3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– With the concurrence of the Senate, I beg to move, without notice -
That this Senate desires to express its deepest sympathy with Lady Linlithgow and family in the great loss sustained by them by the death of the late Marquis, and to place on record its regret and grief at the untimely decease of the first Governor-General of Australia, whose abilities and kindness had endeared him to its people.
That Mr. President be requested to convey the foregoing resolution through His Excellency the
Governor-General to the Marchioness of Linlithgow.
Since our last meeting the cable has brought the sorrowful news of the deathof the first Marquis of Linlithgow, better known in our midst as Lord Hopetoun, and I think it fitting that the Senate should record its regret at this unfortunate event. It has caused me the greater grief, because, as one of his Ministers when he was Governor of Victoria, I was brought officially and privately into close connexion with him, and had especial opportunities of learning his genuine worth as a man. But it is as first Governor-General of Australia that the Parliament of the Commonwealth cannot fail to recognise the untimeliness of his death. Most of us remember to have seen him sitting in the chair which you, Mr. President, now occupy. We call to mind the dignity with which he discharged his office, the full constitutional’ knowledge which guided and aided him in the realization of its duties, and the charming personality whereby he established such cordial relations with his Ministers. It was as -a. man that he endeared himself to the people of the whole of Australia. By his’ ability, his tact, his charity, his gentleness, and his manliness, he gained a firm position in the hearts of the people, and entitled himself to their most genuine regard. In his death Australia has lost a good friend, and the Empire one of its best and greatest citizens. We all deplore the fact’ that so promising a . career was so early brought to a close, but can only pay our tribute to his memory by placing on record our appreciation of his worth.
– The motion which the VicePresident of the Executive Council has submitted, and the. extremely appropriate words in which he commended it to our consideration, will, I am sure,have the support of every honorable senator. As he said, it is only fitting that this branch of the Parliament of the Commonwealth should place on record its sense of the loss sustained by the death of one so intimately associated with the inauguration of Federation. The motion which we are about to pass is but a small tribute to the merits of the deceased statesman compared with that represented by the profound feeling of sorrow which permeated the community when the news of his death was first received. As Lord Hopetoun he, in a peculiar degree, won the esteem and confidence of the people of Australia. The regard in which he was held was not confined to the people of Victoria, with whom he was particularly associated during his first term of office in this part of the world. It is a singular testimony to his official capacity, his genial disposition, and’ his personal charm that, when his term as Governor of Victoria ended, the citizens of a sister State claimed an opportunity to do him honour. I do not think that the Senate could more truly represent the feeling of the people of Australia, or more faithfully give expression to their views, than by placing, by a -motion of this kind, a small tribute on the grave of one who was a faithful servant of the Empire, a loyal and genuine, friend to Australia, and, above all, a kind and courteous gentleman. I second the motion.
– Every member of the Senate, and particularly the members of the party to which I belong, is at all times ready to extend his sincerest sympathy to those who are bereaved in the manner in which the family of the late Lord Linlithgow has been. I hope that this sentiment will always be felt and expressed by all who have the best interests of humanity at heart.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [2.37]. - I take the opportunity to say a word, on the motion which has been so ably and feelingly commended to us by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, in regard to the personality of the late Lord Linlithgow. I had not, like my honorable friend, the opportunity of ministerial service under that distinguished nobleman and statesman, but-, while he was Governor of Victoria, and, later, and more intimately, while he was Governor-General of Australia, I enjoyed his personal friend^ ship, and I know that what has been said about the regard in which his great powers and his great services caused him to be held falls short of the esteem created by his personal worth. When in England last year I met the Marquis again, and what has been said regarding his friendship for Australia leads me to add that the Commonwealth had no more sincere friend or devoted helper throughout the whole realm of the Empire. The deceased Marquis, referring to the time he spent in this country, spoke to me of Australia as a ‘ lover might speak of his mistress.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South family or clan of which the late lamented peer was the head, and so distinguished an ornament, I may be permitted briefly to say how much I appreciate the words which have fallen from the Vice-President of the Executive Council and from Senator Millen in connexion with the death of one of the prominent Empire-builders of the great nation to which we all belong.
Question resolved in the .affirmative.
– I wish to ask the Minister of Home ‘ Affairs, without notice, whether he is in a position to supply the Senate with any fresh information as to the steps taken to expedite the survey of the Transcontinental Railway, . or to say what is being done in connexion with the matter ?
– In reply to the honorable senator, I may say that the first Cabinet meeting since the receipt of the report of the Engineers-in-Chief of the States was held this morning-, when the matter was brought up by me, and received the consideration of the Government ; action in connexion with the matter will be proceeded with at once.
– I wish to direct the attention of the Vice-President of the Executive Council to an intimation which appears in the Age of this morning, in which he is reported as saying, in reply to a question about the establishment of an agricultural bureau, that the Govern- 1 ment intended to establish such bureau whether the States Premiers were in favour of it or not. I am anxious) to know whether the Vice-President of the Executive Council is disposed to. modify that statement in any way?
– The statement I made on the subject is very clear. First of all, I think that I mentioned that the Government intended introducing a Bill on the subject, and, secondly, that I was unaware of the exact date when it would be introduced. In response to a question by Senator Dobson, as to whether the Agricultural Departments of the States were to be consulted upon the subject, I stated that the Federal Government intended to carry out their own policy. I did observe that the words to which Senator Macfarlane refers were quoted against! me, but, as a matter of fact, I did not make use of them. That this. Government is determined to establish a Federal Agricultural Bureau I have already intimated to the Senate, and concerning that determination, we do not find it necessary to consult the States Governments in any way. But in determining the scope of the operations of the bureau, we shall be only too pleased to seek the co-operation and cordial assistance of the States Agricultural Departments. In this connexion we shall, of course, be -pleased to learn that the States Governments are prepared to help in the achievement of this very important object.
– Arising out of the reply, might? I ask if I am right in assuming that the ‘Vice-President of the Executive Council means to say that the Government intend to establish a Federal Agricultural Bureau, whether the States Governments agree to it or not?
– That was the inference from the honorable senator’s former reply.
– Senator Macfarlane can surely attach the proper meaning to the words I have. used. I have told him that the Government intend to start an agricultural bureau, but that the cooperation of the States Governments will be sought in deciding the scope of its operations. We hope the States Governments will be prepared to afford us every facility and help in achieving the same great end which they have themselves had in view in “th’e establishment of the States Agricultural Departments. It is, of course, the desire of this Government to work with the States Governments in all things.
– Iri reply to the honorable senator, J may say that his in,timation is the first which I personally have had of the break-down and disorganization of the telegraph service referred to. Consequently I am not in a position to reply fully to. the honorable senator at the present moment. I shall make inquiries with regard to the matter during the course of the afternoon. I have no doubt steps are being taken to remedy what has been complained of, and, if not, I shall submit the honorable senator’s question to the Department as a representation that such steps should be taken.
– I am glad the honorable senator has put the matter in that way, and I shall take advantage of a later opportunity to remind him of the matter.
– I point out to the honorable senator that it is not a question of distance’ that determines the rapidity with which telephonic communication is established.
– Sometimes it is.
– Possibly the telephones at the place with which the honorable senator wished to become connected were engaged or out of order, .or there may have been some other reason for the delay referred to. ‘
– I should like to ask the Minister representing the Postmaster-General whether he is in a position to supply me with information in reply to a question whichI asked on Friday with reference to the displacement of skilled labour by the employment of unskilled men in the Post and Telegraph D.epartmen in the dressing of telegraph poles?
– The question asked by the honorable senator on Friday was to this effect -
Is the Minister aware that unskilled workmen are engaged in the pole . yards of the Telegraph Department at 8s. per day, thus displacing skilled artisans at 10s. per day, despite the promise made to the Department on the 27th October, 1906, that this work should be done by skilled workmen?
In accordance with the promise I made on that day, I transmitted the question to the Department of the Postmaster-General. I hoped to get a reply or report from the Department on Friday, but was unable to do so. To-day, however, I have received from the Department an intimation that the Acting Deputy Postmaster-General at Melbourne reports as follows in regard to the matter -
There are at present eleven temporary pole dressers employed in the departmental depôt at Sturt-street, South Melbourne. These men receive 10s. per day. In addition, iwo permanent linemen have been transferred as pole dressers, at si salary of £120 per annum. These two men were transferred to the work on application, and on the certificate of the Public Service Commissioner, 13th January, 1008.
Both passed a practical test in the work last September. At this test several applicants were rejected because they were not good enough as workmen. These two men are performing their work satisfactorily.
Four new positions for pole dressers have, recently been advertised, and applications were called for in the usual way, but only three applicants have responded to the advertisement. One of the applicants is a lineman in this Department.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
If it is correct, as staled in the press, that the Government has obtained information justifying proceedings being instituted under the Anti-Trust Act, and if such proceedings are being instituted ?
– In reply to my honorable friend’s inquiry, I have to say that certain information has been received, which will be fully considered when an amending Bill is passed.
– I really have nothing to add to what I have already stated in my place in the Senate in reply to questions of a similar character which were asked by my honorable friend. I cannot admit for a moment that the statements referred to were made by the Postmaster-General in his Ministerial capacity. If made at all, they were a mere expression of private opinion by Mr. Mauger.
– Have they beendenied ?
– I do not know anything about them.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
In view of the recent iudsjment of the Supreme Court of Canada, declaring the Immigration
Restriction Act passed by the Legislature of the Province of British Columbia to be unconstitutional because of Canada being a party to the Anglo-Japanese Treaty, and in view of the fact that the said Act was on the . same lines as the Commonwealth Immigration Restriction Act, and further that the State of Queensland is by protocol a party to that Treat)’, will the Government give serious consideration to the question of the advisability of denouncing the said protocol ?
– In reply to my honorable friend, I have to say -
While not admitting that the decision in the Canadian case is applicable to Australia, the Government have asked for the views of their law officers on some points raised by correspondence which has been proceeding.
Home Affairs, upon notice -
State Governments of stock imported from Western Australia, will the Government request that those regulations be relaxed? 2, Failing the sucress of such request, will the Government hasten the passing of the Quarantine Bill as an alternative remedy for the preservation of free-trade between the States?
– In reply to my honorable friend’s questions, I have to state that -
Correspondence regarding this matter has been proceeding for some time with the Western Australian Government, and a telegram urging a speedy reply to an inquiry made in November last was sent yesterday.
The Quarantine Bill will be proceeded with by the House of Representatives at the earliest opportunity’.
Senator KEATING laid upon the table the following papers : -
Public Service Act 1902. - Repeal of Regulation 142, and substitution of new Regulation in lieu thereof. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 24.
Amendment of Regulation 104. - Statutory Rules1908, No. 23.
Amendment of Regulation 104. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 25.
Amendment of Regulation 104. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 19.
Lands Acquisition Act 1906. - Sandy Bay, Tasmania : Defence Purposes. - Notification of the Acquisition of Land.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 28th February, vide page 8504) :
Division VIII. - Earthenware, Cement, China, Glass and Stone.
Item 261. Glue.
And on and after 4th December, 1907 -
Glue, ad val. (General Tariff), 30 oer cent: ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
Cement, n.e.i., including mucilage and belting compounds, ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent,
Gelatine of all kinds, per lb. (General Tariff), 2d. ; (United Kingdom),1½d.
Upon which Senator Keating had moved -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the dutv on item 26r, paragraph
A (imports under General Tariff), 2d. per lb.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [2.55]. - I beg to move that the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty id. per pound, a rate which I understand would be fully 40 per cent, upon the value of the goods that may come in under this heading. A duty of 2d. would certainly be 80 per cent, on a great deal of the goods imported. I take it that no one desires to place so intolerable a burden upon some of the secondary industries of Australia. Glue and gelatine are both very largely used in connexion with Australian manufactures; and while 1d. per lb. may be “ only,” upon some classes of glue, 80 per cent. - if any honorable senator thinks that the word “only” reasonably applies to such a duty - it will be less upon some of the better qualities. As far as I have been able to investigate the matter since we last met, it appears to me that a duty of id. per lb. will average somewhere about 25 or 30 per cent. on both glue and gelatine as imported. I understand that the difficulties that arose as to the Minister’s proposal last week were finally adjusted by an agreement to place both glue and gelatine under one heading. A duty of id. would amount to materially more than the duty hitherto collected upon . glue. We discussed the subject at considerable length last week, and I do not wish to traverse the ground again. I should like to hear the Minister’s views, and then come to a division. Necessarily glue is used in a great many of our industries. Gelatine is likewise used very largely. I take it that there is no wish on the part of honorable senators to burden needlessly the industries of Australia by placing too heavy a tax upon the articles required for carrying them on. It was pointed out last week, bv others as well as by myself, that the quality of glue made in Australia is immeasurably supe- r101 to the glue made on the Continent of Europe, and is practically analogous to the best qualities of glue made in the Old Country. I believe that to be a fact. As a great many classes of glue come into the country, I take it that the duty which I propose is a reasonable compromise in theinterests of the revenue, and of certain of our industries.
– Does the Minister of Home Affairs propose to withdraw his own request in order to allow Senator Neild to submit his?
– I indicated last week that I wished to have item 261A struck out for the purpose of inserting afterwards an item making glue and gelatine dutiable at the same rate. There was some discussion as to what would be the best method to adopt in order to conform to the procedure of another place.
– Is it not necessary to eliminate the words “ ad val.” before the Minister can propose a rate of duty per lb. ?
– I have no objection to withdrawing my request if my honorable friend proposes to move for a fixed duty. Honorable senators will see that–’
Glue;- gelatine of all kinds; and Cements n.e.i., including mucilage and belting ‘ com-‘ pounds - under the Tariff, as introduced, were dutiable at 40 per cent, under the general Tariff, and 30 per cent, in respect- of imports from the United Kingdom. It was considered, however, that such duties were very heavy as applied to gelatine.
– In respect to glue.
– No, it was thought that they were very heavy duties to impose on gelatine. Duties of 2d. and ijd. per lb. were, therefore, imposed on gelatine of all kinds, and it was considered that those rates were a material reduction upon the. pre-existing duties. What we now propose to do for the purpose of simplification of administration is to subject glue and gelatine to the same rates of duty, as it is extremely difficult, in some instances, to distinguish between sheet glue and sheet gelatine. The specific duty of 2d. per lb., under the general Tariff, and of rid. per lb. in respect of imports from the “United Kingdom, will not be higher in regard to the average importations of glue than are the present duties of 30 per cent, and 25 per cent. It may be that 2d.’ per lb. will be a very heavy duty, so far as an exceedingly cheap class of glue is concerned, but that is not the position with regard to the average importations. In dealing with this question it is . unreasonable to argue from a basis which adopts, as the standard of importation, importations of the lowest quality and value. Taking the general average of the quality and value of these importations we say that the duties now proposed are reasonable. They are not equivalent to an ad valorem duty of 80 per cent, or 60 per cent., and the re-arrangement will simplify the administration and be advantageous to both importers and Customs officials.
– What are the equivalent ad valorem rates for the duties >now proposed ?
– I cannot say offhand, but I am given to understand that in respect of the average imports they do not exceed the existing duties of 30 per cent, and 25 per cent. I recognise, how ever, that a duty of even 1½d. per lb. would work out at a very high ad valorem rate in respect of cheap inferior glue. In .1903 we imported into Australia 379,621 lbs. of gelatine valued at .£19,559. I am unable, to give for that year the separate importations from the United Kingdom and fromother countries. In 1904. we imported’ 352,109 lbs. valued at £15,594, and in- 1905 we imported 417,982 lbs., of which- 1 76, 735 lbs. came from the United Kingdom and 241,247 from other countries, . the value of the total importations for the year being £T9:3l7- In 1906 we imported almost the same quantity - a total of 407,040 Iba, of which 157,229 lbs. came from the United Kingdom and 249,811 from foreign countries, the total value being £18,873. I have here the returns in respect of importations of glue and gelatine under the old Tariff heading “ n.e.i.” during the years 1903-6. The returns for’ 1903-4 do not distinguish between imports from- the United Kingdom and those of foreign countries, but- I am in a position to give the figures under both headings in respect of 1905 and 1906. In 1903 the value of our importations of glue and gelatine n.e.i. was £17,408; 1904, £18,251; 190.S, £21,592 ; 1906. £28,766. In 1905 we imported from the United Kingdom £12,890 worth, whilst our imports from other countries were of a value of £9,002. In 1906 our imports from the United Kingdom were valued at £’3…387, whilst those coming from foreign countries- were valued at £,15,319. All these figures go to show that manufacturers of glue and gelatine in foreign countries have been improving their position in our Australian market, whilst those of the United Kingdom have either remained stationary or have been falling back. I hope that honorable senators will see the advisableness of including glue and gelatine in the one item and of imposing upon them a fixed duty.
– Is- the honorable senator prepared to accept duties of 1½d. and1d. per lb. instead of 2d. and l½d.?
– I hope that the honorable senator will agree to our proposal.
– The honorable senator is now advocating a duty of 120 oer cent.
– That may be in respect of some very inferior glue which ought not to be imported.
– Very good work done with it.
– I know what is the result of its use. It would be extremely inadvisable to regulate the dutv in relation to the commonest and lowest priced article. Taking the average of our importations we hold that the duties we propose are reasonable. I hope that the Committee will not l:e induced to adopt the lower rate of duty.
Request, bv leave, withdrawn.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [3. 13]. - I move-
That the House of Representatives be renested to make the duty on item 261, paragraph A (imports under general Tariff), per lb.,1d.
The Minister of Home Affairs, having reeled off a long list of’ figures that it was impossible for honorable senators to follow, I wish to invite his attention to a few simple facts. In the first place I would point out that at the port of shipment the values of European glue of low quality range from£15 to£20 per ton. It is manifest, therefore, that upon glue valued at ; £i7 10s. per ton, a duty ofd. per lb. would represent, within the smallest fraction, an ad valorem rate of 60 per cent. The value of the English-made glue ranges from about£35 to £40 per ton. In other words, it is practically worth double the amount charged for the bonemade glue of continental Europe. Upon the best quality of glue imported, the duty which I have proposed represents an ad valorem rate of 30 per cent. Surely we do not wish to burden our home industries by levying, a. higher impost than 30 per cent, upon such a common necessary as glue. A duty of 60 per cent, upon the low-classed article and of 30 per cent, upon glue of the best, quality ought to satisfy the demands of all who desire the success of both our primary and secondary industries.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [3.15]. - I understand that the Minister agrees that it is desirable to levy a uniform’ duty upon both glue and gelatine. Whatever impost we may fix in the case of glue, will, I understand, be applicable to gelatine.
– I did not say that. My original proposal was to make glue and gelatine dutiable at the rate that is at present being collected upon gelatine.
