3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I have to inform the Senate that I have received from His Excellency the Governor-General a writ certifying that Joseph Vardon has been duly elected as senator for the State of South Australia, to serve in the Senate of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia.
Mr. Yardon made and subscribed the oath of -allegiance.
– I have received from His Excellency the Governor-General the following letter in reference to the resolution conveying the sympathy of the. Senate to the Marchioness of Linlithgow -
COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA.
Melbourne, 17th March, 1908.
Referring to your letter No. M. 08/35, dated 3rd March, 1908, forwarding a Resolution which was unanimously agreed to by the Senate, conveying the sympathy of the Senate with the Marchioness of Linlithgow and family in the great loss sustained by the death of the late Marquis, I have the honor to inform you that I duly transmitted the Resolution to the Marchioness, and have this day received the following cablegram, in reply, dated Castlebythan, 16th March, 1908, 12.30 p.m. - “ Please convey grateful thanks to Senate (and House of Representatives) for kind sympathy, which we deeply appreciate. (Sgd.) Hersey Linlithgow.”
Ihave the honor to be,
Your most obedient Servant.
The President of the Senate,
– If I were to give an answer off-hand I should say that inmy opinion there is no immediate prospect of its introduction, but I ask my honorable friend to give notice of his question, and then probably I shall be able togive more definite information.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON.Perhaps my honorable friend will allow me to intimate that, without putting a formal question, I shall renew the inquiry at another opportunity.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, without notice, whether it is a fact that all telegraphic communication from Queensland has been cut off for the last 48 hours, and, if so, when do the Department expect to restore communication with the State ?
– This is the first that I have heard of the matter. I shall make inquiries immediately, and hope to be able before the close of the sitting to inform the honorable senator as to when communication will be restored.
Senator BEST laid upon the table the following papers -
Papua. - Copy of an Ordinance to amend “The Land Ordinance of 1906” reserved for the Governor-General’s assent, and copies of correspondence in relation thereto.
Copies of despatches of 29th November and 1 8th December, 1907, of the Secretaryof State for the Colonies relating to the Navigation Bill.
Copy of letter from the three unofficial members of the Legislative Council of Papu with reference to the appointment of LieutenantGovernor (dated 13th December, 1907).
– I beg to ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council whether, in view of the general recognition of the principle of arbitration as a means towards the termination of industrial disputes, it is not possible for the
Federal Government to intervene in the industrial crisis existing between the wharf labourers and steam-ship employés of New South Wales, in order to prevent the trouble spreading to one or more of the other States?
– In reply to the honorable senator, I must say that I think it is hardly possible for the Federal Government to intervene, having regard to the fact that the industrial difficulty referred to is confined at present to one State, and that to do so in the circumstances might certainly bear the appearance of invading the province of the State Premier and State Ministers.
– A thing the Government are always most careful about.
– A point on which, as the honorable senator reminds me, we are always exceedingly careful.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable senator’s questions is as follows - 1 and 2. For works under the immediate supervision of the Home Affairs Department the words “or other app roved brand” were formerly added in the specification. The latest specifications do not mention any manufacturers’ names for white lead or oil, but stipulate the articles shall be of “ approved quality.” Various brands have been used.
– Arising out of the reply to the question, I wish to ask whether the Minister does not think that the continuous advertising of a particular firm or its goods is likely to discourage either the placing upon the market of equally good materials by other firms or the local manufacture of such goods ?
– Very likely. I direct the honorable senator’s attention to the fact that the latest specifications mention the names of no manufacturers, and simply stipulate that the articles shall be of approved quality. That is, to say, of a quality approved by the responsible officer.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
-The following reply has been received by me from the Minister of Defence to the honorable senator’s questions -
The attached statement contains the information on the subject immediately available at Head-quarters. The statement may be taken as including the bulk of the leather accoutrements procured since 1902.
Leather Accoutrements obtained for the use of the Military Forces and paid for out of Special Defence Material Vote : - 1902. Nil. 1903. Nil. 1904. 5,752 belts, waist; 11,504 pockets cartridges, 10 rounds; 11,504 pockets cartridges, 15 rounds; 6,052 bandoliers; 6,052 carriers, water-bottle; 6,052 straps, water-bottle; 12,104 straps, great coat. - Imported from England through the War Office. Approximate value, say,£3,600. 1905. 786 belts, waist; 786 carriers, waterbottle; 786 straps, water-bottle; 1,572 straps, great coat. - Imported from England through the War Office. Approximate value, say,£140. 1906. 667 pouches; 15 Sam Browne belts. - Manufactured in the Commonwealth. Approximate value, £105. 1907. 6,030 belts, waist; 12,060 pockets cartridge, 15 rounds; 12,060 pockets cartridge, 10 rounds ; 6,030 bandoliers ; 6,030 straps, water-bottle ; 6,030 carriers, water-bottle; 6,030 straps, mess, tin. - Manufactured in the Commonwealth. Approximate value£5,565.
In addition to the foregoing a contract has just been let for the local manufacture of 1,500 sets of leather accoutrements, comprising belts, bandoliers, &c., similar to the above-mentioned to the value of£1,212.
It may be mentioned that all future supplies of leather work of every description which may be ordered by the Department will be made in the Commonwealth.
The policy of the Government is to deal with supplies for the Commonwealth as a whole - not discriminating between the States.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 12th March, vide page 8900) :
Postponed Division VI. - Metals and Machinery*
Item 1 78………
And on and after 29th November, 1907 -
Electrical and Gas Appliances, viz. : -
Electroliers; Gasaliers; Chandeliers; Pendants ; Brackets ; Zinc Tubing, ad val., 20 per cent.
Gas meters, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent,; (United Kingdom), free.
N.E.I., ad val. (General Tariff), 15 per cent. ; (United Kingdom),10 per cent.
*Motive Power, Engine Combinations, and Power Connexions are dutiable under their respective headings, when not integral parts of exempted machines, machinery, or machinetools.
Upon which Senator Croft had moved -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 178, paragraph a (imports under General Tariff), ad val., 30 per cent.
– I wish to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether, since he discussed this item last week he has. made himself familiar with the circumstances in which a reduced duty was agreed to elsewhere. I drew his attention to the fact that, so far as I was able to learn, the reduced duty had been accepted by his colleague as the result apparently of some arrangement.
– I have no knowledge of any agreement on the part of my honorable colleague in connexion with the matter, and, consequently, it is my intention, as I have already intimated, to support the request that the duty should be 25 per cent.
– As the honorable senator says that he has no knowledge of any arrangement having been made in another place in connexion with this item, I take it that he has not thought it worth while in the interval’ since we last discussed the matter to look up the records to discover whether or not the statement I made was in accordance with the facts. I repeat that the reduced duty was accepted by the honorable senator’s colleague. It is for the VicePresident of the Executive Council to say whether, in these circumstances, he is justi fied in supporting the request now before the Committee. The honorable senator shakes his head, but I refer him to the actual folio and volume of Hansard.
– I should be very glad to see anything the honorable senator can show me, but I suppose it is on a par with other alleged agreements.
– The honorable senator will find a reference at page 6809 oi Hansard, and on a previous occasion the matter was also discussed, because, at the page to which I have referred the honorable senator, it will be seen that this was dealt with as a postponed item. The honorable senator has suggested that this is on a par with some other references that have been made, but he cannot mention any reference made from this side which has not been substantiated bv the indication of the actual page of Hansard on -which the agreement has been set out.
Senator CROFT (Western Australia) £2.50]. - On the last occasion on which we discussed this matter it was shown from the reports of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission that two gentlemen came before the Commission to ;give evidence on the question. One was Mr. Danks, of Melbourne, and the other was Mr. Busby. If we size up the evidence of these two gentlemen, we. shall find that Mr. Danks spoke only for Mr. Danks - that is, for his own firm. “While I admit that they are large manu.facturers, they are also large importers. Their interests lie in the direction of importing. It is a peculiar thing, too, that Mr. Danks says that these articles should be classified as manufactures of metal n.e.i.. and be liable to duty at 20 per cent. But this Committee has already decided to request the House of Representatives to make the duty upon these articles 30 per cent. While Mr. Danks spoke only for “his own firm, Mr. Busby appeared before the Commission as representing the Master Brassfounders, Finishers, and Art Metal “Workers’ Association.- As far as the workers themselves are concerned, I think honorable senators will give me credit for knowing their wishes when I say that they have a strong desire for a high Tariff. That being so, I think that it is fair for me to say that the desire of the whole trade is that a high Tariff shall be imposed upon these articles. Mr. Busby, however, -stated that -
Given a substantial increase in the Tariff the manufacturers 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.
I am asking for a 30 per cent. duty. The organized workers in the trade would be glad to have an even higher duty than that. The organized employers as represented by Mr. Busby, suggested a 40 per cent. duty.
– What did the unorganized portion of the trade want?
– They had the same right to appear before the Commission as had the organized employers and workers. No restriction was imposed ; and I know of no Commission that has ever sat in Australia to the proceedings of which greater publicity was given than to those of the Tariff Commission, which finished its labours recently. I feel justified in persisting in my request, and asking the Committee to vote upon it.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [2.55]. - This is an attempt to increase the old duty, -which appears to have been a perfectly fair one, by 50 per cent. Reference has been made to the circumstances under which this proposal for a duty of 20 per cent, was placed in the Tariff by the House of Representatives. It is said that it is the result of an arrangement which was satisfactory to the Treasurer and the Department, as doing justice to all parties concerned. If such an arrangement was made, it is’ inscrutable that the Vice-President of the Executive Council should seek to take advantage of a request moved by a friendly senator in order to put up the duty beyond the rate to which his colleague conducting the Tariff through another branch of the Legislature assented. I have not examined the public record to which reference has been made, in order to see whether a compact was entered into or not. Therefore, I can say nothing more about it either affirmatively or negatively.
– Will my honorable friend permit me to intervene ? I take the very earliest opportunity of saving that certain information has now come to my notice which conveys to me the distinct idea that a compact was entered into with regard to this duty. Previously I acted on information which was supplied to me. That information now appears to be erroneous. J take the earliest opportunity of acknowledging that it was erroneous ; and, having found that a compact was entered into, of which I was not aware, I must, as I have already stated on other similar occasions, feel myself bound by it.
– I do not think that anything can be more gratifying than the explanation which my honorable friend has made. We must all agree that it is worthy of himself and of the position which he occupies. Of course, my honorable friend’s statement lessens the necessity for me to make the remarks which I was about to make. But, at the same time, I think that it is my duty to mention one point - and I put it to my honorable friend himself - that when a measure like a Tariff comes up from the House of Representatives, I will not say that the Minister in charge of it should, under all circumstances, abstain from seeking1 to alter the rates of duty by increasing them, but I do say that no alteration, the effect of which would be to increase the burdens upon the community, ought to be proposed in this Chamber without very serious and grave reason. ‘ Nothing but the very gravest reason would justify an increase even if a duty were the result not of a compact but merely of a division. I trust that my honorable friend Senator Croft will now withdraw his request, because., after the Minister’s statement, he has not the slightest chance of carrying it. Senator Croft has put it very strongly that Mr. Danks was not a very good witness.
– Not a good witness, even for himself.
– There is evidently a divided household about these electrical appliances. Mr. Danks, who is a sensible moderate-minded man, with an appreciation of justice all round, says that he is perfectly content that these articles should be put upon the footing of “ Manufactures of Metal, n.e.i., 20 per cent.” That is exactly the rate fixed in this paragraph.
– And the- rate recommended by the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission.
– Recommended, no doubt, on the faith of Mr. Danks’ statement. As Senator Croft so nicely put it, Mr. Danks is acquainted with not merely the importing, but also the manufacturing, side of the controversy. He tried to look at the question all round, better, perhaps, than did Mr. Busby. The latter was brought before us as the only righteous man on this question. He, as Senator Croft said, “ Expresses the desire of the trade.” That, is the solitary support which this proposition has got. Senator Croft put it fairly and frankly that it is the desire of the employers, and also of the workmen, but if the Senate were always to increase duties simply on the desire of the particular trade affected, goodness knows where we should get to. There is no limit upon their appetite. It becomes cormorantic, although no one will say it is unnatural for them to take as much as they can get. It is not a convincing argument that 30 per cent, is the desire of the trade: We ought to have something more in the way of hard facts to show that the 20 per cent., under which those in the trade appear to have been living and thriving for six years, is not’ enough, and that, in consequence, this has become a strangled industry.
– In view of the Minister’s frank statement, I suggest, knowing that he, like the rest of us, is not anxious to unduly prolong the time occupied on the Tariff, that he or some of his officers should endeavour to ascertain whether an arrangement such as existed in this case was made in regard to any of the remaining items. Those arrangements are somewhat difficult to follow, but I find that a great number of them were made, and it would probably assist the Minister if he had placed before him by his officers a list of the occasions on which thev were entered into.
– I did invite the officers to investigate each case and advise’ me where any such arrangement was made. In this case, unfortunately, it was overlooked. I am bound, as I said from the beginning, by any compact made by my colleagues, and will loyally abide by it, but I want Senator Millen to differentiate between this and the last case, where it was simply stated in Hansard that a certain question was agreed to. ‘ That is a mere record, not as against my colleague, but showing that he did not call for a division where he recognised that the voices were against him, and that it was idle to divide. That happens on many occasions, as every experienced parliamentarian knows, where no division is called for unless it is desired to keep a record. In those cases it is stated in Han- sard simply that the question was resolved in the affirmative. On several occasions, however, when the question has been put, I have voted “no,” although the question has been ultimately resolved in the affirmative. In those circumstances there is nothing binding upon my colleague or myself, and it is for me to exercise the fullest discretion.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 178, paragraph a, “ Electroliers, Gasaliers, &c. “ (imports under General Tariff), ad val. 30 per cent. (Senator Croft’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
.- I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 178, paragrapha (imports under General Tariff), ad val., 25 per cent.
– Oh !
– This request was debated on Friday. The honorable senator will say “Oh” when the result of the division is made known, because I am satisfied that three or four honorable senators now sitting on that side will cross over when the question is put, and the request will be carried.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
.- I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 178, paragrapha (imports under General Tariff), ad val., 24 per cent.
I do not care about the jeers of honorable senators. I have taken some pains in regard to this matter, and I am voicing, I feel sure, the opinions of every artisan engaged in the trade when I say that a large body of workmen, together with the manufacturers, will be very sadly disappointed at the decision at which the representatives of the Government have arrived in the Senate. Before I moved in the matter I had an assurance from the representativesof the Government that they would support my request.
– The honorable senator does not want them to break their word.
– I am not at all concerned about the arrangement which was arrived at in another place. If we are to sit idly by and express no opinion in regard to matters which come here for our revision ; if we are to be guided by an agreement arrived at in another place, probably at an early hour in the morning, when the members were weary, and anxious to retire to their homes, and when they were nearing a festive period of the year, we might as well pass this schedule in globo, and go into recess.
– The honorable senator made no remark when the Minister made a statement just now.
– At the moment I was busily engaged in attending to a matter outside the Chamber.
– The honorable senator cannot expect the Minister to go back upon his word.
– The Minister gave me the assurance that he would support my request.
– But he has explained that that was done inadvertently.
– And what is more, the Tariff’ is inconsistent. We agreed to a duty of 30 per cent. on brasswork, and this work is part and parcel of that upon which the brassworkers and manufacturers are engaged. We are asked to agree to a request for a duty of 20 per cent. on one portion of the work on which the men are engaged, and a duty of 30 per cent. on another portion. The two proposals are highly inconsistent. Feeling very strongly on the subject, and knowing that a large number of men, not only in Victoria, but in every other State, are out of employment owing to the large importation of brasswork, I am prepared to keep on moving requests, even though I may be beaten, with the view of showing my opposition to the backdown of the Government in respect to a promise they gave me a day or two ago regarding their desire to increase the duty. On former occasions, the Government have departed from the recommendations of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission, and even from their own recommendations, with the view, as they asserted, of securing uniformity in the schedule. When I desired that there should be uniformity in respect to these two matters - brasswork and chandeliers - the representatives of the Government said that they would stand by the duty that was in the schedule when it was tabled in another place.
– Was that said on the floor of the chamber ?
– I took the assurance of the representatives of the Government in this chamber as absolute and definite.
– Why does not the honorable senator allow the Government to stick to their own. assurance given in another place, where they made an agreement?
– With whom did the Government make that agreement? The probability is that it was made by men who call themselves protectionists, but one would require a powerful microscope to discover how much protection there is in some of the proposed duties.
– The honorable senator’s microscope can never see any protection in a duty under 40 per cent.
– I cannot conceive that 20 per cent. is a protectionist duty. Certainly it is not a sufficiently high protectionist duty on this kind of work.
– The Tariff Commission said that it was.
– No. The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission made many recommendations which were departed from by the Government, because the duties recommended were not sufficiently high. I do not desire to say anything further in regard to this request for a duty of 24 per cent., but later on, when we get further down the scale, we shall have an opportunity of addressing ourselves to the question.
– I am sorry that Senator Findley was not in the chamber when I spoke on this matter. It is perfectly true that when he acquainted me with his intention to move for a duty of 25 per cent., I said that, as it was the original proposal of the Government, it was my intention to support his request. It is also true that I had given an assurance to the Committee, and one which it was not necessary to give, because it follows, as a matter of course, as every experienced parliamentarian must know, that in those cases where the Government entered into a compact with another place, I, willing or unwilling, am bound by it.
– The Minister ought to be bound by the schedule, and originally the Government proposed a duty of 25 per cent.
– That is true, but it is equally true that as we could not get that rate we had to consent to a compromise inorder to secure a duty of 20 per cent.
– Otherwise the Government might have had to take a duty of 20 or 15 per cent.
– Exactly. Apart from that, I wish to clear up this misunderstanding. Where I have had a discretion and deemed it desirable that the rate of duty should be increased to that which was originally proposed by the Government, I have not hesitated to move in that direction. But when my honorable colleague in another place has bound the Government to a particular percentage, as he has done in this case, I am bound by that compact.
– The honorable senator is frightened of a stone-wall.
