3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I again ask the Minister representing the Postmaster-
General the questions which I addressed to him upon notice on Thursday last, namely -
What regulations guide the Department in the appointment of local postmasters in offices not contract or semi-official, and involving an expenditure, inclusive of rent, of£155 per annum ?
Does the Department, before making a permanent appointment, intend letting the office at East Brighton by tender or inviting applicants for the position of postmaster for that office, the cost of which is said to amount to £155 per annum?
– The ActingDeputy Postmaster-General, Melbourne, has furnished the following information -
In the case of a new office being opened, or the office becoming vacant, by the death of the postmaster, an inspector would visit the locality and make the recommendation after due inquiry.
If the letter delivery, conveyance of mails, and clearance of pillar were performed by special contract the allowance to the postmaster for conducting the ordinary work of the post-office would be £29 per annum on allowance scale, thus : -
The power of delegation referred to by the honorable senator is not contained in the Public Service Act, but in section 8 of the Post and Telegraph Act 1901.
– Has the Minister of Home Affairs yet come to a decision in regard to the use of voting machines, and has he, in pursuance of the promise made to the Senate some time ago, appointed a
Committee to make the preliminary inquiries in respect to a machine suitable tor adoption for use in the Commonwealth elections?
– My answer to the first question is, No; and to the second, Yes. A Committee has been appointed, but the data supplied to the Department by those who respond to its invitation for information will, it is anticipated, be finally dealt with by a fuller Committee; that already appointed will be increased by one or two experts possessing special knowledge which will enable it to arrive at a decision likely to be of material benefit as a guide to the Department.
– I wish to know if the mechanical engineer, who, I understand, has been appointed to the Committee, has sufficient knowledge of electrical machinery to be able to determine the merits and demerits of machines whose construction may embrace electrical mechanism.
– I am not aware of all the capabilities of the gentleman referred to, but I believe that he is well versed in the mechanical arrangements necessary for a perfect votingmachine. As I have already pointed out, the Committee is riot yet complete - I hope to have the assistance of one of two additional experts - but I feel sure that when fully constituted, it. will meet all requirements.
– May I suggest that the electrical requirements should be kept in view ?
Tasmanian Postal Department
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
-I have received the following replies from the Public Service Commissioner -
6.The commissionerreferred to all the positions indicated in the Classification as being only temporarily filled by the then occupants, pending decision as to the officers to be permanently placed therein. In a number of cases the officers retained the positions with the benefit of the higher classification, in others they were transferred and replaced by senior competent officers. 7 (a)15.
asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice-
Before submitting to Parliament the terms and conditions respecting the transfer of the Northern Territory, is it the intention of the Government, by the appointment of a Royal Commission or otherwise, to afford Parliament all the information necessary to guide it in practically discussing this great question?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows -
It is not intended to appoint a Royal Commission, as all information necessary to assist Parliament in coming to a decisionwill be made available for members.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
Referring to a published statement showing an increase in the number of convictions for opium smuggling, and of the quantity seized in 1907, as compared with 1906, is he in a position to say whether the increase is due to greater negligence on the part of the officers or to an increase in smuggling?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows -
The increase in the number of seizures in the year 1907 over those of 1906 is due to the fact thatinthe latter year large stocks of opium were in the hands of importers, and the incentives to smuggling were consequently much lessened. The prohibition did not come into force until 1st January, 1906, and did not affect stocks of opium then in the hands of importers.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
Has any further progress been made in the negotiations between the. Federal Government and the State Government of Western Australia, in reference to the question of the construction of a dock in Fremantle which would accommodate warships?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows -
The dimensions of the dock will be sufficient to accommodate warships of the size of the Dreadnought. The question still under consideration is with reference to the lifting power of the crane. A decision will be arrived at in the course of a few days.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow -
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
Has the Government noticed the statement in “The Federal Service” that the duly elected Divisional Representative has been prevented from attending Boards of Inquiry? If so, by what authority has he been so prevented?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows -
The attention of the Government has been drawn to the statement, but I learn that the matter refers to inquiries into charges against officers living in remote parts of the State.
In such cases the evidence is taken locally and transmitted to the Board, who, after considering same., makes its report on the case, as provided for by Public Service Regulation 267a.
No divisional representative has been prevented from attending the meetings of his Board.
– Arising out of the reply just given by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, I desire to ask whether the Government consider this system of delegating the taking of evidence to other officials-
– Order ! I would point out to the honorable senator that that question cannot strictly be regarded as a matter of explanation connected with the question to which the Minister has replied, and therefore it will have to be asked upon notice.
– What I wish to ascertain’ is whether the delegating of the taking of evidence in connexion with Boards of Inquiry is regarded by the Government as legally within the provisions of the Public Service Act?
– I have already pointed out that that question does not come within the category of an explanation of the question which was previously put to the Minister. The only question which can be put to the Minister is one which will have the effect of making clearer the reply given by him. The question which Senator Stewart has asked must therefore, if in order in its present form, be asked upon notice.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
What steps, if any, are being taken to push on the construction of a new post office at Port Pirie, South Australia?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows -
Provision was made upon the Estimates for the current year for additions to the Port Pirie Post Office. Representations were made that a new office was necessary, and consideration of the matter was postponed until the PostmasterGeneral couldpersonally visit Port Pirie. The Minister decided that if the proposed site could be obtained at a reasonable price a sum would be placed on the Estimates for a new office. The State Government has now been asked whether it is willing to accept a re-transfer of the present premises and site; also if it is prepared to transfer to the Commonwealth the other site which has been proposed.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow -
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 6th March, vide page 8697) :
Postponed Division VI. - Metals and Machinery.
Item 165. Machinery and Machines ; and Machine Tools, n.e.i., viz. : -
*Motive Power, Engine Combinations and Power Connexions are dutiable under their respective headings, when not integral parts of exempted machines, machinery, or machine tools. making machine tools, n.e.i. Tyre benders and shrinkers. Tinsmiths’ tools, being machine, ad. val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent. ; and on and after 29th November, 1907, 15 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.; and on and after 29th November, 1907, 15 per cent.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales)[2.49]. - The duty originally proposed in respect of this item was 25 per cent., which represented a material advance upon the rate levied under the old Tariff. The item previously was dutiable at12½ per cent., and free. As we have been piling up duties rather heavily, it would be just as well that there should be a little reasonable give-and-take in respect of this machinery, which is necessary to so many trades within the Commonwealth - I refer particularly to the machinery required in wool washing and scouring. The Commonwealth has recently provided a bounty for combed wool tops, and it is reasonable to suppose thai in the preparation of wool for the tops process a better class of machinery will be required than has been used hitherto. Certainly we can make improvements in our processes of treating leather. Can-making is a matter of considerable importance to orchardists, and to those engaged in meat works and a great: many of our primary industries. Where we come to the treatment of fibrous materials, felt, and felt hats, the making of paper, and particularly artesian boringmachines, we may well extend a liberal hand towards various industries which involve the employment of a tremendous number of people, by making the duties as moderate as possible. Seeing that originally the item was12½ per cent. and free, it would be very fair if at present, instead of 15 per cent., we made the duty 10 per cent. That is a fair compromise, bringing the item practically to the old standard. I therefore intend to move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 165, paragraph a (imports under General Tariff) 10 per cent. ad val.
.-I wish to call attention to the change that has been made in paragraph a. In the Tariff, as introduced to another place, there was an asterisk drawing attention to a footnote “Subject to rebate under conditions specified in the schedule.” The schedule provided that machinery imported for certain manufacturing processes should pay the duty on landing, and the amount be rebated on the machinery being placed in. position. But that schedule does not now appear in the Bill.
– It was struck out by another place. I have given notice of a request for its restoration in respect of a certain period.
– It is not yet before us, and, instead, a 15 per cent. duty is imposed. That is an unwise step to take, because a great deal of the machinery cannot be made in this country.
– Why not?
– Because there is not the demand for it. Much of it can be made here ; much of it cannot. Those engaged in the fibrous material industries are all protectionists, and are prepared-
– To take all the protection they can get.
– Nothing of the kind. There is no need for such insinuations. They are prepared to use all the machines that can be made in Australia, but no one will attempt to make a number of the machines, as there is not sufficient demand for them, and they should, therefore, be allowed to come in free. Amongst those which it is said should be duty free are the following -
Carbonising machines, wool drying machines, willowing machines, burring machines, tenterhook teasing machines, garnett machines, dyeing machines, card clothing, automatic feeders, carding machines, spinning mules, winding machines, twisting machines, looms, shuttles, healds, buffalo pickers, tentering machines, raising gigs, cropping machines, steaming and crabbing machines, cuttling, rolling, and measuring machines, gill boxes, combing machines, drawing machines, spinning frames, twisting frames, winding frames, hanking machines, bobbins and spools.
I am informed that there is no possible chance of those articles being made in this country. The machine shops at Home that do make them are enormous establishments, employing a large number of hands, and with very large capital invested in them. The demand for the machines is very large there, and they turn out some hundreds in the year, whereas any maker here would probably be asked for only one or two. This duty is, therefore, a tax on an industry that we should endeavour to extend. It is said that there can be made hare the following other machines -
Wool scouring machines, hydro extractors, brushing machinery, milling machines, cloth scouring machines, warping and beaming machines, cloth wringing machines, hydraulic presses, plates and papers, engines and boilers, shafting, bearings, driving pulleys and belting, brushware.
The woollen manufacturers are quite willing to have them made here, or to pay the duty on them. They desire to encourage local industry as much as possible, but not to be taxed for machines which are not made here. The duty will be simply a revenue one, and will prevent the woollen industry from expanding as it ought to expand.
– It will only be another revenue duty to add to those which the honorable senator has assisted to put on.
SenatorMcCOLL. - The honorable senator’s interjections are very nasty, and very much out of order. Even if a rebate is provided for, it is still a tax, as is shown by the fact that during 1907 machines and parts were imported to the value of £15,000, and were to arrive in the first six months of 1908, to the extent of £10,000. A lot of machinery has been put into position, but none of the rebate has yet been paid, nor can the manufacturers get it. I understand that Tasmania has had the rebate paid on what she has imported, but that not a penny has been rebated in Victoria and the other States. Nearly all these establishments are working on an overdraft, and, therefore, that loss of interest on the money they have had to deposit is very heavy. This duty is really a tax upon an important industry, and a serious item to the various establishments concerned. It has been ascertained, by testing the matter for a number of years, that the cost of importing this machinery from Home,including inland freight from the factory to sea-board, freight across the sea, and from the sea to the mill, amounts to 33 per cent. without any duty whatever. The addition of 15 per cent. brings it up to 48, or almost 50 per cent. I imagine that our idea in passing the Tariff is to try to expand industries, but in this case we are lifting up with one hand and knocking down with the other. If these machines can be made here, let. them be made; but, otherwise, they ought to be admitted free. What I intend to propose is that they should be admitted, subject to departmental by-laws, which will give the Department an opportunity of making inquiries as to whether the particular machines can or cannot be produced here.
– Is the honorable senator singling out certain articles?
– Yes; as my proposal will show.
– Why pick out certain articles ?
– What I propose to single out are machinery, and parts thereof, used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous material and felt, and felt hats. These are the only machines of which I have any personal knowledge, though other honorable senators may be able to address themselves to other machinery. My proposal will provide an absolute safeguard, and will remove a great weight from the minds of those who are engaged in this industry. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 165, paragrapha, by leaving out the words “ Machinery, and parts thereof, used in the manufacture and treatment of Fibrous Materials and Felt, and Felt Hats.”
I intend, subsequently, to move a new item 165aa, providing for the admission of this machinery, as prescribed by departmental by-law.
.-I am sorry to say, from one stand-point, that it is my duty to oppose the amendment submitted by Senator McColl; and I should like to deal with one or two questions to which that honorable gentleman referred. First of all, the honorable senator stated that in the matter of rebates there was a grievance against the Department; but I can assure him that he must have made that statement under a misapprehension. When the Tariff was originally introduced, there was inserted, in regard to this and one or two other items, a provision that, in the event of the machines being introduced and set into place, a rebate would thereupon follow. The House of Representatives, however, refused to recognise any such arrangement ; and, therefore, on the 29th November, 1907, that provision was struck out. On the 8th August, when the Tariff was originally introduced, the public were, so to speak, bound by it in all its terms ; and between that date and the 29th November, rebates were made to certain persons, while, as a matter of fact, they have not been made to others. I have already given notice of a proposal to ask the Committee to authorize all rebates up to the 29th November, so far as this item is concerned. As honorable senators know, the public are bound by the Tariff, and prices are fixed according to the amount of duty, those concerned honestly relying on the Government proposals being passed intact. Therefore,I think that, when the time comes, the Committee will not hesitate to give that necessary authority, so that all concerned may be treated alike as between the 8th August and the 29th November. It will be seen, therefore, that there is no intention, as Senator McColl seemed to infer, of differentiating between one person and another.
– That has been the case until now.
– I know; but I have notified my intention to rectify the anomaly, and I am sure that the honorable senator will be amongst the first to assist me. With regard to the proposal immediately before us, I may say that all the machinery, with the exception of that relating to fibrous materials, was inserted in this item, on the specific recommendation of the Tariff Commission. Another place, however, after a lengthy discussion, insisted on the insertion of the words which Senator McColl now seeks to have deleted, a compromise being arrived at whereby the present duty of 15 per cent, was imposed. To that compromise my colleague in another place was a party, and I am obliged to adhere to it, with one slight exception that will be consequential on something done in this Chamber, as Senator de Largie will remember. It was acknowledged that high-pressure blowers for smelting could not be made here, and consequently it has been agreed that these, together with other blowers, shall be placed on the free list. I am desirous of adhering to the arrangement made ; and I feel myself bound by the compromise, with the small exception to which I have referred. Therefore, I ask the Committee to pass the item in the terms in which it now appears. It represents, I think, the almost unanimous feeling of another place, and appears on its face to be fair and just. It is possible that some of the articles mentioned by my honorable friend are not made here at the present moment; but, according to my instructions, nearly all of them are made here. It must be remembered, too, that as this and the other Chamber have dealt most liberally with the woollen industries, they, in turn, must be bound by the same class of protection as has been extended to them. The object of this item is to give the necessary protection to the machinery industry. I feel that in pursuance of the protective lines which it has already laid down, the Committee will support the item as it stands with the small exception to which I have referred.
.- I think, that Senator McColl, after having supported a duty of 25 per cent. on fansfor ventilating mines, cannot object very well to the duty on this item. The contention that an article is not made in this country should no longer hold good in the Committee, . because indisputable proof was given that fans for ventilating purposes are not made in Australia, and yet the duty on them was retained. Whether an article is made in the country or not, whatever duty is imposed on it can be justified. The Minister has stated that the industries in which these machines are used are very highly protected. If such industries have been lifted up with one hand and put down with the other, that is more equal treatment than to lift up an industry with neither hand, as in the case of mines. They get no assistance whatever.
– In Australia they are making fans as good as, if not better than, any fans ever imported.
– We discussed that question on Friday.
– They have never made in Australia a. fan which would ventilate a dwelling-house.
– Senator Findley will get another opportunity to give us the names of the manufacturers who make fans and the mines in which they are used. I am satisfied that he cannot furnish any proof of his statement.
– I am prepared to take the honorable senator over to the State Department.
– I ask honorable senators not to discuss that question.
– I am quite satisfied that the honorable senator knows absolutely nothing about mines.
– I was talking to practical miners at Berringa who do know something about them.
– The ridiculous statement that the honorable senator made on Friday about a provision of 500 cubic feet of air satisfied me that he knows absoilutely nothing of the subject. The statement that the machines named by Senator McColl may or may not be made in Australia should carry no weight with the Committee. We have imposed heavy duties on other articles, and I hold that as these machines are used in highly protected industries they can also bear a very fair amount of duty. I intend to support the Government.
– It is ridiculous to compare the very intricate and elaborate machinery used . in woollen mills with fans. In Australia there are only a comparatively few woollen mills, whereas there are numerous mines which can use ventilating fans. A fan is an article which will be used frequently, and an industry for its manufacture can be well established. But in regard to the intricate machines which are used in woollen mills, capitalists will not embark in the industry because the plant which they would need to put down would be very large indeed, and the demand for the machines, when made, would be very small. I am informed that onefirm making woollen and worsted machinery turn out about one hundred per week or more. The number of men employed by the firm is over 11,000. while the capital is £4,500,000. The machinery for woollen and worsted mills comprises about one hundred different machines. There are 2,000 parts in a loom alone. Where shall we get any capitalist who will undertake to make such machines ? It is not to be expected that men will employ their money in the manufacture of these articles while the demand for them is so limited.
– They always had to pay a duty of 12½ per cent. before.
– No; under the old Tariff, woollen machinery was free. I am informed that one firm employs about 1,000 men in making these parts, and that their output is about 200 looms per week. In Australia, the demand would be limited to one or two looms per week. Under my proposal capitalists will be protected if they embark in the industry. If the machines are admitted under departmental by-laws, and it is found that they are being made, or that they can be made here, the Customs officers will impose a duty. But if they are not being made, and cannot be made here, why should we penalize a great industry which ought to be allowed to expand, and in which persons ought to be encouraged to invest their money, by levying a duty which will be of no possible service ?
– One of the difficulties in dealing with Senator McColl’s proposition is that it is so sectional. He has picked out certain machines, probably those with which he is familiar, and asked us to exempt them from the general duty, Whether it is to be high or low. There are many machines which ought to be placed in an exactly similar position. Take, for instance, printing machinery. I do not know any particular reason why those who are en gaged in the manufacture of hats - a highly protected industry - should get their machines free, when the printers are called upon to pay a duty on theirs. The difficulty I find is in the want of knowledge as to what machines are being made here and what are not. It is impossible for me, or any one else, to divide machinery into two classes. So far as I know, not one article included in this item is entitled to different treatment from the balance. I am not disposed to assist the honorable senator in picking out particular items of machinery - more especially when they are largely used by the most highly protected industries in Australia.
.- I think that Senator McColl should be content with taking advantage of item 167.
– That will not help him.
– Not by striking out the particular portion he spoke of?
– Yes, it would, if we chose to resort to it.
– I should think it would.
– Indeed, if they were machine tools, and could not be made here, they could come in under departmental by-laws.
– I think that it would suit Senator McColl. I. must confess that when I voted the other day in respect of machines for the ventilation of mines, I had in my mind a primary industry, which, I thought, had a greater right to be considered that that of engineering, which is not essentially a primary industry. Here is a case where machinery is required for the purpose of developing a primary industry - the woollen industry.
– Which is already highly protected.
– Quite so. and if it is necessary, we should further help the industry by allowing machinery required to carry it on, and which we do not make in the Commonwealth, to be admitted free.
– The proper course is to make the whole item free.
– I do not propose to support such a proposal as that, because it might have the effect of doing considerable injury to some other industry. If it can be shown that these machines are being manufactured locally, I am willing to support a duty upon them to encourage their manufacture here, but if not, as practical men we should allow them to be admitted free in order to give a further impetus to the development of the woollen industry.
– We have had no proof submitted that they are not being manufactured here.
– The mover of the request, and certain manufacturers, have asserted that they are not being madehere, and we have had no evidence from the other side that they are. Senator Needham must know that if these machines were being manufactured in the Commonwealth those whoare engaged in their manufacture would very quickly supply evidence to that effect.
– If these machines come under item 166, as machine tools, they can be admitted duty free, and the honorable senator will see that under item 167 dutiable goods can, by a resolution of Parliament, be made free.
– I propose to support the request submitted by Senator McColl, unless the Vice-President of the Executive Council, or some other honorable senator, is prepared to assert that these machines are at the present time being made in the Commonwealth.
– The honorable senator has just been shown that if we are not producing them they can be relieved of the payment of duty by other means than that proposed by Senator McColl.
– We are being asked to support a duty on them with, the understandingthat they may be exempt from duty by the adoption of the very difficult and uncertain process of the carrying of a resolution by both Houses on the motion of a Minister of the Crown. The Minister concerned, if a member of a highly protectionist Government, might not be willing to submit such a resolution, and, even if he were, it is conceivable that in some circumstances the resolution would not be passed, when to oppose and defeat it might be to secure a party advantage. I believe that these machines are not made in Australia, and are not likely to be made here in the near future, and I should like the VicePresident of the Executive Council to suggest some means for the further encouragement of the woollen industry in this direction other than the proposal to make the free admission of these machines dependent upon the condition set out in item 167.
.- These machines have never been subject to duty, and for a very good reason. We are dealing with a highly important and most promising industry. It is scarcely possible to set a limit to its future development. I have no wish to disparage the mining industry, but we are here dealing with a far more important question than the free admission of machinery and tools employed in that industry. A mine may be worked out in a few months, or in a few years, but the woollen industry of the Commonwealth will continue to develop and become more important as the machinery for carrying it on is ma.de more perfect. It is an industry, which, perhaps, above all others is deserving of every encouragement, and it would be foolish on our part to impose any handicap upon it. No local factory is likely to begin the manufacture of these machines, which are now being made in the’ Old Country as perfectly as human skill can suggest.
– We must make a start with their manufacture some day.
– We should encourage people to start something practical and sensible, and not the manufacture of machinery for which there is” very little demand. We have the raw material required for the woollen ‘industry in abundance in the Commonwealth, and by-and-by it will have been so thoroughly established that there will be no further need for -its protection. Locally manufactured blankets and woollens are very largely used now. I use only Australian blankets, and would not look at an English blanket, because, in my opinion, the Australian article is better and cheaper. I am prepared to- support Senator McColl’s request.
– I wish to point out to honorable senators who think with Senator Croft that there is a’ danger in the imposition of duties on machines that cannot now, and will not in the near future, be made in the Commonwealth, that what we have first to consider is that we are framing a Tariff for the protection and development of industries in Australia.
– And not to injure industries.
– No. What I wish to point out is that there is under the provisions already existing ample protection against the probability of a duty being imposed on machinery that it is impossible to make here. I remind Senator McColl of what he must have learned by this time, that a number of protectionist manufacturers who desire protection on their own products are continually craving for freetrade on the products of other manufac turers. We should not overlook thatSenator McColl has submitted a list of machines longer than the item under discussion. It is possible that the honorablesenator is acquainted with every one of” them, but I should imagine that he hasbeen informed by some manufacturer that it is difficult or impossible to obtain them here. If it is only difficult to’ obtain then* locally, that is not a sufficient reason for refusing to impose a duty upon them, becausethe imposition of such a duty might, and; very possibly would, make it easy to obtainthem here in the near future.
– I have not asked: that they should not be dutiable, but that, they should only be dutiable subject to departmental by-laws.
– The danger I see of enumerating these machines to bedutiable only subject to departmental bylaws, is that every time a release from bondi is sought to be achieved, a discussion wilt be raised, and the list we have created will, be extended. In my opinion, the onus of proving that these machines cannot be madein Australia should rest upon the manufacturer who makes the assertion, and wherethat is proved there is under the existing, provisions of the Tariff a sufficient assurance that such machinery will not have to pay duty.
– I think the Customsauthorities should prove that the machinery can be made here before they impose % duty upon it.
– I am not inclined to support: the. request, and I should not have spoken upon it had it not been for the concluding remarks made by Senator FraserThe honorable senator contended that thewoollen industry is a great and growing industry, and that the possibilities of its de:velopment are illimitable. The honorablesenator believes so much in the future development of the industry that he thinks; our local woollen manufacturers will ultimately be masters of the situation, and yet; in the same breath he says that there isno inducement to manufacturers of machinery to invest their capital in the manufacture of machines which are essential to the development of the woollen industry. If the woollen industry has the potential!-, ties which Senator Fraser has claimed for it there is every reason why, if the raa’chines are not being made in Australia atthe present time, encouragement should begiven for the investment of the capital that’ will conduce to their manufacture. But so> tfar no proof has been submitted that the particular machines enumerated in the list which I hold in my hand are not made in Australia. I fail to see why, if the manufacturers are prepared to pay15 per cent. on the machines enumerated in the latter portion of the list submitted, the remaining number should not be made here;particularly in view of the great possibilities or this great natural industry. We have protected the woollen industry in all its bearings right up to the hilt. Here again we see an exhibition of the inconsistency of my honorable friend, Senator McColl, in regard to his protectionist principles. We find him one day voting for semiprotection, and another day in the ranks of the free-traders.
– The honorable senator himself voted free-trade for mines and protectionist for everything else.
– If Senator Millen were as consistent in his free-trade views as I am in my protectionist views, his attitude would be easier to understand. It was proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that the particular blowers to which Senator Millen refers - machines necessary for the preservation of life - are not made in Australia.
– But what about highspeed engines?
– The honorable senator had not high-speed engines in his mind when he interjected.
– How does the honorable senator know what I had in my mind ? I was alluding to high-speed engines.
– We are not discussing mines at present, and, in any case, I should not like to pit my knowledge of mines against Senator Millen’s. We are discussing a proposal to eliminate certain words from the item. I shall oppose the request.
SenatorFraser.- It must be defeated, then !
– I suppose my vote carries as much weight as Senator Fraser’s. At all events, my name has appeared more frequently in the division list lately. Even if the machines referred to cannot be made here at present, the object which Senator McColl has in view can be achieved by making the item subject to departmental by-laws.
.- Ifind myself in sympathy with Senator McColl ‘s request for the very reason that Senator Fraser put in such forceful language. If there is one industry more than another which we should strive to encourage in every possible way, it is the woollen industry.
– Are we not doing that by imposing high duties?
– Do I understand from my protectionist friends that they call this a scientific Tariff? Do they think that because we have fixed duties which are much too high on manufactured articles - duties which most of the woollen mills said that they did not require - a scientific Tariff requires a heavy duty on machinery used by the woollen mills, and which cannot be made in Australia ?
– We have heard the yarn that things cannot be made here so often that I am getting tired of it.
– The very apostle of protection, the previous speaker, has admitted that the machines in question cannot be made in this country. Yet honorable senators want a high duty on them.
– Does not that argument apply to a number of other machines ?
– Of course it does. It applies to scores of things. As far as I can understand Senator Needham’s references to inconsistency they remind me of the aphorism that “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of a little mind.” I have come across a good deal of inconsistency, and a great many little minds during these Tariff debates. What is the use of imposing a high duty on a manufactured article and then taxing the machines by means of which the protected article is produced - especially when those machines cannot be manufactured in Australia?
– Has that been demonstrated ?
- Senator Best himself admitted that these machines cannot be made here.
– He did not say that.
– He said something very like it. Will my honorable friend go into any woollen factory and point out the machines in use which can be made in Australia?
– I was in one on Friday, and they told me that the manufacture of machinery in Australia, saved them £500 a year.
– Five hundred fiddlesticks ! Is it not well known that the centre of the woollen industry of the world is in the Mother -Country, and that it is there that machinery for woollen manufacture is made to the greatest perfection?
It is of no use to mislead ourselves. Which is the more important thing to do - to protect every little tinpot factory, or to encourage and develop in every way we can the primary industries which depend upon the soil ? What is the use of talking about immigration, if we are going to handicap our industries in this way? What has become of the so-called scientific Tariff? This Tariff that we ‘are considering is beginning to look like the work of a set of dunderheads, or men of little’ minds, and will be worse than the last one. I am going to vote for Senator McColl’s request.
– I do not intend to join in the tirade levelled against the consistency of some of my honorable friends, but I desire to explain why I intend to vote against the request proposed by Senator McColl. I believe - contrary to Senator Dobson’s view - that the item is in the direction of a scientific Tariff, whereas to carry Senator McColl ‘s request would be a clumsy step in the opposite direction. Senator Best, in replying to Senator McColl, clearly pointed out that his information was to the effect that a very large number of the machines enumerated can be and are being made in Australia.
– l said that myself.
– It would cost millions to establish an industry to make some of them in Australia
– But Senator McColl read out a list of machines, and pledged his faith to the whole of it. On the other hand the Vice-President of the Executive Council has assured us that his information is that a very large proportion of the machinery included in that list is already being made here, and that most of it can be made in Australia. If we desire to produce an unscientific Tariff, then we’ cannot do better than pile up high duties in favour of one industry, whilst, so to speak, «ee tax the life blood out of another that is receiving no advantage in the shape of protection. We have already done mu;h for the woollen industry, and, in respect of all its branches the Tariff assures it prosperity.
– Do not forget the hat industry.
– We have agreed to protective duties on hats, and I fail to see why the hat-making industry should not be prepared to bear its proportion of the cost of establishing other industries. I have not the slightest hesi tation in voting to cause it to do so. The hat industry may be said to be a branch of the woollen industry, and since we have done all within our power to insure its success, we should endeavour to bring into existence, or to support, other industries essentially associated with it. The position is altogether different in connexion with the item relating to mining machinery, which it was proposed to make free. When that question was under consideration. I could not lose sight of the fact that a very small percentage of labour is employed in the engineering yards of Australia as compared with the number of persons dependent on mining. The Committee, however, arrived at a decision, the’ effect of which will be to build up the engineering industry, whilst at the same time eating out the vitals of one of the most important industries that we have in the Commonwealth. It will be neces- sary for us to give great consideration at all times to the mining industry ; but since Senator McColl ‘s request relates to machinery used by a number of industries which have the assistance of protective duties, E cannot’ see my way to vote for it.
.- I cannot see my way clear to support the request moved by Senator McColl. When the arguments which he used in favour of this request were advanced in support of a request to reduce the duties on machinery used in other industries, the reply made by our protectionist friends was that the machinery in question could be made here. We know that this machinery can be made here as well as can any other class. Another consideration that weighs with me is that we have imposed exceedingly . heavy duties on hats, and that I ‘do not think it would be reasonable to admit free of duty the machinery required for hat making. Many of us thought that the duties on hats were too high, and I fail to see why we should be asked now to place that industry in a still better position. It is said that the revenue involved in respect of this request is something like £10,000 a year. That is a very small sum compared with the revenue collected in respect of duties on mining machinery not yet made in Australia. The hat-making industry .is so well protected that it can afford to pay. a duty of 15 per cent, on the machinery it imports. If the proposal were to place the machinery used by all industries on a similar footing-
– Would the honorable senator vote to make all machinery free?
– I should if all the items were combined; but I am not going to select for special treatment machinery used in an industry which is highly protected whilst that employed in industries having no protection is heavily taxed.
.- In accordance with your suggestion, Mr. Chairman, that the object which I have in view could be met by the introduction of a new paragraph in item 165, I propose, by leave, for the present to withdraw my request.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
Senator CHATAWAY (Queensland) (3.48]. - I propose to move a request which I hope the Government will accept. The object that I have in view is to remove from the paragraph under which it is dutiable at 25 per cent., and to include it in a paragraph under which it will be dutiable at 15 per cent., a machine which is the outcome of a series of experiments carried on during the last fifteen years, with a view of preparing molasses in a portable form. Had I been able to obtain before the information which I understand the Department require, I should have moved a request that this machine be included in a previous item, under which it would be free. Unfortunately I was unable to do so. The present system of carrying molasses in casks and tanks is very awkward ; but after a series of experiments there has been invented a machine which, first of all, disintegrates certain materials such as megasse, or the husks of corn, maize, and so forth, and saturates the powder so produced with molasses, of which it will absorb 72 per cent. of its own weight. Another part of the machinery converts this mixture into solid briquettes, and in that form it can be carried very conveniently over any distance. At present one of these machines is working successfully in England, and another, in all probability, will shortly be placed in position at one of the sugar mills in Queensland, of which the Government have control. My more recent information, apart from my general knowledge of the subject, has been derived from the Director of the Sugar Bureau in Queensland who is also controller of certain sugar mills. I had the pleasure of conversing with the expert attached to the Department, who pointed out that if the disintegrating, mixing and pressing process were done by different machines, each could probably be made in Australia; but I have ascertained from the Director of the Sugar Bureau that it is a combination machine which cannot be made here ; in the first place, because it is covered by patent rights, and, in the next place, because so few machinesare required that it would not pay to put down a plant for their manufacture. If every centre of molasses production used one of these machines, the whole number needed would not be more than forty or fifty. I do not intend to ask that this machine may be put on the free list - although its importance justifies its free admission ; I intend to move that it be made dutiable at 15 per cent. In the report of the Queensland Department of Agriculture for the year 1906, it is stated that of the 8,373,000 gallons of molasses produced in the preceding year - probably an under-estimate - 4,500,000 gallons were allowed to run into the creeks and rivers, or were otherwise wasted. It is therefore highly desirable that every encouragement should be given to the utilization of this valuable by-product. It would be of immense advantage to the farmers and pastoralists of Australia if in times of drought they could get molasses for their stock at a reasonable price. Of course, an immense quantity has been sent in tanks to dairying districts and elsewhere to feed stock ; but with proper appliances a much larger quantity of this valuable fodder would be available. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 165, paragraph A, by inserting after the words “Artesian Boring Machines “ the words “ Combination Machines to disintegrate, mix and compress molasses fodder.”
– I find myself in a position of some difficulty in regard to this machine, because it is not known in Australia. We have the assurance of Senator Chataway - upon which, of course, we may rely - that there is a machine of the kind working somewhere abroad.
– I also said that, in all probability, one will be shortly imported into Queensland.
– That may be; but our information regarding it is insufficient to enable us to say whether it can or cannot be made in Australia. As I have already explained, I look upon item 165 as a compromise agreed to by my honorable colleague, by which I am bound, and whilst it is my duty to vote against this proposal, I leave it to the Committee to say whether, under the circumstances, it is desirable to make the. machine- dutiable at 15 per cent.
If the request is not agreed to, the machine will be dutiable under paragraph b of item 162 at 25 and 20 per cent.
– To my mind, Senator Chataway made out a good case for the free admission of this machine. If what he says is correct, any duty imposed upon it will be merely revenue-producing, as the limited demand will prevent the manufacture of the machine in Australia. I shall not support the proposal to make the machine dutiable at 15 per cent., because I cannot vote for a revenue duty ; but I am willing to agree to a proposal to allow it to be admitted free.
– The Minister has not treated me quite fairly in saying that he knows nothing about the machine, since, fully a fortnight ago, I spoke to him on the subject, and I have also spoken to the departmental officers about it.
– Nothing is known in Australia about the machine. The honorable senator admitted that he knew nothing about it.
– The Minister is unnecessarily offensive. What I said was, that I did not know, until I had communicated with the Queensland Director of the Sugar Bureau, whether the machine can properly be called a combination machine ; apart from that, I have a considerable amount of information regarding it. The Minister has no right to speak as if this proposal were being sprung upon him without warning. In reply to Senator Stewart’s suggestion that I should move for the free admission of the machine, I may say that I am willing to do so, if it can be pointed out to me that it can be done ; but when I spoke to the Chairman about the matter privately this morning, he left on my mind the impression that that course was not now open to me.
Request agreed to.
.- I move -
That the House of Representatives be . requested to further amend item 165 by inserting the following new paragraph : - “ (aa) Machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials, as prescribed by Departmental by-laws, free.”
I have left out the words “ felt and felt hats,” because I think the Department can discriminate whether they should or should not come under this provision.
– I submit that the Committee cannot be asked to consider a new paragraph until it has finally dealt with paragraph a.
– The words “machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials” are part of paragraph a, and, in regard to them, Senator McColl proposes alternative treatment. After an item has been dealt with, it is not competent for the Committee to go back on its decisions in regard to it, and, therefore, we are adopting, in this case, a practice already followed on many occasions, allowing a new paragraph to be moved differentiating in respect to the treatment of some of the articles mentioned in the item. This has been found a convenient course, because it enables the Committee to know how each article of the item is to be treated bef ore it proceeds to fix the duties.
– In what way is it ait alternative proposal?
– If the machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials are not as prescribed by departmental by-laws, they will be dutiable at whatever rate the Committee applies to paragraph a. For that reason, they must be dealt with at this juncture.
– It seems to me that before we can consider any new paragraph we must deal with paragraph a. There might be some force in what you, Mr. Chairman, have said, if it were not competent for Senator McColl to give effect to his wishes by moving a request in respect to paragraph a.
- Senator McColl does not desire that these machines shall come in free if they do not comply with the conditions laid down in the departmental by-laws.
– Senator McColl’s proposal is that a certain class of machinery shall be dutiable unless it conforms to regulations prescribed by the Customs. Department.
– In which case they will be admitted free.
– I maintain that it is competent for Senator McCofl to move his proposal in the form of a separate paragraph after we have dealt with paragraph a. Only the other day you, sir, ruled that it was possible to add words which would have the effect of modifying a previous decision of the Committee.
– While the item was still within the control of the Committee.
– We are now dealing with machinery used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials, and following our usual practice I submit that we ought to deal with paragraph a before considering any fresh paragraph.
– In this matter I am anxious to be guided by the Chairman, but at the same time it is only fair that I should state my own view of it. If we agree to the duty proposed in respect of paragraph a - and I apprehend that is what is proposed - before we deal with the anew paragraph which Senator McColl wishes to introduce-
– We must deal with the body of the item before we deal with the duty proposed under the general Tariff.
– If we deal first with the body of the item it will be necessary to request the House of Representatives to strike out certain words which appear there.
- Senator McColl desired to move to omit from the body of the item the words “machinery, and parts thereof, used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials.” If that proposal had been carried, he intended to move the insertion of the following new paragraph -
Machinery, and parts thereof, used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials, as prescribed by Departmental by-laws, free.
I directed his attention to the fact that if the House of Representatives were requested to strike out the words which appear in the body of the item, and if he were then successful in carrying his second proposal, there would have been no duty applicable to machinery entering ourports which did not comply with the conditions prescribed by departmental by-laws.
– I have no desire to interfere with the convenience of anv honorable senator, but I wish to point out that the procedure which you, sir, have indicated should be followed is an irregular and improper one if we are to conform to our Standing Orders. I maintain that the proper course to adopt is for a member of the Committee to move that the consideration of paragraph a of this item be postponed until after the consideration of the proposed new paragraph which Senator McColl desires to move. I do not suppose that any one will object to such a postponement. Unless the course which
I have suggested be adopted I shall have very reluctantly to dissent from your ruling, because under our Standing Orders I do not think that it is competent for Sena tor McColl to move the insertion of a new paragraph before we have decided either to postpone the consideration of paragraph a of this item or before we have dealt with it in the ordinary way.
– I really think that some honorable senators misunderstand the object which you, sir, have in view in permitting Senator McColl to submit his proposal at the present stage to enable it to be considered before we deal with the duties under the general Tariff and under the Tariff for the United Kingdom.
– At. any rate, that is what I understand.
– I think, sir, it’ is possible for me to offer a suggestion which will obviate the necessity for you to give a ruling in. this matter. Senator McColl seeks to introduce a new paragraph which will make certain machinery which conforms to departmental by-laws free; otherwise, it will be dutiable at 15 per cent. I submit that Senator McColl should first move to strike out the words “ machinery and parts thereof, used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous material.”
– That cannot be done now, because we have already added to the paragraph by adopting the request submitted by Senator Chataway.
– Had we not adopted that request, the proper course Would have been for Senator McColl to have persisted in his proposal. Had that proposal been indorsed by the Committee, we could have dealt with paragraph a, including the duties set out under the “general Tariff and under the Tariff for the United Kingdom. Senator McColl could then have moved the insertion of an entirely new paragraph to read: “Machinery and parts thereof, used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials, subject to departmental by-laws, free.” I am satisfied that if we proceed to discuss new paragraphs before we deal with those which are already attached to the item we shall land ourselves in considerable difficulty.
– I cannot understand why honorable senators cannot see that the course which I propose to adopt is the only one which can be adopted in. conformity with the practice that has been followed throughout the Tariff discussion. The body of an item is the first portion with which we must deal. A motion can be submitted requesting the House of Representatives either to omit, or to ado, certain words to the body of the item, or to provide an alternative course in regard to articles already specified in it.
– As an addition?
– Yes. Senator McColl’s proposal deals with articles already enumerated in the item. It affirms that these articles shall be differentiated from the others by being subjected to one of two courses of treatment. If they comply with departmental by-laws they will be admitted free, if they do not, they will be dutiable at 15 per cent. It must be obvious to honorable senators that if we agree to the body ofthe item, and proceed todeal with the duty set out under the general Tariff, the Committee will then have affirmed that the articles specified in the item shall be liable to that uniform duty. In other words, whatever rate we may adopt will govern the whole of the articles in the item. Having decided the rate of dutv which should be payable upon these articles, we could not then go back to the body of the item, either for the purpose of omitting from or adding to it. Therefore, I . propose to allow Senator McColl to submit his proposal -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 165 by inserting the following new paragraph : - “ (aa) Machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibious materials, as prescribed by Departmental by-laws, free.”
– I wish to dissent from the Chairman’s ruling.
– I have to inform the Committee that Senator Clemons has, in the following terms, dissented from my ruling that Senator McColl’s request can be received : -
I dissent from the ruling of the Chairman to the effect that Senator McColl is at liberty to move a new paragraph to paragraph 165 (a) before that paragraph has been either disposed of or postponed.
In the Senate:
The Chairman of Committees. - In Committee on the Customs Tariff Bill, item 165, paragraph a, a request was agreed to to insert certain words after the words “ artesian boring machines “ in the last line, of the paragraph. Senator McColl then moved a request to insert a new subitem aa as follows -
Machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials, as prescribed by Departmental By-laws, free.
A point of order was raised that I could not receive such a request until after the rates of duty on paragraph a had been dealt with. I ruled that it could be received, and was in conformity with the practice followed throughout the consideration of the schedule. Senator Clemons dissented from my ruling. I wish to draw your attention, Mr. President, to the important fact that the words which Senator McColl proposed to move, or part of them - “ Machinery and parts thereof, used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials . . . “ - are already in the body of the paragraph. Senator McColl’s request repeated those words with the addition of “as prescribed by departmental by-laws, free.” The effect of his proposal, if carried, would be that if the machines complied with the conditions laid down by departmental by-laws they would be free, whereas if they did not so comply they would be dutiable at whatever rate the Committee thought fit to fix in regard to paragraph a. My reason for allowing Senator McColl to move his request at that stage was that, if we passed paragraph a and also fixed the duties in the first and second columns, we could not subsequently receive any other proposition affecting in any way the articles named in paragraph a. If the Committee had carried the duties as they stand,it would, have affirmed that the duty on “ machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials . . . “ should be 15 per cent.
