3rd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
” MATERIALIZED “ MANDARINS.
Senator MULCAHY. - I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, the following questions suggested by the recent very interesting investigations of the Trade and Customs Department : -
Has the attention of the Government been drawn to the alarming possibility of the surreptitious introduction of “ Materialized” Mandarins through spiritualistic agencies, and, if so, what steps the Minister administering the Immigration Restriction Act is taking to protect Australia from this new and appalling form of invasion?
Senator McGREGOR. - Mandarins come in under the head of “ Fruit, n.e.i.,” and no doubt the Department will take every care to see that they are properly dealt with.
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, whether it is true, as reported in the press, that the Quarantine Act will be gazetted as coming into force on the 1st July of next year?
– I ask the honorable senator to givenotice of the question.
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, the following questions : -
– Inquiries are still in progress, a Committee having been appointed to investigate the matter.
– With reference to a parliamentary cricket match which I hear is to be played on the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Monday next, can the Vice-President of the Executive Council inform the Senate whether the present Prime Minister, or the late Prime Minister, will show) us the new style of cricket with three elevens in the field?
– I do not understand the question which the honorable senator has asked.
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, the following question : -
In view of the Prime Minister’s statement, made in another place, yesterday, that be intended, if possible, to close the session at the end of next week, and seeing that the Estimates do not seem likely to reach the Senate far several days yet, does the Government expect the Senate to swallow the Budget without debate, and pass the Estimates without discussion?
– The Government are prepared to give the Senate as much time as it desires for the consideration of the Estimates, and for that purpose an attempt will be made to finish their consideration in another place this week. Of course, if the. Appropriation Bill is sent here on Tuesday, there will be nothing to prevent the Senate from sitting continuously until Saturday, and then, if a majority desire to sit during the following week, the Government will not attempt to prevent them. But I feel sure that if the Bill should arrive here next Tuesday, and should the brevity usually displayed by Senator Givens be observed generally, there will be ample time for honorable senators to discuss it fully, and to reach their homes before Christmas.
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, whether he is aware that a very large number of wheat bags which will hold from 300 to 400 lbs. is still available, and may be used for forward delivery of sold wheat, and, if so, whether he will take steps to insure that the standard bag of 200 lbs. is used exclusively ?
– As the question affects the Department of Trade and Customs, I ask the honorable senator to give notice of it.
– I desire to bring under the attention of the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs, without notice, the fact that under Departmental by-laws tools of trade may be removed from the free list and made dutiable. I know a case where a man who had expected to land a machine for about£200, suddenly found that it would cost him about£230. I desire to know whether the Minister will consult with his colleague and see whether it is not possible, before removing tools of trade from one list to the other, to give a little notice of the intention, so that importers may be prepared ?
– I shall do as the honorable senator has suggested, and I shall be glad if he will supply me with particulars of the instance he cited.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, without notice, if he can make any statement in regard to the six papers which relate to the postal business of the States in 1906, the object of their publication, and the reason why each one has been drawn up with a different classification, and gives no totals. In not one case is the business of the State set out in full, but only small details are supplied. The book for New South Wales does not give the Sydney business, nor does the book for Victoria give the Melbourne business.
– As I did not see the books until to-day, I ask the honorable senator to give notice of the question.
– The Minister might, when obtaining the information asked for by Senator Pulsford, let honorable senators know what useful purpose is served by the columns of figures in these reports, showing the number of letters sent at different dates from different parts of the Commonwealth.
– I shall bring that matter also under the notice of the PostmasterGeneral.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The information, will be supplied.
– Will the information be supplied before the Senate rises for the recess?
– I believe all theinformation is in possession of the Customs Department, and I shall try to have what the honorable senator suggests carried out.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
If it is the intention of the Prime Minister to introduce this session any measures other than, those indicated in the recent Ministerial statement?
– So far as I can. see at present, with the exception of a small Bill dealing with a postal register machine, I do not think that any measure will beintroduced that was not mentioned in thePrime Minister’s statement.
Rank of Major - Cadet Camp - Defence Bill - Uniforms : Lt.-Col. Legge
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
Referring to questions asked by me on 25th. November last, and answers thereto relative to the positions of officers in 1st Battalion, 10th A.I.R.-
Have the officers recommended for promotion to the rank of major submitted to the necessary examination?
If so, with what results, and when?
Isit proposed to promote an officer to the provisional rank of major? (4)If so, under what regulation?
– The answers to thehonorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow ; -
– Arising out of the answers to the question, may I ask the Minister whether there has really been any friction between the Department and the State Education Department of Victoria; and, if so, will he take steps to put an end to such friction?
– There has been no friction whatever between the Military and the Education authorities of the State. Some disagreement arose between the State Education Department and the Commonwealth in connexion with the fixing of a suitable date.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Military Board charged with the duty of attending to matters affecting uniforms, and advising the Minister and the Board in connexion therewith..
– Arising out of the reply to some of the earlier questions, which the Minister grouped together, and in connexion with the statement that Lieutenant-Colonel Legge had occupied a regimental position higher than the rank of lieutenant, I wish to ask the Minister whether he is aware that the adjutancy which he referred to as a regimental position is not a regimental, but a staff position?
– The information supplied me is that the officer in question was appointed adjutant, permanent, to the Second Infantry Regiment, militia, which position he held for five years, and that he afterwards went to South Africa as a captain commanding an infantry contingent.
South-East Coast Mail : Unley Post Office
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
Will the Government explain what is the cause of delay in making known who is the successful tenderer for the South-East Coast Mail ?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -
Tenders have been received which, according to the size of the boat and passenger accommodation, vary as much as , £3,000 per annum. The lowest tender, which is a little above that of the last contract, is one that the Postmaster-General is prepared to accept at once, as it fulfils all the requirements of the Postal Department. The highest tender even does not give the Department any better facilities. Western Australian members, amongst whom was the honorable senator, have, however, waited on the Minister, urging that consideration in the new contract should be given to the passenger and the freight require ments of the district. In view of the present state of the finances, the Postmaster-General cannot entertain the proposal of allowing the Postal Department to pay the added subsidy. Even if we had the money, he would be against the principle involved, viz., for the Postal Department to pay for services other than those connected with postal requirements. The Western Australian Government has, however, been communicated with asking if they are prepared to pay the extra subsidy for the purpose of assisting the development of the South-East Coast. If they are prepared to pay the difference in theamount of the tenders, the Postmaster-General would at once accept the higher tender providing’ the additional facilities. The Western Australian Government have been asked to deal will> this as a matterof urgency, as the existing contract expires at the end of this month.
– I should like the Minister to explain what is meant by the words “south-east coast?”
– The south-east coast referred to is the south-east coast of Western Australia, in the neighbourhood of Eucla, in the Great Australian Bight.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
Whether he has seen the report of the discussion in the Unley Town Council on the Unlev Post Office alterations, and’ whether he will inquire into the truth of the allegations made?
-The answer to thehonorable senator’s question is as follows : -
Yes, and I am advised by the PostmasterGeneral as follows : -
Inquiry has been made, and the following is copy of a report in: regard to the matter submitted by the Deputy PostmasterGeneral, Adelaide : - “The alterations to the office whichare being effected by the Works Department provide for a neat office with ample accommodation for many years to come. When the work is completed I think the people of Unley, on the whole, will be satisfied with it.”
I may add that the sum of£550 has been provided on the current year’s Estimates, as printed, to effect the alterations referred to, but that no money is available for a new building, which, in view of the above report, is not considered necessary.
asked the Minister qf Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
The PRESIDENT laid upon the table the report of the Joint Library Committee.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
It seems rather anomalous that I, who, as the representative in this Chamber of the Watson Administration in 1904, had occasion to submit to honorable senators the Seat of Government Bill which was passed into law in that year, should now be called upon to move the second reading of another Bill which is designed to bring about some finality in the matter of the selection of a Federal Capital site.
– The honorable senator may be in office when this measure becomes law.
– I am not so anxious about that as I am about the passing of this Bill. I desire to see it become law for the same reason which prompted my, anxiety to secure the passing of the Seat of Government Bill in 1904, namely, that it is about time the Commonwealth did some thing to bring about a fair understanding between the State of New South Wales and the people of Australia.
– We did that four. years ago.
– We endeavoured to do so, but the arrangement at which we then arrived does not appear to be a satisfactory one. Honorable members are aware that quite recently a. resolution was affirmed, both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, which practically implied the repeal of the Seat of Government Act. By a very substantial majority in the other Chamber, and by a small majority here, the district of Yass-Canberra has been selected as the territory within which the permanent seat of Government shall be located. The Bill before honorable senators is a very short one, and an explanation of its pro visions will demand only a very brief statement from me. Seeing that we all had an opportunity of expressing our opinions upon the whole question so very recently, it is unnecessary for me to elaborate thereasons underlying my present action. Asa member of the Government, I conceive it to be my duty to do what I can to give effect to the expressed intention of Parliament, and it is for that reason that this Bill hasbeen introduced. The Government recognise that upon a measure of this kind, which does not involve any party issue, the will of a majority of both Houses of Parliament should be given effect to. Honorable senators will observe that the provisions of the Bill differ very slightly from those of the Seat of Government Act of 1904. Clause I refers to its short title. Clause 2 is not contained in the Seat of Government Act,, because it is the provision which is necessary for the repeal of that Act. Clause 3 practically alters the locality within which the Federal Capital shall be established from Southern Monaro, or “ within 15 miles of Dalgety,” as fixed by that Act, to the district of Yass-Canberra. As honorable senators are aware, the Yass-Canberra district is a very extensive one. It includes three, if not four, districts that were originally offered by the New South Wales Government as suitable areas within which to establish the Federal. Capital. It embraces Yass, which was one of the first sites visited by a Commonwealth Parliamentary party in connexion with its round of inspection of eligible sites. It also includes Lake George, and the Canberra site, which came into prominence some time later. I am not quite certain whether it does not also include the Mahkoolma site. Of course, the passing of a Bill of this description is merely preliminary to the work which must be undertaken before the permanent Seat of Government can be established. The measure will practically enable the Commonwealth Government to open up negotiations with the New South Wales Government, with the view to arriving at an arrangement which will be acceptable to both parties. Clause 4 of the Bill, with a very slight amendment, was also contained in the Seat of Government Act. It stipulates that the area of the Federal Territory shall be not less than 900 square miles, and that the Commonwealth must have access to the sea. As honorable senators are aware an attempt was made in another place to make this provision more definite. For my own part I do not see any necessity for any greater definiteness, seeing that it will accomplish everything that is necessary to enable the Governments of New South Wales and the Commonwealth to enter into negotiations. When’ these negotiations have been completed, when the area has been surveyed, and the exact spot within that area has been selected upon which the Federal Capital shall be established, it will be necessary to introduce another Bill, and to ask Parliament for an appropriation to enable the work of establishing it to be proceeded with. Clause 5 is not contained in the Seat of Government Act of 1904. It is intended to empower the Commonwealth Government to send its servants into the Yass-Canberra area for the purpose of surveying it, arid with a view to collecting the necessary data to enable Parliament to arrive at a definite decision. Clause 6, with a slight modification, was incorporated in the Seat of Government Act of 1904. Honorable senators will notice that it alters the date prescribed in that Act to 8th October of the present year. We must all recognise that it would scarcely be possible for this Parliament to enact legislation of a retrospective character by fixing the land values in the Yass-Canberra district at the values which obtained in 1904. Consequently we must give the land-owners in that area the benefit of any increase which may have taken place in those values during the past four years. Of course, it may be urged that we have no right to do anything of the kind. But honorable senators must recognise that in the area alluded to in the original Act, there was much more Crown land than there is in the area with which we are now dealing. I believe that all the Crown land in the Yass-Canberra district has already been alienated. It is therefore very necessary that some provision should be made in the Bill with respect to valuations. When any arrangement is attempted to be made between private individuals and the Government of any State, or of the Commonwealth, there is always an endeavour to get as much as possible out of the Government. There is therefore in the present Bill a clause for the protection of the Government itself. 1 have given honorable senators a fair outline of what is contained in the measure. Everything that was in the original Act is embodied here. Matters relating to acquiring access to the sea, and dealing with any territory that may be acquired, or that Parliament may think it necessary to acquire for carrying our Commonwealth functions, will be dealt with in negotiations which take place between the Government of the Commonwealth and the Government of the mother State. When those negotiations are completed, and all the necessary information is acquired, a new Bill will have to be introduced to fix more definitely the site on which the Commonwealth Capital shall stand. The project will then come before Parliament again. I have no desire to weary the Senate by making a long statement. We have all had enough of the Federal Capital for at least one session. I therefore move the second reading of the Bill without further comment.
– I quite agree with the VicePresident of the Executive Council that there is no call for lengthy speeches on the measure now submitted to us. We have traversed the ground so frequently that little that is new remains to be said on the main points at issue. I desire, however, to congratulate the Government upon the attitude which they have taken up. The position stated by the Vice-President of the Executive Council seems to me to be not only defensible but absolutely right, and not to be one that calls in any way fe> apology. ‘ ^
– We should have condolences rather than apologies.
– I remind the honorable senator that none have advocated elective Ministries more earnestly than members of his own party have done, and I think that he has been a supporter of the principle. He will recognise that an elected Ministry would carry out the wish of Parliament when expressed by resolution. If the honorable senator and those who think with him believe in elective Ministries, and in the obligation of a Government to carry out a resolution of Parliament, surely that obligation applies also to the Ministry of to-day. When once the wish of Parliament is made clear it becomes an obligation on the Ministry to give effect to it.
– Would Senator McGregor be a Minister under the elective system ?
– I think he would, so long as my honorable friend’s party had a majority in this chamber. Would Senator Story vote against Senator McGregor being a Minister? d
– Certainly not.
Senator MILLEN. The” action being taken by this Government is exactly the action that was taken by previous Governments in respect to this matter.
– Why this’ indecent haste ?
– After seven years? I should like to know my honorable friend’s idea of reasonable progress”, if this is indecent haste.
– What has been the cause of the delay?
– As I am asked that question, I will answer it. Senator Givens has been one of the principal causes of delay. But let me return to the point that every Commonwealth Ministry has adopted the course now being taken by Senator McGregor and his colleagues. When the Reid-McLean Government was in office it fell to the duty of Mr. Dugald Thompson to press forward the Bill which nominated Dalgety, and he Bid his duty honestly and well. He sought to give effect to the wish of Parliament as expressed in that Bill. A little later the Deakin Ministry did the same. Certain members of that Ministry, who did not believe in Dalgety - Mr. Groom, to wit - still ‘ regarded it as a duty cast upon the Ministry to endeavour to give effect to the wish of Parliament. It is quite true that there were one or two rebels, principally in this Chamber; but at the same time the attitude taken up was that it was a duty incumbent upon the Government to seek to carry out the wish of Parliament. The present Ministry is following exactly the same course. I am not only pleased that that is being done because the proper course is being followed, but also because I think that proceedings on this subject have already been too much drawn out. Regarding the Bill itself, I quite agree that there is not much to be said, because this measure, except for the substitution of Yass-Canberra for Dalgety, has already been discussed in the Senate. Every clause has been before us previously. The provisions that were right in regard to Dalgety cannot be wrong with regard to Yass-Canberra.
– Did the honorable senator approve of all the provisions in the Bill regarding Dalgety ?
– I approve of them in regard to Yass-Canberra. There hasbeen, with regard to the present Bill, moreover, a very frank declaration on the part of the Government of New South Wales, that they are prepared to regard’ any overtures from the Commonwealth Government in a spirit of liberality. Thevarious details of the measure have been threshed out before. Consequently there is. not much need for criticism at any length now. I should like, however, to point out, rather in emphasis of the remarks, made by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, that this measure is in nosense final. It merely reduces to the four corners of an Act of Parliament a resolution previously arrived at. That resolution had no legal force outside the walls of Parliament. It is now sought to embody the will of Parliament in an Act. The sole purpose of that Act, to my mind, is to put the Government of the Commonwealth, in a position to enter into formal negotiations with the Government of New South Wales. I believe that those negotiationswill be entered upon with an honest desireon both sides to bring the matter to completion. It will, I am confident, be found that the Government of New South Waleswill lend every assistance, and make every effort to bring about the completion and’ settlement of the question. For thosereasons, and with a desire to make my remarks as brief as possible, I shall concludeby saying that I will assist the Government, to have the matter carried through.
.. - I beg to move -
That all the words after “That” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words : - “ in the opinion of this Housethe selection of the Capital Site and Territory is a purely Federal matter concerning whichthe opinion of no particular State should predominate, and that the wishes of the electors: on the following points be ascertained bv referendum at the next Federal election : -
– I point out to the honorable senator that our Standing Orders provide that on the motion for the second reading of a Bill being submitted -
Amendments may be moved to such question by leaving out “now” and adding “this day six months,” which, if carried, shall finally dispose of the Bill, or the previous question may be moved.
No other amendment may be moved to such question except in the form of a resolution strictly relevant to the Bill.
I find that when an amendment was submitted by Senator Dobson to the motion for the second reading of a precisely similar Bill in 1904, my predecessor gave a decision, which is reported in these terms -
An amendment to the motion for second reading must be strictly relevant to the subject matter of the Bill.
On a second-reading debate on a Bill to determine the Seat of the Government of the Commonwealth, it was proposed to move that all the words after “ be “ be left out, with . 1 view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ laid aside for the present in order to save the taxpayer, from a large, and, at present, unnecessary outlay, and to enable senators to consider the’ additional reports recently obtained by the Government, and to enable Ministers to arrange with the Government of New South Wales for the surrender by that State to the Commonwealth of the land which the Parliament may desire to acquire in the locality, which may be selected as a site for a capital, and to arrange with the States interested the terms and conditions upon which the railways necessary to give access to the capital and to the port (if any) of the proposed site should be constructed and open for traffic.”
That amendment was ruled to be not in order on two grounds.
Senator Stewart proposes to alter the motion for the second reading of this Bill so as to make it read -
That in the opinion of this House the selection of the Capital Site and Territory is a purely Federal matter concerning which the opinion of no particular State should predominate.
I cannot see that the matter is relevant to the Bill, which only provides for the selection of a site.
– What you have read is only the preamble.