– Nothing of the kind.
– Absolutely. It was threatened on the other side.
– It was not threatened either directly or indirectly. If I had heard a threat of the kind, I should have been the very first to resent it.
– Did we not stay up all night to enable the honorable senator to carry an increase of 5 per cent.
– Yes. In this case I am not free to adhere to our original proposal, and there was every excuse for the officers on whose information I, in the first instance, relied. In every case I have asked them whether there was a compact in regard to the item, and received an assurance that there was not. This particular item was bandied about one way and the other, and it was only within the last few minutes that we were able to ascertain definitely that a compact was arrived at. All the other references to the item which I had seen did not point to a compact. Hence it was that I told my honorable friend that I proposed to adhere to our original proposal for a duty of 25 per cent. When I learned for the first time to-day that a compact had been entered into else where, it became my duty to adhere to the statement I made at the beginning of our deliberations on the Tariff, namely, that I was bound by what had been doneby the Government.
– Between whom was the compact entered into?
– It was entered into between my honorable colleague and, I presume, those sitting opposite.
– In the Senate?
– What has that to do with the Senate?
– Of course, the Senate can vote just as it likes in the matter.
– All right, let the Minister stick to his free-trade friends.
– There is no use in my honorable friend throwing taunts at me. He would be the last man to invite me to depart from an honorable compact.
– There is no compact so far as the Senate is concerned.
– I admit that, but I, as a member of the Government, am bound by the compact made elsewhere.
– Not a bit.
– Pardon me, all the fundamental principles of parliamentary government point in the one direction ; in fact, the matter is not open to question at all. I am not offering any excuse, nor have I any desire to do so. I have no option but to adhere to what was done on the part of the Government by my honorable colleague.
– The honorable senator knows that in some cases the Government withdrew items from the schedule in the other House by agreement or arrangement, and that here we carried requests to reinsert them.
– In every case where there is a compact, I am bound by its terms, but otherwise I am free to act according to my discretion.
– All right, we can go to the other side.
– In my opinion, this request raises a question which I feel somewhat diffident to decide, but which I think should be decided, and that is whether I ought to receive a request for a reduction on a proposed rate of duty which has been negatived which is not of a substantial character. Honorable senators will recognize that this is a two-edged sword which will cut either way. If I accept this request to reduce the duty - as compared with the rate named in the previous request - by 1 per cent., it will create a precedent which will provide illimitable possibilities for stone-walling. Practically, we have no Standing Orders to guide us in dealing with Bills of this class, and the only guidance I have is the practice of the House of Commons, which is laid down in May, at page 583, in these terms -
The reduction of a grant or item must be of a substantial and not of a trifling amount, nor may a series of motions be made upon the same grant raising substantially the same issue.
It seems to me that, according to May, such a motion would not be received in the House of Commons. My personal feeling is that I should not receive it, and that to do so would be to create a very dangerous precedent. Undoubtedly, the reduction on a duty previously proposed should be of a substantial character. I feel that it is my duty to refuse to accept the honorable senator’s request as not being of a substantial character, but, so far from regarding it as a reflection upon me to refer my ruling to the President, I invite honorable senators to so refer if they are not satisfied with it.
.- I assume that, a vote having been taken on a motion to request the House of Representatives to make the duty 25 per cent., and the request having been defeated by three or four votes, you, sir, consider that I should not move a request to make the duty 24 per cent., because you think the voting would still be the same.
– No, I was not guided by that at all.
– Then it is because, in your opinion, it would lead to endless discussion, and that I have not moved for a substantial reduction as compared with ray previous request?
– That is it ; that the reduction on the rate of duty previously requested is mot of a substantial character.
– I have no wish to appeal to the President against your ruling, but might I ask whether, if I move a request that the duty should be 22^ per cent., you would consider the difference between that duty and 25 per cent, of a substantial character ?
– I think that i per cent, is the smallest reduction, as compared with the previous request, that should be proposed in this case.
– As you have ruled that you cannot accept a request that the duty should be 24 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. 22^ per cent.
.’ - I gathered from an interjection which you, sir, have made, that you are prepared to accept a reduction of 2 per cent, in this case as a substantial reduction, and in that connexion I should like to submit, not for discussion now, but for subsequent consideration, that the amount of the reduction in such cases should bear some relation to the duty as set out in the schedule. Whilst a reduction of z per cent, upon a duty of 25 per cent, might be regarded as a substantial reduction, it could hardly be regarded in that light if the duty set out in the schedule were 100 per cent. I indorse the general principles of your ruling that any proposed reductionshould be substantial, but, in order to discover whether a proposed reduction is substantial, I suggest that some regard must be had for the amount of the duty pro-posed to be reduced. I wish to say, with regard to the further effort to increase this duty, that the action taken by the Minister is exactly the action which Senator Findley would have taken in a private business matter. It was the only honorable and straightforward course which the VicePresident of the Executive Council, or any one else, could have taken in the circumstances. The honorable senator committed himself to a certain course of action on the basis of information supplied to him, and when he found that the information was not accurate, he adopted the distinctly manly course of informing the Committee of his mistake. I see no reason why Senator Findley should upbraid him on that account. The honorable senator might be a little disappointed, and might express his disappointment that the facts were not as he supposed they were, but he should have been prepared to commend the Minister for the action Re took.
– The honorable sena* tor did not commend the Minister when he kept honorable senators all night in an endeavour to increase a duty.
– I did not, nor do I commend the Vice-President of the Executive Council at any time for seeking to increase duties.
– It is all right if he proposes to decrease duties.
– Senator Findley has missed my point. I say’ that the VicePresident of the Executive Council took the only honest and manly course that was open to him in this instance, and that whether the duty should be raised or lowered is quite another matter ; and I say that the Minister has done here what Senator Findley would do in connexion with any business transaction of his own outside. I wish to add only one word more, on the merits of the case. Senator Croft and other honorable senators have referred to the evidence given by certain witnesses; but what they have said is beside the question, when it is remembered that that evidence was before the Tariff Commission, and the protectionist section of thatCommission still recommended duties of 20 per cent. and 12½ per cent. It is not unreasonable to suppose that they recommended what they regarded as an effective duty.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 178, paragraphb (imports under General Tariff), 25 per cent.
I notice some exclamations of surprise, but honorable senators will find that under item 170 water meters are made dutiable at 25 per cent., and as gas meters are being made in Australia as well as water meters, I see no reason why they should be dutiable at only 5 per cent. under the general Tariff and be free if imported from the United Kingdom. So far as my information goes, the original proposal of the Government was in accord with the request I now make. As the imports under items 177 and 178 were grouped together, we have no information as to the value of the gas meters imported. I direct attention also to the fact that, under item 172, “ Brass ware and Gunmetal work,” the duties to which we have agreed are 30 per cent. and 25 per cent. I venture to suggest that the discrepancy between 5 per cent. on gas meters and 25 per cent. on water meters is altogether too great. Gas meters are being made at the present time in at least two of the States of the Commonwealth.
– They are being put together.
– I see no reason why work should not be given to our people in the manufacture of the parts as well as in the putting of them together. Honorable senators may object to my request on the ground that it is too big a jump from 5 per cent. to 25 per cent.
– 25 per cent. is not high enough.
– I am inclined to agree with the honorable senator in view of the duties to which we have already agreed on items 170 and 172. I do not desire to emulate the action of. certain other honorable senators this day week in wasting time unnecessarily, and I content myself with submitting the request without further discussion.
– I think the Committee should agree to the request. Ibelieve that the Government were guided in this matter by an arrangement arrived at in another place. There are in every State of the Commonwealth tradesmen of sufficient capacity to make ordinary gas meters. We already make water meters in considerable numbers. There is no more difficulty involved in making a gas meter than a water meter. We know that gas meters are mostly utilized by well-circumstanced companies; and it appears to me that the influence of some of these strong financial companies has been at work in respect of this duty.
– That is very bad taste.
– I do not know, nor do I care, whether the honorable senator thinks the remark in bad taste or not. I have said it, and I think it.
– I do not wonder at the Bulletin talking in the way that it does, if a member of the Senate says the same sort of thing.
– Ever since the Tariff debates began people interested in various trades have been at work using influence to get duties increased or decreased.
– And no member of Parliament has been more button-holed than the honorable senator himself.
– True, I have been button-holed in the interest of those desiring to secure the highest form of protection for Australian industries.
– But there is influence and influence.
– There is influence and influence, and it would appear that there has been some insidious influence with regard to gas meters. Under the Tariff of 1902 there was a duty of 12½ per cent. Under that duty industries were established for the making of these instruments. A firm in South Melbourne went in extensively for the making of slot meter attachments. I am told that it was growing into an important industry and gave employment to a large number of brass workers. I will not mention the name of the firm, but the, information supplied to me is reliable. It made 3,000 of these things in two years, and three tons of castings and sheet brass were used in the making of them. The information supplied goes to show that there is no justification whatever for putting these goods on the free list. Some honorable senators will probably say that up to the present time few, if any, gas meters have been made in Australia. Some have been made; but even if they were not made here the imposition of a duty would be sufficient to induce manufacturers to turn their attention to this work. I believe that a 25 per cent. duty would open up a new era, and have the result of finding employment for a large number of men.
– What hope has the honorable senator of defeating the Government and the free-traders combined?
– There is not much hope, judging by the last division, but if one does not make an effort one will never succeed in doing anything. I dare say that the numbers will be against the request, but anyhow it will be to the credit of those honorable senators who were returned as protectionists to vote consistently on this question. The division list also will show how some honorable senators who were returned as protectionists are voting in the opposite direction, and sheltering themselves behind the plea that arrangements made in another place are binding upon them. An honorable compact on the part of representatives of the Government in another place may be binding upon the representatives of the Government in the Senate, but! there are protectionist senators who are not members of the Government, but who have cast their votes in opposition to one or two requests upon which we might have expected their support. The Government have found the party to which I belong fairly consistent in supporting them upon this schedule. It is only a fair thing for the members of our party to. ask the Government to assist us in carrying this request. A duty of 25 per cent. on this kind of work is not a high one, and the result would be to give employment to a large number of workmen who are workless to-day. It would create a new industry in Australia, and enable a prejudice that exists in the minds of some people to be removed permanently, because it could be demonstrated without a shadow of doubt that what workmen can do in other lands Australian workmen can do equally well and as economically.
– Senator Findley has given his whole case away. He said that the Australian workman can work as well and as economically as any workman in the world. Well, we all say that about him. He can. But if so,why this extraordinarily high duty? If the Australian workman can do his work as well and as economically as workmen in other countries without so high a duty, Senator Findley’s whole case is gone.
– I understand that this is one of the items that are affected by a compact made in the other House. I wish to say that the party to which I belong support the Government, because they are a protectionist Government. Now, I do not think that it is binding upon any protectionist to support a Government in regard to any item in the Tariff as to which the principle of protection is entirely abandoned. The principle of protection certainly is not observed, when it is proposed to make an item absolutely free. I do not know that any particular skill is required to make gas meters; or, at any rate, no skill that we have not in Australia. It is ridiculous for a Government calling itself protectionist to enter into a compact to make an item of this kind absolutely free. If the Government are not willing to give an all-round protectionist support to the workers of Australia, they will, as far as I am concerned, find themselves in difficulties before they get through with their Tariff. I am not prepared to follow slavishly a Government which sup port such propositions as this. Its members ought first of all to be faithful to the principles upon which they were returned to Parliament. If the Government are going to betray the workers in this industry, then, compact or no compact, I shall betray the Government in respect of matters upon which I have my own individual opinions.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Needham) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 178, paragraphb (imports from the United Kingdom) ad. val. 20 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority …… 1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
– I understand that paragraph c includes incandescent lamps. 1 desire to have them placed upon the free list, because they are not made in this country.
– They can be made here. Why does not the honorable senator vote for protecting them on the same principle as he voted for protecting other things that can be made here?
– I did not vote for the other things which the honorable senator mentions. I have voted consistently to make electrical apparatus as free as I can. Incandescent lamps appeared formerly under item 179, at 5 per cent. and free. They were taken out of the free list in another place in the small hours of the morning and made dutiable under this paragraph at 15 per cent. (general Tariff) and 10 per cent. (United Kingdom). I shall be glad to hear Senator Mulcahy prove that they can be made here.My belief, supported by the evidence collected by the Tariff Commission, is that the requirements of the Commonwealth fall far below the output of any decent-sized factory which any man of enterprise who embarked in the industry would expect to establish. The requirements of the Commonwealth are only about 8,000,000 lamps per annum. Some factories in the Old Country turn out as many as 1,000,000 per week.
– Are any of these lamps used in mining?
SenatorLYNCH. - The honorable senator is very cute as a rule, but he overdoes it sometimes. My sympathy is not confined to the mining industry. The honorable senator is very fond of reminding the representatives of Western Australia that we have mostly in our mindsthe interests of the mining industry, but I am glad to notice that some requests which we have carried, while they may benefit Western Australia in a microscopical degree, will markedly advantage the State of New South Wales, so far as the coal industry is concerned. New South Wales is a good second to Western Australia in the case of metal mines, and in the coal industry she makes up a lot of leeway.
Senator Millen cannot complain, seeing that his State will benefit so much by certain requests which have been carried. There is no evidence in the records of Hansard to support the removal of these tamps from the free list. We can rightly regard it as a needless burden upon those who will employ electricity in the future to light their works. There is no chance of establishing a factory here, and the movement to make the articles dutiable was founded on the false assumption that a company would start here to reload and recap old lamps, of which the filaments were gone, and some of which were, leaky. The assumption was that the company would buy up a lot of these old lamps and start a factory to fill them again with the filaments, reducing them, of course, to the necessary vacuum. The story of that company starting here had no foundation iti fact. It is impossible to reload those lamps, as some ingenious people made the members of another place believe. I therefore move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 178 by inserting the following new paragraph: - “ bb. Incandescent lamps, free.”
.- I hope the Committee will not agree to this free-trade request. Senator Lynch is rapidly becoming a. rabid free-trader - -a rabid anti-Australian. -He urges the Committee to carry every request he submits to free an article on the ground that it cannot be made in Australia, and, from information received, never will be made in Australia. I looked -upon him until recently as a big Australian.
– When he supported the honorable senator !
– Not because he supported me, but because he supported everything that would advance the interests of Australia, and maintained that what could be done in other lands could be equally well done here. He moves now that incandescent lamps ‘ be admitted free on the ground that in another place, under a false assumption, the duty was made 15 per cent. That is a charge against the honorable member who submitted the amendment in another place. I believe it was Mr. Mathews, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who took exception to the article being free.
– I did not hear his name mentioned.
– I did. The honorable senator probably did not get his information from a member of the Labour Party. Mr. Mathews moved in that direction because of representations made to him by a constituent of his, who, I believe, stated that if sufficient protection were given to him he would, in the near future, establish works within the metropolitan area for the making of these lamps. Apart from that, the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission refer in their report to the statement of a witness named Wilson, who gave evidence in Queensland. That is the gentleman, who has an up-to-date factory in Brisbane, and who desired this Committee to give him protection in respect of scientific instruments. We did so.
– With the assistance of the Queensland senators.
– Yes. As we gave him that protection, I trust that the Queensland senators will, on this occasion, give him further support by voting against Senator Lynch’s request. The protectionist section of the Commission state -
An instrument maker of Brisbane, who was employed in the manufacture of lamps for scientific and medical purposes, stated that he also wished to manufacture the cheaper lamps used generally for electric lighting, which lie had previously manufactured in Glasgow. It could be done, he said, under a protective duty, which should at least be 50 per cent. Lamps, superior to ‘ those made in Germany, could be produced in Australia. The Australian climate was more suitable for their manufacture than the climate of ‘ Glasgow. The present requirement of the Commonwealth was about 8,000,000 lamps per annum, the making of which would employ 600 people. . . At present Australia was the great dumping ground for defective incandescent lamps, when superior articles gould be made here. A duty sufficiently protective upon incandescent lamps would not only establish a new industry, but would have (he effect of increasing employment in the manufacture of brasswork, machinery, and other things necessary for the production of lamps. Some of the German lamps were retailed at present at 7id., and, if manufactured here, the retail price would be about is., but once a factory was properly established, no doubt the lamps would be produced at a cheaper rate. . . . There would be no very great difficulty in obtaining the skilled labour. If a factory were established it would be either at Sydney or Melbourne. The lamps proposed to “be made in the Commonwealth were those in universal use.
Further evidence might be quoted in sunport of the protectionist incidence of the duty. T do not think that’ it is sufficiently high. If it is to be assumed for the moment that these lamps are not being made here, surely Senator Lynch will not stretch his imagination to believe that they never will be made here. We are fixing this Tariff, not for to-day or to-morrow, but for a long period. Perhaps ten or fifteen years may elapse before it will be revived. In the meantime, are all these incandescent lamps to be admitted free, on the assumption that a factory will not be established here? I feel satisfied that a factory will not be established under any circumstances if no duty be imposed. I am confident that, with a fairly reasonable protection!, a bigger incentive will be offered to persons to establish such industries in the Commonwealth, and they need not necessarily be confined to the manufacture of incandescent lamps, which of course, are only a subsidiary line. I hope that the request will not be carried. I know that sometimes Senator Lynch carries four or five votes with him, and I believe that, at times, some of those votes are given under a misapprehension. There can be no misunderstanding in respect of this line of industry. The men capable of making these lamps are in Australia, ready to start an industry, and all they ask is the support of those who were returned on protectionist lines at the last general election.
– It is quite true that at the outset the Government included incandescent lamps in the free list, but subsequently representations were made to my honorable colleague, which . assured him that there was no reason why they should not be made in Australia. Yielding to those representations, and after inquiry, he saw fit to move elsewhere the insertion of the articles in the n.e.i. line. I regard that act as his ultimate determination, and in this, as in other cases, I am bound^by what he did, and intend to support the item.
– I point out to Senator Lynch that his request needs a slight alteration. The words originally used in the Tariff were “ incandescent filament and vapour lamps.” I claim no special knowledge of the meaning of those terms, but I venture to suggest that the words, as they appeared in the Tariff originally, ought to be used in the renuest.
