3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at11 a.m., and read prayers.
Neild on the 18th inst., to the effect that it would be useless to tender an invitation to President Roosevelt to visit Australia during the presence in these waters of the United States Fleet, because the President of the American Republic did not leave the States : - Is it not a fact that President Roosevelt left United States territory and visited Central America in November, 1906 ? In view of the visit of President Roosevelt to Central America in 1906, will the Government reconsider the question of tendering an invitation to the head of the American nation to visit Australia during the stay of the United States Fleet in Australian waters ? Should it not be possible for the President to visit Australia, will the Government extend an invitation to the Vice-President, or one of the chief Ministers of State, of the American Republic?
– It is true that President Roosevelt made a visit to Panama under very special circumstances, and if we thought that there was any possibility of his acceptance of an invitation, we should be delighted to send one to him. I shall confer with the Prime Minister in regard to the honorable senator’s other suggestions.
Influx into Western Australia - Opium Smoking- Registration.
– I wish to direct the attention of the Minister representing the Prime Minister to a statement published in this morning’s Age, in which it is declared by a Mr. McLcod, of Western Australia, that there is an influx of Chinese into that State, and a great deal of opium smoking there. Will the Government endeavour to ascertain whether these allegations are true, and, if they are, take steps to put a stop to the evils complained of?
– The alleged influx of Chinese has already engaged the most active and vigilant attention of the Prime Minister, while the smuggling of opium is occupying the thoughts and attention of the Minister of Trade and Customs, and his leading officers. However, I shallbe happy to bring the statements referred to under the notice of my colleagues.
– Inasmuch as Mr. McLeod has stated that large numbers of young Chinese are to be seen in Western Australia who could not have entered the Commonwealth before the passing of the Immigration Restriction Act; will the Go vernment take into consideration the advisability of providing for the registration of Asiatics on the lines of the Act recently passed in the Transvaal ?
– Will the honorable senator be good enough to repeat the question next week?
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
In view of a recent statement in the press, that a flaw has been discovered in the Constitution Alteration (Senate Elections) Act 1907, that will invalidate that measure for the purpose for which it was passed, does the Minister intend to submit a Bill to deal with the alleged flaw ?
-I am not aware of any flaw in the Act.
asked the Vice-
President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The reply to the first question is “ No,” and to the second question, “ Yes.” If the honorable member will be good enough to furnish us with particulars, inquiry will be facilitated.
asked the Minister of Home affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are -
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers -
Customs Act 1901 - Cancellation of Statutory Rule, 1907, No. 105 - Statutory Rule,1908, No. 31.
Military Forces of the Commonwealth - Annual Report of the Inspector-General, being for year 1907.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 1 8th March, vide page 9190):
Division IX. - Drugs and Chemicals -
Item 273, Acetic Acid, Extract, or Essence of Vinegar : -
Vinegar, standard (as prescribed by Departmental by-laws), the product of malt or grain or fruit juice by alcoholic and acetic fermentation, containing not more than 6 per cent. of absolute Acetic Acid, per gallon, 6d.
Vinegar, not the product of malt or grain or fruit juice, per gallon, 2s.
Solutions, Extracts, or Essences, containing more than 6 per cent. but not more than 30 per cent. of absolute Acetic Acid, per gallon, 3s. 9d.
Solutions, Extracts, or Essences, containing more than 30 per cent. of absolute Acetic Acid, for every extra 10 per cent. or part thereof, per gallon,1s. 3d.
Acetic Acid, in crystals or pow dered form, ad val., 15 per cent.
And on and after 4th December, 1907 -
Acetates for the manufacture of
Acetic Acid, ad val., 15 per cent.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales [11. 10]. - I move -
That the House ofRepresentatives be requested to make the duty on item 273, paragraph a (imports from the United Kingdom), per gallon, 4d.
All the articles embraced in this item are. made largely in the United Kingdom, and. might, I think, as fairly be the subject of a preferential rate as many of the others to which we have given preference.
.- I draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that the rate under the Tariff of 1902 was 6d. per gallon, and I hope those who have stated more than once that they are pledged to maintain that Tariff will recognise that. To give the proposed preference to goods the produce or manufacture of the United Kingdom would be to reduce the protection which has already been enjoyed for some years. If it is desired to give a preference to British goods, the reasonable thing to do is to increase the. rate on imports from foreign countries.
– AsI understand that a large quantity of the vinegar imported into Australia comes from France, I think that we ought to give the preference to British goods for which Senator Neild has moved. A rate of 4d. per gallon on such goods would be a fair one to impose.
– I sympathize with Senator Neild’s desire to cheapen articles of food, but I would remind him of the sound doctrine which he recently laid down, that one of the evils of protective duties is that vested interests grow up under them. That has operated, no doubt, in regard to vinegar as in regard to iron, and he will therefore see the injustice of reducing the original duty, which, rightly or wrongly, was imposed, and under which persons have entered upon the manufacture of vinegar.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [11. 15]. - I am not surprised at Senator Millen’s remarks, which perhaps have been to some extent provoked ; but thevinegar industry was established in Australia before there was a Commonwealth duty.
– So was the iron industry.
– The iron industry has been established here since the Commonwealth Tariff. Previously the works at Lithgow were used merely for the working tip of scrap iron and the re- . making of rails. There was not the primary industry that we have there . now. While Senator Millen’s argument, on the face of it, appears to be very good, I would draw his attention, as a matter of comparison, to the next paragraph of the item,in respect of which a 300 per cent. increase upon the duty under the old Tariff Has been proposed. That is a very fair set-off against the small reduction I am urgingin respect of imports from the United Kingdom.
– That is a very moderate increase,considering that the free-trade section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 5s. per gallon.
– How does the honorable senator get over that?
– I do not pretend to get over it. It is perfectly useless for the Minister or any other honorable senator to quote the recommendations of the Tariff Commission either as a whole or in part, because so far they have been more honoured in the breach than in the observance. They are used on the battle- dore and shuttlecock principle, and not, by any regular rule of application. Whether Senator Millen and I agree or differ as to his contention that we should follow the lines of the old Tariff, there is a great deal more common-sense in his proposition than there is in the reference of the Minister to the recommendations of the Tariff Commission, which have been more seriously disregarded and footballed than have the recommendations of any other similar body.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 273, paragraph a, “Vinegar “(imports from the United Kingdom), per gallon 4d. - put. (Senator Colonel Neild’s. request). The Committee divided.
Majority …. … 19
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [11.23]. - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 273, paragraph b, per gallon,1s.
The duty has hitherto been 6d., and an increase of 100 per cent., seems to me to be a sufficiently heavy burden to impose on the taxpayers and the consumers.
– I would point out to the honorable senator that paragraph b deals with vinegar that is not the product of malt or grain or fruit juice, nor of a standard fixed by departmental bylaws. It relates to a class of vinegar so inferior that members of the free-trade section of the Tariff Commission thought that its use should be discouraged as far as possible. They recommended that the preexisting duty of 6d. per gallon should be raised to 5s. per gallon, stating -
The evidence indicates that a large proportion of so-called vinegar sold in Australia is a chemical compound of an objectionable character, and its production and use should be discouraged.
– I am satisfied with the explanation, and desire, by leave, to withdraw my request.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
– These duties have been imposed, apart from any fiscal or revenue standpoint, with the view of shutting out what is an inferior, and sometimes an injurious commodity. It is idle, however, to impose duties with that object in view while we allow the manufacture of the same article in Australia.
– The Pure Food Act prevents its manufacture in Victoria, at all events.
– That may be, but it should not be the province of the Federal Parliament to offer facilities for the violation of that Act. What is required to make this proposal perfect is an Excise duty to control the manufacture of inferior vinegar. I have already drawn the attention of the Minister privately to the fact that when the item was under consideration in another place, his colleague, Sir William Lyne, had this matter brought under his notice, and undertook to consider the question of imposing an Excise upon acetic acid vinegars. I should like the Minister to say whether he proposes to give effect to the promise made by Sir William Lyne. If he is not now in a position to make that statement, he will have ample time, before the Excise Tariff Bill is dealt with, to do so. I can see no object in increasing the old duty in respect of paragraph b from 6d. to 2s. per gallon, unless we say that the people shall not be partially poisoned by these inferior vinegars, whether they be made inside or outside Australia.
– I must frankly say that the statement made in another place by the Treasurer was brought under my notice for the first time by Senator Millen. What has been done by my colleague in consequence of that statement I cannot say, but before we deal with the Excise Tariff Bill I shall have an opportunity to inquire into the matter, and we should be able to deal with it satisfactorily at that stage.
– I am allowing these duties to go in the hope and belief that the Minister will see that they are accompanied later on by an Excise duty. Whilst they might even be increased if we had an Excise duty to check the production of inferior vinegars, I could hardly accept them with any enthusiasm unless an Excise duty were imposed.
– I hope that the Minister will not make any compact with the honorable senator.
– No compact has been made, but 1 wish to let it be clearly understood that I, and other honorable senators who are opposed to high duties, are assenting to these imposts in the hope that a further opportunity to consider the matter will be presented to us when the Excise Tariff Bill is under consideration.
Item agreed to.
Item 274 (Acids) agreed to.
Item 275….. And on and after 4th December,1907.-Ammonia, viz. : -
Carbonate, Anhydrous, Liquid, Muriate, and Sulphate, ad val. 15 per cent.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [11.30]. - I hold in my hand a duplicate containing original signatures of a letter which was addressed to the Minister of Trade and Customs by a number of firms engaged in the galvanizing industry on the 24th January last. As it is very brief, I think I shall be justified in reading it. It is as follows-
We, the undersigned manufacturing galvanizers of Sydney, beg to bring under your notice the duty of 15 per cent. lately imposed by the House of Representatives on muriate of ammonia in powdered and crystal form, Division 9, Drugs and Chemicals, item 275, and humbly pray that you will bring the matter of this duty before the House with the object of having it rescinded.
Muriate of ammonia is not manufactured in Australia, “anditis impossible for us to carry on galvanizing without this chemical.
Therefore you will understand that this duty is greatly hampering us, as manufacturing galvanizers.
We have the honour to be,
Your obedient servants,
Then follow the signatures of Messrs. Chown Brothers and Mulholland Limited, S. Zollner, Ward and Guthrie, the Austral Galvanizing Company Limited, G. and C. Hoskins Limited, and J. N. Tomlin, Federal Galvanizing Works. I am personally aware that most of these firms are largely engaged in the galvanizing industry, and have been so engaged for very many years. I take it that what they state as a fact in relation to their operations in New South Wales is equally applicable to the manufacturers of galvanized iron and metals throughout the Commonwealth. In every city where galvanizing is carried on - and I believe that it is carried on very generally - the . proposed duty will be. regarded as a heavy handicap, and as muriate of ammonia is so positively necessary for the success of this large and important industry, I venture to hope that the Minister of Home Affairs has received some information from his colleague, the Minister of Trade and Customs, which will induce him not to oppose the request that I intend to make for the removal of the word “muriate” from this item with a view to making muriate of ammonia a new subitem, and admitting that article free. I do not suggest that the whole item should be made free. 1 merely desire to correct a manufacturing difficulty - I am not opposing a line in the Tariff. I hope that the Minister of Home Affairs will consent to the change which I suggest in the interests of the important industry to which I have referred. I therefore move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 275 by leaving out the word “ Muriate “ and inserting the following new paragraph : - “ b. Muriate of Ammonia, free.”
SenatorKEATING (Tasmania - Minister of Home Affairs) [11.33]. - When the Tariff was originally introduced in another place, a duty was only proposed upon carbonate of ammonia. Subsequently, representations were made to the Government’ by the Ammonia Company of Australia to the effect that they were about to produce immediately all the articles enumerated in this item. It was therefore resolved to make them dutiable at 15 per cent. The iron galvanizers of New South Wales then represented to the Government that muriate of ammonia was a necessity in their industry, and that that article was not being produced in the Commonwealth. Upon investigation, it was found that, although the Ammonia Company of Australia had not at that time started to produce muriate of ammonia, it was erecting its plant, and had already proved its bona fides by accepting orders for the supply of that article not only in Australia, but also abroad. These facts were brought before the House of Representatives, and a duty of 15 per cent, was agreed to upon the voices. A bond fide attempt upon a well established commercial scale is about to be made to produce muriate of ammonia, and 15 per cent, is, comparatively speaking, a very reasonable amount of protection to extend to the industry. ‘
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [11.35]. - The Minister, most unwittingly I am sure, made a very serious misstatement when he declared that the representations of the firms to which I have previously alluded were considered in another; place. The document which I read to the Committee, conclusively shows that on the 24th January last - a month after the Tariff had left another place - these firms made their first representations to the Minister of Trade and Customs, by way of petition, urging that muriate of ammonia should be admitted free. The Minister must have been misinformed.
– The honorable senator is correct. The. representations of those interested in the galvanizing trade were made after the 15 per cent, duty had been imposed.
– I am very glad that that point has been cleared up. A month after the Tariff had left the House of Representatives, these manufacturing firms made their first representations to the Minister of Trade and’ Customs, namely on the 24th January last. Consequently, those representations could not have been consideredby another place: All that guided the House of Representatives in deciding to impose a duty of 15 per cent, upon muriate of ammonia was the statement of a single firm that it was about to produce that article. Apparently it had- not started operations on the 24th January. I take it, therefore, that this Committee should be influenced by the representations of the galvanized iron workers. My proposal is worthy of the serious consideration of honorable senators.
– I find myself in rather a peculiar dilemma in respect to muriate of ammonia, because I have received from a very large and extensive galvanizing firm in South Australia a very similar communication to that read by Senator Neild. Indeed I had intended to submit a similar proposal, as I understood that even if the manufacture of muriate of ammonia were carried on in the Commonwealth, it would need so little exertion to produce all that was necessary to meet our requirements that the industry would be scarcely worth considering. But the Minister of Home Affairs has stated that a firm is actually prepared to undertake the manufacture of this article, and as I am very desirous of establishing in the Commonwealth any industry which can be establishedhere, I scarcely know how to act. If Senator Neild, and other honorable senators, had assisted those engaged in the galvanizing of iron, and other metals, to the extent that I desired to assist them, theproposed duty upon an article entering into the galvanizing business would not have been a serious matter.
– According to the protectionist doctrine, the effect of the duty ought to be to make the article cheaper.
– If the statement of the Minister be true, that a firm is about to undertake the manufacture of this article in the Commonwealth, I have no doubt that it will be made cheaper. I believe that the local manufacture of muriate of ammonia will be to the advantage ofgalvanizers of metal here. Although I did intend to make a similar proposal to that submitted by Senator Neild, if any corroboration of the statement of the Minister is forthcoming, I shall be bound to oppose his request.
. -In order to enlighten Senator McGregor upon this matter, I may say that I hold in my hand a letter from the Ammonia Company of Australia, dated 18th March, in answer to an inquiry made on the 8th March, in regard to the price of muriate of ammonia. The company was asked to submit quotations, and replied that it was not yet able to do so, but expected to be in a position to do so about July next. From the remarks of Senator Neild it is quite evident that the position of that company is very nebulous indeed, and in view of thisfact, I think that we ought to pause before levying such a high duty as 15 per cent. upon muriate of ammonia.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [11.45]. - It would appear to be a case of first come, first served - that the first to ask for the duty gets it, while everybody else is ignored. The merestatement that some one may make this article is sufficient to secure a duty, and thus penalize scores, if not hundreds, of galvanizers. Hitherto muriate of ammonia has been free; and now it is proposed to impose a heavy duty of 15 per cent. The fact that one firm may by-and-by in a small way, or a large way, or a way that may not prove satisfactory at all, attempt to manufacture muriate of ammonia, is surely not sufficient reason for imposing a duty on galvanizers from one end of the Commonwealth to the other.
– I am informed that one of the largest galvanizing firms in Victoria have been endeavouring all round Australia to get a quotation for muriate of ammonia, and have been entirely unable to do so. It is certainly very unfair that an industry like this, which is somewhat extensive, should be penalized on the mere supposition or chance of the production of muriate of ammonia being commenced. It seems to me that the article ought to be free, unless a much stronger case is made out for a duty.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 275 by leaving out the word “ Muriate,” and inserting the followingnew paragraph, “(b) Muriate of Ammonia, free” (Senator Colonel Neild’s request)-put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales)[11.52]. - I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 275 by leaving out the word “Muriate” and inserting the following new paragraph : - “ (B) Muriate of ammonia, ad val.5 per cent.”
If many of the honorable senators who are now present had heard the previous discussion the division just taken might have been sufficiently altered to have carried the request to make the commodity free. This is an article absolutely essential to every galvanizer ; and it is now proposed, for the first time, to subject it to a tax, merely on the plea that some time hence, possibly in July next, a company may be able to manufacture it. On that mere off-chance, every galvanizer of ironware is to be penalized ; and I am hopeful that a request to make the duty 5 per cent, will cause a difference in the voting.
– And to insert a new paragraph.
– But having decided by an even division not to omit the word “ muriate,” must not that word stand ? Can an honorable senator move repeatedly for the omission of a portion of an item simply by indicating, if it be omitted, he proposes to substitute something else? If on the first occasion the Committee refused to omit the word, can its omission be again moved for the purpose of substituting something different from that indicated on the first request?
– I do not think there is any difficulty in deciding that question. The determining principle is the amount of the duty, and what the Committee have decided is that muriate of ammonia shall not be taken out of the main body of the item, and made free under a new paragraph. But it may be the opinion of the Committee that muriate of ammonia should be dutiable at a lower rate than that proposed. As I say, the principle is the amount of the duty, and not the taking of muriate of ammonia out of the body of the item ; and, therefore, I think it is quite competent to again move its omission, for the purpose of fixing a differentiating duty. If the questionjust decided had been merely the striking out of muriate of ammonia, the same request could not be moved again, but its omission was moved for a definite purpose, and that request having been defeated, its omission may be again moved for another purpose.
– I am bound to vote for the request of Senator Neild, because, otherwise, we should be simply imposing a kind of speculative duty ; and if we proceeded to pass duties of that character, we might extend the Tariff indefinitely. If this factory were really established, or if those concerned were even able to quote a price, the matter would be on a different footing ; but atpresent we do not know that they ever will be able to quote a price. It is said that, they expect to be able to do so some three or four months hence, but even then it may be found that they are not able to actually produce the article. If a factory were established, a duty of 15 per cent, would not be too much ; but seeing that we have no definite information as to whether the article will be made here, we shall, if we pass the item, be imposing a speculative duty, which, I think, is altogether bad in principle. I do not know whether any honorable senator is able to inform me as to the value per gallon of muriate of ammonia, but, personally.I have not been able to obtain any information on the point.
– This, I contend, is not a speculative proposal. There is no doubt that a large company is in operation, dealing with ammonia products, and they are already arranging for putting down plant, so we are informed, to provide for the manufacture of muriate of ammonia. The principle that guides the introduction of protective duties is the development and encouragement of the production of certain commodities, and there appears to be no doubt that this industry is in process of establishment.
– There is room for the gravest of doubt.
– I cannot see that there is. We have the statement of the Minister that there has been an assurance
– Which is obviously incorrect, though not on the Minister’s part.
– We have the assurance that there is evidence that this company have commenced the erection of a plant, and, further, wehave been told by Senator St. Ledger that the company are in negotiation with customers for actual quotations.
– Then the companies should be able to quote a price.
– The company say that they are not able, and may not be able, to quote a price before July ; and clearly that is a business undertaking.
– We have no evidence of that, unless a price is quoted.
– All I contend so far is, that there is evidence that the intention to make muriate of ammonia is bonâ fide, and that the company are proceeding with the necessary work. Like Senator Vardon, I have no idea as to the value of muriate of ammonia; but we all know that ammonia is going to waste all over Australia, and products of it ought to be easily obtainable, if sufficient encouragement is given.
– If that is so, those people ought to be able to quote a price.
– I think not. Until those people have laid down their plant, and have actually made the product, we can hardly expect them to tell to a farthing what the cost of production is, or what the necessary price will be.
– Surely it is very important to all the industries which use muriate of ammonia that they should know now what they will be called upon to pay for it?
– Decidedly ; but I am not arguing with the honorable senator, who believes that it is a mistake to impose a duty for the benefit of an industry. I am arguing with Senator Vardon, for instance, who frankly notified yesterday that his view was that the Commonwealth had adopted the principle of protection and that he was prepared to support duties which were already in existence, and where it could be shown by evidence that industries might be benefited, or were in need of some reasonable assistance, to give the request for such assistance fair consideration.
– If this industry were established I should vote for the duty proposed by the Government.
– I am not arguing from the honorable senator’s remarks yesterday that he should vote for the Government proposal.
– It is simply a speculative proposal.
– I urge upon the honorable senator and others that this is a matter for consideration.
– Why is this one factory to be considered more than all the others?
– If my honorable friend held my view he would see that in considering this factory he was considering all the other factories, because my view is that the establishment of this or any other industry will be a distinct advantage to all who deal with it. I think that the galvanizing institutions will have their muriate of ammonia made more readily, and, in the very near future, if not at once, more cheaply available to them. That will be a very great advantage to all the industries which use this commodity. We should do everything in our power - certainly to the extent of 15 per cent. - to encourage the development of an industry which has given evidence that it is being initiated.
– It is most unfortunate that these statements as to industries being established are only launched here just when we are called upon to consider the duties. Surely we might have had a previous intimation from the firm interested in this item that they intended to make muriate of ammonia. We only got this information sprung upon us at the last moment. It seems to me that the whole thing is too shadowy to build anything upon it. If I felt absolutely certain that the industry would be established I should be quite content to vote for the duty proposed by the Government. But why, on a mere chance, should the galvanizers all over the country be penalized ? I have been informed by the representative of one of the leading firms that they have written to every galvanizer in Australia to ascertain whether they know anything about this new industry, but they cannot get any definite information. It seems unfair that honorable senators should vote to penalize the galvanizing industry and hurt other established industries for the sake of helping one that is only a bare possibility.
– Originally, at the request of a manufacturer in Adelaide, it was my intention to move that muriate of ammonia should be made free, but, as the result of inquiries, I have been assured on the best possible authority that a firm in Sydney will beprepared, almost immediately, to supply any quantity of that material which may be required. I have received that assurance from the Customs authorities here, and an outside source. It was for that reason that I abandoned my original intention. Muriate of ammonia is only used by manufacturers who are highly protected. It is utterly selfish for any manufacturer who has the advantage of a protective duty to desire to strangle a subsidiary industry in order that he may get one part of his material a little more cheaply.
– The duty would make the price of the article cheaper?
