3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 1 1 a.m., and read prayers.
Senator BEST laid upon the table the following paper -
Copy of letter and questions re the commercial representation of the Commonwealth abroad, sent by the Ministerof Trade and Customs to the Presidents of the Chambers of Commerce.
Report presented by Senator Henderson, and read by the Acting Clerk of the Parliament’s.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The Government cannot take any responsibility in regard to the newspaper report referred to. Its policy will appear when a Bill to accept the Northern Territory is introduced.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are -
I understand that if the honorable senator repeats question 2 on Tuesday, I shall then have the information for him.
– Under what provision of the Public Service Act are the powers mentioned in the reply to question I delegated to the Deputy PostmasterGeneral ?
– Will the honorable senator ask the question on Tuesday?
– It is most undesirable that this power of appointment should be delegated to the Deputy PostmastersGeneral .
– Yes.I think so.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 4th March, vide page 8616) :
Postponed Division VI. - Metals and Machinery*.
Item 157. Tanks containing goods, or empty. - For every 100 gallons capacity or part thereof, 3s. ; and on and after 27th November, 1907, free.
*Motive Power, Engine Combinations and Power Connexions are dutiable under their respective headings, when not integral parts of exempted machines, machinery, or machine tools.
Upon which Senator Needham had moved -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 157 3s.
– Honorable senators on this side of the Chamber, as well as the Government, must feel exceedingly grateful to Senator Trenwith for the new reason for protection which he advanced last night. We have had protection advocated because of its tendency to increase competition, and thus reduce prices, because it will give Australia a large and flourishing population, because it will increase the standard of wages and of living for those employed in factories, and now it is advocated to stop the use of leaking tanks. The strong point made by Senator Trenwith last night was that, within his own experience, the iron tanks brought out here as cases for goods, and afterwards used for the holding of water, have proved leaky. He appeared to think that such tanks compete unfairly with the Australian made tanks, which, he says, do not leak. But if he wishes to encourage the local manufacture of tanks, I think that he should view favorably the importation of tanks which leak, because the more the imported tanks are found to leak, the sooner will the public insist upon buying only Australian made tanks, which, it is said, do not leak.
– Then, too, the mending of leaky tanks will give employment to our people; another protectionist argument.
- Senator Trenwith detailed, at such length, his experience of imported tanks which leaked, putting forward as a serious argument for the imposition of an import duty upon tanks the fact that they leaked, that I am justified in replying in this strain to his statements. There is one point to which I desire to refer more particularly. In speaking upon this question yesterday, Senator Findley quoted from the report of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission a summary of the evidence of a witness named Harvey. Having heard that side of the case presented, I thought that it would be wise for me to ascertain what the free-trade section of the Commission stated in their report upon this item, and upon page 14 I find the following : -
The general trend of the evidence in ‘respect of tanks was that a duty on those imported containing goods was not desired in order that they might be made in Australia, but to prevent their introduction in order that they might not compete with the simpler form - requiring much less labour - of corrugated iron tanks at present extensively made within the Commonwealth.
That quotation represents a summary of certain replies given by Mr. Harvey and Mr. Fisher to questions put to them by the Tariff Commission. It is quite clear, therefore, that if we impose a. duty upon tanks with the idea of encouraging the manufacture of square iron tanks in the Commonwealth, we shall not achieve our purpose. If, on the other hand, it is contended that the duty will have the effect of compelling people to use corrugated iron tanks, I fall back upon the experience of Senator W. Russell and others who know perfectly well that these, comparatively speaking, delicate iron tanks are not articles which can be knocked about in the bush, as those tanks must be which are used in connexion with our farming industry. For this reason I shall oppose the proposal to restore the duty upon this item, and I hope that tanks will be admitted free, in the interests not only of the agricultural industry, but also of the- mining industry.
– There is just one matter to which I desire to refer, because it has a bearing upon more than the question of whether or not we ought to levy a duty upon tanks. Senator E-. J. Russell said yesterday that it was a perfectly fair thing - seeing that we had extended protection to the farmers - that they should pay a duty upon the articles which they required to use. Let honorable senators contrast that argument with trie one which has been addressed to this Chamber on numerous occasions by Senator Trenwith, who affirms that the effect of a protective duty is to reduce prices.
– I have repeatedly demonstrated that.
– The statement of Senator E. J. Russell is that we ought to impose a duty upon the tanks used by farmers because of the protection which has been extended to them.
– What protection have we extended to the farmer?
– I am accepting the statement of Senator E. J. Russell. I put the same question to him last night when I asked him whether the farmers had much to be grateful for because a duty had been’ imposed upon butter.
– They had reason to be grateful when they got a bonus upon butter.
– The gratitude- in that case ought to come from the middleman -who. walked away with the bonus. He ought to be grateful - and no doubt he is - to those who, like Senator Trenwith, helped him to quite an undeserved profit. But I wish to show the conflicting character of the statement of Senator Trenwith that the effect of a protective duty is to reduce prices with the contention of Senator E. J. Russell that because we have extended protection to the farmer, the latter ought to be prepared to pay a little ‘ more for the articles which he uses.
– Senator E. J. Russell is very young.
– And Senator Trenwith is mighty old, but I am not going to let him out of this cleft stick in which he finds himself. It is obvious that if Senator E. J. Russell’s contention be correct that the farmers owe something to the engineers in return for the protection which has been extended to them, it rests solely upon the supposition that the effect of a duty is to increase prices. Otherwise what has the farmer fo.be thankful for? If the Committee desire this duty to be protective in. its incidence, I say that it will absolutely fail to accomplish its purpose. Senator Trenwith himself admits that these iron tanks are sold in the Commonwealth at lessthan their cost price in England. ‘
– I denied that contention last night.
– Then this is only one of the many instances in which Senator Trenwith ‘s word is opposed to the sworn evidence of witnesses before the Tariff Commission. The chief complaint of those witnesses was that these iron tankswere imported as packages containing goods, and that after their contents had been removed, they were then sold for what they would realize - for less than their cost price. If that be so, it is obvious that a duty of 12s. upon a 400-gallon lank, would not cause it to be. made ‘ here. I venture to say that there is probably some truth in the statement that these tanks are sold here for a less price than that at which they can be purchased in England, and delivered here. Consequently if we wish to levy a truly protective du:y upon them, I 2 S. is not sufficient. Such aru impost will merely have the effect of adding to their price. Last night Senator Needham argued that under existing conditions tanks up to a capacity of 2,000 gallons may be imported.
– What is 10 prevent such a contingency arising?
– Would any shipper be foolish enough to send out a tank of that capacity, seeing that he would be required to pay freight upon it by measurement, when all the sheets might be packedclose together, and assembled upon their arrival here? The galvanized iron tank is very much cheaper - if we compare it from the stand-point of its holding capacity - than is the ship’s iron tank. It is possible to purchase a tank holding 1,000 gallons for the same price as one would have to pay for a ship’s tank holding only 400 gallons.
– That remark applies also to black iron tanks.
– The only effect of the duty proposed will be to touch the 400- gallon tanks. The number of tanks imported of a capacity of 200 gallons and 300 gallons is very limited, and if we impose a duty of 100 per cent. upon them they will not be made locally. There is another reason why these tanks should be admitted free. The portions of the country where they find their highest use are those where the facilities for development and settlement are least. I need hardly remind Western Australian senators that in all their mining ventures and in every prospector’s camp that is at all established these tanks will be found.
– Of galvanized iron .
– No. The honorable senator if he has travelled must have seen on waggon after waggon, not galvanized iron, but. ships’ iron tanks, that will stand the knocking about of the road. He must also have seen them used as simple condensers where the galvanized iron tank would be utterly useless.
– The galvanized iron tank is the popular kind on the gold-fields. The honorable senator is quite right in saying that the iron tanks are used as condensers.
– Ships’ iron tanks are used by prospectors who go out, taking their lives in their hands, into unknown country. Men used only to towns may assume that light galvanized iron tanks would do. They will serve if they are wanted for fixed positions, but if they are used for carrying water the first jolt on the
Toad will start one of their joints.
– Public departments, as well as farmers, use the iron tanks.
– I was about to say that on one occasion, owing to a water famine, the whole of the mining operations at Cobar were threatened to be brought to a standstill. The New South Wales Railway Department did not have sufficient water trucks to meet requirements, nor would it pay any Department to keep so many water trucks in stock on the chance of using them for occasional emergencies. Iron tanks were obtained, and placed upon ordinary open platform trucks, and by that means Cobar was supplied with the water which enabled the mining operations to be continued. The impossibility of making those tanks here under the 3s. duty now proposed; the knowledge that unless they are made here the price to the consumer must be increased ; and the fact that those who want them are men entitled to some consideration at our hands - men who go out to the places where the ordinary facilities of civilization are entirely absent - ought to make us hesitate before we reverse the wise decision of another place.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 157, “Tanks,” 3s. (Senator Needham’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Item 158. Weighing Machines, Weighbridges, Scales n.e.i., including Tanners’ Measuring Machines, Chemists’ Counter Scales, Spring Balances and Steelyards, Weights n.e.i., ad val., 20 per cent.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 158 by inserting after the words “Weighing Machines” and “Weighbridges” the letters “n.e.i.”
Those amendments are necessary, because certain weighbridges and weighing machines are mentioned in the next item.
– Will the Vice-President of the Executive Council state what kind of weighing machines are covered by this item ? Yesterday I quoted a statement made by Mr. Darling, of the firm of John Darling and Sons, wheat merchants, of South Australia, regarding a transaction which he had in America. He asked there for a quotation for fifty Fairbank weighing machines. The price named to him was very high, and he replied, “ I can purchase those in South Australia at a much lower rate.” As soon as they ascertained that he was a purchaser from a distant part of the world, the price was lowered to him by 60 per cent. I desire to know if that kind of machine is included in this item, and to ask honorable senators who are protectionists to support the Government if the duty proposed is sufficient in those circumstances.
– The articles referred to as weighbridges are the ordinary weighbridges we see in markets and other places; but the item does not include automatic weighing machines. Item 158 comprises all those weighbridges and scales which are made in Australia, whereas item 159 includes those automatic machines which are made elsewhere. I believe that the ordinary Fairbank machine is not automatic.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [11.31]. - I understand that this item includes all weighing machines, patent and otherwise, that are imported.
SenatorBest. - Yes, except automatic machines.
– We are told that the machines included in item 158 are made here; but really I do not know what those machines are.
– Senator W. Russell told us of some that are made in South Australia.
– I see no reason why weighing machines should not be free of duty, because they are used by every farmer, and by many others, throughout Australia. A patent weighing machine could not be made here, if we imposed ever so high a duty.
Request agreed to.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [11.33]. - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 158 free.
In my opinion this is purely a revenue duty ; and, having regard to the fact that this Tariff is anticipated to result in £2, 000, 000 more revenue than did the old
Tariff, we may very fairly reduce these duties to a more moderate scale.
– I wish to impress on honorable senators the great importance, in all business and trade, of absolutely reliable weighing machines and other appliances, so as to insure every confidence between buyer and seller. As Senator Symon has pointed out, weighing machines are a necessity throughout commercial and trading, circles ; and these machines should be of the very best quality.
– Made in Australia.
– Of course, I give preference to Australia, but I do not care where such appliances are made, so long as they are reliable. There may be, as we have been told, no difference between fish and fish, but I can assure honorable senators that there is a great difference between one weighing machine and another ; and, in my opinion, the duty proposed would simply penalize the public and prove inimical to the best business interests. Lower prices may mean machines of low quality and unreliability. I cannot regard this proposed duty as a protectionist duty.
– The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 20 per cent.
– What does the honorable senator mean by “ theprotectionist section “ ?
– I mean section A of the Tariff Commission.
– Do I understand the honorable senator to say that he proposes to adopt all the recommendations of section A? If Senator Best does not propose to be bound by the recommendations of that section of the Tariff Commission, I do not see why he should ask honorable senators on this side to be bound by any of the recommendations. I take it that we shall pay due regard to the recommendations of both sections of the Tariff Commission, and arrive at a judicial conclusion.
– Is the honorable senator satisfied with the recommendations of the B section?
– I am satisfied with my own common sense, and I shall not be influenced any more than is Senator Best, or is any other honorable senator, by the recommendations of the Tariff Commission.
– The B section of the Tariff Commission recommended duties of 15 and 10 per cent.
– We have already had strong evidence that, when it suits the honorable gentleman, he can throw aside all the conclusions and recommendations of the Tariff Commission ; and I think he might afford the same freedom to honorable senators on this side. From my business experience. I should say that, if there is one instrument which ought to be absolutely reliable, it is the weighing machine, so that absolute justice may be done between buyer and seller.
– I nave voted very silently during the last six or seven days ; but I must explain why I propose to vote for this item being placed on the free list. Let us for a moment consider the position. Let any one enter a railway yard or the yard of a warehouse, or an engineering establishment, and he will find that for all the big work usually a Pooley or Fairbank weighing machine is provided. Where a more sensitive weighing machine is required, what do we find? We are confronted with an Avery weighing machine, and so we go on. I have not yet met with any Australian-made weighing machines. I am not suggesting that such articles are not made here, but I am very much afraid that if they are made here they do not compare in point of construction with the particular machines I have ‘named. The removal of the duty will not involve a considerable sum. It will mean the loss of only ,£4,000 to the. revenue. Weighing bridges are not eaten, but are used for a considerable period.
– But this item includes several other articles.
– I certainly think that every article included in the item is in the same category as weighing machines. It covers the finest and most sensitive weighing machine that can be imported, and it is, of course, taxed to the tune of 20 per cent. When we consider the amount involved in the removal of the duty and the importance of these machines those facts ought at least to convince us that our duty is clear, which is to. make the item free.
– I also propose to support the request to make the item free. I draw the attention of Senator W. Russell to the fact that it is highly essential that the farmers should have scales from the best markets, and at the lowest possible prices. I. hope that he will see that if. the farmers have to put up with second-hand tanks, which may leak, they should be allowed to receive free good scales and weighbridges. If it was the intention of the Government to make this duty protective, surely they have failed considerably when they have proposed only the same duty as was fixed in the old Tariff, which allowed £24,212 worth of these machines to be imported last year. No evidence has yet been given by the Government, or any supporter of this duty, that the manufacture of scales is carried on here to any great extent, and regarding it merely as a revenue duty I shall vote against it.
– I understand that Senator Symon desires to make the whole item free?
– I do.
– That is rather a serious proposal. If my honorable friend can see his way to make his request refer to every article in the item, save weighbridges and tanners’ measuring machines, it will be less harmful from my stand-point than it is in its present form, because the articles I have named are freely made in Australia. I do. not think that my honorable friend desires to do any injury to two well-known industries. My information is that there are well-established industries in connexion with the manufacture of weighbridges and. tanners’ measuring machines. I do not mean to imply that I am satisfied with the proposal to make the other articles included in the item free, but the industries are not so large in connexion with . those articles as in connexion with weighbridges and tanners’ measuring machines. I suggest to my honorable friend that, as the lesser of two evils, his request might be altered in the wa.y I have suggested.
– I only rise to contradict the statement that weighbridges are not made in Australia.
– Who has made it?
– I think that Senator Symon suggested that they were not made here, and that this would be purely a revenue duty.
– I did not say that they were not made here.
– I can state from personal knowledge that weighbridges for heavy work are made at Kapunda and Gawler in South Australia. I believe that I am safe in saying that the greater number of weighbridges in use in that State were made in those places. Nine or ten years ago I was a member of a municipal council which desired to procure and establish a weighbridge. A number of tenders were received from different parts of Australia; the tender of the manufacturer at Kapunda was accepted; the weighbridge was fixed, and it has worked perfectly ever since that time. I want the Committee to understand that at any rate weighbridges can be made in South Australia, and I do not see any reason why they should not be made in the other States if they are not already made there.
– I sincerely trust that the Committee will not do other than make this item of weighbridges free. Senator Story has told usthat some kinds of weighbridges are made in South Australia, and I am not going to dispute his statement. I only want to point out that other kinds of weighbridges are imported, not because the users seriously desire to have imported machines, but because they are compelled for their own safety and commercial welfare to get them. We have had the reports of the Tariff Commission. We have each received 5,000 or 6,000 circular letters; but not one communication has been received from a company which is producing weighbridges in Australia.
– Not a circular has been received from users asking that the machines should be made free.
– Quite so; but our common-sense ought to tell us that they should be made free. Let the honorable senator consult the working miner, and he will find that he is very particular about his weighbridge. If a company erected a certain kind of weighbridge the miner would quietly depart and intimate his intention to stay at home until it was replaced by one which could be depended upon. That is the position of the coalminers throughout Australia. The very fact that the persons who are making these machines have madeno overtures shows conclusively, to my mind, that they are well satisfied with their position; that the weighbridges which they are making are passing out of their hands : and that no serious harm is done to them by the importation of weighing machines.
– If they were well satisfied with their position they had a duty of 20 per cent., which the honorable senator proposes to remove.
– Yes; they had a duty of 20 per cent. under the old Tariff ; but in 1906 it yielded only £4,842, showing that it was a revenue duty. Not very many weighing machines can have been imported, because some of them cost a very large sum.
– If we take off the 20 per cent., many more will be introduced.
– According to Senator Trenwith, the removal of the duty would involve an increase in the price.
– Only those machines that are required will be introduced, whether the duty is removed or not. In the circumstances, I hope that the Committee will agree to make all machines included in this item duty free.
– I wish to move a request for the omission of the words “ Weighbridges n.e.i.”
– Before the honorable senator can submit a request, it will be necessary for Senator Symon to temporarily withdraw the request he has moved. I point out to Senator Story that it will not be competent for him now to move in the direction he has indicated, because the Committee has already decided to include the words “ Weighbridges n.e.i.” in this item. The best plan for the honorable senator to adopt, and the one which will leave the Committee the greatest freedom to deal with the matter would be to move a request for the insertion of a new sub-item making weighbridges n.e.i. dutiable at 20 per cent.
– I shall adopt that suggestion.
– I ask leave to temporarily withdraw my request.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
– My anxiety is to have a duty of 20 per cent. imposed on weighbridges. I do not know that any of the other machines included in this item are made here, but I am satisfied that they could be made here, and personallyI think there should be a duty imposed upon them all, but from expressions of opinion which I have heard. I fear that it is likely that the Committee will agree to make the whole of the item free.
– The honorable senator would have as good a chance to carry a duty of 20 per cent. on the whole item as upon weighbridges.
– I think not. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 158 by inserting the following new paragraph - “ 158b. Weighbridges, n.e.i., ad val., 20 per cent.”
.- I suggest that the honorable senator should include tanners’ measuring machines, which are made here. If he is not prepared to do so, I shall move a request for their inclusion in a new item, 158c.
– There can be no doubt that we are able in Australia to make weighing machines. The only argument used in opposition to Senator Story’s proposal is based upon the suggestion that the locally manufactured machines would be inaccurate and unreliable. No question as to difference in price has been raised, and it is therefore not necessary to deal with that aspect of the question. If there is one class of machinery in Australia which more than another is subject to inspection and supervision, it is weighing machines. The greater number of the weighing machines in use in the Commonwealth are controlled by Government and railway and municipal authorities, whose only object in the management of these machines is to see that justice is done between buyer and seller. Most of the municipal corporations with which I am acquainted have appointed a special officer as adjuster of weights and scales, whose duty it is to see that all the scales and weights in use are absolutely correct. In the circumstances, it is clear that if a Colonial manufacturer turned out an inaccurate weighing machine, it could not be used. I can appeal to Senator W. . Russell, as one who was engaged in the business of a wood merchant, to say whether every load of wood he sent out had not to go over a public weighbridge. That is the practice throughout the Commonwealth.
– Not at all.
– It is not the practice throughout South Australia. There are scores of cases in which a poor woman has paid for a ton of wood, and been given little more than half a ton.
– She could refuse delivery of that wood unless it were accompanied by a certificate as to the weight from a public weighbridge. A reputable merchant takes care to see that the wood or the coal that he sells goes over a weighbridge. Our corporations usually employ inspectors to see that these weighbridges are kept in order. There is no article in the Tariff about which there is more careful administration than is the case with weighing machines and weighbridges. I. hope the Committee will agree to the duty as proposed.
