for the purpose of payment of district allowances to officers, to date from the beginning of the next financial year.
That recommendation came from the Commissioner to the Department of Home Affairs on the 4th of the present month, and I sent it on to the Postmaster-General, seeing that his Department is chiefly concerned in the matter. I hope to have the question dealt with at the first meeting of the Cabinet.
– What are the places referred to?
– The list is as follows : - Banana, Bloomsbury, Bowen, Charters Towers, Clare., Clermont, Collaroy, Durah, Emerald, Hawkwood, Mackay, Marlborough, Mossman, Mount Morgan, Nebo, Prosperine, Queenton, Ravenswood, Rockhampton, St. Lawrence, Springsure, Townsville, Westwood, and Yaamba. .
Division VITI. - Earthenware, Cement, China, Glass and Stone.
Item 249. Glass, viz. : - Bent, Bevelled, Heraldic, Sand Blasted, Enamelled, Embossed, Etched, Silvered, or brilliant Cut; Corners Cut, Bevelled, or Engraved; Panes, Prisms, and all Glass framed with metal, ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 30. per cent., and on and after 4th December, 1907, 25 per cent.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 249 by leaving out the word “ Heraldic.”
In the House of Representatives the honorable member for Angas moved to strike out this word, with a view to the free admission of ornamental windows for churches. He pointed out that no tass than ^90 had to be paid in duty in connexion with the windows of a church in Adelaide. It was objected to his proposal that if it were agreed to it might be necessary to strike out the word “engraved,” or to add the word “plain” before “panes.” I ask the Committee to make heraldic glass free, not because it is used for church windows, but because it has been determined, on general principles, that works of art shall be outside the ordinary scope of the Tariff. I am informed that the honorable member for Angas withdrew his amendment on receiving an assurance from the Minister that the matter would be considered in dealing with exemptions. I do not know whether it has been considered, or whether - which is quite likely, because it is not very important - it has been overlooked; but I think that we should hot make this glass dutiable.
– This matter has been brought under my notice since the introduction of the Tariff in the Senate, with a view to having heraldic glass admitted free, on the ground that it is not made in the Commonwealth.
– That is not the view I am putting forward; I am regarding this as a “work of art.
– In the old Tariff there was some provision for the admission free of works of art for public institutions. A debate took place on this question in another Chamber; and on the representations, to which I have referred, being made to me after the introduction of the Tariff in the Senate, I read the report in order to ascertain exactly what took place. I do not know that the Treasurer made any distinct promise that he would endeavour to exempt this glass, but there seemed to be a disposition on the part of the Committee in another place to reject any proposal1 to that end. When the representations were made to me, I remembered that some months before I had received a letter from Mr. W. -Montgomery, an artist in stained glass, who carries on business in Melbourne, referring to the fact that about two years before 12th .September, 1907 - the date of the letter - I was present at the unveiling of a stained-glass window at Launceston, and there expressed ‘my pleasure and satisfaction that such stainedglass windows could be made in Australia. The writer pointed out the necessity for adhering to the Tariff as it was submitted to the House of Representatives, and attached an extract from one of the daily papers published in Launceston, giving details as to this decorative art in churches. As there was some confusion in my mind as to painted glass and stained glass, I caused inquiries to be made by the officers of Customs, with a view to ascertaining, not whether a duty should be imposed, but what distinction there was, if any, between painted glass and stained glass. The following were the replies received : -
Mr. P. Lironi, Little Collins street, Melbourne, states these are similar. The painting and staining is done to produce effect. Glass may be painted, and it may be stained. “ Heraldic “ is glass painted and stained.
Messrs. Bryant & Co., Queen-street, Melbourne, state the work of painted glass and stained glass is performed by the same workman, and is practically the same.
Messrs. E. L. Yencken & Co., Little Collinsstreet, Melbourne. - “Heraldic” is painted and stained glass, and is a special class of work. The work in it is limited to that subject alone, whilst painted and stained glass has a wider field and embraces “ Heraldic.”
Messrs. Brooks, Robinson and Co., Elizabethstreet, Melbourne - Painting of glass and staining of glass is the same. It may be of a different subject to “ Heraldic,” which is also of painted and stained glass. “Heraldic” is confined to the subject of heraldry alone, whereas painted glass and stained glass may be used for windows to represent any subject. Painted glass and stained glass could be imported without being framed, and assembled here to represent a subject.
Mr. W. Montgomery, Alfred place, Little Collins street, Melbourne Painted glass and stained glass is the same class of work and is performed by the same workman. It is not coloured ‘glass. It is a special work placed on glass to represent a subject. “Heraldic” is painted and stained glass, but ends with that subject. Painted and stained glass Gontains “ Heraldic,” and is unlimited as to design. Painted glass and stained glass could be sent to Australia in parts and brought together here to represent a subject other than “ Heraldic.”
Messrs. Brooks, Robinson and Co., and. Mr. W. Montgomery - That stained glass and painted glass should be specially mentioned in Tariff item, so as to distinguish it from “ Heraldic.”
This is entirely different from stained and painted glass, and has a colour imparted to it in its manufacture and is pot glass.. There is a glass which has colours coated upon it, termed “ flashed “ glass.
Staining and painting glass are identical except as to difference in material used.. A pigment is burned into glass in painting. A stain is burned into glass in “ staining.” The burning in of a stain occupies longer time than burning in in painting. Stained or painted glass windows fall under item 249, “ Panes and all glass framed with metal,” 30 per cent. and 25 per cent. It seems to me that this sort of glass can be, and is, manufactured in the Commonwealth.
– And so can paintings and statuary.
– But this glass is manufactured in the Commonwealth ; and I do not see there is any justification for removing it from the dutiable list.
– Then, logically, a duty could be imposed on every painting that comes in.
– I do not think that the analogy is at all complete. A picture may be a single work in itself, quite distinct from replicas of the original.
– What would the Minister call a large window representing scriptural subjects ?
– Cannot that glass- be made in the Commonwealth?
– Why cannot it be made here? At any rate, it can be imported in pieces and assembled here in the form of the required design. Such work as this is, to my mind, quite distinct from a picture or a statue, which is a single original work of art, quite distinct from any replica. All that is required is to obtain the particular glass in colours, and the glass is something distinct fromthe design into which the parts may be subsequently assembled. There may be some originality in the design, but there is no originality whatever in the texture or the material which is used to give expression to. the design.
– The Minister is speaking of the glass and. materials used, whereas we are speaking of the work of art in the production of which they are used.
– We are not dealing now with works of art, but with the item of glass.
– This item will certainly cover a painted or stained-glass window.
– The Minister is dealing with the mere glass, whereas we have in view the completed window.
– No original painting is done on the glass - the painting is only copied.
– If a particular picture or design is required, the whole of the parts may be brought in separately and assembled here. They can be made in the Commonwealth and assembled, or they can be made outside the Commonwealth and here assembled.
– The honorable senator might just as well say that the putting of panes of glass into a window is a work of art.
– I am not saying anything .about a work of art, but simply stating that if the design be prepared. or decided upon, the heraldic glass can be manufactured in the Commonwealth.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that all thicknesses and sizes of the article can be made in the Commonwealth ?
– I do not think that there is any doubt about that.
– Certain kinds of glass are made in England, but not in Belgium, and vice versa.
– The only thing with which I am now dealing is heraldic glass as it appears in item 249. I should be as willing as any one to admit free any article which we could not produce here. I have gone into this matter most carefully, f have read the reports of the debates in another place, and have received representations just as strong as has any other honorable senator, but I think that it1 would be inconsistent with the Tariff and its design to protect Australian industries if we look this particular class of glass out of the item.
– Is the honorable senator aware that there -are in Australia such things as historic stained glass windows, and in the event of others being im:ported would he propose to levy this duty?
– Do I ‘ understand the honorable senator to mean a window which has been transplanted bodily to Australia from an edifice abroad?
– I do’ not know where there are any such windows in Australia.
– I know of one.
– In a case like that a special exemption might very well be made.
– Why ?
– I do not think that for the purpose of allowing the free transfer of a work of art of that kind, we should make heraldic glass generally free, as we shall do if we strike the word “ heraldic “ out of this item.
– Not necessarily ‘, because it will still be open to the Committee, if it wishes, to request the other House to insert a separate paragraph dealing with heraldic glass, and subjecting it to a lower duty than 30 per cent.
– I should say that if honorable senators want to get a provision to admit of the free introduction ot a historic window such as Senator Mulcahy has referred to, they should deal with the matter in a separate item.
– All works of high art should be so dealt with.
