3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President tookthe chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether his attention has been called to a paragraph which appeared, in the Age of yesterday stating that a despatch had been received from the Imperial authorities regarding the proposed navigation laws of the Commonwealth. I also wish to know why the public were placed in possession of the contents of that document before they had been communicated to Parliament?
– My honorable friend was good enough to direct my attention this morning to a paragraph in the Age newspaper relating to the subject to which he has alluded. At the present moment I cannot say under what circumstances that paragraph was published, or whether the memorandum in question has actually been received by the Prime Minister. If Senator Guthrie chooses to give notice of his question I shall be happy to make full inquiries into the matter.
– Arising out of the answer given to my question, I would point out that the paragraph distinctly states that the Prime Minister, in reply to an inquiry, admitted that he had received the memorandum referred to. I therefore desire to know whether the Governmerit are of opinion that the mere act. of laying upon the table of Parliament the report of the proceedings of the Navigation Conference, held last year between representatives of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, commits us to the resolutions arrived at by that body ?
– Of course any answer to that question would merely represent an expression of opinion on my part or upon that of (he Government. But, as a matter of fact, in introducing the Navigation Bill to the Senate. I did not hesitate to fully state my views upon the matter.
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether he is prepared to lay upon the table of the Senate the letter received from the Imperial Board of Trade in regard to the Navigation Bill ? I wish also to know whether it can reasonably be said that the tone of that document is extremely arrogant, and whether it is the policy of Ministers to make the contents of important public documents known to the press before they are communicated to Parliament?
– It is not the policy of Ministers to make known to the press the contents of documents before they are communicated to Parliament, and I cannot recall any instance in which that has been done. Speaking personally, it is a procedure against which I have always protested, and upon which I have always put my foot down. I will take the earliest opportunity of inquiring into the matter, with a view to . learning the circumstances to which allusion has been made. At the same time, honorable senators must understand that there are sources from which information can be obtained other than Ministers, and resort is frequently had to these by enterprising journalists.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Home Affairs why the Public Service regulation which was amended by resolution of the Senate on a motion submitted by myself, and which provides for the payment of time and a half to telegraphists engaged on Sunday work in the various States, is not being uniformly observed. I understand that whilst it is being rigidly observed in Victoria, in New South Wales and the other States it is being disregarded. . I wish to know why the regulation is being complied with in one State and ignored in others. Is it the fault of the Postmaster-General, or does it arise from the fact that in those States where the regulation is not being observed his subordinates run the Department ?
– I must ask the honorable senator to give notice of his question.
– I will not.
– Over a month ago the Senate ordered a return to be prepared showing the number of telegraphists employed in the Commonwealth service at two different periods. Seeing that that return is not yet available, I desire to ask the Minister of Home Affairs whether no records are kept of the number of telegraphists in the service of the Commonwealth ? Are. the Government not yet in possession of the information sought, or does the Public Service Commissioner refuse to supply it ? Should these questions he answered in the negative, I wish further . to ask whether there are not sufficient officers employed in the Minister’s Department to bring the desired information from the office where itmust be available to this Chamber. In view of the fact that the Government will probably be asking for Supply to-morrow, will be put the Senate in possession of the information to which I have referred before the Supply Bill is brought forward?
– In reply to the series of questions put by the honorable senator, I wish to say that, some time ago, after a resolution upon the matter had been arrived at by the Senate- a resolution, of which notice had been given, and which the Government allowed to pass as formal - I asked the Postal Department to expedite the supply of the desired information. I have asked about it several times since, and have been assured that the labour involved in its compilation is not so small as Senator Pearce appears to think; also that every effort is being made to expedite its preparation.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, a question relating to the regulation under the Public Service Act, dealing with the question of payment for Sunday work. Some time ago the fact was brought under his notice that a uniform practice is not being observed in the various States, and he promised to have inquiries made as to the reason for this. It was pointed out at the time that, in Western Australia, a different practice obtains from that adopted in Victoria and some of the other States. In Victoria the practice is to pay officers engaged upon Sunday work time and a quarter, whereas in Western Australia they are obliged to take leave from duty in lieu of payment. Has the Minister yet made the promised inquiries as to when the practice in this respect will be made uniform ?
– I did make an inquiry in regard to the matter some time since, and on the roth February last I received the following communication from the Public Service Commissioner -
With reference to the debate in the Senate reported in Hansard of the 5th inst., relative to Sunday work performed by telegraphists in Western Australia, and my ruling thereon as to the provisions of Public Service Regulation 66, I have to inform you, with regard to the remarks of Senator Pearce, that Regulation 66 was amended in conformity with the resolution of the Senate, and has been in operation in that form since the 29th August last.
I take it that the regulation, having been amended in conformity with a resolution of the Senate, has been in operation throughout the Commonwealth. When Senator Findley asked me a question just now I was unable for the moment to put my hand upon this letter, but I knew that the reply received from the Public Service Commissioner was to the effect that the regulation was operative since 29th August last, and I take it that it is being administered. If notice is given of a question showing a specific departure from the regulation over any particular area of the Com monwealth I shall have a report in the nature of a reply furnished by the Public Service Commissioner.
– Seeing that the. Public Service Commissioner states in the letter quoted by the Minister that in August last he issued instructions to the head of the Telegraph Department in each of the States, that time and a half should be paid in respect of all Sunday work done by telegraphists, how is it that in Western Australia, as stated by Senator Pearce, and in New South Wales, to my certain knowledge, the new regulation was not being observed a week or two ago ?
– If the facts are as indicated by my honorable friend the whole situation is a conundrum to me. The Public Service Commissioner gives me to understand, however, that they are not.
– Will the Minister bring under the notice of the Commissioner the fact that representations have been made from the States named that time and a half is not being paid?
– What does the Commissioner care?
– I know that we have very little control over him, but I should like to know whether the Minister will bring under his notice the fact that the regulation has not been put in force in the States named, and that officers are still required to take time off instead of being paid time and a half for Sunday work.
– Certainly. As a matter of fact, when any representations of the character I have just named are made they are brought under the notice of the Public Service Commissioner, and he is asked at once to report upon them.
– I desire to direct the attention of the Vice-President of the Executive Council to a report which appears in this morning’s newspapers in reference to damage done to the s.s. Afric. The report states that affidavits made by the marine surveyors in. England, who saw the vessel in dock there, state that there was a hole in her outer plates through which a man could put his head. I desire to ask whether the Vice-President of the Executive Council will lay copies of these affidavits upon the table of the Senate?
– To which vessel is the honorable senator referring ?
– To the steam-ship Afric, which is alleged to have struck a submerged rock within the confines of Port Phillip, and which was allowed to continue her voyage to England, notwithstanding that there was a hole in her outer plates through which a man could place his head.
– In answer to my honorable friend’s question, I would point out that the documents to which he refers are not within our control. I will draw the attention of my honorable colleague to the matter, and, if they are available, we shall endeavour to get them. So far as I can gather, however, they are not documents over which we have any control.
– Will the VicePresident of the Executive Council procure copies of the affidavits, which were sworn in England, and presented to the Marine Court sitting in Melbourne.
– I have already explained that we may not have the power to procure them. We can ask for them, but the Marine Court authorities are not obliged to let us have them.
– I have the information here, in the form of a return, and I propose to lay it on the table of the Senate to-day.
– I should like the Minister to supply it in the form of answers to questions. I have a particular reason for desiring it to be put before honorable senators in that way.
– Surely the honorable senator does not wish me to read the whole of this voluminous return. Some little time ago he asked certain questions, and last week I told him that the information he desired was being obtained in the various States of the Commonwealth.
– I asked for information only in respect of three of the States.
– To my mind, it does not matter whether the information is presented in the form of replies to questions, or in the form of a return.
– If it is presented in the form of replies to questions it will be printed, whereas, if it is sub mitted in the form of a return it will not. I do not understand why it has been “ padded.”
– I beg to lay on the table -
Statement of particulars of service, &c., of Staff officers of cadets in New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia, &c.
This course has been taken to obviate the necessity of reading in the Senate the lengthy reply to Senator Neild’s request.
– I am anxious that the return should be in the hands of honorable senators before we are called upon to deal with the Supply Bill.I have communicated with the Chairman of the Printing Committee, who will second the motion that I now move -
That the paper be printed.
To defer the matter until the meeting of the Printing Committee would mean that it would be impossible to have the document printed in time to be of service to us.
– I second the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers : -
Post and Telegraph Act1901 -
General Postal, Money Orders, Telegraphic, and Telephone Regulations amended and repealed - . Statutory Rules 1908, No. 10.
Amendment of General Postal Regulations. - Statutory Rules1908, No. 22.
Postal Department - Further Papers relating to the promotion of Mr. E. A.. Blakney, dated 6th December, 1907, to 3rd January, 1908.
Contract Immigrants Act 1905. - Return showing
Contract Immigrants admitted into the Commonwealth during the year 1907, the nationality and occupation of such Immigrants.
Employers engaging such Immigrants and Immigrants engaged by each employer.
Places at which the Immigrants have agreed to work.
Contracts disapproved during the year 1907.
Immigrants refused admission during the year 1907, and the reasons for such refusal.
Immigration Restriction Acts 1901-1905. - Return showing -
Persons refused admission tothe Commonwealth during the year 1907.
Persons who passed the dictation test during the year 1907.
Persons admitted without being asked to pass the dictation test during the year 1907.
Departure of coloured persons from the Commonwealth during 1907.
British New Guinea - Annual Report for the year ending 30th June, 1907.
Public Service Act 1902. - Amendment of Regulation 104. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 30.
The Acting Clerk of the Parliaments laid upon the table the following paper : -
Return to Order of the Senate of 23rd January, 1908-
Postal Department : Number of Telegraphists in each State in the years 1902 and 1907.
– Can the VicePresidentof the Executive Council state whether any further communication has passed between the Commonwealth Government and the authorities in India, relative to their proposal in regard to the purchase of remounts. If not, will he endeavour to supply the information?
– I hardly know up to what stage my honorable friend is acquainted with what has taken place. As soon as the scheme was revealed by the Argus newspaper, horse-breeders communicated with us, and every encouragement was offered to the people affected by it to express their views on the subject. The Government then cabled to the Indian Council, asking them not to proceed with the scheme until our representations were made. That request was agreed to. I am not aware that therehas been any further development, but I shall make inquiries, and if the honorable senator will repeat his question to-morrow shall deal further with it.
– I wish to make a personal explanation. Last night’s issue of the Herald, in a report of the proceedings of the Committee on the Customs Tariff Bill, attributes to me certain words which I did not use, and which I think are an unwarrantable interference with the domestic concerns of the Minister of Home Affairs.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
The French Judge having been appointed to the dual administration in the New Hebrides, is the Government in possession of any information as to a corresponding appointment by the British Government? If not, will the Government bring under the notice of the Imperial authorities the desirability of making such appointment at an early date?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows -
The Government are not aware of any such appointment having yet been made by Great Britain. The matter has been brought under the notice of the Imperial authorities.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The following replies have been forwarded to me by the Public Service Commissioner - 1 and 2. Copies of all documentsleading up to and the determination arrived at in regard to the re-classification and promotion of Mr. Blakney are included in those laid upon the table, with the exception of a telegram in December last in reply to a circular one sent to all inspectors regarding increases to officers of all Departments. This telegram was overlooked owing to its not being with the file dealing with Mr. Blakney’s case, but was attached to the general file dealing with the whole of the class promotions ‘ for the year 1907-8. Subsequently to the decision being given, a telegram was received from the Deputy Public Service Inspector, but not being extant at the time the promotion was effected it was not included. In it the Deputy Inspector’ asked if the matter could be stayed, as, in his opinion, Mr. Blakney was not the senior or most competent officer. This opinion the Commissioner had previously before him, but with which he did not agree. Copies will be laid upon the table.
I have also copies of the papers referred to in the question, and shall lay them on the table.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows -
As this matter is the subject of a pending action, it is not desirable to answer any questions about it at present. Full information will be available when the action is at an end.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
” BRITISH PREFERENCE IN PRACTICE.
” German Tenders Passed Over. “ Melbourne, Wednesday. “The Postal Department, in accordance with the policy of giving preference to British manufacturers, accepted the tender to-day of an Englishfirm for the delivery of telephone wire in Western Australia. A German tender was slightly lower than the price asked by the British firm.”?
– The replies furnished by the Postmaster-General to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow -
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has sent me the following reply to the first of the honorable senator’s questions -
The following answers have been furnished to questions 2 and 3 by the Public Service Commissioner, within whose province they fall-
asked the Minister representing the Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -
Has the Government any information to impart to the Senate on the question of the Marine Survey of the north-west coast?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows -
The last action was a representation from the Government to the Admiralty showing the urgent necessity for the early commencement of the work
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -
That a return be prepared and laid upon the Table of the Senate showing the names of all officials employed in the government and administration of Papua, together with their positions and duties, and the salaries and allowances received by them.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from10th March, vide page 881 1):
Postponed Division VI. - Metals and Machinery.*
Item 177. . . . And on and after 20th November, 1907, Electrical Machines, Appliances, and parts thereof : -
*Motive Power, Engine Combinations, and Power Connexions are dutiable under their respective headings, when not integral parts of exempted machines, machinery, or machine tools.
Request ( by Senator Best) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 177, paragraphc, by making the words “Switch Boards” one word.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 177, paragraph c (imports under General Tariff), free.
Regulating, starting, and controlling apparatus are merely complements of the machines as they are landed, and it is a mistake to suppose that they could be made here with advantage. Possibly that raw material could be brought here, but it is a foolish policy to impose a duty of 20 per cent. when the completed machines are admitted free.
– I can only protest against this request. I admit that it would be simply absurd, having made the other articles; free, to make these articles liable to duty; it is quite an anomaly. I must, therefore, content myself with a protest, and by voting against the proposal.
– I should like to know from the Vice-President of the. Executive Council whether the word “ regulating “ covers lock and block signalling apparatus.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [11.33]. - I know that it is not easy for the Vice-President of the Executive Council to look at the situation as we look at it, but I commend him for. the course he is taking. It will be an anomaly if this apparatus is subject to a duty of 20 per cent. while we have decidedto admit free all that is included under paragraphs a and b. I desire to confirm what Senator Lynch has said, though I just take the one example presented in ampère and volt meters which are regarded as. included in paragraph c as regulating and controlling apparatus. I am bound to say that there is no comparison whatever between meters of that kind as imported, and those which are attempted to be made in the Commonwealth. These meters are turned out in thousands by means of the latest machinery in the Old World, and the demand is not sufficient to justify the establishment of the industry here.
– I doesnot matter what we do, there must be an anomaly in this connexion. In a preceding item we fixed the duty on machinery up to ten-horse power, at 20 per cent., and if these machines, and others of larger power, are to be free, we are presented with an anomaly. I can sympathize with Senator Symon, and other honorable senators opposite, who are always prepared to march in harmony with anybody going in the same direction as themselves. They would even march with Beelzebub if that gentleman proposed to reduce duties. This is not done with any view to secure uniformity in the Tariff, but merely with the object of reducing duties. It grieves me when I see a good protectionist going in the same direction as the free-traders, who have declared that they will even make use of the preference proposals to reduce- duties. I am sure Senator Lynch must realize that he is supported from the opposite side, not because of any sympathy with his motives, but be- ‘ cause of the desire to have items free, or dutiable at as low a rate as possible.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 177, paragraphd (imports under General Tariff), free.
If those who are opposed to me are content to rely on the evidence of expert electricians, I refer them to the evidence of one in Brisbane, who told the Tariff Commission that it is improbable that electrical cooking appliances will be made locally, owing to the. insignificant demand.
– I point out that the honorable senator is not in order in discussing electric heating and cooking appliances, which are dealt with in paragraph e.
– I am referring to this evidence merely because I take it to deal with electrical attachments which are now under consideration. It is well known that these attachments are imported in boxes fromthose homes of electrical science, Great Britain, the Continent of Europe, and the United States. I am not prepared to pay the price that is demanded in order to make Australia in its present state of development a home of electrical science. Our object is to give the maximum employment to our own people, and I do not think that that object can be attained by means of such duties as that now proposed.
In view of the fact that the larger machines are admitted free, it would be a foolish and inexplicable act on our part to ask for any duty, protective or revenue.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [11.43]. - I am at a loss to understand how Senator Lynch, after insisting upon and voting for a duty of 20 per cent. on electrical appliances for small users, should now seek to have admitted free what may be termed electrical luxuries, the bulk of which can only be used in large centres of population. If I had any expectation that gas appliances were to be admitted free, I might vote for this request, but, under the circumstances, I do not see my way to give it support. I sought to make electrical appliances for small users free; but that did not suit Senator Lynch, who voted for a duty of 22 per cent.
– Did the honorable senator not help me to do so?
– How dare the honorable senator make such an assertion ? It is a piece of unparalleled audacity ; and if we were not here, I should use another word - a very different expression. I should say all I had to say in three letters.
– All this does not worry me in the slightest !
-I think, however, that we should be able to go on with our discussion without a riot. It is evident that some honorable senators do not care for attention to be drawn to their “devious methods of supporting monopolies and luxuries, and taxing necessaries.
– The honorable senator is making a splendid charge on himself.
– Senator Lynch is again using language for which there is not the remotest shadow of decency. If his statement had come from the father of lies it could not be more inaccurate.
– The honorable senator is nothing if not sweeping.
– I do not approve of the request.
– I am sorry that Senator Neild has adopted this attitude. He and I have been voting together.
– No. The honorable senator voted with me sometimes, but he has more often walked out of the chamber when the division bells rang.
– As Senator Neild practically admits, I have at least not voted against him. Surely we may differ on the subject of preference. I welcome Senator Lynch as a sinner who shows repentance, and therefore do not chide him with past misdeeds.
– He will leave the honorable gentleman when we have finished with the items affecting Western Australia.
– These items affect more than Western Australia.
– Yes; this is not purely a Western Australian item. 1 shall be sorry, however, if Senator Lynch does not take the same course in regard to items affecting the Eastern States chiefly. I cannot be expected to accept Senator Neild’s definition of a lightning arrester as an article of luxury. Such a thing is a convenience in any part of the Commonwealth, and I do not think that Western Australia is more subject than the other States to electrical disturbances. We should be taking up an inconsistent attitude if, after making free certain electrical apparatus, we refused to make free such things as fuses and switches. I agree with Senator Neild that it is undesirable to punish the little man after letting off the big man ; but I do not know why we should punish either, and I do not hold that, because the majority has punished the little man, I should assist to punish the big man. If I cannot secure all I want,I gladly accept the assistance of Senator Lynch and others to get at least something.
– With regard to the mock heroics of the great champion of the art in this Chamber, the honorable senator and gallant Colonel Neild, although he found fault with me for moving this request, he voted with me on a request to reduce the horse-power of electric dynamo machines. Therefore, I wish to know from this shamfighter what ground he’ has for his grievance. He seems to me like a dog biting his own tail, when he votes for a reduction in regard to one item, and then objects to a similar reduction. He wishes to be continually in the limelight.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [11.52]. - It is true that I voted with Senator Lynch on a request for the reduction of horse-power; but when I moved for a 20 per cent. duty he opposed it. Now he wishes to do away with the 15 per cent. duty. Any one with two eyes in his head can see that his object is to abolish British preference, and Senator demons is willing to assist him in that.
– That is not a fair statement.
– I do not object to Senator Clemons opposing British preference. Except once, when he voted by accident, he has shown his distaste for it by making vainglorious exits.
– Not necessarily vainglorious.
– Then I shall say inglorious.
– If SenatorNeild will tell me how I can make any other kind of exit, I shall be happy to profit by his instruction.
– The electors have sent the honorable senator here to stay in the chamber during divisions, not to shirk his duty by going out.
– As I do not wish to be inconsistent in regard to this or any other matter, I shall vote for this item of the Tariff as it stands. I have twice attempted to get the duty removed, and, having been defeated, I shall oppose a request which seems to me unfair to the community generally. Electric light fittings are more generally used in the immediate vicinity of large centres of population than elsewhere, and I do not see why they should be treated differently from gas fittings. While advances are continually being made in regard to electric lighting, similar advances are being made in regard to gas lighting. Only on Monday night last, when driving to the Sydney Railway Station, I noticed that the illumination provided by the City Council’s electrical plant was greatly inferior to that given elsewhere by the incandescent gas lights.
– Perhaps Senator Lynch intends to move for a similar reduction of duty in regard to gas fittings.
– Not he ; because gas fittings are not used in mines. I shall vote to leave the remainder of item 177 as it stands.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 177, paragraph d, “Electric Apparatus and Fittings” (imports under General Tariff), free (Senator Lynch ‘s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Clemons) agreed to-
That theHouse of Representatives be requested to makeitem 177, paragraph d (imports from the United Kingdom), free.
– I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 177, paragraph E (imports under General Tariff),free.
– Free luxuries; tax the poor.
– I do not know why the honorable senator made that interjection. Does he really think that we should tax the poorby letting in free electric healing and cooking appliances ?
– Yes,I do. I said “Take the tax off luxuries and tax the poor. ‘ ‘
– The honorable, senator must have some original definition of luxuries. If electric heating and cooking appliances be made free it can scarcely be said that we should be taxing either the poor or the rich.
– It will be letting off the rich.
– If the honorablesenator chooses to adhere to the opinion that I am letting off the rich he certainly cannot adhere to the opinion that by making these articles freeI am taxing the poor.
– The honorable senator has already taxed the poor.
– I am not dealing with what, has teen done by the Committee, but suggesting that we mightvery reason ably be expected to remit theduties on electric heating and cooking appliances. There is nothing I dissent from more than I do from the attitude of a man - of course I am not referring to the honorablesenator - who wants to preserve, so to speak, luxuries for the rich, and continuously deny them to the poor. Surely the honorable senator can join with me in affording an opportunity to a poor man to acquire these appliances even if they be luxuries?
– I do not think that the honorable senator knows the entire facts relating to the articles embraced in this paragraph. If the duty be removed, many a poor man - I mean a man whose annual income is not more than£200 - will be enabled in Launceston to have these articles in. his house. I do not suggest for a moment that because I speak of Launceston, that opportunity will not also be given in hundreds of places throughout the Commonwealth.
– I want honorable senators to understand first that there is no relationship between this paragraph and those which have preceded it, and secondly, that to admit the machines free, and refuse to admit the appliances free, would create an absurd anomaly. We have now reached an item where I think we should, if possible, depart from the somewhat devious course which we have’ followed hitherto. The A section of theTariff Commission recommended that electric heating and cooking appliances should bear a duty of 20 per cent. We have already agreed that lamp and gas stoves for heating and cooking shall be dutiable at 20 per cent. We are now asked by Senator Clemons to create a distinct preference in favour of electric heating and cooking appliances. Why should we do so ?
– Why not make the duty on those articles 20 per cent. ?
– Strictly speaking, we should.
– Will the Minister support a request to that effect?
– Undoubtedly, I. will. In the schedule the duty in the general Tariff is proposed at 15 per cent., but the A section of the Tariff Commission recommended that it should be 20 per cent. I see no reason why all these articles should not be put on practically the same level. I hope that honorable senators will see that the item before the Committee does not follow in the line of the previous item.
SenatorMILLEN (New South Wales) [12.6]. - I want to make quite certain that Senator Best announced just now, in reply to Senator Story, that he would support a request to raise the duty on this paragraph from 15 to 20 per cent. I appreciate the applause of Senator Findley, as indicating that I correctly understood the statement, but I should like to have an assurance from the Minister that that is his intention.
– I am going to do so.
– That is all that I wanted to elicit.
.- When this request has been disposed of I intend to move a request for a duty of 20 per cent. in the first column. Recently we had a sitting extending to311/2 hours. The major portion of the sitting was taken up by the Government in intimating its intention to bring about uniform duties in respect of certain items, increasing the duty on one item from 25 to 30 per cent. In that desire we had the united support of the six representatives of Western Australia. If they are at all consistent they will have to vote presently to increase the duty on this paragraph by 5 per cent. In any case, they cannot consistently vote for the free admission of electric heating and cooking apparatus, considering that they sat here the whole of Tuesday night to place a duty of 30 per cent. on frying pans, camp ovens, and sundry other articles used not by the rich, but by the average man and woman throughout the Commonwealth. I am hopeful that they will see the error of their ways, and will vote for my request later on, when it is submitted.