– Only temporarily. Our free-trade friends, and some of our socalled protectionist friends, argue on particular items that the imposition of a duty makes the cost of an article dearer. I admit that in some cases it makes, temporarily, the cost of the article dearer, but I am sure that in nearly every case the ultimate result is that the price of the article is made cheaper, owing to the competition between the local manufacturers. I do not thoroughly understand the process of manufacturing muriate of ammonia, but I know that in nearly all the States there are chemical works, and I do not see any reason why their proprietors cannot make the article. It is very strange, indeed, that they cannot lay down a plant for the purpose. Surely it cannot require a very expensive plant to manufacture this ingredient, which is used, not so much in galvanizing, as in preparing the iron for that process. I hope that the Committee will retain the duty as proposed in the schedule. . .
– I am not disposed to argue with Senator Trenwith, because, as he is such a fossilized protectionist, it would be simply cunning one’s head against a stone wall, even to try to instil into his mind common sense, when it Is a question of imposing a duty. Here is a case of what I call protection run mad. It is acknowledged that in every State there are manufacturers of an article which is essential to farmers and settlers. In fact, galvanized iron is an article of common use everywhere. Those manufacturers have shown that they . have no faith in the coming company which is going to do wonderful things, but which can give them no quotation for muriate of ammonia. It is proposed by the Government to create a monopoly for one firm, which, at present, has only the most remote idea of establishing an industry, with the knowledge that it will handicap the raw material of many existing industries. How is it that this firm, which is going to do something or other, will not quote to any manufacturer the price at which they will be able to put their article on the market?
– Are Messrs. Hoskins prepared, at the present time, to quote the prices of the products that they propose to manufacture with the plant which they are laying down?
– I believe that if the honorable senator will make an application they will be able to quote practical prices to him. Surely all the existing manufacturers, who have incurred considerable expense in establishing their works and putting them on a firm basis, are entitled to know what is likely to be the local cost of one of their principal ingredients. They should not be left to the mercy of a firm which will not even quote a price to them - to, as it were, a sort of willo’thewisp.
– How many tons of steel rails have Messrs. Hoskins turned out?
– So far as I know, they have not turned out one ton, but they have spent thousands of pounds in adapting their works to the production of steel rails. So far as we know, this unknown firm have not spent’ a halfpenny in connexion with the manufacture of muriate of ammonia. As Senator McColl has said, this matter has been sprung upon the Committee. The firm did not appear before the Tariff Commission, nor have they furnished any information to honorable senators, but on the bare prospect that they are going to do something, it is proposed to mulct all. the users of muriate of ammonia. I hope that common sense will prevail here to-day. It is not a question of protection or free-trade, but a question of whether established industries are to be placed at the mercy of one firm, which is going to do something or other in connexion with the main item of their raw materials.
– - Since the discussion on this item began, I have received from Mr. Allen Simpson, of the firm of A. M. Simpson and Sons, of Adelaide, who are large workers in this business, a letter, in which he says -
A duty of 15 per cent, has been imposed by the House of Representatives on muriate of ammonia, which is a raw material for galvanizers, and which has not yet been made for purposes of sale in Australia. I am told it has been manufactured experimentally in Sydney, but it has never been put on the market here or in Victoria. To make the muriate of ammonia required for the whole of the Common- wealth would probably not furnish employment for half-a-dozen men, while galvanizing and the manufacture of articles to be galvanized, find employment for several hundreds.
– On this question, I think that Senator Gray’s position is fairly strong. It was quite a different matter to impose a duty to encourage the iron industry. The reasons for that were that the Government of New South Wales was behind the enterprise, and there was a reasonable prospect of its success. But we are now dealing with an affair that is really in the air. I will read the whole of a letter from Messrs. Richard Johnson, Clapham, and Morris, to Mr. Jones, who is an importer of this article. It is dated the 18th March - only yesterday - and is a reply to a letter sent by the gentleman to whom it is addressed. It says -
Referring to your inquiry for muriate of ammonia, we have made inquiries through our Sydney broker re this article, and beg to report as follows : - “ The Ammonia Company are not prepared to quote yet, but expect to be in a position to do so about July next.”
We are sorry we cannot give you any definite date when they will be able to supply the muriate. “ About July “ seems to be anything or nothing. We await your further commands.
Evidently, therefore, this proposed company is more or less in the air.
– The company is operating.
– Either the statements in this letter are wholly incorrect, or the company is not in operation. Surely it must be clear that even if we imposed a duty, we should only do so subject to the reservation that it will not operate until Parliament is satisfied that the company is manufacturing the article. If this company is in existence, and can do what the Minister says it can do, viz., book orders to supply the European market - that is an additional reason why it does not need a duty.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 275, by leaving out the word “Muriate,” and inserting the following new paragraph : - “ b. Muriate of Ammonia, ad val. 5 per cent. (Senator Colonel Neild’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … …1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
– Can I now move that the duty against the United Kingdom be 15 per cent.? I think it is right that I should do that, because Senator Gray has told us that he forgot that he had paired with Senator Lynch. We all accept his statement, . but, nevertheless, the effect of his vote was to carry a request making the duty on muriate of ammonia 5 per cent.
– Would the Temporary Chairman be good enough to tell us what is the position of the item now?
– The result of the last division is that the word “muriate” has been taken out of the body of the item, and put into a special paragraph, b, dutiable at 5 per cent.
– It seems to me that the position is as follows. The question when the last division was takenreally was, “ That the word proposed to be left out be left out “ with a view of doing something with this commodity subsequently.
It has been left out, and the question now should be that of making it the subject of a separate : paragraph, b.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.No ; that is not the way in which we have been doing business on the Tariff. Requests have always been put as the question was stated prior to the last division. It must be remembered that we are making requests, not changes in the schedule.
– Do I understand that we have now dealt with carbonate, anhydrous, liquid, and sulphate, dutiable at 1 5 per cent. ?
– No, we have not.
– We have simply struck words out.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMANYes, and adopted a duty of 5 per cent, in regard to muriate.
– I submit that if we have not yet dealt with carbonate, anhydrous, liquid, and sulphate, we cannot have gone so far as the Temporary Chairman has stated. Was not the question put that certain words be. left out with a view to asking the House of Representatives to make a new paragraph? Should not the two questions have been put distinctly and separately ?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The question was put that the House of Representatives be requested to leave out the word “muriate” and insert new paragraph b, “ Muriate of Ammonia, ad val., 5 per cent.”
– I submit that if that was so, the item itself was dealt with on a previous request.
– Really this is indecent.
– We voted upon the question that the House of Representatives be requested to make muriate of ammonia, a special item, free. That was negatived. But the Chairman ruled that we were really dealing with a principle, and that the question then involved was whether we should strike out “muriate” for a certain purpose. We refused to strike out the word for that purpose, but the Chairman ruled that we might strike it out for another.
– We did not strike it out at all.
– We refused to request another place to strike it out for one purpose, but not for another. We sub sequently voted to request the House of Representatives to strike out “Muriate” and put it into a special paragraph dutiable at 5 per cent. Now, I submit, we have to decide what we shall do with the word that has been struck out.
– I can see no difficulty.’ The position as you, sir, have laid it down, is not only correct in itself, but is in accordance with what we have been doing throughout our proceedings on the Tariff. The statement made by the Chairman of Committers was that the Committee, having declined to leave out certain words for one purpose, could leave them out for another. The Committee, therefore, has adopted a request to another place to do that. That settles it. There can be no second column, nor anything else with regard to the new paragraph which we have agreed to request the other House to adopt. The question put was that the other House be requested to remove muriate from the item, and make a new paragraph, under which muriate would be dutiable at 5 per cent. That, I say, settles it. We cannot go back on what has been done, but the original item is still before us.
– I point out, in reply to the extraordinary utterances of Senator Trenwith, that two questions have already been made the subject of divisions. It was moved that the House of Representatives be requested to omit the word ‘ Muriate ‘ ‘ and insert a new paragraph - “ b. Muriate of Ammonia, free.” A division was taken on that. Why did not honorable senators opposite raise a point of order then? They practically won, because, the voting being equal, the question passed in the negative. Then I moved, following precedent, that the House of Representatives be requested to insert a new paragraph - “ b. Muriate of Ammonia, ad val., 5 per cent.” There was no objection ro that until it was found that Senator Gray had made the same slip as was made previously by an honorable senator who sits opposite. Senator Gray, with a very tender conscience, admitted that he had made a mistake. That little mistake is being seized on, and points of order are being taken such as have never been raised before during the discussion of the schedule. The position which you, sir.have taken up, and which is being cavilled at, is strictly in accordance with the practice followed for the last two months.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 275 (imports from the United Kingdom), ad val., 10 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority …. . . 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
– The Committee agreed to make the duty on paragraph b, “ Muriate of Ammonia,” 5 per cent, on imports under the General Tariff. That was carried under a misapprehension. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 275, new paragraphb (imports from the United Kingdom), ad val., 15 per cent.
– I riseto a point of order. We have absolutely disposed of paragraph b.
– Can a point of order be raised when there is no question before the Chair?
– I will state the question. I am now prepared to hear the honorable senator.
– Paragraph b came into existence in this way : A request was submitted to strike out “ Muriate “ from item 275, and insert a new paragraph - “ Muriate of Ammonia, free.” The motion to make it free was negatived. A request was then moved to make it dutiable at 5 per cent., and this was agreed to. That 5 per cent. covered everything. If it had been desired to make the duty 5 per cent. in one column and 15 per cent. in another, that could have been done at the same time, but as we have decided on 5 per cent., without qualification, we cannot now revise the matter. I sympathize with Senator Findley and his friends in the position in which they found themselves, but his proper course is to seek for a recommittal, if he thinks that the real wish of the Committee has, through some accident, not been given effect to.
– The honorable senator knows that it has not.
– The honorable senator did not say that when Senator Lynch gave a vote when paired.
– The request moved by me, and submitted from the Chair, was complete. I moved, not that the duty be 5 per cent. in the first column, but simply that it Be 5 per cent. All through the schedule there are large numbers of duties which are simply single duties. There is no obligation to state a duty in the second column. When a single duty is moved, it necessarily appears in the first column only, but it applies to both columns. That is the established rule of our procedure, and of the procedure of another place which produced the schedule. My request, as agreed to, was simply and solely to make the duty on muriate of ammonia 5 per cent., without any condition as to a second duty. It was a single proposal, just as in the case of “ Acetic Acid, per gallon, 6d.”
– The Committee is becoming disorganized. I remember well that when I attempted to move a request relating to dried herbs on item 61 I had first to move to leave “ Dried Herbs “ out of the body of the item. Then the item had to be carried, and subsequently I had to move for a separate item - “ Dried Herbs, per lb., 4d.” Other honorable senators have had to take the same course. In this case Senator Neild originally moved a request that “ Muriate “ be left out of the main item, for the purpose of inserting a new paragraph - “ b. Muriate of Ammonia, free. “ “Muriate “ was not struck out of the main item. Then the honorable senator came along with another request. He now declares that, without striking “ Muriate “ out of the main item, he moved a request for a new paragraph - “b. Muriate of Ammonia, 5 per cent.” How could he do that when his request to leave out the word “Muriate” was negatived ? He did not move a second time to leave “ Muriate “ out” of the main item, according to his own statement, with which I disagree. When the point was raised the Chairman of Committees (Senator Pearce) ruled that, although the request to strike out “ Muriate” from the main item for the purpose of making “Muriate of Ammonia” free in a new paragraph was defeated, yet a request that it should be struck out for the purpose of making “Muriate of. Ammonia “ dutiable in a new paragraph at some other rate could again be moved.
– I put the position plainly before. A request to leave out the word “Muriate” was carried, and a request to insert a new paragraph, making it dutiable at 5 per cent. under the General Tariff, was also carried.
– Might I ask you, sir, to read from the records which the Clerks have made, what actually transpired. That should settle the thing.
– I have already done so. A request was agreed to that the word “ Muriate V should be left out of the body of the item, and that a new paragraph, “ b Muriate of Ammonia, ad val. 5 per cent.,” should be inserted.
– Is it competent after it has been agreed to leave a word ouf of an item to accept a request for the insertion of a new paragraph reinserting the word left out, and dealing with it as a separate matter ?
– That is what has been done, and it is in accordance with previous rulings. There is now a request before the Chair, on the motion of Senator Findley, to make the duty on the new paragraph b on imports from the United Kingdom, 15 per cent. Exception has been taken to that request on the ground that it cannot be received. I rule that it can be received, as we have not yet dealt with the duty to be imposed on imports from the United Kingdom under the new paragraph. I suppose that Senator Findley still desires that his request should be submitted to the Committee.
– Might I ask whether you can receive a request for the imposition of a higher duty on imports from the United Kingdom than that which has been agreed to under the general Tariff?
– If Senator Dobson will allow me to interpose,I desire that the ruling just given by the Temporary Chairman should be submitted to the President. With very great respect to Senator McColl, I know exactly what was in my mind in asking the Committee to accept the request which has been agreed to on my motion. I formally take exception to the decision of the Temporary Chairman as follows : - “ I rule that it is in order for Senator Findley to move that the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on new paragraph b of the item 275, imports from the United Kingdom, 15 per cent.” I do so upon tha following grounds, namely - That the Committee has resolved that the duty on such paragraph be 5 per cent., and that since . that request was agreed to, the Committee has proceeded to deal with another item, namely, the original item 275.
In the Senate:
The Temporary Chairman of Committees.: - I have to report that when the Committee was dealing with item 275, Senator Neild submitted a request for the amendment of the item by leaving out the word “ Muriate,” and inserting a new paragraph b making muriate of ammonia free.That request was negatived. A further request was then moved to amend the item by leaving out the word “ Muriate,” and inserting a new paragraph : “b Muriate of Ammonia, 5 per cent.” That request was carried. The Committee then went back to the original item, which, if amended as requested, would read - 275. Ammonia, namely -
Carbonate, Anhydrous, Liquid, and Sulphate, ad val., 15 per cent.
That was carried, and a further request was then moved by Senator Neild to make the duty on imparts from the United Kingdom,10 per cent. That request was negatived. Senator Findley then moved the following request -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 275, new paragraph b (imports from United Kingdom), 15 per cent.
The question arose whether that request could be accepted. Exception was taken by Senators Millen and Neild that the proposed new paragraph b had been dealt with, and it was not possible then to submit a request forthe imposition of any duty on imports under the paragraph from the United Kingdom. I ruled that the power of the Committee should not be limited, and that as imports from the United King dom, under the proposed new paragraph, had not been dealt with, it was competent for Senator Findley to move his request that they should be dutiable at 15 per cent. Senator Neild has taken exception to my ruling in the following terms : -
I take exception to the decision of the Temporary Chairman as follows : - “ I rule that it is in order, for Senator Findley to move that the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on the proposed new paragraph B of item 275 (imports from the United Kingdom), 15 per cent.” I do so upon the following grounds, namely : - That the Committee has resolved that the duty on such paragraph be 5 per cent., and that since that request was agreed to the Committee proceeded to deal with another item, namely the original item, 275.
I ruled that the request might be received. The Committee went back to the original item, and passed it in respect of the duty imposed under the general Tariff. We then dealt with a proposal for a duty on imports from the United Kingdom, and I hold that the ground was then clear to enable the Committee to deal with any request that might be submitted in connexion with the proposed new paragraph b in respect of imports from the United Kingdom. Your decision, Mr. President, is asked as to whether my ruling in the matter is correct.
– On the point submitted for your consideration, I wish to say that I moved first of all to make the proposed new paragraph free, and later - and this is the position with which we are more immediately concerned - to make the duty on the proposed new paragraph 5 per cent. I made no reference either to the first or second column, but submitted a request for the imposition of a single duty, as in the case of, perhaps, a majority of the items in the schedule. I need not occupy your attention in stating cases, because on nearly every page in the schedule items will be found to which single duties are attached. I submit that there was no obligation to suggest a duty on imports from the United Kingdom, under the Droposed new paragraph. I submitted a request for a single duty, without limitation, and my request was agreed to. Having dealt with the proposed new paragraph’, the Committee had finished with muriate of ammonia, and proceeded then to deal with the duties to be imposed on other chemicals. I submit that it is not competent for the Committee, having dealt with an article, and having not only considered but taken a division with respect to the duty, to be imposed on other articles, to go back and review a former decision. The Committee decided upon a duty of 5 per cent. on the proposed new paragraph, and a request was subsequently submitted, not to make the duty on imports from the United Kingdom, under the paragraph, 5 per cent., but to increase that duty by 200 per cent. That is only a side issue, I admit, but I mention it as indicating the extent to which it was proposed to vary the decision previously arrived at by the Committee to make the duty 5per cent., without any limitation. Aftet that decision was arrived at, and the Committee subsequently considered and voted upon duties proposed in connexion with other articles, I submit that it was not competent for it to return to a matter which had been disposed of, and deal with a request intended to upset a previous decision bv the introduction’ of a most novel proceeding.
– I wish to mention one or two matters in connexion with the point raised by Senator Neild.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.
– Prior to the adjournment for lunch, I was going to point ont to you, sir, how the point of order arose. Senator Neild moved a request to delete the word “ Muriate “ from item 275 with a view to the insertion of a separate paragraph making muriate of ammonia dutiable at 5 per cent. The request was carried by twelve votes to eleven, and immediately after the vote was taken Senator Gray rose and stated that he had arranged with Senator Lynch to pair on different items for a certain time during the sitting. Senator Lynch was absent from the division, and Senator Gray expressed his regret that, for the moment, he had forgotten his promise to pair. If Senator Gray had paired as he had promised to do with Senator Lynch, he would have been absent, and consequently the voting would have been equal, and the question resolved in the negative.
– I submit, sir, that the honorable senator is out of order in seeking to introduce into the discussion on a point of order a subject - the making of pairs - which you have ruled over and over again does not come within the cognizance of the Senate.
– I was endeavouring, if permitted, to point out why I moved a request that ‘the duty in the second column should be 15 per cent.
– The question submitted for my consideration is whether the Committee can revert to the item in order to put another rate of duty in the second column, and the circumstances that led to the honorable senator submitting his request cannot have any effect upon the decision which I am called upon to give.
– I have no desire to influence your ruling, sir, but merely to make the position clear to those who were not present when the point of order was raised. Immediately after the division on Senator Neild’s request was taken, I moved that the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty in the second column 15 per cent. Senator Neild who was sitting alongside of me on the front Opposition bench, said, “I have a prior request to move.” He desired, if he desired anything, that I should extend to him that courtesy which every honorable senator has extended in a like situation, clearly demonstrating to me that at that time he was under the impression that 1 would be perfectly in order in submitting my request at a later period.
– No; I thought the honorable senator was moving a request in respect to the main item.
– That is beside the question, too.
– That Senator Neild did have in his mind at the time that I would be in order in moving my request at a later period, is shown by the fact that he desired me to withdraw it, and the Chairman himself knew that I had desired this request to be made.
– I shall have to make a personal explanation.
– Immediately after the division on Senator Neild’s request was taken, I submitted a request for a duty of 15 per cent, in the second column, and the honorable senator who was sitting alongside of me rose and said that he had a prior request to move.
– I have already contradicted that.
– The honorable senator may have been under a misapprehension, but what I am stating is correct. I want to know, sir, whether, because I desired to oblige an honorable senator and, according to an incidental remark by the Chairman, to convenience the Committee, my request is to be ruled out of order?
– I desire, sir, to. call your attention to a decision which you gave on the nth March on apoint of order which arose out of a request moved by Senator McColl, in regard to item 165, dealing with machinery, machines, and machine tools. He moved that the House of Representatives be requested to further amend the item by inserting the following paragraph -
AA. Machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials as prescribed by departmental by-laws.
Senator Clemons objected that it could not be considered until the main item had been dealt with, but the Chairman of Committees decided in the opposite way, and an appeal was made to yourself. On page 386 of the Journals will be found the following record -
The President stated that the course followed had been adopted in previous items, and as the practice with regard to the making of requests for amendments was necessarily somewhat different to that followed in Bills which the Senate could amend, he considered that the course laid down by the Chairman of Committees should be followed by the Committee.
Possibly it may be argued, or it may be considered by you, sir, that it would have been better if the request had been put to the Committee in sections - first, the omission of the word “ muriate,” and, secondly, the rate of duty. But previously the Committee had adopted the method of dealing with a complicated request as one proposition. In the first place, a request by Senator Neild to leave out the word “ muriate,” and to insert a sub-item that muriate of ammonia should be free was negatived. Then he submitted a request to leave out the word, and to make the article, without regard to the columns’, dutiable at 5 per cent. That request was carried, and it seems to me that the Committee then decided the rate of duty in respect of both columns, inasmuch as the request contained no qualifying words as to whether that was to be the general or preferential duty. I am not able to recall at the moment particular cases, but I remember that that course has been followed in regard to previous items. Another point, and a most important point, is that other business had intervened before Senator Findley submitted his request. In other words, the Committee had reverted to the previous part of the item.
– I think, sir, that on a previous occasion you gave a distinct ruling that, after a request without limitation or qualification had been moved and carried, the Committee could add a qualification subsequently. I remember one instance in which Senator Lynch moved the addition of the words “provided “ soandso as a modification or qualification of a request which had been made. I submit that if paragraph b of item 275 was before the Committee an honorable senator could move as a qualification that the duty in the second column should be 15 per cent. I am afraid that the other point urged by Senator Mulcahy - that, in the meantime, the Committee had dealt with another request - is fatal to the contention of Senator Findley. I think, however, that it ought to be made quite clear that the Committee can at any time modify a request to the House of Representatives by a subsequent request.
– On a previous occasion, sir, you decided that as little restriction as possible should be placed upon the freedom of the Committee in dealing with the Tariff. This morning we made a request to another place to omit the word “muriate” from item 275, and insert a paragraph to the effect that muriate of ammonia should be made dutiable at 5 per cent. Any proposal to amend that request up to that point would, I hold, be out of order. But the Committee has gone no farther than to declare that the article should be dutiable at 5 per cent. without reference to any column, and I hold that it is still within its power to request that another place should amend the item. If Senator Findley had moved after paragraph b, Muriate of Ammonia 5 per cent., had been agreed to, that the second column duty of 15 per cent. be added, I think he would have been perfectly in order, because that would not have been going back. It would still have been proceeding with the item. Now that is exactly what Senator Findley did attempt to do. He attempted to move a request for a second column duty in respect of paragraph b before the item was entirely completed. I submit that he was entitled to do that.