– The statement of the Minister clears the air somewhat. In effect, he says,. “ If you will sanction the exorbitant duty that wedesire to levy, we shall make it apply also to gelatine, but if you do not, we will continue a want of uniformity which is distressing to the trade, and which is generally deprecated.” I hold in my hand a statement which is unsigned, but which appears to have emanated from some person engaged in the manufacture of glue. His contention in favour of imposing a uniform, duty upon glue and gelatine is irresistible. I am astonished that the Minister of Home Affairs should decline to accede to a very desirable proposal on the part of the manufacturers themselves, unless the Committee agree to the higher rate of duty which he has proposed. The statement to which I have alluded reads -
It is absolutely impossible to differentiate by analysis or otherwise between glue and gelatine.
Under these . circumstances it is obvious that the impost upon glue ought to be the same as that upon gelatine. The statement continues -
It is also absolutely impossible to fix an arbitrary standard. Gelatine could be invoiced as glue at a low price, and by that means the revenue would be defrauded.
Apparently, the writer is the largest manufacturer of glue in Victoria, because he very strongly sets out reasons why a protective duty should be imposed/ Of course, I look upon the duty proposed by the Minister as entirely a protective duty. Therefore, the only question that we have to consider is - ‘ ‘ What ought protectionists, looking at the matter with a fair mind, to regard ;as a reasonable rate ? ‘ ‘ Of course I should like to see glue placed upon the free list, because it is a necessary article to a number of our most important trades, and if we wish to keep down the cost of the manufactured goods, we ought to keep down the cost of the materials necessary to their production. If Senator Neild has erred,’ it is in liberality. He ought to be astonished at his own moderation. No one is more astonished than I am, because the rate on glue under the old Tariff was 20 per cent., under which there was an- importation, half of which in value came from the United Kingdom. Everybody says that the article from the United Kingdom is 6f the very highest quality.
– Hear, hear. It is as good as Australian.
– My honorable friend is always giving us points. His statement shows that we want no more protection. If we can produce an article of quality, in the necessary quantities, and with a profit to the local manufacturers, under a 20 per cent, duty, why should we increase the duty to 30 or 40 per cent., as Senator Neild is desirous of doing in his anxiety to be quite fair to the protectionist view? His proposal according to his figures is equal to 60 per cent, on the Continental article, and 30 per cent, on importations from the United Kingdom. Under the old 20 per cent, duty the industry was established, and there’ seems to be no reason why we should fix a higher rate. We ought, in this matter, to consider the views of other industries in which glue is used as to what is a fair protection. Glue is used largely in printing. I have here a printed statement, containing a most interesting analysis of certain duties affecting their particular business, from the South Australian alaster Printers’ and Allied Trades’ Association. They say - -
Item 261. Clue. - A local manufacturer has supplied the market for years, and 20 per cent, is all the protection he asks for.
Why in the name of fortune should we double that percentage? It is really too bad. I do not want to put it on any sentimental ground, but even Senator Trenwith, whose zeal and assiduity in connexion with these protectionist duties we all admire, although we do not quite assent to the basis upon which they rest, must admit that, in fixing these rates, we should have regard to the other industries con’cerned.
– Hear’, hear.
– I do not profess to have a technical knowledge of all these industries, but I accept the statement I have quoted as coming from a most respectable association. I am sorry that Senator Neild has not moved for a greater reduction, but no one, having regard to all these considerations, can possibly hesitate to assent to his proposal. The protectionist manufacturer from whose circular I have already quoted wants a specific duty on glue and gelatine, advocating either 2d. per lb., with Jd. preference, or even i£d. per lb. on the foreign importation, and id. on the importation from Great Britain. Therefore, that manufacturer is himself willing to take duties of i£d. and id. per lb. In face of those statements, there cannot - with’ great respect to the views put from the Ministerial side - be any serious objection to Senator Neild’s proposal. It is, from my point of view, too high, but it is 50 per cent, less than what the Government suggest, and if I can persuade the Minister of Home Affairs to give way, I shall be glad. If he yields, I shall have succeeded in producing a fair compromise. That is all it can be called, for it is not by any means the lowest duty that we might expect on an article used so extensively in other industries.
– The imported glue that we ought to consider is- that from the United Kingdom only. Whatever consideration we give to the other glues, it should be with the desire to exclude them altogether as baneful and undesirable in our community.
– Do that under other legislation. I am with you in excluding what is deleterious.
– Assuming that Senator Neild’s computation is correct - as I have no doubt it is - that id. per lb. is equal to 60 per cent, on the low-class; glues, that rate is not nearly high enough “There should be a duty so high as abs’ilutely to exclude them. It has been urged that glues are the raw material of other industries.’
– We might as well exclude poor paints.
– There is not a complete analog). Bad glue is disastrous to all who come in contact with it. Poor people buy furniture in the hope that it will do them some service. But I have seen instances of furniture that would not bear its own weight because of the low character of the glue used in it. I have seen furniture being carried home by one part, and another part of it dropping away,because bone glue or other deleterious matter from the Continent of Europe had been used in if.
– The makers have to pay so much for glue that they put in only a little lick of it, instead of enough.
– I am talking now of the character of the glue. Some of it is so bad that if possible we ought to exclude it altogether. It is not disputed that the high-class glue from the United Kingdom is manufactured in the same way and from the same kinds of material as is the Australian glue - from tanners and curriers’ fleshings, and hide pieces, which make the purest and best kind of glue and gelatine. Senator Neild says that the duty he proposes is only 30 per cent, . on the British article. I am inclined to think that it is not 30 per cent, on the average ; but if his calculation is correct, I see no reason why we should not preserve what is essentially an Australian industry, the raw material of which we produce in abundance - an industry which in its prosecution would lead to the conversion into a commercial product of what otherwise would be entirely wasted. Fleshings and hide pieces are the refuse, if I may so express it, of the tanner; but’ by encouraging their manufacture into glue and gelatine we create a substantial asset for the people of Australia, keeping the raw material in the country, and attaining the desired end of affording employment. It is extremely important that we should provide raw material reliable for the purpose for which it is destined, so thai; there may be substantial and useful results.
. -I cannot vote for the excessive duty proposed by the Government. The old dutv . was 20 per cent., and the protectionist rr embers of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 30 per cent., which I regard as fairly high on a raw material. I have had many circulars; and it’ is pointed out that a duty of 2d. per lb. is equivalent to 80 per cent.
– Who says that? Mr. Firth?He asks for a high duty on his own manufactures, but desires his raw material free.
– He has never asked for a duty on anything.
– At any rate, so far as I can see, Mr. Firth has made out a good case. Personally, I should prefer an ad valorem duty to a specific duty.
– I could ‘not quitie follow the figures of the Minister of Home Affairs, but they would appear to show that in this connexion Great Britain is going back. According to the statistics of imports for 1906, I find, however, that the value of the imports of glue, gelatine, and cements, n.e.i., from the’ United Kingdom in . 1906 was £19,011, as compared with a value of £9,000 from other countries. I may further point out that the Minister, in speaking of gelatine being the. same as glue, did not tell us what isinglass is.
– Isinglass is not in this item.
– I find that isinglass in sheets is free, and n.e.i., 15 per cent. I understand that isinglass is a better quality of gelatine, but is often used for the same purposes as the latter; and to me it appears beyond all reason to fix a duty equivalent to 120 per cent, on the inferior article. I hope that the request proposed by Senator Neild will be adopted.
– I intend to support the request proposed by Senator Neild. It is very difficult for the Customs or any other authorities to fix the value of low-grade glue, and, therefore, there is a temptation on the part of importers to give valuations that are not. altogether correct. Under the circumstances, I think that a fixed duty is justified, but, at the same time, I cannot agree with Senator Trenwith when he contends that low-grade glues should not be imported. If we take upon ourselves to fix a standard of that kind in regard to all importations, we shall find ourselves on very dangerous ground. So long as people know the imported . article is what it pretends to be, and it contains no injurious ingredients, it ought to be left to the purchaser to choose the quality he desires, the price being regulated accordingly.
– I desire to correct a wrong impression on the part of Senator Macfarlane. When I quoted the figures as to United Kingdom imports, I said that I could only speak as to the years 1905-6, and pointed out that in the latter year the value of glue and gelatine, n.e.i., imported, was £28,766, of which , £13,387 came from the ‘ United Kingdom, and £15,379 from foreign countries. In the previous year the total importation under this head was £21,592, of which £12,590 worth came from the United Kingdom, and £9,000 worth from foreign countries. These figures would seem to show that in our market for this article Great Britain is going back, while other countries are coming forward. Senator Macfarlane said he was unable to follow my figures, and quoted statistic* showing that in 1906 the importations oi glue, gelatine, and cement were valued at £19,011 from the United Kingdom, and, as there was a total importation of £28,766, this lefti only £9,000 worth from other countries. Those figures are perfectly correct so . far as they go ; but had the honorable senator looked at the next two columns,, he would have found there set forth the country of origin of the imports. The total importation from the United Kingdom was valued at £19,011, but of that only £13,387 worth was produced in the United Kingdom, and those were the figures to which T referred. Out of the £19,000 odd worth, -£1 3,000 odd worth was produced in the United Kingdom, while £6,000 worth was produced in other countries, and came to Australia through the United Kingdom. It will be seen, therefore, . that the honorable senator is under a mistaken impression.
– It has been represented to me that the members of the Committee desire to test the question as to whether the duty should be ad valorem or fixed. Perhaps Senator Neild, in order to afford that opportunity, will agree to put his motion in this form -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty per lb.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [ 3.41]. - There is no doubt, sir, that your suggestion is a very valuable one, and will save a good deal of difficulty, and, perhaps, some division. I am onlv too glad to fall in with it.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [3.42]. - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty . on item 261, paragraph a (imports under General Tariff), “per lb.”
That I take it will test the feeling of the Committee as to whether the duty on glue, and gelatine should be ad valorem or specific. For the reasons which I gave last week - namely, that hitherto a good deal of expensive gelatine has been coming in under the head of cheap glue, and the Department of Trade and Customs and the trade find a difficulty in distinguishing between the two articles - I am in favour of a specific dutv.
– I am now in favour of an ad valorem duty, for the reason that one can hardly tell the difference between the articles. We haveagreed to item 91, under which isinglass in sheets , is admitted free, and isinglass, n.e.i., at a duty of 15 per cent. According to a definition in the’ Century Dictionary, which I have just consulted, isinglass is “the purest commercial form of gelatine.” It is proposed to admit good gelatine free, and to levy a duty of 30 per cent, on what is called very inferior gelatine, but which may not be inferior gelatine at all. I think that there is an incongruity in doing that. I hope that the Minister will agree to treat glue in the same way as isinglass.
– Very recently the price of what was considered to be fairly good glue ranged from £45 to £34 per ton. The price of English glue ran from £58 to £38 per ton.
– The cheapest glue in the market is fish glue.
– I am quoting from the evidence which was. given before the Tariff Commission, and I take it that it is reliable. One of the reasons why we are asked to impose a stiff duty, and, I believe, to prefer a specific duty, is the difficulty in distinguishing between lowgrade glue and usable gelatine. Senator Trenwith addressed himself to that argument. I think that instead of carrying his argument home, all he did was to show that Customs officers had admitted goods which were nothing less than fraudulent. I find that the price of locally-made gelatine - and it was not of. a first-class character either - ran from 675 1 to £9° )er t ton. The price of imported high-class gelatine ran from £125 to £130 per ton; it was imported in half sheets, and, I suppose, used in making the higher class of confectionery. As the prices of glue and gelatine vary so much, I think that it would be difficult to refute the argument in favour of an ad valorem duty. The low-class glues, if suitable for cheap furniture or other work, will pay a correspondingly low duty, and the othergrades will pay a correspondingly high duty. As a very good glue is placed on the market at a very reasonable price, an ad valorem duty will probably have the effect of excluding low-class glues, and will, I think, be for the benefit of the trade and the consumer. The Sydney Chamber of Commerce, which includes both protectionists and free-traders, and may be considered to have gone into the matter carefully and to represent a moderate view, have strongly recommended the imposition of an ad valorem duty on glue and gelatine. I am inclined to support their recommendation, and I hope that the Government will see fit to give way.
-5°]- - For reasons which I will briefly give, I am not in favour of a specific duty. But before doing so, I wish to refer to the contention that it is necessary to throw these two items into one because of the difficulty in . differentiating glue from gelatine. I am quite prepared to admit that difficulty, and also to recognise the desirability of bringing them under one head, but that is no argument against the imposition of an ad valorem duty. It is quite true that it may be difficult to determine where glue ceases to be glue and becomes gelatine, and vice versa, but the Department have had no difficulty in determining the value of a commodity whether it be glue or gelatine.
– They say so.
– Then this stuff is being introduced under fraudulent invoices. The same thing applies to hundreds of other articles. The Customs officers have either to take the invoices; or to find expert evidence to enable them to determine whether the value set out in an invoice is correct or fraudulent. I cannot conceive that there will be any. more difficulty in ascertaining the true market value of various grades of glue and gelatine. -.1 want to show how inequitably a fixed duty will work. Some glue, as Senator Neild has pointed out, runs as low as i$d. per lb., while some gelatine runs as high as Rooper ton, being equal to is. od. per lb. If we take a fixed duty of id. per lb., it works out at 9 per cent, on highclassgelatine, and, as Senator Neild has shown, at 60 per cent, on low-grade glue. Tradeswhich use large quantities of low-grade glue - bookbinders, box makers, and furniture makers - will have to pay a duty of 60 per cent., while trades which use a higher . class product will be required topay only 9 per cent. duty. That discrepancy iis- too great, I think, to justify us inblindly adopting a fixed duty. An ad’ valorem duty does appear to. me to fit thecircumstances of this case. It will be much more equitable. The only argument against it is that a fixed duty may save the Customs officials a little trouble. If thedifference between the two duties were little, I should advise honorable senatorsto adopt a fixed duty, but when it runs from 9 to 60 per cent., the inequality, theunfair incidence, of a fixed duty is so pronounced that we should not “hesitate to throw upon the Customs officials any little additional trouble which may be involved if we adopt an ad valorem, duty. For these reasons I propose to vote against Senator Neild’s request. He desires to avoid the difficulty which would be created by dealing with glue and gelatine in separate items, and to reduce the rate of duty,; but I cannot lose sight of the fact that the adoption of a fixed rate will hide the amount of protection really given. Senator -Neild admits that the fixed duty of id. which he intends to propose would he equivalent to an ad valorem duty of 60- per cent., while the Government fixed rate is equivalent to 120 per cent. No set of men in Australia would dare to openly propose an ad valorem rate of 120 per cent., and the adoption of a fixed rate makes the imposition seem less serious. A fixed rate presses so unequally on the various grades of glue that it seems to me that the ad valorem principle, is a fairer one to adopt.
Question - That the House of Representatives be -requested to make the duty upon item 261, paragraph a, “ Glue,” per lb. (Senator Neild’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 26.1, paragraph a (imports under General Tariff), per lb., ml.
– According to Senator Neild, a fixed rate of id. per lb. is equivalent to an ad valorem rate of 60 per cent, on glue of a low grade, though on better glue the rate is lower, there being a point at which it is only 25 or 30 per cent. Therefore, in my view, id. is too much to ask for, and, recognising that¾d. would be too little on some grades of glue, I wish to move for a duty of¾ d.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [3.57]- - As Senator Millen says, I stated that on low grades of glue, such as come here from Europe, a fixed duty of 1d. per lb. is equivalent to an ad valorem rate of 60 per cent. ; but I do not mind if that class of glue is kept out of this market. We do not want rubbish here, it not being to the advantage of our manufacturers to use a low-grade article. On the better glues, which come from the Old Country, and which are similar to those made in Australia, a fixed rate of id. will be equal, as nearly as one can calculate it, to 30 per cent, ad valorem.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
Request (by Senator Millen) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 261, paragraph a (imports under General Tariff), per lb., ¾d.
– I hope that the” ‘Committee will not act too hurriedly in this matter. The opinion has been generally expressed that glue and gelatine should be classed together, and that being so, we must see that whatever rate is imposed on- glue will furnish adequate protection to manufacturers of gelatine. That the old rate was not sufficiently protective is proved by the fact that in 1905 the importations were a little over £21,000, arid in 1906 over £28,000 in value. The Minister of Home Affairs has shown that this increase is largely accounted for by importations, not from the United Kingdom, but from foreign countries. When the Tariff Commission was taking evidence, the statement was put before it that the glue coming from certain parts of Europe was inferior in quality, being made from bone, and not having adhesive properties comparable with those of the glue manufactured in Great Britain or of that made here. As to the difficulty of determining between glue and gelatine, the Customs Department was very definite.
– Where does gelatine end and isinglass begin?
– I am riot dealing with isinglass. Although a duty of id. per lb. may be sufficient protection against the inferior qualities of glue, it will afford inadequate protection in regard to gelatine. I hope that the Committee will make the duty at least 2d., so that the makers of gelatine may be properly protected. If we do not provide a sufficient amount of protection, the result will be that inferior glue, imported at a low price, will be used in Australian manufactures, and will reflect no credit upon them when they come into general use. Instead of giving what we produce in Australia a good name, the result will be that our productions will be given a bad name. If, by imposing an adequate duty, we can not only foster the production of gl’ue and gelatine in the Commonwealth, but at the same time prevent the use of inferior imported glue and gelatine which would jeopardize the reputation of Australian manufacturers, we ought to have no hesitation as to the course to pursue.
– Would the honorable senator prevent the export from Victoria of shoddy local manufactures?
– I should like to prevent the manufacture of shoddy of any kind, but. I have not met with any shoddy productions of glue in Australia so far. As a matter of fact, I am informed on the very best authority that the greater proportion of the glue produced in Australia might be used as gelatine, and that it is largely used in the manufacture of confectionery. If it is of the quality indicated by that statement, a duty of 2d. per lb. on the imported article is. not too high, and, in the circumstances, I hope that the request before the Committee will be negatived.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 261, paragraph a, “Glue” (imports under General Tariff),¾d. per lb. (Senator Millen’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 8
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item a6r, paragraph a, “ Glue” (imports under General Tariff), id. per lb.-
The Committee divided.
Majority … …3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) put-
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on . item 261, paragraph a, “Glue” (imports under General Tariff), 1½d. per lb.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 261, paragraph a, “Glue” (imports from the United Kingdom), id. per lb.
The Committee divided.
Majority … …1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [4.22]. - I understood that the Minister intended to move to place gelatine under the same heading as glue. That was the general understanding.
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 261, paragrapn
C (imports under General Tariff), per lb., i£d.
.- I understood that the object of the Government and of honorable senators was to classify glue and gelatine in the one paragraph of this item. But my impression also was that although 2d. a lb. may have been a fair duty on the higher qualities of glue, it was a very low duty on gelatine, and particularly on the higher classes of gelatine. Seeing that the duty of 2d. per lb. as affecting the two items, gelatine and glue, was not adopted, I certainly consider that 2d. per lb. is too little as to gelatine only.
– What about Lhe difficulty of discriminating between glue and gelatine ?
– The honorable senator, and those who voted with him, are responsible for any difficulties that may occur in that respect in the future. If the two articles had been classified together with an adequate duty for both, the difficulty would not have arisen.
– The honorable senator means to say that if he gets his own way, it is all right.
