4th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
-I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council if he is prepared to give an answer to. the question I put to him on the 14th September - nearly three months ago- respecting the Federal land tax?
– I made a statement subsequently that the Commissioner of Taxes was getting the information as rapidly as possible, but I also stated on his authority that it would be nearly six months before some of it could be collected.
– Is the Minister of Defence able to furnish the Senate with information generally in regard to the location of the Naval College, and more particularly as to whether a report which appeared in the press a few days ago that Captain Chambers had reported adversely to the Beauty Point site and the Georgetown site on the Tamar River is correct? Also whether the Minister is having an investigation made with a view to a report in connexion with a proposed site on the Derwent River in Tasmania?
– So far as the Government is concerned, the site for the permanent Naval College has been definitely settled at Jervis Bay. The only proposition which is being investigated is the possibility of temporarily locating the College at a. site where there may be buildings suitable for the purpose. In that connexion certain sites were brought under our notice by various representatives of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, and also by the Premier of the last-named State. Captain Chambers has been investigating these sites solely with a view to reporting as to their suitability for temporary use. As regards the Tasmanian sites, Captain Chambers has not yet reported to me, and I think it is extremely unlikely that he has made any statement on the subject to the press. A paragraph appeared in the press that he had made some statement regarding temporary sites at Jervis Bay. He has denied that he made any such statement. I think that the statements referred to by Senator Keating are not correct.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) agreed to-
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Bill being passed through all its stages without delay.
Bill read a first time.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
My desire is to briefly move the second reading of the Bill, and then the Government will consent to the debate being ad journed if that is desired, so that we may get back to the Tariff. The object of the measure is to facilitate the business of the Pacific Cable, and to enable it to stand up against the competition of the Eastern Extension Telegraph Company. It is considered by the Pacific Cable Board, on which Australia has representatives, that it will accelerate the intercolonial service between the Commonwealth and the Dominion, practically duplicate the two branches of the cable between Norfolk Island and Queensland, and between Norfolk Island and New Zealand, and render possible very considerable economies in working expenses. The statement of the Board on the subject, which I may perhaps be permitted to read, is as follows -
The total value of the traffic - which is maintained by the Pacific Cable Board and the Eastern Extension Company - is set down at , £30,000 per annum, and of this the Pacific Cable Board had succeeded, up to twelve months previously, in securing£20,000 per annum, which represents nearly 20 per cent. of the Board’s total revenue, and it is of great importance that no risk should be run of a loss of receipts under this head.
The Eastern Extension Company has two direct cables between Australia and New Zealand, but the overland portions of the route are of insignificant extent, and their practical immunity from risk of injury gives to the route as a whole a very large measure of security against interruption. On the other hand, the Pacific Cable Board has but a single and somewhat circuitous line of cablevia Norfolk Island, and at either end considerable stretches of land line, the Sydney-Southport line being 700 miles long, and subject to disturbances and delays, which are a constant source of trouble and anxiety. The only way to put the Pacific Cable route on an equality in material respects with the company’s route is by the laying of a direct cable.
The proportion of the traffic secured by the Board during 1908-9 declined 3.5 per cent., and the only cause that can be assigned for the diminished share of business is a growing feeling that the company’s route is quicker and more trustworthy than that by Pacific Cable.
The proposed cable would duplicate the existing cable between Norfolk and Australia and Norfolk Island and New Zealand. Owing to an interruption to the Pacific cable off the New Zealand coast, communication was entirely interrupted for three days, during which time the Board’s traffic with New Zealand had to be handed at Sydney to the Eastern Extension Company and the whole of Reuter’s international traffic to and from New Zealand, as well as that of other important customers and all intercolonial traffic, was lost to the Board. This loss of traffic and of prestige would have been obviated had the proposed cable been laid, and it is feared that similar interruptions are not unlikely to recur from time to time.
The direct cable would enable more effective and economical arrangements to be made by the
Board for the transmission of international traffic than those at present in use. Risks of the long land line between Sydney and Southport would be avoided, great reductions could be made in the staffs at Southport and Norfolk Island - only three officers would be required at Norfolk Island, where the cable could be worked through a relay, while Southport would be kept chiefly as a training establishment, and used only for Queensland traffic and when an interruption should occur between New Zealand and Norfolk Island. The saving that would result is estimated at ?6,000 per annum.
The cost of an adequate cable, it is estimated, would not exceed ?155,000
– The saving referred to is exclusive of the interest on the capital outlay ?
– I presume that it is the saving which could be made in connexion with the staff. The Pacific Cable Board has been trying to get this line for a considerable time. The Commonwealth and New Zealand Governments were perfectly willing, but, strange to say, difficulties were raised by the British Government. The British Treasurer, first of all, made a stipulation that it should not be allowed to interfere with wireless. We had some difficulty in understanding what the meaning of the objection was, but the assurance asked for was given. At the Imperial Conference held recently a motion was moved dealing with the matter in the following terms : -
That in view of the social and commercial advantages which would result from increased facilities for inter-communication between her Dependencies and Great Britain, it is desirable that all possible means be taken to secure a reduction in cable rates throughout the Empire.
I had to speak on that motion, and I was previously informed of the difficulties in connexion with the Pacific Cable Board. The Prime Minister, Mr. Asquith, was in the chair at the time, and the British PostmasterGeneral, Mr. Samuel, was also present. At page 289 of the report of the Imperial Conference it will be found that I said -
The only other point I want to raise is this : That the British Post Office has taken up an attitude towards the proposition by the Pacific Cable Board which I would have thought Mr. Samuel might have explained to us here. I am informed that it was the Treasury, but I dare say Mr. Samuel knows about it. The Pacific Cable Board wanted to lay a new cable between Australia and New Zealand for the purpose of facilitating business and also increasing their revenue. If this cable could have been laid it would have resulted in an additional revenue to the Cable Board of ?14,000- per annum.
I made that statement on the authority of Sir George Reid and Mr. Coghlan, our representatives on the Pacific Cable Board.
That would necessitate a Bill being passed bye the Government of the United Kingdom to giveauthority to lay the cable, and the application, was made to the Government foi that permission.. The Treasury asked, first of all, that the Governments concerned should give an assurance that if the wireless stations proposed to be erected in the Pacific were erected, those wireless stationswere not to be used for commercial messages. That assurance was given, and then the Treasuryinformed the Board that they could not consentto the laying down of that cable between Australia and New Zealand because, in future, it- might interfere with the development in connexion with wireless. That was the only explanation we had, and it seems to me -an extraordinary proposition, equivalent to saying that we will not lay down Dreadnoughts because an. aeroplane may be able to blow them up or down.
Sir Joseph Ward. ; Quite right; it ought to bedone.
– We would like, if it could bedone, that some explanation should be made by you at this Conference, because it seems to us. that if we could add to the revenue of the Pacific Cable Board to the extent of ,?14,000- per annum, it puts that Board in a better positionfo make reductions an its ordinary messages. Possibly that ?14,000 per annum might be used” in still further reducing the charges, and it seems-, inexplicable to us that that consent should havebeen refused for the reason given.
Later in the debate, Mr. Samuel said -
The point raised by Mr. Pearce with referenceto the suggested new cable to be laid by the Pacific Cable Board between Australia and NewZealand is a matter not within the province of” the British Post Office, but of the British Treasury. However, I will take steps to represent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer the strongdesire that is felt both in Australia and New Zealand that the Pacific Cable Board should be authorized by the United Kingdom, so far asthe United Kingdom is a party to that Board, to proceed with this work. Perhaps that is alfc I need say at present.
Then the President, Mr. Asquith, said -
I will see that further consideration is givento that matter.
I am glad to say that, as a consequence of that promise, a Bill was introduced into the Imperial Parliament just after we left England to authorize the laying of this cable. As to some extent connected with this question, I may say that at the Conference I had the honour and pleasure, as an Australian delegate, of moving a resolution in favour of the nationalization of an Atlantic cable. I wish to take this opportunity of saying that the whole of the delegates at the Conference, with the exception of the British delegates, strongly supported the nationalization of a cable across the Atlantic. The motion to which I refer would have been carried had it not been for the Strong representations of the British Postmaster-General. He informed the Conference that he was conducting negotiations with the Atlantic Cable Com- panies, and expected shortly to be in a position to make an announcement which he believed would be found to obviate the necessity of going to the expense of laying an additional cable. The colonial delegates, of whom I was one, strongly objected to leaving Great Britain without some further promise, and before we left we had a promise from the British PostmasterGeneral, confirmed by the Prime Minister, Mr. Asquith, that if within a reasonable time the negotiations between the British Government and the Atlantic Cable Company did not achieve the result hoped for, a subsidiary conference would be called to consider definitely the plans and steps to be taken to lay a State-owned cable across the Atlantic. There has been no communication from the British Government so far to indicate whether the negotiations spoken of have secured what was desired, except that since the holding of the Conference the Atlantic Cable Companies have conceded what they had previously refused, namely, the reduced rate for deferred cable messages. I have every reason to believe that that concession was largely due to the pressure resulting from the discussion of the motion at the Imperial Conference. If the British Postmaster-General is not able to get satisfactory assurances from the Atlantic Cable Companies that we shall be treated as well as we are treated by the Pacific Cable Board, the Commonwealth Government will press for the carrying out of the promise for the holding of a subsidiary conference to determine the question whether or not an Atlantic cable should be laid by the authorities concerned in the present Pacific Cable. That will be the only satisfactory solution of the difficulty if the Atlantic Cable Companies refuse to do what they ought to do. This is not contingent upon the matter we have now in hand, but I thought it proper in dealing with this question to make this explanation of the way in which matters connected with the cable question were dealt with at the Imperial Conference. The proposal now submitted will place the Pacific Cable Board in a better position to stand up against the severe competition it has to face, and will enable it to give Australia a better service.
– Has the Imperial Bill to which the honorable senator referred been passed?
– Yes. The British Parliament passed a Bill giving consent to the construction of the line. It was passed during the present session of that Parliament.
– Were the representatives of the British Government and the Pacific Cable Board in agreement as to the proposal ?
– I presume they were. The representations in connexion with the matter were made by the officials of the Board on the part of the Board as a whole.
– I was wondering whether there were representatives of the British Government on the Board.
– There is no evidence of that.
Debate (on motion by Senator Millen) adjourned.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 18th December, vide page 4597) :
Items 178 (Electroliers, gasaliers, &c), 179 (Accumulators, &c), 182 (Iron and steel tubes or pipes), 189 (Plates and sheets, &c.), 191 (Aluminium, bronze, &c), 195 (Brass, &c), 198 (Copper), 206 (Pins), 224 (Tubes), 227 (Zinc), 229 (Machinery, machines, and parts), 230 (Blacking), 231 (Graphite), 234 (Oils), 235 (Oils in bulk), 236 (Paints and colours), 237 (Varnishes), 240 (Portland cement), 247 (Fire and glazed bricks), 250 (Glass), 253 (Glassware n.e.i.), 255 (Glass - gas analysis apparatus), 259 (Bottles), 260 (Bottles n.e.i.) agreed to.
Item 261 -
By omitting the whole of sub-item (b) and inserting in its stead the following sub-item : - “ (b) Cements and prepared adhesives n.e.i., including Acetvlated Starch. Caseine, Dextrine, Mucilage; also belting compounds, ad valorem (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.”
– I am informed that dextrine is the basis of mucilage, and that it cannot be manufactured in Australia. If that be so, I think that it ought to be omitted from this item. I therefore move -
That theHouse of Representatives be requested to amend sub-item (b) by leaving out the word “ Dextrine.”
– I would like to ask the Government why they have interfered with this line of dextrine’. Under the first Tariff dextrine was dutiable, but afterwards, for very good and sufficient reason, it was placed upon the free list. Now an attempt is being made to restore it to the list of dutiable articles. I should like to know the reason for this.
– I support the proposal of Senator Stewart. Dextrine is the raw material of the manufacturers of mucilage. It cannot be made in Australia, and it is not made here. I trust that some explanation will be forthcoming of the reason why it is proposed to take this article out of the free list, and make it dutiable at 30 per cent.
– Dextrine has been dealt with in this way because all other materials of this description, such as pastes, mucilages, &c, are required to pay a duty. Dextrine is the only article of the kind which was admitted free, and it enters largely into competition with other commodities such as I have mentioned. The Government Analyst has stated that the manufacture of dextrine is a very simple matter, and that it can be easily produced iri Australia. The reason it has not been manufactured locally is that it was admitted free, and consequently large quantities of it were imported from Germany and other countries.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council has furnished us with a sufficient reason why we should support Senator Stewart’s proposal. In the first place, he stated that dextrine enters largely into competition with other forms of mucilage. But the Vice-President of the Executive Council might have added that these other forms of mucilage do not meet the requirements of persons who use dextrine. Then he stated that it had not been manufactured in Australia because it was admitted free. He conveniently forgot that for some time a duty was levied upon it, and that that duty had failed to establish the industry here. To my mind, it is inadvisable to place a duty upon a raw material which is not produced locally.
– It is quite true that there are duties on mucilages, but dextrine is the raw material from which these very things are made. I hold in my hand a bottle of mucilage made in the Commonwealth. The bottles are made, the corks cut, the labels printed, the material prepared and bottled in the ‘Commonwealth. The basis of the mucilage is dextrine. The Government are actually going to put as high a duty on the raw material as on the manufactured article. What sort of Protection is that? In the case of another locally made mucilage, of which I have a specimen, dextrine is used with a mixture of starch. Other mucilages are made entirely from dextrine with at little alcohol to make them liquefy. We have placed a duty on imported envelopes,, with the result that millions are made in Australia. There are factories in Sydney,. Melbourne and Adelaide. The material used’ for .the fastening and for the flaps of the envelopes is principally dextrine. Some people say that it comes into competition with Australian-made glue, but I do not think that the Vice-President of the Executive Council would care to lick the flap of an envelope that had glue upon it. Dextrine is also a raw material for the manufacture of boxes, and is used by boot manufacturers for fastening socks in boots. I have received a letter from the printing and allied trades of Adelaide on the subject. They say -
In the first Federal Customs Bill duty wasproposed at 2d. per lb., which passed the Houses in the first instance, but was afterwards: rescinded and dextrine was placed on the free list. The duty now proposed is 25 per cent, on English invoice price. This material is largely used as an adhesive in making up cardboardboxes, envelope making, and paper manufac.turers. It is also used extensively in leather manufactures and in the hat industry, as well as many others. No firm of boxmakers in South Australia has any knowledge of this material being made in the Commonwealth, noi have they ever received samples or quotations from local manufacturers. These increased duties on* the raw material used in manufactures, combined with the added rate of wages, will so add to the cost of producing many articles, that they will be imported at less cost than they can be made up in the Commonwealth, which will mean less work for our em ployes and reduction in the staff of workers.
That statement is absolutely correct. Dextrine is made from starch, which is subjected to a process of heat and fermentation, which takes ill the gelatine out of it, and leaves it a powdered gum. Asfar as I can ascertain dextrine is not likely to be made in Australia. It is not made even in England. Although box-making and similar industries are carried on to a very great extent in the United Kingdom,, the dextrine used is imported from Germany. Our Customs statistics show, under the heading of imports from Germany, that 1,824 cwt. were imported in one year to the value of £,2,1 ^6. Those figures, however, include other articles mentioned under the same heading. There can be no sense in taking this article out of the free list and making it dutiable. The proposal is not in the best interests of the Commonwealth, and will do a positive injury to several industries. The price of the commodity ranges from£16 to £30 per ton, according to quality; and, I understand, that there are three qualities. Probably the totalamount imported during the year is from 300 to 400 tons. The Germans are well known to be far advanced in chemistry, and they seem to manufacture dextrine for the world.