– But this is the wrong place in which “to do that. Heraldic glass is the material of which works of art are frequently composed.’ Why, in order to get works of art of a certain class and for certain purposes admitted” free, should . we make absolutely free this product which has already been made in the Commonwealth? Why should we not deal with it separately and distinctly? I am not prepared to agree to the deletion of the word “ heraldic,” but for the purpose of introducing historic works of art I am prepared to go to this extent-
– What does the Minister mean by the term “ historic works of art”?.
– I mean such worKs of art as Senator Mulcahy indicated when he referred to the transfer of a stained glass window to Australia, from an edifice abroad.
– A very generous concession on the honorable senator’s part.
– That is what Senator Mulcahy is aiming at, but, in order to achieve that object, he wants to make heraldic glass absolutely free, and so leave those who are making it here in competition with persons abroad, without any protection at all. .
– How many persons, are engaged in. making it?
– I cannot say. The object of the protective system is not merely to protect industries already established, but also to stimulate and encourage local production. I am ready to meet the honorable senator so far as such works of art are concerned, but I am not prepared to agree to cut out of this item heraldic glass, because it includes very much more than he wants to get admitted free.
Senator DE LARGIE (Western Aus- ‘
Affairs says that he is anxious to meet any reasonable request. That is all he is desired to do ; but I think that he misunderstood the purpose of Senator Mulcahy ‘s inquiry. He referred to works of art being brought into Australia from a building in, say, Europe. I do not expect that for many years to come we shall be able to follow the example of the American millionaire, who takes a window out’ of a palace in Italy and exports it bodily to America.
– Senator Mulcahy quoted that instance, and, of course, I had to deal with it. I did not originate it.
– I wanted to elucidate the Minister’s position.
– These windows are not made in one great piece, but in parts. The parts cannot very well be assembled in another country and the window sent here in a completed form. That work has to be done on the building where the window is to be erected. Therefore it is no concession to say that the parts are put together here. I have the greatest respect for the industry and skill of the Australian workman. I believe that whenever he gets a reasonable show to see how a thing should be done, he is capable of turning out quite as good work as is any other workman. But to say that we, in our present state of development, are as capable of turning out works of art” as is the rest of the world, is to talk a lot of arrant nonsense. In the first place, we have not the artists, for it is quite as much a matter of art to produce a window of this class as it is to paint a picture or produce a statue. In the old Tariff heraldic glass was included amongst works of art, and could be imported free. If we desire’ to encourage the introduction of beautiful works of art, such as stainedglass ‘windows, which will be quite as educational as the Bent Tree, the Light of the World,or other pictures - and into the production of which quite as much art is put as is. put into the painting of pictures - we shall have to omit the word “heraldic” from item 249.
– If that be so, all artistic painted and stained glass should be given the same consideration.
– Surely the honorable senator will admit that it is possible for any one to paint a window or a piece of canvas all in one colour.
– I said that all artisticpainted’ and stained glass was en titled to the same consideration as heraldic glass.
– The honorable senator is perfectly safe in putting it in that way. Some attempts may have been: made in Australia to do this kind of work, and I have seen some of it lately. I have no wish to throw cold water on the effortsof the artists, but I can assure honorable senators that the countenances of some of the figures on the stained glass windows I saw were anything but artistic.
– The honorable senator is an art critic
– A man need not be an art critic to know something of the shape of the human face, and to be able to say whether a representation of it is, or is not, a work of art.
– What about the heraldic glass used in the doors and windows of public houses? Would the honorable senator have that admitted free also?
– That is not artistic work at all. It is a very different class of work from the artistic stained glass work to which I am referring.
– The honorable senator wishes to relieve the upper classes of taxation.
– Is it only the people of the upper classes who take pleasure in seeing an artistic stained glass window in a church or public institution?
– Nothing beats a plain Presbyterian church window.
– I must confess that if there is anything dismal and dreary to be found anywhere it is in a Presbyterian church. I am referring, of course, to the Presbvterian churches which I knew as a boy, before the advent of the “ kist o’ whustles.” It is a principle followed in all Tariffs, whether of protectionist or freetrade countries, that works of art should be admitted free of duty, and I appeal to honorable senators not to impose on an article hitherto admitted free a duty which might be a great burden on those who wish to beautifypublic buildings and churches. Such public institutions are not revenueproducing, and I think we should do what we may to encourage the very laudable public desire for ornamentation of this kind.
-Colonel GOULD (New South Wales) [11.35]. - I hope Senator Millen’s request will be carried. I remind honorable senators that the love of art is universal. It belongs especially to no time and to no country. People can admire works of art in every country, and I should be very sorry if we did anything in this Parliament which would tend to exclude such works. They are important educational factors. I would ask honorable senators what they think is the inducement which causes people to spend hundreds and thousands of pounds in travelling in the Old World if it is not largely the desire to view the old towns and the great public buildings, churches, and works of art to be found there.
– Money is taken from Australia for the purpose of enabling people to see these things.
-Colonel GOULD.- Not only from Australia, but from ‘ America and other parts of the world. People are glad of the opportunity to educate their minds, and indulge their aspirations towards refinement by studying the various works of art, amongst which must be included the heraldic stained glass windows to be found in the glorious cathedrals and great public buildings of the Old World. In a young country like this, especially, we should be careful to do nothing which would prevent our people from availing themselves of opportunities for the study of works of art. In the early days of a young country, the settlers struggle hard to make a living, but as time goes on they have hopes of rising to better things. As they accumulate wealth, they wish those belonging to them to be given an opportunity to study what is beautiful, not only in nature, but in art. We desire that our children in growing up should be surrounded by things of beauty, that their artistic feelings may be stimulated. We know that the names of those who have produced the greatest works of art will live for ever in the memories of the people of the whole world, whilst the tillers of the soil, however worthy they may be, are soon forgotten. I suppose we have all of us had to go through something of the drudgery of settlers in a young country, and as we become older, we have a natural desire for more cheerful and beautiful surroundings. If some attempt were made to bring to this country some great work of art, in order that our people might be given some idea of what could be done in that way, I am sure that the Government could be relied upon to assist such a movement. If we could rely upon such action to enable our people to study a work of art of world-wide reputation, why should we not afford facilities for the introduction of even humbler efforts of an artistic character ? I think we should do what we can to encourage our people to ornament their public buildings and churches with works of art. I do not think we should stop at that. I should like to see our people encouraged to embellish their private houses with such treasures that their children might grow up surrounded by the refining influences of works of this kind.
– We are admitting pictures free.
-Colonel GOULD. - I am glad that it is proposed to admit pictures and statues free as works of art; but will any one tell me that many of the glorious stained glass windows of the cathedrals and churches in the Old World are not as truly works of art as are the finest paintings or statuary ? It has been explained that this painted and stained heraldic glass isnot to be confounded with ordinary coloured glass, which no one would desire to see specially exempt from duty. ‘ It should be borne in mind that there is a master mind’ behind the design of many of these stained glass windows, quite as truly as behind many of the great paintings and statuary. In this case the painting, instead of being put on canvas, is put on glass, and fixed in a window, the pieces being joined together so as to make a complete harmonious whole. We ought to be very careful not to do anything that may by any possibility debar works of that kind from coming into this country. We ought to do everything possible to facilitate their importation for the beautification of our national buildings. I regard our churches as national buildings in the true sense. Certainly their influence is nationally . beneficial when they inculcate taste and refinement among the people. Whether it be a great cathedral belonging to theAnglican or the Roman Catholic Church, or a church belonging to the Presbyterians, Wesleyans, or any other religious body, a building of this character which we term a House of God, fulfils a national purpose, and. never more so than when it is beautifully embellished.
– But not to the extent of making people poor.
– But this will make the people rich - rich in ideas, giving them an opportunity of enjoying works of beauty, and of understanding the means of refinement which are open to the public in the great cities of Europe. Any man who entertains feelings of patriotism, and desires to see Australian citizens continue to live in Australia, will wish to see our cities occupying the same position as do many of the older cities of theworld, where the great public buildings are rich with all the elements of refinement and culture. We want to make our country as desirable in this respect as any country in the world. This is one of the means by which we shall not only attract people to the country, but induce them to be content to make their homes, and to spend the evening of their days, here. . 1 hope that honorable senators will be well advised in regard to this item, and will regard it as affording an opportunity of spreading feelings of refinement, and of cultivating pleasurable thoughts amongst all our people, rich and poor.
– I think that some confusion has arisen from the way in which I have submitted this request. I have no desire to place upon the free list the mere glass upon which the picture subsequently appears.