– Yes ; and the case is just the same with honorable senators opposite ; they are trying to get their own way, and cannot blame others for wishing to do the same. Senator Gray is just as well aware as I am that gelatine sometimes costs £100 per ton. A duty of i£d. per lb. on such gelatine would amount to less than 15 per cent. Honorable senators opposite are too fond of saying that Australia is quite able to manufacture the lower grades of commodities, but must never have a chance of going in for the production of the superior article.
– That is exactly the honorable senator’s policy.
– We are endeavouring to impose a duty that will not only give Australia an opportunity to manufacture glue, but also to manufacture gelatine. But if we are going to reduce the duty to ijd. per lb., or about 14 per cent., it is hot adequate. I would rather see an ad valorem duty on gelatine than such a fixed duty.
– The honorable senator voted against an ad valorem duty.
– Yes, on the understanding that a duty of 2d. per lb! would be placed on both glue and gelatine. But I would rather have a duty of 30 per cent, than one of ijd. per lb.
– I must say that honorable senators opposite, if Senator McGregor is to be taken as advocating their views, are playing fast and loose with the Committee. On the previous item, glue, they pleaded with the Committee to amalgamate the duty with that on gelatine, because of the practical impossibility of the Customs authorities determining whether an article was glue or gelatine. Now, however, when it is a question of getting a higher duty, as the honorable senator says, he overlooks the impossibility of the authorities telling the difference between glue and gelatine, and he is prepared to have a higher duty on gelatine than on glue. I can only say that the honorable senator is not only discounting the weight which ought to attach to his- arguments on this question> but must make honorable senators slow to accept them on any future occasion. If an honorable senator is going to plead that black is black in one moment and five minutes afterwards pleads that black is white, very little importance can be attached to his utterances. The very argument that induced the Committee to make the duty on glue a fixed1 one was to bring it into the same item with gelatine. That argument was quite irrespective of the amount of the duty. It is curious that the argument used for amalgamation when there was a chance of using it as a lever to raise the duty appears to be of no value when we are asked to consent to a slight reduction.
– - I do not know whether the Committee has had the benefit of a passage from the report of the Tariff Commission which, as a piece of history, is worth reproducing. I take it from the evidence of Mr. J. R. Firth, who said -
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 the 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. When the duty of 2d. Der lb. was imposed a combine was formed, and the price fixed at £45, about £13 per ton advance on previous Sydney price. The House of Representatives reduced the duty from the 20th February, 1902. Next day the Combine collapsed, and the price fell as above mentioned.
– Will the honorable senator read the next paragraph?
– The honor- able senator can read it if he likes. I do not desire to trespass upon the time of the Committee unduly. If the honorable senator can take the sting out of what I haveread, he is at liberty to do so.
– The next paragraph, contains a contradiction.
– I have often, twitted honorable senators opposite with., the fact that these duties necessarily havethe effect of’ raising prices and assisting, combines.
– The honorablesenator is continually discovering mare’s nests and sitting on the eggs.
– If my honorable friends can explain these factsaway, I shall be glad to hear them. I have no desire to misrepresent the position. As a matter of fact, I went carefully into the evidence on both sides with respect to glue. I was delighted to find that what I had said of my own knowledge of Tariff matters generally was confirmed by thiswitness, who declared that the high dutiesimposed in 1902 were engineered for the purpose of forming combines. One manufacturer said he would be satisfied with a duty of ijd. per lb. under the general Tariff, and of id. per lb. in respect of imports from the United Kingdom. He had? . invested £15,000 in establishing a glue factory at Alexandria, New South Wales, and if the duties he suggested were imposed, would be willing to put more money into the concern for the manufacture of gelatine from wholesome materials. I wish to emphasize the point that Mr. Firth’s evidence showed that the imposition of high duties would serve the purpose of speculative combines.
– It seems to me that Senator St. Ledger holds a brief to put one side of the case, and that he is content to quote a little evidence dealing with ‘the question from only one stand-point. The honorable senator quoted evidence showing that the price of glue fell from £45 to ,£34 per ton after the duty, as first imposed under the Federal Tariff of 1902, was finally reduced to 20 per cent. The very next paragraph in the report of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission, however,, sets forth that -
The existence of a combine was subsequently denied by a glue manufacturer of Sydney, and the statement of the previous witness as to the drop in price he referred to as “ absolutelyuntrue.”
The honorable senator did not quote that statement. The report continues -
He sold glue in New South Wales before any duty was imposed at about the same price as in May, 1906.(Markwald, Q. 96577, page 280, Vol V.)
In Sydney a manufacturer stated that glue ranged in price from ^28 to £60 per ton according to quality, and all grades were now admitted at 20 per cent, ad val. Instead of an ad vh I. he suggested a specific duty of 2d. per lb. on glue and an increase of the duty on gelatine from 2d. to 3d. per lb. These duties were necessary to enable him to compete with the imported article produced by the cheap labour of Germany and Italy/
When an honorable senator knows that what is only a partial statement of the case has been put before the Committee, it is his duty, irrespective of where he may sit, to see that the facts are fairly stated. I have quoted evidence showing that Senator St. Ledger had either failed to make a careful examination of the reports of the Commission, or was attempting to mislead the Committee.
-40]. - We have been drifting during the last few minutes from the question before the .Chair, the substance of which is really whether we should have in respect of gelatine .the same duty as we have decided to request another place to impose on glue. I am astonished at the attitude adopted by Senator McGregor, and hope that I shall be able to induce him to reconsider his position. It is not denied that it is desirable, in fact absolutely necessary, that the same rate should be fixed upon glue as upon gelatine.
– I agree with the honorable senator, provided that the rate is sufficiently high.
– What has the height of the duty to do with the question? When I appealed to the Government a few “moments ago to say whether or not there was an understanding that whatever rate we decided to request another place to fix upon glue, should also be applied to gelatine, because of the difficulty of discriminating between the two, Senator McGregor cheered my remarks. That was only natural, because there was no room for argument; if there had been, the citation made from the evidence of ‘ a manufacturer ought to have been conclusive. That witness said that it was absolutely impossible, by analyses or otherwise, to discriminate between glue and gelatine, and that gelatine could be invoiced as glue, and the revenue defrauded. A difference in the rates would not overcome the difficulty of discrimination, and if we have decided to request another place to impose a duty of i£d. per lb. on glue, we surely ought to make the same request in respect of gelatine. If that course be followed the difficulty will be overcome, and we shall withdraw from importers the temptation to bring in gelatine as glue - a temptation which would exist if a higher duty were imposed in respect of the, firstnamed article.
– I did not think the importers would do such a thing.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON.I do not desire to impute anything improper to either the importers or manufacturers, but according to the evidence I have quoted, gelatine could be invoiced as glue, and the revenue defrauded. I appeal to Senator McGregor to adhere to the view to which, by his cheers, he assented when the matter was being put before the Committee a little while ago, and to say that if the duty on gelatine be increased, unless the. paragraph relating to glue be recommitted and’ amended, we shall perpetuate a difficulty which every one admits ought to be removed.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 261, paragraph c (imports from the United Kingdom), id. per lb.
Item 262. Printing roller composition, ad val., 35 per cent.
– This is an excessive duty. Print7 ing roller composition, I understand, is made of tallow and various greases.
– Gelatine, glycerine, glue, and sometimes treacle are used in its manufacture.
– At all events, it appears to .me that this, is an enormous increase -upon the duty of 20 per cent, which prevailed under the first Federal Tariff. We should, at least, revert to that duty. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 262, ad val., 20 per cent.
I have had numerous letters on the subject from proprietors of newspapers and printing offices generally, who declare the duty to be excessive. This composition is not made here.
– I have been somewhat astonished at t3ie statements made by Senator Macfarlane, and more particularly by his closing assertion that this composition is not made in Australia. I have here samples of composition made in Sydney, and sold very extensively in the Commonwealth. Like Senator’ Macfarlane, and .others, probably, I have been in receipt of a number of letters, urging that printing roller composition should be admitted free, and pointing out that it is not made in the Commonwealth. For my own satisfaction I have made inquiries, and find that it is manufactured here, and that the locally-made composition is used with great advantage. Senator Macfarlane declared this to be a composition of tallow and grease. As a matter of fact, it is made of glue, glycerine, and sometimes of treacle, in a hard as well as in a soft, form. For my own information, yesterday, when returning home, I called . at a printing office, and without- acquainting any one with the object of my visit, had an opportunity of seeing how this composition is used. I find that on all printing machines a number of rollers are used- to convey the ink, first of all, from the reservoir to a slab, over which it is distributed evenly, and finally over the face of the type. I also learned the process by which the roller stocks are covered. The composition is cut up, melted down, and poured into a mould in which the stock is fixed. After the liquid has set the roller is removed, and the edges having been cut off, it is ready to fulfil the functions I have described. During my visit I chanced to ask one of the employes where this printing roller composition, was obtained. He informed me that it was imported, but when I looked closely at it I saw the name of a Sydney manufacturing firm upon it. I then pointed out to him that it came from New South Wales, and he replied, ‘” That is what I mean. It is imported from Sydnev.” This little incident will serve to show that there are some persons in the community who have not yet adopted our technical name of “ transfer “ in relation to goods which are transported from one State to another. Tt is a singular thing that whilst some of the communications which I have received from printers ask for the free admission of printing, roller com position, they request an increased duty upon advertising matter entering the Common wealth. In replying to these communications I took the trouble to point out that the last paragraph was entirely inconsistent with the first. .1 am sure that a large quantity of printing roller composition is made in the Commonwealth, and that a great deal more could be manufactured here.
– Is its production of sufficient importance to merit special protection being accorded to it?
– The A section of the Tariff Commission recommended the imposition of 35 per cent, upon this article, which is the rate that we have adopted. The price of the locally-manufactured printing roller composition ranges “from is. to is. 3d. a lb., and it is a fact that the imported article has been sold in the Commonwealth at less than the quoted London prices. Of course this dumping was intended to displace the Australian-made article. A printing roller composition ranging in value from lod. to is. per lb. is also imported from Germany. I think that upon further reflection those printers who desire to see a duty of 6d. per lb., or 35 per cent., whichever returns the larger revenue, levied upon advertising matter entering into the Commonwealth will be prepared to extend to the manufacturers of printing roller composition a measure of protection such as they themselves would enjoy.- I have no doubt that Senator Findley, who has a more intimate acquaintance with the technicalities of the printing trade than, perhaps any other honorable senator, will be able to say whether this composition can be made in the Commonwealth. I trust that the Committee will adhere to the 35 per cent, rate proposed.
-Victoria) [4.551.-1 hope that the Committee will not assent to the request of Senator Macfarlane, who submitted it in the belief that no printing roller composition was manufactured in the Commonwealth. As a matter of fact, a great deal of it is produced in Australia.. I agree with the Minister of Home Affairs that some of the printers .who have communicated with honorable senators by means of circular are highly inconsistent, in that whilst urging the imposition of an increased duty upon printing matter entering the Commonwealth thev claim, that printing roller composition should be admitted free. As one who has some little acquaintance with the printing trade, I know that the roller composition manufactured in the Commonwealth is very superior to much of the imported article. My experience has taught me that it lasts . longer and gives greater satisfaction to those who are in charge of the printing machines than does the imported article.
– Why is an increased duty necessary ?
– Because the industry has not yet been thoroughly established. The manufacturers of printing roller composition have had but a limited market, because the operation of the former rate of duty permitted the imported article to enter the Commonwealth at unfair invoice prices. Of course, the big market for this composition is provided by the large daily newspapers; but probably because the imported article can be bought for slightly less than can the locally-produced ‘ article, they prefer the former, notwithstanding that some of them profess to be imbued with strong protectionist principles.. I trust that the Committee will not agree to a reduction of the duty proposed. in the schedule. Thirty-five per cent, may appear to be a fairly high rate, but experience has shown that no matter what may be the duty levied upon this article, its price to the consumer has not been increased.
– I intend to support the request of Senator Macfarlane. After reading the evidence given before the Tariff Commission upon this question, I fail to see any necessity for the increased duty proposed. As a matter of fact, one witness before that body stated that when in New Zealand, he found that the Sydney roller composition was being sold there at a lower price than was the article from abroad. Every printer throughout the Commonwealth has to use a certain quantity of this composition, and if we impose a prohibitive duty upon it, we shall deprive our local manufacturers of all incentive to improve its quality. Surely the rate proposed by Senator Macfarlane is sufficient, especially when we take into consideration the freight and other charges incidental to its importation, which make it approximate closely to 30 per cent.
– I regard 35 per cent, as a monstrous duty to impose on any material used by printers. It is tantamount to taxing knowledge, which is a great error. The old duty of 20 per cent, seems to have enabled the manufac ture of printing roller composition to “have been carried on successfully. As a matter of fact, the term “manufacture” is a misnomer, in this connexion, inasmuch as the whole process of production consists of mixing together several ingredients. I donot think that any of our leading printers ever dream of using the locallyproducedarticle.
– I saw papers beingprinted yesterday at the rate of 40,000 an? hour, and Australian-made roller composition was being used.
– As a rule, I take it that our large printers use the imported article. Where is the wisdom of levying a duty of . 35 per cent, upon any class of printing? Is such a step one which accords with the laws of progress? Is that the way in -which we wish to burden the means of knowledge - the education of our people ? For the sake of this miserable thing called protection, we are actually asked to impose a tax upon education.
– There is one aspect of this matter of which we ought not to lose sight. From the report of the A section of the Tariff Commission. I quote the following : -
In Melbourne a printing ink manufacturer requested that a duty of 30 per cent, should be imposed on roller composition, a duty of 2d. ner lb. on gelatine, and 20 per cent, on glycerine, his raw -materials, to remain as at present.
Seeing that we have requested that the duties imposed upon glue and gelatine shall be i£d. or id. per lb., there is no justification whatever for retaining the extremely high rate of 35 per cent, upon printing roller composition.
– With regard to the question of whether the article is made in Australia, I. have already referred to six letters whichI have received, in which the writers statethat it is not made in Australia, or that they, at all events, are not aware of it.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales1) [5.6]. - I have received a number of communications upon this matter, but I regret that I am unable at the moment to put my hands on them. Indeed, one has been so utterly overwhelmed with communications that if one is not supplied with a private secretary it is almost impossible to keep them in order. But I know what roller composition is, and I think that 35 per cent, is a duty out of all reason. The making of this composition is no more a manufacture than is the making of whitewash. You get lime and water and mix them - and that is a manufacture ! You take glue, molasses, . and somethingelse, stir them together, warm them up, and you have this roller composition. It is really a farce to call the process a manufacture. No matter how much is made here, it can only give an odd job to an occasional apprentice, because I suppose there is not a printing establishment in the Commonwealth that uses half a cwt. a week, and when it has been used it can be heated up and used over and over again. Consequently the Quantity consumed in the Commonwealth is infinitesimal. The rate asked for is unreasonable, but I am quite in agreement with the Minister that applications for a reduction in one instance, and for an increase in another, do not come very pleasantly to honorable senators, because there is so palpably involved,’ not a. question of principle, but a question of pocket interest in one of its most unpleasant forms. I shall vote against the . 35 per cent., but I do not think that the rate suggested is likely to be carried, being a little extra low.
– I support the higher duty. It is rather amusing to hear Senator Neild say. that there is no manufacture in connexion with this industry, and- that it is something like mixing lime and water. If that is the case, surely we can perform such a simple little task in Australia without asking a foreign country to do it for us. If we cannot, then what industry will be suitable for Australia, and what can Australians do?’ Senator Dobson stated that all the big printing firms were anxious to secure the imported article, because the local material was not as good.
– Surely they are the best judges.
– I admit that, but not the correctness of Senator Dobson’s statement, because the local manufacturers turn out a first-class article. Here are one or two of the firms who use the local production :. - Sands and McDougall, one of the largest printing firms in the Commonwealth - 80 per cent, of their rollers are made in Victoria ; within five minutes’ walk of this building, our Government Printing Office also uses it; McCarron, Bird, and Company, one of the largest printing firms in Collins-street, and Messrs. Mason, Firth, and McCutcheon, use it. I am glad to say that there, is at . least one patriotic newspaper in Melbourne that uses the local article - I refer to the Herald.
– That is a nasty jar for somebody.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that the Age does not use it?
– I regret that the Age is not always consistent, and does not always practise in its own office what it preaches. Unfortunately, that is only one of the little inconsistencies of the Age, which may be too numerous to point out.
– Like some of the Age candidates.
– There seems to be a little misapprehension. I was not one of the Age candidates in Victoria. This is an industry that should be established here, although it may be true that the work is simple. If fhe newspapers in the other States do not use Australianmade composition, I hope, as a Victorian, to enable them to do so, by giving the local makers protection against imports from other countries. Practically the whole of the composition rollers used in Australia should be made in the Commonwealth.
– I understand that it has already been pointed out to the Committee that the price of the imported roller composition is considerably higher than tfiat of the local article. It cannot’, therefore, be said that the cutting of prices by importers is in any way affecting the local industry. The difference between the two compositions comes in in this way : I do not say that the local composition is not quite suitable- for certain purposes. In fact, with smaller plants, where the speed is less, it is quite suitable for requirements, but in the case of high-speed machines it has not been found to give satisfaction. That is the reason why printers all over the Commonwealth are to-day content to pay considerably more for the- imported article. Do honorable senators1 suppose that they are doing it for mere fun, or that they give something like 30 per cent., more for their composition merely on account of a prejudice?
– Do they pay more?
– I paid more myself.
– We always pay more for the imported article.
– It is quite understood.
– The honorable senator is not an authority.
– I am an authority on the fact that I paid more for it myself.
– That onlyshows that the honorable senator . is consistent in his prejudice against Australian articles !
– I can pardon a remark of that kind, knowing that it is intended as a joke, but if honorable senators think that in business transactions I should purposely allow a prejudice to penalize me in my pocket, they are very much mistaken. I quite understand that honorable senators opposite would be at all times willing to pay a much higher price for a local article than they could get the imported one for.
– Is the honorable senator speaking of the price paid since the imposition of the Tariff of 1901 ?
– I am very- glad that I have said good-bye permanently to the business that necessitated my buying the composition. I am speaking of the time before the Commonwealth Tariff was imposed, but my statement that the imported article is selling to-day at a higher price than that of the local remains good. That is the condition of the market at this very moment.
– It is contrary to the evidence before the Tariff Commission.
– I do not care what the Tariff Commission says. The men who are buying it to-day affirm that the price they pay for the imported is higher than the price of the local article. The sole reason for that is that for certain high-speed machines it is necessary to have the tougher product which the manufacturers in other parts of the world make. Quite apart from that, the measure of duty which Senator Macfarlane has moved for is ample for all requirements. The old duty was 20 per cent. The Government propqsition of 35 per cent, means an increase of 75 per cent. Surely there ought to be some limit to the amount of these increases. I object altogether to the bare supposition- which indeed seems the gospel of many honorable senators - that so long as a manufacturer says he wants something it is the bounden duty of protectionists to give it to him. Protectionists, much as they may be attached to their theory, ought to have some underlying reason for every duty which is placed in trie Tariff. To propose to increase the duty by 75 per cent., upon absolutely no showing at all, merely because somebody asks for it, indicates that honorable senators are forgetting what really underlies the protectionist theory - to afford a sufficient measure of protection to enable local manufacturers to carry on without unduly penalizing those who have to buy the articles. I would suggest to Senator Macfarlane that he might commend his proposal, not to myself, but to a large number of honorable senators, if he made it 25 per cent, on imports under the general Tariff with a view to proposing 20 per cent, on imports from the United Kingdom. That would leave the duty as against Great Britain the same as the old one, with an increase to 25 per cent, against the outside world.