– It continues- and that the wishes of the electors on the following points be ascertained by referendum at the next Federal election : -
I certainly do not think that the amendment is relevant to the Bill as the honorable senator proposes to substitute another method of procedure. At page 446 of
May, 10th edition, it is laid down that -
It is competent to a member who desires to place on record any special reasons for not agreeing to the second reading of a Bill, to move, as an amendment to the question, a resolution declaratory of some principle adverse to or different from, the principles, policy, or provisions of the Bill ; or expressing opinions as to any circumstances connected with its production, or prosecution ; or otherwise opposed to its progress, or Seeking further information in relation to the Bill by committees, commissioners, the production of papers or other evidence, or, in the Lords, the opinions of the Judges. The principle of relevancy in an amendment governs every such proposed resolution, which must, therefore, “ strictly relate to the Bill which the House, by its order, has resolved upon considering.”
Our standing order is much more restrictive than that of the House of Commons, as it provides that -
No other amendment may be moved to the question except in the form of a resolution strictly relevant to the Bill.
It does not appear to me that the motion which the honorable senator proposes to substitute for the question before the Senate is strictly relevant to the subject matter of the Bill.
– I disagree with the ruling. My amendment proposes to take the opinions of the people of the Commonwealth on two matters with which the Bill deals, one being the area of the Federal Territory, and the other accessibility to the sea. Clause 4 says -
The Territory to be granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth for the Seat of Government shall contain an ‘ area of not less than900 square miles, and have access to the sea.
My amendment seeks to get at the wishes of the people on those two points, and therefore, with all due deference to you, sir, I submit that it, being in the form of a proposed resolution, comes within standing order187, which reads -
No other amendment may be moved to such question except in the form of a resolution strictly relevant to the Bill.
It appears to me that the whole thing turns upon the word “ relevant.” With what does the Bill deal? It deals with a Capital site and a Territory, and incidental to those matters are the questions of area and access to the sea, with which, as I have pointed out, it also deals. I think it must be evident to every honorable senator that my amendment deals with matters which are within the scope of the Bill and which, in fact, are mentioned in clause 4, and, therefore, is quite relevant to the question before the Senate. I move -
That the ruling of the President be disagreed with on the ground of the amendment being relevant to the Bill.
– Referring to standing order 415, I find that it reads -
If any objection is taken to the ruling or decision of the President such objection must be taken at once and in writing and motion made which, if seconded, shall be proposed to the Senate, and debate thereon forthwith adjourned to the next sitting day, unless the matter requires immediate determination.
In my opinion the question whether the point raised is one which requires immediate determination is for the Senate and npt for the President to decide. In the circumstances, if it is desired to proceed with the consideration of the matter at once, some motion must be submitted by a member of the Senate.
– I move -
That the point of order is a matter which requires the immediate determination of the Senate and should he dealt with forthwith.
The late period of the session at which we Have arrived is my reason for regarding the determination of the point of order as a matter of urgency which should be at once decided.
.- Motions expressing disagreement with rulings of the President have been submitted in the Senate at various times since I have been a member of it, but I have never yet known such a motion to be treated as one of urgency requiring immediate determination.’ These motions have always, in accordance with the Standing Orders, been adjourned to the next sitting day for discussion and decision, and certainly no one has ever suggested that their determination was a matter of urgency on such flimsy grounds as those put forward by the Vice-P.resident of the Executive Council when he says that the determination of this matter is urgent because of the late period of the session. The session has not lasted for many months altogether, and we have been sent here, not to close up a fortnight before Christmas, but to do the business of the country, no matter how long it takes to do it.
– And this is the way the honorable senator does it.
– Undoubtedly, and it is the proper way, according to the Standing Orders adopted for our guidance. Those Standing Orders should be respected or set aside as of no account.
– Are they not being adhered to? Do they not provide for such a motion as I have submitted?
– The honorable senator is quite mistaken. The urgency of the question is not a matter for the ‘Senate to decide, but is a matter of fact. Any intelligent man is able to say whether the point raised by Senator Stewart is one which requires immediate determination. We know very well that it does not require immediate determination. No hardship will accrue to any one if it is not dealt with at once. Honorable senators opposite who are so anxious now to proceed with the Seat of Government Bill must be aware that during the present session the Capital site question has been postponed, and a decision upon it delayed on two or .three occasions, whilst the members of their party squabbled amongst themselves as to who should occupy the Treasury bench.
– If the discussion of Senator Stewart’s motion is adjourned that will not delay the consideration of the Seat of Government Bill. It will go on.
– It will not go on if the Standing Orders are followed, and Senator Millen only the other day argued very ably in support of that contention himself.
– But the President overruled me, and the decision then given, and which suited Senator Givens on that occasion, is the decision by which he will have to abide to-day.
– The decision then given was not one that suited me.
– Order. I ask the honorable senator not to refer to that matter.
– I have a right to discuss this matter, and1 I have taken the proper course.
– Order. The honorable senator has a. perfect right to discuss the urgency of the motionsubmitted by Senator Stewart. But his arguments must be relevant to the question before the Senate. I objected merely to his entering upon a discussion of a decision arrived at on a former occasion. I do not object to his giving any reason which he thinks necessary to show that the determination of the point raised by Senator Stewart is not a matter of urgency.
– I was led away to some extent by Senator Millen ‘s interjections. I submit that this is not a matter of such extreme urgency that the Senate should depart from the practice hitherto invariably followed. I have said that honorable senators who appear now to be so anxious that the Bill before the Senate should be passed have not always considered the settlement of the question a matter of such urgency that the standing order should be set aside in order that it might be proceeded with. No one will be injured by the postponement of the determination; of the point raised by Senator Stewart until to-morrow.
– But it is so very interesting that we should like to dispose of it at once.
- Senator Symon is all eagerness to work at the present moment. His desire is that the Federal Parliament should be housed in its own building at the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth immediately, if not sooner. But he must admit that a delay of twenty - four hours in the settlement of the question is not a matter of vital consequence. In answer to the Vice-President of the Executive Council, I said that we are sent here to do the business of the people, and not to adjourn a fortnight before Christmas. We are given an allowance to cover our expenses, and I imagine that the people regard the allowance as sufficient to cover our expenses, even though Parliament should be obliged to sit the whole yea’r round. The idea that members of Parliament can take a holiday at any time they think fit, and arrange to do the business of the country to suit their own convenience, should have been exploded long ago. We are not here to suit our own convenience, but to do the work of the country in a legitimate way. Honorable senators cannot honestly claim that the determination of the point raised by Senator Stewart is a matter of such urgency that the Standing Orders should be set aside in order that it may be proceeded with at once.
Motion (Senator McGregor’s) agreed to.
Motion (Senator Stewart’s) negatived.
Question - That this Bill be now read a second time - resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee -
Clause1 agreed to.
Clause 2 (Repeal).
.- I move-
That the Chairman leave the Chair, report progress, and ask leave to sit again.
– Why not go on with the Bill?
– The representatives of the Government in the Senate came to the conclusion that the best thing to do was to get this Bill through the secondreading stage, and then take up the Manufactures Encouragement Bill. In accordance with the promise I gave on a previous occasion, I am anxious, if time permits, that honorable senators, who have private business on the paper should be given an opportunity to deal with it this evening. If we pass the Manufactures Encouragement Bill to-day, we can resume the consideration of the Seat of Government Bill to-morrow. I shall then probably be in a position, according to the progress which has been made with business in another place, to make a statement as to whether the Senate should be asked to meet on Monday, Tuesday, an’d Wednesday of next week.
– I thought the determination of this matter was one of urgency.
Motion agreed to ; progress reported.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 2nd December, vide page 2522) :
Clauses 9 and 10 agreed to.
Clause 11 -
The person claiming any bounty under this Act shall, in making his claim, certify to the Minister the rate of wages paid by him to employees in connexion with the manufacture of the goods on which the bounty is claimed.
If the Minister finds that the rates of wages, or any of them, are below the standard rates prescribed by any Commonwealth or State industrial authority, or, in the absence of any such standard applicable to the case, are below the standard rates paid in the locality in which the goods are manufactured, the Minister may withhold the whole or any part of the bounty payable.
– I have circulated a number of amendments on this clause, which must be submitted separately. But I ask honorable senators to regard them as embodying one principle. The amendments are really designed to strengthen the clause, and to provide machinery for carrying out its intentions. Senator Best raised in regard to this provision a very important point which I have since had an opportunity of submitting to the legal advisers of the Government. They assure me that they are perfectly satisfied that the amendments, as submitted, will give effect to our intention. I therefore move -
That after the word “ are,” line 7, the letter “ (a) “ be inserted.
The object of the amendment is to break up the clause, so as to make it clearer.
– I thought that the Minister would have explained it.
– I have explained it. These amendments are designed to strengthen the clause, which relates to the safeguarding of the wages conditions. For that purpose, it is proposed to break up the clause, and to insert new paragraph (c), which will enable us to differentiate between the various alternatives provided.
– Seeing that there is only one ironworks at Lithgow, how can the Minister ascertain whether the wages paid at those works are below the standard rates paid in that locality?
– That is the reason why we provide these various alternatives. If one alternative does not meet the case, we shall fall back upon another. If a standard rate be prescribed by a Commonwealth or State industrial authority, paragraph (a) will meet the case.
– Although there is only one industry established at Lithgow, that industry may beworking under an industrial award.
– Exactly. In Tasmania, where there is no similar industry in existence, paragraph (c) will meet the position, and, if a similar industry were in existence there, the provisions of paragraph (b) would be availed of. In that way, we provide for all possible contingencies.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Senator Pearce) agreed to-
That after the word “or,” line 9, the letter “ (b) “ be inserted.”
– I move -
That after the word “manufactured,” line 12, the following words be inserted : - “ or - ” (c) in the absence of any such standard rates respectively, are, on application by the Minister to the President of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, declared not to be fair and reasonable by him or by a Judge of the Supreme Court of a State, or any person or persons who compose a State industrial authority to whom he may refer the matter.”
This provision will empower the Minister to refer the question of whether fair and reasonable wages are being paid in the industryto the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court, or, if that course be not convenient, to a Judge of the Supreme Court of a State. A similar power is contained in the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Cases may arise in which there may be a State industrial authority, such as a Wages Board, to which the matter might be referred, but for the fact that its awards are limited to a particular district. In such circumstances, this provision will enable the Minister to refer the question to the State industrial authority in, say, a contiguous district.
– Why does the Minister wish to refer to a State authority ?
– He needs to have power to provide for every possible contingency. In the first place I take it that he would have recourse to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court, but circumstances might arise in which the adoption of that course would not be convenient.
– Moreover, the same words are used in the old Excise Act.
– Exactly. I would also remind Senator E. J. Russell that the amount claimed by way of bounty might be a very small one. For instance, any person might manufacture some of these goods incidentally to his ordinary manufacturing operations, and under such circumstances it would be farcical to refer the question of whether he had paid fair and reasonable wages to his employes to an authority a thousand miles away when recourse might be had to an industrial authority which was much nearer.
– In this clause I notice that there is an entire absence of any reference to the eight hours’ system. Have the Government considered that matter?
– The Government take up the position that the rates of wages practically cover the whole of the labour conditions. If a man be asked to work more than eight hours a day, the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court or the State industrial authority to which the question is referred will say that for overtime he must be paid at the rate of time and a quarter. That is equivalent to saying that he shall not work more than eight hours a day.
– Oh, no.
- Mr. Justice Higgins in his award in the case of the agricultural implement makers, laid down a rate of wages for eight hours, and then prescribed the payment for overtime. He further laid down the rate which should be paid for adults, and for youths. In his award, he only, prescribed the wages which should be paid to apprentices and journeymen, thus wiping out the improver system in its entirety. I think, therefore, that the Committee may confidently accept the provision.
– While I have every confidence in the present President of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court, I cannot ignore the remote possibility of the iron industry being established in Tasmania, where there are few industrial organizations in existence, and where, generally speaking, the eight hours’ system is not observed, and the wages paid are lower than those paid in any other State. In the absence of an industrial organization there, and seeing that Mr. Justice Higgins would not have an opportunity of expressing an opinion upon the conditions obtaining in that State if the industry were established there, it would be well to embody the eight hours’ system in this clause so as to put the position beyond dispute.
– The honorable senator will make a mistake if he proposes to apply the eight hours’ system to the iron industry.
– We ought to say that not more than forty-eight hours shall he worked by the employes weekly.
– There is a recognised working day in all these trades.
– I admit that. But in Tasmania, where there is a remote possibility of the industry being established, the employes work for considerably more than eight hours a day and for less wages than are paid in any other State.
– Cannot the honorable senator trust the Court to say what shall be the rate of wages for the ordinary working day?
– What power will the Court have over industrial matters in Tasmania ?
– Exactly the same power that it possessed in the McKay case which was heard in Melbourne.
– There was a case cited by an industrial union before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court.
– But under this Bill the Minister will take the place of the union, and will possess exactly the same powers and machinery.
– The Minister will take the initiative only if he is moved to do so.
– He must take it before the bounty can be paid.
– Do I understand that before the bounty can be paid the Minister must be satisfied that the eight hours’ system is being observed?
– He must be satisfied that the rates of wages paid by any manufacturer are fair and reasonable.
– Then the matter will depend entirely upon the Minister who is in office.
– Exactly. I have every confidence in the present Minister-
– The honorable senator has a funny method of showing it.
– I do not know that I have. I am merely anxious to secure the recognition of a certain principle in this clause. The Minister who is1 in charge of this Bill to-day may not be charged with its administration when a dispute arises. There is no guarantee that the present Government will continue in office indefinitely. Suppose that the Minister is satisfied that the industrial conditions prevailing in the iron industry are fair and reasonable, and that he subsequently ascertains that they are not being observed in the way that was originally agreed upon, will the manufacturer to whom the bounty; has been paid be liable to a penalty?
– In that case, he would not receive the bounty.
– But I am assuming that he has already received it.
– He cannot receive the bounty until he has proved to the satisfaction of the Minister that he has paid fair and reasonable wages.
– But if a manufacturer satisfies the Minister at the time he makes application for the bounty that he is paying fair and reasonable wages, he will receive the bounty.
– No, that he has paid, not that he will pay.
– -When the McKay firm and other people interested in making harvesters approached Parliament they gave an assurance that fair and reasonable industrial conditions would be observed. Even when a case was cited before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court the McKay firm came forward and endeavoured to prove that they were paying fair and reasonable wages and observing proper industrial conditions. Attempts will doubtless be made by people in the iron industry to prove the same thing. In the event of the manufacturers making a departure from the conditions which they ought to observe, what course is open to the Minister?
– He can refuse to pay the bounty.
– - I am assuming the payment of a considerable portion of the bounty before it is discovered that proper industrial conditions are not being observed. What safeguard is there for the men who will have been defrauded of their wages?
– Senator Findley should recollect that we are not legislating with regard to labour conditions generally. We are simply providing a bounty for the production of iron. The Minister will say to the manufacturers, “ Before you can receive the bounty we must have proof that’ you have paid, not that you are going to pay, fair and reasonable wages.”
– That applies only ro the manufacturer. What will be done to protect the men working in the mines?
– Mining for iron ore will, I think, be covered by the undertaking.
– Suppose a manufacturer makes an honest statement and gets the bounty, but then makes a departure from fair conditions?
– If a manufacturer says “ I have made 100 tons of pig iron under fair and reasonable conditions as to labour,” the Minister will pay him the bounty on the £100. If he afterwards departs from those conditions, and again asks for the bounty, the Minister will not pay it to him. If ‘the manufacturer says that he has observed proper conditions of labour when he has not done so, he will be liable under clause 12 to fine and imprisonment. The present case is not on all fours with that relating to harvesters. There the manufacturer was not getting a bounty but a duty. There was no payment to him by the Minister. The only obligation was that if he did not observe proper labour conditions he should pay Excise. Here the reverse is the case. The manufacturer will have to come to the Treasurer for the bounty. Before the Treasurer pays any money over to him he will have to be satisfied that the labour conditions are fair and reasonable.
– The discussion shows the difficulties we get into when we depart from proper principles in regard to legislation. I. object to the clause altogether. The High Court may in a few months’ time repeat the lesson given us not so long ago. In Tasmania we have no Wages Board. If there is going to be a monopoly of the iron industry in New South Wales, how can the Minister decide what is a standard rate of wage? There cannot be a standard rate when there is only one manufacturer.
– There is a Court in New South Wales which determines what is a fair and reasonable rate. The Court has decided that very point at Lithgow.
– If there is to be a monopoly, I see a difficulty in working the provision.
– Two points have been raised, the answers to which, will stand some amplification. I think that Senator Macfarlane is under a misapprehension. He asks how a standard rate of wages is to be determined when there is only one industry of the kind. That question is being answered now. There is to-day in New South Wales a Wages Board under the Industrial Disputes Act, which has already. determined the question for the iron industry ; .and I believe that the Board is only awaiting the decision of this Senate before making its final determination.
– Does the honorable senator say that the decision of the New South Wales Board is pending the determination of this Bill by the national Parliament ?
– I most decidedly do.
– It is a funny kind of Board then.
– It is not, for the reason that it has been made obvious that the passage of the Bill must affect wages in the iron industry. If the Bill be not passed wages must be reduced or the industry must be shut up.
– That is a fine lever.
– To my mind, the proper thing has been done, and I do not find fault with it. The Minister has properly pointed out the strongly-marked difference between, the collection of a tax from certain men and the payment of a bounty. The bounty remains in the Treasury until it is paid out, and the manufacturers can only get the money by satisfying the Minister that they have observed the conditions. That is the marked difference between this proposal, and the one with reference to harvesters that has been declared ultra vires. We are not attempting to regulate wages. The manufacturers can pay any wages they like. We simply say to- them, “ Unless you pay the recognised standard of wages you will not get the bounty.” That consideration ought to allay the fears of Senator Macfarlane as to the constitutionality of the grounds upon which we are proceeding. I am with Senator Findley in his desire to see the interests of the men protected. I have looked into this clause very carefully, and it seems to me that it safeguards the interests of the men by throwing upon the Minister the responsibility of seeing that proper wages are paid before he authorizes the payment from the Treasury of a single penny in the way of bounty.
.- Will the Minister accept a suggestion from me? In my opinion there should be posted in a conspicuous place at the works at Lithgow, or wherever iron is manufactured, the names, ages, addresses, hours worked, and wages of every employ^ engaged in the industry, and a copy of the information should be forwarded to the Minister?
– I do not think that we need insert in the Bill such a provision as Senator Findley has suggested. If he turns to clause 13, subclause 3, he will find that it is there provided that the books of the manufacturers may be inspected for the purpose of ascertaining and reporting on the cost of production and manufacture. The Government would therefore be in a position1 to obtain all the information that they required. We can ascertain what wages are being paid, and if the Minister is not satisfied, he can refuse to pay the bounty.