– If Senator Guthrie had read the public press within the last few months he would have learnt that a good deal of the wood and coal supplied to consumers in Melbourne has been light weight. Wood merchants and coal merchants have their own weighing machines, and do not, by any means, always send their goods over public weighbridges. There is no check by the corporations over private weighing machines. In cases where there is a public weighbridge, a charge of 3d. is generally made to use it, and wood and coal merchants do not often incur this charge, nor do the municipal corporations enforce a by-law regarding the use of public weighbridges. My contention is not that a weighbridge made in Australia is any worse than a weighbridge made anywhere else. I am simply contending that the argument that public weighbridges have to be used, and that therefore it does not matter where the machinery is made is not a sound one. The whole question, to my mind, is whether these goods require the amount of protection that is asked for. I do not think they do. I do not believe that they require a duty of 20 per cent. Later on I shall propose a preference duty.
– Afer consulting one or two of my protectionist friends, I ask leave to withdraw my request.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
Request (by Senator Sir Josiah Symon) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item158, free.
– I have risen to correct a misunderstanding that has arisen as to how I intend to vote. I am strongly in favour of a protective duty. I did not say whether these machines were or were not made in Australia. I merely wished to know whether they were made here. Mr. John Darling found that, being an Australian in America, he could buy machines for 60 per cent. less than the price which an American had to pay. We do not want Yankees, or people of any other country, dumping their goods into Australia, ruining our markets, and bringing down our manufacturing institutions. Personally, I should have voted for a duty of 30 per cent. if that had been proposed as necessary.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Sir Josiah Symon) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 158 10 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Dobson) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 158 15 per cent.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [12.15]. - The adoption of this request would have the effect of destroying any chance of securing a preference in favour of the United Kingdom. I propose moving that in respect of imports from the United Kingdom a duty of 15 per cent. be imposed.
Question put. 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 158 (imports f rom the United Kingdom) 15 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item 159. Adding and Computing Machines and all Attachments, Cash Registers, Automatic Weighbridges, and Automatic Weighing Machines except coin-freed Automatic Weighing Machines, on and after 27th November, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 10 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 5 per cent.
Request (by Senator Best) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item159 by inserting after the word “Attachments” the words “Time Registers and Detectors.”
– I wish to know from the VicePresident of the Executive Council whether a machine recently patented all over the world, and at present in use in Cuba, for bagging, weighing, and sewing up sugar in one operation would, if imported, be treated as an automatic weighing machine?
– I am assured that the machine would come under this item ; but I have no objection to its specific insertion, with’ a view to remove any doubt.
Request (by Senator Chataway) agreed to-
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 159 by inserting after the word “ Machines,” line 5, the words “ Combined Bagging, Weighing, and Sewing Machines.”
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item159 free.
These are unquestionably revenue duties, and cannot have any protective incidence.
– The “B” section of the Tariff Commission recommended duties of 15 and 10 per cent.
– The free-trade section of the Tariff Commission put forward what would at least have been a simple Tariff, classifying all manufactures of metals under one heading; but the Government scouted all its recommendations. It. cannot be contended that an automatic weighbridge, a curious piece of mechanism which automatically records the weight of trucks passing along a siding, can be made here. If it were possible to manufacture in Australia the articles coming under the item, a higher rate of duty would have been imposed.
– The articles which now come under items 158 and 159 were all in item 161 of the original schedule, the Government following the recommendation of the Tariff Commission and proposing to make them dutiable at 20 per cent., the rate under the Tariff of 1902. The House of Representatives, believing that the machines comprised in item 158 are, or can be, made here, placed them in a separate item, and made them dutiable at 20 per cent., but it imposed on those in this item duties of only 10 and 5 per cent. The proposed rates compel a reasonable contribution to therevenue; the combined item in the original schedule producing something like £7,000.
– The leader of the Government having told us plainly that this is a revenue duty, I, as a protectionist, cannot support it. The business men who use the machines to be made dutiable buy them at a high price, with the duty added, and, of course, pass the cost on to their customers.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 15
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Millen) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 159 (imports from the United Kingdom), free.
On and after 27th November, 1907 -
Item 160. Motive Power Machinery and Appliances (except Electric), viz. : -
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 160, paragrapha, by leaving out the words “ Gas Producers.”
The effect of my proposal will be that gas producers will be eliminated from the paragraph in question, and they will then automatically fall under paragraph b, “n.e.i.,” under which they will be dutiable at 20 per cent. My object is to extend a protective duty to gas producers, which are being made in all the States.
.- I shall support the proposal of the VicePresident of the Executive Council. These gas producers are made in the Commonwealth, and recently an arrangement has been entered into by some firms-notably by Messrs. Thompson and Company, of Castlemaine - under which they have acquired the right to use the Hornsby patent, and therefore I think that the proposal to include gas producers in paragraph b is a proper one.
– I wish to point out that the request of the Vice-President of the Executive Council must necessarily create a considerable measure of doubt in regard to the preparation of this portion of the Tariff. We are all aware that when’ the schedule was originally submitted to another place it was not in the form in which it is now presented to us. . But, shortly after its introduction, the Government announced their intention of withdrawing certain machinery items, with a view to having them recast. According to the statement of the Treasurer, the recasting was effected upon the advice of two experts - one being a Professor associated with the Melbourne University, and the other a gentleman of high standing in the engineering world. Acting upon their advice, these items were recast, and a fresh list was submitted to the House of Representatives. Now, however, it suddenly transpires that all this recasting has been in vain, and the Vice-President of the Executive Council practically tells us that he has discovered something of which the experts had no knowledge. The task allotted to these experts was to separate, as far as possible, articles which are being made in the Commonwealth, or which are likely to be made here, from articles which are not made within the Commonwealth, and which are not likely to be made here. They were of opinion that gas producers were not being made in the Commonwealth, and if some knowledge has since been obtained which was not available to them, surely the Committee ought to be informed of it. But the Vice-President of the Executive Council has merely said that he wishes to eliminate gas producers from paragraph a of this item, because they are being made in the Commonwealth.
– They are certainly being made in Western Australia.
– If that statement be correct, it shows the very little importance which we can attach to the division of these items recommended by the experts. Either we ought to recognise the value of their advice, or to admit that the classification of these items by them is not entitled to any respect whatever.
– Yesterday morning I paid a visit to the Otis Foundry in Melbourne where I had pointed out to me a gas producer in operation. The feature about it which impressed me most was its extreme simplicity.
– Yet the experts did not know of its existence.
– I can assure Senator Millen that if he will visit the foundry in question he will be able to see for himself a gas producer in operation there. I know that a very great development in this kind of machinery has recently taken place in Western Australia. This development will probably affect Victoria to a greater extent; than it will Western Australia, because I understand that the machine which has recently been introduced in the West is being employed for utilizing the very inferior coal seams which exist there. Now Victoria has perhaps a larger percentage of inferior coalfields than has any other State of the Commonwealth. It has recently been discovered that inferior coal can be utilized for thepurpose of producing gas.
– That remark applies not only to coal, but to wood refuse.
– Under these circumstances, I think that we are justified in taking the step proposed by the VicePresident of the Executive Council, seeing that it may result in the establishment of an industry of considerable proportions.
– I should like to ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council whether the term “gas producers “ includes acetylene gas plants?
– As Senator Millen has already pointed out the recommendation of the experts who were consulted for the purpose of enabling this division of the Tariff to be recast was that gas producers should be retained in paragraph a of this item. The Minister now says that he has discovered that gas-producing machines are made in Western Australia.
– In Western Australia and Victoria.
– Only a few hours ago the duty on an item was altered because a firm came forward at the last moment, and said that they could make a particular machine. I said at the time that the Customs authorities had not had time to make inquiries in the proper way, because, while they had taken the statement of the man who manufactured the machine, they had not interviewed one person who used it. Has the Minister or have the Customs’ officers taken the trouble to ring up the Metropolitan Gas Company to ask them what theythink about these gas-producers? Surely we ought to hear both sides of the question.
– If the honorable senator is not satisfied with my statement, he might accept the assurances of Senator McColl and Senator de Largie.
– The statements made do not go far enough. If no gas company has been asked whether they use these machines, which are said to be made in the Commonwealth, then the evidence before us is incomplete.
– Senator Dobson need not worry about gas-producing machines not being made in Australia. They are one of the simplest in the market. Perhaps their very simplicity is the reason why no protection has been given in this Tariff to their manufacture. The honorable senator will find gas-producers at work at almost every big establishment in the neighbourhood of Melbourne. There is one on their premises to-day, made by the Austral Otis Company. The gas companies do not want them, because they enable private companies which are large steam users to make their own gas on their own premises.
– Senator Dobson is confusing the gasproducer with the ordinary type of gas engine operated by hydrogen gas. We are dealing with a gas-producing plant. Are we also dealing with the engine which forms portion of that plant, or is that included in item 162 ?
– This item does not include the engine. That comes under another item.
– The gasproducing plant itself is comparatively simple and very cheap in construction. It can be made here, even if it is not now being made, but I understand that it is made here.
– The gas-producing machine applies not only to coal, but to other gases which give a much better light.
– These machines produce gas for power, and not for illumination.
.- Gas-producing engines are quite a recent invention, having come into use in America only a few years ago. . They are becoming very largely used. A member of another place brought the matter under my notice, and stated that they were made dutiable at a low rate in another place under the idea that they were not made here. Since then I have been told by Mr. Thompson, of Castlemaine, one of the largest and most reputable manufacturers in Australia-
– Reputable for what - sweating ?
– For good work and honest conduct. Mr. Thompson told me that he had made arrangements to purchase the Hornsby patent, and was manufacturing these machines. They are not expensive. They use up a lot of stuff that would otherwise be: absolute waste, such as brown coal and charcoal, and -are very desirable machines to have in the Commonwealth.
Request agreed to.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested lo further amend item 160, paragraph a, by inserting before the words “ Flue-heated Economizers “ the words “ Hot Air Engines.”
Silling suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.
– When we adjourned for luncheon I had moved a request, but had. given no reasons for my action. The engines in question are ‘ very small, and are useful for only extremely light work. They are in large demand in country districts for purposes for which other forms of power are not available,- such as lifting small bodies of water for orchards and gardens. I do not pretend to say that these engines cannot be. made in Australia, but the demand is so small that, so far, manufacturers have not entered upon the industry. On the other hand, if they are admitted free it may lie said that they will come into competition with other forms of motive power. That competition, however, is insignificant ; these engines may displace a windmill, or some other small engine, but it is only in extraordinary cases that they come into use at all. It is doubtful whether, if these engines were not used, some other form of motive power would be brought into requisition. I ask honorable senators not to tax a handy little implement or machine, which, though there may be no great demand for it, meets particular circumstances for which no other machine on the market is suitable.
– I am in direct conflict with several of the statements made by Senator Millen. We have been told that there is no other engine which can exactly fulfil the purpose of the engine now under discussion.
– There is no other engine made so small.
– I am in direct conflict with that statement, because there is no purpose to which an air engine can be applied to which oil engines and gas engines cannot also be applied. I admit, however, that very few- of these engines are imported, but, at the same time, there is no use in imposing a duty on oil and gas engines, and, at the same time, admitting free another class of engine which in all respects does the same work.
– Why differentiate between steam turbines and high-speed reciprocating engines?
– There is a very obvious reason. The point, however, is that the air engine comes into direct competition with gas engines, the production of which is a recognised industry in Australia. I know that a big effort was made in this direction in another place, but it was rejected.
– The big effort was over in a minute.
– At any rate it was not successful. I urge that no case has been made out for the free admission of this particular class of engine. Senator Millen mentioned windmills ; but I point out that windmills are protected in the item now under consideration; and, under the circumstances, it would not be wise to admit these engine’s free.
– I hope that ‘Senator Millen will withdraw this request. He has himself shown how insignificant these engines are as compared with other contrivances which can be made here, and which Senator Millen does not object to see protected to a limited extent. We are not always going to be at a standstill in Australia in regard to inventions, and I should like to have had an opportunity to show Senator Millen an oil engine which has been invented by a Melbourne youth, and which, for simplicity and economy of space, and in every other direction, will, it is believed, supersede all other engines used for similar purposes. We ought not to encourage opposition to the genius of Australia, and for that reason I hope the request will be withdrawn.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) £2.23]. - Both Senators Best and McGregor have practically admitted that) these engines are not being made in Australia.
– I have not admitted that - I have seen them made.
– I do not think that Senator McGregor has seen a hot-air engine made in Australia. The contention of honorable senators opposite is that hotair engines come into competition ‘ with other forms of motive power; but, if that argument applies to hot-air engines, it ought to apply throughout the Tariff. I find, however, that whilst steam turbines are free, high-speed reciprocating engines are dutiable - that a generator attached to a turbine is free, whereas, if it be coupled with any other motive power, it is dutiable.
– A turbine cannot be made here, whereas an oil engine can.
– I say that a turbine can be made here, but, like the hotair engine, it is not made here.
– These generators, I am told, are entirely different.
– Of course, they are entirely different from hot-air engines; but I am pointing out that if the principle just laid down has to be followed, this portion of the Tariff must be entirely remodelled. Of course, if no hot-air engines are imported, some less suitable motive power will have to be employed; but I contend that a duty will not cause any demand for those engines, but will force people, most of whom who are in sparsely populated districts, to use some motive power much less suitable for their purpose.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 160, paragraph a, by inserting the words “Hot- Air Engines” before the words “ Flue-heated Economizers “ (Senator Millen’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 9
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 160, paragraph a, by inserting after the word “Turbines” the words “ High-speed reciprocating Engines for driving electrical machinery, blowers and fans.”
I submit this motion on the authority of disinterested people, who are strongly . of opinion that the amendment would prove a great benefit to the mining community. At present steam turbines are used because they are cheaper than high-speed reciprocating engines, but they do not do the work so well, or last so long as the latter. An engineer writes to me to this effect -
Under clause 160 of the Tariff, gas producers and steam turbines are dutiable at 5 per cent. and free, whereas high-speed engines are included under clause b of this section as n.e.i. 20 per cent. Again, under clause 177, dynamo electric machinery are dutiable at 20 per cent., and generators for direct coupling to turbines are 5 per cent. and free. We understand that the idea in framing this Tariff was that it was possible to manufacture engines in this country, whereas, for the present at least, it is not possible to manufacture turbines or gas engines. We contend, however, that the experience required to turn out high-speed engines of the type of Belliss and Morcom, Alien, Browett-Lindley, &c., is just as great as to turn out gas engines and turbines, and that there is no probability of such engines being produced in this country for many years.
The Government contention is that they can be made in this country, and I will come to that presently.
The result of the present Tariff is to unduly penalize the makers of high-speed engines, and in many cases to induce mines and factories to instal turbine plants on account of the lower cost, where high-speed sets would be more economical and in every way more suitable. We have no personal interest in the manufacture of any class of engine, and we manufacture dynamos for coupling to turbines as well as highspeed engines.
In another letter the writer says -
The present Tariff is very unfair on makers of high-speed engines, and I have only last week had an instance of where I drew out a scheme for a large mine and recommended high-speed engines, and the directors have decided on turbines, owing to the great difference in initial cost. The turbines in this case are not as suitable as engines and this is of course only one of many similar cases which will continue to occur if this is not remedied.
The Government were appealed to in this matter and they replied -
First, that the engines could be made here, and secondly, that there is no definition which will enable it to distinguish with certainty highspeed from low-speed reciprocals. - In reply to this, we would point out that the local manufacturers are protected already by the cost of freight, shipping charges, and heavy duty, and our experience goes to show that practically there is no local competition to meet. We beg to point out that the modern high-speed engine is the outcome of many years’ experience, during which many thousands of pounds have been spent on experimental work, and the demand in Australia for this type of engine would not justify local manufacturers putting down shops and spending large sums of money in experiments solely to turn out these engines.
– That is the story that we hear about everything.
– This statement comes from an engineer, who is manager for Siemens Brothers -
Unless this is done, the locally-made engines cannot compete in excellence of design with the products of the highly specialised British workshops. With regard to the second objection, two or three practical men could with ease frame such a definition. It is also necessary to point out that the, Department’s first objection would apply equally to gas-producing plants.
– Can the honorable senator favour us with a definition?
– I advise the Government to refer to Mr. Fleming, whom they have been consulting on electrical matters, for a definition.
– He could not do it.
– I am only reading that which he has stated in writing, and which I prefer to rely upon.
The steam turbine (especially in the smaller sizes) equally with the imported high-speed reciprocal engine, enters into competition with the local manufactured engines, and if there is anything in the Department’s contention, they should be equally penalized.
That is to say, the. steam turbine engine ought to be placed in the same position as the high-speed reciprocating engine. It would not interfere with the general make of engines.
– Would not those engines come into competition with the engines which are being made here at the present time for ordinary stationary work?
– I do not think so.
– Would not this request cover all the stationary engines which we have running in the various industries ?
– Not unless they are attached to electric generators.
– What is to hinder them from attaching a high-speed engine to a battery, or a mill, or a winding gear?
– In my request, I have specially used the words “ for driving electrical machinery.”
– That is very fine.
– Surely the Customs officers are competent to distinguish an engine of that kind. The writer continues -
The differential treatment meted out to our principals is most strongly in evidence in the section 177g, under which electric generators attached to turbines are duty free, whilst machines of the same output, but coupled to high-speed reciprocating engines, have to pay a duty of 20 percent. or12½ per cent., according to size.
If honorable senators prevent the introduction of these very high-class engines on the plea that we can produce an inferior one, a serious injury will be done to the mining community, because we cannot produce an article which is patented.
– I cannot refrain from mentioning, in passing, that it is always considered a crime for an honorable senator on this side to quote what a man who happens to be a manufacturer says in connexion with his particular product or output, whereas on the other side of the chamber it is quite a virtue to quote a letter from a great authority, such as the high-speed reciprocating engine importer who has been referred to by my honorable friend.
– No; Siemens Brothers are not makers.
– I am talking about importers.
– They are not importers either.
– I am not talking about Siemens Brothers. In the first place, let me refer to the glorious definition which has been furnished by the request. It is to be a high speed reciprocating engine, for the purpose of generating electricity. My honorable friend in his innocence said it would be easy for the Customs Department’ to distinguish engines of the kind, and to make quite certain that they would be used for the purpose of generating electricity. As a matter of fact, once such an engine has been introduced, it can be attached to blowers or fans, or applied to other purposes. From a working stand-point, it is quite impossible to accept the request. I invited my honorable friend to define a high speed reciprocating engine, and he immediately replied that Mr. Fleming had said that two or three practical men could easily supply a definition. As a matter of fact, Mr. Fleming, who discussed this matter with the officers of the
Department, was invited to define what such an engine was, and he, as a sensible man, had to admit that a definition was impossible. Honorable senators will realize that these engines have a different output, according .to their horse-power, and consequently it would be necessary to take every conceivable class of horse-power engine which is made, and see what the revolutions were to be in order to constitute it a high speed reciprocating engine. My first objection is that the request is unworkable; my second is that it is impossible to define what a high speed reciprocating engine is ; and my third is that the proposal, if carried, would simply be disastrous to the engine-making industry throughout the Commonwealth. Every class of imported engine would be introduced under this all-embracing title of a high speed reciprocating engine. From all stand-points, the request would be disastrous to the best interests of the Commonwealth, and would ultimately have the result of breaking up some of cur most valued and important industries.
– I propose to bring into the witness box another gentleman who from the start must, of course, be marked “ suspect.” and thrown into outer darkness because he has committed the unpardonable sin of> being associated with importers. I refer to Mr. F. A. McCarty, a gentleman who, I believe, is well known in engineering circles in this city, and although, as I said, he has committed an unpardonable offence, still, in every other assembly but the Senate, his opinion would carry some weight.
– But manufacturers’ opinions never do carry any weight.
– ^Certainly not, when they refuse to give evidence before a Royal Commission on oath and come round to the lobbies and afford us no opportunity to ascertain the truth.
– Are there no importers in the lobbies?
– I can certainly say that I have never seen one.
– Others have.
– If my honorable friend knows all about those who attend the lobbies, I shall not. contradict him.
– I am obliged to know these things.