– The request as moved will have that effect.
– If so, itis clear that my request has been submitted in the wrong way or in the wrong place. I do not want it to cover the glass upon which a picture may be placed. All that I desire is to make free from duty works of art. It seems to me that there is another paragraph in the Tariff upon which my request might more appropriately be moved, namely, item 417, “ Works of art, framed or unframed, imported for public institutions or purposes under departmental bylaws.” That would cover all that I want, except for the interpretation given to the term “public institutions.” That term has been held not to include churches. A church is not a public institution legally. I shall withdraw my request for the time being, and, when we reach item 417,. shall move a request to add after the word “institutions” the words “or churches.” That will enable honorable senators to give a clear vote as to whether they are willing to have works of art admitted free.
– There will be no confusion of the issue then.
– None at all. The purpose of the request will be quite clear.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
Senator DE LARGIE (Western Aus item I should like to be perfectly sure of what we are doing. I understand, from reading the debate in another place, that the item on which we are now engaged was the one upon which the works referred to in Senator Millen’s request were dealt with. If we pass it over, may it not be that we shall lose our opportunity of doing what some honorable senators desire?
-Colonel Gould. - I think we may take the assurance of the Minister that an opportunity will be afforded.
– I wish to make sure that there is no. misunderstanding.
Item agreed to.
Item 250 (Glass), item 251 (Glass,n.e.i.), and item 252 (Glass cells), agreed to.
Item 253. Glassware n.e.i., including smelling and perfume bottles, glass stoppers and fruitjar caps; also Glass bottle marbles, ad val. (General Tariff), 35 per cent., and on and after 4th December, 1907, 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent., and on and after 4th December, 1907, 20 per cent.
– I propose to move a request that a number of articles which are free under item 256 and subsequent items be brought within that now under consideration. For . some extraordinary reason scientific glassware, although a great deal of it is now being made in Australia, has been placed on the free list. The comparative statement circulated amongst honorable senators shows that the Tariff Commission recommended that it should be free, but I have been unable to find in the report of the protectionist section of the Commission any recommendation on the subject. The instruments to which I refer are being manufactured by the firm of Messrs. J. and W. Wilson, of Brisbane, who state that if granted sufficient protection they would also be able to open factories in Sydney and Melbourne. I see no reason why this industry should not be protected as others have been. Honorable senators have received copies of the catalogue giving a list of the scientific articles made by this firm. What is generally known as standardized glassware is manufactured by it under strict Government supervision, in order’ to insure accuracy, the Queensland Government having beeninduced to frame stringent regulations, owing to the inaccuracy of certain cheap German glassware which was being imported. It will be found that a witness who appeared before the Tariff Commission stated that his firm would have to employ only fifty men to turn out all the glass- ware of this nature necessary to meet the Australian demand. That statement was made by the representative of a firm of jewellery importers which is apparently an opponent of the manufacturers I have mentioned. My information is that no less than 8,000,000 electric light bulbs alone are required in Australia, and that a supply of something like 1,500,000 cream-testing bottles, and similar vessels, is necessary to meet the Australian demand. Those figures appear to indicate that the industry is a much larger one than was suggested bv the witness. Messrs. J. and W. Wilson, who manufacture this glassware, state that -
If there is a protective duty imposed on those articles, we are ready to extend our works, increase our plant, and provide employment for a large number of persons. If all the scientific glassware required in the Commonwealth was manufactured in the Australian States, it would give direct employment to over 2,000 people. Provided we getsufficient protection, we are in a position to engage extensively in manufacturing, and will start factories in Sydney and Melbourne, and give employment to our own people instead of to foreigners, giving Australian boys a chance to become good artisans instead of growing up unskilled.
There is only one other point to whichI desire to allude. It will probably be said that we ought to allow scientific instruments to come in free as they are used largely for educational purposes. To that argument I would reply that there is nothing to prevent our providing that scientific instruments used for educational purposes shall be allowed, under departmental regulations, to come in free. But, as a matter of fact, many scientific glassware instruments are in common every-day use on the dairv farm, the sugar factory, and many other industries, and I base my claim for the protection of this industry on the ground that they are now being accurately and satisfactorily made in Australia, under what is practically Government supervision. It is true that the industry has been in existence for only about twelve months, but I understand that the head of the firm has had something like fifty years’ experience in the manufacture of scientific glassware. The firm availed themselves of the opportunity to give evidence before the Tariff Commission in support of their demand for protection. Industries in other parts of Australia are protected, and I fail to see why honorable senators should overlook this one, and neglect to give it the protection extended to others. The Brisbane Telegraph, which is an anti -Federal, and, generally speaking, a free-trade newspaper, in its issue of 4th December, . 1907, urged that whilst industries in and around Melbourne - “near the central tyranny,” as they describe the Seat of Governmentwere protected, those in more remote parts of the Commonwealth, such as the scientific glassware industry of Brisbane, were neglected.
– I have read the article, which is headed “ Vicious Differentiation.”
– Surely the honorable senator does not take any notice of what appears in that “rag”?
– Every man thinks that a newspaper which is opposed to him is a “ rag.” The Telegraph states that the failure to protect the Brisbane manufactures of glassware, although glassware of other sorts made in Melbourne is protected is a most vicious kind of differentiation.
– The honorable senator knows that there is no warrant for that statement.
– It is a fact that glassware made in other parts of the Commonwealth is protected.
– Made not only in Melbourne, but elsewhere.
– The only objection that could be urged against the imposition of a protective duty on scientific glassware is that it is on much the same footing as works of art, and so forth, and that it cannot be made in Australia. I have shown, however, that it can be made here, and therefore hope that honorable senators will agree to my request. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 253, by inserting after the word “Caps” the words “Test Tubes, Vacuum Tubes, Burettes, Weighing Bottles and Tubes, Eudiometers, Fat Extraction Tubes, Filter Pumps, Gas Washing Reduction Absorption and Drying Bulbs Towers and Tubes, Glassware graduated in centimetres grains minims ounces and grammes, Thermoregulators, apparatus for the testing and analysis of milk, cream, wine and other agricultural products.”
– I listened with a good deal of interest and pleasure to the remarks which were addressed to the Committee by Senator Chataway. They seem to indicate that the constant repetition of protectionist arguments by members upon this side of the Chamber has not been without effect. I have also read some of the representations which have been addressed to members of this Parliament by the Brisbane firm to which the honorable senator has alluded, lt appears to me that that firm has made out a very good case. The very excellent catalogues with which it has supplied honorable senators serve to show that it has entered upon an industry of considerable dimensions, and one which should receive encouragement at our hands, because the policy of protection should be applicable to the industries of all the States.
– Did not Senator Chataway support a duty upon bananas?
– I think that his opposition to- protective duties has been limited to their application to our secondary industries. Upon more than one occasion he has voted to extend protection to our primary industries.
– He has done so all along. He has only voted against the imposition of excessive duties.
– I am glad that Senator Chataway is now extending his support to protective duties to our secondary industries, and I hope that he has only taken the first of a series of successive steps in that direction. But I would point out to him that, in order to achieve his purpose, it will not be necessary to add the articles enumerated in his request to this item, because some of them are already included in item 256, and others in item 448. Item 256 specifies as free a number of appliances which are generally regarded as scientific apparatus, and item 448 enumerates a number of similar articles which are admitted free. If these articles are eliminated from the items in question, they will cease to be admitted free, and will fall automatically under item 253, “Glassware n.e.i.” The Government will offer no opposition to a request being made to the House of Representatives to remove these appliances from the free list.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
– Although Senator Chataway’s request has been withdrawn, I may, perhaps, be permitted to say that the firm which’ supplied members of the Committee with the information which induced that honorable senator to take the action which he did has stated that electric incandescent bulbs can, and ought to be, manufactured in Australia, and that their manufacture would afford employment to a very large number of persons. I wish to ascertain from the Minister of Home Affairs whether these bulbs are included in this item as “Glassware n.e.i.” Of course, if they are, there will be no necessity to take any further action, and I am sure that we shall be only too glad, to assist Senator Chataway to achieve the object he has in view.
– I understand that plain electric lighting bulbs are included under this item as “ Glassware n.e.i.”
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 253 by leaving out the words “ also Glass-bottle marbles.” ,
I believe that these marbles can be made in Australia. But the fact is that one firm could manufacture all the glass-bottle marbles that would be necessary, not merely to supply the Commonwealth, but for the whole of the South Pacific. As a result, the small bottle manufacturers would be placed under the control of the large manufacturer who was producing these glassbottle marbles.