.- A Government officer, under the Factories Act in Victoria, and under the Arbitration Act in New South Wales, can enter factories and workshops, and make inquiries from those engaged as to the hours they work and the wages they receive. But there are great difficulties in obtaining the information sometimes. If, however, the Minister was supplied with information as to the ages, addresses, rates of pay, and hours worked, of employes in the industry, he would have complete control. Had such a regulation been enforced in the harvester industry, a great deal of expense would have been saved to the workers. As a matter of fact, I made a similar suggestion upon the Bill affecting the harvester industry, but it was pointed out to me that such a provision could not be inserted. The suggestion is a good one. I make it again now. I am told that a Government officer can inspect the manufacturers’ books. But that is a costly, and sometimes an unsatisfactory, method.
– The representatives of the unions have that power already.
– They have not power to investigate the books of the employers.
– They have power to ask for the names of all employes.
– We do riot want to place a man in the position of saying “ I should like to know what A, B, and C are receiving. It is asserted that they are getting union wages; but I have my doubts.” As soon as he commenced to make an exhaustive inquiry, probably he would be a spotted man, and out of their works he would go.
– It is the duty of the secretary of a union to go down to the works and inspect the books.
– Why should it be the duty of the secretary to do that work if it can be done in another way?
-Under this Bill secretaries of unions will not need to be called in for any purpose. If Senator Findley will only read the clause, he will see that power is taken to make all regulations necessary for carrying out the law.
– That is all right. All I ask the Minister to do is to give an assurance that a regulation on the lines I nave suggested will be made.
– I shall bring the suggestion under the notice of the Minister, and recommend it because I know the value of it.
– Those who axe to receive the bounty cannot object to posting at the works a scale if they are paying fair and reasonable rates. As a matter of fact, if they are doing that which is right by their employes, it will be a good advertisement for their industry and themselves. Otherwise, the probability is that they will offer a strong objection to posting the information. I am satisfied with the Minister’s assurance.
– I hope that the Bill will not be overloaded with a number of these provisions. I suppose that if this industry grows, it will employ1,000 or 1,500 persons, probably more. With men going and coming, probably every week, the preparation of a long list every week would lay upon the employers a burden which, I think, would be altogether unfair. It takes weeks to prepare some of the returns which are called for under the Factories Acts. The returns are sent in, pigeonholed, and never looked at.
– It is a safeguard to the good employer as against the bad one.
– It is not. because the returns are never looked at. The only man who is troubled to make them is the good employer, and the bad one is left alone.
– That does not apply in Victoria.
– I am speaking of our experience in South Australia., which, in these matters, copied Victoria very largely.Under the Bill, as it is framed, every opportunity is provided for the Minister to satisfy himself that fair wages are paid. It will be his duty to see that that is done.
– Why should he be called upon to inquire whether 1,500 persons are receiving from time to time reasonable wages?
– Why should the honorable senator call upon an employer to detail a man, week after week, to prepare a list of the workmen, and post it where, probably, it will never be looked at. If it would be of any value I should not object, but I do not think it is worth whileto overload the Bill with a provision for that purpose, because the Minister, before he pays the bounty, will have every opportunity to discover whether proper conditions have been complied with, and that, I think, ought to be sufficient.
– The last speaker spoke very feelingly of what he calls the very unnecessary hardships which are put upon employers by compelling them to make out a list of their employés. and compiling various returns under the Factories Acts. I contend that from such legislation the good employer has benefited as much as, if not more than, any workmen.
– What I say is that the good employer complies with the law, and the other employers are not dealt with.
– Formerly the good employer was driven to do things which were abhorrent to him by the competitive action of the bad employer. But under the Factories Acts all employers have to comply with certain conditions. In that way the good employer is safeguarded from the undue and sweating competition of the unfair employer. What Senator Findley is contending for would be a very simple, but most important, safeguard, because no employer would dare to post a false notice as to the wages of any person. I take it that the fact that a man was set down as receiving certain wages would beprimâ facie evidence that he was entitled to them, and could recover them, by process of law.
– A notice is scarcely ever, looked at.
– I have frequently gone into factories, and that has always been the first thing I have looked at. Some of the notices were eye-openers to me. As a safeguard to the workers, the posting of a notice at the ironworks would be almost invaluable. No man would be forced to become a marked man by insisting upon the right to look at the books, because the facts would be posted for every one to read. I hail with pleasure the Minister’s declaration that he will see what can be done in that regard. I regret that the clause does not go far enough, and, therefore, the amendment in that respect will be defective. The clause only provides a safeguard for the men employed in the manufacture of the goods. It makes no reference to men employed in the mining of the ore. In reply to an interjection, the Minister said that he thought that the latter would be covered. I do not hold with that idea for a moment. For instance, a man growing wheat cannot be said to be engaged in the manufacture of flour any more than a man engaged in mining ore in Tasmania, although it might be for the same company, could be said to be engaged in the manufacture of iron at Lithgow. Tasmania possesses valuable iron ore. Probably the works at Lithgow, or any other works which might be established under the Bill, would draw a considerable portion of their ore from that State. They might own mines there, and directly employ men or contract for the supply of ore from their mines. In the limited sense in which the clause can be read, the employers, while paying fair and reasonable wages to the men engaged in the factory, could take it out of the unfortunate men who were working for them in the mines, and pay them under a contract or other system absolutely sweating wages. As we propose to give a handsome bounty, we should insure that the men engaged in the production of the ore and the manufacture of the goods, no matter whether there is a local Wages Board or a Factories Act, or not, shall receive fair and reasonable wages. The principle of new protection is generally approved not only by Parliament, but also by the people, and we should see that it is given effect to. I hope that the Minister will consent to a recommittal of the clause, so that it may embrace all employes. The amendment which the Minister seeks to insert is a valuable one. But it seems to me that there is a danger that it might be abrogated by future Administrations. The question as to whether the matter should be referred to a Judge of a High Court or a Judge of the Supreme Court of a State would be entirely optional with the Minister. He could act according to his own sweet will. In the whirligig of politics, it is quite possible that the administra- tion of the law might be placed in the hands’ of an honorable senator opposite. It is quite possible, for instance, that it might be administered by Senator Vardon, who has emphatically declared that he is against all this unwarrantable interference with private enterprise.
– He said nothing of the sort.
– The honorable senator said that he does not want private enterprise to be hampered, or the Bill overloaded with conditions.
– I want good wages all the while.
– I am not disputing that, but pointing out that it is an innate principle of the honorable senator’s political faith that private enterprise should not be hampered.
– Private enterprise will have to obey the law whatever it is.
– It would be optional with the Minister to carry out the law in either way. All that it would be necessary for a person to do would be to satisfy the Minister. What might appear to be a fair and reasonable wage to one Minister might seem an absurdly high or low rate to his successor. I want to transfer the burden of responsibility from the Minister to a Court.
– In existing circumstances, I can understand the honorable senator’s want of faith irc the Minister, although I do not share it.
- Senator Millen may indulge in all the’ cheap sneers he pleases, but the fact remains that Ministers come and go. In every State in Australia different Acts have had to be administered at frequent intervals by men holding varying opinions. We have little reason to expect that political conditions will be any more stable in the Commonwealth than they have been shown to be in the States. Our experience since Federation was established has not shown that any Federal Minister has a permanent hold of a portfolio. We must provide for the contingency that in the whirligig of politics, Ministerial changes will take place, and that men holding totally opposite views with regard to the justice of this kind of legislation, and with regard to the remuneration and conditions of labour, will at different times be called upon to administer this Bill. I do not desire that its administration should be at the mercy of any Minister. I have no wish to place such a responsibility upon any Minister. Under the amendment, it is left optional with the Minister to refer the matter to a Judge of the High Court or of a Supreme Court of a State, and I prefer a mandatory provision that, in the absence of the other standards provided for, the Minister shall refer the matter to a Judge of the High Court, or of the Supreme Court of a State. The Minister, whoever he might be, would then be relieved of the responsibility of giving a decision which might bring upon him the obloquy of employers or of employés. The decision of the matter would be left to a Judge of the High Court or of the Supreme Court of a State to whom interested motives could not be attributed. He would therefore be removed from any adverse criticism, and his decision we might expect would give satisfaction to every one.
– I agree with Senator Findley, and believe that the course he has suggested could be very easily adopted in connexion with any industry. As a rule, employers are very careful to keep minute records of all their dealings, particularly with working men.
– They have to be.
– It is only right that they should be careful in such matters. Senator Vardon’s apprehension that there would be difficulties in the way of the adoption of Senator Findley ‘s proposal is not well founded. I have occupied positions which have enabled me to Become acquainted with the inside running in connexion with the management of many industries. I know the way in which employers keep records of payments to their employes, and I say that there would be no difficulty about providing in this clause for the adoption of the course suggested by Senator Findley. Every employer keeps a pay-sheet of his employes, and at least one copy of it. In the case of industries in which large numbers of persons are employed, it is the common practice to make up a pay-sheet, and to provide one, and in many cases, two or three copies of it, for every fortnightly pay. The purposes for which these pay-sheets are made upI need not describe. I venture to say that when the ironindustry is set going, and is controlled by a company, a pay-sheet will be made up for every payment made to the employes, and a copy of it will be sent to the London office of the company, another to their Melbourne office, and another to their Sydney office, and a copy will be filed in the office of the works irrespective of the book records. There would be no difficulty at all in striking off a fourth or a fifth copy of the pay-sheet giving every item of information sought by Senator Findley, and leaving it open to inspection in the works. With regard to the statement that the union secretary is the man who ought to fossick out all this information, I should like it to be shown that it has ever yet been possible in Australia for a union secretary to enter the office of an employer and demand from him a record of the wages paid to hisemployés from time to time.
– He would be “ biffed out,” neck and crop.
– -He would be kicked out of the office, or given in charge. I remember that on one occasion when, as secretary of an association of workers, I wished to see a number of the employes in an industry, who were members of the association, I went to the works where 300 men were employed. The office and the works were enclosed within a fence, and there was a great big six-feet-four policeman on hand to prevent me from getting through the enclosure to speak to the employes of the company. That kind of thing occurs frequently.
– Was the honorable senator run in?
– No; I did not get inside the fence. I remained outside, out of respect for the six-feet-four of blue cloth and white buttons.
SenatorVardon. -Was the policeman paid by the State?
– He should have been paid by the company.
– Honorable senators must know that in these cases, the company always manages to have a big policeman at the office, whether to watch the pay-clerk or the men I am not prepared to say. When we are being asked to pay£30,000 a year out of the funds of the Commonwealth to assist this industry, I see no reason why we should not make provision in this Bill for an accurate statement of the wages paid to the men working in the different branches of the industry ; not such a statement as has sometimes been submitted in some of the Courts of Victoria. All these records are kept by every employer of labour.
– There should be no objection to providing a copy of the fortnightly pay-sheet to which the honorable senator refers; but Senator Findley desires that the ages and addresses of the employes, and other information, should be given.
– All such records are kept. It is necessary, and in some instances compulsory, for employers to keep such records, and there is no reason why they should not be supplied. I hope the Government will see their way clear to make provision in the Bill for what Senator Findley has suggested.
.- -The whole of the details asked for by Senators Henderson and Findley are supplied in New South Wales in connexion with every large business. The only objection to supplying such details that I have noted in my experience,^ are objections taken by the working men themselves. It is well-known that for various reasons, some men are given higher wages than are fixed by the Courts, and they very often object to the wages they receive being made generally known.
. -I anticipated that the Minister would give the Committee some assurances in connexion with the matter referred to by Senator Findley and other honorable senators, and especially on the point that it should not be left optional with a Minister to apply to a Judge of the High Court or of the Supreme Court of a State, in the absence of the other standard provided for in the Bill. I believe ihat the_Minister rose to make some statement, but gave way to other honorable senators. I hope that he will give the Committee some assurance 0:1 these points.
– I thought I. had previously answered the points raised. There is really no necessity for the alteration which Senator Givens desires. I wish to point out that the Minister has to act when the application for the bounty is first made to him. He has then to look round with a view to ascertaining whether there is any award or industrial authority governing the particular district in which the industry is being conducted. If there is, he inquires whether a manufacturer has observed the conditions laid down in that award. Assuming that ,he has done so, the
Minister pays the bounty. Obviously, it would be undesirable to make it obligatory upon him to refer every claim which was made for the bounty to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court.
– That is not what is asked.
– In the first place, the Minister has to ascertain whether the rates paid in the industry are below those prescribed by any Commonwealth or State industrial authority. In the second place, he has to ascertain whether they are below the standard paid in the district in which the goods are manufactured. His only means of discovering that is by ascertaining whether there is any statutory rate in existence.
– Very frequently there is not.
– That is so. In that case, he may refer to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court.
– But, without doing that, he may say he is satisfied that fair and reasonable rates are being paid.
– He cannot. It is obligatory upon the Minister to satisfy himself in one of the ways I have outlined before the bounty can be paid. The Government pointed out to the Law officers of the Crown that, under the Sugar Bounty Act, the discretion of satisfying himself as to the wages paid in the sugar industry was left to the Minister, and we instructed them in drafting these clauses not to leave that discretion to him. The Law officers assure us that the clauses do not leave the matter to the Minister’s discretion, as does the Act to which I have referred. He has to see that one of the three conditions to which I have alluded obtains.
– In regard to the Excise Tariff (Agricultural Machinery) Act, the Minister did not put the law in motion until the agricultural implement makers took action at very great expense to themselves.
– But, in that case, the manufacturer had not to approach the Minister for any benefit. On the contrary, it was to his interest to hold aloof from the Minister. The position here is exactly the reverse. Under this Bill, the person who will be interested in setting the law in motion will be the manufacturer.
– But there is nothing in the clause defining what shall satisf y the Minister.
– As I have already pointed out, no discretion is left to the Minister. He cannot say what constitutes fair and reasonable wages. It is his duty to ascertain which of the three conditions I have outlined exists.
– The Minister only applies to the President of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court.
– Practically. If there be no award in existence, he must refer the matter to that Court.
– The Minister must be satisfied that fair and reasonable wages are being paid, or he must refer it to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court. But we all know that it is very easy to satisfy some Ministers.
– The honorable senator, I am sure, has the Sugar Bounty Act in his mind. But, as I have already pointed out, the position here is entirely different. This clause does not say anything about the Minister having to be satisfied as to the wages which are being paid. Let me put a concrete case - that of the Lithgow ironworks. We have been told that the conditions which obtain there are now being investigated by an Industrial Board, which will make an award. When the proprietors of those works claim the bounty, the Minister will say, “ I have first to ascertain whether the standard wages prescribed by the State industrial authorities have been observed.” If he is satisfied upon that point, he will pay the bounty.
– Would it not be better to substitute the word “ shall “ for “may”?
– There is no necessity to do that. As a matter of fact, the word “ may “ is not used in this provision.
– Cannot we provide for the Minister withholding the bounty?
– The clause already does that. Honorable senators, it seems to me, are hypercritical.
– The . chief trouble will arise in cases where there is no standard rate of wage, and where the Minister has to deal with the rate which is paid in a particular district.
– If no standard rate has been adopted, the Minister will have to refer the matterto the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration. He cannot establish a standard himself. He cannot accept either what the employers or employes lay down as a standard. If he is satisfied that a manufacturer is not paying fair and reasonable wages, he will withhold the bounty.
– The trouble is that a Minister with a kindly feeling for the manufacturer may be very easily satisfied.
– If a Minister is in office who desires to get round the law, he will get round it.
– But he will have to get round Parliament too.
– Exactly. In order to get round the law, we have to presuppose a dishonest Minister.
– He may be unconsciously biased.
– Under this provision, the Minister has no option, and no words that we can insert will give him an option. Senator Henderson has said that we ought to insert all necessary provisions in the Bill. To give effect to his idea, we should have to embody whole schedules in it. For instance, Senator Findley holds that we ought to insert in the measure provision for the recognition of the eighthours’ principle.
– That is a vastly different matter.
– Wages conditions are just as important a, matter as is the recognition of the eight hours’ principle ; and if we are going to insert in the Bill provision for the one matter, we should also embody in it provision for the other.
Amendment agreed to.
– I move-
That after sub-clause 2 the following new subclause be inserted : - “(3) All the provisions of the Excise Procedure Act 1907 and of any regulations made thereunder shall apply in relation to any application under paragraph (c) of the last preceding sub-section as if the application were an application as defined in that Act, and the application shall, for the purposes of that Act, be deemed to be an application under that Act : “ Provided that section’ 4 of that Act shall be read as if the words ‘ claimant for bounty ‘ were substituted for the word applicant.”
This provision will practically give us the benefit of all the machinery of the Excise Procedure Act. It will also effect a necessary alteration by substituting the words “claimant for bounty” for the word “ applicant.”
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 12 and 13 agreed to.
Clause 14 -
A return setting forth -
the names of all persons to whom bounties were paid during the preceding financial year ;
the amounts of all such bounties;
the goods in respect of which the bountieswere paid ;
the names of the places and States in which the goods were manufactured, shall be prepared in the month of July in each year and shall be laid before both Houses of the Parliament within thirty days after its preparation if the Parliament is then sitting, and if not, then within thirty days after the next meeting thereof.
– This clause provides that a return shall be laid before Parliament setting forth the names of all persons to whom bounties have been paid during the previous financial year, the amounts of such bounties, the goods in respect of which they were paid, and the names of the places and States in which the goods were manufactured. It seems to me that that return must contain a certain amount of information regarding the wages paid to, and the hours worked by employes, and that information I think ought to be laid before Parliament, otherwise Parliament cannot know whether the bounty has been properly or improperly paid. Under the circumstances, I think it would be wise to insert in the clause a new paragraph providing for the tabling of information regarding the number of hands employed, the ordinary hours worked bv them, and also the wages paid to the different classes of employes in the industry.
– And their ages, too.
– I do not think that that is necessary. Take the industry established at Lithgow as an illustration. There the employés are working under an award which takes into consideration their ages, &c., and the information for which I have asked, in respect of that district ought to be embodied in the proposed return.
– The wage may not apply to all the employés in the works.
– We assume that the conditions will apply to all those engaged in the manufacture of the commodity on which the bounty is paid.
– But there are others who are indirectly concerned.
– The honorable senator refers to the miners. I agree with him. A suggestion has been made to me in writing by the Minister in accordance with which I move -
That the following words be added “ (e) the number of persons employed in each of the works, wages paid, and hours observed in the production of the goods.”
The phrase “ production of the goods “ covers everything, because the iron cannot be manufactured without the ore.
.- I should like to know whether the return is to be an aggregate one, or whether it is to be detailed.