– I do not think that there is anything in this item to make such a terrible fuss about. I would rather see a vote taken on the request than have a long discussion. It has been clearly pointed out by Senator Vardon that there is nothing in the item. The total value of the imports does not exceed £1,500, and the duty thereon would be very small indeed. When it is scattered over the boxmakers, the bootmakers, and the envelopemakers it is not worth talking about. The manufacture of dextrine from starch is declared by our public analyst to be a very simple process, yet honorable senators will rise here and argue against the imposition of a duty. It has been said that persons in Australia have had an, opportunity of making dextrine. Under the first Tariff of the Commonwealth there was a duty on the article for about five minutes, and then it was struck out, and because people did not start to make the article in a week or two it is contended that it cannot be. made here. It is idle to bring Great Britain into the argument, because for the last twenty-five years, as every one knows, it has been losing all its small industries to Germany. Do Senator Vardon and others wish to put Australia in a corresponding position? I think that we ought to take a vote, and say no more about the matter.
– I did not intend to say very much about this item, but I think that after the Minister’s speech we are entitled to say a little. He urges that it is a very small matter, but I know that dextrine is used by industries in Victoria, New South Wales, and other States. It is not right that every session manufacturers should be made to feel that the conduct of their business is being interfered with by threats of Tariff changes. In this ease the Government should have left well alone. If it is such a small matter as the Minister has stated, the best thing he can do is to drop the item.
– The quantity of dextrine which is imported is small, but its free importation is of importance to various industries. It is the raw material for a number of industries which Parliament has gone out of its way to protect. There is no pretence by the Government that this is a Protectionist duty.
– No one can contend that it will yield a big revenue.
– Drop it.
– Oh, take a vote.
– I take it from the Minister’s remark that he wants the Committee to vote out the item.
– In such industries as card-box making, envelope making, leather-bag making, and boot making, dextrine is found to be a very suitable and useful article. My impression is that dextrine, which is easily made up, competes with the product of certain industries which import their raw material free.
– We are all convinced that the item ought to come out. Let us take a vote.
– On that understanding, I am prepared to take my seat.
Question - That the request be agreed to (Senator Stewart’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 13
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Item 263 (Dextrine).
Request (by Senator McGregor) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to leave out the item.
Item 268 -
By inserting in sub-item (a) after the word “ Marble “ the words “ and Granite.”
By omitting from sub-item (d) the words “ 30 per cent.” and inserting in their stead the words “ 35percent.andonandafter14thDecember, 1911, ad valorem, 40 per cent.”
– It is intended to put unwrought granite in sub-item a, so that it shall pay a duty of 10 per cent. I do not know why the alteration should be made. When a previous attempt was made in this direction, a petition, signed by pretty well every monumental mason and marble worker in Australia, was presented to Parliament against it. I am told by those who are interested in the item that unwrought granite is used simply for monumental purposes, and that it cannot be worked here in the same way as it can be worked in other places. Judging from the petition presented previously, and the number of signatures which it contained, it would appear that the whole of the trade throughout the Commonwealth is opposed to the imposition of a duty. I move -
That theHouse of Representatives be requested to amend the item by leaving out the words “ By inserting in sub-item (a) after the word “ Marble “ the words “ and Granite.”
. -I hope that Senator Vardon will not be successful, because Ido not think there is any other country in the world in which there are so many deposits of very fine granite which, I may say, can be worked up to as beautiful a condition as marble itself. Honorable senators have only to step into the Queen’s Hall in this building to see what can be done with Australian granite. The granite masons have complained that they have not protection enough to compete with the wrought granite from such places as Great Britain-, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, and elsewhere. The value of the imports of granite and marble from European countries is £26,000 a year. I am sure that although Senator Stewart and some of our other friends may slip on a small item likedextrine, they are not going to slide on an important item like granite, which ought to be an Australian industry from the very quarry to its finest reproduction.
.- Under sub-item a of this item, “marble, unwrought, including rough or scabbled from the pick,” is dutiable at 10 per cent. The granite which comes in in slabs is the raw material of the marble masons. A large number of men are engaged in this work, and to bring unwrought marble under a duty of 10 per cent. will be to tax their raw material. The argument which has been advanced is that large supplies of white marble are available in Australia. Against that we have the statement of those who are interested in this matter that no suitable white marble is obtainable in Australia, and that consequently it is in the interests of the workers that it should be placed upon the free list. In my judgment, if we impose a tax upon the raw material we should be taking a step in the wrong direction.
– What about the Australian quarrymen?
– They are not interested in this matter at all. As an old Protectionist, I am. quite prepared to impose prohibitive duties upon articles which can be manufactured in Australia, but I see no advantage in levying imposts upon commodities which cannot be produced here. I should like an explanation of why it is proposed to make marble dutiable at 10 per cent., seeing that it has hitherto been admitted free.
– I would point out to Senator Barker that the proposal to make marble dutiable at 10 per cent. will really remove an anomaly. That we have abundant natural deposits of marble in Australia cannot be denied. I have had the pleasure of seeing the finished article manufactured in Bathurst, New South Wales, and whilst I do not pose as an expert, I venture to say that the finished marble which is produced in the quarries of that State is in every respect equal to Cararra marble. It is essential that we should levy this duty of 10 per cent. if we desire to protect the workers who are employed in the industry. That Cararra and other marble is imported in the unwrought state cannot be denied. We need to impose a duty to stimulate local production from our natural deposits. Seeing that we have marble, which, when finished, is equal to any in the world, I cannot assist to remove the duty which has been placed upon it.
– I think that Senator Barker was in error when he said that marble has hitherto been admitted free. It has always been subject to a duty of 10 per cent.
– Not unwrought marble.
– Yes. I know that in Gippsland and Walhalla there are mag- nificent deposits of marble which can be worked up splendidly, whilst throughout deposits of porphyry are to be found. These quarries cannot be worked unless some encouragement be afforded them. The duty of 10 per cent, upon marble is not a heavy one, and in my opinion we ought to retain it. The same remark is applicable to granite. At Gabo Island, and elsewhere, granite is to be found equal to anything in the world. Consequently we ought to adhere to the duty of 10 per cent, upon both these articles.
– I shall vote against this proposal. There is no granite to be found in Australia equal to that of Scotland.
– There is a piece of granite in the Queen’s Hall which is quite equal to anything which earn be obtained in any part of the world.
– I differ from the Vice-President of the Executive Council. It is quite bad enough for a family to be be called upon to pay funeral expenses without Parliament penalizing it by compelling it to pay duty upon marble and granite monuments. . The freight upon granite is enormous.
– It is sometimes brought in as ballast.
– I have absolutely no sympathy with the sentiments which have been expressed by Senator Walker. The idea that any person should desire to have only foreign granite for his headstone after he is dead is irresistibly funny. If people want that kind of luxury they should pay for it. I confess that it is a luxury which I cannot understand anybody enjoying. I should feel more comfortable if I took my last long sleep under a good old Australian gum tree than I would if I took it under the best Scottish granite. It appears to me that tombstones are absolutely a. luxury. They are quite unnecessary. In fact, they only make a person who is dead seem deader than ever. There are practically unlimited quantities of marble and granite in Australia to-day. In the Orange, Bathurst, and Molong districts granite is remarkably plentiful - so plentiful that the kerbing and guttering is done with it. Indeed, granite is broken up and used for metal on the roads there.
– So it is in South Australia.
– If any duty is justifiable it is this one.
– It is true that in Australia we have marble deposits which are equal to any in the world, and I know that we have very fine granite deposits. But the point which has been put to me is that Australian granite, after it has been exposed for a few years, “ weathers,” and somewhat decays. I am not particularly concerned about tombstones, but there are agood many people who think a great deal, of them. Why not let them enjoy their own, opinions in regard to them? But under this item a double burden will be imposed upon them. In the first place, it is proposed to include granite in sub-item (a), thus making it dutiable at 10 per cent. ; and in the second it is intended to subject wrought granite, which has hitherto been admitted free, to a duty of 40 per cent. Hitherto the duty upon wrought stone and marble has been 30 per cent., and I hope that it will not be increased to 40 per cent, which is altogether an extravagant duty.
– When this matter was previously under consideration the monumental masons desired that their raw material, partly wrought, should be admitted free. It was pointed out, however, that the introduction of sawn slabs interfered considerably with the establishment of the industry in Victoria. I wish to read a portion of a circular which has been issued by the granite manufacturers of Victoria, and which emphasizes the necessity for the proposal which is now before us. It is signed by James Taylor and Sons, of the Australian Pioneer Granite Works, Footscray, and Peter Finn and Company, of the Bendigo Granite Polishing and Sawing Works, and it reads -
We beg to bring under your notice the following facts relating to the present Commonwealth Tariff as it affects our industry, viz., monumental and polished granite work.
We have expended a large amount of capital in the erection of most complete plants for granite working, that of Messrs. James Taylor and Sons, Australian Pioneer Granite Works, Footscray, costing the sum of ^4.000; and also the establishment of Messrs. P. Finn and Company, granite works, Bendigo, costing the sum of£3,000 to equip, both of which are practically at a stand-still owing to our inability to compete with the large amount of importations, and consequently cannot keep our plant working for more than two months in the year.
Fully95 per cent. of the monumental granite work erected in the Commonwealth is imported.
I say that that is a disgrace in a country which possesses the finest natural deposits of granite in the world, and possesses also workmen who are capable of working that granite into every possible form -
We are within the mark when we state that the cost of labour is 75 per cent. higher here than in foreign countries, viz., Germany, Russia, Sweden, Belgium, &c, who employ quite an army of apprentices in the trade, and where granite is raised, worked, and exported to Australia.
We enclose a list showing the rates of wages paid to granite cutters in Aberdeen, Scotland, from whence a large amount of granite work is imported into the Commonwealth.
We may state that the supply of granite in the Commonwealth is almost unlimited, there being a great variety of colours and stones of the highest quality, as may be seen in many public buildings in the capitals of the States.
There is, however, no inducement to open and develop quarries when so little demand can be relied on. And it is quite out of the question to think of training apprentices while we are not in a position to employ journeymen.
In order to enable us to compete with the importations, which are becoming larger every year, and to be in a position to pay the increased rate of wages to our workmen, as stipulated in the Factories Act Wages Board Determination, we ask that the present duty on “ all wrought and all polished granite work “ shall be increased to 45 per cent. ad valorem.
At the present time our industry is languishing, and we are only employing about fourteen men on the average throughout the year; whereas, with increased protection, we could afford employment to about sixty to eighty men during the whole of the year, and establish on a sound basis a now almost extinct industry, for which the Commonwealth provides an almost unlimited supply of the raw material in the way of numerous varieties of high-grade stone equal to, and superior in many cases, to the best at present imported.
Trusting that this matter will receive your favorable consideration.
I have read this for the information of Protectionists in the Senate, who desire that granite partly wrought shall be admitted free. I direct attention now to a comparison of the wages paid in this industry in Aberdeen and in Victoria. I should say. first of all, that the wages paid in Sweden in the industry are lower than those paid in Aberdeen. As a matter of fact, the Swedish granite workers are able to send wrought granite to Aberdeen, which is supposed to be the home of the granite worker, merely because the wages in Sweden are so much lower than in
Aberdeen. The following statement is from the circular -
The following are the rates of wages paid to stone-cutters and others engaged in the granite trade in Aberdeen and in Victoria : -
Granite cutters, Aberdeen,7d. per hour ; Victoria,1s. 3d. and1s. 5d. per hour.
Apprentices for first year, Aberdeen, 7s. per week ; Victoria, 5s. per week.
Apprentices, second year, Aberdeen, 8s. per week ; Victoria, 10s. per week.
Apprentices, third year, Aberdeen, 9s. per week ; Victoria, 15s. per week.
Apprentices, fourth year, Aberdeen, 10s. per week ; Victoria, 22s. 6d. per week.
Apprentices, fifth year, Aberdeen,11s. per week; Victoria, 30s. per week.
Granite polishers, Aberdeen, 24s. to 26s. per week; Victoria, £2 4s. per week of forty-eight hours.
These figures will show that it is quite impossible to employ labour at rates ruling in the Commonwealth and compete with the above under our present Tariff, especially when it is remembered that there is no limit to the number of apprentices allowed to be employed in Aberdeen.
I hope that Protectionists, who are considering the interests of a few artisans in our big cities engaged in the work practically of finishing monumental work, will pause before they perpetrate so great an injustice upon all others engaged in the. industry as to oppose the duty now proposed on granite. I would ask them, above all, to remember that their action in opposing this duty must further delay the development of the magnificent granite quarries that are to be found in every State of the Commonwealth.
– I cannot say that I welcome this new duty, but the circumstances of the case force me to recognise that it is logical. If the Committee is content to impose a duty on marble, with a view to assist the marble-working industry, I cannot see why it should demur to a duty on granite. If one is right the other must be right, and if one is wrong the other is not more so. That is the negative way in which I can support the Government proposition, because even a Free Trader is under an obligation to make a wellbalanced Tariff. I rose to refer to the amount of the duty proposed. It was originally submitted by the Government at 35 per cent., but for some reason an amendment was accepted elsewhere making the duty 40 per cent.
– It ought to be 50 per cent.
SenatorMILLEN. -Then why did not the Government say so when they intro- duced this Tariff? If I could believe there would be any support for a request to reduce this duty to 35 per cent. as at first proposed by the Government, I should move such a request. But if there is likely to be no support for such a proposal I shall not detain the Committee by moving it.
Item agreed to.
Item 271 (Pestles and Mortars); item 275 (Ammonia); item 282 (Cyanide of Potassium) ; and item 284 (Sheepwashes, &c), agreed to.
Item 285 -
By omitting from the item the word “ Free “ and inserting in its stead the words “ advalorem, 10 per cent.”
– I think we should know why it is proposed to impose a duty on fly papers. I direct the attention of the Senate to the fact that recently a campaign has been started by all the Boards of Health throughout Australia to bring about the destruction of flies, which are held to be conveyers of every kind of disease.
– The local fly paper is more deadly than the imported article.
– The Minister of Defence may laugh; but we are dealing here with a matter which affects the health of the people; The industry concerned must be absolutely trifling, and the freight on the article must afford ample Protection. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to leave out the item.
– The honorable senator must have a very poor opinion of the Australian people’ if he believes that we cannot make fly papers here as well as they can be made elsewhere. When I inform1 him that the paper of which fly papers are made is admitted free, he will understand that there can be no complaint about a duty on the raw material of the industry. It must be patent to every intelligent member of the Committee that fly papers manufactured on the spot, and used in their pristine vigour, mast be better than fly papers which have been imported, and which cannot be so fresh when they are used.
– The argument of the VicePresident of the Executive Council would go to show that imported fly papers are not ap preciated, and there is, therefore, no necessity for the duty proposed at all. It is but making Parliament ridiculous to submit such an item for our consideration. The campaign instituted all over the world against the fly pest is one which should be encouraged, and not discouraged, here by the imposition of a duty on fly papers.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 16
Question so resolved in the negative
Item agreed to.
Items 287 (Chemicals and Drugs), 292 (Household Drugs), and 295 (Fullers’ Earth), agreed to.
Item 303 -
By omitting the whole of sub-item (b) and inserting in its stead the following sub-item : - “ (b) New Zealand White Pine, undressed, n.e.i. per 100 super feet, 6d.”
By inserting in sub-item (d) before the word “Timber” the figure “(1)”
By adding to sub-item (d) the following words : - “ (2) Timber undressed, cut to size for making boxes, per 100 super feet, 4s.”
By adding after the present sub-item (f) the following words : - “ And on and after the 15th December, 1911, per 100 super feet, 3s. 6d.”
By omitting from sub-item (t) the words “ per 100 feet super, face … 2s. 6d.” and inserting in their stead the words “ per 100 super, feet, 5s.”
By omitting from sub-item (x) the word “ Free “ and inserting in its stead the words ad val. 10 per cent.”