– I ask leave to amend my request in the direction indicated by Senator Millen.
Request, by leave, amended accordingly.
– I would urge upon the Committee the advisableness of considering very seriously the proposal of Senator Macfarlane, who is now prepared to increase the duty somewhat. While the impost may certainly affeci ‘the ‘large newspapers with which we are acquainted and which we see every day, it should also be remembered that owing to the increase in the use of roller composition the little newspapers all over Australia, and the little job printers - men who have a hard struggle to live - will also be affected. In no other country in the world are there so many newspapers in proportion to population as in Australia. The general education of the public, in connexion with the industries, resources, and politics of the country, by means of newspapers, is a thing that we ought not to deplore, but should rather encourage. I speak with some knowledge, as I have been connected with a country newspaper all my life in Australia, and I know the hard struggle that the small newspapers have to live.
– Did the honorable senator import his composition ?
– I used colonial composition all the time.
– The honorable senator used to make it in the office.
– The honorable senator should know that one cannot very well make it in the office. We used to get it from Sydney. Any increase in the duty must inevitably put up the price of the composition to the small printers and jobbing men throughout Australia. That would be a matter of great regret.
– Why will it put up the price?
– It is bound to do so until sufficient composition, is produced in Australia to supply all requirements. That will be a long time ahead. Senator Millen is absolutely correct in saying that, with modern and very delicate machines, it is necessarv to have the hardest and toughest of roller composition - and the very best. So far as my experience goes, a very hard composition is not made in Australia. That made here is rather soft. I appeal to the Committee to consider before piling up an enormous increase of duty on one of the working tools of a large number of small men who are spreading education throughout the country and helping to advertise Australia by means of the press.
– I am sorry that Senator Macfarlane has modified his proposal. Personally I shall vote against every duty that affects the food or the literature of the people. I regard this proposed duty as a tax which will prejudicially affect the literary production of the Commonwealth ; anything in the direction of popularizing Australian literature is a step in the right direction.
– We have protected the printer against stereos, and other printed matter; and why -not protect the man who makes the roller composition?
– Because the printers are the best judges of the materials they require. It has been admitted that one of the largest printers uses 20 per cent. of the imported composition.
– Perhaps that is for the cheapest work.
– I venture to say exactly the contrary. I should say that this printer uses the 20 per cent, of imported material because it is absolutely necessary for his business. Sands and McDougall, a firm of the strongest protectionist views, are compelled to purchase composition from abroad, because it is absolutely necessary in their business. Therefore I think that a prohibitive duty, which will affect all printers, large or small, ought not to be imposed. Printers have now to pay considerably higher prices for their paper and other material.
– Where is ‘the increase in prices in the case of the newspaper proprietor?
– It is not for me to mention all details, but I may mention the one factor of type; and we know that in newspaper offices- the expenses are increasing every day. Having regard to the best’ interests of the Commonwealth from a literary point of view, I shall support Senator Macfarlane’s request, although I regret that it involves an increase in duty.
– We have been told by Senator Gray that printers are paying- more for everything they use than they did formerly ; but I contend that their expenses are not within 30 per cent, of what they were twentv years ago. This only shows the absurdity of statements which honorable senators are prepared to make when they are defending the foreign manufacturer as against the local manufacturer. I should like to point out why a duty of 35 per cent, was recommended in preference to the old duty. A duty of 30 per cent, was recommended on glue, and a duty of 2d. per lb. on gelatine - which enter largely into the manufacture of roller composition - and, therefore, the duty of 35 per cent, was suggested in the case of the latter commodity. We have still further increased the duty on glue to the extent, in some cases, as has been contended, of 60 per cent.
– But the dutv is not 30 per cent, on gelatine.
– I am not saving that it is. But we have been told by Senator Millen that he cannot tell where glue finishes and gelatine commences. I do not think the refined gelatine would be used in the manufacture of roller composition, but rather that a good class of glue would be preferred ; and, as some honorable senators have declared that a duty of 1½d. per lb. on glue means more than 30 per cent., a duty 0/ 35 per cent, is little enough for roller composition.
– When I said that the price of imported roller composition was higher than that of local composition, there were interjections to the effect that I was wrong. On honorable senators’ advice, I referred to the report of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission, and therein I find it stated, on the evidence of a Melbourne manufacturer -
His price had always been is. 3d., and as his article got on the market it gradually brought down the price of imported roller composition to is. 6d. for the durable quality;…..
That is confirmation of my statement. A local manufacturer asks for an increased duty; but he admits that the imported stuff is selling at 3d. per lb. more than the local product;. I should like, in fairness, to point out that this witness went on to say that there were some cheaper German compositions on the market. We know that a very large quantity of the composition used for machines, as distinct from handrollers, is of a quality known as the “durable,” and it is this which sells at 3d. per lb. more than the local product. Senator McGregor has told us that the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 35 per cent., in order that the makers of roller composition should have protection to the extent of 5 per cent, over the cost of their raw material. I am willing to meet the honorable senator in such a recommendation ; but he overlooks the fact that when that recommendation was made the duty on glue and gelatine was 30 per cent., whereas now the duty on these commodities has been reduced.
– The honorable senator said that a duty of 2d. per lb. meant 60 per cent.
– On low-grade glues ; and Senator McGregor does not contend that low-grade glues are used for tough roller composition ; it is rather highclass glue or moderate-class gelatine that is used. The duty on that class of glue is not much more than 15 or, 20 per cent., and, therefore, there is every reason why Senator McGregor should support the proposal to reduce the duty on roller composition.
– We should be much impressed with the arguments of Senator Millen if they squared with each other more frequently. But we are confronted now, almost immediately following the declaration that a duty of 2d. per lb. means 60 per cent.-
– That is nonsense, and the honorable senator knows it !
– The honorable senator had to be corrected by Senator Neild as to the statement that such a duty means 60 per cent.
– I was speaking of low-grade glue.
– But the honorable senator positively refused to take any notice of the correction, and insisted on the 60 per cent. We were then considering glue and gelatine together, with a view to a fixed duty of 2d. per lb., and we have since made the duty ijd. per lb., which the honorable senator now ‘ declares to be much less than 30 per cent. One of these statements must be incorrect.
– Neither is incorrect.; but the honorable senator cannot understand.
– One must be incorrect, and, therefore, I warn honorable senators to place no reliance on this later calculation of Senator Millen. Senator Neild, who is now acting as Temporary Chairman, declared a duty of id. to mean about 30 per cent. The honorable senator proposed a duty of id., and in doing so, he gave the Committee the benefit of his calculations that on the very lowclassed glues it would be about 60 per cent., and that generally it would be about 30 per cent. Now that the duty is fixed at 1½d. per lb., Senator Millen tells us that it is far below 30 per cent., in fact, about 15 per cent. Apparently his statement was made to suit the exigencies of the argument, and thereby loses whatever effect a serious statement made by an honorable senator ought to have in dealing with matters of this sort. I feel that we shall be perfectly safe in putting a high protective duty on roller composition, because there must be within the Commonwealth the power to produce the article up to any standard required. To my knowledge, it has been made in Australia for over forty years. I saw it made in Tasmania over forty years ago..
– What the honorable’ senator means is that he Kas seen roller composition melted down and recast?
– No. I have seen the moulds filled with new material, and also roller composition melted down and recast.
– That is not making roller composition.
– We have all the raw material which is required for producing the article. Surely it will not be contended that if we have the raw material available there is not intelligence enough here to do anything which may be done by man in any part of the world.
– Oh !
– Surely all our experience leads us to the conclusion that my statement is correct. We have both the material and the capacity for making roller composition, and therefore from the protectionist stand-point the duty ought not to be a low, but a high one.
– This little lecture from Senator Trenwith is remarkably inspiring, seeing that not long ago he was fighting for the uniform treatment of glue and gelatine, and shortly afterwards commenced to fight against it. My statement with regard to the duty on low-grade glue was perfectly correct. I was particularly liberal to the local manufacturer of roller composition when I put the protection at 20 per cent. I find that the same witness, as I quoted before - a Melbourne manufacturer of roller composition - informed the Tariff Commission that -
He was paying ^’120 a ton for imported glue.
– That must be a misprint.
– Is the honorable senator now going to dismiss this protectionistmanufacturing witness because his statement does not happen to suit him? I have quoted a statement which appears in a report signed by the honorable senator, and which therefore I accept with respect. If the witness is paying,’ as he states, £120 a ton for imported glue, a duty of id. per lb. works but at 8 per cent., which I ask Senator Trenwith to note. The manufacturer is not using, glue on which a duty of id. per lb. becomes 60 per cent.,’ and Senator Trenwith, I have not the slightest doubt, knew that perfectly well when he tried to .persuade . the Committee to the contrary. There is a duty of 8 per cent, on the raw material of the witness. Senator McGregor says that he only wants a margin of 5 per cent, between the duty on the raw material and that on the made-up article. Although 5 per cent, added to 8 per cent, would make 13 per cent., yet he is fighting for a duty of 35 per cent.
– A little time ago Senator Millen said that he had .accepted the invitation of honorable senators on this side to look at the report of the Tariff Commission in regard to this matter.
As bearing on the price paid respectively for imported and locally-made roller composition, he certainly quoted portion of thereport of the protectionist section of that Commission, but had he gone to the next paragraph-
– -I did, and mentioned’ it. I said that in order to put the matterfully before the Committee, I would add that the witness had also said that cheap’ German compositions were coming in at a. lower price.
– Exactly, but had’ the honorable senator gone farther he would have found this statement-
– I quoted the whole lot.
– I beg the honorable senator’s pardon. I am about to read what he did not quote -
In Melbourne a Sydney inkmaker and type founder stated that a duty of 20 per cent. acC valorem was totally inadequate to protect the local manufacturer, and asked for a fixed duty of 6d. per lb. on all roller composition. His roller composition, known as the “ Federal,” had a reputation equal to the “Durable” made in London. The price of the latter was is. 4d. per lb. in England, but was sold in Australia as low as is. 3½d. per lb. in large quantities.
– His statement that it is sold here at is. 3d. per lb. is contradicted by the previous witness, who says that it is sold at is. 6d. per lb.
He was at a loss to know how the “ Durable “’ could be sold in Australia at less than the London price, after paying duty and othercharges.
– The’ previous witnesssays that it is not so.
There were also German brands of composition sold in Australia at 10d. and is. per lb. He could not secure trade for his composition without cutting prices to is. 2d., and in some instances to is. Ojd. per lb. for large quantities.
– Whom are we to believe ?
– Those are the figures to which I referred just after the request was moved by Senator Macfarlane.
– Does the Minister mind reading the last paragraph of the report, as he wants so much read to the Committee ?
– I am dealing with the only thing to which I directed the honorable senator’s attention, and that was the price.
– I had admitted that before.
– I only rose to point that out. I know that the honorable senator only looked at the report just after the interjection came from this side; but that is the particular portion to which I referred when I was speaking.
– And the substance o”f which I gave.
– No; no reference was made to the price of is. o£d. per lb.
– Yes, there was. I said distinctly that it was only fair to state that the same witness had pointed out that German and other cheap foreign compositions were coming in and underselling him.
– I am referring to the local prices, necessarily cut.
– Let the Minister read the last paragraph to the Committee if he wants to know where the cutting was going on.
Question - That the House of Represen tatives be requested to make the duty on item 262, “ Printing roller composition,” ad val., 25 per cent. (Senator Macfarlane’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 8
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 262, ad val., 30 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) put -
That the House of Representatives be~ requested to make the duty on item 262 . (imports from the United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Item 263 (Dry Gums, &c), agreed to.
Item 264. Slate slabs, split, and with rough edges, ad val., 15 per cent.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 264 (imports from the United Kingdom), 10 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Item 265. Slate slabs, sawn or chiselled on one or more faces, or on one or more edges, ad val., 20 per cent.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to substitute for item 265 the following : - (a) Slate slabs with split or chiselled faces and one or more sawn edges, ad val., 20 per cent. (b) Slate slabs with one or more planed faces, ad val., 30 per cent.
Under item 264 slate slabs split, with rough edges, are dutiable at 15 per cent., and item 265 deals with slate slabs to which further manufacturing processes have been applied. But there has been considerable confusion as to the exact meaning of the item. Importers continue to urge that slate slabs properly coming under item 265 invariably have planed and not chiselled faces, and contend that the planed slabs are equivalent to the chiselled slabs. The Department, however, holds that the planed slabs are slabs which have been subjected to further manufacturing processes than entitle them to come within item 265, and therefore treats them as dutiable under item 266 as “ Wrought slate, n.e.i.,” define ing chiselled slabs as slabs roughly faced by hand work with a. chisel. It is proposed, however, to subdivide item 265, making dutiable at 20 per cent, slabs the face of which has been chiselled, and at 30 per cent, slabs which have been treated abroad to more than chiselling, that is to say, which have been planed. If this classification is adopted, importers will not be in doubt as to whether their goods come under item 265 or under item 266.
– The Government proposal is to charge the same rate of duty on slates only partly finished as on slates completely wrought.
– Item 266 deals with wrought slate, n.e.i., that is, slate not specifically included in any other item. The slabs which will be dutiable at 20 per cent, will be those roughly faced by hand work, having one or more sawn edges. They must have all these features before they are dutiable at 20 per cent., otherwise they could be introduced at 15 per cent. When the slabs are carried beyond that stage of treatment, and are imported with planed faces, I am assured that they are imported ready for use, and we suggest that they should be dutiable at 30 per cent. Instead of letting them fall under the n.e.i. item we propose to specifically set out in the Tariff that they shall be dutiable at 30 per cent.
– This is an effort to obtain a gradually rising duty upon slates according to the various stages of preparation - one can hardly call it manufacture - through which they are . passed before importation. The Minister seems to be under some little misapprehension as to what is involved in the word “sawn.” He seems to think that it covers some part of the manufacture or preparation of imported slates.
– So- it does, undoubtedly.
– There seems to be the impression that the sawing is done for the purpose of preparing the slates for use, when, as a matter of fact,. it is done in much the same way as a saw-miller breaks down a log. The sawing of slates is not in any sense a manufacturing process to prepare therri for use, but is done merely in order to facilitate the transport of the article. We might offer in this Tariff an inducement for the importation of slate in the block, but we do not do that.
– If imported in. the block, it is free.
– No, it is not; it is dutiable at 15 per cent., but, perhaps in the mind of a protectionist .like Senator McGregor, that is . very much the same thing as if it were free of duty. The sawing of slates is essential to secure reasonably cheap transport.
– Slate in the block would be admitted free under item 272, and, as a matter of fact, I am informed, it is admitted free in the rough. .
– This will prove to be one of the items under which the Customs officials will discover some reason for bringing the article imported within a description under which it will become dutiable. What I intended to suggest to the Minister in regard to this item is this - and here again, as I have had frequently to say during this Tariff discussion, I am not putting forward to its full extent the View I hold, but a proposal which 1 think might induce the Minister to concede a little : This slate, with one or more planed faces is, as was said just now, not the same as that covered by the n.e.i. provision at 30 per cent., but it is still to bear the same duty. It seems to me that if the Ministerial design of a gradually rising duty according to the amount of preparation to which the slate has. been subjected prior to importation is to be properly carried out, the Minister should agree to make the duty under the new paragraph b he proposes 25 instead of 30 per cent. Slate absolutely in the rough would then be dutiable at 15 per cent. ; slate with some slight preparation, 20 per cent., if prepared to a little greater degree, 25 per cent., and where completely dressed and ready for use it would be dutiable at 30 per cent. I am not saying that if those duties were agreed upon the proportion would-be absolutely correct, but it would, at any rate, conform more nearly to the design evidently in the mind of the author of this section of the Tariff. I ask the Minister to consent to a duty of 25 per cent, on the proposed new paragraph b.
– There appears to be some little misunderstanding as to the way in which slate is taken out of a quarry. It does not come out of a quarry in blocks but in slabs of varying thickness, and when the edges have been sawn and one face planed, such slabs are practically in a finished state if required to be used for paving.
If required for door sills, to finish them it is necessary only to round the edges. Slate slabs with sawn edges, and practically planed faces, are, to all intents and purposes, a finished article, and as such should bear the highest duty.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [6. 11]. - I should have been glad if Senator Story, who is familiar with the subject under discussion, in addition to pointing out that a slate slab in the form he described is practically a finished article, had told the Committee in what form he would like these slabs to come out. It seems to me that a block of slate is laminated and divided into slabs of varying thickness*
– That is done in the quarry.
– Very well, these slabs must necessarily have a certain number of jagged edges which must be sawn. What is now proposed is that we should impose an additional duty upon slate “where the edges are sawn, when to import it with jagged edges, would make it exceedingly difficult to pack or to handle.
– And much more likely to be broken.
– That is so. I confess that it seems to me a refinement of Tariff making to make all these subtle discriminations in order to secure an additional 5 per cent, of duty where slate is imported without jagged edges or sharp corners.
– But that is not what we are dealing with. These slates must be planed also, if they are to bear the additional duty.
– Senator Story has clearly explained that it is essential that there should be a certain amount of planing for certain purposes. The honorable senator has explained that slate is quarried in laminated, blocks, and divided into thicknesses for use for roofing into slabs J inch thick, and for paving into slabs 2 inches thick, or whatever the practice may be. But so far as the sawing is concerned, as Senator Millen has pointed out, it is done for convenience in handling and shipment, and it seems idle to increase the duty levied on slate bv 5 per cent, because it has been sawn with this object. I put mv objections to the proposal on far broader grounds. We have to deal with a very long and complicated Tariff, and for the sake of obtaining an additional 5 per cent, duty, we are being asked to divide the items dealing with slate into half-a-dozen different paragraphs, when it would be far better to include all under one item at the same rare of duty. Senator Story will no doubt remember that “under the’ Tariff of 1902 sawn slate was dutiable at 15 per cent., and we are being asked to impose an additional 5 per cent.
– Which is 5 per cent, more than the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended.
– That is an additional argument against the proposal. I should like to see all these duties on slate made uniform. It is too contemptible to be endeavouring to obtain an additional 5 per cent, under the pretence of giving employment to slate-cutters, when it is remembered that the whole of these slates are used in the building and other trades which we ought to encourage in every possible way. As I said before, in connexion with glue, we should pay some attention to the interests of the trades in which the articles are used, and not seek to impose heavy duties on what are the raw materials of those trades. In view of Senator Story’s explanation there is “no justification for this attempt fo discriminate with respect to sawn slates, and, if possible, all the items dealing with slates should be included in one with a uniform duty of 1.5 per cent.