– With reference to the remarks made by Senator McGregor, I desire to point out that when the new proposal to take words out of the main item and put them into a new paragraph was carried, the Chairman of Committees might have asked the question, “ Are there any requests in the second column.” As a matter of fact, he did not do so; but, because he did not do that, I fail to see that any honorable senator can claim, after we have gone back and dealt with the item by taking words out of it, that he has a right to move another request with regard to the new paragraph.
– I rose to move my request immediately after the division took place.
– I know that the honorable senator did so in the first instance ; and I am surprised that, as an experienced senator, he allowed himself to get into a tangle. It is every honorable senator’s business to look after the matter which he takes in hand. If an honorable senator “misses the ‘bus,” as it is called, it is his own fault, and he has to put up with the consequences. Senator Findley in this case has been deprived of the opportunity of moving arequest that he wished to move. He has missed his chance ; but I fail to see that he can go back on the item.
– With reference to the previous ruling, which has been quoted, I am of opinion that it does not apply to the question now under consideration. It is perfectly true as stated by Senator McGregor, and also by Senator Mulcahy, that a question arose some time ago with regard to the power of making requests. The point was taken by Senator Clemons that a particular request was not in order. The Journals of the Senate for the nth March state that -
Senator McColl moved That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend the item by inserting after sub-item a new subitem - (aa) Machinery, and Parts thereof, used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials, as prescribed bv Departmental by-laws, free.
Point of Order. - Senator Clemons objecting that the request for new sub-item aa should not be moved until sub-item a and the duty applying thereto had been disposed of -
Ruling of Chairman. - The Chairman ruled that the request was properly moved before the duty on sub-item a had been dealt with.
Objection taken. - And, Senator Clemons taking objection in writing to the Committee’s decision - the Chairman left the Chair.
Appeal to President. - The Senate resumed. And the matter having been laid bef6re the
President, and Senators having addressed themselves thereto -
The President stated that the course followed had been adopted in previous items, and, as the practice with regard to the making of requests for amendments was necessarily somewhat different to that followed in Bills which the Senate could amend, he considered the course laid down by the Chairman of Committees should be followed by the Committee.
That is exactly what was done to-day in the first instance with regard to taking muriate out of the item as submitted to the Committee, and dealing with it as a separate paragraph. What was done then came clearly within the ruling given, and which has been subsequently . followed. Another point has been raised with regard to a ruling given on the item affecting reciprocating engines. That, in the first instance, was a case on all fours with the. case we are dealing with now. It was determined to take reciprocating engines out of the item then under consideration. Senator Lynch desired to add certain words to the new paragraph after it had been determined to request the House of Representatives to insert it. Exception was taken to that being done, and, after a ruling had been given by the Chairman of Committees, an. appeal was made to the President. The President upheld the decision that another request could be submitted which would have the effect of modifying the previous request. In the case . before us, muriate was taken out of the item in which it stood in the Tariff, in order that it might be dealt with specifically. The Committee determined to request that the duty be fixed at 5 per cent. No question was raised at the time as to whether that was an absolute decision, or as to whether a modifying request would be submitted. Nothing more was decided at that particular juncture except that muriate should be made the subject of a new paragraph, and a rate of duty was agreed upon. Afterwards the Committee went back to the original item, dealt with it, and completed it. When that had been done, a desire was expressed to go back to the paragraph dealing with muriate. I think there was no power to go back again. Muriate of ammonia having been taken out of the item as originally submitted, whatever was intended to be done with the new paragraph should have been done there and then. It was assumed that the new paragraph was completed by the fact that the Committee returned to the original item. There would be no finality about cur procedure if the
Committee could deal with portion of an item as a new paragraph, dispose of that new paragraph, return to the item from which it was taken, and then return once more to the new paragraph taken out of the item. We should find ourselves in continual difficulties if that procedure were allowed. It was quite impossible to revert to the paragraph relating to muriate of ammonia with a view of making the duty 10 per cent, or making the paragraph free after a return had been made to the original item. I think that in this case the decision of the Temporary Chairman should not be accepted. I understand that there has been some misunderstanding in connexion with the matter, and it is just as well that the question was raised in order that it might be settled. It is far better thata question relating to our procedure should be determined than that misunderstandings should continue, because we are laying down precedents. Although a particular decision may inconvenience honorable senators, nevertheless, in this instance I think that the decision I am called upon to give is one the wisdom of which will appeal to honorable senators. I rule, therefore, that the decision of the Temporary Chairman cannot be upheld. Another question occurs to my mind, although I do not propose to give a ruling upon it at the present time. As far as the first column of the schedule is concerned - relating to duties under the general Tariff - it has been the invariable practice when a preference duty has been moved or agreed upon to make it lower than the duty under the general Tariff. That has been done to carry out what has been laid down as the meaning of the duties in the second column, namely, to give a preference to Great Britain. I do not desire now to offer an opinion on the point as to whether a duty in the preference column that was higher than a duty under the general Tariff would be in order or not. I merely put the point to honorable senators so that they may know what is running in my mind.
– There is a great deal to be said on both sides.
– Yes, and therefore I forbear offering a definite opinion. There has been some difficulty, owing to shortness of time, in hunting up precedents relating to our previous practice. But if honor-‘ able senators will turn to the ‘Journals of the Senate for the present session, page 345, they will find that on 28th February, when we were dealing with bottles -
The Minister for Home Affairs (Senator Keating) moved - That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend the item by adding
Over 60 ounces fluid capacity, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
– That the. proposed re- quest be amended by making the duties 15 per cent, and 10 per cent, respectively.
That seems to be the best precedent which the Clerk’s research has enabled him to find up to the present. It will be. seen that both dutieswere submittedin the one motion. I should like to add, however, that I do not regard the fact of the Committee having adopted a duty of 5 per cent, on muriate as preventing any request being made in relation to the second column, if it had been made at the proper time.
– When was the proper time ?
– The proper time in this case would have been as soon as Senator Neild’s request had been disposed of.
– I did move immediately after the division, but withdrew my request at Senator Neild’s desire, and to meet his convenience. I will not convenience him any more.
In Committee :
Item 276. Carbonic Acid Gas, per lb., 2d.
– There appears to be some justification for the reports of the Tariff Commission in regard to this item. The protectionist section of the Commission deals with the evidence of Mr. Resch, who pointed out that if a certain duty was imposed he would employ instead of four men possibly fourteen. That appears to be the only evidence bearing upon the matter. It seems to me, however, to be an extraordinary thing to impose a duty of 2d. per lb. on this article on such evidence as that. The other section of the Tariff Commission comments upon the evidence of Mr. Joseph, who, apparently, suggested a duty of10 per cent. They say that the evidence is clear that the manufacture of carbonic acid gas in compressed form has not been made profitable to the local producers, largely because many persons prefer to generate their own gas from chemicals. In other words, the factories are not doing well, because other people in Aus tralia are generating gas themselves from their own materials. The report proceeds -
The proposed duty (of 2d. per lb.), which would be 50 to 100 per cent, upon the shipping value of the imported article, would be an unnecessary burden upon local industry.
This stuff is used for making cordials, and so forth. Although the free-trade section of the Tariff Commission say that 2d. per lb. would be equal to “50 to 100 per cent.”- a fairly good margin - I have a letter here from a firm calling themselves Miiller Brothers, who are, apparently, importers doing business at Brisbane and Toowoomba. Writing from Brisbane, they say -
We may say at once that the duty amounts to 250 per cent., for on our last invoice, passed, on 17th December, 1907, £127s. 6d. duty was collected on an invoice value of , £4 18s. 2d.
I will not assure the Committee that I know that statement to be true. The firm who make the statement are responsible for it, but I have given their name and address so that if the statement is incorrect the Customs Department will find it easy to controvert it. I do not propose to say that the stuff cannot be made here. We have the word of one firm that the local stuff is not as good as is the natural imported stuff, and we have also the extraordinary statement made before the Tariff Commission that the locally-made stuff is more like the natural stuff than is the natural stuff that is. imported ! There are evidently, therefore, two sidesto the question. The importer declares that the natural stuff, from the springs in Germany, is the better material, and the man in Australia, who makes it here, claims that it is more natural than the stuff from the German springs. A duty of ‘2d. per lb. is not justified by any evidence put before us through the Tariff Commission. The most that can be said for it is that it may raise the employment of men from four to fourteen. Therefore, the proposal to put A . very heavy tax upon material that enters largely into what is probably the most valuable part of our Australian industries - the manufacture of temperance drinks - is uncalled for. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 276 free.
This article is manufactured in. Australia, -both in Melbourne and Sydney, as the evidence submitted to the Tariff Commission conclusively shows. It is possible that if a duty is imposed on imported carbonic acid gas, not only will the manufacture of it in the Commonwealth extend sufficiently to overtake the local demand, but .that we shall be able to establish an export- trade. Already carbonic acid gas manufactured in the Commonwealth is being exported to the Islands and to Africa. Notwithstanding that fact, however, the whole of the Commonwealth demand is not supplied by internal production. There is, unfortunately, a disposition on. the part of many people in Australia to prefer always what comes from abroad. The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission’ state in their report -
The industry was started in Melbourne about 8 years ago, and the gas is also being produced in Sydney. At one brewery in Melbourne, the sum of £4,000 was spent in erecting a thoroughly up-to-date plant, and subsequently £1,000 was spent in the purchase of vessels for storing the gas. This plant, it is said, is ^capable of producing one ton of gas per day, but the demand was not’ equal to the supply owing to the imported gas being cheaper. Consequently, only four men were employed on the plant, whereas if the output were larger many more men would be engaged.
That plant was put down to supply the brewery with its own requirements in carbonic acid gas, but it was found that the imported gas was cheaper, and that there was little hope of successful competition with it.
– So the purpose of this duty is to raise the price?
– It is not. The protectionist section also state -
The capacity of the various carbonic acid gas plants in Sydney and Melbourne is estimated at three tons per day, or over 1,000 tons per annum, or about five times the quantity re- 1’iiired to meet the needs of the Commonwealth. Tt was stated that the imported gas was not so palatable when used for making beverages as is the local product, the latter being more natural.
The Commission then deal with prices, consumption in the Commonwealth, cost of production, industrial conditions, and the uses to which the gas is put. A further paragraph deals with the method adopted for the sale of imported carbonic acid gas in the Commonwealth, and may possibly explain to Senator Chataway why .such a large amount of duty was collected - if .it was collected - upon a quantity of gas invoiced at such a low value -
The evidence given before your Commission was to the effect that local manufacturers cannot compete against German importations. The German carbonic acid gas, it was said, is generally carried in drums by the mail boats, which are heavily subsidized by the German Government, and are able to “ dump “ cargo in the Commonwealth at any price. Freights from Germany (who is the only competitor in this article) are as low as 10s. per ton.
It is quite possible, therefore, that German gas has been brought here, under the extraordinarily favorable conditions of freight and carriage to exporters from Germany, at very much less than cost price, and with a .fixed duty of 2d. per lb. the amount of duty at first blush may have seemed disproportionate to the value of the consignment. IT the figures supplied to Senator Chataway are correct, I am certain that the explanation will be found in the peculiar conditions under which gas can be dumped into the Commonwealth from Germany at practically any price. The evidence of Mr. Resch regarding the employment of fourteen men refers to the plant erected in his own brewery for his own purposes. If the gas can be successfully manufactured in Sydney and Melbourne there is no reason why it should not be successfully manufactured in many other parts of the Commonwealth, causing not only an increase of from four to fourteen men doing the work in Resch’ s brewery/ but a corresponding increase in other parts of the Commonwealth. The industry should, therefore, attain reasonable dimensions and supply the requirements not only of ourselves, but of our neighbours in the Islands, and also increase the export trade already established with Africa.
– The Minister’s statement is simply charming in the extent and completeness with which he has succeeded in contradicting himself. He assured us on the evidence quoted that it is impossible for local manufacturers to produce this Commodity and sell it in Australia because of the low price at which the imported article is sold. At the same time, he predicts that local manufacturers will be able to send their stuff out of Australia, pay freight on it, and compete in the open markets of the world with the same natural product from Germany. If they cannot compete here free of all freight how can they hope to compete in neutral markets after paying freight and charges? That is one of those contradictions that would at once strike anybody, but appar- ently it is regarded as one of the keystones of the protectionist arch. When the Tariff Commission sat there were plants in Australia capable of turning out five times the Australian requirements, and yet those plants are being multiplied. I will give the reason directly. Even when the Commission was sitting in Sydney, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company were erecting a plant - I believe a bigger one than that at Resch’s brewery - because they saw that there was an opportunity of supplying the gas to certain consumers. But the fact that Australia now has plants capable of turning out five times the quantity required here, and that we are yet importing it, indicates something. The ordinary cordial maker does not buy from those manufacturers. He makes his own gas. But there are certain people in Australia who want the absolutely natural carbonic acid gas, which is not a manufacture, and which is obtained from Germany.
– All carbonic acid gas is. natural.
– Everything is natural that is- not supernatural, but there is a difference between what is natural and what is artificial. The gas made in a lemonade factory is artificial in the sense that it is produced by the employment of certain chemicals. It is obvious, as Australia produces five times more than it wants, that no duty which can be imposed will of itself increase either the number of factories or the employment given. The best proof of that is the fact which I mentioned that the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, with all those other plants in existence, ventured to put up a still larger plant. The statement that there are plants in Australia capable of producing five times the requirements of. Australia is not mine, but that of Mr. Resch, who asked for the duty. The reason for the present position is that it is cheaper for aerated water manufacturers to make the gas under their own roof than to buy from others. The Colonial Sugar Refining Company put up their plant for the express purpose of exporting their product. They make it out of the waste material left from the operations of their principal trade.
– Are they exporting because they can get a better price abroad than in Australia?
– No, but if they can produce the stuff here ‘ for export, , as they are. doing, it is clear that the duty can be of no benefit. If, after taking’ their goods half way round the world, they, can successfully meet German competition in Africa and elsewhere, surely they can meet that competition ii> Australia, when the competitor has to pay freight all the way, and they are able te avoid all. freight charges. The. amount of duty which should be imposed has been variously stated. With a fixed duty, the impost would vary according to the quality of the gas. When Mr. Resch was asked what duty he wanted, like Senator Findley, he said, “As much as I can get.” I do not know whether there has been any conspiracy between Senator- Findley and Mr. Resch, whether the honorable senator was brought up in Mr. Resch’s brewery, or Mr. Resch was educated in Senator Findley’s school of thought, but they both appear to be possessed by the same idea, that a protectionist should demand the highest duty he can get. As to the number of mer* employed in the local manufacture of this, article, the evidence does not disclose that four men “were so employed, but that ordinary brewery hands were taken off their work for an hour or two’ at a time to produce the small quantity of this gas- which Mr. Resch required in his business. If it be said that the duty would lead to fourteen hands being employed in the industry, the answer is that some of that number must already be so employed, since the expansion of the business of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company must account for some. If Mr. Resch’s statement is correct, the fourteen hands to whom he referred,, must be .already at work, and the imposition of the duty, without increasing the number of hands employed in the industry, will have the effect of increasing the price of the article. It has already had that effect, because the moment if wasimposed the price of carbonic acid gas was. increased.
– Has the honorable senator any proof of that?
– I have ample ‘proof from those who buy it that the price of the imported article has been . increased by the amount of the duty. It may be that in certain cases the local manufacturers have not increased their price, but the fact remains that some manufacturers of cordialswill continue to use the imported article. Mr. Resch may say that he can contend with, and beat nature in the production of this article, but there are not many people who will indorse that statement. I think it is clear that the imposition of the duty will not provide employment for one additional person, that the local industry is already able not only to supply the local demand, but also to engage in an export trade, and that to carry the duty proposed would only be to add to the expenses of persons who will continue to use imported and natural gases.
Question- That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 276, “Carbonic Acid Gas,” free (Senator Chataway’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild), put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 276 (imports from the United Kingdom), per lb.,1½d.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Item 277. Carbide of Calcium, ad val. (General Tariff), 10 per cent., and on and after 4th December, 1907, free; (United Kingdom), free.
– Some time ago I gave notice that I intended to move arequest that the duty on carbide of calcium should be as at first proposed, 10 per cent.
– I also gave a similar notice.
– When this item was before another place, a representative from Queensland suggested, by interjection, that carbide of calcium should be free. The suggestion was adopted without any inquiry into the prospects of the establishment of an industry for its manufacture. As a consequence of the actiontaken in another place, I received a letter, on the 13th February, 1908, from the then Premier of Queensland, in which he pointed out that steps were then being taken to establish a very important and valuable industry, in connexion with which the production of carbide of calcium will take an important place. Honorable senators are probably aware that near Cairns, in North Queensland, there are excellent falls, known as the Barron Falls. So far, these falls have been put to no use, and have remained merely as an attraction to tourists. It has been suggested that the power of these falls might be utilized for some industrial purpose. For the production of carbide of calcium every one knows that a very cheap motive power is required. Not long ago, when there was a prospect of a duty being imposed on this article, the Queensland Government entered into negotiations with certain people in Sydney, and. this was the general basis of the developments which it was proposed should take place. Recognising that the Barron Falls were national property, and that it was in advisable that any private individual should control the use of any power to be generated by them, and also recognising - to borrow a word from a member of the Committee - the immense “potentialities” of the falls for the generation of electric power, the State Government decided that they would not allow any private persons to actually harness the falls for private use. The proposal now is that the State Government shall lay down an enormous plant, costing £100,000, for the purpose . of generating electricity by utilizing the power of these falls.
- Is not that Socialism?
– I believe that public utilities should be in the hands of the Government, and not in the hands of private individuals. Whilst the Government of Queensland is prepared ‘to sell electricity to any one who chooses to establish works in the neighbourhood, that does not mean that it intends to deprive private enterprise of its right to share in the good things that are going. This company, which is being formed in Sydney, is to spend £25,000 in erecting works and taking the electricity from the Government supply for a period of forty-two years, at an annual payment of £12,000 or £14,000. Later on, when there was another turn in the political kaleidoscope, I wrote to Mr. Kidston in order to make sure of my ground. I received from him a further communication fully indorsing what had been said by his predecessor, Mr. Philp, who, when writing to me, said that it was Mr. Kidston who had made all the arrangements with the Sydney people. Mr. Philp told me that after full inquiry Mr. Kidston had every reason to believe that a thoroughly bona fide proposal was. afoot, and he hoped that the Senate would see its way to restore the duty on this article.I do not feel inclined to take up time in quoting a great deal on the subject. It has been gone into very thoroughly, and if any honorable senators should desire further information about the Barron Falls I would refer them to a report, published in 1906 for the State Government, on the utilization of the power of the Barron Falls, together with plans, by William Corin, who, I understand, is a Tasmanian engineer of very considerable repute. I shall be only too glad to hand a copy of the report to any honorable senator, and I dare say that another copy can be obtained in the Library. The decision of the House of Representa tives to abandon the original duty was entirely due to the impression that in Australia there was no place where carbide of calcium could be made, or, at any rate, where it was likely to be made. I am not now going to move the request of which I just now gave notice. Senator Mulcahy has given me an intimation that he has a request to move, to which I am prepared to give precedence. Both requests, it is needless to say, aim in the one direction. Not only the industry of making carbide of calcium, but the development of other great industries in the North, where honorable senators are always trying to get white people to settle, might be encouraged if reasonable protection were given to this particular article.
– Will the Barron Falls “ be capable of supplying other power than that required for the carbide works ?
– Obviously if it involved the utilization of all the electricity that could be produced by the Barron Falls in this enterprise, it would not pay the Queensland Government to spend £100,000 in putting down an electric plant. It is expected that copper-refining works and other industries of that sort will also be established. It must be obvious that the State Government is not likely to spend £100,000 in laying down a plant to supply electricity if there is to be no customer for the article. It must Have some customers for electricity before it will lay down the plant. I hope that the Committee will see its way to give very substantial protection in order to enable such industries to be established.
– When the Tariff was first submitted to the Senate, it will be remembered that there was circulated a memorandum showing the requests which would be moved by Ministers. It included a request to ask the other House to restore the duty of 10 per cent, on this item. I can therefore cordially support the remarks of Senator Chataway. In the other House it was considered that there was little justification for imposing a duty of 10 per cent. There was little information available as to the possibilities or, to quote the phrase of an honorable senator, the “ potentialities “ of the Commonwealth in this regard, and therefore it was decided that on and after the 4th December, 1907, the item should be free. Since that date the Common- wealth Government have received an intimation from the Queensland Government setting forth the arrangements which they were entering upon,- “and pointing out that by the action of the House of Representatives their prospects in connexion with the development of -electric power from the Barron Falls were seriously jeopardized. We were asked to reconsider the desirableness of imposing this duty of 10 per cent. I know, too, that as regards the production of high electric power’ from natural forces such as waterfalls and rivers, Queensland does not stand alone in the Commonwealth, because there are such forces to be found in Tasmania, New South Wales, and possibly other States. In order to manufacture carbide of calcium it will be necessary to have available very high electric power, which may be only generated successfully, from a commercial point of view, for purposes such as these by harnessing those natural forces. I understand that carbide of calcium is made by the association of carbon with the metals to be found in chalk, limestone and such things, and in order to bring about that association and some decomposition or chemical change, it is necessary that high electric power shall be cheaply and easily available. The great bulk of the importations of carbide of calcium comes not from Great Britain, but from foreign countries, principally Sweden. Out of 85,975 cwts. imported in 1906, 64,005 cwts. came from Germany and 6,321 cwts. from Sweden. As a matter of fact, much of that which came from Germany came originally from Sweden. The total value of the importations was £64,601, averaging about 14s. or 15s. per cwt. We imported £22,089 worth of German origin and £26,706 worth of Swedish. Ten per cent, is a very small duty, and one that the Committee can reasonably request the other House to re-impose. In view of the great possibilities- in this regard, not only in Queensland but in other States, it is desirable that by means of a small measure of protection we would give an opportunity to those who -are desirous of embarking in the industry to take advantage of great natural forces wherever they exist. I- have had the benefit of an interview with Mr. Corin, whose report Senator Chataway has quoted from. For many years he was electrical engineer for Launceston and carried out very successful electrical installations there, where natural . forces were utilized for the generation of motive and lighting power.- From my conversation with him with regard to his report I learned that he is very strongly impressed with the great possibilities that lie before the Commonwealth with regard to the manufacture of carbide of calcium, particularly in relation, to the power that is contained in the Barron River Falls, and also with regard fo similar power that is to be obtained elsewhere in the Commonwealth. Senator Mulcahy has informed me of his intention to move a request to another place to impose a duty of- 10 per cent, on certain terms and conditions- that’ is as to a proclamation somewhat similar to the one approved last night with regard to locks and the one approved on a previous occasion with regard to certain oils. I hope that he will not submit that request, but that the Committee will ask the other House definitely and unconditionally to impose a duty of 10 per cent. The undertaking is an immense one, and I am given to understand that unless something in the nature of definite protection is assured it is not likely that the people will, on the chance of getting that protection hereafter, risk any capital in the venture.