– I think that the honorable senator is falling from grace.
– No. When I was requested to move that these marbles should be placed upon the free list, I consulted the largest glass manufacturer in Victoria, who told me that although he made glass-bottle marbles, the facts were as they had been represented to me by other manufacturers, adding that he had no desire to in any way curtail the use of glassbottle marbles by the smaller glass manufacturers of the Commonwealth. ‘ I think that that was very generous conduct on his part. He added that if a duty were levied upon these marbles, and he required all that he produced, the smaller manufacturers would immediately say that he declined to supply them because he did not want them to get any business. Seeing that one factory in Great Britain or Europe could manufacture all the glass-bottle marbles required by the whole world, I think that they ought to be placed upon the free list. The manufacturers themselves are agreed upon this question-
– We are not here to consider the interests of the manufacturers, but the interests of a protective policy.
– Whenever we are considering the interests of protection, we must consider the interests of every industry which is to be protected. . I hope that: the Committee will consider, ‘ not merely the manufacturer of glass-bottle marbles, but also all the other industries that may be prejudicially affected ifmy proposal is not agreed to. If this article is left out of this item it will fall automatically under item 258, which is free.
– I rise only to approve the course of action taken by Senator McGregor, and, if necessary, to stiffen him in the wise resolution at which he has arrived. I do so because I recognise a tendency in the ranks of his own party to regard him as suspect. Probably, later on, there may be a desire to declare him bogus, and eject him from the bosom of the protectionist family. I hope that his party will not do that. There is such an air of reason - ableness about this morning that they might well allow his little slip to pass. To show that that reasonableness is abroad, not long ago Senator Chataway proposed a request which excited the admiration of honorable senators opposite, and therefore it was only a matter of reasonable courtesy that some one on that side should extend to us an equal consideration.
– I should like an explanation from the Minister in charge of the Bill as to the attitude which the Government intend to take on this matter. The Government are responsible for the Bill, and we who have to vote require all the information necessary to enable us to come to a decision. The action taken by Senator McGregor seems somewhat peculiar. Apparently he only reciprocated the action of Senator Chataway in going over to the protectionist side, but if he chooses to come over to the free-trade side it does not follow that those of us who often work with him will do the same.
– Senator McGregor’s request has, so far as I am concerned, been sprung upon the Committee; but I listened carefully to his representations, and am assured by the Customs officer present that what the honorable senator says as to the manufacture of this article in Australia is perfectly correct. There is no reason why the article should remain dutiable.
Request agreed to.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 253 by adding the following new paragraph : - “13 Tumblers; Globes and Chimneys for
Lights, ad val. (General Tariff), 35 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.”
These articles have been, and are being, made in Australia, and will be more extensively made if this measure of protection is agreed to. When the glassware division was being considered in another place, they were recommended for high protection, but another place did not grant it. Some of the arguments used there were very fallacious. It was asserted that the duties first proposed were equal to from 200 to 300 per cent. As a matter of fact, some of the glassware now imported comes into Victoria at about1s. a dozen. The Australian manufacturers cannot find a market for some of their own glassware of this kind, although they are prepared to sell it at 2s. 6d, to 2s.10d. a dozen. These articles come mainly from Germany.
– Where do the other articles in item 253 come from?
– These come mainly from Germany.
– The honorable senator agreed to the other articles in item 253 being dutiable at 25 per cent. Why then should he ask for 35 per cent, on those he has enumerated?
– I am willing to make the duty 35 per cent, on all. The manufacturers of the glassware I have specified say that without duties of 35 per cent. (general Tariff) and 25 per cent. (United Kingdom) their industry will be seriously affected. The wages in Australia are at least 100 per cent. higher than those in Germany. The hours of work are much longer in that country, and this Australian industry, while it is not being strangled, is, at any rate, struggling. The protection I propose will give an additional impetus to industries established in two or more States, and stop the importation of a lot of glassware at such low prices that the Australian manufacturers cannot compete with it.
– Whilst, following the general design of the Tariff, Senator Findley was right, in view of his statements, in proposing to make these articles dutiable, I can only express surprise that he was not content with the same rates as he has just assented to upon articles of a similar manufacture in item 253 - 25 per cent. and 20 per cent. If the honorable senator had proposed those duties in this case I should have let the. proposal go, because it would have squared with the general design of the item, from which the Committee had not dissented. But when he proposes a 35 per cent. duty instead of 25 per cent., I must ask the Committee to. join with me in opposing the request. The honorable senator is again too grasping altogether, or, at any rate, those who are moving him are too grasping. This industry is already established, and the honorable senator ought to show us that an additional 10 per cent. is necessary ; but he has told us a very little about the matter ; and his demand is so excessive as to make opposition imperative.
. -I should like to support a proposal such as that submitted by Senator Findley, but, as a matter of fact, when the Tariff was introduced in another place, the duties on these articles were altogether differently classified. Item 252, in the Tariff, as introduced, was -
Glassware, including packing ; measuring outside the package as imported, viz. : -
Then followed a list of articles, and the duties fixed were 2s. 6d. per cubic foot when cut, and1s. 6d. per cubic foot when not cut. After considerable debate, the Government accepted an arrangement by which that item should be deleted, leaving item 253 as at present. I regret very much that I have been able to ascertain these facts only by very hurriedly turning up the records of. the Customs officers. The first intimation I received that any request of the kind was to be proposed was a moment or two before Senator Findley rose, and it was in the form of a notification from the Department, that the desire was to have duties of 35 and 25 per cent. on globes, and chimneys for lights, and tumblers. I think the Government agreed in another place to a certain arrangement ; and, under thecircumstances, I cannot support a higher duty than that which appears in the Tariff.
.- I regret the action of the Government, because the duty, as it now appears, was fixed in another place towards the close of the session, when members were becoming weary of the Tariff discussion, and I believe that the question was carried by a narrow majority, on misrepresentation.
– My information is that the item was agreed to on the voices.
– The item is so involved that each article was not dealt with on its merits, and, in any event, we are not to be guided by what is done in another place. In my opinion, the protection asked for by the manufacturers is only fair and reasonable.
– The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended only 25 per cent.
– But that was the lowest they would recommend.
– The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission made many recommendations, and, in the major portion of the cases, the Government proposed much higher duties.
– That was on account of the pressure brought to bear by the honorable senator’s party.
– I do not know the reason, but, as a fact, the Tariff, as introduced, was in a different form from that recommended by the protectionist section of the Commission. I understood that the officials of the Department had expressed acquiescence in the request which I have submitted, and yet, at the eleventh hour, the Minister informs me that the Government are unable to lend its support.
– The honorable senator must not complain, because it was only at the eleventh hour thathe submitted his request.
– It was only this morning that I was desired to move in this direction.
– It was only this morning that the Customs Department gave me the information.
– I am credibly informed that the officials of the Department expressed entire approval of the request.
SenatorKeating. - This is the first I know of it; I have had no opportunity to discuss the matter with any one of my colleagues since the action taken in another place.
– The request is a fair and reasonable one from the protectionist point of view; and I hope that the Committee will approve of it.
Question - That; the House of Representatives be requested toamend item 253. “Glassware, n.e.i.,” by adding the following new paragraph : -“(b) Tumblers ; globes and chimneys for lights, ad val. (imports under General Tariff), 35 per cent. (imports from the United Kingdom), 25 per cent.”. (Senator Findley’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 253 by adding the following new paragraph : - “b Glass for photographic plates, under departmental by-laws, free.”
At present there is on this glass a specific duty, which works out at12½ per cent. I candidly admit that I have no personal knowledge of this industry.
– Why should this glass be admitted free?
– Because there is practically no difference between the duty levied on the raw material and the duty on the dried plates, the one being12½ per cent., and the other 15 per cent. I have it upon the authority of two of the largest firms in Sydney that the locallymade plate, whilst excellent for ordinary purposes, lacks the clearness essential for high-class photographic work, and that therefore they have to use the imported article.
– It was argued in another place that this glass should be. admitted free, and the original item was rearranged, I think to secure that object.
-Colonel Gould. - Dry plates are dutiable at 20 and 15 per cent. under item 413.
– Yes. The specific duty on this glass, under paragraph b of item 250, is equivalent to12½ per cent, ad valorem on its average cost. So far as the local glass manufacturers are concerned, the duty cannot be worth much; but I ask honorable senators whether they think it desirable to handicap the photographic business, and to discourage a pleasant occupation like camera work, by an impost of this kind.