– That would have been passed under the Chairman’s direction when he advised Senator McColl to withdraw his amendment to strike those words out of paragraph a.
The Chairman of Committees. - I did not give that direction on the floor of the House, although I am prepared to do so. Senator McColl came to me, and I drew his attention to the fact that, as he proposed to have two classes of treatment for this kind of machinery, it was not necessary to omit the words from paragraph a, because, if the machinery did not comply with the departmental by-laws, obviously there must be some provision under which it could be dealt with. It was therefore necessary still to retain the words in the body of paragraph a in order that, if the machines did not comply with the departmental by-laws, they should become dutiable and duty could be collected on them. If, however, he moved to omit the words from the body of paragraph a, and also proposed new paragraph aa, then, . if the machines did not comply with the departmental by-laws, they would fall under “ Machinery n.e.i.” and probably have to pay very much higher duties - I believe 30 per cent. (general Tariff), and 25 per cent. (United Kingdom). In order that Senator McColl should have an opportunity to ask the Committee to agree that there should be’ two methods of dealing with this machinery - which was his wish when he moved the original proposition that he afterwards withdrew, for he did not want to allow all this machinery to come in free, but desired that it should come in free only when it complied with the departmental by-laws - it was obviously undesirable from his point of view to omit the words from paragraph a. What he wanted to test the feeling of the Committee upon was the proposal that the machines should be dutiable if they did not comply with the departmental by-laws, and free if they did.
– I understand that Senator McColl wished that “ Machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials . . . . “ should pay duty if it did not comply with departmental by-laws, and be free if it did.
The Chairman ofCommittees. - Yes, and the point is whether, as we have dealt with the body of paragraph, a up to the last line, he can move his proviso now. I ruled that if the Committee fixed the duties on paragraph a we could not then return to deal with those articles in any way. Our decision would then be irrevocable, and any request to deal in any other fashion with article? upon which we had already fixed the duty would be contradictory to a decision of the Committee. Otherwise, we should land ourselves in the position that any honorable senator could at this late stage move to include in the item now before us articles which the Committee dealt with days ago, but which are machinery of different classes. Moreover, the practice which I have now laid down has been adopted in a more or less qualified form throughout the consideration of this schedule. For instance, on item 134, dealing with trimmings and ornaments, a request was moved, before the Committee dealt with the rates of duty, to leave out of the item certain articles and make them free.
– That is another matter altogether.
The Chairman of Committees. - They are not quite on all-fours, but to some extent the cases are similar. It was proposed in that case to have, not two methods of treatment, but only one. We dealt with the body of the item in that instance, and practically made certain articles free under a new paragraph b, whereas a rate of duty was fixed on the other articles. In item 86, “ Nuts edible,” the first paragraph was “a. Cocoanuts, whole, per cwt, is.” To that an amendment was moved to insert the followirig new paragraph “ aa. Cocoanuts, whole, for the manufacture of cocoanut oil and cake and other substances, under de partmental by-laws, free.”
– That was added after the first paragraph was agreed to. I moved it myself.
The Chairman of Committees. - That is not my recollection. My ruling may be, and is in many respects, novel, but I submit that if Senator McColl were not given an opportunity of dealing with the matter now the item would pass from the control of the Committee after we dealt with the duties in the first and second columns. It is a point of vital importance that Senator McColl does not wish to omit the words in question from the body of paragraph a, because he does not desire to allow all machines of this class to come in free. He wishes them to come in free only when they comply with departmental bylaws. This was therefore his only opportunity of moving his request.
– I think you, Mr. President, have already seen that the question has been looked upon by the Chairman of Committees from two entirely different points of view - first, the desire of Senator McColl, and, secondly, his own desire to promote Senator McColl’s convenience. Another aspect of the question is, of course, the bearing of our Standing Orders and of our general practice upon it.It is not desirable that the convenience ofa member of the Committee should atany time come into conflict with our Standing Orders. It is never desirable that it should take precedence of them. But with regard to the question of convenience, you will see, if you look at the item, that Senator McColl might have fully secured his object if he had moved to leave out of paragraph a, while it was before the Committee, the words “ Machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous material and felt, and felt hats,” and indicated that he intended, .if that request was agreed to, to move for the addition of two new paragraphs, as follow -
– We had touched it, but it is still within the competence of the Committee to add dozens of other words to the main part. As a matter of fact, the Chairman, by his ruling, broke off at once the possibility of any further words being added to the item, such as those already added by the request of Senator Chataway. I think that, with regard to the procedure, the position is quite clear. I cannot conceive of any other way of postponing an item except by motion. I cannot conceive of the possi-bility of dealing with a new item until the item which precedes it has either been dealt with in the ordinary way or postponed on motion. ,
– Senator McColl has moved a new paragraph to the item, to be called paragraph 165aa, and, as I understand the Chairman’s ruling, it is that we shall address ourselves to that proposal, now. But, assuming that I desire machinery for the manufacture of paper to be dealt with under similar circumstances, what, then; would be the position? I should be jambed in between item 165, paragraph a, and Senator McColl’s proposed paragraph aa of the item. Assuming that I did not desire machinery for the manufacture of paper to be touched at all by departmental by-laws, what would the position be ? I do not know what the position of any honorable senator would be who wished for the particular treatment of any. commodity. ‘ Some might wish certain ma-, chinery to be under departmental by-laws, and other honorable senators, in regard to other machinery, might desire the reverse. Our powers of omission have proved most useful, and it seems to me that Senator McColl ought to be restricted to what I consider has been the practice in this Committee. If the honorable senator desires any particular commodity to have separate treatment, he may move that it be omitted from the item. It is clear that the ruling of the Chairman, if acted upon, would be against precedent and the Standing Orders, and, moreover, would be inconvenient and undesirable to honorable senators who desire special treatment for certain commodities.
– May I point out that no later than Friday last, when dealing with the second part of item 162, Senator de Largie moved that the House of- Representatives be requested to further amend the item by adding after sub-item b a new subitem “(bb) Fans for Mines .. . . free.” As I understand the contention, it is that we have to settle the item under consideration as regards the body of it, and also the two columns containing the duties, before we can consider the new sub-item I desire to move. On Friday, however, Senator de Largie was allowed to move a new sub-item before the original item had been disposed of. . .
– Senator de Largie’s request was to amend an existing item.
– On the request, submitted by Senator de Largie on Friday, the Committee divided with ayes 10 and noes t6. Thereupon, Senator Millen moved that the House of Representatives should be requested to make the duty on machines and machinery n.e.i., 12) per cent. That request was withdrawn; and then Senator de Largie moved that the House of Representatives should be requested to further amend the item by adding the following new sub-item : - “ (bb) Fans for use in Mines and Factories….. ad val. 5 per cent.”
That question was put to the Committee, and was defeated by 13 votes to 10. This shows that there is no necessity to wait until the item and duty columns have been dealt with, before a new sub-item may be moved.
– In a matter of this kind, I should have been well satisfied to be guided by the Chairman, who has, undoubtedly laid down a practice for himself in regard to these matters. I admit that the Chairman must be permitted a degree of latitude in laying down what the practice should be; but, so far as I am aware, there has been no case analogous to the present one. There is no doubt that we have established the practice that we can strike out any portion of an item, or put any portion into a new sub-item. That has been done frequently j but in this case, the position is that we have carried the item down to “ Machinery and parts thereof, used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials and felt, and felt hats.”
– We have made no request.
– We have inserted after the words “ Boring Machines “ and before * ‘ ad valorem ‘ ‘* the words of Senator Chataway’ s request. The item has, therefore, been carried to that extent. The proposal now is to take out some of the words which have already been carried, and give a different meaning to them. That could be done clearly in the item itself. That is to say, we could modify the item itself, so as to give the qualification ; but, strictly speaking, the correct way would be to insert after the words “ Machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials and felt, and felt hats,” the words “ except machinery . and parts thereof prescribed by departmental bylaws.” That clearly appeals to my judg- ment as the proper course. But, in view of your ruling the other day, Mr. President - with which I may say, with respect, I agree - I think it is still open to Senator McColl, at the end of the item, to insert the exception to which I have referred.
– That would have to be a sub-item-.
– The honorable gentleman will not find a similar case in the whole Tariff.
– We are now dealing with the item itself, and, not having finished the item, it is suggested that we should simply add the qualification. The ruling, however, is to leave the item alone and go. to another item.
– And under what standing order could we get back to the original item?
– The difficulty is, how to get back to the original item. I admit, of course, that the President may take a different view ; but that which I have expressed, is my view. However, we shall all be satisfied, so long as we have a definite practice laid down.
– The point really before you, sir, is, Can a new paragraph be taken before the previous one has been dealt with ? I do not propose to -say anything about the convenience of honorable senators, or even to discuss whether it is possible for Senator McColl to do what he wants to do, but to confine my remarks to the point I have stated. Suppose that the new paragraph suggested by Senator McColl were already in the Tariff, would it be contended that we could pass from paragraph a and consider a new paragraph aa without having postponed paragraph a ? .1 do not think so. If we could not pass from what was printed in the schedule - and Senator Pearce admits that we could not - under what standing order or previous procedure can it be said that we can pass from the paragraph under discussion to discuss an entirely new paragraph, and having done that, go back to the item which had been brushed on one side for the time being ? I cannot conceive that it is arguable that there is any possibility of passing from the paragraph under discussion on to another paragraph, and then going back to the paragraph which had been shelved. Senator Pearce has stated that there was no other procedure possible. There were at least half-a-dozen other ways possible. Senator Best has already suggested one way, and when the suggestion was made, an interjection from Senator Pearce conveyed to my mind the fact that so far he has missed the wide difference between a tack at the end of an item and a new sub-item. It was entirely competent for Senator McColl to tack on to the body of the item words which would not have been absent from the subitem, and his request would’ have been in order. Originally he proposed a request to strike out certain words. He withdrew that proposal for reasons which, no doubt, seemed good to him ; but had he persisted with it, and the Committee had agreed with him, he could have proposed later on a request to re-insert the words as a new subitem. Senator Pearce said that that would only be providing for the articles to be free, whereas Senator McColl wished to have an alternative treatment. That new sub-item, if introduced, could have provided, not merely for a dual or alternative treatment, but for half-a-dozen kinds of treatment. The proper course for the honorable senator to have pursued was to move a request for the omission of the words, and when we had dealt with paragraph a, to submit a request for the re-introduction of the words as paragraph a a or b, dutiable at 15 per cent. under one set of circumstances, and free under another set. That opportunity was missed by the withdrawal of his original request. But the mere fact that an honorable senator has missed an opportunity does not give us the right to depart from the Standing Orders. Even though Senator McColl missed that opportunity, a further way was open to him, as has been suggested by Senator Best, and still later, if the Committee had agreed with him, he could have moved for the recommittal of the item. I do not know that the convenience or the order in which he should proceed has much to do with the argument. To my mind the whole point is : Can we proceed with the consideration of a new paragraph before the one under discussion has been dealt with? With regard to the precedents quoted by Senator McColl, I would point out that the proposals then dealt with were requests to amend item 162. In this case he does not propose to ask the other House to amend a paragraph of an item, but to leave it for the time being, and to ask that House reinsert an entirely new paragraph, which is something very different from dealing with a request to amend the item under discussion.
– It is well that I should clearly understand what really was Senator McColl’s object with regard to his request, and the reason for his withdrawal of the previous one. I gather that, first of all, he contemplated moving for the omission of the words “ machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials,” but that, subsequently, he withdrew from that position with the object of moving, later on, a request for the insertion of a new paragraph - (aa) Machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials, as prescribed by Departmental by-laws, free.
I also understand that Senator McColl desires to leave in item 165 the words as they stand at present, because he fears that the departmental by-laws might only prescribe for a limited portion of the machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials.
– And also to alter the duty.
– Of course. Suppose that there were half-a-dozen articles which came under the head of “ machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials.” Senator McColl’s request was submitted, I understand, with the expectation that possibly only three of those articles might be admitted free under departmental by-laws. Our Standing Orders are really not of very great assistance in determining a question of this character, for the simple reason that the procedure is absolutely novel, and the Standing Orders Committee have not taken into consideration how requests in respect of Bills of this class should be submitted. I take it that we have to look a great deal more to the substance than to the particular form in which requests are to be submitted. We do not amend the Bill at all - and that is,I think, the marked distinction between the present position and the position we should be in with an ordinary Bill - we do not amend the Bill, but simply make requests for its amendment. If the other House agrees with our request, it amends the Bill in the way which is considered desirable, in order to make it more acceptable. It appears to me that it would be in the same position as if the Bill had been recommitted in its own Chamber for the purpose of considering certain amendments : the whole of a clause would be brought under consideration. Suppose, for -the sake of argument, that we adopt the ruling given by the Chairman of Committees. Item 165 would go back to the other House witha request for a duty of 15 per cent. on “ machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials,” and also with a request that an amendment should be made so as to provide that a portion of that machinery should be admitted free “ as prescribed by departmental- by-laws.” It would, I take it, be perfectly competent for the other Chamber to make the amendment either in the form which had been desired by this Chamber, or in another form that would more clearly and definitely express that desire. I think it would have been better for Senator McColl first to have moved a request for the omission of the words from the principal item, and, later on, to have submitted a request for the insertion of a sub-item taking in the whole of these particular articles of manufacture, but asking that they should pay a duty of 15 per cent. unless they were manufactured “ as prescribed by departmental by-laws.” Had that course been taken, I think that we should have got over the difficulty without very much trouble. But the question arises, Can we go back and deal with the paragraph, as desired by Senator McColl? I have referred to the way in which item 162 was dealt with on Friday. A reference has been made to one or two other items, but I do not propose to refer to them, as I have not got them quite before my mind just now. The item before the Committee on Friday was- and on and after28th November, 1907 -
Before the question of the duty was determined Senator de Largie submitted a request for the insertion of a new paragraph - “ bb, Fans for mines, free.” No exception was taken to the request.
– It ought to have been objected to.
– That is beside the question just now. The procedure was allowed by the Committee. It accepted the way in which the Chairman had seen fit to put the motion, which was negatived. . It may be said that in this case wehave the words specifically mentioned which it is desired to deal with later on. I would point out that the words “ machines and machinery, n.e.i.,” in paragraph b of item 162 practically covered every possible class of machine and machinery which had not been elsewhere included, and, of course, included “ fans for mines,” although they were not specifically mentioned therein. I do not think that because in one case the articles are specifically mentioned and in the other case the articles are included in a generic term, a distinction can be drawn with regard to the position taken up by the Committee at that time. I think that the present case is pretty well on all-fours with the case referred to last week. Then the question was with regard to dealing with the amount of duty. Had a request for the insertion of the words “ fans for mines, free “ been carried, we should have been in the same position, I take it, as we should be in if Senator McColl’s request for the insertion of certain words were agreed to. Then the Committee dealt with the question of the duty. Senator Millen moved a request that the duty in the general Tariff should be fixed at 12½ per cent. That request was withdrawn, and Senator de Largie moved a request for a duty of 5 per cent. on “ fans for use in mines and factories,” which, of course, came under the generic term of “ machines and machinery n.e.i.”. That motion was considered and negatived, and then Senator Millen submitted a request for a reduction of the duty to 12½ per cent. To all intents and purposes items 162 and 165 appear to be on the same footing.
– But if both proposals were wrong?
– The Committee has already accepted that method of dealing with the question. Of course, it is perfectly open to raise the question on a later item, although to a certain extent it may be inconvenient. I admit at once that if it could be shown that the method taken- in. the first instance was absolutely wrong it would not justify us in adhering to a bad precedent. This, I repeat, is an entirely novel position in which we find ourselves. Senator Clemons has dissented from the ruling of the Chairman - that Senator McColl is at liberty to move a new paragraph to paragraph 165a before that paragraph has been either disposed of or postponed.
I assume that by the use of the word “ postponed “ is meant the fixing of the duty. The question comes in whether it is a matter of important substance or form which we are to deal with. If we send the Bill back to the other House with the proposal which has been submitted by SenatorMcColl, will it truly embody the opinion arrived at by the Committee while dealing with item 165a? Clearly if that item were passed altogether we could not go back upon the position taken up except on a recommittal. I think that in the circumstances, and in view of the novelty of the position, and, further, in order that the Committee may be given the fullest possible opportunity within reasonable bounds to express its will and opinion, the ruling of the Chairman should be accepted
In Committee :
– I have already explained that as the Government regard this item as a compromise, I shall be obliged to adhere to it. The proposal submitted by Senator McColl is, I think, a little more serious than the honorable senator contemplates. He proposes to. single out one industry, and, in regard to it alone, not merely to exempt machine tools in the terms of item 166, which applies to the whole of the machinery division of the Tariff, but also machinery used in this industry. I hope the honorable senator sees what an extraordinary innovation that would be. According to item 166, it is. competent for machine tools used in any of the industries affected by this particular division to be exempt from duty, as prescribed by departmental by-laws.
– But not the machinery ?
– Exactly: Senator McColl wishes to go a step further than what we have hitherto provided for, and to say that machinery should be made free of duty under the same conditions as machine tools. I think that is an unreasonable proposal. Should it be carried it would be very difficult for the Committee to resist the application of a similar proviso to every other industry, and that might prove disastrous to what we are seeking to do in this division of the Tariff. It might result in largely nullifying the whole of our work in the imposition of protective duties on machinery. I wish honorable senators to realize the full import of the request which Senator McColl has submitted.
– I should like to knew now where I am. If I understand the position, Senator McColl is now at liberty to submit to the Committee a request for the insertion of a new paragraph to item 165 to enable machines and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials to be admitted free, subjectto departmental by-laws. I wish to secure the free admission of machinery for the manufactureof paper without the limitation imposed by the words “ subject to departmental by-laws.” Perhaps the Chairman will be good enough to inform me how I can give effect to what I desire.
– -If it is the honorable senator’s desire that machinery for the manufacture of paper should be admitted free absolutely, I am afraid that he has missed his opportunity. He should. have moved the omission of that machinery “from the body of the item, and then havesubmitted a request for a new paragraph under which it would be admitted free. It is still, however, competent for the honorable senator to secure the admission of” machinery for the manufacture of paper free, subject to departmental by-laws, by moving an amendment upon Senator McColl’s request to include that machinery in that request, or ‘by moving a request for the insertion of another paragraph providing for its free admission under that condition. The honorable senator will! see that in order to make that machinery free without qualification it should have been omitted from the body of the item, and as Senator Chataway has moved a. request for an amendment in a later part of the item, we cannot now go back to amend a preceding part of it.
– I think I now understand the difficulty in which I am placed through not having anticipated the mode of procedure to be adopted. I desire to secure the free admission of other items of machinery not mentioned in item 165, and; not specifically dealt with in any of the items which we have already passed. Is it still competent for me to move a request for the free admission of. these items of machinery ?
– If the machinery which the honorable senator desires shall be free of duty is included in the item specifically, or under the n.e.i. provision, it will be competent for him to move a request to make them free if he avails himself of the proper opportunity to do so. But I repeat that the honorable senator cannot now move a request to strike anythingout of the body of this item, and he can only deal with machinery referred to in it by submitting a request similar to that moved by Senator McColl.
.-I think that the Vice-President of the Executive Council in the last remarks he hasmade has been trying to draw a red herring across the track. A very great number of machines are used in this industry, some of which can be made here whilst others cannot. The Committee does not desire to impose revenue duties on ma- chinery that cannot be made here. It is impossible in this instance for us to say what machinery required in this industry can be madehere and what cannot, and I propose, as we have done in connexion with other items in the Tariff, to leave it to the Customs authorities by by-law to determine which of these machines can be made here. I propose that under that* by-law the machinery that cannot be made here should be allowed to come in free, whilst the machinery that can be made here would be dutiable. The distinction sought to be raised between tools and machinery is simply absurd, because what would apply to one would apply to the other.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 165 by inserting the following new paragraph : - “ aa. Machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials as prescribed by Departmental by-laws, free “ (Senator McColl’s request) - put. The Committee divided. ,
Majority … … 19
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [5.18].- I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 165, paragraph a (imports under General Tariff), 10 per cent.
The duty under the old Tariff was 121/2 per cent, on some of the imports under this item, whilst the rest were free. It does not seem to me that any reason has been offered for increasing the duties upon articles so largely used in connexion with some of our most important industries. I do not propose to elaborate the matter or to point out in detail, as I might readily do, the strong reasons for a reduction of the duty that can be offered under almost every one of the headings in this division, because I feel that I can trust honorable senators to supply very many of them by the exercise of their own memories.
– I hope that the Committee will see their way to abide by the item as it stands, which is the result of a compromise in another place. Originally, the Government sought to make the duty 25 per cent., with a preference of 5 per cent, in favour of the. United Kingdom. The Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 20 per cent. The Government were unsuccessful, after a vigorous fight, in securing the protection that they desired. Ultimately, it was agreed that 15 per cent, was a fair rate. I urge honorable senators to fall in with this reasonable protective duty.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [5.25]. - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 165, paragraph a (imports from the United Kingdom) to per cent.
As the item stands, the duty in the second column is precisely the same as that in the general Tariff. That is to say, we give a preference to the United Kingdom of exactly the same rate as we impose against the rest of the world. I feel sure that that was not intended by another place. At any rate, I hope that it will not be intended by us.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of Represenatives , be requested to amend item 165, paragraphb, by leaving out the words “ Slotting Machines, sizes up to, 12-in. stroke ; Centering Machinesto center up to 6-in. diameter; Bolt Screwing and Nut Tapping, combined or separate, sizes above -in. and up to 2-in.”
I am advised that the machines enumerated in my request cannot be made in. the Commonwealth, and that if any of them are possibly made here they are not up-to-date machines. These are tools of trade, and to make them free will help those engaged in manufacturing industries.
– My honorable friend is acting on wrong information. This subject was inquired into by the Tariff Commission, who recommended that the particular machines enumerated in Senator Dobson’s request, of the sizes specified in the item, could be made in the Commonwealth, and therefore should be dutiable. Similar machines of other sizes are already free. Senator Dobson has evidently moved under the impression that the duty was not limited to machines of certain sizes.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 165, paragraphb, by leaving out the words “ Blowers n.e.i.”
It will be remembered that I intimated some time ago that it was my intention to propose a request to the House of Representatives to leave out the words “ Blowers n.e.i.” in this item. As a matter of fact the words are out of place here.
– I should like to know if “ Blowers n.e.i.” are confined to furnace blowers, or whether they include ventilation blowers?
– We have decided to include in the free list high pressure blowers for smelting and turbo-blowers. Blowers n.e.i.” includes all other classes of blowers than turbo and high pressure blowers.
– For what purpose?
– For all purposes.
Request agreed to.
Item 166. Machine Tools, as prescribed by Departmental by-laws, free.
– I would point out that under item 171 saws are dutiable at 15 per cent. If there is one tool which more than another ought to be free it is the ordinary handsaw.
– Item 171 refers to circular saws. Hand-saws are free under item 168.
– I am glad to receive that assurance.
Item agreed to.
Item 167. Any dutiable machinery, or machine tool, or any part thereof specified in any proclamation issued by the Governor-General in pursuance of a joint address passed on the motion of Ministers by both Houses of the Parliament, stating that such machinery, machine tool, or part cannot be reasonably manufactured within the Commonwealth, and that it should be admitted free, free.
.- I think it is undesirable to use in this item the words “ cannot be reasonably manufactured within the Commonwealth.” Those words cover the future as well as the present, and an industry might be handicapped because of the inability of the Parliament to declare that certain machinery could not be “ reasonably “ manufactured here. For a dozen reasons such machines might not be manufactured in the Commonwealth, and there might be half-a-dozen reasons why their manufacture within a reasonable time would be improbable. Surely, having set up a number of industries by means of protective duties, we do not desire to retard their operations by refusing to admit free of duty, on the ground that two or three years must elapse before it can be manufactured here, the machinery required by them. I should like to substitute for the words “ cannot be reasonably manufactured “ the words “ which are not being manufactured in the Commonwealth and as to which there is no probability of their being manufactured within a reasonable time.”
– The words to which Senator Dobsbn objects appear in the first Federal Tariff ; they have been agreed to by another place and are well known and recognised. They seemto give full discretion to Parliament to determine whether or not certain machinery should be free. IfParliament in the exercise of the wide discretion for which this item provides comes to the conclusion that certain machines or machine tools cannot be reasonably manufactured within the Commonwealth it has power to declare that they shall be admitted free. I hope that the honorable senator will not press his objection.
– Our intention in using these words is probably well understood.
– We must give Parliament the widest discretion.
– I recognise that that is whatis desired by the useof the word ‘ ‘ reasonably “; but we must not forget that this provision may have to be construed elsewhere, and that the word “ reasonably “ is a very difficult one to interpret. It would be well to omit it.
– Its omission would cut down the discretion proposed to be given to Parliament.
– I think not.
– There has been no complaint about the use of the words in question.
– I think that it would be better to use the words suggested by Senator Dobson ; but if the Committee is satisfied, I shall be content to point out hereafter the possible danger arising from the use of the word “ reasonably.”
.- What standard is Parliament to adopt in determining whether or not a. machine can be reasonably manufactured within the Commonwealth ? Is it to consider lack of skill or want of opportunity or of capital? We may be able to make a cer tain machine in the Commonwealth, but the demand for it may not be sufficient to induce any one to erect the necessary plant. The words to which I have objected are most inappropriate.
– Is not the word “ reasonably “ used in order to enable Parliament to exercise the widest discretion ?
– I recognise that it affords a loop-hole; but I should like the item to be amended in the direction I have suggested. If. however, the Minister will not give way, I shall not press my objection.
– I should like the Minister to answer Senator Dobson’s objection. Apart altogether from the difficulties associated with the interpretation of the word “ reasonably,” it will be recognised that the determination of whether or not a certain machine can be made in Australia will rest entirely with Ministers.
– The question will be determined by both Houses of Parliament.
– On the motion of a Minister of the Crown. I might be in a better position than a member of the Government to put before Parliament the whole facts relating to the manufacture of certain machinery; but under this provision, I could not take action. It is true that I could submit a motion affirming the desirableness of action being taken by the Minister, but for various reasons, some months might elapse before such a motion could be dealt with. I recognise that the responsible Minister should have such a power as this ; but surely, if it is possible to avoid difficulty hereafter by substituting for the word “ reasonably” a more suitable word, we ought to do so.
– I would point out first of all that the address referred to in the item must be passed by both Houses of the Parliament.
– On the motion of a Minister.
– Certainly. The honorable senator, I am sure, recognises that it is one of the first principles of responsible government that the Ministry of the day shall have control of the administration. They must have particularly the control of the Department of Trade and Customs, and be intimately acquainted with what is necessary for its effective administration. The initiation of taxation at the instance of a private member would be a most alarming departure .from all parliamentary procedure. In the first place, a message from the GovernorGeneral is necessary, and such a message is given by the Governor-General only on the advice of his Ministers. To attempt to take this matter out of the hands of the Government of the day, would be a complete departure from the procedure and practice of Parliament, and a nonrecognition of the due responsibilities of Ministers. The power of the Senate will not be limited under this provision. It will be competent for any honorable senator to move the adjournment of the Chamber in order to make a certain suggestion, or to move an abstract motion affirming the desirableness of admitting certain machinery free. The address must be passed by both Houses. So long as the _ Government possess the confidence of another place, where there is a majority of Ministers, it may be taken for granted that they will be in complete touch with the necessities as they may arise in the extraordinary circumstances that are set forth here. I would urge, therefore, that my honorable friend is mistaken in assuming that the Senate is limited by the use of these words. They are usual, and are in strict accordance with our ideas of responsible government.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [5.50]. - It was refreshing, but at the same time astounding, to hear the declaration just made by the VicePresident of the Executive Council. He urged that all taxation must be initiated by a Minister, and that it is utterly unconstitutional to propose any other course; but during the last few weeks he has, time and again, supported the efforts of private senators to initiate taxation. His action in doing so has been challenged, and now he himself admits the enormity of the offence. He decries that which he has done over and over again. However, as lie has pleaded guilty, if he will go and sin no more, like another historical character, I shall forgive him ; but his topsy-turvey conduct has been so extraordinary that, although I have been holding ray peace in the endeavour to get the Tariff disposed of rapidly, I cannot allow it to pass without comment. In the hope that he has offended for the last time, I shall vote with him on this occasion.
– The statement of the VicePresident of the Executive Council raises a rather nice question. Senator Croft has suggested that dutiable machinery or machine tools cannot be made free under item 167 unless a joint address is passed by both Houses of the Parliament on the motion of Ministers ; that an address so carried on the motion of private members would be of no effect. The Minister has replied that the right to initiate taxation cannot be taken from a Government without an expression of want of confidence in it. That is quite true, so far as the imposition of taxation is concerned; but questions as to when and how taxation should be remitted differ entirely from questions as to when and how it should be imposed. Ministries have been ‘defeated over and over again in regard to proposals for the imposition of taxation ; but item 167 deals with the remission of taxation.
– The principle is the same.
– I submit that it is different. If it were not, it would be difficult for a Parliament to remit taxation. Proposals for the imposition of taxation are always introduced on the responsibility of Ministers, who, if an attempt were made to interfere with this constitutional right, would resign. But here we are dealing with the remission of taxation, and we are asked to enact that, notwithstanding that both Houses of Parliament may declare for remission, a joint address to that effect is to be of no avail unless passed on the motion of Ministers. There might be a particular machine tool or piece of machinery Which it would be advantageous to admit free, and which Parliament might wish to admit free; but Ministers, acting on the advice of their departmental officers, might be opposed to any remission of duty
– A ‘ most unlikely case.
– We have to provide for contingencies.
– Under such circumstances the Government would have to resign.
– I think that Parliament might pardon a Ministry for not knowing all about the manufacture or use of one or two machine tools. Ministers cannot be expected to be responsible to the fullest extent for every error of judgment made by their officials. This Parliament has always contended that it has the right to remit taxation, and has at times exercised that right. I recognise, however, that there is little hope of getting the wording of the item altered.
Item agreed to.
Item 168 (Tools of Trade) agreed to.
Item 169. Mixed Metalware and Platedware, n.e.i., ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent., and on and after 16th November, 1907, 25 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent., and, on and after 16th November, 1907, 20 per cent.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [6.0]. - A little while ago, when I had moved a request, the Vice-President of the Executive Council quoted against me the report of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission. I now quote the report of that body against him. The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 20 per cent. on mixed metalware and platedware, a rate which is 5 per cent. higher than that recommended by the free-trade section, and 5 per cent. higher than the duty in the old Tariff. I therefore move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 169 (imports under General Tariff) 20 per cent.
I do not think that anything is to be gained by making a speech on this proposal, because honorable senators seem to be very little interested in, or influenced by, speeches on the Tariff. I shall therefore content myself with taking a vote on the request.
– I hope that the Committee will negative the request. When the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 20 per cent., a preferential rate in favour of Great Britain had not been suggested. Those who desire that preference be given to the Mother Country should vote for a duty of 25 per cent. on the general Tariff, to allow a margin for preference. I ask honorable senators not to do in this case what has been done in many other items, namely, make the rate under the general Tariff so low that it will not be possible to givea preference to British imports.
– The remarks of Senator McGregor enable me to make a point which ought to be made. They amount to this : that a preference cannot be given to Great Britain unless the rate against that country is sufficiently high to keep out her productions. I am pleased to have this opportunity to draw attention to the plain statement of the leader of the Socialist party, although the position has already been made clear by many of the votes which we have had. He has told us frankly that a preference is not to be given to Great Britain unless the general Tariff is made so high that a margin is given for a preferential rate which will still keep out her productions. The honor able senator is to be congratulated onhaving exploded much of the oratory expended by the Prime Minister at the recent Imperial Conference.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 5
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 169 (imports, from the United Kingdom), 15 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Item 170. (a) Manufactures of Metal n.e.i. , ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent.; and on and after 29th November, 1907, 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent. ; and on and after 29th November, 1907, 20 per cent.
(b) Articles made entirely of aluminium for household use, on and after 29th November, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent.; (United Kingdom), free.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [6.14].- Under the old Tariff the duty levied in connexion with paragraph a of this item was 20 per cent., and that is also the rate recommended by the A section of the Tariff Commission. The B section of that body recommended 15 per cent. This is purely a revenue impost.
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 170, paragrapha (imports under General Tariff) 20 per cent.
.- I should like to learn from the VicePresident of the Executive Council whether enamelled stew pans are included in this item. These articles are used in every home throughout the Commonwealth, and the duty proposed in respect of this paragraph would be a very heavy tax upon them.
– I desire some information regarding the articles which are covered by paragraph a of this item. If it includes articles in general use for household purposes I shall certainly haveto consider how my vote shall be cast.
.- The duty proposed in respect of this paragraph is intended to be protective in its incidence, because the item includes a large number of articles which are being made in the Commonwealth. It includes safes and doors, fireproof and burglarproof, all manufactures of tinware, such as kettles, saucepans, basins, dish covers, and dozens of household articles, guttering and down pipes, galvanized iron work of all kinds, buckets, tubs, baths, (cast iron and galvanized), bath-heaters, metal castings of all kinds, cooking stoves and ovens, perforated metals, wirework in extensive variety, anvils, basins, bedcradles, bedsteads, washing-boards, bolts and barrels. As every one of these articles practically representsan industry existing in the Commonwealth, I intend to ask the Committee to restore the duty originally proposed by the Government in respect of this paragraph, namely, 30 per cent.
– Do I understand that safes, such as Milner’s and Chubbs’, are made in Australia?
– In nearly every instance, the duty proposed is urged for protective purposes - to afford assistance to local industries.
– As the Vice-President of the Executive Council has stated, this item covers a multiplicity of articles. No doubt, very many of them are made in the Commonwealth, but there are hundreds of them which are not. I hold in my hand a metal strap attachment. It is not made in Australia.
– Because the people are better employed. If this article were used as a part of a fixture upon a portmanteau or trunk, it would be admitted free under “ minor articles of manufacture.” But when it is attached to straps, it will be dutiable under paragraph a of this’ item as manufactures of metal n.e.i. Surely that is an absurdity.
– That strap attachment would never be imported to be made a fixture.
– Let me point out that it can be used as the handle of a bag. If a bagmaker were to inform the Customs authorities that it was an ordinary article of manufacture used in his business, I venture to say that they would admit it free. But because this comes in as a complete article, it is embraced in the all-swallowing item of manufactures of metals. I should not have brought this matter before the Committee, except as illustrating the position of scores of other articles. Bearing in mind that many of these things are not made here, the best that I can do is to strive for a reduction of the duty ; I cannot be expected to know every article included in the item, and, even if I did, the list would be interminable.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [6.21]. - When the Vice-President of the Executive Council read his list, he was careful to mention every one which is made in Australia, but none that are imported. Who supposes for a moment that guttering and down pipes are imported? The honorable senator was silent as to the enamelware asked about by Senator Dobson ; and he was also silent in regard to domestic pots and pans.
– Enamelware is made here.
– Whatever is the matter? The honorable senator need not be so fierce ! I am almost inclined to say, as Festus said to St. Paul, “ Much learning hath made thee mad.” The honorable senator is becoming so profound an authority on pots and pans that he is really losing that pleasant demeanour for which he has been so beloved in this Chamber !
– Nothing of the kind.
– What about cast-iron saucepans and other varieties of domestic weapons, which are not made here? I believe that dog chains and parrot chains are included in this item. The poor humble Australian bird has to wear a chain weighted with a duty of 25 per cent.. ! Is that fair to the unfortunate denizen of the Australian bush ? I understand that a very large variety of domestic ware comes under this item, and largely on that account, and not because of guttering and down pipes, do I ask for a reduction of the duty. I quite agree with what Senator Millen has said in respect to the little metal attachment, the importation of which gives work to our tanners, leathermakers and leather importers. I suppose we could scarcely enter a household without finding a number of articles which come under this item, and, seeing that these articles are not made here, they ought not, even from a protectionist stand-point, to be penalized. I find myself getting so demoralized, that I am positively using protectionist arguments in my effort to reduce the inordinate duties which are being heaped on the household requisites of Australia. I hope the request will be carried.
.- Amongst the articles embraced by this item are many of tinware, and we recognise that all the requirements in this connexion can be supplied locally. I should have no objection to offer if we had not been told by the Minister that it is proposed to make the duty even higher than it is at present. We have here involved, amongst other things, the bucket, and . the billycan, the latter of which is almost a national emblem of Australia. It is not easy for us to discuss this item without having before us a list of the articles affected. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has carefully read out a number of articles, every one of which is made here ; but he should have gone further and given some indication that the manufacture of billycans and similar articles had been threatened by importation in the past, or was threatened in the future.
– These articles were made in Australia 30 years ago without any duty.
– The billycan, as I have said, might be regarded as a national emblem ; and, moreover, the very circumstances have led to its natural production here. I suppose it was made here before a similar vessel was made in any part of the world, much, in the same way as was the Collins axe in America. It will be a matter, for regret if the Government carry out the idea of an increase of the duty. I suggest that tinware might, for the purposes of the Tariff, be separated from castiron ware, though I am not prepared to say exactly what should be the duty on each class of goods.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
– I desire to draw attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.] The Minister might say whether it is possible to subdivide this paragraph, and separate the iron and tinware. It is an extraordinary mixture to have Milner’s safes and pannikins, tin mousetraps and steel ladders, under the one item. If would be much more convenient to subdivide it. Some of us might agree with the Minister as to the duty on one class of articles, but not on the other. It would simplify the Tariff very much if the small household tin goods were covered generally by one paragraph, and the iron castings, Milner’s safes, and other large manufactures of metal, by another.
– What Senator Chataway urges is almost impracticable. I have had considerable experience in these matters. I know we had comprehensive items of this kind in the Victorian Tariff, and the same thing, following past experience, has been done in the Federal Tariff. This item is . intended to be very comprehensive. While it includes domestic utensils such as have been mentioned, those are, speaking broadly, a comparatively small part of it. Speaking generally, perhaps more than half of it consists of various brass articles such as hinges and bolts, while it also includes articles the produce of foundries, such as all sorts of castings. It might be possible to differentiate as to particular classes of domestic utensils, but that would be a very small and incomplete classification. As to setting out a list of the articles which the paragraphincludes, I could name fifty at the present moment, but the most experienced Customs officer could not make out a complete list of what the item is supposed to include.
– I suggest that we should differentiate between iron and tinware.
– Tinware is made throughout the Commonwealth. We consider that there should be a duty of 30 per cent. on both tin and ironware, in order to give effective protection. I would gladly meet Senator Chataway if I could, but the item is very complicated, and it would be impossible to divide it into classes such as he suggests without very great care and consideration. It is a usual and recognised item in State and Commonwealth Tariffs, embracing all the things that are now included in it.
– The Minister said that he was going to ask the Committee to increase the duty.
– When the proper time comes, I shall invite the Committee to raise the duty, and shall then explain my reasons.
– Better do it now.
– I shall do so when I move my request.
– It is because the item covers a very large number of articles that we are anxious for a more scientific classification than appears to have taken place. There are mixed up in the item things which are made in Australia and things which are not. Do the protectionists want to levy upon those two classes of goods exactly the same rate of duty?
– There is not much included in this item which is not made in Australia.
– And it all ought to be made here.
– I have produced one article, and challenge any one to say that it is being made in Australia. If Senator McGregor’s argument that they all ought to be made here was to determine all out acts on this Tariff, we need have had only one line in it - a fairly heavy duty on everything coming in - on the simple plea that if it is not made here it ought to be. That is reducing the thing to an absurdity. More attention ought to be paid to Senator Chataway’s suggestion, from the very fact that the Minister intends to ask the Committee to impose upon this multiplicity of articles a still higher duty, It might not be so serious if the duty were moderate. Are we, without knowing what is covered by the item, blindly to follow the Minister in making the duty higher still ?
– When I submit my proposal I shall submit my reasons.
– the only reason the Minister can give is that he wants a higher protection for some of the articles covered by the item. But as some are not made in Australia, and the duty upon them must be a purely revenue one, there is no sense, even from a protectionist stand-point, in blindly putting a higher duty upon things which are not made here, merely to give additional protection to things which are. It ought not to be necessary to put those who, like honorable senators opposite, wish to protect local industries, in the position that they must, to do what they want, also levy duty upon things which are not made here, and to that extent penalize the people who have to use them or manufacturers who require them in other industries.
– Will the honorable senator name two things, outside the one which he has mentioned, included in this item, that are not made here ?
– If the honorable senator will furnish me with a full list of the articles covered by the item his question will have more point. I do not pretend to know every article that is made or not made in Australia. But the Minister’s question is intended to convey to the Committee the impression that there are not more than two articles covered by the item which are not made here.
– I mean that they are insignificant.
– The honorable senator cannot assure the Committee that not more than two of these articles are not made in Australia. The Minister did not tell the Committee what the item covers. He said it would take from now to doomsday to read the list.
– Are corkscrews made here?
– Is it proposed to tax under this item such an essential of modern life as the corkscrew ? It is an outrage that we should be asked to tax an article which is necessary for the proper de- velopment and progress of this country, and without which the wheels of industry would not go round.
– The honorable senator picks out a few minor things like that !
– Does the honorable senator call a corkscrew a minor thing? It is essential, not only to every household in the land, but to every solitary camp throughout the back country.
– Flat-irons come under this item.
– The peace of every homestead in the country will be absolutely disrupted if this Parliament ventures to stand between housewives and a reasonablypriced flat-iron. I have mentioned already more than two articles covered by this item which are not made in Australia. It is a serious matter that we should be asked to tax many articles which are not made in Australia in order that we may also tax a number that are. The old story of the Chinaman burning down’ his house to roast his pig is a mere circumstance compared with an item like this. I know that Senator Findley does not favour taxing things which are not made here. He has throughout the debates on this Tariff consistently shown that he is averse to purely revenue duties, and a tax on an article which is not made here is nothing but a revenue duty.
– What about things which could be made here ?