– I hope that whatever rate of duty the Committee may decide to request the other House to impose it will not be imposed immediately. I have made a somewhat deep study of this particular substance. I was one of the first to import from the Old Country a large plant for the generation of acetylene gas, and to give at Zeehan - for the first time in the Commonwealth, I think, on a commercial scale - a fairly large installation df a magnificent illuminating gas. I am very pleased to find that the Government of Queensland has launched upon a scheme similar to one which seven years ago I launched in Tasmania. The configuration of Tasmania enables’ us to make use of our’ water power. We have a series of plateaus, and some of our largest and most important lakes are immense natural reservoirs on the tops of mountains. Lake Sorrell is a great body of water at an altitude of 2,500 feet, and the Great Lake, consists of 40 square miles of water at an altitude of 3,500 feet. Tasmania is therefore a country adapted for the utilization of an enormous body of water for power purposes. When I was Minister there we provided a sum of money to make a scheme of this kind a success. Unfortunately Tasmania since then has not been quite so progressive as she was in my time,, and has not developed what I feel sure will be a very great asset to that country. However, the national asset remains. The water is there in immense volume, and at considerable altitude, and the geographical character of the country is such that we shall be able to use the immense power which we have. For the manufacture of carbide of calcium very cheap power is necessary, and not only that, but a very large amount of power. You cannot manufacture carbide of calcium safely with less than something like 2,000 horse-power, and that must be obtainable at the most economical cost. The use of acetylene gas has become very general throughout Australia.It is largely used in the country districts, and even in large towns the use of it has enabled householders to. free themselves from the monopoly of the gas companies. It is a great boon tobe able to generate quite easily a powerful and pure illuminant, at about the same cost as one has to pay for the gas obtained from a company. I therefore think that it would be a mistake to impose an immediate duty. By doing so we should simply be imposing a heavy tax upona large number of people who happen to be using this particular illuminant, whereas with regard to other illuminants we have already decided that there shall be no tax at all. I cannot see why those who use kerosene should be free from taxation whilst we Impose a duty upon carbide of calcium, which is used by numbers of other people. The statistics show that £64,000 worth was imported into the Commonwealth in 1906, and the importations last year were, I am sure, very largely in excess of that quantity. For the present year the importations will be still greater.
– That is one of the great arguments for manufacturing it locally.
-If we imposed a duty of 10 per cent. upon carbide of calcium we should be taxing the consumers of this particular illuminant during the current year or next year to that extent. The Premier of Queensland has determined to assist in the manufacture of this article in that country. They intend to manufacture carbide of calcium by means of the power with which they supply themselves with electricity.
– I do not want this duty for Queensland, but for Australia.
– The State of Tasmania is also doing something on the same lines, though I do not know exactly what steps are being taken. What I intend to do is to ask the Committee to take a similar course with regard to carbide of calcium as we took yesterday with regard to locks. I therefore move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 277 by adding the words “ Carbide of Calcium. - To come into operation on a date to be fixed by proclamation ; proclamation to issue so soon as a joint address has been passed on the motion of Ministers by both Houses of Parliament, stating that the manufacture is sufficiently established in the Commonwealth, ad val. 15 per cent. ; but until the issue of such proclamation - free.”
– Senator Mulcahy has relieved me of the necessity of addressing the Committee at any great length upon this matter. He has reminded the Committee of what we have done in regard to kerosene, which is on very much the same footing as carbide of calcium, both being illuminants relied upon by the people in the more sparsely populated districts, who are unable to supply their wants less easily than townspeople ordinarily do. I ask honorable senators whether, after having decided that kerosene shall be free, there is any logic or equity or common sense in putting an impost upon carbide of calcium, which is used for the same purpose? The one industry is not entitled to any more consideration than the other. Both are illuminants for the homes of settlers, and both are to a large extent used by the poorer sections of the community. I see no more justification for putting on a duty for the benefit of persons who profess an intention to manufacture carbide of calcium than there was for imposing a duty on kerosene for the benefit of the Commonwealth Oil Corporation. Indeed, if there were a choice between the two, I should be in favour of the duty on kerosene. The natural opportunities referred to by Senator Chataway are greater - though they may not be more picturesque - in the case of the production of kerosene from the bowels of the earth in the Blue Mountains than they are for the production of carbide of calcium at the Barron Falls. Further, the Commonwealth Oil Corporation is at all events a company which is in existence, and has command of a very large amount of capital, whereas in the other ease we have to do with a speculative affair in the hands of a companymonger, who is running about Sydney with a prospectus in his . hand. The Barron Falls have nothing to do with the matter at all. At the Barron Falls, as Senator
Chataway informed me in reply to a question, sufficient power can be generated to supply, not merely the works required for the production of this article, but for many other industries. That being so, they will still be there for this and other industrial purposes whether we give Mr. Tyree the benefit of the duty that he asks for or not. I have no fault to find with what Mr. Tyree is doing. He has been in business for some time in Sydney, and is endeavouring to enlarge the industry which in a homely way he is carrying on to-day. Mr. Tyree, in putting his prospectus forward, did not say that the whole success depended on getting a bounty from Parliament. He showed that enormous profits could be “made according to the figures which he put forward, and in regard to which he invited people to invest their money. But seeing that Parliament was evidently showering its blessings on all who liked to ask for them, it appeared to Mr. Tyree desirable to ask that allobliging Parliament to give something which would be equal to another 10 per cent, upon the enormous profits which he had already promised to those who would subscriBe the capital of the projected company. If Mr. Tvree’s prospectus was genuine, as I believe it was, and the company could carry on and return handsome dividends without a duty, what justification is there for giving him one now? Its sole effect would be to give additional profits to the man who assured those who wished to become shareholders that they would have profits enough without it. This matter has been before Parliament on two previous occasions. The item was introduced in the 1902 Tariff with a 20 per cent. duty. Another place at once made it free, as it did kerosene. Recently, when it was before another place again, the same course was taken, and for the same reason. If we are going to put a duty on this item, the kerosene item ought to be’ recommitted, and there should be extended to the Commonwealth Oil Company the same consideration as the Committee is now asked to extend to Mr. Tvree’s syndicate. The Commonwealth Oil Company has its retorts erected, its miles of railway down, and its mine tunnels and shafts already sunk, so that Australia is very much nearer to producing its own kerosene than to producing its own carbide of calcium by means -of the magnificent Barron Falls and by the agency of the at present paper-constructed company which undertakes to put the money in.
– We have the word of the Queensland Government that it is a sound company.
– We had the assurance of the Commonwealth Government that they had not the slightest doubt about the financial position of Messrs. Jair.es Laing and Company. I am not at all surprised that Senator Keating has intimated that he proposes to put a duty on this article, because his colleague elsewhere moved to take it off. It is quite in accordance with the fitness of things that when Sir William Lyne proposes in another place to take the duty off, Senator Keating, his colleague in this Chamber, should’ propose to put it on.
– It will not be necessary to move for the insertion of the concluding words of the request–” until after the issue of such proclamation, free “ - because the item is free already.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [3.50]. - Certainly, the Barron Falls, when there is any water there, are an exceedingly grand spectacle ; but, on the occasion of the only visit I made, there was not enough water going over to do very much more than turn a sewing machine. I thought of making an arrangement with the boots at the hotel at the top to let off half a dozen bottles of soda-water when I had got to a satisfactory position from which to see the full effect of the water power. I understand that one very fine sight is to see the coastal alligators climbing up the falls to browse on the cattle in the pasturages at the back. But 1 have not seen that. I have only heard of it, and so I do not like to speak positively. There are plenty of places in Australia besides the Barron Falls where water power can be got. I have seen a far finer rush of water in the immediate vicinity of the capital site of Dalgety. I have seen 80,000 horse-power, tearing through a gorgeless than a chain wide between fine granite
Avails, where it would be possible to carry out any reservoir work or the fixing of any water-power machinery with the greatest of ease and the least expense. Water-power could be got there a great deal more advantageously than at the Barron Falls. Almost within the metropolitan area of Svdney, on the’ Grose River, a considerable number of sites can be found for the generation of electric power, and there you would certainly be in a better position for getting the electric power in suitable positions for manufacturing purposes than at the Barron Falls at Cairns, which is in a somewhat out-of-the-way place as regards the great populace and great using-powerof Australia. Again, in Tasmania, I do not know how many admirable sites there may not be in the vicinity of Launceston, so that I do not regard this particular affair at all as being moored closely onto the Barron Falls. I have read accounts of the Barron Falls in wet weather, when, I believe, they are one of the grandest sights, if not the grandest sight, in Australia. I happened to be there at an unlucky time, whenthere was barely enough water going over to supply the requirements of the Postmaster-General for a pleasant Sabbath afternoon discourse. I do not know what to say about this application for a 10 per cent., duty. I have had a letter from the good people interested in the Sydney syndicate, and there seem tobe two or three difficulties in the way. We discussed one this morning on some other item, as to whether a certain firm would be able to make a particular chemical in Australia some time between now and the millennium. In this case we are double-banked with difficulties, because there is first the question whether the company is or will be in a position to carry out its excellent intentions, and secondly all the magnificent uncertainty of Queensland politics as to what some Government will do, while what Government is to be in power there for any length of time seems to be a matter of some little uncertainty. The position of parties in the Queensland Parliament does not make for prospective stability. The whole proposition appears to be contingent upon some Queensland Government carrying out the intention of constructing electrical works.
– I have read statements from the leaders of two different parties in Queensland, both supporting the proposal.
– I understand and appreciate that but. unfortunately, in Queensland there are three parties, and we do not know what No. 3 is going to do.
– What seems to be the case is that the company ask the Queensland Government to find the motive power, we are to find the duty or bounty, and they will take the profits.
– And Providence is to supply the water, if possible. Altogether.it is a singularly uncertain proposition. I believe it would be advantageous to have a good supply of this chemical in Australia, because acetylene gas gives a very beautiful light, and does not blow more people into eternity than does the “common or garden variety of gas.” But while we could do very well with a good supply of carbide of calcium 10 per cent. in the circumstances is a little stiff. I understand, however, that while I was looking at some public documents outside the chamber for a few moments a conditional proposition on the lines of the provision regarding division VIa. was put forward. If so, that relieves my mind somewhat.
.- There are many reasons why honorable senators who have faith in Australia should votefor such a duty as Senator Chataway or Senator Mulcahy has proposed, even without the conditions. In the transmission of carbide of calcium from Europe a number of things may happen. War may possibly break out, involving Great’ Britain or the Commonwealth, and then the vessels carrying the chemical to Australia would be in great danger of capture or delay. How serious it would be then if all those who depend on it for their light in Australia found themselves in darkness ! That is a very strong reason why we should impose such a duty as would make the production of carbide of calcium not only possible, but certain, in Australia. ButI have serious doubts about the proposal because, when similar propositions in connexion with other items were under discussion, honorable senators declared that those who sojght protection for certain industries could not give quotations of the prices that were to be charged. Has Senator Chataway any authority to fell the Committee what the price of the locally-made carbide of calcium will be if we impose a duty of 10, 15, or 20 per cent.? Have the company been able yet to quote prices? Have the Queensland Government indicated what they will charge for the electricity necessary to carry on the industry ? Is there any indication of when there will be enough water in the Barron Falls? Senator Neild has cast serious doubts on the possibilities of those beautiful falls. They might be frozen. That would be a serious position, for the water would not’ How, and the electricity could not be produced. In the case of another item we were told that the whole proposition was in the air, and that therefore no protection could be given. This proposition is in the water, and we might reasonably expect that it would put out an illuminant. Is it only because there are such possibilities in the Barron Falls that Senator Chataway is submitting the request? Is it only because the Barron Falls are in Queensland? Perish the thought !
– What about dry herbs ?
– The honorable senator need not be alarmed; I have very great faith in the possibilities of Australia, find even in the possibilities of the Barron Falls, for, notwithstanding Senator Neild’s depreciation of them, I believe that the Barron Falls are a great asset to Queensland and to the Commonwealth. I know Senator Neild’s facility for depreciating things which he does not care about. When the honorable senator went to Mildura he criticised the pepper trees there, and said that they were not to be compared with some that grew in New South Wales.
– No ; with those that grew at Swan Hill “in Victoria.
– I know that the honorable senator’s statements of this kind f re so unreliable that I take no notice of the remarks he has made about the Barron Falls. I represent a State that possesses as great possibilities as Queensland. We have falls in South ‘ Australia within gunshot of Adelaide. There are some members of the Committee who are prepared to vote only for duties that will benefit their own State. I hope I shall never be accused of parochialism of that description. I am prepared to vote for a duty on carbide of calcium or carbide of anything else so long as I know that there are facilities in Australia for its production. I shall never ask Senator Chataway or any other member of the Committee in which State of the Commonwealth these facilities exist. Even if they existed in little Tasmania I should he prepared to give the assistance I considered necessary. I hope that the Committee will deal with this question apart from the superfluous conditions sought to
Ite imposed by Senator Mulcahy in his desire to protect the poor miner who, he would lead us to suppose, goes into the bowels of the earth with a can of calcium round his neck. The sooner we give the protection necessary the sooner the people with enterprise will enter upon the production pf this article. All over the world people possessed of capital, are loath to invest it in any enterprise the success of which may depend upon any House of Parliament agreeing to a proposal to afford it assistance.
– Cannot the honorable senator trust the Parliament and the people?
– I can trust the Parliament and the people, but I cannot trust the timid capitalists we hear so much about to have the courage to proceed with an enterprise on probability. I wish to give them confidence, and I should prefer to see the duty fixed at 10 per cent, without conditions than at 20 per cent, with conditions. I do not think that a duty of 10 or 15 per cent, on carbide of calcium would restrict its use to any .great extent until such time as we were in a position in Australia - and I do not care in which State - to produce it at a price at which it would be advantageous to the consumer to purchase the local article. I hope the request will be agreed to.
.- Senator McGregor has spoken of the necessity for a duty on carbide of calcium. But I have yet to learn that there is any such necessity. Senators Chataway and Mulcahy have to some extent advertised their knowledge in connexion with this matter, but I wish to remind the. Committee that of all the States Tasmania possesses by far the greatest facilities for the utilization of water power for the generation of motive power. I make this statement as a member of a company that some’ years ago obtained a concession from the Tasmanian Government of water power to the extent of 75,000 horse-power from the Tasmanian river in the high plateau. I know that at the present time there is a company in prospect that proposes to make use of the water power to be derived from Tasmanian high lakes 2,500 feet above the level of the sea for the production of carbide of .calcium, without any Tariff protection or other encouragement from the public funds.. In the circumstances, why should we hand over public money to enable one or two wealthy syndicates to obtain a monopoly of the production of this article? It has been reported to me that the projected Tasmanian company would be able to produce far more carbide of calcium than would be required to meet the consumption in Australia for many years to come. The people concerned in the proposed” company have confidence in their enterprise, and do not ask for any public assistance. We should encourage that spirit, instead of giving public money to huge trusts. I shall vote against the request.
– It may be necessary to reply to one or two of the statements which have been made, though I feel sure that some of them were not made seriously. First of all, Senator Neild set out to be amusing, and was very amusing, at the expense of facts. He endeavoured to convey the impression that there are no Barron Falls except at a certain period of the year, and then he admitted that they are magnificent. In this connexion I quote the following statement made by Mr. William Corin, who, I understand, is a Tasmanian engineer. I do not know the gentleman personally, but commenting upon the power available in the Barron Falls he reports -
In conclusion, I wish to record my conviction that the natural advantages of the Falls are such that the proposed work must necessarily rank amongst those of lowest cost, when compared with the cost of similar works elsewhere.
Compared with the power’ available, the tunnel is short. The Launceston tunnel, by way of example, is of nearly the same diameter,’ and over two-thirds the length, yet provides only one-fifth the power.
– We all acknowledge that there is water in Australia, but what we wish to know is whether carbide of calcium can be manufactured locally at a price that will bear comparison with that of the imported article.
– I have always noticed that Senator’ Gray wants to know something that he is not being told at the moment, but I propose to finish my quotation -
Again, the necessary head works are comparatively inexpensive ; the existence of a railway line right up to the site is of enormous advantage in reducing cost, which is apparent at once when the great expense involved in mule-back transportation, as has been often necessary in other places, is considered ; and the proximity of the Falls to the seaboard, and particularly to the rising town of Cairns’, enables the power to be led to where it can be immediately used with a comparatively inexpensive transmission line.
From the report of this competent engineer, it would appear that the vicinity of the Barron Falls is a most suitable place for the erection of such works as have been projected. Senator McGregor asked that the Committee should be given some estimate of the cost of providing the electric power, and I can inform him that the estimate of the engineer I have already quoted is £4 per unit of electric horse-power, and the cost of producing the carbide is estimated at £12 per ton, and 20 per cent, cheaper when the works are properly established. I do not think that Senator McGregor was serious in asking for the information, but he will be glad to know that it is available. Now, as to the bona fides of the company. It has. been suggested that this is the proposal of some companymonger, who has been hawking round a prospectus in Sydney. I have never seen a copy of the prospectus, and know nothing of the company promoters. I speak of the enterprise as indorsed by the heads of two successive Queensland Administrations. In reply to a question I put to him to ascertain whether the Sydney company was a bona fide concern, Mr. Philp, writing to me on the 13th February last, said -
I think the establishment of carbide works a certainty if sufficient protection is afforded to the industry by the Commonwealth. Government. I have no reason to doubt the bona fides of Mr. Tyree, which,, I believe, was inquired into by Mr. Kidston, and found satisfactory.
Later on I had a letter from Mr. Kidston, in which he says -
I am very anxious to see a reasonable duty, say, from 10 to 15 per cent., imposed on the imported article, so that a new industry may be started in Queensland, and the motive power of the Barron Falls utilized in our time.
– Mr. Kidston sent the Federal Government even a stronger telegram on the 17th January.
– I think I have already referred to that telegram. It is one urging the Government to restore the duty on this item. It is quite obvious that the temper of the Committee is not to give any halting, half-way protection. If my honorable friends sitting on this side had all supported Senator Mulcahy he might have had some hope of being able to carry his proposal.’ But they will not, and so far as I can gather honorable senators generally are opposed to it in its present form. It would be much simpler to fake first a vote on a proposal to leave out the qualifying words and subsequently a vote with regard to the duty. Therefore, I intend to move that the request be amended by the omission of all the qualifying words.
– It is not necessary for the honorable senator to move an amendment, because it is my intention to’ put the proposal in two parts. First the part relating to the issue of the proclamation, and, secondly, the part relating to the duty.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [4.17]. -I should not have risen except that I do not want to be misrepresented by the interpretation which Senator McGregor was pleased to put on a little innocent jocularity of mine. I entertain the highest regard for the Barron Falls. I consider that they form one of Queensland’s greatest sights. They are a great attraction to people from all parts of the Commonwealth, who spend a good deal of money in going there, when there, and in leaving. When I happened to be there,’ I ‘ did not see enough water for the purposes which have been re-, ferred to, but I do not doubt that as a general rule there is an abundant supply. Of course in a time of drought one cannot depend upon the supply. I have received a letter on the subject of this proposed duty, but it asks for a duty of only 10 per cent: Previously I had no knowledge of the writer or the company from which it emanates. I understand that it is. sent on behalf of a syndicate either formed or to be formed. I doubt whether it is formed, but the communication is not clear on that point. I take it that if any duty be imposed it will be applicable to manufacturers in all parts of the Commonwealth wherever suitable power exists, and that it is not proposed solely in connexion with the Barron Falls or any other “particular place.
– I have received no communication from the Queensland Government either present or past. I suppose they thought that as I had always advocated protection in Queensland they could depend upon getting my vote to impose a duty upon carbide of calcium. Not because it is to be produced in North Queensland, but simply because it is to be produced in the Commonwealth. It is quite a matter of indifference to me whether it is produced in Queensland or Tasmania or South Australia. . The fact that an industry is going to be established in Australia and to give employment to our own people is sufficient to induce me to vote for a protective duty. I was very pleased to hear Senator Chataway state that he was in favour of all public utilities being in the hands of the public, and that the Philp Government were prepared to carry out the work at the Barron Falls and to sell the electrical power to companies established to conduct other works, because it is only a few years ago since Mr. Philp was putting up a job in the Railway Department whereby fie agreed to sell the whole power of the Barron Falls to a syndicate for a term of over forty years at a very small payment indeed, with the right to an extension of the lease for a term of forty years.
– How long ago?
– In 1897. Fortu- . nately a labour man, who happened to get into the Railway Department for the space of four or five days, was able to discover what was going on, and when the proposal was submitted to Parliament it was practically laughed out of existence. It redounds to the credit of the Labour Party that it was able to prevent Mr. Philp and his colleaguesfrom effecting that sale. I believe that at the Barron Falls there is plenty of power for the production of enough electricity not only to make carbide of calcium, but also to carry out other works. The company which wanted to get a lease of the Falls in 1897 had no idea of making carbide of calcium. They wanted to establish electriolic works in connexion with the production of copper in the back country. If the present company are able to generate the power* which is estimated by the Tasmanian engineer they will have enough not only to produce carbide of calcium, but also to carry on other works there to light the town of Cairns, and to carry on industries therein. I believe in imposing the duty on the article straight away. It is of no use to insert a proviso which would prevent such companies either in Queensland or elsewhere from raising the capital to establish works for the production of carbide of calcium. If they know their’ exact position they will be able to obtain the necessarycapital from the public for the purpose of starting the industry as soon as possible. If, however, they were required to prove not only to the satisfaction of the Ministry, but also to the satisfaction of both Houses of this Parliament that they are in a position to supply the requirements of Australia before they can get the benefit of a duty, what would be the position?
They would not attempt for a moment to ask the public to put any money into the enterprise.
– Are they not preparing now to produce carbide of calcium ?
– Yes; but how did the honorable senator and Senator Chata way laugh this morning at the idea of a duty being asked by a company with a big capital, who said that they had already put down a plant and were prepared to guarantee to distribute their commodity in June or July next?
– The honorable senator knows perfectly well that I did not say a word on that item, and did not laugh at the demand of the company. I did not know anything about the matter.
– That expression of opinion came from honorable senators on the side on which Senators Chataway and Mulcahy voted, and therefore they indorsed it. When the same speakers stood here and characterized the present proposal as a sort of bogus syndicate arrangement Senator Chataway said that the promoters are perfectly correct and solid.
– I did not term them a bogus syndicate, but a syndicate.