.- The Tariff as introduced into the House of Representatives imposed duties of 5s. 6d. and 5s. per 100 superficial feet on polished and patent plate not exceeding 7 superficial feet per plate, and of 8s. 3d. and 7s. 6d. on that exceeding 7 and not exceeding 1.2 superficial feet per plate. But as it was represented that those duties would impose a severe tax on glass used for the making of photographic dry plates, they were struck out, and polished and patent plate up to 25 superficial feet made free on and after 4th December last. I have asked the Customs officials to ascertain what course the Department is following in the matter.
– Paragraph c of item 250 does not cover the glass used in the trade.
– I think that it was intended to do so.
– If thai; be so, there can be no objection to my request, which will make the matter abundantly clear. I understand that the Department is now charging duty on this glass under paragraph b of item 250.
-Colonel GOULD (New South Wales) [12.40]. - I am assured by a photographer that some amendment is necessary to make it clear that glass imported for photographic dry plates is not dutiable. I asked him whether it could not be brought in free under some other item, but he replied that the glass which is admitted free is too heavy for the purpose.
– A leading Tasmanian photographer - Mr. Beattie - has written to me to say that Australian dry plates are simply laughed at by the professional photographers in Australia. He says that the English plate is unapproachable, and is used exclusively in his business, because it is most important that the best material should be employed, considerableloss having been occasioned by experimenting with other material.
Request agreed to.
Item 254. Glass, viz. : - Lenses, n.e.i. ; Locket, Brooch, and Watch Glasses, free.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [12.45]. - Notwithstanding that lenses are here specifically made free, I have been informed by a highly reputable firm that, while British lenses are admitted free, a duty of 10 per cent. is being collected on foreign lenses.
– That is right.
– I am thoroughly in favour of British preference, but I cannot approve of the Government levying taxation contrary to the decision of Parliament. I wish also to know whether it is not a fact that duty has been charged on interchangeable lenses.
– It is quite likely that the lenses to which the honorable senator refers as having been charged duty at the . rate of 10 per cent. come under item 344, whichmakes glasses for spectacles dutiable under the general Tariff at 10 per cent., imports from Great Britain being free.
Item agreed to.
Item 255. Glass, viz. : - Gas Analysis Apparatus ; Arsenic Testing Apparatus and Tubes ; Evaporating Basins, free.
– Although Senator Chataway, a freetrader, is at times ready to move protectionist requests, I do not wish to jump his claim if he has any proposal to make in connexion with this item, but if not, I shall move to make the articles enumerated dutiable, since they can all be made in the Commonwealth. I make that statement on the authority of Messrs. J. and W. Wilson.
– The . next item includes “ gas washing reduction absorption and drying bulbs towers and tubes,” which I think the honorable senator will find are the gas apparatus.
– No; the firm specially drew attention to item 255.
– That is not in a circular letter.
-Undoubtedly, and the circular is dated the 4th December,
– There is a circular dated in January.
– This is the final circular which was sent along. The firm writes as follows: -
On further consideration, we consider that the following letter will be found more intelligible than our previous one relating to the duty on glassware, as we quote only the items expressedin the Tariff Guide.
The articles enumerated in item 255 are being, arid can be, made in the Commonwealth, as stated by the firm. If that be the case, I fail to see why they should not receive the benefit of a protective Tariff” as well as all other industries which arepursued in the Commonwealth.
– Yes; but we want some little evidence about the thing.
– I shall read some particulars for the Information of the honorable senator. The writers of this letter enumerate other items, but this is what they say about the articles included in item
All the above articles can be made here ; we are making and repairing them every day, butonly of special design, as the free importation prevents us from manufacturing- in large numbers the stock patterns. There is no reason why this work should not be all made here; it is work that would prove congenial to Australians, being light andclean, with nothing unhealthy in the occupation. Provided we get sufficient encouragement we are in a position to engage extensively in manufacturing, and to extend our works, increase our plant, and give employment to our own people instead of to foreigners, giving our boys a chance to become good artisansinstead of growing up unskilled, only to increase the number of casual employes, and we assumethat if all the scientific glassware required in the Commonwealth was manufactured in the States it would give employment to over 2,000 hands.
We are of opinion that the evidence contained in the reports of the Tariff Commission is misleading where it says that fifty hands could manufacture tail the scientific glassware required in the Commonwealth. This witness could not possibly have been including the making of incandescent electric lamps, of which there are 8,000,000 required annually throughout the Commonwealth. If those lamps were madein the States it would give direct employment toyoo persons and indirect employment to many more.
Another item I will select to show the importance of this industry isdairy glassware, comprising milk and cream testing bottles, pipettes, burettes, measures, &c. Of the milk and cream testing bottles alone there are millions required annually by the butter and cheese factories, dairy farmers, milk vendors, technical colleges, schools, &c, throughout the Commonwealth, and as our dairying industry develops so will the demand for dairy glassware increase.
After stating the number of butter and cheese factories they conclude in these terms -
We maintain we are right in saying that this industry would employ at least 2,000 hands whendeveloped.
It is not an industry that is going to be confined to Brisbane - we ourselves would undoubtedly start factories in the adjoining States.
There is much hydrometer, thermometer, and other scientific glass work being done now in the other States, although we are apparently the only firm agitating for a duty. This work is being done by Mr. Irrighi, 35 William-street, Paddington, Sydney ; Mr. Esdaile, Hunterstreet, Sydney ; Thos. Gaunt and Co., Bourkestreet, Melbourne; and M. T. Troughton, Albeitstreet, Windsor, Melbourne; and it is probably being done in Adelaide also, although unknown to us.
– There is no importation of the articles contained in item 255.
– There is no record of any importation of such articles.
– Why should we impose a duty on any articles if there is no importation of them?
– The honorable senator is entirely mistaken in saying that there is no importation of these articles.
– According to this schedule not a single penny was paid in duty on them.
– I think that that is why the firm dropped their request.
– In the column not a single figure is given as to the value or quantity of the imports, or the amount of duty paid thereon, and, therefore, the honorable senator assumes that there have been no importations of the goods.
– Take item 250, which is free; in the schedule the value of the imports is given at . £5,018, and the duty as nil.
– The fact of the matter is that the Department has not obtained all this information. The imports of certain things are bulked, and because the officers cannot separate the items, the honorable senator assumes that there have been no importations.
– This is put before us as a true document.
– Of course it is, but the honorable senator is not allowed to read into it anything which he may please.
– I have read nothing into it, but the honorable senator wants to put into it something which is not there.
– The document says nothing, and I am giving an intelligible ex-‘ planation of the whole thing. The firm go on to say -
We therefore trust that the members of the Legislature will see the necessity of imposing a duty of at least 30 per cent., and enable us to build up another large Australian manufacturing industry with factories in all the States comprising the Commonwealth.
That is an exceedingly laudable desire, and if Senator Sayers is sure that no articles of this class are imported, why is he afraid of a duty being imposed?
– Because it is absurd to levy a duty on an article which is not imported.
– Then the duty will be absolutely ineffective.
– We are not playing a farce.
– The honorable senator is continually doing so, although he seems to be unaware of the fact. I do not wish to labour the matter any more, but when we come to the next item I shall have something else to say. I remind honorable senators that gas analysis apparatus, arsenic testing apparatus, and tubes, and evaporating basins, are all used by wealthy corporations such as gas companies. I consider that the articles which they use are just as proper subjects for protective taxes as are articles used by any other people in the Commonwealth. Therefore I hope that, in the interests of an infant industry, the Committee will accede, to my request to make the duty in the first column 25 per cent., and the duty in the second column 20 per cent. I move -
That the House of Representatives be . requested to make the duty on item ‘255 (imports under General Tariff), ad val., 25 per cent.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Givens) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 255 (imports from the United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
Item 256. Scientific Apparatus (glass), viz. : -
Beakers; Flasks; Test Tubes; Vacuum Tubes; Burettes; Weighing Bottles and’ Tubes; Eudiometers; Nitrometers; Radiometers ; Fat Extraction Tubes ; Filter Pumps ; Gas Washing Reduction Absorption and Drying Bulbs Towers and Tubes ; Glassware graduated in centimetres grains minims ounces and grammes; also Carbonic Acid, Sulphuretted Hydrogen, Decomposing Water, and Bacteriological Apparatus of Glass, free.
– In accordance with the remarks I made before, and the understanding arrived at with the Minister, I now move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 256 by leaving out the words “Test Tubes; Vacuum Tubes; Burettes; Weighing Bottles and Tubes; Eudiometers; Nitrometers; Radiometers; Fat Extraction Tubes ; Filter Pumps ; Gas Washing Reduction Absorption and Drying Bulbs Towers and Tubes ; Glassware graduated in centimetres grains minims ounces and grammes;”
– We should be given some reason for removing these articles from the free list.