By omitting the whole of sub-item (z) and inserting in its stead the following sub-item : - “ (z) Hubs, Elm, with or without metal bands, ad val., 10 per cent.”
By omitting from sub-item (dd) the words “Rims, and Felloes” and inserting in sub-item (dd) before the word “ Spokes” the figure “ (i).”
By omitting from sub-item (dd) (i) the words “ in the rough “ and inserting in their stead the words “ rough-turned, but not shouldered or tenoned.”
By adding to sub-item (dd) the following words : - “ (2) Felloes of Hickory, cut, shaped, or bent, plain, in the rough, ad val., 10 per cent.
By omitting the whole of the note defining “ super face,” immediately following item 303.
– This item proposes to make New Zealand white pine dutiable at 6d. per 100 super, feet. The pine which is most largely used for the construction of workmen’s cottages is rimu. Under the present proposal that will be subjected to a higher duty of 2s. 6d. In one timber yard in Sydney to-day there are 4,000,000 feet of that timber being seasoned. Over 2,000 men are employed in seasoning, dressing, and preparing it. The timber is intended to be used for building purposes, especially for linings and floorings. I do not think that the intention of the Government was to penalize the industry. The owner of the yard to which I refer will make a profit of . £5,000onthe timber he has in stock if this duty be imposed. I have here a photograph of one stack of timber 60 feet high, and there are other similar stacks in the same yard. I should like the duty on dressed timber, which it is proposed to make 3s. 6d., brought down to the level of the old Tariff. I hope that, in justice to this great industry and to workmen who are trying to build homes for themselves, we shall not do anything to increase the cost of their timber. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by inserting after the word “ Pine “ in sub-item (B) the words “and Rimu.”
Senator RAE (New South Wales [12.3]. - I know something about the timber business, and have some experience of rimu. I know it as it grows in New Zealand, and also from having used it in New South Wales. Rimu is a variety of pine, but it is much more durable than white pine. It is not so suitable for making butter-boxes, because it has colour and odour, which white pine has not. It is very much morecommon than kauri, and grows over larger areas. Kauri forests are confined to a limited area in the extreme north of New Zealand, whereas rimu grows in a variety of climates and soils. It is a very much cheaper timber, and is especially suitable for studding and for anything that is not required to stand a heavy strain. There is no Australian timber like it which cant be obtained at a reasonable price. There is a great demand in this country for soft woods, and considerable hardship will be inflicted on many industries if this wood isnot able to be obtained at reasonable rates. One Protectionist argument for imposing, duties is to insure that work shall be carried on under Australian conditions or their equivalent. But that does not apply in regard to New Zealand timbers. No one can dispute the fact that the conditions of labour in New Zealand are equal to those in Australia.
– I question that.
– The labour conditionsare better there.
– I dare say that one cart pick out particular trades and callings as to which it may be shown that conditionsare better in Australia than in New Zealand. But, on the other hand, there may be other industries and callings as to which the contrary is the case. Such variations may be pointed out, but when we consider the whole range of industry we can safely say that, leaving details aside, wages and working conditions in New Zealand are similar to those which prevailin Australia. We shall be penalizing ourselves by trying to shut out these soft woods by means of high duties.
– What is wrong with Australian hardwood for studding purposes ?
– I have erected more thanone house with my own hands, and whilst I know that there is nothing more durable than Australian hardwood, it is nevertheless an infernally difficult wood to work. You require a special brand of nails, or you have to bore every hole. This means that the whole labour of putting up a building of hardwood is very much greater than is the case if you use soft timbers. Moreover, the indiscriminate destruction of our hardwoods should make us anxious to conserve them as far as possible. We need not try to press their use.
– Our timbers are being burnt off instead of being utilized.
– Not a stock of hardwood is placed on the market that does not find a ready sale to-day.
– The destruction does not take place because there is no market for the timber. It occurs because there are so few facilities for obtaining a ready market. Hundreds and thousands of acres of cedar have been destroyed on ‘the northern rivers of New South Wales because there were no railway facilities to make marketing remunerative. At present the building industry is hung up for lack of sufficient timber. Saw-millers complain that orders cannot be fulfilled, and two-thirds of their clients have to wait through lack of sufficient timber to go round. Already the timber supplies in New Zealand are diminishing. It has to be remembered that pines die at once when touched by fire. They do not spring up again from suckers. Consequently the supplies in New Zealand are falling off so much that the price is automatically rising. To impose a duty is unnecessary, because it will have the effect of still further loading up the price of these woods. I can assure honorable senators from personal knowledge that in places where there were a thousand, acres of pine at one time there are not ten now. The fast-diminishing supply means that the price is continually on the up-grade, and, of course, our greater population increases the demand. Without imposing a duty the price is bound to rise. Already it is so high as to seriously cripple the building and other industries dependent upon the use of soft woods. I trust that the request will be accepted by the Government, and adopted by the Committee.
– I do not say at the present time that the request is the most perfect way of remedying an obvious defect in these duties, but there is a defect which, I think, will command alike the sympathy of Protectionists and Free Traders, and that is that as compared with the old Tariff this one does diminish very seriously the measure of inducement which was given to importers to bring in rough timber and get it dressed here. Previously the duty on rough timber was 6d. per 100 feet, while the duty on dressed timber was 3s. That allowed an inducement or a protection of 2s. 6d. to the importers who brought in rough timber to be worked up here. But now the proposal is to put a duty of 2s. 6d. on rough timber, and 3s. 6d. on dressed timber, thereby reducing the measure of protection to is. That is more than swallowed up in the increased freight which has to be paid on the greater bulk of rough timber. A set of figures has been supplied to me by a gentleman who certainly can claim to speak with the authority of long experience of the trade. Taking the original duty at 6d. per 100 feet, he shows that the duty paid on 100 feet of marketable timber would be 6fd., because, in order to get that quantity of marketable timber, it would be necessary to import 112 feet in the rough. The extra quantity is, of course, lost in the dressing process. The extra freighton the rough timber, and the extra duty, bring the charge to is. 3fd. on 100 feet. As against that, when the dressed timber was brought in he would pay at the old rate of 3s. on 87 J feet, only the dressing having been done outside the Commonwealth. The 87J feet of dressed timber would be sold in Australia as 100 feet, but the importer would only pay the Customs. on 87
– Senator McDougall ‘s request would overcome the statement which you are now making.
– Only so far as that class of timber is concerned.
– I understand that the gentleman who supplied you with information would be agreeable to accept what is offered in the request.
– With all due deference to the gentleman referred to, I am not here to advocate his particular interests, but to consider the timber industry of Australia which is at stake under this proposal. While this request may meet the case of one timber merchant-
– It is not to meet his case. He would gain a much greater profit by selling off his stocks.
– Pardon me; he will make that profit largely now. I question whether the request goes far enough, whether we had not better get over the difficulty by reducing the duty on all rough timber or by making a- reduction simultaneously, with a slightly higher duty on dressed timber. As the Tariff stands, we are not allowing sufficient cover to those who import rough timber to be dressed here. Before submitting a request I should like the discussion to proceed a little further. In the absence of a better proposal I should be. inclined to support the request of Senator McDougall, with -the possibility of moving another at a later stage.
– I wish to refer to a statement made by Senator Rae, which, if not contradicted, might, to some extent, mislead the Committee. He spoke of the respective merits of soft and hard woods for building purposes, and having built more than one house he was naturally able to speak from personal experience. He mentioned that it was very difficult to work up hardwoods. I fancy that he must have been thinking of certain hardwoods which are grown on the mainland - ironbark or some particularly hard wood. The term “ hardwood “ includes a large variety of timbers which - are growing in Tasmania. The timber industry is one of the largest industries in that State. It grows many varieties of hardwood, which mostly come under the eucalyptus species. Blue gum, white gum, and stringy bark, for instance, are magnificent timbers for use in every portion of a weatherboard house. In Tasmania they are used for the flooring, the sides, the boarding, both inside and out side, and the ceiling. Of late years these native woods have been found by our builders to be tetter suited for ceilings than are the pines which previously were used almost exclusively, while for flooring the hardwoods are better than the imported pines which were used almost exclusively up to a few years ago. I would impress upon the Committee that the timber industry in Tasmania is a very large and important one. Our builders find that it is comparatively’ easy to work up the native hardwood which I mentioned, though, of course, not so easy as it is to work up imported pines. Within the last year or two several varieties of Tasmanian hardwoods have been very much sought after by furniture manufacturers on the mainland. In Adelaide, for instance, a hardwood, which is called Tasmanian oak. is very largely used. It is a variety of our stringy bark. It takes a polish beautifully, and is a magnificent timber for the manufacture of many kinds of furniture. It is rapidly coming into use in large furniture factories on the mainland, and the few furniture factories in Tasmania use it almost exclusively.
– - Is your blackwood much used ?
– For many years our blackwood has had an Australian reputation. Indeed, so great has been the reputation, and so large a price has it commanded, that it is disappearing very fast. There is at present, and will be for many years to come, a tremendous industry in Tasmanian hardwoods.
– It is extraordinary that our enormous Australia, which is visually cracked up to have immense timber reserves, has to look for its timber supply to little New Zealand, according to Senators McDougall and Rae,, which is a mere fly speck on the map compared with our continent.
– We did not use that argument.
– The argument is, that the particular timber with which the request deals is grown in New Zealand.
– I do not care what duty is imposed, so long as it is made equal.
– I would not be astonished at such a request coming from Senator Rae, but I am astonished at itcoming from Senator McDougall, whom I have always regarded as a good Protectionist.
– I did not advocate anything of what you are saying.
– I wish to point out to those who say that they belong to the Protectionist party, as well as to the.Labour party-
– To the Protectionist party ?
– I wish to point out to those who, while believing in the Labour party, also believe in the Protectionist party, that timber which is imported in the log, so that it can be dressed by our workmen, is admitted practically free, yet we find honorable senators getting up and asking that worked-up timber should also be allowed to come in practically free. I desire to see the work done in Australia,, apart altogether from the fact that we have as fine a variety of timbers suitable for every purpose known to man as is to be. found in any country in the world.
– In fast-diminishing, quantities.
– The same thing applies to New Zealand.
– Anybody who travels from Wollongarra, on the border of Queensland and New South Wales, and keeps his eyes open will see such vast reserves of splendid timber along the line as, if properly utilized, would supply all the requirements of Australia for fifty years.
– Absolute unadulterated bosh.
– It is absolute truth. Even between Newcastle and Gosford how much timber can the honorable senator see? Of course, I am aware that some honorable senators can cast their eyes over the horizon to New Zealand and to other countries-
– I have been over the district of which the honorable senator speaks as many times as he has, and with my eyes open.
– Within 20 yards of the railway line magnificent trees are growing, but there is very little hope of utilizing them on account of the Free Trade policy of the State which the honorable senator represents. Within Australia we have as fine a variety of timber as is to be found in the world. Senator Rae made a great point of the hardness of our Australian hardwoods. He said that they are so hard that it is impossible to drive a nail into them. But if he will give me a piece of jarrah ten years old, I will undertake to drive a hundred nails in it without bending one. In jarrah we have one of the finest timbers in the world, and there are almost inexhaustible supplies of it in Western Australia.
– There are no inexhaustible supplies of timber in the world.
– I used the qualifying word “ almost.” Throughout Australia we have immense resources of timber which have not been properly utilized. We have timbers which are suitable for every purpose. Our Australian timbers have to compete with inferior timbers from foreign countries at ridiculous prices. In Melbourne one can purchase half-inch lining boards, tongued and grooved, for about 6s. per 100 superficial feet.
– I wish that I had some of them over my wav.
– They would not be worth anything if the honorable senator could get them for nothing. They appeal to the jerry builder, because they enable him to erect a house, which, with a couple of coats of paint, will wear a substantial appearance, but which will, last no time.
– Nothing will suit the honorable senator now but brick villas.
– I have lived in bark humpys, and I have endured as much of the rough life of Australia as has the honorable senator. I am not obsessed with the idea that Port Jackson is the only harbor in the world, and that Sydney is the emporium of the whole Southern Hemisphere.
– It will be that whether the honorable senator likes it or not.
– That may be so. But the interests of Australia ought not to be subordinated to those of Sydney. It is undeniable that timber can be imported in the log practically free.
– There is a duty on undressed timber.
– But not on uncut timber.
– There are good union men in New Zealand.
– But will New Zealand reciprocate our favoured treatment of its products by admitting our timber free?
– She imports large quantities of our hardwoods which she cannot do without, and it is just as well that we should admit her softwoods free.
– I know of places in Australia where millions of feet of the best softwoods in the world are burned every year.
– Where is that?
– In North Queensland.
– What woods are they?
– Queensland kauri pine is one of them. It is far superior to the white pine which is imported from America and elsewhere. But owing to the conditions which obtain here it cannot compete with the cheaply-produced article from the United States.
– When the timber duties were first proposed the honorable senator asked for the duty which is levied under this Tariff. Since then the price of timber has gone up by more than the amount of the duty which he said at the time was sufficient.
– I would like the honorable senator to point me to any occasion on which I have said that the duty on any item is sufficient. In conclusion, I would remind Senator McDougall that timber, if imported in the log, is admitted practically free. That being so, let us import it in that form, and have the work of cutting it up done here. I shall oppose the request.
– ‘‘-ne Government, in leaning towards the request of Senator McDougall to insert “ rimu “ along with white pine, is merely doing what the different sections of the timber trade really desire. I do not think there is anything in the contention that this class of timber comes into competition with Queensland or Tasmanian timber. It may be true - as Senator Givens has stated - that we have timber in Australia which is fit for almost any purpose. But the trouble is that we cannot always get at it. The cost of conveying it to the spot where it is required is often so great as to be almost prohibitive. In this connexion I may mention that in the building of the Military College it was specified that only Australian timber should be used. But notwithstanding all the cry which has been raised of the abundant supply which is available in Queensland :and other parts of the Commonwealth, a great deal of difficulty was experienced in getting it. Indeed, building operations had to be hung up for three or four months in order to secure it. Rimu is not used for the higher classes of work. It is used for the commonest and cheapest classes. I have often heard honorable senators contend that we should cater to some extent for the poorer people of Australia, and give them an opportunity to make homes for themselves, and to earn a livelihood. The conjunction of rimu with white pine is intended to confer a benefit on them, and at the same time to protect Australian timber where it can be used with advantage. I acknowledge that’ “Tasmanian stringybark is manufactured into very fine furniture in South Australia, where it is known as Australian oak, and where a guarantee of two years is given in respect of its value and durability. Rimu will not come into competition with timber of that description., nor with the finer and better timbers of Queensland. I am sure that Senator de Largie and other honor- able senators from Western Australia know very well that in that State, which is the king State so far as the production of hardwood is concerned, soft timbers have to be introduced for certain purposes. I understand that at a later stage it is the intention of Senator McDougall to move a further amendment which will have the effect of restoring the Tariff on these tim bers to the position that it originally occupied. Up to the present most persons have been satisfied that the Tariff extended a fair measure of protection to Australian timber, and at the same time assisted the breaking up of foreign timbers of a certain class in the Commonwealth. Senator Givens said that we can introduce foreign timber in the log, but there are some countries that are too clever for Australia. We are prepared to export our timber in the log to any country, but New Zealand has imposed an export duty on log timber.
– And we are playing into the hands of New Zealand by allowing the work of breaking up log timber to be done there.
– We might impose an export duty on log timber sent to New Zealand, but that is about the only way in which we could retaliate. There is no proposal of that kind in the Bill. I had better ,- any reference to Senator McDougall’s next request until it is submitted. If it is considered necessary to go into the technicalities of the timber industry, the Minister of Defence is present, and is more capable of dealing with them than I am, or, perhaps, than some honorable senators who object to the request which has been accepted by the Government.
– I have been somewhat surprised by the ready acceptance by the Government of the request submitted by Senator McDougall. The honorable senator did not indicate to what extent importations of different timbers from New Zealand would be affected by the insertion of the words “ and rimu.” One may gather from the debate that rimu is a soft wood, easily worked, and used for building purposes.