– I have already supported the imposition of a protectionist duty on similar articles’. I cannot get away from the fact that if we were to bring electric heating and cooking appliances into competition with the articles which we wish to see made in the country, we should thereby reduce that protection. I intend, therefore, to vote for the protection of the articles which can be made here, by supporting the duty on electric heating and cooking appliances. I suggest to Senator Findley that, instead of lecturing the representatives of Western Australia about their votes, he ought totry to be consistent with his own vote. He has lectured us, although he knew quite well that he had voted to tax the parts of thevery electrical machinery which we had voted to make free. I should like to know how he can possibly defend that vote. I ask him not to trouble’ himself so much about the votes of the senators from Western Australia, but to pay a little more attention to the consistency of his own votes.
– The announcement which has been made by Senator Best compels me to take a course which otherwise I should not take. Time after time I have strongly resented the action of the Government in departing from their own proposal. In my opinion, electric heating and cooking appliances are legitimate subjects for the imposition of a revenue duty; but, in the circumstances, I shall vote to make them free. I shall vote in that way with regard to every alteration proposed in the schedule by the Government.
– In his last statement Senator de Largie has introduced quite another form of protection. Practically, what he said was that, because certain appliances, used in connexion with gas heating and cooking are subject to a duty of 20 per cent., he intends to vote for a duty of 15 or 20 per cent. on electric heating and cooking appliances as a form of protection. The fact is that those articles are not made in Australia. I know from personal experience that it is impossible to get them made here.
– Oh, no.
– In Launceston, where there is a good electrical installation, that has been the position for a long time, practically for years. The demand by poor persons for electric cooking and heating appliances has been considerably increasing. The municipality’s supply has never equalled the demand, simply because a sufficient number of appliances had not been imported and could not be imported without a certain amount of delay. The demand could not be met by any factory or foundry in Australia, because none of the appliances are made here.
– Surely, if an electrical engineering establishment can make dynamos, it can make electric cooking apparatus ?
– I am simply stating the exact position when I say that these appliances are not made in Australia.
One honorable senator has said that he intends to support this duty because it is a revenue duty, and others have said that because there is a revenue duty on similar articles when used in connexion with gas, for the sake of consistency, they are going to have an equally high duty on electric heating and cooking appliances. That is no reason for increasing the number of revenue duties, or the total amount of taxation imposed upon the people. This duty is only a hindrance to the use of electric heating and cooking ‘ appliances. Their use means economy in every household, and the duty will be nothing for years to come but a direct added taxation on every householder who desires to employ a cheap, simple, and effective method of heating and cooking.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [12.17]. - Under item 177, the Committee decreed a duty of 20 per cent, upon a man in Little Collins-street who has a onehorse power electric appliance for making sausages. The same Committee is now insisting on making free of duty the electric appliances of the Grand Hotel. I will be ho party to that kind of taxation. It is not a fair deal.
– Surely these appliances will be brought into every home in Australia.
– The honorable, senator’s enthusiasm is admirable. It claims my highest regard, but, unfortunately, I know too much of the interior of Australia to suppose that this proposal will affect any one outside metropolitan areas, or who has not” a pretty satisfactorily furnished domestic establishment.
– These applianceswill not supersede the kerosene tin in the back blocks.
– Nor will they supersede the gas stove or heater.
– Wherever there is a big river, electrical power can be supplied.
– The honor-, able senator is thinking of the beautiful streams of Tasmania, which have a sufficient fall to generate electric power, but water power cannot be got from slow flowing rivers such as most of the streams of Australia are. Where are you to get water power out of the Murray and Murrum.bidgee? The proposal to remove this duty will perhaps make electric appliances cheap on the banks of the Snowy River, and at the Barron Falls, in North Queensland !
Electricity for general use can be supplied only in populous centres. Up to date, where it has been supplied by municipalities in New South Wales, it has, unfortunately, proved in almost every instance a failure. The municipality of Penrith isstruggling under a financial burden because of its efforts in the matter of electric lighting. I do not say that that is an example1 of what will always be the case, but I am dealing with the present actuality of things,, and not with what Alice in Wonderland saw, or is going to see. Senator Clemons’ dulcet tones brought to my memory a vote which I gave against a proposition of his a while ago. After the Committee had insisted upon putting a duty of 40 per cent, on women and children’s clothing, he wanted me to vote with him to reduce the duty on furs. I would not do it. That is an example of precisely what is proposed now. No vote I have yet given on this Tariff has been challenged in any newspaper in the Commonwealth. That is more than some honorable senators can- say. A leading article in a . Western Australian paper skinned the Western Australian senators who voted against my motion to reduce the duty on candles. Those honorable senators say, “ No cheap candle for the prospector, but free electric light for the big mine-owner.” That is the game that is going on. I do not profess to be the self-constituted champion of any section, but I want a fair deal for the people of the Commonwealth, whether they are rich or poor, big or small, whether they live in Western Australia, or in benighted NewSouth Wales. The proposal to abolish this duty is not a fair deal, and I shall not vote for it.
– With regard to Senator Neild’s remarks as to Western Australiansenators voting for the duty on candlesused by the poor prospector, and for free electricity’ for the big mine-owner, it is the big mine-owner, and not the working miner, who has to buy those candles.
Senator LYNCH (Western Australia> [12.23]. - I direct Senator Neild’s attention to the fact that electric cooking appliances are not peculiarly the possessionof the rich, or of mining companies. They have lately been introduced into a very humble type of home. If Senator Neild were not so much occupied in contemplating his own accomplishments, he would know that electricity is used now on a very large scale in remote parts of the
Commonwealth. At Thargomindah, or Cunnamulla, there is an electric power plant driven by water from an artesian bore. In Boulder City electricity is being introduced to the home of many men working on the mines. I have seen electric cooking appliances there, and flat-irons heated by electricity-
– Is not the inhabitant of a less advanced city, where gas only is used, entitled to equal consideration?
– That involves another question. If we put gas on the same level as electricity, we are encouraging the use of an illuminant that is passing out of popularity. Gas is being superseded every day by electricity. We should not advocate an adhesion to primitive methods, as against. the adoption of more advanced ones. Senator Neild was prepared, half-an-hour ago, to vote to free the switchboard of a wealthy company, but is willing now to impose a duty of 15 per cent. on the electric flat-irons or cooking appliances of humble homes. It is “up to” him to establish his own consistency before setting out on the fruitless errand of finding inconsistency in the votes of others. The question of whether these appliances are made in Australia must be one of the first considerations to a protectionist. The only available authority we have to consult on that point is thereport of the Tariff Commission. In that it is shown that Mr. Barton, an electrical engineer, ‘ stated that electric cooking appliances are not made in Australia, that it would take a duty of 25 per cent. to encourage their manufacture, and that even then he was doubtful if they could be made at a profit. As an electrical engineer, he would naturally be biased, consciously or. unconsciously, in favour of his own profession, yet those were his views.
– If 25 per cent. isnot enough, will the honorable senator vote for 30 per cent. ?
– I am not satisfied that even then the industry would be started. The duties proposed by the Government are 15 per cent. (general Tariff), and . 1:0 per cent. (United Kingdom), while Senator Findley proposes 20 per cent. (general Tariff), but Mr. Barton regards 25 per cent. as insufficient to establish this problematical industry. In view of those facts, and seeing that Senator Neild’s allegation that these appliances are the exclusive property of the rich is without foundation, there is nothing for us to do, both from a protectionist stand-point, and in order to free the necessities of poorer people, but to make the item free.
– I regret that Senator Neild has voiced the peculiar doctrine that because the Committee did not relieve gas and its apparata from duties, they are, therefore, bound to tax an illuminant, which is universally recognised to be superior in its lighting power and general convenience. Electricity is gradually replacing gas to a very large extent. It is a great convenience to the public in many other ways. An instance of that is the illumination of railway carriages, which are occupied more by the poof than by the rich. In our public halls and institutions electric light is now almost universally used, and it will not be said that the poorer classes of the people do not get the benefit of that. Senator Clemons has proved, by a practical example, that this cannot be considered a protective duty, and I agree with the honorable senator that it will be many years before any one will be warranted in investing capital in the plant required for the manufacture of these articles. I fail to understand how protectionists, who have so loudly denounced revenue duties, can be prepared to vote for this one.
– Senator Gray overlooks the fact that no protective duty can be imposed, in any new country which will not, for some time, produce revenue. I wish to bring under the notice of the Committee the fact that any one who is accustomed to visit the homes of the people must, during “the last two or three years, have heard on every side, when thequestion was asked of parents what they were going to do with their sons, that they proposed to make them electrical engineers, in the belief that when their apprenticeship was served it would be found to be the greatest engineering business in the Commonwealth. Our public educational institutions in all of the States are full of pupils at the present time who are learning electrical engineering. What are we going to do with them when they have completed their studies? We must either, by the encouragement of these manufactures in Australia, give them a chance of earning a living here, or allow them to drift away from Australia to other countries in which they can obtain employment at the business they have learned. Theonyl other alternative is that we should have, in Australia, numbers of mechanics . without a trade, and of professional men without opportunities for employment in their profession. I wish to deal now with something that was said by Senator Lynch.. When the Tariff Commission visited Brisbane, they took the evidence of Mr. Barton, but the information was easily obtainable that this gentleman had almost an absolute monopoly in Brisbane for the supply of electric power, and not of electrical machinery. In the short-sighted way in which such people often view matters, he came to the conclusion that the more cheaply these appliances could be imported thebetter it would be for his monopoly. Instead of being prepared to encourage their manufacture in Australia, he took the selfish, narrow view that they should be imported as cheaply as possible so that he might increase his profits in the supply of electrical power… I hope the Committee will be prepared to take such action as will have the effect of. establishing these industries in Australia, so that the youth who in every State are now studying electrical engineering may be afforded opportunities for employment.
– Ifind from the evidence given before the Tariff Commission that this duty would have an appreciable protective incidence. . If it is not sufficiently high to secure effective protection, I hope that those who believe in the principle will make an effort to increase it, and I shall be prepared to support them. Senator Lynch has come to the conclusion that Mr. Barton regarded this as a revenue duty, but that is not the conclusion to which I have come from reading his evidence. I find that he was a manufacturer of electric apparatus some time ago in Brisbane, and was obliged to discontinue his operations because the Nelson Government in Queensland took away the protection given in respect of the articles he manufactured.’
– Because the Commonwealth Government reduced the duty previously obtaining in Queensland of 25 per cent. to 121/2 per cent.
– SenatorTurley is under a misapprehension. He will find this evidence at question 90307-
That was, of course, prior to the Federal Tariff ?-Yes. The Mcllwraith Tariff gave us a duty of 25 per cent., but the Nelson Government removed all duties on electrical apparatus. We then stopped manufacturing it. The plac ing of the duty of121/2percent.onthesegoods under the Federal Tariff was not a sufficient inducement to our re-entering the business.
Would you tell us what duty would induce any one to manufacture these articles in connexion with electrical machinery ? - I think a 25 per cent. duty would have that effect.
– The honorable senator might have quoted that evidence as applying to paragraphs c and d, which he has voted to make free.
– I do not think that Mr. Barton manufactured the electrical machinery covered by those paragraphs.
– He never manufactured a cooking or a heating machine.
– It will be found that he gave his evidence, not under the heading of electrical machinery, but under the heading of gas and electric appliances, and the electric apparatus that he was engaged in the manufacture of was something very different from electric motors. His evidence was that the removal of the protective duty, which previously operated in Queensland, drove him out of the business, and’ the imposition of a 25 per cent. duty would induce him to again commence the manufacture of electric apparatus.
– Except heating, and cooking apparatus.
– Where does he say. that?
– Let the honorable senator look at questions 90308-9.
– I find this evidence at question 90309 -
Do you think that would be sufficient to induce the manufacture of cooking and heating stoves ? - No ; because they are used to such an insignificant extent that I doubt whether there would be a sufficient demand to justify their manufacture.
It should be borne in mind that that evidence was given two years ago, and electric appliances are now very much more widely used. If there is to be any duty imposed on this item it should be a protective duty. I am not prepared to support a revenue duty, but at present I feel inclined to support a protective duty on the item.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [12.45]. - little while ago Senator de Largie made a kind of attack on me, comparing myaction on the candle duties with my action on the duties under consideration.
– Not an attack; it was a. defence of my own attitude.
– At any rate the honorable senator passed some strictures on my action in connexion with the matters to which I have referred. I shall not attempt to break any rule of Parliament by quoting from newspapers, but I may mention that I hold in my hand a copy of the KalgoorlieMiner of the 18th February, which, in a leading article, headed “ Monopolist versus the People,” strongly supports mv attitude upon the candle duties, just as I am sure it will support me for what I am doing on the present occasion. It will, “I am satisfied, just as strongly condemn those who vote against menow, as it condemned those who voted against me in reference to candles. The term “monopolist” typifies the welltodo man, as against the man who is not so well off in this world’s goods. I say that the proposal before us is one that will benefit the monopolist, or the “ fat man,” as some people would call him. Now, I never was a friend to the man who does not want a friend. I have always in my public life sought to be a friend to the man who wants one. The man with the big banking account, and with a solicitor whom he can consult, does not need my assistance. It is the poor devil who is struggling to keep a roof over his head who wants a helping hand. That is the man whom I have always been anxious to assist, and I maintain that I am still pursuing the same course on the present occasion. The man who uses a kerosene heater, a camp oven, a billy-can, or a kerosene lamp, is to be taxed under this Tariff; the rich man is to escape lightly. It is equally the same with the users of gas. The resident of a small country town is to be hit under this Tariff in every direction. Every kind of duty touches him. Every kind of appliance con- nected with his lighting and his heating is to be taxed. At the same time the better classes - “better” notmorally or intellectually, but in the possession of this world’s goods - are to get off lightly in respect of their electrical fittings. Just as I. maintained that candles ought to be easily available to the great body of the people, and just as I pointed out that the duty imposed on candles was in the interests of a single monopolist, and against the interests of tens of thousands ‘ of people throughout Australia, so I maintain that the proposed removal of the duty under consideration would be in the interests of the very few, and not of the great body of the people. I will maintain as far as I possibly can, the principle that I have invariably maintained ever since I entered public life more than a quarter of a century ago - “ the greatest good for the greatest number.” That is, and always will be, the attitude that I take up. I may make mistakes. I do not possess a patent of infallibility. But still, that is the principle that I keep before me. I have never been, and never will be, a class legislator.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 177, paragraph e, “ Electric Heating and Cooking Appliances “ (imports under General Tariff), free (Senator Clemons request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Findley) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 177, paragraph E (imports under General Tariff), ad val. 20 per cent.
– This is an item upon which the Minister has intimated his intention to support a proposed increase of duty. I gather that that is in conformity with the policy which Ministers in this Chamber have apparently adopted. He has resolved, at any rate, to make an effort to put the Tariff back to the level of duties imposed when it was introduced in the other House.
– In some instances, and under certain circumstances.
– The Minister, of course, takes the responsibility, although that responsibility must be shared by those who help him to carry out his policy. He has intimated that he adopts this attitude for certain reasons. I shall willingly give way to him if he will take the Committee into his confidence as to what the reasons are which induce him to lay hostile hands on this Tariff, which ought to be his special charge.
– And to flout the House of Representatives.
– My honorable friends do not hesitate to flout the House of Representatives when it suits them.
– Flouting the House of Representatives would not disconcert me, but I should like to know whether the VicePresident of the Executive Council is doing this in antagonism to his colleagues or in conjunction with them. Are they with him in asking this Committee to reverse the decision arrived at elsewhere? If so, the other House may be glad to know it. 1 shall be pleased if the Minister will tell us why this duty should be 20 per cent. instead of 15. Is he not going to give us any reasons?
– 1 have already stated them.
– The Minister has never given a reason why this duty should be increased. As a matter of courtesy, he should give us the information asked for, assuming that there is any to give.
– I have said that the 20 per cent. duty was our original proposal.
– If that is theonly reason why the- duty should be put back to the rate contained in the Tariff as originally introduced, the Minister should do the same with regard to every item.
– As the honorable senator knows, there are dozens of items as to which we -have not proposed any change.
– Then the reason given is not the sole reason.
– It applies to those items where we think it desirable that the duty should be increased.
– But ought not the Minister to give us reasons why the duty should be increased? Surely if he, as the representative of the Government, brings before us a Tariff which has been framed after careful consideration, and dealt with by the other branch of the Legislature, he should not ask us to increase a duty without reasons. Surely he must be desirous of telling us why he is doing this thing.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.
– The Minister has informed the Committee that the duty which he proposes to support is theold duty, but I think that he was wrong in making that statement.
– It is less than the old duty, which was 30 per cent.
– The Minister’s justification for supporting the request of Senator Findley was that it would restore the old duty. If there is any force in that argument, he ought not to be satisfied to vote for an increased duty of 5 per cent. ; but, in order to be logical, he ought to ask that honorable senator to withdraw his request, and himself move a request for a duty of 30 per cent. He has his choice between those two alternatives. If he is not prepared to adopt my suggestion, the justification which he put forward for supporting the request entirely disappears. If this item comes here carrying a reduced duty, it is improperly before the Committee, because it ought to have set out that the original duty was 30 per cent., asked for parliamentary sanction for any collections made up to that date, and stated that on and after a certain date the reduced duty was to apply. If any duty has been paid on these articles up to the time when the alteration of the rate was made, it has not yet received legislative sanction. My honorable friend must see thai there has been a fault not in the preparation of the Tariff but in the way in which it has been “presented to us.It should have set out clearly that these articles were dutiable at 30 per cent. until the other House had reduced the rate. The Minister should state why the course ordinarily followed was departed from in this instance. Perhaps he can tell us what duty has been collected? He has stated that wherever an arrangement was made elsewhere by his colleague with other parties he will not depart therefrom. Is he aware of the fact that the duty on these articles was arrived at by arrangement in the other House? If he is, then, in view of his recent statement to the Committee, he should withdraw his support from the proposal of Senator Findley. I ask his attention to the volume which I am not allowed to quote. If he will refer to page 6809 of Hansard, he will find that this reduced duty was ac- cepted by Sir William Lyne. At first he was disposed to dispute the duty ; but upon being reminded that it formed part of a compact that had been made a little earlier in the proceedings, he said that he did not know that it applied to the’ rate of duty. When, however, it was pointed out to him that he was breaking the spirit if not the letter of that arrangement, he immediately gave way, and this duty was accepted.
– Are we to respect that arrangement ?
– I am not addressing these remarks to my honorable friend, but to the Vice-President of the Executive Council, who informed the Committee that he is prepared to respect any arrangement made by his colleague in another place. I suggest to him that, as he probably spoke before lunch without knowledge of the facts, he ought now to frankly state that he was in ignorance of what transpired there, and withdraw his support from the request of Senator Findley.
– I find no record of such an arrangement.’
– Cannot my honorable friend find a record of the fact that his colleague accepted this duty of 15 per cent. ?
– If my honorable friend asks me whether my colleague was driven to accept the duty, that is another matter. But there is a vast difference between a man voluntarily accepting a thing and having something forced upon him against his will.
– When the Minister is forced to accept a thing, I assume that the force is the result of a division.
– My honorable friend might as well say that by saying “ No “ I accepted the votes on mining machinery when the requests were carried against me.
– Certainly not; but the Treasurer said “Yes,” which makes all the difference.
– Apart from the Minister, we are not to be bound by that arrangement.
– I do not pretend that any one else than the Minister is bound by the arrangement. I am only appealing to him to adhere to the course of conduct which he mapped out for himself alone.
– I will, wherever a clear arrangement was made.
– An arrangement was made, and is referred to on page 6809 of the forbidden book. My honorable friend said that his colleague was driven to accept the duty, but I submit that no Ministry is driven to. accept anything except after a division.
– At times when they know that the numbers are against them, they do not go to a division.
– On a recent occasion the Minister who had made his protest by saying “ No.” called for a division, although he knew perfectly well that the numbers were against him.
– In a number of cases I did not call for a division when I found that the numbers were against me.
– But in the case to which Senator Millen is referring the Treasurer agreed to the arrangement at once.
– The honorable senator is under a misapprehension.
– I shall give way at once if the Minister can show me from Hansard that my statement is wrong.
– This amendment was agreed to in the other House because it was moved by a man named Watson. When it was moved, there was no longer any dispute; itwas accepted at once.
– The representatives of certain political forces in this country arrived at an arrangement regarding this item, and it was given effect to by Sir William Lyne. I remind the Minister that his colleague, when he was reminded of the fact, stated over the table in another place that he would accept the reduced duty.
– Where does that appear in Hansard?
– Of course, honorable senators know that when political parties have agreed to a certain thing it is not possible to fill Hansard with particulars, but on page 6809 of the prohibited book there is a reference made to an arrangement which had been come to regarding this item, and as the result of the arrangement the Treasurer accepted the reduced duty. Apart from that, it is abundantly clear that when he made no effort elsewhere to put back theduty- -
– I ask the honorable senator not to pursue that line of argument, because it is distinctly out of order to allude to a debate or proceeding in another place.
– I will putmyself in order by coming to the point. When a Minister, in charge of a measure, which is necessarily a Cabinet one, asks this Chamber to alter it, we have a right to know whether he is acting on his own responsibility, or whether his colleagues, who are jointly responsible with him for the measure, are in agreement with what he is doing.
– He ought not to do it unless they are.
– Is he to take no responsibility ?’
– Of course; it is too ridiculous.
– It is extremely ridiculous that the Minister should attempt to put the Tariff back to its original level here. Why was it not done elsewhere ?
– Every effort was made to carry it there in its original form.
– Owing to the unfortunate restriction upon the means which we have at our disposal to enlighten the Chamber, it is not possible for me to go further into the question of what was said elsewhere, but honorable senators can see for themselves by referring to Hansard how ‘a large number of items covering electrical machinery were dealt with, as the result of an understanding arrived at. This item was included in that arrangement. Can the Minister now say if any duties were collected under this item before the rate was reduced ? That information is important, because, if any money was collected, it is necessary for this Chamber to have the item before it with the original duty set against it, so that we may be able to legalize any collection that took place up to the date of the alteration. If duty was collected in the past, at a higher rate, it ought not to be and is not legalized unless it has the sanction of the Senate, as well as of another place. If the Minister wants to put the position of the Department beyond legal challenge, he himself should introduce a line legalizing the collections up to the date at which the other House altered the duty. I come now to the item itself, and the effect of the proposed increase. “ N.e.i.” may, or may not, cover a large list of articles. It must cover a lot which are more or less important, even if they are small. Thev are practically all parts of the electrical appliances with which we have already dealt. They may be small parts, but without them !i:c larger machines would be useless. It fs of no. avail to have a horse and buggy unless you have a pair of traces to attach one to the other. These articles serve much the same useful purpose; It would be foolish and contradictory to admit the larger machines at comparatively low rates, or in some cases free, if we continue or increase the duty upon the accessories.
– Was it not urged that we should make the larger machines free because there was not sufficient demand for them to enable them to be profitably made here?
– If the demand for the large machines is small, the demand for the accessories must be equally small. To shut out the accessories will be practically to shut out the machines in conjunction with which they are to be used. The object of the Committee in reducing duties on previous items was to render electrical appliances and machines more easily accessible to those who want them. Every argument therefore in favour of reducing or abolishing the duty on those applies with equal .force to the accessories. It has been shown not only that the larger electrical machines are necessary to a big primary industry like mining, but that electricity is finding its way into an increasing number of secondary industries and households. A few years ago electricity was seen only in large towns or in connexion with some more or less experimental contrivance. Today it is becoming as common as gas, and is being brought to such a state of perfection that new machines are being invented, and in every form in which energy is required for industrial or domestic purposes it is going to play an important part.- Whether looked at from the stand-point of lighting or of the generation - and application of power, we are gradually approaching a stage at which no man will regard as a novelty any application of electricity in the ordinary domestic household. So far electric heaters and cookers are perhaps novel. I have seen so few that if I saw another to-morrow I should want to examine it because of its novelty. But that state of things is steadily passing away. While the use of electricity has passed the experimental stage, and has not yet reached the stage of general adoption, the Committee, having decided that no obstacle shall be placed in the way of the use of the large appliances, ought not now to be so inconsistent as to tax the smaller accessories which are necessary, not only to the big machines, but for the minor uses to which electricity is being put.
– Those accessories are easily made.
– According to Senator Trenwith everything is easily made. I should not be surprised if the honorable senator sought to abolish this world on the plea that another and better one could be made in Victoria.
– On Senator Millen’s own showing, electricity is the coming power. Is not that a reason why we should encourage the industry in Australia?
– I am trying to encourage it. 1 must apologize to the Committee if I have failed to make it clear that my whole purpose was to ask it to join with me in encouraging the new industry.
– The importation of it.