– What can be made here, and what is likely to be profitably made here, are two very different things. If Senator Guthrie believes that everything can be made in Australia, and that a duty should be levied upon it, he should not have stood behind the Government on this Tariff. If those are his views, why did he agree to vary the rates? He has voted sometimes for 12 per cent., and sometimes for 15 per cent., 20 per cent., or 40 per cent.
– Because he could not always get 40 per cent.
– He never tried, not did Senator Trenwith try, for 40 per cent. in every case, because they recognise that different circumstances surrounding each trade require variations in duty. Does not the same principle apply here? Surely it is not necessary to impose the same duty upon a variety of articles of different type and character. A very reasonable subdivision of the item has been suggested by Senator Chataway. There is a marked difference in the amount of labour involved in, and in all the circumstances surrounding, the making of tinware and of any of the iron articles which are now imported. I do not wish to delay the Committee in arriving at a decision ; but I certainly protest against a drag-net itemof this kind. How many articles it covers we do not know, nor do we even know the particular class of goods which it covers. We know, however, that much labour is employed in manufacturing some articles, and very little labour in making others. Yet we are asked to levy the same duty asa protective dutyon certain classes of goods, and as a revenue duty on others. I ask honorable senators, whether they are free-traders or protectionists, to see if it is not possible to secure a better classification than that which is contained in the item.
– This Tariff is a hotchpotch, and the duty on this item is an apt illustration of that fact. It embraces all kinds of articles, ranging from a safe to much smaller things. Now, in Australia, a safe is an absolute necessity.
– Not so much in Australia as in other countries, because there are fewer burglars here.
– My honorable friend appears to me to encourage the use of safes whose contents are easy of access to burglars. There is no person with a knowledge of business who does not realize the absolute necessity of securing the best possible safe, not only as a fire insurance, but also as a means of defence.
– They put Colonial safes into imported safes in order to save them.
– Nearly all the Commonwealth safes are made in Australia.
– The usual argument which is brought forward by my honorable friends opposite is, that imported goods compete with locallymade goods, and that, therefore, the latter do not get a fair show. In this case, that excuse cannot be made, because the fact is that if a man wants a good reliable safe, such as Milner’s or Chubb’s, he has to pay perhaps £60, as against from£10 to £20 for an Australianmade safe. The latter article also enjoys a high natural protection in the heavy freight on safes from the Old Country. There is not a large business concern in Australia which does not use an imported safe. There is not a single instance in which the States Governments do not keep important documents in a Chubb or Milner safe. The Australian safe has not to compete with a cheap article. It is improbable that the higher classes of safes will be made in Australia for many years to come.. My honorable friends on the other side would be astonished at the degree of skill and experience required to put together firstclass fire and burglar resisting safes. I look upon this item in respect of safes as. nothing more or ‘ less than a. revenue item. With some knowledge of the conditions under which safes are made, I say, advisedly, that first-class safes cannot be made in Australia, nor is it probable that they will be made here for many years to come. Throughout England and Europe there are not more than perhaps half-a-dozen manufacturers whose safes are considered thoroughly reliable by those who have large interests to conserve. On behalf of the commercial community, and others who absolutely require -these important articles in connexion with the conduct of their businesses,- I protest against the imposition of this extraordinary duty. From safes we pass to stew-pans, which are an absolute necessity in every household. I question also if there is a single household in which that simple article called “ scissors “ is not used. We all know the variety of uses to which it is put, and yet it is liable to a duty of 25 per cent. No one will contend that scissors are made here. I suppose that hundreds of thousands of them are imported every year. In every household they are to be found lying on the table. From scissors we pass to rattraps.
– That is an important article.
– If my honorable friend had any knowledge of the conditions existing in Sydney and Brisbane during the last few years, he would realize the value of rat-traps. I doubt if any article has been found to be more necessary for maintaining the health of the people of Sydney than have rat-traps. They are to be found in every house. In. Sydney, a premium was offered for every rat which was caught, and from the considerable sum which was paid honorable senators can imagine that a large number of rats were caught. The Minister has mentioned nuts and bolts as being included in this item. These, too, are articles required in every household. They are stocked in every little hardware shop, and used throughout the Commonwealth.
– They are made in Australia.
– Not a great quantity of them is made in Australia. I may tell the honorable senator that there are nuts and bolts which it would be very difficult to make here. Yet these articles, which are used in. every household, are subjected to a heavy duty. The item also includes cheap spoons, corkscrews, flat-irons, and tacks;- in fact, it is almost impossible to conceive how many articles are comprised in this hotchpotch. So far as I can see, it includes not only articles which it is impossible to make here, but also articles which may be made here, but not for many years to come. How the Minister can possibly include in this item such important articles as Milner’s, Chubb’s, and other safes, and the smaller articles which are in daily use, I cannot understand. There appears to be no affinity between the articles at all. I think that the honorable senator might adopt the suggestion of Senator Chataway and differentiate between the articles. If he were to take articles of tinware and other. articles of a small character, we should know how to vote. The Vice-President of the Executive Council should give the Committee a little more detailed information as to the articles covered by this item, so that honorable senators may know what they are asked to vote upon. Whilst I am prepared to assist in passing the Tariff, the VicePresident of the Executive Council must accept some responsibility if its passage is delayed, when he asks honorable senators to increase duties which, as agreed to by another place, are, in the opinion of many, already too high. With the exception of one or two articles, such as safes, I believe that almost’ the whole of the imports covered by this ‘item would be used by the poorer classes of the people. I wish to say something on the subject of patterns. I do not know whether the patterns required in various trades and manufactures are included in this item, but if they are I would like to ask whether the Minister realizes what the effect must be. In shipbuilding and the manufacture of all kinds of machinery patterns are essential. Every manufacturer in Australia .must he convinced of the importance of being able to obtain readily the patterns he requires? Even the tailor requires to be able to obtain his printed pattern as cheaply as possible. The Government propose to impose an absolute tax of 25 per cent, upon patterns which’ are absolutely essential to the progress and development of a variety of commercial undertakings carried on throughout the Commonwealth.
– What sort of patterns is the honorable senator referring to?
– Amongst others, to the patterns required by ironfounders and manufacturers of machinery generally.
– They do not come under this item. We are dealing with metals, not with wood.
– I have .been speaking for some time about patterns, and the Minister has just discovered that they are not included in this item. Will the honorable senator say what is included in the item? I urge him to adopt Senator Chataway ‘s . suggestion, and differentiate ‘ between the articles at present covered by the item. I. intend to support the request submitted by Senator Neild.
– I trust that the Minister will give honorable senators an opportunity to vote for duties on the articles included in the item differently grouped. ‘For instance, item 170B makes articles made entirely from aluminium for household use dutiable at 5 per cent. Why should articles made from aluminium be specially singled out? , Why should we not be given an opportunity to decide the duty to be imposed upon articles required for household use from whatever material they may happened to be manufactured? I should be prepared to vote for one duty on articles required for household use, and another on safes and such articles. Perhaps it would be well to postpone the consideration of the item now under discussion until honorable senators generally know, as well as does the Vice-President of the Executive Council, what if covers. I can assure Senator Gray that he is mistaken in saying that fireproof and burglar-proof safes are not made in Australia. Their manufac.ture was started in Western Australia by a Mr. Makutz eight or ten years ago under a 5 per cent, duty, and it is now carried on successfully. The safes locally manufactured are by many people preferred to imported safes.
– Then why should we impose a high duty on them?
– Quite so. I am not in favour of a higher duty on safes, whilst I believe there should be a very low duty, or no duty at all, on articles required entirely for household use. If we take articles of tinware, for instance, I should say that we have been manufacturing such articles for household use long enough in the Commonwealth .to be able to compete with the world in their manufacture. I ‘ hope. that the Minister will be prepared to re-group the articles covered by the item.
.- The Vice-President of the Executive Council must see that a number of honorable senators are very much opposed to the high duty proposed in connexion with this item. I wish him to appreciate the shock which some of us’ received when he spoke of submitting a request to raise the duty at the first opportunity. I was rather alarmed by the statement, and the Minister would shorten the debate if he explained why he proposes that the duty should be raised, when almost every member of the Committee objects to the present duty as too high, and desires that there should be some differentiation between articles required for domestic purposes in every cottage home in the Commonwealth, and other articles covered by the item. Senator Croft has just made an excellent suggestion, and very properly wishes to know why, in the case of articles for household use, an exception should be made in regard to articles made entirely of aluminium. I direct the attention of the Vice-President of the Executive Council to a list of articles referred to in a letter quoted in another place, bv Mr. Glynn. The honorable gentleman did .not give the name qf the writer of the letter, but he made a point of saving-
The information which i have given the Committee has come to me from correspondents who can be absolutely relied upon.
And at the- close of the letter the statement is made -
We know of only two lines which are being made in the States, viz., cash boxes- and fireproof safes.
Those are the only two lines made in the Commonwealth out of a list which includes the following-
Blacksmiths’ anvils; masons’ sieves and riddles; bells of every description; door bolts; fireproof safes; hinges, gate latches; iron, -water, and steam tubes, up to 4 inches ; trace and dog chains; navvies’ picks.
– Steam tubes do not come under this item at ail.
– The honorable senator has overlooked the- fact that the letter refers only to tubes up to 4 inches. Did Senator Best notice the reference in this letter to navvies’ picks? Fancy taxing navvies’ picks at the rate of 25 or 30 ,per cent..
– Navvies’ picks are free, under item 168, as the honorable senator should know.
– If the Department pleases.
– Senator Dobson has made a statement to the Committee that navvies’ picks are included in this item, and it shows the value of his authority.
– Does the honorable senator say that they are not included in it?
– I do.
– What I say, on the authority I have quoted, is that with two exceptions the articles referred to in the list I am quoting are not made in the Commonwealth.
Gas pipe tongs, cast-iron saucepans and boilers.
Is there any reason for putting 25 per cent. onthem? Does the Minister want every unfortunate washerwoman to pay 25 per cent. on her boiler? Does he want every cottage home in the country to pay 25 per cent. on a saucepan? Where is the sense of it? These things, I am told, are not made in the country. If they are I shall be glad to hear it.
Cash boxes, corkscrews, fenders and fire-irons, glue pots, blocks and pulleys.
May I ask the Minister whether blocks and pulleys are made here? Fancy every man who carries on a little industry, if he wants to have a block and pulley, having to pay 25 per cent. ! The tools of trade of other persons are to be let in free, whilst blocks and pulleys are to be taxed. I should not like to say that these things cannot be made here, but if we go on year after year having to import them, there is reasonable ground for assuming that they will not be made here. It is not a question of “ cannot “ but of “ are not.” I suggest that we should free all goods made from metals which are required for domestic use in every home in the Commonwealth.
– Kitchen requisites.
– I do not thinkthat bells are made in the Commonwealth.
– Yes, they are.
– Will the Minister either drop the idea of raising the duty or tell us why he has decided to do it?
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [8.32]. - When I moved a request for a reduction in this duty I did it with the greatest brevity and with the express desire to promote the progress of business. But there has been a perfect flood of elo quence on the subject. Senator Chataway’s pathetic appeal on behalf of billy-cans, and Senator Gray’s urgent demand in the case of stew-pans, were most thrilling to every one who heard the eloquence of those gentlemen. Senator Millen let loose a furious clamour on behalf of flat-irons, and a frantic wail on behalf of corkscrews. It seems to me that we have struck just about the most thrilling item in the whole Tariff. Never before has the Chamber resounded with such tremendous demonstrations of eloquence on behalf of the necessaries of the household.
– And, with all, they left out toothpicks!
– If the Ministerial phonograph would keep quiet for a little while we should be able to get on better ; but the honorable senator is charged to the brim - as far as a phonograph can be charged. He is in himself the sum of human knowledge and almost of human misery in regard to this Tariff. It only requires any one to touch the wire to set the machine going, and when it starts one cannot stop it. I have listened to appeals in respect of flat-irons, cow-bells, and other things, and I have on my own account made a list of a few matters in response to the Minister’s challenge to my honorable friend, Senator Millen, that he could not name two articles in this list that are not made in the Commonwealth. Of course, to say that they cannot be made in Australia is to talk childish trivialities, because, as there is no limit to the possibilities of time and expenditure, it is impossible to say that anything cannot be made here. We might even find a sensible Minister evolved in the process of Australian development. Even that is a thing that I look forward to as a remote possibility. I think that reference has been made to the humble, but very necessary, cast-iron saucepan. These goods are not made in Australia. But what about the cast-iron frying pan and the cast-iron grilling apparatus? Those articles are imported also. By the way, before the dinner adjournment, the Minister was very strong on downpipes and guttering as being only little matters of zinc or tinware. But since dinner he has risen in the scale. He is now eloquent on brass candlesticks, which also appear to come within this item. No doubt they do ; and I can suggest another article for the Minister’s consideration - cast-iron shoescrapers. They are not made in Australia; they are im ported. And what about iron hat and umbrella stands, which also are not made :.in Australia?
– There is nothing “to prevent them being made here.
– There is nothing to prevent anything being ac- complished in the honorable senator’s estimation. We are all aware of that. Enamelware has been referred to. “There are many varieties of those goods. They are “ too numerous to particularize,” as the auctioneer’s advertisement says. The Minister, when dilating so eloquently on downpipes and guttering, forgot sharpening steels. They are -imported. There is one manufacturer whose business has been singled out for extensive benefits under this Tariff - the piano-maker, represented at present by one firm, that of Mr. Beale.
– But Wertheim has arranged for a new factory.
– I am only talking about what is, not what may be. This particular industry has been singled out for special attention, of an agreeable character, no doubt, to the proprietor. It is well known that his business is advertised all over the country by means of imported enamelled signs. They are to come in under this heading. I do not so much object to enamelled signs coming under ‘ it, but I point out that, at any rate, this is another reply to the Minister’s challenge to us to name good’s that are not made in Australia. The Minister has now been supplied, not with a few articles, but with a list of about two dozen, that come in under .this heading. I- could go on enumerating them ; there is a large number that could be readily named. But the Minister has met the demand for a reduction by the threat of an increase. I complain that no Minister has a right to threaten the Committee in any such manner.
– It was simply a_ little bit of information that I gave notice of some time ago. What is the use of the honorable senator suggesting a threat?
– We have been so long dealing with this Tariff, and the Minister and his whip- or his phonograph - have taken up so much time, that we have nearly forgotten many things that have happened. The particular item that the Minister has threatened to raise is down at 25 per cent., and I have moved a reduction to 20 per cent., being the rate recommended by the Minister’s own colleagues on the Tariff Commission. When I say his colleagues, I mean those members of the Commission who share his own fiscal faith. But I think we may as well have a quorum present. The Government supporters have cleared out. Even the phonograph has disappeared. [Quorum formed.’] As the Minister is a protectionist, one would think that he would be interested in the recommendations of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission. They only recommended 20 per cent. Now the Minister is threatening 30 per cent. The free-trade section of this unfortunate Commission recommended 15 per cent. I call them “ unfortunate ‘ ‘ from the stand-point that their recommendations’ are being used in an utterly battledoor and shuttlecock manner, as, I am sure, the recommendations of no . Tariff Commission in any part of the world have ever been treated. They are one moment trotted out by the Minister as an argument, and are ignored by him on the very next item. I do not know what the Minister’s colleagues in another place think of his conduct in over and over again setting aside by his votes the arrangements that have been entered into elsewhere by the Government. I say, with a complete absence of heat and with a freedom from any personal unfriendliness, that this is the most extraordinary procedure that has ever been countenanced in a British Legislature.
– The Minister has left it to the Opposition to defend his own Bill.
– That is not correct. My honorable friend cannot point out a solitary instance where I have departed from anything that was agreed to by my colleagues in another place.
– I am quite sure that the Chairman would rule me out of order if I accepted the Minister’s challenge by proceeding to show by chapter and verse that over and over again what I have described has happened. The instances are in the records of the debates that took place elsewhere a few weeks ago. My honorable friend is suffering from overwork, I am quite sure, and his remark betrays one of those lapses of memory that unfortunately follow upon overwork.
– There is only one instance, and that has to be read in conjunction with the circumstances. I gave reasons for what we did in that case.
– Sir William Lyne accepted these proposed rates, as is shown on page 6748 of Hansard.
– I cannot allow any discussion as to what occurred in another place.
– However, these are the duties approved by Sir William Lyne.
– Rubbish !
– Of course it was rubbish, but he did it.
– I shall not attempt either to go behind the ruling of the Chairman or the well-known parliamentary rule that prohibits quotations from debates in another place. But within the last few hours I have had brought under my notice a most positive contradiction of what the Minister has just asserted in his challenge to me. These very duties were agreed to by Senator Best’s colleagues elsewhere. He is now proposing to go back on what his own colleagues assented to publicly, and to demand a higher duty. I do not supposethat the honorable senator will support my request, but I hope that he will at least avoid the serious error of proposing such a request as he has indicated, assuming that he gets the chance.I am hopeful that my request, which is certainly most reasonable, will be assented to, and that this multitude of domestic articles may be introduced into Australia at no higher rate of duty than obtained under the old Tariff.
– During the course of the debate we shall probably obtain from theVicePresident of the Executive Council a statement as to what are and what are not covered by this very wide drag-net item. I wish to know, in the first place, whether roll shells, which are used for crushing ores by almost every mining company in Australia, are included in it.
– They are covered by item176b, under which they are dutiable at 25 per cent.
– That, I think, is too high a duty to impose upon them. Senator Dobson read a list of household necessities which are included in this item, and if the Minister persists in moving the request which he has indicated, there will be a direct attempt to put some of those articles on the free list. I am somewhat astonished at the attempt on the part of the Vice-President of the Executive Council to renew, so to speak, a struggle which we thought had been satisfactorily settled in another place. What can be his reason for asking for a higher duty, seeing that his colleague in charge of the Tariff in another place was forced to consent to a lower rate ? Why should he say, “ We shall have the duty which my colleague in another place originally proposed?”
– I wish that the honorable senator would do me the courtesy of waiting until I propose such a request.
– We cannot consider the item without referring to the fact. We know that the Minister is going to try to carry a request for an increased duty.
– Considering that one of his own supporters is in the same fog as most of us are in, the VicePresident of the Executive Council is scarcely doing justice to the Opposition when he interjects so sharply as he has just done. The more we analyze this item the more its drag-net character is exposed. It includes such things as door bolts, gate latches, cast-iron saucepans, boilers, corkscrews, fenders, fire-irons, and glue-pots. Almost everything in use in the household is being taxed. Many of the articles covered by the item will not be manufactured in Australia for many years. Our population is so small that it would not pay any one to put down the necessary plant. Many of these things are being manufactured, not in tens, but in hundreds of thousands, and, apparently, not one-half of them will, or can, be made in Australia.
– I call attention to the absence of a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– If the VicePresident of the Executive Council desires the duty to be increased, it must be either because he wishes to encourage or stimulate the manufacture of these articles in Australia, or because he wants to secure more revenue. My reply to the first of these contentions would be that not one- fourth of the articles covered by the item are likely to be made for years in Australia, while, if the increased duty is desired in order to secure more revenue, my answer is that the Tariff is yielding enough without the imposition of this increased tax on almost every household.
– Black-mail on the household.
– It is nothing short of it. The argument that these things can be made in Australia is more or less fallacious. We can, of course, make anything if we like to pay for it. We could, for instance, make diamonds, but any man who started their manufacture here would be regarded as more or less of an idiot, and would be advised to search the drifts, where diamonds and other precious stones may be found. Then, again, we might liquefy gas, but it would not pay to erect the necessary plant ‘ in Australia. The cry, “ These can be made in Australia,” is more or less absurd, and is being used for the very worst purpose of protection - to carry duties up to the point of prohibition.
– Prohibition under the guise of preference.
– Under the guise of a certain species of patriotism to cover up the appeal for such high duties. I thought that the spirit of “ made in Australia “ disappeared some time ago when the item of kerosene was under consideration. In that case we were perfectly willing, within . a certain limitation, to help an article which could be produced in Australia, but it was determined by the majority that kerosene should be free. That being so, why should we impose a heavy duty in respect- of any goods that are not made within the Commonwealth ? The item, represents something more than fiscal hypocrisy, and the Vice-President of the Executive Council will have considerable difficulty in inducing the Committee to request an increased duty. He will be very fortunate if the Committee agrees to the rate passed by the House of Representatives. But if he obstinately refuses to explain how the duty will operate, and insists upon asking for an increase, it is possible that some of us may compile a list of the articles in common use in every household,’ with a view to discussing whether each or all of them should or should not be made free. Just as we have been warranted in putting on the free list tools of trade, so shall we be warranted in similarly treating articles which are household necessaries. . I see no reason for any differentiation. So far from allowing the Vice-President of the Executive Council to have his way, if he presses his proposals, he will have to resist a very strong movement to get the duty reduced, or altogether removed.
– I should be obliged if Senator Neild would withdraw his request, to enable me to move the insertion of a new paragraph.
– As a matter of ordinary courtesy, I am glad to accede to the honorable senator’s desire.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 170 by adding the following new paragraph : - “ (aa) Manganese or chrome steel parts, viz., parts made of steel containing chromium, or not less than 7 per cent, of manganese, which are used in grinding, crushing, or pulverising machinery, and come in contact with the material ground, crushed, or pulverised, free.”
– Is it the honorable senator’s intention to make dutiable at 25 per cent, parts that are now dutiable at 5 per cent. ?
– I see that paragraph a of item 176 makes side plates and balls for ball mills dutiable at 5 per cent, under the general Tariff, and free if imported from Great Britain, and my purpose is to reduce the taxation on all these parts, so as to lessen the cost of the machinery used in the reduction of ores. In “such machinery as Krupp ball mills, Griffin mills, Chilian mills, and grit mills, there is great wear and . tear of certain steel parts. Only two or three firms in the world make a specialty of the production of hardened steel parts to be used as linings’ for such mills. The evidence taken before the Tariff Commission shows that the steel substitutes produced, in Australia do’ not last one-fourth as long. It is a rather serious matter to stop a mill treating between 10,000 and 17,000 tons of ore a. month, and I wish to make free the steel lin- .ings of such mills, which cannot satisfactorily be produced in Australia. It is not my desire to do anything to interfere with the local steel industry. I think that my proposal, if agreed to, will encourage it, by keeping going a larger amount of’ machinery, and therefore giving greater employment to the local works. The local manufacturers of iron and steel recognise that they cannot turn out suitable linings for these mills, and that the request, if agreed to, will benefit them, because it will enable propositions which are now almost on the point of shutting down to keep working. 1 shall not speak at greater’ length On this subject, because we have already had so much debate on such trifles as pans, saucepans, and curling tongs.
– They are not trifles to the poor man.
– Much of the debate has been trifling. One set of met’al pots would last a family for a lifetime.
– As Senator Lynch was good enough to inform me of his intention to move this request, I have gone into the matter with the experts of the Customs Department, and find that in principle there is no objection to it; though further consideration may show the necessity for certain alterations. It is clear that the parts referred to are not made here, and the policy of the Government is . to allow the free introduction of such things as cannot be locally produced. I therefore accept the request, subject to such modifications as on further consideration may appear necessary .
– I entirely sympathize with the request submitted by Senator Lynch, but I would suggest to him and to the VicePresident of the Executive Council that an attempt is being made to insert it in the wrong place.
– No, it is quite right.
– I think I can show that it is quite wrong. In framing a Tariff our aim should be to group, as far as possible, like articles together. Clearly this item, which relates to manufactures of metal, has no special reference to mining machinery. But there is an item in the Tariff which specially refers to that class of machinery and to the particular portions with which Senator Lynch wishes to deal. I refer to item 176, which includes earth and rock-cutting machinery, smelting, leaching and metal refining appliances, rotary and percussive rock drills, coal-cutting machines, side plates, and balls for ball mills.
– My proposal would include the articles just mentioned.
– Exactly. Senator Lynch does not propose to disturb side plates and balls for ball mills so far as making them free is concerned.
– Does not the honorable senator think that those articles are in the wrong place?
– I would point out that item 170 relates to manufactures of metal, but does not cover mining machinery generally. It includes a number of miscellaneous articles to which previous refer- ence has been made. The draftsman of the Tariff showed very clearly where he thought that Senator Lynch’s proposal ought to be incorporated. Mining appliances more nearly approach to the subject-matter of his proposal than do such articles as flat-irons and corkscrews amongst which he proposes to group them.
– They are manufactures of metal.
– So is a rock-boring machine and a coal-cutting machine. For the better classification of the Tariff I think that the honorable senator’s proposal should be submitted when item 176 is under consideration. The duty proposed in respect of paragraph e of that item is 5 per cent. under the general Tariff, whilst goods from the United Kingdom are admitted free. When that paragraph comes under consideration I intend to move that the articles enumerated in it shall be made free all round. The duty of 5 per cent. is clearly not a protective impost. The VicePresident of the Executive Council must recognise that the opposition to this proposal springs largely from a knowledge that he intends to move for an increase of the duty. I therefore ask him to definitely state his intentions and also the reasons why he proposes to ask for an increased duty.
– Under ordinary circumstances there is no doubt that Senator Lynch’s proposal should have been submitted when this item was under consideration, inasmuch as it relates to manufactures of metal. But if adopted it is obvious that it. will mainly, if not entirely, apply to mining machinery. In that case the words “ side plates and balls for ball mills “ will require to be eliminated. So that for the purposes of grouping, his proposal might with more advantage be included in item 176. Of course in framing the Tariff it is very desirable that we should group like articles’ together, and I therefore suggest that Senator Lynch should withdraw his proposal and submit it when item 176 is under consideration.
– So long as my proposal be carried I do not care in what item it is incorporated. But I would point out that if it be included in item 176 there will still remain in item 170 a large quantity of mining machinery of an inferior character. For instance, manganese parts containing a lower proportion of manganese than 7 per cent., will still fall under that item.
– Not necessarily. They may come under other paragraphs of item 176.
– I do not think so. Drawing a line between the best class of steel which has only been manufactured in a couple of foundries in the world and steel of an inferior grade, I assert that the inferior steel will still be included under item 170.
– Does the honorable senator withdraw the request?
– I merely wish to point out to the Minister that if the request is carried a quantity of liner parts of inferior steel will still be included under item 170, and therefore there will be noadvantage gained by removing the superior qualities of. steel dealt with in my request to another part of the schedule. Completeness and order will still be achieved by keeping all liner parts, superior and inferior, under item 170. There is therefore nothing to be gained by adopting Senator Millen’s proposal, though I recognise the kindly spirit in which it was put forward.
– There seems to be a general desire that Senator Lynch’s proposal should be accepted, except that some feel that it might be put in another part of the schedule. I agree with Senator Millen that it would be better to have as many of the articles used in the mining industry as possible under item 176, so that those who have to refer to the schedule may know where to put their finger on anything they want. It would therefore he better if the Government would undertake to frame under item 176 other paragraphs than Senator Lynch has referred to, taking out the machinery that comes under this heading, and putting it all together under the one main head, with each article itemized in separate paragraphs according to the rate of duty. There are many different kinds of steel, varying in the quantity* of manganese or other hardening substances contained in them, used in connexion with mining, and no matter what the duty is they should be as much as possible under one main heading. The schedule, if it is reframed in that way, will be much more creditable to us when it leaves our hands than it will be if we deal with one section of these articles under item 170, and with another under item 176.
– The Minister and a number of other strong protectionists on the other side say that manganese steel cannot be made here. It can be made here, is made here, and is used here. But it is not hard enough, and wears out too soon. Those who have the benefit of high protection argue that the higher the duty is made the better the article they can produce; but there are various proportions of manganese in different steels, and some steels are made by people who have a secret process. That referred to by Senator Lynch is one of those, and I shall support his request. That made here, although used for the same purposes, is not sufficiently hard or tough. At the very least, five plates of steel liners made here will wear out as against three of this special kind. But I cannot allow the statement to pass unchallenged that manganese steel liners are not made in, Australia. On many occasions the Vice-President of the Executive Council has refused to accept any proposal which comes from this side of the Chamber.
– That is a most unfair statement.
– If Senator Lynch’s proposal had come from this side the Minister would not have accepted it, and would have told us that . the article was made here.
– It would not be correct if I said so. It is not made here. J have had the fullest inquiries made, and have got the information from the representatives of the steel industry.
– I admit that the exact class of steel liner referred to by Senator Lynch is not made here, but an article of the same shape and used for the same purposes is made here.
– That is not manganese steel.
– It has not the same percentage of manganese.
– Exactly. That is what we are talking about.
– Surely the honorable senator does not want to make the Committee believe that two saucepans, one of which is of harder metal than the other, are not both saucepans for all that.’ I do not say that steel liners of the . same’ degree of hardness and toughness cannot’ be made here. They can be, if we can induce the people who have the secret to establish works here. But I fear there is not sufficient inducement for them to do so. Senator Lynch’s request is a good one, and any proposal which I believe to be in the .interests of the public will have my support, no matter what side of the Chamber if comes from. The article should be made, if not free, as nearly free as we can get it. .
– What the” Minister has stated is perfectly true. A few days ago I discussed the matter with Senator Pearce and the Minister, who, before we had spoken very long, said he was prepared to accept an amendment of this kind. Therefore, the complaintof Senator Sayers, that if the proposal had come from the Opposition side the Minister would not have accepted it, is wide of the mark. Manganese steel containing 7 per cent. of manganese is not made inAustralia. There is manganese in every kind of steel made, but Senator Lynch proposes to exempt only steel containing 7 per cent of that substance. The only difficulty is in thesatisfactory definition of the chemical parts of the steel. There are many articles I should like to see imported which are used for the same purposes, but I cannot see how we can arrive, as 1 have already said, at a satisfactory definition. I understand, however, that the present request meets with general acceptance, and I regard it as the most feasible proposition.
– Surely Senator Lynch, after the remarks of the Vice-President of the Executive Council and Senator de Largie, will consent to withdraw his. request.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make theduty on item 170, paragraph A (imports under General Tariff), 20 per cent.
– The leader of the Opposition asked that I should take an opportunity to make an explanation in regard to the proposal to increase the duty on this item. I would gladly have done so at an earlier stage, only the Chairman would, no doubt, have ruled me out of order. If it is the desire of the Committee that I should make an explanation, I do not hesitate to do so. Having already circulated a request, I think it only fair to state what my intention is, not by way of threat, but by way of information. It may be remembered that in the old Tariff manufactures of metals included not only the items to which I have already referred in a general way, such as cast-iron pillars, parts of machinery imported separately, and so forth, but also brasswork and gun-metal for general engineering and plumbing and other trades.
– Were the words “ and other trades” then used ?
– I am informed that the words “and all trades” were originally used. The Tariff Commission went into the matter very fully, and made a special recommendation -
That on the manufactures of brass and brasswork for steam, gas, oil, and electric engines, motors, and boilers, for general engineering, also brasswork for plumbing, mining, brickmaking, and manufacturers’ machines and machinery, there be an import duty of 30 per cent.
The Government felt, in framing the Tariff, that they must recognise the special recommendation of the Tariff Commission.
-Was that a recommendation by the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission?
– Yes, and thereupon the Government made a separate item. The duty has been in working operation since the 8th August, and I have to frankly tell the Committee that it is quite impossible for the two items, for the purposes of satisfactory administration, to be separated. As honorable senators know, the very same articles are made from iron, steel, . and brass. An invoice comes out in the usual way describing the contents of the case, and simply referring to them as hinges, bolts, and so forth; there is no indication whatever as to what these articles are made of. The result is that there has been caused most serious friction, irritation, and annoyance, and in a large number of cases expense which previously had not to be met. In view of this experience, the question was whether to reduce the duty on brasswork, which was specially recommended by the Tariff Commission to be 30 per cent., to 25 per cent., or to increase the duty on the item 170, paragraph a, to 30 per cent. When I said that the duty had been in operation since the 8th August last I was slightly incorrect, because there has been a differentiation of duty since 29th November. But these articles must be put on the same level, and if the Committee decide that the duty on the present item shall not be increased beyond 25 per cent., it willbe my duty when we reach the item of brasswork to move that the impost be reduced to the same figure, so as to prevent future annoyance and irritation. That is frankly and honestly the position of affairs. When I urge a duty of 30per cent. I am not urging unreasonable protection. Senator Croft, the leader of the Opposition, and others have contended that there should be some exemption in favour of domestic utensils. I have been thinking that matter over, and although I have been charged with obstinacy time after time, I am anxious to meet honorable senators so far as I reasonably can. I have made inquiry as to how far the duty on these goods could be regarded from a merely revenue aspect, and, under the circumstances, I think it a fair suggestion that kitchen utensils made from cast iron, tinned’ - which will include pans, kettles, gridirons, fryingpans and so forth - should be placed on the free list. In regard to the balance I urge that the protectionist duty of 30 per ‘ cent, might be granted. I have frankly placed the matter before honorable senators, and in the event of Senator Neild’s request being defeated I shall move a request that the duties be 30 and 25 per cent, instead of as at present 25 and 20 per cent.
– I am obliged to the Minister for having so promptly responded to my appeal to take the Committee into his confidence, both as to what he proposes to do, and his reasons therefor. But whilst I appreciate his action in the matter, I cannot quite draw the same conclusions from the facts submitted as . he apparently does. If I understand the position aright, he says that it has been found, by actual experience extending over some months, that it is difficult, if not impossible, for the Customs officials to discriminate between the items which probably come under the head of brassware and those which come under the more general item of manufactures of metals. I can quite believe that, and up to that point my honorable friend and I are quite in agreement. But if we are to bring the two items into one, for practically that is what it means, the question is - What duty ought to be placed on the amalgamated Items? The Minister at once assumes that in order to ease the administration we have necessarily to raise the duty on one item to the level of the higher duty on the other item. That is something gained, but it is extremely difficult to say what will be the value of the goods to be exempted. That is impossible for the honorable senator to say, and the Committee can hardly expect him to be in possession of “the information. But, leaving that aside for a moment, he laid great .stress upon the recommendation of the Tariff Commission with regard to brassware. Surely he is entitled to attach equal importance to its recommendation on articles embraced in manufactures of metal.
If its recommendation on one item is entitled to any respect, its recommendation on another item is entitled to. equal weight. It did recommend a duty of 39 per cent, on brassware, but a duty of only 20 per cent; on manufactures of metal. If the Minister is under an obligation’ to follow the recommendation with regard to brassware, a corresponding obligation is upon him to follow the recommendation with regard to ordinary manufactures of metal. I suggest to him that there were open to him two courses which, if adopted, would hardly have invited criticism. One would have been to split the difference between the duties on the two items. I am not saying that even then the duty would have been acceptable to freetraders, but, at any rate, it would have shown a desire on the part- of the Minister not to use the difficulty of administering the two items as an excuse for getting a higher impost on one item, if he had taken a duty half-way between that imposed on brassware and that set out against item 170. The duty on brassware is 30 per cent., and the duty on manufactures of metal, which I take to be a much more important and larger item, is 20 per cent. By what system of logic can it be shown that, in order to secure a uniform rate on the two items, it is necessary to raise the lower duty to the level of the higher duty ? Surely, if the honorable senator merely wished to get over the difficulty of administration, he would have taken the half-way course, and proposed a uniform duty of 25 per cent. Had he done so, it would have largely disarmed criticism. Honor.abale senators, whether they thought that duty too high or not, would have understood the position of the Department. But it seems to me that, not having taken that course, the Minister is using the difficulty of administration as - a lever to raise the lower duty on item. 170 to the level of the higher duty on item 172. He can hardly, expect honorable senators on this side to indorse a proposition of that kind. It was open to him to bring down the duty on brasswork to the level of the duty on the other item. Knowing his fiscal views, I do not expect him to do that. If the only reason for doing what he is proposing is to smooth administration, we have- a right to ask that he should bring down the higher duty and raise the lower duty. But” there was no need to do either. He could have split the difference and proposed a duty of 25 per cent, on each item. It is clear,; however, that he is notprepared to do that. All the weight which he seeks to attach to the recommendation of the Tariff Commission goes for naught. Because of the other item, he frankly discards it. If he is prepared to discard it there, it is useless for him to turn round and pretend that he is guided by it. . I do not know whether honorable senators know what the recommendation in its entirety was. It was not merely that a duty of 30 per cent. should be placed on manufactures of brassware, but that an export duty of 15 per cent. should be placed on exports of scrap copper, scrap gun-metal, scrap brass, scrap zinc, scrap German silver, scrap nickel silver, and spent cartridge cases. In view of the tremendous weight which the Minister has attached to the recommendation, and remembering how he has used it, not merely in regard to brassware, but also as a lever to raise the duty on tinware and ironware, if he believes that it is so infallible that it ought to be followed, I should like to know whether the Government intend to carry it out in its entirety ?
– We are quite satisfied to do what I said.
– That is equivalent to saying that the honorable senator accepts the recommendation of the Tariff Commission, not because of its value, but because it suits the Government’s purpose. They discard a portion of the recommendation. If they had approached this question firmly believing that the Tariff Commission, after its investigation, was the best body to recommend a course of action to be taken, they would have accepted the recommendation in its entirety. But they discard a portion which maybe like the keystone of the arch. It is idle for the Minister to pretend that he attaches weight to the recommendation at all. He selects a part of it and discards the rest. He selects merely that part which enables him not to give effect to the recommendation regarding brassware, but to get a higher duty on tinware and ironware.
– But even if the Minister’s proposal be carried, the average duty will not be any higher than the duty recommended by the A section of the Tariff Commission.
– Yes it will ; because on manufactures of metal they recommended a duty of 20 per cent.
– It will be only raising the duty on this item by 5 per cent. to cor respond with the 5 per cent. taken off the duty on brassware.
– There is nothing to come off the duty on brassware.
– It is taken off already, as compared with the Tariff Commission’s recommendation. They recommended a duty of 30 per cent., and the duty in the preferential Tariff is 25 per cent.
– The honorable senator will see that whatever duty we may impose on brassware, the object of the Minister is to bring the duty on item 170 to a higher level.
– Quite so.
– The Tariff Commission recommended a . duty of 20 per cent. on manufactures of metal, and it may be assumed that they referred to manufactures of tin and iron. It looks as if the higher duty on brassware was to be used as a lever to raise the duty on manufactures of metals 10 per cent. over and above that recommended by the Tariff Commission. That does not appear to me to be at all fair. I can only repeat that the Minister seems to be using the plea of departmental convenience as a lever to induce the Committee to increase the duty on iron and tin manufactures of metal. While he makes this plea, the honorable senator suggests that it is because of the great regard he has for the recommendations of the Tariff Commission, but when we know that the Commission recommended 20 per cent., and the Minister now asks the Committee to make the duty 30 per cent., we can safely disregard his plea. I am entitled to assume as I do, that what the Minister desires is not the adoption of the recommendation of the Tariff Commission, but an increase in the duty. The Tariff Commission’s report is only referred to by the honorable senator when it can be used to support an increase in the duty proposed, I, of course, be lieve that the duties on both these item; should be lower than those proposed, but I ask the Committee to recognise the abso lute fairness of the suggestion I make. The Tariff Commission recommended a dutyof 20 per cent. on iron and tinware, and30 per cent. on brassware; the mean between these is 25 per cent., andif it is necessary to put thetwo items together, there is no reason why the strongest protectionist should not be prepared to agree to both being made dutiable at 25 per cent. If the Minister had adopted this course, he would have disarmed criticism from this side, be cause the proposal would have commended itself to honorable senators as an effort to solve the difficulty of administration. As things are, the honorable senator is fairly open to the charge of using that difficulty for the purpose of increasing the duty recommended by the Tariff Commission. In view of the reason offered by the Minister., I shall not lay much stress upon an interjection he made earlier in the evening, but I still think it desirable to refer to it. The honorable senator challenged any one to say where he had departed from any proposal agreed to by his colleague. This is one of the cases in connexion with which the challenge may be fairly taken up.
– I said that I had, in no case, departed from what he approved of.
– This is such a case.
-We had not then come to this item, and I explained my reason for the departure in this case.
– The Minister claims that hitherto he has followed a certain course, but that, on this item, he proposes to depart from it.
– And I gave my reasons.
– The honorable senator will remember that I commenced these observations by saying that, in view of the reasons which the honorable senator has given, they would be rendered to some extent unnecessary, but I still thought it desirable to point out that one of the honorable senator’s colleagues elsewhere had approved ofthe duty proposed in connexion with this item. I should be content to drop the subject if it were not that the VicePresident of the Executive Council, by shaking his head, appears to deny the statement, and there is no denying the fact that Sir William Lyne accepted item 170, as it stands, without protest. As a matter of fact, it was adopted as it stands at that honorable gentleman’s suggestion. The Vice-Presidentof the Executive Council may be justified in departing from an item to which his colleague agreed, but it will be idle for him in future to pretend that there has not been one occasion on which he has invited the Committee to depart from an item accepted by his colleague elsewhere. I ask honorable senators to say whether the suggestion I have made is not reasonable and fair. I think that a duty of 25 per cent. would more than amply protect both industries concerned, and the suggestion, if adopted, would afford a straightforward means of overcoming the difficulty referred to by the Minister.
– After the concession made by the Minister, honorable senators who favour placing household utensils on a different footing from other articles embraced by the item find themselves in a somewhat awkward position. In the circumstances, I ask Senator Neild to be good enough to withdraw his request temporarily, in order that I may. move a request for the insertion of a new paragraph, to read -
Kitchenutensils, made of cast-iron, tinned, free.
– If the new paragraph is to cover only kitchen utensils I am not prepared to withdraw my request in order to enable it to be put ; though I might be prepared to withdraw if it covered all household utensils.
– Senator Croft could achieve what he desires by an amendment to paragraph b.
– No, because in dealing with that paragraph I. should have to fight against the Government’s proposal to make articles made entirely of aluminium for household use dutiable at 5 per cent. I propose to ask the Committee later to make articles made of aluminium for household use free also.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [9.57]. - This is a mere paltry subterfuge on the part of somebody, who is evidently willing to take advantage of the good nature of Senator Croft. I suppose that the articles imported under the heading of tinned cast-iron kitchen utensils would not amount in value to more than £30 in the year. I shall not withdraw my request to enable such a proposal as that to be submitted.
– If we are to understand that Senator Croft is now voicing a concession made by the Minister, I am very much’ disappointed. I understood the Minister to say that he was prepared to exempt certain articles from this item.