– I am willing to do that.
– The most that Senator Findley can claim to say for the item is that somebody promised the Tariff Commission that if a sufficient duty on these articles were imposed, they would immediately proceed to manufacture them. Can he say whether the proposers suggested a duty which they would regard as sufficient ?
– One witness suggested a duty of 50 per cent. I am prepared to vote for that rate if the honorable senator will.
– The witness practically indicated 50 per cent., which is roughly from 5d. to 6d. per globe, as a duty which would be sufficient to justify him in starting to make these little globed locally. The proposal before the Committee is to impose duties of 15 and 10 per cent., as against the proposal of Senator Lynch, to make the article free. I venture to assert that if it be intended to impose a protective duty, and if it be contended that that effort is justified by the evidence, the rate ought to be fixed, not at 10 or 15 per cent., but at 50 per cent. This witness said that the imported article was selling at about 7&d., and that the lamp could be made here for is. Later on he said that it might be sold at a cheaper rate, but he anticipated that in the earlier stages the price would be is. for the local lamp, as against 7 Jd. for the imported lamp.
– For a superior lamp, . mind.’
– I mind that all we have is the assertion of the man who promised to make the lamp that it would be superior to the imported article.
– If the honorable senator is prepared to accept one statement of the witness, why not the other?
– The witness went before the Tariff Commission to ask for something. Naturally, a man in that position would put forward the best side of his proposition. He certainly would not ask the Commission to recommend a duty of 50 per cent, on ‘a line in general use, and say that the only article which he could turn out would be an inferior one. That would be altogether against human nature. What this witness did say was that he could produce a superior lamp at is., as against what he alleged to be an inferior lamp sold at 7½d. As regards the alleged inferiority of the imported lamp, it is being turned out by firms in countries where special and longcontinued study has been given to its production. Whatever success might attend local efforts, the local manufacturers could not turn out for some years to come an article superior to that made in those countries. Let me show what a duty of 50 per cent, would mean to Australia, according to the figures submitted by this witness. He said that Australia uses annually 8,000,000 lamps of this kind ; that the price of the imported lamp is 7½d., and that the price of the Australian-made article would be is. He asks, us to impose a duty, the effect of which is to add 4½d. to the cost of each lamp used here.
– He said that once the factory was established the lamps ought to be produced at a cheaper rate.
– I have already said that it is all hope on the part of the witness. On an annual consumption of 8,000,000 lamps, a difference of 4½d. in the cost per lamp would represent a sum of£133,000. The witness also told the Tariff Commission that if the lamps were made here, 600 hands would be employed. It must be obvious to any one that if I take the total wages paid to 600 hands in the industry at £1,000 a week, I am allowing an ample margin. A great deal of the labour would be extremely light, and the greater proportion of the work would fall to bovs or girls. The wages of 600 employes would run to £52,000 a year, presuming that they worked full time, so that we are asked by this witness to pay £133,000 a year in order to find the employment represented by an annual payment of £52,000.
– That is on the calculation that the price of the lamps would always remain at is.
– The witness himself gave the price, and as he has not yet started to make the lamps, and possibly will not make a start for a considerable time, my honorable friend is asking the users of the article to accept an altogether unjustifiable burden. The proposal is preposterous. Surely protectionists are not going to ask the taxpayers to pay nearly £3 in order that £1 may be spent in wages in this industry? It would be far better to levy some other tax and distribute it to those who may claim that by-and-by they might get employment in this imaginary factory. The fact remains that no one has ventured to make these lamps here.
Apart from this witness, there is no mam with a knowledge of the business who will venture to suggest that they are going tobe made here for some years to come. The Tariff Commission recognised that. After listening to this witness, and I presume to other witnesses, they concluded, that there was no justification for recommending a duty on these lamps. Senator Findley, if he has any belief in his arguments, should propose to levy a duty of 50- per cent, because he has taken the statement of this witness as his sole reasont for opposing the request.
– I am at a loss to understand what the request of Senator Lynch means. It is not clear tome whether he is dealing with manufactures of metals, or machinery, or glassware. When we were dealing with manufactures of glass, I asked whether the articles which honorable senators have been looking at were not included irr item 253. I was told they were. Senator Lynch now proposes to take some articles out of an n.e.i. item, and to deal in connexion with duties on metals and machinery with something which should have been dealt with when we were considering the duties to be imposed on glassware.
– Let me point out that it was introduced in the next item in another place.
– It is no wonder that one gets confused. Even the representatives of the Government are continually finding themselves in that . position because of something done in another nlace. We need not go far to look for the effects of inconsistent action whether in this Committee or in another place: Senator Millen has not been so fair as he usually is in dealing with the evidence of the witness to whom he has” referred. I recollect the witness in question very well, and he appeared to me to be an intelligent and honest man. Judging by the fact that he has been able to influence the vote of Senators Chataway, Sayers, and St. Ledger, so far as to induce them to adopt a course which we had no reason to expect them to adopt, he must also be a man of some reputation. This witness said that the invoice value of these little glass globes was 7½d. each, but Senator Millen overlooked the fact that he also declalred that Australia was made the dumping ground for the rubbish of the rest of the world.
– The honorable senator is wrong. The witness said that the retail price, and not the invoice price, was
– It does not make very much difference, and in view of the fact that the invoice price and the retail price of various articles have been confused, not only by members of the Committee, but by witnesses before the Tariff Commission, I can be excused for confusing them in this instance. The point is that Senator Millen did not tell the Committee that Australia was made the dumping ground for inferior articles manufactured elsewhere.
– Did he submit any proof of that statement?
– Does the honorable senator think that the people go about with incandescent lamps in their pockets? He is so sceptical that the moment an honorable senator makes a statement he calls for proof.
– It was not necessary to furnish proofs to the members of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission; an opinion was good enough for them.
– They did not accept everything they heard without consideration any more than did the members of the free-trade section of the Commission. According to the witness who has been referred to, we could manufacture in Australia a superior and reliable article, and we should not then be af the mercv of those who dump rubbish into the Commonwealth. If the superior article locally manufactured cost is., it might be far tetter value than what we are now importing at7½d. The witness also stated that in the very near future, when the manufacture of these a.r: tides was fairly established, the price would come down. That is a universal result of the establishment of manufactures in Australia, and in every other country. With respect to the necessity for skilled labour in this industry, Senator Millen acr knowledges that we have one presumably skilled worker in the person of the witness who gave evidence on the. questionbut that witness declared that there would be no difficulty in securing skilled workmen to establish an industry of this description. Honorable senators opposite are always challenging members of the Labour Party on their attitude towards the increase of population in Australia, and I point out that if there are not a sufficient number of skilled workmen here to establish this industry, there are any number of them in Great Britain, Germany, and other parts of the world, who would be only too glad to. come to Australia to produce, under Australian conditions of labour, the articles which they are now producing elsewhere “ under verydifferent conditions. I can assure Senator Millen and honorable senators opposite, that no member of the Labour Party would object to them coming here if an industry were established that would afford them employment. Senator Lynch should consider what he is doing. If he does not desire that the electrolier, metal fittings, glass globes, and filaments complete, should be admitted free, this is not the division of the Tariff in which the matter should be dealt with. If the honorable senator desires merely to deal with the glass bulbs, what he proposes should have been submitted for the consideration of the Committee when we were dealing with glassware. I asked the question’ whether these bulbs were included in the item dealing with glassware, and I was led by the Minister to believe that they were. There ought to be no higher authority, but, as the Minister has changed front so often, even to-day, no matter what my confidence in him may have been in- the past I am disposed to think that the uncertainty of his information has had the effect of destroying his equilibrium. I do not intend to accentuate the matter any further, or to refer to the potentialities or possible ramifications of this industry in the future. I hope that Senator Lynch will withdraw his request.
– Do I understand that Senator Lynch wishes to withdraw his request ?
– I wish to amend the request so that it shall read as follows -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 178 by inserting the following new paragraph : - “ bb. Incandescent filament and vapour lamps, free.”
For the satisfaction of Senator McGregor, I may inform him that when the Tariff was being considered in another place, these two classes of lamps appeared under item 179. When it was proposed that they should be omitted from that item, the question was asked whether that would mean that they would be subjected to additional taxation. The Treasurer replied that they would,, as they would fall into one of the drag-net items. I do not wish to add anything to what I have already said.
– The Honorable ‘senator should withdraw his request-
– I cannot appreciate the wisdom of honorable senators who insist upon imposing taxation upon articles that will not be produced in this country for years to come. Mr. Wilson is a manufacturer of glassware exclusively, and when he spoke of the possibilities of the manufacture of these lamps in Australia, he was speaking in the optimistic strain which manufacturers frequently adopt. We are framing a Tariff which is to last for some time, and we are not justified in regarding remote possibilities. We should deal only with existing conditions, or with what is likely to occur in the near future. There is not the ghost of a chance of our making these things in Australia.
– The honorable senator will say next that we cannot make candles here.
– Senator Findley should hold his tongue until we have time to forget some of his strange contortions in connexion with women’s stays and some other articles to which I might refer. I should be prepared to support a duty on these articles if I thought there was any chance that they would be manufactured in Australia. Even the most rabid protectionists in the Committee have been perfectly willing to agree to the free admission of a certain class of instruments, on the ground that they cannot be advantageously manufactured in Australia.
– We made them dutiable. Does the honorable senator not. think that it is as easy to manufacture a lamp as it is to manufacture a barometer?
– Thermometers and barometers are being made in Australia.
– The figures presented by Senator Millen are, in my opinion, unanswerable. We should preserve some degree of consistency in dealing with the electrical industry, and until it has been developed to a very much greater extent in Australia, it would be unwise for us to impose taxation on these articles, in view of the problematic establishment of their manufacture here. I do not believe in imposing a- duty upon an article which would simply be the means of raising revenue without leading to the establishment of an industry.
Request, by leave, amended accordingly.
– I am afraid that Senator Lynch has placed some honorable senators in an awkward position. He is proposing tomake vapour lamps free. I have a vapour lamp in my house, and I venture to say that one could make a similar lamp from an old jam-tin. Of course, when one wants a vapour lamp he buys it, but a boy in his second year - of apprenticeship to a brassworker or tinsmith would be able to manufacture vapour lamps in any number. I hope that Senator Lynch -will give us an opportunity of voting, upon these articles separately. A little while ago the leader of the Government announced that he intended to adhere to a compact entered into in another place. Personally I enter my strongest protest against such influences being brought to bear upon honorable senators.
– The compact did not affect other honorable senators, but only members of the Government.
– But we know that frequently a senator is disposed to vote 011 party lines. We should, not stultify our own powers of initiative in this regard on account of anything that has happened in another place. We are asked by Senator Findley to treat incandescent! lamps from a protectionist stand-point. I agree with Senator Millen- that if Senator Findley wants protection for the industry of making these lamps, he should ask for the duty which those engaged in the industry asked for when before the Tariff Commission. Let him propose a request for a duty of 50 per cent., and I will support him. But the Government when asked for a duty of 50 per cent, have proposed one of only 15 per cent. Surely, the making of incandescent lamps is a kindred industry to the making of electroliers, chandeliers, and similar articles. But it appears that the Government hold themselves bound by a pledge given elsewhere. What is the use of discussing these items at all if the Government are going to use alternately the Opposition and the Labour Party to defeat requests?
– Is the honorable senator suggesting that the Government have entered into a compromise with the Millen party ?
– Unquestionably they did a little time ago. The Opposition had quite a happy time in watching the discomfiture of the labour Party in regard to the question of raising a duty.
– The honorable senator must not discuss past votes.
– The honorable senator has referred to a vapour lamp in his own house. Does he not* mean an oil lamp?
– No, I am speaking of one used in connexion with a thermal bath. I am not ari electrician > and I do not know whether electric vapour lamps are referred to in the item.
– They are exactly what are referred to.
– If I understand that Senator Lynch argues that we cannot manufacture ordinary lamps in Australia, I cannot agree with him. But I must confess that I should like to have more information on the subject of incandescent lamps.
– Is there any greater difficulty in manufacturing an ordinary electric lighting bulb than in manufacturing an ordinary lamp ?
– They are quite different things.
– And the proof of that is that the one lamp is being manufactured in Australia whilst the other is not.
– I should be glad if Senator Lynch would give us more information on the subject. At any rate I shall vote with him to make incandescent lamps free.
– I shall support the duty as it stands in the schedule for protective purposes as well as for other reasons. We are apt to discuss items without considering the circumstances connected with the production of the articles referred to. In this case we have to deal with an article that requires very careful packing, and is liable to break very easily. Consequent on this expense and risk, the natural protection on these goods is very large. If we impose duties of 15 and 10 per cent., they will, with heavy landing charges, probably be sufficient to justify any one going into the undertaking if the goods can be manufactured in Australia. When such manufacture is commenced, it might be a fair thing to ask Parliament to consider whether the protection afforded was sufficiently large, if it is not enough we can increase it. But until we have reached that stage of manufacture I do ‘not think that we should increase the duty very much, nor should we reduce it altogether. I understand that under the comprehensive letters “ n.e.i.”telephonic appliances are included. I wish to mention that I intend to move a request for the addition of an extra paragraph in order to cover those goods with the object of enabling them to be admitted free.
– Senator Croft was under a misapprehension when he spoke of vapour lamps in connexion with this item. I take it that he had not in his mind electric vapour lamps. But they are the lamps that are referred to in the item, which deals entirely, with electric appliances. Senator Lynch’s request would necessarily be confined to electric vapour lamps. If, however, Senator Croft has any doubt about the matter Senator Lynch might introduce the word “ electrical “ at the commencement of his request.
– I do not think there is any doubt.
– I am satisfied myself. But Senator Lynch wishes to secure votes, and if he can remove doubts by in>serting the word “ electrical “ he had better do so.
– I intend to support the item as it stands in the schedule, but I am put in a difficulty by the fact that all the evidence which I can Collect seems to indicate that the protection proposed would not be anything like sufficient. So far as concerns. Mr. Wilson, whose glass factory was the subject of a request in connexion with glassware some time ago, I draw attention to the fact that the item upon’ which I moved a request that the duty should be raised affected glass instruments, which in every individual case were already being manufactured in the Commonwealth. There are one or two other items also as to which I propose to take similar action, because the goods affected are already being made in considerable quantities in Australia. When we turn to incandescent globes we find that Mr.. Wilson certainly expresses a hope that the time will come when he will be able to manufacture them in the Commonwealth ; but in a circular which he has issued he makes the statement - alluding to the opinion contained in the Tariff Commission’s report that fifty hands would manufacture all the scientific glassware required in the Commonwealth - that the manufacture of incandescent globes would give employment to 700 persons. In his evidence before the Tariff Commission he stated that if these lamps were made in the Commonwealth they would give employment to 600 persons. He also estimated the cost of laying down the necessary plant at £5,000, and stated that a factory would probably be established at Sydney or Melbourne. Still there is the overwhelming fact that he required 50 per cent, protection, and it is now proposed to offer him 15 per cent, as against foreign imports and 10 per cent, against the United Kingdom. We have not yet heard from those who strongly support this duty on protectionist grounds how they reconcile it with the definite statement of the only , witness on the subject that 50 per cent, protection is required. Senator Mulcahy went as near to explain the matter as possible by pointing to the large amount of natural protection. ‘ I shall vote for the duty as it stands, although it is neither fish, flesh, nor good red herring. When coupled, however, with the natural protection, it may possibly have the effect, wKich we all desire, that these goods will be made in Australia.
– A few days ago’ the question of electric bulbs was discussed under item 251, “ Glassware, n.e.i.” The Minister of Home Affairs was asked if that item included them, and said “Yes.” The position, therefore, is that we propose to encourage the industry of making the glass bulbs, but, if Senator Lynch is successful, we will crush out that industry by admitting the completed lamp free. If we can make the bulb, that is the practical part of the business, because the wiring, the filling up of the mouth with plaster of Paris, and the fitting on of a brass ferrule-
-The whole thing has to be made at once.
– No, the bulbs are blown first. You cannot blow the plaster of Paris or the wiring into them. The wire, plaster of Paris, and -brass ferrule, are attached afterwards. The effect of Senator Lynch’s request would be that 8,000,000 glass bulbs would not be made in Australia, and the lamps would come in free as finished articles. I believe the bulbs are being blown in Australia to-day. What is to hinder Australian manufacturers from blowing them?
– If what the honorable senator says is correct, they could repair them.
-The question is whether it would pay to cart them to a factory for repairs, and back again. They are thrown away because they are cheap.
– Why are they not turned out in Brisbane if the process is so simple ?
– Why are they not made anywhere else? The position as put by Mr. Wilson before the Tariff Commission is as follows -
Lamps used occasionally must be renewed at least every three months. If in constant use, they last only one month. As a rule, the best lamps now made will not last more than 1,000 hours. Most of the imported lamps are cheap. The filaments fail, and the lamp becomes useless. The filaments could not be renewed, because the bulbs having been exhausted of air nothing could be done to them without breaking them. Filaments could only be placed in the bulbs as a process of first manufacture.
We are dealing with an article in daily use, of which breakages occur as often as, or probably oftener than, in the case of lamp glasses. If we cannot manufacture a simple contrivance of that kind in Australia, and are to be told that we should not encourage its manufacture, the sooner we give up trying to encourage industries the better. I hope . that Senator Lynch will see the advisability of withdrawing his request, because I had it on the best of authority the other day that a large manufacturing firm who had established works in Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide, intend to establish them also in Western Australia, and I believe they will be able to manufacture these bulbs equally as well in that State as in any other part of the Commonwealth.
– Senator Guthrie made the most extraordinary statement, as a reason for opposing Senator Lynch’s request, that we passed a duty of 15 per cent, on “ Glassware, n.e.i.,” under item 251. But this request deals with electric incandescent lamps, and the Committee never thought that item 251 included them.
– I asked the Minister the question, and he said it did.