– The honorable senator said that in Sydney there were gentlemen who were forming a syndicate and endeavouring to get this proposition floated. Unless it was proved to the satisfaction of probably a large number of the members of either House that the company were producing nearly as much carbide of calcium as would satisfy the requirements of Australia they would not get any advantage from the duty. The Houses would not be prepared to pass an affirmative resolution if they thought that the company were producing only a small quantity. When the company would require the greatest assistance possible in all probability one House or the other would not be prepared to grant it. The best thing to do is either to give a duty or not to do so. I am prepared to vote for the imposition of a duty, believing that the article can be produced not only in Queensland but elsewhere. I am hot prepared at any time to vote for a duty being levied on an article produced in Queensland and at the same time to do all I can to prevent the establishment of an industry in any other Dart of Australia.
– I hope that the Committee will weigh well the evidence which has been adduced before it commits itself tothe imposition of a duty. I am prepared to vote to make the article free, and if that be defeated to support Senator Mulcahy’s proposal. Ten or twelve years ago I was approached by a gentleman who was very optimistic as to the value of this article, which he said could be manufactured in Australia. He brought what he said were facts before us, to show that it would be very profitable to use the waters of Launceston. I joined the company as a director. We then made inquiries as to the accuracy of the statements that had been submitted to us. We sent over an expert. But, after going into the question, we found that, whilst it was possible to manufacture carbide, it would cost at least £6 per ton more than the price of the importedarticle. Thereupon the company collapsed. That was twelve years ago. I have not heard a single statement to-day to show how the conclusion is arrived at that carbide can be manufactured in Australia at a price anything near that of the imported stuff. I earnestly protest against any action being taken that will tend to increase the price of carbide to those who are at present using it for illuminating purposes. Gas made from carbide of calcium is one of the most beautiful illuminants obtainable. It has been a perfect godsend to a large number of people who live in country districts, and who cannot obtain coal gas. To these people carbide is just as much a necessity as is kerosene to other persons. Before we impose a duty we should make sure that we are within measurable distance of carbide being manufactured in Australia at a reasonable price. When any honorable senator can show me that it can be manufactured locally at a price that will not increase the cost to the consumer, I shall be favorable to the payment of a reasonable bounty. This is an article to which a bounty might very well apply. Assuming that a certain quantity of carbide could be placed upon the market of Australia at a reasonable figure, a bounty could be given that would to a large extent cover the extra cost of manufacture that might be involved.
– The honorable senator did not give much support to the Bounties Bill when it was before the Senate.
– I did not give any support to throwing away the people’s. money on objects which had no practical utility ; but I did vote for bounties when I thought the object was useful.
– The action of some of our zealous freetrade friends will, I think, have the effect of immediately imposing a tax upon the section of the community that uses this particular illuminant. We shall probably take from them within the next four or five years something like £15,000 or £20,000a year, in accordance with the quantity consumed. That seems to be very bad tactics either from a free-trade or a protectionist standpoint. I have advocated a duty on carbide of calcium, not because it is manufactured in Tasmania, but because I am anxious to see an Australian industry established as soon as we are ready to manufacture the material. But I am not prepared to impose a dutv for the benefit of company promoters who are hawking their so-called concessions about, or to enable them to exact a larger amount of advantage for themselves from people who can be induced to invest their capital in such an enterprise. We are going to impose an immediate tax upon an article which is coming into general use, and which ought to be as free as kerosene is. I cannot understand the action of Senator McGregor on this point. If there is one thing more than another that can be demonstrated to be possible of manufacture in Australia it is kerosene. It can be made from shale, which is to be found in various parts of Australia. But I have not heard Senator McGregor advocate a duty upon kerosene. We have excellent deposits of shale in Tasmania, yielding60 gallons of oil to the ton of shale. If my honorable friend were consistent, he would say, “ This is a material that can be manufactured in Australia; let us put a duty upon it.”
– I tried to get a dutv of 3d. per gallon placed upon tinned kerosene.
– But my honorable friend merely did that to afford employment for a few tinkers. So largely is acetylene gas coming into use that it is even supplanting gas in some townships.
– I know of business establishments in townships in Tasmania that use acetylene in preference to coal gas. Burnie is largely supplied with acetylene gas. Latrobe, a much older place, has been using coal gas for a long time. The reason for the use of acetylene gas in Burnie is that it is cheaper than coal gas is at Latrobe. That fact shows that we are dealing with a coming industry and one which can largely take care of itself. I am prepared to trust Parliament in the future to give to this industry the same amount of fair protection as other industries enjoy. But if we strike out the proviso that I have proposed we shall bring about the immediate taxation of an article used by a large section of the people, and which at present ought to be free.
– Senator Mulcahy has rather shown a reason for imposing a duty on kerosene than for not imposing one on carbide of calcium. I point out that this material is being made abroad for as low as £7 a ton. The cheapest price for which it is sold in Australia is £16 per ton. Obviously it could be sold cheaper. The reason why it is not being sold cheaper is that there is no local competition.If we were to impose a duty we should indicate to the world that we are going to make this stuff for ourselves. That would at once arouse the aggressive character of the importer, who would naturally say, “ I am going to keep the market that I have got.” and he would probably at once try to discourage local manufacture by reducing his price. I should not be surprised if we imposed a duty of 10 per cent. to find the price of imported carbide of calcium being reduced by 10 per cent. I feel confident that if the people engaged in the local manufacture of it knew that the price of the imported article would remain at £16 a ton they would at once embark on making it on a considerable scale. But they know that the importer would reduce his price to keep the local maker out of the market. That renders some protection necessary.
– I will put the question down to the word Commonwealth, leaving the matter of the duty to be determined afterwards.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend Item277 by adding the following new paragraph : - “ b. Carbide of Calcium - To come into operation on a date to be fixed by Proclamation. Proclamation to issue so soon as a Joint Address has been passed on the motion of Ministers by both Houses of Parliament stating that the manufacture is sufficiently established in the Commonwealth “…
Request (Senator Mulcahy’s) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Chataway) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 277 (imports under General Tariff), ad val. 10 per cent.
Senator MACFARLANE (Tasmania) ([4.50]. - Queensland senators are going to spoil their Barron Falls. The falls of Niagara have been seriously altered and a large amount of- water taken away for similar purposes. If from a comparatively small stream such as passes over the Barron Falls in an ordinary season the water necessary for the project which has been mentioned is taken away, the effect on the falls will be serious. In order to preserve their own picturesque country and to attract tourists, Queensland senators ought to vote against the proposed duty.
– It may relieve Senator Macfarlane’s anxiety to know that the proposal is to utilize the falls for the creation of electric power, and not to make carbide of calcium. The water required for the latter purpose will come from a different part of the river altogether. The falls will not be affected in the slightest.
– I desire the item to be free. A duty to be levied immediately will be a tax upon those who use acetylene gas as an illuminant. It may be fifteen or twenty years before carbide of calcium is manufactured in Australia. The project has been in the air for the last fifteen years. Most glowing prospectuses have been issued as to the wonderful profits to be realized. and yet there has been no practical outcome. Just the same will-o’-the-wisp proposals are before us now. Before we vote for a duty that would be nothing but a revenue duty and a tax upon the users of acetylene gas, some more practical assurance that the chemical will be placed upon the market at a lower price than the imported article in areasonable time should be forthcoming.
.- I cannot see the justice or consistency of admitting kerosene oil free - I am glad that it is free - and taxing acetylene gas. The consumption of the gas in Tasmania is largely increasing. All over the island plants are being laid down not only by large but by small farmers. They find the gas as cheap as or cheaper than kerosene, have made their calculations, and obtained their plant, which cost a good deal in the beginning, upon the assumption that carbide of calcium would be free. To some extent, therefore, we are breaking faith with them in imposing a duty. Another gross inconsistency is that in several instances we have recognised it to be unfair to put upon the consumer a duty in respect of an article that is not being made in Australia, and provided that a duty may be imposed on an address being passed by both Houses to the effect that the industry is sufficiently established, but in this case the Committee have refused to adopt that course. I know a little about this matter because I was asked by a gentleman in the inner circle to make one to take up shares in the company to the extent of£1,000. I read the prospectus and other additional facts obtained from the promoters. The prospectus was glowing, but it did not allude to a duty. It asserted that the profits would be enormous, quoted the price at which the stuff was sold in England, Germany, and Sweden, and the price at which it could be delivered here. All the statements and figures showed that it could be made here and undersell the material from every other country, the shareholders making enormous profits. Therefore all the facts are against the imposition of the duty now proposed.
– I shall vote for carbide of calcium being free, because the Committee has decided to admit kerosene free, and machinery for generating electricity has been made dutiable at 5 per cent. at the most. Acetylene gas is the only rival of those two illuminants. Yet it is proposed to tax the consumers to give a start to one or two companies which, up to the present, are speculative concerns, and very much in the air. To impose the duty now asked for will be to take a decidedly wrong course, in view of what we have done in the past. There is no question about the qualities of acetylene gas as an illuminant. It has proved itself to be even cheaper than electricity for lighting premises, large and small. As we have rejected the proposal to grant the duty when Parliament is satisfied that the carbide of calcium industry is sufficiently established in Australia, the next best thing is to make the duty as low as possible. If I had my way there would be no duty on the item at all.
– Yesterday the Committee decided 10 make wire netting free in the interests of those whose business it is to combat the rabbit pest. Carbide of calcium is also beginning to play a part in the destruction of the rabbit. It is used for fumigating rabbit burrows, and also for spraying the prickly pear, a pest which in Queensland is assuming considerable dimensions.
– They are giving the land away that has prickly pear upon it.
– As my honorable friend reminds me, the Queensland Government are glad to give away the land on which the prickly pear is growing, and are scouring the southern States for men willing to join in the fight against that scourge. I would emphasize to the Committee the fact that, apart from supplying a useful and increasingly popular illuminant in country districts, and other places where ordinary gas is not obtainable, carbide of calcium is being utilized for the destruction of the prickly pear and the rabbit.
– In the case of locks, which are being made, and being made well, in Tasmania, a duty to be imposed at some future time is, in the opinion of certain honorable senators, ample. I was, and am, prepared to afford Parliament at some future time an easy method of applying a protective duty to carbide of calcium which I feet confident we are going to make in the Commonwealth on a large scale. When I could not secure that I am not prepared to immediately impose a tax upon the unfortunate users of this particular article in the interests of the Standard Oil Company and gas monopolies. I am sorry to think that that is what some honorable senators of the Labour Party are prepared to do.
– I am hoping that the Labour Party will help us to prevent that.
– I hope they will. I know that in any circumstances years will elapse before the laying down of a plant to produce this article. If Senator Chataway knows anything at all about the subject he must know that an enormous water power would require to be harnessed and available all. the year round to generate the. electric power that would be required. When that was provided it would still be. necessary to provide very large, powerful, and expensive furnaces, because the heat required in generating calcium is the highest degree of artificial heat known to science. Then other things would have to be done, and amongst them I suppose that a few people would have to be fooled into paying an enormous price to secure an interest in one of the companies undertaking the work. I do not care to be a party to encouraging anything of that kind. Although I am in favour of a duty for protective purposes I am. not prepared to agree to impose a heavy tax on an article which cannot be made here for years. I prefer to trust a future Parliament to pass an Act to do what, if my suggestion were adopted, might have been done by a much more simple process.
– It has been amusing to listen to Senator Mulcahy. The honorable senator has practically said, “I believe in the thing and I do not believe in it.” Only a little while ago he spoke in terms of praise of the proposal; and where is he now? Because he was not able to get a little bit of his own way the honorable senator has got his back up. We heard the speech which we might have expected to hear from a conservative like Senator Dobson, but the honorable senator shrewdly informed the Committee that the farmers used carbide of calcium. I can claim to know something about farmers, having lived amongst them for fifty years.
- Senator Dobson spoke of farmers in Tasmania.
– Tasmania possesses a splendid water supply, equal to providing the power necessary to drive almost anything; but what I wantto say is that some honorable senators are trying to make the farmers a stalking horse in order to influence some honorable senator’s vote. That is too thin. In all my travels in South Australia and elsewhere I never heard of a farmer having a plant of this kind, but I know: that many of them use great quantities of kerosene for driving engines, and for use in lamps. Senator Mulcahy would have voted for the request if accompanied by a condition that would mean little or nothing. What body of men would put capital into any scheme without some assurance of success? I am very glad that Senator Mulcahy’s proposal has been squelched, and I have been very pleased to find that Senator Chataway - in an emergency and when the interests of Queensland are concerned - will vote even with the Labour Party. I believe that Senator Mulcahy, in voting against a request submitted by one of the soundest conservatives in the Senate, with the exception, perhaps, of Senator Dobson, wishes merely to have a smack at the Labour Party. I have much pleasure in supporting a request for a duty intended to encourage anindustry which, from the remarks which have fallen from Senator Chataway, and even from Senator Mulcahy, is likely to be a success in Australia when once it is established.
– If we wish to do justice to all in the framing of this Tariff we must place this article on the free list. We have placed other means of providing illuminantson the free list, and we should remember that the people who use this article for lighting purposes obtain very little direct benefit from any protective duties we have agreed to impose.
-Yes, hotelkeepers and others in outside townships that are not supplied with electric light or gas. I have a word to say with respect to the unfair remarks which have fallen from Senator Mulcahy. I do not see why, when finding fault with honorable senators who voted against his proposal, he should have singled out a few Labour senators when some members of his own party voted against him, while some hon orable senators of the Labour Party voted with him. No good reason has been advanced for imposing a duty upon the article, and I see no reason why we should treat it differently from any other means of providing an illuminant.
– Candles are not on the free list.
– I admit that, but after what we have already done I do not think it would be fair to levy a toll upon those who are obliged to make use of this article.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [5.10]. - Had the proviso been agreed to I should have been prepared to support the imposition of a moderate rate of duty on this article. As it was not agreed to, I think the article should be duty free. In coming to this decision I have been materially influenced by what Senator Millen has said with reference to the application of this chemical to the destruction of rabbits and prickly pear - the two great curses of Australia. In the circumstances, I cannot see my way to vote for a duty.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 277, “ Carbide of Calcium “ (imports under General Tariff), ad val. 10 per cent. (Senator Chataway’ s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Item 278. Drugs and Chemicals, viz. : -
Food Preservatives n.e.i. ; Salicylate of Soda; Sulphites and Bisulphites of Potassium; Bisulphite of Sodium, Calcium, and Magnesium ; and Foaming powders and Liquids, including Malto-Peptone Yeast Food, Yeast Food Preservatives, Yeast Nourishment, Quillaya Bark, Saponarias, Glycyrrhizin and its compounds, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [5.16]. - The articles included in this item are required for the care of the sick and the recovery of those who have been afflicted with illness. In the earlier stages of the consideration of the Tariff the Committee dealt with a much lighter hand in regard to similar articles than the Government now ask us to deal with this item in both columns. In submitting a request regarding the duty under paragraph a, I ask the attention of honorable senators to a petition which I presented to the Senate last month on behalf of the members of the Medical Institutes and Dispensaries’ Association of New South Wales. It reads as follows -
We, the members of the Medical Institutes and Dispensaries’ Association of New South Wales, representing 25,000 members, or 100,000 souls, resident in Sydney, Paddington, Redfern, Balmain, Newtown, North Sydney, Marrickville, Leichhardt, Petersham, and Parramatta, recognising the importance of the masses being able to obtain their medicines at a reasonable price, view with concern the duties imposed by the New Tariff, which inflicts an additional burden upon our members, and those dependent upon them, at a time when they are least able to bear it, in many cases when the breadwinner is laid aside by sickness ; and we humbly and respectfully pray when Items 278A and 292a andb are submitted to Your Honorable House for consideration, that requests for substantial reductions will be made in the items named.
It is signed by the President and Secretary of this very important association, whose members are, I believe, members of the most influential friendly societies in the neighbouring State.
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 278, paragraph a (imports under General Tariff), ad val. 20 per cent.
– The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended thatthe duty on this item should be 26 per cent., that is, the rate in the old Tariff, and the proposal before the Committee is to impose a duty of 20 per cent. on British imports, as before, and a duty of 25 per cent. on foreign imports. I believe that four-fifths of the importations of these articles come from the United Kingdom. So far as that proportion is concerned, the previous rate of 20 per cent. will prevail, and the duty of 25 per cent. will operate against the remaining fifth, and it is expected that the increased duty on foreign imports will have the effect of diverting that trade to the United Kingdom. In regard to these articles an inquiry has been made of the Victorian Government Analyst, who does analytical work for the Commonwealth, and I understand that his report is that they are made in the Commonwealth.
Question put. - The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [5.29]. - As the Minister has shown an anxietyfor a reduction of the duty in favour of British makers, I ask the Committee to request that the preferential duty be reduced to 15 per cent., because on these items 5 per cent. is not sufficient preference. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 278, paragrapha (imports from the United Kingdom), ad val. 15 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 278, paragraphb, by leaving out the words “ in accordance with Departmental By-law, in packages of not less than 11 lb. weight.”
When this matter was discussed in the House of Representatives, the limitation imposed by the inclusion of the last words in paragraph b was not favoured. Asa matter of fact, the words were identical with those contained in a notice in the Gazette of 19th November, 1906. The object of that notice was to forbid the importation of saccharin except for medicinal purposes. It was considered, however, by the Committee in another place that the Customs duty should not be lower than 30s. per lb., and there was a feeling that the limitation with regard to size of packages should be omitted. How it was that the words were retained in the item is not quite understandable. Accordingly I move that they be left out.
– The Minister has moved a most useful request. I understand that chemists doing quite a large business in some of the States have, in consequence of the limitation as to size of packets contained in paragraph b, been forced to import an eight or ten years’ supply of saccharin tablets. But while I agree with the request, it seems to me that the rate of duty - 30s. per lb. - isaltogether too high. Saccharin is not likely to be brought into competition with sugar. It is only used medicinally.
– It was thought that if the duty were made low, saccharin would be used for other than medicinal purposes.
– I- do not think that that is probable.
– It is used in foods, and in some States steps are taken to discourage its indiscriminate use.
Request agreed to.
– Inasmuch as saccharin is only used for medicinal purposes, and then chiefly in the case of one painful and incurable disease, it seems a pity to impose such an enormous rate of duty upon it. I shall test the feeling of honorable senators by moving -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 278, paragraph b, per lb-, 15s.
– - The duty proposed is one that has been imposed upon saccharin ever since 1902. The rate has been ascertained by taking the sweetening power of saccharin in comparison with that of sugar. Its sweetening value is 550 times that of an equal quantity of sugar. In order that there shall be no competition between saccharin and sugar to the detriment of the latter, this duty of 30s. per lb. is considered reasonable. My honorable friend, Senator Mulcahy, seems to scoff at the suggestion that saccharin might be used for other than medicinal purposes. I can assure him that it has been frequently used. It is not considered desirable by authorities upon health matters that saccharin should be brought into general use. It. is very useful for medicinal purposes, particularly for persons who cannot use ordinary sugar. But to allow it to. go into indiscriminate use in foods and drinks which enter into common consumption is considered to be rather perilous.
– It is not perilous. Saccharin is not a food; that is the only objection to it,
– I understand that it is considered dangerous.
– No, it is not. It is allowed to be used under the Foods Act of this State.
– Under certain conditions only. But the indiscriminate use of it without reference to medical authority and under medical direction is considered by health authorities to be dangerous.
– Will- the honorable senator quote one authority?
– i have not one at hand. I did not- expect that any one would attempt to deny the statement. But
I know that there has been a disposition on the part of Governments to restrict the indiscriminate use of saccharin. Senator Mulcahy is the first person, apparently, te* raise any objection to a duty which has been. in operation since 1902.
– The Minister’s statement that saccharin is an injurious property is, I cart assure the Committee, upon authority, incorrect. The objection to saccharin is twofold. One is on the ground of revenue, which is the reason for its prohibition as an article of food in Great Britain ; anc? the other is that it is not a food property. If one buys chocolate, there is a food property in it as well as a sweetening property. But in saccharin there is no nutriment whatever. On the ground of the absence of alt food quality in it there is rightly an objection to its being used in foods. But as for its being dangerous, an authority has furnished a report in which - it is stated that the idea that saccharin is injurious to health is absolutely incorrect. It is. .stated -
Saccharin is prohibited in Great Britain in beer for revenue purposes, but is used freely, and to an enormous extent, in other beverages* mineral waters especially, and no case of anytrouble through its use has been recorded here. It is quite harmless.
We can therefore pass over the appeal made by the Minister on behalf of the duty on the ground that saccharin is dangerous, and come to the revenue aspect of the case. The Minister fears that if we allow saccharin to be imported at a duty of 15s. per lb. it will be likely to destroy the j£i 1,000,000 revenue of the Commonwealth or break down the great sugar industry of Queensland. Does the Minister really know the quantities imported in t906? The imports were about a ton and a half in weight, upon which duty was paid to the amount of £3,000. What then have we to fear from bringing down the duty from 30s. to 15s.? It has been stated that saccharin is- introduced into Australia primarily for those who through some affliction are unable to take sugar foods or whose death would be hastened by. the use of sugar. Why should we impose a duty of 30s. per lb. upon an article the market value of which is, roughly, about 7s. 6d. per lb. ? Does any one suppose that saccharin is going to enter into competition with sugar while it costs 7s. 6d. per lb. ? There is another property of sugar in addition to its food quality, and that is that it has a candying effect when used in some ways. This does not apply to saccharin. Another of the properties of sugar is that it has an absorbent power with regard to moisture which is not the case with saccharin. Is there any reasonable probability of saccharin coining into general use if we leave the duty at 15s. per lb. ? On the other hand, a reduction of duty must affect the price by reducing it to those upon whom the hand of affliction is already sufficiently heavy.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) put -
Thatthe House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 278, paragraphb (imports from the United Kingdom), per lb., 20s.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved inthe negative.
Item 279. Cresylic Acid; Crude Creosote Oil and Tar Oil; Saponaceous Mixture of Creosote; Carbolic Acid, per gallon, 6d. ; and on and after 4th December, 1907, free.
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 279 by leaving out the words “ Saponaceous Mixture of Creosote.”
My object is to have those words inserted in item 284, so as to group together all phenyles, disinfectants, &c., and then to draw a distinction between them and ordinary sheep dips and sheep washes. Saponaceousmixture of creosote is largely used as a disinfectant. I have no intention of interfering with the provision that sheep dips and sheep washes shall be free, but I wish to make ordinary phenyles, insecticides and disinfectants dutiable. Although there are in the Commonwealth over 100 manufacturers engaged in making these articles, the imports have increased by about 70 per cent. in the last three years. There is something radically wrong when an industry which was well established is fast losing ground.