- Senator Findley proposes to encourage the use of electricity by placing a higher duty upon the things without which we cannot use it. 1 have no doubt that in pre-historic times there were many Senator Findleys, who did their utmost to prohibit the introduction and use of gas, and were equally emphatic and indignant when it was proposed to open the door wide to the use of that illuminant and its accessories. We have passed that stage, with the result that to-day the small measure of employment which was destroyed by the introduction of gas is far more than compensated for by the employment it gives, and the cheapness and comfort which it has brought to nearly every home in the civilized world. The fact that the industry of making electric appliances and accessories in Australia is very small, is shown by the fact that practically no evidence worth consideration was given to the Tariff Commission regarding it. In every other industry of moment somebody came forward to point to defects or anomalies, or to ask the Tariff Commission to give something which the industry had not then got. But in this case the Commission was left without guidance. That clearly proves that the industry, if it exists at all, does so only in a very small way, and that, to whatever extent it exists, the few people who are engaged in it have no great cause of complaint, and are rather putting together imported parts than absolutely making new ones. I am not clear as to what the original duty was on this item in the 1902 Tariff. In the tabulated statement issued to honorable senators there appears in the column where the previous duties are shown a bracket against the lines: - “20 per cent; 121/2 per cent.; zinc tubing free.” That does not show whether any of the lines in the body of the item have been bracketed. Nor can I tell what the A section of the Tariff Commission recommended, because there also “20 per cent.” and “121/2 per cent.” are bracketed. Can the Minister state what duty was originally collected upon all the articles covered by the all-embracing but mysterious initials “n.e.i.,” and what duty was recommended by the A section of the Tariff Commission ? The duty now proposed, if levied, will be a distinct and direct tax upon the people. It will fall not only upon those who purchase or immediately use electric appliances and accessories, but also upon every ratepayer in any municipality where electric light and power stations are to be set up. In all municipal undertakings, honorable senators are aware that it is not merely the ratepayers who take advantage of them that are called upon to pay, but every one in a borough is liable to the extent of his rates for the solvency of the borough. The Municipal Council of the City of Sydney, through the town clerk, addressed a very strong protest to members of this Legislature, and I presume, at the same time to the Government, pointing out the effect which these duties on electric appliances would have in connexion with municipal undertakings to which they were committed. But it should be remembered that it is not only the Municipal Council of the City of Sydney that is committed to undertakings of this kind, but every municipal council in the Commonwealth engaged in supplying electric light for the benefit of the citizens, is equally interested. I ask the Minister for information on the two points to which I have referred, and I ask honorable senators to think twice before they consent to reverse their previous decision to make the duties on electrical machinery and appliances as low as possible. I ask them further to vote with me in resisting this attempt to increase this duty. If the Minister wishes to increase the duty on the ground that he is desirous of reverting to the old duty, he should not stop at 25 per cent., but should insist that the duty should be 30 per cent. I ask the honorable gentleman, in the circumstances, whether we are to regard his last observations as a declaration that in future, on every item where the Tariff shows a reduction of the duty as originally submitted by the Cabinet, he proposes to make a similar attempt to have it restored to the higher level?
– The leader of the Opposition has more than surprised me by asking whether I support the request for the increase of this duty on my own responsibility, .or on behalf of the Government. Let me assure the honorable senator that it I had .not the full confidence of my honorable colleagues in leading in the Senate on behalf of the Government, somebody else would have charge of this Bill.
– Then why did not the honorable senator move this request himself ?
– Where, for departmental reasons it has been considered necessary that alterations should be made in the. schedule, I have, in every instance, submitted the requests. If, in the position which I occupy in the Senate, I had not complete and uncontrolled discretion to act as I think proper, again I say I should not have charge of this measure. More than that, if I found that I was not in accord with my chief, the Prime Minister, it would be mv clear duty to ask him to relieve ma from office. Honorable senators may rely that everything I do here is done in my official capacity. .
– But the honorable senator has not done anything this time.
– I appear to have done rather more than is agreeable to my honorable friend.
– The honorable senator did. not move this request.
– I have taken the responsibility of accepting it. When asked what I would do if a request of the kind were submitted, I at once staled what my intention was. These taunts are very easily made, but the’ extraordinary indignation exhibited by Senator Millen when charging the Government with departing from their Tariff, was more than amusing. The honorable senator could hardly expect me to accept it as serious. Might I remind him that whenever an effort has been made by himself, or by honorable senators on his side, to reduce duties, and I have raised no objection, I have not been charged with departing from the Tariff of the Government.
– This is not our Tariff.
– I am not to be taunted with departing from the Tariff when invited to do so by honorable senators op posite; but I am, if I do so in supporting a request submitted by honorable senators on this side? Let me also tell the leader of the Opposition, when he suggests that it is most improper for me to agree to revert lo the old duties as originally submitted by the Government, that on several occasions, at the instance o”f his own supporters, I have been invited to do so. One instance that I call to mind at the present moment was when Senator McColl asked that crucibles, scorifiers, and mufflers should be removed from the free list, and made dutiable at 25 per cent, and 20 per cent., as in the Tariff originally introduced by the Government. I noticed no display of indignation on the part of the leader of the Opposition at such a monstrous proposal.
– Did the Minister propose it?
– I accepted it. When Senator Chataway invited us to impose a duty of 25 per cent, on scientific glassware, and we agreed to accept it, the leader of the Opposition sat quietly by, and did not suggest that there should be a division on the request. The honorable senator did not then taunt me with departing from the Tariff. Only this morning two honorable senators of the party opposite notified’ to the Government their intention to propose requests for reverting in certain instances to the Government’s original proposals, and asked me whether I would accept them when they were proposed. What are we to think of this mock indignation, this ridiculous taunt flung at the Government, because we are prepared in certain cases to accept requests reverting to the proposals we originally made? Senator Millen very skilfully tried to suggest that my honorable colleague, the Treasurer, accepted this proposal. Where the- honorable senator can show me that my honorable colleague Kas entered into a compact to accept a duty, as a result of a compromise, that compact I shall, as a member of the Government, feel bound to adhere to.
– We quoted one on metals, which the honorable senator would not adhere to.
– I hope that my honorable friend will not become excited. After there has been considerable debate upon an item it is easy for a Minister to discover the feeling of the Committee, and he may find, as I have found in a few instances, that the numbers in favour or against a particular proposal are overwhelmingly against him. Sometimes, for reasons known to myself, I have called for a division in order to secure a record. Where there have been typical divisions, such as we have had upon this item, and I have found the numbers against me, I have contented myself with saying “ No,” and’ then the Hansard record of the matter has been that the request has been agreed to. . No doubt that is the record in this case. I am very sorry that I am unable to make the actual quotation, but according to the prohibited volume of Hansard, I think I am right in saying that on the 29th November my honorable colleague,the Treasurer, was invited to take electric cooking stoves out of the particular item in which it was originally submitted. That was item 144, where it appeared in this form -
Lamps’, Gas, and Electrical Stoves for heating and cooking, ad val. 30 per cent. and 20 per cent.
When my honorable colleague was asked to take electrical cooking stoves out of that item, he said, “ Yes, I will take them out of that item, provided1 they are restored to the same duty in another place in the Tariff.” They were placed in another part of the Tariff, but I regretto say not at the same rate of duty.
– And the Treasurer agreed to the reduced duty.
– He did not agree to the reduced duty. There is no trace whatever of his having done so.
– He had to do so.
– When he found that the force of numbers was against him, he simply did not call for a division, and then in the usual way it is recorded in Hansard that the proposal was agreed to.
– Surely the Minister does hot expect to satisfy honorable senators opposite?
– No, but I think that the courtesy of debate demanded some explanation of the matters to which I have referred.
– Why does not the Minister propose that in this case the duty shall be 30 per cent. ?
– It is very difficult to satisfy my honorable friend. I have explained that the original proposal was that the duty should be 30 per cent. under the general Tariff, and 20 per cent. on imports from the United Kingdom. I wish honorable senators to remember in the first place that 20 per cent. is the duty that was recommended by the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission. That was the duty recommended in regard to gas stoves and electrical cooking stoves. The Committee has seen fit to make the duty on item 141, which comprises lamps and gas stoves for heating and cooking, 20 per cent.
– Is not that the form in which the item was originally introduced in the Senate?
– It is not the form, in which it was proposed originally by the Government. The Tariff Commission has recommended an equal duty on both these classes of stoves; we deem it desirable that there should be an equal duty. As the Committee has determined to accept a duty of 20 per cent. on gas stoves, there is no reason why a special preference should be given in favour of electric stoves. Therefore, I support the request moved by my honorable friend, Senator Findley.
– The trouble is that the Tariff will never get through if we pass all these requests.
– My honorable friend need not trouble himself. He knows that he has pledged himself to support the recommendations of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission. I take this opportunity of suggesting that it is only in regard to a limited number of items that I have accepted requests for increases of duty even to the extent of our original proposals. I have done so where I thought the protection afforded by the schedule was not sufficient. I add frankly that I have been affected also by other considerations, which, of course, have nothing to do with the Committee. I consider that in this case 15 per cent. is not sufficient for protective purposes. Therefore I have agreed to support the larger duly. I have been invited to state what the duty was under the old Tariff. It was 121/2 per cent. The Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 20 per cent. As to whether any duty has been collected under the. Tariff as it stands, I may state that the officers are not in a position to say. But if it is discovered that any duty has been collected, it may be necessary to take an opportunity of inserting necessary words to cover the position. I hope that I have dealt withtheobjections that have been raised by my honorable friends opposite - that I have conclusively shown, first of all, that this is the recommendation of the Tariff Commission ; secondly, that it . is desirable that these stoves should be placed upon the same level as others; thirdly, that I am simply reverting to the original proposal of the Government; and, fourthly, that because more protection is required I have agreed to support Senator Findlev’s request. My honorable friends opposite must not be led away for one moment by the suggestion that paragraph e has anything whatever to do with previous paragraphs of the item. It relates to different articles altogether. The other paragraphs, no doubt, refer to appliances relating to machinery. This one does not. Therefore it must be dealt with independently. I do say, with some degree of confidence, that, under the circumstances which I have explained, honorable senators might very well see their way to accept the request.
– I wish to point out to the Committee, and, at the same- time, to Senator Best, the real position in regard to this item. Whatever position we may arrive at now, a recommittal, unless Senator Best takes other steps, will be absolutely necessary. I am not arguing at present as to the desirableness of one duty or the other. But I wish to give the result of investigations that I have been making regarding this item. When the Tariff was first introduced, the articles under this heading were dutiable at 30 per cent. In the Tariff as it comes to us there is no ratification. We shall have to ratify the collection of previous duties. The next stage in the history of the item was that the goods became dutiable at 20 per cent, in the general Tariff; while, as an endeavour to give preference to Great Britain failed, they also became dutiable at 20 per cent, in the second column. Stage No. 3 I have not been able to trace. But the item must have reached that stage somewhere, because in the Tariff as it is presented to us the duties stand at 15 and 10 per cent. Whatever Senator Best does with regard to the duty he must, I think, take steps to ratify the collection of previous duties. That is to say, he must ask the Committee to pass first of all the duties of 30 and 20 per cent., and then provide that on and after such and such’ a date the duties shall .be something less; and that on and after such and such a date other duties shall prevail.
– If there were any importations between the dates that would have to be done. I will have inquiries made.
– Is it not certain that Senator Best will find it necessary to recommit it ?
– I do not think so.
– That is a question of procedure for which I do not hold myself responsible in the least, but for which the Vice-President of the Executive Council is responsible. The item has certainly had a “strange eventful history.” It was first introduced as item 144, when the articles under it were dutiable at 30 and 20 per cent. I do not think that Senator Best can shelter himself behind the hope that by accident, so to speak, none of these things were imported between certain dates. Knowing as we do to how large an extent they have been imported, and how absolutely necessary it is to import them, I feel perfectly certain that since the Tariff was originally tabled there has necessarily been a considerable amount of importations. I suggest to the leader of the Senate, in the interests of the decent conduct of business and the ordinary fair scrutiny which we ought to give to measures which come before us, that before we do anything else with regard to this item we should put it straight. It might be wise to postpone it until we obtain information as to certain things which it is absolutely necessary to do to ratify the collection of Customs duties. So far as the merits or demerits of the item is concerned, I would rather address myself to them at a later stage than now.
– I point out that item 177 has been entirely recast. The paragraph with which we are now dealing was agreed to in the other House, and the duties of 15 and 10 per cent, were, I understood, passed by arrangement.. I looked carefully through the forbidden book - Hansard- and that is my impression.
– I wish to add a few words as to why’ the Government should make a concession to us on this subject. The articles affected by the duty are exceedingly valuable to every household in Australia. For cooking purposes they constitute one of the greatest blessings from a health point .of view that we can conceive of, especially as tending to lighten the labour of our women folks. From what I can gather there is no possibility of these goods being locally manufactured for some time to come, so as to supply the whole market. Under the circumstances, the arguments that have been adduced from this side of the Chamber should commend themselves to the good sense of the Committee.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 177, paragraph e, “Electric Heating and Cooking Appliances” (imports under General Tariff), ad val., 20 per cent. (Senator Findley’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in’ the negative.
– I ask Senator Best to tell the Committee what duty is being collected on the articles contained in paragraph f, “ Electric fittings not containing metal “ ?
– They are not dutiable, but free.
– That is not so stated. It is a strange and mystic item, because no rates of duty are attached thereto. Perhaps the Minister will allow the item to be postponed in order that some one may be afforded an opportunity to ascertain the rate of duty.
– The item seems tome to be quite intelligible. It reads -
Electric fittings not containing-metal to be dutiable according to material.
If any electric fittings consist of glassware, they are dutiable as glassware. Or if they happen to contain wire, they are dutiable accordingly. I am informed that the item refers chiefly to porcelains and insulators.
– Suppose that an electric fitting should contain half-a-dozen different materials, is this poor unfortunate item to be afflicted with half-a-dozen different duties?
– It is provided in the introduction to this schedule that -
Any article, not otherwise dutiable, composed of a combination of other articles, some of which are dutiable when imported separately, and of others free of duty when imported separately, shall be dealt with as follows : -
When the value of the dutiable portion exceeds the value of the free portion, duty shall be charged upon the whole article at the same rate as would be chargeable on that portion of the dutiable portion which, if imported separately, would be liable to the highest rate of duty.
When the value of the free portion exceeds the value of the dutiable portion of such article, the whole article shall be admitted free of duty.
– It is very evident that this small item is likely to create a lot of difficulty at the Customs Department, and to be the means of harassing any person who imports electric fittings. I feel sure that no injury will be done to any protected industry if they are made free, and there is no particular reason why we should get revenue from this source. With a view to proposing subsequently that the articles be made free, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 177, paragraph f, by leaving out the words “ to be dutiable according to material.”
I am perfectly certain that the electric fittings which do not contain metal are extremely insignificant. They willprobably be composed of cotton, or porcelain,- or rubber. I ask honorable senators to picture the trouble to which the Customs officers will be put in determining the duty to be collected on any importations. In the first place, they will have to decide whether themajor portion of the materials used in the composition of electric fittings is cotton, or porcelain, or rubber. It will be extremely difficult for them. to determine that point with any degree of accuracy, and I can conceive that at times they will have to employ the services of an analyst.
– The importer can always say what are the principal ingredients.
– Yes ; but really, the item is ,too infinitesimal to be retained. lt is most important that we should not unnecessarily create opportunities for embarassment and annoyance to both the Department and the general public.
– I hope that the Committee will not, under any circumstances, vote for the removal of the duties under this paragraph. It was put in for the purpose of further facilitating the interpretation of the Tariff. The principal articles to which it refers are insulating materials and porcelains. In items 252 and 253 honorable senators will find a number of articles which could be dealt with under this . paragraph. Take, for instance, plain glass jars which, under item 353, are dutiable at 25 and 20 per cent. It would be an anomalous state of things if those articles could be introduced as electric fittings not containing metal. I trust that the paragraph will be retained.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [3.27]. - It will be a very grave anomaly if we make electric fittings dutiable under paragraph f, when we have already made them free under paragraph d. Moreover, under paragraph f, the duty to be levied on the articles is indefinite. They are to be dutiable according to the material of which they are composed. It must be obvious to every one that it will put the Department to much trouble to ascertain whether there is a grain or an ounce of any metal in electric fittings. The Minister has referred us to a later item, and said that thereunder plain glass jars are dutiable at 25 and 20 per cent. If a plain glass jar is an electric fitting, it will be dutiable, not as a plain glass jar, but as an electric fitting. In item 252 the Government discriminate by adding after the words “glass cells,” which are small . glass jars, the words “ for primary and secondary electric batteries.” If the Minister feels oppressed by any difficulty as regards the simplification of the Tariff, he can get rid of the difficulty when we come’to deal with glass cells and jars bv specifying the purposes for which they are to be used. It would be a very serious anomaly in item j 77 to make electric fittings ‘dutiable in an uncertain way, and in a fashion which it would be very difficult to enforce.
– Why should this paragraph be struck out when it is regarded by the Department as advisable for the simplification of the Tariff ?
– I shall be no party to assist any importer to bring in a plain glass jar or anything else under the cover of electric equipment when it is not. But that can be remedied in a different way. I think that my honorable friend will find that the Tariff will be much, more simple if all electric fittings are dealt with in the same way, that is, made free. If any one wants to bring in a glass jar which is not an electric fitting, the remedy is simple.
– Paragraph d covers electric fittings, consisting wholly or partly of metal. These are outside of that description.
– I admit it, but it would have been better to eliminate the words “ wholly or partly of metal,” and make electric apparatus and fittings altogether free. I am not at all sure that these glass jars are electric fittings in the sense that is meant here.
– What would you say of insulators made of porcelain? Surely they are electric fittings.
– I do not think that they are. I understand that insulators come under another item. Even if they are electric fittings, the remedy which has already been adopted in this Tariff is available. The words “ glass cells for primary and secondary batteries “ cover the glass cells used in storage batteries in connexion’ with any electric installation. A different rate of duty has already been provided for them. They do not come under this paragraph at all. That is why I suggest that in all probability some of these other things are under different headings. The Minister’s illustration of a plain glass jar really cuts the ground from under his own feet, because battery cells are, under item 252, dutiable at 5 per cent, and free. Why bring other electric fittings under this paragraph ?
– The same thing is stereotyped in other Tariffs - the German, for instance.
– There is scarcely anything the Minister says that I do not feel prima, facie desirous of accepting, but I really cannot accept that statement. The wording of item 252 ought to be enough to satisfy any one. We should not discriminate in this way, and make articles dutiable according to material which will have to be carefully analyzed to find whether it contains even a crumb of metal.
– I appeal to the Minister for simplicity. Will he agree to leave out the words “ to be dutiable according to material ‘ ‘ ? To simplify the Tariff, let us at once decide that question, so that there may be no dispute and no necessity for the making of analyses to discover the main ingredients of these articles. Then let the Committee fix definitely the duty on all electric fittings which do not contain metal.
– If we strike those words out we shall have to resort to the Customs Act.
– Nothing of the kind. Parliament can say what duty shall be imposed on all electric fittings which do not contain metal. See how simple that would make it.
– It would. I could understand it if the honorable senator proposed to impose a fair average duty.
– I am willing to accept whatever duty the Committee fixes, but let us save the Customs authorities and the people from uncertainty. We should, where we can, prevent ‘these disputes.If Senator Best has the numbers and wants 20 per cent., he can make it 20 per cent.’ I should think that figure would cover ‘all that he desires. A distinct duty is imposed on electroliers, chandeliers, pendants, ana brackets. Electroliers and chandeliers are frequently made entirely without metal. That shows that a good deal of the Minister’s argument about the uncertainty of the duty has no weight. It is ridiculous to confuse everybody and compel the Customs authorities to go to litigation as to what is the major part of the material, and therefore I have moved my request with the sole desire of promoting simplicity. It will be open to the Minister to carry a duty of 20 per cent. afterwards, if he can.
Question put. ‘ The Committee divided.
Majority … … 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
– In order to bring paragraph g into harmony with what we have already done,. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 177, paragraph g, by inserting after the word “Turbines” the words “ or High Speed Reciprocating Engines to be used in mines.”
– I ask Senator de Largie to agree to amend the item in another form. What I suggest is that we should leave out all the words after the word “ coupling.” The honorable senator probably knows the history of this item, and feels about it just as I do. I suggest that . the item should read, “ Generators for direct coupling, free,” without regard to what they may be coupled to. It is not right that the item should include generators coupled only 10 turbines, but if would not make it much better to include only one other class of engine. I ask Senator de Largie to reciprocate the compliment I paid him just now, and withdraw his request to enable me to move a prior request.
– I am willing to withdraw my request, though I do not agree to what the honorable senator proposes.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
– I propose to move that the House of Representatives be requested to leave out all the words after the word ‘ ‘ coupling. ‘ ‘ The item would then cover everything to which generators might be coupled. Let us consider what we have done. We have imposed a duty of 20 per cent. on dynamos of 10 horse-power and under, and we have made duty free dynamos of greater power. What I propose in connexion with this item would merely have the effect of indorsing our decision to make dynamos of over 10 horse-power free, because it is hardly possible to imagine that these generators would be coupled to engines of less than 10 horse-power.
– But they are already included in paragraphs a and b of this item.
– If so, what is the use of paragraph g?
– In view of the alterations made, it might be struck out altogether, though I wish it to be understood that I object to the whole thing.
– I quite understand that, because the honorable senator has objected to what we have done in connexion with paragraphs a and b.
– Is not this an attempt to undo what we did yesterday?
– I ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council to say whether, if I adopt his suggestion to move for the omission of paragraph g, . it would in any way interfere with what the Committee did yesterday?
– I have asked the direct question of the expert officials instructing me, and they say that the omission of paragraph g would be the most consistent course to adopt in order to carry out what was done yesterday.
– I am inclined to believe it would, and I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 177 by leaving out paragraph g.
Request agreed to.
And on and after 29th November, 1907 -
Electrical and Gas Appliances, viz. : -
Pendants; Brackets; Zinc Tubing, ad val. (General Tariff), 20 per cent.
.- I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 178, paragraph a (imports under General Tariff), ad val., 25 per cent.
If it were not that I believe that the numbers would be against me, I should move that the duty be 30 per cent. We have already agreed to a duty of 30 per cent, on brassware. The duty on the item now under discussion was originally 25 per cent., and I am suggesting a return to that duty. I am pleased to be able to say that since the imposition of the higher duty on brasswork, the industry affected has been placed in a much better position than it occupied under the 1902 Tariff. Very many more men have found employment in it, and the employers are in a better business position. The position of the industry affected by the item now under discussion is not what I think it might be, or what I think it would become by the imposition of an additional 5 per cent. duty.
SenatorDobson. - Is not the natural protection on these articles enormous ?
– That hasbecome. a hackneyed saying. Who can say what the natural protection upon any imports really is? With tramp ships, manned by cheap coloured labour, the natural protection or* many of our imports is infinitesimal. In connexion with the industry which I am bringing under the notice of the Committee, I have it on absolutely reliable information that the chandeliers and gasaliers in the Federal Parliament House, in the State Parliament House of Victoria, in Mr. Deakin’s private residence, and in many other buildings in this city, are the work of Australian workmen.
– What did they cost?
– The cost does not enter into the matter from the protectionist point of view, and the honorable senator can rest assured that the persons controlling the institutionsin which these articles of Australian manufacture have been used are as keen about the financial aspect of the matter as are our free-trade friends, who are always advocating the use of articles cheaply made in countries where labour is overworked and underpaid. Honorable senators opposite have very little regard for Australian industries, or those engaged in them. They are advocates of cheap goods and big profits for the importers of cheap commodities. I do not know that I need say any more in support of my request, but by way of reminder I might appeal to our Western Australian friends who fell from grace a day or two ago to give me a helpinghand in connexion with it. I need makeno special appeal to Senator Henderson, because, when the honorable senator entered the chamber the other morning after a refreshing sleep, he proved to be one of thestrongest protectionists in the Committee. He then suggested that the. duty of 30. percent, proposed in respect of brasswork was-. insufficient, .and against the entreaties of the Government, proposed that the duty should be 40 per cent”. The Government had to bring the force of numbers against, him to convince the honorable senator that he could not carry such a duty. The Government are behind the request I now make for 25 per cent, on this item, and with the assistance of Senator Henderson, and one or two other honorable senators, I hope to be able to carry it.