– I do not think any one else present understood it so. Senator Guthrie has made confusion worse confounded, because he quoted Mr. Wilson’s evidence that the glass bulb was of no earthly use without the filament. I always thought that the difficulty in the construction of the lamp was not in the making of the glass, but in the combination of the glass bulb with the exhaustion of the air and the insertion of the filament. Senator Guthrie’s argument is a strong reason why we should give favorable consideration to Senator Lynch’s request. We could not have been dealing with electric incandescent lamps under “ Glassware, n.e.i.,” if the making of the glass bulb is only a small portion of the process of manufacture.
– On page 8490 of Hansard, Senator Keating, who had. charge of item 251, said -
I understand that plain electric lighting bulbs are included under this item as “ Glassware n.e.i.”
– The plain bulb undoubtedly came under that item.
– We are discussing far more than the plain bulb now. Evidently Senator Keating did not mean at the time to refer to the construction of the incandescent electric lamp - a very important process of manufacture, part of which is covered by unexpired patents. I incline to think that Senator Lynch is entirely right in moving the request. The system of electric lighting is in very common use, not only in the mines of Western Australia, but in mines in other parts of the Commonwealth, and should not be handicapped. I agree with Senator Lynch that while we may be able to make the glass bulbs in Australia, probably we shall not be able to manufacture the completed incandescent lamps, except at a cost which will be more or less prohibitive to the mine-owners. For those reasons the honorable senator is quite right in. the position he has taken up with the object of making incandescent electric lamps as cheap . as possible.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 178 by inserting the following new paragraph - “ b.b. Incandescent Filament and Vapour Lamps, free “ (Senator Lynch’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of_ Representatives be requested to amend item 178 by inserting the following new paragraph: - “bb. Telephones, Telephone switch boards and Appliances, free.”
I understand that these articles come under the n.e.i. line, which is very comprehensive. It does not need much argument on my part to show that, inasmuch as they are not manufactured here, they should be admitted free. In support of my statement, I point to the fact that this ultraprotectionist’ Government are importing all the telephones, telephone switchboards and appliances which they use. The use of the telephone as a means of communication is increasing so rapidly that in a short time its use will be universal.
– What necessity is there to make this request, seeing that all these appliances are duty free to the Government ?
– Because telephones and telephone appliances when imported for private- use are subject to a duty of 15 or 10 per cent.,’ according to the country of origin. It is now generally recognised that telephones are necessities of daily life, especially to those who live in the back-blocks. I hope that honorable senators will see their way clear to remove them from the n.e.i. line, and allow them to come in duty free. The farmer’s telephone in the United States of America is stated to be of the greatest assistance to permanent rural settlement. In Australia., a land of long distances and isolation, it will be a powerful factor in country settlement. It is really more a necessity in the country than in the city. In cases of fire or illness it is most valuable in the country. It is also useful for obtaining market reports. It puts neighbours widely separated within speaking distance. As there does not seem to be any wild opposition to my request, I shall content myself with moving, the request for a new sub-item-.
– I rise to support the request. I believe that we are on the eve of a very great advance in the matter of telephone communication. Although it is possible that some of these articles can be made in Australia, yet it will take a very long time before we can make the telephone instruments. At the present time, to fit an instrument properly, is about as much as our fitters can do, let alone to make one. There is nothing more provoking to a man than to get a telephone which is unworkable or causes delay. We are looking for a great advance in the development of this means of communication, especially in country districts. In America telephones are put up very cheaply, and work very well. Wherever they have been introduced in the country districts thcv have been declared to be the greatest boon which the country people have ever had. Our country districts are getting more closely settled, and we desire to give the settlers as many of the comforts and conveniences of city life as we possibly can. If, of course, it can be proved that these articles can be made in Australia in a satisfactory way, let us retain the duty, but in my opinion its retention will not encourage the local manufacture of them. It will simply operate as a revenue duty. Of course, telephones- for the Government come in duty free, but thousands are imported for private use. I think that private users should not be saddled with this tax.
.- Throughout the whole of New South Wales, the far north of Queensland, and many other’ parts which are hardly known to townspeople, telephones are being installed, thereby saving men and boys, and simplifying and perfecting the management of stations.
– I ask the Minister to make a statement’ as to the Government policy in regard to these matters. I agree with Senator Findley that it is unnecessary for us to talk about a duty on telephone and telephone appliances, if we get an assurance that, all other things being equal, the Government will use only those articles manufactured in the Commonwealth.
– It is- quite true that some of these telephones and telephone appliances are not made in the Commonwealth, and it is equally true that portions, though not the major portions, of them are made here. There is no do’ubt that the Government has a monopoly of the importations, and, of course, on their imports no duty will be payable. The number which is imported for private use is really infinitesimal.
– Not at all.
– I am told that it is very small indeed’. I propose to support the item as it stands.I have already told honorable senators that in some respects I am bound by the item. . It was quite impossible to differentiate as to those portions which can be made here and those which cannot, and consequently they were comprehensively included in the n.e.i. line.
– The Minister is to be congratulated upon the exceedingly clever manner in which he has defended the Tariff and supported Senator Mulcahy. Nothing- he could have said-could have convinced hon- ‘ orable senators more conclusively that they ought to support the request. He pointed out that the Government has a monopoly of the importations, and that the proportion of telephone and telephone appliances used privately is infinitesimal. There is no possible chance of the articles being made on any scale in the Commonwealth while the Government, who use 90 per cent, of the imported articles, are able to import them free.
– But the Government would not import any telephones at all if they could get them made here.
– Then let the Government impose a duty on the articles and pay it, so as to give to people the protection which they require, and, according to their own arguments, cheaper articles will be supplied to them. As regards the Minister’s reference to’ the small, use to which telephones are put privately, Senator Fraser struck the keynote in a very few . words. They are being used to a larger and larger extent throughout the Commonwealth where the Government cannot interfere or regulate their use. Between the head station and shearing sheds, and between the out stations and the home station they are used. ‘ In sugar districts they are used between the head-quarters of the man- agement and the mills. In various other ways they are used to a very considerable extent, although, of course, to nothing like the same extent as they are used by the Government. It is made quite clear by the Minister’s statement that it is unreasonable to expect that, while the Government can import them free, they will be made here.’ I suggest that what the Minister has said is the strongest possible reason why we should support the request.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 178, by inserting, the following new paragraph, “ bb - Telephones, Telephone Switchboards and Appliances, free “ (Senator Mulcahy’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 16
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
.I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 178, paragraph c (imports under General Tariff),17½ per cent.
I hope the Government will support this request, seeing’ that I am proposing a duty which they submitted in the Tariff as first introduced in another place.
– It is quite true that, as originally introduced, the Tariff provided for duties of 17½ and per cent, on the articles included in this paragraph ; but “it is equally true that the reduction to 15. per cent, on imports under the General Tariff was agreed to without any division in another place. I ask Senator Findley to say why he is proposing to increase this duty. Is it to give protection to the manufacturer of incandescent lamps, with which we have just been dealing ? Is this . the honorable senator’s idea of the proper way in which to meet the request of a witness who asked for a duty of 50 per cent. ?
– I should have no hope of carrying a higher duty, and I have some hope of being able to carry the request I have made.
– Is Senator Findley going to be satisfied with a miserable duty of 17½ per cent., when the witness asked for 50 per cent.? The honorable senatortalked a little while ago about people asking for bread and being given a stone, and yet now, when a man asks for a big square loaf, the honorable senator is prepared to throw him a crumb.
– I would give him a 50 per cent, duty if I could ; but I do not believe I should be able to. carry such a request.
– I do not know that the honorable senator will be able to carry his request for a duty of 17½ per cent. It is merely a proposal to increase a revenue duty. The honorable senator has himself said that a duty of 17½ per cent, would not give protection on some of the big items included in this paragraph.
– It would give a greater degree of protection than would . 1 duty of 15 per cent.
– If, according to the honorable senator, it requires a duty of 50 per cent, to give protection in this case, any duty short of that is a revenue duty. I venture to say that these duties in respect of 90 per cent, of the imports under this paragraph will be purely revenue duties. These articles are not made here, nor are they likely to be made here. Senator Findley is asking the Committee to impose an additional tax of 2½ per cent., which can have no protective effect, and which can only enable the tax-gatherer to levy a higher impost upon articles required in this country.
– It is hardly reasonable to say that these are merely revenue duties, because paragraph c of item 178 includes such articles as primary batteries, cable clips and hangers, lightning conductors, electrolytic apparatus,
– What is the total value of the imports under this paragraph ?
– It is impossible to say, because they are mixed up with the imports under other items.
– Can the honorable senator give the Committee any idea of the other articles included?
– The honorable senator has already heard some mentioned. The paragraph includes electrical adapters, overhead traction fittings, telephones and telephonic apparatus, telegraphic apparatus, electric bells and magnetic brakes. These articles are not made here, and some of them we have already dealt with. It is from the protective stand-point that I ask honorable senators to permit the duty to be increased to 17^ per cent, as originallyproposed by the Government.
Senator ST. LEDGER (Queensland) £5.35]. - It is quite refreshing to find’ the sturdiest protectionist in the Committee proposing a request for a duty of 17^ per cent. When it was sought to impose much higher duties upon other items, the honorable senator denounced some honorable senators even on his own side as traitors to the cause of protection. Senator Findley has so loudly voiced the prohibitive protection desired by Victoria that we could hardly believe that he would ever slip. The honorable senator has slipped at last, and it will be interesting to learn from this last of the faithful when a duty of 17’ J, 20, or 25 per cent, will or will not be a protective duty. He says that he cannot, carry a duty of 25, 30, or 40 per cent., for which he has been clamouring all along, and he does not mind slipping from protective grace if he can in this instance carry a duty of 17^ per cent. I expected that protection would have at least one adherent who had no chink in his armour, and I have therefore been rather pleased to discover that even Senator Findley has slipped so obviously, as to propose a revenue duty.
– The honorable senator is a revenue tariffist
– I have never disguised the fact that I was out for revenue.
– Then the honorable senator should vote for my request.
– I have said that I think these are articles which our people should be enabled to get as free of duty as possible. If we have to deal with a few more of these’ electrical appliances it will be difficult to say what is a protective duty. Protection is found to be very like- free-trade when the fiscal ‘ship is sailing to Western ports, but when it is sailing very close to Hobson’s Bay protection becomes strongly prohibitive. The percentage of duty sought to be imposed varies apparently according to the ports to which a ship is going.
– It depends mostly on peanuts and bananas.
– Even that is not more inconsistent than is the present action of the last of the protectionists. . I wonder how Senator Findley gets the £ per cent, for which he asks in this case?
– By chopping 1 per cent, in two.
– I think it was by doubling £ per cent.
– The ablest mathematician in the world, viewing the proceedings of this Committee, would be baffled to discover the principle on which we ask for any’ percentage of duty above or below a particular mark. He would never be more completely baffled than when finding that strong protectionists become revenue tariffists, and that while denying it prohibitionists fight as hard as possible for free-trade. I have before described this kind of thing as being more or less fiscal poker. Whenever the Government can get their way they get it, and whenever they cannot get their way they put up with the consequences.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 178, paragraph c, “ Electrical and Gas Appliances, n.e.i.” (imports under General Tariff), ad. val. 17 J per cent. (Senator Findley’ s request)- -put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Item 179 (Electrical Articles and Materials) agreed to.
Item 180. Rails, Fish Plates, Fish Bolts, Tie Plates and Rods, Switches, Points, Crossings, and Intersections for Railways and Tramways, ad val. (General Tariff), 12½ per cent., and on and after 30th November, 1907, 15 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 12½ per cent., and on and after 30th. November, 1907, 10 per cent.
– Senator Chataway is quite right. I intend to move the insertion of the words “ also Steel Sleepers.”
– I am not aware that rails are made in this country at all, and I should like to know whether the term “rails” as used in this item includes mining and tramway rails such as are used in saw-mills and in other like occupations?
– As a matter of fact, Messrs. Hoskins and Company, Sydney, are at present under contract with the New South Wales Government to make steel rails, and no doubt they are taking every step for the purpose of carrying out that contract.
– What sized rails?
– All sizes. The item does include mining rails.
– The fact that one firm is making rails for the New South Wales Government does not satisfy me that that firm can meet the demands of the whole country. I therefore move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend’ item 180 by leaving out the word “ Rails “ and adding the following new paragraph: - “B. Rails, free.”
– The principal importers of steel rails are “the Governments of the States. “Under a decision of the Supreme Court of New South Wales they should be able to import them free of duty. The Commonwealth has not yet taken any . steps to test that judgment. We ought not to impose taxation upon rails imported by private persons when there is no duty on rails imported by a State. The Government now propose to put against every private importer a duty of 15 per cent., whilst the greatest of all consumers, the States themselves, will probably be able to get their steel rails free. If that is not a case of making fish of one and flesh of another. I do not know what is. I am inclined to agree with Senator McColl that steel rails should be entirely eliminated from the item. They are not only used for railways, but also largely for mines and tramways. I do not see why private persons who purchase them should not have the same advantages as the States Governments have.
– I think it would be a most serious mistake to eliminate rails from the item. I have already mentioned a contract entered into by one of the States to encourage the manufacture of steel rails in Australia. That is a desirable precedent to follow. The firm witb which the contract has been made has. I suppose, introduced the necessary plant to establish a large industry. A similar thing was done by Victoria in connexion with the pipe industry, and proved a most successful means of encouraging an important enterprise. When we have the precedent of New South Wales doing this, for the Senate of the Commonwealth to take any steps to hamper the firm in question in carrying out its contract would be a most serious mistake. Our object should rather beto encourage the firm by giving it command of the market. I urge that, the New South Wales Government having made such a serious advance, we, at least, should not discourage the manufacturers.
– I shall support the proposed request. The case, with regard to the manufacture of steel rails in Australia appears to be this - that some Government somewhere has made an agreement with somebody to make steel rails. But Senator McColl has referred to the extensive uses to which these rails are put in connexion with- mining and so on. I may mention the sugar industry in connexion with which probably no less than 1.000 miles of steel rails are being used in Queensland.
– Should we not give to. the rail industry the encouragement that we have given to the sugar industry ?
-I am afraid that Senator Gray, free-trader as he is, will skid on rails if we do not put some sand on them. An enormous quantity of these rails are used in connexion with the sugar industry, and are largely the means of enabling it to get over the labour difficulty. They are invariably light steel rails, connected with steel sleepers. The item as it stands apparently deals with each of these things as if they were separate. If they are to be brought in together, it would be advisable to go further, and say that not only rails but rails and sleepers combined shall be brought under the item. At any rate, I urge the Committee, in the interests of the agricultural and kindred industries which use rails, to join with Senator McColl in endeavouring to make the item free.
– I listened with great interest to the argument of my honorable friend Senator St. Ledger. He urged that as there is some probability of the States Governments not being compelled to pay duty on the importation of rails, all industries which use rails should be placed on the same footing. But how is it possible for the iron, industry, which has been established, to prosper and become solid, IT the same argument is made to apply to iron in all its various forms? It appears to me to be one of the most “ cheeky “ arguments ever brought forward in this Chamber. Senator Chataway and Senator St. Ledger come from Queensland, that land of bonus fed industries kept alive by the Commonwealth of Australia. The sugar industry would be dead to-morrow if it were not for the fact that every man, woman and child ih “Australia is paying so much per head to keep it alive. We have seen something of geographical protection - honorable senators voting for. duties that benefited their own States.
– The honorable senator appears to be another lost child of freetrade !
– I think that every honorable senator will give me credit for being consistent in respect of every item in this Tariff. I announced before the Tariff was considered, that I should vote to put the iron industry, which is an absolute necessity to Australia, upon a sure footing. It is in a totally different position from any ordinary industry. As the railways are a means of developing the country and promoting settlement, so the iron industry must be considered from the point of view, not only of the development of the country, but of other industries which must depend upon it.
– These rails are not being made in Australia.
– Messrs. Hoskins are making provision for making them. The honorable senator and the Government have voted to tax this country for prospective industries which are not likely to develop for the next twenty years, on the mere say-so of outside individuals ; but in this case, Messrs. Hoskins, in undertaking to carry on the iron industry, have taken upon themselves one of the greatest responsibilities that any man ever shouldered in Australia. It will take all the assistance that Australia can in fairness give to keep those works going. They, are necessary also from a defence point of view. The iron industry must be a very great factor if we intend to make our own weapons and ammunition, or to undertake the repairing of vessels, should communication between the Old Country and Australia be at any time interrupted. Honorable senators will, by voting for the Government on this occasion, show that they can rise above those geographical considerations which appear to have influenced so many votes in this chamber. This industry is necessary for the development of Australia, not only as regards her commercial prosperity, but also for the fulfilment of that policy which we must adopt, of providing within our own borders all that is necessary for our own defence. On those grounds, I intend to vote with the Government, and, if honorable senators like to term it so, to put aside for the moment the principles which I believe in, and which I would still hold on this occasion, but for the higher principles that I have enumerated.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [6.1]. - I am very charmed with the broad views expressed by Senator McColl, particularly when I compare his anxiety for free rails with his even greater anxiety for the free importation of blue cod, in order that it might be smoked in a back lane in Melbourne. When I compare the two things, which the honorable senator has advocated with equal sincerity, I find it difficult to keep a grave face. Perish the thought that there should be any duty upon rails for opening up the immense territory of Australia, and let us have free cod, in order that some chap may earn 5s. a week in smoking it ! I do not often pitch into the honorable senator, or into anybody else, except I feel in the humour to do so. But Senator McColl has really established his position as a rampant representative of Victorian industries. If there has been any blessed thing on which he could advocate an extra 5 per cent., he has gone for it like the shark after the proverbial bit of pork. I do not see in his present proposition any provision for freeing the rails on which it is said to be dangerous for politicians to sit. Senator Gray’s facts are very solid, but his arguments are simply deplorable. I am. not going to argue. I intend to vote; but first I shall mention a few facts. I should like to know whether Senator McColl would have moved this request if there had been a rail-making industry established within the four corners of Victoria? I believe there is a question before the High Court as to whether rails and other goods, imported by States Governments for the development of their respective territories, are or are not subject to duty under the Constitution. That remains therefore an open question. On the other hand, we know that an attempt is being made on a fairly large scale, involving probably a larger expenditure of capital than is to be found in connexion with any’ other manufacturing industry in Australia, to develop the iron industry, and the investment in question -has been made under a 12 J per cent, duty, provided for in the Tariff which existed for nearly six years. One of the difficulties, in the eyes of a free-trader, surrounding the protectionist system is that when you begin to grant duties you never know where the mischief is going to end. Industries spring up, interests are created, and you cannot get rid of them. This big iron anr! steel industry in New South Wales is a pertinent example of the mischievous effects of the protectionist system - mischievous, I mean, from the free-trader’s stand-point. It has grown up under a deliberate parliamentary grant of some five or six years’ standing of 12 J per cent. It is now proposed by Senator McColl to strike a serious blow, not at a possible industry, but at an established one. For weeks past some honorable senator or other, . who has been proposing or defending a duty, or desiring to increase it,’ has first of all said: “ These things are being made ian the Commonwealth.”; and when (hat did not do, another honorable senator lias exclaimed, “ These things can be made in the Commonwealth.” We have been imposing duties on the consumer, week after week, on those pernicious pleas. In this case, -undoubtedly, the works which I and Senator Gray have referred to are reasonably well established. They are turning cut a great deal of material, but, notwithstanding that, I should vote with Senator McColl were it not that they have been established under a kind of State guarantee of “duty.