– When the item was introduced in another place a duty was attached to it in accordance with the recommendation of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission. Another place thought it desirable to remove the duty because the articles enumerated in the item were the raw material for the manufacture of disinfectants. But, whilst: cresylic acid, crude creosote oil, tar oil, and carbolic acid may be so regarded, and therefore admitted duty free, the same reasoning does not exactly apply to saponaceous mixture of creosote, which is something more than a raw material. . There is more work in its preparation, and for the purposes of better classification it should come under item 284. I have, therefore, no objection to the request.
– I understand that Senator E. J. Russell’s object is not to secure a better classification, but to impose a duty on some of these products. Before we vote for the request we ought to know his real intentions. I do not agree that what he proposes will bring about a better classification, but clearly he wants to make dutiable some articles which are at present free. Does he wish to make this item dutiable?
– This request is not the honorable senator’s ultimate goal. He told me earlier in the day that he had a certain proposition to submit. I agreed with him as I understood it, but I either misunderstood him then, or he wants to do much more than he informed me of. Will he state to the Committee his full proposal and not a portion of it?
– Another place, owing to the peculiar grouping of these items, refused to draw any distinction between sheep washes and dips, and ordinary phenyles, disinfectants, and insecticides. There was a general desire there to make sheep dips and washes free, but in freeing them they made ordinary household disinfectants free also. I wish to bring about a better grouping of these articles in order that the Committee may have a clear vote on my proposal to put a duty on ordinary phenyles, disinfectants, &c. I hope that honorable senators who desire to make sheep dips and sheep washes free will not vote for free-trade in regard to a well-established industry which is now failing for the want of sufficient protection.
– I do not wish to do anything which would prevent any honorable senator from giving the fullest expression to his wishes in respect of every item in the Tariff. Senator E. J. Russell has now stated his object in moving the request. So far as I can see, he wishes merely to make dutiable chemicals which are used in the manufacture of sheep dips.
– Sheep dips will be admitted free.
– Sheep dips manufactured elsewhere may be admitted free, but the honorable senator proposes to put a tax upon some of the raw materials out of which sheep dips are made.
– What are the raw materials of sheep dips? Is not oil of tar to be obtained at every gas-works in the Commonwealth ?
– If Senator Findley had studied a little more even the report of the protectionist section of the Tariff
Commission, he would have discovered that there is not a sufficient local supply of some of the ingredients , used in the manufacture of sheep dips. Roughly speaking,item 279 covers chemicals which form the raw materials for the preparations included in item 284. I do not pretend to be able to say in what proportion these chemicals are used, or the various forms in which the finished article makes its appearance on the market, but I do know that it was admitted in another place by the Treasurer, in moving an amendment upon this item, that the chemicals it includes form the raw materials of the preparations included in item 284. If honorable senators wish that sheep dips should be admitted free of duty under item 284, it is idle for them to suggest that a duty should be imposed on the raw materials from which they are made. If, on the other hand, they intend to impose a tax on the raw materials used in the manufacture of sheep dips, they should balance that by a proportionate duty on the preparations included in item 284.
– The article with which I am dealing needs only to be diluted to become a sheep dip.
– The honorable senator has been misinformed if he supposes that the mere addition of water to any of the chemicals included in item 279 would be sufficient for the manufacture of a sheep dip. Sheep dips are manufactured from many things, and I have no doubt that honorable senators have had an opportunity of perusing some analyses of sheep dips made in Victoria, and circulated with a view to show their superiority over imported dips. The fact remains that in item 279 we are dealing with the raw materials used in the manufacture of the preparations included in item 284, and each of these items should beplaced on the same footing.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Item 280 (Crude Naphthaline), agreed to.
Item 281. Naphthaline n.e.i., ad val. 25 per cent.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [6.8]. - If it is right that so high a duty as 25 per cent. should be imposed on an article which has hitherto been free under the general Tariff, there is no reason why we should not, in pursuance of the professed policy of the Government, make provision for a preference in respect of imports from the United Kingdom. I therefore move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 281 (imports from the United Kingdom), ad val. 20 per cent.
– I noticed that hitherto naphthaline n.e.i. has been free of duty. I should like to be told the reason why it is now sought to make it dutiable at so high a rate as 25 per cent.
– This duty is submitted in accordance with a recommendation made by the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission. Under item 280, which we have just passed, honorable senators will see that crude naphthaline is admitted free, and it may be regarded as the raw material for the manufacture of naphthaline n.e.i., on which, as a finished article, it is recommended that a duty of 25 per cent. should be imposed.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Item 282 (Cyanide of Potassium, &c.), agreed to.
Item 283. Voltoids of Sal-ammoniac, free.
– In accordance with notice,I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 283, ad val. 15 per cent.
I submit this request because voltoids of sal-ammoniac are compressed tablets of salammoniac, and although they are very largely and perhaps chiefly used in connexion with electrical apparatus, they are made so pure that they may be, and frequently are, used for medicinal purposes, and should on that account be dutiable at the same rate as are other preparations of. ammonia or articles imported for medical purposes. The term “ Voltoids “ is a trade mark, which has been registered by an English firm and simply indicates that the sal-ammoniac is put on the market in the formof compressed tablets by that firm, and the rate of duty which should be imposed is that which would be applicable to other lines in the Tariff. When it is used for such purposes, it may be regarded as muriate of ammonia, on which, owing to a misunderstanding on the part of Senator Gray, we have made a request that the duty shall be 5 per cent. I think that honorable senators will recognise that it is not desirable that, if a duty be imposed on an article in one portion of the Tariff, an identical article under another designation and in another form should come in either at a lower or higher duty or free. There should be uniformity as regards the rate of duty on the like articles. It is for that reason that J have moved that the duty on this item should be increased to 15 per cent. I apprehend that, on further consideration, the circumstance under which the request relating to the duty on muriate of ammonia was carried here will be thoroughly understood and appreciated.
– So far as I could follow the Minister’s remarks, his sole reason for submitting this proposal is to make the duty on this item harmonize with the duty on a previous item. I may have missed something that he said; but following him as carefully as I could, that was the only reason which he advanced in support of the request. If that is so, I submit that it was incumbent upon the. honorable senator when we were discussing the previous item to state that he intended, later on, to submit this proposal.’ Had he done so, it is more than probable that the Committee, faced with the knowledge that whatever they decided then would be used as an argument on this item, might have had its judgment largely influenced by that consideration. It may be necessary now to ask the Minister whether, if we agree to his proposal, it will be used as an argument why later on we should do something else. He might at least exhibit to us some evidence of candour. When the previous item was under consideration he should have announced his intention, so that the Committee could have had a choice to bring the two items on to a common level either by means of a duty or by making them free.
– The notice of this request was circulated weeks ago.
– That may be perfectly true, but I did riot know at the. time that the two articles were identical. So much has been said at various times about the reports of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission that at first 1 was rather surprised that the honorable senator did not fall back upon their report on chemicals and drugs and make some quotations, as he has generally done. But when I read it I at once recognised why he had very wisely left that task to others to perform. In the case of certain recommendations the A section is very emphatic in what it says, and occasionally gives very fair reasons for its suggestions. It has done so in this instance, and there is no portion of the report which offers stronger condemnation of the action which the Minister now asks the Committee to take than the following words -
Your Commission received a complaint in New South Wales that while dog’s-tooth crystals (sal-ammoniac in a rough form, and used for electrical batteries) and crystals and fine powdered (used for galvanizing purposes) are free of duty, voltoids (identical with dog’s-tooth crystals, only in tabulated form) are dutiable at 15 per cent. It was said to be impossible to manufacture sal-ammoniac in this form in Australia, consequently there can be no competition with any local industry. A protest has been lodged with the Customs officials against the imposition of a duty on sal-ammoniac in voltoid form, but, in the opinion of the witness, the Department wrongly held that it is dutiable under Item 105 of the Tariff as medicine.
I may say, in parenthesis, that this poisonous matter, which is used in electric batteries and for galvanization, is also likely to be brought in as a medicine.
– And that is the reason why it is now sought to impose a duty.
-Probably so. Having determined to impose the highest possible duty on the requisites of the sick and the suffering, it is possible that some little item has been overlooked. The report continues -
It was positively asserted that the four preparations were exactly the same in their preparation, and that voltoids cannot be used as medicine. They were only used to charge batteries. Sal-ammoniac is the trade term for chloride of ammonia, or muriate of ammonia - the three terms have exactly the same meaning. It is also described as salts of ammonia. It was proposed that voltoids should be admitted free of duty. We recommend that voltoids of sal-ammoniac be placed on the free list.
Not a single man from Cape Pillar to Cape York came forward and asked for the imposition of a duty. The only man who ventured to approach the Commission at all pointed out that an anomaly existed. He stated that owing to the fact that two or three terms were applied to designate the same article of commerce some confusion had arisen, and asked that the whole of them should be treated alike, and placed on the free list. The A section, composed of staunch protectionists, gave effect to his request, so far as they could, by recommending that the articles should be made free. This afternoon one of the items came under consideration, and. in spite of the opportunity which Senator Neild furnished to the Committee to make it free, it was decided to retain the duty. Now we come to exactly the same article which under another name is free, and which the Minister proposes to make dutiable at the same rate. I recognise that it is desirable to bring the two items into line; but no reason has yet been shown why a duty should be imposed on this item. The correct course to pursue will be to recommit the other item, and remove the duty. I agree with the Minister that thetwo items should be treated alike - either made dutiable at the same rate or made free- but he might give a reason why any duty should be imposed. So far as I can gather from the A section’s report, there was no suggestion that it was to be anything more than a revenue duty on an article which is not likely to be made here, but which is largely used in electric batteries, and the electric power employed in mines, and for other purposes as well as for galvanization. In view of the fact that it is not made here, it is absurd to impose a duty merely because we may have made a mistake in connexion with another item.
– I have a vivid recollection of the discussion which took place on this item when the Tariff Commission was considering the evidence. But a different complexion has been put on the whole question since it completed its investigations by the fact thatin Sydney a company has commenced to lay down a plant for the manufacture of muriate of ammonia. If, since the Tariff Commission took evidence, or came to a conclusion two or three years ago, further information has made it clear that the articles can and will be made here if sufficient encouragement be given, that is quite sufficient to lead me to alter my opinion. I entirely agree with Senator Millen that, if muriate of ammonia is to be dutiable, voltoids of sal-ammoniac ought to be dutiable too, or if one is to be free the other should be free, because practically they are one and the same thing. The voltoids are really the same ingredient as the salammoniac, but made up into lozenges, one, two or three of which would be a charge for a certain-sized battery. The same thing can be done with the salammoniac in crystals. The article is put up in voltoids or lozenges for the convenience of some persons who otherwise might not be particular about the proper charging of their batteries. If muriate of ammonia, which can be used for the same purpose is to be manufactured here, then voltoids of sal-ammoniac ought to bear exactly the same duty. I shall do all I can to see that if one is dutiable or free, the other shall be treated in like manner, knowing from the evidence I have heard that the articles are exactly the same, although they may be put up in slightly different forms.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
– I do notthink we should go on with business until we have a quorum present.[Quorum formed.]
– I moved, before the dinner hour, that this item, voltoids of sal-ammoniac, instead of appearing as free, should be made dutiable at 15 per cent. I pointed out that salammoniac also came in under the heading of muriate of ammonia, item 275, in respect of which we had a considerable amount of discussion this morning. Perhaps if I bring before honorable senators the form in which this Tariff appeared in the first instance, they will realize that this request which I have submitted is consequent upon an amendment made elsewhere. I said this morning, with regard to the item muriate of ammonia, that the Tariff in another place first appeared with a duty on carbonate of ammonia only. On representations received with regard to Australian manufactures, it was decided to add the words,” carbonate, anhydrous, liquid, muriate, and sulphate”; and in respect of all those forms of ammonia a duty of 15 per cent. was carried on the voices in another place. When the Tariff was introduced this item also, voltoids of sal-ammoniac, appeared in it; but having made muriate of ammonia dutiable at 15 per cent. under a previous item, as the House of Representatives did, salammoniac, generally speaking, should have been treated in the same manner. All forms of sal-ammoniac came under that heading, except voltoids, and paid duty at 15 per cent. There are manufacturers of tabloids of sal-ammoniac in Great Britain who have complained to the Commonwealth Government against what they consider an injustice in respect of the differential treatment accorded to voltoids. Voltoids, as I informed the Committee before dinner, is a name that has been registered as a trade mark or designation by a particular English firm ; and although voltoids of sal-ammoniac are not essentially different from other forms of sal-ammoniac in tabloids, still that firm and they alone can use the name “voltoids.” As voltoids of sal-ammoniac appear in the Tariff free, they are accorded more favorable treatment; than is accorded to other tabloids of sal-ammoniac But there is no more reason why they should be free than why other forms of sal-ammoniac should be free. Voltoids of sal-ammoniac should have been made dutiable at 15 per cent, consequent upon muriate of ammonia having a duty of 15 per cent. placed upon it. But the necessity for imposing such a duty was overlooked. As soon as the Tariff was introduced in the Senate, however, the Government gave notice of a request to impose a duty of 15 per cent. upon these voltoids. As the Tariff stands at present, one form of salammoniac is admitted to the Commonwealth duty free, whilst other forms of the same article pay 15 per cent. because they come in under the muriate of ammonia duty. There is no reason why there should be a distinction. I hope that honorable senators will see, therefore, that the request which I have submitted has not been moved with the object of springing upon the Committee anything that is out of keeping with’ the general Tariff ; nor am I asking the Committee to adopt any request that we may not reasonably ask the other House to agree to. As a matter of fact, the request will simply have the result of equalizing matters all round. Unfortunately, the necessity for such an alteration was not recognised when the matter was dealt with elsewhere. It was not recognised that the name voltoids was a purely privatelyowned name.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [7.51]. - My honorable friend is a man for whom I have the strongest personal friendship, land he knows it. But really, when public duty comes across the path of personal friendship, I must do my duty; and the honorable senator’s statement, while it was as clear as mud, was nomore than a proof of his capacity for making explanations that have no meaning. My honorable friend has told us that he tabled this request. God knows how long ago ! Why, then, did he before the dinner hour say that the request was moved to bring the item into line with a request that I had carried in the early part of the day ? And if he wants to bring it into line, why, in the name of fortune, instead of proposing a duty of 15 per cent., does he not move a request for a duty of 5 per cent. , which was the amount determined upon in respect “of muriate of ammonia ? This sort of thing is ridiculous. Weare getting too much of Ministers acting as a conduit-pipe for irresponsible junior officers of the Customs. Two lawyers cannot be expected to know anything about these things, and they give us the clearest proof that they know no more about them than they know about the domestic economy of the Grand High Panjandrum of the planet Mars !
– Or, say, the domestic economy of the Peruvians.
– My honorable friend, having been a great reader in his time, may know something about the domestic economy of the Peruvians, but I suggest that his knowledge of astronomy in connexion with the planet Mars has not taken him any further than an acquaintance with “Three Star.” If honorable senators think that they are discharging their duty to a great country by giggling, they are doing violence to the people who sent them here. If the Minister of Home Affairs will move that the duty on voltoids of sal-ammoniac be 5 per cent. - all right. I will accept his statement at once.
– The 5 per cent. duty on muriate of ammonia was carried by mistake .
– Now my honorable friend has given his show away. He knows that - unintentionally - he is; giving the lie to his former explanation. I wish that my honorable friend would not do such a thing. I am sorry to see a man for whom I have such personal friendship and regard occupying a position that he really ought not to occupy, no matter what his Ministerial obligations are. I know that he is doing this by accident. I free him in the most complete manner fromany intent. But I should like him, if he is not too weary of this business - and God knows both of the Ministers must be pretty weary of it ; I know what a strain their work is upon them, and I make allowances for them under the circumstances-
– Is the honorable senator addressing himself to any item before the Chair?
– Senator Neild is replying to the Minister’s explanation, and he has a perfect right to do so.
-The position is so peculiar that I do not wonder at a point of order being raised.
– That is better ; slow music now !
– The honorable senator is not even worth that I would bury him in silence if I had the job to carry out. I have tried to emphasize the substantial difference between the personality of the. Minister and his official position, and when interrupted by my volatile friend from the cider Island, I was pointing out that I can quite understand the difficulty that the Minister has in maintaining continuity of thought under the strain cast upon him. I beg that both Ministers will understand that I am speaking in the most complete sincerity. But -while I say so much, I take the most profound objection to the manner in which business is being conducted. What has become of responsible Government? Wherein earth is there a sign of it? We find the Government, defeated at one hour in the day, fighting on a point of order, and then when they find they are on the horns of a dilemma, their “ gramaphone “ helps them out of it by supporting’ a point of -order against his leaders. Even that does not satisfy them, but they come down later on, upon another item, and try the same old game of getting a 15 per cent, duty on an item that is now free.
– The worst of this Government is that it does not know when it is beaten.
– The worst of itis that there is no Government that governs. There is a Ministerial fraction that dances like a monkey on a stick. That is the position. I ask my honorable friend, the Minister of Home Affairs, or whoever Is leading the Committee at this particular juncture - whichever of the “ two Obadiahs “ is in charge - whether he will make the point a little clearer. Will he accept a duty of 5 per cent. ?
– No ; but I will agree to a request being made to the House of Representatives to put the duty on voltoids of sal-ammoniac at the same rate as the duty on muriate of ammonia, whatever that duty may ultimately be.
– Very well ; I am satisfied with that. To show that I have no wish to occupy time or to say disagreeable things, I will accept my honorable friend’s honorable, straightforward proposition without further question.
– We had a debate earlier in the day with regard to muriate of ammonia, as to whether it should be charged at 15 per cent., or admitted duty free. It was decided that it should not be free. Afterwards, it was decided, under circumstances which I do not wish to recall, but owing to an unfortunate mistake, that the duty should be 5 per cent.’ I think we all recognise that the duty on voltoids of sal-ammoniac should be at the same rate as the duty on muriate of ammonia. I will therefore withdraw the request now before the Committee, and move another one.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
Request (by Senator Keating) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 283 the same as that on item 275, paragraph b, “ Muriate of Ammonia.”
– The request which the Minister has moved does not quite indicate what is wanted.
– We want muriate of ammonia to be dutiable at 15 per cent., and will take the proper and reasonable’ steps necessary to give effect to what we consider would have been expressed as the proper mind of the Committee but for the accident referred to. We wish this item to be dutiable at whatever rate muriate of ammonia is finally settled at.
– I am quite in agreement with the Minister, but the request as submitted might lead to a misunderstanding. You, Sir, put it as follows - “ That the House of Representatives be requested to make the item dutiableat the same rate of duty as muriate of ammonia.” What should be moved is that the item be dutiable at the same rate as muriate of ammonia is finally left at. As it is now, there is the duty in the schedule on item 275, and also the duty in our request on item 275. The Minister should slightly alter the wording of his request.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [8.2]. - A simple method of dealing with the question would be to put in 5 per cent., with an absolute understanding as to the recommittal of the matter. There must be some recommittals later on. I pledge myself to vote for the recommittal necessary in this case.
– - I am to some extent in the dark. ‘ It is often said that the Labour Party is the power behind the throne that makes Ministers do what it wants. I wish to call public attention to the threats, bombast, bounce, noise and thunder of Senator Neild, and to the fact that the Government meet him at once. Yet if a mistake is made the Labour Party will be blamed for it. I want an explanation if there is any responsibility to be taken. Put us all on a level, and do not let the honorable senator who bounces and threatens to kill time do just what he likes and turn the Committee into a bear garden. The honorable senator’s attitude in the last few minutes is no credit to himself. Thank God he does not belong to the Labour Party.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
Request (by Senator Keating) agreed to-
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 283 the same as that finally agreed upon by the House of Representatives on the requested new paragraph B of item 275, “Muriate of Ammonia.”
Item 284. Insecticides, Sheep Washes, and Disinfectants, n.e.i., free.
– I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by leaving out the words “ Insecticides “ and “ and Disinfectants,” and by adding the following new paragraph : - “B. Insecticides and Disinfectants, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.-“
– Honorable senators’ are likely to get that !
– We are going to have a try. There are something like 100 manufacturers in the Commonwealth who are largely dependent upon these particular lines of business to keep them going. During the last three years there has been an increase of importations of about 70 per cent. A large amount of their business - the making of sheep dips and sheep washes - is now on the free list. It would not be exceptionally generous for the Committee to give them at least a little protection on a few of the other lines of their business. The protection which I ask for does not interfere with any of the great industries.
– Isthe increase of importations in respect of sheep washes, or of the articles which the honorable senator proposes to make dutiable?
– Unfortunately, I cannot differentiate the articles.
– What cause does the honorable senator assign for the increased importations ?
– To a very large extent the dumping of these commodities, and the prejudice of the Australian consumers against the locally-made article. I have here a copy of a certificate given by one of our best experts - a man in a responsible position at theMelbourne University - who proves from practical tests that the article produced by the Australian manufacturers is quite equal to any imported.
– Although the analysis may show that the locally-made article possesses the same quantity of certain ingredients, can the honorable senator state if the ingredients which are predominant in it are the things required for sheep dips?
– We are not moving to make sheep-dips free. We may, therefore, reasonably ask for a modicum of support for this request, seeing that of all the industries in Australia this one has been perhaps the most modest in its demands for protection. As the imports are increasing, and this is an established industry which only needs assistance to keep it going by preventing the great importations that are taking place, I hope the Committee will grant some measure of protection, particularly as the industry does not clash in any way with any greater primary industry. The commodities in respect of which I am moving are in every-day use in ordinary households. The duty will materially assist the Australian manufacturers to continue making them.
– Since the Tariff left another place, representations have been made to the Government that there are associated in this item ‘ articles which, although perhaps generically allied, are used for very dissimilar purposes. It is recognised that sheep washes may be admitted free.
– What is the difference between an insecticide and a sheep wash ?
– Senator E. J. Russell refers to articles used for household purposes. Many of them would be of very little use in dealing with flocks. Insecticides and disinfectants for domestic use are manufactured very extensively by a number of firms in each State, who are turning out very good articles at fair and reasonable prices. Those goods are hardly to be classed in the same category as sheep washes or other disinfectants that may be used, not for domestic purposes, but in connexion with flocks or herds. Surely a line of distinction might be drawn between the two things. The Government, in accordance with their policy of protection, recognise that it is desirable that some protection should be given to the manufacturers engaged in the different States in making these articles for domestic purposes.
– Then it is more important to protect sheep than human beings !