– All I want to quote is a statement made by this gentleman whom I put forward as an authority recog nised outside this chamber. Mr. McCarty says -
I would particularly draw your attention to what are commonly called high speed engines, as being unfair to the Australian buyers, being included under this item. Really what are known as high speed engines are not high speedengines, but high revolution engines, say engines running at a speed of 2 so revolutions per minute and above. The piston speed of these engines sometimes is not higher than what are commonly called low speed engines, and for the purposes of the Tariff it might be stated high revolution engines, or engines above 250 revolutions per minute (General Tariff) 5 per cent., (preference) free.
I state this for the reason that to the best of my knowledge I know of no high speed engines built in Australia, and as a matter of fact know that some of the manufacturers here in Australia of what are commonly called low speed engines import high revolution engines, which shows that they do not care to manufacture this class of machinery.
I did not gather from the remarks of the Vice-President of the Executive Council that he controverts the assertion that these engines are not made here, but that fie contends that they would come into competition with some other forms of motive power that are manufactured here. My answer to that is that apparently the Minister is prepared to admit steam turbines free, and these engines, quite as much as high-speed reciprocating engines, would come into competition with other forms of motive power manufactured within the Commonwealth. Unless it can be shown that there is a reasonable prospect of the early manufacture in Australia of these highspeed engines, they should not be subjected to this very high duty. In view of the general nature of this Tariff, I should, personally, be quite satisfied if these engines were placed in some such division as VIa., and admitted free, until Ministers were in a position to obtain Parliamentary sanction for including them in the list of dutiable imports, when it was made clear that they could be locally manufactured. Under existing circumstances a tax upon these engines is merely a tax upon many forms of industrial enterprise carried on in the Commonwealth, and particularly upon the mining industry. It is for these reasons that I intend to support the request.
– I hope to see Senator Macfarlane’s request carried, but in a somewhat altered form. I intended to move a request for the free admission of high-speed reciprocating engines, if coupled with dynamos, for the generation of electricity. As under item 160 it is intended to allow steam turbines to be admitted free of duty, I feel that that would be the proper item in which to include high-speed engines specially imported to provide the motive power for generating electricity.
– The honorable senator means that the high-speed engine and dynamo should be worked from the one bedplate.
– Certainly. The Government propose to admit turbine engines free of duty if coupled with dynamos, and I fail to see why high-speed reciprocating engines should not also be admitted free under similar conditions, when intended to be used for the express purpose of generating electricity. I am unable to go as far as Senator Macfarlane’s request would carry us, because, under his proposal, we should have no guarantee that high-speed engines, ostensibly imported for generating electricity, would not be used to supply other motive power, and in that way come into competition with locally-manufactured engines. I wish to avoid that by adopting the phraseology adopted by the Government in item , 177. In paragraph g of that item we have included “ Generators for direct coupling to steam Turbines.” That is, sufficiently definite, and the intention is clear that every turbine imported, so long as it is coupled with, or intended to be coupled with a dynamo, shall be admitted free of duty. I fail to see why the line should be drawn at turbine engines, and why high-speed reciprocating engines which in the opinion of some engineers are not merely the next best machinery, but quite as good as turbine engines, should have to bear a duty of 20 per cent. I should be prepared to support Senator Macfarlane if he would alter his request to cover turbines and high-speed reciprocating engines coupled with generators or electric dynamos. I have no wish to leave any loophole for the importation of these engines for any other purpose than the generation of electricity, because, in my opinion, the heavier class of engine can be made as well in Australia as in any engine shop in the Old Country. The time has not yet arrived, however, when we can manufacture high-speed reciprocating engines for generating electricity. I have never heard of any engine of that kind having been made in Australia. In view of the fact that the success of the mining industry inthe Commonwealth depends in a very great measure upon the employment of the most up-to-date machinery, I am unable to see why these high-speed reciprocating engines should not be placed in the same category as turbines.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that they should be admitted free for mining purposes only, because Senator Macfarlane does not make that suggestion, though I admit the honorable senator relies for support for his request upon the necessities of the mining industry ?
– I quite recognise the force of the Minister’s interjection. In many cities in Australia we have companies formed for the purpose of providing motive and light power, and if these high-speed reciprocating engines were admitted free for general use, the companies importing them would be given a distinct advantage over other companies engaged in the same line of business who did not use electricity in carrying on their operations. Senator Macfarlane must recognise that these electric light and power corporations would, under his proposal, be given an advantage over companies employing other motive power. In deciding this matter, I think we should have special regard for the important bearing the use of these up-to-date inventions in machinery have upon the successful prosecution: of the mining industry particularly. It is within my personal knowledge that a number of mines in Western Australia show a£50 credit in one month, and a £50 debit in the next, and the chances of their becoming payable propositions depend upon their being able to use the most up-to-date machinery.
– Does not that apply to other industries also?
– No; because there is some regulation of the prices of the products of other industries. Mining is very much of a speculation, and men are content to pay calls for years in the hopethat ultimately a mine which is not giving satisfactory results may ultimately prove to be a profitable speculation. Men who invest in other forms of industrial enterprise can be assured of certain returns.
– Not at all.
– To my thinking, at all events, it is not fair to put the speculative industry of mining on a par with other industrial enterprises. In the case of other industries a man is able to figure out to some extent the profits and losses, and will not invest his money unless he is assured at least of a living wage for his capital. In the case of the mining industry men pay calls for years,’ invest money in the latest machinery, provide employment for persons engaged in subsidiary industries, and take the risk of eventually, losing their money. We should be very careful about what we are doing, but I think there is justification for differentiating in this connexion between the mining industry and other forms of industrial enterprise. We shall be adopting a very foolish course if we do not do what we can to permit the application of the new power of electricity as directly as possible to the advancement of the mining industry, and, in the circumstances, I suggest to Senator Macfarlane that he should amend his request, and be content with the free admission of highspeed reciprocating engines for the express purpose of generating electricity for use in mines.
– I hope the honorable senator will not narrow down his request in that way.
– Senator Gray must know that if we allow these engines to come in free for. general use, persons using them will’ be given a direct advantage over those who are getting along as best they can by using the horizontal steam engine. Those who please may use these high-speed reciprocating engines, but if they are not used for generating electricity they should be subject to a duty. In order that electric power may be made use of in connexion with the mining industry without’ unnecessary cost, I think we should be doing the right thing if we permitted these high-speed reciprocating engines to be admitted free of duty when used in connexion with’ that industry for the purpose of generating electricity. I urge the mover of the request to amend it in accordance with what I have suggested, and the Minister to allow high-speed engines to come in on easier terms, particularly when they are to be devoted to the mining industry.
– I have to warn honorable senators, as I. have already done, against this ingenious request, so simple in appearance ; and to point out to them once more how disastrous its effects would be. I may state that I am very glad indeed to have had the advantage of hearing Senator Lynch. His object and Senator Macfarlane’* are as wide as the poles apart. It is on this point that I am anxious that there should be no confusion. Senator Lynch, for very strong reasons urged by him, has pointed out that in low-grade propositions it. would be useful to have the advantage of the free admission of high-speed engines. To bc very frank, I am not quite prepared to admit everything that Senator Lynch has urged, though I do not for one moment blame him for pressing his case strongly upon the Committee. .At the same time I do not know that what he urges would be disastrous to other industries, especially if attempted in a limited way. But what I do want to avoid is what may be regarded as the unholy alliance between my honorable friend Senator Lynch and Senator Macfarlane. I am quite opposed to Senator Macfarlane^ proposition. Thatsuggested by him includes not only mining engines, upon which he so skilfully played and by means of which he endeavoured to tickle the ears of honorable senators ; but if his request were admitted it would applylikewise 10 all high-speed engines for the purpose of electrical work - driving, blowing, pumping, and other purposes. On the other hand, as Senator Lynch says, he wants to . secure the free introduction of these engines in a limited form. I am sure that he will not be led away by Senator Macfarlane.
– Do I understand that Senator Lynch wants engines to come in free for mines, but will not support their free introduction for any other industry?
– Yes ; and he urged very strong reasons for it. If my honorable friend wishes to achieve his end, I suggest to him that he should formulate his request somewhat as follows: - “Highspeed reciprocating steam engines for use in mines;” to be followed afterwards in item t 7 7 by paragraph h, “Generators for direct coupling to high-speed reciprocating steam-engines to be used in mines.”
– That is what I intended to provide - that the engines shall be for use in mines.
– I took the liberty of drafting a form of request that would carry out Senator Lynch’s purpose, but at the same time I §hall be obliged to oppose it for the reasons which I ha.ve given. I think, however, that I may claim his assistance in defeating what I have already described as the disastrous request so ingeniously framed by my honorable friend Senator Macfarlane.
3-5]. - I have listened attentively to the speech of the Vice-President of the Executive Council, and have also given attention to the speech of Senator Lynch. With much of what Senator Lynch said I am in perfect agreement. We must all realize that mining is not only a great industry of the State of Western Australia, but is important throughout the whole Commonwealth. It is highly desirable that we should afford every possible facility for people who are working mines to make the best use of the opportunities that nature affords them of extracting metals and ores from the earth and the rock. We should facilitate in every way the successful career upon which the industry has entered in Australia. But do not let it be said that the Parliament of the Commonwealth desires to make exceptions of certain industries as against others - that while we are prepared to give the utmost assistance to mining enterprise by allowing mine-owners to have the very best appliances that it is possible’ to obtain on the easiest terms, every other industry in the country must put up with old-fashioned and out-of-date machinery, unless prepared to incur an unnecessarily heavy expenditure, simply because it is desired that machinery, which is, unfortunately, too often of an oldfashioned type, shall be made within the Commonwealth. I admit at once that there is a great deal of difficulty about determining that machinery imported for one purpose shall not subsequently be used for another. We all see that difficulty. But the suggestion has been made by Senator Millen that bv stipulating the number of revolutions made, we can define the class of high-speed engines to be excepted above every other class of engines. It would therefore appear to be perfectly easy to draw a definition as to the class of engines of which we wish to make an exception. . If we are going to admit of an item dealing with motivepower machinery and appliances, except electric, so that low motive-power engines and machinery and appliances connected with steam engines would come under the purview of paragraph b, n.e.i., at 20 per cent., we should be excepting the steam turbine, which is a superior class of motive power and one not made in this country. If it is fair and right to do that, is it not fair to treat these high-speed engines in equally the same manner ? If we are going to treat the steam turbine in a special way because it is a more up-to-date appliance, we should do the same with other highclass machinery. What is . desired is to give every user an opportunity of getting the very best class of engine that he can by any possibility obtain.
– We cannot develop unless we do.
.- We cannot develop as we ought unless we are prepared to take advantage of every possible means afforded by the inventors of the world. I should like to refer to a type of engine which comes under the class dealt with by Senator Macfarlane’s proposal that has only recently been imported by the Great “Cobar Mine in connexion with the new machinery recently imported for its purposes. I hold in my hand a letter signed by Messrs. Browett Lindley and Company, of Manchester, from whom this engine was obtained. They say -
Replying to your favour of the 13th inst., we beg to state that the engines which we have supplied to your order for the Great Cobar Mines are of the enclosed forced lubrication quick revolution type, and we believe are the only kind manufactured in this country. Further - there are only four or five firms engaged in this manufacture. These engines are a specialty, inasmuch as the present design, arrangement, &c, has only been acquired and developed after many years of careful experience, and in our opinion it would be impossible for any firm abroad to build this type of engine without first obtaining a considerable amount of experience in a similar manner to that secured in this country. As an instance we may mention the limits of variation in the machining of the parts included in the construction of the engine are of the finest employed in any branch of general engineering.
I read that letter to show honorable senators that this particular class of engine cannot possibly be made in this country. I think that even Senator Trenwith will admit that such an engine could not be economically and successfully made in Australia at the present time. One of the reasons is that there is not a sufficient demand for this class of engine to justify any one going to the expense of erecting the necessary workshops and providing the requisite machinery to carry on work of that character. With regard to the triple-expansion highspeed engines referred to, I find, in a letter written by the general manager of the Great Cobar Copper Company Limited, and which was read in another place, that that company has purchased from England machinery to the value of £47,288, and from America to the value, of .£23,937, making a total of £71,225. Of the English amount, ,£8,141 10s. is for electrical machinery that cannot possibly be made in Australia. A further amount of £3,316 for dynamo machines can be added to the above figures. These are triple-expansion high-speed engines and Australian manufacturers have not yet made machinery of this type. I want honorable senators to realize that with a duty of 20 per cent, on this class of machinery, a sum of no less than ^1,000 would have to be paid in duty upon one particular engine. I do not propose to go through the communications which I have received bearing upon this subject, because they can be more properly dealt with at a later period. But I allude to the matter now to enable honorable senators to see that the class of engines with regard to which Senator Macfarlane is anxious is by no means a class that is, or will be, made in the Commonwealth for many years to come. If that be the case,’ and if it be necessary to equip our mines to the fullest possible extent with first-class machinery, why should not other manufacturers be enabled to equip their workshops with first-class machinery also? The duty proposed, 5 per cent., would, at any rate, afford some revenue, and would, at the same time, consult the interests of the people using this class of machinery. One thing that has struck me more than another in connexion with our Tariff debates has been that unfortunately the Committee has appeared to ignore totally the consumer and the producer, in order to benefit particular industries. I by no means consider that our people are not able to make a great many machines, and to do a great deal of such work as is also done in other parts of the world. But I am also perfectly sure of this fact - and I speak with some little knowledge of the subject - that where it is possible to obtain machinery within the Commonwealth suitable for the requirements of mines and other industries, that machinery is invariably so obtained j and that for good and abundant reasons. Because every one must realize that the more you help your own people the more your own people will help you in whatever industry you may be concerned. But what I do protest against is that the manufacturer or the producer is penalized and the consumer also heavily taxed, in order that some small industry which some person is starting mav be enabled to obtain an undue advantage. I should be glad if Senator Macfarlane’s request were not restricted to engines for a particular purpose. If these high revolution type of engines are the most satisfactory and profitable that can be employed, then all industries should have an opportunity to secure them. I hope that the Committee will at least see its way to accept the request proposed by Senator Macfarlane, and the suggestion made by Senator Lynch, even if it is not prepared to widen the scope in the way I have indicated. Such an extension would, I feel satisfied, be conducive to the best interests of the Commonwealth.
– I should be glad if the Vice-President of the Executive Council could relieve the Committee of the very great difficulty with which it is confronted. I recognise that the honorable senator would place himself in a peculiar position by agreeing to a request that was unlimited in its scope, but honorable senators generally seem to be either unable or unwilling to propose a definition that would overcome the difficulty. I heartily agree with most of the observations made by Senator Lynch, but feel that to confine his request to mining machinery would appear to be a rather selfish step to take. I recognise, nevertheless, that something should be done in the direction he has indicated. The mining industry has very little in common with other industries in the Commonwealth. Practically no other industry in Australia to-day is faced with the difficulties, uncertainty, and disadvantages with which it has to contend. I propose to quote from the report of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission a paragraph giving substantial reasons why special treatmentshould be extended to the mining industry. At the same time, I wish it to be clearly understood that I should like to be inserted in the request a proviso which would not expose machinery that we make in Australia, and which is being used to advantage, to the competition of similar machinery introduced free from abroad.
– The honorable senator desires that the very best machinery shall be available to the people.
– Certainly. At page 14 of the report to which I have referred, it is stated that -
Within the last five years there has been a strong disposition shown by the companies in Kalgoorlie to displace and discard the original Australian-made and other old type engines, and” to substitute what are called “ high speed “ or “high powered” engines.
On the mine of the Ivunhoe Gold Corporation there is at present a high speed engine, built- by Hick, Hargreaves, and Co. It is a cross compound Corliss valve engine, of 950 horse-power, and cost .£2,679 f.o.b. London; oversea freight shipping charges, duty, and landing charges at Fremantle, £750, representing 27 per cent, of the f.o.b. price. Railage and cartage from Fremantle to the mine amounted to £329, representing 12.3 per cent, of the f.o.b. price ; so that the total charges from port of shipment (London^ to time of delivery on mine amount to 39.3 per cent, of the f.o.b. price (total cost on mine, ^3,738). It displaced three slide valve and one cross compound engines. It is now used as the main driving engine. Since it was started it has saved the company £580 per month, the savings being £102 for labour, and the balance, £478, in economies of fuel, water consumption, and repairs. It is the best driving engine on the mines, and gives the best results, viz., 13 lbs. steam per horse-power per hour. - (Q-413SO).
Having regard to the position of the mining industry in Australia to-day, this evidence is surely strong enough to induce us to endeavour to free it of any obstacle likely to be placed in its way by the Tariff. I should like to bring under the notice of the Committee a case which came under my own observation, in which a very large sum was collected by way of duty on a highclass engine imported into Western Australia. It is a type of engine which has not been made in Australia, and is not likely to be made here for many years. As Senator Gould has pointed out, we shall need a population of something like 50,000,000 or 60,000,000, and to have the world’s market available to us, before we shall find men .ready to erect in Australia the machinery necessary for building such engines. tinder the present Tariff, the mining company which imported the engine to which I have referred, had to pay no less than .£1,500 in respect of duty upon it. The treatment of low-grade ores necessitates the use of the most up-to-date engines and machinery to insure success. The number of persons absolutely dependent upon the industry constitutes an additional reason for taking action to relieve it of such taxation as is proposed by the Government.
– There are more than 126,000 persons engaged in the mining industry.
– And that means’ that there are something like 500,000 persons dependent upon it. We have evidence that the industry is at present at a low ebb, and it behoves us to do something, not to retard, but to advance it, so that it may again become as flourishing as it was in years gone by. Only by the use of modern machinery - by the use of all that the highest skill and energy can give . us - can the industry be pushed ahead. It is by such means that Australia has achieved her present industrial position, and we certainly must not retrogress. In Western Australia and Queensland-notably at Charters Towers - hard ground and refractory ores have to be dealt with.
– And lowgrade ores.
– That is so. We must all recognise that those low-grade ores must be worked at the least possible cost, and the most scientific treatment applied to them if the industry is not to go down. For these reasons I desire mining machinery to be free, provided that some arrangement can be made to protect the revenue of the Commonwealth, and to prevent the free importation of machinery that is being made in Australia, and used with satisfactory results. I should not like to vote ‘for Senator Macfarlane’s request in the restrictive form in which it has been proposed; but if the Government press the demand for the pound of flesh for which they now ask, I am very much afraid I shall have to vote against them.
– I should like to bring under trie notice of the Committee the following statement which appears in the report of the free-trade section of the Tariff Commission -
Engineers and others agreed, on examination, that …. converters and certain other classes of machinery, particularly high-speed engines for generating electricity, that patented machinery, of which much was used on the goldfields, and cannot be made in Australia, should be exempt.
– But the honorable senator is not proposing to apply this provision to machinery used only on the goldfields.
– My request does not go so far as I should like it to go, but I am prepared to accept Senator Lynch’s suggestion, and to modify my proposal so as to place on the free list highspeed reciprocating engines, coupled with generators or dynamo electric machinery.
– To be used for mining purposes.
– If it is thought desirable to limit the amendment to mining machinery, some one else can move in that direction.
Request amended accordingly.
– I hope that honorable senators in considering this great question will disregard their leanings to free-trade or protection, and try to do what is best for the development of Australia. I was delighted to hear the speeches of Senators Henderson and Lynch. It would be impossible to controvert the statements which they made. The mining industry employs, perhaps, more men than any other in the Commonwealth, and it must be recognised that it is now passing through a critical period, making not only the development of new mines, but even the continuation of old mines, a matter of difficulty. Within the last eight months the price of copper has fallen from £115 a ton, at which it stood for three or four years, to£56 a ton, and the price of lead from £22 10s. to £13 10s. a ton; while the prices of silver and other minerals, with but few exceptions, have been seriously reduced.
– The price of gold has not come down.
– No; but the yield has declined, especially in Western ‘Australia. It, therefore, behoves us to do what we can to improve the conditions of the mining industry. The mining of low-grade ores has become extremely difficult, because of the almost infinitesimal profit obtainable. But upon the continuance and prosperity of the mining industry depends the well-being of thousands of miners and their families, and of those dependent upon them. Therefore, instead of handicapping the industry we should brush aside everything that tends to retard its development, and we should give all possible encouragement to those connected with mining ventures. It seems to me, however, that Senator Lynch is one of those geographical fiscalists who have regard only to the interests of their own State.
– What about the Broken Hill mines?