– And under exceptional conditions. ‘
– Under very exceptional conditions. I am in complete agreement with the honorable senator as to the positive need of such works in Australia in connexion with defence matters. I need only instance the fact that the Commonwealth Government is now ‘ engaged in establishing in the same locality arsenal works, for which a supply of steel and iron-and a supply always at hand when required - is the most complete necessity that can be named. That arsenal is to be established practically next door to these works. If I were to vote for Senator McColl’s proposal, I should be striking a positive blow both at the industry and at the defence of Australia, because I should be rendering difficult, if not impossible, the useful and proper working of the arsenal proposed. 1 cannot give such a vote. Whatever fiscal views I entertain, they were taken from me when the people of Australia voted for a Commonwealth on terms that positively involved protection, and did away with the chance of free-trade. I have given up calling myself an active free-trader. I say that I am a free-trader in principle, but I am not permitted to apply my principles. They have been taken from me by the vote of the people. I do not want to enlarge upon the matter. But. up to the last I fought against the acceptance of a Constitution which would render the operation of my principles an impossibility, and I have now to make the best of things. If Senator St. Ledger has voted once in a strange wild way - in favour of a duty on tapioca - Senator Gray and myself have voted time after time against proposals to protect industries in New South Wales. But here is a question that transcends the issue of free-trade or protection. The question which appeals to me is the necessity of having at hand a supply of iron and steel which is as necessary for the protection and defence of Australia, as even the strong hands and strong hearts that are necessary to use the weapons when created. My vote will be given for the item, first because the defence of Australia demands its imposition, and secondly because this great industry, which has already swallowed up ,£250,000, or thereabouts, was brought into existence under the aegis of Commonwealth duties. I do not think that, in the circumstances I have named, I should be justified in voting in the direction of Senator McColl’s request. As regards State imports, I am not without hope that some little consideration may be shown by the High Court in its decision, and that everything which comes in for the use of the States will not be penalized. But that is apart from the question. For the sake of defence and the maintenance of an industry positively needful to the wellbeing of Australia, I think it is my duty to put aside any ideas I may have as to what constitutes a free-trade or protective duty. I am going to vote for the bigger thing, and that is to maintain the duty.
.- It is indeed refreshing to me to know that after we have travelled about half-way on our journey with the Tariff, Senator Neild has suddenly awakened to the fact that at the last elections the people of the Commonwealth proclaimed in favour of protection.
– I made no reference to the last elections.
– And because they did, he has discovered, after going halfway on our journey with the Tariff, that he has to sink his individuality and become a protectionist. It ought to be proclaimed in large letters throughout sunny New South Wales, that on the 17th March, 1908, Senator Neild became a protectionist as regards steel rails, fish plates, fish bolts, tie plates and rods, switches, points, crossings and intersections. I do not know whether it is owing to the atmosphere of the anni versary of St. Patrick. But it is strange that he should rise here and say that as thisindustry has been established and has involved somebody or a large number of people in an expenditure of £^250,000, he is prepared to maintain this duty.
– I do not even know the people by sight.
– I did not say that the honorable senator did. In my opinion, it is up to the honorable senator - the champion of free-trade, who has denounced, this Tariff as one which is a burden, and a handicap to every business and firm in the community - to show that the fish-plate industry is one which is worth assisting and protecting.
– Cheer up.
– I am cheering up. My regret is that I moved my request so early in the afternoon, because, if the honorable senator had been in the same state of mind an hour or two ago as he is now, it would have been carried instead of lost, by a vote of one or two.
– I have been, voting against the * honorable senator consistently. I was here and voted against his request.
– I wonder what occult influence has been at work. We have heard about the geographical protectionist and the mining machinery free-trader, but what influences have been at work to induce the honorable senator to become a fish-plate protectionist? Is it because the industry is established in New South Wales?
– It is for defence.
– I have always understood from honorable senators on the other side that Customs duties, no matter how high or how low they might be, were a burden upon the people. Steel rails are essential to railway construction, and the building of railways involves the expenditure of large sums. If the price of steel rails be increased by the imposition of a duty a larger expenditure will be required for railway building. According to the free-trade argument that will be a burden upon the primary producer, as well as everybody else in the community, but Senator Neild crosscuts himself by saying that, apart from railway construction, we want to build - a navy I expect - cannons and sundry other things which will be necessary in connexion with modern warfare. On steel rails for railway building, and guns for .protecting Australia, the honorable senator has declared himself a strong protectionist.
– I have not done anything of the’ kind.
– The honorable senator regrets that Senator McColl moved the request and he is satisfied that if one of the industries which are conducted at Lithgow were located at Footscray probably it would not have been moved. It has been a matter of indifference to Senator Neild in what State an industry might be established ; he would not vote protective duties for a particular industry. That is the line of conduct which he has assumed and followed ever since the Tariff was introduced here. .1 hope that he will now igo one better. He knows that I am a sort of Himalaya protectionist. I do not believe in low duties.
– Seventeen and a half per cent.
– That, I venture to say, is an encouraging beginning. Having been initiated into the protectionist arena, I ask Senator Neild to take a bold and gallant step, and join hands with me to make this duty prohibitive. I do not think that a duty of 17 *</inline> per cent, is all the protection that the people at Lithgow desire. Let it go forth in large letters to the electors of New South Wales that on this day
– Fiscally speaking, I feel that after what has transpired recently I shall he able to die happy. Honorable senators know that in foggy and . wet weather the railway authorities have to sand the’ rails in order to prevent the locomotives from slipping. We surely ought to have adopted that expedient here, and as a protection against some of our fellow senators, sanded these rails before we reached the item. I have no fault to find with the attitude taken, up by honorable senators on my side. I commend them for their attitude, and I intend to vote against the request of Senator McColl-
– Oh, another slip !
– I intend to vote against the request in accordance with the declaration I have made here frequently, that I would not vote to lower a protective duty below the rate fixed in the Tariff of 1902. To that extent I am entirely consistent. I have done that whether the industry was in New South Wales or elsewhere. I have frequently refused to reduce duties fixed by the old Tariff. But whilst in that regard I can say that I have been consistent, I have been subjected to gentle criticism by some of my colleagues for having taken up that attitude. The very reason which has been advanced here -and it is a. very strong reason - for a vote given against this request is exactly the reason which has supported me in all the votes 1 have given. Therefore, although my colleague, Senator Neild, comes late to recognise the unanswerable wisdom of the course which he is taking on- this occasion, I think that he will do me the justice to say that I foresaw things before he did. I was able to see the true requirements which were placed upon honorable senators. And now that he has recognised the force of his reasoning, I venture to hope that he will continue to give effect to the unanswerable logic which he has put before the Committee, and will not let it be said that he was prepared to maintain the duties 011 which an industry was built up in New South Wales, but that he was not prepared to act in that way when the industry belonged to another State.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [6.25]. - I wish to correct Senator Findley. I did not make the slightest reference to the last election. I had no need to do so, because I was not a candidate.
– The honorable senator said that the people declared in favour of protection, and he was therefore a protectionist.
– I never said anything of the kind. The honorable senator may make as much change out of what I did say as he pleases, but I object to his putting words into my mouth. I was not a candidate at the election, and it is well-known that, so far as I am concerned, I had no occasion to say a word about fiscalism, because it was never discussed. I was not aware that Senator Millen had made the pledge which he says he made. I wish to point out that the duties proposed in this schedule on imports from the United Kingdom are absolutely lower than the duty imposed under the old Tariff. The duty under the old
Tariff was 12 J per cent., whilst in the Tariff now under consideration it is proposed that the duty on imports from the United Kingdom - and I suppose that everything that Australia imports in the way of railway material is imported from England - shall be 10 per cent.
– We get a treat deal of railway material from the United States. I can give the honorable senator the exact figures.
– I do not wish to know them ; I do- not wish to be corrupted any further. So far from having become a protectionist, as Senator Findley has suggested, I mav mention that a little later on in the Tariff we shall come to an article which is manufactured exclusively in New South Wales and in the Melbourne gaol, and I have niven notice of a request to abolish the duty proposed in connexion with it. I refer to wire netting. In my opinion there is a wide difference between a duty that crushes individuals and one which is paid out of the pockets of the whole community, and is thus widely distributed. Honorable senators will recognise an immense difference in the incidence of taxation in respect of these duties. Dealing with this Tariff as we have done and must continue to do under the Constitution, it is not possible to maintain the niceties of particular fiscal principles. The arrangement of the Tariff in the circumstances in which we are called to deal with it must be largely a matter of give and take and compromise. I defy any protectionist in the Committee to say that he has throughout the consideration, of the Tariff been guided bv strictly protectionist principles.
Siding suspended from 6. so to 7.4.5 p.m.
– Senator Millen has suggested that a large proportion of the railway material we import comes from the United States and countries other than Great Britain. In a moment of light-heartedness, I begged not to be burdened with the information, but it has occurred to me that while that may have been the case in the past, and granting that, hitherto, under the old Tariff of 12
– We got small stuff from foreign countries also.
– Let me tell the .honorable senator that in New South
Wales we use 70-lb. rails even for tram-, ways. We found that it was perfectly useless to use light rails, as they only destroy the rolling-stock and the foundation of the permanent way. I have been keenly interested in the development of the tramway system of Sydney, and I .may inform honorable senators that we used 40-lb. rails for that system for a long time, with the result, that we had a jumping road, which shook the rolling-stock to pieces, and rendered necessary everlasting repairs to the permanent way. We took up the 40-lb. rails arid laid down 70-lb. rails.
– May I inform the honorable senator that the total imports under this item, in 1906, from Belgium and Germany equalled those from the United Kingdom, and were nearly double the imports from the United States.
– Admittedly we have hitherto obtained a considerable portion of our railway material from foreign countries. The point I desire to make is that hitherto there has been no duty differentiating between England and foreign countries, and T know, as does every business man, that a difference of 5 per cent, stands for a very great deal in large transactions.
– It is a very tidy commission to start with.
– It is; and if you turn your money over four times in the year, it means, not 5 per cent., but 20 per cent, per annum on your capital. I am, therefore, very well satisfied that if in this Tariff we give a 5 per cent, preference to the Old Country, our railway material will be imported from Great Britain, rather than from foreign countries. I am, therefore, satisfied that the duties here proposed, of 15 per cent, under the general Tariff and 30 per cent.’ on imports from the United Kingdom, will not involve any larger impost on the total imports under this item than was involved in the old duty of 12j per cent, all round. I think it is quite possible that under this new Tariff the. duty will be found to be very much more nearly 10 per cent, all round than 12j per cent, all round. The proposal therefore appeals to me rather from the stand-point of reduction than of increase. I would like .Senator Findley to understand that I do not intend to alter my attitude in future in the slightest” degree where I can do anything to reduce a duty imposed upon an individual consumer.
– That is ungenerous of the honorable senator.
– The VicePresident of the Executive Council, and, I think, honorable senators generally, know me too well to believe that I would be guilty of opposing anything merely for the sake of opposition, . or of doing anything other than that which I believe is as right as the’ circumstances permit me to make it. If Senator Findley thinks that the propositions I have submitted indicate that I have become an aggravated protectionist, he will find that he is barking up the wrong sapling altogether, and that I have not altered my attitude towards this Tariff in the least. We have to consider in this instance that the- result of the imposition of a duty of 12½ per cent, under the old Tariff - which I opposed before Senator Findley, or anv other honorable senator that I see opposite me at the present time, with the exception of the Vice-President of the Executive Council and Senator McGregor, entered the Senate - has been a creation of interests involving very large sums of money and of national interests, as well as the interests of a. particular firm, which cannot be lightlvplayed with.
– Hear, hear; this is the effort of ‘the honorable senator’s lifetime.
– I have made more efforts in the past than Senator Findley will ever live to make. Entirely apart from fiscalism, and from anything that has happened in the past, or may happen in the future, I understand that the Commonwealth Government are on the point of establishing in the immediate vicinity of the works to which reference has been made an arsenal, for which 1 have been helping to clamour for long years, for the manufacture of small arms for the defence of the Commonwealth, so that Australia, shall not be at the mercy of the winds and waves and of privateers or men-of-war intercepting the arrival of military stores from the other side of the world.
– I think the Government have decided to put the factory on the Blythe River.
– Will the honorable senator be kind enough to get into a hole and pull it in. after him ! If difficulties are placed in the way of the supply of the necessary material, for this factory, then I do affirm, with all seriousness, that it is of very little use for the Common wealth to enter into a large expenditure for the establishment of such works. They must be assured of a reasonable supply of the material which is positively necessary to make these arsenal works a success.
– Guns are not made out of rails, are they ?
– My honorablefriend is-evidently “ gone “ on tapioca, and the manufacture of small arms does not appeal to him. Arrowroot would be more to his taste. Small arms, and larger arms also, are chiefly made from steel. You cannot turn out military weapons as you turn out a shot gun, from wound wire. The best fowlingpieces are undoubtedly made from wire carefully welded, and a good gun of this description may cost £60. But military weapons such as are to be made at the proposed arsenal at Lithgow are chiefly made from steel, and they cost only about £3 a-piece, or less. To place difficulties in the way of obtaining a supplv of steel in the vicinity of the Commonwealth arsenal in the Lithgow district would be distinctly to strike a blow at Commonwealth defence; and on that ground, and that chiefly, I am prepared to oppose the request which my honorable friend Senator McColl has moved.
– A well-known writer has said that “ patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Patriotism in this instance is the means by which free-traders cover up their tracks when they run away from their fiscal principles. All this talk about an arsenal, building men-of-war, providing for means of defence, and all that sort of nonsense, is so much fiscal chloroform. There is no denying the fact that our free-trade friends have developed into what has been very often seen in this Chamber during our fiscal debates. Senator Neild, Senator Gray, Senator Millen, and the rest of them have become geographical protectionists. All their talk about the defence of Australia is so much chaff to try to hide their real object. It cannot be denied that the iron works affected are situated in New South Wales.
– So are the Commonwealth Oil Works.
– Hear, hear, and I voted against the protective duty affecting them.
– And there is more capital invested in them than in the iron works.’
– Perhaps before the Tariff debate comes to. an end we shall hear reasons for the votes of my honorable friends with regard to the oil works. At anyrate, so far as steel rails are concerned, we have every clear proof that over and over again the fiscalism of the free-traders from New South Wales has been shown not to be very deep. You have only to scratch them a little bit and you find that the New South Wales free-traders are protectionists when New South Wales interests are affected.
– Is the honorable senator thinking of Western Australian mining fiscalists?
– When the honorable senator can point out any advantages which Western Australian industries are getting out of the Commonwealth Tariff he will be able with some accuracy to hurl such taunts at us. I am not aware of any Western Australian industries for which we have been, trying to obtain , advantages.
– There are no industries in Western Australia.
– Oh, yes there are, but we have not been seeking for protection for them. We have the timber industry and several others of great importance, whichare quite as real as the one which weare now considering. Because, after all, it is very much in the clouds yet, and no one knows whether it is_ going to be a success or not. I hope that itwill be a success. I myself have moved in the matter of the establishment of a Commonwealth iron industry, and have spoken about it on several occasions In the Senate. Therefore, my opinions are fairly well known. What is the position so far as this industry is concerned? There can be no manner of doubt that the mining industry, the sugar industry - lo which Senator Chataway and Senator St. Ledger have referred - the timber in- dustry in Western Australia, and several either important industries which require I’ght railways to be built for them, are to be taxed to keep an industry going in New South Wales, which, after all, is quite a problematical industry. There is no evidence to show that it can be developed under the present proposition. This is not ihe’ first occasion on which the so-called free-traders have tried to sneak in pro- fection for New South Wales industries. Protectiveassistance has been given in many different shapes and forms t.o the iron industry.
– There is no proof in mere general statements.
– Surely Senator Gray knows the history of the iron industry at Lithgow? He must know that cheaper freights were given to it than to any other industry in the State, and he also knows of the advantages conferred upon this industry in the shape of old scrap iron rails to be rolled over again.
– That assistance was given by a protectionist Government.
– And also time and again bv free-trade Governments.
– The honorable senator does not know anything about the matter.
– I thought I was going to get the assistance of the freetraders to keep this a free-trade industry. But they are going to join the protectionists on this occasion.
– The honorable senator voted for a protective duty under the old Tariff.
– Even if I did that - is no reason why the free-traders should vote for a protective duty on the present occasion. I am sorry to see my honorable friends backing down in such a wholesale manner. ‘
– The honorable senator intended to support the Government all the time.