– It is very much like kauri.
– If rimu is a wood which should have been included with New Zealand white pine, it is remarkable that this did not occur to the Government or to the Department previously. I should like to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council to what extent, as compared with white pine, rimu has been imported per annum.
– The importations of rimu are about three to one of white pine.
– New Zealand white pine is not used so much for building purposes as for butter- boxes and shelving.
Are we to understand that rimu was previously included in the Tariff item covering Baltic pine and deals?
– The Customs authorities have considered that New Zealand pine covers rimu, kauri, and white pine. They are included under the one heading in the list of importations, and the separate quantities of each are not given. Under the proposal now made, white pine and rimu will be separated from kauri.
– It is within the knowledge of honorable senators representing Tasmania, as well as of honorable senators who have visited that State, that there are upon the west coast large areas covered with excellent wood, equal to, if not superior to, any New Zealand pine. That these forests have not been tapped, and that our people are not employed in cutting and milling that timber, is due primarily to the fact that it is almost impossible to establish mills there in view of the favorable conditions under which New Zealand timbers are imported. Quite recently there was before the Tasmanian Parliament an application for certain concessions in the extreme south-west of the State, near Port Davey, for the purpose of milling timbers in that locality. Further north, on the west coast, there are excellent forests of the King William pine, the celery top, the Macquarie, and other varieties, which are not surpassed by any New Zealand timbers imported into the Commonwealth. But so long as we adopt the Tariff policy which induces our people to believe that for useful building and other timbers we are dependent upon New Zealand and on foreign countries, we can never expect to exploit our own timber resources. We may, on the contrary, expect to see, as we have seen, excellent timbers, such as the blackwood of Tasmania, used for fencing destroyed by fire. When I had the opportunity, I endeavoured to impress upon this Parliament the desirableness of conserving our natural resources of timber. I believe that we should conserve them as we should conserve our resources of iron ore. Honorable senators will know that there is a vote placed each year on the Estimates to provide that a certain quantity of Australian timbers shall be secured in order that they may be properly seasoned for use in Commonwealth works hereafter. One of the objects is to demonstrate to our own people the value of our natural productions. The policy here adopted with regard to timber aims in exactly the opposite direction. The result of this policy is that many valuable timbers in all the States are ruthlessly destroyed, because it is recognised that it would not pay to enter upon the commercial enterprise of milling these timbersin competition with the importations of New Zealand pine. We are following a policy here which Canada is now regretting, a policy which dictated the course of action of Sir Wilfrid Laurier in connexion with the recent reciprocity negotiations with the United States. The people of the United States also allowed their forests to be denuded, and then levied upon the forests of Canada for timber, not for structural purposes, or the manufacture of furniture, but for wood pulp used in the manufacture of paper. We are following a course here which induces our people to believe that we cannot hope to find in Australia certain necessary timbers, although they are all to be found in different parts of the several States. Because they are depreciated in. our Tariff the public treat them accordingly, and as a result our forests are being, denuded, we are wasting our substance, andi later we shall in reality be obliged to goto other countries for supplies of necessary timber. We have timbers in the Commonwealth which could be utilized for many of the purposes for which the New Zealand timbers are imported, but, because we are constantly impressing upon our people that they must go to New Zealand for these timbers, our own are looked upon. as worthless, and are ruthlessly destroyed.
– Are they ?
– Yes, they are. I could take the honorable senator to the north-west coast of Tasmania and show him chock-and-log fences constructed in part of some of the most beautiful blackwood. In the same way our native pines are not made use of, because they cannot be milled in competition with the New Zealand importations. Unless we adopt a genuine afforestation policy throughout the Commonwealth we shall, within the next twenty years, find ourselves in a very much worse position than Canada or the United States are today. Australian timbers are regarded by our people as being of the most inferioi quality. If we imposed proper duties upon timbers imported from other countries, whether from New Zealand, the Baltic,or Siberia, we should teach our own people to recognise that we have as good timbers it the Commonwealth as can be obtained elsewhere, and I have little doubt that they will soon begin to utilize those timbers. Senator Givens has spoken eloquently of the qualities of jarrah. That timber is used largely for internal work in buildings, and is one of the best timbers in the world. In regard to inflammability, it is one of the safest of timbers. It is also easy to work. If this request is designed to increase the large amount of timber which is now imported, I must again express my surprise at the ready acquiescence of the Vice-President of the Executive Council in accepting it.
.- One cannot help voicing a protest against the action of the Government in agreeing to reduce this duty at the request of the New South Wales senators. The great national asset that Tasmania has in respect of her timber has already been mentioned. The State is heavily timbered, and, with a proper system pf reafforestation, the resources would be of very great value to the Commonwealth generally. But our saw-millers require sufficient protection to enable them to keep the industry going. Not long ago, a demand was made by the militant Wood-workers Union of Tasmania for increased wages. The millers, however, showed that they were not able to pay what was asked unless they had increased Protection under the Commonwealth Tariff. I know that that statement is commonly made by employers when workmen ask for increased wages, but in this instance the truth of what the millers said was proved by the fact that one of the largest sawmilling plants in Tasmania recently changed hands at a very much lower figure than it cost, simply because the millers cannot market Tasmanian timbers in consequence of outside competition. An instance in point was afforded a- little while ago in the southern portion of Tasmania, where, next door to a saw-mill, a building was being erected of New Zealand pine.
– That is characteristic of you unprogressive “Tassies.”
– The fact was that the persons who were putting up the building were able to buy imported timber cheaper than they could buy Tasmanian timber next door. That is surely an objectlesson of the need for Protection.
– No; it is a reflection on the manhood of the people.
– Not at all. People naturally buy in the cheapest market.
– How is it that, with 5s. per day wages, the Tasmanian millers cannot compete with imported timber?
– They cannot, because the importers are able to flood the Australian market. We admit that we cannot compete with New Zealand pine.
Sitting suspended from i to 2.30 p.m.
– This morning, Senator Rae gave rather a bad account of Tasmanian woods, which, he stated, are too hard to work. For furniture-making purposes, however, these timbers have been proved to be, not only easy to work, but to be amongst the finest woods in the world. Recently, I was looking over Pengelly’s factory in South Australia, of which Mr. Matthias is the manager. I saw there over a million feet of Tasmanian blackwood, and nearly a million feet of Tasmanian. hardwood, all of which was to be used for furniture making.
– Does the honorable senator fear that rimu will take its place?
– Not at all. But these Tasmanian timbers are also suitable for building purposes. Except for the furniture trade, however, our saw-millers would not be able to keep going. For building requisites, the cheaper pines are being used all over the country. The consequence is that the market for Tasmanian timber- is decreasing, instead Of increasing.
– Does the honorable senator know that the price of softwoods has trebled within the past twenty-five years ?
– I can quite believe that. But in Tasmania we have splendid softwoods that have not yet been exploited.
– Huon pine?
– No; I am referring to a species of pine grown on the west coast of Tasmania, called King William pine. At present it has made no headway in the market. A small syndicate has been formed, and some of the wood was brought over to Melbourne and made into doors. Builders pronounced very favorably upon it, and said that it is as good a wood as could be obtained in the country. But what encouragement is there to place that timber on the market ?
– Any amount.
– A good deal of capital is required to start a saw-mill, and until this Parliament gives a decent measure of Protection, we cannot expect capitalists to be ready to embark their money in such industries. As to wages, I may point out that the Wood-workers Union of Tasmania is a strong and. militant body, which can be trusted to look after the interests of its members. I believe that they are taking a case to the Arbitration Court.
–Is it not a fact that they tried to make a bargain with Jones and Company ?
– Jones is one of the biggest monopolists in Tasmania.
– He is the Jonah who has swallowed Tasmania, which ought to be called “ Jonesmania.”
– Incidentally I hope that this Parliament will yet deal with Jones and Company in several directions. I trust that the friends of Protection will rally alongside those who are resisting the request which the Government are supporting. I find that there has been a complete reversal of form on the part of Ministers. In the other House they bitterly opposed any attempt to reduce the timber duties; but now that a proposal has come from a senator representing the influential State of New South Wales, they have changed their attitude completely.
– There is not enough timber in Tasmania to build a ‘bus.
– I venture to say that we have more and better timber than is to be found in New South Wales. With Protection, the saw-milling industry can be enormously developed.
– Senator Givens has alluded to the parochialism of the New South Wales representatives in regard to this duty, which he considers is due to . Sydney influences. It is not a question of Sydney influence at all. I challenge refutation when I say that all over New South Wales the saw-millers are unable to supply the orders that have been given to them. It is not a question of an industry wanting development. The sawmilling industry has been developed to such an extent that it cannot meet demands. No one wishes to depreciate the value of Australian hardwoods. I do not say a word against them. But what idiocy it is to penalize ourselves by refusing to make use of the softwoods which we can obtain from elsewhere. The talk about reafforestation is quite beside the question. It would take several generations to replace the timbers which have been ruthlessly destroyed. The argument of Senator Keating, which was to the effect that there is no market for Tasmanian timber at present, was a complete misrepresentation of facts. In the majority of cases, it is not the lack of a market for the timber, but the lack of means of transport to bring the timber to the market. When I was working on the Great Southern Railway in Gippsland, twenty-three years ago, I took an unwilling part in destroying by fire tens of thousands of feet of splendid blackwood logs. Men who understood the nature of these timbers far better than I did, said that they would have brought enormous prices if taken to Melbourne ; but it was the trouble of getting, them there which necessitated the burning of them. It is just the same in various parts of New South Wales and Queensland-. The obstacle is the enormous cost of bringing the timber to where it is required for use. Therefore, it is not a. question of burning the timber because it has no market value, but because of the inaccessibility to a market. On the northern rivers of New South Wales, there was an enormous area known as the Big Scrub, which was sold in conditional purchases, and is now mainly occupied by dairy farms. It is enormously rich land, and produced splendid timber of very many varieties. But the reason why it was in most parts destroyed by fire was because the settler could not get it to market. It is no argument to say that the timber exists any more than it is to tell a man who is suffering with heat that there is plenty of ice at the South Pole. The timbers are not available to the users. Consequently, every industry will be crippled by the exclusion of New Zealand timbers. Senators Keating and Ready have pointed out that we can only get a payable market for high-class timbers on the mainland by levying higher duties on New Zealand timbers. If the Labour element is a factor in the matter at all, surely, with the miserably low wages ruling in Tasmania, timbers which are said to be of better quality than imported timbers, could and would have been used if the Tasmanians had had enterprise enough to create markets on the mainland. Large quantities of Australian hardwoods are exported to New Zealand, where they find a ready market for many of the purposes for which they are most fitted.
– They pay a duty.
– I do not care whether they pay a duty or not. I have seen jarrah, turpentine, and other valuable Australian hardwoods used there, not only for wharf piles and all that sort of tiling, but also for coachwork, such as felloes and hubs.
– They get the Australian hardwoods because they have to do so.
– We all do the same. It is because the softwoods of New Zealand
Are eminently suitable for many purposes in Australia, which cannot be served by the quantities of hardwood which are available, that they should be admitted at low duties.
– The purposes could be served by the supply of Australian softwoods.
– No. I refer the honorable senator, or any one else, to the pricelist of any one of the big timber firms, which, of course, are not engaged in a fiscal or philanthropic enterprise. They charge according to the prices which they have to pay. While there has been a general advance in the price of all kinds of timber, our hardwoods cannot be obtained at anything like a reasonable price. Having to buy a small quantity the other day, I found that since last year there had been a rise of 3s. per roo superficial feet in the price of one of the commonest kinds of Australian hardwoods. Tallow wood, which is a splendid flooring timber, is almost unobtainable, except at a prohibitive price. So far from needing any protection, our sawmillers are absolutely unable to cope with the orders they get. If we retain the duties, we shall do considerable harm, to those who are dependent upon soft woods for purposes for which our own woods are not available or suitable.
– In almost the same breath, Senator Keating complained of the loss and waste of Australian timbers, and then advocated the imposition of a duty which would tend to the quicker using up of them. Since I went to a trade which handled and used timber twenty-five years ago, the price of softwoods in New South Wales has increased three-fold, while the price of hardwoods has doubled. We hear about many timber forests in Tasmania, which await development. I think that Tasmanians ought to take a sensible view of the situation, and ask why these forests are awaiting development. It is because the timber rings of Australia control the timber trade, which, of course, include the importing of timber.
– The increasing of the duties will not lessen the number of importers.
– Not in the slightest. .If we increase the duties, the timber-dealers will not sell the local article more cheaply. New South Wales hardwoods, which were sold retail in Sydney five years ago at 10s. per 100 feet, are now sold at £x per 100 feet. There are portions of a building for which hardwoods are more suitable, but for roofing we have no Australian timber which can compete with the
Oregon. Tasmania is, I think, lucky to have untouched timber forests. If its representatives would put their heads together and try to discover the real cause for this state of things, they would find that while the timber rings of Queensland and New South Wales can control the trade, their forests will await the time when the rings are ready to use them for their own profit. There is a simple way out of the situation. Senator Keating should set to work and show the Government where these magnificent forests in Tasmania are situated. The cost of installing a Government plant to cut up and market the timber would be very small. We never hear a proposition of that kind from the senators for Tasmania. On the contrary, they are anxious to help working men by giving the timber ring more protection, so that they can get a larger profit, and they will be thankful if they are working men, to get a small percentage of it.
– The timber industry in Tasmania is so bad that a saw-miller had to sell out at a third of the cost price.
– If the timber trade in Tasmania is at such a low ebb that it is not possible for a man to continue in it, I shall have to take with a grain of salt the statements about the splendid growths of timber there. The Protectionists want a heavy duty to develop these timber forests at once. What Australia will suffer from in the course of a few years will be the hasty development of the timber industry by recklessly denuding the forests of all the valuable timber. For fitting and furniture work, Australian cedar is possibly the world’s best timber. It is three or four times as dear as it was fifteen or twenty years ago. It has become too expensive to be used for the purposes for which it was formerly used. Yet some honorable senators want to give the timber ring a stronger grip upon the timber trade - an opportunity to increase the prices until it makes the cost of building homes much dearer than it was. The object of the request, I understand, is to bring certain varieties into a particular class, and the object of the amendment is to include a timber which is used for similar purposes. It is absolute absurdity to impose a high duty, because timbers which are much mors suitable than Australian hardwood cannot be kept out any more than our timbers could be shut out of other markets where they are found to be more suitable than American timbers.
– I think that if Senator Gardiner had taken a more general view of the topic he would, have done himself much more justice than he has done by simply confining his remarks to Tasmania. While that State has undoubtedly a very large variety of timbers, and very good timbers too, other States have a very much larger timber trade than that of Tasmania.
– And it is not languishing.
– It certainly is not going to prosper under the treatment which it is proposed to mete out in this Bill.
– We are not touching your hardwood.
– No; but my honorable friends want to bring in a cheaper article to compete unfairly with the hardwoods of Western Australia and Queensland.
– It is getting too scarce to be cheap.
– The honorable senator cannot get away from his old Free Trade ideas. The timbers which my honorable friends wish to bring in free will undoubtedly compete with Australian timbers. In the timber industry, higher wages are paid in Western Australia than are paid in New Zealand. I am quite satisfied that the timber trade of Western Australia will derive no benefit from the Tariff if altered as Senator Rae desires, nor will it be a means of assisting a working man who wants to build a small cottage in Sydney or elsewhere. I hold that for avowed Protectionists to go back upon the principle of Protection, of which we heard so much on the motion for the second reading of the Bill, is indefensible.
SenatorRae. - Why does not the honorable senator attack the Government?
– I am very sorry that the Government have fallen from grace in this matter. I am quite satisfied that it is only by the imposition of a duty that we can protect our hardwoods from the competition of cheap, inferior, foreign hardwoods.