SenatorGRAY. - I think that the honorable senator narrows his sympathies to that industry which is, perhaps, more important in Western Australia than in the sister States. Even if industries are established by the Tariff, they can become permanent only by keeping in touch with the latest improvements and developments in other parts of the world. The Yorkshire woollen mills have a reputation all over the globe ; but they won their name only because their manufacturers had the cuteness to recognise that their machinery must be of the best, and the courage to discard anything old-fashioned. In the West Riding of Yorkshire, a mill was considered old when it had been in existence for five years. Within that period the owner either built a new mill or completely renovated the old and replaced the machinery with newer patents. The same thing has been done in the cotton, and in many other industries. It is this readiness to adopt improvements that has kept England to the front as a manufacturing country. Her manufacturers have been wise’ enough to recognise that they must constantly strive, not only to increase their output, but to improve its quality, so that it shall be superior to the productions of any other country. Why was it that the New Zealand Woollen Mills were successful, although protected by a duty of only 15 per cent., and the Victorian Woollen Mills had a struggle under a duty of 40 per cent. ? It was because the New Zealand manufacturers kept themselves abreast of modern developments, whereas Victorian manufacturers depended entirely on the Tariff and practically forgot that new machinery was constantly being invented. They were like children’ who depend entirely on their mothers for theirfood, and could not do anything without Government support. The real prosperity and development of our industries will be due, not to the Tariff, but to the personality of those conducting them. If our manufacturers adapt their methods to new conditions, and take the fullest advantage of the brain power of the world, they will succeed, and Australia may become - though I think not for a long time yet - an exporter of manufactures. The fact that raw material is close at hand, and available to any extent, will count for much. But our manufacturers must be ready at all times to adopt the latest improvements. Therefore, instead of levying a duty on machinery, we should, if it were practicable - which it is not - offer a bounty for its importation. Senators Lynch and Henderson have proved that we shall act unjustly, and in the worst interests of the Commonwealth, if we levy a tax on mining machinery, especially at a time when the condition of the industry is critical. It is almost impossible, at the present price of metals, to make mining operations profitable, and to pay wages, which are not too high, to men who work under conditions far inferior to those which obtain in other industries. I hope that the Committee will allow mining machinery to come in free of duty.
– - I think that the honorable senator who has just resumed his seat might very well have spared us the hackneyed taunt that our votes upon the proposal under consideration will be influenced bv geographical considerations.
– I was referring only to one honorable senator.
– So far as that honorable senator is concerned, I think that he is quite blameless in the matter, because if there, is one industry which is common to Australia it is that of gold mining. Gold-mining operations are carried on in every State of the Commonwealth, and therefore any Tariff assistance that we may extend to that industry will not be confined to any one State. Further, it is the industry in Australia which pays the highest rate of wages to the workmen engaged in it. In Western Australia - and, I think, the same remark is applicable to Queensland, and to the greater portion of New South Wales- - the wages paid to gold-miners are the highest that obtain in any calling in the Commonwealth.’ Therefore, any consideration that we ask for gold mining is not being sought on behalf of an industry which is associated with sweating or evilsof that character. In discussing a question of this kind we ought not to forget the very important part that gold mining has played in the history of Australia. 1, dare say that the greatest event in our history was the discovery of gold. Certainly the greatest event in the history of Victoria was the discovery of gold at Bendigo and Ballarat, just as I am sure the greatest event in the industrial life of Western Australia was the discovery of gold at Coolgardie. These events stand out so prominently that thev constitute land marks in our history. When we recollect the important part that cold mining has played in the history of the Com mon wealth, we must recognise that the proposal to admit high-speed reciprocating engines for the purpose of generating electrical power for gold-mining purposes is not an extraordinary one. If we look at the duties that have been imposed upon various classes of machinery we shall find that the highest are those which have been levied upon the machinery connected with the gold-mining industry. Gold-mining machinery is imported with a view to developing an industry which can gain no benefit whatever from, protection, as the agricultural industry undoubtedly can.
– How do those industries derive a benefit?
– Every agricultural and dairying product has been made a subject for taxation, so that our agriculturists and dairymen have had the whole of the home market conserved to them.
– The farmer does not derive a benefit of one penny from- a protective Tariff.
– 1 am sorry to say that he did not get all the benefit that was intended to be conferred upon him by the granting of a butter bonus. We know that the butter agents grabbed a fair share of that bonus.
– Protective duties are inoperative, so far as the farmer is concerned.
– There is another aspect of this question, of which we ought not to lose sight. It is that there has actually been expended in gold mining more money than is represented by the value cif the product of the industry. Therefore it cannot be said that it is an industry in which a direct benefit is conferred upon those who embark upon it. We all recognise that to the speculator there is a glamour about mining enterprises which induces him to risk much in the hope of obtaining more. The request of Senator Macfarlane, therefore, is not one of an extraordinary character. As a protectionist I am anxious that no vote of mine shall injure any of our industries. But in taking up the attitude’ that I do towards what may be regarded as a freetrade proposal, I am fortified by the .request which was preferred to the Tariff Commission by Mr. Hasforth, the secretary of the Engineers’ Society of Kalgoorlie, who asked that high-speed reciprocating engines, which were intended to be attached to electrical generators, should be admitted free. Mr. Hasforth expressly singled out high-speed engines as articles which should be admitted into the Commonwealth free.
– Under all circumstances ?
– No. He referred to the mining industry only.
– I understand that these engines are required chiefly, it not soley, for generating electricity?
– Then why should one industry obtain cheap electricity whilst another industry is required to pay dearly for it?
– I have already pointed out that the mining industry has special claims on our consideration for the reason that it cannot derive any advantage whatever from a protective policy. I have just instanced the agricultural industry as one which will obtain advantages that we cannot extend to the mining industry.
– Does the honorable senator wish to limit this proposal to gold mines?
– Why not extend it to tin mines ?
– I do not know sufficient of tin mines to be able to say whether this class of machinery is much in use upon them.
– I think that we ought to have a quorum present. [Quorum formed.]
– We have also to bear in mind that in another portion of this schedule it is proposed to admit steam turbines - which are used in connexion with the electrical motor industry and which are required to do the same work as the high-speed reciprocating engines to which I have alluded - free. Of course, I recognise the danger that would result from the admission of high-speed reciprocating engines free, if they were subsequently used for any industrial purposes other than those of mining. I think that stationary engines and engines required for driving our mills can be made just as well in the Commonwealth as they can be in any other part of the world. I am anxious that the engineering industry shall not be injured. In order to safeguard it we shall have to be very careful in our definition of a highspeed engine. That can be done by saying that the engine shall be connected directly with an electric generator or motor. This will insure that it shall not be used for any other purpose than the one which we desire. I hope that those who look at the matter from a mere trade stand-point will see that a very good case has been made out for giving the mining industry what is really the only advantage we can give it in the Tariff.
– Senator de Largie offered just now the strongest possible reason why if these engines are to come in at all they should come in as free for one industry as for another. He said that there would be an inconsistency if we allowed steam turbines to come in free, whilst we made dutiable high-speed engines which were used for the same purposes. I was glad to hear him say so, because, if he wishes to avoid inconsistency, seeing that steam turbines come in free, not only for mining, but For every one who wants them, he ought, on his own showing, to vote to make highspeed engines similarly free for any industry that needs their assistance. No more glaring inconsistency could be conceived than to allow steam turbines used for the generation of electricity to come in free for every industry, and at the same time specially to pick out the mining industry as the only one in Australia entitled to get free high-speed engines.I cannot vote for any such selfish proposition. I am not prepared to give a vote which would be a class vote in its narrowest possible form. Who use these high-speed engines, and what are they used for? As Senator de Largie interjected, they are used for the generation of electricity. Mines are not the only industry that requires electricity. A large and increasing number of people in Australia are becoming more and more dependent upon electricity. Municipalities, when they proceed to light their towns - a purely municipal undertaking, to which the poorest ratepayer contributes - require an engine of this kind.
– That is a bit of Socialism.
– Very likely; but I appeal to the honorable senator for his vote on that very argument. As a Socialist, he should say that that socialistic enterprise shall not be called upon to pay 20 and 25 per cent., whilst the individualistic enterprise of the mine-owner shall be allowed its machinery scot free. These engines ought to be free, for the simple reason that they are not being made here. Even the engineering manufacturers of Australia import them when they are called upon to supply a plant containing one of them. This item brings rather forcibly to my mind the unfortunate way in which the whole division has been drafted. I am a free-trader, but, in view of the character of the Tariff and all that has preceded it, it would be idle to suppose that even a free-trader would require an absolutelyfree Tariff upon all engineering matters. But in practically each one of these items there are included, with articles which can be and are being made here, and in respect of which even free-traders would be indisposed to destroy the protection which they have hitherto enjoyed, other articles which are not being made here. The alternative which faces us is either to place a very heavy impost on a lot of machinery which is not being made in Australia, or to destroy the protection upon machinery which is made here. To a great extent, the manu: facturers are themselves to blame for that. Instead of their placing before the Commission collectively a reasonable, fair, and honest statement as to the machines and engines which they could make profitably, and supply at a fair price, various individuals amongst them came forward to ask for everything that there was the slightest chance of getting, and the Government, unfortunately,, have followed them. Instead of their making a fair division, putting on one side everything that could be made here at a reasonable profit and sold at a reasonable figure, and, on the other side, articles which are not being, or are not likely to be, made here for some time, the whole lot are boxed up until, if I want to free an article not made here, I have also to free an article which is made here, or, if I want to, put a duty on an article which is made here, I have also to put a duty on an article which is not made here. That puts one in an unfortunate position. In spite of my fiscal views I have no desire to give a vote to destroy an existing industry. On the contrary, I should be inclined to assist,- so far as I can, such an industry as this, but I absolutely object to placing a duty on an article which is not being made in Australia, and is not likely, for some time, to be made here, knowing that the effect of the duty, by increasing the cost of the machine or engine, will handicap not merely the mining, but every other industry which requires to use it. It may be that Senator Macfarlane^ amendment does not commend itself in its wording to every honorable senator, but that ought not to secure its defeat if the object at which it aims is approved. Personally, I seek to make high-speed engines free. If those who think with me have any fault to find with Senator Macfarlane’s amendment, I suggest that u should, nevertheless, be adopted, with the knowledge that if it is faulty the responsibility will rest upon . the Government, after consulting their expert officers, of drafting a better definition, and then, on recommittal, asking us to alter the wording. By means of that amendment we can indicate . the goal towards which we are striving. I believe a majority of honorable senators favour the free admission of highspeed engines for some purpose or other. Some, like Senator Lynch, wish to limit -that to mining. I want them free for every industry. But I do not want our inability to agree about what is, to some extent, a detail, to result in none of us getting what we want. In order to avoid a three-cornered duel, which would result in the Tariff going through exactly as it stands, I suggest that Senator Lynch should move his proposal as an addition to Senator Macfarlane’ s amendment.
– Will the honorable senator help me?
– Certainly not, because the Committee has never listened to a more selfish amendment. I am surprised to hear it come from Western Australian senators. They have been very free in voting to put duties on pretty well every other industry in the Commonwealth, but the moment we reach- what ‘ is practically the first item in mining, those strong Western Australian protectionists become high-class free-traders. I cannot assist the honorable senator to carry that selfish policy to any greater extent. I am not prepared to make these engines free only for one specially picked and favoured section of the community. If Senator Lynch submits his amendment as an addition to Senator Macfarlane’s amendment, the Committee will be able to have a clear vote without- confusion. If Senator Lynch’s amendment succeeds, there is nothing more to be done, but, if it fails, we can then have a straight-out vote on Senator Macfarlane’s amendment. My object in making this suggestion is to avoid a threecornered duel, which would result in none of us getting anything.
– I favour high-speed engines being admitted free, but, although I have lived in a mining district nearly all my life, I cannot see why the Committee should be asked to admit them free for mining and not for any other industry. I believe they are not ma’de here, and that their use will be of assistance to a large number of industries.
At present mining is carried on at Mount Morgan to a great extent by electricity. They have a great power-house there, and when 1 was there I saw a winding engine worked by that means. We must seek to reduce the cost of carrying on our trades and occupations by making available the best machinery at the cheapest possible price. When it is not made in the Commonwealth we should certainly impose no duty. There reached me to-day a copy of the Northern Miner, containing an interesting article on the mining industry at Charters Towers. We have heard a good deal about various industries that require their raw material free and protection for their products, but in many instances the amount of money sunk in them is very small. That does not apply to the mining industry. Gold-mining all over the Commonwealth seems at present to be under a cloud. We hope that it will not always remain so. This newspaper enumerates a number of mines working on different lines of reef. Referring to the Day Dawn line of reef, it states -
The only mines under exemption on the line of reef are the South-East Day Dawn which has been worked for twenty years with unpayable results, and Plant’s Deep Mines which has expended some£50,000, and is entitled to a rest.
A great deal of that money has been laid out in costly machinery. With regard to the Brilliant line of reef, it is stated that -
The only two mines under exemption on this line of reef are the Brilliant North on which £20,000 has been spent, and the Brilliant Deep Levels, with £70,000 worth of capital gone.
All the rest of the mines on that line are working, but not paying dividends, as the ore has become poor. We want the best and cheapest appliances to work our mines. People who go into mining put their money in very freely. Some of the mines in that district have been working to my knowledge for eighteen years without paying a dividend. We are entitled, therefore, to ask the Committee to allow this machinery to come in at 5 per cent. and free. But I do not’ ask that for the mines alone, because in every Australian industry we want the latest appliances which will give the best return for the capital and labour invested. I hope the Committee will recognise the advisableness of granting the advantage asked for, not only to the mining industry, but to every other trade and occupation in the Commonwealth. I take the ground that this machinery is not made in Australia, and that it is required in other industries besides that of mining.
– Which industry is it most required for?
– If the principle of admitting this machinery free is good, then why debar any industry from the privilege - why exclusively confine it to gold mining.
– The honorable senator is quite incorrect.
– That is what I understood Senator de Largie to say.
-i am not the mover of the request.
– I am glad to hear that that is not the idea; but I certainly did understand that this privilege was to be reservedto mining.
– But not to gold mining only.
SenatorSAYERS. - Senator de Largie certainly mentioned gold mining.
– I have no request or suggestion before this Committee.
– But, in speaking to the request before us, the honorable senator certainly appeared to confine the proposed privilege to gold mining. I take a broader basis, and say that if the free admission of this machinery is good for gold mining, it is good for all industries in which it is used.
– Will the honorable senator vote for the request if it is confined to all mining?
– No, but I shall vote for it if it is extended to every industry in the Commonwealth. I do not think that my constituents would desire me to be so selfish as to confine a privilege of the kind to gold mining.
– Will the honorable senator mention any other industry that requires this privilege?
– There have been industries mentioned.
– Let the honorable senator mention one.
– My own opinion is that electricity is going to revolutionize all our industries, and that, in a few years, we shall see it applied to sawmilling, bootmaking, and many other trades.
– Even shearing.
– We have it from Senator Cameron that at present electric machines are being imported for shearing ; and miners are prepared, I am sure, to give to their fellow men the same advantages they ask for themselves. A few years ago a man who spoke of applying electricity to the works at Mount Morgan, would have been regarded as dreaming. The most ardent protectionist cannot say that the importation of this machinery will interfere with any local industry.
– Surely ?
– None of these machines are made in this State, but I hope that within a few years they will be in use all over the Commonwealth, with the result of a great advance in our manufactures and trade.
– I desire to correct Senator Millen’s statement, that I am exhibiting somewhat of a parochial or provincial spirit in the request I have indicated. I wish the amendment of the Tariff to apply to mining; and surely it is not necessary to remind Senator Millen that mining is not confined to any particular State. In New South Wales mining is one of the most important industries ; and, although I admit frankly that I had some thought of my own State, I was not without regard to the industry in the other States. We find Senator Sayers opposing this motion, in spite of the plain and convincing evidence as to the condition of some of the mines in Queensland; and in this connexion, he would place mining on the same level as other industries, which he has not attempted to show are in the same unhappy plight. No. one more than Senator Sayers is acquainted with the awful struggle which some of the mining companies have to undergo in order to exist.
– If Senator Lynch will understand me, I am supporting the request, and not opposing it -I am supporting the request that all this machinery shall be free.
– The honorable senator is under some misapprehension ; my object is to allow these machines to be introduced for mining whether of iron, copper, or gold, or anything else.
– But the honorable senator would not give the same advantage to any other industry.
– To give the same advantage to any other industry would lead us into an invidious positron. Senator Macfarlane’s proposal is clearlyintended to confer a benefit on those who use highspeed engines for the purpose of generating electric motive power and light. This means that the benefit would extend to those large corporations, who in Melbourne, Brisbane, and other of the capital cities, supply electricity.
– Benefit would also be conferred on manufacturers.
– But not to the same extent. The unfortunate position of the mining industry has been admitted, and, in framing a Tariff, we should have regard to the interests of those industries which are put to a severe struggle in order to live.
– If the free admission of this machinery is good for mining, it must be good for all other industries.
- Senator Macfarlane’s proposal simply means that the large electric corporations of cities will escape paying duty on their machinery, while others who use the same machinery, will have to pay duty.
– No ; all will be placed on the same level.
– Under my suggestion, there is a difference made, but not so narrow or. invidious a difference as that involved in the proposal of Senator Macfarlane. I propose to make a difference between industries, whereas Senator Macfarlane proposes to make a difference between companies.
– Not at all.
– The chief users of this electrical machinery are the companies in the big cities.
– Will not mining companies, with a capital of, say, £2,500,000, benefit ?
– I desire to benefit those companies, but, unfortunately, I cannot get Senator Sayers’ assistance.
– Why be invidious?
– I do not, at any rate, show an invidious preference by allowing city corporations to have their machinery in free, while flour millers, foundry men and others are taxed. Those city corporations supply electric lighting power, and I am sure that Senator Macfarlane must see the unreasonableness of allowing them to have their machinery in free, while other users of the same machinery are taxed. All of these will have to pay a duty on the machinery which they employ. Senator Gray says that in the future they will employ electrical ma chinery. Well, that is a question for the future, not for the present. I am directing my attention to the invidious distinction which Senator Macfarlane seeks to make. In view of the need for supporting the only industry which even the opponents of my proposal admit requires every possible assistance - the mining industry - I fail to see any justice in the refusal of Senator Sayers to lend a helping hand to remove the duty from this machinery. I shall press my amendment. I regret that Senator Macfarlane refuses to accept it.
– I think that the majority of the members of the Committee, and I dare say the whole of those who are engaged in the primary industries, will indorse the action of Senator Macfarlane in seeking to provide for the introduction of superior and effective machinery for developing those industries. The more he fries to enlarge the scope of the Tariff byhis request the more it will be received with pleasure and approved by the people. The mining industry may fairly be called Western Australia’s sheet anchor for her present and future prosperity. I regret that a representative of that State should try to limit the beneficial operations of the request. I have looked up a good deal of the literature and statistics with regard to the importance of the mining industry of not only Western Australia, but all the States. I think it cannot be questioned that the more the mining industry is allowed to have the fullest and freest advantage that it is possible to give by way of the Tariff, or other encouragement, the better it will be for every State. It is very frequently forgotten, especially by politicians, that with regard to mineral and mining development of every possible kind Australia is one of the richest countries in the world. It is magnificently rich in its possibilities, and the State which stands supreme in that regard is Queensland. The request of Senator Macfarlane, if adopted, will assist very strongly to promote the general progress of Queensland. It is of supreme importance to the mining industry of that State that ft should be able to secure as cheaply as possible high-speed engines in whatever forms they may be introduced. What is the argument against the request? If it be said that we are trying to differentiate against the workers in the factories of Melbourne or Sydney, or Ballarat or Castlemaine, that may be true. But in dealing with the requirements of the greatest industry in Australia we are bound to consider the interests of two classes - those who invest their capital in the development of the mineral resources of the continent and the workers who will be attracted to the mines. Is any one here prepared to say that as regards the development of the mining and primary industries we can stand, so to speak, fascinated by what is going on merely in Ballarat, Melbourne, or any particular city ? I am taking the argument to the Western Australians themselves. They are pointing out what a powerful advantage it is that the gold miners in their State should be able to secure these high-class engines cheaply in order to develop that industry.