– It will be similar to returns under State factory legislation.
– The return supplied to the Chief Inspector of Factories in Victoria shows the wages paid to every individual. I have had to make out dozens of those returns as manager of a printing establishment. It would be no use to supply an aggregate return of the wages earned.
– - I presume that the information given will relate to the various grades. We shall thus be able to form an idea of the wages paid to individuals. We shall be able to compare wages paid to moulders at Lithgow or at any other place where iron is to be manufactured, with those paid to men engaged in other branches of the industry.
Amendment agreed to.
– Perhaps it might be advisable to insert after the word “bounties” in paragraph a the words “ under this Act.” The clause reads as if the return was to relate to all bounties. If, however, the Government are satisfied. I shall not move an amendment.
– I take it that bounties, wherever mentioned, relate to bounties under the measure, and not to bounties generally.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 15 agreed to.
– I move -
That the figures “12” (where first occurring in the second column) be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figure “ 8.”
I wish to reduce the amount of the bounty to be paid for the productionof pig iron from 12s. to 8s. The proportion proposed is altogether unfair. I voted against reducing the total amount of bounty because I considered it quite small enough. But I wish to see a fair distribution of the money. Every one who has any knowledge of the making of iron must admit that not half so much labour is expended in making pig iron as in making malleable iron ; while still more labour is involved in making steel. Yet, according to this schedule, the same amount ofbounty is provided under each heading. The amount of labour put into the making of the article may be taken as a basis of calculation. According to the statement of Mr. Allard, which has been distributed, the labour cost of making iron at Lithgow is very much inflated as compared with the cost of manufacture in other parts of the world. I cannot understand how the works have been managed - perhaps I should say mismanaged - because the sums mentioned are ridiculously high. For the life of me, I cannot see the justification for them. The various costs are stated under different headings. Whether that has been done for the purpose of concealing the mismanagement, and the enormous cost of manufacture at Lithgow, I do not know. First of all, we are given the figures for the making of a ton of iron.
It is stated that the cost of production is £3 10s. per ton. The cost is made up of raw material, wages, coal, stores, repairs, depreciation, so much for reserve, the cost of relining furnaces, and administration expenses. It seems to me that the latter should be included under wages.
– The administration expenses have to be paid, and it does not matter whether they are included under wages or not.
– Last of all, there is set down an amount for interest for the six months. Under wages, the amount set down is 12s. per ton, and the cost of administration is extraordinarilyhigh, being11s. per ton. So that the total cost of wages and administration, according to these figures, is 23s. per ton. That is an extraordinary total compared with the cost in other parts of the world.
– I think the honorable senator is mistaken. The cost of administration is only11d., not11s.
– Then there must be a misprint in the copy which I am using. I could not understand the figures. But I do not wish to be unfair. Mv only object is to grasp the subject clearly.
– The administration cost ought to be about 10 per cent.
– We . will suppose the total labour cost, including administration, to be 12s. I have before me an up-to-date book by an up-to-date man, Mr. Stephen Jeans, who is one of the greatest authorities on the subject in Great Britain. He is the secretary of the
Ironmasters’ Association, and was sent to America to report on the iron trade of that country. Figures given by Mr. Allard show that the cost of manufacture at Lithgow isvery high compared with the cost in other parts of the world. It may be. I find that coal is not included under the head of raw materials. If it is not one of the raw materials in making pig iron, I do not know under what other head it can be put.
– It is fuel, not raw material.
– Iron ore is the raw material.
– It is news to me to hear that coal is not one of the ingredients in making pig iron.
-No part of the coal goes into the iron.
– I am afraid that my honorable friend has yet something to learn, because a great proportion of the elements of coal do go into the pig iron.
– The carbon goes into the iron sometimes.
– Limestone, coal, and iron ore are requisite for the making of pig iron. In this book £2 is set down for raw material and under the head of coal, stores and repairs I see the amount of 2s. 2d. However, we will not quarrel about the headings under which the items appear, so long as they are accounted for. According to Mr. Jeans, iron is made at Pittsburg at £1 12s. 5½d. a ton, and at Middlesborough, in England, at a little higher cost. The difference) is due, I suppose, to the fact that in England the plants are not so up to date as in Pittsburg, and perhaps the raw material costs a little more. We know that the. iron ore used in England contains a much lower percentage of iron than does that which is used in America. The price of making iron at Middlesborough is £2 12s. 2d. a ton, so that the price of £310s. at Lithgow is very inflated compared with that which obtains elsewhere. We iwish to do a fair thing by any companies which engage in the iron industry, and I hope that for the sake of the industry itself other works will be started. If I owned the works at Lithgow I should, remove them to a more suitable place. I believe that the great cost of producing pig iron at Lithgow can be traced to the fact that the iron ore has to be parried a considerable distance, from either Cadia or Carcoar, while the pig iron has to be taken a long distance to the coast. It is a place at which it is very expensive indeed to carry on an iron industry. The proposed bounty should be apportioned so that the makers of steel would get more than the makers of pig iron. Although it is well known that it is much more expensive to make steel than to make pig; iron, yet it is proposed to give the samebounty - 12 s.a ton - in each case. In Canada the bounty allowed for pig iron is about 8s. a ton. If we adopt that figure, we shall deal very fairly indeed with the company. I do not propose to reduce the total amount of the bounty, but merely to secure a fairer apportionment of it, so as to enable other companies to engagein the industry, with the possibility of obtaining a share of this money. I wish to reduce the amount by 4s. a ton. I believe that it would be to the advantage of the iron trades generally if we had another ironworks making pig iron. There are foundries at Melbourne, Ballarat, Castlemaine, and Bendigo, in Victoria; at Adelaide and Gawler, in South Australia; at Brisbane and Maryborough, in Queensland; and at Perth and Kalgoorlie, in Western Australia. In the interest of existing foundries we should encourageas many makers of their raw material as we possiblycan, in order that it may be procurable at. a reasonable price. I hold’ that my amendment is calculated to induce other companies to engage in the iron industry. Such encouragement can only be given by apportioning the bounty in a more equitable way.
– The Government cannot accept the amendment, because we consider that the bounty provided is necessary in order to carry on the industry. We are supported by the Iron Bonus Commission, which went pretty extensively into the question of the cost of manufacture, and recommended a bounty of 12 s. a ton on pig iron.
– Is that the irreducible minimum?
– Yes, so far as the Government are concerned. Senator de Largie, and I think every one of us, would like to see some competition in this industry, but I point out to him that a reduction of the bounty would have a deterring effect. The higher we fix the bounty the more likely are we to secure competition. If it were reduced probably there would be fewer applicants.
– In the production of pig aron the great factor is cheap raw material, and labour is only a small factor.
– I think that it is a big item.
– In the account which has been presented to us, the average cost of labour is put down at 12s. out of a total of 70s. I believe that Mr. Sandford’s original estimate was near the truth. I am borne out by a statement which I saw only to-day in regard to a system of producing pig iron by electricity in Canada. The various costs are given, and the amount put down for labour is only $1 per ton. Of course the remark just made by Senator Gray is partly justified by the fact that labour is required in getting the raw material.
– Coal and lime.
– Coal is not a
– It is absolutely necessary .
– Yes. I do not believe that the Senate would give a bounty to assist the production of coal, as that is quite unnecessary. In view of all the facts of the case I think that 8s. a ton is not only a sufficient but an exceedingly handsome sum to give. My desire is to put all the facts as I know them before the Committee. Senator de Largie has referred to the Canadian bounty. This year, the amount payable is $2 10 cts., which is equal to 8s. 9d., on what is known as the short ton of 2,000 lbs. Our bounty is based on the long ton of 2,240 lbs. The Canadian bounty of this year is equal to 9s. rod. on the long ton. Next year, on the long ton, Canada proposes to pay 7 s. 1 id., and in 1910, 4s. 3d. For years the “Canadians have been chopping and changing. In 1897 they were giving equal to 14s. on the long ton. Originally they started with a duty of $i£, equal to about 7s. ; then they adopted a duty equal to 4s. -lid. a ton, and afterwards they went up to 14s. a ton, so that they have been paying a variety of rates. This year they are paying a rate between 9s. and 10s. per ton, and, according to their law, the rate next year will be reduced to 7s. nd. per ton, and in 1910 to 4s. 3d. per ton, if in the meantime there is no change in the law.
– The honorable senator should not forget that in Canada a permanent duty of 10s. 3d. per ton is imposed.
– I think that 8s. per ton on pig iron, in view of the labour expended in production/, would be a very handsome payment. In fact, it is much higher than 12s. per ton on puddled iron. Honorable senators should bear in mind that we are being asked to give this “ bounty because of the extraordinary cost of labour. We have in three cases a uniform rate of 12s. per ton proposed irrespective of the labour expended in production. Senator de Largie’s amendment would provide for a fairer rate of payment, and the honorable senator does not propose to reduce the total amount of bounty granted. Whether the total amount agreed to be ^100,000 or .£150,000, it is evident that we shall secure a greater production by paying at the rate of 8s. per ton than we should secure by paying at the rate of 12s. per ton. Looking at the matter all round, I think that Senator de Largie’s amendment should be accepted.
– I hope the Government will adhere to the Bill as it is.
– Good old protectionist.
– Good as this business may appear to some honorable senators to be, I would not put a penny piece of my money into the industry, although there is no member of the Committee who is more anxious than I am that in the interests of the people of Australia it should be placed upon a permanent footing.
– The honorable senator is willing to put the people’s money into the industry, but he will not put his own into it.
– I am willing that the people’s money should be put out at good interest.
– Why is the honorable senator not prepared to put out his own money at good interest?
– Because I have no surplus money to spare for the purpose. It is necessary that this and every other industry should be carried on at a profit, and those who are engaged in the iron industry at the present time state emphatically that they can carry it on at a profit only under certain conditions. Their statement has been confirmed by the evidence “taken by the Iron Bonus Commission from experts throughout
Australia. We may reasonably assume that the members of the present Government have gone very carefully into the details of this measure, and would not submit a proposal which they considered likely to lead to the loss of the people’s money.
– They picked this Bill up out of a dark corner.
– I believe that Senators de Largie and Pulsford are entirely sincere in the statements which they have made to the Committee. Mr. Sandford publicly stated that he could manufacture pig iron at Lithgow at a certain price. He went into details as to cost of labour, and other charges accounting for the price which he quoted. He subsequently visited England and America, and returned to Lithgow, where he carried out a practical trial, and in a letter published in the Sydney Miming Herald, when he desired to secure additional share capital, and issued a statement of the cost of manufacturing pig iron, he had to confess he had made a mistake in the first estimate of the labour cost. It is clear that, in trying to issue fresh shares, no man would carelessly publish a statement which might have the effect of preventing financial people from investing their money in the business; but Mr. Sandford stated, emphatically that he had made a mistake in bis first estimate, and that the labour cost involved in the manufacture of pig iron at Lithgow was double what he first anticipated it to be. Honorable senators must remember that in the manufacture of pig iron, the cost of coal, coke, limestone, iron ore, smelting, labour, cartage, and freight, must be taken into account.
– So it is elsewhere.
– But the illustrations from Canada and America are not fair, because there the conditions of distribution are very different from those which have to be faced in Australia. In Canada and America, great manufacturing populations are centred around the works at which, the iron is produced.
– Not in every case.
– The freight on pig iron produced at Lithgow is 7s. 6d. per ton to Sydney, from 12s. 6d. to 15s. per ton to Melbourne, and 20s. per ton to Western. Australia. These charges must also be taken into account in reckoning the cost of carrying on the industry at Lithgow. It ‘must be remembered also, that the Lithgow iron is brought into competition with pig iron imported from Lon don at a rate of freight which, in many cases, is less than the freight charged from 1 Lithgow to Melbourne. It is well known that pig iron imported from Glasgow and from America, can be landed at certain ports in the Commonwealth at a lower rateof freight than is charged from Lithgow to the same places. It is not often that, one has to make such a charge against Senator Pulsford ; but I must say that the honorable senator was very unfair in his references to Canada. He should haveknown that in Canada there is a duty of 10s. 3d. per ton, which is not imposed today and removed to-morrow, but is permanent. This must be added to thebounty of 8s., 10s., or 12s. per ton. If the duty is added, it will be found that even in those years in which thelowest rate of bounty was paid in Canada,, the actual encouragement given to the industry was far greater than that proposed1 to be given under this Bill.
– The honorable senator is proving conclusively Senator de Largie’s contention that Lithgow is the wrong place in which to establish iron works. He is proving that it is too costly to carry on the industry there.
– I am not dealing; with that argument, which I do not think is worth twopence. In- my opinion, an ounce of fact is worth a ton- of theory.. Men who have spent all their lives in theiron industry, have put their money into the works at Lithgow. They would not- have done so if they knew th at they might - have carried on the industry more advantageously) at some other place. Every expert in the industry who has so far expressed an opinion, has stated that, taking the surrounding conditions into consideration, no place has yet been discovered intha Commonwealth which is more conveniently situated than is Lithgow for the successful manufacture of pig iron. It is idle to suggest that experts in. the business would invest large sums of money in an effort to carry on the industry at a place where the natural conditions are opposed’”’ to its being carried on successfully. If our honorable friends opposite know of some place where limestone, coal, iron ore; and all the other essentials of the industry could be obtained more cheaply than at Lithgow, it is strange that they should” withhold the information from the Committee. They have given- reasons why, in» their opinion, Lithgow is not a suitableplace for carrying on the industry, and/’ it is acknowledged that, in view of the cost of distribution from Lithgow, there is something in the contention ; but unless -they can point to some other place in the Commonwealth offering better facilities for the successful prosecution of the industry, it is idle to repeat a general statement that Lithgow is unsuitable. For the reasons I have given, I trust that the Government will adhere to the rates of bounty as set out in the schedule.
– - The microbes have evidently been very much in evidence in this chamber. I always understood that Senator Gray was a free-trader ; but it seems that the microbe of protection has affected the honorable senator to such an extent as to induce him to deliver one of” the strongest protectionist speeches I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. I do not suggest for a moment that the fact that the iron industry, so far as it is established at all in the Commonwealth at the present time, is established in the State of New South Wales, has anything to do with the honorable senator’s sudden conversion, or with his enthusiastic support of this Bill. When Senator Gray, animadverts upon his colleague. Senator Pulsford, he should be able to give good reasons for his condemnation. I believe that Senator Pulsford gave excellent reasons for his support of the amendment proposing the reduction of the rate of bounty on pig iron from 12s. to 8s. 1 have always been in favour of granting a bounty to the iron industry, because I believe that its establishment is necessary to Australia. I am in favour of reducing the rate of bounty per ton proposed by the Bill, though 1 am not in favour of reducing the total amount of the bounty proposed. I do not believe Senator de Largie would favour a reduction in the total amount.
– No, not to the extent of is.
– I . favour a reduction of the rate of bounty per ton,, because I believe the reduced rate proposed would offer sufficient encouragement for the manufacture of pig iron, whilst it would insure a larger production,, which would be a distinct advantage to the people of Australia, whose money it is proposed to expend. It is proposed under the Bill to grant a maximum of £30,000 a year in bounty, and 50,000 tons of pig iron would absorb the whole of that amount if the rate of “bounty paid were 12s. per ton, as proposed in the Bill. But if the amount of the bounty be reduced to 8s. per ton, as proposed by Senator de Largie, a production of 75,000 tons of pig iron would be necessary to absorb the £30,000 which is to be annually paid in bounty.
– And in that case the firm would require to erect another blast furnace.
– That, however, from my stand-point, is a side issue. It is infinitely better for the people of Australia that 75,000 tons of pig iron should be produced annually than that only 50,000 tons should be produced.
– But we must recollect that only 50,000 tons were imported last vear.
– I do not anticipate that we shall have a surplus production for some time. But we are a young and growing nation, and it is possible that in the near future our requirements of iron will largely increase. Personally I shall be pleased if our production more than keeps pace with our increased demand. I repeat that it will be better for the people of Australia to have 75,000 tons of pig iron produced annually than to have only 50,000 tons produced. The question, therefore, arises, “ Is the bounty of 8s. per ton which is proposed by ‘Senator de Largie a sufficient encouragement to offer the industry?” Upon the evidence that has been adduced I contend that it is. Before the Lithgow ironworks were taken over by the present proprietor, a competent actuary inquired into the conditions which existed there. In passing, I may mention that 1 had every sympathy with Mr. Sandford in his heroic efforts to establish the iron industry under difficult circumstances, and that sympathy is equally extended to the present proprietor. The actuary who inquired into the conditions which obtained at Lithgow prior to the transfer of the works, set down the total wages paid in the manufacture of a ton of pig iron at 12s. id. Under the Bill it is proposed to grant the firm in question a bounty of 12s. per ton - in other words, that we shall pay the whole of the ‘wages of its employes.
– What a lot of industries would like to receive similar assistance.
– I could do an immense amount of work if I were subsidized to the same extent. Senator de Largie does not propose to go the length of sanctioning the payment of the whole of the; wages absorbed in the industry, but he, nevertheless, proposes to treat it handsomely by paying two-thirds of its total wages cost. That is what his amendment to make the bounty 8s. per ton really .represents. I contend that it is a proposal which should satisfy even the most ardent advocates of the establishment of the iron industry. We all recognise that in a young country like Australia one of the strongest reasons why industries should be encouraged by means of bounties is because employers are obliged to pay higher rates of wages than those which obtain in other countries. But I contend that when we assist the iron industry by paying twothirds of its wages cost of manufacture, we are doing everything which can be expected of us in the way of relieving it of the disability under which it labours by reason of the higher wages which it is called upon to pay. According to the report of the actuary to whom I have referred, the cost of producing a ton of pig iron at Lithgow was £3 10s., and the selling price of that iron was ^3 7s. id. per ton. In other words, there was a difference of 2s. 1 id. per ton between the cost of production and the selling price. Mr. Sandford was therefore losing, approximately, 3s. per ton.
– But the actuary also pointed out that his figures did not allow for interest upon capital sunk in plant, or for depreciation.
– That is not so. The actuary merely stated that he did not think he had allowed a sufficient sum for depreciation, and probably his statement was correct. But even if we add to his figures an extra is. per ton, the total loss sustained by the Lithgow firm would amount only to 4s. per ton. Under Senator de Largie’ s amendment, the industry would be encouraged by a grant of double the amount of that loss. In other words, it would be enabled to carry on its operations, and to convert its loss into a profit.
– Has the honorable senator reckoned anything in connexion with the wages paid for- shifting ore?