Question - That the request be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
.- Before this item is finally dealt with I have a further request to move. A number of honorable senators supported the last request because they wished to place rimu on the same footing as other New Zealand pine. They allege that they are in favour of a (protective duty, and I want to give them an opportunity of voting in accordance with their convictions. I therefore move -
That the ‘House of Representatives be requested to make the duty1s. 6d. in sub-item (b).
The effect of my proposal would be a reversion to the old Tariff.
Question - That the request be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator McDougall) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend the item by leaving out the words “ By adding after the present sub-item (f) the following words : - “ And on andafter the15th December, 1911, per 100 super feet, 3s. 6d.’ “
.- I hope the Committee will carefully consider this request before taking a vote upon it. Under the existing Tariff, dressed timber n.e.i. is dutiable at 3s. per 100 superficial feet. Under the schedule before us, the duty is fixed at 3s. 6d., but Senator McDougall proposes that the old duty of 3s. should again be substituted for the proposed increased duty of 3s. 6d. We have already placed a timber which was, under the old Tariff, dutiable at 2s., in an item under which it will in future be dutiable at only 6d. per 100 superficial feet; and now Senator McDougall submits a request to reduce the proposed duty of 3s. 6d. per 100 superficial feet on dressed timber to 3s. This is another Free Trade proposal from an avowed Protectionist. It will strike at an Australian industry, and I call upon every Protectionist in the Committee to reject the request.
– By adopting the request, we shall leave the Tariff practically in the position in which it was previous to the introduction of this Bill, when there was very little complaint as to its protective incidence in connexion with this item. What has been done so far has been to put rimu in the same item as white pine, and make it dutiable at 6d., whilst kauri pine, which was previously included with white pine, will in future be charged the same duty as other foreign timbers.
– The Government do not appear to know their own mind, even with regard to this little Tariff Bill. It was introduced, presumably after careful consideration, with the object of rectifying anomalies in the Tariff, but, no sooner was it submitted in another place, than the Government abandoned what were considered essential features of the measure, and the same course is being adopted here. I am reminded by their action of the lines -
Weak and irresolute is man;
The purpose of to-day
Woven with pains into his plan,
To-morrow runs away.
The Government propose to do one thing to-day, and to-morrow their purpose is blown to the winds.
– The honorable senator was so dissatisfied with the Bill as introduced, that the Government are trying to amend it.
– They are trying to amend it in the opposite direction to that which I desire.
– It will mean only a difference of 6d. per 100 superficial feet. What is the use of bothering?
– I shall resist every reduction of a protective duty. We are dealing, however, with importations of dressed timber, and the only argument which could be advanced in support of the request is that we have neither the workmen nor the appliances in Australia to dress timber if it were imported, in the lpg. No one will believe that for a moment. I hope that honorable senators will vote upon this request with their eyes open, and will give effect to the Protectionist policy for which the people of Australia have declared. We are being continually told by Free Trade members of the Senate that they have accepted Protection as the settled policy of the Commonwealth, yet on every occasion when we discuss the Tariff they show that they have not accepted it, and that it is necessary for the Protectionists in this Parliamentto fight to the last to see that the policy of the country is carried out.
– This proposal looks very much like amendment for amendment’s sake. Senator McDougall has not advanced a single argument in support of his request. He has made no attempt to justify it, nor has any such attempt been made by the Government, who have accepted it. It is clear from the use of the words “ and on and after the 15th December, 191 1, per 100 superficial feet, 3s. 6d.,” that the original proposal of the Government in the Bill was amended in another place, because . the Tariff of 3s. 6d. has been operative only since the 15th of this month. If that amendment was made in another place with the concurrence of the Government, why have they changed their face in the Senate .; and if it was not made with their concurrence, why do they not attempt here to restore their original proposal, by inducing honorable senators to reject the amendment made in another place? By adopting Senator McDougall’s request, we shall be asking the House of Representatives to reconsider what they have already done.
– I candidly admit that I am not at all astonished at the action taken by the mover of this request. The honorable senator conies from the home of Free Trade in Australia.
– New South Wales pays half the Customs duties of the Commonwealth.
– Apparently the idea of the people of New South Wales is that Sydney should be the gateway through which almost everything that the Commonwealth requires should come, and the gateway out of which all the primary products of the Commonwealth should pass. Senator Gardiner has said that New South Wales pays one-half of the Customs duties collected by the Commonwealth, but let me tell the honorable senator that Sydney has progressed more since Federation than during any other period of her history within the last forty years. This has been almost entirely due to the Protectionist incidence of the Commonwealth Tariff, though the general trend of the Tariff is undoubtedly revenue-producing. It is the object of this request to make this Tariff even to a greater extent a revenue-producing Tariff. It is not intended to create an Australian industry, but to get more revenue for the Treasury.
– Hear, hear !
– Senator Gardiner says “ Hear, hear,” but what is he doing in supporting this request? He is proposing to tax the builder of - every wooden house in Australia for revenue purposes. I do not think that the working people of Australia would object to further taxation with the object of creating an industry in Australia, but they have every right to object to Customs taxation for revenue purposes only. I ask honorable senators never to forget that every farthing that is collected for revenue through Customs and Excise saves the skin of the land monopolist and the capitalist generally. So I say that honorable senators who vote in this fashion are the friends of the monopolists, and the foes of the working man. That is a strong statement to make in the face of men who profess to be the direct representatives of Labour, but I make it without fear of contradiction, because 1 can prove it up to the hilt. Every farthing of additional revenue derived from the Customs is only so much more to save the skin of the land monopolist whom Senator Rae professes to hate so consumedly, but whose position he is willing to buttress up by his votes in this Committee.
– Oh, rats !
– -The honorable senator has got “rats,” and a whole battalion of them. Ought it not to be the object of every member of the Senate to establish industries in Australia? Is it not more patriotic to use our. own timbers than to use timbers from New Zealand or any other country ? We have any quantity of timber in Australia. It is foolishness to say that these duties will injure the people of Australia. We hear the farmers mentioned in this connexion. No man has more sympathy with the farmers, and more respect for them, than I have. But the farmers of Australia are getting more protection than any other class.
– They are not.
– I have not time to enter into a discussion on the point with the honorable senator just now, but I could easily prove my statement. In any case, we, as patriotic Australians, ought surely to try to develop industries within our own borders. Even if our timber is difficult of access, it can be got at, and the country where it is growing could be opened up. It appears to me that some honorable senators come here to espouse a fiscal policy that is neither fish, flesh, fowl, nor good red herring. I can understand the point of view of the Free Traders, but these fiscal hybrids I cannot understand. I ask those who are not particularly anxious about a Tariff which will extract revenue from the people to give a good Protectionist vote on this question.
– - I do not think that it is quite fair that, because 1 come from New South Wales, every vote that I give should be represented as being a “ good old Free Trade vote.” I do not object to others voting for items, because this is their Government’s Tariff. They have a right to do so. I do not call them “ good old Protectionists,” even if they were not sent here primarily to support Protection. But if there is to be mud-throwing over this Tariff, I beg to state that I am a pretty good hand at that kind of thing, and shall take a hand on every question that is raised. In this instance, there is a duty of 3s. 6d. on timber. Senator McDougall has moved that it be reduced to 3s. The difference of 6d. is hardly worth talking about. But I am not prepared to sit here and be taunted simply because others are jealous on account of the fact that the State which I represent became so rich under Free Trade that she is able to contribute more largely than any other State to the revenues of the Commonwealth.
– When this Tariff was entered upon, I set out with the intention of voting for the highest protective duty that I could give on every item, and determined that, wherever it was shown that an industry could not be carried on in this country, that I would vote as far as possible for Free Trade. The kinds of timber that come to Victoria under this heading are Baltic pine and flooring boards. Now, although this timber has for five years paid 50 per cent. duty, I do not know of a single building that has been put up during the recent building boom in Victoria in which imported boards have not been used. I sympathize with the plea made on behalf of Tasmania. I would even vote for a prohibitive duty if it could be shown to me that Tasmania could produce timber in sufficient quantities to supply the needs ot the country, though that State is surrounded by water, and shipping freight is very cheap, Tasmania has not been able to supply our market. The most important item in connexion with imported timber is freight. In proof of that, let me point to this position. As I have said, in Victoria Baltic timber is largely used for weatherboards and floorings. In New South Wales, New Zealand timbers are used for the same purposes. Why are not New Zealand timbers used in Victoria ? The reason is that most of the timber ships that carry New Zealand timber to New South Wales get a back loading of coal. None of those ships come to Victoria, because they cannot get the back loading here. That seems to show that as far as New Zealand timber is concerned the question of transit is more important even than the duty. In the Beech Forest in Victoria we have timbers that are amongst the finest grown in any part of Australia. But the land-holders in the forest, who paid as low as1s. per acre for their land, charge the saw-millers from£6 to £9 per acre for the privilege of cutting timber there. The Beech Forest is only 150 miles from Melbourne. I say unhesitatingly that by no system of Protection could we overcome a difficulty of that kind. Even by dutiesof 2,000 per cent. we could not overcome such a difficulty. If it can be shown to’ me that it is by reason of the fact that the duty is too low that Queensland timbers cannot get upon our market, I shall support the item as it stands in the Tariff. Otherwise, I shall vote for the request.
– Senator E. J. Russell seems to have blinded himself to the leading facts that should be before his mind in discussing this item. I wish to ask him this question : Have we not the men and the machinery in Australia to cut up timber, even if it has to be imported from foreign countries? Surely the people of Australia are capable pf doing that work. We have plenty of timber that is infinitely superior for building purposes to any that can be imported. But the chief argument that weighs with me isthat at present we allow work that ought to be available for our people to be done abroad. The question whether we have or have not the necessary timber in Australia need not enter into the discussion at all. Even if we had not a single stick of timber, I still contend that we ought to insist on imported timber coming to us in flitches or logs, in order that work might be provided for Australian workmen
– How is it we imported last year 70,000,000 feet of timber with a 50 per cent. duty?
– That kind of argument is always put forward by Free Traders, and ought not to be used by a Protectionist.
– Importing in the log is too costly.
– I venture to say that it is much more economical to bring a load of wood in balks and flitches thanto bring it in small boards.
– If the honorable senator had any experience of loading in bulk and small parcels, he would know which was the cheaper.
– A shipping company can load a vessel with logs or balks much more economically than with single boards. If that is so, there is nothing in the contention of Senator Gardiner that it is cheaper to bring the timber here inboards. We hear a lot about natural protection ; but do honorable senators know that it costs more to take goods from port to port in Australia than it does to bring articles here from Norway, or from Puget Sound, or other places in North America.
If it is contended that the Australian workman is incompetent or incapable to dress the rough timber, I have no more to say, but those who believe that he is competent or capable will, I hope, vote to retain the increased duty.
– I am afraid that Senator E. J. Russell may have left the Committee under a wrong impression by his statement that the landholders in Beech Forest are charging the saw-millers from £6 to £g an acre for the kimber on their land. These land-holders are small farmers, who took up a country which is very thickly timbered, and which will probably cost from ^£25 to ^50 an acre to clear. They will spend a life-time before they get the holdings cleared. Why should they, even if they pay only is. an acre for the land, allow the saw-millers to come in and get the timber for nothing? If they do charge from £6 and £9 an acre for the timber, the saw-miller will make enough out of one tree to recoup himself. I do not think that these farmers should be branded as grasping land-holders who are seeking to crush out the poor saw-millers.
– I put no brand on any one, but merely stated the facts as they are.
– From the way in which the honorable senator put the matter it looked as though these men were grasping land-holders, whereas they are poor struggling farmers, who will spend a lifetime in clearing the land. Whatever little they get out of the timber they deserve.
– I indorse all that.
. -When I was a boy, I had the hardship of working in a mill where timber was planed and moulded. I put it to any one whether the 3s. which will remain if .the request be carried will not leave a considerable difference between timber imported in the rough, or undressed, and dressed timber. Can any one who knows anything about the timber trade say that the 2s. 6d. between undressed timber and dressed timber is not ample protection for those who are engaged in the dressing of timber?
– The duty of 6d. per 100 feet super, is too low.
– Whether the duty of 6d. is too low or not, it has been settled. The difference between the 6d. on undressed timber and the 3s. on dressed timber is 2s. 6d. per 100 superficial feet, and I challenge any one to say that it costs is. per 100 superficial feet to dress the rough timber. I contend that there is an ample margin left. Even those who are fond of the delusion known as Protection, which generally fails to protect the right fellow, cannot say that there is not ample protection granted in the difference of 2s. 6d. But, apart altogether from our fiscal beliefs, if the protection they ask for is not obtained by that difference, where will their demand end ? Why do they not come out with a straight-out proposal to prohibit the importation of timber in that state ?
– So far as it has gone, the discussion has, with the exception of the remarks of Senator Givens, and one or two others, been devoted to the question of whether it will pay the timber merchant, or the city man, to have this timber brought into the country a little more cheaply than at the proposed rate. But we have to realize that Australia has enormous forests to develop. In Queensland, we have 3,500,000 acres of reserves which are specially looked after by the Forestry Department for the sake of developing the timbers. I admit that the supply of timbers to the southern States has been somewhat short, but that has really been owing to the prosperity of Queensland itself, and the great demand which there has been for the timbers. Western Australia is carrying on the same sort of industry. We have not to consider whether the cabinet-making, or some other industry of a secondary nature is going to make the same sort of profit, because we take off the duties or keep them down. What we have to realize is that from one end of Australia to the other - right up to Port Essendon, and away to the western side of Port Darwin - there are forests which should be preserved and made a tremendous asset to the nation in the near future. We, as’ the National Parliament, should do everything in our power to develop these forests. I am not asking for the higher duty on behalf of a particular individual, but trying to save Australia from being reduced to the position of Sweden and Germany, which had to expend millions in afforesting country which had been denuded of timber. Unless we take some action of the kind I suggest, probably, at a very early date, all the cedar in the Atherton country will be burnt off.
– Because there will not be enough protection to make it worth while to save the trees. Our duty- is to encourage the timber industry as much as we can. If there is one member of this Parliament who is reasonably and strongly against the shipping combine it is Senator Rae. Yet it is that very combine into whose hands he plays when he tries to make it more difficult for our people to carry their timber along the coast, as compared with the timber which is brought here from Puget Sound, and other parts of the world. That is really the reason for the high cost of Queensland timber in this part of the Commonwealth. Whether it be for ornamentation, decoration, piano-making, or the making of butter boxes, there is no imported timber which will beat the timber which we can produce in our own country. I ask my honorable friends, who are one day Protectionists, and another day Free Traders, to look at the matter, ifthey can, through my spectacles. I am a straightout Protectionist whenever it is a question of assisting a primary industry. Let us be warned by the fate which overtook the old oak industry of England.
Question - That the request be agreed to (Senator McDougall’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
– There are three parts mentioned in this item, namely, hubs, rims, and felloes, about which I should like some information. They are now dutiable at 10 per cent; but hitherto they have been admitted free. We have no hickory in Australia, and no wood which can compare with it, and as the hubs, rims, and felloes of vehicles are vital to their safety, I should like an explanation of why they are to be subjected to a duty.
– I would point out to Senator McColl that spokes, rims, and felloes are now largely manufactured from Australian timbers. We have excellent timbers which are suitable for the purpose. Under this Bill undressed hickory will still be admitted free. But since the manufacture of rims, spokes, and felloes from Australian timber is already undertaken in many of our principal towns, it follows that we can also manufacture those articles from hickory, which is admitted, in the rough, free. To encourage the manufacture of these vehicle parts, we ought to impose a duty upon them.
.-I am assured by men, upon whom I can absolutely rely, that under the. present Tariff considerable injustice is being done to certain persons who have established large works, and who are employing a large number of hands. The matter can be adjusted by a slight increase of duty being made in respect of item 380. In the absence of that re-adjustment, however, an injustice will be done to those who have incurred considerable expense in establishing an industry, and who are employing a large body of men.