– I intended to’ oppose them in regard to this item, but after the speeches made by Senators Gray, Millen, and Neild, so-called- free-traders, what can a protectionist do but support the Government? I hope that the Sydney Morning Herald, which has lately written a great deal about the votes of senators elected to support free-trade principles, will, if it has a representative present, pay attention to the votes given by the representatives of New South Wales on this occasion. If it does, I am sure that we shall hear a great deal more about the matter in the near future. The debate which we have had shows- that the so-called New South Wales free-traders are just as much inclined to vote for protection when it comes to assisting an industry carried on wholly in their own State as protectionists are to vote for protective duties to assist the Commonwealth generally.
– Tasmania has magnifi cent iron deposits.
– But there is not much hope of iron works being established in Tasmania.
– I have everv reason to believe that we shall have a great iron industry in Tasmania under a12½ per cent. duty.
– I quite admit that Tasmania has quite as good iron stone as is to be found in any part of the world. But that is only part of the raw material for the making of iron rails. Other ingredients are necessary. New South Wales has by far the best natural advantages for the production of these commodities. She has the finest supplies of coke and coal in the Commonwealth ; and they are as essential as iron ore for the making of steel. However, there is nothing for it but for those who were inclined to vote against the proposed duty to support the Government, as the free-traders intend to do so.
– When I moved my request, I was not aware that there was even a remote possibility of steel rails being manufactured, in this country. After what I have heard, I am not sure that the industry will be established. However, I quite admit that there is very little chance of my carrying my request. We may congratulate ourselves on the magnificent conversions to the principles of protection that we have had ; and as it would be a pity to deprive our friends, from New South Wales of the opportunity of registering their votes, I shall not withdraw the request.
– Senator McColl’s action in not withdrawing his request is, if I may say so without offence, a piece of stubbornness which is hardly warranted, and for which the honorable senator will feel sorry afterwards. Personally, after hearing Senator Gray’s eloquent speech, I have no doubt as to how I should vote. I know that the political jealousy of Senator de Largie and Senator Findley has been aroused on this question, because Senator Gray bids fair now to lead a real protectionist party in this Chamber much better and more successfully than it has been led in the past. If Senator McColl will not withdraw the request, I shall be compelled to vote with my new leader, Senator Grav, to defeat it.
– I hope that Senator McColl will not withdraw the request, although I intend to vote against it. I believe it will bring forth good fruit. We have had in teresting confessions from certain honorable senators, but unless the question goes to a vote, those confessions may be denied. Senator McColl, although a bit of a shoddy protectionist himself, will, in this instance, be doing his duty to the country by asking those new converts to vote according to the speeches they have made.. I am really proud of the attitude that Senator Neild has taken. Like a statesman, he made that openconfession which is said to be good for the soul. I hope it will not be. forgotten, but, for goodness sake, let us get it oh record.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 180, bv leaving out the word “ Rails” and adding the following new paragraph “ b, Rails, free “ (Senator McColl’ s request - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 16
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Best) agreed to-
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 180 by inserting after the word “Intersections” the words “also Steel Sleepers.”
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 180 (imports under General Tariff), ad.val., 12½ per cent.
– I hope the honorable senator will not press the request. There was considerable discussion on the subject in another place, and the outcome was an arrangement to- insert 15 per cent, in the first column and 10 per cent. in the second column, as against the 12½ per cent, proposed by the Government in both cases. As the present rates were the outcome of an arrangement between the parties below, I suggest that the duty is fair and reasonable, and should remain as printed.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
. -I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 180 (imports under General Tariff), ad. val., 20 per cent.
– Make it a bit higher.
– I should, if I thought I could carry it. The Government propose in the next item to make iron pipes, cast and wrought n.e.i., dutiable at 40s. per ton. I understand that that is equivalent to from 22½ to 25 per cent, according to the price. If so, I cannot see where the difference comes in, from an industrial point of view, between those articles and rails, fish plates, and other things enumerated in this item. How my honorable friends who have -strongly advocated protection for the makers of rails of any’ kind can suppose that those . persons will not manufacture other articles required in railway or tramway construction, I cannot understand. In Western Australia, we have had two foundries manufacturing wrought pipes- that is what are known as the Ferguson pipes.
-The honorable senator will not be in order in discussing the question of pipes under this item.
– I have no desire to evade your ruling, sir, but merely wish to suggest that, in view of the fact that in a young State like Western Australia much work has been done in foundries for the purpose of carrying out big pipe works, honorable senators might well give protection to the industries in which would be made rails, fish plates, and other articles for the carrying out ofpublic services. If the Government are justified in asking for a high duty in respect of . pipes they might well accept my request that in the case of foundry work an increased protection of 5 per cent, should be granted.
– I desire briefly to state three reasons why the suggestion of SenatorCroft should not be adopted. The first is that Mr. Sandford, the originator of the Lithgow ironworks, has declared, not once, but frequently, that 12½ per cent, was all the duty which he required.
– Yes; with concessions from the Government added.
– Messrs. Hoskens, his successors, have never added that at all. On many - occasions, Mr. Sandford has affirmed that an all round duty of 12½ per cent, was all that he required. My second reason is that his successors, Messrs. Hoskens, have said the same thing.
– They have favorable contracts.
– No one goes into a business without a prospect of selling the product. My third reason is that the A section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 12½ per cent. I am not prepared to vote for any higher dutv than is attached to the item. I shall stand bv the item whether the industry is carried on in New South Wales, or any other State.I am prepared to vote for the retention of the old duty, but not to go below it.
– Not always though.
– Yes; wherever there has been a protective duty.
– Originally the Government accepted the recommendation of the A section of the Tariff Commission, and proposed a duty of 12½ per cent. In another place, it was the subject of much discussion, and the ultimate feeling was that it was desirable that a substantial preference should be granted in favour of the Mother Country. An arrangement was come to whereby the duty in the general Tariff was forced up to 15 per cent., and the duty in the preferential Tariff reduced to 10 per cent. As it represents the views of the other House, I suggest to honorable senators that they should adhere to the arrangement.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item 181. Iron Pipes, Cast and Wrought n.e.i., ad val. (General Tariff), 30 peT cent., and on and after 30th November, 1907, per ton, 40s. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent., and’ on and after 30th November, 1907, per ton, 30s.
SenatorBEST (Victoria- VicePresident of the Executive Council) [8.35]. - As there are certain cast-iron fittings which are used in connexion with “these iron pipes it is necessary that they should be included in this item at the same rate of duty. Otherwise, we should have the anomaly of cast-iron fittings being liable, under manufacture of metals, n.e.i., to a higher rate of duty than iron pipes. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 181 by inserting after the letters “ n.e.i.” the words “ and cast-iron fittings for pipes.”
Request agreed to.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item iSr (imports under General Tariff), per ton, 45s.
I am credibly informed that a duty of 40s. per ton is not quite high enough to permit local pipe factories to compete with foreign factories.
– Does the honorable senator know what is the present price of pipes f . o.b. ?
– It runs from £8 to £9 per ton. I have the estimates which were sent in some time ago for the supply of 800 tons of pipes to the municipality of Toowoomba, in Queensland. The difference between the foreign tenrjer, which got the contract, and which amounted to £8,285,and the local- tender, which amounted to £8,644, was £359, or 4 per cent, on the entire cost. I am assured that if the duty per ton had been 45s. instead of 40s., the local pipemakers could have taken the contract and made a reasonable profit thereon. We should try to. encourage the local manufacture of pipes, as well as the many other things with which we have dealt during our consideration of the Tariff.
– The duty of 30s. per ton in the preferential column represents 20 per cent, ad valorem, and the duty of 40s. per ton in the general Tariff represents 25 per cent, or 26 per cent, ad valorem. That calculation is, of course, approximate, and is based on an average price of about £7 10s. per ton. Originally, the Government proposed duties of 30 and 25 per cent., . but finding themselves unable to secure those percentages, my honorable colleague, as the result of a compromise, not only agreed, but moved that the duties should be 40s. and 30s. per’ ton. I am bound by that compact, and. therefore, must oppose the request.
– I am informed that under the old Victorian Tariff cast-iron pipes carried a fixed duty of £3 per ton, which practically stopped importations. That is exactly what every real protectionist desires in order to bring about the manufacture of these things here. I do not wish to make ajiy remarks upon the attitude of the Government with regard to this item, but I really do not see any reason why, because the Treasurer in another place felt himself bound to accept! a certain duty-
– He could not help himself. He could not secure a higher duty..
– The Treasurer could not help himself in another place, but the representative of the Government in the Senate can help himself. What encouragement is it to honorable senators who believe in and fight for protection to find the Government running away on every conceivable occasion from their own Tariff? Not a single one of the duties upon which the Government have laid so much stress could have been carried if honorable senators generally had followed the example set them. We do not believe in warriors qf the John Cope style, who fight by running away. If the Government got into a hole in another place, there is no reason why they should not try to get out of it here. We are willing to help them to do so. I have voted consistently with the Government for high duties, but if this sort of thing is to go on I shall probably have tq .review my position
– The honorable senator is wavering also.
– I am not wavering, but I like to get a fair deal. I. do not like to see men running a flag up to the mast-head, and getting other people to associate themselves with it, and then running away in the most cowardly fashion when a little opposition is shown to them. If the Government really believe in high duties they should adhere to them. This duty of 40s. per ton has been proved in Toowoomba to be insufficient to enable the local manufacturer to compete with any chance of success against the imported article. I have pointed out that under the old Victorian Tariff pipes carried a fixed duty of ^3 per ton, which practically stopped importations. I am not asking for a duty of £3 per ton, but for a duty of 45s. per ton. Since the Federal Tariff reduced the duty to 20 per cent. ad valorem, pipes .required by gas companies and such institutions have, to a large extent, been imported. It is plain that this is not a protective duty at all, but a revenue duty. If the Government will not assist those of us who believe in protection to carry a duty of 45s. per ton on these pipes, we shall have tq consider whether we ought not to support a request that they should be admitted free. In South Australia the Government have an iron pipe factory of their own. but under the Federal Tariff a number of cast-iron pipes’ have been imported into that State, thus’ again proving that the
Tariff is not sufficient to foster the local industry. In Western Australia the State Government have given a” substantial preference to local manufacturers, with a consequence that pipe factories have been established in the State, and most of the pipes used there have been locally manufactured. In Queensland, before and since the Federal Tariff, . the great bulk of the pipes used have been imported, the Federal duty of 20 per cent., or as now proposed, of 30s. per ton, not being high enough to induce local manufacture, or to enable manufacturers in the other States lo pay coastal “freights and compete with the importer. These are the facts with regard to this industry, and they prove conclusively that the present duty does not protect the industry, and should’ either be increased or reduced. So far as my information goes, it is merely a revenue duty, and if the Government will not assist myself and others to increase the duty in order to make it really protective, the probability is that I shall feel compelled to support a reduction of the duty.
– Senator Stewart is taking up a somewhat unreasonable attitude. He is aware that there is no more “ vigorous supporter and worker for protection in the Federal Parliament than is my honorable colleague the Treasurer. The honorable gentleman fought as hard as he could to secure the duty originally proposed by the Government, and found that he could not possibly succeed in doing so. In the circumstances, what was . he to do ? He was. obliged to accept the highest duty he four.d he could get.
– We are not bound ty that ?
– I admit that, but Senator Croft at the same time must ad-, mit that no duty can be imposed unless both Houses of the Federal Parliament are agreed upon it.
– If we request nothing we shall receive nothing.
– I am sure that Senator Stewart is doing an injustice to my lion,orable colleague when he says that he runs away from high duties. The honorable gentleman has’ never done anything of the kind. He has been a most vigorous fighter for high duties, but without the numbers behind him he could do no more than could any other .person. Having secured the highest duty he could get, he agreed to the compact to which I have already referred, and moved the duty which now appears in the schedule. In the circumstances. when he could not get all that he desired, he can hardly be fairly charged with running away from the original proposal of the Government in accepting a tactful arrangement which secures a reasonable duty.
– I do not think that Senator Stewart had the Treasurer in mind when he spoke of the Minister running away from the proposals of the Government. I think the honorable senator was referring to the representatives of the Government in the Senate. We all know very well that in the House of Representatives a course of action was taken by those opposed to the Treasurer which resulted in the cutting up of the duties in a manner which rendered the Tariff anomalous. But when this Tariff reached the Senate the Government had no right to hamper the action of honorable senators by continually declaring, “ It does not matter what the will of the majority of honorable senators may be we, as repre- sentatives of the Government, although we believe in higher duties, will always vote against them.” That is the action to which Senator Stewart has been referring. I wish that the representatives of the Government in the Senate during the consideration of the rest of the Tariff would forget about compacts in their own interests and in the interests of the framing of a protective Tariff.
– That they should forget the solidarity of the Cabinet.
– We have a right to make what requests we please. If honorable senators believe in higher duties let them vote for them. Let our requests be sent to another place, and let the Treasurer try again. The representatives of the Government in the Senate have not taken to heart the lesson of the importunate widow or they would not have backed down as they have done in every instance in the’ past with regard to items in connexion with which a compromise was made in another place. What have such compromises to do with us? We wish to pass the best Tariff we can frame here, and if honorable gentlemen in another place will not accept our requests, we can fight the- matter out with them. The representatives of the Government here do not know what the result of the voting in the Senate may be when our requests are sent on to another place.
– But my honorable friend must surely see that as members of the Government we are bound by the action of the members of the Government in another place.
– I cannot see that, because the members of the Government in another place were compelled to take a certain course of action by the force of circumstances-
– The honorable senator has been a member of a Government himself; and he must know that Ministers in one House are bound by the action of Ministers in the other.
– I know that.it has not been the practice of Parliament that an arrangement made in one House should influence the voting in the other.
– I am referring to the Government.
– I am’ referring to the Government ali the time. The representatives of the Government in this Chamber are members of the Senate as well as members of the Government, and they should have opinions as senators representing the States by whom they have been elected as well as as members of the Government.
– The fact that the Government were defeated in another place should induce them to support higher duties here.
– Certainly ; but that is not the course which they have pursued, and I regret it very much. From my own experience I can say that Senator Stewart has put the position accurately before the Committee. Manufacturers in the different States are losing contracts because the duty is 4 or 5 per cent, too low. In the interests of local manufacturers we should increase the duty to that extent at least. In the matter of the manufacture of these pipes, South Australia is entirely independent of manufacturers in or out of the Commonwealth. When honorable senators realize what has been done in that State they should support the imposition of the very ‘highest duty that the same thing mav take place in the other States of the Commonwealth. In South Australia we were at one time at the mercy of the importer and. foreign manufacturer, and the prices charged for these pipes were exorbitant. They were as high as £9 or £10 per. ton. The State Government determined that they would not submit to extortion of that kind any longer, and they established pipe factories by means of contracts let to local manufacturers. They found that even the local manufacturers did not serve them to the fullest extent, although their prices were lower than the prices quoted by the importers. They wished to secure the whole benefit of low prices for themselves, and they started the manufacture of pipes on their own account. And it is in the parliamentary records of South Australia that in one year the Government by this means saved between £20,000 and .£30,000. If that could be done in South Australia what might not be done in the rest of the Commonwealth ?
– They made the saving with an obsolete plant, too.
– As Senator Guthrie interjects, they made the saving to which I refer with an obsolete plant. Now that they have an ‘up-to-date plant, they will be able to make greater savings in the future. In view of this experience is it any wonder that I should support a higher duty on pipes so as to give Australian manufacturers a chance when I know that if they do not carry out the wishes of the people the people will still have the power to see that in this respect their own interests are fully conserved? I hope that under circumstances of this description the representatives of the Government will stop the practice of being bound by compacts made in another place. The Senate has no right to take an cognisance of them, lt is only through members of the Government - who in many instances believe in higher duties - voting on the freetrade side, that we lose every request. Is it any wonder that such ardent protectionists as Senator Stewart and Senator Findley, when they find the Government voting against their own “ declared principles, make up their minds that in the near ‘future they will take a course of action that will surprise the Government themselves? One cannot be surprised at it. I hope that the members of the Government will reconsider their position, and will not in the future be bound by these compacts. Surely these things were not agreed to in Cabinet. If the members of the Ministry are earnest in their desire to bring about better conditions in Australia - more employment’, and a wider scope for our manufactures- they should be willing to assist, in increasing duties whenever they can. I hope” that Senator Stewart’s request will be carried.
– I do not intend to join in the castigation of Senator Best for agreeing to the compact entered into in another place.
– There was no castigation.
– But, at the same time, I regret that several times today he has told us that, owing to a compact being entered into, certain things could not be done in this Committee.
– The Minister has not said anything of the k”ind.
– No. The Government acts as a whole, and I am bound by any compact entered into by m.y colleagues down below. This principle strikes at the very solidarity, of the Cabinet.
– The interjections of Senator Best and Senator Millen were rather premature. What I meant to say was that the language of Senator Best conveyed to certain senators the idea that because the Government entered into a. compact in the other Chamber, certain honorable senators must vote in a certain direction. It was held out as something in the nature of a threat. I object to anything of that kind. 1 regret the position in which Senator Best is placed. I realize that, as a member of the Cabinet, he is bound by any decision of that body.
– Hear, hear.
– But I do not recognise these compacts as Cabinet decisions.
– I think it would have been better if the Government had allowed their representatives in this Chamber, and especially the leader of the Senate, a free hand in such matters as this. I believe that in many instances Senator Best has acted very much against his own inclinations. At any rate, we, as senators, are elected on the same franchise as are members of the other Chamber, and we have every right to assert our position on every item in the schedule. The request that Senator Stewart has moved is only a reasonable one. Manufacturers of castiron pipes in Australia have spent a considerable amount of money in erecting expensive plant for the purpose of departing from the old system of casting, and adopting the more up-to-date method of the vertical casting of pipes up .to 16, 17, and 18 inches. I think they ought to be encouraged. Some of the States Governments have also started pipe factories. There is no reason why we should not have in Australia, either under private enterprise or .through the instrumentality of the States Governments, factories for the supply of all our demands. As far as wrought-iron pipes are concerned, we have all the natural resources necessary for their manufacture. We have the ore, we have the smelters, and we have the skill for the manufacture of the pipes. Senator Stewart’s request ought to be supported by those honorable senators who have boasted so frequently of the great natural resources of the Commonwealth. I hope that it will be carried.