– The suggestion has been made that it is possible to import slate in a certain form duty free under item 272. But it is clear from the explanation given by Senator Story that it is not possible to import slate of any kind duty free.
– The honorable senator is wrong.
– No; because item 272 deals with stone and not slate. Under item 264 we have decided upon a duty of 15 per cent, on slate slabs, and Senator Story has pointed out that that is the form in which slate is imported.
– That is not what Senator Story pointed out. He pointed out that slates imported in the form he described were practically in a finished condition.
– My contention is that slate in any form in which it is likely to be imported cannot escape duty. If that be correct it adds to the force of the criticism from this side, and the Government should see their way to lower the duties imposed on what is the raw material of a very important industry.
– I should like the Minister to say whether he is prepared to accept the suggestion I have made.. With a view to economizing time, and not because it represents the full measure of concession I should like to obtain, I suggested that the Minister should make the duty on the proposed new paragraph b 25 per cent, instead of 30 per cent. If he will not agree to do so he will force upon me the obligation of moving an amendment. The amendment which he originally gave notice of some two or three weeks ago would adequately meet the situation. He proposed then that item 265 should be altered so as to read in this way -
Slate slabs sawn on one or more edges and planed on one or more faces.
Now the honorable senator seeks to divide the item by putting these slates with slates with split chiselled faces and one or more sawn edges, and then slate slabs with one or more planed faces. As Senator Symon has pointed out, the attempt to discriminate in the way proposed is ridiculous. The Minister’s original proposition had much to recommend it.
– What rate of duty does the Minister propose to apply to the proposed new paragraph a ?
– The Minister proposes 20 per cent., and 30 per cent, for the new paragraph b, on partially prepared slates, the same duty as in item 266 is imposed upon slates in respect of which all possible labour and preparation has been expended.
– The slates that would come in under paragraph b, I am informed, would be the practically finished and completed article.
– Then there is no need for the new paragraph b.
– These slates would come in at the present time under item 266.
– That is under a departmental decision or interpretation. If the Minister will not revert to his original proposition I must move it for him. I’ move -
That the request be amended by leaving out the words “with split or chiselled faces and one or more sawn edges,” paragraph A, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ sawn on one or more edges, and planed on one or more faces.”
I am moving in this direction because it is the easiest way in which I can secure a vote on what I desire.
– Under that proposal completely finished billiard-table slates would come in at the lower rate of duty.
– This is exactly the way in which the Minister proposed to submit the request two or three weeks ago. What my proposal will do is to prevent the Department charging the duty imposed on completely wrought slate upon an article which has had very little work expended upon it.
– I do not detect very much difference between the proposal of the Minister and that of Senator Millen. But I fail to see the necessity in any case for the request moved by Senator Keating. The item, as it stands in the Tariff, is subdivided quite enough. If the Minister had proposed to make both lines dutiable at 30 per cent, it would be very much better than adopting the suggestion of Senator Millen.
– That is too high a duty.
– If there is to be a protective duty, I believe that the higher it is the better. But I cannot see the necessity for making two separate paragraphs, as proposed by Senator Keating. Slate that is sawn and planed is practically finished. Of course, it is true, as stated by some honorable senators, that if what I suggest were adopted, the stuff would be imported in the rough state. But slate comes out of the quarry in an irregular shape - perhaps nearly square - but with rough edges. To make it fit for use . even for paving purposes, the edges must be sawn square, and one face at any rate must be rubbed smooth. For other purposes, other work has to be done with it, such as rounding the corners.’ But I really think that if the Minister would stick to the form of the item as it stands in the Tariff, it would be better, and if he would propose to make the duty 30 per cent. I would support it. I would even support a duty of 20 per cent, rather than have the item split up in this unnecessary manner.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [6.26]. - I am very glad to hear what Senator Story has said, because he is a practical man, and his view commends itself to me. We are really wasting our time over unnecessary discriminations. I do not agree with Senator Story as to raising the duty, but I do agree with him that it is ludicrous to be chopping up these items in so many pieces. It is intended, I dare say, to reach a counsel of absolute perfection as to the employment of labour ; but by twisting the Tariff in this fashion and differentiating duties, we are simply making it harder to work under. Here we have on practically the same article duties of 15, 20, and 25 per cent. ; so that when slate comes out there is the risk of difficulty with the Customs as to whether particular slates come within a particular definition or not. If it were simply a matter of distinction between the rough slate as it comes out of the quarry, and the slate as it comes into use in any shape, it would be much simpler and better. I should therefore like to see the whole of items 265, 266, and 267 put under one rate of duty. We could fight about the duty afterwards. So far as Senator Millen’s proposal is concerned, I would suggest to him that it would be better to leave item 265 as it is. Then we should try to get wrought slate and roofing slate placed under the same rate of duty as is imposed under item 265. If 20 per cent, is not sufficient, we could make the duty higher. I will certainly assist in unifying and simplifying these items. I cannot vote with Senator Story to increase the duties beyond 20 per’ cent., but if he is successful in increasing the rate to 30 per cent, on item 265, I shall go with him to bring items 266 and 267 under the same rate of duty. I dare say that if he does not succeed in increasing the rate from 20 to 30 per cent, he will adopt the same course, and agree to make the duties on items 266 and 267 the same as those on item 265. That would be very much simpler and better.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
– I would point out that if Senator Millen’s proposal be agreed to it will mean that in order to come under this item slateswould have to be sawn or chiselled on oneor more edges, and would have also to be planed on one or more faces, whereas if the word “or “ were used, any one of the processes of chiselling, sawing, or planing would cause them to come under the item. I wish the Committee to thoroughly understand the position.
– Senator Symon would go a little farther in the direction of simplifying the Tariff than I think we ought to go. Roofing slates are entirely different from other slates, and to simplify the position I would suggest that items 265 and 266, which deal with slates partly wrought and slates finished be amalgamated and made liable to a duty of 25 per cent. We should thus split the difference between the existing duties. At present the duty on slates partly wrought is 20 per cent., whilst slates finished are dutiable at 30 per cent. An all-round duty of 25 per cent, covering both these lines would simplify the work of the Department, and I believe be satisfactory to the trade.
– The suggestion which I offered in all good faith to the Minister was not quite that put forward by Senator Story. To give effect to his suggestion would be to destroy the little measure of protection given to those who import slates under item 265, and work them up here for commercial purposes. I have received from a gentleman engaged in the trade a letter, in which he writes -
I write on behalf of the slate, trade of Sydney, and I wish you to bring under the notice of the Senate the unsatisfactory definition of sawn slates. The slate trade interviewed the Minister of Customs a short time back, and I think he will make no objection to this, for he quite understood our grievance. .
I have not the slightest doubt that the action taken by the Minister is the result of that interview. The only question is whether the proposal made by him is the most satisfactory way of overcoming the difficulty pointed out by my correspondent, who goes on to say -
It was manifestly the object of the Lower House to put our raw material, slate slabs, on the 20 per cent, basis, and the finished article at 30 per cent. To our great surprise the Customs are making us pay30 per cent, on our raw material, slate slabs. Such a duty will kill the trade in Sydney.
Senator Story desires to put the duty upon slate slabs, which are the raw material of those engaged in the trade in which my correspondent is interested, on exactly the same basis as that on the wrought or finished article. My proposition is that there should be a difference of 5 per cent, between the duties on the two lines.
– The honorable senator suggests that the duty in respect of paragraph b, under the new sub-item that I have submitted, should be 25 per cent, instead of 30 per cent. ?
– Exactly. The reason for the suggestion is that it is clear from the debate that these slates pass through various stages of preparation. I. think it would conform to the design of the proposed new paragraphs if the duty rose in proportion to the work expended elsewhere on the slates. That would be a better way out of the difficulty, because it would distinguish between the partly prepared and the completed article.
– I am prepared to accept Senator Millen’s suggestion that another place be requested to make the duty under the proposed new paragraph b 2 5 per cent.
Amendment of the request, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Senator Millen) agreed to-
That the request be amended by leaving out the figures “30” in paragraph B with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “ 2.5. “
Request, as amended, agreed to.
Item 266 (Wrought . Slate n.e.i.) and item 267 (Roofing Slates), agreed to.
Item 268. Stone and Marble -
Slabs or scantlings, sawn on one or two faces, ad val., 15 per cent.
– With regard to the industry which it is assumed will be- protected by these duties, I would remind honorable senators that whatever claims may have been put forward on behalf of ‘the marble quarries of Australia there is practically no white marble quarried in the Commonwealth, and placed on the local market. There are in the world, I understand, only two deposits of white marble which have been worked, the one being in Italy and the other in America. The American supply is very small, owing to the peculiar qualities of the deposit. That seems to suggest that we ought not to place white marble on the same footing as coloured marble. I believe that I am correct in saying that some of the coloured marble produced in Australia will bear more than favorable comparison with that produced elsewhere, but in regard to it we labour under certain disabilities. According to “information which I have received, and which I have taken some trouble to verify, it costs more to bring the red granite from Gabo Island - where we have the finest deposit of the kind in Australia - to Sydney or Melbourne than it does to bring marble from Scotland to Australia. The obvious reason is that in the one case there are regular transport facilities, whilst in the other it is necessary to make special arrangements to obtain the marble from a place where the roads are bad and shipping facilities are almost nonexistent. We have to consider whether f!–e advantage proposed to be given under r.his item to the few men engaged in our marble quarries would not be more than counterbalanced by the disadvantages which it would impose on those engaged in working the marble after it has been, quarried. I should like to quote one or two passages from a circular which has been forwarded to- honorable senators, and which is signed by the President and Secretary of the Master Monumental Masons’ Association of Melbourne. It reads -
This association emphatically protests against any duty being imposed on unwrought marble or stone including stone slabs.
That the duty on wrought marble and stone including granite be fixed at not more than 25 per cent.
The second request of the Association - seeing that its members are monumental masons - may seem a peculiar one, but I have ascertained that the real reason underlying it is that owing to the smallness of the Australian market these men undertake only a limited portion of the work of monumental masons. In other words, it is only possible for them to profitably undertake certain branches of work here. The result is that when they receive orders for work which ‘they are not prepared to undertake, they must have resort to importation. That importation, however, still means some work for them. This explanation accounts for the request that we should not place a higher duty than ‘25 per cent, upon what is their manufactured article. In regard to their raw material they say that there is no Australian product yet available which is equal to or com petent to be substituted for white Italian marble.
– Who says that?
– The Master Monumental Masons’ Association of Melbourne. If Senator Story knows of any white Australian marble which can be placed alongside Sicilian marble I shall be glad to learn where it is to be found and who is prepared to supply it. In passing I may say that we ought not to use the word “ Italian “ but “ Sicilian “ if we wish to avoid ambiguity. The circular from the Master Masons’ Association in question goes on- to say -
The local selling price of Italian marble before any duty was levied was 12s. 6d. per cubic foot, which we consider a magnificent price for any unwrought stone, and as such local marble as is available can be obtained from 7s. 6d. to 8s. per cubic foot, why harass us and burden our industry by imposing unnecessarily high prices on our raw material.
That statement shows that the local marble is purchasable at from 7s. 6d. to 8s. per cubic foot, whilst the imported marble, exclusive of duty, costs 12s. 6d. per cubic foot. In other words, the imported article, exclusive of duty, costs 50 per cent, more than does the local marble. It is quite clear, therefore, that those engaged in quarrying marble in Australia are not being harassed by a cutting price on the part of importers. If the local marble were suitable for all purposes, it is obvious that these monumental masons would not pass it by, seeing .that they can obtain it at from 7s. to 8s. per cubic foot, whereas they are obliged to pay 12s. 6d. per cubic foot for the imported article, altogether apart from the duty. But I wish specially to show that this item, as it is framed at present, will hit the monumental masons of Australia rather severely. Be- fore doing so, however, I would point out that some time since a petition was presented to the Prime Minister - copies of which have been supplied to honorable senators - signed by the marble and granite masons, manufacturers and others in all the States of the Commonwealth, so that it practically represents the views of the monumental trade of the Commonwealth.
– It represents 95 per cent, of the trade.
– Exactly. The statement contained in the petition is that -
No further duty be imposed on marble or granite in any form than has been in vogue during the last five years. We beg to point out that the freight and charges on marble and granite average from 40 per cent, to 50 per cent., and, with the old duty added, all this class of goods is already protected to the very high percentage of at least 56 per cent, to 70 per cent, under the old Tariff.
That statement is proved by the fact that Australian coloured marbles, which are of equal quality with imported marbles, are rapidly superseding the latter. I again ask honorable senators to notice that these masons admit at once that Australia possesses coloured marbles suitable for monumental work. Their chief complaint is that it does not possess white marble suitable for such work. The petition continues -
This is proved by the fact that the Australian coloured marbles, which are of equal quality to the imported, are rapidly superseding the imported article, and will shortly do so under the old Tariff. But we have to point out that about go per cent, of the marbles used is of the white variety, of which at present none has been discovered in Australia, suitable to our trade, notwithstanding newspaper reports* to the contrary. If any is discovered in the future the old Tariff is ample to protect it, as proved by the above-mentioned coloured marbles.
Under this Tariff marble, whether white or coloured, is dutiable at 10 per cent. I cannot see any justification for imposing even that comparatively low rate upon white marble which is not produced in the Commonwealth. However, seeing that to a slight extent it may come into competition with some of our coloured marbles, I am not disposed to quarrel with that rate. But closely associated with this paragraph are the two following paragraphs, to which I desire to direct attention, because the action which the Committee may take in respect of the proposal immediately under consideration may have an important effect upon its action in respect of the subsequent paragraphs. Honorable senators will notice that paragraphs b and c refer ‘to “ slabs or scantlings, sawn on one or two faces, and on one or more faces and one or more edges.” Now the use of the word “ sawn “ in this connexion is utterly misleading. It has evidently been assumed that where a saw has been used upon marble blocks, it has been used for the express purpose of avoiding labour being undertaken, in Australia. But I would point out that marble blocks are frequently sawn for purposes of convenience in the matter of shipping, in much the same way as a saw-miller rips up a log. It would be impossible to send out to the Commonwealth large blocks of marble as thev are taken from the quarries. Consequently, they are cut up by the saw and sent out in blocks without any packing around them. The friction which they encounter on the voyage, and the chipping which is caused by chains being passed around them, has the effect of crumbling the edges to such an extent that it is absolutely necessary to dress them upon their arrival: Thus the sawing which is done at home is of no value whatever, so far as the dressing of the stone is concerned.
– In marble?
– Yes. My honorable friend would know that, if he had ever seen big blocks of stone being shipped at Aberdeen, where chains are’ passed around them, and they are simply swung on board by means of a crane. The effect of this handling, I repeat, is to crumble the edges, so that the stone is never fit to be used until the edges have been dressed. The mere fact that it has been cut up by a saw does not diminish the labour which has to be devoted to it in Australia.
– In connexion with marble, the sawing is one of the principal operations.
– Senator McGregor must recognise that it is impossible to send marble to the Commonwealth in the form in which it leaves the quarries at Home.
– Why, we could get Cleopatra’s needle out here if we wanted it.
– Probably the honorable senator will tell me next that we could shift the Pyramids here. The fact that the saw has been used upon these blocks does not in any way diminish the labour which has to be devoted to them upon their arrival in Australia,. On the other hand, slabs which are largely used for such purposes as the tops of washing stands and for mantlepieces are highly finished before they are exported, and are always cut in order to avoid that friction and erosion which must take place where the blocks are shipped without any covering whatever. It seems to me, therefore, that we might well draw a distinction between these two kinds of marble. We might well say that where marble has been prepared by being sawn, or planed ready for use, it should be regarded as the finished article, and the” higher duty should be levied upon it, but where it is imported in blocks which have simply been sawn into a size convenient for shipping and unshipping, and where the work done upon it in no way diminishes the labour which will have to be devoted to it here, it should be admitted at the lower rate. Of course, the only question with which we are immediately concerned is as to whether white marble under paragraph A should be admitted free.
– Let us make all marble free.
– I would do so’ willingly. »
– It would not interfere with our coloured marbles.
– In abstaining from submitting any request at present, 1 wish it to be distinctly understood that I am prompted by a desire to ascertain the wish of the Committee, with a view to seeing how I can achieve the purpose which I have in view.
– Senator Millen has read a letter from the Monumental Masons’ Association of Melbourne, in which its members ask that no further duty be imposed upon marble or granite in any form other than has been in vogue during the past five years. In regard to the paragraph . immediately under discussion, I think that the duty now proposed merely represents a continuance of the old rate, namely, 10 per cent. But as Senator Millen has pointed out, the subsequent paragraphs are inter- related. They are just as inter- related as were several items which came under the designation of slate. It is proposed to levy varying rates of duty upon these paragraphs in proportion to the degree of preparation to which- the articles enumerated “ therein have been subjected. The unwrought marble, including rough or scabbled from the pick, is dutiable at 10 per cent., slabs or scantlings, sawn on one or two faces, will bear an impost of 15 per cent., slabs or scantlings sawn on one or more faces, and one or more edges, are dutiable at 20 per cent., and wrought, n.e.i., will be required to pay 30 per cent. I think that honorable senators will recognise that it is advisable that we should retain varying rates according to the state of preparation in which any particular marble arrives in the. Commonwealth. The greater the state of Preparation the less employment is furnished to our own people in completing the finished article.
– If the marble is not to be’ sawn into convenient sized blocks before it comes out here, by what tools does the Minister suggest that it may be cut up ?
– I am not in a position to say, but there are different degrees, of preparation. Evidently some of it comes in sawn on one or two faces, while other of it is sawn not only on the face but upon the edges. I do not know whether the honorable senator is absolutely accurate in saying that no white marble has yet been discovered in the Commonwealth. Mr. Chas. Joseph, a commercial broker in Sydney, appeared before the Tariff Commission as one interested in white marble quarries in New South Wales. I do not know what degree of commercial success has attended his association with that venture. The rate of duty, 10 per cent., is not very high, but the white marble certainly comes into competition with our own coloured marbles.
– - Not for the purposes for which white marble is used.
– Coloured marble would serve for many of the purposes for which white marble is used but for the aesthetic value of the latter, which to that extent may be looked upon as a luxury. For ordinary practical commercial purposes - the ordinary wants of the people - our own coloured marbles are just as suitable. The white marble may be preferable from an artistic view-point, and for that reason there may be -some justification for imposing upon it, in common with all other marbles that come from abroad, a duty of 10 per cent. The duties are scaled in the proportion which I have described, and honorable senators will, I think, see the advantage of adhering to the principle as they have done with regard to slate. I do not think that the top duty of 10 per cent, on stone and marble wrought, n.e.i., will be found to be too high. Senator Millen has not yet indicated his intention to move a request, and I hope that he- will not do so.
Senator W. RUSSELL (South Australia) [8. 19I- Before I left Adelaide yesterday afternoon, knowing that one of my colleagues intended to move in this matter, I made it my business to visit three monumental masons’ establishments. In every case thev told me that the Australian marble was unsuitable.