Items 306 (Wood, &c), 307 (Wicket, bamboo, cane, or wood), 309 (Tool handles n.e.i.), 310 (Adze, axe, scythe, and bentwood handles), agreed to.
Item 311 -
By inserting in the item after the word “ wood “ the words “ including fly doors.”
Request (by Senator Chataway) proposed -
That theHouse of Representatives be requested to leave out the item.
– It seems something of an anomaly that fly doors, which are mostly manufactured of wood, should be classified differently from other doors. They are classified with doors which are manufactured of lighter timber - that is, timber under inches, and they pay the lowest rate of duty that is imposed upon any class of doors. I know of one factory in which they are manufactured by the thousand - I refer to Pengelly’s, in South Australia. When those who wish to encourage this industry realize that nearly every house nowadays is fitted with these doors, they will vote for the proposed duty upon them.
– I should like to know what is the difference between wire doors and fly doors. Wire doors are included in item 306A, and I fail to see any reason why a distinction should be drawn between them and fly doors.
– There is no difference.
– I would point out to Senator Guthrie that wire doors have been omitted from the item to which he refers. The duty of 3s. 6d. per door in the case of the higher priced doors will not afford them as much protection as they originally enjoyed, but the lower priced articles will be much more highly protected - the difference representing about 50 per cent. The manufacturers have always contended that hitherto it has been easy to import low priced doors which could readily be made in the Commonwealth.
– After the explanation of the VicePresident of the Executive Council, I have no desire to press my request. But why should the words “fly doors” be used? Why not use the words which were omitted from item 306A, namely, “wire doors”?
– Sometimes these doors are made of perforated zinc, and they are invoiced as “fly doors.”
– In Queensland, what are called “ cheese-cloth doors “ are in use. Will they be covered by this item?
– The item will ininclude doors n.e.i., and “ fly doors “ is the term by which they are known in the trade.
– Then I ask leave to withdraw my request.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
Item agreed to.
Items 312 (Photo, frames and stands), 326 (Fancy goods), 327 (Dolls, undressed), 339 (Watches, clocks, and chronometers), 340 (Watch and clock springs), agreed to.
Item 342 -
By omitting the whole item and inserting in its stead the following item : - “ 342. Gramaphones, phonographs, and other talking machines, including cases (but not horns) imported with machines, ad valorem (General Tariff), 10 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 5 per cent.”
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by inserting after the figures “ 342 “ the letter (a), and by adding the following new sub-item : - “ (c) Records for gramaphones, phonographs, and other talking machines, Free.”
It was not intended, when an alteration was made in the Tariff, to impose a duty upon records which are not manufactured in the Commonwealth. The effect of my proposal, if adopted, will be to make two subitems of this item, the first of which, relating to gramaphones, phonographs, &c, will be dutiable at 10 per cent. under the general Tariff, and 5 per cent, under the Tariff for the United Kingdom ; whilst the second, which will relate to the records for these machines, will be admitted free.
. -It seems to me that a duty of 10 per cent. on talking machines is a revenue im post. It cannot be a protective duty, be cause, so far as I have been able to discover, there is no talking machine factory in Australia, unless the whole continent be one. If it were a revenue duty, I should vote against it; but if the Minister can assign reasons which will induce me to believe that it is a protective duty, I shall support it. At any rate, we ought to have some information on the subject.
– So far as the cheaper gramaphones are concerned this would not be a protective duty. But there are gramaphones of higher value mounted on cabinets which are really pieces of furniture, and should bear some duty. When the Bill was first introduced in another place it was proposed to impose a duty on gramaphones over £5 in value, but honorable members thought fit to propose duties of 10 and 5 per cent. on gramaphones generally, and under this provision there will still be an incidental protection in connexion with instruments of high value mounted on cabinets which should really be dutiable as furniture.
– These instruments have hitherto been free, and very properly so, because they are not manufactured here. They give a great deal of enjoyment and entertainment, especially to poor people. If it is contended that a duty might be imposed on the higher priced instruments that run up to£20 and£25 each, it must be remembered that the number of these instruments that are imported is exceedingly few. It is the lower-priced gramaphone that can be heard almost wherever one goes, and I see no reason why duties should be imposed on instruments which are an innocent source of amusement and entertainment for .the people.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [4.13]. - I wish to confirm what Senator Vardon has said. It is a great pity that duty should be imposed on these instruments. I agree with him that it is not the rich people who have these instruments as a rule.
– Not instruments valued at from £20 to £25 ?
– The price of some runs up to as high as £50, but there are scarcely any of these instruments imported.
– There are thousands of instruments imported that are valued at £25 even.
– I take leave to doubt that. If there are as many as the honorable member suggests, it is all the worse to impose these duties upon them. , It is not the skilled musician who uses these instruments. They are used most largely by the poorer, and the less well-to- 1 do, middle-class, people. They are largely used for the entertainment of children and sick people. These instruments have been brought to a very considerable degree of perfection, and have practically superseded the old musical boxes which were a great source of pleasure to young people and invalids. Many of these gramaphones are well worth listening to by anybody. They provide entertainment to people who cannot afford to pay for a costly piano or pianola, or to attend expensive concerts or operatic performances.
– And for people living out-back.
– I intended to refer to the fact that they are a source of great entertainment to people living in outside districts. I have seen crowds of people in country places listening with delight to one of the commoner gramaphones which cost from £5 to £10 each. The imposition of these duties may deprive people in the outlying districts of a source of innocent amusement, and even cultivation, or make it impossible for them to secure these instruments except at greater expense than formerly.
– Are they not made in the Commonwealth?
– Even if they were, these duties would give no protection to an industry. I ask honor able senators opposite whether they will not, in the interests of children, the sick, and country people, who cannot afford costly musical instruments, agree to oppose the proposed duties on these instruments, which are a source of the greatest delight and amusement to those to whom I have referred.
– I ask leave of the Committee to amend my request, in order to carry out the desire of the Government to prevent the cabinets imported with these instruments, and that come into competition with furniture, being admitted free. I ask leave to amend the request by adding a new sub-item -
If this request be adopted, we shall have the records free, the metal parts of the machines free, and the cabinets, that are actually furniture, dutiable at 10 and 5 per cent.
Request, by leave, amended accordingly.
– As I understand the request, if adopted, the parts of these machines, if not assembled when imported, will be admitted free ; records will be admitted free, and the complete machine will be dutiable at 10 and 5 per cent. I do not know enough of the subject to be able to decide whether the parts are of such a character that the importers of these instruments will be likely to avail themselves of the proposal for their admission free if unassembled. But I venture to express the opinion that, with duties of only 10 and 5 per cent., no reputable maker of these instruments wiM send out any but completed instruments.
– Many parts are sent out now unassembled.
– I doubt very much whether any material parts of these instruments are unattached when they are imported. The Vice-President of the Executive Council desires to stop the introduction of articles that are really furniture, and that have no necessary connexion with these instruments. But I should like to know how many of these expensive machines are imported. Do they represent 1 in 1,000. If they do not represent more than 1 in 1,000, or more than ;i_ in 100, is there any justification for imposing these duties on the other 999 or 99? It is, I think, a foolish proceeding to say that, because one man in ,100, or in 1,000, imports a costly machine of this description, we should impose a tax upon the majority of people who use quite inexpensive machines. I suggest that, as no Tariff principle is involved, the Government might let the item go.
– - I approve of the intention of the Government to impose a duty upon the cabinets associated with these instruments. I think that they should be taxed. But I think that the duty imposed should be the same as that imposed on furniture of other kinds. When I have said this, I find that I cannot go any further in approving this proposal, because I am totally opposed to duties of 10 and 15 per cent, on gramaphones and phonographs. These are purely revenue duties, and they will mean that money will be extracted from the users of instruments which, as Senator Symon has pointed out, give great enjoyment and amusement, especially to people in country districts. They are the means of unbounded delight, and assist, by supplying the best and most classical music, to lighten the tedious hours of the evening for people living in outside places. It is part of my fiscal faith to oppose every purely revenue duty, and I therefore intend to vote to admit gramaphones and phonographs free. If gramaphones were made in Australia, I should want duties of 35 and 40 per cent., at least. I certainly should not be content with 5 per cent. If it be desired to tax the cabinets, let them be included under the furniture item, where they will yield a higher duty. I hope the Minister will fall in with the general consensus of opinion, and allow gramaphones to be imported free of duty, whilst charging cabinets with duty as furniture.
– The great value of a gramaphone lies in the instrument itself, not in the cabinet which covers it. A gramaphone may be worth £25, but the cabinet may not be worth more than £$. A cabinet looks like a piece of furniture, but there is no real value in it- It would be absurd to put a heavy duty on a ,£25 machine simply because it is enclosed in a cabinet worth £3 or £4. This is absolutely a revenue duty as it stands, and imposes a burden on people in the country districts.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [4.28]. - I happen to know a little about gramaphones, because some time ago I had to buy one for a sick boy, who had no other opportunity of hearing good music than through an instrument of the kind. It is a misnomer to speak of covering cases as cabinets at all. They are not cabinets. They are of no use for any other purpose than that for which they are employed.
– I think a gramaphone cover is a cabinet.
– You could not put your Sunday shirt in it.
– A gramaphone cabinet generally has a drawer at the bottom and a door in front.
– The drawer is merely for the purpose of holding the gramaphone records. The cabinets are made of a particular kind of wood, which, I believe, is obtained from the Levant, and which is chosen because it possesses a peculiar quality of resonance. I had an opportunity of seeing many of these machines in London, and I was informed that much of the expense is due to the wood that is used for the cases of the best kind of gramaphones. It softens the sound; in fact, it greatly improves the quality of the tone. Thus the case is literally part of the machine. How any one can discriminate between the case and the machine, I do not know. It is true that the cases are polished to make them look nice, but they are not, for that reason, furniture. Surely it is not worth while to put the Customs to the trouble and expense of discriminating in these cases? I also point out that the phraseology of the amendment will cause endless confusion. It is absurd to talk about importing parts of gramaphones to ‘be assembled here. The manufacturer’ makes up the whole machine, and his reputation depends upon the completed article.
– I have taken gramaphones to pieces, and assembled them myself. They are easy enough to disassemble.
– That is interesting information, but, nevertheless, I hope that the Government will abandon these revenue duties. If they do not, I suggest that, instead of the complicated method they have adopted, they should leave the line as it stands, making gramaphones free, and putting in “ but not horns or enclosing cabinets.” Then the duty could be made what the Government like. But they should say nothing about unassembled parts.
– The idea of making gramaphone cabinets dutiable as furniture, and of importing the parts and assembling them in Australia, is about as stupid as it would be to think of importingthe parts of a violin and putting the instrument together here. The cabinet of a gramaphone, as Senator Symon has mentioned, is an essential part of the instrument itself ; as much a part of it as the parts of a violin are essentials of that instrument. I am glad that Senator Symon has raised this point, as showing how stupid the departmental officers can be. This is merely a repetition of what we have had on previous occasions, when we have found that the departmental officers did not understand their business. Though they think they know everything, they do not know much, and they are trying, in this stupid way, to force Parliament to perpetrate a gross blunder.
SenatorFRASER (Victoria) [4.35].- I hope that Ministers are not downcast about the future. Surely we are not going to be hard up for a few pounds. After such surpluses as we have had, we are not driven to tax the people who live in the back country of Australia on account of instruments like gramaphones. A person who travels in the outer parts of this country will be delighted to hear a gramaphone at a farmhouse occasionally. Music is a great attraction, and it is delightful to hear the voices of the best singers in the world reproduced in the distant bush hamlet 700 miles away from a big city. When I was in the United Kingdom lately, I happened, with my son, to be visiting a clergyman’s house on the coast of Scotland. One evening I heard the gramaphone going in a back room, and was delighted with the music.
– It was not on a Sunday, I hope?
– It was very near to Sunday morning. To my great pleasure, I heard Harry Lauder upon the gramaphone, and I think I was never so much entertained in my life. When I went to bed, I slept like a top. Surely we are not going to tax these instruments for the sake of a few paltry pounds. We ought to try and make as cheap as possible things which make life in the backwoods of Australia much more pleasant than it would otherwise be.
.- I think it is an absurdity to place gramaphones on the dutiable list at all. This is not a protective but a revenue duty. It imposes a tax on those who can ill afford to pay, by increasing the price of machines which enable those who live in the country districts to get a little music. The item is ridiculous in the place where it stands. The duty will bring in little or no revenue, and will not be protective in any sense. To some extent, of course, a gramaphone case is a piece of furniture ; but, after all, it is simply a box to enclose the instrument, and if you tax that you tax the gramaphone itself, because, without it, the machine is of little use . I should like the item to be withdrawn.
– There seems to be good reason in what Senators Symon and Fraser have said. The Government have no desire to put an unnecessary tax on those who are living far away from what we are pleased to call the centres of civilization. It must be remembered that gramaphone records, which were dutiable, are now made free. The unassembled parts of a gramaphone are made free, and the duties of 10 and 5 per cent. are to be left on only the finished gramaphone. The result will be that, if the instrument comes in in that form, the duties will be practically levied on the valuable cabinet. I am led to believe that it frequently comes in in that way, notwithstanding what Senators Barker and Symon have said. Senator St. Ledger always gets up with a halo of wisdom to make statements as if he knew everything. I wish to inform him that violins are imported in parts, and assembled here, so that he does not know everything. It is quite possible to assemble here the parts of gramaphones, and that might ultimately lead to the local manufacture of them. It can be done, and I believe that it would be done if the item were carried as it has been amended. I would rather be at a little distance from a gramaphone at any time. I am fond of the’ pipes, but I cannot say that I am fond of the gramaphone.
– Probably you have never heard a good one.
– I dare say that I have heard the best gramaphone which has been imported into Australia. I have heard on the gramaphone Madame Melba, Harry Lauder, and many other good singers. These amendments are put forward for the purpose of correcting the difficulty of making the completed instrument pay 10 and 5 per cent., and not allowing the parts to come in free. Under our proposal, the records and the parts will be free, and consequently the duty on the enriched cabinet will be much more than 10 and 5 per cent., because the duty on the whole instrument will fall on that.
– The Minister has suggested a very plausible excuse for retaining the item in the Bill ; but, if his contention be correct, the Ministry have proposed a very roundabout way to accomplish a very simple thing. According to the Minister, they have no desire to collect a duty on anything except the cabinet. Why not say straight-out that the machines shall come in free, but that the cabinet shall be dutiable at a certain rate, or comein under some other item, such as furniture? Nobody can contend for amoment that the assembling of thepartsofgramaphones will ever be an Australian industry. Ridiculous duties of 10 and 5 per cent. would be absolutely ab surd for the encouragement of that or any other industry. I do not want to be placed in a false position. I do not intend to support the Government’s roundabout proposal when there is a simple, straightforward way of proceeding. I am prepared to vote for the highest duty which they care to propose on the cabinet, but I shall insist upon giving a vote in favour of making the machines free.
– I intend to support this proposal. . I have seen these cabinets made in Sydney, out of Queensland timber, and really they are works of art. They are made without the aid of a duty, but it does not pay the manufacturer to make them, because, instead of the cabinets being made in England, as previously, they are obtained from Japan. If we impose duties of 10 and 5 per cent., it will give just sufficient protection to make the industry pay.
– Why not put a duty on the cabinet ?
– I have no objection to that. I admit that the Government may be proceeding in the wrong way. The cabinets I saw in Sydney were first class work, and we should encourage our own workmen. The manufacturer whom I saw was one of those who replied to the departmental circular, and he told me that with this assistance the industry would pay him.
Question - That the request be agreed to (Senator Pearce’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 13
Question so resolved in the negative.