– The same remark applies to Charters Towers, Mount Morgan, and Gympie.
– It applies even more strongly to Queensland, because experts tell us that it contains the largest and richest natural copper deposits in the world. The output of copper and tin is more than compensating the State for the falling off in the gold production. The opinion of experts is that Queensland is blessed, not merely with magnificent gold resources, but also with rich resources of every possible merchantable metal. How can the mining industry be sufficiently developed? The struggle with nature and the outside world is sufficiently hard with out imposing a handicap. The fewer obstacles we offer to its development the better it will be for the welfare of Australia. The more we cheapen the price of machinery, the more we shall do for the development of the mining industry. It is not merely for the production of gold that cheap, effective machinery is required. My remarks apply to not merely the gold deposits of Queensland, but to the whole area of merchantable metals that we have in that State. I ask honorable senators to extend to the mining industry, which is one of the great sheet-anchors of the Commonwealth, every assistance which they can possibly give.
– The honorable senator is strong on the sheet-anchors.
– Had it not been for the mining industry in North Queensland we should scarcely have had that valuable portion of Australia developed. In the early seventies gold was discovered in the neighbourhood of Charters Towers, arid that led to the settlement of a large white population there. At the present time the population in and round about Charters Towers must number 40,000 or 50,000 persons. People gradually spread out from that gold centre, and took up the pastoral and agricultural land. Then, when the copper deposits were developed, white men, on account of the richness of that industry, went there to settle. The mining industry has helped to settle with white men a portion of the continent which, at one time, some people said was unfitted for such persons. In Queensland, fortunately, our vast mineral and agricultural resources helped gradually to settle our northern territory with white men. If the Northern Territory of South Australia could have shown a development like that which has taken place in North Queensland, one of the most difficult problems which the Commonwealth has to face would have been solved. If honorable senators offer any obstruction, by way of the Tariff or anything else, to the development of the mining industry, they will retard the progress of the tropical and sub-tropical portions of Australia. If they will trace the spread of population, they will see how steadily the people have gone north. When they recollect how the rich mining industry is attractinga very large population of the most desirable class to North Queensland, I venture to think that they will agree with me that the Government should afford, by means of the Tariff, the largest possible latitude for extending the operations of the mining industry.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 160, by inserting after the word “Turbines,” the words “High-Speed Reciprocating Engines coupled with Generators or Dynamo Electric Machines” (Senator Macfarlane’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 16
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 160, paragrapha, by inserting after the word “Machines” in the last requested amendment the words “ to be used in mines.”
I do not propose to repeat the arguments which have already been presented in favour of this request. But I shall direct special attention to the very unfair discrimination which would be made under this item if amended in accordance with the last request. The effect would be to enable the big power and light corporations in the large cities of Australia to escape the payment of duty on these highspeed reciprocating engines. I do not think that would be fair to people engaged in competing industries, who would be obliged to pay duty on the engines they use. The object of my request is to provide that this class of machinery shall be introduced duty free only for use in the mining industry, which has been so much commiserated by honorable senators who have indicated their opposition to my proposal. My object is to encourage and stimulate the mining industry.
– I wish, sir, to ask your ruling as to whether Senator Lvnch’s request can be received. The honorable senator proposes a request for the addition of certain words which would have the effect of modifying and restricting the operation of a request which the Committee has already adopted. I hold that Senator Lynch should properly have submitted his proposal as an amendment of Senator Macfarlane’s request before it was decided upon by the Committee. The positon is that we have adopted Senator Macfarlane’s request as submitted, and while I admit that it may be competent for Senator Lynch to achieve his object in another way, I contend that it is not competent for him now to submit a request for a modification of a proposal which the
Committee has already agreed to in certain definite terms.
– In this matter we have the widest discretion to do exactly as we please. We are engaged in making requests in connexion with this item, and we can make one or fifty, as we please. We have made one, and now Senator Lynch proposes another to amend the request already agreed to bv the addition of certain words, bo that if agreed to in another place it will operate in a particular way. It is merely a matter of form as to how what Senator Lynch pro.poses shall be done, but that we have the power to do what the honorable senator asks the Committee to do no one can gainsay.
– The practice we have hitherto adopted has been to deal first with the most comprehensive request, and with that suggesting the highest duty.
– That is where a. request for the higher duty has been defeated, but not where it has been carried.
– The Committee having agreed to the more comprehensive form of the present proposal, Senator Lynch wishes now to test the feeling of the Committee as to a less comprehensive form of the same request, and that is in accordance with the practice we have hitherto followed in dealing with the schedule. If we consider the claims of the mining industry it must be admitted that Senator Lynch’s proposal is perfectly justified. I do not agree with Senator Millen that other industries have the same claim upon our consideration in this connexion as the mining industry has, and under the request to which we have agreed, on the motion of Senator Macfarlane, we should be granting free machinery to other industries.
– Only this class of machinery.
– If we fay that this machinery may be imported duty free by an electric light” and power company, other companies in competition, for instance, in the production of gas, will be placed at a disadvantage in having to pay duty on the machinery they import. We should treat all our industries fairly, and should not single out for specially advantageous treatment electric light and power companies.
– If we wish to be fair we should not single out the mining in- dustry for specially advantageous treatment as compared with the agricultural industry.
– I ask Senator de Largie not to discuss the merits of the proposed request until the point of order raised has been decided.
– So far as the point of order is . concerned, I hold that Senator Lynch, in submitting his request, is following the practice which the Committee has adopted throughout.
– In accordance with the practice we have hitherto adopted when the Committee has agreed to a request for the imposition of, say, a 20 per cent, duty, it has not been competent for an honorable senator to . propose that the duty should be 10 per cent., and yet that is equivalent to what Senator Lynch is proposing now. The Committee has agreed to a certain request, and Senator Lynch now asks us to limit its operation.
– In reply to Senator de Largie I should like to say that the construction which he has put upon the practice hitherto followed hardly squares with the circumstances with which we are now called upon to deal. Our practice in the past has been to proceed from- the higher to the lower duty, but no request for a lower duty has been received after the Committee has agreed to a higher duty. What we have done here has been to say that in our opinion this machinery should be admitted free for everybody. That is the deliberate decision arrived at by the Committee. Senator Lynch now proposes that we should modify that decision and request that this machinery should be admitted free only for use in connexion with a certain industry. If it is competent for the honorable senator to submit such a request it is equally competent for any other honorable senator to go further and submit a request that it shall not be admitted free for use in any industry at all, and so absolutely reverse a previous decision of the Committee.
– No; that question has been decided by the vote we have taken.
– By the vote we have taken we have agreed to a request that this machinery should be admitted free for every one. If Senator Lynch did not want that to be- carried, he could have moved an amendment upon the request. He could have moved to add to Senator Macfarlane’s request the additional words which he. now wishes to have inserted. Then we- could have had a direct vote. But that opportunity has gone. The Committee, by an overwhelming majority, decided that we should not admit these engines free for every industry, and for every body. . It is not now competent to reverse wholly, or partially to nullify, that decision, by the addition of such words as Senator Lynch suggests. It is true that that might be done in another way. The correct course is this : If the Committee wishes to reconsider the item, the proper time to do it is at the recommittal stage.
– I am governed by the Standing Orders relative to proceedings on Bills which the Senate may not amend. They range from standing order 240 to 246. I find nothing in those standing orders which would prevent me from putting a request before the Committee in the form in which Senator Lynch has moved. The only other standing order which can be brought to bear upon the point is N6. 253, which says that a motion contradictory of a previous decision of the Committee, shall not be entertained in the same Committee. I have to ask myself, “ Does the proposed request contradict a previous request”? In my opinion it does not. The effect of it would be to modify a previous request. But, supposing that the other standingorders did apply, apart from those dealing specially with Bills which we may not amend, would any one contend that the proposed words could not be inserted before the word “Superheaters” in the item? It surely must be conceded that those words could be inserted if we were dealing with an ordinary Bill, although they modify words to which the Committee has already agreed. There are two methods by which this matter could be dealt with by the Committee - one by an amendment to a question which was before the Committee - namely, the last request dealt with; or by the present method, namely, by moving as a separate request for the insertion of other words dealing with the same subject. I entertain the opinion that Senator Lynch’s request is in order.
– With very great- regret, sir. I must dissent from your ruling. I hand in- a written dissent.
In the Senate ‘: ‘
The Chairman of Committees. - In Committee on a Bill for an Act relating to duties of Customs, and upon item 160, paragraph a; Senator Macfarlane moved, and the Committee agreed to, the following request : -
That the House of Representatives be requested to insert the words “ High Speed Reciprocating Engines coupled with Generator or Dynamo electric machines.”
Senator Lynch then submitted the following request
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend the item by inserting after the word “machines” in the last requested amendment the words “ to be used in mines.”
Senator Millen has raised a’ point of order, on the ground that Senator Lynch’s request could not be moved ; and, upon my ruling that it was a request which could be moved, Senator Millen has dissented in the following terms -
I dissent from the ruling of the Chairman of Committees on the proposed suggestion by Senator Lynch. A suggestion by Senator Macfarlane having been adopted, Senator Lynch moved to ask the House of Representatives to add qualifying words thereto.
The reasons for my ruling are that, as far as I am able to judge, 1 am governed in this matter by standing orders 246 to 246, relating to proceedure on Bills which the Senate may not amend. I find nothing in those standing orders which would prevent the Committee from asking the House of Representatives to further amend an item by inserting words which might have a qualifying or a modifying effect on words which the Committee had already asked the House of Representatives to insert in the item. The only other standing order which seems directly to affect the question is No. 253, which says that a motion contradictory of a previous decision of the Committee shall not be entertained in the same Committee. Senator Lynch’s request cannot be called contradictory of a previous decision. It may be called a modifying motion. But; in any case, it was moved as a separate motion, and was a request to another place to insert certain words. I draw attention to the wording of the item” itself -
Mechanical Stokers; Steam Traps; Steam Turbines ;
Then come the words- which Senator Macfarlane asked to be inserted, and then the words -
Superheaters; Water Purifiers, ad val.
I submit that it would be quite competent - indeed, it would hardly” be challenged - for an honorable senator to move that the words proposed to be inserted by Senator Lynch “to be used in mines “ should be inserted before the word “ Superheaters.” Could it then be said that the words could not be inserted? It seems to me that the point of order has been taken because the request has been put in the form - “ That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend the item by inserting after the word ‘machines’ in the last requested amendment the words ‘ to bo used in mines.’ “
I submit that the question is not, as has been suggested, on all fours with a request on the duty in the first or second columns of the schedule. The practice has been adopted of dealing with a request for a lower duty than the duty appearing in the schedule, and then working up to the duty in the schedule; or dealing with the highest duty asked for by any member of the Committee above that contained in the schedule and working down. That has been the practice in regard to duties under the general Tariff. It has not been the practice so far as regards the wording in the body of the item itself. That has been dealt with by the Committee in the same manner as we should deal with a clause in a Bill. Therefore, any argument in relation to our practice as’ to requests affecting the first and second columns, is not applicable to our practice on the wording of the item.
– Would the words of Senator Lynch’s proposed request modify the whole of paragraph a or of a portion of it?
The Chairman of Committees. - The effect of them would be to modify that portion dealt with by the request. But the same thing might be said of Senator Macfarlane’s request, which was not intended to modify the whole item, but only a certain portion of it. I submit that in this matter we are, to a certain extent, breaking new ground. The question has not arisen before, and I urge that it would be convenient to afford the Committee full scope to record its exact opinion as represented by the votes of honorable senators. Any practice that would lead to or bring about a combination of votes, acting together from different motives, to defeat or carry a motion is inadvisable, and should not be adopted. The present practice gives no unfair advantage . It affords no opportunity for a combination of votes save the justifiable combination of those who are in favour of a certain course. Although we have no standing order to guide us, I submit, Mr. President, that the prac tice I have adopted is both convenient and’ fair and ought to be followed.
– No apology is necessary for seeking your ruling, Mr. President, respecting a conflict of opinion that has arisen in Committee.
– Hear, hear.
– I make that remark because in his closing words Senator Pearce expressed the feeling which animated me in seeking your guidance. I refer to his statement that this is an entirely new point, and that it is desirable to have mapped out for us a clear course so that we shall know exactly the road we have to travel. That honorable senator made use of an expression upon which I propose to rest the whole of my case. He spoke of dealing with the items of the schedule as we should deal with clauses of a Bill. The whole point! seems to me to hang upon that contention. Senator Macfarlane’s suggestion or request, which has been accepted by the Committee, has the effect, so far as this Chamber is concerned, of subjecting certain machinery to a lower duty than appears in the schedule. After that request had been dealt with and had passed from the Committee, Senator Lynch proposed an amendment the effect of which would be to undo - to modify, and to contradict to a certain extent - the original request. It would restrict the operation, scope, and purpose of Senator Macfarlane’s proposition. To use Senator Pearce’s own words, it would modify its operation. I would remind you, Mr. President, of standing order 2 53, which reads -
A motion contradictory of a previous decision of the Committee shall not be entertained in the’ same Committee.
It is not necessary that a motion, to be out of order, shall contradict in every particular one which has previously been adopted ; it is out of order under standing order 253 if it contradicts portion of the motion. What are the facts in this case? We affirmed by adopting Senator Macfarlane’s request that certain machinery should be free to every one. Senator Lynch then submitted a proposition that it should not be free to certain classes or industries. To that extent his request was a contradiction of that previously adopted. The only question that arises in this connexion is asto how far standing order 253, which deals with motions, controls or regulatesie quests. On turning to that chapter of the Standing Orders dealing with suggesttions I see that no provision is made for a case of this kind. I therefore assume that so far as it is applicable the procedure laid down in respect of motions must also cover the procedure in relation to suggestions. Unless that is so we are entirely without rules for dealing with them. ‘ I therefore say that where the circumstances require it we have to assume that when drafting the Standing Orders it was intended that those relating to motions, where applicable, should also cover suggestions. My point rests solely upon the fact that we had arrived at a decision, and that it would have been competent for Senator Lynch, before the request was adopted and disposed of, to move the addition of certain words by way of amendment. He did not’ do so, and the Committee adopted the request as proposed by Senator Macfarlane, affirming that certain engines should be free. That being so; I contend that it is not competent for the Committee to qualifythat decision in any way. Senator Pearce has pointed out that it would be competent for the Committee to insert in another part of the item, words having the same effect. I hold that, assuming always that standing order 253 relating to motions also covers suggestions, it would be out .of order to insert in any portion of the item words which would have the effect of contradicting the previous decision of the Committee.
– I am very glad that the honorable senator has urged that we must be guided in this matter by our practice in reference to the clauses of a Bill ‘ and amendments thereof. It is precisely on that ground that the course we have taken, and the decision of .the Chairman, must be assumed to be correct. Is if not usual, when a Bill is being considered in Committee, and after an amendment has been carried, to have proposed a further amendment more or less modifying in the terms of the Standing Orders themselves, the original amendment? Chapter XV. of the Standing Orders sets forth the procedure to be adopted in respect of amendments. It is admitted that we must deal with items in the schedule, and requests thereon, as we should deal with the clauses of a Bill, and amendments thereof, or motions or amendments upon motions. What, then, is the position ? Standing order 138 provides that -
No amendment shall be proposed to be made to any words which the Senate has resolved shall not be left out, or which have been inserted in or added to .1 question ; except it be the addition of other words- thereto. “ Except it be the addition of other words thereto.” What have we done? We have requested another place to amend the. item in question by inserting the .words - “ High-speed reciprocating engines coupled wi(.h generators or dynamo electric machines.”
If those words had been inserted in the clause of a Bill, would it have been suggested that further words could not be added? Such a suggestion would have been ridiculed. Our experience teaches us that nothing is more usual than to allow such amendments to be submitted, and the Standings Orders themselves provide for them. We have an admission on both sides that the items in the schedule, and requests thereon, must be dealt with in the same way as we should deal with the clauses of a Bill, and amendments upon such clauses. If that is so, a request having Deen agreed to, the proposition is made-
– A contradiction.
– There is no contradiction ; my honorable friend is not going to escape in that way. He knows very well that we must regard the item as “being, to all intents and purposes, a clause of a Bill, and as such, capable of being dealt with in the way suggested by Senator Lynch. If an attempt were made to add words to a clause which had been amended in the way requested, then, in the terms of standing order 138, the Chairman would be bound to receive such a proposition. Since our practice in both cases must be precisely the same, I submit, with great confidence, that’ that concludes the matter. I am at a loss to understand how it .can be said that standing order 253 is applicable. If it bears the construction which my honorable friend has suggested it is capable of bearing, then it is in direct conflict with other standing orders, and it would be practically impossible for us to carry on, since every amendment of an amendment is necessarily intended, in some way or other, ‘ to alter or modify words that ‘ have already been inserted in a clause. That proposition cannot be denied. When an amendment has been carried, and a further amendment is moved .in the terms of standing, order 138, the words proposed to be added must of themselves to some extent alter or modify the previous amendment. Standing order “253 provides that a motion - not an amendment - contradictory of a previous decision of the Committee, “ shall not be entertained in the same Committee.” It is well understood that having carried a substantive motion, we. cannot subsequently in the same Committee, carry a further proposal in absolute conflict with it. But that is not the position in this case. In Committee, a request that high-speed reciprocating engines, coupled with generators or dynamo electrical machines should be free, was carried, and all that Senator Lynch sought to do was to modify that request by providing that it should be applicable to such machines only when required for mining purposes. Then we have the general proposition that we ought not to do anything to curtail our practice - that we must have full liberty to deal with matters of this kind. The object which we should have always in view is the obtaining of a true expression of the opinion of the Committee. If an honorable senator were prevented from submitting a request to modify one already passed, the decisions of the Committee reported to the Senate would not be the true expression of its views on the matter referred to it. It will not bs suggested that we have not the right to make as many requests as we like on any item. For these reasons, I submit that the ruling of the Chairman is sound.
– It seems to me that the Standing Orders prevent the request of Senator Lynch from being put. Standing order 253 says that -
A motion contradictory of a previous decision of the Committee shall not be entertained in- the same Committee.
The Vice-President of the Executive Council has admitted that what applies 10 a motion applies also to an amendment: Dealing with the latter, standing order 137 provides that -
No amendment shall be proposed to any part of the question after a later part has been amended.
Them comes standing order 138 -
No amendment shall be proposed to be made to any words which - the Senate has resolved shall not be left out, or which have been inserted in or added to a question, except it be the addition of other words thereto.
– That is the whole point.
– If the standing order read “ except it be the limitation of other words,” the contention of the honorable senator might be correct. If his view were upheld, the Committee could pass requests and then whittle them down by limitations to such an extent as to abso lutely stultify the first expression of opinion.
– It is by the proposing of modifications that the opinion of a Committee is finally ascertained.
– When Senator Macfarlane submitted, his request, Senator Lynch could have moved an amendment on it ; but he did not do so, and the Committee agreed to the request without an) limitation. Subsequently Senator Lynch wished to move another request, limiting that already agreed to. If that were allowed, the determination of the Committee could, as I have said, be whittled down until it meant nothing. If a senator does, not exercise his right to propose a limitation when the proposal which he wishes to limit is before the Chair, he cannot, I submit, move a limitation after thai proposal has been agreed to absolutely. If the contrary were held, we should neve have finality. I submit that it is iri accordance with the practice of all parliamentary assemblies that, a general decision having been come to, it cannot be subsequent , whittled down. If the Vice-President oi the Executive Council thinks that the true view of the Committee has not been expressed, he can move for the recommittal of the item. That is his remedy if he believes the Committee to have been not properly informed or to have come to its decision without full consideration. I submit that the decision of the Chairman was wrong. .
– It is impossible te over-estimate the importance of this question, the decision of which will determine the powers of the Committee to ascertain its desires. The end of all standing orders is to insure that the last and final vote of a Parliament shall express its views to the fullest ex: tent. It is contended that, had we been dealing with a clause of a Bill, a proposal like .that of Senator Lynch could not have been moved ; but let me state what 1 conceive to be a parallel case: Let us suppose a Public Service Bill to be under discussion, containing a clause having reference to holidays. Some one might move to amend that clause to provide that lettercarriers should have a half-day off in each week. If that amendment were carried it would be open to some one else to point out that, without a limitation, it would entail great inconvenience and loss on the business community, and to move a further amendment to the effect that the halfholiday should not be given on the days when the English mail had to be distributed.