Senator ST. LEDGER (Queensland) (9.1]. - I think that the request moved by Senator Stewart is unreasonable. What is the history of this matter? The A section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 25 per cent. Under the Tariff of 1902 cast-iron pipes were dutiable at 20 per cent., and wrought iron pipes over 6 inches in diameter were allowed to be imported free. The Government proposed a duty of 25 per cent, against the “United Kingdom and 35 per cent, against the rest of the world. I Submit that after the’ careful consideration given to the matter by the A section of the Tariff Commission, we are not justified in imposing a duty higher than their recommendation. The duty now before us was accepted by a protectionist Government, led at the time by a Treasurer who has made no secret of his strong protectionist proclivities. In order to ascertain the effect of this duty, we must take into consideration the cost df freight on pipes imported either from the United States or from Great Britain. The freight would average £1 or more per ton. Taking the average price per ton to be about £g or £9, the freight rate comes to about 12 J per cent. That is a natural protection in addition to the rate imposed under the Tariff. So that the total protection would amount to 45 or 50 per cent. If that is not sufficient for any Australian manufacturer, in the name of common sense and common justice to the taxpayers of Australia I ask- what is a fair and reasonable duty? Where on earth will honorable senators stop? Their demand for protection is apparently insatiable. I beg to. point out that every municipality, every divisional board in mv own State and throughout the Commonwealth, every large city of Aus tralia, requires, and will require, more and more pipes in order to give cheap water supply. If we are going to develop Australia we must recognise that the agricultural industry will demand extended means of irrigation. It would be a sort of madness to ask settlers to go into parts of Australia, where the rainfall is neither frequent nor heavy unless we can give them facilities for irrigating their crops.
– The honorable senator does not know much about irrigation when he talks about using pipes for the purpose.
– I know that pipes are a valuable adjunct to some irrigation schemes.
– Very few pipes are used for irrigation ; it is mostly done by means of channels. - .
– Pipes are essential to some systems.
– There is, I believe, a Chinese system of irrigation, in which pipes are not used, but we want to proceed on a higher scale than that. I know that iron pipes are used on large farms to a comparatively considerable extent. In the dryer districts of Australia, where the villages are springing into small towns, they will require iron pipes to increase their water supply. We are entitled to protest strongly against increasing their burdens.
– Those pipes are free under item 182.
– If that be so, it takes a great deal of the force from my argument. I am glad to know that the pipes I referred to are free, and that irrigation works and the undertakings of smaller -.towns in remote portions of Australia will not be hindered in the way I thought they would be. But no matter what kind of pipes it applies to, the duty proposed in the schedule on this item is remarkably high. It must amount to nearly 45 or 50 per cent. I submit that that is quite sufficient for an Australian industry.
– I support Senator Stewart’s request. I am glad to say, in reply to Senator St. Ledger, that most Australian public bodies have been patriotic enough, when spending public money, to spend it in the country from which their revenues are drawn. I believe that there have been one or two cases in Queensland where public bodies were not sufficiently patriotic to spend public money among the public who contributed it. But in the great majority of the States, through the assistance of the preference given by public bodies to local undertakings, we have a very sound industry in regard to this item.. I wish to refer to the difficulty I find myself in as a protectionist in this Chamber. I understand that this is another “ compact” item, where, owing to the necessity of Cabinet solidarity, one or two honorable senators are tied down and are not free to vote according to their opinions. I do not wish to blame Senator Best or any other honorable senator, but one or two aspects of the question call for consideration from the protectionist members of this Chamber. It was proclaimed to the world by the Prime Minister, who was returned to carry out a protective policy for Australia, that two-thirds of the members of the Commonwealth Parliament were elected to support that policy. Analyzing the figures carefully, that is about the position in this Parliament.
– Protection was never put before the country as a policy at the last election.
– I will say nothing about the honorable senator, because I believe there is a little hope for him after the last vote he gave. Twothirds of the members of this Parliament were returned either as protectionists, or as willing to support a protectionist Government. Between whom has the compact referred to been arrived at? Between some protectionists and the other one-third of the Parliament. Then one-third of the Parliament is to have the power, with the assistance of the protectionist Government, to dictate the policy of a protectionist Parliament.
– The honorable senator evidently knows all about the compact.
– It has been very beneficial to the leader of the Opposition, because the third of the Parliament to which he belongs, particularly on fiscal questions, has the other two-thirds entirely at its mercy. He may reasonably claim that as a great victory for the one-third.
– The honorable senator’s own party was a party to the compact.
– Apart from that question, I do not think that another place can bind us, but it is rather a humiliation, which the protectionists of this
Chamber should not put up with, that thefreetrade members of another place should have the right, through the agency of a; protectionist Government, to chain therm down.
– No one attempts to chain you.
– I regret, that not only the Parliament, but. thecountry, is chained by the unfortunate compromise made in this matter. As a result of the compact, fifteen protectionists, in this Chamber are practically’ abandoned bv three protectionists in chains, who votewith the free-traders, and so the fifteen protectionists are defeated.
– The honorable senator takes it for granted that if they werenot bound those three would vote for the higher duties.
– I have no. doubt about it. I have the right to asr sume, from the past career of the VicePresident of the Executive Council, whohas supported high protection, that, if he were given a free hand, he would vote for a higher duty in this instance. Speaking; as a protectionist, entirely apart from the party to which I belong, I feel that it is about time that the fifteen protectionists, considered whether they or the other three are to determine the protectionist policy of this country. When I spoke on protection before the electors, one of the usual questions put to me was, “ Will you support the protectionist Government to carry out a protectionist policy if you are returned?” I always replied that I would support the Government up to the hilt to carry a protectionist policy. I believe I have consistently fulfilled that promise, despite the action of the Government. The electors did not suspect the Government of compromising on protection, but apparently there, was a little suspicion that I would do so, and so they bound me to the Government. Now I find that, while I am voting for protection, I am not able, as a member of the Protectionist Party, to give protection to the Commonwealth, because the protectionist Government are voting against it.’ I regret that, through the action of those who have unwillingly become parties to ‘the compact, and the co-operation of the freetraders or ex-free-traders on the other side, the protectionists find themselves in the minority- It is essential to have an increase of duty on this item. In nearly all the contracts let in the various States since? this Tariff was tabled, where the Australian manufacturers -have been unsuccessful, their price has varied by from about 4 to 6 per cent, above that of the importers. If we had given reasonable protection-
– Is not 30 per cent, reasonable? What does the honorable senator call reasonable?
– A reasonable protection is a sufficiently high duty to keep the foreigner out of the Australian market- not a farthing less, and as much, higher as you can possibly get it.
– Whom does the honorable senator call foreigners?
– Every manufacturer, irrespective of the country of origin, if his factory is not located in Australia.
– The honorable senator regards them all as foreigners and wants prohibition.
– I want prohibition against anything that is not manufactured in Australia. I hope, whatever has taken place to-day regarding compacts which the Government have entered into, that some arrangement will be made to enable the leader in this Senate of the protectionist Government to have a free hand on protectionist proposals. I am just about tired of being voted down by the members of a protectionist Government. If we are to be voted down on protectionist auestions by a protectionist Government, as we have been to-day, I shall take the individual responsibility of letting the Government into a hole on one or two of these matters. I am not going to be beaten by a Government who owe their life to the protectionist policy.
– If I could take as serious a great deal of the political fireworks to which we have been treated to-night, it would not be difficult to show that one honorable senator has most successfully answered another. We have the rather curious spectacle of honorable senators on the other side clamouring for solidarity in the ranks of protectionists, but denouncing it in the ranks of the Cabinet. Senator E. J. Russell claimed that there ought to be’ solidarity in the protectionist ranks. It was a magnificent thing then,’ and upon it great things were to be built, but when any one suggested that there should be such a thing as Ministerial solidarity and responsibility, honorable senators opposite had nothing but criticism and censure for it.
– What did I say against solidarity in the Cabinet?
– The honorable senator had in reserve some awful threats about boiling oil if the Minister attempted to give that loyalty and adherence to his colleagues which it is his duty to give. I. ask honorable senators opposite to imagine what would happen if the doctrine which they are preaching now - upon occasion, and for obvious purposes - were given effect to. They practically say that every member of the Cabinet should give full effect to his individual views. If that was permitted, and a slight difference of opinion arose between Senator Keating and Senator Best as to the (proper measure of duty on an item, we should be pleased with the spectacle of Ministers voting against one another. There is just as much justification for claiming that Ministers in this Chamber should vote in that way as for asserting that one of their colleagues should take a course elsewhere, only to be defeated by them here. Those honorable senators who have criticised the Vice-President of the Executive Council have been a little unfair to him in attempting to show that, in indicating the attitude which he is bound to take up, he has therefore placed chains upon them. More ridiculous . language was never employed. Neither the members of another place nor the VicePresident of the Executive Council ever suggested that anybody in this Chamber was bound. The Vice-President of the Executive Council was not so foolish.
– He is bound himself.
– The honorable senator, like . every one else, must accept the measure of his own responsibility. The Vice-President of the Executive Council was quite right in saying that, as some arrangement was . made by his colleague elsewhere, he felt bound to support it.
– That binds the whole of the Government supporters.
– Not at all.
– Only so far as they like to be bound. Senator Guthrie is thinking of the caucus of his own party.
– The three Government supporters in this Chamber are to be bound.
– If there is anything in the doctrine of Ministerial responsibility the two Ministers are fairly bound, but the compact binds no one else, and certainly binds none of those inflammatory critics who have been firing off for the last half -hour. I should like to see the Ministerial obligation that would bind Senator Stewart ! Senator E. J. Russell used the graphically descriptive term of ‘ chains, ‘ ‘ and depicted himself as bound in leg irons and handcuffs. The whole position is abundantly clear. The Minister, recognising the collective responsibility of the Cabinet, says that he himself will abide by the arrangement made by one of his colleagues. Whenever that is departed from, we may say. good-bye to responsible government. The arrangement made by the Minister elsewhere may have been good or bad, but in these days when there has been a great tendency to depart from all that is meant by Ministerial responsibility, I appreciate and hail with pleasure any indication-
– Of course! Hear, hear.
– I would point out to the honorable senator who cheers that on this Tariff arrangements may have been made whereby increases of duty should be agreed to. In that case, they would not object to the Minister saying, “ I shall stand by the compact made elsewhere.” They would applaud it themselves; they would be the very men to say that the Minister ought to give effect to the arrangement made by his colleague. In this particular case, it happens that, because they fancy that they will lose something by the attitude of the Minister, they are a little angry.
– It is more than fancy, it is reality.
– I have no objection to my honorable friends regretting it, but do they think it fair to try to depict Senator Best as absolutely voting against protection because he is not going to vote for the full measure of protection which they propose, or to turn round and say that protection is being defeated by this Ministry ? What is the proposal that the Ministry are attempting to defeat ? Senator E. J. Russell asked us to believe that he as a protectionist was having the policy dear to his heart frustrated by the iniquitous section of the Ministry in the Senate. A duty of 40s. and 30s. per ton is a very substantial increase upon the duty which has prevailed since Federation. To say that a Minister who supports a substantial increase of the duty is voting against protection, is surely the most extraordinary and fantastic misuse of words which it is possible for even
Senator E. J. Russell to indulge in. Whilst he denies that the Minister ought to be loyal to his colleagues, he would lay down the doctrine that a Minister should carry out the behests of the most extravagant protectionist in the chamber. He practically lays down the doctrine that unless the Minister is prepared to vote for the highest duty moved by the most extravagant protectionist here, he is at. liberty to denounce the Minister as being false to protection. In my opinion, the Minister has altogether too high an ideal as to what a protectionist Tariff should be. Certainly, no Minister or protectionist will contend for a moment that he is bound to vote for any duty which any irresponsible man likes to put forward.
– By a peculiar line of reasoning, Senator Millen would make it appear that certain honorable senators on this -side have taken up an unfair attitude in their criticism of the Government, both to-night and this afternoon. He went on to say that because some compact had been arrived at between the Treasurer and probably some of his fiscal friends in another House, he appreciated the action of the leader of the Senate in faithfully adhering to the compact. Our position is clear. In the first place, the Government submitted a Tariff in which they put forward certain proposals. In another place, their duty was to stick rigidly by their proposals, and if defeated there, they should encourage their colleagues and supporters here to get back that which had been lost elsewhere.
– When they are beaten - that is right.
– In three or four instances, the Government proposals were defeated in another place, and it was with the desire to get their recommendations agreed to here that I and other members of the Labour Party submitted requests.
– This is not one of them:
– I do not know that it is not one of them.
– How does the honorable senator propose to connect these remarks with the duty on iron pipes?
– If you, sir, will give me breathing time, I shall endeavour to connect them with the item. There are periods when one is allowed to make a few preliminary remarks ; but on this occasion, I see that you are going to be a rigid Chair man. Senator Stewart has submitted a request for an increase of the duty, and that increase, I opine, will be equivalent to the original proposal of the Government.
– I believe that a duty of 45s. per ton is almost the equivalent of 30 per cent, ad valorem. Accord - ing to those who have gone into the figures, a duty of 40s. per ton is not equal to 30 per cent, ad valorem. The Minister said that a duty of 40s. per ton is equivalent to about 26 per cent./ and Senator Stewart desires that the duty shall be increased to 45s. per ton. If the information which has been supplied to honorable senators be correct - and I have no doubt that it is - many men engaged in this particular line of industry have lost large contracts because they had not an adequate measure of protection. Surely the Government ought not to hesitate to stand at least by their first proposal, namely, 30 per cent. The difference between that proposal and Senator Stewart’s request is a matter of only1½ or 2 per cent. What is the good of splitting straws over that amount of duty ?
– That cuts both ways.
– From the protectionist point of view, I do not think that there ought to be any hesitation on the part of the Government in regard to this request. They ought to reconsider their position. It is not a Cabinet matter. That began and ended when the Tariff was laid upon the table in another place.
– Probably the Cabinet considered every item in the schedule. They agreed to what proposals they would submit, and, having come to that agreement, they, as a Cabinet, were pledged to stand rigidly by them. The Treasurer, on behalf of the Government, did the best he could, and if he was defeated in another place-
– This is not a case where the Government were defeated, but a case where they made an arrangemenf.
– It is only playing with words to say that in thils case the Governrnentwere not defeated, and that a company was entered into. If they had been like to be victorious, they would not have agreed to a compact.
– And had the Opposition been certain of victory, they would not have made a compact.
– I am at a loss to know by and with whom these compacts were made. I understand that the Treasurer agreed to certain suggestions that were made b.y certain members in the other House. But were those suggestions made on behalf of a party; were they made with the view of curtailing debate and hastening on the completion Of the Tariff there ; or were they seriously considered from every aspect ? I am not inclined to believe that they’ were.
– Some of them were made after nearly a day’s talk, anyhow.
– I have been looking through, the pages of Hansard, and. in connexion with some of the matters which have been dealt with by this Committee, the Treasurer said that he would agree to certain suggestions ; but can that be taken as a compact binding upon every member of the Government? Can it be taken that the Government are pledged to adhere strictly to it?
– In this case the Treasurer not only agreed to a compact, but actually moved the increaseof one duty and the reduction of the other.
– Are not the Government pledged, first, to the Tariff as submitted to the other House, and, secondly tothe Common wealth electors to give the highest and mostefficient form of protection ?
– Not necessarily the highest.
– The most efficient.
– In many instances the most efficient is the highest form of protection, because there are many industries which cannot be fully protected unless the duty is very high.
– We are not going to be dictated to by these St. Patrick’s Day converts to protection.
– I desire to know how many more compacts such as we have had indicated to iis this afternoon have been arrived at in another place. If we are to be told day after day, although the strongest and most forcible arguments can be urged from the protectionist view-point in support of the request, that because of a compact arrived at elsewhere the protectionist members of the Government here, although strongly desirous of assisting Australian industries, cannot assist them because the influence ot the freetraders in another place was so powerful
– Does the honorable senator think that the Treasurer moved one duty which he did not think sufficient?
– I have the highest opinion of Sir William Lyne as a protec-. tionist, and I venture to assert, with all due deference to the leader of the Senate, that his colleague, if he thought that there was any possible chance of the original duty on any item being restored in the Senate, he would be the first ‘to encourage protectionist senators to fight tenaciously in that direction. But during the whole afternoon protectionist proposals have been defeated here, not by free-traders, but by strong protedtioriists.
– Very few.
– Three or four very important requests were under consideration to-day, and were decided by narrow majorities. If the three or four protectionists here, who have ever shown their consistency in regard to the establishment of Australian industries, had voted for those requests, they would have been carried ; and. I dare say that if we had been strong enough in our demands the other House would have agreed to them. In any case,, if that House is not going to agree to our requests, we are wasting so much time’ day after day in discussing matters and submitting requests, but I have a better opinion of another place so far as protection is concerned. I believe that the majority of its members are strong protectionists, and that if Senator Stewart’s request be carried-
– The majority of the senators are protectionists, but not necessarily as high protectionists as is the honorable senator.
– Is 30 per cent, an inordinate duty to place on iron pipes?
– It is considerably higher than Sir William Lyne thought necessary.
– Thirty per cent, was his original proposal.
– He was forced to accept the reduced duty.
– No, he was not.
– Does the honorable senator mean to tell me that Sir William Lyne would have agreed to the duty being reduced from 30 to 25 per cent, if he had not been forced to do so?
– There is nothing in Hansard to disclose that there was any pressure put upon him.
– Except the pressure of numbers.
– No ; because there was no division. He voluntarily . came down with this proposal.
-The Treasurer would know exactly hijs position. He would not have backed down by 1 per cent, if he had had the numbers on his side. We know that long anterior to a division being taken on an- item, particularly one on which a long discussion has taken place, heads are counted, and the votes are known. In this case the probability is that the Treasurer was informed that the numbers were against him, and so, in order to curtail discussion and get to the next item, he agreed to a reduced duty of 25 per cent.
– I think the honorable senator has been discussing matters far apart from the question before the Chair for about ten minutes. I should like him now to deal with the request submitted by Senator Stewart.