– It is quite evident that honorable senators have made up their minds to put gramaphones and talking machines on the free list. I have no wish to go against that desire, but I would suggest that these articles should be made dutiable at 5 pet cent. and free, in order to give a fair preference to the Old Country. The Committee by its action has made records dutiable at 20 per cent., and we want to follow that up by bringing them under this item at 5 per cent. and free, or whatever rates may be decided upon.
– Will you consider a suggestion to make cabinets the subject of a separate item, and to impose a fairly protective duty?
– I do not intend to go any further in that direction. I only want to include records in this paragraph, so that they shall not pay 20 per cent. while gramaphones and talking machines are admitted free. We import £90,000 odd worth of these machines from the United States, and £34,000 worth from the United Kingdom. It may give a little advantage to our own countrymen if we impose a duty of 5 per cent. on the foreign imports. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by inserting, after the word “ machines “ last occurring, the words “ and Records,” and altering the duties to 5 per cent. and free.
Request agreed to.
Items 345 (Boots, shoes, slippers, &c), 350 (Rubber manufactures, n.e.i.), 351 (Rubber and rubber manufactures), agreed to.
By omitting the whole of the item and inserting in its stead the following item : - 352. (a) Leather manufactures n.e.i. ; leather cut into shape ; harness, n.e.i. razor strops ; whips, including keepers, thongs and lashes, ad valorem (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by inserting in subitem (b), after the word “ Harness,” the words “ and Buggy,” and by leaving out the whole of sub-item (c).
It is considered that the differentiation between harness and buggy saddles would be a source of much annoyance to the trade, seeing that the two lines must be practically indistinguishable in some sizes. It is, therefore, proposed to amalgamate them at the one rate.
– The proposal of the Minister will scarcely cover the whole position. How does he intend to deal with gig saddles and saddles which are used for racing purposes?
– They will come under this item, with the exception of riding saddles.
– Then buggy saddles are to include every class of saddle - even racing saddles - except riding saddles.
– Racing saddles are riding saddles.
– I would suggest that after the words “ harness saddles “ the words “ as defined by bylaws “ should be inserted. We should then be able to discriminate between an expensive saddle which was made in Australia and a comparatively cheap saddle which was manufactured outside of the Commonwealth.
Request agreed to.
Item 353 -
By adding to the item a new sub-item as follows : - “ (d) Hides, limed, or fleshed or split, per hide, 5s. ; and on and after 14th December, 191 1, 3s.”
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by leaving out all’ the words after “hide” down to and including: the figures “ 1911.”
This proposal is merely intended to eliminate some unnecessary words and to date the duty back to the introduction of the Tariff.
– Is the figure “ 3s.” omitted?
– I should like it to be. Was 3s. the old rate of duty, or does it represent an increase? I think it would be well to strike it out.
– Previously hides, limed, fleshed, or split, were exempt from duty. When this Bill was framed it was proposed to make them dutiable at 5s. per hide, but it was subsequently learned that’ an impost of 3s. per hide would be quite sufficient.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Gardiner) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend the item by leaving; out the words “ 3s.”
– I think it would be very unfair to do what Senator Gardiner has suggested. There are hundreds of men earning a livelihood in this trade in Australia. If we admit, free of duty, hides, limed or fleshed, or split, very little labour will be required to complete the process of manufacture. It is for the purpose of retaining for our own people all the work that we possibly can that this duty has been placed uponhides which have been prepared for use to the extent indicated. Green hides will, of course, be admitted free.
– I am taking up an attitude which is identical with that which Sir William Lyne assumed towards this item, and there is no man in Australia to whomProtectionists can better look for guidance than to him. He opposed this duty. There are quite a number of persons engaged in the industry who must be driven out of it if the impost be retained, because they are not in a position to compete with the only two firms in Australia who happen to possess hide-splitting machinery.
.- I hope that the Committee will retain the item. There is no reason why hide-splits ting should not be undertaken in Australia. Why should we be obliged to import hides either in a limed, or fleshed, or a split condition? Senator Gardiner has stated that there are only two firms in Australia which have hide-splitting machinery. But I started lifein a fancy leather factory, and I know something about the machinery which is required for hide-splitting. I say that it does not need an enormous outlay to purchase a dozen hide-splitting machines, and to install the necessary power to drive them. Why we should depend upon another country to do this work for us I cannot understand. In the Commonwealth we have hides of almost every grade. I hope to see a great leather business built up here - a business embracing the manufacture of the best fancy kinds of leather, and also of the coarsest that is put upon’ the market. I am in favour of giving the industry every encouragement, and, consequently, I hope that the Committee will retain the item.
.- I am sorry to have to persist with this request. There is only one firm here that possesses hide-splitting machinery.
– That is no reason why there should not be half-a-dozen.
– There are a number of firms employing a good many men in working up split hides, and the difficulty is that, if the duty on split hides be retained, the people who have now a monopoly in the possession of hide-splitting machinery in the Commonwealth will refuse to split hides for those who are now importing split hides from New Zealand and other places, and they will have to go out of the business altogether.
– They need not go out of the business. It would not cost a great deal for them to set up hide-splitting machines.
– It is not easy for people in a small way of business to set up expensive machinery. These small industries for which I am seeking some assistance have grown up under the protective influence of the old Tariff, but those engaged in them must go out of the business if the proposed duty on split hides is retained. I am following in this matter the example of one of the best known Protectionists in Australia, Sir William Lyne. Senator Givens’ suggestion reminds me of the old story of the dog who dropped the substance for the shadow. We have these small industries actually in existence in the Commonwealth, and we may, if we follow Senator Givens’ advice, lose them in the attempt to have all this work done in Australia. These split hides are the raw material of the industries to which I refer, and 3s. must be admitted to be a high duty upon an article that is not worth more than about 20s.
– Some hides are worth from 40s. up to £3. It is a poor hide that is not worth £1.
– According to the honorable senator’s own statement, I was very near the mark in suggesting that these hides are worth about £1. I am not very deeply interested in the matter, but the debate which took place elsewhere in connexion with this item directed my attention to the fact that industries already established in Australia cannot be continued if the proposed change is made. I understood that this was a Bill to remedy anomalies in the Tariff, and we require to be very careful that, in rectifying anomalies, we shall not make bad worse. I have already voted for increases and for reductions of duty not in accordance with the fiscal policy, but in order to do what I considered a fair thing for the people directly affected.
– Is not Australia directly affected?
– That is so; but, according to Senator Givens, only a man and a boy would be required to work one of these machines.
– The honorable senator should consider also the coal that would be consumed, the engine-driver, and other matters.
– If an electric plant were installed, one engineer would be sufficient to run a number of these machines. This proposal will mean the sacrifice of industries that are already in existence in Australia.
– The honorable senator is talking, not of the industry as a whole, but of one branch of the industry.
– That is so. The branch of the leather industry to which I refer depends upon the supply of split hides, and those whom I desire to assist - I suppose because they are not in a sufficiently big way of business - have not got the machinery for splitting the hides, and those who have hide-splitting machinery refuse to split hides for them. A duty of 5s. or 3s. on split hides will, in the circumstances, mean the destruction of this industry. I am able in this matter to shelter myself behind Sir William Lyne. He is probably the best-known Protectionist in the Commonwealth, and he takes the same view of this matter as I do.
– This item does not refer to raw hides, but only to imported split hides. So far as I know, there is no tannery of any size in the Commonwealth that has not a hide- splitting machine, and, in the circumstances, I do not think that the duty proposed is unreasonable.
– Senator Givens, and other honorable senators who support the retention of this duty, cannot claim to do so from a desire to uphold the ‘banner of Protection, because such a well-known Protectionist as Sir William Lyne has stated publicly that if this duty is retained, it will result in the destruction of an Australian industry.
– I have before me the H Hansard report of his speech on the subject in another place. He spoke for only a minute or two, and I do not find that he said what has been attributed to him.
– I do not wish to put the matter unfairly, and I admit that some Protectionists in another place were opposed to any reduction of this duty. The statement made in connexion with this branch of the leather industry is that specially prepared hides are required for the manufacture of certain high-class leather goods. It is stated that these hides have to be imported because Australian hides are not treated in such a way as to be suitable for this kind of work.
– It is all the more necessary that they should be properly prepared in Australia.
– If people will not protect themselves, I do not see why they should be coddled. In my own State, and, I believe, in the other States also, a foolish system of permitting people to brand on any part of a hide has been adopted. When some Victorian representatives were opposing a reduction of the duty, it was stated that measures were before the Victorian Parliament to remedy the evil of promiscuous branding, thereby admitting that the evil exists. This habit of branding on any part of a hide consider ably diminishes its value. In addition, it is complained that, through carelessness in flaying, marks and scars are left on the hide, and so the people engaged in the industries referred to are obliged to import the split hides they require chiefly from New Zealand. In Victoria, I understand that, there are three parties concerned, and’ two manufacturers have combined to crush the third. They are all Protectionists, but two, who control the hide-splitting machines, asked for an increase of duty on. split hides, whilst the third, in selfdefence, asks that the old duty should be retained. It is contended that the work of preparing hides in Australia is inferior to the work done in New Zealand. If we impose a heavy duty on split hides, the two firms which have combined will refuse to supply split hides to the other manufacturer, and he is unable to set up expensive machinery for the purpose. Notwithstanding what Senator Givens has said, I am informed that hide-splitting machinery is expensive.
– A splitting machine could be obtained for £40.
– I am informed that the necessary machinery would cost more like £1,000. The firm is doing good work, and this is an attempt to save it from annihilation at the hands of an incipient, if not an active, trust. Sir William Lyne has stated1 that he has seen, samples of the hide when imported and in the finished state, and was able to form an opinion concerning the work expended upon it. He urged Protectionists to reduce the duty.
– Is not the honorable senator quoting from Hansard?
– I believe I am. There is, however, nothing to prevent me from stating that Sir William] Lyne has defended the reduction of this duty in order to help a struggling industry.
– The honorable senator must not even allude to debates in the other House during the current session.
– Then I shall content myself by saying that, outside Parliament, Sir William Lyne has expressed the same opinion. He is known to be one of the strongest advocates of the Protectionist cause, and yet he has defended a reduction of this duty. I might mention other members of Parliament, like Mr. Mathews and’ Mr. Anstey, who have advocated the same view. It is desired to give a struggling industry a chance of getting on its feet, and not to allow one or two firms who have a monopoly to crush out others who are endeavouring to strengthen a useful industry.
Question - That the request be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 12
Question so resolved in the negative.
By inserting in sub-item (i) (i) after the words “ candle carton paper “ the words “ paper felt and carpet felt paper.”
By adding to sub-item (i) the following words : - “ (2) Apple Wrapping as prescribed by Departmental By-laws, free.”
By omitting from sub-item (m) the words “Carpet Felt Paper.”
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by adding to subitem (2) the following words : - “ (3) Paper Felt or Carpet Felt Paper for the manufacture of roofing felt and like substances, subject to Departmental By-laws, free.”
Roofing felt is manufactured in the Commonwealth. It is a felt paper saturated with bitumen and similar substances to make it waterproof, and is consolidated under high pressure. Roofing felt is free of duty under item 125, and it is therefore considered that a high rate of duty on the raw material would be unfair to the industry. The proposal really removes an anomaly by which the raw material was taxed, whereas the manufactured product was not.
Request agreed to.
– This item contains a proposed addition to sub-item 1, “ Apple wrapping, as prescribed by departmental by-laws.” I should like to know whether “ apple wrapping “ is a technical term for fruit wrapping of all kinds, or if not, why wrappings for applesshould be imported free whilst wrappings for lemons, oranges, and other fruits should be dutiable? Why should the apples of Tasmania be singled out for these particularly favorable terms?
– I have made inquiries, and ascertained that Senator Millen is technically correct, that is, that “apple wrapping” includes all other wrapping.
– Would it not be better to use the term “ fruit wrapping “?
– “ Apple wrapping “ is the term which is generally used in the trade.
– It is invoiced as “apple wrapping paper.”
– If that is understood, well and good ; otherwise I am sure that Senator Keating would be the last to ask for special treatment for his own State.
– When I voted in favour of allowing the farming community in the hot districts of Australia to get tanks in free of duty, I was held up to ridicule by Senator Ready. I want him to show his loyalty to Protection, and his disloyalty to the State he represents, and, by getting up and talking Protection as he has done for the last twenty-four hours-
– And stand by the duty on handkerchiefs.
– I feel that the grand arguments in favour of Protection which have been of absorbing interest for the last twenty-four hours have had their effect. Senator Ready is an earnest young man, to whom I always listen attentively. He generally drives home his arguments, and if he wishes to drive home his argument on Protection, let him get up and plead for a duty on apple wrappers. As soon as it comes to the question of protecting the interests of a few people of Tasmania his grand edifice of Protection apparently crumbles to the dust. If he does not rise now to support this item I will say that his profession of Protection, like that of others, is all fudge.
– I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend the item by inserting before the last paragraph the following words : - “ By adding to sub-item (k) the following words, and on and after - December, 1911, per cwt, 2s. and1s. 6d.’ “
– What does sub-item k deal with?
– I rise to a point of order, sir. Yesterday I endeavoured to submit a similar proposal in regard to incandescent mantles, and you ruled that I could not submit a request regarding any other sub-items than those contained in the schedule.
– But we had not the President’s ruling on the point then.
– I am relying upon the ruling which the Chairman gave yesterday, and which has not been disputed, that I could not move a request in regard to any sub-item other than those mentioned in the schedule in this Bill. If I was out of order yesterday in seeking to move in that direction, I take it that Senator E. J. Russell is out of order now.
– The request which Senator E. J. Russell has moved deals with sub-item k of item 356 in the original schedule, which refers to strawboard. I cannot accept the request, because there is no reference to strawboard in the Bill before the Committee. I know nothing about a ruling which was given by the President last night, as I did not happen to be here. But if such a ruling was given, it is not yet to be found in the printed President’s Decisions. Following the procedure which I have laid down for myself, I cannot accept the request, because the item “ strawboard “ is not mentionad in the Bill as it came from the other House.
– I beg, sir, to dissent in writing from your ruling, on the ground that it is not in conformity with the ruling which was given by the President last night in a similar case.
In the Senate:
The Chairman of Committees. - I have to report that a ruling of mine has been dissented from in the following circumstances : In dealing with item 356, Senator E. J. Russell moved - “ That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend the item by adding to sub-item k the following words, and on and after December, 1911, per cwt. (General Tariff) 2s., (United Kingdom)1s. 6d.’ “ The effect of his proposal would have been to introduce into the amending schedule a new item known as “ Strawboard.” Now it will be recollected that though strawboard was an item in this Bill in the form in which it wasoriginally introduced in another place, inthe form in which it was transmitted to the Senate it contains no reference whatever to strawboard. Following the procedure which has been laid down, I ruled that Senator E. J. Russell’s request was out of order, on the ground that it was not relevant to the Bill ‘before the Committee. It may be relevant to the principal Act, which this Bill seeks to amend, and if an instruction had been given to the Committee, it would have been competent for him to submit his proposal. But in the absence of such an instruction, I ruled that I could not accept his proposal, because, while it was relevant to the principal Act, it wasnot relevant to the Bill before the Committee. During the course of the debate which ensued, it was stated that my ruling was contrary to a decision which was given by you last evening. I had not the pleasure of hearing that decision, and, as it is not yet in print, we are not supposed to know of it officially. But you, sir, will be able to enlighten the Senate as to whether an exact analogy can be- instituted between the two cases. I understand that in the case in which you gave a decisionlast evening, two matters were involved which were, to some extent, interrelated. Only yesterday, in ruling upon a point of order, I admitted a proposal upon a similar ground, namely, that the two questionswere somewhat related. But on this question it seems absolutely clear, if we areto follow the procedure which has been laid; down for our guidance, that Senator E. J. Russell’s proposal is not in order. Onlylast session, when a Bill to amend the Tariff schedule was before us, you, sir, said -
Senator Stewart desired to move the insertionof an item, namely, Bananas, which did not appear in the schedule to the Bill under consideration. and that, therefore, it was not in order.. My contention is that the admission of Senator E. J. Russell’s proposal would involve the insertion of an item which does not appear in the Bill now under consideration. All reference to strawboard was deleted from the measure in the other branch of the Legislature, and the Senate knows absolutely nothing about it. Upon these grounds, I refused to accept Senator Russell’s proposal.