– The very pathetic’ appeal of the representative of protection from Victoria was altogether unnecessary in my case. Surely the honorable senator must recognise that if there is a common-sense vote to be given, I am always to be found on the side of common-sense. I claim that since we began the consideration of this Tariff I have always voted to encourage Australian industries. I .have never given one vote with the intention of impeding its progress, and I do not suppose that Senator Findley has ever given a vote with such an intention either. But because he is unable to comprehend the effect of some of the votes that he has given, he has nevertheless done that very thing.
– The honorable senator cannot help Senator Findley’s lack of intelligence.
– I cannot, nor can I help it if he does not understand the industries of Australia. He understands those that have come within his own experience in Victoria. Probably his experience is limited to Melbourne. Mine is as wide as the whole of Australia. Therefore I am able to take a comprehensive view of the industries that are affected by our votes. On this item from the commencement I have thought that my honorable friend Senator Findley and the Government have been very moderate indeed in their demands. I should have given them my support had a higher duty been proposed. I have not lived all mv time in Melbourne. I have sometimes taken the trouble to travel and I have observed what is being done in regard to our manufactures. I know that every one of the articles provided for in thi item under consideration is being made and well made in Australia. Therefore I am not departing from the course that I laid down for myself at the commencement of our debates when I say that I shall support Senator Findley’s request, and should indeed be prepared to support the highest duty that could be imposed. The only difference between Senator Findley and me is that he would stamp out any industry in Australia in order to find employment for five men in Melbourne, whilst I would do J:he very best I could for those five men, but would at the same time have regard to the interests of the wide range of industries in Australia.
– I find myself unable to join in the request submitted by Senator Findley. I wish to give some reasons for opposing it. I understand that Senator Findley has announced that in putting forward this request he has the support of the Government. I take it that this is another one of those items on which duties have been reduced, and as to which the Government desire to revert to their original proposition. Probably my honorable friend Senator Best has not forgotten the reverse that he sustained on the last occasion when be supported an increase. I am glad to say that then, as once or twice previously, the Committee took a wide Australian view of things. If there is to be an endeavour to put back these duties to the old rates, I submit to Senator Best that’ the far more straightforward course, and the one that would be far more in conformity with the dignity of his office, would be for him to move these requests himself. Why has he left it to Senator Findley?
– I cannot prevent Senator Findley from moving requests.
– No, of course not, nor can any one else. I am not complaining of Senator Findley moving. But there appears to be some mysterious arrangement between him and the Government.
– No, there is not.
– I announced that I intended to move this request some time ago.
– I interpret that .to mean that if the request were not moved bv a private senator the Minister himself would not move in this direction.
– I do not know what the Minister would do.
– What odds?
– A great deal. If the Minister thought this duty should bc raised he should move in that direction himself. I do not think it can be denied that if any honorable senator in. this chamber believes that an alteration ought to be made in the Tariff he should take the responsibility of submitting a proposition to that effect.
– The Chairman can accept a request only from one senator at a time.
– As I understand the attitude of the Minister it is this. He is prepared to support a. proposal to restore these duties to their original level if some one else will take the responsibility of submitting a proposition to that effect. If the Minister thinks that’ the duty ought to be put back, he should himself be prepared to move. I do not say that he would necessarily be the first to catch the Chairman’s eye. But it is quite obvious from the Minister’s attitude that he was content to let the item go, unless Senator Findley,’ or some one else, proposed a request.
– The Minister could not be conversant with all the anomalies and defects in the Tariff.
– If Senator Findley wishes to help the Government, or to be complimentary to them, he should not make such a remark as that.
– Of course, the Minister ought to know millions of things !
– I do not know about millions, but he ought to know something about this Tariff, and about this item. Unless he knew something about it he would not be prepared to tell Senator Findley that he would support him.
– I saw him before I submitted my request.
– There is no mystery about the matter. It is as plain as a pikestaff. The Minister, according to Senator Findley, did not know anything about the item, nor did he know whether the duty should be increased or not, until Senator Findley told him that he was going to move for an increase. Then the Minister was able to make up his mind that the duty ought to be increased. That is the position stated by Senator Findley ; 1 would not insult the Minister by saying it myself.
– The honorable senator has said it all the same.
– It is Senator Findley’s version, not mine. My version is that Senator Best knew as much about the item as Senator Findley did. Even if he did not, he had opportunities of obtaining information from official sources. I think the Minister knew quite enough to be able to make up his mind whether the duty ought to be left as it was or increased. My point is that, if he thinks a duty ought to be increased, he should move to that effect, and not simply say that if any one else will submit a proposition he will support it.
– I intimated, towards the beginning of our debates on the Tariff, that I proposed to vote for the highest possible protection for primary or well-established industries. On this particular duty I find myself in conflict with the free-trade section, the printed billites, and the protectionists. I am going to suggest that a request should be made to the House of Representatives to make this item really protective. In order that I may move for a higher duty, I have, in the first instance, to ask Senator Findley to withdraw his request.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
– Before Senator Croft proceeds I wish to know whether I can, at this stage, move that gas stoves and gas bath heaters be added to the item.
– We have dealt with them.
– I do not think so. I think that this is the proper place.
– We dealt with gas stoves under item 141, fixing the duty at: 20per cent.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 178, paragraph A, ad val., 30 per cent.
I submit this request with the object of bringing the duty into conformity with that under item 172, “ Brasswork and gunmetal work for general engineering and plumbing and other trades,” ad val., 30 per cent. I hope that Senator Findley will support me. I should have preferred that he had submitted the request himself. As we have already agreed to a duty of 30 per cent. under item172, there is no reason why we should have a lower duty on item 178, which is really similar in nature as a product. If the Committee is not prepared to request a duty of 30 per cent., I must conclude either that honorable senators did not understand what they were voting upon when they agreed to the duty of 30 per cent. on item 172, or that, having given further consideration to the point, they are now in favour of a lower duty.
. -Speaking personally, I have hearty sympathy with the desire expressed by Senator Croft to make the duty more effectively protective. But we have to consider, in passing practical legislation, first of all, what is the most desirable tiling to do, and, secondly, whether the most desirable thing is attainable. If we arrive at the conclusion that it is not, we have to consider whether there is something that is desirable and also obtainable. If we were to carry the request for a duty of 30 per cent, as now proposed, we should have to face the prospect of its being dissented from by another place.
– Is there not just as much reason for 30 per cent. in this case as under item 172 ?
– I do not think that there is a reasonable prospect of the request, if carried here, being indorsed in another, place. Therefore, I urge Senator Croft, not because his proposal per se is not desirable, but because the surrounding circumstances render it improbable, in fact almost certain, that it could not be adopted, to take the next best thing, and that is the possible proposition to be submitted by Senator Findley.
– Originally weproposed a duty of 25 per cent. We are quite prepared to support a request to restore that duty.
– And that is high enough, surely.
– I consider that in the circumstances it would be a reasonable percentage to adopt. I therefore suggest to Senator Croft that he should accept Senator Findley’s suggestion.
– It will be remembered that I was addressing the Committee when Senator Croft intimated a desire to move a request, and that I gaveway to him.My first duty now is to congratulate my honorable friends on the other side at the indication of a prompt return of certain representatives of Western Australia to the protectionist fold. While I appreciated the assistance which they gave to the cause of truth and righteousness yesterday, I had no very strong hopes that the association with us would prove sufficient in that brief space to keep them permanently on the right path. But one never knows what may happen. It may be that in the short time they dwelt with us some seed was sown which later on may increase one hundred fold. At presentthere are indications of what might be termed a fueling of remorse working in the mind of Senator Croft. He is not content to walk back to the protectionist fold by leisurely steps, but he wants to rush back. He stands aghast at the timidity of the milk-and-water protectionist, Senator Findley. It was left to the stalwart re-converted protectionist free-trader from Western Australia to do the right thing for this struggling industry, and that was to submit a request for a duty of 30 per cent. I am absolutely astonished at his moderation. I admit at once that there is still ample time for somebody to ask him to give way in order that he may move a request for a really protective duty. It is possible that Senator Lynch contemplates doing something of that kind.
– The honorable senator had better not tempt me.
– I should like to end my days with the knowledge that I had not tried to tempt any one. I thought that possibly my honorable friend might wish to go farther than Senator Croft in this direction, seeing that yesterday he went farther in the opposite direction than did that honorable gentleman. I desire to draw attention to a few statements which have been placed on record by the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission. If honorable senators will turn to the schedule with whichthey have been provided they will find that it recommended duties of 20 and 121/2 per cent. on this line. One can see now the extent of the remorse which is afflicting Senator Croft, who proposes to go 50 per cent. higher than did the protectionist Commissioners. Surely when an honorable senator accepts the responsibility of proposing a request for such a high increase of the duty he should at least give some sound reasons for his action ? He should endeavour to show why the recommendation of the A section of the Tariff Commission falls altogether short of the requirements of the industry. But Senator Croft did not venture to do so when he submitted this request.
– We cannot get certain free-trade senators to tell us why the freetrade section of the Tariff Commission did anything or made any recommendations.
– I am not asking my honorable friend to tell us whythe protec- ‘ tionist section recommended a duty of 20 per cent. I merely desire to elicitwhy he is recommending us to raise thisduty to 30 per cent.
– I said that because, in my opinion, it is a proper protective duty.
– The request is submitted in order to bring the duty on this line in conformity ;with the duty on the materials of which it is composed.
– These generalities might be advanced in connexion with a request for a duty of 100 or 1,000 per cent. They may be sufficient to win Senator Croft back from the path which he took yesterday, but they are not sufficient to justify the Committee in agreeing to the request. If the honorable senator- had said that, owing to the difference in wages between the Old Country and Australia, we ought to give a protection of 30 per cent., I could have understood his attitude.
– All that was argued on the items dealing with brassware and gunware.
– I know that much time was occupied by my honorable friends in sleeping over those items, but I am not aware that any one of them ventured to argue in favour of the duties. It does appear to me that we are dropping into the habit of simply submitting a request and letting it take its chance, although the responsibility lies with the mover of a request to show why it should be adopted.’ I find that in this case the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 20 per cent. It might be reasonable, I think, for an honorable senator, without going into the merits of the case, to support a request for a duty of 20 per cent., on the ground that the A section of the Tariff Commission had determined that it was a fair duty to fix. In that case, he might be exempted from making any inquiry or stating why he supported a proposal. But when an honorable senator proposes to exceed their recommendation by 50 per cent., surely it is due to the Committee that he should endeavour to show that increased protection is needed?
– So far, the reports of the Tariff Commission have had no weight with the Committee.
– We have had no explanation of the reports from either one side or the other.
– I am not suggesting that any side in the Chamber is charged with the duty of explaining the reports of the Tariff Commission. I am merely pointing out that the honorable senator, is under an obligation to show why the duty on this line should be raised to 30 per cent. Surely he must recognise that something more is required of an honorable senator than that he should practically throw a proposal of this kind before the Committee.
– Did I not say that I submitted the request because the Committee had approved of a duty of 30 per cent, on brasswork and gunmetal work? This item includes that kind of work.
– All’ brasswork does not come under the heading, else we should not want the second paragraph.
– This paragraph deals with brasswork and gunmetal work, to which a lot of Colonial labour is applied.
– The question is whether this industry requires a protection of 30 per cent. It may even require a duty of 40 per cent. I urge my honorable friend to look closely into its condition, and see ‘ whether, like Senator Findley, he has not understated its requirements. I find that zinc tubing, which formerly was free, is dutiable at 20 per cent. According to Senator Findley, the duty ought to be 25 per cent., and according. to Senator Croft, it should be 30 per cent. Surely that is a tremendous jump . in the duty? Do any honorable senators know anything about the article or what it is required for? Is it necessary, merely because brasswork is dutiable at 30 per cent., to have a duty of 30 per cent, on zinc tubing ?
– It is required for the wires.
– I presume that the importation is very small ; but whatever it is, surely the Committee is entitled to be furnished with some ‘ reason why zinc tubing should be subjected to a high duty like 30 per cent. ! Can any one say whether zinc tubing is made here or not?
– I am told that it is made here.
– Like ourselves, the Minister knew nothing about this matter until he got some information from the reliable source at his back. I accept his statement straight away, but when Senator Findley or Senator Croft made their proposal they were not in a position to say whether the article was made here or not. That shows that they proposed, without due inquiry, to put a duty on an article which was originally free, and also, without inquiry, to raise the line from the rate in the Tariff to 30 per cent. .can Senator Croft show that the condition of the industry warrants the imposition of a 30 per cent, duty ?
– Men are out of work.
– Are Are. making a charitable institution of the Tariff? Is the honorable senator sure that 30 per cent, will be sufficient to provide work for them? The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission state in their -report -
In considering the advisability of framing a scheme of uniform duties on certain gas and electrical materials, appliances, and fittings, we arrived at the conclusion that a .compromise might be made by recommending 15 per’ cent.,, a rate between ia£ per cent., the present duty on electrical, and 20 per cent., the present duty on gas appliances, materials and fittings. In doing so we omitted to give sufficient weight to the. evidence of Mr. V. S. Busby, engineer and brassfounder, representing the “” Master Brassfounders, Finishers, and Art Metal Workers’ Association of Victoria, and of Mr. A. Turner Danks, of Melbourne, engineer and brassfounder.
Evidently, therefore, the Commission arrived, in the first instance, at the conclusion “that 1 5 per cent, would be a fair rate, but later on reconsidered the- evidence, and even then found that the highest duties they were justified in recommending were 12J and 20 per cent. The Commission, if they threshed out the question of any article, did so .in this case. - Surely, therefore, there is a special obligation upon those honorable senators who wish further to increase the duty to justify their proposal. The only statement they can make, however, as put forward by Senator Findley, is that men are walking about unemployed. That is a severe commentary on the principle of protection, but the honorable senator does not show that a duty of 25 per cent, will give employment to the men now idle. Does Senator Findley believe that an additional 5 per cent, will be so efficacious as to put the unemployed to work ?
– It will stop a lot of the importations, and many articles will be made here.
– If the honorable senator believes that, he should try to stop all imports. I do not suppose he believe that an extra 5 per cent, will seriously affect the quantity of labour employed in Australia. What it will do is to add 5 per cent, to the cost, not only of the extra articles that may be made by the additional hands who he thinks will be employed,, but also of the articles which are turned out by those who are already employed. We should consider those who buy and use the articles. Even admitting, for the sake of argument, the soundness of the protec tionist theory, every protectionist will ack- now ledge, unless he is a straight-out prohibitionist, that a duty is required only for certain purposes - ordinarily to equalize the conditions of labour between Australia and the outside world, and sometimes to equalize other conditions, such as the price of material. Can Senator Croft say that 30 per cent, is required to equalize the labour conditions between Australia and the Old Country? If honorable senators wish to equalize the labour conditions, they must find out’ the labour cost here and elsewhere. .
– The difference in this industry is that between 28s. a week in England and £3 a week in Australia.
– Is that information taken from a report showing fair averages of the wages paid ?
– I would. not attempt to give an average wage. There is no average wage in Victoria. There is a difference in this trade of 32s. a week between the wages of journeymen here and in the Old Country. My authority is a journeyman who is getting ,£3 a week here, and worked for 28s. in the Old Country.
– That is not conclu- sive evidence “as to the industry as a wholeA great deal depends upon the individual employer and the individual man. Ohe case does not prove conclusively the general difference between the trade here and in England. I am prepared to admit that there is a difference, but Senator Croft cannot say whether it is 20 or 30 per cent. If he thinks it is 40 per cent., he ought to have moved for 40 per cent. Even if there is a difference of 30 per cent, in Wages, a duty of 30 per cent, is imposed, not only upon the labour cost, but also upon the material, and, if the material pays no duty, will give the employer a protection which represents in some cases, more than the whole sum he pays in wages. I do not think that protectionists wish to impose a duty which will give employers an absolute monopoly. While they wish to deal liberally Avith manufacturers, their idea is not to make manufacturers’ fortunes solely. To impose ‘duties so high as * to shut out imports puts the manufacturer in a position to. charge the highest possible price up to the point at which imported goods can- be introduced, without being under the slightest obligation to pay a single extra penny to his workmen. If an employer can carry on under a 20 per cent, duty, and pays a wage of 50s., he will not, if given an extra 10 per cent, protection, pay. his workmen an additional penny. If so per cent, enables the industry to carry on, as the Tariff Commission says, then, as the whole benefit of any extra protection which the Committee gives will go to the manufacturer, what justification have we for giving more than is absolutely necessary? Hardly an effort has been made by honorable senators opposite to show where the twice-considered decision of the Tariff Commission is wrong. Senator Croft’s onlyargument was that he thought an increase was necessary. Surely he should satisfy himself by looking, as the Tariff Commission did, a little more closely into the question. . I will show now upon what additional evidence the protectionist section of the Commission felt justified in reviewing their original decision. Thev make this report in connexion with- the evidence- given by Mr. Busby and Mr. Danks -
In Mr. Busby’s evidence it is stated that given a substantial increase in the Tariff the manufacturer would be enabled to take up many additional lines of brassware which are at present imported into the Commonwealth, such as chandeliers (without globes), gas fittings, electric light and power fittings, &c. An increased protection would allow them to make a fair profit, and at the same time to employ, a greater number of workmen than they do at present. A 40 per cent, duty was suggested.
– Hear, hear !
– I am glad that Senator Turley approves of that. We have seen Senator Findley approaching this question very tamely, and suggesting a duty of -25 per cent. Then Senator Croft, gaining a little courage, proposes that the duty shall be 30 per cent., and now, from the way in which Senator Turley applauded what I have read, I have not the slightest doubt that I am entitled to ask Senator Croft to withdraw his amendment to enable Senator Turley to put forward a request more in accordance with the .true doctrine of protection. I have shown that the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission point out that one of the witnesses, Mr. Busby, suggested a duty of 40 per cent. The next witness, whose evidence induced that section of -the Commission to revise their first recommendation, was Mr. Danks, and I quote this from the report -
Mr. Danks pointed out that under the existing Tariff electric brackets and electroliers are liable to a duty of only ia£ per cent. He claimed that these goods should be classifier! as manufactures of metals n-e.i., and be liable to a duty, of 20 per cent. They were made of exactly similar material as, and’ the process of manufacture was identical with, gas brackets and gasoliers, on which such duty is charged. It seemed absurd that the same kind of goods should be charged at different rates of duties simply because they bore different names. In like manner Mr. Danks showed that electric radiators are admitted at 12% per cent., whilst hot-water radiators are charged 20 per cent, as manufactures of metals. Zinc tubing for electric bells is admitted at 12^ per cent., while zinc tubing for other purposes cannot be imported without paying a duty of 20 per cent.
– Mr. Danks’ evidence had nothing at all to do with the manufacture of these articles. It dealt merely with anomalies in the Tariff, as affecting various classes of this work.
– Mr. Danks’ evidence dealt with electroliers, and I find that “ electroliers “ is the first word in this item. Does Senator Croft mean to suggest that Mr. Danks did not intend to refer to the articles included in this item?
– He asked that they should be included in the item “ Manufactures of metals n.e.i.,” and then proceeded to give evidence with respect to anomalies in the duties on hot-water and electric radiators, .zinc tubing for electrical bells, and other articles.
– I can hardly follow the honorable senator. The item with which we are now dealing includes electroliers, gasoliers, chandeliers, pendants, brackets and zinc tubing, and yet the honorable senator says that Mr. Danks gave no evidence about these articles.
– He might have done so. He asked that they should be included in the item “ Manufactures pf metals n.e.i.,” and then proceeded to deal with manufactures of metals, but not. specially with the articles included in this item.
– The fact is, that Mr. Danks’ evidence had everything to do with the articles included in this item. ‘ Though he might have referred to other articles, and have suggested that they should be included in some other item, the sum and substance of his evidence was to recommend a duty. of 20 per cent, on this item.
– Mr. Danks is a fairly large importer of these goods.
– I believe that be was originally an importer, and afterwards became a manufacturer of these goods, and I venture to say that to-day the manufacturing side of his business is very much more important and extensive than is the importing side of it. It might be assumed that he would ask for a fairly high duty; but he has not been reared entirely in a
Melbourne atmosphere. It seems almost inevitable that people carrying on business in Melbourne develop to a greater extent than do the citizens of any other State the capacity to lean up against the Government, and the idea that they should get something out of the “Government. That is a kind of tendency that must always be associated with the operation of a protective Tariff, but in the case of .some persons it is allowed to carry them too far. The difference between Mr. Danks and Mr. Busby is shown by the fact that while Mr. Busby asked for a duty of 40 per cent., Mr. Danks was satisfied with a request for 20 per cent.
– Mr. Danks spoke for Mr. Danks, manufacturer and importer, whilst Mr. Busby spoke for the Master Brassfounders, Finishers, and Art Metalworkers’ Association of Victoria. “
– Whom did Sir John Quick and Gregor McGregor speak for ?
– My object in referring to the evidence given by these two witnesses is to show that when the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission decided to revise their original recommendation that the duty should be 15 per cent, they recognised an obligation to give some reasons in support of their action ; and to point out that Senator Croft has not recognised that he is under a similar obligation.
– How much notice does the honorable senator or I take of any recommendation of the Tariff Commission when it does not suit us?
– That is a candid admission on the part of the honorable senator. He has placed the Committee under an obligation to him. He has informed us that he pays attention to a ‘fact or a figure only when it suits him to do so. I have no doubt that if we placed in the honorable senator’s hand a ready-reckoner or the actuarial life tables of an insurance society, he would ignore their conclusions if it suited him to do so. I have tried to show that when the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission decided upon departing from the first recommendation they made they saw that it was only right and proper that they should make, public the evidence which they considered justified them in taking a different view of the matter. The same obligation rests upon honorable “senators opposite in this case. The Government proposed a duty of 20 per cent. , nearly double the old duty, and now we are told that that is insufficient, and that the duty should be 30 per cent., or 50 per cent, beyond the recommendation of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission. Senator Croft should recognise that the obligation rests upon him to look into this industry to discover what the wages paid in it here are as compared with the wages0 paid elsewhere, and the percentage of cost represented bylabour and material. If, after having done that, he still thinks that a 30 per cent, duty is necessary, he should’ be prepared to give the Committee the benefit of his research, to enable honorable senators to arrive at a just conclusion.
– If an attempt is being made to build a little stone wall in connexion with this item, I shall not add many layers to. the structure. As usual, Senator Millen has been decidedly ingenious in his method of arguing this question. There is a very solid and substantial reason for my attitude in respect of this item. I support a duty of 30 per cent, because I feel that it is the best duty we can get. If I thought I could succeed, I should propose a request that the duty be 40 per cent. But when I see the Ministry and the Victorian protectionists leagued together to vote for 25 per cent, on the finished article, and the same combination supporting 30 per cent, upon the raw material, what earthly hope would there be for a man who desired to move that the duty be 40 per cent. ?
– Can we not produce the raw material ?
– We do produce a good deal of it. But that is not the point. We have already decided that the duty on the raw material shall be 30 per cent. Having done that, surely it is reasonable to hold that the finished article is worthy of at least as high a measure. of protection.- I would even go so far as to say that a prohibitive duty would be justifiable in this case.
– What wages are paid to workmen engaged in the. production of brass chandeliers in Australia?
– A man who iscapable of making and finishing a firstclass article receives a wage of from 55s. to £3 5s- a week.
– I have known journeymen to be working for 8s. a day here.
– Probably the honorable senator may know of journeymen in Queensland who earn no more than 6s. a day, but that does not contradict my statement. Similar journeymen engaged in similar work in the United Kingdom are receiving to-day from 23s. 6d. to 28s. a week.
– And no more?
– I do not know whether higher wages are paid.
– How long ago?
-I am speaking of five or six years ago.
– Things have improved since.
– The men may have improved in experience, but it is not likely that their wages have increased. As to Senator Millen’s quotation from the Tariff Commission’s report, I point out that the evidence was given two years ago, and that a very great change has taken place ‘in respect to brassfounding and brasswork since then. Whatever may have been the evidence of Mr. Danks or any other person, there remains the fact that within the last three months in the city of Melbourne fifty or sixty boys have been turned out of employment, who have been working in this trade for two or three years. ‘ The reason is slackness in the trade, not the limited requirements in respect of brasswork. The slackness is due to increased importations. A decrease of employment has resulted, and a large number of men to-day are looking for work in other avocations, or being forced to join the ranks of the unemployed. I know the facts of the case personally. I am very sorry to observe the clumsiness with which this Tariff has been drafted. It certainly is clumsy when we find gasoliers and chandeliers put in the one item with zinc tubing.
– I intend to submit a request that that be struck out.
– Have the imports increased?
– I have not the figures by me, but unquestionably it is not the limited demand for brasswork that has caused men to be thrown out of employment. The only logical conclusion is that the slacknessof the trade and the lack of employment are due to increased importations.