– For what?
– For anything ; because it had not the right colour. ‘ The honorable senator no doubt has had a circular from Mr. Cleveland, whom I have known for over twenty years. I have no axe to grind in this matter. In fact, I went to those places as a protectionist, thinking that marble suitable for the work could be, and was, produced in Australia, but I was assured by each of those firms that it was not. I was not altogether satisfied with their statements, so I asked them to show me the difference. They did so, and thoroughly convinced me. I am sure that they had no object in trying to deceive me, and if one of them might have tried to pull an honorable senator’s leg, I do not think that all three could. The burden of their request was to let them have their raw material free. Of course, they did not object to a protective duty on the prepared article. One of them told me that he gave evidence before the Tariff Commission once, and added, “ I will never do it. again.” That was Mr. Morgan.
– Is that the man who told the Tariff Commission that he had never heard of coloured marble in New South Wales?
– I do not know what he said to the Commission. He assured me that he was a manufacturer and not an importer, but I did see in his yard a box that had just been imported and had not been emptied. It contained some marble that had been worked somewhere else, but he told me that if he was given a protection of 30 per cent., he could compete with the imported article. They all told me that. I take the opportunity of mentioning these things before Senator Story moves in the matter. I am sure that he will not think that I have any axe to grind in taking this course. I have with me a letter which I received from Mr. Cleveland after my conversation with him. I said to him, “ It is far better for you to put what you have to say in writing.” I told him to send it not only to myself but to some of my colleagues, whom I mentioned. I did not include Senator Symon, because he is generally supposed to be on the other side.
– He .does not need a copy; he is converted.
– I am thoroughly converted also. When I was electioneering, I was in various parts of the Angaston district, and met individuals who had quarries of their own. They told me that their marble was Ai, but the gentleman whom I examined yesterday, and what I saw with my own eyes, convinced me to the contrary. If a reduction is moved for in connexion with the raw material, I will support it, but I will help Senator Story in regard to the duty on the finished article. I hope that if I vote with Senator Symon to reduce the duty on the raw material, he will give us a little assistance in the other case. During my visit to the yards, I saw some of the workmen. They told me that it would benefit them if a little extra protection could be given on the finished article, ‘ so as to make it worth the employers’ while, instead of importing prepared marble, as they often do - especially Mr. Cleveland - to have the work done themselves. That would give work to men who are sometimes put on halftime. In these circumstances, I hope thai even Senator Symon will recognise the justice of mv position. I have made an honest confession, and am pleased to bc able to agree with Senator Millen in this instance. I move-
That the House of. ‘Representatives be requested to make item 268, paragraph a, free.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SV MON (South Australia) [8.26]. - Senator W. Russell has delivered one of the most refreshing speeches in connexion with the Tariff that I have ever listened to. lt bears out what I said earlier in the evening, when 1 appealed to him upon another matter, that I was sure that if the light of reason was brought to his mind it would always find admittance. The honorable senator has put. two propositions to which I entirely assent. One of them is that which certainly ought to underlie - sometimes I am afraid it is obscured - even the contentions of the ultra protectionists, who do not take the trouble that the honorable senator did to inform his mind -in these marble masons’ places of business. That is, that you ought to have your raw material free when you can get it. I am glad my honorable friend has moved a request that this paragraph should be free. It is quite true, as the Minister stated, that the duty of 10 per cent, is comparatively small, but even so it is a very heavy, and may .be a prohibitive, tax upon people who, from the aesthetic sense, may prefer To have white marble for grave stones rather than the coloured article, which, I believe, is not used at all for that purpose. It is a choice between white marble - £r or £2 will provide a little grave-stone in white marble - and perhaps granite. It is, perhaps, as the Minister said, a sentimental feeling, but that feeling permeates every class of society. The. least we can do, from the point of view of gratifying that sentimental or aesthetic sense, is to take off the duty entirely from the raw materialThat is hot impinging at all upon the views of those who think that it is desirable to impose a duty to prevent it coming in in the wrought state, so as to provide employment for the people engaged in that particular occupation. I do not go quite so far as Senator W. . Russel]_ in saying that the marble produced in Australia is worthless, but I think it is useless for the particular purposes for which white marble is employed. In South Australia there are deposits of very excellent coloured marbles.
– And white marbles.
– Not of the kind fit for monuments. Parliament House, Adelaide, is built of a kind of marble - Kapunda marble - but that is not the white marble, and is not fit for statuary, monuments, or work of that description. But there are Australian coloured marbles which I say. do not require any protection, and that is why I took the liberty, when Senator Millen was discussing the question, of suggesting that it would be better that this item should be made free. The coloured marbles to which I refer are obtained from Macclesfield, in the hills about 8 or jo miles from where I live in South Australia, and, having used them myself, I know them to be of the prettiest. These marbles can be worked into beautiful little pedestals, but they are quite unfit for the other purposes to which I have referred. I believe these marbles will supersede imported coloured marbles, and, therefore, so far as the unwrought material is concerned, we might very well adopt Senator W. Russell’s request. The memorial addressed to the Prime Minister points out that the freight and charges on marble and granite average from 40 to 50 per cent., and if we add to that a duty of 10 per cent, we have a protection of from 50 to 60 per cent.
– When the honorable senator speaks of unwrought marble, does he mean marble in the rough?
– Yes ; in the rough as set forth in the Tariff. On this point we have representations made by substantially the whole of the marble monumental workers.
– By 95 per cent., I think.
– The majority of these import marble.
– Of course; they have to import it for their own work, and they employ labour to work up the raw material. If they were importers asking for a very -reduced duty on wrought or polished marble, we might take their statements with a little discount. But, on the other hand, they say that it is neces sary to have this marble in free in- order to afford employment. Their statements cannot be set aside because one or two persons, who have communicated with Senator McGregor, choose to take a different view. When, however, we come to consider the worked-up material it will be fair to discuss what would be a reasonable duty in order to encourage the industry here. But the working-up of marble into monuments and so forth is not to be absolutely secured by means of a duty; the work depends on skill, artistic talent, and on many other contingencies for which no duties can provide.
– The workmanship is of more value than the material.
– Just so; and even if we were to impose 50 per cent, we could not secure the production of an Apollo Belvedere, a Dying Gladiator, or similar works for which white marble is chiefly used. The employers to whom I have referred cannot be accused . of consulting entirely their own private interests, and, as I have pointed out before, there is no necessity for a duty in order to encourage the production of coloured marble.
– I always feel grieved when I find Australians willing to believe that nothing good can come out of Australia. Therefore I am sorry when Senator W. Russell, instead of making inquiries elsewhere, or coming and having a chat with me, refers to a man who works scarcelv anything but marble which he imports partly dressed and merely finishes. I can refer the honorable senator to evidence given before the Tariff Commission, not only by monumental masons, but by sculptors ; and if there be any one in a position to speak as to the quality of marble it is a sculptor. The following is an- extract fromthe evidence of Mr. James White, who, amongst other works, was responsible for the Queen’s Memorial Statue -
The Commonwealth White Marble Quarry Company, whose quarries are at Caloola, New South Wales, have quite recently been opened, and since their commencement ‘the marble has been utilized in the following public and private buildings : - Main staircase, New Central Railway Station, Sydney ; Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney ; Medical School, Sydney (in tiling) ; Colonial Sugar Company’s new offices, Sydney ; Queen Victoria Memorial Statue (architecture), Melbourne. Also numerous hotels, restaurants, &c, as tiling and other decorative purposes. Also in table tops, monumental crosses, and tombstones in cemeteries.
Australian white marble does not equal high- class Italian marble for gallery work - that is for statuary for art galleries - but it certainly is not inferior to outdoor Italian statuary marble.
Then there is an extract from the evidence of Mr. Charles Francis Summers, sculptor -
Have you any evidence to combat information already laid before the Commission? - I understand that importers have asked that the duty on marble be reduced. In my report I have set out that we have in New South Wales and other parts of the Commonwealth deposits of marbles equalled only by those to be found in the excavations at Rome, and fit to be exported to that great centre of ancient marble industry.
These opinions we can set against the opinion of Senator W. Russell.
– What sort- of marble is referred to?
– White marble fit for outdoor statuary.
– The witness did not say what sort of marble, or, if he did, the honorable senator did not read the evidence.
– The witness was comparing Australian marble with the white marble of Rome. Coloured marble is not imported from Rome.
– No marble is imported from Rome.
– Well, from Italy or Sicily ; at anv rate, ‘this last witness was absolutely sure that in Australia there is white marble equal to any in the world for outdoor statuary.
– Where is it?
– It can be seen in the Sturt statue in Victoria Square, Adelaide.
– That is not white marble, though it is marble.
– It is white enough. I should like to read some extracts from a letter I have received from one of the largest ‘ monumental masons in Adelaide. I am informed on the best authority that the majority of those who signed the memorial, asking- to have marble admitted free, or at a low rate of duty, are men who certainly do not, and, in many cases, could not, . do real monumental work,- but who import the material cut into slabs of exactly the right thickness, and then simply polish and letter it. Mr. Frederick Herring, of Adelaide, has been a real monumental mason all his life; he could go to the quarry, take out a block, saw it into slabs, and work it to any design required. I have here some photographs of his work; and it cannot be excelled by any in Italy. After I saw the circular requesting a low duty, I wrote to Mr. Herring, knowing him to be a thoroughly practical man ; and I received the following reply -
Re duty on imported marble. I have been approached more than once by the importers to sign a petition to have the duty taken off the imported article, which I refused -
– Which imported article- the wrought or the raw material ?
– Both. Mr. Herring refused to sign the petition ; and it is to that he is referring.
– The petition refers to a duty on marble in any form, and the writer evidently means wrought marble.
– The petition is in favour of a reduced duty on the partlyfinished article, as well as on the raw material.
– The petition is that no further duty be imposed on marble or granite in any form ; and that is what Mr. Herring is combating.
– He refused to sign the petition, and proceeds in the letter to give reasons why - and consider I have done my duty in doing so - for the simple reason that we have in our State deposit of white marble enough to supply all Australia for hundreds of years; and I can say for durability and appearances the Angaston marble is not to be beaten by the Italian. The great drawback in it is that it is a little coarser and requires masons and not labourer’s to work it, which is perhaps a eood thing, as any one must serve their time. They are the people who want the duty taken off for the simple reason it requires a little more skill, but I can assure you that when finished it has always given the greatest satisfaction. And in place of fretting away at the edges and corners, as the Italian marble does, it will always remain so as the day it was fixed in thecemetery, and for steps, kerbings for. building, Italian marble is not to be compared. Other firms ‘in this line went so far as to say it was only fit for road metal.
At tikis particular time I was the only one who was pushing it into the market, and had erected machinery. What do we find to-day? No less than three firms now with machinery working our State marble. These are the people who said it was not fit. I can show work completed in our cemetery which I am sure you would not know from Italian. I am quite satisfied South Australian marble is going to play a very important part in the future, that is, if it is assisted by the duty being ..still retained as it is to-day. I have received some more machinery from England, and hope when got going I shall surprise the public by showing what can be done with our State marble. I have been a hewer of marble for this last’ forty years. I leave it with you to say whether you think I know what I am talking about.
That is a letter from a practical man, who knows what marble is. He is satisfied that for everything except indoor statuary Australian marble is not merely equal to but better than Italian marble.
– The honorable senator is aware, pf course, that he is only one out of ten,, and that the other nine signed the petition?
– But the majority of them are not marble masons at all.
– He is the one intelligent juryman.
– Mr. Herring is not the only marble mason in Adelaide, though lie is about the largest. Mr. Laycock, who comes very close to him in that regard, and does the whole of the work, is another who did not sign the petition. That is a significant feature. It was only the little monumental men who asked for the reduction of duty.
– Why should we crush the little men?
– I do not propose to crush the little men. My only. object is to endeavour to show that in Australia we have marble fit for everything except the finest forms of statuary, and the Tariff Commission was furnished with evidence to that effect. In his speech, Senator Millen seemed to confuse somewhat marble with slate. The proportion of labour in sawing marble is altogether different from the proportion of labour in sawing slate. In fact, if a man imports marble sawn into slabs, practically two-thirds of the work thereon is already completed.
– The only way to get rid of the trouble would be to import a quarry of marble from Italy..
– That is not necessary. Marble is a kind of stone which can be taken out practically in cubes.
There is no difficulty in getting a 10-ton block of marble in nearly a cube - just as it comes out of the quarry. It breaks straight across, and there is not the slightest necessity to put any sa.w upon it, as Senator Millen has suggested, in order to make it carry safely. Blocks of marble can be shipped or carted without having been more than roughly scabbled. I have been reminded by Senator Croft that there is a photograph of a block of white marble weighing 100 tons, which came out of the Angaston quarry in South Australia. Yet some persons, after going to see one or two little monumental masons, come here with the idea that we have no white marble in Australia.
– I have been to Angaston, too.
– I desire to say a few words about granite, because I think that if this item does not include granite it certainly ought to. As a counter-blast’ to that petition, I have here a memorial which has been addressed to members of this Parliament. It is signed by James Taylor and .Sons, Australian Pioneer Granite Works, Footscray ; and by Peter Finn and Co., Bendigo Granite Polishing and Sawing Works, Bendigo. I consider that it ought to be placed on record not only that in South Australia we can produce and carve marble, but that every State has unlimited quantities of the best granite in the world. It was suggested from the other side a little while ago that we have not masons here, but I know from personal knowledge that the various States have granite and marble masons equal to
Fin: in the world. All over Australia we have a number of Aberdeen granite workers : and having both the material and the skilled labour, I think that it will be a sin if we do not give the opportunity to develop our own industry. The memorial reads as follows1 -
We beg to bring under your notice the following facts relating to the present Commonwealth Tariff as it affects our industry, viz. : - “ Monumental and Polished Granite Work.”
We have expended a large amount of capital in the erection of most complete plants for granite working, that of Messrs. James Taylor and Sons’ Australian Pioneer Granite Works, Footscray, costing the sum of ^4,000 ; and also the establishment of Messrs. P. Finn and Co., granite works, Bendigo, costing the sum of £3,000 to equip, both of which are practically at a standstill owing to our inability to compete with the large amount of importations, and consequently cannot keep our plants working for more than two months in the year.”
Fully 95 per cent, of the monumental granite work erected in the Commonwealth is imported, and we are within the mark when we state that the cost of labour is 75 per cent.- higher here than in foreign countries, .viz., Germany, Russia, Sweden, Belgium, &c, who employ quite an army of apprentices in the trade, and where granite is raised, worked, and exported to Australia.
I had some doubt about the statement that 95 per cent, of the granite work was imported, and therefore I decided to pay a visit to a yard which is situated at the back of these buildings, and in which some very fine specimens of monumental work can be seen. I inquired of the manager how much of the monumental work was imported. I suppose that in the yard there were fifty or sixty splendid examples of monumental work, and I learned that only one out of the whole lot had been made in Australia from Australian material. That convinced me, to some extent, as to the truth of the statement in the memorial. Not satisfied with that information,. I went into the establishment of Mr. Laycock, in Adelaide, and inquired whether it was possible that 95 per cent, of the monumental granite work in Australia was imported, and he said, “It is absolutely true: in fact, it is nearer 100 per cent.” The memorial continues -
We also enclose a list showing the rates of wages paid to granite cutters in Aberdeen, Scotland, from whence a large amount of granite work is imported into the Commonwealth.
We may state that the supply of granite in the Commonwealth is almost unlimited, there being a great variety of colours and stone of the highest quality, as can be seen in many public buildings in the capitals of the States.
There is, however, 119 inducement to open and develop quarries, when’ so little demand can be relied on, and it is quite out of the question to think of training apprentices while we are not in a position to employ journeymen.
In order to enable us to compete with the importations, which are becoming larger every year, and to be in a position to pay the increased rate of wages to our workmen as stipulated in the Factories Act Wages Board Determination, we ask that the present duty on “ all wrought and polished granite work” should be increased to 45 per cent, ad valorem.
At the present time our industry is languishing, and we are only employing about fourteen men on the average throughout the year; whereas with increased protection we could afford employment to about from sixty to eighty men during the whole of the year, and establish on a sound basis a now almost extinct industry, for which the Commonwealth provides an almost unlimited supply of the raw material in the way of numerous varieties of high-grade stone equal, and in many cases superior, to the best at piesent imported.
Trusting that this matter will receive your favorable consideration.
The writers then give a table of the wages paid in Australia and Aberdeen to show the absolute necessity of having a high protective duty, if the Australian workman is to have a. chance of competing on even terms with the Aberdeen workman.
– But that is on the finished article.
– Yes. I propose, to show later on that the granite workers in Scandinavia are far worse competitors with Australian workmen than are even the Aberdeen men. I- will give a short comparison of die wages paid in Aberdeen and Victoria. Granite cutters get 7d. per hour in Aberdeen, and is. <jd. in Victoria. First-year apprentices get 7 s. per week in Aberdeen, and 5s. in Victoria. Second year apprentices get 8s. per week in Aberdeen, and 10s. in Victoria. Third year apprentices get 9s. per week in Aberdeen, and 15s. per week in Victoria. Fourth year apprentices get 10s. per week in Aberdeen, and 22s. 6d. in Victoria. Fifth year apprentices get us. per week in Aberdeen, and 30s. in Victoria. Granite ‘polishers receive from 24s. to 26s. per week in Aberdeen, and £2 4s. per week of forty-eight hours in Victoria. The writers conclude their memorandum with this statement -
These figures will show it is quite impossible to employ labour at rates ruling in the Commonwealth and compete with the above under our present Tariff, especially when it is remembered that there is no limit to the number of apprentices allowed to be employed in Aberdeen.
I have given notice of my intention to move a request for a preferential duty in favour of British imports of .monumental -granite work, and I propose to quote from’ a long article headed “ Aberdeen Granite Trade. Effects of Foreign Competition. Startling Facts and Figures,” appearing in the Stone Trades Journal, of December, 1907, to show that this preference will be of value to the Mother Country. The writer says -
Tt would be difficult to point to any industry in Scotland that is suffering more severely From the inequality of the present fiscal system than the granite trade of Aberdeen and district. During the past few years it mav truthfully enough be said the granite trade in this country has been going from bad’ to worse, and unless some move is made in the way of exacting from foreigners who are daily exporting shiploads of worked and finished granite to this country a just tariff on the material sent in, it is difficultto see how the reputation of Aberdeen as one of the greatest centres oi the granite trade in the world is go’ing to be maintained.
The writer proceeds to speak of the number of masons employed in Scandinavia in working granite to be used in Scotland, practically the home of the granite mason -
It is startling to find that as workmen are being discharged here, fresh workmen in much greater numbers are being employed abroad on granite work for this country.
In Scandinavia or Northern Europe (.basing on the value of imports) the following is the number of men employed there making granite work for Great Britain alone : -
In 1900 there were employed 2,160 men.
In 1905 there were employed 3,000 men.
In 1900 there were employed 3,400 men.