– I never heard the words “kitchen utensils” referred to before.
– I referred to kitchen utensils made of cast-iron, tinned.
– I understood the Minister to refer to household utensils of cast-iron and tin. Apparently, it is now proposed to make this concession in respect only of articles of cast-iron that have a coating of tin, and then only in respect of such articles as would come under the description of. kitchen utensils. If that’ be so, the whole thing is so narrowed down that it is not worth while to make the discrimination suggested. The ordinary castiron article, such as forms the bulk of the articles used, is not to come in, but the superior tinned article is to be favoured.
– The honorable senator is wrong. I have been outside and obtained expert advice on the subject.
– I am rather jealous that my honorable friend should have a monopoly of this information. Probably he will give us the benefit of it later on.
– This covers a very large range of articles.
– Those who are bringing the matter forward are responsible for the time taken up, because they give us such scanty information. The Minister proposes to make a certain section of goods free. But the ordinary iron saucepan and camp oven, which comes in untinned, and is the cheapest form of such goods, is to pay 25, or, if the Minister carries his proposal, 30 per cent.
– These cast-iron saucepans are all tinned. That is my information.
– It would pay the Government to send one of their officers over to Sydney, where I will undertake to show them plenty of goods of the kind that are not tinned. Only yesterday I saw a parcel packed to be sent to a country district, which were not tinned. They were as black inside as out. The saucepans usually sent to camps are not tinned.
– It is a rather serious matter from a health point of view if they are not tinned.
– It would be better from a health point of view if enamel or aluminium were used ; though as to enamel, doctors point out that it is a source of danger owing to the enamel chipping. I have seen a great number of goods such as are used for camps, and I never saw one that was tinned. But the Minister proposes that the superior goods shall come in free, whilst those used by the prospector, and in the homes of the poor, should be taxed at 30 per cent. I hope that the Committee will not agree to any such proposal.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 170, paragraph a (imports under
General Tariff), 20 per cent. (Senator Neild’ s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
.- I move- .
That the House of Representatives berequested to make the duty on item 170, paragraph a (imports under General Tariff), 30 per cent.
I have already explained at length the reasons for this request. It is desired to bring item 170 and item 172 to the same level of duty.
– Although the Minister says that he has explained this matter at length, I think he might explain it. further. I suggest that the two items which he has mentioned be made dutiable at the one rate of 25 per cent.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [10.10]. - The proposal of the Minister is a breach of faith with his colleague in another place. The duty in the Tariff was voluntarily suggested by Sir William Lyne. Senator Best has not explained his attitude, and, what is more, he cannot. He ought to explain it to Sir William Lyne. We have arrived at a condition of affairs in the development of this Tariff conspiracy that seems to require a little exposition. The measure was introduced in one form in another place, where it was voluntarily amended by the Minister in charge, and agreed to. It was then introduced in the Senate in its altered form, and we now find the Minister going back on his own Bill, on his own colleague, and on another place, in a manner that is unwarrantable, and without precedent in the history of any decently-conducted Legislature. Senator Best may laugh, but he cannot do . it as well as the laughing jackass. However well he is able to laugh, he can be outshone by another Australian native. It is not a decent thing to laugh over. There is such a thing as honour in connexion with the transaction of public business; but we are not in this instance getting a specimen of it. We are not getting a specimen of Ministerial decency. We may have aspecimen of Ministerial hilarity, but in connexion with responsible Government there is room for something more than cackling. I certainly most strongly object to the proposed increase of this duty - a duty which is designed, as admitted by the Minister tonight, to strike at the commonest necessities of the poorest household. That is the object of the taxing Ministry; the Ministry that is scrambling for some untoward, unexplained, and devious purpose, for additional taxation. I suppose we shall find out by-and-by what particular form of Ministerial outrage lies behind the present proposal. We see it now as a request for an increase of 5 per cent., but whatever it is from the Ministerial point ofview, from the public point of view it is a scandal. It is one of those proposals which no Ministry ought to father, and which no Legislature ought to indorse. The smallest, commonest, cheapest, and most necessary adjunct’s of the poorest cottage home, the miner’s tent, or the prospector’s camp, are to be struck at by a Ministry that agreed publicly to a certain duty, and now, because they have a servile majority in another place, are playing fast and loose with the taxation of the people and thedecency of public life.
– Hear, hear !
– The phonograph has disappeared, and now we have gramaphone No. 1 at work.
– We are now listening to the fog horn of the Reid party.
– A fog horn, at least, discharges a useful function, but the gramaphone, which is supposed to be a musical instrument, frequently gets out of order, and is anything but musical.
– I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable senator in order in discussing gramaphones?
– The honorable senator is out of order.
– I shall be able to keep strictly to parliamentary usage ifyou will kindly see, sir, that I am not led astray by so many serious interruptions. I am not quite sure that gramaphones do not come within this item. Until I am corrected I shall assume that gramaphone mouthpieces, at least, are covered by it.
– Whether tinned or not.
– Whether tinned or not. The proposition which the Minister tried to work off on us a little while ago - theproposition to free iron that was tinned - was too transparently thin. Fancy tinned steels for sharpening knives! Imagine tinned hat stands, tinned frying pans, tinned grills, tinned saucepans, tinned corkscrews, or tinned enamel - ware ! No wonder I am angry when the Minister tries to work off that sort of game upon us.
– Surely not angry !
– Nearly as angry as the honorable senator was this afternoon when he had not the numbers. As he has the numbers with him now, we see him smiling. Thank God there are in Australia people who do not sit in Parliament, but who have votes, and use them at the right time.
– It is scarcely to be expected that I or any one else who has paid attention to the progress of the Tariff will consent, without a protest, to the action that the Minister is now taking. The Tariff came to us with a proposal to levy a duty of 25 per cent on this item on manufactures of metal n.e.i. The Vice-President of the Executive Council now seeks to carry a request to raise the duty to 30 percent. , and once more there is thrown on the Opposition the obligation to defend the Minister’s own Bill from his own attacks. A more extraordinary position was never presented in this or any other deliberative assembly. If the Minister in charge of a Bill has any responsibility at all, it is to endeavour to get his Bill through as reasonably near the form in which it was first introduced as possible. When the Minister just now gave us the reason for his desire to increase this duty, I, being non-suspicious, naturally accepted it at its face value. But since I have given the proposal consideration, and have recalled whathas transpired here, I feel that I have a right to ask myself whether it is any part of the settled policy which the Minister has set up for himself, namely, to get the Senate to undo the work of the House of Representatives by putting the Tariff into the position in which it was when introduced by the Treasurer. The Minister is trying to have duties which were reduced increased to the original rates. To tell us that he does this because of some difficulty which has been discovered in administration is merely to use an accident as a lever by which to effect his obvious purpose. It is not ordinarily the part of an Opposition to defend a Ministerial measure, but as this unfortunate Tariff has been so ill-treated by its Ministerial father, we must extend to it a protecting hand. I should have no hesitation, merely because the House of Representatives had come to a certain decision, about taking a contrary course ifI felt justified in doing so, but if theCommittee aid the Government in this matter, a special responsibility will rest upon it, and especially upon that section of it which supports the Government generally. The Ministerial party in this Chamber is a negligible quantity, unable without the assistance of the Labour Party to affect divisions. The course taken by the Labour Party in this matter may be sound and wise, but I wish to impress upon them and upon the people that they will be responsible for the ultimate form of the Tariff. They have not shown why the duty onhousehold necessaries should be increased to 30 per cent., and, as they claim to specially represent the poorer section of the community, I ask them to carefully consider the matter before voting for this proposition. Senator Croft, evidently instructed by the Government, proposes to exempt from taxation kitchen requisites used in the houses of the wealthy.
– The honorable senator is wrong, but I am willing to word my proposal to meet his objection, though he is only working upon a figure of speech.
– There is actually a very considerable difference betweenkitchen requisites and household requisites. The first proposal was to exempt household requisites, but that has been whittled down by the substitution of”kitchen” for “ household” and the introduction of the words “cast iron tinned.” I hope that if Senator Croft insists on helping the Government to increase the duty to 30 per cent., he will agree to a wider list of exemptions.
– If the Hansard record be accurate, when this item was under consideration in another place, the Treasurer accepted the proposal to reduce the duty originally levied upon it the moment it was submitted.
– He jumped immediately.
– Yes. As a matter of fact, the entire item was agreed to without division. Senator Neild was therefore quite right in sayingthat the Vice-President of the Executive Council has run away from his Bill. He has done more - he has run away from his “pal,” and wishes to do morethan his pal could get done elsewhere.What was the Treasurer’s reason for abandoning his proposal at the very first breath of opposition? If he really desired such a high impost, and it was vital to his financial scheme, why did he not fight strenuously for it? But the records of the debate in another place show-
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.I must call the honorable senator’s attention to the fact that, under our Standing Orders, he has no right to allude to a debate in another place. Of course, I am aware that it has been done again and again.
– In an important debate which took place elsewhere, the Minister responsible for the framing of the Tariff submitted a proposal to levy a duty of 35 per cent. upon this item.We know, as a matter of fiscal history, that that impost was reduced. The VicePresident of the Executive Council now wishes to make the duty 30 percent. Such a tax is a remarkably heavy one to levy upon articles which are an absolute necessity in every household. Under the pressure of criticism, it is very clear that that section of the Committee which possesses all the powerin this Chamber, but is saddled with no responsibility, is becoming uneasy, and that its members are beginning to hedge. As indicative of how they are hedging, it is significant that the Vice-President of the Executive Council has intimated, either directly or indirectly, that he will eliminate from this item cast-iron tinnedutensils.I think he is fairly open to the accusation that he declines to adopt any suggestion made by honorable senators upon this side of the Chamber, notwithstanding the weight of reason which may be behind it, whereas the moment a suggestion is made by those honorable senators upon whose votes the political existence of the Government depends he does not care one straw what his colleague did in another place. In acting in that way he is not treating the Opposition with the consideration to which they are entitled. Under the circumstances, we are warranted- in “rubbing in” our criticism.
– I think we ought to have a quorum. [Quorum formed.”]
– As the VicePresident of the Executive Council has accepted a suggestion in regard to castiron tinned ware, will he permit the item to be widened any further ?
– The opinion was expressed just now that a quorum should be formed. It ought to be not. only formed, but kept.
– No honorable senator ought to leave the chamber after attention has been called to the absence of a quorum. Two or three honorable senators did so previously. Quorum formed.]
– I must take the silence of the Vice-President of the Executive Council as meaning that he will not yield - to us. He will yield, however, when a suggestion is made from the other side. The little finger of one of his supporters is to him stronger than our whole body.
– I wish to call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
– The request regarding cast-iron tinned ware has been accepted by the Minister for the main purpose of cheapening kitchen utensils.
– It is necessary to have a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– Will the VicePresident of the Executive Council permit us to make free articles used in other parts of the household?
– I regret that we are again short of a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– I think that somewhat of a slur has been cast on that class of the community which Senator Croft professes to represent, and, in many respects, so worthily represents, when it is assumed that the only utensils exempt should be those used in the kitchen.
– I beg to call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
– Probably Senator Croft is not sufficiently acquainted with the usual mode and standard of living adopted by-
– I do not think there is a quorum present. [Quorum formed.]
– I was pointing out that Senator Croft has allowed his sympathies to go no further than the kitchen. The suggestion would appear to be that the working classes have only one room.
– I beg to call attention to the fact that there is not a quorum present. [Quorum formed.]
– I hope that Senator Croft and the Government will consent to widen the scope of the proposal, or that otherwise the Government will be quite prepared to take the responsibility.
– I do not think that there is a quorum- present. [Quorum formed.]
– During the comparatively small time I have’ been addressing the Committee the bells’ have been rung several’ times.
– I wish to accentuate the fact that there is not a quorum present. [Quorum formed.]
– I have already expressed the hope that the proposal before us will be widened, and if an indication from either Senator Croft or the Government is given to that effect, mv remarks will close at once. The silence is expressive.
– I am prepared to admit as many household utensils as come within the proposal.
– That is rather encouraging at this hour of the night. If the honorable senator will assist us–
– By vote, but not by this silly business.
– It is a matter of opinion as to whether it is silly or not.
– I am not speaking personally.
– What I havesaid has been stated, I think, iri perfectly. fair temper, and I am sorry that in a moment of irritation the honorable senator has made that remark.
– I did not mean to be personal.
– I beg to call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
– I hope that as Senator Croft has been so successful he will persevere and assist to limit the operations of the item. As the usual hour for adjourning has arrived I do not intend to detain the Committee very much longer. I think that I am entitled to draw attention to this fact, that whilst speaking between twenty minutes and half-an-hour with the object of trying to lighten the burden on every householder in Australia, the bell has had to be rung twenty times in order to get a quorum. It shows how muchthe socalled representatives ofthe working classes, in whose interests we are speaking and in whose interest, I say in all sincerity-
– I beg to draw attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
– As a conclusion to the criticism . I have made on this particular item with the object of trying to lighten the burden on even the humblest householder in Australia, for this is a very important item, I wish to draw attention to the fact that though the hour is late-
– And I wish to call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
– It seems to me that any appeal which may be made to honorable senators on the other side will be absolutely in vain. They will not join with us in doing that which is just.
– So much sweetness should not be wasted on the desert air, sir. I do not think there is a quorum present. [Quorum formed.]
– I think that this is a spectacle which is to be regretted and for which I hope that the proper reward will be meted out to the parties responsible therefor.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [11.6]. - I do not think that the question can be put in the absence of a quorum, sir. [Quorum formed.] There being a quorum present, I have a few observations to make on this item.
– The first ought to be that we should have order.
– I think that the first thing one might hope for would be reasonable quiet.
– The honorable senator has a very good Committee listening to him.
– No doubt. I make no complaint as to the number present, sir, but one might like to be able to speak without shouting.
– There is reasonable order being maintained, and I ask the honorable senator to proceed with his speech.
– It is all right now, sir. The proposal of the Ministry to raise the duty to 30 per cent. is at variance with the Bill as it came to us from another place. It is at variance with the recommendation of the A division of the Tariff Commission ; it is a 100 per cent. advance on the recommendation of the B section of that Commission, and a 5 per cent. advance on the Bill as it reached us. It is a proposal to place back the duty to a rate which was voluntarily abandoned by the Minister in charge of the Bill elsewhere. By his own offer the duty was fixed at 25 per cent. and now Senator Best asks us to go back upon his colleague in another place, and upon the recommendation of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission, to double the recommendation of the freetrade section of that Commission, and to place a burden which is little less than intolerable upon every home in the Commonwealth. I have no desire to occupy time unnecessarily; to repeat what has been well said by many speakers during the debate, which has now lasted from between 4 and5 o’clock. But the length and the fervour of the debate, the strenuousness of the eloquence that has filled the Chamber during all those hours, point to the fact that the item before us-
– And the hollowness of the debate.
– It is not nearly so hollow as the hollow-ware which it is proposed to tax.
– There is no hollowwarebeing taxed.
– Then the honorable senator had better spend a little of his spare time in studying the item, because his ignorance of the fact that it does include hollow-ware is deplorable. What has taken place in connexion with this item shows how keenly some honorable senators have been striving to relieve the necessaries of the home of import duties. The Minister has proposed that some few articles made of iron and coated with tin should be freed from this extortionate taxation. But in his first deliverance he told the Committee that down-pipes, guttering, and bird cages were the chief imports covered by the item. . Not one of those articles is constructed of iron coated with tin, and that is sufficient to expose the hollowness of the Ministerial proposal. Honorable senators will, no doubt, remember Lord Macaulay’s lines -
Then tenfold round the body
The roar of battle rose. and I might say that ten-fold round item 170 the roar of battle rose.
– I think there should be a quorum present. [Quorum formed.]
– The lengthy discussion which has taken place on the item, and the fervour of the utterances of many honorable senators who have addressed the Committee, clearly show how strong the feeling of opposition is to the Government proposal to assault the home, however humble or lofty, the tent of the miner or prospector, and the home in the wilderness of every striver after the development of the resources of Australia throughout the wide domain of the Commonwealth. On the very threshold of the home we find that there is a tax imposed on the iron scraper on which a man cleans his boots. He cannot have a metal hat or umbrella stand in his hall without having to pay duty on it under this item.
– What about the door handle and the door hinges?
– I am not quite sure that door handles would not come under this item, but there is no possible doubt that door knockers do. It is a positive outrage that a man cannot be disturbed at 12 o’clock at night without a tax of 30 per cent. having to be paid on the knocker with which his slumbers are disturbed. Senator Guthrie has suggested that the hinges by which the door is hung are subject to a 30 per cent. duty. The lock and the key with which it is turned come under this item. If we go into the laundry or kitchen we find that there is a duty of 30per cent. on almost all we see, whether it be the saucepan, the kettle, the frying pan, the gridiron, or the flatiron. I cannot, at this time of the night, remember all the little etceteras that go to make up the domestic requirements of the kitchen and laundry, but this taxation penetrates with a blighting influence the homes alike of the richest and humblest members of the community. Even the rings that constitute the most important part of the hobbles on the overlander’s horse are taxed at 30 per cent. The bell that hangs round the neck of the bullock, that forms an important member of the teamster’s team, and the bell on the pack-horse when it is turned out to feed, pay 30 per cent. A common pair of scissors, such as are used by every one, the steel that is required for sharpening knives, the stew-pan used in the kitchen, and the enamelledware advertisement, such as is used by Mr. Beale to proclaim the virtues of his pianos - all pay 30 per cent. A large proportion of the articles under this heading are made of iron coated with tin. There is also a considerable number of articles in common use that are constructed of some cheap metal and coated with nickel. These are all to be assailed with a 30 per cent. duty. The chain that ties up the domestic dog, and that which is fastened to the parrot, alike pay 30 per cent. I could occupy verymuch more time in enumerating the goods subject to this impost. But I think the Minister might, at this stage, reasonably indicate that he is not disposed to press for this increased duty. I might go so far as to say that I should be willing to withdraw my request if he would withdraw the Ministerial threat under which we feel that we are suffering, and let the. duty stand even as it stands at present in the schedule. It is not possible to make a more reasonable proposition than that. I hope that the suggestion I have made by way of settling a difficulty that certainly threatens a very long sitting will be regarded as reasonable, and that we may come to a friendly settlement of a question that seems to promise a great deal of personal discomfort and possibly more untoward effects.
– Earlier in the evening I suggested that theMinister shouldendeavour to meet the Committee by separating ironware from tinware. I have here a book which deals very fully with the methods by which tin plate is produced from iron, but I do not propose to weary the Committee by reading it. The Minister told us that there was great difficulty in differentiating between ironware and tinware coming under this item, but Icontend that a duty of 30 per cent. is altogether too high in respect of the tinware which he said was covered by it. We find that it includes not only blacksmiths’ anvils and Milner safes, but dog ‘chains, gas tanks, corkscrews, fenders, gluepots, and many other articles. There also come under this item such tinned ware as gridirons, saucepans for use over gas jets, hinges and door bolts. The two classes should be dealt with separately, and, if in order, I should like to move a request for the insertion of a new paragraph providing that tinware for household use as prescribed by departmental by-laws be free. Such a division of the item would to a large extent settle the difficulty which exists between the Government and the Opposition. These household goods are required, not only in the mansions, but also in the huts of Australia - in the camps as well as in the towns.
– The honorable senator would hot now be in order in mov- ing the request he has indicated. We are dealing with the rate of duty under the general Tariff.
– Perhaps the Minister will agree to the request I have indicated being moved later on.
– We ought to clearly understand what articles come under this item. In considering the rate of duty to be imposed we ought not to lose sight of the fact that paragraph a covers such household utensils as saucepans and stewpans. The Minister of Home Affairs must feel it rather hard that he should be called upon to support so high a duty in respect of stew-pans, which are used in nearly every household in Tasmania. In the State of which the honorable senator is a representative nearly every family makes its own preserves. The position is to a large. extent the same in Victoria, and although this State has returned a majority of protectionists, I feel satisfied that . if the higher duty be carried those who are called .upon next year to pay an increased price for stewpans will raise an outcry. A strong protectionist has shown to-night that there is a natural protection of 33 per cent, on metals and metalware, and the Government wish to increase that by another 30 per cent., making in all 63 per cent.
– There should be a ‘. quorum to hear these remarks. [Quorum formed.]
– In the Minister’s own State, where large quantities of preserves are made-
– Standing order 407 provides that an honorable senator must not be guilty of tedious repetition.
– If I have repeated, myself in regard to the Minister’s State, let me refer to the conditions of affairs in Western Australia, where the people require saucepans and the other household necessaries coming under the item just as much as do the people of South Australia and of the other States.
– We can make these things for ourselves.
– I do not know of any place in the Commonwealth where metalware lined with tin is made.
– We do better than that; we make stamped copper ware.
– In any case, what right has the Government to increase a duty which has been reduced by the House of Representatives? The Ministry may have a majority behind it; but it is the duty of the Opposition to prevent the undue taxing of the people. In every State there are unfortunates who make what in most instances is, I am sorry to say, a poor living, by washing and ironing, and, by increasing the duty on irons, the Government is still further increasing their expenses and reducing the profit of their labour. Then, while an attempt has been made to stimulate the local manufacture of clothing, one of the tailor’s chief tools of trade, the goose - the heavy iron which he uses for pressing - is made dearer by a. heavier duty. It is those who are least able to afford additional taxation, the workers of the Commonwealth, who will be oppressed by these duties. Surely the higher rate is not required to increase the revenue, which we are told will yield at least ,£2,000.000 more than was expected. The smaller return to be expected under this item from a duty of 25 per’ cent, will not materially affect the total revenue. Many articles in dan’ use by ordinary citizens are included in this item, and under the Government proposal these will be dutiable at an’ increased rate of 5 per cent. If I thought for a’ moment that this increased duty was really required from a revenue stand-point, I might feel disposed to vote for it. But. seeing that we have an overflowing Treasury, we know that it is not required. The Vice-President of the Executive Council desires an increase of 5. ‘per cent, upon this item to bring it into harmony with the duty levied upon another item.I wish also to point out that there is a certain class of boiler used for the purpose of boiling clothes-
– That will be included in my proposal.
– The Chairman has already ruled that I am not at liberty to allude to other than the item under discussion. These washing boilers are principally lined with tin. They may be found in every household, and especially in the bush. Now we are asked to increase theprice of them by 5 per cent. In some parts of the bush, residents have been compelled, by reason of the high price of these boilers, to use kerosene cans and nail cans as substitutes.
– I beg to call attention to the absence of a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– It seems to be a case of tax, tax, tax all the time, and some protectionists would readily vote for rates as high as 100 per cent. They shouldtake into consideration the unfortunate people . who have not £600 a year to spend. Honorable senators are, of course, in a different position, but I hope their feelings for those they represent will prevent them from increasing the duty.
– Will it apply tojam tins used for pannikins?
– I believe so, as they are made of iron, and coated with tin. To tax jam tins will be contrary to our professed policy of fostering local industries. I am surprised at the attitude of the Minister of Home Affairs, because Tasmania has developed a large jam trade, the success of which depends on cheap material for the making of jam tins. This proposal will crucify the jam-making industry of Tasmania, as the margin between profit and loss is even now very small. There is A large industry of tinning fruit in Mildura, for which theVice-President of the Executive Council ought to have consideration. Senator Findley wants to see Mildura industries flourish, but is at the same time willing to place taxation on them. Queensland is building up a large trade in canned pineapples and other fruit.
– Is it in order for an honorable senator to bring bedding into the Chamber, for the purpose of sleeping upon it?
– It is rather a breach of decorum. I ask Senator Needham to remove that pillow.
– I am simply reclining.I do not think this article is bedding.
– I ask the honorable senator to remove it.
– I do not wish to tax the Queensland canned-fruit trade. The margin between the cost of production and the sale price is so small, that if this duty is imposed people will be driven out of the industry.Do honorable senators opposite intend deliberately to sacrifice the people on the land to their ambition for high protection ? Tomatoes are also articles which this duty would affect, as may be gathered from the fact that some 340,000 cases of the fruit are sent away from Bowen, in Queensland, annually. Many people have been induced to go on the land, and yet, under the Tariff, the cost of every implement they require is increased. Then, again, during the last twelve or eighteen months some 500 or 600 settlers have entered the sugar industry, with the result that an immense number of gallons of syrup have been allowed to run to waste, because it did not pay to sell at the price offered. If a lower duty were imposed on manufactures of metal, there is not the slightest doubt that the cost of packing tins would be made much cheaper. At the present time in Queensland, persons are throwing away molasses merely because they have no market, whereas, if they were enabled to procure cheap tins, that by-product could be exported to other parts of the world.
– Why do they not export it in barrels ?
– I thought that the honorable senator, as a strong protectionist, would.be the last man in the world who would wish to drive any work out of this country by imposing a revenue duty. I am really surprised at him asking me that question. He ought to be supporting us in our effort to get tin admitted at as low a rate as possible, in order to give employment to our own people in various directions. So far as I know, this item includes barrels which are made of metal. I hope that the representatives of Western Australia are aware that a’ many metal barrels are used for the purpose of hauling dirt. There is also a cask which is made from steel, and which, I presume, will come under this item. The price of steel casks or buckets will be increased by 5 per cent. if this duty be carried. I was very pleased to-day when Senator Best accepted
Senator Lynch’s request for a certain class of steel to be admitted free. But it is nowproposed to nullify that good act by increasing the duty on another class of steel, which is also used largely in connexion with mining. I cannot understand the reasons which induce honorable senators on the other side to take, up that extraordinary position. I was moved very deeply this afternoon by Senator Lynch’s very pathetic appeal on behalf of a number of mines which are approaching a paying point, and naturally I was- very pleased when he carried his’ request for a reduction of the duty, on the item in question. But .this item includes an article which is used in great numbers, more especially in mines before they - get to the company stage. Steel buckets are used with a whip or a whim, or a small engine, in hauling the mullock when sinking a shaft, hauling upthe quartz afterwards, and bailing out water in wet ground.
– With the consent of the Committee, I propose to suspend the sitting till i o’clock.
Sitting suspended from 12.30 to 1 a.m. (Wednesday).
– Before the suspension of the sitting I was referring to the fact that tinned cucumbers form an important item of export from Queensland, and the duty sought to be imposed “on manufactures of metal will be severely felt by those who are engaged in the tinning- of cucumbers in the northern State. I mentioned also that it will act in .some degree as a deterrent to the settlement of people on the soil. I am sorry that honorable senators should be prepared to do anything that would prevent the- settlement of people on the soil, but we cannot hope to induce people to settle on the land of the Commonwealth unless we afford them the greatest possible facilities for the disposal of their produce. I have referred’ also to another important industry - the tinning of fish. I forgot at the time that we had passed a Bounties Bill in which we have offered a bounty to persons who will take up this industry. It seems extraordinary that we should now be asked’, to impose a duty on the tins required iri an industry for the development pf -which we have offered a bounty. Again we have established in the Commonwealth, and especially in Queensland and in the Northern Territory, an industry for the tinning of. meat. A few years ago we had a large surplus of cattle in Queensland which, owing to drought in the central districts, could not be travelled to the southern markets. It was necessary, therefore, that the cattle should be killed in- the State and the meat preserved in tins.
– The tinning of meat has’ nothing to do with this item. Tinned plates’ and sheets are dealt with in item 223.
– Perhaps the honorable senator is not aware that there are various kinds of tin.. There is lode tin and stream tin, but I am dealing now with the tinware included in ‘the item under discussion. Some years ago in North Queensland we had a surplus supply of cattle. The people who owned them not being able to dispose of them otherwise, had the carcasses boiled down, tinned the flesh, and even tinned the dripping. By the action of this Parliament we are making it impossible for the meat tinning industry to be conducted profitably in a bad season. At present, fortunately, we are enjoying splendid seasons. But I do not want honorable. senators to take away from the people in the North the opportunity of getting rid of their stock at a profit. This is supposed to be a protectionist item, but as a matter qf fact it is a purely revenue item.- The’ tin must be imported.
– I rise to order. My point is that Senator Sayers, in discussing the tinning of certain commodities, is not in order, seeing that the item under discussion is not tin. Tin comes in duty free, so that there is no question of a duty upon it affecting the tinning of meats, fish, tomatoes, or fruits.
– On the point of order, I desire to observe that, though sheets of tin may be dealt with in another part of the Tariff, it is well known that the material used for tinning meat does not consist of sheets of tin, but of iron coated with tin - a very different- thing. It is also well known that tins cannot be closed up without the use of solder, which is a manufacture of metal. I submit that Senator Sayers is perfectly in order in referring to the requirements of the great’ tinning industry of Australia. So much is it an Australian industry that Deputy Survevor-General Evans, who. was brought over from Tasmania to New South Wales to complete the exploration of the Blue Mountains, and who discovered the Bathurst Plains, related in his report to Governor Macquarie that on Christmas Day - and this occurred two years before the Battle of Waterloo-
– Have these remarks any reference to the point of order?
– The Temporary Chairman will rule me out of order if I am not speaking to the question. I am pointing out the extreme importance of this great industry, and am prepared to prove it positively. I was alluding to the report of Deputy Surveyor-General Evans, which I may state was copied from the original document in the British Museum, London.
– Is Senator Neild speaking to the point of order, or discussing the tinning industry?
-I think that Senator Neild is speaking to the point of order.
– I was relating that Deputy Surveyor-General Evans reported to Governor Macquarie that on Christmas Day, 1812, the weather was so extremely hot that the fish in the river - now known as Murray cod - would not bite, and that he had to fall back upon the case of tinned roastbeef which he had taken with him. The fact shows that two years before the Battle of Waterloo even, roast beef - to say nothing of boiled - was tinned in Australia. From that day to the present the tinning of meats and other foods has been a great Australian industry ; and I submit with great respect that the argument of Senator Savers in reference to the fact that the material necessary for that industry is imported into the Commonwealth tinder item 170, is perfectly in order. Let me say, lest there should be any possible doubt about the matter, that I have been referring in all good faith to an official report of Considerableinterest ; and upon that document I base my argument as to the importance of the industry.
– The contention is that Senator Savers, in referring to the tinning of products is out of order, since he is dealing with a matter covered by a later item. He certainly would be out of order if it were absolutely necessary for the tin used in that way to be imported in sheets, but it is competent for any one to introduce tins already made up, and such tins would come under this item. I think Senator Findley is deserving of censure for having raised a point of order, the only effect of which is to consume valuable time.
– It seems to me that Senator Findley raised this point of order with no other object than that of wasting time. A great deal of time was spent this afternoon in discussing the duty on billy- cans, and I hold that Senator Sayers is in order, since tins for canning purposes also come under the item.
– The tinning of plate iron is a very old process. It is said to have been invented in Bohemia about the beginning of the sixteenth century, although the tinning of copper was previously carried out. I referred more than once, before the point of order was taken, to the fact that tins used for canning purposes are not made here, and I hope that the objection will not be upheld.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable senator is in order in referring to tins, since they are manufactures of metal, and, therefore, come within the item. I do not think, however, that he will be in order in referring to the contents of such tins.
– I think, with all due respect to you, sir, that it was hardly possible for me, in dealing with these tins, to refrain from mentioning the uses to which they are put.
– I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable senator disputing your ruling, Mr. Chairman ?
– On a point of order, sir, I think it is my duty, in the interests of decency, to protest when an honorable senator, having spread himself in a sleeping posture on the bench, suddenly claims your intervention, and, before you have had an opportunity to reply, resumes his somnolent attitude. Such behaviour is calculated to bring our proceedings into disrepute.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.There is no standing order dealing with the matter to which the honorable senator has referred. No honorable senator is at present guilty of objectionable conduct or of using objectionable words.
-I have endeavoured to show why an additional duty should not be imposed in respect of this item, and I hope that I am not disregarding the Standing Orders in, referring to the uses to which tins are put. After meat has been boiled down for tinning purposes a large quantity of dripping is obtained.
– You have ruled, Mr. Temporary Chairman, that the honorable senator is not in order in referring at length to . what may be the content’s of manufactures of metals.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable senator is going beyond the item.
– His point is that a duty on imported tins will crush the industry for whose benefit they are imported.
– Quite so. Dripping is put into these tins, which are then soldered up, and the contents sold largely throughout the Commonwealth. In Tasmania, and even in Victoria, in the winter, when butter is dear, thousands of people live on bread and butter and dripping. Do honorable senators wish to make it harder for the poor by making this commodity dearer? Some honorable senators have declared that they will not tax articles of food j but this is an indirect food tax. They must know this, yet, apparently, they have made up their minds to impose as much taxation as possible, without regard to the conditions of those who, even at present, can hardly make both ends meet.
– Even frying pans are taxed.
– Yes. The frying pan is used in every working man’s home, and is often seen with the swag of the bush worker. As frying pans are not made here, this duty, and the duty on gridirons, is a revenue tax, wholly unnecessary, seeing how largely the revenue is exceeding the Treasurer’s estimate. If those who support the Government upon this .item are not revenue tariffists I do not know what they are. I maintain that the duty proposed is a purely revenue impost. We have not been told anything to the contrary, and it has not been shown that the articles covered by this item can be manufactured in the Commonwealth. For the eight months of the present financial year this Tariff has yielded £1,800,000 in excess of’ the revenue derived from the Tariff of 1902; It is apparent, therefore, that by the close of the financial year the revenue from it will exceed the amount collected under the old Tariff by, approximately, ,£2,250,000. Notwithstanding this fact, honorable senators opposite have, day. after day, sanctioned the imposition of increased duties. In the other Chamber a compromise was accepted upon, this item - a compromise from which the Vice-President of the Executive Council now desires to depart. I am satisfied that if the duty be increased to 30 per cent., our action will be resented in more places than one. It will be resented by the general public, and we shall be here another six months before the consideration of the Tariff has been completed.
I have seen quite a number of articles in-> the newspapers urging us to dispose of the schedule as quickly as possible. But how can we do so when the Government are constantly proposing increases in the rates of duty ?
– When they are practically bringing in another Tariff.
– I have no doubt that we shall be defeated in our attempt to prevent excessive taxation being levied upon the people. “Brute force will always prevail. But, . in justice to the electors whoreturned us, we must resist this iniquitous taxation. I feel certain that if the proposal of the Government be agreed to, weshall, at a later stage, be Obliged to retrace our steps. 1 do not want to see the Seriate placed in that position, neither do I desire to.be kept here’ till next Christmas. Dur ing the Tariff debate I have been surprised’ at the moderation exhibited by the Opposition. Time after time We have endeavoured to assist the Government, but the moment that we have’ asked for the smallest concession,’ we have met with nothing but rebuffs. I can claim Senator Croft’s. vote on this item because he has refused to taxthe food of the people. My arguments in favour of the poor man whose family have to live on dripping because they cannot afford butter should convince him. that he should not vote to increase their cost of living. Although a protectionist, he is open to reason. I have not occupied much time so far in the -discussion pf this Tariff, but I felt that I. must fight to the bitter end the attempt of the Government, without givingreasons, to force us to increase this duty from 25 to 36 per cent. If they meet usfairly with” reasonable proposals we shall always be prepared, to assist them. This is; an encroachment on the rights of the people, and must be strenuously opposed. I am now informed that a compromise was offered to the Government, that tinware and ironware should be separated. That would hardly meet my views, because if tinware were relieved pf the duty many articles of iron used in the household would still be taxed. I ‘hope Senator -Croft will succeed in exempting all tin” and ironware used- for household purposes. The Government, however, appear to have made up their minds that, having a majority, they canforce their proposal through the Chamber. It is. our duty to resist to the utmost anything that we think is a burden upon the taxpayer. If honorable senators opposite were on this side they would be the strongest opponents of this iniquitous taxation. I hope the request, if agreed to, will be sent back to us again, and that then we shall be better prepared to deal with it.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [1.58 a.m.]. - Most of the eloquence to-night has been devoted to the domestic aspect. I shall take up the maritime aspect, and - as I have a little Irish blood in my veins - break new ground upon the waters. Under this item of metal manufactures comes in that which is essential to the well-beingof Australia. Doubtless steamer propellers will come under this item ; and we can realize how seriously the cost in this connexion might be increased. How can we hope to build up an Australian maritime power if all the requisites are to bear a heavy duty, with the result of enhanced prices on both imported and locallymanuf actured articles ? All sorts of supplies for the Commonwealth and States Governments will be affected, and increased burdens of taxation thus imposed on the people by means of this extraordinary Tariff. Indeed, the Tariff, although it has not yet passed the two Houses, already possesses anomalies which the appointment of the Tariff Commission was intended to abolish.
– I regret that the unbending attitude of Ministers compels me to express my most earnest protest against their conduct of public business.
– I think a quorum ought to be present. [Quorum formed.]
– The value of the imports under this item is£609,948 per annum, and on that, under the Government proposal, there will be collected duty amounting to nearly£200,000; and this in regard to articles used, not only in every house, but in every room of every house. If Ministers had any regard for the rights of the minority there would be no need for this late sitting; but I am prepared, if necessary, in order to show that the Opposition intend to have a voice in this matter, to move a dozen amendments on every item. I do not think that the Vice-President of the Executive Council could have taken a note of the various articles which are comprised in this item. When my cautious friend, Mr. Glynn, quoted a certain letter in the other House, he said that the authority was undoubted. According to that authority a blacksmith’s anvil is not made in the Commonwealth. Do the Deakin Government wish to encourage the indus tries of the country by imposing a duty of 30 per cent. on a blacksmith’s anvil? When I go to a garden party I like to have some creases in my trousers. I desire to know if it is possible to get a locally -made tailor’s iron. I do not believe that it is. According to Senator Trenwith, every time we impose a duty the price of the article taxed is cheapened to the public. This, however, is the one exception to his grand doctrine. Even he will not admit that the price of a tailor’s iron is cheapened by the imposition of a 30 per cent. duty. We ought to have had set out in an explanatory document all the information which has been furnished to the Minister by the Customs officials. Is a mason’s sieve or riddle a tool of trade, or is it to be liable to a duty of 30 per cent.? Will the cost of the article be cheapened by the imposition of a duty? The item also includes bells of every description. Am I to understand that all sorts of bells are not made in the Commonwealth ? Fancy such articles being subjected to a duty of 30 per cent. Of course, Senator Trenwith will tell me that it will cheapen the price of the article. I do not like to suggest that an Australian worker cannot make a door-bolt, but, because he does not, it is proposed to punish every person who uses the article by imposing a duty of 30 per cent. Senator Gray has pointed out that fireproof safes can be made in Australia, but that they are not to be compared with the British article. Of course, Senator Trenwith would compel every man to provide himself with a cheap and nasty safe simply because it is made in the Commonwealth.
– I beg to call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
– I want Senator Best to tell me whether hinges can be made in the Commonwealth. I should think that they can be made here, but the point is, are they being made here? As he is silent, I must assume, on this authority, that they cannot be made here, and yet it is proposed to subject them to a duty of 30 per cent. What on earth is a gate latch that it cannot be made here? I am beginning to doubt the capacity of the Australian workman when I find that such an article is not locally made. I now come to iron water and steam tubes up to 4 inches. Senator Best told me that under item 182 tubes came in free, but he cannot bluff me in that way, because this item includes only small tubes.
– Under item 182 iron and steam tubes or pipes (except riveted or cast), not more than 6 inches internal diameter, including flexible metal tubes, galloway and vertical parallel boiler tubes, water bore casings, and wrought and malleable iron fittings for pipes are free.
– Where does it refer to tubes up to 4 inches ? Do I understand that a trace for a buggy or cart comes under this item?
– No, it is free.
– I am told that dog chains are not made in the Commonwealth, and are included in this item. I am ‘also told that navvies’ picks come under the heading of tools of trade. Can gas-pipe tongs be made in the Commonwealth ?
– Yes, every plumber makes his own.
– My honorable friend is wrong, I am sure. Cast-iron saucepans and boilers are used in every home, and yet, under this item, they are to be burdened with a duty of 30 per cent.
– I am prepared to exempt cast-iron kitchen utensils, as the honorable senator ought to know.
– I understand that my honorable friend is going to discriminate in regard to those articles which are used in the kitchen. If he would only go a little farther in that direction we might be able to meet him. I believe that cashboxes can be made in Australia, but I understand that the cost of importing is at least 20 per cent. As my honorable friend proposes a duty of 30 per cent., he is really taxing those necessary articles, to every office, and to many homes, to the amountof 50 per cent. I have made up my mind not to buy an Australian-made cash-box in the future. Some hours ago we were talking about an article which I should like to use now, and that is the homely corkscrew. I find that it also is to be dutiable nt 30 per cent. Fenders and fireirons, which I am informed are not made in the Commonwealth, will also have to carry the same duty, although the natural protection upon them, due to the cost of freight, must be enormous. I find that blocks and pulleys are also to be charged a duty of 30 per cent. I should like to know what our working men, who- are building four-roomed cottages for themselves, will say when they find that under this Tariff they will be compelled to pay high duties upon every article of furniture and household utensil they require. I have heard no reason to justify the proposed increase of the duty on this item. It will create difficulty in another place in fixing up the Tariff which, in my opinion, will not lead to the same amount of sound business as the Tariff which . it is to replace. I have shown that on 80 per cent, of the articles embraced in this item, the duty proposed is not a protective duty. Why did the Tariff Commission conduct a judicial investigation extending over two years, at an expense of £10,000, if, at the sweet will of. Ministers, we are to disregard their recommendations and increase these duties? If the Vice-President of the Executive Council has any suggestion to offer to bring this sitting to a close, I shall be glad to hear it ; but I have felt it my duty to enter a solemn protest against the imposition of a duty which must be felt to be a grievous burden on every householder in the Commonwealth.
– At this hour of the morning, I appeal to the Vice-President of the Executive Council to recognise that, in asking him to be satisfied with a duty of 25 per cent, on this item, we are making a reasonable request, since that would be an advance on the duty approved by the Minister, in charge of the Tariff in another place, and on the duty recommended by the protectionist section of .the Tariff Commission. I think I have a right to ask that a quorum should be present. [Quorum formed.] Why is a request made for an increase of the duty on this item? It cannot be because Ministers fear a reduction of revenue under this Tariff, because so far the revenue derived has been double what they anticipated it would be.