– All such matters are included in the total cost of production, which is ^3 ros. per ton. Of course, it has been said that the freight from Sydney to Lithgow and from Lithgow to the seaboard is a very important item. But I would point out that ironworks in other parts of the world have also to pay freight to the coast. As a matter of fact, the great ironworks in America are situated 800 miles from the seaboard.
– Between 400 and 500 miles.
– In view of all the circumstances, I contend that the proposal which is embodied in the amendment of Senator de Largie, is an eminently fairone. If my calculation be correct - and I believe that if it errs it does so on the side of generosity to the Lithgow firmthat amendment would have the effect of converting the loss of 4s. per ton sustained by the works there, into a net profit of 4s. per ton. That is a handsome allowance, and I hope that honorable senatorswho, like myself favour the Bill, willsupport the amendment.
– I was very much surprised to hear the arguments used by Senator Gray in debating this question. I have a vivid recollection that last year, when other industries were asking for some slight measure of protection, he was in the habit of reminding us that they already enjoyed a largemeasure of natural protection by reason of their geographical position. . Yet he now calmly assures us that that circumstance tells against the iron industry which he is anxious to protect. I am in favour of reducing the bounty in accordance with the amendment proposed by Senator de Largie. That amendment appears to me to be an eminently sensible one. We are asked to grant a’ bounty to thoseengaged in the iron industry because of the higher rates of wages which they pay to their employes as compared with the rates which are paid in other countries. We are not asked to give a proportion tomake up the difference between the cost of labour in America, England, or Germany, as compared with Australia. We are asked to take the total cost of the labour. Never before have we been asked to give such a large amount of protection to an industry as this. Another reason for the amendment is that it would give to the manufacturer of pig iron proportionately the same assistance as to the manufacturer of bar iron and” of steel. On pig iron costing ^3 10s. per ton to manufacture the Bill asks us to pay 12s. per ton in bounty. It is admitted bv the actuary that the cost of making bar steel is _£io 12s. 5d. per ton. So that it costs three times as much to manufacturebar steel as pig iron. Yet it is proposed togive only the same amount of bounty on an,’ article which it costs three times as much to make. We are certainly justified in asking that the bounty on a ton of pig iron shall bear some proportion to the bounty paid for the manufacture of rod iron or bar steel. Therefore the proposal is an eminently fair one. Seeing that the total amount of loss on the manufacture of pig iron at Lithgow is 3s. a ton, Senator de Largie proposes to make up that loss, and, in addition, to pay the manufacturers 5s. a ton. We have never proposed to do more than that in connexion with anyother industry. Senator Millen has said that depreciation and interest are not reckoned in the actuary’s statement.
– I have admitted that I wasin error there, but the actuary tells us that the charge for depreciation was not sufficient.
– At any rate, the actuary shows that the loss amounts to 3s. per ton. If we make up that loss, and in addition pay 5s. per ton to enable the manufacturers to pay dividends, we do fairly well, especially in connexion with a commodity that costs no more than£3 10s. per ton to produce.
– I trust that the amendment will meet with the approval of a majority of honorable senators. Unless we reduce the amount per ton as proposed, we shall in the first place be creating one big monopoly in New South Wales, and shall in the next place force all the users of iron in every part of Australia to go to one firm at Lithgow for all the iron which they require. Just imagine what that may mean. We establish the industry by means of a bounty. It being essentially an Australian industry, efforts will be made to stop the importation of raw iron. There will be a duty.
– If the Lithgow manufacturers make excessive charges the Government can abolish the duty.
– Once we establish a monopoly it will be pretty difficult to take away the duty. Has there ever been a case where duties have been imposed and afterwards withdrawn because manufacturers made excessive charges? By having only one manufacturer, there will be an absence of competition. The monopolists will be able to charge the consumers any price they like. The consumers will have no alternative but to pay.
– Or to import.
– Importation will be stopped by the duty. I desire to see steps taken to prevent the bounty being used to create such a monopolistic institution that all competitors will be kept out of the market. A bounty of 12s. per ton is unreasonable.
– Considering that the manufacturers have lost at the rate of 9s. per ton.
– That is a marvellous statement. If it be true that the manufacturers at Lithgow have been losing at the rate of 9s. per ton they must have lost thousands and thousands of pounds. Yet Mr. Sandford told the Federated Chambers of Manufactures’ meeting the other day, that he was in a position to pay 20s. in the£1. He was for a long period engaged in the industry, and we were given to understand that he had lost everything in his endeavour to establish it. But even if it were true that the manufacturers were losing 9s. per ton, is that a reason why Commonwealth money should be spent to make up the loss? If we cut down the rate as proposed, we shall be better able to give encouragement in other directions. According to the document received from Hoskins and Company, the cost of pig iron per ton is £3 10s., and the selling price£3 7 s. I do not know where Senator Gray obtained his information.
– If the honorable senator will Tead the report he will see that 3s. per ton is the loss sustained at Lithgow. The firm cannot sell their product there, and, in order to reach markets elsewhere, they have to stand the loss of the freights.
– That is the loss in Sydney.
– No, it is the loss on the trucks at Lithgow.
– The loss on the production of the article is 3s. a ton, but is the Committee to take into consideration the freight charges incidental to the firm’s output ?
– No. The point at which they can sell the article is not Lithgow, and in order to enter other markets, such as Melbourne, they have to stand the loss of the freights ; otherwise Melbourne would buy from England.
– Are we to understand that the loss per ton between Lithgow and Melbourne is 9s. ?
– The loss is only sustained when the material is forwarded from Lithgow to Melbourne, but surely there is some consumption in New South Wales?
– I only mentioned Melbourne for the purpose of illustration. That loss is occasioned by the firm having to pay freights in order to get into Other markets.
– If we are to consider the loss sustained between Lithgow and Melbourne as 9s. a ton, why should we not go a little further, and consider the loss sustained in sending the article, to Western Australia?
– How are the foundries in that State -going to buy the article, and compete?
– They will be bound to buy it.
– I wish to emphasize that interjection.
– They will be able to buy the article by reason of the bounty enabling Hoskins and Company to land it there more cheaply than the imported stock.
– Coming from the honorable senator, it is a new doctrine that if we impose a duty and grant a bounty this firm will be able to turn out their article so cheaply at Lithgow.
– I did not refer to a duty at all.
-What is a bounty but a form of duty?
– I regard it as the very opposite.
– If a bounty will enable the firm to so produce their article that, after a period of five years, they will be able at Lithgow to compete with the world’s manufacturers, I venture to say that long before the expiration of that period there will be a demand made to Parliament for further bounties and additional duties.
Senator Millen. Why did the honorable senator contend that a bounty of 12s. per ton now is too much if the firm will have to come to Parliament for more assistance ?
– What I said was that on this particular commodity of pig iron it is too high. If, on their own showing, the firm is losing only 3s. a ton, why should the whole of the citizens of the Commonwealth be penalized to the extent suggested ?
– Yet the honorable senator says that within five years they will want more.
– Because I know that we cannot satisfy the appetites of; those people at Lithgow. They have been; hungering for Commonwealth money ever since this Parliament was opened.
– The honorable senator isthinking of Victoria.
– Anterior to Federation, when the same possibilities existed^’ in New South Wales, and persons interested in the iron industry approached parliamentarians, they received no assistance, because at that time the State Parliamentdid not believe in protection, or in granting a bonus to private enterprise. But whenit is a question of taxing the whole of the citizens of the Commonwealth to establishan industry in that State, they are in favour of the proposition.
– The honorable senator isjealous because the industry is not located in Victoria.
– That is merely light banter, which I do not take seriously .. I am not jealous of an industry in any State, but I am jealous of the people’s, money when it is required to create a monopoly. In order not to unnecessarily penalize the consumers of pig iron, the proposed bounty should be reduced to 8s.
– It seems to me that this bounty on pig iron has. been proposed under a false assumption. It is too large. We are asked to recompense the makers of pig iron at a higher rate than that at which they havebeen selling for years. If, as has been shown, they lose 3s. a ton, why should we give them a bounty of 12s. a ton?
– That is not correct. The firm loses 3s. a ton on the trucks at Lithgow, but they cannot sell there, and in order to get into markets where they ca sell they_ have to pay the freights themselves.
– I am satisfied that 8s. a ton is an ample allowance. That is about what is given in Canada.
– They have a duty aswell as a bounty.
– The conditions are different. If we reduce thebounty to 8s. a ton, we shall increase’ theprospects of getting pig iron made elsewhere. In my opinion, Lithgow is not a. proper place for that purpose. The iron. industry should be established at the seaboard, where the fluxes could be obtained much more cheaply.
– Are new ironworks likely to be started more readily under a bountv of 12s. than under a bounty of 8s.?
– I think so, because there would be a saving of 4s. a ton in carriage alone. Besides, I am not prepared to support the payment of a higher rate of bounty out of the people’s money than I can help.
– The more we look into the statement of Mr. Allard, the plainer it is made that very much faith cannot be attached to it, notwithstanding the fact that it has been used to make out a case for the Eskbank works. Senator Millen has stated that it is the selling rate at Lithgow which is quoted. Now, what will be the selling rate of pig iron to the iron foundries at Perth, in Western Australia; Bendigo, Ballarat, and Castlemaine, in Victoria ; and Maryborough, in Queensland?
– Less, by the amount of the bountv, than otherwise it would be.
– Can the honorable senator explain how it is that the Government of New South Wales, instead of paying the market price now, when they have an open port, are paying £4 9s. a ton?
– Because that was the ruling price when that contract was made.
– As soon as this industry gets properly started, the ruling price all over Australia will be about £49s.
– Not so long as we keep the ports open.
– We have open ports now.
– And therefore the Lithgow people cannot raise the price of their iron above that of imported iron.
– The raw material of our ironfounders will be taxed to such an extent that it will drive out of politics the free-traders who are supporting the grant of this bounty. I do not wish to take too narrow a view of this question, and to pit one State against another. In order to illustrate what it will mean by-and-by to our manufacturers, I have been obliged to cite numerous places; but I can assure the Committee that the manufacturers of New South Wales regard this proposal from the same standpoint as do those in other States. Senator
Pearce said that the Iron Bonus Commission recommended a bounty of 12s. a ton on pig iron. But in its report, I can find no evidence why it should be 12s. rather than 8s. The only witness from whom I have been able to get any evidence is a New South Wales manufacturer whose opinion I am sure Senator Millen must take notice of ; and that is no less a person than Mr. Franki, of Mort’s Dock. He said that 12s. 6d. a ton - the amount which was proposed in the first instance - would be an extortionate one. That is the statement of one of the leading manufacturers in a favourably-situated centre, and one which my honorable friend cannot ignore.
– I do, for this reason : that he is one of the gentlemen who have strenuously fought for a big duty for their own industry.
– I have no doubt that he would, but that does not detract from his opinion on this question. If we increase the cost of his raw material we should take away the advantage which he derives from the protective duties, as we should from the iron founders at Ballarat, Castlemaine, and Melbourne, in Victoria, and in a greater degree from the ironfounders in South Australia and Western Australia.
– According to the way in which the honorable senator is arguing, we should give them a much higher bounty.
– Yes, above all things, let us be generous; give a bounty of £3 10s. a ton, so that the firm could supply pig iron free. That is the only way I can see of getting out of the difficulty. Senator Gray referred to the great expense experienced at Lithgow - high wages and so forth -as compared with other countries; but I am afraid that he is not so conversant with the conditions that obtain in those countries as he should be, otherwise he would not have argued in that way. I find that the conditions under which the industry is carried on in America are, in some respects, less favorable than those prevailing at Lithgow. It must be borne in mind that the principal works at Pittsburg, in the United States, are situated between 400 and 500 miles from the seaboard, and honorable senators will agree that it must cost something to transport iron over that distance.
– Is the transport by rail ?
– Yes. Then, in assembling the raw material at the works, the coke is brought from Connorsville, 50 miles from Pittsburg, and the ore from lake Superior, which is 1,000 miles away.
– What is the freight?
– It is very considerable if it is in proportion to the distance.
– But the honorable senator knows that it is not.
– The Lithgow people are given transport at special rates on the New South Wales railway.
– Yes j there is more Government help. If the Lithgow people were dealing with private railway companies, they would not get such advantages in the matter of railway freights. It is the old question of the State milch cow again, and these people milk her until she is dry.
– Private companies are always fools, are they not?
– They are not fools. When the anti- Socialists have an opportunity to put their hands into the public purse, the Socialists are not in it with them ; they are elbowed to one side. According to the statements of those interested in this industry, the loss in manufacturing pig iron is 3s. per ton. If a bounty of 8s. per ton was granted, as I propose, that would provide for a clear profit of 5s. per ton, which would be a very fair profit on pig iron. I should like to quote the wages cost per ton in other countries, so that honorable senators may be satisfied that a bounty of 8s. per ton would be a very reasonable ‘bounty to offer. According to the figures given by Mr. J. Stephen Jeans, Secretary of the Ironmasters Association of England, in his latest work, published in 1906, the labour cost of manufacturing a ton of Bessemer pig iron in England is as. 9½d. In Sweden it is 3s. 1 id. In the United States, 6s. gd. ; and on the Continent of Europe, 2s. 2d.
– What is the wages cost in Canada ?
– I am sorry to say that the statement published by Mr. Jeans does not give it ; but the cost in the United States is 6s. gd. per ton, and 1 question whether the labour cost would be higher than that in Canada.
– The honorable senator must remember that in Canada there is a duty imposed on iron as well.
– I do remember that, and I am inviting honorable senators to agree to a rate of bounty which is double the rate to be given in Canada next year.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.4.5 p.m.
– The matter has been discussed so fully that I do not think I shall be justified in continuing the debate much longer. It has been clearly pointed out that it must be a handicap to all engaged in industries requiring iron as a raw material if there is only one firm in Australia from which it can be obtained. Apart from their fiscal views, honorable senators naturally desire that justice should be done to all industries established in the States they represent. I strongly advise the Committee to do all that is possible to encourage the establishment of more than one ironworks in the Commonwealth. The rates of bounty set out in the schedule appear to have been specially arranged to suit the requirements of the only ironworks so far established in Australia. It will be noted that the rate proposed for pig iron would be just sufficient to cover the output of the one furnace erected by the Lithgow Company if it were worked at its full capacity throughout the year. A reduction of these rates by one-third might have the effect of forcing the Lithgow Company to erect another furnace or of encouraging others to establish a furnace elsewhere in the Commonwealth. I cannot understand free-traders, who know something of the operation of monopolies, regarding this matter as Senator Millen does. One of the principal manufacturers of Sydney has said that he regards the rate of 12s. per ton as too high, and that if that rate of bounty is paid his interests are likely to suffer.
– He did not say ‘ his interests would suffer.
– He said the rate proposed was extortionate, and what other deduction could be drawn from that statement? The secondary industries requiring iron as a raw material must suffer if they have to pay the cost of transit on their supplies from works established in the Blue Mountains. It is so evident that, as it stands, the Bill will lead to the establishment of a monopoly in the iron industry, that only a desire to secure its passage without alteration can justify those who are opposing my very reasonable amendment. A bounty of 8s. per ton is very reasonable, and is a great deal more than the bounty paid in Canada.
– Not without the duty.
– Honorable senators opposite can take my word for it that later on we shall have the duty imposed in addition to the bounty. We should not shut our eyes to the inevitable. Unless this industry is given protection it must go down, and if after setting it going we are to keep it going, nothing is more certain than that a duty will have to be imposed later on. In the interests of the manufacturing industries requiring to use iron, I hope that honorable senators will do what they can to insure that those engaged in such industries shall have more than one ironworks to purchase their supplies from.
– I differ very widely from Senator de Largie. I do not agree that there is likely to be only one ironworks established in the Commonwealth. I believe that there will be more in a very short time. Honorable senators supportingthe amendment have argued entirely on the assumption that the whole of the bounty will go to the owners of the Lithgow works. Senator de Largie desires tosecurean advantage for hisown State.
– That is unfair.
– The honorable senator asked what the foundries in Western Australia were going to get out of this Bill.
– The honorable senator should be fair and admit that I asked what advantage South Australia and the other States were to derive as well.
– I admit that the honorable senator did so. I wish to point out that by reducing the rate of bountyon pig iron to 8s. per ton honorable senators will be playing into the hands of those engaged in the industry in New South Wales.
– Does the honorable senator know what Mr. Sandford said he can produce pig iron for ?
– I know that before Mr. Sandford had made the experiment and had manufactured any pig iron he gave an estimate of what it would cost to manufacture a ton of it, and that estimate in the circumstances was worth nothing.
– The honorable senator might add that later on when Mr. Sandford issued a prospectus asking for more capital, he admitted that his previous estimate of the cost of manufacturing pig iron was altogether wrong.
– Honorable senators propose to reduce the rate of bounty on pig iron and to increase the rate proposed on bar, sheet, and rolled iron. The effect of that would be to handicap the manufacturer using iron as a raw material. Because of a difference of a few shillings in freight the South Australian Government sent abroad for a large order for iron. In the Government workshops at Adelaide, the South Australian Government have established a plant which is second to none in the world for the manufacture of castiron pipes, and they use there 100 tons of pig iron per month. If a bounty at the rate of 12s. per ton were given for the production of pig iron, the South Australian Government would be able to purchase their supplies in the Commonwealth instead of having to send to England for them. The pipes manufactured are used in the consevation of water and the whole of the people are benefiting from the water that has been thus conserved by the South Australian Government. That is a strong argument in favour of retaining the Bill in its present form. Even if only one ironworks be established in Australia, by all means let us grant their enterprising proprietors a bounty of 12s. per ton in order to encourage our manufacturers to use pig iron of local production. Let us give them cheap iron, and all our other industries will unquestionably benefit. Up to the present, the loss sustained by the works at Lithgow has not represented a gain to anybody because of the practice which obtains of dumping iron here from abroad. It is an undeniable fact that almost every ship which enters Port Adelaide carries as ballast 400 or 500 tons of pig iron, upon which it receives no freight. I believe that the payment of the proposed bounty will have the effect of almost entirely preventing the continuance of that practice, because in connexion with the last contract entered into by the Government of South Australia the difference between the cost of the local and the imported article was only about 4s. per ton. I absolutely deny that the iron industry enjoys any natural protection by reason of our geographical position.
– Would the ironworks at Gawler have been established-
– Those works commenced operations by manufacturing agricultural implements, and when they undertook the construction of locomotives they were induced to do so by reason of the bounty which was granted to them. Locomotive engines were being constructed in the Gawler workshops at a time when New South Wales and other States were importing them.