– I should say that they are due to the extraordinary Tariff.
– Nothing of the sort. Here we have an article the component parts of which are all obtainable in Australia. There is no skill in connexion with the manufactured product of which our artisans are not masters. Re cently many honorable senators visited the Australian Natives’ Exhibition, and may have seen there a stall showing some of the finest brasswork a man could fix his eyes upon. That work was entirely the production of Australia.
– We acknowledge all that.
-Then the honorable senator must acknowledge that it is the importations which are preventing the progress of this industry.
– We have assessed the duty on the raw material at 30 per cent., and surely, in all conscience, we ought to impose a similar duty on the finished article.
– I was very glad indeed to hear the speech of Senator Henderson. He has acknowledged that we have in abundance the raw material out of which to make gun-metal and brass. It is exported to other countries, and is liable to a duty of 30 per cent. when it is imported, not ‘ in what my honorable friend called its raw state, but in what I call a manufactured state. He now asks for an increase of the duty on the manufactured article to 30 per cent., which is 15 per cent. more than the A section of the Tariff Commission recommended. That would virtually mean a protection of 60 per cent. to the local manufacturer of the finished article. I am’ willing ‘at all times to assist an industry up to ‘a reasonable limit, and I shall be pleased if. it can be shown to me that our tradesmen are getting a sufficient wage to justify the grant of 60 per cent, protection to this industry. The cost of sending the raw metal from Australia to foreigncountries, and bringing it back in a manufactured state - in gunmetal or brass - must exceed 30 per cent. We levy a duty of 30 per cent. on the raw material when it is imported, and now Senator Henderson wants to put a duty of 30 per cent. on the manufactured article. In my opinion, the industry does not require the enormous protection of 60 per cent. The Committee ought to extend some consideration to the people.who have to pay the duty. It is hardly fair to the consumers that this industry should get a protection which is equal to 60 per cent.I do not think that the difference in wages warrants that impost for one moment. I have spoken to various fitters who are. working in Melbourne. One fitter, who has been working here for several years as a journeyman,and who is in the Defence Force, told me that he was receiving 8s. a day. I guarantee that in the Old Country there are fitters who are receiving£2 2s. a week. Because a fitter here receives 6s. a. week more than a fitter there, ought we to impose these high duties?
– There are fitters here who are getting£4. 4s. a week.
– I prefer to take the information which I find in a return issued by the Board of Trade.
– It does not say that fitters generally get £2 2s. a week.
– Senator Mulcahy was in the train when this fitter was complaining to me that he did not get enough pay, and, of course, he told me what he did get. I have heard from men who have worked as fitters in the Old Country what the wages are, and I have employed fitters in this country. They told me that in the Old Country they had worked for£22s. a week, and I believe their statement. If Senator Henderson can show me that the conditions as regards labour and living are 60 per. cent. higher in Australia than in Great Britain, Ishall vote for his request.
– It is easy to show that.
– Then the honorable senator can depend upon receiving my vote.
– In the Old Country, a foreman fitter will get £2 2s. a week, but here he will get £4. 4s. a week. There is over 60 per cent. more.
– Surely the honorable senator must think that we are children when he makes a statement of that kind to us. Does he mean to tell me that a foreman fitter in the Old Country will not get more than that rate?
– An ordinary fitter will not get near it.-
– The honorable senator knows nothing whatever about the matter. In Melbourne, I have met fitters who have worked at Home, and they have told me quite differently. I know what fitters are paid here, but I do not profess to know how they are paid there. I am sure that in Victoria to-day there are any number of fitters who do hot get more than£2 8s. a week; It is all very well for Senator Trenwith to pick out one man who may be overlooking twenty men, but that is no criterion as to the general rate of pay. If Senator Henderson can show me that as regards labour conditions the difference between Great Britain and Australia is 60 per cent., and that theemployes in the local industry will get the advantage of. the additional protection which is proposed, I shall vote with him. I do not wish to raise a duty in such a way that it must increase the cost of an article to the consumer ‘ without insuring any benefit to the local artisan.
– We shall attend to him as well.
– I want the local artisan to be attended to before I give an additional duty. We have been told that he has been attended to, but we all see the effect of our legislation. I wish to do what is fair between the manufacturer and the consumer. If I thought that by voting for a duty of30instead of 20 per cent. on this article the employes would reap the benefit of a higher wage, I should vote for the additional duty willingly, but I do notthink that they would derive any advantage from its imposition. Under this Tariff, the duty on these articles has been increased from 20 and121/2oercent.to20percent. It is really impossible for one to ascertain from the figures what the average duty is.
– The average between 20 and 121/2 is 161/4.
– Have the men employed in the trade received a single penny from the additional 33/4 per cent. of duty ? The whole of it has gone, since the Tariff came into force, into the employers’ pockets. If, as Senator Henderson states, there are a number of men in this trade out of work, the employers will not pay higher wages. The Tariff Commission, in their report, state that Mr. Danks, who is one of the largestmakers of this article-
– He is also a large importer.
– The honorable senator, when on the Tariff Commission, could have cross-examined all these witnesses on oath, but he accepted their evidence and signed the report. Now he disputes it, and expects us to accept statements thrown across the chamber in preference to the sworn evidence given before the Commission. If we are to ignore the Commission’s work, and take the word of any individual who likes to approach a member with a request for a higher duty, it was a waste of money to appoint the Commission. I know that Danks and Company still import to a certain extent, but they are very large manufacturers.
Mr. Danks finds that it pays him better to manufacture than to import. Under this 20 per cent, duty they are manufacturing nearly three-fourths of the articles used in’ this line, and will eventually manufacture all. I do not say that they -are philanthropists, and manufacture in Australia for the sake of manufacturing.
– Where did the honorable senator get that evidence ?
– The information was given to me, and I believe it to be true. We do not know where we are on this item. One honorable senator who is a prohibitionist moved for 25 per cent., but withdrew it. Then Senator Croft moved for 30 per cent. The Government seem to have deserted the chamber, and left the Tariff in the hands of private members on their side. We have made a great mistake in many of the items we have passed, and have thrown the benefits of increased duties into the hands of a few employers. We are promised a new protection scheme, which should .certainly apply to this item. If men start a business, it is of course their right to make the most of it, but a lot of them come to this building to induce honorable senators to increase duties, and the Government have not backbone enough to resist. They know that they could not carry anything in this chamber without the support of those members to whom, apparently, they have handed over the shaping of .the Tariff. I always regarded it as the duty of Ministers to stick as closely as possible to the Tariff as passed in another place, to the satisfaction, I presume, of the Cabinet. But the Government in this case leave it to any honorable senators who are approached by manufacturers with a request for more protection, to raise duties as high as they choose. Some manufacturers are like the daughter of the horse-leech. One man who saw Senator Findley wanted 25 per cent. Another who saw Senator Croft wanted 30 per cent. Now I understand that Senator Mulcahy has been interviewed with a request for 35 per cent. It is- time that sort of thing was put a stop to. This increasing of duties by private members will simply further delay the passing of the Tariff. Under the old Tariff, zinc tubing was free. ‘ Not even the Minister has explained why it is now made dutiable at 20 per cent. Unless honorable senators hunt up information for themselves, they are in the dark as to what is being done. The Government have thrown this Tariff on the table,’ saying, “We will resist all reductions moved by members of the Opposition, but members on. our own side, so long as thev increase the rates, can mutilate it as much as they like.” I wish to know why zinc tubing was removed from the free list and included in this item. I shall press for that information if I have to repeat my request for it over and over again. Honorable senators on the other side have only to whisper in the Minister’s ear to obtain all the information they require, but it would appear that honorable senators on this side are to be given no information, although they have often assisted the Government to get out of a difficulty. I have had handed to me a report by the Victorian Chief Inspector of Factories for 1906, and from this report I find that the average wage paid to brass-workers employed at the minimum wage or over is 51s. 4d. per week. Still, I am open to conviction on the matter, and if it can be shown that a duty of 30 ,per cent, on this item is necessary to cover the difference between the wages paid in the Qld Country and in Australia, I shall be prepared to support the request.
.- It is a very trying position for an honorable senator to bie placed in, when, seemingly, the order of the day is to spin out speeches to prevent a division. 1 congratulate the mover of the request before the Committee on having come back to the fold. I hope that he has brought Senator Lynch back with him. I am very glad to notice the change which has come over some honorable senators, and the extraordinary effort that is now being made by certain representatives of Western Australia to show that they recognise that yesterday they were in bad political company. While I am prepared to support a duty of 25 per cent, on this item, I consider that to propose a request for a duty of 30 ner cent, is going to extremes. Considering the temper of the Committee, I think we should be satisfied not with what we would like, but with what we can. get. I am not a thick-and-thin supporter of the Government, and if a representative of the Government told me that I should not move a certain request I should say, “ I am here as a ‘.representative of South Australia, under certain obligations, and holding certain principles, and I intend to have my say as I think proper.” Senator Millen has complained that the representatives of the Government in the Senate have not had the courage to move this request them- selves, and that requests for increases of duties have been moved without any reasons being given. We know that honorable senators belonging to the free-trade Tory party have frequently, immediately after the result of a division has been announced, moved reductions of duties without offering a single reason in support of their proposals. I might mention that some honorable senators, when before the electors, were protectionists, in order to secure their return, and God knows what they are to-day. . I like to see fair play, and, while I am a protectionist, I am not going to fight against the wind. I suggest to the Government that in future they should be careful to adhere to the duties they have submitted, and not run the risk of an all-night sitting by fighting for a trifling addition of 5 per cent. to a duty.
– Hear, hear ; they should stick to their guns.
– If Senator Mulcahy would only be true to his election pledges, and to statements he has frequently made in this chamber, the protectionist policy of the Government would be more likely to be given effect to. He is the honorable senator to whom I refer. If honorable senators would stick to their professed principles, which they enunciated before the electors, and be less true to the caucus over which Senator Millen presides, and of which Senator Dobson is the Whip, the policy of the country would be very much better carried forward, and much time and expense would be saved. I will support a duty of 25 per cent., but I will go no higher. I ask Senator Croft to withdraw his request. If he does not, I shall vote against him.
– “ Free-tection.”
– The honorable senator need not say that about me after the vote which he gave yesterday. I welcome him back to the fold, but he must have felt as I have done sometimes - when I have voted with the Conservatives, and received their congratulations and handshakes - very uncomfortable in such company. I am glad that the honorable senator has now seen the evil of his ways.
– The history of this item is particularly interesting. The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission considered the matter very carefully. After their first consideration of it, they recommended duties of 12 and 15 per cent. But, subsequently, they were moved to reconsider the question. They heard fresh evidence, and their amended conclusion is to be found on page 60 of their own report. Paragraph 5 says -
We beg leave to amend our recommendation relating to’ these goods contained in progress report No. 10, and to substitute the following, viz. : -
Electrical and Gas Appliances, viz. : -
Electroliers, Gasaliers, Pendants, Brackets, Switches, Controlling Devices, Radiators, and Zinc Tubing, 20 per cent.
They make the further recommendation that electrical appliances should pay a duty of 1 21/2 per cent. That piece of evidence regarding the first stage in the history of the item is rather a tough morsel for Senator Croft to swallow. The recommendation of the free- trade section of the Commission is to be found on page 23 of their report. They say-
Most of the witnesses, who spoke with a knowledge of applied electricity, suggested 25 per cent. as a maximum duty, but a brass founder, on behalf of a section of his industry, asked that a duty of “at least 40 per cent.” be put on electric motors of all descriptions. On all fours with this is the request of a Brisbane witness for a 50 per cent. duty on electric lamps, the immediate effect . of whichhe admitted would be to force up the price of these articles 60 per cent.
Evidently, even the duty which Senator Croft proposes would not satisfy some of the persons engaged in the trade. They candidly admitted that they wanted a higher duty, the effect of which would be to force up the price 60 per cent. The next stage in the history of the matter was reached when the Minister proposed to the House of Representatives duties of 25 and 20 per cent. Those rates were higher by 5 per cent. than those recommended by the protectionist section of the Commission. But the Treasurer was not satisfied, and the House of Representatives were not satisfied with the Treasurer’s proposal. What went on in connexion with this item in that House is a repetition of what went on there in connexion with another item which has engaged our attentionrecently, and the debate does not occupy more than a page of the official record of its proceedings.
– The honorable senator is not in order in referring to a debate on the item in another place.
– From the very beginning, the duty on this item has been getting higher and higher, and, in my opinion, the present rate will not satisfy the appetites of. honorable senators who call themselves protectionists. I admit that any private senator has the right to ask for an increase in . the duty on an item, but usually the supporters of the Government do not adopt that course.
Post and Telegraph Department - Administration.: Need of Public Inquiry Undermanning: Assistant Telegraphists : Curtailment of Postal Facilities.: Letter and Telegram Delivery : Contract Post Offices : Letter Boxes : Postage on Newspapers : Sale of Newspapers on Mail Days : Queensland Post and Telegraph Association, Ventilation of Grievances : Boards of Inquiry: Telephone. Toll System - Public Departments : BalanceSheets - Excise Tariff (Agricultural Machinery) Act : Regulation of Prices - .Remounts for India - Defence Department : Rates of Pay : Cadet Staff Officers - Defence Scheme - State Representation Abroad - Papua Administration : Annual Report : Land Ordinance- - Public Service Superannuation - Cancelled Mail Contract - Tenders : British Preference.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Motion (by Senator Best) agreed to-
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Bill from passing through all its stages without delay.
Motion (by Senator Keating) proposed: -
That this Bill be now read, a first time.
Sitting suspended from 6.23 to 7.4.5 p.m.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales’* [7-4Sl- - I propose to take advantage of the first reading of this measure to invite the attention of the Government to some matters of public concern which it is desirable should be ventilated. The first matter to which I desire to direct .’attention is the present very unsatisfactory state of affairs existing in the Postal Department’. It is common knowledge that from one end of Australia to the other there is, if not absolute disorganization within the service itself, at any rate, amongst the public generally, the belief that such disorganization exists, and unfortunately ample proof to justify it. I am not going into more details than are necessary to prove that point, because it is unfortunately too well known and felt that, wherever the fault may rest, the service is not meeting the public demand. We can hardly move about without meeting some citizen who is more or less indignant, because of the failure of the facilities which should be afforded by the Department. Not only does that dissatisfaction exist outside the service, but it is equally rampant within. When that is true of a service, the sole ‘object of which is to afford to the public those facilities without which business in a civilized country cannot be carried on, we may take it for granted that there is something- radically wrong somewhere. It is part of the duty of this Senate, in common with the other branch of the Legislature, to find out where the weakness is. I am not using language a bit too strong when I say that the existing system, if not absolutely broken down, is largely paralyzed. Only the week before last I despatched from Melbourne six letters to the same address, one going each day. On four out of the six occasions they were delivered on the day following that on which they should have been delivered. I posted them myself at the General Post Office in the mornings. They should have left by the express, and been, delivered in Sydney by the mid-day delivery next day. They arrived instead on the following morning. lt is a scandalous state of affairs that a big service like the Postal Department, which , is- not newly organized, and has been for over six years under Federal control, should be reduced to such a condition that on four occasions out of six it is unable to deliver letters according to schedule time. I have recently had correspondence from various parts of New South Wales, which shows that the same disorganization exists in country districts. Tt is not a cheese-paring policy that has brought the Department to this pass, for the Post Office to-day is costing the Commonwealth more than it ever cost before. The bill which the taxpayers of the Commonwealth are required to foot for running our general postal, telegraphic and telephonic work is heavier to-day than it hps ever been at any time in the history of Australia.
– I quite admit that the revenue and the work have increased, but even when allowance is made for that it is still costing Australia to-day more than it ever cost before forthe transaction of its postal business. We are paying more, and getting a less efficient service. The Vice-President of the Executive Council is naturally inclined to doubt that, but whilst the service is costing us more, facilities enjoyed previous to Federation are being withdrawn. I have recently had to put before the Department the great injustice represented by the fact, which is not a singular one, that places which have for twenty-five years and more enjoyed certain postal facilities are having those withdrawn from them. Those who thus have their facilities curtailed are naturally restive, and communicate with their representatives. I am not alone in being in possession of incidents of that kind. Whilst I do not wish to detain the Senate by giving particulars of thecases, I refer to them as justification for the statement that the Postal Department has got into a state of complete inefficiency, not because Parliament has stinted it in the amounts made available, but because of the disorganization which has occurred there, and which it is the business of the Government thoroughly ‘to inquire into and correct. That disorganization is not’ limited to the postal side of the Department. I need only mention telephones anywhere, and I am met with an outburst of laughter or indignation. A little while ago - I mention this to illustrate the methods under which the Department are working - they sought to introduce the toll system. It was actually introduced two years before one of the accessories essential to it was or could be available. . It was an important part of the toll system that every call should be automatically registered. It was known that the automatic register could not be made available for two years from the time the Department proposed to introduce the system, yet they did introduce it, and every operator who receives a call has to record the fact. So great a strain ‘has that been upon the operators that it has been found necessary to puton additional hands merely to debit each call against the subscriber liable for it. Any one would have thought that, even if the tollsystem were desirable, the Department would never have dreamt ofintroducing it until they were ready to launch it fairly, but they put it into operation, and would have made it universal but for the public outcry, before that very essential portion of the mechanism was available. That in itself is sufficient to insure the strongest condemnation of those in charge of the administration of the Department, but it is not a singular instance. One could run through every branch of the service which ought to be worked at a high state of efficiency, and which can justify its existence only in proportion as it meets a public want, and find similar instances. This lays upon the Government a most important obligation to take the earliest and most effective steps to apply a remedy. I do not pretend to know what that remedy should be. What is clear to me, and should be clear to nine out of ten people, is that the service is disorganized. I do not favour’ multiplying commissions or inquiries, butit seems that the only way for the Government to meet this growing difficulty will be to have a thorough and exhaustive inquiry into the working of the Department. As no one seems to be able to put his finger exactly upon the weak spot in the mechanism of the Department, and as it would be wrong to say that any particular man or method is at fault, for the whole machine seems to have got out of order, the time is approaching when a thorough and exhausting inquiry will have to be made, but it will fail of its object if it is intrusted merely to the officers of the Department - the men who have made and are responsible for the muddle which exists to-day. ‘ I should like to see the inquiry conductedby a Board or Commission upon which the business side of our life is largely represented. I submit for the consideration of the Government that an inquiry upon which outside independent business men of high standing do not find a place would altogether fail to secure the confidence of the public, and to achieve the result which it should achieve. Unless the Government are in a position to say that they know what is wrong, and provide a remedy, they should take that suggestion into serious consideration. If ever there was a time when the public demanded that something should be done in regard to the muddle that exists in the Post Office, it is now. One of the most misleading things in regard to many of our Departments, particularly the Post Office, is to take the receipts and expenditure alone as a guide to show to what extent the Department fails to pay its way. I want to see a balancesheet put forward as a business man would do it, charging against the Department a sum representative of the interest upon the capital sunk in it. Until that is done, we never know to what extent a Department represents a losing transaction. I make that suggestion in the interests of the Department itself, for if it is shown, by not entering up against it these legitimate charges, that it is a fairly paying one, there is always a greater tendency to ask it to do . something which ought not to be done. If a balance-sheet such as a business man would offer, showing the amount to which the Department is liable on its improvements - charging against it interest on the cost of public buildings, telephone lines, and other works - were placed in the hands of every legislator, he would know to what extent the Department is paying its way, as it ought todo, and to what extent he should vote to extend its operations.
– The PostOffice, under the Commonwealth, gets credit for all the work it does for the States. That was not done under State control.
– In some of the States there was an allowance for that before.
– The Department also pays the States Railway Departments very much more heavily than it did before Federation.
– I may answer Senator Keating’s interjection by quoting a previous interjection of Senator Best’s. It is true that more is paid to the railways, but the business is a growing one. There are more mails to carry, and consequently, if there is to be a charge as between State and Federal Departments, as there should be if we are to conduct our business on sound Federal lines, it is only reasonable that the railways should be paid an extra amount for the increased work thrown upon them. All these matters should appear in a proper balance-sheet, but it is impossible to know, from the accounts presented to us, to what extent the Department is entailing loss upon the taxpayers over and above the amount they individually pay for their letters and telegrams. I never could see why, when the State undertakes business enterprises, it should do otherwise than follow wellestablished business principles. I appeal to honorable senators who believe in the extension of State enterprise to throw their influence behind the’ proposition that all enterprises conducted by the Government can only succeed so long as they are conducted upon sound commercial lines. When we depart from that, we introduce the first seeds of disruption and failure. Seeing that the Post Office is one of those services which must go on, it is to the interest of us all, and an obligation upon honorable senators, to see that some regard is paid in its management to thoroughly sound business considerations. I wish to refer now to another matter in the nature of an inquiry. We have heard’ a great deal lately concerning the Excise Tariff (Agricultural Machinery) Act. One portion of that Act has monopolized the attention Of very many of. us, and that is the portion now being considered elsewhere, and to which I do not propose to make any reference at this stage. Another portion of the Act made it obligatory on manufacturers of agricultural implements not to charge more than a certain price for them, and I wish to know whether the Government have made ‘any inquiries to discover whether the provisions of that portion of the Act are being observed. It was intended that it should not be a one-sided measure. It proposed to insure to the purchasers of agricultural implements an opportunity to obtain them at a fair price, and that portion of the Act, equally with the other portion to which I have referred, is under the control of the Government. I should be glad to learn that they have displayed greater vigilance in supervising the operation of that portion of the Act than we can credit them with having displayed in the supervision of the portion of the Act which is now being challenged elsewhere. I wish now to deal with another matter which is creating excitement, though possibly in somewhat limited circles. I refer to a circular recently issued by the Indian Government, on which I questioned the Vice-President of the Executive Council this morning. In this circular, the Indian Government proposed very kindly to relieve horse-breeders in Australia of any trouble in the disposal of their horses. It comprises about the most complete proposal for the creation of a trust or combine that has every been published. There is no doubt as to the object in view, because the circular which has been issued by the head. of the Remount Department in India is really remarkable for its lucidity. It sets out that the Indian Government propose to organize buyers into seven firms, who are to operate inseven different divisions into which the Indian Government propose to apportion Australia. It is proposed, further, to impose the restriction that no one of these firms is to be at liberty, not merely to purchase outside of the area allotted to it, but to purchase even within that area a single horse brought there from any other portion of Australia. This is about as perfect a proposal for the establishment of a trust or combine as’ I have ever heard suggested.
– It is as bad as the Standard Oil Company.
– I was going to suggest that if there are representatives of the Standard Oil Company in Australia, they ought to secure a copy of this circular, because it is quite possible that they might learn something from it. I ask honorable senators to consider the difficulties under which the horse trade in Australia is carried on. They are aware that a very large number of horses are sold every year in the ‘Commonwealth at recognised horse depots, which very frequently are established near the border between two States. In New South Wales, Bourke is a favorite place at which big sales of horses are organized, and I venture to say that three out of every four horses sold at the Bourke sales come from. Queensland. . If we turn to South Australia, it will be admitted that the yards at Kapunda are largely filled with horses drawn from Queensland and the western portions of New South Wales. If the Indian Government’s proposal were given effect to, no South Australian buyer would be at liberty to purchase at Kapunda any horses that came from Queensland or New South Wales. Therewould be no difficulty whatever in deciding whether a horse came from Queensland or New South Wales, because honorable senators know that, as horses are branded, and assuming that the art of faking has disappeared, it is the easiest possible thing to say in what locality a particular horse has been bred. If this circular is given effect to, horsebreeders in Australia will be placed absolutely at the mercy of the particular buyer that the Indian Government has alloted to them. He willbe able to offer them whatever price . he pleases, and, unless they are prepared to take it, the Indian market will be closed to them. As horses bred for Indian remounts aremuchmore valuable for that purpose than for ordinary hack purposes, the breeders would in the circumstances be obliged to accept ex tremely low prices for their horses. I point out that the circular is in violation of the provisions of the Constitution, which stipulate for free-trade between the States, and is also in violation of our Anti-Trust Act. We have been informed that the Government have made representations to the Indian Government on the subject of the circular, but I hope the matter will not be allowed to rest at that. I assume that the correspondence so farhas- been by cable, and that is an inadequate channel of communication upon so important a matter.
– As I said this morning, the Indian Government have agreed to ‘hold the circular over until they receive full representations from us.