– Senator Chataway ‘s interjection suggests the key to the argument which ought to be addressed to the Committee. Senator E. J. Russell practically says that he is willing to let sheep dips remain free. He is perfectly content that those who wish to have an insecticide for sheep - for that is what a sheep dip means- shall have it free of duty, but he wants to put a duty on the articles with which we fight the plague rat.
– I am not content to leave sheep-dipson the free list, but I accept the inevitable.
– In addition to the fact that the honorable senator wants to make dutiable things which are necessary to the preservation of human life under modern conditions, the insecticides to which he refers are largely used by farmers and orchardists. The whole science of farming to-day-is a matter of the scientific application of chemicals in some form or other. There is no orchardist in my State, or probably in the whole of Australia, who is not either immediately face to face with the problem of fighting some insect pest, or so near to it that he is beginning to pay attention to the articles which are necessary to enable him to carry that conflict to a successful issue. It is the same with the poultry farmer, and, in fact, every man on the land is compelled to purchase and use, in one form or another, the articles covered by this item. Is it reasonable that the smaller holders should be called upon to shoulder a burden from which the honorable senator is prepared to free those who graze sheep? The following paragraph in the report of the free-trade section of the Tariff Commission seems to summarize the position very aptly -
It is desirable that no duty should be imposed which would appreciably increase the cost of disinfectants, germicides, and sanitaTy preparations, many of which are also the raw materials for other industries.
It is becoming necessary for peorle to use these preparations in increasing quantities. I remind the Committee that, chiefly under municipal laws, it is to-day becoming compulsory upon householders to purchase and use these things. That being so, why should we, by the imposition of a duty of 25 per cent. upon them, make it more difficult for householders in Australia to obey the municipal laws of the cities in which they reside?
– The duty would make it easier.
– As a joke, an interjection of that kind was good enough two months ago, but having gone so far through the Tariff, we can collect quite sufficient evidence from honorable senators opposite to prove that in their hearts they admit that the effect of a duty is to increase the price of the article on which it is imposed. In proof of this, I have only to refer to the argument continually addressed to us by honorable senators opposite that we are bound to impose a duty upon a manufactured article if we have agreed to a duty upon the raw materials from which it is made : and the reason given has always been that the effect of the duty imposed on the raw materials has been to increase their price to the manufacturer of the finished article.
– It is only steel-rail protectionists who talk in that way.
– That taunt does not affect me, because the vote I gave on steel rails was entirely consistent with votes I have frequently given in the consideration of this Tariff. Honorable senators should regard this proposal in the light of the increasing necessity of precautions to secure perfect sanitation. Not long ago a city, of which some honorable senators opposite may have heard called Sydney, was called upon to bear the brunt of the first serious outbreak in Australia of the bubonic plague. In the pursuance of a vigorous policy adopted by the State Government, something like £200,000 was spent in connexion with that visitation, and it was found possible to check the spread of the disease only by the free use of the disinfectants on which Senator E. J. Russell proposes to impose a duty of 25 per cent.
– By the use of rat poison.
– It was not a question of the use of rat poison, but of the use of germ poison.
– The only way to fight the plague is to kill the rats.
– I have either heard or read something like that before, but in accordance with the old cookery receipt you must catch your rat before you can kill it. It is acknowledged to-day that the spread of disease is best prevented by means adopted to secure absolute cleanliness and sanitation. The destruction of the germs responsible for so many modern complaints is really the objective at which people now aim, and we all know that these disinfectants and insecticides are chiefly used for germ destruction.
– Are none of them made an this country ?
– I remind the honors able senator that those who are making them here are under no disability, because the local article sells at 2s. 6d. as against 4s. charged for the imported article. That being so, it is certain that dumping is not what is troubling the local industry as has been suggested. Importers are cer.tainly not cutting down their prices in order io ruin the local manufacturer when they charge from 30 per - cent, to 40 per cent, more than is charged for the local article. I do not say that the local manufacturers are not turning out an article that is useful for certain purposes, but there are purposes for which the local article is not as suitable sis the imported article. Any one who “knows anything of our inland industries must be aware that of late years great trouble has been caused by the appearance of a particular fly, and hundreds of men are now dipping sheep who had no need to do so a few years ago. It is to this fact that I attribute the increase in the imports to which Senator E. J. Russell has referred. The honorable senator shakes his head, but he was unable to give me any information detailing the imports of these various preparations, because in the Customs returns they are included under one head. I say that the large increase of imports under this head is due to the increasing practice of dipping sheep consequent upon the rapid spread of the obnoxious fly to which I have referred. I invite the Committee to say whether the health of the community and the cleanliness and perfect sanitation of our cities should be placed in the balance against a possible advantage to one or two men who are making these disinfectants locally.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [8.21]. - I recognise that Senator E. J. Russell is a good protectionist, and in this instance he is exhibiting himself as a good protector of vermin. It is quite clear, from the prices referred to by
Senator Millen, that the locallymanufactured article is not effcacious, or it would not be crushed out of the market by an imported article for which 100 per cent, more is charged. People will not give 4s. 6d. -or 5s. for an imported article if they can obtain an equally good locally manufactured article for 2s. 6d. We do not want tons weight of nominal disinfectants that do not disinfect, but a few pounds’ weight of an article that will be efficacious, not only in ridding households, shops, and factories of noxious insects and disease germs, but in destroying orchard pests, which people cultivating orangeries, orchards, and vineyards in every one of the States have to contend against. We know the trouble that these insect pests are giving in every State, and the stupendous efforts that are being made by the States authorities to cope with the difficulties they have created. If the imported article is worth so much more than the local article, it must surely be because manufacturers elsewhere, with their greater experience and larger output, are able to turn out a more potent destroyer of germ and insect life than are the local manufacturers of disinfectants. I do not see why we should permit the sheep-owner to obtain a sheep dip free of duty, and al the same time impose ‘a duty upon the preparations required by the struggling orchardist, who has, in fighting the codlin moth, and heaven knows how many other insect pests, to work harder than the sheepowner.
– The honorable senator is fighting the protectionist pest.
– I really did not refer to Senator Stewart. Nurserymen and market gardeners also require to use these insecticides and disinfectants. One of the latest troubles confronting the owner of live stock in Australia is the appearance in no small numbers of the bot fly. We have to face ticks in cattle; heaven knows how many troubles affecting sheep ; and now the bot fly in horses, and our farmers and orchardists are confronted with a variety of insect pests. The New South Wales Government are spending hundreds of pounds every year in sending experts far and wide over the world to obtain if possible insects that are supposed to be able to combat and destroy the insect’ pests and thus prevent the destruction wrought in the vegetable world.
– That is because imported disinfectants are used.
– The honorable senator has said something which, if it were a little nearer the facts, would no doubt be a valuable contribution to. the debate. But I ask him whether he thinks the people of Australia are such first-award idiots as to pay 100 per cent, more for an imported article than they need pay for an equally good article of local manufacture, merely for the pleasure of spending the money. My observations do not imply that the local manufacturers of disinfectants are wilfully making an inferior article. I have already suggested that the great factories of the Old World and of America can draw upon a larger fund of experience in fighting these different pests, and consequently are able to turn out a better article than has yet been turned out in Australia. The prices quoted by Senator Millen might possibly be open to some objection on the score that the local and imported articles are sold in different quantities.
– No; the same proportion’ would be observed, whether the parcel were large or small.
– That shows either that the imported article is the best or that the people of Australia are howling fools; and I do not believe they are. r cannot see why the Committee should be. asked to confer an advantage on sheepowners which is to he denied to other people, struggling for a livelihood on the soil, and to householders who, under legal compulsion, are obliged to make provision for the destruction of germs of disease and insect pests that afflict humanity.
– I appeal to trie Committee in this matter to rise above the . fiscal question. This matter is one which concerns the health of every household in the Commonwealth. Owing to our climatic conditions, we are in Australia peculiarly liable to the invasion of germ and insect pests, and’ this item is therefore one which concerns not merely pastoralists and farmers, but every one in the community who has a home to live in. It concerns those who are suffering in their homes or in hospitals. We all know the various forms of sickness to. which human nature is liable, and how absolutely necessary are cleansing materials in. the shape of disinfectants and insecticides, not only for the recovery of the health of patients, but also to maintain a healthy atmosphere in the homes. When we remember that thousands of persons are suffering every day from some disease or other, that animal life has to bear many ills which are only curable by the use of insecticides, and that orchardists and pastoralists have to cope with fl;es and other pests, ought we to consider the mere question of a 15 per cent, duty as against the free importation of the articles which are best adapted to achieve the results which are desired by the unfortunate sufferers? We should rise above the mere consideration of collecting a few pounds in the form of a duty, and encourage, as far as we can, the importation of those articles which are considered’ by many persons here as the most effective for coping with different diseases and for cleansing purposes. This question should be considered quite apart from the fiscal issue. It is far more con- .ducive to the prosperity and development of Australia to maintain the health of our citizens and the cleanliness of our stocks and herds than to collect a miserable duty of 15 per cent, on insecticides. Surely the medical men and sanitary inspectors who recommend the use of specific insecticides are all men of experience, who know the virtues of the articles they recommend ! Is it fair that those who are subjected to great anxiety and’ expense in coping with sickness and disease should be called upon to pay an additional sum for the best article in .the market as against a locally-manufactured article, which mav or may not be good for the purpose? I ask Senator Trenwith, whom I have termed a grand old Tory protectionist, to rise superior to the narrow view that everything should be made in .Australia. I dc not doubt that in time good insecticides will be made here, and I hope that the day will soon arrive when people will be justified in using locally-made insecticides, but, until it does arrive, we should not place an additional handicap upon those who have to buy the articles recommended by competent authorities for cleansing the house or alleviating suffering in animals. In order to promote the commercial prosperity of this country, pastoralists, agriculturalists, and others should be afforded an opportunity to secure the best possible article at the least possible cost. The importation of the best article for cleansing-, and sanitary purposes will prove to be a far better investment to the Commonwealththan will the imposition of a small duty in order to develop the production of a> local article. I imagine that if Senator
SenatorW. RUSSELL (South Australia) [8.39]. - As I listened very attentively to the remarks of Senator Gray, I was reminded of a passage which I read a long time ago about a certain class of people speaking of those a far distance -off, and of the saying that, “ far back fowls have feathers fine.” I agree with him that in the United States and other countries there are some very cleverand brainy people. So there are in England, and Scotland is not far behind. We are the sons of Englishmen and Scotchmen ; we are of the same blood, and our brains are equal to theirs. We are all senators by the votes of the people; we are the elected as well as the selected. Senator Gray forgets that we in Australia are just as capable of making these articles and acting more honestly towards each other than are those who do not know us, are only out for making money, and do notcare a straw about us. The honorable senator and his leader set the ball rolling in this respect. Fancy what Senator Millen would have said if I bad risen and spoken in favour of imposing a duty on sheep dip. “ Oh,” he would have said, “ that labour man again, who professes to be the farmer’s friend, trying to put a duty onsheep dip ! “
– Would not the honorable senator get the best dip for his sheep ?
– I tell the honorable senator that unless it be amended in the way suggested I could not vote for putting a duty on sheep dip.
– Is the honorable senator going to vote to put a duty on sheep dip?
– Nor am I.
– The object of my honorable friend is to strike sheep dip out of the item so that it shall be admitted free. This is a protective duty which will afford an opportunity to those who have enterprise and brains to produce certain articles.
– Cannot sheep dip be made here?
– I believe that it can .
– Then the honorable senator is going to vote for its free admission?
– The honorable senator knows that in the case of the producers I always try to strain a point, because I am pledged to that step. If I had proposed a duty on sheep dip would not Senators Millen and Neild have cried out about the horrible Labour Party placing a burden upon the squatters and the farmers? Now thatwe want to protect the pastoral industry by admitting free -dip for the sheep my honorable friends have raised the paltry question about disinfectants being used by farmers. It is paltry for a statesman like Senator Neild to indulge in such little arguments. My honorable friends on the other side are simply beating the bush. If my namesake had included sheep dip in his proposal what a howl of indignation Senators Millen, Neild, and Gray would have raised, and how they would have talked about him as subjecting persons to expense in connexion with the disinfecting of a few fruit trees and things of that sort! It is not statesmanlike to bring in all these little matters.
– Little matters ! I thought that the honorable senator was the farmer’s friend.
– The honorable senator should not lose his temper. If I were to interrupt him when he was speaking he would not be pleased.
– But the honorable senator described them as “ little matters.”
– The honorable senator knows full well that what applies to fruit trees does not apply to everything. Let our own people have an opportunity of making these things. I am satisfied that we shall be justified in agreeing to the request submitted by my namesake. I hope that honorable senators will see their way to show in this instance that they have not forgotten the farmers’ interests, about which they talk so much.
– I find that under the Tariff of 1902 the whole of the articles included under this item were duty free. “Under the Tariff before us they are also on the free list. I have been sitting here ever since the dinner hour trying to find some reason why a duty should be put upon the goods which are the subject of Senator E. J. Russell’s request. But I must confess that I have heard no sound reason given yet.
– Does not the fact that there has been an increase in the imports of 70 per cent. constitute a sound reason ?
– That is a very misleading statement to make. Before the figures referred to by the honorable senator can be of any value, we want to know what the imports consist of. If he could analyze them for us we might be able to form aclear opinion as to the value of the statement which he has made.
– Those who do not want a reason can never find one.
– Unfortunately there are some men who, when asked for a reason, are neverable to give one. This Tariff has been in print for months. There are makers of these particular washes and insecticides not only in Victoria, but in all the other States. Yet I find that the only persons who” have addressed circulars to honorable senators on the subject are some Victorian manufacturers. As a rule, requests for high duties have come from Victoria. I am not prepared to vote for the request on the reasons assigned so far.
– I have received a great many representations from South Australia.
– I have not heard of any, and I do not know that if I had I should have voted for the request unless sounder reasons were given for it than have been advanced so far. Although my colleague, Senator W. Russell, has been endeavouring to belittle the orchardists and market gardeners-
– I did nothing of the kind.
– We should be just as willing to help them as we are to help the farmer or the squatter. These men are settled on the land, they have to work very hard, and are forced to contend against a great many pests. I am not prepared to place any further burdens upon them. As I have heard no reason as to why this duty should be imposed, I shall not vote for it, but shall support the maintenance of the item as it stood in the 1902 Tariff.
– It would be rather difficult to give an accurate statement of details of importations of disinfectants, phenyles, and similar goods, as required by the last speaker. The forms vary so minutely that it would be difficult even for the Customs Department to classify them. But the imports have certainly increased in one year by over 70 per cent.I find that in 1903 we imported £29,611. In 1906 the imports rose to £58,000 odd. Those figures represent imports of insecticides, sheep washes, disinfectants, and similar goods. While we may make a reasonable allowance in regard to sheep washes, we are safe in assuming that the importations of disinfectants have been decidedly on the increase during the three years.
– The honorable senator’s assumption is quite wrong.
– The figures are just as much in favour of my assumption as they are in favour of Senator Millen’s. It is not my fault that we have not a more detailed account of the importations. It is sufficient for us to know that under the three heads of sheep dips, disinfectants and insecticides the increase has been 100 per cent. in three years. I respectfully submit to Senator Vardon, as a protectionist, that it cannot be very pleasant for him to contemplate such an increase.
– It shows that our manufacturers have not yet reached the quality attained by the imported goods.
– The quality of our manufactures is no longer in doubt. The stock argument of the free-traders in this Chamber has been that Australia cannot make goods which are equal in quality to those which are imported . When we show that local products are equal or superior in quality, they tell us that the price of Australian goods is too high. The evidence taken by the Tariff Commission clearly proves that those two objections have no force. For instance, in Sydney a large quantity of disinfectants have been manufactured.
– Since the honorable senator refers to the Tariff Commission, I see that they recommended that sheep dips should be free.
– The evidence of Mr. Dearman, referred to on page 7 of report No. 34 of the protectionist section of the Commission, shows that -
Although a considerable sum of money has been expended in New South Wales in an endeavour to establish the manufacture of sheep dips, it has been found impossible to successfully compete against English importations, notwithstanding the fact that analysis has proved the local article to be absolutely satisfactory.
So superior is the Australian article in quality, that if has actually been used as a substitute for a foreign product. Does not that show that the local product is as good as the imported article?
– It shows that a fraud was committed.
– The report from which I have quoted says-
It was alleged that three-fourths of the locally-made disinfectants are sold as being the product of oversea countries. An instance was given in which 5,000 gallons of disinfecting fluid which was made in New South Wales were put on the market by the purchaser under the label of a well-known English maker who has a branch business in that State.
– That simply shows that the local article was sold under false pretences.
– At any rate, it must have been as good as the article for which it was used as a substitute. Senator Vardon seemed to be a little bit put out because the representations made to honorable senators on this subject have come from Victorian manufacturers. I direct his attention to the evidence given before the Tariff Commission, showing that excellent disinfectants are made in Sydney. They must have been good for the reason that they were substituted for the foreign product. Secondly, the price must have been no higher than that of the foreign article.
– That Seems to cut against the honorable senator’s argument.
– So far as the phenyles are concerned, recent tests made by Dr. Bull, Director of the Bacteriological Laboratory, Melbourne, have proved beyond doubt that Australian manufactured phenyle is equal in efficacy to the best imported.
– The certificate to which the honorable senator alludes related to a test regarding the destruction of the microbe of typhoid fever, and that only.
– If the disinfectant was efficacious in destroying the microbe of typhoid fever, that is a good criterion of its excellence. I submit thatthe reasons for granting reasonable protection are very strong, although the item has not had the benefit of a duty in the past.
– Ido not think that honorable senators are fully aware of the uses to which dips and disinfectants are put in Queensland. For a great many years Queensland and the Northern Territory, as well as the northern part of New South Wales, have been infested with cattle tick. In recent years it has been compulsory to dip cattle before travelling them. Nearly every station has its own cattle dip. A large quantity ofdisinfectants are used for- this purpose. In the first place, the building of the dips is expensive. . They are generally made of concrete. It is hardly fair, after the Tariff Commission has recommended that. . these goods should be free, that some honorable senators should desire to make them so expensive.
– Do the people in Queensland make their own sheep dips or import them?
– They make their own dip, but what I call a dip is not what the honorable senator means by it. A cattle-dip has to be made at a good deal of expense, then the ingredients are put into it, and the cattle are put through it.I have seen them working, although probably the honorable senator has not. It is an expensive process, involving a good deal of labour. Because something is made in Victoria which might do as well - I do not say that it willnot - the honorable senator wants to increase the price of it to the people living in the bush. Thousands of pounds are spent yearly in Queensland and New South Wales on disinfectants. Sheep, as well as cattle, have to be dipped. We should not make it harder and more expensive for people to stay on the land.
– I beg to call attention to the stateof the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
– It is all very well for honorable senators who live in towns, especially in the southern parts of the continent, to propose a duty that will affect people living in the other States. I suppose Queensland is the largest user of disinfectants for both sheep and cattle. Probably very little is used down here. There is nothing whatever in the report of the Tariff Commission to warrant us in imposing a duty. The protectionist section of the Commission recommend that the article should be free, and vet honorable senators move for a duty without consideration, and without being able to state what quantities are imported under the different headings, or give any other necessary information.
– That was exactly the honorable senator’s case in connexion with carbide of calcium.
– The honorable senator is mistaken. I have not spoken previously to-day.
– The honorable senator voted.
– I believe that Senator Story voted also. If I had spoken I should very likely have asked for the information. It was in Senator Story’s power to ask for it also.
– What about bananas?
- Senator McGregor was a member of the Tariff Commission, yet after all the careful consideration which presumably he gave to this question, and after signing the recommendation that the article should be free, he is prepared now to vote for a duty.
– What article did I recommend should be free?
– “ Insecticides, sheep- washes, and disinfectants,” is the item before the Committee.
– Sheep-washes are not before the Committee in my request.
– The honorable senator wishes to split the item. He has no knowledge of what these articles are used for in various parts of Australia, or he would not have made the statement that some of them are made in Victoria. Certain honorable senators appear to ask for a duty on everything that is made in Victoria, no matter how hardly it may press on other parts of the Common wealth.
– I did not mention Victoria.
– One would think that Victoria was the universe. Only the Victorian members ask for increased duties.
– What about carbide of calcium and bananas?
– We did not ask for an extra duty upon bananas. The Commission, which cost the Commonwealth a good deal of money, recommended that this article should be free, but because some one says to a Victorian senator, “I am making this thing in Victoria, try to put a duty on it,” the Committee is urged to take a step which will press hardly on the rest of the people of Australia.. We have used in Queensland hundreds of pounds worth for every pound’s worth used inVictoria, but we are to be taxed simply because this stuff, or some imitation of it - which may be even better - is made in Victoria. That seems to be the trend of the whole taxation which we have been considering. We are told that everything is or can be made in Victoria. The argument is simply ridiculous, because many articles which we have taxed will not be made in Victoria for a long time in the quantities which the people of the Commonwealth require. The squatters, selectors, and others on the land have to use this article, no matter how small the number of stock which they have. They are the people who have to pay. It is not the people of Victoria or South Australia, but the day may come when they will be infested with some pest as we have been in Queensland, and then they will raise a great outcry against this duty. If the protectionist section of the Commission had recommended a duty, that would have been used as a. strong argument by honorable senators opposite, but not a word has been said about their recommendation to make the article free. I cannot understand how Senator McGregor after signing that recommendation can turn round and now favour a duty.
– Has the honorable senator heard him say so?
– I judge that to be his attitude from his interjections.
-i only wanted the honorable senator to be fair.
– I have good grounds for thinking that the honorable senator favours the duty, but if I am mistaken I shall be very happy to admit it. Great quantities of these disinfectants are used throughout the fruit-growing districts of the Commonwealth, such as Tasmania. The orchardists there require hundreds of pounds worth yearly, whether they arein a large or small way.
– Not hundreds of pounds worth of this stuff.
– The item covers everything of that kind.
– Paris Green and other things come under other items. The honorable senator is rambling.
– Every orchardist has to use it. If the honorable senator knows better, I hope he will give the Committee the information.
– I have a lot ot fruit trees, and I am quite willing to bear the burden, if there is any, for the good of the Commonwealth.
– The honorable senator may be prepared to sacrifice the whole of his family ‘ for the good of the Commonwealth, but it is not every fruitgrower who has j£6oo a year behind him. Thousands of others may be equally willing to share the burden, but they are not as well off financially as the honorable senator is. Honorable senators opposite advocate as strongly as does any other party the settling of the people on the land, but proposals of this sort “will prevent that. Senator W. Russell has gone wrong on every question of this kind except one. He went wrong on tanks in the opinion of honorable senators opposite. On tanks which affected the farmer he was a free-trader, but he is a protectionisT on this item, which equally affects the farmer. I am sure he has made a mistake and, although he lias expressed an opinion by interjection, I hope he will reconsider his decision, and vote against the duty. If he votes for it he will be acting against the interests of the people of South Australia “and of the Commonwealth as a whole. As this material is required all over the Commonwealth for disinfecting animals and plants, I hope it will be made free.