– I wish to direct attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
– I should have thought that Ministers, as trustees of the interests of the people, would have felt it to be their duty to reduce, rather than increase, duties which have not a protectionist effect. This duty will be levied upon a great variety of articles, 90 per cent, of which are used in the homes of the people, and, if I can read a sign of the times, the future is not so promising that we can safely impose additional taxation upon them. There may be times ahead of us when every penny of taxation will be felt, and when those who are responsible for the imposition of .increased duties will have to suffer the consequences of their action. In this matter, honorable senators on this side feel that they are fighting the battle of the people. We fail to see why, when the Tariff was intended to remove anomalies and not to. increase duties, and when a Tariff Commission, after an inquiry lasting over two years, during which, at great expense, they examined numbers of witnesses-
– Is the honorable senator in order in dealing in a general way with the whole of the Tariff, and the work of the Tariff Commission?
– This is the second time that Senator Findley has taken up what appears to me to be an entirely frivolous point of order. Senator Gray was emphasizing the fact that the Tariff Commission specially inquired not merely into the Tariff as a whole, but into this particular item, and was pointing out the inconsistency of the Government in adopting the recommendations of the Commission on some items, and refusing to adopt their recommendation on this particular item.
– I think Senator Gray was wandering a little from the. subject. I should like the honorable senator to keep a little more closely to the item.
– I felt that I was entitled to refer to the work of the Tariff Commission, because the Vice-President’ of the Executive Council has repeatedly mentioned the fact that evidence in connexion with the various items in the Tariff was submitted to the Commission. It is impossible to deny that the members of the Tariff Commission, who heard the evidence, were in a better position to advise as to the duties than we can be. Now, I propose to deal with a few of the articles includedunder the item. First, I may mention bells. J believe that no bells are manufactured in the Commonwealth. See how this duty will fall on our churches. At Ashfield, New South Wales, where I live, we have just put in the church a peal of bells that cost over £300. Under this item the duty on those bells would .have been over £90, apart from the heavy freight and packing charges. It is almost barbarous to tax such hells. I also point out that this duty would fall on fire-alarm bells and bells used for factory, office, and domestic purposes. Letter-boxes are- also included under this item, and to tax them is most unwise. Even ships’ propellers will not escape under this item. The folly of increasing the cost of safes by this duty has been referred to previously, and should not be overlooked.
Only a few weeks ago I bought a small safe for £50. I could probably have bought a colonial-made safe for £20, but I paid the extra money because I knew I could absolutely depend upon the reliable work of the English makers. To put a duty of 30 per cent, upon safes, the freight on which is already very high, is a serious mistake.
– I draw attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.)
– The manufacture of ir.on safes for the preservation of money and valuables has become an industry of “great importance. The foundation of the plan on which fireproof safes are constructed’ was laid as far back as 1.801, and Mr. Thomas Milner in 1840 patented a fireproof safe, embodying the same principle, but having some improvements.
– What is the honorable senator’s authority for that statement?
– Chamber’s Encyclopaedia. If the honorable senator were to recommend any company in which he was interested to use an Australian in preference to an imported safe, I should say that his advice was in keeping with the wisdom begotten of his experience. Cheap iron safes are not imported. The Encyclopedia Britannica, under the heading of “ Safes,” deals at length with various devices for battling thieves.
– There is not a quorum present.
– A quorum is present.
– Under this item, something like 250 small articles used in almost every household are bracketed with such things as iron safes and propellers. It cannot be said that the item has been scientifically arranged when it subjects scores of small- articles of great value from the point of view of the housewife to the same duty as is imposed on such large things as fireproof safes and ships’ propellers. A duty of 30 per cent, is a barbarous one, and ought not to be imposed. This is not an equitable tax, and a lack of knowledge of the principles which should guide us in levying taxation is shown by those who put it forward. I am surprised that Senator Trenwith should be prepared to support it. He must know that it will inflict’ an absolute injustice on the people. I appeal to the Vice-President of the Executive Council to consider the compromise which the Opposition are prepared to agree to. The imposition of a duty of even 25 per cent. upon many of the articles covered by this item is, to my mind, little short of outrageous, and, in voting for such a tax, I shall feel thatI am taking a very strong dose of a nauseating physic. There is certainly no need for so high a duty as the Government propose. The Treasury is overburdened with money. The Tariff is yielding an enormous revenue, and the Ministry, instead of proposing to increase the existing duty, should be prepared to make an effort to reduce the burden of taxation on the people. Most of the articles covered by the item are essential to the development of Australia.
Senator ST. LEDGER (Queensland [4.30 a.m.]. - The item now underdiscussion is one of the most important in. the Tariff, an importance which has been made more manifest by the request which has been moved in connexion with it. But when the members of the Opposition desired to extend the scope of the exemptions, the action of the VicePresident of the Executive Council in refusing to explain his attitude in resisting the attempt to reduce the taxation on household implements, made it necessary for us to insist in making plain the incidence of the proposed taxation. Tinware and tinned ironware enters very largely into the ordinary household economy. It was the importance of this metal to the ancient world thatled to the discovery of Great Britain by the Romans.
– The discovery of Cornwall. A Cornishman never was an Englishman.
– At any rate, Cornwall is a part of Great Britain. The first mention of tin is to be found in the writings of Herodotus.
– I cannot allow the honorable senator to go into that matter.
– I mention the fact only because of its interest in connexion with this item. Probably, the reason of the present supremacy of Great Britain in the production of tinned ware - a supremacy which I hope she will long enjoy - is due to the fact that for so many centuries that country has been remarkable for its deposits of tin ore. From the report of the Tariff Commission I gather that Australia cannot supply anything like the number of articles of tin and tinware that are required in even the humblest household in Australia. That being the case, I regard the proposed increase of duty upon this item as a fiscal outrage and an unendurable burden upon every section of the community. During the course of this debate, which has lasted a very long time-
– It has only just begun.
– If that be so, it is absolute confirmation of the view which I presented at the beginning of my remarks.
– We might as well take the decision of the Committee now, as a month hence.
– The members of the Opposition are doing their utmost to show the importance of this item.
– To make themselves appear ridiculous.
– This is not the first occasion upon which it has been necessary for men to appear ridiculous in the eyes of those who were supporting a gross injustice. Only time will disclose whether we are justified in calling attention in this pointed way to the proposal of the Government.
– The honorable senator’s party is using the taxpayers’ money for nothing.
– That charge is ridiculous, seeing thatwe are considering a proposal to increase the burden placed upon the taxpayer. It may be that the Opposition in so obstinately’ fighting this item-
– In so stupidlyfighting it.
– The honorable senator is welcome to his opinion. I think that the Government are obstinately adhering to a position which will ultimately be found to be untenable. They are departing from the compromise which was accepted by the Treasurer in another place. I have vainly tried to imagine what good purpose can be served by their action in this connexion.
– But the honorable senator hasno imagination.
– There are very few humorous questions in life which, when deeply probed, do not present aspects of very great importance. Indeed, it has been said by the greatest writers, that no man who is not possessed of a sense of humour really views serious issues in their proper proportions. Every one knows the importance of tin and tinware in domestic life. At a very early age in the history of the world, the importance of tin and tinware was recognised even by semicivilized communities. Indeed, an article of tinware was a subject which occupied the attention of some of the greatest intelligences of the ancient Empire of Greece. Of course, the story is familiar to all. Rat, mouse, and other kinds of traps are included in this item. Cheap traps may help to check the bubonic plague, to the danger of which Australia is constantly exposed from the East.
– As the Government desire to do business, they should provide a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– The relations of the Commonwealth to the States may be affected by any duty which interferes with the efforts of the latter to cope with the plague. I strongly favour making bells free.
– We should have a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– I hope the Government will give us some more definite information as to the various articles included in this item.
– Wire gauze was originally, along with wire cloth, embraced in item 225. However, wire gauze has been removed from that item; and the question is whether it now falls within item 170, or goes with perforated zinc, which is on the free list. I am afraid that, according to the official interpretation, wire gauze comes under item 170.
– Wire gauze of up to twenty holes to the lineal inch is made here, and is dutiable, but the balance is to be included in the free list, in accordance with the amendment I have circulated.
– Perhaps it is not unreasonable at this hour to ask the Minister at what stage he will consider it convenient to adjourn ?
– Let us get on.
– But I ask how far we are to go?
– It is quite impossible to say at this juncture.
– If the Minister thinks it desirable to continue the sitting I feel under no obligation to forego the opportunity to discuss the item. It is quite clear that if a duty of 30 per cent. is considered reasonable on the manufac tured article, we must be prepared later on to impose a corresponding duty on the raw material.
– I beg to call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
SenatorMILLEN. - I was pointing out that if we impose a duty of 30 per cent. on the manufactured article, we must be prepared, under Division VIa., to impose a corresponding duty on the raw material.
– I do not think there is a quorum present. [Quorum formed.]
– If a duty be imposed on the raw material, then it will be necessary to impose a duty of at least 40½ per cent. on item 170. It is a matter of regret, and, to some extent, a slight to the Senate, that, while in another place the Government suspended the consideration of the Tariff in order to deal with the Manufactures Encouragement Bill, it has not been thought necessary to consult honorable senators in regard to that measure. In another place, the Tariff was dealt with as though the Manufactures Encouragement Bill had been passed into law. The Government only deemed it necessary to ascertain what the other House thought, and having done so, it proceeded to shape its Tariff. The Minister in charge of the Bill frankly stated that he would accept the verdict of the House on the Manufactures Encouragement Bill as an indorsement of the proposals of the Government, and having received that indorsement, he immediately recast the Tariff. He has proclaimed, not merely to the Senate, but to the constituencies, that the Government does not pay the slightest heed to what the Senate may think on important proposals! We have no indication as to what may happen to the Manufactures Encouragement Bill, or, if it be carried through the other House, what amendments are likely to be made therein. That places a disability upon the Senate. It creates a difficulty in the minds of some honorable senators as to what ought to be done in regard to items such as the one before the Committee. We should know the. exact terms of the request which Senator Croft proposes to submit. We are asked to impose a duty of 30 per cent. on a large number of articles in this item, and he proposes to take out of that number certain articles. In proportion as that number is large, it will lessen the objection to the proposed duty. On the other hand, if the number be comparatively small or insignificant, the objection to the duty will be all the more serious. I understood when Senator Croft first moved in the matter that his request would be limited to iron and tinware used in the kitchen. I ask him nowto state exactly what its terms will be.
– My request will be to insert after the word “ use,” in paragraph b, the words “ and kitchen utensils made of cast-iron.”
– The honorable senator will see that the omission of the word “ tin “ must have considerable effect. Why should we use the word “ household “ in describing aluminium goods, and the word “ kitchen “ in describing another class of goods ?
– Because there are a number of articles which are made locally.
– Some time ago I suggested to the Minister that we should adjourn at about this hour, in order to get home for breakfast. I have no desire to put him in the position of appearing to make a bargain. I propose to do what, under ordinary circumstances, might be regarded as a foolish thing. Having stated the case, I am going to trust the Minister to treat this side of the Chamber in a reasonable and fair manner. If he is prepared to take a division, well and good. When it is completed, I shall repeat my request for an adjournment.
– I do not think that it would be out of place for me to show the trouble to which honorable senators have been put in connexion with the Tariff. In an article dealing with this item, the Age says -
The difficulty of discriminating between article and article in this complicated division has been illustrated many times. . . . The leader of the House (Senator Best) rises to his feet with the latest information furnished to him red hot by the Customs officer, who is kept stationed at the back of the Chamber.
If the Minister has not been able to thoroughly understand the item without getting special information from a Customs officer, we cannot be expected to allow it to pass without getting a plain statement of what it includes. I have been made acquainted with a few items for the manufacture of which these metals are used, but if it is the general wish of honorable senators to get to a division. I am quite prepared to resume my seat.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 170, paragraph a, “ Manufactures of
Metal n.e.i.” (imports under General Tariff), ad val. 30 per cent. (Senator Best’s request)- put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Millen) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 170, paragraph A (imports from the United Kingdom), free.
The Committee divided. .
Majority … ….. 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Millen) put-
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 170, paragraph a (imports from the United Kingdom), ad val., 1 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Every senator present within the bar when the question is stated shall vote, except the President or the Chairman of Committees in the Chair of Committees, with whom voting shall be optional.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Best) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 170, paragraph a (imports from the United Kingdom), ad val., 25 per cent.
– I move -
That the request be amended by leaving out the figure “5.”
– What will be the effect if that amendment is carried ?
– To leave the figure 2.
– If it were the intention of the honorable senator to make the duty 20 per cent. on imports from the United Kingdom I should be prepared to withdraw my request to enable him to submit a request to make the duty 20 per cent.
– The position is that the Minister, having moved a request that the duty on imports from the United Kingdom should be 25 per cent., it is not competent for me, unless the honorable senator withdraws his request, which I do not propose to ask him to do, to move that the duty should be 2 per cent. The only way, therefore, in which I can secure what I desire is to move, as an amendment on his request, that the figure “ 5 “ be left out.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
– After the arguments to which we have listened throughout the night I should have thought that honorable senators would never dream of sending to another place a request to make the duty on this item on imports from the United Kingdom 25 .per cent. What becomes of the policy of preference ? Australia for the Australians is evidently the motto of honorable senators opposite, and not Australia for the Empire. We are dealing with an item which embraces a great number of articles required in every household, and which covers imports the total value of which, in 1906, represented £609,048, and yet honorable senators opposite are proposing that the British manufacturer should’ be given a sham preference, which involves the payment by him of 5 per cent, more in duty under this item than he had to pay under the old Tariff. What will they think of us, in the dear old Mother Country? I blush to think that this Tariff, when it leaves the Senate, will make only a mockery of the great principle of preference.
– I ask the honorable senator not to discuss the question of preference generally, but only as it applies to the item before the Committee.
– I am frying to show that the Government proposal to give preference in connexion with this item is only to make things worse for the British manufacturer than they weire ‘ under the old Tariff. I am shocked to think that the members of the Australian Labour Party, who, I thought,* believed in class legislation, should, in this instance, be prepared to abandon their class by refusing to the labourer the advantage which he might obtain by an effective preference on the import of these household articles from the United Kingdom. We ought to be told what proportion of the imports in 1906 valued at ,£600,000 came from the United Kingdom, and what was the amount of duty paid on those imports, that we might be in a position to know what duty will be collected on imports from that source under the sham preference now proposed. As a result of what has been done in this Committee, I believe that when the Tariff leaves the Senate Great Britain will be given, a smaller measure of preference under it than she was given under the Tariff as it was introduced in the Senate. Does this mean that our honorable friends in. another place are more Imperialistic than “we are ? It can hardly be. I know that I am Imperialistic to the backbone. I propose now to leave other honorable senators on this side to say what they think of the sham to which we are asked now to agree.
– We are now considering the amount of preference we shall give to the United Kingdom in connexion with this item. We know that the question of preference was discussed at the Imperial Conference which the Prime Minister attended to instruct the people of Great Britain as to the proposals his Government intended to submit. On this question there should be no better authority than the Prime Minister, and before the Committee decides on the preference to be given in connexion with this item, it might be well that honorable senators should hear what the honorable gentleman had to say at the Conference. I quote from page 337 of the official report of its proceedings, where the honorable gentleman is reported to have said -
So far as I can speak for the people of Australia this motive - speaking of them as a whole - counts for as much as any promise of direct material advantage to themselves - if you can speak of direct material advantage to us apart from that of the whole Empire. Personally, I do not think you can.
I think every one will agree with the honorable gentleman as to the general proposition. He went on to say -
United as we are the benefit of one must be a benefit to all ; and, of course, the benefit of two is better than the . benefit of one, and so on.
I take it from that expression that the Prime Minister was just as anxious to benefit Great Britain as to promote the trade interests of Australia. I should like to hear some explanation as to how it will be for the benefit of Great Britain that we should impose this tax against her. The Prime Minister went on to say -
But for the moment, speaking as if the interests could be severed, I believe a motive quite as strong, and probably stronger, than that of “money gain or advantage of this trade influences the bulk of the people of Australia. . . . They look to the operation of trade and to its great agencies, particularly the shipping of the Empire, to uphold the proud position which it occupies to-day. ‘Lord Tweedmouth, when he was with us, mentioned some very striking figures on that point. .
– I do not see how the honorable senator can connect what he is quoting with the item, which relates to manufactures of metal.
– I think I shall be able to show the connexion. The Prime Minister was speaking for the people of Australia, and shewing how the policy of preference would strengthen the mercantile marine of Great Britain.
– Any references to preference must apply to the particular item. The honorable senator’s quotation may have a bearing On preference at large, but it seems to me to have none on this item.
– The item under consideration represents a considerable amount of money. If we lower the duty in the preference column, the effect of that will be to increase the trade of Great Britain, and strengthen her . mercantile marine.
– I have ruled that the honorable senator’s present . line of argument is not relevant, and cannot allow any discussion on my ruling.
– The question is whether we should increase or decrease the amount, of preference given to Great Britain.
– I call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.’]
– If consistently with our duty to Australia we can lower the’ duty against Great Britain, we certainly ought to do it. Our contention is that to reduce the duty in the second column to 20 per cent, would materially help the Mother Country without in any way prejudicing a single manufacturer at present carrying on in Australia the business of manufacturing any of the items included under the. item. We are dealing with articles almost entirely of a domestic character, nine-tenths of which come from the Mother Country. They are manufactured in England in enormous quantities. It would not pay to make them in Australia. It must be clear that by lowering the duty we. should confer a benefit upon every household in this country. The cheapness of our domestic articles arises from the fact that they are manufactured not for a market of 4,000,000 people, but for the market of the whole world. Moreover, many of the articles included under the item are in a sense raw materials for articles of Australian manufacture. There are many things made in this country the frames- of which, cast in metal, come from the United Kingdom. The work which makes them marketable articles is done upon them in Australia. By lowering the duty we shall benefit such manufactures. I do not know whether the Government expect to get increased revenue from the item.
– I do not think there is a .quorum present. [Quorum formed.]
– We have not heard an explanation as to whether the duty is required for purposes of revenue or protection.
– I dealt with -the whole of the articles in classes.
– I think they should be more specifically dealt with. It is just as well that honorable senators should clearly understand the purpose of the duties. Having ascertained what articles are covered by this item we have next to discover what, proportion of them can be made in Australia. Surely if they are being made here the Government can produce statistics giving the local output. We have had very little information on that point, and the reasonable inference is that most of the small household requisites covered by the item are not made in Australia, and that itwould not pay to enter upon their production here. Surely Australian industries cannot be imperilled by the proposal of the Opposition? If effect is to be given to the desire for preference expressed by the PrimeMinister at the Imperial Conference-
– I. believe that the whole thing is a sham.
– I do not like toimpute sinister motives to a political opponent, but I certainly am entitled to drawattention to what appears to be the inconsistency of the present action of theGovernment and their professed desire in respect of preference. We have been fighting: this question for some time, and may fight it again.
– We shall have to doso.
– Then I shall”be ready for the fray. If opportunities for further fights of this kind arise, and the Government give us no reason -for their opposition to reasonable preference, they will find that we have more weapons in our armoury than we have yet produced. I am doing what I conceive to be my duty.
– The honorable senator has been told to do it.
– I am not ashamed of what I have done. Having: given evidence from a late hour last night that I was responsible to some extent for the initiative-
– Do I understand that the honorable senator was the originator of this waste of time ?
– I did not say so ; I said that I had probably something to do with the initiation of this debate, and I am sure that the Vice-President of the Executive Council regrets having provoked it. I hope that even at this late hour he will give way, and accept our proposition as an indorsement of the views expressed by the Prime Minister. In seeking to assist British trade we shall have no help from Senator Needham, nor do I think we can look to a large extent for the sympathy of the party to which he belongs.
– The honorable senator should be very careful. He has made several speeches against British preference.
– I have been a fairly consistent supporter of preference to the United Kingdom even in the form proposed by the Government, although I have not felt much enthusiasm for the way in which they have proposed to grant it. I hope that Senator Needham will assist us to do something for Great Britain.
– I regret that it should be necessary for me to again address the Committee at this early hour, since I know that the allnight sitting has unduly taxed the officers of the Senate. It is only a regard for what I conceive to be my duty that induces me to take this step. The paltry preference proposed by the Government in favour of imports from the United Kingdom under this item warrants our questioning their sincerity in respect of preferential trade generally. I do not doubt that the Prime Minister is permeated with the Imperialistic sentiment with which the whole question is surrounded, but I believe that he has associated with him in the Ministry men who care little for preferential trade with the United Kingdom, and also have tried to give the Old Country as little as possible. Mr. Hayes, secretary of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce, on his return to Australia after a visit to England, was interviewed at Fremantle a day or two ago, and said that the commercial and mercantile community of the United Kingdom were greatly dissatisfied with the mere veneer of preference for which this Bill provides. Although another place decided that in respect of this item, imports from the United Kingdom should enjoy a preferential duty of 20 per cent., we are now asked by the Vice-President of the Execu tive Council to cut down that preference. The Government are trying to restore to the Tariff wall the brick which another place removed, and theVice-President of the Executive Council has done everything possible to show that the preference proposed by the Government is an absolute sham.
Sitting suspended from 8.30 to9.30 a.m.(Wednesday).
– We should have a quorum before resuming. [Quorum formed.]
– I have little to add to what I said before the adjournment for breakfast. My main desire is to insist that any preference granted to the Old Country should be of practical advantage to her merchants and manufacturers. But, according to the Secretary to the Sydney Chamber of Commerce, they are quite disappointed with the proposals of the Government. As a matter of fact, the duties in this Tariff against British goods are higher than the duties under the old Tariff. In this instance, in my opinion, the preferential rate should remain at 20 per cent., and I hope that the Government will not press the request for an increase to 25 per cent.
– Before the division is taken, I wish to explain why the Opposition has felt justified in opposing so strongly the action of the Government with regard to this item. Our reasons are two : The first is that this is another attempt, on the part of the Government, of which we have already had several, to ignore the decisions of the House of Representatives, and put back the duties to the rates originally introduced. The obligation has thus been thrown on the members of the Opposition to defend the Tariff, which should have had the special and tender care of Ministers. Had this been the only instance of its kind, more weight might have attached to the reason given for the Ministerial proposal ; but the Government has acted similarly in quite a number of cases. The second reason which actuated the Opposition was that we see in the proposal of the Government to raise the duty against imports from the United Kingdom further evidence of insincerity in regard to preference. It must now be generally recognised that effective protection and preference to the United Kingdom are incompatible, and that on every occasion the Government has chosen the former. Had it stood by its Tariff, it would have had the support of the Opposition, and the measure would have escaped mutilation. But Ministers have themselves insisted on mutilating the Tariff, and the Opposition felt justified in registering its protest against this conduct.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 170, paragraph a (imports from the United Kingdom), 25 per cent. (Senator Best’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 5
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Best) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 170, paragraphb, by leaving out the word “ entirely.”
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 170 by leaving out paragraphb.
My desire is to make aluminium articles for household use dutiable like other similar metal utensils. I am informed on the best authority that these aluminium goods can be made here. Aluminium is a comparatively expensive metal, and the articles dutiable under paragraph b are, therefore, such as are used chiefly by the well-to-do. If protective duties are a tax, it seems unfair to make those whose means compel them to use articles of tin, or iron,pay more than those who are better off, and can afford to purchase aluminium.
– I have a prior amendment.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
Request (by Senator Croft) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 170, paragraphb, by inserting after the word “use” the words “ Kitchen utensils made of cast iron.”
– I would point out that Senator Croft’s request will not achieve what he aims at. If he wishes to secure an independent vote of the Committee on. his proposal, he should move the insertion of a new paragraph. I have consented to allow kitchen utensils made of cast iron to be admitted free, because it was represented that, as they are not made in the Commonwealth, the duty is really only revenue producing, and an impost on the poorer classes. At the same time, I point out that in regard to nine-tenths of the manufactures of metal, n.e.i., the duties have a protective incidence. Senator Story wishesto make aluminium goods dutiable at the same rates as other manufactures of metal ; but the replies to inquiries which I have made show that these goods are not manufactured in Australia.
– They could be made here.
– Some aluminium sheet may be imported and made up into articles in Australia, but most of the aluminium articles coming under paragraph b are imported ready cast, and cannot be made here. They are especially serviceable where children and babies are concerned, and for all practical purposes might well be classed with cast iron kitchen utensils, which we have agreed to admit free. Therefore, I hope that Senator Story will not press his request.
– I wish to know whether, if Senator Croft’s amendment is carried, it will be competent for me to move a request asking that the words “Articles made of aluminium for household use “ be struck out of the paragraph as amended, leaving “ kitchen utensils made of cast iron “ dutiable at 5 per cent, or free if imported from the United Kingdom.
– No, because the moment the Committee accepts the honorable senator’s suggestion it will have agreed to the item down to the word “ use.”
– Upon this occasion, I shall follow the example set by the Vice-President of the Executive Council by appealing to Senator Story not to press his suggestion. I quite agree with the request of Senator Croft, but under no circumstances should I be found supporting the proposal outlined by Senator Story, who has merely stated that the articles to which he alluded, can be made in the Commonwealth. That kind of argument, however, is not very convincing.
– The Tariff Commission did not separate these articles.
– But the Treasurer in another place agreed to separate them. Only a very small quantity of aluminium goods are used in the Commonwealth. Nobody has ever attempted to obtain aluminium for manufacturing purposes in Australia, nor is such an attempt likely to be made in the near future. Under these circumstances it would be unwise to levy a higher duty upon this class of goods.
– Seeing that the VicePresident of the Executive Council has joined the ranks of those who affirm that because a certain article is not being manufactured in the Commonwealth, it cannot be produced here, and in order to shorten discussion, I had better not press my proposal.
– I desire to ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council whether it would not be better for me to include “ articles used as kitchen utensils made of castiron ‘ ‘ in a new paragraph ?
– Then I ask leave to withdraw my request.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
Request (by Senator Croft) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 170, paragraphb (imports under General Tariff) free.
The Committee divided.
Majority …. …. 6
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Croft) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 170 by adding the following new paragraph : - “ (c) Articles to be used as kitchen utensils, made of cast iron, free.”
– I move -
That the request be amended by inserting after the words “ cast iron “ the words “ tinned or of tin.”
My proposal, if adopted, would have the effect of including in the hew paragraph tinware, which is made in the Commonwealth, and which is not imported. It would cover the ordinary cast-iron vessel, the cast-iron vessels which had been tinned, and the vessel which was made of tin.
– I hope that the Committee will not entertain. Senator Chataway’s amendment. Apparently he wishes to encourage the dumping here of all the tin utensils which are at present being made in the Commonwealth. All that we desire to accomplish will be achieved by Senator Croft’s request, but I would suggest to him that he should agree to the insertion after the words “ cast iron “ of the words “tinned or plain.”
– I am quite willing to do so.
– I ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council to agree to include in the new paragraph vessels which are enamelled inside. These are imported principally from Great Britain. They are all articles of domestic use. Saucepans, made of cast iron, are generally coated with tin ; others are made of cast iron and enamelled inside. These are chiefly used for making preserves.
– They are enamelled here.
– I do not think so. It would not pay to undertake the enamelling here. Seeing that these articles are used in every household, I am not asking much in the shape of a concession whenI ask the Vice-President to agree to their admission free.
– I trust that the Committee will not agree to the new paragraph being extended in the way that has been suggested. Senator Croft’s request, I think, clearly expresses our desire in regard to the class of goods specified. I hope that our object is to admit all kitchen utensils of cast iron free.
– Cannot we make kitchen utensils in Australia?
– Yes; and we can perfect them after they have been made here. If we admit vessels which are enamelled inside free, why should we not admit vessels which are enamelled outside, free? I think that the suggestion of Senator Sayers’ should be rejected. There is no earthly reason why. enamelled saucepans should be admitted free.
– I have already spoken upon Senator Chataway’s amendment, which I hope the Committee will not accept. Senator Savers has suggested that we should admit vessels made of cast iron and enamelled inside, free. There is a great objection to the adoption of that course, because, in various States of the Commonwealth theenamelling industry has been established. Further, the general understanding amongst honorable senators was that the admission, free, of kitchen utensils, made of cast iron, tinned or plain, was all that we desired. I therefore move -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the words “ of tin “ with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ plain.”
Amendment of the amendment agreed to.
Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
Request, as amended, agreed to.
Item 171. - Saws, n.e.i., ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent. ; and on and after 29th November, 1907, 15 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent. ; and on and after 29th November, 1907, 15 per cent.
– Under the old Tariff this item was included in the free list. Saws are a tool of trade, and as the proposed duty of 15 per cent. is purely a revenue impost I cannot see anything to justify its adoption. I therefore move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 171 free.
– This is distinctly a protective duty. The saws covered by it are circular and band saws, which are made in Australia. Saws used by mechanics as tools of trade are admitted free by departmental by-laws under item 168.
– Mechanics’ saws are not absolutely free, because departmental by-laws may be varied. If the Executive thought fit, they could be made dutiable at 100 per cent. Parliament, and not the Executive, ought to fix the exemptions.
– They are free according to departmental by-law.
– Is that by-law in force now?
– That by-law could be revoked to-morrow if the Executive were assured that mechanics’ saws were being made in Australia. The item practically imposes a 15 per cent. duty, which the Minister calls protective, on all band saws less than five feet in diameter. We are asked to believe that those are made in Australia. Fifteen per cent., from the Minister’s point of view, cannot be protective. It is certainly a revenue duty. Here again we are in an anomalous position, with a duty too small for those who want protection, and too high regarded as a revenue duty on a tool of trade.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Item 172. Brasswork and Gun-metal work for general engineering and plumbing, and other trades, ad val. (General Tariff) 30 per cent. (United Kingdom) 30 per cent. ; and on and after 16th November, 1907, 25 per cent.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 172 (imports under General Tariff) ad val. 40 per cent.
I take this step because it is absolutely necessary in the interests of Australian workmen and Australian industries. According to the report of the Tariff Commission, the brass working industry was brought to a fairly satisfactory state under a 40 per cent. duty, but when the first Commonwealth Tariff was imposed, it began to decline, until to-day many highly competent brass founders and workers are following other occupations, through lack of employment in their own trade. In view of the immense quantity of brass work used in Australia, I incline to think that it would be wise to impose a prohibitive duty on this item. The importations of brass work are increasing every month, and, correspondingly, Australian brass workers are being thrown out of their ordinary employment. I intend afterwards to move for a proportionate increase in the duty on imports from the United Kingdom.
– Does the honorable senator really think 40 per cent. enough ?
– I do not. We ought to fix an absolutely prohibitive rate.
– I ask Senator Henderson to reconsider bis request. He was not present last night when this matter was fully dealt with. Item 170, paragraph a, was brought on to a level with item 172, because it was found impracticable by the Department to work with the two items at different rates of duty. Under the 1902 Tariff, as in most of the States Tariffs, it was found that brasswork comprised 30 or 40 per cent. of manufactures of metal. The Tariff Commission made a special recommendation of 30 per cent. on brasswork, which the Government accepted, and so differentiated the duties on the two items. But as goods, such as hinges, bolts, &c., are made indifferently of iron, steel, or brass, the Department found it impossible to say, without opening the goods, what they were madeof. This caused much irritation, and it became imperative to make the duties on the two items the same.
– I am satisfied with the Minister’s explanation, and desire to withdraw my request.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
Item agreed to.
Item 173. Type, Printers’, including spaces and quads; lino, and other slugs; and quotations, ad val. 25 per cent. ; and on and after 29th November, 1907, 20 per cent.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item173 by inserting after the word “slugs” the words “ metal furniture.”
Printer’s metal furniture and quotations have precisely the same use, but vary in size. They should be under the same item.
Request agreed to.
.- This duty is one of the most unjustifiable in the whole schedule. The item was previously free. The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended a sudden jump to 25 per cent. The freetrade section are represented as recommending 10 per cent. We are asked, withour eyes open, to put a direct and onerous tax upon knowledge. We should think, not of half-a-dozen rich newspapers, but of all the country papers which cater for the people in the outlying parts of the Commonwealth. To those people the newspaper is the one source of information and education, and we should encourage local newspapers in every district. For every big and wealthy newspaper there are fifty country newspapers that can hardly pay their way. I am informed that -
There is only one type foundry in Australia, and it can supply only a very limited number of type faces, nearly all copies of what have been in use for years ; while the British, American, and Continental foundries show some thousands of designs, novelties coming forward almost every month. These novelties must be secured by the Australian printers, as the public would not put up with a monotonous reproduction time after time of the few styles supplied by the Australian foundry ; therefore a duty on printers’ type really means a tax on the printers’ tools of trade.
If. every other trade is to get its tools free, why is this departure made in the case of printers’ absolutely necessary tools of trade? Are we to be inconsistent because there is one factory in the whole Commonwealth making printers’ type? How many blacksmiths make all kinds of tools, such as hammers and saws? Yet those tools are admitted free, and why make an exception of type? I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 173 free.
If I cannot succeed in carrying that request, I shall move for a preferential rate of 15 per cent.
– I hope the request will not be agreed to. The Sydney foundry is not at present capable of turning out the variety of types which the older and better established foundries of Great Britain and America can produce, but as a protectionist I cannot refuse assistance to a most deserving industry.
– Then the type we require cannot be made in the Commonwealth ?
– Nearly all of it is made now. That foundry has brought about a reduction in the price of type.
– Within the last few years the Sydney foundry has been making much greater varieties of type than was the case previously. This additional measure of protection will give the industry an impetus, and many printers, who now buy their type abroad, will find it advantageous to purchase from the Australian manufacturer. The Sydney foundry is a great convenience to printers throughout the Commonwealth. When a large order has to be executed by a printer, there is often a run on certain sorts of type, and in such cases Wimble and Company can supply the necessary sorts direct, without the printer having to buy a complete font. Most of the newspapers in the big cities are not printed from movable type, but are served by linotype machines.
– It is the proprietors of the small newspapers on whom this tax will fall.
– The firm of Wimble and Company have put on the market a very fine-faced and durable Roman type at a price, I understand, below that at which the importers were supplying customers some time ago.
– Does the honorable senator know more about the price of type than does Mr. Wimble?
– I do not profess to do so.
– If there is only one Australian factory, I defythe honorable senator to prove his statement.
– The interjection of the honorable senator suggests that Messrs. Wimble and Company can charge any price they like. As a matter of fact, for a number of years there was no duty, and all foreign manufacturers were in competition with this Australian firm. I believe that those foreign manufacturers were getting type invoiced to Australia at a price below its value. Representations have been made to certain honorable senators that it would be well, in the interests of the employing printers, to give protection to Messrs. Wimble and Company, for the particular founts or faces he produces. I trust that a request to that effect, if moved, will not be accepted, because type could be brought in under half-a-dozen aliases, and thus the Australian firm would have no protection at all. It is true that employing printers have made a request that type should be free, but, as against that, we have the Typographical Society of Victoria, and, I believe, the typographical societies of other States, expressing a desire for a duty of 25 per cent.
– How did Messrs. Wimble and Company progress during the years type was admitted free?
– During those years Messrs. Wimble and Company have struggled on hopeful and wishful that at some time they would receive a measure of protection.
– The members of the firm were making a fair living all the time.
– Perhaps so; but the commission agents, in Melbourne, acting on behalf of manufacturers abroad, were making a much better living, while employing fewer hands -
– The honorable senator does not know much of the history of Messrs. Wimble and Company when he talks like that.
– The type commission agents employ only one or two travellers on commission, and, at any rate, it can be said that Messrs. Wimble and Company employ more hands than that. I never, to my knowledge, met Mr. Wimble until a few days ago. I saw him within the precincts of this House, but I believe he has been honestly struggling for some considerable time to build up this business. However, the business has not been’ as successful as it might be, because the firm have not received that measure of protection to which they are entitled: Mr. Fred. T. Wimble, the managing director of the firm, in the circular which he has forwarded, informs us that it the present time they have orders in hand amounting to over £1,000.
– And all that under free-trade ! What is the date of the circular ?
– The date of the circular is 5th March.
– And what is the date of the orders?
- Mr. Wimble does not say.
– This business was built up under free-trade, and yet it is desired, by means of a duty, to place every small printer in the Commonwealth at the mercy of one type founder.
– I hope the Committee will not be misled by statements of that kind. I do not think that there could be quoted an isolated case of any small printer who has been handicapped in consequence of the protection afforded to this firm. Many newspaper proprietors, having adopted monolines or linotypes, have got rid of their stocks of ordinary type at a much lower price than they paid for them. Type suitable for newspapers can be purchased from Messrs. Wimble and Company at a very reasonable rate; and in the case of type for job work the firm’s prices are lower than those of Continental manufacturers.
– Mr. Wimble does not say so.
– I believe that in some lines of type Messrs. Wimble and Company’s prices are lower. I would be foolish to say that Messrs. Wimble and Company can supply all the varieties of type turned out by the American type Founders.
– The Australian firm have nothing like the variety, and cannot have.
– That is true, and simply because the firm have not had the advantages of the American type founders, nor is there the same market.
– That is the whole secret.
– In my opinion, the United States is the home of up-to-date printing. But, in the course of years, I believe that Messrs. Wimble and Company will demonstrate that all that is needed by Australian printers can be locally supplied. At any rate, the measure of pro tection proposed will be an incentive to American and English type founders to establish works here in the event of Messrs. Wimble and Company falling short.
– If type is a tool of trade, why not be content with a duty of 10 per cent. ?
– I do not believe in revenue duties, and, if we cannot have a protectionist duty, I would sooner see type free.
– But what about type being a tool of trade?
– For the matter of that, a printing machine is a tool of trade. What is the good of type without a machine ?
– Andwhat is the good of a machine without type?
– We have imposed a duty on machines which can be made here, and we should tax type which can be made here.
– Printing machines are free.
– Linotypes are free, because they cannot be made here. But other machinery is taxed, and so are belting, and other accessories, which might just as well be described as tools of trade. Mr. Wimble, in his circular, says -
We have now an output of 4,300 lbs. per week from twenty-six casting machines. We now have employed in the foundry eighty-one hands, and we have also one expert type-dresser arriving from London per the Salamis. We are negotiating with our agents in London for engaging three justifiers of matrices, and three more type-casters. The wages for this labour range from£3 7s. 6d. per week to £3 15s. When these artisans arrive, it will necessitate our employing at least fifteen more hands to complete the work of the former men.
The circular also informs us that, prior to the duty being imposed, the maximum output of metal type by this firm was 1,800 lbs. per week, and the number employed in the foundry was nearly forty hands. In fact, it is shown that the number of hands has increased from forty to eighty, and that orders have multiplied to such an extent that a still larger number of men will have to be engaged. Messrs. Wimble and Company also cast leads and slugs, quotations, and French metal furniture ; and these articles, while not requiring any special skill in their manufacture, are absolutely necessary in the. printing office, especially where varied work is turned out. I speak with some knowledge of newspaper work and printing generally ; and although, as I say, Messrs. Wimble and Company may not turn out as many founts as do the Continental makers, they will, I believe, if accorded the proper measure of protection, demonstrate before long that uptodate type can be produced in Australia by Australian workmen.
– One of the difficulties in dealing with the proposed duty is one that is always more or less present when, in an effort to assist one industry, there is a liability to lay an impost on another. In this particular case, as Senator Findley has admitted, and as Mr. Wimble himself admits, the purchasers of type are not the proprietors of large newspapers, but those of smaller establishments. Mr. Wimble, who appears to have given his evidence in a plain, candid way, admitted that the large newspapers do not use body type now that they are equipped with linotype and other typesetting machines. That means that the principal output of his factory must go to the offices which are not so equipped. One has to ask first whether he has really made out a case for the imposition of ‘ a duty, seeing that he has well established his business without that aid ; and, secondly, whether the advantage that would be given to him by the imposition of a duty would not be counterbalanced by the burden which might be thrown upon the smaller newspaper proprietors. At one time I was conducting a newspaper office, and had some slight transactions with Mr. Wimble’s firm. I ask honorable senators to say whether the average country newspaper does not do good and useful work in the less settled districts of the Commonwealth ? Many of these pioneer men have a pretty keen struggle in order to get along, and their struggle is always keenest at the initiation of their business. What justification is there for levying a duty in the interests of a man who has already established his factory without that aid, when by so doing it will place a corresponding impost on a large number of the smaller newspaper proprietors ?
– Will it not start another man in the industry?
– That will not help Mr. Wimble. He does not think for a moment that he is going to have a competitor, otherwise he would not be so keen about this duty.
– He never said that if the duty were levied the small newspapers would have to pay more for their type.
– I think that I can deduce from his evidence that if a duty be imposed the prices will go up. He told the Tariff Commission that -
His list prices were English prices, plus the cost of importing English type, say, 7^ to 10 per cent.
If we impose a duty of any kind it will cause the price of the imported article to go up, and Mr. Wimble will naturally do then what he is doing now.
– No; he has supplied and is still supplying country newspaper proprietors at the same prices as the importers were doing before the duty was imposed.
– In his sworn evidence he said that the price which he charged was the English price, plus the cost of bringing out the English type. That is exactly what he would charge if the duty were retained. As the imported type would cost more with a duty than without it he would naturally raise the price of his type to that of the other. There is no reason why he should sell his type below that price, and any one who would expect him to do so cannot have much knowledge of business. Senator Findley has practically admitted that not for a considerable time, can Mr. Wimble, owing to the. smallness of the local market, hope to supply all its requirements. When I was dealing with Mr. Wimble he was turning out excellent plain faced type for newspaper work. It is when one goes outside the stock lines that his factory, as Senator Findley admitted, must necessarily fall behind as compared with those of American and British firms, and some Continental ones. Here is one difficulty which I foresee, Tn order to give Mr. Wimble protection on the lines which he can make, we are asked to impose a duty on those lines which it is not likely that he can make for some time. Of course, he says that if we give him a duty, he will make them. But I venture to say that if he were asked whether he thought he could supply all the printing requirements of Australia, he would pick out -certain lines which might reasonably be left on the free list. Seeing that there is an increasing number of lines which it is not possible for the local factory to supply, we ought to hesitate before we place. on type the very high duty which is proposed. It is another matter whether the Committee should take the extreme course suggested by Senator Dobson. To my mind, we ought at all times to go very slowly before we attempt to levy any duty which is likely to retard the spread of newspapers. Whatever may be said against individual newspapers, our press, as a whole, is one of which Australia can be proud. It does exceedingly useful work, and does it very often in places which the larger and stronger newspapers, for some reason or other, do not penetrate. For these reasons, Ihope that the Committee will pay some little regard, not merely to the interests of individual proprietors of newspapers, but also to the interests of that scattered section of the community which they so diligently serve.