.- We discussed this matter this morning at some length. Senator Chataway proposed to include the articles referred to in his request in a separate item, and to make them dutiable at a certain rate. It was pointed out that the Government had no objection to this proposal, as the honorable senator . showedthey were being produced in the Commonwealth, but he was advised that the best course to adopt would be simply to move their omission from item 256, when they would come automatically under 253, Glassware, n.e.i., and be dutiable at the rate provided for under that item.
– Honorable senators are necessarily under’ very great disabilities when called upon to deal without notice with requests referring to articles with even the names of which they are not familiar. I am not opposing Senator Chataway’s request, but I point out that we have been falling into the habit of adopting requests without any other information than that put forward, through a. member of the Committee, and, no doubt bond fide, by an individual firm. I have to-day been asked to vote for two or three requests with little or no information, and without knowledge as to how far they have been justified. I make the suggestion that it wouldgreatly facilitate the work of considering the Tariff if honorable senators would endeavour to give the earliest possible notice of their intention to move requests, and especially such as involve the creation of new items. .
Request agreed to.
Item 257 (Screens, Process Engravers’) agreed to.
Item258. Bottle Stoppers n.e.i., free.
– In the absence of Senator McGregor, I move on his behalf -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 258 by inserting after the letters “n.e.i.” the words “also Glass Bottle Marbles.”
The object of the request is to make it quite certain that glass-bottle marbles will be admitted free of duty, as Senator McGregor intended in the request which was carried for their omission from item 253, Glassware, n.e.i.
Request agreed to.
Item 259 (Bottles, n.e.i., Flasks, and
Jars, empty) agreed to.
Item 260. -
And on and after 4th December, 1907 -
Bottles n.e.i., Flasks and Jars filled : -
– In accordancewith notice, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 260 by leaving out the word “ filled “ with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ containing goods not subject to ad val. duty.”
– The Minister proposes, to exempt bottles that contain goods that are not subject to ad valorem duty. Is that really what is meant? Why is this distinction drawn between ad valorem and specific duties? If the Minister will look into the matter he will see that the proposed amendment goes either too far or not far enough. We have agreed to the imposition of a duty on empty bottles, and it would be consistent with that to provide that bottles imported containing nondutiable goods should bear the duty, as from the point of view of the Customs they would for all practical purposes be the same as empty bottles. The Minister now proposes the insertion of a proviso which imposes a duty on bottles imported containing goods subject to only one form of duty. Surely if there is anything in the proposal at all it should cover all bottles containing dutiable goods. For instance, assuming that we have imposed a specific duty on oil, if it is imported in bottles the duty is levied on the bottles as well as on -the oil, but under the Minister’s present proposal if the duty imposed on the oil were an ad valorem duty no duty would be charged on the bottles in which it was introduced. That does not appear tome to-be reasonable. I submit that the words to be inserted should be “ containing goods not subject to duty.”
– I think the proposed amendment, if carried, would be more consistent. Where goods subject to an ad valorem duty are imported in bottles, the value upon which the duty is collected is that of the bottles and their contents. On the other hand, if a gallon of a certain kind of oil subject to a certain fixed duty were imported in a bottle, the duty would be levied on the contents, and the bottle would escape duty.
– Surely the value for ad valorem purposes is calculated on the contents and the bottle together.
– So it is with a specific duty.
– No. Suppose there are 100 separate bottles coming in, each containing a gallon of a certain oil, dutiable at a specific rate. The Customs do not estimate the value of those bottles to assess the duty. But if the duty were ad valorem, the Customs would assess the value of the bottles as well as the contents. . It is just to equalize matters that I propose this request. In connexion’ with every ad valorem duty the value of the bottle is counted in. An individual bottle may be of little value, but if there are several hundred bottles the value is calculated in the value of the imports, and pays 30 or 35 per cent., as the case may be.
– Surely specific duties have been fixed with some regard to the value of the article to which the -duty applies.
– We do not know in what sort of containers goods may be imported. It would be possible to put articles bearing a specific duty into bottles which were of particularly high value, when the payment of duty on the bottles would be escaped. But it would not be possible to put articles, subject to ad valorem duty into such bottles and escape payment.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) [2.32I. - There is not much inducement to submit requests and support them by argument, seeing that they are voted upon bv honorable senators who are not present to hear what is said. But as I still “think that my view is correct, I move - ‘
That the request be amended by leaving out the words “ ad val.”
– I think that at least we should have a ‘quorum present to hear the question stated. [Quorum formed.^
– I hope Senator Millen will not press his amendment on my request. Articles come into the Commonwealth in bottles, some of which are subject to ad valorem duty and some to specific duty. In order to assess the duty payable where the duty is ad valorem, the value of the bottles will always be counted in. But my honorable friend’s proposal, if carried, would mean that if goods subject to specific duty were imported the bottles would not be dutiable. But, as a matter of fact, the. bottle could not escape paying duty when it contained articles subject to ad valorem duty. It would pay duty at the particular ad valorem rate applicable to the contents. When bottles come in containing articles subject to a specific duty, why should they be exempt? Is it not much more reasonable that they shall pay duty? If my request be adopted, bottles, flasks, and jars containing goods not subject to ad valorem duty - that is, containing- no goods at all or goods taxable under specific duty would be subject to duty at this prescribed ad valorem rate. We do not propose to separate the bottle from the contents where the contents are subject to ad valorem duty and impose a uniform duty upon the bottle, but the bottle’s value will still be counted in, and the ad valorem rate levied on the total value. But we provide that with regard to all other bottles, including bottles containing goods subject “to specific duty, these rates now before us are to be the rates. Otherwise the bottle duties would be evaded by sending in bottles containing articles subject to specific rates of duty.
– I cannot withdraw my amendment, especially after listening to Senator Keating. His contention might be a sound one if specific “duties had been fixed without any regard to the value of the products on which they are levied. But although they are levied on each individual article, I still venture to say that these specific duties have, in theory at any rate, been fixed with some regard to the items to which they attach. Assuming that a specific duty has been fixed with some regard to the value of the article, it is to all intents and purposes an ad valorem duty made a specific one for convenience of collection. That is the simple and sole reason for specific duties in most cases- the ease with which the duty may be collected. We have fixed an ad valorem duty on oil.Under the Minister’s proposal, when oil comes in bottled, the bottle will pay no duty. But if to-morrow we decided to convert that ad valorem duty into a specific duty, the oil and the bottle both would have to pay duty. It does not seem to me that there is any reason in that. If duty is collected upon oil upon an ad valorem basis, the bottle comes in free, but the same bottle having the same contents would, if we charged a specific duty, pay duty. I propose to press my amendment.
– The distinction sought to be made by the Minister will affect all the agricultural products and groceries which appear under fixed duties. That, I think, was never intended.
– It was intended that bottles should pay duty, and when containing dutiable articles they do pay duty.
– I do not agree with the Minister. Take linseed oil. That is imported in bottles. What the Minister proposes will amount to an extra charge, and the food of the people will be increased in. price. I must oppose the request.
Question - That the request (Senator
Keating ‘s) be amended by leaving out the words “ ad val.” (Senator Millen’ s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request agreed to.
– I have a request to move in respect of paragraph a, under which bottles up to and including a capacity of five fluid drams are free. In most cases the State laws for the regulation of trade are so lax that a bottle with a fluid capacity of only 5 or 6 drams is often foisted on the public as containing 8 drams, or, in other words,½ ounce of some liquid. The 5-dram bottles, which are admitted free, so nearly approach in size the 6-dram bottles that it is probable their free admission will be availed of by many persons to practise on the public the fraud I have mentioned. I am aware that these smaller bottles can be manufactured in Australia, but the demand for them is not large enough to warrant our placing a duty upon them. But, with a view to preventing 5-dram bottles being sold to the public as containing½ an ounce of fluid, I should like the capacity of bottles coming under paragraph a to be reduced to 4 drams. If that course were adopted, there would be no possibility of bottles containing only 4 drams of liquid being sold as containing½ an ounce. The State law of Victoria prevents such practices, but I do not think that there is any restriction in this regard in the other States. I, therefore, move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 260, paragraph A, by leaving out the figure “ 5 “ and inserting in lieu thereof the figure “4.”