– How will they fare when the price of their pig iron is increased bv a couple of pounds per ton?
– Its price will not be increased.
– ls the honorable senator aware that the firm at Lithgow charged the New South Wales Government _£4 9s. per ton for its iron”?
– When Mr. Allard made that statement he was not aware of the fact that the Lithgow works supplied to the New South Wales Government iron of superior quality to that supplied to outsiders, and supplied “it only in small quantities not exceeding 10 tons per week.
– Was it of better quality than the English article?
– It was specially smelted for the New South Wales railway workshops, and it was supplied in 10-ton parcels.
– Only a sailor would tell that tale.
– I am prepared to accept information from any person whom I deem to be reliable.
– Anyhow, the contract was entered into as the result of the New South Wales Government offering to pay that price.
– Exactly. The contract was made for the supply of a special quality of iron known as No. 1, which was required by the New South Wales locomotive engineer.
– That is downright humbug.
– I do not think so.
– Years and years of experience are required to ascertain what quality of iron a particular ore will produce, and that experience has not yet been gained at Lithgow.
– But the honorable senator must recollect that a metallurgist can tell from the presence of certain ingredients in the ore the particular quality of iron that it will produce.
– If a superior quality of iron had been supplied by the Lithgow works to the New South Wales Government, would not those who are interested in ihe industry have taken care to place that fact before us in the voluminous evidence which they have tendered?
-r’I do not know. The honorable senator must recollect that that evidence was supplied by an expert in figures, and not by an expert in the production of iron.
– Does the honorable senator think that the iron supplied to the New South Wales Government by the firm at Lithgow is superior to that which is produced in England or America ?
– It is superior to the article sold to outside customers for £3 1 os. per ton. When I visited Lithgow a short time ago I saw a testing room upon the works there - a room belonging to the New South Wales Government, in which an officer was located for the express purpose of testing the iron which was to be supplied to that Government.
– The best iron produced in Scotland will not realize £4. 9s. per ton.
– The iron produced at Lithgow has more than satisfied all the tests prescribed in the contracts entered into by the proprietors. What more do we want? I trust that the result of assisting this industry by the payment of a reasonable bounty will be the speedy establishment of ironworks in different parts of the Commonwealth, thus securing to us an inestimable advantage.
– Before we proceed to a division I should like to refer to one or two statements which have been made. In the first place, I must express surprise at the warmth with which some honorable senators opposite have repeated the word “monopoly.” Because there is only one firm at present engaged in the iron industry they appear to assume that nothing should be done to place the industry upon a better basis. I am surprised that such remarks should emanate from honorable senators opposite, especially when I recollect that last year they did not hesitate to sanction the imposition of a very heavy duty in order tq assist the piano industry, notwithstanding it was well known that only one firm was engaged in that industry. Thus it .appears that in their -eyes a monopoly is a legitimate thing to assist by means of a duty,’ but an illegitimate (thing to assist by means of a bounty.
– -The two cases are not upon all-fours, because others had an opportunity to engage in the piano industry, and at least one firm has since done so.
– Honorable senators -opposite have made it clear that they are prepared to kill this Bill by any means in their power, in order that they maypave the way for the nationalization of the iron industry. At the time of which I spoke just now, there was no prospect whatever of nationalizing the piano industry. They realized that any such proposal would have been laughed at. Therelore, although only one manufacturer was engaged in the industry, they cheerfully assisted him by the imposition of a heavy protective duty. If their arguments upon that occasion were sound, surely they are equally sound now? Having approved of the payment of a bounty to encourage the iron industry, Parliament should be prepared to grant rhat bounty, irrespective of whether there be one man or fifty men engaged in the industry. Do we not desire that others should embark upon the same enterprise? If we wish to induce -competition with the Lithgow works, are we not more likely to accomplish our aim by offering* a high bounty than by offering a low one?
– Would the honorable senator borrow the money with which to finance the proposal?
– Certainly not. Where does the honorable senator propose to find the money with which to finance the one hundred and one things of which he is so warm an advocate?
– What are they?
– -Was the honorable senator’s party deterred from approving of a Federal scheme of old-age pensions by a consideration of where the money was to come from? Were we not content to decide that those pensions were a good thing, and to throw the responsibility of finding the necessary money upon the Government ?
– The honorable senator did a little more than that. His attitude upon the Surplus Revenue Act is not yet forgotten.
– The honorable senator is quite right. Even if he were willing bo forget it, the electors outside will not forget it. I am very glad that he has reminded me of the Surplus Revenue Act. That 7s one answer as to where the money is to come from.
– Will the honorable senator tell us half-a-dozen out of the hundred and one industries that we have assisted in a monetary way?
– I am not dealing with a hundred and one industries, but with one. In the case of pianos, one of the richest men in Australia, having a monopoly in the goods which he manufactures so far as this country is concerned, was granted a duty equivalent to 50 pei cent, on wares. Senator Findley was not precluded from voting for that.
– The duty was not 50 per cent.
– There was a duty imposed on pianos which was equivalent to 50 per cent, on the lower grades. To come down to the temperature of cold iron again, the next argument which I have to answer - if I may dignify it with the name of an argument - is the astonishing assurance that the bounty is going to increase the price of (he commodity upon which it is paid. One is accustomed in politics to expect extraordinary statements from those who are placed in a tight corner, but it surprised . me, with my limited political experience, to hear such an assurance from a body of presumably intelligent men.
– Cannot the manufacturers charge what they like when they are the only sellers?
– They will not be the only sellers so long as any of our ports are open.
– How long will our ports be open for the importation of iron ?
– Until my honorable friend and those associated with him break their necks to put on a duty. They will not say that they will not vote for a protective duty if one is proposed.
– The honorable senator will be a bald-headed protectionist before the next election !
– If I appear to be taking steps in the direction of protection, all that I can say in excuse is that nature appears to be adjusting the balance by making an ardent free-trader of Senator de Largie. If the honorable senator had made some time ago the very excellent free-trade speeches that he has been making within the last day or two, I should never have pulled up my anchors from the position which I previously occupied.
– The honorable senator has lost his anchors, and lost his bearings also.
– I have not lost my recollection of the attitude of the honorable senator, and of his ardour to support a duty on fly-papers, nor do I forget what an ardent free-trader he is when a bounty is proposed for the benefit of an industry that is going to employ thousands of men. Surely honorable senators opposite must recollect that the whole effect of a bounty, as long as it is not accompanied by a protectionist duty, is to_ compel the local manufacturers to sell at the price at which the imported article is sold.
– There is a danger of the bounty being accompanied by a protectionist duty.
– The danger comes from my honorable friends opposite, not from me. I may as well state at once that 1 am firmly opposed to a bounty and a duty running concurrently ; and if there is a proposal to impose a duty as well as a bounty, my honorable friends will find me opposing it.
– Would the honorable senator oppose a duty instead of a bounty ?
– This is not a Victorian industry ; that is the whole trouble.
– Really, I venture to think that after that remark there is no: thing more to be said. It sums up the whole position, so far as my honorable friend Senator Findley is concerned. We have only to remember his attitude when the Tariff was under discussion. There was then no industry so insignificant and paltry, even if the whole of the machinery employed in connexion with it was run by a ‘possum-power gas engine, and only a boy and a half were employed to distribute the goods, but the honorable senator dinned our ears with harrowing stories of the suffering that would be inflicted upon the employes unless a duty of anything up to 50 per’ cent, was imposed. Now, however, when we are concerned with an industry which is employing 1,000 men, we have to face Senator Findley’s strenuous opposition, because they are employed at Lithgow. It is evident to all of us by this time that the honorable senator confines his patriotism to the limits of the State in which we are assembled.
– If 1,000 men are employed, they must be getting only j£i a week each.
– I quite understand! the position of the honorable’ senator. Heis ready enough to’ take up statementswhich are’ years old, to detach portions- from the context, and to found argumentsupon them.
– My statement is that of Mr. Sandford, made on oath.
– The statement was made at the time absolutely in good faith, but Mr. Sandford, after a few. years’ experience, was compelled to re-adjust his estimate, and he said so in a very frank manner in the prospectuses which he issued to the capitalist investors of New SouthWales.
– Where is the proof of that?
– The proof of that statement is my word. If the honorablesenator does not like to accept that, he cannot expect me to carry round a pocket full of prospectuses, but the facts were published in New South Wales at the time when Mr. Sandford was running intofinancially low water, and when he admitted that he had, in the first instance, under estimated the cost of manufacture of pig iron.
– We had the actuary’s statement as to the cost of manufacture.
– The cost of manufacture, as given by the actuary, is 12s. per ton. Here let ‘me draw attention toan error into which, I think, honorablesenators opposite have fallen. They seem to assume that the 12s. per ton set out by the actuary was the full labour cost inconnexion with the manufacture of pig iron. That is a lamentable mistake. Long before that labour cost of 12s. per toncommences to be incurred, there is an enormous proportion paid away in labour inproducing the crude ore.
– That expenditure iscounted in the value of the crude ore as raw material.
– It has been said that we are asked to pay the full labour cost of the making of a ton of pig iron. As a matter of “fact, we are asked to donothing of the kind. It is wrong to say that only 12s. per ton is involved in labour in making pig iron.
– Not so much.
– That is a strange statement. Here we have gentlemen rely- ing upon the report of an actuary, and -affirming that the labour cost is 12s. per ton, and yet we have Senator de Largie saying that the cost is not so much.
– It should not be so much.
– Honorable senators opposite should arrange amongst themselves what story they are going to tell before they ask me to believe either of them. I believe the actuary rather than Senator de Largie. The actuary, I have not the slightest doubt, was correct in saying that the labour cost at the Lithgow works was 12s., but it is not correct to argue from that statement that only 12s. worth of labour is involved in a ton of pig iron placed on the market.
– No one says so.
– Half-a-dozen honorable senators have said so. I quite admit that 12s. is represented in labour from the time the raw material enters the Lithgow works until the time it comes out manufactured. But it is wrong to infer, as some honorable senators have done, that only 12s. per tcn is involved in labour in the total cost of making pig iron.
– Will the honorable senator say that it does cost 12s. to make a ton of pig iron at Eskbank?
– I am taking the actuary’s figures, as quoted by Senator Givens.
– If it costs 12s. per ton, that is 200 per cent._ more than it costs in many other parts of the world.
– I find a difficulty in arguing with honorable senators who take up an authority, and say that he is competent and efficient, but who, when it no longer suits them to quote that authority’s statement, throw him under the table. Is this actuary a bona fide authority or not? He is an authority of recognised standing in Sydney, who, for the time being, became an officer of the Court, seeing that the Court called him into its service to perform the duty of reporting to it. It is idle to assume that his figures are open to challenge. I say again that whilst 12s. mav be the total cost of the labour at and around the furnaces, a very much larger sum is paid to labour in connexion with the total production of a ton of pig iron. The great bulk of the cost in obtaining the crude ore is represented by labour.
– That is included in the cost of the raw material.
– All that I am saying is that we are not giving a bonus of 12s. per ton in return for 12s. per ton spent in labour, but that far more is spent on labour than is represented by the expenditure at and around the furnaces at Lithgow. May I now return to the point from which I was drawn by interjections, namely, whether the bounty is likely to increase the selling price of iron in Australia. I say again that it is impossible for the Lithgow or any other ironmasters to charge more for their iron than the price at which it can be brought into our different ports; nor, may I add, do I think they will sell it for less than the price for which it can be imported.
– Who argued that it would be sold for more?
– Senator de Largie endeavoured to substantiate that argument.
– Then the honorable senator should address his remarks to Senator de Largie.
– If I turned towards Senator Givens I am sure that, if any other honorable senator follows my example, he will say that I was justified ‘in turning to him for that sympathy and support which he is always ready to give to one who is arguing in a good cause. Senator Findley has affirmed, I believe, that if the bounty is paid, it will inevitably increase the cost of iron to those who use it. Is that, I wonder, why he fought for bounties t) be paid on agricultural products? Did he then believe that the result would be to increase the price “of the articles affected ?
– Those bounties gave equal opportunities to all ; this one gives opportunities only to one firm.
– See how readily these honorable senators shift their ground ! I am dealing with the argument that the effect of the bounty will be to increase the price. Why did not Senator Findley use that argument every time he gave a vote in favour of the Agricultural Bounties Bill?
– There was a fair relation between the bounty and the value of the articles then.
– The honorable senator does not want to have a fair proportion between the bounty and the value. He wants merely to kill the Bill, and the iron industry. But I am relying upon the good sense of the Committee to see that the measure is carried successfully through its subsequent stages.
.- Senator Millen has questioned my attitude with respect to the duty on pianos when the Tariff was under discussion. He said that on that occasion we did not hesitate to impose a duty of 50 per cent, on musical instruments. In the first place, that is a mis-statement. We did not vote for any such duty. We wanted a high duty in order to establish the piano-making industry in the Commonwealth ; and when those who desired a reduction of the duty pointed out to myself and others “that the imposition of a duty on pianos would give a monopoly to a certain gentleman in New South Wales, I said, “’ If it is a monopoly, we will increase the duty in order that you who make that complaint may be able to come in and break up the monopoly by starting the industry in other places.” The result has been that since the passing of the Tariff a piano factory has been established at Richmond, in Victoria. There is no analogy between the imposition of a duty on pianos and the grant of a bounty to the iron industry at Lithgow. Disguise if as we may, this bounty is intended for Hoskins and Company, and for no other firm, because no one in his wildest moment would suggest that another iron industry will be established in the Commonwealth during the lifetime of any one of us.
– This afternoon, the honorable senator said that probably other industries would be ‘established within two years.
– I did not. The fact that this firm have found it difficult, not only in New South Wales, but in every other State, to get the capital which they say is necessary to thoroughly establish the iron industry is evidence that for a considerable time there will not be any further attempt made in any part of Australia to establish a similar industry. Senator Millen has stated that about 1,000 men are employed at Lithgow. Are they employed in connexion with the industry which we are now discussing ? Because, if they are engaged now, it is clear evidence to me that without a bounty and a duty they have, notwithstanding ‘the statements made by Mr. Sandford, made immense headway since he had the works.
– It is admitted that they have extended the works.
– If they have extended the works and increased the number of employes, they have done so, not for the sake of giving employment, but with a view to making a profit. These men, by their efforts, have been turning out material, and, without a doubt, it has found a market. In his sworn evidence before the Royal Commission, Mr. Sandford said that he paid £1,000 a week in wages. Senator Millen has stated that the works are now employing about 1,000 men.
– How long is it since Mr. Sandford made the first statement?
– I am only showing that the industry has been making splendid progress in New South Wales, notwithstanding the statement made that it is a ruined one. When he was examined at that time, Mr. Sandford told the Commission that he could produce pig iron at Lithgow for 35s. a ton, and when he was asked afterwards to give the prices of pig iron in other parts of the world, he said, quoting from American Industrial Conditions and Competition, that the cost of Bessemer pig iron at Pittsburg was computed at 32s. 5£d. per ton, and at Pittsburg No. 1 Foundry at 36s. 6d. a ton. Considering the charges incidental to the carriage of that heavy material, if he could produce pig iron at 35s. a ton at that time, and the’ cost of production in America was 36s. a ton, what was the reason then for asking for a bounty on pig iron ? Further, Mr. Sandford said that it would be an impossibility for .the industry to be carried on, even with a bounty, without a duty being imposed on the raw material. Senator Millen knows as well as any one sitting on Eis side that if an additional bounty isnot granted to this industry, demands will be made for the imposition of a duty on theraw material. When the bounty is exhausted, will fie be prepared to vote for the duty suggested by Mr. Sandford, namely, 20 per cent, against foreign countries, and 10 per cent, against Great Britain? Mr. Sandford said that those rates would have to be added to the cost of the raw material turned out at Lithgow. So that, looked at from the free-trade aspect, it will mean eventually higher pricesfor the raw material required by the manufacturers in every State.
– That is the effect of every duty; but it did not deter the honorable senator from voting for its imposition.
– Neither a duty nor a bounty will deter the honorable sena-. tor and his colleagues from New South Wales from voting for probably both a duty and a bounty in order to see the iron industry established there. When he said that we are doing all we can to kill it, he made an unfair and incorrect statement. We are doing all we can to prevent the industry from being established with Commonwealth money to enrich a few citizens of New South Wales. We are striving to establish it on a concrete foundation, in order that all the citizens rf the Commonwealth, instead of being disadvantaged as they will be by a bounty, may be advantaged as they will be when the industry is nationally owned. I believe that it would be one of the best industries which Mie Commonwealth could possess if it were so owned. But I fear that it will be one of the worst industries ever established in the Commonwealth if it is established under the conditions contained in this Bill. In the first place, it will penalize every citizen, because the money will have to be found by the taxpayers. Probably, the representatives of New South Wales have been approached more than once with a view to taking shares in the concern, and would not put their money into it. But they have no hesitation in putting, metaphorically speaking, their hands into the Commonwealth Treasury and taking the people’s money to start the industry.
– Protectionists always do that.
– Protection is altogether distinct from a bounty to a private monopoly. I am surprised at honorable senators opposite trotting out that argument day after day. There is no analogy between the bounties granted under a previous measure and the bounty proposed in this Bill. It was stated by Senator Millen, in reply to an interjection, that those bounties gave a fair field and opportunity to every citizen. Now this bounty will give an opportunity to only :i. small section in New South Wales who are using influences of all sorts in order ro move Parliament to grant the money which they say is necessary to start the industry. I hope that the amendment will be carried.
– I support the amendment purely on the evidence of world-wide information that we have before us. Senator Millen has declared that a bounty of 12s. would not even meet the labour cost of producing a ton of pig iron at Lithgow.
If such is the case it does seem strange that labour should cost so much more per ton at Lithgow than in any other part of the civilized world. I am satisfied that almost all the essentials to the production of pig. iron are obtainable at Lithgow to-day at aninfinitely less rate than in some other partsof the world. Although, for instance, 7 s. is the labour cost of producing a ton of pig iron ib. America, yet Senator Miller* attempted to persuade the Committee that a bounty of 12s. a ton is insufficient to> meet the labour cost at Lithgow.
– I did not say anything of the kind.