– A modification means an alteration of form, not of substance.
– A modification such as 1 speak of is not a contradiction, and is necessary to get at the fullest and most complete will of the Committee. In my illustration it would be determined, first, that holidays were desirable; secondly, that a half-holiday a week should be granted to letter carriers; and thirdly, that this half-holiday should not be given on English mail days, a limitation added to prevent inconvenience and loss to business men. We agreed to a request asking the House of Representatives to make certain machinery free, and it then occurred to certain honorable senators that there should be a limitation stating the purposes for which machinery so admitted should be used. I submit that to obtain a full expression of the will of the Committee, and in accordance with parliamentary usage and standing order 138, Senator Lynch was within his rights in asking that the intention of the Committee should be made more clear. If his request lae ruled out of order, the will of the Committee will .not be so clearly expressed as if a vote is given upon it.
– Without pretending to know much about the Standing Orders or parliamentary usage, I wish to put before you, Mr. President, this consideration: The Committee decided that certain machinery should be free. It. was then proposed that it should be free only if used for mining purposes. If that request were in order, would it not lae within the rights of other honorable senators to move still further limitations, until the original determination of the Committee was so reduced that it would practically amount to nothing? Howcould we reach finality with such procedure except by the exhaustion or death of senators ?
– The main purpose to be achieved is ‘ the complete expression of the will of the Committee, and I wish to give an opportunity to test its opinion. The objection is based upon the ground that the first request submitted to the Committee is the only one which can be moved.
– That is scarcely correct, because the honorable senator could have submitted his proposal before the Committee had voted upon the request moved by Senator Macfarlane.
– I presume, sir, that it is for you to say whether any member of the Committee is or is not at liberty to choose his own time in submitting an amendment. The question under consideration at the time was whether highspeed reciprocating engines intended for use in all industries should be admitted free. I was afforded no opportunity to vole upon that question. I supported Senator Macfarlane’s request in the hope of getting it modified at a later stage. It is not correct to say that my proposal is an amendment of the request’ moved by Senator Macfarlane. It is an amendment of that request, coupled with some words which occur in paragraph a of the item. The words “ steam turbines “ occur in that paragraph, and to these Senator Macfarlane moved the addition of the words “ high-speed reciprocating engines coupled with generator or dynamo electric machines.” So that my proposal has a direct reference to a portion of paragraph a in its original form.
– Surely the honorable senator’s proposal merely had reference to Senator Macfarlane’s* request.
– And Senator Macfarlane’s proposal involved an addition to words which appear in the schedule. If Senator Macfarlane had not submitted his request, my proposal would have had a direct reference to “steam turbines,” which are specifically mentioned in paragraph a of item 160. So that it is not correct to urge that my proposal is an amendment of the request submitted by Senator Macfarlane. Let us suppose that it had been deemed desirable to add another class of engine to those enumerated by that honorable senator. According to Senator Millen it would not be competent for the Chairman to entertain such a proposal.
– The honorable senator’s amendment, as stated from the Chair, had no reference to anything except highspeed reciprocating engines.
– It also, had reference to steam turbines.
– There is a semi-colon between “steam turbines” and “highspeed reciprocating engines.”
– Let us assume ‘ that at any stage of the debate it was deemed desirable to add the words “triple expansion engines.” According to Senator Millen it would not be competent for any honorable senator to move their addition, because such proposal would involve a modification or contradiction of Senator Macfarland request. That, I submit, is not the case. Senator Macfarlane’s proposal would otherwise be looked upon as the end of all wisdom, so far as the Committee is concerned.
– To my mind, the position appears to be this : The Committee have already decided that high-speed reciprocating engines intended to be used for generating electric power shall_be admitted free. All the industries of the Commonwealth are entitled to share in that concession, and that being so, is it competent to deprive them of that privilege by an elimination from, or an addition to, the request agreed to at the instance of Senator Macfarlane.
– A majority of the Committee voted for the inclusion in paragraph a of. item 160 of words descriptive of a certain class of machinery. They voted for the insertion of those words without any qualification whatever. Had it been sought to impose, a qualification, the division might not have resulted as it did. I supported Senator Macfarlane’s request under the impression that I was voting to admit high-speed reciprocating engines used for generating electrical power free to all industries - the mining industry included. If another issue is now to be set up, the question arises whether the result of the recent division might not have been different.
– Turn that argument round.
– It cannot be turned round.
– Senator Lynch had an opportunity to submit his proposal as an amendment upon the request moved by Senator Macfarlane.
– -I voted as I did in all good faith, believing that I was supporting the admission of high-speed reciprocating engines at a particularly low rate of duty under the general Tariff, and free so far as British imports were concerned. But now I find that an attempt is being made to place quite another construction upon my vote.
– The question that has been submitted to me is one which is by no means free from difficulty. It must not be forgotten that it is one which has been raised in Committee upon a request that has been moved, and not upon an amendment. If it had to be decided as an ordinary motion, I do not think much difficulty would be experienced in arriving at the conclusion that after the substantive motion had been put, no amendment to modify or extend its operation could be entertained. In the present instance, the question has arisen in Committee, and, although in deciding it one has to be guided to a certain extent by the rules relating to /natters which arise in the Senate, one must bear in mind that the object of going into Committee is to afford honorable senators the fullest opportunity of expressing their views, and of having those views considered. It has already .been pointed out that it would, have been perfectly competent, for Senator Lynch to have moved an amendment to add certain words to Senator Macfarlane’s request. Unquestionably, he could have done that. He had the opportunity. Again,* it has been urged that this question might be reconsidered upon a recommittal. That is perfectly true. But! the question which occurs to me is, ‘I What is the effect of the request which was agreed to at the instance of Senator Macfarlane”? Paragraph a of item 160 provides that gas heaters ; flueheated economisers; mechanical stokers; steam traps ; steam turbines ; superheaters ; and water purifiers, shall be dutiable under the general Tariff at 5 per cent. Let us suppose that that paragraph had stood alone, and that1 it was desired to add to it the words suggested by Senator Lynch, “to be used in mines.” Would such a proposal have been in order? It appears to me that it would have been competent for the Senate to have requested the House of Representatives to so far modify’ the proposal that had been submitted to it. But at the instance of Senator Macfarlane the words “ high-speed reciprocating engines, coupled with generators or dynamo electric machines,” were inserted. Let us suppose again, that these words had been originally included in the paragraph. Would it then have been competent for this Chamber to have requested the House of Representatives to add the restrictive words, “to be used in mines”? I think it will be recognised that it would have been competent for the Senate to have added them.
But the words “high-speed reciprocating engines, coupled with dynamo or electric machines” were not originally included in the paragraph. Had they been, and had the Committee desired to limit the use of those particular engines to the mining industry, it should have so stated at the time this matter was under consideration. It has also been pointed out to me that a request for an amendment contradictory to a decision which we have arrived at cannot be submitted. Will the Committee contradict its decision by adding words of qualification or modification? I think not. As a matter of construction of our powers, I think the Committee has a perfect right to add words which would modify but not contradict its previous determination. We must take the words in the item after the suggestion has been made exactly as if they had come down from another place. We have the power to make a suggestion to modify the item itself. It will be, and has been urged that probably a different vote would have been given: If the matter had arisen in the Senate there would not have been so much difficulty, because it is laid down in May, on page 289, that-
The object of an amendment may be to effect such an alteration in a question as will obtain the support of those who, without such alteration, must either vote against it or abstain from voting thereon, or to present to the House an alternative proposition either wholly or partially opposed to the original question.
And further that -
The time for moving an amendment is after a question has been proposed by the Speaker and before it has been put.
Technically, a question is put when the vote is taken, and it would be impossible to add words in the Senate once a motion had been put and voted on. But when a matter is referred to the Committee, it is intended that the fullest opportunity shall be afforded to honorable senators to deal with it, and it is best to give the fullest scope to the Committee to arrive at what they regard as the best course to be adopted in the circumstances. Although Senator Lynch might have moved his amendment beforehand, and although, even if it were not considered now, it would be possible to recommit the item, those two opportunities are not, to my mind, of such a character as would justify me in saying that the honorable senator should be precluded from sub mitting his motion in what he considers the most effective way to obtain the vote of the Committee upon it. The ruling of the Chairman of Committees will therefore be sustained.
– I move -
That the request be amended by leaving out the word “mines” andinserting in lieu thereof the words “ industrial enterprises.”
That will cover all necessary undertakings, but not the electric lighting companies, and so forth, referred to by one or two honorable senators. it is a fair amendment, and may be acceptable to the whole of the Committee.
Question - That the request (Senator Lynch’s) be amended by leaving out the word “ mines,” and inserting in lieu thereof the words “ industrial enterprises “ - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 160, paragraph a, by inserting after the word “ Machines,” in the last requested amendment the words “to be used in mines “ (Senator Lynch’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 160, paragraph A, by adding after the word “Purifiers” the words “Water-tube Boilers.”
That request, if agreed to, will allow water- tube boilers to come in at 5 per cent, under the general Tariff, and free from Great Britain. Every honorable senator knows their importance for motive power. No mine can be economically and successfully carried on without them. . Other motive power can be obtained, but it is not so economical or good, and is not preferred by miners. I am told that at Broken Hill alone there are some seventy odd water-tube boilers, which have all been imported. I take it that the Broken Hill mine managers and miners would not have imported so many of these boilers if they could have had them made as economically in Australia. I suppose we shall have a contradiction as to the facts ; but ‘we must first try to arrive at a true state of the case. There is a report going about, based on evidence given before the Tariff Commission, that there is an arrangement whereby a firm in Victoria are manufacturing these boilers.
– Then the honorable senator says that these boilers are being made in Victoria?
– I say there is a report to the effect that, by’ an arrangement with the firm of Babcock and Wil cox, a firm in Victoria is making parts of these boilers. I am told, however, that the arrangement is not now in existence ; and I take it that the witness before “the Commission was referring to an agreement of some ten years ago, and, probably, conscientiously believed what he was saying. That arrangement, however, is out of date, and no parts are being made here. The question is whether these water-tube boilers can be made in Australia ; and there appears to be a little confusion on the point. It has been stated that some of the parts cannot be made because of their being patented, but the truth is that they cannot be made here because their manufacture requires very expensive patent machinery. The following is an extract from the evidence given before the Commision by Mr. Rigby, whom we all know to be an authority on the question -
I ask you if you could make a similar boiler with the same amount of fuel consumption? - To make a boiler with the same steaming capacity of the same construction, without having their patent construction, it would be necessary to make a much more expensive one, that would probably be double the weight and cost more.
So if two or three Babcock boilers were installed in a protected establishment, where there is a local industry, they would be put there in order to save money? - Certainly. Taking a 1,000 h.p. boiler - if you put in one of Babcock’s construction, or Hornsby’s or other similar boilers, the first cost would probably be 50 per cent, less for same power.
This shows that there is no boiler in the world so suitable or economical as that under discussion.
– Is Mr. Rigby a manufacturer ?
– He is connected with the Otis Company, and, therefore, I presume his evidence will be accepted. If we desire, by means of a heavy duty, to deprive the mining industry of the use of this machinery, let us say so honestly, but we must not be deluded into the idea that it can be made here. In Australia there are about 112,000 miners, who, with their families, represent about 500.000 people ; and if we add those indirectly interested, we have about 750,000 people dependent on this industry. Is it fair to deprive those engaged in mining of the use of these machines, especially on low-grade propositions which have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds ? To show how the mining industry is burdened by the present Tariff, let me say that the Great Cobar Mining Company has lately ordered a plant to the value of£71,000, and on this duty has to be paid to the amount of £25,97%, of which £17,000 represents the increase due to the Tariff. There are mining companies at Broken Hill, who have lately paid in duty under the Tariff £33,58 r, and the Mount Lyell Company have been called upon to pay an extra £4,086. The Kalgoorlie Chamber of Mines has pointed out that the’ companies engaged in that district are now paying about £50,000 extra owing to the new Tariff. The Great Fitzroy Mining Company, in Queensland, which is only a small one, has been called upon to pay £657 duty on a compressor, which cost, f.o.b., £1,730.
– But some mines have paid millions in dividends.
– This is a herring across the track - it is absurd !
– I do not know how the Vice-President of the Executive Council can say that. I am now endeavouring to show how necessary are these water-tube boilers to the mining industry. Wherever transport difficulties are great these boilers are in demand, because they can be taken to pieces and re-erected on the spot. That, of course, cannot be clone in the case of the large shell boilers made in Australia. I understand that some little time ago a 30-h.p. portable engine was required, and it had to be obtained from England, with the result that £250 in duty had to be paid. Mr. Sandford, who is recognised as a great protectionist, had to send to England a short time ago for one of the Babcock and Wilcox boilers. I do not ask for any privilege or concession to any one maker, but these watertube boilers are so essential in the mining industry that it would be a sin and a shame to. shut them out by means of a duty. I am aware that the tubes are admitted free under item 182, and if I am not successful in my present proposition, I shall propose that under that item there be included forged steel headers and fittings, cross bores, and drum ends. If there is. any hope of making these boilers here, then the items I have mentioned, which .largely comprise the raw material, should be admitted free, seeing that patented machines are necessary in their manufacture. Under the circumstances I cannot see that it would pay Babcock and Wilcox to establish a factory here.
– I must protest against this further effort on the part of members of the Opposition to play on the mining community in connexion with this item.
– Play on the mining community ?
– Yes. It is true that occasionally water-tube boilers are used in connexion with mining propositions, but they are mainly in demand for electric power houses.
– There are seventy of these boilers at Broken Hill.
– This particular class of boiler is, *as I say, mainly used in connexion with electric power houses, and the suggestion before- us is only ‘a continuation of the old proposal to practically free all electric generating machines, commencing, of course, with high-speed engines.
– For which the honorable senator voted.
– My honorable friend need not deal with that aspect of the matter at this juncture. My second point is that these water-tube boilers are actually made here, and some are, I believe, at the present moment in a Sydney power house. In addition, we must not forget that under item 182 ‘the tubes are free, and, as regards the balance of the work, it can, with very fewexceptions, be carried out here. Why should we, then, under these circumstances extend this special assistance to those engaged in providing electric power ? I ask honorable senators not to be led away with the idea that Senator Dobson is now seized with an anxiety to aid the mining industry, because this proposal is only on a par with others which have preceded it.
– Even if the tubes are free the boilers cannot be made without the other parts.
– The expert, who is advising me, says that,’ given the tubes introduced free, the whole of the balance of the work can be done here, and, under the circumstances, I ask honorable senators to reject the request.
Siding suspended from 6.30 to 7.4.5 -p.m.
– I hope that the Committee will not agree to the request. During the consideration of the Tariff many honorable senators have addressed themselves to various items. Some of them have claimed to possess an intimate knowledge of the subject under discussion. I have a prac- tical knowledge of the construction and manufacture of the tubular boiler which has been referred to by Senator Dobson, and for that reason I intend to oppose his proposal to admit it at a duty .of 5 per - cent., or practically free. He argued, first, that” it could not be made in Australia, and, secondly, that if it could be made here it was patented, and that we could not wrest the patent rights from their owners. My reply to his first argument is that the principal component parts of this’ tubular boiler can be made in Australia. , The essential portion of the boiler - the drum - has been paying a duty of 12^ per cent., and I believe that in Victoria another portion, which is known as the staggered header, has been paying a like duty. We are asked by Senator Dobson to reduce the duty on those two principal component parts by per cent. But my desire is to increase the impost by that amount. I believe that the spirit which has actuated the framers of this Tariff and those who voted for a protective policy, has been to deal out even-handed justice to the manufacturer., the worker, and the consumer. In this national Parliament we are endeavouring to serve the interests of all sections of the community, particularly those who toil daily. As a representative of the workers, I, in common with several other senators, desire to improve their status. How, then, can I give a vote for Senator Dobson’s request to admit, practically free, an article that is manufactured under conditions which 1, from personal experience, venture to say are the worst obtaining in Great Britain today ? During my experience as a. workman there, I was never employed under Such sweating conditions as I was when I worked for the firm of Babcock and Wilcox. Without the slightest fear of being charged with exaggeration, I can describe their place as the white slave shop of Great Britain, and now I am asked to admit their manufactures practically free whilst I am endeavouring to improve the status of the Australian worker. It has been claimed that because this particular tubular boiler is patented it cannot be made here, and that the patent rights cannot be wrested from the owners. But I call the attention of Senator Dobson and others to the fact that this Parliament has passed a. Patents Act, which empowers any person, if the owners of a patent are not supplying the requirements of the public, to petition the Commissioner and .get a rescission of the patent. It .has been argued that this particular tubular boiler should be admitted at a duty of 5 per cent., because it is used in the mining industry of Australia. I represent a State which contains a larger number of miners than does any other State in (he Commonwealth ; but I believe that in voting to keep this particular boiler under a duty which, in my opinion, will give effective protection, I shall not be doing anything to endanger their interests.
– Or the honorable senator would vote differently.
– The use of the boiler is not confined to the mining industry, and I remind Senator Millen that, so far as protection is concerned, there has been no more consistent voter here than myself.
– But the honorable senator voted to keep high-speed engines free for mining purposes
– I did, because there is r.o possibility of their being manufactured here in the immediate future. I know that to-day we can manufacture the drum and the header, which are the principal component parts of this particular tubular boiler. Let me now give an illustration of the conditions under which it is made in the Old Country. For four or five months I worked at the Scottish branch of Babcock and Wilcox. For eleven and a-half hours at night I handled the stagger headers - tha technical term of that portion wherein the tube is inserted - and for eleven and a-half hours’ piecework I received the princely remuneration of 5s. Each header had to be handled by three men seven times, the weight varying from 1 cwt to 2 cwt. I am now asked by Senator Dobson to allow a product from that sweating shop to enter the? Commonwealth practically free.
– Where are high-speed engines made?
– They are not being made in Australia.
– Why did the honorable senator limit their free admission to mining if they are not made here?
– There is not the slightest hindrance to the manufacture of this particular tubular boiler here to-day if any man is game enough to engage in that industry. I am asked to vote for this request because the present duty may affect the mining industry. I am not tb be led away by that process of reasoning. I believe that if I were to vote in that direction I should be untrue to the trust which has been reposed in me. I shall be found opposing Senator Dobson when he submits a similar request in respect to item 182, because I believe it is just possible that under the last words of that item the staggered headers and the drums may come in free.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 360, paragraph a, “ Motive Power Machinery,” by inserting after thewords “ Water purifiers,” the words “ Water Tube Boilers “ (Senator Dobson’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority… … 6
Questionso resolved in the negative.
– Paragraph b of item 160 embraces the bulk of the machinery covered by the item. I wish to ask the attention of honorable senators, and particularly of the Minister, to a case which represents not merely a hardship but an absurdity. Whilst I am not prepared to say that the difficulty indicated can be met by an alteration of the duty, or by the insertion of a new item, it certainly calls for some action. The position is this: Item160 covers all marine engines, and as the Customs Act stands and is administered serious detriment may be done to the shipbuilding industry of the Commonwealth.. I do not propose to state an imaginary case, because I have letters here which have passed between the Customs Department and a Mr. Roberts, of Sydney, which show that what I am about to refer to has actually occurred. Briefly, Mr. Roberts by correspondence with the Customs Department has ascertained that if he desires to build a ship in Sydney and imports marine engines to put into it, he must pay duty upon them, but if he chooses to import them in bond and sends his vessel fitted with the bonded engines to New Zealand, he is able to secure a refund of the duty should the vessel go outside of the territorial waters of the Commonwealth, and he can then ‘return with his vessel and re-introduce the machinery duty free. It is unnecessary that I should read the whole of this correspondence, but it is at the disposal of the Minister if he cares to peruse it. The absurdity of the position becomes only the more obvious when it is explained that if the ship were built in New Zealand, and were then brought here to ply in Australian waters, ‘the machinery would be admitted absolutely free of duty.
– That difficulty was representedl on g a go.
– Senator Turley says that this matter was discovered before, and I am aware that very few matters have escaped the honorable senator’s notice.
– A deputation of employés inthe shipbuilding trade referred to the difficulty.