If we include marble and other stones, and take the total importation, in 1900, 9,300 men were employed abroad exclusively on work for this country, while in 1904, no fewer than 14,500 men were employed - an increase of 5,200 workmen - while in this country we were opening soup kitchens for the unemployed !
To show the advantage of protection, the writer continues -
The granite-polishing yards in Aberdeen, as a glance at the balance-sheets of those that are limited companies wifl show, are not in a very prosperous condition, and this is not surprising. While they have suffered severely from foreign Tariffs, such as the 50 per cent. Tariff in the United States of America, which has reduced the number of men engaged in work for the United States of America by about 600; on the other hand, their market at home can’ be freely exploited by foreign competitors, and this’ is now being done by both German and Scandinavian firms, who have representatives in England pushing their goods and depressing the market.
Effect of Preference.
Preference has helped somewhat, and the trade to Canada, which has been falling off, has increased so much since preference was granted that three times as many men are employed making granite for Canada now as in 1897, before preference was granted.
– How much granite comes into Australia?
– It is difficult- to ascertain, since the importations of ‘ stone, slate, and marble are included in the one item.
– In 1906, the total importation of wrought monumental marble from the United Kingdom was worth only £607. It would be hardly worth while to give a preference in respect of such a small volume of trade.
– We imported £10,800 worth of stone of some kind from America. A considerable quantity of granite is used in Australia, not only for monumental work, but also for buildings, such as the Equitable offices in Melbourne and Sydney.
– The ornamental stone in the Sydney office is chiefly trachyte.
– Evidence was given before the Tariff Commission that the granite and marble work for large buildings in Sydney was imported ready finished, instead of giving employment locally to 150 men.
– Where did the honorable senator get that fairy tale?
SenatorSTORY.- -I shall give the honorable senator the quotation directly. Leslie Vernon Puckle, companies’ secretary, Pittstreet, Sydney, when he appeared before the Tariff Commission, said that at present about £70,000 worth of marble is annually used in Australia, of which £67,000 worth is imported.
– The whole of the wrought marble imported is not worth much more than £10,000.
– Mr. James White, whose evidenceI have already quoted, said, in reply to a question, that £80,000 worth of marble is sold annually in Australia, and he suggested that this money should be kept in the country.
– The Customs statistics give the value of the. marble imported - monumental, wrought, and wrought, n.e.i. - as about £11,000, upon which only £2,800 duty was collected. The. witness must have been speaking of the money paid for finished work.
– The importations may vary, being larger in one year than in another; but the estimates of two independent witnesses come very close to each other. I wish now to speak of the amount of work on what Senator W. Russell has referred to as the raw material of the monumental masons, who wish to be allowed to import sawn slabs at a very low rate of duty. At questions 99112-3, the following evidence was elicited from Mr. White-
As to unwrought marble, the decision is that sawn marble is unwrought, do you agree with that? - I do not. Sawn marble has had a large amount of work expended upon it. Practically two-thirds of the work of the monument for which it is intended has been done.
In Mr. White’s opinion, two-thirds of the work has been done, when the marble has been sawn into the slabs which it is suggested are the raw material requiredby the monumental masons, who are asking for a low duty. He further said -
That decision is altogether wrong. The importers are seeking to put as many difficulties as possible in the way of the development of. Australian marble quarries. They know that the. sawing plant is the key to the situation, and unless we get something to equalize the difference between the cheap labour in Italy and the cost of labour in Australia they will have us at their mercy.
I do not think I need quote any more. We have as fine an example of granite work as I fancy can be seen in any part of the world in the pedestal of the statue of the late Queen Victoria, in the Queen’s Hall. It is composed of Victorian red granite, wrought and polished by Victorian masons. The beautiful columns in the front of this building are composed of Victorian grey granite, wrought, turned, and polished in Victoria. The Eight Hours’ Monument in Spring-street was made here also of Victorian granite. We have in all our cities samples of as good granite and of as good workmanship in this line as, T think, are to be found in any other part of the world. Why, then, should we allow 95 per cent, of our monumental granite and marble work to be imported when we are in a position to do all this work for ourselves ?
– I intend to support Senator W. Russell in his effort to have the raw material covered by item 268A admitted free of duty. Reading the speeches, circulars, and important declarations dealing with this matter, I have been struck with the fact that on public as well as private occasions the most representative- men amongst the protectionists of Australia, and especially of Victoria, have expressed themselves in a most emphatic way in favour of the con- ‘tention that this raw material should be admitted free of duty. On one very public occasion, the leader of the most extreme protectionists section of the Australian community, said -
The Government are proposing to put a duty on white marble when they know there is only one place in the world where it can be obtained.
He was followed bv men who, like himself, were speaking in the interests of Victoria, and ‘ all pleaded that this raw material should be admitted free of duty. If Senator -W. Russell is looking for confirmation of the wisdom of his proposal, he can- find it in the most responsible utterances of the strongest protectionists. I have looked through the reports submitted by both sections of the Tariff Commission, and as the result of careful and extensive reading on the subject, I say that the evidence is almost unanimously in favour of the contention that this material should be allowed to come in free. Those who are’ making the request make it in the interests of the workers, because they point out that it would increase the opportunities afforded them to secure employment. I gather from all the literature and information supplied on the subject that the value’ of the marble, granite, or stone used in the construction of monuments is comparatively small, and that it is the cost of the labour involved in working the material that is the important item. The monumental masons” are therefore asking for the free admission of this raw material, not so much in their own interests as in the interests of the workers they employ. I am in a position to read to’ the Committee some evidence on this point supplied by the firm of Melrose and Fenwick, monumental masons at Townsville, in North Queensland. As I have myself objected that certain persons did not come before the Tariff Commission, it may be urged against me in this instance that the members of the firm I refer to did not give evidence before the Commission. My answer is that the Commission did not travel as far as Townsville, and that men in a comparatively small way of business could not have been expected to go from Townsviile to Brisbane or Melbourne to give evidence. I quote this as evidence from a rather unexpected quarter, strongly supporting what Senator W. Russell has said. The firm wrote to me, and possibly to other honorable senators,- asking that certain considerations should be submitted to the Committee. They say -
If any reduction at all in item 268 is made, we implore you to make it on item 266A, Rough Marble” (blocks), and we think this might well be done as there is certainly no Australian marble that can compare in quality or ease, reliability or economy in working, with Italian material. And in any case the oversea freight on the unwrought material which is about 7.5 per cent, of the f.o.b. values ought to be ample protection if quality is on a par.
I might here say that this firm bear out the contention as to the extent of the naturalprotection which has been suggested in other quarters. It has been estimated at from 50 to 60 per cent, in Victoria, and in North and even in South Queensland it will probably run to from 70 to 75 per cent;
As bearing upon the quality of Australian marble, it should be remembered that I quote an Australian firm, the members of which would not be more likely to run down Australian products than would other per-sons. I take it as a matter of .commonsense that all workers would like to Le able to secure the material they use at their own door. It would be to their own business interest to avail themselves of it, if, for the purposes for which they required it, it was equal to what they would otherwise have to go elsewhere to obtain. This firm add a most important thing - and I direct the attention of. Senator Story to it - lt may be argued in connexion with the rough blocks (268A), that good marbles exist in various parts of the Commonwealth. But our inquiries in Angaston, South Australia, and Bathurst, New South Wales districts have failed- to reveal anything of such a satisfactory character as the Italian article, and for the sake of the higher branches of handicraft it is desirable that the best available material shall be at disposal at the least possible cost.
In order that their industry may be established, these people are asking that the material, which is the source of their work, shall be allowed to come in free. Senator W. Russell’s inquiries on this subject have been made independently of mine, which confirm every word of what he has said ; and his remarks corroborate a great deal of what has been said by honorable .senators on both sides. As the evidence is almost overwhelming, and nearly unanimous, that the raw material in the rough is required free for the benefit of the industry, and as protectionists themselves admit that its free importation would be of great advantage to the workers, I hope that the Government will not hesitate, but will do as they were pressed to do in the beginning - agree to make the item free.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [9.22]. - I am very much influenced in the vote which” I shall give by two considerations - one the representations of ninety-five out of every hundred men in the trade throughout Australia, as shown by the communication sent to the Minister of Trade and Customs, and secondly my knowledge of how the marble and granite trades in New South Wales have progressed without any duties whatever to help them. Why, sir, it is a quarter of a century at least since the heavy granite columns at the Government Post Office, Sydney, were, erected. Certainly that was done under a “regardless of expense” arrangement, as it was a Government enterprise; but the granite used in those columns and in every other part of the building was brought from Montagu Island, away down on the east coast. Then, if honorable senators go to other large Government buildings in New South Wales they will find all the corridors floored with New South Wales black and white marble. It is not statuary marble, but it is nearly white. There may be statuary marble at Caloola; I have not seen it, but have heard of it. Certainly what is commonly called white marble in my State is fairlywhite, but is marked by a number of grey veins, which, of course, spoil it for high-class statuary work. But when it comes to dealing with coloured marbles, most unhesitatingly I say that New South Wales could supply not only all Australia, but all the r,est of the world. There is scarcely a colour known but is represented in the marble deposits of New South Wales. Even the rarer green tints are to be found, and have been used in the decoration of some of the city churches of Sydney. If any One wishes to see a variety of coloured marbles, let them look at the lining of the great hall of the new railway station in Sydney. There one can see an abundance of shades of- colour, and slabs of marble of a size that indicate that a considerable industry is in operation, which does not require the adventitious aid of duties. It is an industry natural to the country, and can be just as profitably worked, I will avow, as can the great beds of Hawkesbury sandstone, that supply building material for some of the chief cities of the Commonwealth. Whoever proposed to put on a duty to promote the use of Pyrmont stone? It is too easily obtained, and obtained in too great quantities, to make it necessary to pile up Tariff walls to keep out competing stone. Of course, stone may be imported for decorative purposes. I know that ‘ some Oamaru white stone from New Zealand has been imported for the decoration of some local buildings. But the Customs returns show that the importations are very small. According to these figures, one set of imports represented £11,195* and the other line represented £6,422. Roughly, there were £17,600 worth of granite and marble combined as the total -importations for the whole Commonwealth during an entire twelve months. The duty amounted to a trifle over £2,300. Clearly some of the statements that have been made to-night, or that have been read, have been verv far astray. I think it is lamentable that there should be so much reading of private letters in connexion with the settlement of a business of this sort, because it looks as if we were not attempting to legislate in the interests of the people of Australia, but endeavoring laboriously to put a few extra pounds into the’ pockets of individual firms. That is what the whole aspect of this Tariff is coming to be. We seem to be consulting not the interests of Australia as a whole, but the advantage of some individwals. I cannot help saying, however, with reference to the list of persons who signed the memorial sent to the Minister of Trade and Customs, that I know a large number of the individuals whose names figure in it. I know not only some of those in Sydney, but in the principal, towns of New South Wales, and I say positively that they are not importing people but are working firms. They are not interested in importing and selling, but are makers of monuments and do work of all kinds that is renuired for buildings and so forth. I have been quoting a few Sydney examples, but let honorable senators go down any of the principal streets of Melbourne, Brisbane, or Adelaide, and see the amount of local granite and marble that has been used. Why, in Adelaide they have a marble palace for the Parliament to meet in - an “I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls” kind of arrangement; and they do dream there occasionally, I believe ! In any of the principal cities of Australia you will see examples of both marble and granite work, the stone for which has been worked by Australian hands, and the material taken from Australian quarries. I certainly do not thinkthat there is any excuse whatever for piling up these duties. There is, as has already been stated, a heavy natural protection because of the high freights and the great cost of handling heavy blocks. There is one thing in connexion with that which I have not heard mentioned, and that is the costly packages. They have to be made of great strength and bolted together; and when these packages arrive here, as the petitioners mention, thev are worth nothing except for firewood. And yet we impose upon them a duty of 35 per cent., making a very material increase to the general cost of importing both marble and granite. I notice that the sig natories to these representations do not ask that these marbles be free; they ask for the maintenance of the existing rate of duty, which I think was about 10 per cent. If the Committee determines to request that the line be free, well and good. I own that I shall be satisfied, in view of the representations made, with something a little less than actual freedom. If a duty of 10 per cent. is agreed to, we might very properly grant a preference to the United Kingdom, especially in view of the information given to us by Senator Story in reference to the heavy and drastic competition of Scandinavian quarries.
– Having regard to the statement made by Senator Neild, I think we have every reason to expect him to support the imposition of a protective duty in this case, since the item is designed to encourage what is to a large extent a national industry. We know that large deposits of marble and granite exist in Australia, and that the industry is not in a flourishing condition. That being so, we should be prepared to do something to improve its position. Senator St. Ledger said that, although he had searched the reports of the Tariff Commission and had carefully examined the documents sent to him on both sides of the question, he had been unable to obtain any satisfactory evidence of a desire for a protective duty. ‘ I am afraid that the honorable senator must have searched the’ reports with his eyes shut, determined not to see anything. Had he read the reports of the Commission, he would not have made the statement to which I have referred. After hearing his observations I glanced casually at the report of the protectionist section of the Commission, and found a mass of evidence of the kind for which he said he had searched in vain. That being so, we cannot attach much importance to Senator St. Ledger’s arguments. In the report of the protectionist section of the Commission it is stated that -
A representative of the Stonemasons’ Union at Perth, W.A., complained that the Commonwealth Tariff of 25 per cent. on wrought marble and stone (Item 99) was totally insufficient to protect the trade, and maintain the Australian standard of wages. In consequence of the Tariff, the monumental trade was languishing, and masons wsre often out of employment. Permanent employment would be secured to Australian operatives by the prohibition of wrought marble and stone.
Then, again, it is stated that -
In Adelaide, South Australia, a monumental :sculptor and owner of a marble quarry, complained that on account of the low price of imported marble he could not make any headway in his business, although he had erected machinery for working the marble at Angaston. Sawn marble was’ imported, classed as- unwrought, and admitted at 10 per cent. This was a great mistake. In some cases it was half wrought and in other cases sawn on four sides.
Stronger and more definite evidence ‘was given by the manager of a monumental works at Adelaide. According to the report of the protectionist section of the Commission he stated that -
No amount of duty on the latter would cause the former to be used in preference -
That is to say, no amount of duty on the Italian marble would cause a preference for Angaston marble -
A great deal of local labour is engaged in working on imported marble. He suggested the free admission of unwrought with a duty of 30 to 40 per cent, on wrought marble, which he was confident would cause an increase of 50 per cent, in labour straight away.”
On the same page of the report I find a reference to evidence given in Melbourne -
A mine developer, Melbourne,’ objected to the suggestion of the importers that the duty of 10 per cent, on marble in the rough should be removed, and asked that it be increased, as a marble quarry was being started in Gippsland. He also desired to differentiate between rough and worked marble. A great quantity of marble imported as rough, is sanded and rubbed to such »n extent that very little- local labour is required to make it wrought.
A casual glance at the report of the protectionist section of the Commission has enabled me to show that in several States evidence was given of the kind for which Senator St. Ledger said he had searched in vain. Witnesses from three different States asked for a protective duty to put the industry in a better position. In view of these facts we are entitled to disregard the statements of those who say that there is no evidence of a desire for protective duties in respect of this item.
.- I am fast coming to the conclusion that a legislative assembly is about the last body that should be charged with the work of framing a Tariff. After talking for hours on a given subject we find ourselves all at sea as to facts, and, as a rule, not at all prepared to arrive at an agreement. I have never heard our protectionist friends opposite admit that in. respect of an article which is not manufactured here to any considerable extent a protective duty might well be withheld for the sake of the consumers, and more particularly those who use it as the raw material of some other manufacture. Whilst standing firm in their allegiance to the policy of protection, Ministers might well say that there are exceptions to every rule, and that, having regard to the facts it would not be reasonable to apply -that policy to the importation of marble. I have here a printed copy of a letter addressed to the ‘ Prime Minister and signed, not as I thought by 300, but by 322 monumental masons living in all parts of the Commonwealth. They have taken the trouble to put their views in print, and to forward the petition, not only to each State of the Commonwealth, but to every portion of a State in which. a monumental mason is to be found. I- do not know that any more complete document in regard to the Tariff has ever been placed before honorable senators. These 322 persons are established monumental masons. They have their homes, offices, and yards here, and they employ workmen and apprentices. I will undertake to say, without fear of contradiction, that they circulate more money in the form of wages, and provide more employment, than do those persons who employ men merely to quarry Australian marble and to manufacture it. But my honorable friends opposite, who are out-and-out protectionists, will not listen to facts of this kind. They will not recognise that protection must have its limits. Nobody suggested for a moment that sufficient protection ought not to be afforded the industry to compensate for the marvellous difference which exists between the wages paid to Italian or Scotch workmen, and those paid to Australian workmen. But does Senator de Largie mean to tell me that the natural protection afforded to the industry, amounting, as it does, to 50 per cent., is not a larger measure of protection than that which we have extended to most items’ in this Tariff? I take it that the prayer of the 322 persons to which I have alluded is worthy of attention, and thev ask that their raw material shall be admitted upon fair terms. I hold in my hand a copy of the circular sent by the master monumental masons of Melbourne to honorable senators, in which it is stated -
This Association emphatically protests against any duty on unwrought marble or stone, including sawn slabs.
It adds -
There is no Australian product yet available, equal lo, competent to be placed beside, or fitted to be a substitute for white Italian marble.
Senator Story, who addressed the Committee for half-an-hour in an endeavour to persuade us that a white marble was ob- . tainable in Australia, did not prove that we possess any white marble which is a lit substitute for Italian marble. We know very well that when persons desire to erect a monument to their dead, they require a white Italian marble, and will not purchase a coloured marble, or an inferior white Australian marble. I shall vote for the request of Senator W. Russell, but I should like to see it specifically stated that white marble is to be admitted free.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 268, paragraph a, “ Marble Un wrought,” free (Senator W. Russell’s request)- put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
– I pointed out earlier! that the word “ sawn “ in paragraphs b and c was quite misleading. . It has evidently- been the belief of those who prepared the Tariff that the fact that a saw had been used on the stone represented some portion of the work of preparing it for its final destination.
– Senator Story, who is in some measure an expert, says it is so. He says the marble can be easily hewn out in any shape you want.
– Of course it can. It does not need an expert like Senator Story, re-inforced by Senator Trenwith, to make that obvious. But the marble is taken out of the quarry in enormous blocks. By the proposal in paragraph b, those in Australia who are compelled to purchase marble from elsewhere will have to send instructions, if they wish to avoid the duty, that the big block is to be cut up, not by the saw, which is the most economical way, but by hand tools.
– Marble is never cut into blocks by the saw. It is cut into slabs by the saw.
– That is a technical distinction, dear to the heart’ of the expert, but to this Committee, which desires to get at the true facts, it is no difference at all. I will say that the marble is cut into portions, if the honorable senator likes that term better.
– With a saw?
– That is when they want to do part of the work abroad.
– No, but because ot the impossibility of sending out the big block, as it . is taken from the quarry. Tt has to be cut up before shipment, and the question is whether it is more economical to do it with the saw or with some other tool. Can Senator Story mention a more economical way than the use of the saw?