– I find that according to the official statistics of the Commonwealth we imported in 1906 £9,032 worth of printers’ materials, including circles, clumps, curves, paring knives, rules, leads, slugs, and type. It cannot be said that we are dealing with an industry which is likely to develop largely, inasmuch as type has been replaced to a great extent by linotype machines. I desire to give a fair amount of protection to every industry ; but, in view of the fact that Mr. Wimble has got along fairly well without a duty, it seems to me that a protection of 20 per cent. is too high. It will affect those whom we do not want to affect prejudicially, namely, the owners of small newspaper and jobbing offices.
– It will not affect them.
– When people write and tell us otherwise, whom are we to believe?
– The people who are writing to honorable senators are the big printers.
– No; the Press Association of Tasmania includes all the newspaper proprietors of that State. Surely it goes without saying that it is mostly the small men who have to buy type?
– No ; the big men want more type than do the little men.
– It is really the small printing houses which have todepend upon type. Even if the establishment which has been discussed here so freely should be developed much more largely than it has been, a large quantity of ornamental and fancy type would have to be imported in order to satisfy the demands of customers. This industry has advanced to a certain stage without any assistance, and I think if we impose duties of 10 and 15 per cent. the protection given will be ample.
– I point out to Senator Mulcahy and other protectionists who urge that the industry in Australia is behind the industry in the United States and the United Kingdom that if that argument is to prevail it would be a proper one for knocking off the duty, but it would lead assuredly to keeping the Commonwealth continuously behind the rest of the world. It follows obviously that countries which are old must be ahead of a country which is entirely new. Now, one hundred years ago, America was very materially behind the United Kingdom in this regard. By adopting the plan which we are proposing to adopt here, America has got ahead of the United Kingdom in the production of type faces.
– I know that type faces from America are not so good as English ones.
– If we adopt the plan that America adopted one hundred years ago we shall very soon be in a more advanced position than we are in at present. Although. I have very little knowledge or this particular subject, I am aware that the local manufacturer, who has been referred to, has made very considerable advance in the production of ornamental type faces.
– I believe he has done excellent work, and I am acquainted with that business.
– I am glad to hear that from an authority on the subject. It is an argument justifying an increase of the duty in order that the local manufacturer may be protected from the aggression of outsiders, whose interests we are not called upon to specially consider. Senator Millen pointed out that Mr. Wimble, in his evidence, said that his prices were the English prices, plus the cost of importing type fromGreat Britain, and the honorable senator inferred from that, that in future the prices of the locallymanufactured article would be theEnglish prices plus the cost of importing, and plus the duty. There is no justification for that assumption, but we are, I think, entitled to assume that the English prices are based to some extent on the fact that there isa competing firm in Australia. Reference has been made to a particular firm, but we are, of course, concerned only about the establishment of the industry. The gentleman carrying on the manufacture of type at present in Australia must in time go out of the business, but we hope that the industry will remain for the advantage of Australians yet unborn.
– There is no justification for the protection proposed for this industry, since there is only one maker of type in Australia, and he is doing well without any protective duty. The printers ask that they be protected from high duties, as they have to import most of their type. I propose to read what the free-trade section of the Tariff Commission have to say on the evidence of an expert in this business. They say -
The representative of the Caxlon Type Foundry had previously been secretary to the Printers’ Overseers’ Society of New South Wales. In addition to the evidence summarised in the report of the Chairman, this witness staled there were only two or three type foundries to supply the whole of the Englishspeaking world ; it would not pay to design one “ face,” even if every printer in Australia would take a font. The expense of designing was great, and frequently several fonts were designed, but only one might “ catch on.” He stated that makers in Australia did not design, they simply get a cast of a new “ face.” The complainant he stated sold his type in New Zealand against the makers of other countries, and did a fair share of the business. Mr. Wimble’s prices in Sydney were from 2d. to 6d. per lb. more than those of the firm the witness represented, and the Australian maker paid freight on his goods sold in New Zealand.
In the matter of labour, the witness asserted that the wages cost could not be much, as one automatic machine would turn out£100 in a day, or perhaps half a day. He believed, however, the Australian maker had only hand machines.
He also stated that he had seen youths employed in the Australian factory doing work, which, in America, is done by men. We shall be doing a great injustice if we extract money from the public for the further assistance of one manufacturing firm that is already doing well. When one type foundry can very easily supply the whole demand for type of a kind in Australia there is no justification for the high duty proposed for the protection of the industry.
– I cannotpermit the item to pass without saying something on the subject. I understand that Senator Dobson has moved a request that the item shall be free. I cannot support the honorable senator. I have the greatest possible sympathy with the small newspaper proprietors and jobbing printers throughout Australia, because I happen to have been one of them myself. I must, however, admit that it has been a great advantage to them to be able to obtain what they require in Australia without having to depend upon anything they might get through agents from the Old Country or America. Reference has been made to a certain firm at present engaged in the business of casting type in Sydney. I have done business with the firm for years. So far as my experience of them goes they have always charged reasonable rates, and their work has been thoroughly good. It remains to be said that the almost universal adoption of such machines as monotypes, monolines, and linotypes has greatly altered the conditions of this industry, and has made it less remunerative. In the circumstances I ask Senator Dobson not to press his request. I consider that the industry requires some protection, and, although I am not prepared with some of my ultra-protectionist friends opposite to suggest the highest possible duty which the Committee might be induced to accept, I think there is room in this case for the adoption of such a compromise as that suggested by Senator Mulcahy.
– My only desire is to do what is fair. The fact that there is only one type foundry in the Commonwealth should lead honorable senators to have some regard for the consumers. I am glad to know that the type foundry we have in the Commonwealth is of use, and I am glad to be assured by the remarks which have fallen from Senator Findley, as well as by the evidence which, as a witness, he gave before the Tariff Commission, that the proprietor of the local foundry is an honorable man. There is, however, no reason why he should be given enormous protection, while the consumer should be absolutely ignored.
– The honorable senator has not answered my argument, as to the advantage of having such a foundry in Australia ?
– I am quite prepared to admit that its establishment is a convenience, and that we should be justified in going a little out of our way to give the proprietor some protection on that account. I am prepared to compromise in this matter,’ but I should like to know what hope there is that Ministers and honorable senators opposite will agree to a compromise.
No evidence before the Committee justifies the duty now proposed. Mr. Wimble, himself, when before the Commission, stated that his list prices were English prices, plus the cost of importing English type, say, 71/2 to 10 per cent. In view of that statement, what becomes of Senator Findley’s contention that the local type was lower in price than the imported type? The Vice-President of the Executive Council, in introducing the Tariff, claimed as a justification for granting a reasonable amount of protection the high wages paid to Australian workmen as compared with the low wages paid in Great Britain, and in other parts of the world. That justification cannot be advanced in this instance, because it is a fact sworn to that the wages paid in American and in British type foundries are higher than the wages paid in Australia. That being so, what earthly excuse can there be for a duty of 20 per cent, on this item? With regard to prices, it appears that an agent of one of the importing firms was examined by the Tariff Commission, and he stated that Mr. Wimble sold his type in New Zealand against the makes of other countries, and did a fair share of the business. He said that Mr. Wimble’s prices in Sydney were from 2d. to 6d. per lb. more than those of the firm he represented, whilst the Australian maker paid freight and expenses on his goods sold in New Zealand. All the evidence goes to show that the local manufacture of type has been getting on well without protection. That should prove to my honorable friends opposite that there is something better than protection, and that is a man’s own determination to succeed. This man has succeeded, and yet my honorable friends opposite come here whining for him as if he were one of those doddering lean-up-against-a-post sort of people who cannot get on without the assistance of a Tariff duty.
– Every day sees the introduction of linotypes, monotypes, and monolines into other newspaper offices ; and every one of these machines means loss of business for this manufacturer of type, un-. less he has additional protection.
– But every day the population is increasing. There are more mining centres springing up, and every week or month another little newspaper starts somewhere in the country.
– And every now and then this manufacturer gives his customers a new type.
– The evidence goes on to show that one automatic machine will, turn out ; £100 worth of type in a day.. There is no excuse for voting for this duty: on the ground of wages and hours of labour. I now ask leave to withdraw myamendment, and hope that Senator Mulcahy will have the support of Ministers in moving that the duties be 15 per cent, and: 10 per cent.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
Request (by Senator Macfarlane) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 173 (importsunder General Tariff), 10 per cent.
– I should not have risen a second time except for the statement made bySenator Dobson that the wages in the typefounding industry were higher in countries carrying on competition with Australia. He has said that the wages in America and in Great Britain are higher than those paid by Mr. Wimble’s firm. I do not know where Senator Dobson got his evidence from, but those interested in the type foundry in Sydney say in their circular that the wages paid by them are from 35 to 40 per cent, higher than those paid by English type founders’, whilst the English daily working hours are longer.
– I got my information from the Tariff Commission’s evidence, questions 94136-7.
– I believe the statements contained in the circular respecting the wages paid in . the type foundries in America and in Sydney. I am satisfied, without being possessed of absolute confirmation of the statements made in the circular, that the wages paid in England are lower than those paid in Sydney. I am also satisfied with regard to the American conditions. Of course, however, there are in the large type foundries of England and America men who are really artists in this line, and whose business it is to design founts of type. They are designers of a high order, and of course receive very high salaries indeed. But those who occupy subordinate positions in the type foundries are not as well paid as men doing similar work in Australia.
– I intend to support the duty of 10 per cent, as being a’ fair compromise, and a duty more than sufficient to enable this industry to develop. I am glad to know that the only type- founding industry in the Commonwealth is in New South Wales.I have the pleasure of knowing the firm. But it will be granted that Wimble and Company have established their business without any duty whatever,-. They have built up an industry that is a credit to themselves and to Australia, without Tariff assistance. My policy is to support low duties, or no duties whatever, on articles that affect either, the food of the people or food for the brain. I look upon the development of literature in all its surroundings as vitally connected with the progress of Australasia. To put a tax on type would be to hamper the progress of the newspaper press and of our magazine literature. While in the future there may be a development in type manufacturing sufficient to meet all the requirements of Australian business, yet at present we must recognise that our printers have to depend largely upon importations. For this reason it is my intention to support Senator Macfarlane’s request.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [11.56 a.m.]. - This is one of those cases, where the industry in question is established in my own State. I should be following illustrious examples in this Committee if I were to support a duty which- would benefit the firm concerned. But, on the other hand, there are scores and hundreds of printers who are extremely desirous that a duty may not be placed - or, at all events,’ not a’ heavy one - on the type of which they are constant users. Upon the principle of “ the greatest good of the greatest number,” which has actuated me throughout these Tariff discussions, I must reluctantly give a vote that will perhaps operate against this particular firm. But I must give that vote notwithstanding any effect that it may have upon the establishment in question. Scattered all through New South Wales are hundreds of newspapers, the majority of which are struggling quite as hard and quite as honestly as is this type-founding firm. This Committee should not consider one class of business to the detriment of a very much larger number of other classes of business. The proposal to put on a. duty of 20 per cent. - which as every one knows is in practice 22 per cent., on account of the manner in which the duty is calculated -on- type that has hitherto been duty free, is one that does not appeal to me; and I honestly believe that the firm that has been referred to as the one type-making firm of Australia, is not so greedy as to require anything of the sort. This firm started under free-trade. It started without anyadventitious aid from Customs duties. It -has carried on its operations with credit to itself, and advantage to the community. As far as I know, it is not anxious for any such duty as is proposed in the schedule. The lower rate of duty that has been suggested, 10 per cent. - actually 11 per cent. - is, in my humble opinion, a very satisfactory start in the direction of protection for a firm that has never had any protection before. It is a reasonable advance, if there is to be an advance at all. While one firm may not obtain under the reduced duty the advantage that has been held out by the Government proposals, on the other hand a very large number of printers and publishers throughout the Commonwealth will derive advantage from the lower duty.. Indeed, when I spoke of my own State, I was only comparing the . one firm with the many. If I extend my consideration to the whole Commonwealth, I have to ask myself whether one firm ought to be greatly . advantaged, whilst hundreds, if hot. thousands, of printers throughout Australia are disadvantaged.
– Also advantaged.
– We know perfectly well, notwithstanding Senator McGregor’s interjection, that the firm in question, however excellent their output, does not provide by any means all the varieties of type that are positively necessary. To benefit the makers of one class of type to the disadvantage of every one else in the trade - a trade that must import because it cannot otherwise buy what it wants - is really one of those proposals which, however well meant, is very unfortunate indeed in its incidence, and very unfair. I shall feel it to be my duty to support the lower duty proposed by Senator Macfarlane. Indeed, I havegiven notice of some such request as that submitted, and therefore, in supporting it now, I am only supporting that which I had determined upon bringing forward three months ago.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [12.2]. - I rise only because, in addition to what Senator Neild has so forcibly said as to the inability of the type foundry in Sydney to supply all the. varieties of type required - a proposition that does not need very much discussion to enforce it - I wish to bring under the notice of the Committee an exceedingly sensible conclusion in the report of the freetrade section of the Tariff Commission. I do not say that the conclusion of one section ought to govern the issue. It would not in my own mind finally govern an issue with regard to the Tariff; but the opinion expressed in this case is so extremely sensible that I think I may be pardoned for reading it -
The demand for type in Australia is too limited to permit of its manufacture on the most approved and economical system.
If that is so, the conclusion they draw is obvious -
A protective duty - especially if it is unreasonably high - would, therefore, become a tax which would fall most heavily on the job and country printers.
That in itself appears a very strong reason for refusing to vote for the duty appearing in the schedule, especially as the industry has hitherto flourished. I shall support Senator Macfarlane’s request.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 173 (imports under General Tariff), 10 per cent. (Senator Macfar lane’s request) - put . The Committee divided.
Majority … … 12
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Mulcahy) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 173 (imports under General Tariff), 15 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 8
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Dobson) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 173 (imports from the United Kingdom), 15 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item 174. Fire extinguishers, hand, ad. val., 20 per cent.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [12.15]. - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 174 free.
It is extraordinary that it should be proposed to make dutiable patented articles for fighting one of the most devastating scourges against which we have to contend. In hundreds of townships in the Commonwealth there is no such thing as a water supply and a fire brigade. At such places, as well as in isolated homesteads, hand appliances, such as come under the item, are the only means of fighting what the newspapers are fond of referring to as the fire fiend. Firemen’s helmets, fire hoses, and other fire brigade equipment, is free, and it seems, therefore, the more absurd to place hand fire extinguishers within the grasp of the tax gatherer. There is no proposal to make lifebelts and lifebuoys dutiable, because the mind revolts from anything that would lessen the means of saving life. But it is similarly insane to make it more difficult to obtain the means of preventing the destruction of property, and, perhaps, of life. It may be that the item is an oversight, but I hope that, if so, . the Government will rectify its mistake. The revenue can benefit but little by the tax, although the duty will press heavily upon those to whom hand fire extinguishers are a protection against loss and danger to life.
– I hope that the Minister will agree to the removal of the duty, which is absolutely only revenue producing. I know one firm, which, by the use of sprinklers, has prevented three large fires which would have done thousands of pounds worth of damage, and, perhaps, have resulted in the sacrifice of human life.
– The item does not include sprinklers. Hand fire extinguishers are vessels containing chemicals for the extinctionof fires.
– It seems to me that all means for extinguishing fire should be made asavailable as possible. I am informed that five out of six kinds of fire extinguishers are imported, and cannot be made here .
– This is a protective duty, as hand fire extinguishers are made here. The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 20 per cent., and the free-trade section a duty of 15 per cent.
. -In New South Wales the maintenance of fire brigades is subsidized by the Government, and it, therefore, seems ridiculous that the Commonwealth Government should levy a tax on a means of fighting fires. Hand fire extinguishers must be regarded as a means of preventing not only the loss of property, but also loss of life. The awful calamity which occurred recently in the United States of America appalled us all : but we should have felt it even more had it happened in our own country. It should serve as a warning against putting difficulties in the way of the freest distribution of all means for the extinction of fires.
– If I were quite sure that a proper definition and limitation is used in this item, I would say that it would not matter whether the duty was 15 or 40 per cent., because these fire extinguishers are merely vessels of the simplest construction, which any tinker could make, being filled with a chemical mixture which, when liberated, promptly extinguishes incipient fires. The manufacture of these articles is almost too insignificant to bother about ; but they are so readily made that the effect of the duty will not be to penalize those who use them.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [12.28]. - To my mind, this is an abominable duty. I pass by the objection of Senator Mulcahy, that hand fire extinguishers are not defined, and insist merely upon the necessity of preventing fires at all hazards. Under the old Tariff, these extinguishers were free, and certainly if the necessaries of life should be free, means for rapidly extinguishing fires, which may mean much loss to business men, city householders, or persons in the country, and, possibly, occasionally the sacrifice of life, should be similarly treated. If the articles are so simple that they can be easily made here, it is not necessary to impose a duty to protect their manufacture. It would be very much better for us to present this Tariff to the people of Australia without the blot which the imposition of the proposed duty will involve.
– I trust that the Committee will not agree to the proposed duty upon this item. Although fire extinguishers are made in the Commonwealth, they represent the only means available to residents of small townships to cope with outbreaks of fire.
– Their construction is one. of the easiest of things.
– In my judgment we ought not to prevent the introduction of the latest and most up-to-date fire extinguisher into the Commonwealth. Scientific research in this direction has not yet teen exhausted, and as the majority of fire extinguishers in daily use here are imported, T appeal to the Vice-President of the Executive Council to give way upon this item.
– These fire extinguishers are merely vessels containing chemicals. We might with just as much reason import buckets.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [12.33]- - ‘In view of the extraordinary remarks of Senator Mulcahy, I am justified in saying that I possess an expert knowledge of fire extinguishers, inasmuch as for many years I was a fire insurance manager in Australia. Honorable senators may accept my assurance that upon premises in which these appliances are installed, it is customary for the fire insurance offices to reduce the premiums which the owners or occupiers are required to pay. Senator Mulcahy has remarked that we might just as well import iron buckets. If that be so, why did he previously affirm that fire extinguishers were constructed of glass? As a matter of fact, many of them are composed of very brittle material. When a fire occurs they are simply thrown upon the flames. The force of the impact liberates their chemical contents which are precipitated upon the outbreak. I sympathize very strongly with what Senator Lynch and Senator Symon have said regarding these appliances being designed for the protection of life, as well as of property. I desire to point out that the destruction of property by fire involves the entire community in a loss by reason of a valuable asset having -been dissipated.
– In outlying places the poorest cottages are not covered bv insurance at all.
– Exactly. It is doubtless true that .a great many of these outlying centres are not equipped with fire extinguishers, but- surely it is not our function to make it more difficult for the residents of such places to extinguish fires. I cannot conceive any justification for the proposed duty.
– I shall support the duty as it stands. After hearing the remarks of Sena tor Neild I have come to the conclusion that a protective impost ought to be levied upon fire extinguishers. I have been a resident of Australia for 40 years, and I have never seen one of these appliances to my knowledge. But I understand that their construction is very simple, and that they are being made in the Commonwealth’ The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission have recommended a duty of 20 per cent, upon this item, and the free-trade section of that body a duty of 15 per cent. I shall vote for the former rate.
– I hope that- the proposed duty will be agreed to. We know perfectly well that in the old days the remedy provided in case of an outbreak of fire was a bucket of water, and the city regulations stipulated that a certain number of these fire buckets should be supplied upon each flat of establishments where boarders were taken. That state of things has now disappeared, and in every large establishment there is a fire extinguisher handy. These appliances are made in the Commonwealth. Why, then, should we purchase them abroad? I take it that our first duty is to protect our own workmen and manufacturers. If the latter cannot succeed with the aid of a duty of 20 per cent., it will then be time enough for us to import these fire extinguishers. In my judgment the proposed duty is a very necessary one. The standard of living in Australia is higher than it is in Germany, where many of these articles are made. The German will not send them here if he has to pay 20 per cent, in duty. The people of Australia will not have to pay this duty. Does Senator Symon advocate that no protection should be given to the Australian workman, who should be brought down to the standard of workmen in Hamburg and Berlin ? ‘
– No. A number of these are made in America.
– That is true of the strawboard ones.
– Are not the wages in America as high as here, and is not the standard of living as high?
– No. Dr. Victor Clark, who recently visited Australia to inquire into labour conditions, has reported to’ the Bureau of Labour of the United States, that wages in Australia are higher than in America.
Senator ST. LEDGER (Queensland) the question from the proper point of. view. If an extinguisher, infinitely superior to anything made in Australia, was made and patented in Germany, or the United States, no Australian municipality or Government would fail to purchase it, even if it cost 20 per cent. more. The duty would not prevent an article, which was 50 per cent. more effective, from being brought in, and so would not protect the Australian workman. Even if it did, it would be putting the whole of the community to an unnecessary expense, because the manufacturers in Germany or the United States would add the duty to the cost of the article.
– The fire extinguisher referred to is simply an enclosed cylinder with one outlet, filled with water holding bicarbonate of soda in solution. When it is put into use sulphuric acid is brought into contact with the carbonate, and from the chemical reaction that follows carbonic acid gas is given off. That gas and water are effective for some distance in extinguishing fires. These appliances are very useful about a household. I have been able to assist in the extinguishing of two fires with them. They are simple in construction, and, instead of paying 30s. each for them, if they were made here as a regular industry they could be obtained for 15s., or, at the most,£1 a-piece.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 174 free (Senator Colonel Neild’s request) - put. The Committee divided
Ayes … … … 12
Noes … … … 18
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 174 10 per cent. ad val.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m. (Wednesday).
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [2.15]. - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the. duty on item 174 (imports from the United Kingdom), 10 per cent. ad val.
I do not wish to delay the taking of a division for a moment, but it has very often happened that immediately upon a reassembling of theChamber, honorable senators have not quite gathered into their places, and divisions have been unsatisfactory on account of unfinished pipes, and little details of that kind. I propose to speak, not so much to show that my proposal is a valid one, as in the hope that doing so may afford a little breathing time for the gathering of honorable senators on each side to come to a satisfactory vote on a matter of very grave consequence, and that is the grant of a reasonable preference to
British manufacturers and workmen in connexion with an item the duty under which seeks to penalize very heavily articles required for the protection of life and property. I ask the Minister in all seriousness and friendliness to consent to a British preference in respect to this item.
I suppose that in these practical days a differentiating duty may be supposed to have a reasonable influence in giving a little more work to the people of the Old Land, even if it be a little loss to some other nation. That is in answer to the inquiry made by Senator Needham. I dare say that it may be convenient to take a division now.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [2.30]. - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 174 (imports from the United Kingdom) ad val. 15 per cent.
This is a concession of 50 per cent. on my former proposal, and I hope that as I am now suggesting the smallest preference which could be given on this item, Ministers will be faithful to the pledges of the Government to which they belong in the matter of preference to imports from the United Kingdom.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Item 175. . . . And on and after 29th November, 1907 - (a) Screws with nuts; Engineers’ Set Screws; Brake and Plough Screws; Music Stool, Table, Roofing, and Spiral Screws, ad val., (General Tariff), 25 per cent. (United Kingdom), 20 per cent. (b) Screws for wood, per cwt. (General Tariff), 5s. 6d. (United Kingdom), 5s.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 175, paragraph a, by inserting after the word “Nuts” the words “or for use with Nuts.”
This is merely a verbal amendment necessary to prevent an anomaly, as in the event of the screws being imported without the nuts they might be admitted free, and if the nuts were imported alone they would be dutiable under another item.
– Does this item cover the ordinary screw used with wood, and which does not require a nut ?
– No; the ordinary carpenter’s screws are dealt with in paragraph c of the item, and we propose that they shall be admitted free.
– Many bolts are made with screws.
– They would come under this item.
Request agreed to.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [2.37]. - I move -
That theHouse of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 175, paragraph a (imports under General Tariff), ad val., 15 per cent.
As the section of the Tariff Commission with whose recommendations the Minister occasionally agrees proposed that this line should be free, I may be open to a charge of extravagant generosity in suggesting that it should be dutiable at 15 per cent. None of these articles are made in Australia or are likely to be made here.
– They are all made in Australia.
– I am getting tired of these assertions based upon a splendid optimism, and a hopelesshope. I am really weary of the statement that everything can be made here, or is going to be made here. The honorable senator, who is piloting this miscellaneous schedule through an unwilling Committee, is entirely dependent for his knowledge of the various items of the Tariff on something that filters to his ear now and again from a certain quarter. As a member of the Federal Legislature, I protest against this kind of legislation. It appears that the whole fiscal policy of the country, as involved in this Tariff, is to be based upon nothing better than the whispered information of gentlemen who are, no doubt, very honest and honorable, but whose very years preclude the possibility of their having compassed the sum of human knowledge. This is the fifth or sixth Tariff that I have had a hand in framing in Australia, and I have never before witnessed such a state of affairs. Ministers, without the smallest possible business knowledge, or the remotest connexion with any one of the thousand and one trades affected by the Tariff, are acting as the conduit pipe for information supplied by gentlemen who are certainly not senior officers of the Customs Department. It is unheard of that Ministers should play in Parliament merely the part of a postoffice for passing from left to right information tendered by officers of the Customs Department whose position does not constitute them even responsible officers.
– Why did honorable senators opposite object to the Minister of Trade and Customs sitting in the box behind the Ministerial bench ?
– He probably would not know anything more about the subject being discussed. I am satisfied that Senator Best is a distinguished member of the learned profession to which he belongs, but that does not constitute him an “Admirable Crichton,” or an authority on “ music stool screws, engravers’ set screws, brake, and plough screws, table, roofing, and spiral screws.” I venture to say that the honorable senator does not even know what is meant by the words “engravers’ set screws.” If the honorable senator admits that he knows nothing about thesematters, and it is honorable on his part to do so, we should, at least, have senior officers of the Customs Department present; competent by knowledge and experience to give the information required by the Committee. But it would require the box in which the officers sit to be enlarged tenfold to provide accommodation for all the officials who would be necessary to give us reasonable knowledge of what is going on.
– I rise to order. Is the honorable senator in order in referring to matters outsidethe chamber?
- Senator Neild is in order in referring to the sources from which he alleges the Minister receives his information.
– The question that I wish to raise is this. If Senator Neild refers to persons within the precincts of this chamber, it appears to me that it is the duty of the Chairman of Committees to order the chamber to be cleared. I draw attention to the fact that Senator Neild has referred to the presence of persons other than members of the Senate.
– I have done nothing of the sort.
– I always understood that it was the practice of the House of Commons that if the attention of the Chairman was called to the presence within the precincts of strangers, the House must immediately be cleared. I ask the Chairman for a ruling on the point.
– As far as my knowledge of the Standing Orders goes, my authority is limited to what takes place in Committee. I know of nothing outside. The presence of persons within the precincts is not a matter within my jurisdiction, so far as I am aware.
– If Senator Guthrie wants to have the galleries cleared, I am quite willing.
– The honorable senator has called attention to the presence of strangers, and it seems to me that what I have described should have been done.
– That is a reflection on the Chair, and I hope that sort of thing will not continue. I say again that it would require very much more room than is provided for departmental officers to accommodate all the authorities whom the Minister ought to be in a position to consult, seeing that he knows nothing about the important matters that come within the purview of this particular item. It is impossible for an officer of the Customs to know all about the manufactures of the whole Commonwealth. It is ridiculous to suppose that gentlemen concerned with the landing of goods, and that particular aspect of commerce, should know all that transpires in every portion of the Commonwealth in connexion with manufacturing. Notwithstanding the inquiries made from the Ministerial Bench about the manufacture of various articles, I venture to say that statements concerning their manufacture have been made without a. scintilla of information from the sources from which the Vice-President of the Executive Council draws his fiscal inspiration. I affirm that a very large number of these screws are not made in the Commonwealth. It is absurd to suppose, for instance, that the few screws that can possibly be required for music stools should be made within the Commonwealth at a price that would enable the makers to compete with the great output of European manufactures, to say nothing of Continental makers. The variety of machinery required for turning out the articles included in this item absolutely precludes the possibility of those articles being made in Australia at a profit ; because any factory established in Australia would not be able to work more than three months in the year without overtaking the demand. While we have so small a demand we can never manufacture successfully in competition with makers who are able to afford constant employment for their workmen in the production of these articles. I say again that these things are not made here, and it is childish - and worse than childish - to assert that they are. The articles included in item 175A are very largely required in our industries. To that extent a duty would be a tax upon the very industries that honorable senators opposite profess a desire to support. It is mere childishness to impose a tax so as to put money into the pocket of a man on one side of him, whilst the tax-gatherer empties his pocket on the other side. I hope that my request will be agreed to by the Committee.
– I should not have troubled to rise again except for the most unwarranted attack made by my honorable friend, who has just resumed his seat, on the officers who are present for the purpose of assisting me, and assisting the Committee; and whose duty it has been for many months past to give a close and searching investigation to every item in the Tariff. I do not pretend to be altogether inexperienced in dealing with Tariffs; but I do say this - that any parliamentarian, with no more than a week’s experience, would know that a Minister in charge of such a measure is obliged to depend largely upon the aid and guidance of experienced officers of the Customs, such as have been deputed to make special inquiries for the purpose of enabling the Government to come to a determination as to what a particular duty should be. It is onlyfair that I should say that I have had the advantage of consultation with the officers referred to constantly during the last six or eight weeks. I have invariably found them to be capable and wellinformed men. It has been their special duty to make inquiries for the purpose of assisting the Minister and Parliament. Under all. these circumstances, why they should have been subjected to these most unwarranted reflections - which are hardly consonant with the usual courtesy of my honorable friend - I cannot understand. What have they been doing? Simply performing their duty. Their ability is beyond dispute. We are much indebted to the assistance they have given to us. As regards the item itself, I did hot lightly make the statement that these articles are made in the Commonwealth. Under the old Victorian Tariff, we had industries established for the manufacture of this particular class of screws. While it is true that during the period of the Commonwealth the industry has suffered through want of assistance in the way of a duty, and has been languishing, the manufacturers have been clamorous - and reasonably clamorous - to get the benefit of a duty again for the purpose of rehabilitating their industry. We have been satisfied from inquiries we have made, and from the production of patterns of screws which are actually made in the Commonwealth, that these articles are made here. Why then should not the industry be protected ? It is relying upon that information, and upon the investigations to which I have already referred, that the item is now submitted to the Committee.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [2.56]. - The statement of the VicePresident either proves too much or too little. He alleges that his source of information is absolutely outside human cavil. That is nonsense on the face of it, because there is nothing in this world of ours that is not open to question, and commonly the subject of mistake. The honorable senator knows that a Royal Commission was. in existence for years taking sworn evidence all through the Common wealth. That Commission visited towns where I venture to say the authorities to whom Senator Best has referred have never been. The Commission has recommended the item to be free. Senator Best’s own political compatriots recommend that the item should be free, and the free-trade members of the Commission recommend a duty of 5 per cent.
– As part of a classification scheme.
– As Senator Clemons was a member of the Commission, I shall be very glad to have an explanation concerning the item from him. But Senator Best puts all those recommendations on one side, . and says that on the strength of somebody’s recommendation the duty ought to be 25 per cent.
– The other Chamber was satisfied.
– The other Chamber was satisfied, I suppose, on proof adducedat some ungodly hour in the morning . We know that this Tariff was put through in a hurry to enable honorable members to get away to their homes at Christmas - a very laudable ambition, no doubt. But that way of dealing with it has thrown upon honorable senators a very large amount of work in trying to adjust anomalies that were made elsewhere. Before sitting down I wish to disclaim the accusation that the Minister made against me by implication, that I had said something that was derogatory to the gentlemen who have been supplying him with information. I have done nothing of the kind. But I say that if the Minister admits himself to be incapable, he should have at hand the highest and most responsible authority in the Customs Department to supply him with evidence, and should not have to depend upon the statements merely of most worthy, most well-intentioned, but necessarily not very experienced officers. That is all I have to say. I suppose it is recognised in every walk of life that experience is worth something as well as knowledge laboriously gained. I utterly repudiate the idea that I have made one remark that can be considered as discourteous tothe gentlemen who are supplying the Government with information. I do not for an instant suppose that they do other than their very best.
– Your apology is accepted.
– I am offering, not an apology, but a refutation of a very unworthy accusation, which the Minister’s experience ought to have prevented him from making.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 175, paragraph a (imports under General Tariff), 15 per cent. ad val. (Senator Colonel Neild’ s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild)put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 175, paragraph a (imports under General Tariff) 20 per cent. ad val.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [3.10]. - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 175, paragraph a (imports from the United Kingdom), 15 per cent., ad val.
That gives a difference of 10 per cent. The same difference is to be found in some of the most important items in the Tariff.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [3. 11]. - This is a case in which preference has already been given in the Tariff as submitted to us. It is not likely to be taken away, and, therefore, if it is to be real, the larger the margin the better. I should have been glad if the honorable senator had proposed a duty of 10 per cent. against the United Kingdom, so as to make the margin lower still, particularly in view of the fact that the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission appear to have recommended that all screws under this item should be free. The increased margin of 5 per cent. proposed. by Senator Neild is hardly worth voting upon.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
Request(by Senator Colonel Neild) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 175, paragraph a (imports from the United Kingdom) 10 per cent. ad val.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 175, paragraph B (imports under General Tariff), free.
I desire to explain the reason why this paragraph was inserted in the item. There was an inquiry made by an English manufacturer, and a prospect held out that if a reasonable duty on wood screws were imposed he would start an industry in the Commonwealth. It was thought desirable to give the necessary encouragement, but ultimately he decided not to do so.
– If a British manufacturer can come here and make these screws cannot an Australian manufacturer do the same thing? That is the argument which has been used right through.
– I think I have already mentioned that the ordinary screws of commerce will come in free.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [3.18]. - I do not rise to oppose the request, but to point out the strange commentary which it affords on the whole of the Tariff. Now we are let in to see the genesis of some, probably all, of the items. As Senator Mulcahy has interjected, this is a kind of composite duty. It appears to have been inserted, not to encourage an Australian manufacturer, but to encourage some British or outside manufacturer, or person not a manufacturer, who has been pulling the leg of the Ministry, and telling them that if they would impose a duty he would come here and make these screws. I think that aTariff framed on any principle of that kind is not one which we ought to seriously consider. If Senator Best has many items of that description in the Tariff he ought to call our attention to them. It is really an insult to the Parliament to be told that a line was solemnly placed in the Tariff on the mere suggestion of an outsider that he would come here and manufacture the article if a duty were imposed. That is a very disgraceful way of framing a Tariff, and a still more disgraceful way of bringing it under the notice of the Senate.
– I understand that these duties of. 5s. 6d. and 5s. per cwt. on wood screws have been collected for some months. It is well that the statement of Senator Best should be made very public. He has told us in so many words that because some one interviewed the Minister, the. Government decided to insert this item, with the result that every man who has imported wood screws since that event has been compelled to pay a duty, which he has just admitted to the Committee, is utterly unwarranted. It is the practice of the Ministry not to refund any money which has been collected, no matter under what circumstances. The importers of wood screws since the 29th November, when this paragraph was inserted in the item, will have to suffer simply because the Ministry were fooled with a statement made by somebody, undisclosed to them, that if a duty were imposed, an industry would be established.
– The free-trade section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty.
– They recommended nothing of the sort, but merely submitted a scheme of classification.
– No one fooled the Government.
– The proof that the Government were fooled by somebody has been vouchsafed by the honorable senator.
– So satisfied was the House of Representatives with the bona fides of these people that it did not hesitate to insert the item.
– We all know how the Tariff was dragooned through that House! The Minister was told an idle tale, and backed up by his enormous majority, he taxed the users of wood screws for a period of some months.
– The duty is only 10 per cent .
– Its imposition was an act of gross injustice; in fact a contemptible act. Fortunately we have had from the Minister an open admission which throws a very searching light indeed upon the way in which the Tariff has been framed. Every man who has imported screws in the interval has been deliberately fleeced by a Ministry only too ready to listen to an idle tale coming from any source. I think that the whole proceeding has been a scandal.
– I have had placed in my hand a document which is supposed to be correct. It shows that the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended that wood screws should be free, and that the section of which I believe Senator Clemons was a worthy chairman went for a duty of 5 per cent.
– We did not go for a 5 per cent. duty for two months, but for altogether, and that was part of a scheme of classification.
– Is not 5 per cent. a revenue duty ? Why should the honorable senator go back upon what he did ?
– I go back upon nothing.
– I regard this paper as a kind of directory to me.
– Look at our scheme of classification.
– I ask the honorable senator to give me an opportunity of knowing what his party did recommend. I support the proposal.
– If Senator W. Russell will look at page 59 of the report of the free-trade section of the Tariff Commission, instead of at some printed paper, he will discover the reason why a duty of 5 per cent. was mentioned there. I should support at once a duty of 5 per cent. on wood screws if I could get our scheme of classification adopted. The free-trade section of the Tariff Commission recommended a classification of all the metals and machinery items, and I should be willing to vote for this duty to-day or to-morrow in order to get the whole scheme adopted.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Best) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 175, paragraphb (imports from the United Kingdom), free.
Request (by Senator Clemons) agreed to-
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 175, paragraphc (imports under General Tariff), free.
And on and after 29th November, 1907 -
Earth and Rock Cutting, Dredging, and Excavating Machinery, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
Ore Dressing Machinery and Appli ances n.e.i., and Accessories, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
Smelting, Leaching, and Metal Re fining Appliances, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
Rotary and Percussive Rock Drills, ad val. (General Tariff), 20 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.
Coal Cutting Machines; Side Plate’s, and Balls for Ball Mills, ad. val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
Rock Boring Machines, n.e.i., ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
– This item embraces a large proportion of the machinery used in mining. Paragraphs a, b, andc are practically on the same footing, and deal with three different kinds of mining machinery - that for ordinary mining, ore dressing appliances, and smelting appliances. I do not think that any words of mine can summarize the position with regard to the mining industry in a better way than has already been attempted by the members of the free-trade section of the Tariff Commission. I propose to ask honorable senators to listento the conclusions at which they arrived after most careful consideration and the closest attention to the whole of the evidence given on the subject. I quote from page 17 of the report of that section of the Commission. “ We accordingly find -
I add a little to that by saying that we are to-day of necessity forced to consider which of two industries is of the greater importance. There is obviously a conflict of interests between mining and the manufacture of mining machinery and appliances. The free-trade section of the Commission have emphasized the fact that this question remains to be solved, and that the Commonwealth is invited to say whether it is more desirable to encourage the manufacture of mining machinery or the development of mining itself.
Every one acquainted with the mining industry in the Commonwealth, not merely in Western Australia, but in Queensland, Tasmania, and New South Wales also, must recognise that at the present time the mining problem has become an intricate and difficult one, difficult because of the necessity forced upon those interested in the industry to attempt to make a profit from which wages must be provided out of lowgrade propositions. I add that these mining propositions are in every State with, perhaps, the exception of Western Australia, rendered still more low-grade by the present reduced prices of metals. If they are not worked at a profit, sooner or later they must cease to provide a wages fund, and they must continue to be worked although the price of copper now. shows a fall of£50 a ton, of lead, £8 per ton, and of tin, from £200 to £130 per ton. whilst silver has fallen in value about 25 per cent. To continue the conclusions of the free-trade section of the Tariff Commission -
Australia the margin between the profitable and unprofitable working of mines is narrowing, and the period when the question of working cost was comparatively unimportant is past.
Every representative of Western Australia will be willing to indorse that statement.
The issue accordingly appears to be between relieving the mines of all indirect charges and enabling them to acquire the most approved appliances for reducing costs, or an interference with the existing rales of wages.
I wish to emphasize that statement, and I venture to say that it would have been a perfectly safe statement for the Commis sion to have made, that for one man engaged in making mining machinery in the Commonwealth, there are ten engaged in mining. (6)That the capital at stake invested inplant and machinery used on the mines in Australia is tentimes that in the engineering and metal works.
Of that we had abundant evidence. No one acquainted with even a few of the leading mines worked for gold, copper, or silver in Australia can fail to realize that the amount of capital invested in them - and many of them have now reached the lowest possible point of production - is at least ten times as great as the capital invested in engineering works throughout the Commonwealth.
On that point we have most direct evidence. Many representatives of engineering firms stated frankly that they recognised that their existence depended entirely upon the continued development in Australia of the mining industry. They further admitted that a large proportion of engineering work arising from the development of mining in Australia would, in any circumstances, and with or without the imposition of duties under a Tariff, come to them. They admitted indirectly that they derived quite a considerable benefit from the introduction of new and special mining plant and machinery. I state definitely that they often assumed an attitude, so to speak, of friendliness towards progressive mining companies that desire to develop their mines to the fullest capacity. They said that the foundry work which incidentally they were given as the result of the development of mines by the use of appliances patented and manufactured elsewhere, was of immense benefit to them. We must all know that there is no mine equipped on a large scale in Australia at the present time that does not spend a great deal of money in the various foundries established in Australia. The conclusions continue -
Australia) supplied mining machineryto other States, meeting there, without any advantage, the competition of the world.