– It is because I hope that these representations will be full and emphatic that I am now addressing myself to the subject. I feelsure that the Government will not neglect to point out that it is not in conformity with the spirit of our legislation, or with the letter or spirit of the Constitution, that any man in Australia should not be at liberty to buy a horse in one State if it happensto come from another, and “I hope that the Government in making their representations to the Indian Government will put forward, not merely the views of the breeders of horses in the matter, but its unconstitutional aspect, and the objection to it raised by the provisions of our Anti-Trust Act.
– But if Senator Millen were appointing agents in Australia for the purchase of horses, would he not give them different districts, and see that one did not compete with another?
-If I did, itwould be with the sole object of getting horses at less than their market value.
– But thehonorable senator would not have his agents competing against each other in the purchase of horses for himself.
– I am afraid that Senator Guthrie entirely misapprehends the position. These buyers are not to be sentout asdirectagents to buy for the Indian Government. There might be no objection to that. The proposal is that the Indian Government shall give an order to a buyer for 200,300, or 500 horses at a certain price. The Indian Government will take no responsibility in the matter, and should a horse die before delivery in’ India the loss will be on the buyer. I contend that these men should be at liberty to buy where they please. If they are not to have that liberty we shall have a combine at work in Australia, and we might just as well tear up our Anti-Trust Act.
– Referring to Senator Guthrie’s question, I should say that, apart from what Senator Millen might be disposed to do .in the circumstances, no Government should invite any one to contravene an Act of Parliament.
– Just so. I hope that the Federal Government will recognise the importance of this matter, and that the obligation rests upon them to suggest to the Indian Government that the circular in question violates our Constitution, and contravenes our law. I have little doubt that if that is done the Indian Government will not merely suspend the operation of the circular, but will withdraw if altogether. We should not be content with putting forward the objections raised bv the breeders of horses, which are just such objections as might be expected from the interested vendors of a particular commodity, but we should also urge the objection that the circular proposes a violation of our Anti-Trust Act and of our Constitution. If these objections are submitted to the Indian Government I feel sure that they will consider it their duty to carry on their operations in this direction in a way which will be in conformity with, the laws of Australia. I have referred to the matter primarily from the stand-point of the interests of the breeders of horses in the Commonwealth,’ but I point out that in the. interests of -Australia as a whole, and also of the Indian Government, it would be well to destroy the circular. If put into operation it’ would have two effects. One would be to discourage, and ultimately to stop, the breeding of this- particular class of horses to the injury’ of the interests of the Indian Government who desire to be able to obtain them, and of the Commonwealth in which we have ample facilities for breeding them ; and the other effect would be to divert the trade in these horses to Asiatic States and to Japan, amorist others,’ that have recently come into our market as buyers of horses. I have a great belief in the future of horse-breeding in this country .; in spite of the advantage of the motor, the demand for horses is as keen to-day as it has been for very many years, whilst the difficulty of obtaining suitable horses is becoming more pronounced every day. Supervision of the breeding of stock may be said to come more particularly within the functions of the States Governments, but this is essentially a Federal matter, and I ask the Government to take every step to secure that the circular to which I have referred shall be permanently withdrawn, and the breeding of horses be given full play in Australia.
– With Senator Millen, I regret to be obliged to complain of the administration of the Post and Telegraph Department. I am almost ashamed to have to say that on every occasion when I rise to discuss the Estimates in the Senate I am compelled to return to this question. There is something radically wrong in the administration of this public Department. Dissatisfaction with it is rampant amongst the public, and complaint is made of the non-delivery of letters and of interruptions and delays in the operation of the telegraph and telephone services. As one who believes in Socialism, or the nationalization of industries, it is a matter of deep concern to me that this great public Department should be successfully conducted, and that through its operations the public should be well served, and the employes of the Department satisfied. I do not know whether any effort has been made by the heads of the Department or by the Postmaster-General to overcome the difficulties .which have arisen, but if any has been it has proved unsuccessful. The first great complaint made is that the’ service is undermanned. As I have pointed om before, there is no earthly reason why this should be the case. The Commonwealth authorities have returned much more to the States than the share of the Customs and Excise revenue allotted to them by the Constitution. Since Federation was established, I believe that nearly £6, 000,000 in excess of their___ three_– fourths of the Customs and Excise revenue has been returned to the States. In view of that fact, it cannot be contended ‘that there is any reason for starving this Department. There should be plenty of money, not merely to pay those who are now engaged in the Department, but any number of additional hands that may be required to carry on its work effectively. I read some time ago that the Department requisitioned the Postmaster-General for an additional 1,100 hands; I think that was the number. The Postmaster-General passed the requisition on to the Treasurer, who immediately put his foot down upon it. I suppose that he did so after consulting the Public Service Commissioner.
– In any case the Treasurer said that he could not afford the money. The moneywas not found.
– Thatwas it.
– The Public Service Commissioner, I understand, reported that a certain number of additionalofficers were necessary, but not so many as was stated by the responsible officers of the Department. ‘ I wish to say that the officer in charge of the Department in a particular State - that is, the Deputy PostmasterGeneral - is the only man qualified to say whether his Department is under or over manned. If he requisitions the PostmasterGeneral for more assistants, either they should be appointed or the Deputy PostmasterGeneral should be dismissed as being incapable of filling his position. How could the Public Service Commissioner know whether twenty or one hundred additional hands were required in Melbourne or Sydney ? He could not possibly know. How could the Treasurer know ? These gentlemen have no means of getting information except from the officers in direct charge of the Department in the States. I hope that there will be a change in the administration of the Post Office within the near future. I said some time ago that unless an alteration took place I should be compelled to move either for the appointment of a Select Committee or a Royal Commission. Instead of the grumbling ceasing, since then it appears to have become louder and louder, and more pronounced. Every day I take up the Brisbane newspapers I find that there has been a serious interruption of telegraphic business between Queensland and the southern portions of Australia.
– One newspaper publishes in every issue the amount of delay in connexion with every telegram received by it.
– Yes, it gives the details. There must be some reason for this. Either the Department is undermanned or it is very badly managed, or there are insufficient lines to transact the business. It must be evident to every one that there is something radically wrong with the Department throughout its whole ramifications - something that requires speedy remedy. I feel that I am merely beating the air in talking of this matter - that is, if I am to judge of the future by the past. Talking at the Government seems to be something like hitting a bag of chaff. You do not seem to accomplish anything.
– Why does not the Senate try an effective means by stopping supply ?
– We shall have to do something. There is no doubt about that. The Parliament of the Commonwealth is responsible for the effective management of the Post and Telegraph Department. If the Department is constantly a failure a serious blow will have been struck at such State enterprises as the post and telegraph service is ; and I am sure that no member of the Senate, whether he be a Socialist or an anti-Socialist, or whatever his political opinions may be, desires to see our post and telegraph service discredited and an agitation commenced to hand it over to a private company.
– Appoint a Royal Commission.
– Some action is necessary, and unless there is a distinct change for the better within the very near future, I shall feel myself compelled, if no one else takes steps to move for the appointment of a Select Committee or a Royal Commission. I do not like the idea of. a Royal Commission, because it is necessarily a most expensive affair. I do not even care about a Select Committee.
– A Royal Commission would not be half so expensive as the continuance of the present unsatisfactory method.
– No; I quite agree with Senator Millen that a Royal Commission would not be half so expensive as the continuance of the present deplorable state of affairs. The public are dissatisfied, the employes are dissatisfied, and every one is dissatisfied. There is another matter in connexion with the Post and Telegraph Department to which I wish to direct the attention of the Senate. It appears to me to be a matter of very great importance, and one which may have a very serious effect upon the good or bad management of the Department. In Brisbane there is an Association of Post and Telegraph employes who call themselves the Queensland Post and Telegraph Association. In other words, there is a trade union amongst the employes in Brisbane. That association has been formed with a double purpose. One purpose is to assist by suggestions and so on in the effective management of the Department. Another object is to bring the grievances of members of the service under the notice of the association with a view to having them ventilated in Parliament or elsewhere.
– And to sift them first, in order to see whether they are genuine grievances.
– Certainly. On the 1 6th December, 1907, a letter waswritten to me by this association in the following terms -
As you are doubtless aware, particularly from the number of questions that have lately been asked in Parliament, a great amount of discontent prevails, and has done for a considerable period, in the Post and Telegraph Service of the Commonwealth.
A reference to the files of the Transmitter, the Federated P. and T. Association’s monthly journal, will show that the discontent has been growing for years from various causes (a few of which I indicate here) until there is becoming a grave danger of dislocation of the service.
This association was one of the first to point out to the authorities the imminence of the troubles that remaining unremedied have led to the universal dissatisfaction that now exists. But from whatever reason, little heed was paid to the warnings, with the present result.
At a conference of delegates of the State associations held in Melbourne in August, 1906, it was decided to take a plebiscite of members’ of associations on the question of asking for a Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry into the grievances or officer’s of this service, and the result was - Yes, 843; No, 284.
So rapidly have events moved since then, and. so greatly have grievances multiplied, that were the referendum again resorted to the result would undoubtedly now be even more emphatically in favour.
Acting in accordance with the result of the referendum referred to, the Central Executive of the Federated P. and T. Associations will seek to obtain a Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry into the causes of the discontent.
With the object of helping to secure such an inquiry, my council has directed me to appeal, for your support and assistance.
A similar request will be made to senators and representatives of. other States by the various associations.
Among the subjects into which inquiry is urgently needed in this State are -
The classification of the Commonwealth Public Service.
The constitution of Boards of Inquiry and Appeal.
The insufficient supply of men and material-
Days in lieu of holidays.
Excess hours (overtime).
Furlough and recreation leave(difficulty of obtaining).
Unfair division of. increments.
Misconstruction of regulations.
Excessive delay to business, arid a number of other matters.
Trusting that this association may rely upon your assistance and support.
– Was there any reference to the complaints that have been made outside the Department?
– Yes ; the letter refers to the insufficient supply of men and material, and to the excessive delay in the transaction of business.
– It also speaks of the dislocation of business.
– Yes. On the 7th of February of the present year I received another communication from the secretary of this association, in which he says -
I regret to have to inform you that the action taken by my council, as per my letter of 17th December, has been questioned by the Public Service Commissioner, who regards our action as a contravention of section 46 of the Public. Service Act.
I just wish to say that such contravention was quite unintentional upon our part. Our action was performed frankly and openly, and our intention to do so has been publicly stated in the Transmitter for the last eighteen months.
Nevertheless, in deference to the opinion of the Public Service Commissioner and the Hon. the Postmaster-General (who concurs with that gentleman), I beg to ask you to kindly regard my letter as withdrawn and non-existent.
The point to which I wish more particularly to direct the attention of the Senate is this. Here is an association of Government employes, formed for their own protection and for the more effective conduct of the Public Service, and when they attempt to suggest to Parliament that the business of the Department is not being conducted as it ought to be, and that they have grievances which they have tried to get remedied and have failed, the Public Service Commissioner immediately objects to that communication being sent. He gets them to withdraw it, and by so doing; attempts to erect - for that is just what it means - round the Public Service a wall of silence, inside which no outside man can hope to penetrate. If public servants are not permitted either to suggest how thebusiness of the people might be better conducted, orto submit their grievances to theParliament of the country, to what position shall we bring ourselves ? The PublicService will be a close preserve, surrounded by a wall of silence. It will be impossible for any outside man to discover what is going on, and the result will inevitably be confusion, corruption, maladministration, and a complete discredit of that .service. I do not think it is healthy that such a : state of things should be allowed to exist. Why should not public servants be permitted to bring their grievances, if they have any, before the Parliament of the country - before their board of directors, so to speak, for that is what Parliament, in effect, is? Although we handed the control of this Department over to the Public Service Commissioner, the PostmasterGeneral, and the heads of Departments, we did so with this reservation, that we. retained the right to overlook their management. Just as, according to the old tradition, the humblest subject in the realm can appeal to the King, so it appears to me that the humblest employe in the Pub1 lie Service has a right to be heard by Parliament. But the Commissioner, apeing the capitalist, and carrying out. the generally accepted capitalistic view that associations of workers ought not to exist, or, if they do exist, that they should be as quiet as is possible, has simply set his foot upon this association. He has told them that they must make no representations to Parliament. My information is that these men have exhausted every other method of getting redress. They have pointed out, time after time, to the heads of The Departments that they are shorthanded. They have also shown that because of this undermanning, not only they, but also the public, are suffering ; and they have done all this without any effect. What can they do ? Ought they not to come, before the representatives of the people, . who are their employers, and state their grievances? Some persons have suggested that if public servants were permitted to come to Parliament with their grievances, itwould be impossible to maintain discipline. I do not believe anything of the kind. Even at the. risk of destroying or weakening what is known as discipline, I would much rather see Parliament interfere than have’ the present state df dissatisfaction continued with no prospect of remedy. We have to consider what is best for the country and best for the Public Service. Is it better to have an effective service, even if a little agitation, or, for that matter, a great deal of agitation, is tolerated, than to have an inefficient, ineffective, corrupt service, outside of which not a whimper of. discontent is heard? If this sort of thing is allowed to continue, the Public Service will be like a Russian prison.
There will be weeping, wailing, and gnash. ing of teeth within the walls of the dungeon, but nothing will be -heard outside. Once a man has passed the portal of the Public Service, he will have placed himself completely at the mercy of the heads of Departments. I was going to add “ and of the Postmaster-General,” but, if I had done so, I would have made a mistake, because he is as completely in the hands of. the heads of Departments as the Commissioner wishes to place the employes. I think that the latter made a serious mistake in objecting to this association writing to members of Parliament. If there is dissatisfaction in the Public Service, we ought to know about it. If our employes are discontented with their lot, if they think that they are not being fairly treated, where ought they to go except to the representatives of their employers ? I hope that the Senate will not countenance in any shape or form this attempt on the part of the Commissioner to stifle legitimate complaint by postal employes with regard to their grievances. There is also another matter in. connexion with the Postal Department about which I have been written to, and that is with regard .to Boards of Inquiry. When Parliament was framing the Public Service Act, it realized that it was necessary to provide for Boards before which differences which arose between officials could be heard ; otherwise we came to the conclusion that a great deal of tyranny might be exercised by the heads of Departments, and the employes treated unfairly. It appears that the Commissioner has made a fresh departure in connexion with those Boards. The Act says that each case shall be tried before a Board composed of three members, one member representing the Government, another member representing the Department, and another member representing the particular division to which the officer whose case is being tried belongs, and two members constituting a quorum. In Queensland, instead of the members of a Board travelling to wherever an inquiry was to be held, and hearing the evidence, questioning the witnesses, and coming to their conclusions with every advantage which such a method offers, the Commissioner has, on the score of expense, delegated the duty of taking evidence to- Iocs: Police Magistrates. I will give one instance : There was a case with regard to the nondelivery of a registered letter at Bowen. I think that two officers were suspended in connexion with that matter. An inquiry was ordered to be held, and, instead of the members of the Board being sent to Bowen to hold the inquiry, the Police Magistrate in that place was deputed by the Government to examine the witnesses. The evidence was sent on. to the Board in Brisbane, and it is expected to give its decision after reading it.
– There were three officers concerned, and it was a most important case.
– Is that legal?
– That is just what I want to know. It has been done by the passing of a new regulation. The GovernorGeneral in Council is empowered by the Public Service Act to pass such regulations, . not in conflict, with its provisions, as may seem necessary to carry .it out effectively, and a special regulation - 267A I think the number is - has been passed, giving the Com.missioner power to delegate the taking of evidence to Police Magistrates. As to its legality, of course I am not in a position to give an opinion, but I know that the representative of the clerical division complains very bitterly of the regulation. He says that before he can give an intelligent decision in any ease, he must see the witnesses, and be able to put questions . to them. He says that it is impossible for him to give a decision which he would consider fair and just on the merits of a case after merely reading the evidence which had been taken by some other man, however reliable he might be. I am not going to offer any opinion on that point. I know that it is quite a common thing for courts of law to delegate the taking of evidence to other persons. Not only the representative I have referred to, but a large number of public servants, object to this new departure. They say that it is very unlikely that justice will be done unless the spirit, as well as the letter, of the Act is carried out; that is, unless the Boards which have been appointed under the Act carry out the inquiries. Before resuming my seat, I desire to say to the honorable senator who represents the Postmaster-General, that I hope that, on this occasion at any rate, what has been said here will not go in at one ear and out at the other, but that there will be some- result. If not, I am certain that, from all parts of the Senate, and, I believe, from all corners of the House of Representatives, there will come a unanimous appeal to the Government - and one which it will not be able to resist - -for the appointment of either a Royal Commission or a Select Committee to inquire into these matters.
: - There is only one matter to which I propose to ask the attention of the Senate, and which I think is a very fitting sequel to the remarks of Senators Millen and Stewart. It is based upon, a very interesting return, which I hope the Printing Committee will embalm in the records of the Senate, and every honorable senator will study, because, in my opinion, it gives the reason for a considerable number of the complaints of the general public as to the stagnation of business in the Postal Department. Of no branch of the Department have greater complaints been made than of the telegraphic branch. I shall not say who is responsible for the state of affairs which has been created, but it must be one of three persons - the PostmasterGeneral, the Public Service Commissioner, or the Treasurer. It is for the Government to inform the Senate who is responsible for the practical dislocation of business in the Postal Department, particularly the telegraphic branch. When the Department was taken over by the Commonwealth from the States, the Constitution safeguarded to the officers the status which they had under the States. The classification of the Public Service Commissioner recognised that. The Commissionerspecified in his classification certain officers who were to be what may be called permanent officers, to whom certain privileges in regard to salary, holidays, and other questions are conserved. Parliament in its wisdom provided that to every man who has been three years in the service and is over the age of 21 a minimum wage of £110 per annum shall be paid. The telegraph service is graded. There are certain men who get nearly the maximum salary”, and from them the officers are graded down to the minimum. One of the claims of the Public Service Commissioner is that he desires to do away with the old order of promotion, by seniority, and give promotion by merit. The return I have will disclose the fact that in the actual working of the Public Service Act promotion so far as the telegraph branch is concerned is at an end. There is no inducement for a telegraphist to qualify himself or to aspire, because even if vacancies occur the way is blocked and he will not get promotion. I called for a return a few months ago showing: - 1. The number of . telegraphists employed by the
Postal Department iri each State for the years 1902 and 1907 respectively; and 2. The number of assistants acting as telegraphists for each State in 1902 and 1907 respectively. Owing to the decrease in the cost of telegrams of 50 per cent, in some cases and of even more in others, there has been an enormous increase in the number despatched. I am within the mark in saying that four times as many telegrams were sent in 1907 as in 1902. Sn increase in business means more employes. That is only common sense. Therefore, when we look at the returns of the Postal Department, we should expect to find more telegraphists employed in 1907 than in 1902. I shall give honorable senators the figures, which are little short of startling. I will take first the employes classified as on the permanent list. I will give the several States separately, and afterwards the totals :-
There is an explanatory note in regard to Victoria that 87 of the 285 employed in 1902 were females. I do not know that they were any less telegraphists because they happened to be females, but it seemed good to the wisdom of the Department to draw our attention to that fact. The South Australian figures show the greatest discrepancy of all, and it is a marvel that we have not heard more complaints from that State. My own State is the next most unfortunate, yet during the six years large numbers of new telegraph offices have been established, a line of 100 miles in length to the Black Range has been opened, the business has increased enormously, and the population has gone up by at least 60,000. After hearing those figures, honorable senators will wonder, not that there have been complaints, but that the whole business has not come to a standstill. I come now to the explanation of how the Department have been able to carry on at all. Their method is a very ingenious way of defeating the provisions of the Public Service Act, in passing which Parliament meant that the officers in the service should get the benefit of its provisions relating to salary, promotion, gradation, and appointments. The authority respon sible - one or other of the three gentlemen I have named - has discovered an ingenious method of evading those provisions by appointing assistant telegraphists. They are telegraphists, send telegrams, have to pass an examination, and in every sense of the word are the same as the other men. But they are classed as assistants, and so are not necessarily placed on the permanent list, and therefore, I presume, cannot claim the benefits of the Public Service Act. The permanent staff of qualified and experienced men is being practically allowed to die out, and in order to carry on the work, men who have only just qualified, and who have no experience, are being put on to take their places as they die or resign. These figures tell the tale -
In the case of Victoria, the records have gone up in smoke. The fire which occurred in the Post Office apparently destroyed the record of the number of employes, and this return makes the singular and somewhat startling statement, that the Postal Department in Victoria, given . a month, are not able to tell how many temporary hands they have in their employ. I gave notice of this return some weeks ago, yet the blank in the Victorian figures is explained by the statement that the records were burnt in the recent fire. That fire occurred some time ago, ‘ and yet the brains of the Postal Department or of the Public Service Commissioner’s office, have not been equal to the task’ of ascertaining how many assistant telegraphists are employed iri Victoria.
– In the case ‘of Queensland, the business has increased by 33 per cent. I have just looked that up.
– The people responsible are not satisfied with calling men assistant’ telegraphists in order that they may not have to give them the salary of fully qualified officers, and- a chance of having the benefit of the Public Service Act. They have invented another grade, called “ assistant telegraphists partly employed.” I take it that those are glut hands who are at the beck, and call of the Department, and are sent for in times of pressure of work. If that is so, they can never be properly qualified, because they cannot get the. experience. Such a system is the very one not only to lead to disorganizationand dissatisfaction, but to get the very worst results from the men. It is in this class that the great increase has taken place. In this most unsatisfactory branch of all, the greatest generosity has been displayed in appointments, as will be seen by the following figures -
The record for 1902 for Victoria was burnt in the fire, but the Department managed to discover how many “ assistant telegraphists partly employed “ were on the list last year. Totalling the figures, there has been a decrease of 140 in the fully fledged telegraphists on the permanent staff, notwithstanding the enormous increase of business. There, has been an increase of sixty -four in the number of assistant telegraphists, while in the number of “ assistant telegraphists partly employed,” the increase has been 239. In 1902, there were em- ployed 1,837 of all classes, and in 1907 2,000, a total increase of 163. There we have the secret of the dislocation of the Telegraph Branch of the Department. Instead of encouraging men by moving them up as vacancies occur, giving those in the lower grades something to work for and some hope of a reward for merit - the thing which is so much paraded in the Public Service Commissioner’s reports, but which, if he is responsible for what has taken place he never ‘ seems to act upon - the course adopted is really to penalize the men. If a man displays merit in the Telegraphic Branch of the Department, he knows there is no reward for him. If a vacancy occurs in a higher grade, he may never hope to fill it. Two or three men are brought on at half or quarter time when there is a rush of work, and the men who have experience are penalized by being compelled to work overtime. If there is a rush of work they are called upon to work overtime, and until the Senate took action they were called upon to work on Sundays.
– Arid there is no branch of the service in which there is so much danger attaching to overtime “work.
– There are no public servants who should receive more consideration, because theirs is a ner ve- wracking occupation, which only men of strong nerves can stand. Yet this is the way they are treated. Let me give an instance of what has happened. In Western Australia we have now forty-seven permanent employes less than we had in 1902, and we have thirty-two more assistants. As a matter of fact, therefore, the number of telegraphists in that State to-day is less by fifteen than the number we had in 1902. I say that that is simply a scandal, and the person responsible for it, whether the Minister or the Public Service Commissioner, should receive the severest castigation that Parliament can give him.
– The Treasurer will not. find the funds required.
– I do not know whether the fault lies with the Treasurer or with the Public Service Commissioner. I look at the Public Service Act and I see that’ apparently the power of making promotions rests with the Public Service Commissioner. If ‘ that be so, when a vacancy occurs it should be his duty to see that applications are called to fill the vacancy, and the. most meritorious of the applicants should be moved up to fill it. His place should be filled by the most meritorious below him, and the vacancy at the bottom pf the lowest grade should be filled by an assistant telegraphist. But that is not what happens. As these men die out, or, becoming disgusted, leave the service, no promotion is given, and no addition is made to the number of permanent, men, but a man is taken on at the tail end .who, so far as I can see, may be paid any salary that the Public Service Commissioner pleases - ^50, £60, or ,£100 a year. I find nothing in the Public Service Act which compels the payment to partiallyemployed men of salaries at the rate which must be paid to men on the permanent staff.. I believe that the minimum wage provision for a salary of £110 would not apply to men only partially employed. In the first place, because they could not qualify for it, since they can only be given nine months’ continuous employment.
– They can be gazetted as re-employed.
– But they can never be in a position to show three years’ continuous employment. ‘ ;
– I have known men to be continuously employed for quite three years on the temporary staff.
– Then they must be exempt from the Act. There is a provision in the Act which says that no man can be temporarily employed for more than nine months in all, and if what the honorable senator says is done it is in violation of that provision.