– It is the most expensive way.
– I doubt if the honorable senator can find amongst the workers one man who will support that statement. If it is the most expensive way, why is it used?
– It is used only to cut the marble to size.
– You cannot cut to 1/8th of an inch with any other instrument.
– The blocks which come out here are not cut to ith of an inch. As they are sent out without any covering or packing, the edges fray or are chipped in handling, and consequently if they are required here for certain sizes they have to be cut somewhat larger before they are sent, in order to enable the men to re-dress them here. It would make no difference to the work in Australia whether the block came out with a sawn edge or cut with another tool. It would still have to be worked over again. The only slabs which come out here, ready for use are those for table tops, mantel shelves, and so on. When these are completely prepared at Home or in Italy, they are sent out! in packages in order that they shall not be subject to the friction and knocking about which the loose block necessarily encounters. The blocks mentioned in paragraphs b and c are simply cut in convenient sizes in the same way as timber is sent here. Under the timber duties, the way in which the faces are to be cut is not specified. Certain sizes of timber only are stipulated, because it is necessary in order to ship them here that the saw must have passed over them somewhere. That is a complete parallel to this case. . The saw is not used to economize work here, but to reduce the marble to convenient-sizes for shipping, and for its utilization in Australia. Paragraphs b and c, like paragraph a, really cover the raw material required by monumental masons. I therefore move -
That the House of Representatives be re: quested to make item 268, paragraph b, free.
If any section of the Committee think that, as the marble is cut roughly to size, even by the saw, there should be some difference between these paragraphs and paragraph a, it will be competent for them to move some further amendment.
– Senator Millen may be an expert on many questions, but he knows absolutely nothing about this subject. . The method of dividing a block of marble or granite is to drill a number of holes in a straight line across it, plug them up with pieces of timber or lime, pour water in, and the block breaks in half. That is absolutely the cheapest and only method adopted. What kind of a saw would Senator Millen vet to separate a block of marble 10 ‘feet bv 10 feet? Would he use an American cross-cut saw ?
– After the block is reduced to the size you speak of, the saw comes in to cut it to slabs. If you do not know the saw that is used, you should not pose as an expert.
– I have seen the whole process of taking the block from the quarry, separating it into smaller blocks, and fixing the frame with a number of saws over the block. The frame may con tain anything from 6 to 15 saws, fixed for varying thicknesses when different thicknesses of slabs are required. The saw works backwards and forwards. It is simply a piece of plain iron. Water and sand are put into the chase that the saw makes. It is the rubbing of the sand with the piece of iron that severs the block into slabs. . As the witness I have quoted a little while ago pointed out, when marble is sawn into slabs, about two-thirds of the work is done, because it is of equal thickness right through, and is smooth on two surfaces. All that is required is that it should be sawn the other way, chiselled, and rounded or chamfered to make it a finished article. The sawn slabs of marble or granite mentioned in this paragraph are those on which two-thirds of the labour has been done-
– So far as my reading goes, I think Senator Millen is correct. I understand that in the marble quarries of Carrara, saws are used for actual quarrying purposes. The method explained by Senator Story of breaking up a block of stone is the old rough-and-ready way. But the Carrara marbles are not handled in that fashion. The desire is to leave a good face on the marble, and for many years the stone has been quarried with a saw. At the same time the marble imported in this state is to a certain extent wrought. A great deal of the work done by the saw might be done here with a chisel ; and to that extent employment was taken away from our operators. Consequently I should like to see .some duty imposed.
– I shall not trouble honorable senators by reading extracts from the evidence, but many men in the trade define wrought marble as marble on which a chisel or sand has been used, and unwrought marble the stone which has been merely sawn into slabs for the purpose of transport. A suggestion which contains some merit, in view of the tone of the debate, was thrown out by a stone merchant of Melbourne, who was of opinion that slabs under 4 feet by 2 feet should be dutiable, but that all over that measurement should be free, even if sawn on the four edges. This seems to fit in with the rule applying to timber; and it is a suggestion that I shall ask the ‘ Committee to consider.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 268, paragraph b, “ Slabs or Scantlings, sawn on one or two faces/’ free (Senator Millen’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
– Originally there was a difference of s per cent, between the duties in paragraphs a and b, and as we have made paragraph a free, I maintain that, in order to preserve symmetry, the duty in paragraph b ought to be 5 per cent. The Minister should therefore raise no objection to a duty of 10 per cent. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item z68, paragraph B, 10 per cent.
– I have just had the advantage of conversing over the telephone with a wellknown monumental mason who uses much marble as his raw material. He informs me that he is obliged to import the marble in the condition described, and that he does so under considerable difficulty. He was’ one who, with the most earnest and patriotic desire to utilize it, tested varieties of Australian white marble. The Italian producers do not care to export the marble in any other state, having a desire, as we have, to retain the work in their country.
– And the honorable senator desires to help them to do so.
– No; but I donot . wish to place any difficulty in the way of the monumental masons in Australia.. If we impose a high duty we shall simply further tax a commodity already sufficiently taxed. There is no objection to a high duty- on the absolutely finished article,, but he is pointing out that this is really their raw material.
– I wish to remind honorable senators’ that in addition to marble this paragraph includes granite slabs finished, with the exception of a little chiselling, polish1 . ing and lettering, and that 95 per cent, of it is imported in the very form which Senator Mulcahy wants to come in at a low rate.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
. -Irise to move a request for the free admission, under a separate paragraph, of slabs over 4 feet by 2 feet, whether sawn or not. I do not propose to reiterate the arguments which have been used. The contention hitherto has been that the sawing of the slabs has been a portion of the work. I am endeavouring to enable monumental masons to get in their raw material at any rate in a form in which it cannot be said that any work has beei? devoted to it other than that which was necessary to secure a convenient size. I therefore propose that where marble comes in not as a slab but in a block, then, on the same principle as that which is applied to timber, it shall be admitted free.
– Of what thickness will the block be?
– I must admit that I have taken the dimensions from the evidence given by a witness who apparently like myself overlooked the fact that a third dimension was wanted. I am perfectly certain, however, that I shall have no difficulty in getting a statement on the point from the expert on my right hand. I cannot ask Senator Story to say whether he thinks that they ought to be admitted free, but I am sure that he will tell the Committee what would be a convenient size to prescribe if they are to be so admitted.
– Forty feet thick.
– I admit that I. am taking, as it were, a plunge in the dark with a slab of marble, but I intend to submit the proposal, and if any one can suggest advisable alterations I am sure that he will do so. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 268 by inserting the following new paragraph : - “ cc. Slabs over 4 feet by 2 feet square, whether sawn or not, free.”
– I hope that honorable senators will not agree to the request of Senator Millen, who apparently does not feel very sure of his ground. In the first place, he proposed that the limit should be 4 feet by 2 feet without regard to the third dimension. I believe that when, after a considerable debate, the Committee affirmed by a very substantial majority that slabs or scantling sawn, as mentioned in paragraph b, should bear a duty of 15 per cent., and sawn as mentioned in paragraph c a duty of 20 per cent., it intended that decision to apply generallv- Any such proposal as that now put forward would have the effect, even if it is not so designed, of simply whittling away the protection which has already been given.
– I believe that Senator Millen is doing what he can to bring the Tariff in respect of marble in conformity with his own ideas, but he has been supplied with information in a. very loose way indeed. What is meant by a slab 4 feet by 2 feet square? I do not know exactly what is meant. So far as thickness is concerned there is not the slightest indication of what it ought to be. The desire of the marble masons, who import stone of this kind, is to get it in with as much work as possible done on it. The mode of measurement suggested by Senator Millen is quite new. It is not that applied to timber, for instance, where the dimensions given are 12 x 6 and over and 12 x 6 and under, or the like, irrespective of length. If Senator Millen had said 2x2 irrespective of length, there would have been some meaning in his proposition ; but he is confining it to pieces 4 feet in length.
– No. The blocks may be 40 feet long.
– To pieces not less than 4 feet in length. That is not what those whom he is trying to assist wish for. If his request be carried, and a piece of marble is needed for a monument, it can be brought in either sawn with parallel sides, or sawn to taper, and all that’ will have to be done to finish it will be to polish it, and put it on a pedestal.
– The honorable senator assumes that marble is imported only for monumental purposes.
– If marble is imported in the way I describe, it will deprive Australian workmen of employment. I hope that the Committee will reject the request, and stand by the Tariff. I shall be glad to see the request which we have passed, asking that certain marble may be admitted free, disagreed to by the House of Representatives.
.: - It does not seem to be recognised that we are legislating in this matter ‘ against the wishes of the trade generally. One reason why masons wish the matter to be left alone is that rough unwrought marble will cost them more than sawn marble. Italians seem not to care to sell in the rough. According to the Tariff
The cost of rough blocks . of Italian white marble quarried is 12s. 6d. per cube.” A cubic foot of marble will saw into twelve slabs % inch thick. Sawn slabs,¾ inch thick, are imported for10½d. per super, foot (equal to 10s. 6d. per cubic foot). This means that the Italians sell sawn marble in Australia at a cheaper rate than the. rough blocks.
The trade want rough blocks because marble in that form is cheaper than when sawn. I have been at Carrara, and have seen very large blocks being manipulated, but very little work is done to them.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [10.27]. - Will the Minister tell the Committee what these slabs or scantlings are? No measurements are given in regard to them. Apparently, they may be of any size. So long as they are sawn on one or more faces, or one or more edges, they are dutiable. If that be so, the request seems to me perfectly fair. It asks the House of Representatives to permit to be imported free of duty, sawn marble above a certain measurement, which may be regarded as the raw material of our masons.
– The item covers all importations of marble not unwrought, that is, not completely wrought, irrespective of the size of the blocks. If effect were given to Senator Millen’s proposal, however, it would be possible to introduce into the Commonwealth, free of duty, a block of marble like the pedestal which supports the statue of the Queen in Queen’s Hall, not completely finished, but partly wrought.
– Partly wrought marble would come in as wrought marble.
– The Government proposal is that marble sawn on one or more faces shall be dutiable at 15 per cent., and marble sawn on one or more faces, and on one or more edges, at 20 per cent. Such marble is distinguished from unwrought under paragraph a, and from wrought n.e.i., and as such I term it “partly wrought.” A certain amount of preparation of the marble would be done abroad if slabs and scantlings of the sizes suggested by Senator Millen were admitted duty free. I take it that that is not the intention of the Committee.
– Then there is no object in using the words “ slabs “ and “scantlings”; we might just as wen say “ marble sawn on one or two faces.”
– I believe these blocks are generally referred to as marble slabs or scantlings.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 268 by inserting the following new paragraph : - “ cc. Slabs over 4 ft. by 2 ft. square, whether sawn or not, free (Senator
Millen’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 268, paragraph c (imports from the United Kingdom), 15 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I desire now briefly to move the request of which I have given notice-
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 268, paragraph D, ad. val., 40 per cent.
– Why not make it 50 per cent, and save discussion?
– Because I am only a reasonable protectionist ; I fail to satisfy my free-trade friends. I suggest that the duty should be 40 per cent., because the Tariff Commission recommended that ornamental work should bear a duty of 35 per cent., and in another place ornamental work was lumped with “ Marble wrought,” and the duty fixed at 30 per cent., which I think too low. I have two objects in view, one to protect Australian workmen, and the other to give a preference to Aberdeen workers.
– I point out that the duties now under consideration are precisely as recommended by the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission. It was pointed out this afternoon that the whole of those duties are , arranged on a proportionate scale. I hope that the Committee will not consent to disturb that scale. There is a degree of symmetry about it, notwithstanding what Senator Millen lias said, and I think that it is desirable that we should adhere- to it-
– If Senator Story will pay a little attention to what was put before the Tariff Commission he will see that even his proposal will not satisfy some members of the trade. On page 262 I find, that one witness recommended that headstones should be dutiable at 130 per cent., and monumental figures, sculptors’ work and other marble work at 100 per cent. I must say that Senator Story has exhibited an amount of timidity of which. he himself will to-morrow be heartily ashamed. I suggest that, inspired by this more thorough-going witness, he should withdraw his proposal with a view to proposing one more acceptable to at least one member of the trade.
.- I point out that the Tariff Commission recommended that the duty on wrought ornamental stone should be 35 per cent. My reason for proposing that the duty should be 40 per cent, is to allow the Tariff Commission’s recommendation to prevail with regard to the United Kingdom, making the duty 40 per cent, against the rest of the world.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 268, paragraph d, “ Stone and
Marble, Wrought, n.e.i.,” 40 per cent. (Senator Story’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 268, paragraph d, 35 per cent.
I point out that when the Tariff was introduced in another place the duty on wrought ornamental work was 35 percent. I wish to read part of the circular from Messrs. Melrose and Fenwick, quoted by Senator St. Ledger. They say that the duties now proposed on item 268 are not one atom too much, if local manufactures are to be encouraged, except that they believe that it would be better for rough blocks to be admitted free. They believe that the duty should be fixed as . it was introduced in the House of Representatives.
– That has not been altered.
– Yes, wrought, n.e.i., was 30 per cent., and wrought ornamental 35 per cent. Messrs. Melrose and Fenwick go on to say -
Our interest in the matter is the possession of a complete plant for sawing and working marble and granite that was installed when the first Federal Tariff was declared, but “subsequent Tariff reductions considerably lessened its relative value to us by restricting profitable productions.
We welcome the higher duty now imposed on wrought marble, and we beg of you not to’ allow any reductions on items 268D and 268e ; if these items are confirmed at 3 s per cent, we are prepared to at once make further additions tq our plant, but if reduced, and especially if marble slabs, items 268B and 268c are confirmed, our locally-manufacturing powers will be more re,stricted than ever……
Some Sydney wholesale firms are organizing a petition to get the “ absurd “ duties on the wrought materials reduced, but they are not local producers, and have no interest in the growth of Australian industries, but very much the opposite.
There is no trade or industry in. Australia that is capable of greater expansion relatively than the marble granite and stone working trade if ifc gets fair protection, and considering that Italian masons and carvers receive from 2s. 3d. to- 5s. 3d. per day, it is quite clear that a substantial duty must be imposed to afford any protection, and 35 per cent., ad val. is the very lowest that will allow of any possibility of competing against imported work with on Australianmanufactured article.
This firm asked that what they described as raw material should be admitted duty free. I voted against a request in that direction, and believe that it will be better in respect of this paragraph to revert to the duty of 35 per ‘cent, appearing in the Tariff, as introduced in another place. The. trade would then be able to bear a duty on the imported raw material. Some honorable senators, when on the platform, are never tired of talking of our great natural .resources, and they should now be prepared to support a duty designed to develop one of them. It is idle to say that manufacturers are entitled to all the protection we can give ; we have as much right to protect the workers in the quarries as to protect those working in the yards of the monumental masons.
.- It is correct, as Senator Turley has said, that the Tariff as introduced in another place contained the item “ Wrought, ornamental, ad val., 35 per cent.”; and that after 4th December, 1907, it disappeared as a separate item. The reason is that ‘after the Tariff was introduced in the House of Representatives the Department of Trade and Customs found it extremely difficult to distinguish between “Wrought, ornamental/’ and “ Wrought, n.e.i.” There was a duty’ of 35 per cent, in the one case, and of 30 per cent, in the other. Naturally the importers wished to bring in all their stone under the 30 per cent, duty, and protested frequently when the Custom* Department regarded some of their importations as be ing essentially ornamental, and, for that reason, dutiable at 35 per cent. It was therefore thought that in the best interests of all concerned, one rate pf duty should apply to the two lines. The duty of 30 per cent, was allowed to stand, and on the motion of the Government the line “ Wrought, ornamental, 35 per cent.,” was struck out by another place.
– The statement by the Minister of Home Affairs that the Tariff as introduced in another place contained a paragraph making certain marble or stone dutiable at 35 per cent, is of. some interest, since that paragraph does not appear in the Tariff as submitted to us. It is obvious from what the Minister said that some duty was collected under the paragraph between the date of the introduction of the Tariff in another place and that on which it was struck out. If that be so, the paragraph ought to appear in the schedule now before us making the line dutiable at 35 per cent, up to the 4th. December, 1907, and thereafter free. In its absence, the legality of any duty collected under it can be questioned on the ground that it ‘does not appear in the Bill’ as passed by both Houses.
– I hope that the Committee will agree to request another place to make the duty 35 per cent. “ When .1 spoke a little while ago, I urged that certain raw material ought to be free; but the position so far as paragraph d is concerned is altogether different. I think it is essential that we should agree to request another place to make the duty 35 per cent. I care not a straw for what the Minister has said regarding what happened in another place. We have certain responsibilities. We have the power to disagree with or to agree with the decision of the other branch of the Legislature, and surely we have the right to move a request for an increase as well as for a reduction of duty.
– I desire to reply briefly to the remarks of Senator Turley, who has quoted in opposition to my contention a letter from a Townsville firm.
– It is the strongest confirmation the honorable senator could have.
– That is so. Since we have agreed to request another place to remove the duty of 10 per cent, to which this firm objected - and, by the way, Senator Turley did not assist us to carry that request - they should not ask for a further protection of 5 per cent, or 10 per cent. Senator Turley has taken up a peculiar position. I hope that the Committee will stand by the item as it appears in the schedule, ‘in order that, as the Minister has said, the symmetry of the Tariff may be maintained.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 268, paragraph d, “ Stone and Marble, Wrought n.e.i.,” 35 per cent. (Senator Turley’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives he requested to make the duty on item 26S, paragraph d (imports from the United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
Senator Story made out a splendid case for extending a preference to the Aberdeen granite workers. He stated that the competition to which they . were subjected from Scandinavia and Germany was very strong. I wish to point out how keenly the German workers in granite are competing against the Aberdeen workers in that material. I have in my possession two price lists sent out by one of the largest granite firms in Germany. One of these contains quotations of prices and quantities, and the other an intimation that if customers are not satisfied they are at liberty to indicate the prices which” they are prepared to pay, and if the firm can meet them, it will do so, in order to shut out the Aberdeen workers in the granite industry. I appeal to Senator Story, who pleaded so strongly on behalf of the workers, to bear that fact in mind.
– I really entertain a certain amount of sympathy with the Aberdeen granite workers, but I have a much larger sympathy with the Australian granite workers. Senator St. Ledger and his friends havenow made it impossible for me to vote in favour of extending a preference to the former . class, because the duty imposed, upon this item is not sufficiently high to protect the Australian workers.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I notice on reference to Hansard that in another place the Government introduced paragraph e free, but those who are so anxious to have the Tariff as it was when introduced- by the Treasurer would probably cross over if I moved to set aside this duty. If the Government wish to preserve their Tariff as it was when introduced they should make paragraph e “ free under departmental by-laws.”
Item 269 (Bathbricks), item 270 (Oil and Whetstones), item 271- (Pestles . and Mortars), and item 272 (Stone -in the rough, n.e.i.), agreed to.
Senate adjourned at11.12 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 3 March 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1908/19080303_senate_3_43/>.