– Then wehave misunderstood the honorable senator,, and the sooner he makes himself intelligible and clear on the matter the better it will be for both himself and us. I have quoted the labour cost in America simply because it appears to be from 12 per cent, to 25 per cent, more per ton there than ire any other place where iron is made. I think that we can safely assert that there is something radically wrong if a ton of pig> iron cannot be produced at Lithgow at a less labour cost than 12s. In the evidence which has been submitted to us no one has asserted that that sum will not cover the labour cost of producing a ton of iron. I do not pay any attention to the argument, which classes the coal miners with the producers of pig iron in black furnaces at Lithgow, because I hold that those are two separate branches of the business. Whilst they may come into contact indirectly, they are absolutely apart when it is a question’ of the cost of producing a ton of pig iron. I do not imagine for a moment that the mine which is required to produce coal will beused exclusively in connexion with the production of pig iron. If it is any kind of amine it will produce much more coal inone year than the Lithgow blast furnacescan use in three times that period. The cost of production, which it is fair to consider, is the true cost of manufactureafter the raw material is landed at theworks. If the Lithgow works cannot produce iron for less than 12s. per ton, I am at a loss to understand how they can expect to continue the industry under almost any conditions that could be named. I have quoted a cost of £1 7s. 8d. per ton for the manufactured article, with all the labour cost and other charges added,, and in all the circumstances, if a bounty of 8s. per ton is not sufficient to enable- those interested in the Lithgow works to continue the industry, their position must be absolutely untenable.
Question - That the figures “12” proposed to be left out be left out (Senator de Largie’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority… … 8
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move-
That the words “ Galvanized iron made from Australian ore-10 per cent. on value,” be left out.
For reasons I have already given, I decline to vote for any of the proposals included in class 2 of the schedule. I am voting for bounties on the production of iron only for the purposes of defence, and I am not to be drawn into voting bounties for the assistance of manufacturing industries that are protected by Customs duties. Galvanized iron is already protected by Customs duties, and I think it should not be included in this schedule.
.- I hope the Committee will not accept the amendment. The duties imposed upon galvanized iron are so low as to constitute merely revenue duties. They cannot have the effect of establishing the industry for its manufacture in Australia. That is proved to demonstration, and their imposition simply means that a certain amount of revenue will be collected from them. The payment of the bounty proposed would almost certainly lead to the establishment of the industry on sound lines, and the cost of galvanized iron to those requiring to use it would fall as the result of the internal competition thus set up.
– I move -
That after the word “ Galvanized,” class 2, the words “ sheet, or plate,” be inserted.
I propose laterto ask the Committee to insert the words “ or steel (whether corrugated or not)” after the word “iron.” The only effect of these amendments will be to make the item more clear. As at present framed, it might be held to cover forms of galvanized iron on which there is a high rate of duty imposed under the Tariff.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Senator Pearce) agreed to-
That after the words “ Galvanized sheet, or plate iron,” class 2, the words “ or steel (whether corrugated or not),” be inserted.
– I’ move -
That the word “ four,” class 2, column r, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ six.”
Honorable senators will notice the reference to iron and steel tubes or pipes “ not more than four inches internal diameter.” These words were included in the Bill when introduced at a time when under the Tariff iron pipes of not more than 4 inches internal diameter were free, and pipes over that diameter were dutiable. Subsequently the Tariff was altered, and pipes of not more than 6 inches internal diameter were admitted free, and over that diameter dutiable. The amendment I now submit is intended to bring the schedule of this Bill into conformity with the Tariff as finally passed.
– I wish to remind the Committee that I intimated some time ago my intention to move the elimination of all four items included in class 2 of the schedule. I submitted a motion in regard to the first of these items, and I met with a fate I did not deserve. I am willing to accept the decision of the Committee, in that case, and shall not trouble honorable senators with any remarks upon the other three items, although I am well persuaded in my own mind of the wisdom of the course I desired to pursue.
Amendment agreed to.
Schedule, as amended, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) agreed to-
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Bill being passed through its remaining stages without delay.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That this Bill be now read a third time.
– I hope that the Bill will not be read a third time, but that it will be relegated to its proper place - the wastepaper basket. The result of last night’s division upon a crucial amendment, which provided for the nationalization of the industry at some future date, proved conclusively to me that my honorable friends opposite, having secured all that they desired, wish to defeat the purpose which the Government have in view. That being so, I should like to see the measure consigned to oblivion. The very best arguments which have been adduced against granting a bounty to the iron industry were those advanced by Senator Gray this afternoon.
– I would point out to the honorable senator that he will not be in order in discussing anything which transpired during the debate in Committee upon the Bill. The Committee stage is entirely distinct from the present stage. But the honorable senator will be perfectly in order in calling attention to anything which may have been omitted from the Bill, and which he thinks ought to have been included in it. He cannot discuss what took place in Committee.
– One honorable senator has stated that he would not invest a single penny of his money in this venture.
– I happen to know that that statement was made in Committee, because I was present in the chamber at the time, and Ihave already pointed out to the honorable senator that he cannot discuss what took place in Committee.
– Upon a point of order, do I understand that on the motion for the third reading of the Bill we are not permitted to refer to any statement which has been made in Committee?
– I have alreadyruled that Senator Needham cannot refer to the debate which took place in Committee, but that he may advance reasons whv he objects to the third reading of the Bill.
– I was under the impression that upon the motion for the third reading of the measure I was at liberty to refer to any statement that had been made during the course of its passage through this Chamber. That was why I was about to say that the arguments which have been advanced have convinced me that the third reading of the Bill ought not to be carried. When Senator Gray was speaking-
– When was this?
– I must ask the honorable senator to give notice ofhis question. Senator Gray impressed me with the idea that he possessed a full knowledge of the whole position, and that being so, I attach some importance to his statements, which have confirmed me in the impressionI previously entertained, that this Bill ought not to have been proceeded with. Having progressed so far, I hope that it will be consigned to the waste-paper basket
– I shall vote against the motion for the third reading of this measure. In the first place I believe that more power should be reserved to the Commonwealth to take over and conduct the iron industry in the interests of the people. I do not believe in taking money from the Consolidated Revenue for the purpose of assisting private enterprise, and in again dipping into the public Treasury after the industry has become a monopoly, for the purpose of enabling those who are engaged in it to make a considerable profit. If the Bill becomes law, the industry will be assisted by the people of Australia collectively.
– What attitude did the honorable senator take up in respect of proposals to grant bounties to Queensland industries ?
– Since I have been a member of this Chamber, no Bill has been brought forward which provided for the granting of bounties to Queensland industries. But when the Bounties Bill was under consideration last session, I voted for most of the items contained in it. I have since learned that under that measure about£10 has been paid by way of bounty to industries in Queensland, and about £1,000 to industries in Tasmania, the representatives of which strenuously opposed “its passing.
– The honorable senator did not then object to taking money from the public Treasury.
– I. voted for the Bill (because it was intended to encourage people in different parts of the Commonwealth to -embark upon various enterprises. We have merely to recall the fact that the bulk of .the money expended under the authority of that measure has been expended in Tasmania to perceive that its benefits are not confined to Queensland. Nevertheless, Queensland industries have as much right to claim bounties as have Victorian or Tasmanian industries - no ‘more and no less. We all know that only one firm in Australia is at present producing pig iron.
– The honorable senator thinks that the country would be better without the industry.
– No. I have always contended that it is just as necessary te establish the iron industry in the Commonwealth as it is to construct railways. But I believe that Australia is better off as the -result of its railways being controlled by the State than it would be if they were controlled by private enterprise. For the same reason I hold that the iron industry should be nationalized. In this connexion wi? ought to recollect that the States Governments are the largest users of iron in “.the Commonwealth. That is one reason why I am opposed to the third reading of this measure. Another reason is that it contains a clause which presumably is intended to safeguard the interests of the wage-earners - a clause in which I have not a great deal of faith. In the first place, whom will such a provision protect? Will it protect those who are engaged in procuring the raw material of iron ? Will it protect those who. are employed in obtaining the ore, the limestone, the fluxes, and the coke? At the present time, these persons. I contend, have no protection under the law.
– That statement is not correct.
– There is no law applied to the protection of the persons who are engaged in mining the iron ore?
– There is a law under which they can move the moment that they choose to do so.
– There is no such law. These people receive no protection whatever from the law.
– The Industrial Disputes Act covers every trade and occupation in New South Wales.
– That is possible; just as in Queensland we have a Wages Board Act, which- covers every industry in the State, though at the same time many years will elapse before those engaged in the farming industries receive the benefit of the legislation. But we are not giving bounties to the employers in those industries. We are not putting the public purse at their disposal. In this instance, however, we are taking out of the public Treasury a large sum of money for the benefit of people who will be enabled to employ labour under almost any conditions which workmen can be induced to accept. I say that that is not fair. I do not know whether the Bill will extend to the hours of labour or not. It contains no provision stating whether the workmen are to work eight or ten hours a day. But power is given to the Minister to deal with wages in a certain way. In what way? When the manufacturer claims the bounty he will send ‘in to the Minister a statement of the wages that he has paid to various employes in accordance with awards given under the laws of New South Wales. But we have been told that within two years or so the iron industry will be established in Tasmania. Is there any legislation in that State regulating wages ? None whatever.
– This Bill will provide legislation over a considerable area.
– The Bill merely provides that the Minister shall have the right to step in and see that the wages paid are in conformity with the rates paid in the district.
– - The Bill also provides that the Minister may refer the question to the proper tribunal.
– That is so; but if the ruling rate of wage common to the district is paid in the industry, I hold that the Minister will have no power under this Bill to say that the wages shall be the same as those paid at Lithgow. Take the present condition of things with regard to Commonwealth contracts. A clause is inserted in them to the effect that the rates of wages ruling in the district where a contract is carried out shall be paid for labour. How does that work out? In a district where there is. no industrial legislation, the ruling rate is anything that employes can get. Say that the ruling rate around Brisbane is 8s. a day. Twenty miles from Brisbane work may be done for the Commonwealth, and the ruling rate of wage may be anything that the people employed can obtain, and nothing more. I know of cases where men have been employed on Commonwealth work for very low wages indeed. Similarly in connexion with this Bill, I hold that ‘we shall not be able to determine what is the ruling rate of wage for similar work in a particular district, because there will be no similar work there.
– In the absence of a standard, the Minister can refer the matter to the proper tribunal.
– I admit that the Minister can refer the matter to the Arbitration Court. But the only guide which the Court can have will be the wages paid in the district where the work is being done.
– The honorable senator must not assume that the Court will take his view of its duty.
– The Court will have to administer the law, and the law is that if there is no guide as to the rate of wage in the district where the industry is conducted, the ruling rate for similar work will be ordered to be paid. If the wages for ordinary labourers in a district are 4s. a day, the Court will not have the power to say that men working in the iron industry as labourers shall receive 50 per cent, or ] 00 per cent. more.
– That is exactly what Mr. Justice Higgins did in similar circumstances. He said, “ I intend to disregard entirely any question of local conditions, and shall determine what is a fair and reasonable wage.”
– But under this Bill local conditions are provided’ for.
– Does the honorable senator regard 4s. per day as a “ fair and reasonable ‘ ‘ wage ?
– I do not.
– Does the honorable senator ‘ think that a Judge would so regard such a wage?
– He would have to administer the law as it stands.
– Does not the law place upon the Judge the obligation of determining what is a, “ fair and’ reasonable “ wage?
– No, that is not provided for- in this Bill, which simply sets out that if there is industrial legislation in the State where the industry iscarried on, the Minister shall accept therates there fixed as the rates for the industry. But in a State where there is noindustrial legislation the rate must be that ruling in the district.
– The honorable senator has quite misread the clause. The Court has to determine what is a “ fair and reasonable” wage; it has not to ascertain what is the standard wage.
– The rate has tobe based on that ruling in the district.
– There are no suchwords in the Bill.
– The Bill does not bind the Court.
– The Bill says that if the Minister finds that the rate of wageis below the rate prescribed by any Industrial Authority, or that the wages are,, in the absence of any such standard, below the standard rates paid in the locality in which the goods are manufactured, theMinister may withhold the whole or any part of the bounty.
– The honorable senator is quoting from the clause without theamendment which has been inserted.
– It is true that the amendment contains the words “ fair and? reasonable,” but how would “ fair and reasonable” wages be determined?” It would be impossible to take the wageestablished by a tribunal somewhere elsein the Stale, and say that that would be”fair and reasonable” in the place where the works were. In some parts’ of Australia the shearing rate is 24s. per 100, and’ in another part of Australia the rate is £1 or 2 is. If the ruling rate in the place where the industry is established ist considerably lower than in another place, the lower rate will be fair and reasonableas far as that particular locality is concerned.
– If it was fair and reasonable, what objection would the honorable senator have to it?
– What is “ fair and reasonable “ ? A report from Tasmania was recently published, showing that the wage paid in one industry there was 15s. a week.
– Who said that that was fair and reasonable?
– That was the general trend of wages in the district.
– The report was published as a reproach, to show that the wages were not fair abd reasonable.
– It was published to show what the rates were; and if they are not fair and reasonable. I have heard of no legislative action being taken to bring any other rates into existence.
– The honorable senator is voting against the third reading of a Bill which proposes to bring a better system into existence.
– I am voting against this Bill, because I do not think it protects the interests of the people who are engaged in getting a large quantity of material that is necessary to be used in the iron industry. Another reason for my opposition is that there is no other industry in Australia as to which it has been advocated that the full labour cost of the material produced shall be paid by means of a bounty to the manufacturers. We are told that some of us, when the Tariff was under consideration, voted for a duty of 25 per cent, on pianos.
– And 145 per cent, on hats.
– As a matter of fact, I am informed that nothing like the value of the labour put into that commodity was represented by the duty. At any rate, it was not money taken out of the public Treasury to subsidize a particular firm. We are able to estimate exactly what the present proposal means, because we have the evidence of men “who were specially appointed to make an investigation, and who reported that 12s. was the value of the labour put into a ton of pig iron. Yet the Commonwealth is asked to defray the whole of that cost. It is altogether too much bounty to give. When we recall the very hard fight we had to get a slight modicum of protection for a number of industries which have been established in practically every State, and which were not in the nature of monopolies, we cannot help but be surprised at our OPponents on that occasion coming along now and coolly asking that the full labour cost of producing pig iron should be borne by the public Treasury. I decline to be a party to such legislation. In all probability the Bill will pass. I do not expect for a moment that honorable senators will worry- about how much money is to come out of the public Treasury, so long as the
Commonwealth is prepared to build up this industry at the public expense. But I have a right to enter a protest if I believe that it is not being done in a satisfactory manner. It was stated only a little while ago that no honorable senator who supported the Bill would be a party to supporting any proposal whereby a bounty and a duty would run concurrently. Yet that is what is proposed. I was prepared in connexion with the Tariff to vote for a sufficient amount of protection on the articles which are enumerated in class 2 of the schedule to this Bill, but who frustrated my efforts? Honorable senators on the other side said then that in the interests of the primary industries, articles such as galvanized iron, wire netting, and things of that sort, must be admitted either free or at as low a rate as possible. I do not complain about their action. I was prepared to extend to those industries a fair amount of protection, because I believed that it was necessary. But I preferred to do so in a straightforward manner. In the case of articles which are essential to primary industries I can understand that by imposing a certain duty, manufacturers will be enabled to put them on the market, and every one will have an opportunity to get them at practically the same price. But it is a different matter when honorable senators who voted for those articles to be admitted either free or at a low duty come down with a Bill of this description and say, “ We .do not believe in assisting industries which are established in different parts of the Commonwealth, but in order to assist an industry which in its very nature is a monopoly, we are prepared to go back upon our opinions and our votes in connexion with the Tariff, and, by a side wind, to supplement the duties imposed on certain articles with a bounty which, will be taken out of the public purse.” I ask my honorable friends to consider whether that is the best method to pursue. From an interjection made by the leader of the Opposition in the debate on the second reading of the Bill, I gathered that he would be no party to a duty and a bounty running concurrently, and I think that I interjected “ Hear, hear “ to his statement. I still hold to my view, because, in my judgment, it is not right to play a sort of “in and out “ game. I know very well that the argument will be advanced that this bounty of about ^180,000, which it is proposed to. give to practically one firm, will foster primary industries in that it will enable a man who goes out back to get his galvanized iron more cheaply than he could do in any other way. But that applies to only a limited portion of Australia. Who believes for a moment that it applies to the farthest parts of Western Australia, or to the central portion of Queensland, or to the northern parts of Australia? Not one honorable senator believes that the bounty will assist a settler in those localities, although he will be called upon to contribute to the bolstering up of a particular industry. This proposal is altogether wrong. When the Tariff was under consideration no one proposed or hinted that because wire netting was used by a particular class a bounty should be given if it were made locally. It was proposed that it should be subject to a duty which would apply equally throughout the Commonwealth. It is because this bounty will apply to only a limited area, and will bes subscribed by the people, that I am prepared to vote against the third reading of the Bill. I voted against its second reading and did my best to get amendments made in Committee, and now, because I do not believe that it will do much to assist industries which are receiving a certain amount of protection, I shall record my vote against its third reading!.
– Although I have opposed this measure, I do not altogether deplore the fact that it is proposed to give some encouragement to the iron industry. I entertain grave objections to the manner in which it is to be established, because I believe that it will lead to a great deal of trouble by-and-by, and that we shall have to cover the same ground again. Not only that, but once a vested interest has been established, we shall experience greater difficulties, in dealing with the industry, than we would if we undertook to establish it straight away. I believe that in the future it will become a great industry, and of greater advantage to Australia, perhaps, than any other industry which could be established. But it will cost an enormous amount to the taxpayers, who, I am afraid, will receive very little return. I believe that the time will come when the industry will be very remunerative to those who have an interest in it. It is because I believe first that a great expenditure will have to be incurred to establish the industry, and secondly that it will return an enormous profit, just as has been the case in other countries, that I think we are taking a step in the wrong direction in allowing it to get into the hands of private individuals. If ever there was an industry which should be placed in the hands of the central Government, it is- this one. However, the Senate has decided to take a certain step, and though I believe that it is a false and foolish one, judging by all the evidence at our disposal, I recognise that I must bow to the inevitable. I should not have offered such strenuous opposition to the Bill, but for a sense of public duty. Before the electors I have always advocated the establishment of the iron industry. Had I not taken up a strenuous attitude against the Bill, I should have felt that I had failed in my duty. It would have been cast up at me that I had failed simply because a Labour Government was in office. I think that I have demonstrated that whether political friends are in office or not, I am prepared to stand by my principles. A man should always consider his principles before he considers even his political friends. I have done so; and I am now content to allow the measure to pass and to let time reveal whether we acted wisely in the interests of the community as a whole, in permitting the iron industry to get into the hands of a private company or not.
.- Like a few other members of the party with which 1 am associated. I have at various stages of this Bill, made a protest against its passage. I was hopeful, when the cardinal principle - namely, nationalization - was defeated last night, that there was a chance of the measure being dropped.