– It is done by Order in Council, published in the Gazette.
– It cam only be accomplished by exempting the employe’ from provisions of the Act.
– If that is the method by which these men are being continued in employment without appointment to the permanent staff, then advantage is toeing taken of a subterfuge to evade an Act of Parliament. This course is being indulged in by Ministers of the Crown or by the Public Service Commissioner. If by Ministers of the Crown, it is time that Parliament told them that they must administer the laws, and not evade them.,’ and if by the Public Service Commissioner it is time he was told that, although appointed for seven years, he is the servant’ of Parliament, and must carry out the spirit of the- Public Service Act, and not evade its provisions. I- am concerned in this matter for this reason amongst others : AVe know that in every State of the Commonwealth there is a certain feeling against Federation and the Federal Parliament’. There is nothing that gives more irritation in the State of Western Australia at the present time than the delays and dislocation of business in the Post and Telegraph Department. When all other arguments against the Federation fail, the work of the Post and Telegraph Department is pointed to, and we have no reply. We are told1 that telegrams are not depatched for hours after thev are handed in, and we have no reply. When we are told that these complaints did not arise when the States Governments were running the Department we have no reply, because the figures show that when the States were running the Department it was fairly well manned, and- we know that now it’ is starved, that men are worked overtime, and discouraged from putting forth their best efforts, with a result that is deplorable and a disgrace to the Federal management. I believe we can confidently appeal in this matter to the Minister of Home Affairs, who re presents the Postmaster-General in the Senate, because I am sure the honorable senator desires that the Senate should hold an effective place not only in the legislation of the Commonwealth, but in the administration of the different public Departments. I would say to the honorable senator that this criticism of the Post and Telegraph Department demands a reply. The So- ‘vernment of which he is a member are responsible for the existing unsatisfactory condition of things or they are not, and if they are not there should be a full statement on the subject to Parliament. If the Government are not responsible in this matter, the Public Service Commissioner is, either because he refuses to give the Government the necessary appointments to carry on the Department effectively, or because we have passed an Act which has given him so much power that he can defy the Ministry and Parliament. The Minister of Home Affairs owes it as a duty to himself as well as to the Senate to make some explanation. The return which was laid on the table of the House to-day is of such a character as to demand full explanation from the Ministry, that we may be informed how it is that in a Department whose business has been continually increasing, the number of employes shows a serious decrease, and the employment of temporary hands has’ been adopted to such an extent. .
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [9.10]. - I am in strong agreement with a great deal that has been said in connexion with the working of the Post and Telegraph Department. I intend to’ refer to some matters connected with the Department myself, and also to some matters of urgent consequence connected with the Defence Department. I believe that Senator Pearce’s statement of the extraordinary state of affairs existing in the telegraphic branch of the Post and Telegraph Department would accurately describe the conditions existing in the postal branch of the same Department’. I know that a great many things are going on that ought not to go on. I know that the Department is actually discharging young men at one door after a few weeks temporary employment, and at the same time taking in new and inexperienced hands at another door. The delivery of letters is in many cases as unsatisfactory as is the delivery of telegrams, and that has become almost a bv-word - if you are in .a hurry you had better walk. I have known instances in which it has taken two hours to deliver a telegram at a distance of not more than 250 yards from the office of receipt. It would appear to be the practice to employ youngsters in knickerbockers to work after school hours, and to deliver telegrams according to their notions of propriety, whilst the idea that there is any hurry about the business never occurs to them. Personally I have been greatly inconvenienced when travelling on public business by the’ non-delivery of telegrams addressed to me. People desiring to communicate with me have been put to additional expense in following me with additional wires from one town to another. In the matter of the nondelivery ‘ of letters, I may mention a case which caused some considerable inconvenience when I visited Western Australia about a year ago. A letter was addressed to me by the Military Commandant of that State as “ Passenger by P. and O., China, at Fremantle.” I was five or six weeks in Western Australia, and it was not until a month or two after I returnedto Sydney that the letter reached my hands. It was sent on to me by the Commandant of Western Australia, to show me that he had not been discourteous in not answering a letter I had written him from here. The letter was taken to the China for delivery, and should have met me there, instead of which it arrived after I left, though I certainly did not leave in a hurry. It was known that I was staying at the principal hotel in Perth, not a hundred yards from the General Post Office, and the fact that I was in the town was a subject of notoriety, referred to in every newspaper published there. Those who had charge of the delivery of the letter did not manage to find out that I was in the city forsome time, and in Western Australia for weeks, and the non-delivery of this letter occasioned some degree of unpleasantness. I mention it as a glaring case.
-They should have sent out a bellman to look for the honorable senator.
– They would haveequipped and sent round a searchlight to find my honorable friend. There mother matter with which I wish to deal in connexion with what are known as contract post-offices, to which persons are now appointed - notby the Minister, not by the Postmaster-General not even by the permanent head of the Department, but by the Deputy Postmaster-General of the State concerned.
– I do not think that that applies to contract offices, but to allowance offices.
– I have used the term which is sometimes used in official correspondence with me. Sometimes they are called contract offices and sometimes allowance offices, but we all know what they are. They are offices that are opened where there is only a small volume of business, and’ they are, as it were, farmed out.
– The expenditure amounts to fairly large sums in some instances.
– Sometimes to nearly£200 per annum. I know of a recent case where a gentleman highly recommended sought, for various reasons of his own, an appointment to one of these positions. To my astonishment I learnt that the only person who had to do with the appointment of such offices was the Deputy Postmaster-General. In this particular case, up to the stage when I came upon the scene, the only person, apparently, who had taken any interest in the matter was a suburban postmaster. The applicant for the position had been required to call upon a suburban postmaster, who reported on the man’s fitness or unfitness to be put in charge of a. contract office in a small country town. It really means that these appointments are apparently made by the Deputy Postmaster-General after some irresponsible person in the Department has made’ a recommendation. I wish to go a little further to show the sort of administration to which this Department is subject. It is a matter of detail, but it shows the utter muddle existing. Immediately outside the gate at my premises near Sydney there is a letter-box fastened to a telegraph post. Attached to that letter-box is a disc arrangement that should be turned every time the box is cleared to show the hour of the next clearance. Of course we all understand these things. But a cheerful authority comes along and paints a different set of hours on the side of the box. I spoke to the Deputy Postmaster-Generalabout it last January, and he said that he was much obliged to me for calling his attention to the matter. But still there is no alteration. On the side of the box now there are clearance hours specified that are in direct variance with the number shown on thi; indicator. I have not the least doubt in the world that if I were to look at all the other letter-boxes in the district I should find that the same joke had been perpetrated on the public. But really it is a serious sort of joke, because it led me astray, and I missed twenty-four hours in relation to the posting of some important public documents, ‘because! I posted the documents in accordance with the new painting on the side of the box.
– Was it done as a joke ?
– Apparently it is a departmental joke which ‘is still being kept up, although attention has been directed to it. I must also refer to the absurdity of charging j Jd. postage on a newspaper that you buy for id. Surely when Parliament is voting money to advertise the Commonwealth abroad, we ought to recognise that one of the best methods of advertising this country is to disseminate news about Australia .as given in the daily and weekly press.
– I am not quite sure about that.
– How does the honorable senator make out that the postage on newspapers is :i id. ? I think that under the Postage ‘Rates Act there is a poundage rate.
– The rate for newspapers posted in Sydney to be sent abroad is i£d. There is correspondence proceeding in reference to the subject even now. There is one other little matter of which I wish the Minister- representing the Postmaster-General to make a note. For many years it was the practice in Sydney to make provision for the sale and the addressing of newspapers on mail days close to the General Post Office. Tables were placed on ‘ the broad footpath outside the arcade of the Post Office, and at these newspapers were largely purchased, addressed and stamped for posting. But the Commonwealth, has a soul above every public convenience of that kind, and somebody in Melbourne reported against it. Over and over again applications have been made for the restoration of this public convenience. The officer supposed to be in charge of such matters in Sydney has reported in favour of it. But some one in Melbourne says, “ No, you shall not have any convenience of that kind.” I admit that this is a trumpery matter to bring forward in the Senate, but apparently it is of no use to deal with it in correspondence, and therefore I mention it here,- and shall continue to do so on every suitable occasion, until something is done. Now, leaving the affairs of the Post and Telegraph Department, I am going to refer to some matters affecting the Defence Department. Some of them are points which I brought before the Senate when we were dealing with a Supply Bill several months ago. One is the case of a sergeant of twenty years’ good service - a member of the permanent staff, a man of excellent character, who has a wife and five or six children - I forget the exact number. After twenty years’ service, this man is receiving the magnificent pay of 6s. 7d. per day - something less than Mr. O’Sullivan’s celebrated “ living wage” for a workman.
– Does he get quarters? Senator Colonel NEILD. - No; that amount covers everything. I was informed that something would be done, and lately I have received a letter informing me that something was definitely going to be done - in fact, that something so extraordinary has been under consideration as the recommendation on the next year’s Estimates of an extra is. per day for this officer. Il is only “going to be recommended”; there is no promise that it is going to be put before Parliament for approval. Supposing the man’s whole family to be six, this increase means 2d. per day for each of them. That is the beggarly kind of treatment that the Commonwealth of Australia extends to a man who has no less than twenty years’ service to his credit, and who has no scratch against his record.
– A particularly useful citizen of the Commonwealth.
– Yes; I think that his family is a very fair immigration agency. If that increase of rs. in his pay . was proper, why was it not paid out of the Treasurer’s Advance’ Account? The Treasurer could find ,£5,000 out of his advance to assist a private exploring party to go down to. the Antarctic. I am saying nothing against that, but still it was a private concern, as we see in to-day’s newspapers; a.r expedition not despatched under the guidance or aegis of any institution. The Cabinet can find £5,000 for that purpose out of the Treasurer’s advance account, but they could not find is. a day to feed a hungry family, the head of which has been in the unimpeached employ of thipublic for twenty years. I do not think that is a decent state of affairs. Let me take another case. I mentioned it four or live months ago. The Defence Department, which is inventing all kinds, of kindergarten army schemes, actually refuses to pay the very salaries stipulated by their own regulations. The Department are refusing to pay their own officers the rates of pay provided by the departmental regulations authorized by the Governor-General in Council. An example was brought under my notice only a few days ago. The pay of a captain on the staff is from £375 to £45° per annum, and the pay of a lieutenant runs from £250 to .£350. The following is one of the departmental regulations -
Officers must appear on parade suitably mounted, but no extra allowance will be made fdr forage or horse hire. *
Therefore, this rate of pay involves the keep or hire of a horse and all the expenditure connected with it.
– The hiring of horses is very undesirable for military work.
– Well, the mounted officers of the Foot Guards in London do not, so far as I know, own a horse amongst them. They are mounted by Stubbs and Company Limited, South-, street, Park-lane. I have hired horses there myself for military purposes when I have been in London ; and they turn you out very well. At any rate, whether’ an officer’s horse is owned or hired, he has to pay for it, and he probably has a fancy price to pay, because military duties very commonly fall on Saturdays and holidays, when there is a great demand for horses. An officer who hires has to pay a great deal more if he wants a mount on a special occasion. These officers have to go to all this expenditure, and the pay that they shall receive is absolutely laid down in the regulations. !’ ani now referring to the case of an officer who has been promoted captain. The pay that he is receiving, however, is not £375, which is the minimum amount that he should get. It is either .^275 or £300; I cannot for the moment be sure which. ‘ I- made representations on the subject, pointing out that the pay was fixed under what is practically Statute law; because a regulation issued by the Governor-General in Council under a Statute becomes part of the law of the Commonwealth. Instead of the Department complying with it, however, I get a letter informing me that ^25 will be- sub mitted on the next Estimates - submitted to the Cabinet, not submitted to Parliament; even Parliament is not going to have the opportunity of doing the justice to this. officer that the law says shall be done to him.. I have another case ; I think it is a worse one. It will be within the recollection of honorable senators that a return was laid upon the table this morning 111 response to questions that I asked last week. I invite honorable senators to pay close attention to this matter. I asked certain questions with reference te staff officers intrusted with important duties in con nexion with school cadets in New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia. This return shows that the officer who is discharging the duties in question in New South Wales is by rank a major. He has had nine years’ service as an officer in the Volunteers and Militia in New South Wales, and very nearly two years’ service 011 the administrative and instructional staff.
– To whom does the honorable senator refer?
– I do not see that there is any harm in my mentioning his name. I refer to Major Dove, who received the D.S.O. medal, for gallantry during several years’ service on the field in South Africa. He was appointed a lieutenant in April, 1897, a first lieutenant in March, 18.98, and a captain in August, 1899, in the Fifth Infantry Regiment .of New South Wales. He was appointed brevet-major of the New South Wales Scottish Rifles on the 1st July, 1903. In 1 904 he was transferred to the reserve of officers; in 1905 he was taken on to the unattached list ; and on the 1st May, 1906, he was appointed to the administrative and instructional staff of the cadets. He has passed his qualifying examination for “major. He has been mentioned in despatches - London Gazette of 16th April, 1901 - for his services during the late war in South Africa, and awarded the medal of the Distinguished Service Order, and he carries the Queen’s medal with five clasps, which means that he took part in five important engagements. That is the man who, according to the pay regulations, would be entitled as a captain to a salary of from £375 t0 £45°> an<3 as a major to a salary of from ,£475 to ,£550. Yet this return shows that at the end of two years’ -service he is only getting the lowest pay of a lieutenant, namely, £250. The financial obli,gations of the Government under the law i are being deliberately set aside by the Military Department in a heinous manner in both the cases which I have mentioned.
– Do not such cases occur in every form of private service as well as in the Government Departments?
– The fact that the same kind of thing may happen in private service is no excuse for its occurrence in the Public Service. I have never imagined for a moment that two wrongs make a right, and if there are iniquities in private service that does not make Government iniquities correct. Let me now compare the manner in which this gentleman is treated with the manner in which the officer discharging exactly the same duties in Victoria is treated. It is only New South Wales in the one case, but it is Victoria in the other. The gentleman occupying a similarposition Victoria is a captain and honorary major.
– Who is he?
– I am glad to say that I do not know his name. He has a permanent service of nine years and three months, as against Captain Dove’s service of nine years. He has been on variousduties as a provincial lieutenant. In Queensland he has been in the artillery,’ on the unattached list, even on the retired list, then on the unattached list and promoted to captain. He has evidently served in South Africa, as hehas received the Queen’s medal with three clasps, and the King’s medal with two clasps, for services during the late South African war. Of course these are great honors, but they do not compare with the D.S.O. medal. He passed for major so long ago- in 1899 - that the whole drill and circumstances of military affairs have been completely altered since then, and he would have to undergo a fresh examination to be confirmed, if he were to be confirmed, in the rank of major, but he is getting a salary of , £400. The regulations are of course being complied with in his case. In Western Australia the same duties in connexion with the cadets are being discharged by an officer who seems to have fiveyears and ten months’ military service. He is a captain by rank. According to the return, he has passed no examination for his position, and no examination for his rank, but he is getting a salary of £400. The Sydney man is worth a salary of only£250. Although, to use a colloquial expression, he is the “ daddy “ of the threeby a lone way, vet he is cut down to the minimum salary which is granted to a lieutenant. Of my own accord I bring his case before the Senate. He is an old friend of mine, and I know the vicissitudes through which he is passing in this affair. I want to show that there is practically no difference in the work which the officers in New South Wales and Victoria have to discharge. The strength of the cadets and senior cadets on the 31st January last was in round figures 6,700 in New South Wales, and 7,000 in Victoria. There is a difference of only 300 in the number to be dealt with in the two forces, but imagine the difference of work that is required in a great scattered State like New South Wales as compared with the much more compact’ and easily approached State of Victoria. In Western Australia, where the officer gets the same pay as the Victorian officer, and £150 a year more than the New South Wales officer, there are only 1,400 cadets. For the training of 1,400 cadets a salary of£400 is paid, ‘ while for the training of almost 7,000 cadets in New South Wales a salary of £250 is paid. The treatment of the New South Wales officer is absolutely glaring, and just as wrong in its way as the matter which Senator Pearce brought before the Senate. Though it is getting a little late, I intend to make a few remarks on the military scheme which is affected by this Bill, and which the Government are putting forward for an army of peoplewhohave no votes. Whenthey become voters their duties are to end. The proposal is to gather together scores of thousands of the youth of Australia at the very time when they ought to be breaking ground for the establishment of homes and families, to take them away for nominally sixteen days’ training, but actually for a shorter period. 1 he time occupied in going to and from the place of muster and training, and a couple of Sundays during which very little or nothing will be done, must be deducted, so that the actual training will not be much more than twelvedays, but we will call it fourteen days. What will be the result of training lads for a fortnight out of the twelve months, and having no means of keeping in their memories that whichthey have learned in the fortnight? How many lads will usefully retain for eleven and a-half months knowledge on any particular subject to be learned in fourteendays? I think,’ sir, that it would be just as well if we had a quorum. [Quorum formed.] The Government propose to disband the regiments in respect of which we are asked to vote money to-night. What is the use of voting money for regiments which are to be broken up in order to bring about a kindergarten army ?
– What does the honorable senator mean ?
– I mean an army of children in the eye of the law.
– Does not the honorable senator believe in training the boys?
– I do not object to training the boys, but I am not so slothful of my duties ofcitizenship, and so cowardly as a man, that I desire to see the defence of Australia placed in the hands of the school boys and the youths, while the manhood is going to sneak away from the firing line.
– Surely . the honorable senator does not suggest that any cowardice enters into the question ?
– It is a cowardly proposition. It is an evidence of national cowardice to call upon the youth of the country to defend its manhood. In the history of the world there is no single case where the defence of a country has been wholly left to boys under 20 years of age.
– Is the honorable senator opposed to the cadet system?
– My honorable friend is very fond of cadets, and we admire him for his conduct, but he will see that I am not opposed to cadets. I am in favour of them. There is a vast deal of difference between training the youth of a’ country to arms - or even, as is done in continental countries, sending drafts of them to be distributed amongst oldestablished regiments, where the youngsters will be strengthened and hardened, and learn twice as much of their duties from association with older soldiers - and constituting regiments of mere lads. There is no case in. history where such a thing was ever proposed, let alone carried out. New South Wales; often shows the disadvantages of having lots of young fellows of about a similar age all working together. I refer to the wheelers and drivers in the coal mines. They are everlastingly striking. What are we to do if they get up a strike in the Commonwealth Kindergarten Army? They are not to be paid. They are to be made to work for the defence of the manhood of the country, and to get nothing for it. It is a scandalous proposal. Should they strike, we should have no standing force in regiments of older men to awe them into obedience. We are not going to pay them, so we cannot fine them. They cannot be taken to the police courts, for there would not be enough police courts in Australia if they got a little off the chain. How are they to be punished except by imprisonment? Are we to imprison the lads of Australia if they feel indisposed to defend the manhood of Australia, or if the manhood of Australia are so currish and cowardlyas not to be willing to defend themselves? I am not a youngster, but I am not too old to do my little bit. I shall neversneak behind the Blue Mountains while the schoolboys of Australia are sent into the firing line to defend me.
– That is humbug.
– I can quite understand the honorable senator saying so, for the excellent reason that he knows nothing about the game. He has never taken a hand at it, but, of course, he knows a great deal more than one who has given the best years of his life to the work.
– I fired the first gun of the volunteers in my State.
– I do not wish to drag in personal reminiscences, but at least I may say, without egotism, that no man in Australia has tried to do more, and few on Australian soilhave accomplished very much more, in the building up of the Defence Forces of Australia than I have. Not every officer in Australia can say, without the least possibility of contradiction, that he has raised a regiment off his own bat, and commanded it for ten years. The real trouble in the Defence Force, that this wild move of the Government is designed to alter, is that the Government will not give the commonest encouragement to the men who have been serving the Commonwealth for years past. Nothing shows this more plainly than the fact that we have not in the Commonwealth more than two-thirds of the number of officers that are provided for, even on the peace establishment. We are short of at least one officer out of every three. I am speaking now of a matter with which you, Mr. President, as a very old officer of the Defence Forces of Australia, are perfectly well acquainted. A very large number of these officers are still connected with the Forces, but are on the unattached list, or on the reserve of officers. They are waiting Micawber-like, for something to turn up to give them a chance of returning to the active list, and renewing the service which they gave for many a long year under the States, with success attending their efforts, and with inducements to make the- sacrifices that every man has to make. The Government talk glibly about encouraging volunteering, and yet they pass a regulation which amounts to this : that unless a sergeant or warrant officer has been in the service as a citizen soldier for the whole of twenty years he is not allowed, after he resigns, to wear the mess-jacket that he has paid for out of his own pocket, even if he wishes to attend a function connected with His old regiment. That is encouraging men to become citizen soldiers ! Nothing more clearly shows the lack of encouragement offered by the. Commonwealth to members of the Defence Forces than the fact that officers have been, and are, going by scores off the active list on to the by-way restingplaces of the unattached list and the reserve of officers, and living in the hope that some day things may permit of their resuming active connexion with the Forces. On the other hand, where you can get the services of a good officer, and a little enthusiasm is thrown into the work, it is possible to establish, even in these dull times, and to maintain, most satisfactory companies. I will show what happened in a coal-mining district, not the one made historic by the Postmaster-General’s recent utterances, but one on the South Coast of New South Wales. I wish that Senator Henderson, as an old resident and worker in that district, were here, because what I am going to say would,’ I am sure, give pleasure to him. On Saturday last I attended the inspection of a new company of my regiment established even under all the disadvantages of the Commonwealth regime. There was to be found an excellent company, under a most valuable young officer. The Staff Officer who made the inspection reported it as the best company he had inspected for a long time past, even amongst old-established regiments. I mention that to show that amongst certain of our workers, men who have their hearts in the right place, there is no difficulty in raising and maintaining adequate military forces, if only the men are offered a little decent encouragement. One point I think I will mention, in view of things that have been said lately. None of those men were able to do any work on the Saturday morning. They were in town waiting for their muster in the afternoon, but so deter mined were they not to fail by any slip to do justice to themselves and their positions that, I am credibly informed, not one of them, in visiting a public-house during the morning, touched anything stronger than ginger-beer. They were all sober up to the time I left, at 9 o’clock that night, and I saw nothing to lead me to suppose that any one of them was going to forget, even for a moment, the duty he owed to his uniform and to his position as a soldier of the country. If the Government would take in hand the question of giving reasonable assistance, even if. they gave to the citizen soldiers of the Commonwealth less than they had at the hands of the different States Governments before the Commonwealth was inaugurated, there would be no need for all this wild departure, or for breaking up regiments, some of which have existed for fifty years in New South Wales, and, I dare say, as long in Victoria ; no need to take a wild leap in the dark, and attempt that which has never been attempted by any community under the sun. They could leave to the manhood of Australia the duty of defending its shores, the lives of the wives and children, and the property of the people, and not delegate it to lads without pay and without any reward other than the probability of being laughed at as a parcel of fools for .working for nothing. The Government scheme involves the creation of a larger force than is necessary, arid proposes so extreme a departure from all that is known of Defence Forces throughout the world, that honorable senators should be very careful, when this Bill goes into Committee, how they vote money for the initiation of a project which is as. yet very much in the air, which is altered by Ministerial pronouncements from time to time, and so deplorably deficient in business-like details that no one except an unwise enthusiast would dream of expending money upon it in its present form.
– I wish to say a few words, particularly with regard to the Post and Telegraph Department. . It has been stated, time after time, that the Department is disorganized. A great deal of the disorganization and trouble in the Department is due to the fact that the officers themselves are not properly treated. The Department, unfortunately, is not run even on ordinary business lines. The heads of. it live in Melbourne. We have in Queensland, of course, a Deputy Postmaster-General and ari inspector, who is pretty well an autocrat. An officer of the Department may be stationed 100 miles from any railway, and unless he can get the favour of the men at the head of affairs in Melbourne, the inspector can make his life simply unbearable. I asked today whether tile Government propose to appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into the working of the Department. Things are going from bad to worse. Many of the officers have no confidence in their superiors. I have received a complaint from a man who was discharged from the service for disobedience of orders. He denies the charge, and unless some inquiry is held at which he can state his case he will probably remain out of the service, al- though there are men in it who have been re-appointed because of some influence behind them, though they had previously been dismissed and fined in connexion with money transactions. There are many people in the Commonwealth who believe that members of the Federal Parliament are able to do a lot for them down here, but I can assure them that it is not so. Before a member of this Parliament can bring a grievance up for consideration he must get other honorable members to assist him in moving the adjournment of the House. That is not always easy, because honorable senators very properly do not care to take up time in connexion with a matter when they are not aware of the whole of the circumstances surrounding it. The difficulty of which I complained having reference to delay in the delivery of letters and telegrams has been met to some extent, but as I have before stated, the first reply I got in connexion with the matter was a complete rebuff. I was practically told to mind my own business.