That is a patent and obvious fact. We all know that prior to Federation some of the States imposed no duties, whilst others imposed butvery low duties on mining machinery, and that the various foundries established in the different States supplied a large proportion of the machinery required by the mines in the States in which they were established, in open competition with importations from abroad -
That, again, is perfectly true, and is due to some extent to the fact that some of the mines in Australia have been fully equipped. The conclusion also reiterates what. I have already said, that, however low the duties may be, a fairly large proportion of foundry work for mines will continue to be done in Australia -
The statement that the establishment of local foundries has interfered with InterState trade puts in a nutshell a vast number of the complaints we had in dealing, not only with this item, but with other items in the Tariff. Some of the States, by reason of the fact that their manufacturing establishments had had a much longer start than those in other States, had been accustomed to supply foundry work to the other States. They began to find that this work was falling off. Victorian manufacturers immediately came to the conclusion that the Tariff was the cause. With respect to the work which they did for Western Australian mines, it became obvious to every member of the Tariff Commission that the Victorian foundries had lost some work simply and solely as the result of InterState competition, and not because of competition from abroad. They lost a certain amount of work in Western Australia because foundries were started in that State, which, for the last two or three years, have been turning out work which was previously done in the Victorian foundries. That is a healthy state of things, with which we do riot wish to interfere. Inter-State competition is desirable, but it is not desirable that manufacturers should attribute a falling off in their trade to the Tariff, which is really due to the establishment of healthy competition in the other States, thus erroneously blaming the Tariff for one of the obvious effects of Inter- State free-trade.I should like to say a word with respect to the statement about the large quantity of second-hand machinery that has been utilized and the general dulness in mining in most of the States. If I had taken care to provide myself with detailed particulars, I could have given specific instances showing that Melbourne firms have been making large profits over a long series of years by passing on from first to second to third and fourth hand old and comparatively useless machinery, which they manufactured many years ago. On the mining fields of Ballarat and Bendigo to-day you can find machinery that has been used for a dozen different mines, and that has been bought and sold by the same engineering firm for use by different mining companies.
– The companies themselves have been bought and sold.
– I dare say that one could give a very interesting statement with regard to the promotion of mining companies in Victoria, and the methods with which they are carried on. But I say without fear of the slightest contradiction or qualification, that a leading firm in Melbourne has foryears been making large profits out of buying and selling this old machinery time after time for use by mining companies. Well now, the first deduction that one can make from that sort of thing is that it would be extremely difficult for the mining industry of Victoria to be carried to a successful issue if carried on as mining is conducted in Western Australia, with the most up-to-date methods. You find there the best and most economical mining appliances which the world can produce. Every one who knows anything about Western Australian mining is aware that upon the possibility of securing that machinery the future welfare of the State depends. The same remark applies with equal force to other parts of Australia.
The reason for that is obvious. There is a certain amount of specialized machinery which is made mostly in America, .though occasionally in England, the demand for which is limited, the value of which can hardly be overrated or overstated, but with regard to which we were told by witnesses before the Tariff Commission quite fairly and frankly that it would not pay a foundry owner to put up a plant to make it in this country. The reason for that, of course, is that the demand for machinery of that highly specialized class would necessarily be very limited, and intermittent. While it may pay foundrymen in America, where mining is conducted on an infinitely larger scale than in any other part of the world, to equip themselves to turn put this highly specialized kind of machinery, it would be simply madness for any foundry in Australia to make an effort to produce it. Even if we were to put on a duty of 50 per cent, it would still be bad business for any foundryman in Australia to attempt to equip many of the mines in this . Commonwealth with the kind of machinery for which they make special demands, and which they necessarily want.
I venture to say that we cautiously overstated that amount. I should not have the slightest hesitation in saying that the proportion of wages in . mining machinery does not represent more thai.. 25 per cent.
That the cost of labour in Australia is at the most one-third higher than the cost in competing countries; that, therefore, the existing duly of i2i per cent., ad val., much more than covers the difference in the labour cost. For example, in an output abroad of the value of £1,000, the sum of ,£249 would be paid in wages. In a similar output in Australia the amount paid in wages would be ^332. The difference, therefore, in labour cost would be ^83, in a total value of £1,000; in other words, a little over 8 per cent.
I say again that those are conservative, safe figures - that the difference in labour cost is much more than covered by 8 per cent., and that 8 per cent, would be counted three or four times over in many cases by ordinary freight charges.
I just want to offer a word of comment with regard to that last sentence. It simply means that if you want to get eggs from a. goose you must not kill the bird ; and if you: want the mining machinery industry to provide employment for local foundries, you must take care that you do nothing to hamper, interfere with, or retard the’ progress of mining as a whole in Australia. In - other words you ought to make it your first and specific object irrespective of anything else, to promote the welfare of mining. If the mining industry in. Australia flourishes, it is an absolute certainty that no Tariff, free or otherwise, can have any effect in preventing the foundries throughout the Commonwealth from continuously doing profitable work. But if a start is made in the opposite direction, nothing, in my opinion, is more certain than’ this - that an effort to encourage foundry work by high duties will first of all act most disastrously upon mining, and then will act still more disastrously upon the Commonwealth itself. The one chance for progress in foundry work and machinery making in this Commonwealth is to free mining conditions in every respect from every kind of restriction and hindrance, and .handicap. I do not think that I can put this question more fairly and more effectively before the Committee than I have done already by quoting from the report; and it is for these reasons that I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 176, paragraph A, free.
– This matter of the manufacture of mining machinery has - certainly in New South Wales and Victoria, to say nothing of other parts of the Commonwealth, of which I am not able to say so much - been a . special development. The industry is a large one, and. while it is quite true that there are certain classes of mining machinery that cannot be made here, and which are exempted in consequence, yet the general run pf mining machinery, and especially that which is set forth in this item, can be made, and is made, here. The subject was inquired into very fully by the
Tariff Commission, and they had no hesitation in recommending the imposition of a duty of 25 per cent. It will be noticed that the schedule now before the Committee does not even go so far as the recommendation of the Tariff Commission. It is true that as regard paragraphs a, b, and c, it is intended, under the general Tariff, to impose a duty of 25 per cent., but against the United Kingdom it- is proposed that the duty shall be only 20. per cent. As regards other classes of mining machinery, particularly rotary and percussive drills, even a lower recommendation than that made by the Tariff Commission is submitted for the consideration of honorable senators. As this matter formed the subject of a very careful inquiry on the part of the Commission, and as this duty is the result of their deliberations-
– It is not. That is an unfair and improper way of putting it. What the Minister has stated was not what the Commission recommended, and he ought to know it.
– I was referring to the protectionist section of the Commission.
– The Minister said “the Commission.” If he says that again, I will show how that section of the Commission went into the matter, and what the value of their report is.
– The information collected is before honorable senators, and the recommendation of the A section of the Commission is a duty of 25 per cent. It is. true that the recommendation of the B section of the Commission is a duty of 10 per cent., which* practically represents a revenue duty only.
– And which was part of a classification scheme. It had nothing whatever to do with revenue.
– It will not be pretended that that duty had anything to do with protection. Honorable senators will know that a considerable amount of mining machinery has been made in the Commonwealth, and to attempt at this juncture to strike out all these duties which were proposed for the protection of the industry would have a most alarming effect. I submit that the duty of 25 per cent, is one that should be accepted by the Committee, having regard to the magnitude of the industry.
– Leaving aside the evidence which appears in the report of the Tariff Commission, I refer the Western Australian senators to a circular letter sent by the Chamber of Mines of that State, a body which is known to most members of the Committee, and which is competent to judge as to what is good for the business of mining. This letter is dated 30th January of the present year, and is signed by the secretary of the Chamber. It says -
I am directed by my Executive Council to draw your attention to the serious injury that the Tariff, if finally passed in its present form, will have on the mining industry of Australia, and especially of Western Australia.
The special Committee of the Chamber, appointed to deal with this question, has carefully examined the Tariff in the form in which it left the House of Representatives. Some slight alleviation of the great burden that it imposed on the mining industry is certainly noticeable. The duties in some instances have been reduced, and the free list has been extended, but these changes constitute a comparatively insignificant improvement. A close analysis shows that the Tariff, as it now stands, means that the mining industry of Western Australia alone is still taxed to the extent of over £50,000 a year more than it was taxed under the sufficiently burdensome Tariff of 1902.
My Council feel deeply disappointed at this result, particularly in view of the great pains that were ‘taken to impress on members of the House of Representatives the severe penalties that an increase in the duties on mining machinery and supplies would impose on an industry that has done so much for the country - an industry that has, unhappily, of late been struggling hard against many adverse conditions.
It was hoped that the House of Representatives would have paid more attention to the powerful appeal that was made to- the Federal Parliament by both Houses of the State Parliament of Western Australia.
So that it appears that we are asked to impose a tax upon this industry amounting to ,£50,000 a year.
– Perhaps the honorable senator was not present when, on the motion of Senator Lynch, it was decided to ask the House of .Representatives to make certain manganese parts free, in accordance with a request from that same Chamber.
– We went into that matter years ago. It is a very small item.
– This letter deals with the articles that are actually concerned in the item before us. It goeson to say -
On 27th and 28th August, 1907, the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council respectively passed a ‘ resolution stating that the Federal Tariff would “ most injuriously affect the primary industries of Western Australia, and would subject the State to . a period of depression, fraught with the gravest danger to her existence.” That resolution, -declaring, as it did, that the Federal Tariff would bring about a period of depression endangering the very existence of Western Australia, was carried unanimously in the Legislative Council, whilst amongst the fifty members of the Legislative Assembly only six voted against it in that Chamber. The address that was then prepared from the State Parliament to the Federal Parliament could not, unfortunately, be presented owing to some constitutional difficulty, but it affirmed that, as the result of the Tariff - “ The purchasing power of wages will be diminished, avenues of labour will be closed, the number of unemployed will be increased, and both workers and tradesmen in our midst must suffer severely.”
The five Western Australian members of the House of Representatives showed by their voting in regard to the duties on mining machinery and supplies that they indorsed the strong pronouncement of the State Parliament, irrespective of party differences. Some of those members were returned to support the policy of protection, but they evidently recognised that the case was one where high duties, even from the protectionist point of view, would be a serious mistake, as such duties would do infinitely more harm to a great industry than they would do good to any other industry. The thanks of Western Australia are due to those five gentlemen for the unanimous stand they made in the direction of relieving the Tariff burden from mining. Unfortunately, the results of their efforts were not as successful as they deserved to be, and the Chamber confidently appeals to the Senate in the hope that they will see how essential it is for the welfare of Australia to relieve the raining industry of the Commonwealth, employing as it does over 111,000 persons, of as many Tariff restrictions as possible.
Those are the views of men who know the Western Australian mining industry far better than do honorable senators. They add-
It is not alone West Australia that has protested against high duties on mining, but it has also been shown that the mines of Tasmania, Queensland, New South Wales . (especially Broken Hill and the Great Cobar), and other States are also heavily taxed.
It may be argued that the duties will not affect the large mines, but theKalgoorlie Chamber of Mines say -
Unfortunately, however, great mines are the exception and not the rule in Western Australia as well as in every other mining country in the world.
A list is supplied of eleven Western Australian mines, which employ 3,554 men and pay £764,417 annually in wages. The Chamber of Mines secretary concludes by saying -
My Council are forced to the conclusion that the majority of the members of the House of Representatives have failed to realize the gravity of the danger to a great industry.
They pray that the Senate will take their case into consideration. I ask Western
Australian senators to consider well before they impose a duty of 25 per cent. on a struggling industry.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New. South Wales) [4.3]. - We might reasonably have some regard on this item for the struggling mining industry, not only of Western Australia, but of the Commonwealth. There are hundreds of mines that are not paying dividends, and never have paid one. A few months ago, the official returns showed that there were only twenty mines in Western Australia paying dividends, some of them as low as£1,000 for the twelve months. In other cases, the dividends were much larger. But where is the list of the struggling mines? Over 400 of them have been registered in London alone. We might show some reasonable regard for persons who jeopardize their lives and money in an effort to win from far below the surface that wealth which contributes to the wellbeing of this great community. Perhaps the proposal to make the item free is too drastic to hope for success. If it is defeated, I shall move a less drastic request, but I feel that I may do far worse than vote for it. We cannot hope to gain wealth from below the ground without expensive and extensive machinery. The methods of to-day are not those of the antiquated pick, shovel, and cradle. To win mineral wealth from the soil now requires the most elaborate and costly machinery that human ingenuity has yet devised. We should not impose such duties as appear in the schedule upon an industry which produces not only wealth for the community, but a livelihood for tens of thousands engaged in it. We should extend the greatest possible consideration to an industry which, while extremely profitable to the few, is a matter of great loss and the most complete uncertainty to the vast majority who embark in it.
– I omitted when I spoke before to remind honorablesenators of the concessions made already to the mining industry. We have provided that high-speed engines coupled to dynamo-electric machines used in mines, steam turbos, turbo blowers, high-pressure blowers for smelters, manganese and chromium parts - a very considerable concession in itself - and portable hoists shall be free.
– I shall not ask for any reduction in some of the duties under this item. but others might be reduced with advantage, not only to the mining -industry, but to secondary industries also. I know, as a protectionist, that many of the bigger machines -used in mining can well be made in Australia. Big winding engines, mills, stampers, and so forth, can be produced here nearly as well as in any other part of the world. I shall not vote to’ injure any well-established industries of that kind, but the question of the manufacture of other machines, such as rock-drills - a much more specialized piece of machinery - should be considered. Much has been done on the surface to improve the processes of gold mining, but’ if we exclude rockdrills, we shut out the only tool of trade that can be said to have come to the front in modern times to assist mining below ground. I have made careful inquiry into the making of rock-drills in Victoria. I believe there is a company engaged in that work on a small scale at Bendigo, but they have no representative or office, so far as I could discover, in Melbourne. No witness gave evidence on their behalf before the Tariff Commission, and the Chairman of the Commission candidly admitted that all he had from the company was a solitary letter that had been mislaid. We have no evidence that the company desire increased protection. They had a protection of 12 J per cent, for the last five years ; but, notwithstanding that the whole of the Com-‘ mon wealth has been open to them as a market, the Taylor-Horsfield machine has declined considerably.
– It is a failure.
– I have no desire to harm the company. I wish them to have a fair field, and shall say against them nothing that I cannot prove. There were a few of their machines in Kalgoorlie years ago, but to-day the American and English makes hold the field, and the Australianmade drill is almost an unknown quantity. The rock-drill lends itself to improvement, and great improvements have recently been made in it. Years ago, it took two or three men to work it, but now one man can produce satisfactory results from the more modern machinery. The history of our attempt to foster the making of rock-drills in Australia is not encouraging. In . paragraph e, coal-cutting machines are dutiable at 5 per cent, and free. They are equally tools of trade with the rock-drill. I doubt, if most honorable senators would know one from the other. They are used for practically the same purpose. One cuts coal and the other rock, otherwise there is very little difference between them. As regards outward appearance, driving force, and general mechanism, they are practically identical. When the coal miner’s tools of trade are placed on the free list, what justification is there for levying duties of 20 and 15 per cent, on a similar machine for the gold-miner? It can be reasonably argued that the rock- drill is just as much a tool of trade as is any one which has been exempted. It must be remembered that either directly or indirectly most of our industries have derived some advantage from our protectionist policy, but no one has yet said that such assistance can be extended to gold mining. If a heavier load is to be placed on any one industry, it should not be- put on that which can get no assistance from our protectionist policy. When it is remembered that agriculturists and others have got a lower duty placed on their tools of trade, it will be seen that a very unfair duty is being imposed on this item. I desire to quote some evidence given before the Tariff Commission in Western Australia by a gentleman who undoubtedly, from his very calling, was interested in securing as much protection as possible to his industry. I refer to Mr. Hasforth, Secretary to the Engineers’ Society at Kalgoorlie. When he was asked what articles which were used in connexion with gold mining, and could be made in Australia, should be protected, and. what articles should be placed on the free list, because they could not be made here, the rock drill was one of the few articles which he singled out to be exempted. I take it that by reason of his intimate acquaintance with mining operations, his statement ought to carry much more weight with a deliberative assembly than almost any other evidence which could be obtained. Ve all know how enthusiastic a protectionist the average engineer is. As regards every other kind of machinery, Mr. Hasforth is a strong protectionist, but he recommends that the rock drill should be placed on the free list, because, in his opinion, it cannot be made here successfully.. His statement to that effect was made in the presence of Sir John Quick and Senator McGregor, and notwithstanding the fact that the Horsefield drill is supposed to be made in Bendigo, no protectionist member of the Tariff Commission questioned its accuracy-. That, to my mind, is very significant indeed. If we desire to do justice to the mining industry, we ought, in the interests of all concerned, to reduce the duties on tools of trade as far as possible. The Americans are exerting their utmost efforts to perfect the rock drill. I can state from personal knowledge that already they have effected very great improvements. It would be a great mistake to shut out any assistance which we can get from that quarter to make mining below ground more profitable than it has been, especially when they can supply us with a much better machine than we can make.
– I have quite as serious a complaint to lodge against this item as had Senator Clemons. I recognise the difficulties against which the mining industry has to contend, and am prepared to extend to its conductors every facility which will enable them to proceed on payable and progressive lines. This item almost shatters the hopes of every one who has considered that the Tariff ought to be fair in its application. I cannot see how, owing to the arrangement of the item, it is possible for us to act on anything like fair lines. In Western Australia a very large proportion of the mining machinery has been purchased from South Australia, Victoria, and wherever else in the Commonwealth suitable articles could be obtained. This item is placed before us by the Ministry without any record of the transactions in mining machinery which have been going on between the States. They have not furnished us in detail with the articles which are usable and procurable here. They submit the item in a sort of conglomerate fashion. If we only knew what it meant we could at once pick out the machinery which we are positive is not being made, and is not likely to be made, here for some time to come. In that way we could relieve the mining industry of many of the difficulties with which it is contending today. Let me give a case in point. In Coolgardie there is a very low-grade mine which is paying a dividend on a production of about from 6 to 8 dwts. per ton. It is only paying a dividend because it has been enabled to obtain the most up-to-date machinery for the treatment of low-grade ores. If we impose excessive duties for the sake of assisting an industry which employs from 1 5, 000 to 1 6,000 men to try to do something, we shall impede the progress and development of an industry which is employing a little over 120,000 men.
– That is a very nice free-tradeargument which the honorable senatoris giving us.
– I admit candidly that I am arguing on free-trade lines for the mining industry.Unless my honorable friends can create a scientific Tariff, they are illogical in their arguments and actions.
– The honorable senator only tries to do this when it suits Western Australia.
– I am arguing on behalf of the mining industry throughout the Commonwealth. My honorable friend cannot tell me that he can apply a scientific Tariff to the mining industry in his own State. The moment a Tariff of any kind was applied to the Tasmanian mines it would become cumbersome and unscientific, thereby fleecing an industry which has no possible means of receiving any direct advantage-and indeed very little indirect benefit -from any kind of Tariff.
– It is quite right, only that the argument goes very much farther than mining.
– Perhaps it may. I understood that my honorable friend was a scientific protectionist, and I was indicating the only logical ground which such a person can take up. A Tariff becomes scientific when we can apply all the protection to the industry and its contingencies, but it becomes unscientific when we take the vitality from one industry in order to build. up another.
– Why did not the honorable senator vote for making the machinery used in the woollen industry free on the same lines ?
– On that occasion I was voting for a scientific protection.
– The woollen industry has what the mining industry has not.
– Precisely, and I gave my vote for every protection to the woollen industry. It is impossibleto apply to the mining industry the same line of reasoning or the same application of a protective Tariff. I frankly admit that I argue on free-trade lines in dealing with the mining industry, because I recognise that the machinery requirements of the Commonwealth for many years to come will not require the employment of anything like the number of people employed in the mining industry in Australia to-day. It is probable that the mines at present being worked are capable of supporting a larger number of persons than they are supporting to-day, but if they are to continue to give employment to the number already employed, they must be given every facility to treat the low-grade ores of which there is such an abundance in every State of Australia. Another phase of the question requires to be considered. We have high-grade but refractory ores, which can only be successfully treated by machinery which has been perfected as the result of scientific investigation and years of study. I referred some time ago to machinery of this class, the manufacture of which has not yet been attempted in Australia. I pointed out that on the landing of a machine of this kind £1,500 in duty was levied under this Tariff upon the owners of one mine in Western Australia, merely because they required for their operations a special kind of enginewhich might not be required by twenty other mines in the Commonwealth in half a century. No one would dream for a moment ofbuilding up mechanical engineering works to supply a demand for twenty of these machines within twentyfive or fifty years. It would not pay to do so. I wish for a moment to be allowed Co refer, though a little out of their place, to coal -cutting machines. In connexion with them, the Government have again made a very grave mistake as the result of a lack of information. They have proposed that they shall be dutiable at 5 per cent. under the general Tariff, and that if imported from the United Kingdom they shall be free of duty. Ministers had only to look up the question in order to discover that England, with all the mechanical skill at her command, is actually working her coal mines with coalcutting machines made in America. We are asked under this Tariff to impose a 5 per cent. penalty upon the coal-mining industry in order to give a useless preference of 5 per cent. to the manufacturers of the United Kingdom. I trust that when we come to deal with the item to which I refer the Committee will be prepared to make it free. I shall be compelled, in the circumstances to which I have referred, to vote for the lowest possible duties I can obtain on the item now before the Committee.
– I should like to say that I agree with most of what has been said by Senators Henderson and de Largie. I assume that rockdrills and spare parts will come under this item. I am not going to say that rockdrills are not made in the Commonwealth, but those which are made here are not considered satisfactory by the people who have to use them. Yesterday we dealt with an item covering what were called “liners.” There is 7 per cent. of manganese used in their manufacture, which is carried on by persons who have a secret knowledge of the means of hardening metal. These machines cannot yet be manufactured in the Commonwealth. Local manufacturers are not able to temper the rings as they require to be tempered. As a consequence, they will not stand wear and tear, and if a ring that it not properly tempered is used, before the drill has been downthe mine an hour it must be taken up again for repairs. I have here a communication from correspondents who speciallyask that rock drills and spare parts, and drill-sharpening machines, should be admitted at as low a duty as possible. We can only assist the mining industry by enabling those engaged in it to obtain the machinery which they require as cheaply as possible. I have been connected with many mines in the northern part of Queensland, and I can inform the Committee that the best material employed in them is brought from Victoria. Since the establishment of Federation we have been importing from Victoria ordinary engines and boilers and air compressors. Very good air compressors are made in this State.We have foundries in Queensland, but ithas been shown that the Victorian foundries are able to cut into the trade and quote lower prices than the Queensland foundries.
– That, according to the evidence given by Mr. Harrington, of Maryborough, is because non-union labour is employed in the Victorian foundries.
– Mr. Harrington, of the Maryborough foundry, has found fault with Queensland mining people for getting their engines and boilers from Victoria. This machinery can be landed at the railway wharf at Townsville from Victoria at a lower price than machinery manufactured by the Maryborough firm. It must be admitted that people in every State will go where they can get the best article at the lowest price. The Queensland people would not go to Victoria for mining machinery unless they could get it cheaper and better there than from the Queensland foundries. They would be prepared to go to the Victorian foundries for rock drills, if they could get drills up to the standard of the imported machinery. We have a large quantity of poor ores, and must employ the best appliances in dealing with them. We can only keep men employed in our mines by obtaining our machinery as cheaply as possible. I am sure that it is not the desire of the framers of this
Tariff or of the members of the Committee that any man at present engaged in the mining industry should be thrown out of employment. In the Northern Miner, from which I quoted the other evening, reference is made to several mines in North Queensland that are under exemption. In one of these mines £70,000 has been sunk in machinery and labour. To-day the mine is not working, and although the machinery is on the ground, the company are unable to find money to carry on the mine. In these circumstances, it is strange that we should be asked to impose taxation on the mining industry that can serve no useful purpose. When in connexion with a mine on which £70,000, has been spent, and which is laid under exemption, calls are made, before people can be expected to invest more money to carry on the mine they must be givenat least some hope of a Teturn. They should . certainly not be burdened with additional taxation under a Tariff because some less important industry may be calling out for protection. We know that if people spent £70,000 in the establishment of any other industry, and claimed that it was languishing for want of protection, honorable senators would be found ready to give them protection to the extent of 40 or 50 per cent. We have spent in mines in Northern Queensland something like £1,000,000, and it is not right that we should be asked to pay unnecessary taxation on all mining supplies. If there is an article that is not made inAustralia, and it is the most suitable article for the work required to be done, it should be allowed to be imported at as low a duty as possible, if not free. It has to be borne in mind that the work to be done on different gold-fields varies very much. Some fields have ores that are quite free. I was in Victoria some fourteen or fifteen years ago, and was well acquainted with what we called free stone, that did not require a great deal of treatment. On Gympie, Queensland, they have not half the trouble in extracting gold that they have at Charters Towers, where the stone has to go through several processes. After being treated in a variety of ways, it has to pass over the Whiffley table, which is a patented article. In a large industry, like this it is necessary to allow the results of the genius and energy of the world to be called to our assistance. If a machine is patented, our own people cannot get the use of itwithout paying a high royalty, and if, in addition, a heavy duty is imposed, the price becomes almost prohibitive. Perhaps, before I sit down, the Minister can tell me under what item drill sharpeners appear?
– They are free as machine tools, according to departmental bylaw, under the terms of item 168.
– After the explanation made by the Vice-President of the Executive Council in reply to Senator Sayers, my mind has been much relieved on the subject of drill sharpeners. Therefore, I do not propose to detain the Committee, though I may express my regret that the duties under this item have not been framed on a lower scale.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 176, paragraphd (imports under General Tariff), 5 per cent.
If this request be agreed to, I shall subsequently propose that the goods be made free in the second column. I should like to know from the Vice-President of the Executive Council what particular drills are included under paragraph f?
– Diamond drills.
.- I should have liked to hear Senator de Largie address himself at greater length to the reasons for the very important change which he has proposed in the duty on rock drills. I am aware that he referred to the subject at a previous stage, but his remarks then led me to conclude that he did not know very much about what we are doing in Australia regarding the manufacture of these machines. I wish to put before the Committee the facts of the case. Reference has been made to the fact that; the principal maker of rock drills in Victoria did not appear before the Tariff Commission. I do not know that it ought to be urged against a man that he did not go bowing and scraping to a CommissionCertainly, it ought not to count to his discredit. He did, however, send a letter, in which he asked for an increase in the duty, which was previously 12½ per cent. I suppose he thought that that was sufficient. It has also been said that the particular maker of drills to whom I refer has no agency in Melbourne. There is no need for an agency for rock drillsin Melbourne. The agency is required on the gold-fields, where the rock drills are used. Mining men do not come to Melbourne to buy them. Mr. Horsfield, the inventor of the rock drill that bears his name, has an agency in Kalgoorlie, where he employs sixteen men. It is difficult for an Australian manufacturer of such machines to get into the run with the managers of mines in Western Australia.
– Does the honorable senator say that Mr. Horsfield employs, sixteen men in Kalgoorlie? Are they employed, in an office there?
– No, in a workshop.
– Has he work-shops established there?
– Why did he not appear before the Royal Commission when it sat in Western Australia?
– He is not the sort of man to run after Commissions. I have known him for thirty years; in fact, he is an old shop-mate of mine. He is a man who prefers to attend to his business.
– He would have been attending to his business if he had given evidence before the Commission.
– He did not think it necessary. It is, I repeat; difficult for an Australian manufacturer to get in with: the mine managers of Western Australia, because many of the mines there are owned bv English proprietors. They are worked largely by English capital, and their managers like to use English goods. I do not say that that is wrong. What I do say is that it makes it ‘difficult for an Australian manufacturer to get a footing when mining managers try to “ please their directors as much as to please themselves about the machinery which they buy. The manufacture of rock drills has been carried on in Horsfield ‘s establishment for. the past twenty years. He is a clever mechanic. I worked with him for some years in a workshop. He got above the position of journeyman, struck- out for himself, and now has an excellent establishment covering 2 acres of ground. He made a specialty of rock drills, being the first out here to devote himself practically to making and perfecting them. It is a most elaborate machine. One -advantage of having it made here is that all the standard parts are interchangeable, and can be replaced at any time. The parts are case hardened and tempered so as to give the best possible wear, and the machine can be worked either by steam or bv compressed air. It is made in eight different sizes, from I 4-inch to 3f-inch diameter. In
Bendigo, it has almost entirely superseded the imported drill. Bendigo is one of the greatest quartz-mining fields in the world. On it is the deepest quartz mine known - now 4,363 feet deep. There are some 150 companies working in Bendigo. Two mines are down over 4,000 feet, 16 over 3,000 feet, and 20 over 2,500 feet. I am therefore speaking of no small field. The rock in Bendigo is pretty well as hard as it is anywhere. The only harder rock I know is that at Stawell, which is like flint. The Bendigo rock contains extremely hard, sandstone. I speak on this question under a sense of responsibility, because myself and partner make our living mainly by managing mining, companies. Whilst we do not take part in the practical management of the mines, we have to pass the accounts,- know- the men who supply the mines, and what is being paid. It is not to be supposed that a- machine that has been run down, like the Taylor -Horsfield has been to-night, would command the -market at Bendigo, where such enormous work has been done,, and beat the imported drills out of the market, if it was not a good one. Some two months ago, -a very special drill was made in the same factory. ‘ Those who wanted it could not get it anywhere else in the world. . Mr. Horsfield made it for them. The diameter of the cylinder is- 8 inches, length of stroke 12 inches, and the weight of the drill 1 ton 5 cwt. It is entirely of Australian design, and is the largest rock drill built in the world. It is designed to drill holes from 6 to 12 feet in depth, by 18 inches in diameter. It will be used in some 30 feet of water. I believe it has been made specially large because the holes are for the purpose, of ventilating mines. All the makers of rock drills think that their own is the best, but more of the local drills than of any other are used in Victoria. In Bendigo, a” very strong machine is required, and this one is being made specially to fit the conditions there and in other parts of Victoria. We have passed a good many duties on the mere assertion that articles’ are being made here, but I am giving absolute proof in this case: 1 shall prove, presently, the work that this machine does. A good deal has been made Of patent rights, but local manufacturers of drills can make almost any other drill in the world, because the patent rights of the Ingersoll-Sergeant and others have nearly all run out. If the patentees do not make them in Australia within two years, our patent law gives any one the right to make them without being proceeded against. Consequently, the question of patent rights is a mere bogy. Even if the rights have not run out, every patentee is anxious to enter into arrangements with makers in other countries to make his machine, on the payment of royalties. An instance of that I mentioned lately in regard to Mr. Thompson, of Castlemaine, securing from Hornsby’s the right to make their patent gas-producing engine. Mr. Horsfield has made 3,000 drills. That number would not be taken unless he gave satisfaction. He has forty or fifty men, I believe, working at Bendigo. Most of our mines, except, perhaps, some in the West, are kept going by Australians who desire that all the work possible shall be done in Australia. I speak under the responsibility of managing with my partner from twenty-five to thirty mines. If I advocated anything detrimental to the mining industry, my directors, who are practically my masters, would not be pleased. I advocate this drill because I know they are satisfied with the machines they are getting, and desire to see fair play given to Australian industries. The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission state, on page 16 of their report -
The principal rock drill recognised on the Kalgoorlie mines is that of the IngersollSergeant Company, New York . This drill has been worked alongside of and against the TaylorHorsfield (Bendigo) and other outside makes of drills, and it has been found that the IngersollSergeant drill bored better and quicker than any other. The mining manager of the Ivanhoe Gold Corporation mine was not able to say which of the drills wast responsible for the greatest consumption of air. It was proposed to make proper comparative tests of the various drills, including Australian, in order to show the exact consumption of air for the boring done per minute, or per hour, as the case may be. Whichever was found to be the best would be installed.
We are told that the American drill bored better and quicker, but a good deal depends on the man working the drill. One man with a better drill may be beaten by another with a worse drill. The fact that that was not looked upon as a final test is proved by the statement that another test was to be made later on. On page 31 it is stated that-
Many types of rock drills are in use in Australia. A Victorian engineer (Taylor-Horsfield, of Bendigo) and a South Australian mining manager (Captain Hancock, of Moonta) had designed rock drills, which had considerable improvements on those imported. It was said, however, that under present conditions there was small chance of getting Australian designed and made drills into general use. The better such drills were the greater the probability of their being copied by American makers and sent to Australia free (if percussive). The method of American manufacturers was thus described : When they found a better drill than their own their agent secured samples, sent them to America to be copied ; they were then sent to Australia and sold at any price, until the local manufacturers were knocked out. Percussion rock drills, now duty free, were made locally, but competition with the importer was impossible. A duty of 25 per cent. would enable the local men to capture the market,and would greatly increase employment.
On page 36 the following appears-
The Shaw rock drill lately patented in America was being introduced into Australia, and the Austral Otis Company had arranged for its local manufacture. “ This,” said Mr. E. J. Rigby, “ is another instance where patented machinery is made here, and there is no reason why it should not be made here.”
Mr. Hors field has published, in pamphlet form, a number of testimonials, and presscuttings, showing the work his drill has done and can do. The following paragraph appeared in the Argus -
Smart Work with Rock Drills - The Record Broken.
Such work as is now being carried out in the North Long Tunnel mine at Walhalla, Victoria, besides attracting much favorable comment in mining circles, is worthy of note as a practical illustration of the great strides made in mining in Victoria. In the last fortnight a distance of 100 feet has been driven, and the previous fortnight 95 feet was recorded. . This feat is, as far as we know, not only the Victorian but the Australasian record for quick work of this character. In Bendigo, where smart work in crosscutting has often been accomplished,a distance of90 feet, driven in a fortnight at the 2,355 feet level of the Kentish shaft on the Carlisle mine, is the greatest length ever reported. The effect of such progressive work is obvious in reducing the slow rate of speed which often makes a big undertaking in mining a heart-breaking venture. As in this instants, where a distance of about 800 feet has to be driven to intersect the lode, the quick rate of speed will not only give great satisfaction to individual shareholders, but this development will stand as an illustration of what work is now possible in mining where rock drills and air compressors are brought into play. Much credit is due to Mr. H. B. Walters, who is the mine manager of the company, and. under whose instructions this work is being carried out. Mr. Walters recently came from the Shenandoah mine at Bendigo, where he was underground boss, and had charge of the rock drills.
Mr. H. B. Walters, mine manager of the North Long Tunnel Gold Mining Company, certifies in these terms -
I wish to inform you that we have been using your “ Improved Ingersoll “ in the above company’s1,900ft. crosscut, and for the past four weeks the crosscut has been extended 195 feet. I have had vast experience with rock drills of all descriptions, and I find from past and present results that your machines are by far the best in Australia for fast and progressive work.
Mr. Thomas Weekly, who at one time was mine manager of the Great Extended Hustlers Reef Quartz Mining Company, Bendigo, and who afterwards went oyer to Western Australia, wrote as follows -
I have much pleasure in testifying to the efficiency of your rock drills, and have had them inconstant use for the last six years. I have used nearly all other rock drills at different times during my management of mines, and can safely say that your drills are superior to all others, after trying drills of several other makers. Yours only are now in use in this mine. I have recommended them wherever I am interested in mines, and have much pleasure in again saying they are first-class rock drills.
I do not propose to read a number of these testimonials because I have no desire to weary honorable senators.
SenatorHenderson. - They are just like advertisements of Pink Pills.
– They are not advertisements, but statements of facts.
– Does the honorable senator think that it is a suitable thing to advertise firms in this way?
– I come here to stand up for our own industries, which some one is trying to destroy. I have submitted the best evidence that I can offer, and it is that these drills are being used and giving satisfaction. The publication also contains testimonials from Mr. John Jewell, mine manager of the Carlisle North G.G. and PassbyUnited ; Mr. James Northcott, manager for Mr. G. Lansell; Mr. Thomas Procter, junr., engineer for the Star of the East Company, Sebastopol; Mr. Frank Jolly, mine manager of the South DevonshireG.M. Company; Mr. Richard Williams, mining manager of the Johnson’s Reef G.M. Company; Mr. Chas. Gambetta, mine manager of the Princess Dagmar Company’s works; Mr. Chas. S. Rowe, mining manager of the New Chum Railway Company ; and Mr. Francis Agnew, mining manager of North Johnson’s Reef Company. There is a large number of other testimonials, but I do not know some of the mine managers from whom they emanate. The mines which I have named are managed by men whom I know thoroughly well. In addition to that there was record work done at the Long Tunnel mine in Walhalla. I know Mr. John Finlayson, the manager, very well, and the record of shaft-sinking that was done there has not been surpassed in this country. The introductory paragraph to an extract from the Age says-
On the 15th December, 1902, the Long Tunnel Cold Mining Company started on their straightaway shaft sinking, with the intention of going to a depth of 3,000 feet. This, without a doubt, is one of the greatest shaft-sinking undertakings ever entered into in Australia. For this great work Australian drills, manufactured by TaylorHorsfield, were used.
The extract from the Age reads as follows -
Work in the crosscut from 2,827 feet in the incline shaft of the Long Tunnel is proceeding briskly, the celerity with which the contractors are driving being indicated by the fact that they accomplished 20 feet of crosscutting since Monday afternoon, in two days and two shifts. The distance sunk since last report is 580 feet - a weekly average of 23 feet. The total depth attained is 2,880 feet, and this work, including plats; has been carried through since the 15th December, 1902, the monthly (lunar) average from start to finish being 124 feet. As a delay of three weeks incurred in completing the connection of the two sections is included in this period, the Board believes that the result is a record for speedy shaft-sinking in Australia.
– The honorable senator should not forget that it is easier to make a hole in cheese than in an ironbark log.
– Does the honorable senator know the country?
– What right, then, has the honorable senator to say that it is cheese ?
– It is sandstone, of course.
– I can take the honorable senator to sandstone as hard as anything which can be found in this country.
– Indeed, the honorable senator cannot. That is an impossibility.
– That is arecord of shaft-sinking done with the TaylorHorsfield rock drill.
– That was not a report by the Age, but a report supplied to it.
– It was a report from the Age correspondent. I have here some economy tests, but I do not propose to quote them, because they are contained in the manufacturer’s book. I know that on several occasions, in Bendigo, the Taylor-Horsfield drill has been pitted against imported drills. Sometimes, the one would have a little advantage, and sometimes the other, but generally the balance was on the side of the TaylorHorsfield drill. The fact that it is being used by 150 mines in Bendigo - one of the greatest quartz-mining districts in the world, where mining is carried on at a greater depth than elsewhere, and where the mines are managed by careful, shrewd men, who would not employ any machinery which would not do the work properly - is proof that the statement made here that we have not a rock-drill which will do the work is altogether incorrect. I trust that this very moderate duty of 20 per cent. will be given to this industry, because this machinery is made not only at Bendigo but also in Queensland, by Walkers Limited, at Maryborough ; by Mr. Hancock, at Moonta, in South Australia ; and by the Austral Otis Company, at South Melbourne. Surely we are not going to withhold from the manufacturers of this particular article the protection which during the last few weeks we have been giving to other manufacturers with not one-half of the claim which they possess?
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 176, paragraph d, “ Rotary and Percussive Rock-drills” (imports under General Tariff), ad val., 5 per cent. (Senator de Largie’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 5
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Sayers) agreed to-
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 176, paragraphd (imports from the United Kingdom), free.
– There are certain alterations which we desire the other House to make in paragraph e, in which it inserted” coal-cutting machines.” It was doubtful whether the rotary and percussive rock-drills were the same as the coal-cutting machines; as a matter of fact, it was argued that they were the same; but the coal-cutting machines which the other House intended to include were the bar, chain and disc coalcutting machines. In order to distinguish the coal-cutting machines from the rotary and percussive rock-drills, it is necessary to insert the words “ bar, chain and disc “ in paragraph e. Therefore, I move -
That the House of Representatives Be requested to amend item 176, paragraphe, by inserting the words “Bar, Chain and Disc” before the words “ Coal Cutting Machines.”
Subsequently, in consequence of the Committee having passed a request that manganese and chromium parts should be admitted free, it will be necessary to request the omission of the words “Side Plates and Balls for Ball Mills.”
– Does not the honorable senator think that it would be better not to particularize?
– I am told that the insertion of these words is necessary to distinguish coal-cutting machinery from rotary and percussive rock drills.
– Suppose that byandby a coal-cutting machine is invented which does not conform to the type specified in this paragraph?
– I find that the coalcutting machinery which it was intended should be admitted free covers three types of such machines - the bar, chain, and discmachines.
– I think this would be a dangerous amendment to make. The object is clearly to impose a limitation, whilst if we leave the item as it stands it will embrace every type and variety of coal-cutting machines. By imposing any limitation we might intentionally or otherwise exclude a valuable coal-cutting machine known now, or a machine which possibly may be invented and patented hereafter.
– Coal -cutting machines at work in Australia at the present time are not covered by the proposed definition.
– I can quite understand that. I hope the Committee will not agree to the proposed limitation.
Senator HENDERSON (Western Australia) [5.33).- Senator Clemons has, I think, mentioned the objections to the Minister’s request which I intended to advance. The disc, bar, and chain machines are the machines in common use to-day, but there are other machines that would not be covered by the proposed definition. It would not, for instance, cover the Ingersoll coal- cutting machine. There are also in existence to-day coal-cutting machines on . the rotary principle which are altogether different from any of the types referred to in the proposed amendment. To-day the inventive skill of man is being employed in every direction in theeffort to economize in the production of coal. Four years ago in one mine in Western Australia, in which no coal-cutting machine was worked, the output per man engaged on the coal face was about 297 tons per annum for a given number of days’ working. At the present time, as the result of the introduction of high-class machinery, the output of the mine has been increased to not only double the previous output per man at work on the coal, but double the same quantity per head reckoned over . the whole of the employes of the mine. This is an instance of the advantage of the introduction of high-class machinery in mining. If tomorrow a new coal-cutting machine was invented that did not come within the Minister’s proposed definition, it would be held to be dutiable under some other item in the Tariff, and thus a tax would be imposed on the industry. Another point is that all these machines should be free tinder the general Tariff, as every one covered by the proposed definition is an American machine.
– I am instructed that the’ Ingersoll machine, to which the honorable, senator referred, is a percussive rock drill.
– The honorable senator may be so advised, but I am in a position to instruct him that it is not a percussive rock drill. All the machines coming under the proposed definition are American machines. Most of the coalcutting machines employed in England to-day belong to one or other of the three types referred . to and are manufactured in America. Yet the Minister proposes that they should be dutiable at 5 per cent, under the general Tariff and free from the United Kingdom, where they are not made. The effect of the proposal is merely to levy a 5 per cent, tax on the coal-mining industry for the use of machines that British manu facturers cannot supply. I hope the Committee will decide to leave the item as it stands.