– With all due deference to you, sir, I am endeavouring to make my remarks pertinent to the question under discussion.
– I hope the honorable senator will succeed in doing so.
– Previous speakers have directed . attention to the fact that in another place certain things were done, and when you called me to order I was endeavouring to show that when the Tariff was introduced in ‘ another place the duty proposed was 30 per cent., and that Sir William Lyne agreed to a reduction.
– I rise to a point’ of order. The honorable senator is disobeying a ruling of the Chair, and I should like, to know if he is in order in doing so?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.There has been so much latitude allowed in this discussion that it is exceedingly difficult for the Chair to draw a hardandfast line; but I have asked Senator Findley to restrict his remarks to the questoin actually before the Chair, and I hope the honorable senator will make an effort in that direction.
– Aw my efforts have been in that direction. With respect to the- request before the Chair, I hope that the representatives of the Government in the Senate will depart from the rule they laid down for themselves this afternoon, and will not before this request goes to a division consent to be bound body and soul by any arrangement arrived at in another place. If they will free themselves from what, in my opinion, is an imaginaryobligation, we shall be able in regard to many items of the schedule to secure that measure of protection which the industries of Australia deserve, ai:d of which the electors of the Commonwealth declared themselves in favour by an immense majority at the last general election.
– I should like to point out as briefly as possible that this item is unique, in that it covers two kinds of . pipes, the manufacture of which is entirely different. We cannot for many years to come hope to establish the manufacture in. Australia of wrought-iron or tube pipes. It has to be remembered that they come into direct competition with cast-iron pipes which do not require the laying down of an expensive plant for their manufacture, and which can be produced in almost any foundry and moulding shop in the Commonwealth. I therefore hold that a much higher duty is permissible upon cast-iron pipes which can be so easily made here than that which might fairly be levied upon wrought-iron pipes, which it is almost impossible to manufacture in Australia. In my opinion a protective duty, effective up to the point of prohibition, is justified on cast-iron pipes. I direct the attention of the Vice-President of the Executive Council to this aspect of the item, which I dare say did not receive sufficient attention when the item was under consideration in another place. I should like to remind the honorable senator of what occurred when we were framing a Tariff in this Chamber five years ago. The Senate on that occasion! insisted on certain requests, and after a tug-of-w-ar between the two Houses honorable members in another place gave way.
– Hear, hear; but that has nothing to do with the present question. The honorable senator will remember that Senator O’Connor was bound by every compact made by his colleagues in another place, in accordance with the fundamental principles of Cabinet Government.
– We have beer told that Ministers have reluctantly giver way in another place, because the numbers have Leen against them; but I have just pointed out that in dealing with the first Commonwealth Tariff the Senate made certain requests, and subsequently insisted upon them. If the Government are in earnest in desiring to secure as much protection for Australian industries as they possibly can, they will take advantage of their position in this chamber to retrieve defeats in another place.
– Does the honorable senator not see that, when my honorable colleague accepted a compact in another place, what he agreed to at once became the Government’s proposal?
– I recognise the honorable senator’s difficulty. I am of course quite in ignorance of the understanding to which members of the Government have come upon these questions. But I also recognise that the fact that one House has taken a certain course is no reason why the other should adopt a similar course.
– Hear, hear. We have decided to make scores of requests already.
– I regret that there should have been any necessity for what have been looked upon as threats against the Government, but I can frankly say that anything that has been said by honorable senators of the Labour Party has been in the interests of the principles which the Government were returned to advocate. We think that it may even be worth while to run the risk of creating a little dissension between members of the Government if that should be necessary to keep them up to the principles they have put before the country. I have no wish to criticise their action in any hostile spirit, and I wish only to point out that the members of the Labour Party are behind them if they care to carry out a protectionist policy. I can assure the Vice-President of the Executive Council that if he allows himself to be bluffed into adopting a certain course by some of the newly-converted protectionists in the Committee he will be making a mistake.
– There is no bluff about the matter ; I am dealing with a compact which is on record.
– Then I withdraw the word “ bluff “ and say that if the honorable senator allows himself to be led away from the straight path of protection by recent converts to the policy in this Chamber they will later on be in a position to turn upon him and say, “ We are better protectionists than you are, and have a better right to occupy the Treasury Bench.” What reply will the Vice-President of the Executive Council be able to make when he is agreeing with those honorable senators to support a policy of moderate protection upon this and other items in the Tariff? Before he commits himself to a policy of moderate protection, which is only a new phase of free-trade, I ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council to beware.
– The question of protection, moderate or otherwise, has nothing to do with this matter, which is a question of the solidarity of the Cabinet.
– I ask the honorable senator to address himself to the question before the Chair. There will otherwise be no end to the present debate. .
– I remind the Vice-President of the Executive Council, and other members of the Government also, that it is their duty to secure as high a duty as possible upon this particular item, because, as I have said, cast-iron pipes can be made in any little iron foundry in the Commonwealth. The industry is one which need not be confined to any particular State or any part of a State. ‘The Government have an opportunity to secure the imposition of high duties in connexion with this item, and they should avail themselves of it.
– I wish to ask theVice-President of the Executive Council how it is that, although we have been discussing the Tariff since the 22nd of January last we heard nothing at all about these compacts until about the end of last week.
– Because the first item in connexion with which they arose did not “ come on for consideration until then.
SenatorW. RUSSELL.- It is a remarkable thing that there should have been no compact in connexion with any of the items in one-half of the Tariff.
– I will not say that. There may have been one or two before.
– And that it should have been left to Senator Millen, the leader of the Opposition, to discover this compact.
– It is part of my work to discover these things.
– But it is not a part of the honorable senator’s work to help the Government. It has been amusing to notice the turn which Senator Millen has taten to-night, and I am just a little afraid that the honorable senator is trying to make use of the Government. Honorable senators have been elected on the same franchise and have certain duties to perform. Amongst others it is their duty to maintain the dignity of the Senate and the power given it under the Constitution. In my opinion the Government are neglecting that duty. Senator Millen interjected rather unworthily that certain honorable senators were bound by the caucus. Let me inform the honorable senator that since I have been a member of the Labour Party and have taken part in the work of the caucus we have never discussed the question of protection andfree-trade.
– I ask the honorable senator to discuss the question before the Committee.
– I was replying to an interjection by Senator Millen. I am unable to agree with honorable senators who are asking for an increase of this duty. I think that a duty of £2 per ton on iron pipes is sufficiently high. Until we are in a better position to manufacture locally all the pipes we require the effect of a higher duty than that proposed would only be to interfere with the development of many important industries in the Commonwealth in connexion with which these pipes are used.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that we cannot manufacture in Australia all the cast- ii on pipes we require ?
– Until it is known that we can make these pipes in Australia, we ought not to impose a higher duty than that which I am prepared to support. It is all a question of development. In. South Australia alone there are many miles of pipes in country that would be practically valueless without them. I look at this matter largely from an agriculturist’s point of view. We must do nothing to embarrass the primary producer in developing the dry patches of this country. We ought to allow him to have his pipes and other necessaries for reticulation purposes as cheaply as possible. I do not like to be found voting with Senator Millen and the free-trade party, but as a farmer of long standing in South. Australia, and one who knows the necessity for cheap pipes, I canndt support Senator Stewart’s request.
– I doubt whether the honorable senator ever used a 6-inch pipe in his life.
– The honorable senator does not know much about it. His occupation has been followed at sea; and I do not know that he is not at sea now. The question is not one that affects the platform of the Labour Party. I consider that I have a free hand with regard to it. I believe that a duty of , £2 per ton would be quite sufficient.
Senator LYN CH (Western Australia) £10.0]. - The old rate of duty on pipes was zo per cent. Under that rate there were large importations.
– They were on the line that was free.
– The records show £350,000 worth of importations.
– Not of dutiable pipes, because no duty was collected.
– We have been told by Senator Stewart that to meet the requirements of the water supply at Toowoomba a large quantity of cast-iron pipes is now being supplied by a foreign firm. These pipes could be just as well made within the Commonwealth. Seeing that 20 per cent, was the old duty, and that under it the Toowoomba local authority has been able to accept a tender from a foreign firm for £20,000 worth of cast-iron pipes, are honorable senators satisfied to allow the rate under which that contract could be fulfilled to remain as it was? Senator Millen, at the commencement of this session, in referring to the Tariff, spoke of the necessity of levelling up duties.
– Only as to the rectification of anomalies. I do not see any anomaly here.
– “ Anomaly “ is a very indefinite term.
– Senator Millen’s language was sufficiently definite for every honorable senator who heard him to understand. He said that it was a question of degree - of where the levelling-up process was to stop. The Standing Orders would not permit me to quote the exact passage from his speech.
– The honorable senator is not forbidden by the Standing Orders, but I do not think that it would suit him to quote the passage.
– The honorable senator acknowledged that the protection under the old Tariff in some cases was not sufficient, and added that it was a question of where the levelling-up process would stop.
– That is not even a decent caricature of what T said.
– It would perhaps take me’ a few minutes to find the passage in his speech, but even if I quoted it he would find a way out of it-. The impression he left on the Senate was, however, that he said before the electors of New South Wales that he did not intend to lay hostile hands on the Tariff.
– Hear, hear.
– He also said that wherever there was insufficient protection it was a question of levelling up. I direct his attention to the necessity of doing some levelling up on the present occasion.
– We are levelling up.
– Twenty per cent, was the duty under the 1902 Tariff.
– Twenty per cent, on some pipes, whilst others were free. Now we are’ making them all dutiable.
– The duty was 20 per cent, on cast-iron pipes. It is now proposed that it shall be 20 per cent, under the preference Tariff. But about 90 per cent, of our pipes come from Great Britain. Under the old Tariff there were large importations, and the fact stated by Senator Stewart shows that the 20 per cent, rate was not sufficient. If we do not increase the duty, other councils will follow the example of Toowoomba. Patriotism will not enter into their consideration. We have agreed to duties for the protection ‘ of our iron industry. What will become of the iron industry if we impose an insufficient duty on products of iron? These pipes are manufactured from material turned out by our iron works. I appeal specially to the protectionist section of this Committee to support Senator Stewart’s request,, which will give nothing but adequate protection to this particular branch of the iron industry.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 181, “ Iron pipes “ (imports under General Tariff), per ton, 45s. (Senator. Stewart’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Stewart) put -
That’ the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 181 (imports from the United Kingdom), per ton, 35s.
The Committee divided.
Majority … …2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Item 182. Iron and Steel Tubes or Pipes (except riveted or cast) not more than 6 inches internal diameter 1 including Flexible Metal Tubes, Galloway and Vertical parallel Boiler Tubes, Water Bore Casings, Wrought and Malleable Iron Fittings for pipes, free.
– Under this item wrought and malleable iron fittings for pipes will be free, but under item 160, paragraph b, motive power machinery and appliances (except electric), n.e.i., are dutiable at do per cent. I am credibly informed by the very competent officers who are advising the Minister that certain portions of water tubular boilers are so dutiable, but I am afraid that if this item passes in its present form that duty will be evaded on those articles by means of the words “ wrought and malleable iron fittings for pipes. “I do not want that to occur. Can the. Minister state whether my fear is well grounded ?
– Senator Needham is apprehensive that this words, “ wrought and malleable iron fittings for pipes,” may cover certain portions of tubular boilers known as headers. The matter was fully dealt with when:’ item 160 was discussed. I stated then, and repeat now, that those headers come-‘ under item 160, paragraph b, and aredutiable at 20 per cent. The wordsin this item to which Senator Needham objects refer to such articles as junctions, for pipes, angles, tees, and elbows.
– I venture to disagree with the Minister’s statement that the header, which is a component part of the Babcock and Wilcox boiler, is dutiable under item 160, paragraph b, at 20 per cent. His contention, therefore, is that the header isnot wrought iron, and not a fitting for a. pipe. I move -
That the House of Representatives he requested to amend item 182 by leaving out thewords “Wrought and Malleable Iron fittings for pipes,” with a view subsequently to proposing thefollowing new paragraph : - “ a. Wrought and Malleable -Iron fittings for pipes, ad val., 20 per cent.” The header is a wroughtiron fitting for a pipe or tube, as the pipe or tube is inserted in it. There is every possibility of the duty being evaded by headers coming in free under this item. I believe they are coming in free now.
– The Ba’bcock headers have been paying duty ever since Federation, notwithstanding the fact that wrought and malleable iron fittings for pipes were free under the old Tariff.
– Does the VicePresident of the Executive Council contend that a header is not wrought iron?
– They are paying duty now.
– Only in Victoria.
– In the Commonwealth.
– I shall be satisfied if the Minister can assure me that they are dutiable,’ and are paying 20 per cent, in every port of the Commonwealth.
. -The headers for the boilers, to which the honorable senator refers, are paying duty under this Tariff from day to day under item 160, paragraph b. They do not come under this item. The wording of the old Tariff was practically the same, but those articles paid duty under it. I have asked the officials, who are authorities on the subject, arid they have assured me that throughout the Commonwealth the duty is being charged and paid.
– Will the Minister explain why fittings for cast-iron pipes are wade dutiable and the others are free?
– The fittings for castiron pipes are made, and. can easily be made here ; but wrought and malleable iron fittings are not made, and could not readily be made, here.
– One of the best pipe makers in the world is to be found in Melbourne.
– In view of the definite statement made by the Minister, I ask leave to withdraw my. request.
– That is not necessary as I have not stated the. question to the Committee.
– I propose to ask the Committee to agree to a request for the insertion of the words “ bent or straight,” after the word “ pipes,” in order to enable the pwner of the Sterling type of boiler to im- port tubes without being obliged to pay dutv on them, as has been the case in the past. Straight tubes are admitted free for the Babcock and Wilcox boiler ; in fact, tubes are admitted free for several types of tubular boilers ; but, . under a Ministerial decision, as the. evidence given before the Tariff Commission will show, a duty was imposed on tubes for the Sterling type of boiler. It is a clear . penalty, on that particular type which is not uncommonly used throughout the Commonwealth. I appeal to the Minister to agree to a . request’ which will only mean that bent as well as straight tubes of this particular quality shall be admitted free.
– I do not think that; there is any necessity for making the request, but the honorable senator, should propose to introduce the words after the words “ galloway and vertical parallel boiler tubes.” As a matter of fact, I believe that these tubes are already free.
– The words in this item are practically identical with the words used in the old Tariff, and, by a decision of Mr. Kingston, a duty was imposed on the tubes to which I have referred.
– I am told that they are admitted free to-day. If the honorable senator wishes the words to be inserted after the words “ boiler tubes,” I shall offer no objection.
SenatorLYNCH. - My desire is to destroy the distinction which was made when the Ministerial decision was given by Mr. Kingston. If it can be overcome by other means, L shall be perfectly satisfied, but, in my opinion, the only effective means is the insertion of the words “ bent or straight.” I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 182 by inserting after Die words “Boiler Tubes” tbe words “bent or straight.”
.- I only rise to confirm what. I said to Senator Lynch. I hold in my hand’ a copy of. the Customs decisions.’ According to a decision given on the 30th of August,. 1907, “ tubes for boilers alone “ are free, and there is no qualification whatever.
Request agreed to.
– Senator Needham drew the attention of . the Minister to the matter of wrought and malleable iron’ fittings for pipes in connexion with tubular boilers, and I would point out to him that this item may . include all the connexions between pipes such as were laid in connexion with the Perth-KaJgoorlie water supply scheme. In laying, that pipe-line of about 400 miles, the lock-bar pipe was used. It was manufactured in Western Australia, where all the necessary connecting parts and fittings were made, too. I have little doubt that they could be made again in Western Australia or any other part of Australia. I see no reason why we should not protect the parts of pipes as well as the pipes themselves. I think that the protection which is offered to cast and wrought iron pipes should be given to the fittings, which are necessary for the proper laying of pipes in which to cirry’ out a water, gas, or other service. I move - “
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 182 by leaving out the woros “Wrought and Malleable Iron fittings for pipes,” and by inserting the follow, ing new paragraph “ B. Wrought and Malleable Iron fittings for pipes, ad vai., 15 per cent.”
– I desire to move a prior request; which has been foreshadowed by Senator Croft. I take it that as the item will read, if the request be acceded to, all pipes other than riveted and cast-iron, pipes not over 6 inches in diameter will be admitted free.
-What other kinds of pipes are there?
– The lock-bar pipes.
– Any pipe which can be riveted can be more readily lockbarred.
– The lock-bar pipe can not come in free under this item unless it exceeds 12 inches in diameter.
– It certainly cannot be three-quarters of an inch.
– No; but it can be 6 inches. It is only a matter of having the bar’ prepared, and putting it through the machines. It can be more easily made than a riveted 6-in. pipe In regard to. the words “ Wrought and Malleable Iron fittings for pipes,” they cannot be intended to apply to pipes of all sizes, because, if we can make wrought iron or malleable pipes, we can surely make the fittings for them. I think that the item should read, “ Wrought or Malleable Iron fittings for pipes not more than 6 inches internal diameter.” I do not think- that it was intended that the’ fittings for pipes of 20 inches diameter should be admitted free.
.- The words “ Wrought and Malleable Iron fittings for pipes “ were considered by the Tariff Commission, which left them as they stand, and it is important that they should be left as they were in the old Tariff. These fittings include such things as junctions, angles, tees, and elbows, and are, so to speak, the raw material for other kinds of work. We cannot make them here.
– We have made them in Perth.
– My honorable friend refers to the lock-bar pipes, which are being roade in- Footscray. They are 14-in. pipes, and cannot be’ made under that size, fitting or screwing one into the other.
Request (by Senator Best) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 182 by adding the words “ and unpolished metal-cased tubes or pipes.”
Item 183 (Rolled Iron or Steel Beams, &c, not drilled or. further manufactured), and item 184 (Bolts, Nuts, Rivets, and Washers, n.e.i.) agreed to.
– I move -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
In consequence of functions which are to be held to-morrow and to-morrow week, I propose that on those days we report progress at 12.45,and resume again at 3 p.m.
– “ We must get on with the Tariff.”
Questionresolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.44 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 17 March 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1908/19080317_senate_3_44/>.