– The object which my honorable friend has in view is an excellent one, but I do not think that the method by which he seeks to achieve it would be effective. His contention is that some persons practise the fraud of passing off 5-dram bottles of medicines or other liquids as containing an ounce, and that this would be obviated by making 5-dram bottles dutiable. If the duty were sufficiently high there might be something in his contention. At present bottles with a capacity of up to 5 drams are free, whilst the duty on bottles of a capacity of over 5 drams, and not exceeding 10 ounces, is only one-twelfth of a penny each, so far as imports from the United Kingdom are concerned. If this fraud is practised, then the vendors of liquids, in the event of the request being agreed to, could choose between saving one-twelfth of a penny on every bottle or the value of the extra dram or two which the larger one would contain. It does not seem to me that they would hesitate as to their choice. They would sooner pay the duty on the 5-dram bottles, and sell them as containing½ an ounce, because of the higher price which they could charge. One way of checking such a practice would be to make bottles with a fluid capacity up to 6 drams free. That would remove the temptation to use the 5-dram bottles.
– No; they would then use the 6-dram bottles.
– That would be a step in the direction desired by the honorable senator.
– I do not wish them to get such bottles free for that purpose.
– If they are using 5-dram bottles for the purpose of putting up what is foisted on the public as 8 drams of fluid - and with all due respect to the honorable senator, I have some doubt on the point - by compelling them to use 4-dram bottles we should enable the public to detect the fraud. It would be better, however, to enlarge the size of the bottles that may come in free of duty. If that were done, the fraud would be much less serious than it now is. I have, however, another suggestion to make. I do not think we should endeavour to provide by means of varying duties for regulations of this kind ; but if it is thought desirable by means of the Tariff to check such practices, it would be better to declare that these bottles should have stamped upon them their fluid capacity. That would be a more effective way of attaining Senator McGregor’s object. Many bottles have now stamped upon them marks, lettering, the names of manufacturers, and so forth, so that there would be no difficulty in giving effect to my suggestion.
– As it has hitherto been the practice to allow bottles with a capacity of up to 5 drams to come in free, I would suggest to the Committee the desirableness of allowing that practice to remain undisturbed.
– I do not think that Senator McGregor will achieve his object by an interference with this item. He has already pointed out . that it would be impossible for a fraud of the character he is anxious to prevent to occur in Victoria ; that the State legislation would prevent it. I do not think that an alteration with respect to the fluid capacity of these small bottles, which are admittedfree, would effect the desired result. As has been pointed out by Senator Millen, the duty on bottles exceeding a capacity of 5 drams is only1½d. per dozen under the general Tariff, and1d. per dozen in respect of the United Kingdom. I hope that the honorable senator will not press his request.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [2.57]. - I wish to bring under the notice of the Minister the views of persons engaged in the wine and spirit trade, ‘because it is in that trade that the bottles dealt with in paragraph c are chiefly used. It is considered that the duty of 2d. per dozen on quart bottles, and of 1½d. per dozen upon pint bottles, should be abolished. On still wines imported in bottles a higher duty has been imposed than upon still wines imported in bulk, so that provision has really already been made for a duty on the bottles or packages.
– The same provision applies to ale, beer, and stout imported in bottles, the object being to encourage local bottling.
– There is an old North-country saying that any stick will do to beat a dog. It seems that there is such a multiplicity of excuses for getting at the pockets of the people under the Tariff that it is very little use to put forward anything like valid reasons against the imposition of a duty. In the matter of sparkling wines, which can be imported only in bottles, a still higher duty is in operation.
– We now make them here.
– The same remark is applicable to the duty levied upon spirits imported in bottles as compared with that imposed upon spirits imported in bulk. I presume that it is hopeless for me to ask that these bottles shall be admitted free. But, as a very great deal of trade is done in the Commonwealth in this line,. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 260, paragraph c (imports under General Tariff), per dozen,1½d.
I submit the proposal in the hope that it will be sufficiently indorsed to warrant me in pressing, it to a division.
– I merely wishto point out that the duty proposed in respect of this paragraph is” a very low one.
It applies to bottles over 10 ounces, and not exceeding. 20 ounces, fluid capacity.
– Does the Minister know what ad valorem rate the duty represents ?
– I am informed by the Customs officials that, roughly speaking, the duty proposed under the general Tariff would represent 10 per cent., and that under the Tariff for the United Kingdom 7½ per. cent. These bottles can undoubtedly be made in Australia. Probably they can be made very much more easily than can bottles of a lesser capacity upon which it has been agreed that a duty of1½d. per dozen shall be levied under the general Tariff and of1d. per dozen under the Tariff for the United Kingdom.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 5 .
Question so resolved in the negative.
– - In accordance with notice, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 260, paragraph,d, by inserting after “ 20 ozs.” the words “ and not exceeding 60 ozs.”
If my proposal be carried, I shall then move the insertion of the following new paragraph -
The object of this new paragraph isto impose duties of 25 and 20 per cent. upon large demijohns and other vessels of that kind which are used for containing liquids in wholesale quantities.
.- May I ask. the Minister to explain why the Government wish to substitute ad valorem rates for fixed duties in respect of the proposed new paragraph, seeing that all the other lines under this item bear specific duties?
– Bottles above a capacity of 60 fluid ounces hold varying quantities, and are of varying values.
– It appears to mo that it is a mistake to levy different forms of duty upon different lines of the same item.
– The Minister of Home Affairs informed the Committee a few moments ago that the fixed duties agreed to in respect of the previous paragraph represented, approximately, advalorem rates of 10 per cent, and 7½ per cent. If that be so, it seems strange that he should now propose duties of 25 per cent, and 20 per cent. upon bottles of a slightly larger capacity. If a 10 per cent.’ duty be sufficient to levy upon bottles over 10 ounces and not exceeding 20 ounces fluid capacity, surely it is not necessary to impose 25 per cent. upon bottles of two or three times that capacity. I should like the Minister to consider whether he cannot accept a lower rate in respect of the new paragraph.
.- Of course, the ad valorem rateto be imposed upon paragraph e is a matter for discussion after my present proposal has been dealt with. But if. we limit paragraph d to bottles of 60 ounces, bottles and flasks of a greater capacity will include stone jars, large flasks, and demijohns, which it would be ridiculous to make dutiable at 2½d. per dozen. A duty of 25 per cent, under the general Tariff, and of 20 per cent, under the Tariff for the United Kingdom has been suggested, in order that these rates, may harmonize with the duties imposed upon glassware n.e.i. and earthenware n.e.i.
Request agreed to.
Request (by. Senator Keating) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 260 by inserting the following new paragraph : - “ (e) Over 60 ozs. fluid capacity, ad vai. (General Tariff), 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) upon the request moved by the Minister. The reasons which he gave for the duties that he has proposed do not appear to me to be at all satisfactory. He evidently forgets that in proportion as the ad valorem rates proposed are in keeping with those levied upon glassware n.e.i. and earthenware n.e.i., they are out of keeping with the duties that we have already imposed in respect of the previous paragraphs of this item.
– The fixed duty in respect of paragraph d works out at about 14 per cent. under the general Tariff, and at 11 per cent. under the Tariff for the United Kingdom.
– The duties agreed to in respect of the two new paragraphs disclose some rough uniformity, but I cannot see why, simply because the vessels specified in this new paragraph are of a larger capacity, they should be called upon to bear an increase of duty of 300 per cent. We must recollect that the freight charges upon this class of goods, are ex- tremely heavy. I move -
That the request be amended by leaving out the figures “25” and inserting the figures “ 15,” and leaving out the figures “ 20 “ and inserting the figures “ 10.”
– The Minister might well agree to Senator Millen’s proposal, in view of the extraordinary difference between the freight charges on small and very large bottles. That difference in the freight is a material protection in itself.
– The natural protection in the shape of freights,&c., on the smaller wine, beer, and spirit bottles was calculated to amount to about 130 per cent., and yet the Government would not agree to make the duty on those articles lower. But on these bigger vessels, the natural protection must reach 500, or 600, or even 1,000 per cent. Surely, then, the Government will not be so obstinate as not to yield to us to some extent in this instance? We have agreed, although unwillingly, to an enormous protection on the great bulk of the bottles that come in, and surely the Government in this case might temper the wind a little to the shorn lamb.
– To make the duty so high upon these large vessels will most probably prevent the importation of liquids in them, and consequently what rebottling is now done here will be done elsewhere. That will be a disadvantage to Australia.