– I am quite sure that such a practice as that to which I have directed attention is too absurd to meet with the approval of a deliberative assembly such as the Senate. If machinery in a vessel constructed outside of Australia can be brought here for use in Australian waters without paying duty, there is no earthly reason why a man who builds a ship in Australia should be compelled to pay duty 011 the machinery he puts into it. I do not suggest that the difficulty is one which can be remedied by an amendment of this Tariff. We might admit free of duty all machinery required in the shipbuilding industry of the Commonwealth, or we might place some impost on ships and engines coming here from elsewhere. I need not point out to honorable senators which of these alternatives I should favour, but the absurdity of the present position is so pronounced that I feel sure the Government will themselves endeavour to find a remedy for it. Passing from that matter to the item itself, I think some measure of relief might be secured if the suggestion I intend to make is adopted. In connexion with all these items, in common I suppose with other honorable senators, I labour under the difficulty that I do not know all the machinery they cover. They are so vaguely worded that I suppose no one but an expert familiar with the decisions of the Customs’ Department could determine what particular engines or machinery are included under each heading. My task in dealing with this portion of the Tariff is rendered still more difficult by a lack of knowledge as to the machinery which is at present made in Australia not merely for exhibition purposes, but in a commercial sense. As a rough-and-ready way out of these difficulties, I submit that all these duties on machinery should be fixed at the rates adopted in the 1902 Tariff. I have to admit that if it were possible to classify the machinery which can be made here, and that which is not made here, it might be well to impose higher duties than those fixed by the 1902 Tariff on the machinery that can be made here, and to extend the free list to cover all the machinery that is not made here. However, I am not competent to suggest what machinery should be included in the free list, and, in the circumstances, I am concerned only to keep these duties down to what they were in the 1902 Tariff.
– And as much below as possible.
– I am not asking that.
– Not on this particular item.
– Nor do I intend personally to suggest that any lower duty than that imposed by the 1902 Tariff should be attached to any of these machinery items. I am asked by the Government to consent, not merely to increased duties upon machinery that is actually made and sold here, but upon machinery that is not made in Australia. It is all very well to say that certain machinery can, and will, be made in Australia, but my answer is that it is not being made here. One class of machinery has already been freed from duty as a result of the patriotic endeavours of Western Australian protectionists. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 160, paragraphb (imports under General Tariff), 12½ per cent.
I intend to submit a similar request with respect to other items dealing with machinery.
– Senator Millen has referred to what he has described as an absurdity arising from the present administration of the Customs Act. He has said that if machinery is imported and put into a ship built here, if the ship remains in the territorial waters of the Commonwealth, the machinery is liable to duty, but if the ship leaves those waters a refund of the duty is made. I point out that, in this respect there is no difference between marine engines and land engines. If a land engine is brought here, and left in bond, and is then sent away to another place, a drawback is allowed which is equivalent to the refund of the duty in the case of the marine engine.
– But if the land engine is brought back here it is charged duty again.
– The correspondence to which I have referred shows that that is not done in the case of marine engines. My point is that if a marine engine is taken out of the territorial waters of the Commonwealth a refund of the duty is allowed and if brought back under its own steam it is re-admitted without the payment of any duty.
– There might be something in that.
– That is the whole point.
– That may be, but we do not require a steam hammer to break a nut.
– The machinery in all ships coming here from outside the Commonwealth to engage in our coastal trade is admitted duty free.
– But that is injurious to our ship-building trade.
– I admit that.
– Why not impose a tax on imported ships ?
– The honorablesenator’s interjection opens up a big question which I hope we shall not waste time in discussing at this stage. Senator Millen, in accordance with his fiscal beliefs, wishes to have all these duties reduced. I point out that the protectionist section of the
Tariff. Commission recommended that the machinery included in this item should be dutiable at 25 per cent. ; the freetrade section recommended a duty of 10 per cent., and we are asking for a duty of 20 per cent., which is lower than the recommendation of the protectionist section of the Commission. Nearly, if not absolutely all, the machinery included under the .n.e.i. provision of this item is made here, and a duty of 20 per cent, represents only a fair and reasonable protection to the local industry. I urge that if there is any machinery included in this n.e.i. provision, which is not actually being made here at the present time, there is no reason why it should not be made here in the very near future. T.n the circumstances, I think 20 per cent, a most reasonable duty to impose, and T hope the Committee will agree to it.
-Colonel GOULD (New South Wales) [8. n]: - I remind honorable senators that the Tariff with which we are now dealing is very different’ from that of 1002. In the old Tariff we had columns of special exemptions, including in the free list a great deal of machinery which in this Tariff is made dutiable at 20 per cent, under this n.e.i. provision. I have, throughout the consideration of the Tariff, realized that we must) consider the claims of manufacturers of machinery in the Commonwealth at the present time, and I have been perfectly willing, with the leader of the Opposition, to continue the imposition of a duty of 12 *</inline> per cent, on machinery that was made dutiable at that rate under the old Tariff. As it appears quite impossible for us to arrange the Tariff on machinery as we should like, all that we can do is to support requests for the reduction of these duties to i2 per cent, in all cases where it can’ be shown that
– Roughly sneaking,- the exemptions under the present Tariff are the same as those in the Tariff of 1902, but they are put in a different way because the whole Tariff has been recast.
– T ?m obliged to the honorable senator for the information. I was not aware of what he has stated, and - could not discover it by looking through this Tariff. While it is perfectly true that the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission re commended a duty of 25 per cent, on the machinery included in this item, it is equally true that the free-trade section of the Commission recommended a duty of only 10 per cent. If the Government had strictly adhered to the recommendations of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission throughout we could have recognised an attempt to reconstruct the Tariff upon a more equitable basis than we can expect will result from the various departures’ from those recommendations which Ministers have themselves proposed from time to time. I urge upon honorable senators that 12 *</inline> per cent, should afford ample protection to the manufacturers of motive power machinery and appliances. It should be borne in mind that the owner of every, mill in the country who requires an engine or machinery will have to pay duty at the rate of 20 per cent.
– They can be fitted’ in our ports and evade payment of duty.
– But howhas that to be done?
– Make the machinery here.
.- But I ask the honorable senator whether it is possible, under the law as it stands, to bring into this country steam engines and put them in the hulls of ships built here, and escape payment of duty ? The honorable senator knows that that cannot be done.
– I say, let the machinery be constructed here.
– The machinery can be made at Mort’s Dock
.- Mort’s Dock themselves import the machinery for many of the vessels which they turn out. I have already said that while I have the highest possible opinion of the ability of our own people to manufacture,’ yet they have not the opportunities to manufacture at the same cheap rates and to make the same classes of machinery as have people in the Old World, where there is an immense demand for the machines manufactured.
– Up-to-date machinery can be made in some of our engineering shops, just as well as in any shops in the world.
– I know that there, is in some of our engineering shops up-to-date machinery that has been imported from the Old Country. In our great railway workshops, there is no doubt some of the best machinery obtainable. But that has all been imported from the Old Country, and is used to turn out work that can be done here on satisfactory and remunerative terms. I urge that in a Tariff of this description, we ought to keep the duties as low as possible on such articles as high-class machinery. If we kept them down to 12
– This n.e.i. provision of item 160 is certainly, as -Senator Millen characterized it, a very drastic drag-net impost. The Minister has said that he would like to preserve some similarity between the 1902 Tariff in regard to machinery and the Tariff under consideration. But, although there were many provisions for the free importation of machinery under the 1902 Tariff, I must say that I have scanned the machinery items in this Tariff pretty carefully, arid have not noticed that provision is made for the free importation of many engines required for motive power. From item 160 almost down to the end of the division, with the exception of electrical machinery, dynamos, and other machines of that kind, there is, as far as I can see, no special exemption. That confirms me in the suspicion that this drag-net item is designed in such a way that even if the Government desired that a large proportion of imported machinery should come in free, it would probably be found that the Minister of Trade ‘ and Customs was tied up, and unable to permit the free inportation of such machinery. I hope the Committee will pause before committing what appears to me to be a grave mistake. Upon a preceding item honorable senators holding divergent fiscal views spoke front a common stand-point as to the necessity of permitting the development of the mining industry by means of the easy importation of necessary machinery. We succeeded in a division in overwhelmingly defeating the Government on that question. The reason was because of the powerful appeal made to the Committee as to the necessity for the free admission of such machinery. Now this drag-net item has a very dangerous appearance, to my mind. The more carefully it is considered, the more dangerous it seems to be. By what appears to be a peculiar process of reasoning, some of those honorable senators who voted previously to free machinery required for our important industries now support this drag-net item.
– The honorable senator is not in order in discussing a previous item. .
– I point out that our industries cannot develop unless . machinery is applied to the resources of the country. Many of our manufacturing operations absolutely require the assistance of cheap machinery. We have already agreed that some machinery shall be free. The object of honorable senators on this side of the chamber is to extend the beneficial operations which we have commenced in that direction. We fear that this dragnet item will hamper the operations of industry. Those who supported the freeing of mining machinery will be equally wise in determining that machinery that may be required for industrial operations in the Commonwealth other than mining shall not be unduly hampered by an excessive duty. We know that to Australia as to every other country the development of agriculture and agricultural operations is of viral importance, but unfortunately some honorable senators do not appreciate the consequence of their knowledge in that respect. Australia cannot hope to progress as she ought to do by the development of the mining industry alone. We have indicated our desire to assist that industry, and I now address myself most strongly to another aspect of the expansion of our primary industries - industries which, I think, will be hampered under this drag-net provision. What will it cover? We should have a clear statement from the Minister as to the machinery that will be dutiable at 20 per cent. under it. We have decided that motive power used in one industry shall be free; why should we not extend the same principle to the machine motive power required by the agricultural industry and those allied with it? The only argument against our doing so is that such machinery can be made in Australia. The reply is that it is not being made here. When we are asked to give assistance to the machinery makers of Australia we want to have it clearly stated in the schedule what machines are to be dutiable. If that be done we shall know exactly what we are doing.I protest against the very sweeping assurance given by the Vice-President of the Executive Council in answer to criticisms levelled at this drag-net provision. I cannot ascertain from the Customs returns the value of imports coming under paragraph b of this item, but I should say that it will cover an annual importation of machinery valued at hundreds of thousands of pounds. There are honorable senators on this side of the Chamber who desire to give some assistance to ironfounders as well as to other manufacturers, but who wish to have some definite information as to the ground on which they are to take action. A high duty on machinery required in our primary industries must be a burden upon them. I do not suppose that half-a-dozen honorable senators could say with any degree of accuracy what paragraph b covers. I admit that I could not, and I hope that before we proceed to a division we shall be enlightened on the subject by the Minister. We are fairly entitled to have a clear, definite statement from him.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 160, paragraph b, “ Motive Power Machinery “ (imports under General Tariff), ad val. 12½ per cent. (Senator
Millen’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Millen) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 160, paragraphb (imports under General Tariff), ad val.15 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Millen) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item160, paragraphb (imports from the United Kingdom), ad val. 15 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
And on and after 28th November, 1907 -
Locomotives, Traction and Portable Engines; Steam Road Rollers, including Scarifier Attachments, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
.- Portable and traction engines are used mainly by agriculturists for pumping, chaffcutting, and harvesting operations, and, of late years, in the northern parts of Victoria, have been largely employed in connexion with ploughing, as they enable the ground to be opened up without waiting for the first rains. Under the last Tariff, and under all the States Tariffs, except that of Tasmania, which imposed a duty of 10 per cent., and of Western Australia, which imposed a duty of 5 per cent., they were free. These articles which were formerly free are now dutiable at 25 per cent. I know of one or two instances in which arrangements had been made to obtain traction engines, but coincident with the introduction of the Tariff in another place, the price of these engines was increased by £150, which their prospective purchasers could not afford to pay. I hold that it is our duty to do all that we can to encourage cultivation. Every acre of land which yields a return means the employment of labour, the payment of freight upon the railways, more revenue to the country, and more general prosperity. Consequently we ought not to do anything to bar the cultivation of as much ground as possible. I want to see these engines made in the Commonwealth, but with the exception of one or two specimens, they are not being manufactured here.
– How could they be made locally, seeing that under the old Tariff they were admitted free?
– I am aware that one or two of these engines have been made in Queensland, and in Victoria, but no serious attempt has been made to lay down a plant for their manufacture, presumably because the demand for them is not sufficiently large. We do not know that they will be manufactured locally, and in the meantime we are penalizing the very best class of our community without obtaining any good result from the operation of the duty. In this instance I think that we might very well bring into force the provision relating to the imposition of a duty by proclamation. Then, if these engines are being made in the Commonwealth, to the satisfaction of Parliament, the’ duty can become operative. Much of what was said this afternoon in regard to the use of high-speed reciprocating engines in connexion with the mining industry is applicable to traction and portable engines in connexion with the agricultural industry. I therefore move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 161 by adding the words : - “ As regards Traction andPortable Engines - To come into operation on a date to be fixed by Proclamation. Proclamation to issue as soon as a Joint Address has been passed on the motion of Ministers by both Houses of Parliament, staling that such manufacture is sufficiently established in the Commonwealth.”
– I hope that the Committee will not accept the proposal of Senator McColl for the very substantial reason that though there was not very much encouragement offered for the manufacture of these engines prior to the introduction of this Tariff - seeing that they were admitted free - as a matter of fact, some of them were made here under those conditions. At the present time they are being made in Maryborough, Queensland, and also in Victoria.
– A few of them have been made here for the Victorian Government, which could afford to pay a big price for them, but that is all.
– My information is that they are being made in Maryborough, Queensland, and I know that they are being made in Victoria. Consequently there is no reason why the operation of the duty should be postponed.I would further point out that, upon these engines the A section of the Tariff Commission hasrecommended the imposition of a duty of 25 per cent., which has been accepted by the Government.
– I cannot) understand why the VicePresident of the Executive Council declines to agree to the request proposed by Senator McColl. He has accepted similar proposals - sometimes willingly, and sometimes under compulsion - in regard to many other items in the Tariff. I hope that he will agree to the proposal of Senator McColl under compulsion. In reply to that honorable senator, who,I am sure, is just as good a protectionist as is the Vice-President of the Executive Council himself, he has merely told the Committee that a few of these engines have been made in Australia. The statistical returns show that the users of them paid a very heavy duty last year. Under an ad valorem rate of121/2 per cent, they contributed to the revenue no less a sum than£25, 000, and I presume that they are principally engaged in agriculture. The Vice-President of the Executive Council proposes that during the next year or two they shall contribute’, on the basis of last year’s importations, , £50,000 annually. I cannot understand why he, as a protectionist, refuses to accept Sena tor McColl’s request, but I can understand why he, as a man who desires to get as much revenue as possible out of the agriculturists, insists upon the proposed duty.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 161 (imports under General Tariff), ad val., 121/2 per cent.
The poor farmer, and the ratepayers who have to pay rates to municipal councils, I realize, are all to be handicapped and bled, while the poor miner is the only man to be considered by our Labour friends opposite. In the interests of the farming community and the country generally, I move this request.
– Senator Gray has taken the name of the farmer in vain. The farmers who own traction engines are few and far between. They belong to the “ upper ten,” and not to the farming community at all. The steam road-rollers are used by corporations and district councils. It is unworthy of the honorable senator to air his eloquence to try to mislead the Committee. I support the item as it stands. I know these articles can be made at Gawler and Adelaide. They are made also in other parts of the Commonwealth. We have the men to make them, and we should find em- ployment for those men. The honorable senator should not make the farming community a stalking horse for Toryism.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I know that it is almost a forlorn hope, but I venture to move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 161 (imports under General Tariff), ad val., 15 per cent.
Traction engines were free before. The leader of the Senate has assured us that although this item is free an attempt is being made to manufacture these engines. It is proposed, however, to jump from an absolutely free Tariff to a duty of 20 per cent. on machines which are largely used by the farmer.
– And are infinitely more easily made than a locomotive.
– I admit that there is a possibility of making these machines here.
– I suggest that it would, perhaps, make the proposal more acceptable if the honorable senator were to ask leave to add the words “ for use in mines.”
– Should I be in order in submitting a request to that effect?
– Yes, if the hon orable senator submits the proposition seriously, but not if he does so in a jocular spirit.
– If any honorable senator will pay a visit to the works of the Austral Otis Company they will see some of these very engines in course of construction, and I am sure that after such a visit they would not treat this matter in so frivolous a way. A number of men are given employment in this industry, and it is quite possible that there may be other similar works in the Commonwealth. One of these engines is at present under way, while another has been completed.
– It has been contended that these engines are not made in Australia.
– Nobody has said so.
– What is contended is that they are not being well made.
– At a place called Manning, on the Murray River, a firm has established an extensive plant for turning out stationary, portable and traction engines. A friend of mine, who is a practical” engineer, has in a letter told me that a motor there turned out, which is an Australian invention, is superior to any imported, and is cheaper than the American production.
– It is not a traction or a portable engine, though it is very good of its class.
– Perhaps I had better read the following extract from the firm’s circular -
This combination has been designed to supply the requirements of farmers, irrigationists, station owners and gardeners, who require motive power for general purposes and pumping. Being direct driven, self-contained, and occupying little space, is exceptionally strong and simple, having no valves, cam shafts, oil pump, springs or eccentrics to get out of order.
The great advantage is that this engine explodes at every stroke, and, therefore, is only half the size of the ordinary engine of the same power which explodes at every second stroke.
– Why the extraordinary duty ?
– That was explained very well to-day by Senator W. Russell, who told us that surplus stocks from other places are dumped here.
– That is absolute nonsense !
– It is absolute fact, and if we desire to establish the industry in Australia we must protect those who have invested in an expensive plant for the purpose of supplying local requirements.
. -I should not have risen but for the remarks of Senator de Largie. I have nothing to say about the taste of those remarks ; as to that the honorable senator is his own judge. I do not think I am mistaken, . however, when I say that the short speech of Senator de Largie was a eulogium, which no doubt can be used for the purposes of advertisement by the Austral Otis Company. I have had some experience, not only on the Tariff Commission, but in other directions, in regard to the manufacture of such engines, and while I expressly refrain from mentioning any names, I can say, not only from evidence but. from personal experience, that at the present time far better work is beingdone, firstly in South Australia, secondly in the State of Queensland, and thirdly in the State of New South Wales, than was ever turned out by the factory mentioned by Senator de Largie.
– All that work is done within the Commonwealth.
– I am only too glad to at any time add my tribute to the value of the work done within the Commonwealth.
-Senator de Largie did not say that Victoria was the world.
– But Senator de Largie practically gave an advertisement to one factory in Victoria, which may be a good or a bad factory - I shall not stigmatize any man or firm. But I deliberately repeat my statement that in South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales better work is being done than that in the foundry mentioned. I feel sure that if Senator de Largie had given the matter more consideration, he would have hesitated before mentioning the particular name.
.- I do not dispute that the engine mentioned by Senator Guthrie is an excellent one; indeed, I have since seeing the circular quoted, recommended it to persons who require such an appliance. But the engine he referred to does not fill the bill, as a portable or traction engine. It is quite a different engine. It is ex tremely useful to a farmer for pumping water, and doing other things, but, as it is not mounted on wheels, it cannot do the work which portable and traction engines do. If I were only sure that it would be made here, I should not raise my voice against the duty ; but I know that since it has been imposed, farmers have been penalized to the extent of another £150 for their traction engines. They will be so penalized for many years to come, unless the duty is reduced.
– How many farmers have traction engines?
– In Victoria, a great many farmers possess traction engines, and in the dry country, some men plough for their neighbours by that means. The honorable senator must not imagine that the farmers in this State are as far behind the times as are the farmers in South Australia ; they are a little more progressive.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 161, “ Locomotives, Traction and Portable Engines, &c.,” (imports under General Tariff) ad. val., 15 per cent. (Senator Mulcahy’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator McColl) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 161 (imports from the United Kingdom), ad val., 15 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Item *162. -
Boilers n.e.i.; Pumps; Windmills, ad val.. (General Tariff), 30 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
Cranes; Beer Engines; Cloth Folding and Measuring Machines ; Wool and Other Presses : Lifts ; Water and Gas Meters, ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
And on and after 28th November, 1907 -
– The first portion of this item is submitted formally, because it has been inoperative since the 28th November, 1907, but I wish to know whether all that is included in that portion of the item is included in the item which has become operative since the date named.
– Not necessarily, because the whole item has been reclassified.