– Last night, the honorable senator said that it was humbug. He did not say that it was a cardinal’ principle.
– Last night the Minister said that it was not humbug, but the cardinal principle of the Bill. He went further, and said, in effect, to honorable senators sitting on the other side, that unless they voted-
– Order ! The honorable senator appears to be alluding to a debate which took place in Committee, and in which certain statements were made regarding an amendment. A little timeago, I pointed out to Senator Needham that he could not allude to a debate which had taken place in Committee. I have since read standing order 399, which is perfectly clear on the point. It is as follows -
No senator shall allude to any debate of the same session upon a question or Bill not being then under discussion, nor to any speech made in Committee, except by the indulgence of the Senate for personal explanations.
When I pointed out previously that this course was not in order, I had in mind a distinct ruling which was given by a Speaker of the House of Commons some years ago. When an honorable member was attempting to reply to a debate which had taken place in Committee, the Speaker ruled that members were prevented by the Standing Orders from doing so. I again ask honorable senators not to allude to debates which have taken place in Committee.
– Shall I be in order in referring to the debate which took place on the second reading?
– The honorable senator may refer to that debate.
-At the secondreading stage ofthe Bill, the Minister of Defence made it clear that at a later stage he would submit an amendment embodying a cardinal principle of the Labour Party’s platform.
– And it received the honorable senator’s strenuous opposition.
– In making that declaration, the honorable senator gave some encouragement to myself and others who were aware of the forces arrayed against us, that if we carried that amendment, in spite of all its shortcomings, we should have carried a principle for which the Labour Party has been striving ever since it was formed.
– The honorable senator’s speech did more to kill it than did the speech of any other member of the Senate.
– My speech had as much effect upon those who were opposed to the principle as water would have on a duck’s back.
– Thatwas not the honorable senator’s fault.
– Order ! The Minister must see that his interjection was not in order, since it referred to a speech which was delivered in Committee.
– In reply to the Minister’s interjection, let me say that my Opposition had no effect whatever.
– Order ! I ask the honorable senator not to pursue that matter, since his references are to a debate which took place in Committee, and the Minister recognises that he should not have made the interjection.
– The principle that was defeated by a majority was one which was strenuously advocated after the last general election by the party to which I belong. The Labour Party, at the last elections, made it clear and distinct that their policy included the nationalization of monopolies, and that they intended to minimize in every possible way the evils resulting from the competitive system, which gives rise to monopolistic institutions. In opposition to that policy there were arrayed against us all those who were opposed to the collective principle. When I said that, in view, of the provisions of the Constitution, the amendment was merely makebelieve, I said what I conscientiously believed to be true. Certain amendments have been made in the Bill, and as a result it will be returned with those amendments to another place, where I hope it will receive its quietus. It is unfortunate that within the last four or five years such a change of front should have taken place on the part of certain persons with regard to this measure. I invite the Senate to look at the voluminous report of the Iron Bonus Commission, which was published at considerable cost to the Commonwealth. On that Commission there were members of this Parliament who occupied prominent positions, not only in the Legislature, but in the esteem of the majority of the citizens of the Commonwealth. The inquiry conducted by the Commission was extended over a considerable period of time. Exhaustive evidence was taken, and after summarizing the evidence, one section of the Commission decided in favour of the taking over of the industry by the Government, and another section, equal in number to the first, reported in favour of its conduct by private enterprise with the assistance of a bounty. Amongst those who signed the report in favour of the nationalization of the industry as against the bounty principle was agentleman who to-day is AttorneyGeneral in the Labour Government. I refer to Mr. W. M. Hughes.
– So that circumstances alter cases?
– Evidently circumstances have to some extent altered the view at one time held by this gentleman in regard to this Bill. Another member of the Commission was Mr. Samuel Winter Cooke, who, if my memory serves me rightly, re presented Wannon in another place in the first and second sessions of the Federal Parliament.I believe he resigned his seat, and he certainly could not, bv any stretch of imagination, be considered as holding views similar to those held by any member of the Labour Party.
-Did he prefer nationalization?
– He did. Mr. Samuel Winter Cooke is well and favorably known in this State.
– He is a very good man.
– He is a very good man, and has a large circle of friends, but, politically, he is opposed to almost every plank in the Labour platform. In politics he was regarded always as an extreme Conservative, but he favoured the nationalization of this industry. Other members of the Commission signing the report to which I refer were Messrs. J. W. Kirwan, G. W. Fuller, J. Chris. Watson, and Joseph Cook. The only member of that Commission who, in dealing with this Bill, has consistently stood by the principle which, as a Labourite, he has advocated throughout his political career, is Mr. J. C. Watson. In paragraph 6 of their report the members of the Commission, whose names I have mentioned, said -
Nearly all the witnesses examined before the Commission agreed that the payment of bonuses would be useless unless followed by a duty. Experience shows that if the payment of bonuses be commenced the liability of the Commonwealth will not be limited to the sum proposed under the Bill, but that further Government aid will be sought.
The sum proposed under theBill referred to in that paragraph was not£150,000, but £324,000. Later in their report the Commissioners said -
The evidence failed to show that there was any commercial necessity for the bonuses proposed. Mr. Sandford said he could produce pig iron at Lithgow under 35s. a ton. Allowing for freight to Sydney, Melbourne, and other parts of the Commonwealth he could, on this showing, compete favorably with any imported pig iron. Other witnesses who, however, had less experience than Mr. Sandford, doubted the correctness of his estimate of cost. But on the supposition of his having made an under estimate, he would still, even without a bonus, be in an excellent position as compared with the imported commodity.
No effort was made to bring forward witnesses against the Bill. Notwithstanding that fact, the evidence given failed to establish a case in its favour. Several witnesses thought the establishment of iron works in the Commonwealth premature, and much of the evidence was strongly against any attempt by the Government to establish the iron industry by thepayment of bonuses.
– Where did Mr. Winter Cooke and Mr. Fuller say that they were in favour of the nationalization of the industry?
– They did so by their signatures to the report I have quoted.
– They did nothing of the kind. The honorable senator should tell the truth always.
– The VicePresident of the Executive Council says that I have not told the truth in this matter.
– I say that the statement that Mr. Winter Cooke and Mr. Fuller favoured the nationalization of the industry is not true.
– They signed a report against the establishment of the industry by the bounty system.
– That was not saying that they were in favour of its nationalization.
– There were two propositions before the Commission, and the gentlemen whose names I have mentioned, signed areport against the Government voting the people’s money for the establishment of the industry by means of a bounty. In signing that report, the gentlemen referred to favoured the nationalization of the industry inferentially.
– They never mentioned it.
– The honorable senator cannot quote a single statement by Mr. Fuller in favour of it.
– I am certain that Mr. Winter Cooke never favoured the principle.
– Mr. Fuller has always expressed himself as absolutely opposed to the principle, and the honorable senator must know it.
– Four or five years ago, at the commencement of the movement to secure a bounty for this industry, the matter received full and serious consideration in another place. At the time, an amendment favouring the nationalization proposal as against the bounty system was moved, and, if my memory serves me rightly, there was not a single member of the Labour Party in another place who did not vote in favour of the nationalization proposal, and speak strongly in support of it.
– Were there any ot them in the Government?
– There were none of them in the Government at that time.
– And none of them said that the proposal was unconstitutional as the honorable senator has done.
– I have said what I honestly believe to be true, and that is that we have not the power to take over the established industry at Lithgow without altering the Constitution. The Minister of Defence says that we have. There is a difference of opinion between us.
– Why argue it now, when the matter is out of the way ?
– No member of the Labour Party in the Ministry has voted against the nationalization of the industry.
– The members of the Government certainly made a move to give power to the Commonwealth, under certain restrictions, to nationalize the industry in the course of time, and as that involved a cardinal principle of the platform of the party, I had hoped that the Government would not proceed further with the Bill when that principle was defeated. But the Government are evidently determined to see this Bill through at all hazards. With others, I have made a protest against it. I do not expect that anything I am saying now will have any effect upon any one, but having made my protest, my hope is that when the Bill is returned to another place, it will receive its quietus there, and we shall have heard the last of this proposal to tax the people of the Commonwealth in order to enrich a few people in New South Wales.
– I do not wish to take up time unnecessarily. As I have supported the Bill so far, I wish to give one or two reasons why I intend to vote against the third reading. I wish to say that I am a believer in the bounty system under ordinary conditions. I hold that in some cases it is the best means to adopt to assist an industry in its earliest stages. I do not think it can be contended that in dealing with the development of the iron industry we are dealing with an ordinary commercial proposition. The main reason whyI shall vote against the third reading of this Bill is that under it I recognise that we shall be distinctly subsidizing one firm. I was, however, quite prepared to go to that length so long as we were safeguarded against the industry being controlled by not less than three companies for many years to come. Personally I do not think that it will be controlled by more than one company. Under this Bill, therefore, we are asked to subsidize the industry and - after it has been established at the expense of the taxpayers - to turn round and purchase it as well as the goodwill’ which public expenditure has created in it. So far as the Bill itself is concerned, I have very little fault to find with it, and I shall voteagainst its third reading on account of its sins of omission rather than of commission. The States Governments and theCommonwealth Government will shortly liein a position to purchase, roughly speaking, about one-third of the iron consumed in Australia, and with the developments which are taking place in the railway workshops not only of New South Wales and? Victoria, but to a limited extent of the other States, it seems likely that they will be increasing consumers of this commodity in the future. That being the case, it seems rather rough upon the public to ask them to provide the funds with which toestablish the iron industry, and at a later period to expect them not only to purchasethe industry, but also to buy back the goodwill in it which the expenditure of £180,000 of public money has assisted tocreate.
– Will not the Commonwealth always be master of the situation by reason of its power to impose Customs and Excise duties?
– I do not dispute that fact. I am merely pointingout that in the absence of the power tonationalize this industry-
– The Commonwealthdoes not possess that power yet.
– But if that power be obtained as the result of anamendment of the Constitution thepeople of Australia will have to purchase the industry together with thegoodwill which the expenditure of £180,000 of their own money has assisted to create. A great deal has beenmade of the fact that some honorablesenators are prepared to support a duty upon iron. But had honorable senators; opposite been as readv to do that as they now profess to be, the whole of Australia would to-dav have been enjoying the benefits which flow from a protective policy.
– When was such a policy proposed in respect of the iron industry ?
– If it had been, the honorable senator would not have voted for at.
– The honorable senator is quite at sea, because I have always favored the imposition of a duty upon iron.
– It is a wonder that persons who hold such opinions have not the courage to give expression to them at the proper time. I should have been prepared to support this Bill had there been any reasonable prospect of the Government retaining control of the money which under its authority will be handed over to a particular firm in the form of bounty. I know of no other section of the community which is treated in the way that it is proposed to treat the proprietors of the Lithgow ironworks. To-day we assist farmers by means of the Credit F oncier system, but we do notsay to them, “ Take this money to assist you in establishing your industry, and we will not exercise any control over you whatever.” On the contrary, the advances made under that system are usually limited to about two-thirds of the value of the farmers’ holdings. But, under this Bill, we are asked to provide the whole of the wages cost of manufacture without retaining any control whatever over the iron industry. Some honorable senators have pointed out that the States possess full power to nationalize the industry if they so desire. But we all recognise that so long as the present Legislative Councils continue in existence there is not the remotest chance of that power being exercised. I regret that I cannot support the third reading of the Bill, not because the measure is a bad one, but because it does not give the Commonwealth which has to subsidize the industry, a sufficient security.
– On Friday last, upon the motion for the second reading of this Bill, I availed myself of the opportunity to express my opinions on it. Since then, I have not seen any reason to change my views. I am opposed to it because it constitutes a leap in the dark, and because its provisions are contrary to the Labour policy, on which I was elected.
– I say “Yes,” and the Vice-President of the Executive Council knows that it is so.
– I know nothing of the kind, and I think that I am more familiar with the Labour platform than is the honorable senator.
– I have asked honorable senators on both sides of the Chamber where the money proposed to be expended under this Bill is to come from, but have received no satisfactory reply.
– Mainly from the working classes.
– I think so, too.
– Why does not the honorable senator turn the Government out of office?
– It is not the prerogative of this Chamber to turn a Government out of office. But it certainly is peculiar that we should find a Labour Ministry supported by Senators Mulcahy and Gray, and some of the other high priests of Conservatism. Those who advocate this Bill ought to be manly enough - the Government in particular -to say where the money is to be obtained with which to finance it.
– The anti-Socialists will find it for them.
– I should like the anti-Socialists to say where they are going to get it. It cannot be from Customs duties. It must come out of direct taxation, and where are the anti-Socialists who will advocate that form of taxation?
– That is the honorable senator’s funeral.
– I find that the present Government somewhat resemble the late Government in that whenever they experience trouble with the members of their own party, they make overtures to the other side. If I were to support this Bill, the accusation would doubtless be levelled against me that I was bound to do so because a Labour Government are in office. But such an accusation would be totally untrue.
– Come over here.
– The honorable senator is a little bit excited. I can quite understand now that Lithgow is in New South Wales, and that, in all probability, he will be a candidate for the constituency which embraces that district before very long. I say that before we sanction the expenditure contemplated under this Bill we ought to be in a position to provide the funds to be so expended. I have repeatedly asked Senator Millen where that money is to come from.
– Then he should have told the honorable senator.
– He did not, because he could not. I am not going to discuss the taking over of the industry in the way that has been suggested by Senator Findley, not because I do not believe in its nationalization, but because we have not the means to undertake that work at the present time. I amconvinced - and I made the same statement upon the motion for the second reading of the Bill - that before the expiration of the period fixed for the operation of the bounty, unless a protective duty be imposed upon iron in the interim, the industry will demand the assistance of a further bounty, in order that it may be kept alive.
– It would be far better to give the workmen the £30,000 and let them take a holiday.
– The whole of the £30.000 to be paid by the Commonwealth will be spent in wages. Would it not be just as well to give the men a picnic with the money? Those who are opposed to the Bill cannot be blamed for this extravagance. We have done our best to protect the revenue, but, apparently, honorable senators opposite have an axe to grind in supporting the Bill. They have the numbers, and they have “collared” the Government. They are having a. jolly good time in consequence. I opposed the Bill from the beginning, and should have vettedagainst the third reading, except that I promised Senator Best to pair with him. I thought that it would be a good thing to get him out of the way on this occasion, and therefore I paired. It does not matter to me what Government is on the Treasury bench. I am here to support principles. I am sorry to be opposing the Government. I love Senator Pearce. I recognise his ability. But I pity him in his present position. It must be very trying to him. He has my sympathy.
– He is enjoying something more than the honorable senator’s sympathy.
– Senator Pearce is not only a Socialist, but he is one of our leaders. He is one of the strongest Socialists in the Senate, and ar the same time, he is a free-trader. As to the honorable senator, who has just in terrupted me, I noticed the other day, in. looking over my Hansard proof, that therewas a good deal of Mulcahy in the report. I do not want the honorable senator tomake a speech for me now. As a politician, God knows where he is ! Honorable senators cannot classify him by any means. He is not a Labour man, nor a Liberal, but a peculiarity who does not know wherehe is himself.
Question - That this Bill be now read a third time - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 14
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Debate (on motion by Senator Pearce. adjourned from 20th October, vide page 1699) further adjourned on motion bySenator Chataway.
– A senator is entitled to object to a call for a division being withdrawn; but I heard no objection in this case.
Order of the Day called on for resumption of debate (adjourned from November 25, vide page 2286) on motion by Senator Lynch -
That, in order to provide a cheaper and more plentiful supply of fertilizers of a better quality for the encouragement of production throughout the Commonwealth, the Senate is of opinion that the Bounties Act should be amended so as to provide for the payment of a substantial bonus for the discovery and working of phosphatic deposits in the Commonwealth and the islands under its jurisdiction.
Motion (by Senator Millen) put -
That the debate be further adjourned.
The Senate divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I wonder if Senator Lynch desires to have his motion discussed at this stage of the session?
– Let the honorable senator take two hours.
– Of course, we want it discussed. We are here for the night, and if the honorable senator likes, for tomorrow, too.
– I desire to know if honorable senators on the other side are prepared to come to a division on the motion to-night?
– Only for the honorable senator we should be in division now.
– If honorable senators wish to have the matter settled without discussion, I am not averse to a division being taken now.
– I wish to move -
That the debate be now adjourned.
– I point out to the honorable senator that a quarter of an hour must elapse before a second motion of that kind can be submitted.
Question - That the motion be agreedto - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
New Business : Phosphatic Deposits Bounty: Close of Session.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I wish to know; sir, if it is possible for me to move the suspension of the Standing Orders to enable the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Bill to be considered?
– I point out to the honorable senator that standing order 64, which says that “ No new business shall be commenced after half-past 10 o’clock at night “ will preclude him from moving the suspension of the Standing Orders after that hour. Standing order 433 provides that -
In cases of urgent necessity, any standing or sessional order or orders of the Senate may be suspended on motion duly made and seconded without notice; provided that such motion is carried by an absolute majority of the whole number of senators.
The next standing order reads -
When a motion for the suspension of any standing or sessional order or orders appears on the notice-paper such motion may be carried by a majority of voices.
Assuming that notice had been given by the honorable senator of his intention to move the suspension of the Standing Orders, the motion could not be submitted at this hour, because it would be taking new business, and as he gave no such notice he is in no stranger position.
– I desire to ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council if the Government will take early steps to introduce a Bill to give effect to the resolution of the Senate in favour of a bounty for the discovery of phosphatic deposits?
– I shall be in a better position to-morrow to inform honorable senators as to whether it would be advisable to ask the Senate to sit on Tuesday next, and I should like them to be present, if possible. If sufficient progress is not made with the consideration of the Estimates in another place, of course, we shall ask the Senate to ladjoum to Wednesday. But if there is a prospect of finishing the work of the session next week, I believe that honorable senators will be prepared to meet on Tuesday, and endeavour to do so.
Honorable Senators. - Hear,hear.
– Why not postpone the cricket match, and meet on Monday?
– The honorable senator has a bee in his bonnet.
– I shall not say what he has. With regard to the inquiry from the leader of the Opposition, he must know very well that it will take a considerable time to prepare an amendment of the Bounties Act in order to give effect to the recent resolution of the Senate. In view of the difficulty we have had to carry the Manufactures Encouragement Bill, he can hardly expect that an amendment could be framed in a week or ten days.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at10.38 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 3 December 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1908/19081203_senate_3_48/>.