– Senator E. J. Russell h.ns in his request purposely excluded sheep dips, not because he is of opinion that we cannot make sheep dips in Australia, but because he recognises the very strong prejudice that there is in favour of exempting from every possible restrictive condition agricultural and pastoral pursuits. He has therefore confined his request to disinfectants used maily in households and the streets of our cities.
– Surely human life is as valuable as are the lives of sheep.
– It is very valuable, and that is a strong reason for legislatively insisting that provision for its defence shall te made within our own control.
– If we could control the fleas there would be something in it.
– ft will be well if we take steps which will enable us to control the manufacture of disinfectants and see that those used are of such a quality, and are made under such conditions, that they will effectively serve the purpose for which they are designed. I have been induced to speak chiefly because of the extreme attitude that Senator Sayers always adopts in suggesting that this is a Victorian industry. As a matter of fact, it is carried on to a greater or lesser extent in each of the large cities of Australia. I have no doubt at all that there are manufacturers, of disinfectants in -Brisbane. It happens that there are a greater number of manufacturers of all kinds of articles in Victoria than in the other States of the Commonwealth. That is due, not to any particular quality of Victorians, but to the particular quality of Victorian legislation, which has led to the greater development of manufacturing industries in this State. Speaking for myself, and for other honorable senators representing Victoria, I say that we never stop to consider where theindustry, that it is proposed to protect is carried on.
– Oh, no.
– I defy the honorable senator or any one else to point out a single objection that has been raised by myself, or, so far as I know, by any other representative of Victoria, to the protection of any industry because of the State iri which it is carried on. I assisted as vigorously as I could to secure a duty on the item previously considered.
– And on bananas.
– I have voted, as I believe every Victorian senator has done, for the duties proposed to be imposed for the protection of industries carried on in Queensland. We voted last night for an industry it was proposed vo protect in Tasmania. We have voted for industries which it was proposed to establish in New South Wales. I unhesitatingly defy any one tq say that I have not approached every question dealt with in the Senate, not from the Victorian, but from the Australian point of view. I protest that it is unfair, because undeserved and unwarranted, that honorable senators should continually reproach Victorian senators with considering only Victorian industries. They may be wrong in assuming that protection is a wise policy, but it certainly cannot be said to be anti-Australian. They hope that wherever it is introduced it will advance the interests, not of a section, but of the whole of the people of Australia. I feel confident that if this duty is carried it will have the effect, not of making it more difficult for persons to obtain suitable disinfectants, but of developing to a greater degree than has hitherto been possible the production of disinfectants in Australia. I think that a good deal of unfair criticism has been levelled against Senator E. J. Russell on the ground that he has been unable to define exactly under which head disinfectants are chiefly imported.
– That was not the criticism. The criticism was that the honorable senator failed to show that imports of the particular disinfectants with which he proposes to deal have increased.
– It was contended that the honorable senator’s position was weak because he could not show that the disinfectants, for the local manufacture of which he seeks protection, are those which are being imported. Unfortunately we have to rely for information on such matters upon the Customs returns, and these do not differentiate between the imports of these different kinds of disinfectants. But they do indicate that over the whole range of articles covered by the item there has been a very material and continuous increase of imports.
– It might be of the very disinfectants that we are going to let in free.
– I admit that; but Senator E. J. Russell is in no way to blame for that. .He has done all that he could in the matter, and in the absence of information to the contrary we are justified in assuming that the importations have extended over the whole area covered, by the item. If we are to make disinfectants, and it seems to me that we can do so, it is a mistake from the protectionist point of view to continue their importation in increasing quantities.
– Even at the risk of the public health?
– I do not expect to convince Senator Gray that it is desirable to reduce the volume of imports except in respect of steel nails, but I ask honorable senators who are protectionists to give serious consideration to the fact that the importation of disinfectants, which obviously we are able to manufacture ourselves, is continually increasing.
– We do not produce the quality ; that is all.
– I had occasion recently to enter a shop in Adelaide to purchase an article of apparel. When I came to look at it I found that it was marked “Guaranteed: Made abroad.” -I ventured to say “ Can you not show me anything that is guaranteed made in Australia,” and the young fellow who was serving me, and who was twenty-two or “twenty-three years .of age, said, “ Oh, we cannot make the. quality in Australia.” I was so angry - that is angry for me - that I said, “ You appear to have been made in Australia, do you assume that you are of fair quality?” He really did, and thought he was an exception. Evidently Senator Gray, and other honorable senators opposite, are of that description of patriots who appear to think that nothing can be done in Australia as well as it can be done abroad.
– That is not so.
– If they want a guarantee of excellence, they look for the label, “Guaranteed: Made abroad.”
– That is not true.
– The honorable senator must not continue to interrupt.
– If Senator Trenwith says-
- Senator Gray is not entitled to rise to - speak unless Senator Trenwith chooses to give 1,Vav to him.
– I ‘ have no objection if the honorable senator wishes to make an explanation; but I really do not know what he can desire to explain.
– On a point of order, I wish to ask whether such statements as have been made by Senator Gray are to be permitted ? If the honorable senator is entitled to make such statements, so am I.
– If Senator W. Russell had been listening to what took place, he would have heard me asking Senator Gray to desist. Of course, all interjections’ are disorderly.
– I have much pleasure in withdrawing what I said, and perhaps Senator Trenwith will now withdraw the statement he’ made about me.
– My remarks had reference to Senator Gray’s interjection that we do not manufacture an article of sufficiently good quality in Australia. I venture to say that we have a right to assume that anything that can be done by human skill, ingenuity, intelligence, and strength can be done in Australia as well as in any other part of the world, unless there are some peculiar climatic or geographical conditions in the way.
– The honorable senator might as well say that the greatest scientific men in the world are to be found in Australia. It is absurd.
– Everything tends to show that we have muscle, endurance, and intelligence equal to the people of any other part of the world. I therefore say that it is not a patriotic declaration to say that we in Australia cannot do anything as well as can the people in other parts of the world.
– I wish to refer to one or two statements that have been made during the debate. Senator Lynch made a very serious charge, to which I direct the attention of the Minister of Home Affairs. The honorable senator stated that three-fourths of the locally-manufactured articles were sold as imported articles. That is either a libel upon the manufacturers of Australia or an inaccurate and unjust statement. I do not believe that such a state of things exists. I believe that the manufacturers of Australia are above the perpetration of a fraud upon the public by labelling their manufactures as imported goods. If it is true that they do what Senator Lynch has stated, it only proves that buyers who know what they are buying realize that in some respects locally-manufactured articlesare not equal to imported articles of the same kind. Senator Trenwith was absolutely incorrect in stating that I believe that no article can be made in Australia equal to the imported article. I believe that in a young country we have to a certain extent not only to borrow, but also to take lessons, from the great men of the United Kingdom and other countries until such time as we produce men who can in the different lines of manufacture produce articles equal to any which are manufactured abroad. I am as strong a believer in the future of Australia as is Senator Trenwith or any other person in the Chamber. I owe a great deal to this country. While I believe that my fiscal opinions are best adapted to promote the welfare and happiness of the Commonwealth, still I give credit to the honorablesenator for holding the belief that his fiscal opinions are the best adapted to achieve that great object. We are each honest in our fiscal convictions, but to say that because I. hold a certain fiscal belief, therefore I do not credit Australia with the capacity to produce articles equal to imported articles, is to say that which is incorrect. So far as her experience and education go, I believe that Australia can compete with other countries in that regard. We, like all other countries, are copyists, and every day which passes over our heads makes us more and more so. We have to educate ourselves by experience to become equal to those who, through the knowledge of their great men. in the past, have become proficient in different walks of life.
– My object in rising is to correct a statement made by Senator Vardon. Possibly he misunderstood what I said. I am sure that he had no wish to misrepresent me. He said that I spoke of the orchards and orchardists as if I did not care about them.
-That is exactly what the honorable senator did do.
– That is not. what I did do. What I wanted to say in the midst of great disorder-
– Order !
– So there was. It was very difficult indeed for me to speak with four or five senators interjecting at the same time.
– The honorable senator must not make that reference to the state of the Committee.
– If I was misunderstood, sir, it was because I was speaking amid a stream of interjections, some of them well meant and some of them otherwise. Senator Vardon said thatI spoke disparagingly of the fruit-growers.
– I did not say anything of the sort.
– WhatI meant to convey - and I shall not back down in the least - was that fruit-growing was a minor and a trifling matter in comparison with the expense which the squatters and graziers had to incur. That is the distinction I made. To say that I do not care about the smaller men is not correct.I owe much to the blockers and the fruit-growers, and it is to a great extent through their votes that I am here.
– What I saidwas that Senator W. Russell was willing to let the farmer and the squatter off any duty, but because the orchardist and the gardener are smaller men and not so important he was willing to inflict a duty upon them. I remarked that in doing that he was belittling the importance and the influence of those men. What he has just said only confirms my statement.
– I had some difficulty in following the figures given by Senator E. J. Russell. I understood him to say that the last importations of these articles were valued at about £70,000. According to the official statistics placed in our hands, in 1906 the importations of insecticides, which included apparently sheep washes and disinfectants, amounted to £52,534, being an increase of about £900 on the figures for 1905, and an increase of £11,000 on the figures for 1904. To compare the figures for 1906 with the figures for 1903 is somewhat unfair, because in the latter year Inter-State free-trade was only just beginning to be felt. If we compare 1905 with 1904, we find that there was an increase of about £10,000 worth in the importations. But if we compare 1906 with 1905 we find that the increase in the importations was only £900 worth. If the honorable senator will compare his figures with the increase in the sheep flocks where sheep dip is required, he probably will be able to account there alone for the increased importations. And these are clearly due to the fact that the local product is not supplying the demand. We have heard a great deal said about sheep washes. It is only fair that the Committee should realize that there is another very important article which is now going to be made dutiable at 25 per cent., and which might be left in the item with the sheep washes. I refer to the disinfectants used in connexion with cattle dips. We all know the ghastly results of the tick pest in the Northern Territory, Queensland, and New South Wales. The local Legislatures have made laws compelling the people - and these apply especially to the small dairyman and small holder - to use certain dipping apparatus. I ask Senator E. J. Russell, who, I am sure, is perfectly reasonable in the matter, whether he cannot see his way to include with sheep washes the materials which are used for cattle dips. Why should he propose to give to the sheep people special washes free, and say to the cattle people, who, after all, are the smaller men, because they include all the dairymen, that they shall pay duty on the materials which they use for cattle dips? A good deal has been said about the orchardist and the farmer in connexion with this proposal to impose a duty of 25 per cent. on insecticides. Is it not notorious that throughout Australia we, through Health Boards, are doing everything we possibly can to compel people to observe necessary sanitary conditions. We are compelling persons to use disinfectants everywhere. We are improving our sanitary laws from day to day. It will be remembered that when the Quarantine Bill was under consideration the Government was most enthusiastic in its desire to help the local authorities in maintaining sanitary conditions, and did not want to interfere with or check their operations. Yet here we find the Government apparently supporting a proposal to make householders and others pay 5s. in the £1 on all the disinfectants or insecticides which they may require. Is that reasonable or logical ? I desire to know, sir, whether, after this request has been dealt with, it will be possible for me to submit a request in connexion with the materials for cattle dips ?
– I think that it will be competent for the honorable senator to move a request to insert words for the purpose before the letters “n.e.i.”
– By their remarks, whether intentional or not, some honorable senatorshave left the impression that the figures I quoted were not altogether correct. I am quite prepared to take the figures for 1904 instead of those for 1903, which I used. I spoke of the difficulty I had in not being able to give the detailed figures in each case. I am not able to supply those figures, nor is any other honorable senator. In reference to an argument that local men manufactured practically the whole of the items, including sheep-dip, I said that the increased importation did take place, and that it was quite reasonable to believe that we had a far better assumption than had our opponents. Certainly our assumption was very moderate when compared with that of my honorable friends on the other side. Both Senators Sayers and Chataway have talked about the tick and fruit pests, but neither of them ventured to assert that local disinfectants were not used for dipping cattle and dealing with fruit pests.
Can either of them say that imported disinfectants were used for those purposes? I want to remove the assumption that my honorable friends on the other side are the only senators who happen to represent orchardists, market gardeners, and others. I assert that I represent three orchardists for every one represented by Senator Sayers, and I know their needs and requirements better than he can. There is no necessity for him to allude to my supposed want of knowledge on these matters, because I do not go about the country with my eyes closed. The orchardists of Victoria have been sufficiently patriotic to use the local article whenever they could. The pitiful appeal of Senator Gray reminded me somewhat of a little girl reciting a pathetic ballad about people dying in thousands. It is rather to be regretted that an elderly gentleman should address the Committee in that strain. He seemed to think that Australia would be overrun with vermin and disease if we did not import disinfectants.
– I did not say anything of the kind, butI said that we should have everything of this sortof the very best.
– Certainly, I quite agree - and we have positive proof that the best articles on the market are those made in Australia. As to this being a Victorian industry, I point out that I have consistently supported every protectionist item in the Tariff, whether it has related to Queensland bananas or New South Wales iron. I never mentioned Victoria in the whole of my speech, and I very much regret that the name of any particular State has been introduced. In this case, I have the assurance of the manufacturers that there has been a vast increase of importations of disinfectants, and I am justified in accepting their statement. I conclude by asking honorable senators to remember that my request does not deal with sheep dip. It leaves that article free. I am asking the Committee to support a duty of 25 per cent. on disinfectants and phenyle only.
– I am in favour of a duty on insecticide and phenyle, although the rate proposed is rather high. Will the honorable senator agree to a duty of 15 per cent. in the British preference column?
– Then I will vote for the request.
– Does the honorable senator desire that his request shall be amended so as to make the duty 25 per cent. under the general Tariff and 15 per cent. against the United Kingdom ?
Request amended accordingly.
– Will the honorable senator consent to put the letters “ n.e.i.” after the word “ disinfectants,” because there are other disinfectants which are dutiable at a different rate?
Request further amended accordingly.
– In the request, in its amended form, there is a difference of 10 per cent. between the two rates of duty. I feel inclined to move for a reduction, but will content myself with voting on the request itself.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 284 by leaving out the words “ Insecticides “ and “ and Disinfectants,” and by adding the following new paragraph : “ b. Insecticides and Disinfectants, n.e.i., ad val. (General Tariff), ‘25 per cent., (United Kingdom) 15 per cent. (Senator E. J. Russell’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Chataway) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 284 by inserting before the letters “n.e.i.” the words “Cattle washes.”
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [9.57]. - I think that the words “ and Horse “ should also be inserted, because horses have to be dipped for ticks, as well as cattle.
Request amended accordingly and agreed to.
Item 285 (Fly Papers) and item 286 (Thiosulphates) agreed to.
Item 287. Chemical Compounds and Simple Drugs, free.
– In accordance with notice, I ask the Committee to request the House of Representatives to insert after “ compounds “ the letters “ n.e.i.,” because in previous items other chemical compounds have been made dutiable. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 287 by inserting after the word “Compounds” the letters “n.e.i.”
Request agreed to.
Item 288 (Bacteriological Products and Serum) and item 289 (Carbonate and Bicarbonate of Soda) agreed to.
Item 290. Tartaric Acid, Cream of Tartar, and Citric Acid, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; and on and after 5th December, 1907, free; (United Kingdom), free.
– I have given notice of a request on this item. When the Tariff was introduced elsewhere, the item was dutiable at 5 per cent. (General Tariff) and free (United Kingdom). Representations were made when the item was being discussed in another place that the 5 per cent. duty would be of no practical benefit to British manufacturers. Acting on that belief, another place made the item free. Since then British manufacturers have indicated to the Government, through the Colonial Office, that the restoration of the 5 per cent. duty on imports under the general Tariff would be of immense advantage to them. I have not the figures for citric acid, but the imports oftartaric acidin 1906 were valued at, from the United Kingdom, £4,186 worth, and from foreign countries £33,038 worth, so that we imported eight times as much from foreign countriesas from Great Britain. Of cream of tartar, we imported , £3,765 worth from the United Kingdom, and from all other countries £116,795 worth during the same period, or a proportion of over thirty to one. A duty of 5 per cent. upon goods from foreign countries, although small, may reasonably be regarded as having the possible effect of diverting from those foreign countries to the (United Kingdom a good portion of the trade which they already enjoy in those articles with Australia, and will not press hardly upon any one. I move -
That the House of Representaties be requested to make the duty on item 290 (imports under General Tariff), ad val. 5 per cent.
Request agreed to.
Item 291 (Essential Oils), agreed to.
Item 292. Medicines: -
Tabloids; Soloids; Ovoids; Tablets; Capsules ; Cachets ; Suppositories ; Pessaries n.e.i.; Poultices; Salves; Cerates; Ointments; Liniments; Lotions; Pastes and the like; Medicinal Waters and Oils, n.e.i. ; and Medicines for Animals, ad val. 15 per cent.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [10.3]. - The important and representative petition which I had the honour to read to the Committee this afternoon referred principally to a desire for the. reduction of duty upon drugs used by the sick and suffering, and in view of the enormous imposts which we have been assisting during the last two months to place upon the people of Australia, I think there is a reasonable prospect of the Committee assenting to a reduction of this duty.I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 292, paragraph a (imports under General Tariff), ad val., 10 per cent.
– This duty is exactly the same as appeared in the old Tariff. These articles can hardly be correctly described as drugs. They are pharmaceutical preparations made up, patent and proprietary medicines, &c. They have been, are being, and will no doubt continue to be, manufactured extensively in the Commonwealth.
– Tabloids cannot be manufactured here because they are patented.
– I believe that tabloids are manufactured in New South Wales. After all, these articles are medicinal preparations, which may be made up from the different drugs in Australia just as well and safely as elsewhere.
– The great bulk of the articles enumerated in this paragraph are, so far as 1 have been able to ascertain, not made here. The duty is, therefore, largely a revenue one. If there are scattered through the item a few articles made in Australia, and’ to that extent the duty is protective, the proportion is so small as to be insignificant.
– It isnot a revenue duty.
-£217,000 worth of these articles were imported in 1906. By far the larger portion of that importation must represent articles not made in Australia, and to that extent this is purely a revenue duty. We should find some articles in daily use from which to obtain revenue other than those used by the sick and suffering.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 292, paragrapha (imports under General Tariff), free.
Medicines ought not to be made the subject of taxation. Last year the revenue benefited from this duty to the tune of over £33,000.
– I cannot accept that request now. The Committee has just affirmed that it will not reduce the duty to 10 per cent. The request to make the item free should have come first. The honorable senator missed his chance when he allowed the request for a duty of 10 per cent. to go to a division. He can move now only for a duty between 15 and 10 per cent.
– No embargo should be placed on the Committee in expressing its opinion on a matter of this kind. Senator Neild’s request for 10 per cent. was negatived. I. voted against it, because 10 per cent. is more of a revenue duty than 1 5 per cent. would be. If there is anything protective in the duty at all, there is more of it in a 15 per cent. than in a 10 per cent. duty. I regarded 10 per cent. as a revenue duty. I do not know why I should not be allowed to move that the item be made free in respect of imports under the general Tariff.
– I cannot allow the honorable senator to discuss the question. I have given my ruling. What I have stated has become the practice. If the honorable senator wishes to dispute my ruling, the proper course is open to him.
– The honorable senator would probably achieve his object if he moved to make the item free in respect of imports from the United Kingdom.
Request (by Senator Stewart) put-
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 292, paragraph a (imports from the United Kingdom), free.
The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) put -
That the House of Representaties be requested to make the duty on item 292, paragraph A (imports from the United Kingdom), ad val. 5 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 292, paragraph A (imports from the United Kingdom), ad val. 10 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Items 293 (Opium for medicinal purposes) and 294 (Opium contained in medicinal preparations), agreed to.
Item 295. Perfumery ; including Perfumed Ammonia; -Toilet Preparations (perfumed or not) non-spirituous, and spirituous when the duty payable under item 9 is less than that payable under this item; Skin Foods; refined Lanoline; refined Glycerine ; and Petroleum Jelly, ad val. (General Tariff), 35 per cent. ; and on and after 5th December, 1907, 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [10.25]. - The duty proposed on this item represents an increase of 10 per cent, on the old Tariff, and on the recommendation of both sections of the Tariff Commission. With the intention subsequently of moving that the duty be 20 per cent, on imports from the United Kingdom I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 295 (imports under General Tariff), 25 per cent.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Colonel Neild) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 295 (imports from the United Kingdom), ad val. 20 per cent.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
.- I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 295 by inserting the following new paragraph: -“b. Petroleum Jelly, in packages containing not less than 3 cwt., free.”
The object of the request is to insure the making up of this jelly in the Commonwealth. At the present time it is in small bottles at a low rate ; but if it is imported in larger quantities, which are usually put in 3½-cwt. packages, we can insure the making of the necessary bottles and the filling of them here.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 23
In division :
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Item 296. Unrefined Glycerine; and Unrefined Lanoline and Camphor and Vaseline (not heing Petroleum Jelly), and Plasters, adhesive, and all unmedicated, free.
Request (by Senator Keating) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 296 by inserting after the word “Lanoline “ the words “ ( Crude Wool Fat).”
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [10.46].- I quite understand all this enthusiasm. A letter has been sent to me to-day, and I suppose that copies have been sent to other honorable senators, suggesting the very same wording as is embodied in Senator Keating’s request. All this enthusiasm is due to the fact that a Victorian industry is affected. We have had enough of this kind of touting about the premises of Parliament. This is another example of the pernicious, detestable, and unparliamentary methods which have marked proceedings upon this Tariff from the time when the Bill was introduced until now.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Keating) agreed to-
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 296 by leaving out the word “ and “ before the word “ Camphor,” and by inserting a semicolon in lieu thereof.
Request (by Senator Sayers) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 296 by leaving out the words “and Vaseline (not being Petroleum Jelly).”
Item 297 (Essential Oils) and item 298 (Soda Crystals) agreed to.
– I desire, by leave, to present the report of the Printing Committee, and to give notice that to-morrow I shall move -
That the Report of the Printing Committee, presented to the Senate on 19th March, 1908, be adopted:
Senate adjourned at 10.55p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 19 March 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1908/19080319_senate_3_44/>.