– That was what the honorable senator was doing.
– That is so. It is impossible for one or two members of the Federal Parliament to attempt to reform the Public Service. There is an outcry about its disorganization throughout the Commonwealth. Telegrams from here to Queensland are delayed, and we receive complaints about them, but what can we do? We” get an unsatisfactory reply from the Department, and there the matter ends. The fact is that we must have a full inquiry into the service, which is rotten from top to bottom, and should be re-organized. The inquiry should be by a Commission of business men, who are members of either House of the Federal Parliament. We do’ not want a Commission formed of the very men about whose work we are. complaining. I think it is necessary that is should be constituted of members of this Parliament, because a report would have to be presented, and it would be well that the members of the Commission should be in a position to support in Parliament any recommendations that might be made. I could dilate upon this subject for hours, asI have with me a bundle of grievances which it would take me all night to read. If such a Commission as has been suggested were appointed, people having grievances in any of the States would be able to bring them personally before the Commission. That would be better than having them brought up by members of Parliament. It would be better to popularize the Public Service and make people anxious to join it than to have it in the condition in which it is now, when we are told that there are fewer employes engaged in the Telegraph Department than there were in 1902. I might mention one matter which was very recently brought under my notice. A boy was engaged temporarily in the telegraph office at Ravenswood for the full nine months, allowed by the Act for temporary employment, but’ he could not be allowed to go until another supernumerary could be obtained in his place. He was kept for a day over the nine months, and although the postmaster certified on his voucher that the lad had worked for this day payment of the 3s. 7d. involved .was refused. I should have preferred to pay the 3’s. 7d. myself, but T know that it would not have been accepted from me.
– The Auditor- General would have disallowed the payment.
– That is where the departmental red tape’ comes in.
– No; Parliament provided for that.
– The money ‘has since been paid, and why could it not have been paid before? I saw Mr. Scott on thematter, and he told me that this was the second case of the kind, that another case had occurred at Gladstone, and that .hewould wire to Ravenswood that the money should be paid at once. This was done without asking the Auditor-General. Senator Trenwith has been a Minister of theCrown, and is concerned that the Government should obey the law; but a Government should exercise a little common sense.
– They cannot break the law.
– Then how is it that within five minutes after calling at the head office of the Department I could be told that the money was going to be paid? Is that breaking the law?
– Yes, I should say it was.
– No private employer would hesitate in such a case to pay the wages that had been earned.
– Private persons are in such matters a law unto themselves.
– Who made the law in this case?
– The Federal Parliament.
– It is often said that the law “ is an ass,” and this is certainly a case in point. I hope that when we get a reply next week from the Government to the question asked to-day we shall find that they have made up their minds to appoint a Commission to inquire into the Public Service.
– I think that the Post and Telegraph Department has been treated very much as criminals were treated of old. It has been hanged, drawn, and quartered in scientific style, and I do not propose to pursue it further. I wish to say, however, that there are complaints concerning it, not only from officials of the Department, as shown by the correspondence read by Senator Stewart, and from sections of the public doing business with it, as shown by other honorable senators, but also from the public who wish to do business with it. We have repeatedlynoticed inspired paragraphs in the newspapers pointing out how the Department is grappling with some new and wonderful way of assisting the public, but I suppose that every member of the Senate is pestered with letters from people in various parts of the Commonwealth complaining that telephone services asked for are not established, although the proper applications for them have been made, and the necessary inquiries have resulted satisfactorily. Sometimes the reason given is that no money can be found for the purpose. In other cases, an inspector is required to makea fresh inspection; and it is clear that amongst people wishing to do business with the Department there is the same dissatisfaction that is found amongst the employes and the public already doing business with it. I rose chiefly to call attention to quite another matter. Not long ago, a circular was issued by the Minister of Trade and Customs to Chambers of Commerce and kindred associations, setting forth certain questions which the Minister asked these bodies to answer and to comment upon. I propose to read two of the questions, which will cover the point I wish to make. They have reference to the employment of commercial agents in the East and in other parts of the world. The Minister asked -
Whether the present system of State representation has met with success and has justified the expenditure thereon?
I say that the Minister of Trade and Customs, who, rightly or wrongly, is credited with being a unificationist, and is supposed to desire to curtail, as far as he can the operations of the various States Governments, has no business to write to Chambers of Commerce, private association of private individuals asking them to express opinions criticizing the action of the Government of the States in which they live. That should not be the business of any Federal Minister, who, if he had a proper sense of the dignity of his position and of his obligation to protect the dignity of the Federal Government, would not go past the States Governments to obtain information on matters of this kind. The Minister of Trade and Customs also asked this question-
Whether it would be found more satisfactory and economical to avoid the duplication of work and possible competition under the present system by having a representative for all Australia in the more important centres, such as the East and South Africa, where hitherto more than one State has maintained a special representative ?
Here, again, the Federal Minister is inviting private associations and individuals to express the opinion that the Government of the State in which they reside does not know how to manage its own affairs. It is not’ for the Federal Government to deal with what is essentially the business of the States Governments.’ I’ am not prepared tosay that I should oppose the Federal Government taking some steps for the appointment of commercial agents abroad, but I do enter a serious and emphatic protest against a Federal Minister who is tarred with the brush of unification going deliberately past the States Governments to invite private persons to say how those Governments are carrying on their business. If the honorable gentleman had consulted them upon the Federal Government’s management of its affairs, he would probably have received some novel information of interest and value. He is here invitingprivate persons to criticize the acts of States Governments, and when he has received their criticisms, he will probably trot them out and tell the States Governments that he knows what the people oftheir own States think about them, saying ‘ ‘ I have been behind your backs and got information about your Government.” Is that the kind of conduct that is going to bring about harmony between the States and the Commonwealth, for which Ministers are always professing to be so anxious ? There is another point to which I wish to draw attention. It is one upon which I think the Government should take some administrative action if it is possible to do so. There has been recently tabled the annual report of the Administrator of Papua. In that document, under the heading of “ Notes on Reports by Officers,” page 13, occurs the following passage -
During the year a number of. kanakas, who were being deported to the Solomons, passed through Samarai, and some anxiety was* felt as to how they would conduct themselves; however, “through the care exercised by the Resident Magistrate in not allowing them to get liquor, and the punctilious observance by the hotelkeeper of the law in that respect, they all passed through without disturbance. The Resident Magistrate says of them in one of his monthly reports : - “As it was found impossible to keep returning kanakas on board, they were allowed . to come ashore in batches of from 20 to 30. They spent some ^100 ‘in the stores here, and behaved themselves well, but many of them made determined attempts to purchase liquor, offering ;£i a bottle for it. This only goes to show what they have been in the habit of doing in Queensland. I myself heard one kanaka” remark to some of his friends, ‘What sort of a - country is this, where a man with money can’t get a drink.’ What I fear mostly with regard to the kanakas passing through here is that they might induce some fireman or sailor, or other resident of the place, to purchase liquor and hand it over to them.”
Now I say that no official document should have been tabled in Parliament and be put on the records, which contains a reflection - such as that upon the State of Queensland –a grave reflection upon the police administration,” and upon all the officials connected with the prevention of grog-selling amongst the kanakas. It is immaterial from my point of view whether the kanakas tried to get grog in Papua or not; such a statement as this was not a proper one for the Administrator to put into his report. I do not know who is the Resident Magistrate, from whose notes the Administrator quotes, but certainly the quotation was a most improper one to make in this report, and it contains a most’ serious reflection upon the State of Queensland, and upon those who honestly and zealously administered the law there, until drunkenness among the Pacific Islanders had become certainly no worse than it was amongst the people of other races. I do not know whether it is possible to take steps with regard to the elimination of this, passage from the report. I presume that it is not. But I draw the Minister’s attention to it. The matter is not so slight as it looks. Suppose that a man from some other State were to come to Melbourne, and commit a murder, and suppose that an official were to write in his report : “ That is the sort of thing that they can do in New South Wales,’’ or wherever die man came from. Evidently that would be an improper statement to make. The Resident Magistrate, might perhaps very well include a statement of that kind in his monthly report to the Administrator, but the Administrator himself was grossly in error in extracting it, so as to make the statement a feature of a document which has been lately laid on the table of both Houses of Parliament.
Senator ST. LEDGER (Queensland* [10.20]. - With regard to what has been said: by way of criticism of the administration of the Post and Telegraph Department, I desire to say that I am in accord with muchthat has fallen from the leader of the Opposition. He has seized upon grievances that have’ occurred, and has very properly directed the attention of the Government tothem. He has indicated the only way inwhich the difficulties can be solved. Wemust have a special inquiry in some form.. The public would welcome an inquiry; especially if the suggestion were carried outthat some experienced business men should” be appointed members of the Commission, to assist the Government and Parliament infinding out remedies for the almost absolutechaos that at present prevails. I have madepersonal inquiries into some grievances, which have been brought under my notice, and have sought to ascertain how they originated, and what is the departmental’ remedy for them. But I found that onceyou get into the’ maze of the Post Office and’ the Public Service Commissioner’s Office, your difficulties are inextricable. You try to get light, but are plunged into deeper - darkness with every step. I hope that some practical action will be taken immediately- to reorganize this most important Department. I also take the opportunity of mentioning that amongst the proposals made for the improvement of the efficiency of the service there is one which certainly ought not to be neglected. I allude to the necessity for the. .foundation of a practical superannuation scheme for the whole service. The sooner something in that direction is done, the better it will be. I asked a question with regard to the matter recently, but the answer which I got was to some extent misleading. One might infer, from what the Minister said, that the Public Service was quite satisfied. But such is not the case.’ The members of the service desire - and it is in the highest interests of the service - that Parliament should establish a superannuation scheme, the benefits of which would undoubtedly be great. Such a scheme would allow an officer to retire from the service when he reached a certain age, and the Government would be able to order retirement without feeling that they were doing an unsympathetic thing. It would lead to removals from the top branches of the service, and would widen the avenues for promotion from the bottom. I hope that the matter will not be lost sight of, but that it will be carefully inquired into by the .Committee or Commission which must be appointed to deal with the whole matter at no very distant date. I also wish to draw attention to the Administration of Papua. The question is so important that I think my remarks should be addressed to a quorum. . [Quorum formed.’] To a question that I asked last week as to why it was that an ordinance of the Legislative Council of Papua dated 24th September, 1906, was disallowed, and whether the Government would lay the papers on the table, the answer that I got was that the papers would be tabbed immediately. The whole future administration of Papua depends upon the successful administration of the land of the Possession. The Legislative Council of Papua have evidently given considerable attention to the solution of that question.’ No doubt they did so in consequence of the deliberations and report of the Royal Commission recently appointed to inquire into the Administration. But, notwithstanding the fact that the Legislative Council drew up a carefully-considered ordinance, it was disallowed by the Government. The reason assigned in the papers laid upon the table was that missionaries engaged in Papua had made certain representations to the Govern ment which caused Ministers to stay the operation of the ordinance. I am not going to enter into the rights or wrongs as between the Legislative Council and its land ordinance on the one hand, and the position taken up by the missionaries on the other. I regard the work of the missionaries as amongst the most important civilizing agencies in Papua and the Pacific Islands. Their view may be the correct one. Whatever view they express is one that Parliament and the Government must seriously consider. But, on the other hand, when Papua was taken oyer, the intention was that the land should be developed, though not necessarily by the white people to the exclusion of possession by the natives. The intention was to provide employment, and it was hoped that by the recognition of the rights of the natives to the use of their lands, Ave might advance the development of the Territory. While the Tariff is engaging our consideration, one cannot find the time in which to draw pointed attention to the importance of this matter. The Government must declare what its land policy is. It cannot allow an ordinance dealing Avith such an important subject as the opening-up of the lands to be .a bone of contention between the Legislative Council and the missionaries, thereby arresting the development of the resources of Papua. I can quite understand why the Prime Minister should be extremely careful, and should weigh his actions in this matter. The development of Papua is of considerable importance to the Commonwealth, and if it is successfully developed, Queensland will benefit directly and, ‘ perhaps, more immediately than any other State. This land ordinance has been allowed to remain too long suspended in mid-air, like Mahomet’s coffin, without an explanation of the position to Parliament, and without. any declaration of action or policy on the part of the Government. Tonight Ave are asked to vote some money for the maintenance of our Defence Forces. What Avas said in regard to the feeling of unrest, and almost chaos, in the Department of the Postmaster-General, applies A’ery much more to the Defence Department. There is universal dissatisfaction Avith the present condition of -things. There is a feeling that the Government either does not know, or will not declare, where it is in matters of defence. A solution of all this difficulty is proposed in the form of universal conscript service. The question of accepting a system of conscript service ought to be submitted to, and ratified by, the people before it is considered by Parliament. For defence purposes a policy of that kind is unprecedented in the history of the British Empire. The reasons for its adoption ought to be stated fully to the people. Such an important departure in the defence of the Commonwealth should not be made until the fullest inquiry has been held and expert knowledge obtained. We should consult the people before we take it upon ourselves to make such a drastic departure. I desire to ‘know what authority the Prime Minister has for seeking to introduce a system of conscript service. It was not referred to the people at the last general election, as it ought to have been if he had intended to introduce a measure to sanction its introduction. It will be almost an outrage upon popular rights if a measure embodying the principle outlined by the Prime Minister is- presented to either House of this Parliament until the. people have been furnished with full information on the subject and afforded an opportunity to record their votes. I propose to quote some remarks which the Prime Minister made on the question of defence at the Colonial Conference, and to ask Senator Keating to explain, if he can, what appears to me to be a complete somersault by his leader on the question of defence policy. I may be wrong in interpreting Mr. Deakin’s words. It may be said, that the extract does not express what was in his mind at the time, but it is remarkably explicit. If there is a clear and distinct meaning in words, then the speech -which he then made appears to me to be quite irreconcilable with the position which he has now taken up. The speech is reported on page 104 of the Official Proceedings of the Colonial Conference. After Mr. Haldane, the Secretary of State for War, had outlined the general direction of the military defence of the Empire, Mr. Deakin reviewed his speech in the light of its possible application to the defence of the Commonwealth. He said -
We see- our way to what those who advise us on these matters tell us is a sufficient military training for the men, with little alteration in our . present system, mainly because none of our men are pressed men, alf are volunteers, who join because they have an enthusiasm for the work. The consequence is that many of our commanders, men of experience, tell us that they find with our men a rapidity of progress, a readiness to submit to discipline, and a promptness in acquiring technical knowledge which they are not accustomed to find elsewhere.- That is because every man takes a pride in his task and throws himself into it, because it is his chosen pursuit, in addition to his ordinary labours.
That was, I think, a very well-deserved tribute to the position, and I might almost say the efficiency, of our comparatively small force. If there is any meaning in words, it seems to me that when Mr. Deakin was then addressing himself to the position of the Defence of the Commonwealth, in relation to an Imperial system of defence, he was- satisfied that in our system of getting young men to join the militia and .volunteer forces we had, on the whole,, a fairly satisfactory form of military training. Probably sufficient funds are not appropriated to make the Defence Forces as effective as we desire. In the face of the extract I have read, how are we to interpret what appears to be a complete somersault? If it means a change of policy on the part of the Prime Minister, surely not only Parliament, but also the public, is entitled to know how it came about. When it- is remembered that this important declaration in his speech was made in response to, and by way of criticism of, the proposals of Mr. Haldane, it adds force to my request that the Minister who is responsible to the Senate for defence matters should explain clearly, if he can, whether it means a change of policy, and. if so, how it came to be made. There are other matters to which I should like to refer, but as the hour is late, and we have to consider the details for spending about £1,000,000, I shall resume my seat.
– I desire to refer very briefly to the very unfortunate condition of affairs which was indicated bv Senator Pearce in his statement. I believe that in’ Mr. McLachlan the Commonwealth has a faithful, diligent, and able servant. Although he is impaired in his health by ‘his assiduous attention to the duties of his position, still he is endeavouring to do that which no man living could perform under existing conditions. I do not suggest that the organization of which he is the head is incomplete. I dp not’ suggest that the Departments are not administered in an. efficient manner, but in view of the state-‘ ment which has been brought before the Senate to-night, and which confirms the general dissatisfaction expressed in the press with the management of one great Department, I hold that we, as reason- able men, must inevitably come to the conclusion1 that there is room for holding a searching and effective inquiry into the conditions under which the Public Service is conducted. I am sure that Mr. McLachlan and the officers at the head of the various Departments must realize that a searching inquiry would be beneficial, not only to the Commonwealth itself, but also to its employes from the departmental heads downwards. That, there is dissatisfaction on the part of the general public and civil servants goes without saying. I strongly urge the Government to appoint a Royal Commission in order that a thorough and searching inquiry into the whole system under which the Public Service is conducted may be promptly carried out.
– It appears to be the intention of the Government to push this Bill through all its stages to-night. I must express resentment at the way in which the Senate is being treated. We are asked to put through in one evening a Bill authorizing the expenditure of over three-quarters of a million pounds, and when this opportunity is presented to ventilate public grievances, we cannot do justice to the various matters which we should like to bring underthe attention of the Ministers, while it will be impossible for Ministers to pay honorable senators the courtesy to which they are entitled of some acknowledgment of or reply to their representations. We have been here since11 o’clock this morning doing our best in the interests of the country, and now, unless we sit all night, we are deprived of the opportunity which we ought to have on the rare occasions on which Supply Bills come before us of having ventilated, and receiving definite Ministerial replies upon, questions which the Senate is fairly entitled to discuss.
– Every matter that has been represented in this debate will receive immediate attention so far as I am concerned.
– That is the stereotyped reply of Ministers to deputations.
– It may be stereotyped, but it means so far as I am concerned what I will actually do.
– I do not doubt that, but Ministers ought to be sufficiently -posted up on a great many matters to deal with them straight away or to let honor able senators know whether or not their statements are based on accurate data. I should have liked to deal with many questions to-night, but one or two are important enough to refer to even at this late hour. I asked a series of questions this morning in connexion with the rather notorious mail contract between the Commonwealth and Sir James Laing and Son. Innumerable questions have been asked on the same- subject, but curiously there appears to be a fixed determination on the part of the Government to give no information about it. It was put before the Senate as a plain straightforward preliminary contract for a mail service between Australia and Europe. Whether it is to shield the law officers of the Crown or for some other reason which the Government do not wish to make known, no member of either House has been able to elicit whether the contract was entered into properly or whether there was any laxity. In the conditions of contract. page 10, paragraph 39 (2) it is provided that-
If any tender so provides for mail ships to be built to carry out the contract, the contractor, in addition to the deposit to be made with such tender, shall, if he has not previously done so, on demand,enter into a joint and several bond with two responsible and approved sureties to the Postmaster-General in the penal sumof £25,000 for the due commencement and faithful performance of the contract in accordance with the tender and conditions by the contractor.
May I ask the Minister who is so willing to furnish the information to the Senate, what reason there can be for any concealment as to who the sureties were that were required to be provided? The Minister replied this morning that practically no information would be given on the subject. We should know who drew up the contract itself and the particular bond underwhich two sureties in addition to the contractor, had to be provided. But who or what they were, or whether they really entered into the bond at all, is a matterupon which we are left in absolute ignorance, There is another matter which deserves con siderably more ventilation than it has received. There prevails at present some amount of temporary national prejudice if regard to our friends the Germans. If we have any prejudice against themanddesire to exercise it let us be honest and straight forward about it. When the Federal Go vernment,- representing the Commonwealth bring in a Tariff and recommendboth Houses to accept it with the principle .or preference to Great Britain embodied in it they ought to satisfy themselves as to whether the amount of preference offered to Great Britain is ample to protect British interests.
– The honorable senator will not be in order in discussing the question of preference. That matteris being considered in another Bill which is before the Senate.
– I can refer to the matter in another way. Leaving the question of Tariff preference on one side, it has been the practice of the Government to invite tenders for the supply of large amounts of material for the Telegraph and Telephone Department. Those tenders have been publicly invited regardless of nationality or of any other consideration than the supply of the best article at the least price to the Commonwealth. People have tendered for large quantities of material, have been obliged to put up substantial deposits in cash, go to considerable expense and trouble in the preparation of their samples, put their tenders in in all good faith, have waited for a considerable time, their moneybeing in the meanwhile in the hands of the Government, and then, some of them have every reason to believe that they have been grossly and unfairly treated. Whether they are Germans or any other nationality. the Commonwealth has no right to behave towards them in that way. The following correspondence will give an outline of a case which presents features of very great injustice -
Sydney, 5th December,1907.
Re Commonwealth Tenders,
We beg to draw your attention to the notification’ in the Commonwealth Gazette, No. 59, 16th November, 1907, page 1386, accepting the tenders of Messrs. W. T. Henley Telegraph Works Co. Ltd. and R. B. Hungerford, for certain specified telephone and telegraph cables.
Your Department invited tenders returnable 011 the 1 st October of the current year for the following cables. ….
Our total price for the cables enumerated above, amounted to the sum of £4,374 15s. The tender of the W. T. Henley TelegraphWorks Co. Ltd. for the same material amounted to £4,64611s. 3d., or £271 16s.3d. higher than our offer. Under the operation of the new Customs Tariff we had To add 5 per cent: to our estimate to comply with the British preference clause. You will note that in spite of the 5 per cent. preference given to our competitors, our estimate is still about 51/2 per cent. lower than the one accepted. In other words, your Department would have saved over10 per cent. in accepting our offer. We may say that there is absolutely no doubt about the quality of the cables we have submitted in our offer. Our principals, the Allgemeine Co., are by far the largest manufacturers of all classes of cable. This company employs 36,000 work-people, and has a capital of £35,000,000 (thirty-five million pounds sterling) invested. That our cables are superior to any in the market we are prepared to prove if called upon to do so. Of course we are quite aware that your Department does not bind itself to accept the lowest tender, but, as a matter of justice, we shall be extremely obliged to you if you will indicate that our tenders are to be debarred from receiving consideration. Tenderers have to incur a considerable amount of expense in preparing estimates; and in fairness to ourselves we appeal to you for an expression of opinion on your part, as to whether we are justified in submitting our estimates in future. In conclusion, we beg to draw your attention to the excellent trade relations existing between this country and Germany. The trade is from five to six million pounds sterling in favour of Australia, and this balance must play a considerable part in the economic conditions of the Commonwealth. We would further point out that we are large exporters of Australian merchandise to the Continent of Europe. Hoping you will give this letter your best consideration. - We beg to remain, sir, yours obediently,
Staerker and Fischer.
The Hon.. Samuel Mauger, M.H.R.,
Commonwealth of Australia.
The departmental reply is of the most curt character-
With reference to your communication of the 5th instant, drawing attention to the notification in the Commonwealth Gazette of the 16th ultimo, accepting the tenders of Messrs. W. T. Henley Telegraph Works Company Limited, and R. B. Hungerford for the supply and delivery to this Department in Victoria of certain telegraph and telephone cables, and intimating that the amount of your tender for the supply of such cables was £271 16s. 3d. lower than the total of the accepted tenders, I have the honour, by direction, to refer you to the conditions of tender, which specify that the Postmaster-General does not bind himself to accept the lowest or any tender.
All I wish to say is that, if in imitation of a very unworthy practice in vogue some years ago of advertising “ No Irish need apply,” it is our intention that no Germans need apply, we should say so straight out, and state in our advertisement that English manufacturers are preferred, even although they are already given a preference in the Tariff. I hope that the publication of a matter of this kind will be one step towards its remedy. In connexion with other matters, the Post and Telegraph Department has come in for a great deal of abuse, the majority of which is, I think, deserved. No Department of the Commonwealth service has been so mismanaged from the start. ‘ I am sorry to say that 1 am forced to believe that the head of the Department is hardly capable of managing methodically a service of such magnitude. It seems to me also that in the allocation of Ministers, we have not always been fortunate enough to secure the selection of the most capable man to administer such a very large and important commercial Department.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time:
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 (Short title).
– I request a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
Clause agreed to.
Clause 2 postponed.
Clauses 3 and 4 agreed to.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [iii5].- I wish just to intimate that I propose in due course to move three requests for the reduction of three votes in three different Departments as a protest against the state of affairs existing in those Departments.
The PRESIDENT announced the receipt of a message intimating that the House of Representatives had agreed to the amendments made by the Senate in this Bill.
Senate adjourned at 11.7 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 12 March 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1908/19080312_senate_3_44/>.