– If the Minister is not convinced by the, to me, unanswerable statement made by Senator Henderson, I should like to inform him that in a recent number of the weekly edition of the London Times I noticed an account of a new invention for cutting coal, which, when perfected, may or may not conform to the types referred to in the proposed amendment of the item. If it does, it will, of course, be admitted free, but if it does not it will come under some dutiable item. That is not desirable. .
– The Minister will not press his request.
– In view . of the reduction of the duty on rotary and percussive drills, I do not know that at this juncture it is necessary that I should press the request I. have moved in connexion with an item which is prac- tically on the same footing.
Request (by Senator Best) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 176, paragraph e, by leaving out the words “ Side Plates and Balls for Ball Mills.”
.. –I have been informed that’ we ought to admit free of duty engines such as the Corliss engine (first- motion winding engine) and engines of the Bellis Morcomb type (high speed), also rock-boring machines, such as the Ingersoll-Rand and Holman machines. I believe that this Ingersoll machine is a rock drill and not a coalcutting machine.
– That is so.
– I am informed that if we are not merely to help the mining industry, but if we are not to discourage it, this machinery should be admitted at a very low duty, or free.
– If the machinery referred to is not already provided for it will come under paragraph f.of this item.
– What about the Corliss engine?
– That is covered by item
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 176, paragraph E (imports under General Tariff), free.
Senator Henderson has already given good reasons, if any were required, why this request should be agreed to. Most of this machinery is American patented machinery, and even if it were not, I can see no reason why it should be dutiable at 5 per cent.
– In view of the action taken by the Committee in dealing with a previous paragraph of the item, to agree to the request now submitted by Senator Clemons would destroy the symmetry of the Tariff. If machinery coming under the previous paragraph should be dutiable, it is not right that the machinery covered by paragraph e should be free of duty under the general Tariff.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 10
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to makeitem 176, paragraphf, free.
And on and after 29th November, 1907 - Electrical Machines, Appliances, and parts thereof : -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 177, paragrapha, by leaving out the figures “ 500,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “ 10.”
My object in submitting this request is to reduce to 10-horse power the capacity of the electric motors dealt with by the item. In paragraph g of this item the Government propose that generators for direct coupling to steam turbines shall pay duty at 5 per cent. under the general Tariff, and be free in the case of the United Kingdom. It is clearly an anomaly to provide that if a generator is imported to be coupled with an engine or to be run with the belting of other machinery it shall be treated differently. We cannot, at the present time at all events, make electrical machinery in Australia sufficient to satisfy our requirements. It is necessary to bring this economic power into direct relationship with our mining industry. Electricity must be available as cheaply as possible. Honorable senators who have perused the reports of the Tariff Commission must have been struck by the manner in which electricity is being at present used in mining. To my own knowledge in Western Australia, some low-grade mining propositions could not be worked unless steam had been discarded in favour of electricity; and they could not continue to be run with the belting of other machinery it shall be treated differently, life to a number of mines simply for the sake of providing a higher duty for the benefit of a small industry in some of our large cities would be a foolish step to take.
– The honorable senator is falling away from grace as a protectionist.
– I recognise that mining should be called upon to bear some share of the cost of the protective policy of this country, but I do not believe in carrying out that principle to an absurd extreme. These electrical machines can be manufactured in the older centres of the world very cheaply. We in Australia cannot hope to compete with British manufactures.
– That is the argument of the free-trader with respect to all Australian industries.
– If we by our action put 500 men out of work and at the same time provide employment for 100 men in the electrical industry we simply do a very foolish thing. That is not protection at all according to my principle. The protection that I favour is in the direction of giving a maximum of employment to our own people.
– The honorable senator’s argument is that the electrical machinery industry could be established in Australia, but that it would be cheaper to import the machinery from abroad.
– We certainly can pay too much for an article. I recognise that there are heavy types of machinery that can be made in Australia, and that, indeed, have been preferred by the users of steam throughout the Commonwealth. It has been found to be an advantage to have them made in Australia, because their local manufacture keeps the foreign engine maker within reasonable bounds. But I cannot see how that argument applies to electricity. Our requirements in relation t o this motive power are very small as compared with the demand for the heavier types of machinery. If honorable senators will turn to page 51of the report of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission they will find that evidence was given at Coolgardie with regard to an Australianmade electric motor that was not found to be satisfactory. We will pass by that allegation and pay attention to the price. The price of the Australian article was £67 9s. 3d. The Commission added -
Similar motors, we were assured, could be imported from abroad at an invoice price of £1710s.
That is less than one-third.
– I think the £17 is a misprint for £2 7.
– Even then the difference in price is so marked that it is unfair to call upon our industries to support what would, after all, be a struggling undertaking until Australia is well enough developed to start the electrical industry on a sound basis. That evidence was given by Mr. Crocker, manager of the Kalgoorlie Electric Power and Lighting Corporation, a gentleman whom I know well, and whose knowledge of electricity is equal to that of any man in Australia. He is an electrical engineer, who came from America. There is other evidence in this report of Australian-made machinery being purchased by mine managers in Western Aus tralia, who found that it was to their advantage. The local manufacturers have been the means in many instances of keeping the agents of foreign makers within reasonable bounds in their prices. The manager of Walker’s Foundry, at Maryborough, Queensland, gave evidence that if 100 per cent. was placed on electric motors and generators they would come in just the same. . He had no interest in the electrical machinery industry. In the interest of those who will have to use electricity on a large scale in the future we should not impose an excessive duty, but should make paragraph a correspond as nearly as possible with paragraph g, with the exception I have stated.
– The request will completely emasculate the paragraph, as Senator Lynch well knows. We have already in item 160 imposed a duty of20 per cent. on one kind of motive power. Now we are asked to make practically all dynamo electric machinery free, because I presume that Senator Lynch intends to follow up this request with another to make free all such machinery above 10 horse-power.
– That is correct.
– The paragraph would be useless if it only covered machines up to 10 horse-power. This duty is proposed as protective. I caused inquiries to be made as to what machinery has actually been manufactured in Australia, and have received the following list of electric motors madein the Commonwealth, and supplied to various mines : -
– Who supplied them ?
– We obtained that information from a firm with whose name I will gladly supply the honorable senator privately. It was evidence such as that which warranted us in proposing the item in its present form. Senator Lynch and others who are supporting the request have made sad enough havoc already in earlier items. I, therefore, in view of the concessions which have already been made to the mining industry, appeal to them to allow this item to stand. These articles are made here, and the industry should certainly be cultivated. If my honorable friends have the numbers, of course I shall have to submit gracefully for the present. I put it to them, however, that it is not reasonable to lay such violent hands on this item, which represents a very worthy industry that should certainly not be wiped out.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [6.10]. - The Minister is evidently quite ready to agree to the request when he begins to put a halo round the item, and describe it as sacred. I do not regard any interference with the schedule as sacrilege. On the contrary, it is a kind of sacrilege to allow a number of the items to remain, because they do violence to our ordinary economic good sense. In many instances the duties have been fixed without considering the importance of making articles free in the interests of the country. I shall support Senator Lynch’s request, although I cannot see the necessity for putting it in its present form. It would be better for the honorable senator to move to make the paragraph free, although it gives it a greater air of absurdity to substitute 10 horse-power for 500 horsepower. I am very glad that it is proposed to make paragraphs a and b free. Dynamoelectric machines mean, I presume, dynamos or’ generators. . Nothing in this country deserves encouragement more than the use of electric power and electric lighting, particularly in mining, but also in other spheres of industry. Owing to the duties imposed, electric installation is made exceedingly costly. My experience, without wishing to disparage the dynamos made here, is that the local article, from the generator to the general equipment in connexion with installations, is by no means equal to the imported. We get from America, England, and Germany infinitely superior electric equipment. To- encourage the use of electric power and lighting, we should, at present at any rate, reduce the duties as much as possible.
.- I regret very much that Senator Lynch has felt ‘it necessary, in the . interests of a particular industry, to move what I consider to be a free-trade request. I could understand the honorable senator if he took a broad view and said, “ Whilst the mining industry is an important one to Australia, there are many industries which are equally important.” If it is necessary that the mining industry should be assisted by the free admission of the machinery which it requires, why does he not go a step farther and assist the free-traders to get all the machinery required in other established industries brought under the same heading ? When one takes a hasty view of the Tariff Commission’s report, and the summary of the evidence, he sees at once that in his own State the Secretary - of the Trades and Labour Council, and representatives of the Engineers’ Society, were loud in their complaints that work was very difficult to obtain, and that wages were being lowered because of the large importations of variouskinds of machinery, which, if their industry were protected, would be made here, and” so give them continuous employment.
– But there was no reference to electrical machinery in the complaint.
– No; but the witnesses gave general evidence in regard’ to the importation of all kinds of machinery.
– Not in regard to electrical machinery.
– I admit that; but: it could be made here. That the electrical machinery now employed in many of thebiggest mines in Australia was made here can be proved beyond the shadow of a doubt. ‘ If this request be agreed to, it will be a very serious thing indeed to many well-established industries. If Senator Lynch takes up the position’ that becausemachinery can be imported more cheaply than it could be made here, he becomes at once an illogical protectionist ; because all’ the free-traders have urged that, if there were’ no duties on certain commodities, peoplewould be able to get them more cheaply. The honorable senator has urged as a reason why the duties- should be imposed onother commodities, that the hours in othercountries are longer, that the wages are lower, and that the conditions generally- inregard to industrial life are quite dissimilar from those which obtain in different partsof Australia. And he fortifies himself insubmitting this request by the makebelieve that it is better to encourage one well-established industry than to give any form of assistance to any other industry which may not be in such a strong position as the particular industry in which he is interested.
– That is a sound argument.
– It is a very fallacious argument for a protectionist to use. The miners of Victoria are riot free-traders, but essentially protectionists. They know that all their sons, even if they had the desire, are not able to follow their occupations. Most miners are not desirous that their sons should do so; hence they want to get them into protected and established industries, and one of the best in Australia to-day is the engineering trade. The ige of electricity is in its infancy. Electrical power is superseding other power in almost everything. Do honorable senators intend to give no assistance to this coming power? Do .they want to give free admission to that kind of machinery and to keep our boys engaged in making obsolete machinery ? Do they propose to protect the. obsolete machinery which is not required in connexion with the mines of Western Australia and to refuse assistance to another industry which is established to-day, but mot so well established as the .one for making machinery driven by steam? I ask Senator Lynch in all seriousness to consider his position as a protectionist.
– I do not specially refer to the mines of Western Australia.
– This request means a subsidy to lighting and power stations.
– It is a subsidy to the fattest of the fat men in Australia. This request comes not from the. miners or working classes of Western Australia, but from men many of whom have drawn thousands of pounds by way of dividends from wild-cat companies in Western Australia, and are living in the lap of luxury in other lands. Every State is equally represented in the Senate, but from no other State than Western Australia have we got a request for the free entry of machinery that can be made, and is being made here.
– Yes, it. will come from Tasmania at the earliest opportunity.
– I shall not be surprised if it does, because the honorable senator has been consistent in his desire to remove the duties from all articles. But up to the present moment Senator Lynch has been consistent. He has been singled out as a stalwart protectionist until to-day, when he fell in connexion with electrical machinery.
– Before that.
– Yes, but to-day Senator Lynch has made the most serious error in his career as a protectionist.
– It is not quite so dreadful a thing to slip on as is a corset.
– I did not slip on corsets. We all know that the electrical machinery industry is established in the Commonwealth. I do not propose to weary honorable senators by reading a circular letter which I have received from one of the largest makers of the machinery, namely, Mr. Weymouth, of Richmond.-
– Mention another one.
– It is sufficient for me to know that there is one manufacturer of this machinery in this State.
– And that is the only one in the Commonwealth.
– I believe that with high duties on electrical appliances which are utilized not only in mining fields, but in various avenues other establishments would be brought into existence. Here is an effort being made by Senator Lynch to seriously affect an established industry and do an injury to men, who have been longsuffering in many parts of the Commonwealth, because of .the insufficient measure of protection which they have received. I hope that he will reconsider his position and see his way clear to withdraw the request, because otherwise he will show himself to be a highly inconsistent protectionist, and to be influenced by arguments which have been used here time and again by some of the most violent of the free-traders.
– I appeal to Senator Lynch instead of moving a request to reduce the capacity of motors from 500 h.p. to 10 h.p. to submit a request to make them free. The use of electrical power is riot by any means limited to mining. It is extremely useful even in the industries- which Senator Findley wants to assist in Victoria.
– The evidence upon which I had to rely was mostly related to mining.
– I admit that. It would’ be better for the various industries of the Commonwealth which want, to adopt electrical power if the honorable senator would move a request to make the item free. I can conceive that there are many dynamos of very limited horse-power capacity which are a useful addition in perhaps some of the secondary industries carried on in Melbourne. I have no desire to single out any industries for harsh treat- ment. If the honorable senator would adopt my suggestion he would spread over a wider field the benefits which I believe he desires to confer upon Australia. He would achieve his own particular object and probably assist some other industry which ought to be considered by us equally with the mining industry. It is true that if the horse-power be reduced from 500 to 10 it will entirely destroy the effect of the item.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that the article should be made free without any reduction of the horse- power ?
– Yes, I am willing to allow a dynamo of any capacity to come in free.
– I withdrew an amendment for that purpose to allow Senator Lynch to submit the request which is before the Committee.
– I hope that Senators Lynch and Neild will get into agreement. It would be unfair to tax dynamos with the capacity of10 horse-power at the rate of 20 per cent. and to allow larger dynamos to escape taxation. There is no special reason for allowing a big lighting or mining company to get its dynamos free and taxing the man who is carrying on an industry with a dynamo of limited horsepower. If Senator Lynch will withdraw his request I am sure that a request to make the item free will be submitted.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m. (Wednesday).
– The discussion so far on this item would lead one to believe that the manufacture of electrical machinery has been fairly well established in Australia. If that were so, I should not be found opposing the proposed duty, but the whole of the evidence - and I have carefully read the reports of the Tariff Commission on the subject - goes to prove that it can hardly be said to exist. According to one witness, a Mr. Smith, an electrical engineer at Kalgoorlie, if one factory were established for the manufacture of turbines on a scale sufficiently extensive to secure economic working, it could turn out in one year a sufficient number of machines to supply the Australian demand for twenty years. Even allowing that this witness exaggerated very greatly, it is clear that he does not consider that the industry has been established.
– He was speaking only of the manufacture of turbines.
– The manufacture of motors and dynamos can only be said to have been established in a very small way, as there is really only one motor factory in Australia at the present time. It is true that Mr. Smith’s evidence was given two years ago, possibly before Wevmouth’s factory was established, but he denied that there were any factories in Melbourne for the manufacture of electrical machines. He said there were some small shops, but the only factory of any consequence was that of the New Australian Electric Company, which is now defunct. He further said that when he was in Melbourne, and closely connected with the electrical manufacturing done there, the duty was 25 per cent., and in spite of this high duty it was found far cheaper to import electrical machinery than to purchase from the local manufacturers. He considered that a duty of 25 per cent. afforded very little prospect of the establishment of the industry. The onefactory established at Richmond is on a very humble scale, and turns out very few motors or dynamos of more than 2 or 3 horse-power. What better evidence could we have on this subject than that referred to by Senator Lynch to the effect that a motor which could be imported for £27 would, if made in Melbourne, cost about £70 ? In the face of these figures the protection required to foster the industry would require to be absolutely prohibitive. We know that these electrical machines cannot be made here at anything like the price at which they can be imported. Mr. Crocker, of the Kalgoorlie Electric Power Company, gave evidence similar to that given by Mr. Smith, and said that motors could be imported at £27, and that he had only one made in the Commonwealth, which cost him £67, and which did not give satisfaction. He did not say what was the horse-power of the motor he had made in Australia, but I take it that it was a small motor such as those turned out at Weymouth’s factory. If we give the local manufacturer a sufficient measure of protection to justify him in continuing the manufacture of motors of small horse-power we shall be acting wisely in his interests and in the interests of all who require to use electrical machinery in the Commonwealth, and we shall be doing all that can reasonably be asked of us.
– I point out to honorable senators who are urging that this duty should be reduced on the ground that the industry is not developed here, and that better and cheaper machines of this class can be obtained from America, that if that argument were applied over the whole area of industry we should never have any industry developed in Australia. Honorable senators are aware that there was a time when in the production of all kinds of machinery Great Britain was ahead of the world. She reached that position by the imposition of duties protecting her mechanics and her captains of industry. But America, comparatively recently, when she had no more people than we have, if as many, and when her internal and financial difficulties were very much greater than ours, established protection on the lines we now urge for Australia. Electrical engineering, of course, was not known at that time at all, but the same argument exactly applies, and when it is urged that we cannot or do not make this machinery we may well contend that Australian mechanical genius is equal to that of the people in any other part of the world.
– The honorable senator’s argument might have some force if Australia had a population of 80,000,000 of people.
– Senator Gray should know that when America did what I am urging we should do to-day she had not a population of 4,000,000. We have been informed by honorable senators that it has not been possible so far to obtain in Australia electrical machinery which they consider essential for the development of our mines.
– Except at a price.
– That argument is an argument against the whole policy of protection.
– We could get these machines cheaper from Japan and China.
– We have not done so yet, but I have no doubt that we will obtain from Japan very shortly electrical machinery made by artisans receiving a wage of from 6d. to 2s. per day. That would be very much cheaper than anything we could hope to do while we demand that our artisans shall be paid at least 10s. per day.
– The honorable senator knows that American labour is not cheap.
– But American labour is efficient, because it has been developed by protecting it in its initial stages from the cruel and sometimes unscrupulous competition of older-established industries abroad. That is what makes it possible now to get from America cheaper and more efficient machines than can be obtained elsewhere.
– I have very much pleasure in supporting the request moved by Senator Lynch, and am glad that nothing has been put into it that would suggest that my honorable friend proposes to relieve from the burden of taxation only those electrical motors which are required for mining purposes. The question of electric light and power is important, not only as applying to mining. It is an important and serious factor in an immense number of industries. Iwill instance an industry that pertains to my own State, and particularly to that portion with which, I am, best acquainted - namely, the sugar industry. I suppose that every sugar mill in Queensland is now lighted by electricity; and, in many cases, they are endeavouring to get over some of the difficulties attaching to sugar cultivation by putting electric light in the fields so as to enable the. crop to be harvested at night time. Not only do I welcome this request, but I shall support it, and hope that it will be carried.
– I sympathize with the argument put forward by Senator Trenwith on behalf of higher duties on electrical motors, though I think that his was a very laboured argument. Indeed, he himself seemed to recognise that it was laboured beforehe got far in his contention that because America had established many industries by the imposition of a Tariff, it was under the pressure of that Tariff that the more recent invention of electric power came into such general application in the United States.
– The Tariff stimulated the inventive mind.
– This is the first occasion on which I have heard an argument of that description advanced. The axiom has been handed down almost from the time of Adam. that “necessity is the mother of invention “ - not high Tariffs.
– It is a recognised fact that high Tariffs are essential.
– I am not disputing that high duties are essential, but I do not admit that they are “ the mother of invention.” I have too much common sense to allow such an idea to rest for one moment in my mind. The difficulties with which men have had to cope, and the extremely contrary circumstances in which industries have been placed, have led to inventions. It was the desire to conquer such difficulties that led Mr. Edison to make his electrical inventions.
– America is the home of protection, and it is also the home of invention.
– It was the feeling that there was in the elements a power that was controllable that led to the discovery of electrical appliances, and that induced Mr. Edison to. set his inventive faculties to work to contend with that power. Whether the American Tariff was low or high had nothing whatever to do with it.
– Lord Kelvin was as far advanced in electrical science as Mr. Edison is.
– But Lord Kelvin’s work was mainly theoretical, whilst Edison’s work has been mostly practical.
– I ask the honorable senator not to enter into a general discussion.
– It is insufferable to listen to the argument that the duty embodied in this item is one that we ought to support because America imposed a high Tariff in 1812. The evidence is clear that we have never attempted to make in Australia electrical motors beyond those of a very low horse-power. . The provision embodied in Senator Lynch’s request will for a very long time to come amply serve the electrical industry of Australia. So far as I understand, the electrical works that exist in the Commonwealth at present are repairing bureaux rather than manufacturing industries. If these firms can show their capacity to make, say, 10 horsepower motors, it will then be ample time to take into consideration the question of giving them further protection. But what is the use of saddling people whose necessities demand motors of something like 500 or 600 horse-power with heavy taxation in order to encourage people who make motors of 2 or 3 horse-power?
– A good old foreigntrade argument !
– It is a very good argument, whether it be a foreign or an Australian-trade one.
– The argument amounts to this - that we should get our electric motors from abroad as long as we can obtain them more cheaply in that way.
– I never said anything of the kind. But I am not going blindly and recklessly to support heavy duties for the mere purpose of showing that I am a protectionist.
– I have merely risen to ask that Senator Lynch’s request shall be divided, so that we may first have a division on the question whether the figures ‘ ‘ 500 ‘ ‘ should be left out. There may be a difference of opinion as to whether the limit should be 10 or 100 or some other figure.
– Any honorable senator has a right to ask that the question shall be divided, and I will put the parts of it separately.
– I should like to have further information before I decide as to what figures ought to be embodied in the item instead of “ 500.”
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 177, paragraph a, by leaving out the figures “ 500 “ (Senator Lynch’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [8.17]. - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 177, paragraph A, by inserting in the blank created by leaving out the figures “500 “ the figure “1.”
I am entirely in sympathy with the desire to relieve the larger dynamos from all possible imposition of taxation, but I wish also to free dynamos of smaller power used by smaller men. No man can gainsay the strong arguments advanced on behalf of the mining industry, but it would be peculiar to provide, as Senator Lynch intends to propose, that all dynamos above 10 horse-power should be admitted free, whilst those of smaller horse-power should be subject to duty.
– I cannot support the reduction of the horse- power to 1. Ten horsepower is a very reasonable limit. The smaller motors and dynamos are being made at the factory in Richmond, Victoria. That industry should not be crushed out. I cannot support a proposition to leave it without protection.
– Does Senator de Largie want to enable some Australian manufacturer to go on making dynamos up to 10 horse-power under a protective duty of 20 per cent. ? Is he not assuming that the manufacturer will be able, with a 20 per cent. duty, to charge more for the machines than if there were no duty ?
– I have no doubt about that. But this man has his factory equipped, and can turn out the smaller dynamos. As a protectionist, I wish to give him the amount of protection proposed to enable him to live.
– The people who use the machine will have to pay the enhanced price which Senator de Largie so frankly admits will be charged by the manufacturer under a 20 per cent. duty. The honorable senator therefore wants the user of the larger dynamo to get an advantage over the smaller man. I cannot agree with that proposition. Dynamos ought all to be free. It is most repugnant to me to be placed in the position of exempting companies or big men who want larger dynamos from the added cost incidental to the imposition of the duty, while refusing the same advantage to the smaller man who wants a dynamo up to 10 horsepower. I wish to make no discrimination between the big and small men, or between the man living on a mining field and the man who carries on a secondary industry in Melbourne. While I oppose the policy of protection to small industries, I am equally opposed to a policy that hampers them. To tax the smaller dynamos in the way proposed by Senator Lynch will interfere with many secondary industries. I appeal to Senator de Largie not to make fish of one and flesh of another. I support Senator Symon’s request, which reduces the horse-power to an absolute minimum.
– Senator Lynch takes up an extraordinary position in proposing a maximum of 10horse-power, when he and other honorablesenators have heard me read figures showing that some twenty-two of these machines, ranging up to about 350 horse-power, have been supplied to Australian mines by Australian manufacturers. It is absurd to say that the manufacturers shall have the privilege of supplying only machines up to 10 horsepower. Honorable senators seem to think that it is easier for them to make the smaller dynamos, whereas they are more capable of supplying the larger ones.
– At what comparative price ?
– At such prices that the mining companies I named have become purchasers. I have already read the list, which was obtained as the result of inquiry.
– That referred to electric motors and generators ; we are dealing with dynamos.
-They all come under this item. It will be observed that the Mount Lyell Company bought several of these machines. They would never have come back for a second if the first had not been satisfactory. Cock’s Pioneer mine bought a machine of 300 kilowatts - a kilowatt being equal to horse-power - and subsequently purchased four of 90 horsepower. The Broken Hill Proprietary mine bought one; the Block 10 Company and certain of the Walhalla mines bought several. There is no reason to doubt this information, which was obtained specially by an officer sent for that purpose. I shouldhave been quite satisfied if the figures “ 500 “ had been struck out, so as to have no limitation. I shall be greatly disappointed, however, if this proposal is followed by a request to make the item free. I want the representatives of Western Australia to understand that their share of the benefit of the item will be infinitesimal compared with that of the lighting and power companies elsewhere.
– We are not moving for the sake of Western Australia alone.
– Rightly or wrongly, I gathered the impression that the State was to be specially benefited by the request. As a matter of fact, it will benefit some of the richer companies, which are not mining companies, but lighting and power companies. If we give the necessary encouragement the ultimate benefit, so far as the local article is concerned, will necessarily accrue. I ask honorable senators to consider well whether they ought to persist in their effort to mutilate the item any more. I want them to bear in mind the concessions which have already been granted to the mining industry. If this request is directed especially in the interests of that industry, let me enumerate what has already been done on its behalf. My honorable friends have put on the free list high-speed engines, coupled to dynamo electric machines to be used in mines ; steam turbos ; turbo blowers ; high-pressure blowers for smelters; manganese and chromium parts and portable hoists.
– Would the honorable senator mind running over the things upon which the mines will have to pay duty ?
– Undoubtedly there are certain duties charged against those who do not take the local products. The Committee has already evinced a substantial desire to give every encouragement to the mining industry. Under these circumstances, why should an important industry be slaughtered by the removal of this duty, especially in view of the conclusive evidence I have submitted that these particular dynamos and generators are made here?
– So far as I can see, especially after the last speech, the position for the Committee to determine is a very clear one. I admit that I had some little doubt until I had the advantage of listening to Senator Best’s arguments. By the last division the Committee has decided, apparently, that it would be well to separate the dynamos into two classes, and the point now for decision is as to the arbitrary line which is to be drawn to distinguish the larger of these two electrical appliances from the smaller. The debate has certainly madeit manifest that the Committee thought that 500 horse-power was too high a capacity to adopt. Itwas in conformity with that opinion that it decided to strike out the figures “ 500,” and now the blank has to be filled. When the insertion of the figure “ 10 “ was suggested prior to the omission of the figures “ 500,” it appealed to me at first, perhaps, not as an unfair alternative, but the Minister has said that a 10 horse-power limit is absurd. I accept him as an authority on the matter; and, as there is already enough absurdity in the Tariff, I feel bound to change the course which I had mapped out of voting for the insertion of the figures “ 10,” and to support the request of Senator Symon.
– It was quite unnecessary for the Minister to remind the Committee of the probable result of its vote on this occasion. He went so far as to say that our endeavour to free this class of machinery would be for the benefit of large companies. He does not need to be reminded that under his own Tariff it is proposed to allow generators, which are intended to be coupled with turbines, to come in free.
– That item was inserted in the other House. It was not in the schedule as it was originally introduced.
-It is the proposal of the Government, as submitted to the Senate. The schedule provides that generators of either one or one thousand horse-power, so long as they are coupled, or intended to be coupled, with turbines, shall come in free. It will, therefore, be quite easy for any lighting or power company to order a turbodynamo combination, and get it landed free. My proposal does not differ very much from the Government’s proposal, if, indeed, it does not resemble theirs in many respects.
– That was not the proposal of the Government, but the proposal of a man who is largely interested in big mining companies;
– Even then it represents between 750 and 1,000 horse-power.
– It was stated to the Tariff Commission by Mr. Smith, electrical engineer to the Kalgoorlie municipality, that he has a combination of two turbines with generators attached. Under the Government’s proposal the machinery which lights that town would come in free, and it would be quite possible for companies to import that particular type of machinery without paying a duty. It was sworn before the Tariff Commission by Mr. Crocker, manager of the Kalgoorlie Electrical Power
Station, that a motor manufactured in Australia cost £67 and that a small motor landed from the Old Country cost £17 10s. Surely it is not proposed to increase the cost of that class of motor power by 150 per cent. ?
– He said that he would have to pay £67 if the motor were made here, but that if it were imported it would be invoiced at ^£17 odd.
– As a matter of fact, he got the motor from an Australian manufacturer. That is a concrete instance of what can be done by present-day manufacturers here as compared with foreign manufacturers.
– If the honorable senator will refer to the evidence he will find that. £17 odd was the invoiced cost of the imported motor, and not the landed cost.
– I find that the honorable senator is quite right -
Evidence was given at Kalgoorlie of an Australianbuilt motor,, which was found to be unsatisfactory. Its price, delivered in Western Australia, was £67 gs. 3d. Similar motors, we were assured, could be imported from abroad at an invoice price of ^17 ros.
What I now propose is not a very violent departure from the Government’s proposal. To impose higher duties on these machines might lead to the establishment of a struggling industry for their manufacture, but it would, in my opinion, certainly result in throwing out of employment a number of men engaged in the mining industry. We. have an opportunity now to decide which is the wiser course to adopt. Mr. Smith summed up the position very completely. He was asked by Senator McGregor -
With an increasing population and increasing development, would not ‘Australia require considerably more electrical fittings and plant than she requires now?
And the witness replied -
Yes. I think that if the population were increased ten times the aspect of the Tariff would be altogether altered.
That is my position with regard to this proposal. If Australian requirements in this line were on a vaster scale, the imposition of a duty which would give effective protection to the manufacture of this class of machinery might be justified. Senator Trenwith referred to the experience of America, but as a close student of the history of Tariff -making, the honorable senator must know that the United States’ adopted an effective protectionist Tariff only by gradual stages. When he advises the Committee that in Australia, with a population of 4,000,000, we should begin with an effective protection on electrical machinery, the answer is that in the United States there were periods during which free-trade was in force, and then gradual stages of increasing protection. It was in 1867 that protection became the settled policy of that country, and subsequent to that date the Dingley Tariff, and then the McKinley and Wilson Tariffs, were passed. The American experience would appear to show that it is not wise in the interests of a nation to establish too early a highly protectionist Tariff. On other items in this Tariff I have consistently given protectionist votes, but whatever the consequences of my action may be, I draw the line here in the* interests of the mining industry, which I think would be injured if the present proposal were adhered to.
– It is of little use for honorable senators to charge each other with inconsistency, as during the consideration of the Tariff I suppose every member of the Committee has given a vote’ which has made him appear more or less inconsistent. We should remember that we are dealing with a Tariff in which we have very largely adopted the principle of protection. I suggested some time ago that we should be given some further information in connexion with this item, and the very interesting information supplied by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, has shown that I did well to do so. It has been shown that extensive users of electrical machinery have been satisfied to obtain” articles of local manufacture. I refer to the Mount Lyell Company, the manager of which is a man of very high scientific attainments, and one of the most competent mining managers in Australia.
– Mount Lyell is only a tin-pot concern compared with Mount Morgan.
– Let me inform the honorable, senator that the Mount Lyell Company,, largely by means of electrical machinery, are handling and smelting every day no less than 1,100 tons of ore. The information supplied by the Vice-President of the Executive Council proves that dynamos and motors up to 200 horse-power have been manufactured in Australia, and supplied to Australian purchasers, and, further, that their manufacture has been developed to this extent under a duty of I2L per’ cent. I think that the proper thing to do is to substitute 200 or 250 for the 500 horse-power referred to in the item, to make the discrimination which the Government have themselves introduced in submitting a differential rate of duty on dynamos and motors of different horse-power, and to lower the rate of duty proposed. Circulars were sent out by the Chamber of Mines in Victoria dealing with the duties on mining machinery, and I think some respect should be paid to representations made by the official secretary of the Chamber as the result of inquiries. The circulars asked for relief from duties under various items, and pointed out the injury which the mining industry would probably suffer if the duties proposed were not reduced. Certain honorable senators, myself amongst the number, replied to the circulars by asking for some more definite information as to the machinery that must be imported in order that an effort might be made to make it free of duty, and also as to the machinery manufactured in Australia that was giving satisfaction.
– Will the honorable senator say what proportion of the motivepower in use at Mount Lyell is of Australian make?
– It is only within the last two or three years that the Mount Lyell Company have been substituting electrical for steam-power. I think their first installation was of American origin,but they are too good business people to pay more than they should pay for the locally- manufactured machinery, or to use it at all unless it is up to the work for which they require it.
– They have been good enough business people to put their special imprint on this Tariff in the reduction of duties.
– Senator Clemons’ information on that point is greater than mine, but the fact remains that the Mount Lyell and other Australian mining companies have purchased Australian-made motors up to 200 horse-power. In reply to my letter, the Secretary of the Victorian Chamber of Mines wrote me enclosing a list of items which, if put on the free list, would, in the opinion of the Chamber, greatly relieve the burden of the mining industry. He enclosed a list of suggested amendments of the Tariff on different items, and in referring to item 177b, his note is -
Substitute 250 for 500 horse-power.
– What did he suggest with respect to paragraph a?
– He suggested that it should read -
Motors of the capacity of 50 horse-power, but I think that was a mistake.
– The honorable senator should quote his correspondent correctly.
– I have done so, but I consider that the suggestion with respect to paragraph a is inconsistent with that made with respect to paragraph b, since it would make the limit of the horsepower under paragraph a 50 horse-power, and there would then be a jump in paragraph b up to 250 horse-power. It seems to me that the most sensible alteration to make in the item would be to provide in paragraph a for machines 200 horse-power, because machines of that power have been manufactured in the Commonwealth ; and as these were manufactured under a duty of 12½ per cent. a duty of 15 per cent. should be sufficient encouragement for their continued manufacture.
– One motor of 350 horsepower has been manufactured in the Commonwealth.
– I think it would be a fair compromise to fix the horse-power in this paragraph at 250, and the dutyat 15 per cent.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [8.59]. - I yield to no one in my desire to relieve mining enterprise in Australia of all unnecessary impositions. If there is one industry which more than another is entitled to special privileges and exemptions it is the mining industry, not because it does not at times afford very large profits to those engaged in it, but because, in the first place, its profits are fluctuating and uncertain, and, in the next, it is the industry to which, for the last fifty or sixty years, Australia has been indebted for a great deal of its prosperity. I say once and for all that on every occasion when I can relieve that industry of impositions that press unduly upon it, I shall do so; but I do think that Senator Mulcahy has given utterance to protests of unblushing selfishness, emanating from the Chamber of Mines of Victoria. Such action would alienate any one who wished to take a fair and reasonable view, such as was expounded by Senator Lynch in the excellent speech that he has just made, and would induce them to be less favorably disposed towards the mining industry than they otherwise would be. This item affects, not only the mining, but many other industries ; and will affect still more industries as time goes on, because if there is one thing more to be observed than another, it is the spread of electrical motive power throughout cur industrial life. My honorable friend, Senator Mulcahy, as the mouthpiece of the Chamber of Mines, was scarcely fair in quoting the limit that they sought to put upon paragraph b,- whilst not reading to the Committee, except under gentle compulsion, the fact that they suggested 50 horse-power instead of 500.
– I felt that it was a mistake.
– Perhaps the honorable senator thinks that he understands better what the Chamber of Mines meant than they did themselves. My complaint is that when he had that part of their communication in his hand, and knew that they suggested 50 horsepower, he did not take the opportunity of mentioning it to the Committee ; and that it was only when the point was pressed upon him that 50 horse-power was there, that my honorable friend., with a good deal of vehemence at being pressed to state what was really in the document, told us about the suggestion as to 50 horse-power.
– Can the honorable senator say that that is not absolutely inconsistent with the other recommendation ?
– I do not see that it is inconsistent. At any rate, my honorable friend is not there- for the purpose of correcting inconsistencies which he supposes to be made by the persons who sent him the communication. He did not give them credit for common sense, and did not give the Committee the information he had in his hand.
– Other honorable senators had it also.
-I never saw it. I only got my information about it from Senator Dobson.. When we find from this document, emanating from the organized exponent of the wishes of the mining industry, that they wish to put all motors at a rate of duty to- suit themselves, I say that that is a selfish argument to address to the Committee, and that we ought not to be led away by “it. What does it do? It equally ignores all other industries in this country that are using, or may hereafter require to use, dynamos and electric motors. What do the mining people care about other industries? Not twopence. What do the Mount Lyell people care - I mention them because their names have been referred to? What do they care for the small man and the small industry in relation to this duty, so long as we relieve them from this 20 per cent, tax? They do not care who has to pay it, so long as they do not. I say that that is grossly unfair. I am willing to relieve the mining industry, but I want it to be done fairly. It is not exactly that other people who use small motors are being penalized as that the mining industry are desiring to get a privilege not extended to other people. These, mining people, who require large motors and dynamos, are putting pressure on this Parliament to get for themselves privileges not extended to smaller men.
– Let us refuse to give it to them.
– We ought not to give it to them unless we can deal fairly and give it to others also. I take the view that Senator Lynch has put very forcibly to the Committee, that the electrical industry is practically in an experimental and crude stage. We have excellent electrical engineers in Australia, but we are now dealing with the manufacturing part of the business, that has not yet emerged from the experimental stage. We “ have struck out “ 500,” and have to put in some other figure. We should see to -it that the small men get the same privileges in the matter of exemption from the 20 per cent, duty as the big men do. I have moved that the blank be filled up bv inserting the figure “ 1,” because the blank must be filled in owing to the form of words used in the item. The VicePresident of the Executive Council has shown unanswerably,’ in the facts that he has set before us, that there is no reason in the world why we should do otherwise than reduce the figure to the smallest limit.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 177, paragraph a, by inserting in the blank created by leaving out the figures “ 500 “ the figure “ 1 ‘ (Senator Sir Josiah
Symon’ s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 12
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 177, paragrapha, by inserting in the blank created by leaving out the figures “500” the figures “10.”
I admit that if we insert the figures “ 10 “ in the blank they may have to be revised later on. Probably every member of the Committee has been struck by the scanty information contained in the reports of the Tariff Commission concerning this important question. Only about three pages are devoted to it. I conclude that whatever we do will not be a final settlement of the question. I suggest the insertion of “ 10 “ as a tentative measure. I especially draw Senator Clemons’ attention to the need for some limit, and remind him that he and his brother members of the Tariff Commission have generally sought to fix a rate so as to preserve a balance between the price charged by the local manufacturer and the price charged by the importer. The limit of 10 horse-power will serve much the same purpose, because if a person is in need of an 8 or 10 horsepower motor, and thinks that the local manufacturer is not treating him, fairly, he can avail himself of a more reasonable price for an imported motor by getting one of11 or12 horse-power. Thus we shall preserve a reasonable balance between the price of the local producer and that asked by the importer.
– So far as the Tariff Commission was concerned, only two witnesses came before us. They wanted the duties on electrical machinery reduced. Both appeared in Western Australia. Although the Commission sat for some time in Victoria, no one, and certainly not Mr. Weymouth, came before it to ask for increased duties on electrical machinery. Mr. Crocker - practically the only man who gave evidence - detailed at tremendous length all the electrical machinery that he had had to buy, the prices thathe paid, and the amounts of duty, and then said -
Practically none of this machinery is manufactured in Australia. G. Weymouth and Co. do a little manufacturing. They built, and sent to us, a motor which we endeavoured to use ; but we found it not satisfactory in working. The price to us was £679s. 3d., while similar motors which we import cost us£17 10s. invoice price. The Australian article is more than twice the cost of the imported. It would be impossible to use electric motors for mining purposes if they cost what Australian manufacturers charge for them. The Australian industry is new; and there had been no opportunity of developing a manufacturing plant. Nearly all of such motors here are used on our lower-grade mines, especially the smaller mines commencing ; because electric motors are much cheaper to instal than steam. Therefore, anything we can gain by way of reduction in duty will directly assist the low-grade mining propositions. Owing to the limited use made of electrical apparatus in Australia at the present time, I do not think it can be locally manufactured.
– Was he not chiefly an importer of German generators?
– He spoke as the manager of the Kalgoorlie Electric Power and Lighting Corporation.
– Does the honorable senator think that the mining companies whose names the Minister read out would purchase Australian electrical machines at twice the price of the imported?
– The Minister was careful not to say a word about price in giving that list.
– I am told that Mr. Crocker is also an importer.
– Is that likely in his position? He imported machines for his company, and not for his own private profit.
– I believe my statement is strictly correct. I have it on most excellent authority.
– He said he would be glad to buy Australian articles. He was asked -
You do not think it is yet possible to manufacture them in Australia? - and answered -
I am quite sure it is impossible, owing to the restricted use.
There was a lot in that answer. In the infancy of the business, the imposition of a heavy duty will seriously cripple all the users of electrical machinery.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Best) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 177, paragraph a, by leaving out the word “including” and the preceding comma, and inserting a semicolon.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 177, paragraph A, free.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 10
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 177, paragraph A (imports under General Tariff), ad val., 10 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 10
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [9.36]. - I am satisfied by the division which has taken place that 15 per cent, is as much as the Committee is likely to grant as a preference to the United Kingdom. Therefore, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 177, paragraph a (imports from the United Kingdom), ad val., 15 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 8
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I do not know whether it isreally necessary to retain paragraph b .
– The honorable senator will see that it will have to remain in the schedule, because theduty has been collected thereunder.
– In that case, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 177, paragraph b, by leaving out the figures “ 500,” with a view to inserting in lieu thereof the figures “ 10.”
Request agreed to.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 177, paragraphb, free.
– That will not do, because it will destroy the protection altogether.
– I do not think so. My object is to make free all these machines over the capacity of 10-horse power.
– I really cannot understand what Senator Lynch means by submitting this request. I understood paragraph a in its original form to mean that dynamo electric machines over the capacity of 500-horse power were dutiable at 20 per cent. Then the Committee carried a request for the omission of the words relating to the horse power and another request to make the item free.
– No ; the duty on paragraph a was left at 20 per cent.
– I understand that on these machines up to the capacity of 10-horse power the duty was left at 20 per cent.
– And now it is proposed to make the machines over that horse power free.
– What Senator Lynch really wants is to get machines over 10-horse power made free?
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority …. … 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Senate adjourned at 9.50 p.m. (Wednesday).
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 10 March 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1908/19080310_senate_3_44/>.