– I quite understand that, but has the item as reclassified any direct relation to the item which was operative before the 28th November, 1907?
– -The first part of the item is the foundation for the second ; the second part includes many things which were included in the first, but” does not include some which were included in the first.
– But should not these items absolutely correspond?
– No, because it was thought desirable to bring some things into a more scientific classification, and to leave other things out of the item as recast.
– I understand the Minister’s explanation, and I know that there is a considerable divergence between the two items. What I wish to know, now is, what would be the practical effect’ should the first part of the item which ceased to operate on the 28th November, 1.907, be struck out at this stage. Surely it is impossible that goods imported under it still remain in bond?
– Duty has been collected under it. in the meantime, and the goods taken out of bond, and sold on the basis of the duty. The Government are not prepared to make any refund, and it is necessary that the first part of the item should be passed to validate the collection of duty under it.
– Would it not be validated if the first part of the item was struck out at this stage?
– No; persons interested might commence proceedings to recover duty paid under it.
– I do not wish to enter into a legal disputation with Senator Best on the subject, but I am personally inclined to think that it is quite unnecessary to retain the first part of this item in the Tariff.
– I can assure Senator Clemons that in this matter the usual practice is being followed, and it is a practice which is recognised by the law courts. Recognising the practice of the House of Commons and of Colonial Parliaments to accept as sufficient for the purpose of collection of duty, the passing of the preliminary resolution in the financial Chamber until such time as the Act of Parliament is subsequently passed, validating all that is done, the law courts have taken notice of the collection, and relying solely on the practice of Parliament, have postponed the hearing of cases brought for the recovery of duties collected in this way, in order to allow the Parliament concerned sufficient t’ime to pass the necessary validating Act. I have given notice of what I shall call formal amendments in this item. The first is to substitute the word “chain.” for the word” pulley,” since the blocks referred to are wrongly described as “ pulley blocks,” because that description would embrace wooden blocks that are dealt with In another item. In the next place it is necessary to strike out the word “steam” before the words “ turbo blowers,” . because if the word “steam “were allowed to remain other kinds of blowers might be admitted free.
– It is necessary to . strike out the word “turbo” also.
– No, blowers, n.e.i., are included in item 165B.
– At what rate of duty ?
– They are dutiable at 15 per cent.’
– Bare justice requires that the word “ turbo “ should also be left out.
– I had better explain the amendments I propose to suggest,, and I shall be glad to hear what Senator Clemons has to say later. Honorable senators will see that the item includes “ Patent Hoist used for underground mining.” I do not know what other kind of mining is done. ‘ It is necessary to substitute for these words the words “ Portable Hoists for underground use.” I therefore move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 162, paragraph A, by leaving out the word “ Pulley “ with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ Chain “ ; by leaving out the word “ Steam “ ; and by leaving out the words “ Patent Hoist used for underground mining “ with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words. “ Portable Hoists for underground use.”.
– I wish to ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council under “ which’ of tha paragraphs of this item the very large ventilation fans’ used in collieries and large mines are included?
– Under paragraph b, “ Machines and Machinery, n.e.i.”
– Senator Best has proposed to leave out the word “ steam “ before the words “ turbo blowers,” and if that be done the effect will be to make the duty on turbo blowers 5 per cent, under the general Tariff, whilst they will be free if imported from the United Kingdom, and to make all blowers other than turbo blowers dutiable at 15 per cent.
– That is quite right.
– I am convinced that if Senator Best thoroughly understood the question he would admit at once that there is no reason for differentiating in this matter by imposing a duty, of 15 per cent, on the ordinary blowers used in smelting and miningj and at the same time permitting the turbo blower, which is used for the same purpose, to be admitted duty free. Practically the only blowers at present imported are the Connersville and Samuelson blowers. The blower in almost universal use in the Commonwealth is the Connersville blower. These, machines are protected by patents, and are made in only one part of the world. No maker of machinery in Australia has any desire to make them, and could not do so if he wished, because they are patented, and it would be a waste of time for him to attempt their manufacture. The demand for them, of course, is comparatively limited, and the necessary machinery is expensive. I venture to say that there is not a firm in Australia at the present time that would think of making them. What is the position? Senator Best proposes to let in turbo blowers practically free, and they are used by the largest and most wealthy mining corporations in Australia, and only by them. They are used at the present time by the Mount Lyell Company ; they may be used by . the Mount Morgan ; but I do not believe that they are used at Cobar. I have mentioned three of the largest smelting works with which I am acquainted. I do. not believe that there is a turbo blower in Western Australia, but I am perfectly certain that there is a large number of ordinary blowers in every State where mining is conducted. They are- absolutely essential to smelting. They must be imported; No foundry man would think of making them. We have gone into this question on evidence, yet this differentiation is proposed.
– Are not blowers made in Australia ?
– Not for smelting purposes - certainly not. It is rather hard for me to convince Senator Best, but I will give him the results of personal experience. I will tell him what has happened to me recently. I have had to spend, on account of a certain company during the last twelve months, £12,000 on mining machinery. As I have already said, whenever I can get machinery made in Australia I get it made here. But out of that £12,000 worth of machinery, £11,300 worth, or thereabouts - I am speaking from memory - was spent on machinery made in Australia. About £800 was spent on one of these very blowers - not a turbo blower, which Senator Best wishes to make free - but a blower which had to be imported, and always will be imported; a blower which, under the present item, is dutiable at 15 per cent. I do not speak from the point of view of personal interest in the matter, because I hope I shall not be buying any more m present. The duty has been paid. I am not speaking about something which I am going to buy, but something which I have bought. I say that that duty on an ordinary blower is a wholly unfair tax on the mining community. To retain it will not put a pennyworth of work into any foundry in Australia. I have often admired the work of our Australian foundries, and have shown my admiration by giving them all the practical support I could. But every company that wishes to treat either low-grade or high-grade ores in Australia by means of smelting, is under the necessity of paying this duty. The freight charges are also very high. They come to as much as 30 or 40 per cent. I am not quarrelling with that. But this differentiation will not’ help any one. I. hope, therefore, that Senator Best will agree with me to strike out, not only the word “ blower,” but the word “ turbo,” leaving all those blowers that are used for mining purposes free. If he does not, he will simply let off the great, big, wealthy corporations and impose a heavy tax upon struggling companies. There can be no reason for doing that. If, on the other hand, Senator Best wishes to tax them, and the Committee, will support him, he should put turbo blowers in the same line as blowers n.e.i. But there is no reason in the world for differentiating. Inasmuch as they are never made in Australia, and no foundry man desires, or intends, to make them, and as they are patented, I say that they ought to come in free. In so saying, I am not hostile to the interests of any foundry in Australia. On the contrary, I wish to help them. But this item is a tax on the mining industry, and, as a matter of differentiation, it is bad.
– I am very glad that my honorable friend Senator Clemons has mentioned this matter, and I will do what I can to meet him. But the reason why turbo blowers were inserted was in order to correspond with turbines under item 160. The blowers are, of course, used in connexion with turbines. There was at the time the item was dealt with, some doubt as to whether they could be made here.
– I assure Senator Best that what I have said is correct.
– As to the blowers themselves, it is a matter of common knowledge that they are made here, and have been made for years. They are made throughout Australia.
– The honorable senator misunderstands, me - not the blowers which I have mentioned, and which are used by smelting works.
– The information which I have acquired - and I have made full inquiries - goes to show that they are made here. I am aware that the blowers to which my honorable friend refers may be preferred for smelting purposes. But that blowers are made here which are used for smelting purposes is beyond question. The reason why blowers are inserted in the 15 per cent, list is, to give every encouragement to their manufacture in Australia. Of course, if my honorable friend suggests that turbo blowers should be struck out of this list altogether, I have no objection to that.
– The Minister should not put it in that way. I do not want to put a duty on them, because I know it is unfair and wrong..
– My present proposal is to strike the item out.
. -I assure Senator Best again that there is not a copper smelter in Australia worthy of the name that has not got one of these blowers.
– But blowers are not used solely for smelting purposes. They are used for other purposes.
– If Senator Best wants to differentiate against those used for other purposes, I do not mind.
– There is the Roots blower, which is used for ventilation purposes.
– I do not know much about that; but I can speak of the blower that is used for mining purposes.
– The honorable senator’s terms are too wide.
– I am perfectly willing to have the item put, “ for use in mines. ‘ ‘
– Roots blowers are for use in mines.
– They are not made in Australia.
– I can assure the honorable senator that they are. ‘
– What does Senator Best mean by saying that they are made here ?
– They are made throughout Australia. My honorable friend can buy one to-morrow if he likes.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that the patent has expired?
– Yes; many years ago.
– The patent may have expired; but my point is that every smelting works in Australia buys either the blower known as the Connersville or the Samuelson. They are patented blowers, and are not made here. If some blowers are made in Australia, they are probably on the same lines as the Roots blower.
– Are the particular blowers to which the honorable senator refers patented in Australia?
– I have not searched the patent records, and do not know. But I do know that they are not made here. I venture to say that not one single Connersville or Samuelson blower has ever been made in the Commonwealth, although they are in common use in connexion with every smelter in Australia. They are necessarily imported. I have given an instance within my own knowledge. No one would go abroad to buy these things if he could get them made here. There are good reasons why he should not. Time is too important nine times out of ten, and there is always delay involved in sending an order abroad and having it executed. I say again that to differentiate is simply to play into the hands of - I may as . well put it plainly - a company in Tasmania, the Mount Lyell Company, which is practically the only company that I know of that is using the turbo blower. This was inserted in the interests, particularly, of the Mount Lyell Company.
– No; it was put in because it was understood that the blowers were made here.
– At whose suggestion ?
– I cannot pretend to sav that.
– If Senator Best will refresh his memory by reading up the debates in another place/ he will find himself immediately and closely on the track of corroboration of what I have said. Apart from that I assure him that it is so. If. he proposes to make turbo blowers free he is playing into the hands of the very wealthy companies who use them.
– Then we had better strike out “ Turbo-blowers.”
– I do not see why they should be penalized. They are not made here, but by making them free the Government will play into the hands of the wealthy companies that instal them. Information has been supplied to me as well as to other honorable senators with regard to what is being done by one of our largest copper-mining companies - the Great Cobaf - which, large as it is, I venture to say has to import at considerable and necessary expense the other kind of blower to which I have referred.
– As there are difficulties in regard to some of the requests on this item moved by Senator Best, I propose to put them separately.
Request (by Senator Best) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 162, paragraph A, by leaving out the word” Pulley “. and inserting in lieu thereof the word “ Chain.”
Request (by Senator Best) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 162, paragraph A, by leaving out the word “ Steam.”
– The Vice-President of theExecutive Council may well be pardoned for not being familiar with all the details of this question, since it is of a highly technical character, and it Is easy for one who has not some acquaintance with mining or the- smelting of minerals to fall into the error of thinking that turboblowers are identical with blowers appearing under other headings. I have discovered during the last week that even the officers of the Department of Trade and Customs have made a mistake in passing entries under other headings. I have received a communication to the effect that the Customs officers in New South Wales have passed, as coming under another item altogether, machines of this kind, whereas I have been told by a Customs officer in Victoria that they come under another heading. For that reason I have been compelled to amend the notice I have circu^ lated of a request that I intend to propose in respect of the next item. Senator Clemons is correct in stating that turboblowers are used for smelting metal. They are employed for that purpose in Tasmania and, I believe, elsewhere. The class of blower referred to by the Minister is used for ventilating mines.
– Low - pressure blowers.
– No, I did not confine myself to that; I only ‘ said incidentally that such machines would come within the category of “ blowers.”
– I do not think so.
– They would.
– The trouble is that the Department has so ruled.
– It is a pity that the officers of the Department do not understand the question as shown by the fact that different rulings have been given in two States. When the officers who are supposed to devote the whole of their attention to questions of this kind make mistakes, it is not surprising- that honorable senators who have to deal only occasionally with them should fall into error. I understand that the blowers used to convey blasts into furnaces come under paragraph a, but that the blowers referred to by the Vice-President of the Executive Council either come under paragraph c or under the line “ Blowers n.e.i.” in item 165.
– I hope that the honorable senator is not confusing blowers with fans.
– No ; but the Customs officials have done so. That is mv complaint. Unfortunately, mistakes may readily be made owing to the way in which the schedule has been framed. Towards’ the end of item’ 165 the words “ Blowers n.e.i.” appear. I think they should be omitted.
– As a matter of fact I have given notice of a request that they should be struck out. We recognise that they are out of place.
– I am glad to hear it. If blowers be placed under the heading of “Machines and Machinery,” n.e.i.” - and I understand that in Victoria fans are . passed as coming under that heading, whereas in New South Wales ithas been held that they come under item 165 - the schedule will be more intelligible than it is at present. I hope that the Minister will supply us with information that will enable us to make requests that will lead to the schedule being framed in a more intelligible form before it is finally passed.
– The Committee to-night has adopted the principle - a principle with which I do not agree - of discriminating between certain classes of machinery. For instance, it has been decided to request another place to free reciprocating engines when used, for mining purposes. That being so,, why should we not extend the principle to machinery required for smelting? Many machines are designated’ “blowers.” There are machines that carry air at an exceedingly high pressure into smelting furnaces, and also into converting furnaces, . for the purpose in the one case of increasing the combustion and in the other of chemically changing the character of the metal therein. These high-pressure blowers are not manufactured in Australia. The ordinary small fan used in connexion with portable forges and those used in iron foundries to supply a current of air sufficient to increase the combustion, . are made here, but blowers used to force air at high pressure against liquid metal are not. As we have adopted the principle of imposing a lower rate of duty in respect of machinery used for mining purposes we ought to extend it to machinery used for smelting.
– The Tariff is supposed to be designed to protect the manufacturer of things- which are being made here, or’ which may reasonably be expected to be made here, and to tax certain other things at a low rate. I propose, therefore, to show that the Connersville blower is not being made in Australia, and is not likely to be made here. The general manager of the Great Cobar mine, writing on the subject, says -
It would be preposterous to go to a manufacturer here and say, “ We want you to manufacture a Connersville blower for the same amount of money for which we can land it,” when that manufacturer -would have- to, first of all, purchase the patent rights, and, secondly, purchase machinery to make such large castings, and after he had gone to all this expense, find that he might never sell another blower; because it must not be forgotten that the capacity of these blowers is 30,000 cubic feet of air per minute, and would only be required by mines the same size as Great’ Cobar.
To show that the writer is not prejudiced, let me quote another extract -
Being an Australian myself, I would not like to belittle in any way the brains of Australian engineers ; but I have yet too much sense to think that it would be a sensible policy on our part to go to any firm of Australian engineers, no matter who they might be, and ask them to set a draughtsman to work to discover and invent all the appliances and contrivances that are to be found in the machinery we have bought, and which have taken twenty years of experinent to perfect.
– I am aware that high-pressure blowers for smelting are not made here, and am, therefore, prepared to agree to amend my request so as to provide for the striking out of the word “ steam,” with a view to the substitution of the words “ high-pressure blowers for smelting and.” At the same time, I reserve to myself the right, later on, to add some limitation if, after technical inquiry, that may be found necessary to give a sufficient definition of what is meant.
Request amended accordingly, and agreed to.
Request (by Senator Best) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 162, paragraph A, by leaving out the words “Patent Hoist used for underground mining “ with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ Portable Hoists for underground use.”
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 162, paragraph A (imports under General Tariff), free.
The discussion which has taken place shows the unwisdom of trying to give a preference to Great Britain on every occasion.
Connersville and other high-pressure blowers used for smelting are mostly patented in America, and cannot be made in Great Britain, and we shall defeat the object of the request just agreed to if we leave them dutiable under the general. Tariff at 5 per cent. We do not wish to tax this machinery at all. A vast amount of the most up-to-date mining machinery which plays such an important part in the profitable” working of low-grade propositions is patented, and made in America. It is from America that we get most of thtj important appliances which enable us to reduce the cost of working our mines. Consequently, if we impose a duty of 5 per cent, upon them under the general Tariff, and admit the small proportion which comes from Great Britain free, we shall be stultifying ourselves. It is for that reason that I think we should make all the articles enumerated in paragraph a of this item free.
– I think that the Vice-President of the Executive Council will be well advised if he takes into serious consideration the representations which have been made by Senator Clemons.
– The duty proposed is a very small one.
– I am in favour of extending a preference to goods from the United Kingdom when something is to be attained by so doing, but I am not in favour of granting an empty form of preference.
– My honorable friends who have spoken upon this question have based their remarks upon the application of the proposed duty to high-pressure blowers and steam turbo blowers, and have omitted to take into consideration its bearing upon all the other articles enumerated in the item. Whilst their criticism may be perfectly true in regard to ventilating blowers, the fact remains that the duty proposed is a desirable one to levy upon many other articles specified in the item, because the majority of them are imported from the Mother Country. The item is purely a preference one. Quantities of chain blocks, pneumatic elevators and conveyers, and portable hoists for underground use, are imported from the United Kingdom, and it is our intention to grant a preference in respect of them.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … …11
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 162 bv inserting after paragraph a, the following new paragraph : - “(aa) Log band saws, with band wheels five, feet and over in diame.ter, free.”
This article is a band-saw used for breaking down, and is not made in Australia. . 1 understand that the Department has no objection to the request.
– The amendment is proposed in the wrong place. No saws are mentioned in this item.
– The Department say that the item covers it.
– Paragraph b is “ Machines and Machinery, n.e.i.”
– If the Minister is satisfied that this is the proper place, let it go.
– I shall not oppose the request, but I agree with Senator de Largie that the item contains articles which have no earthly resemblance to or connexion witTi a band saw. If new paragraph aa is inserted, freeing band saws 5 feet or more in diameter, will all other band saws of smaller diameters come under item 171?
– No, under item 162b.
– And be dutiable at 25 per cent. ?
– It is iniquitous to impose a 25- per cent, duty on all other band. saws. Will Senator Millen leave out of the new paragraph the words limiting the diameter, and make all band saws free? Does the Minister intend to accept the request, and then ask the Committee to make every other kind of band saw dutiable at 25 per cent. ?
– Yes, because the others are made here.
– I crave the. indulgence of the Committee to state, from my place in the chair, that a log band saw is an. entirely different tool of trade from the ordinary - band saw. It is- used in forest milling,, whereas the other kind of band saw is used in the small joinery mills. The log band saw is. specially patented, and has not been long is use.
– Does the’ diameter named indicate it?
– Yes. It has a much larger diameter than has the band saw found in the ordinary mill.
– I agree with Senator de Largie that the request is moved in the wrong place, with all due respect to the Customs officers. I see that item 171 is “ Saws n.e.i.”
– The use of the term “ band saw “ is, apparently, unfortunate. It seems to convey to honorable senators’ minds that only a saw is spoken of, but, in the trade, technically what is known as a log band saw consists of the whole mill, and, therefore, it is not possible to include it in the item which deals only with saws*- It is really a machine, but in the trade it is called a band saw.
Request agreed to.
. -I have given notice of a request relating to paragraph’ b, wh’ch, 1 understand, covers a variety of articles. I wish to remove at least one of them. I am informed that the paragraph covers fans for the ventilation of mines. They ought to be, and I hope soon will be, used in all the deep gold mines of Australia, There should be very. little difference of opinion, as to the desirability of removing the duty from those fans. It is not a fiscal question, nor even a geographical question. It affects the health of the miners, especially (hose employed in the deep gold mines of Victoria and Queensland, and, to a lesser extent, in Western Australia. Those deep mines are in a state, for the want of ventilation, that, I dare say, is not paralleled in any other part of the civilized world.
– Are those fans used in the Kalgoorlie mines?
– No, but I hope they will be before the Kalgoorlie mines get to the state which the Bendigo and Ballarat mines are now in for want of proper ventilation. I do know that the mines in Western Australia are going down so rapidly that, in view of modern improvements in driving power and machinery, ‘ they will reach the present stage of the Victorian mines much more .quickly than the latter did. My idea is .to take time by the forelock, and provide proper, mechanical means of ventilation for deep mines. The one blemish on the mining community would appear to be the state of affairs as exemplified at Bendigo and Ballarat ; and I believe that only in the State of Victoria would such conditions he permitted.
Senate adjourned at 10.40 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 5 March 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1908/19080305_senate_3_44/>.