– Senator Millen asked me a little while ago at what rate the specific’ duties on paragraph c would work out. Roughly, they are equiva-. lent to 10 per cent, (general Tariff), and 7½ per cent. (United Kingdom) ad valorem. Similarly, in the case of paragraph b, the fixed rates are approximately equal to per cent. and41/3 per cent., while, on paragraph d, they are 14 per cent. and11 per cent. Now in paragraph e we come to vessels containing 60 fluid ounces and upwards. Only a minimum is fixed in this paragraph. The vessels may be of unlimited capacity. There is a bigger range of contents in this case than in any of the preceding items, and so we propose duties of 25 and 20 per cent. Although the freight charges referred to by ‘Senator Gray and Senator St. Ledger may be very heavy, those honorable senators have overlooked the fact that the vessels have costly contents. The freight charges must be debited to the contents as well as to the container. . Therefore, the natural protection on the vessels is not nearly so great as Senator St. Ledger calculated. These duties will operate on demijohns, stone jars, and vessels of that kind. In the circumstances, in relation to the duties which have already been agreed to, the rates I now propose are not disproportionately large.
– The Minister has been misled, and is rather leading the Committee astray. Sixty ounces means only’ 3 pints. How. then, can he talk about demijohns and other vessels of large capacity?
– This paragraph refers to vessels of 60 ounces and upwards.
Question - That the request be amended by leaving out the figures “ 25 “ and inserting the figures “ 15,” and. leaving out the figures “ 20 “ and inserting the figures “ 10 “ (Senator Millen’s amendment of Senator Keating’ s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the request be amended by leaving out the figures “ 25 “ and inserting the figures 20,” and by leaving out the figures “ 20 “ and inserting the figures “‘15”
The duty proposed, with the freight and packing charges added, would be almost prohibitive. In those circumstances, the Government might well have agreed to Senator Millen’s amendment. Another reason for reducing the duties is that given by Senator Chataway, that if large imports in bulk are discouraged, great injury will be done to Australia from a protective point of view, by lessening the amount of work given here in repacking and. rebottling.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request agreed to.
Item 261. Glue -
And on and after 4th December, 1907 - 261. (a) Glue, ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
Request (by Senator Keating) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 261 by leaving out paragraph a with a view to making glue dutiable under paragraph c.
– The proposal to bracket glue and gelatine is a commendable one, because the Customs Department, and business people generally, find it difficult to determine when a substance ceases to be glue and commences to be gelatine; but, unfortunately, the effect of the Minister’s proposal would be to make glue dutiable at 2d. and1½d.. per lb. instead of at ad valorem rates of 30 per cent. and 25 per cent. As some glues are worth from 30 per cent, to 100 per cent. more than others, the proposed change will largely increase the duty on the lower qualities of glue. I intend, therefore, to oppose the request, with the object, if it be defeated, of moving a reduction in the ad valorem rates.
– Would the adoption of the Minister’s proposal increase, or decrease, the duties on glue?
– On the average, they would remain about the same.
– Is not gelatine, like glue, a raw material ?
– Yes. Gelatine is more refined than glue, but it is difficult to say exactly when a substance ceases to be glue and becomes gelatine.
– A fixed duty on this article will have the effect of giving a preference to Great Britain, seeing that English glue, like Australian glue, is made from hide pieces and better material, and is of infinitely superior quality to that manufactured on the Continent. To a great extent low-class glue; which only deceives the purchaser, or leads to bad work and fraud on the part of unscrupulous contractors, will be excluded.
– Evidently the honorable senator desires to encouragethe manufacture in Australia of low-grade glue.
– Not so ; my desire is to confine the importation to highgrade glue.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [3.45]. - I am in accord with the Ministerial proposal, and with the remarks of Senator Trenwith, and, therefore, not in harmony with Senator Millen, who suggests that the object is to secure the manufacture of low-grade glue in Australia. In the United Kingdom glue is made from hide pieces and fleshings, whereas on the. Continent it is made from bones collected by gatherers . in the streets of Paris and other continental cities. Similar high-class glue is made in Australia, and, therefore, it will be more to the advantage of importers to place on the market high-class goods than it will be to import low-class goods at a specific duty. Then, it is a fact that the Customs Department and the trade are unable to differentiate, even by analyses, I am informed, between glue and gelatine; and an ad valorem duty lends itself to the importation of gelatine under the head of glue.
– That does not apply to all gelatine and all glue.
– Of course, there are other classes of gelatine of very high grade, used for confectionery and so forth; nevertheless, under an ad valorem. duty gelatine may be imported as cheap glue, and it would be much better to have a ‘specific duty. I am not now speaking as to the rate of the duty, but merely supporting the grouping of these similar articles, and placing a difficulty in the way of fraudulent importations by means of misrepresentation as to the nature and value of the article. Theglue industry is no small one in Australia - I may say that it grew up in New South Wales without the aid of any duty - and it is peculiarly applicable to a country which raises such large herds of horned stock. To all intents and purposes it is a primary ‘ industry, inasmuch as it provides for the profitable use of that which would otherwise be waste products.
– I remind the Minister that as this duty has been collected the other House cannot strike out the paragraph. I think that the proper method for him to adopt, in order to achieve his object, is to move a request to make the duties on paragraph a correspond with the duties on paragraph c.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
Request (by. Senator . . Keating) pro posed-
Thai the House of Representatives- be requested to make the duty, on item 261,. paragraph a (imports under General Tariff), per lb., ad.
– I have been furnished with some information concerning the duty on glue, and it appears that there is a conflict of opinion among those interested in the industry. I have received a letter from an agent, who wants a high duty on glue, but a man who is engaged in the trade in Sydney writes -
Glue is manufactured in South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales fromraw materials obtainable entirely in the Commonwealth. Glue making is generally only a department in largerworks, tanneries, &c, and although such works employ lar,ge numbers of hands, yet it glue making alone there cannot be more than from fifteen to twenty hands employed throughout the Commonwealth. Glue making was firmly established in South Australia and New South Wales before the imposition of any Tariff. The cost of importing is high owing to bulk, ‘ and the “natural protection “ therefore amounts to about 20 per cent. The duty handicaps the following trades : - Cardboard box-makers, bookbinders, and furniture manufacturers, glue being one of their raw materials. The Barton Government imposed a duty of 2d. per lb. (equal to 60 per cent.), whereupon prices rose enormously; but when the House of Representatives reduced tbe duty to 20 per cent. the price of colonial glue fell from £45 to£34 and of imported glue from £58 to £38 per ton.
– It could not be owing to the duty, because it was not much.
– Considering that the writer is in the trade, I take it that he knows what he is writing about. Honorable senators on the other side often say that tbe imposition of a duty does not increase the price of an article, but here is a manufacturer deliberately saying that it does. He continues -
When the duty of 2d. per lb. was imposed, a combine was formed and the price fixed at £4$, about£13 per ton advance on previous Sydney price. The House of Representatives reduced the duty “ on and after the 21st February, 1902.” Next day the combine collapsed, and the price fell as above mentioned.
That is, I think, clear evidence that if we impose a duty of 2d. per lb. users of glue will have to. pay from £15 to £20 a ton more for their- supplies. I received this letter from Mr. P.. J: Firth, of Darlington, near Sydney. I can only quote to the Committee the information which he has supplied to me and, I believe, to other honorable senators. He is a manufacturer, and I do not think that he is likely to make a statement which any one could refute here.
– And the figures he gives entirely conform to the reduction of the duty.
– Yes, and I take it that his statement is true. I do not see any reason why we should impose a high duty on glue. He concludes in these terms -
If the Senate be averse to placing glue on the free list T suggest a duty of 20 per cent, on foreign and 10 per cent, on British glue, which would tend to help the Scotch and English glue manufacturers ; in any case at least 10 per cent, preference should bc given, .not 5 per cent, as passed by the House of Representatives.
He means to say, and from what I have heard I believe, that British glue is the best which can be used. If we impose a duty of so much per pound, it will force persons, to a great extent, to use an inferior glue in making furniture and other articles. In view of the small number of persons engaged in the glue-making industry, there is no necessity to impose a high duty, if we want people to get the. benefit of the best glue which can be obtained. The best’ class of glue which is made in England should be admitted at a lower duty than the poorer class of glue which is made on the Continent; and I should like to see the duty made high enough to keep the latter article out of our marker. I am’ quite prepared to support the imposition of a duty on glue, and, although Mr. Firth wants it to be admitted free, I think that his suggestion to impose a duty of 20 per cent, in the general Tariff, and of 10 per cent, in the- preferential Tariff, should meet the views of ‘nearly every one.
Senate adjourned at 4 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 28 February 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1908/19080228_senate_3_43/>.