– In view of your recent decision, sir, I would not have ventured toaddress you but that this matter is creating is. great difference of opinion as to exactly where we stand. It is almost threatening ito disrupt parties, and to terminate life-, long friendships, and, therefore, it is desirable that we should obtain from you a clear and authoritative statement as to the course which we are to follow, not merely on the present occasion, but in the future. Up till yesterday, the Senate, as the result of rulings given by your predecessors and yourself, had acted on the assumption that in an amending Bill it was only competent to amend any portion of the principal Act which was touched by such Bill. That has “been the procedure followed. But your ruling last evening was a departure from that practice, to the extent that you affirmed that an amendment might be received on this Tariff which might be irrelevant to the Bill under discussion, provided that it was grouped in the printing of the principal Act under the same item. In other words, we were asked to regard an item in the Tariff schedule as the equivalent of a clause in a Bill. Now I would direct attention to the fact that certain items are grouped together, although they have no relation whatever to one another. For instance, one item deals with heating stoves, and, under it, Senator Vardon sought to introduce a proposal relating to incandescent mantles. Now, although they are grouped under the same heading, it cannot be contended for a moment that there is any relation between the two things. Yet the effect of your decision would be that, because they are grouped under the one item in the principal Act, it is competent for Us to deal with either of those sub-items. If that is the ruling which you desire shall stand, it is quite clear that it shuts out of view that which has hitherto been regarded as an essential feature, namely, that of relevancy. I do submit that the mere printing of an item under certain headings is really not the point which ought to determine your decision. The point is, “ Is the amendment requested relevant to the matter contained in the amending Bill?” If relevancy is held to be the controlling feature, I submit that the Chairman of Committees was quite right in his ruling, because it can hardly be contended that there is any relevancy between strawboard and apple wraps.
– No more than there is “between wigs and paint pots.
– Bearing in mind all the rulings which have been given previously, I submit that the controlling fea ture ought to be, “ Is the amendment requested relevant to the subject-matter of the amending Bill or not?” I ask you, sir, to bear that in mind in the decision which you will be called upon to give this evening.
– I would like to say a few words on the point which has been raised by Senator Millen, because, unless you, sir, go back on your previous decision, it is the only point upon which there is room for a difference of opinion. But on the question of relevancy, I would ask, “ What has an amendment to be relevant to? “ In an ordinary amending Bill, an amendment has to be relevant to a clause which it is proposed to amend. Now a clause may deal with two or more separate subjects, and, provided that an amendment were moved which was relevant to either, it would be accepted as being relevant to the subject-matter of a Bill. The only analogy which we can draw from that is that in this Bill the items are really equivalent to clauses in another Bill. The item which was under consideration when the ruling of the Chairman was disputed was item 356, of which strawboard is one of the sub- items. Some honorable .senators have spoken as if strawboard were a separate item-
– But the portion of item 356 which is brought under review is set out.
– Honorable senators, if they will look at the Bill, will see that that is not so. Dealing with the reference by the Chairman of Committees to a ruling given on the previous Tariff Bill, I direct attention to the fact that there is no analogy between that case and that which has now arisen. In the case referred to an attempt was made to deal with the duty on bananas, which was not dealt with in the Tariff Bill at that time, and which appears in the Tariff as a separate item - item 59, Bananas. There was no proposal in the Bill to deal with that separate item in any way, and so it was ruled that a request for its amendment could not be received.
– It might be dealt with under the item “ Fruits and Vegetables.”
– That is where the analogy fails, because bananas are not included in the Tariff under fruit and vegetables, but as a separate item. In this case, the whole of item 356 is before us, and I contend that, so long as requests moved are relevant to that item, the Chairman of Committees must accept them. AsI said last night, the effect of any other ruling would be to seriously limit the power of the Senate to request any amendment of the Tariff. It seems to me that the only question involved in this instance is the question of the relevancy of the proposed request; and I contend that, as it is distinctly relevant to item 356, it must be received in accordance with the rule in respect to ordinary Bills, that an amendment which is relevant to a clause can be accepted though it should not be relevant to the whole of the clause.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - A very similar question cropped up last night in connexion with a request submitted to the Temporary Chairman, Senator McColl. Senator McColl ruled that the request was in connexion with sub-items which were involved by an amendment of the Tariff proposed in the Bill. In this case the Bill does not propose to deal with strawboard in any way. The proposal made reads - 356. By inserting in sub-item (a) before the word “Bags” the words “or Embossed.”
By inserting in sub-item (1) before the word “Wrapping” the figure “ (1).”
By inserting in sub-item (1) after the words “ candle carton paper “ the words “ , paper felt and carpet felt paper.”
By adding to sub-item (1) the following words : - “ (2) Apple Wrapping as prescribed by Departmental By-laws, free.”
By omitting from sub-item (m) the words “Carpet Felt Paper.”
Although item 356 of the Tariff deals with strawboard, and imposes a duty of1s. 6d. upon it, it is not before the Committee of the Senate in any way whatever. We can only look to the Bill as it appears before us to decide what portions of the existing Tariff we are asked to amend. Senator Pearce’s contention that the ruling of the Chairman of Committees would hamper a Committee of the Senate unduly is not a matter which we need consider now. It is well known that we have not the power to initiate taxation in the Senate. It can only be initiated in another place, and I submit that we are entitled only to consider such proposals for taxation as are embodied in a taxation measure as it comes to us from that place. This difficulty was dealt with a considerable time ago. I have here Volume I. of the Rulings of the President of the Senate (Sir R. C. Baker), 1903-6, from which I quote the follow- ing-
Amendments in Committee must be relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill’ as read thesecond time.
When the Tariff Bill now before the Committee of the Senate was read a second time, no proposal with respect to strawboard was embodied in it. The ruling from which I quote continues -
The question to be considered is whether an amendment is relevant to the subject-matter of a Bill. If so, it can be moved, whether it contains a new principle or not. The test is not the title of the Bill, nor the scope or object of the Bill.
The ruling is clear and precise ; the principle is laid down there definitely, and has been accepted and acted upon since the ruling to which I refer was given in 1905, that the question to be considered is whether an amendment is relevant to thesubjectmatter of a Bill.
– Was the ruling referred to given in connexion with aTariff Bill?
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould.. - Perhapsnot. If an amendment is relevant to the subject-matter of a Bill, according to the ruling given by Sir Richard! Baker, it can be moved, whether it contains a new principle or not, but not otherwise. The question for us to consider now is whether the request submitted’ by Senator E. J. Russell is relevant to thesubjectmatter of the Bill before the Committee. The honorable senator asks us toconsider a request in connexion with a sub-item of item 356, which has not been put before us for consideration by another place. It may be that the sub-item inquestion was under consideration in another place ; but of that we have no official knowledge. We know only that the Bill cameup to the Senate without containing any proposal affecting strawboard. This question came up again in 1907-8, when I had-‘ the honour to occupy the position of President of the Senate. I find that I ruled -
Amendments must be relevant to the subjectmatter of the Bill or consistent with the text.
That ruling was given by me in strict conformity with the ruling given previously by Sir Richard Baker. I recollect that, when Sir Richard Baker gave the rulingto which I have referred, it was after agood deal of consideration, because a proposal was made at the time to make a very material alteration, I think, in an Electoral Bill. I think that this ruling will he- found to be confirmed by May’s Parliamentary Practice, and by our Standing Orders. In this case, unless it can be shown that the sub-item dealing with strawboard in the existing Tariff is relevant to the subject-matter of the Tariff Bill which is now before the Committee of the Senate, we cannot entertain any request to amend it. I submit, sir, with all due respect for any opinion you may have previously held, that you will agree that item 356 of the Bill how under consideration cannot be so enlarged as to enable us practically to initiate new taxation. We have no proposal in the Bill affecting strawboard in any way ; and the effect of the adoption of Senator E. J. Russell’s request would be the same as if we had said, without any reference to what appears in the Bill, that strawboard is an article which should be subject to a duty, and we shall, therefore, request another place to impose a duty upon it. If, for the sake of argument, an article similar to strawboard was not dealt with, even in the existing Tariff, could we consider the desirability of imposing a duty upon it? Clearly, we could not, because it would not have been submitted to us in any way whatever by another place. As the Tariff Bill has been submitted to us, it deals, not with item 356 as a whole, but with a limited portion of that item only. Another place has practically said to the Senate, “ We do not desire that you shall give consideration to any but this limited portion of item 356 of the existing Tariff.” If, for instance, an Electoral Bill is sent up to the Senate from another place, we must look to the various clauses of the measure to discover what it is we are asked to deal with. There may be many matters of importance in the principal Act with which we should like to deal ; but, under the ruling which has been given, we cannot touch them if they are not dealt with in the Bill submitted to us, if we have not taken advantage of the Standing Orders to carry an instruction to the Committee enabling the Committee to deal with them. I submit that, whether it is wise or unwise that there should be such a limitation of our powers of amendment, we have no power whatever to consider any matter that is not submitted to us in this Bill as it comes to us from another place. To suggest that we may assume that item 356, as submitted to the Senate in the Tariff Bill, may be extended to cover halfadozen sub-items, gives us, I contend, no more power to deal with a part of the item which is not contained in the Bill. It might just as well be contended that, in the. case of an ordinary Bill, half-a-dozen sections of the principal Act might be regarded as one. I submit again that we have no power to consider Senator E. J. Russell’s request to deal with the duty on strawboard.
– Item 356, as before us in the Tariff Bill, contains certain provisions to which Senator Gould’ has referred. Senator E. J. Russell desires to make an amendment in another part of the item. I ask honorable senators to consider . this Bill as originally introduced in another place. They will find that item 356 was amended in another place.
– That does not affect us.
– I consider that it does. We know that, as originally introduced, item 356 of the schedule to this Bill was amended in another place.
– We do not know that officially.
– Every person in the Commonwealth knows it. That amending Bill introduced the item which is now the subject of dispute. The other House amended the Bill in a certain direction. Amongst other things, the House of Repre- . sentatives made amendments in item 356 of the schedule of the Tariff Act. They ask us to consider these amendments. Does any one contend that the Senate cannot consider the whole of item 356 ? Item 356 includes certain sub-items. The House of Representatives has made amendments affecting some of those sub-items, but has not touched the others. It is contended by some honorable senators that we must confine our requests to the sub-items that are actually before us in the Bill.
– It is a question of relevancy.
– It is not a question of relevancy, but of power. If we looked at the matter purely from the point of relevancy, Senator Vardon and Senator Gould might be quite right. But it is very important that we should also consider it from the aspect of the powers of the two Houses of the Legislature. It is agreed that the House of Representatives had power to consider the original Act. Is it contended that when this Bill comes before the Senate for consideration we cannot turn back to the original Act? Does the Constitution say that? I contend that just as the House of Representatives had the power to consider the amending Bill in the light of the schedule of the original Act, so we have power to make requests in a similar manner.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - That is what’ it has been ruled we cannot do.
– In accordance with parliamentary practice.
– I do not care for the parliamentary practice. If there have been rulings in that direction, it is time that they were decided against. This is a question of the powers of the two Houses.
– Nonsense !
– No one will say that the House of Representatives had not power to have the schedule of the original Act under their purview. Yet it is held that we cannot do the same.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
– I wish to summarize briefly the points which are now before the President for decision. There is a Bill before us relating to duties of Customs. That Bill contains item 356. The principal Act also contains an item numbered 356. The House of Representatives amended that item of the principal Act. I contend that it is open to us to dissent from their treatment of that item, either wholly or in part. We have power to request amendments affecting any part of item 356. If the Senate has not those powers of request, which correspond to the House of Representatives’ power of amendment, our revisory powers over taxation proposals are almost useless. I trust, therefore, that every honorable senator will be afforded the opportunity of proposing requests on any item that is brought before us in this amending Bill.
– I rely upon the ruling of the President, given yesterday, which maintained the powers of any member of the Senate to- move a. request on any item specified in this Bill. At the end of your ruling, sir, in reply to an inquiry by Senator Gould, who wished to make the matter still more clear, you indicated that, in your opinion, when an item was brought up for consideration, the whole item was open for discussion. Therefore, I maintain that the whole of item 356 of the Tariff is now before the Senate, and that it is within the power of a senator to move any request which is relevant to that item.
– Is the honorable senator regarding a statement made by the Pre sident, after he had given his ruling, as equivalent to the ruling itself ?
– I am content to base my case on the previous ruling of the President.
– The Chairman of Committees has reported that in Committee a request was moved upon item 356 for the insertion of words at the end of sub-item (k). Senator St. Ledger has submitted that the question involved affects the relative powers of the two Houses of the Legislature, and that the matter should be dealt with from the point of view that this Bill originally contained matter of which the Senate is not supposed to have any cognisance. I do not think that that point of view need be considered. Senator Gould has quoted a number of decisions previously given by himself, and by Sir Richard Baker, while they occupied the chair. But I do not think that those rulings were pertinent to the question now under consideration. They referred to ordinary Bills which the Senate had the right to amend, and which, after consideration at the second-reading stage, had been submitted to the Committee of the Whole for consideration. Nor do I think that Senator Gould’s reference to the power of the Senate in regard to increasing taxation is relevant to the subject. Under the Constitution, the Senate has no power to impose taxation. But it certainly has the power to request the House of Representatives to increase taxation, and it has exercised that power in relation to certain Bills which have been brought before this Chamber. Item 356, which is dealt with in the Bill, makes amendments in sub-item (1). It also makes amendments in sub-item (m). Between those two sub-items there are other sub-items in the schedule to the principal Act which are not amended by the Sill.
– We are only considering the items in the Bill.
– We are considering item 356.
– Portion of it.
– If it were to be ruled that the Senate was only permitted to consider the particular wording of an item as it comes up from another place we should be tied down severely, and the powers of the Senate would be considerably limited. I think that honorable senators would regard that position as involving a greater curtailment of their powers than they would like, or than they thought could be allowed. A ruling has been referred to affecting a case where Senator Stewart moved to impose a duty on bananas. In that case, however, the honorable senator moved for the insertion of a new item altogether. It did not affect any item under consideration. Because of that, when the point was referred to me, I ruled that the request was out of order. In this case, I think that the duty of the Chair should be to make the procedure as simple as possible, so that honorable senators may know exactly the position which they occupy. At present it seems to me that the procedure is dependent, to a very great extent, upon whether or not each proposal is relevant to the item under consideration. Honorable senators may say that the method of submitting the Bill is faulty, that there are so many cognate subjects or sub-items brought together in one Bill that it is made very hard for the Chairman to determine what is relevant and what is not. But that is not the fault of the Senate. If Bills are submitted in that way by the Government it seems to me that it should not have any effect on the procedure of the Senate in dealing with them. It may lead to a different system of placing legislation before the Chamber. But as I ruled distinctly last evening, on a request which was moved by the Minister of Defence, in connexion with item 177 - and I had in my mind possibly the thought that similar matters might come up in connexion with other subjects- and had no hesitation in stating, in answer to Senator Sir Albert Gould, that the whole of the item was, I considered, under discussion, so I rule now that the whole of item 356 in the original Tariff is before the Senate, and the request moved by Senator E. J. Russell is in order.
– I move -
That the ruling of the President be disagreed with on the ground that it is contrary to standing order 196 regarding relevancy and to section 53 of the Constitution.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) agreed to-
That the matter be dealt with forthwith.
– The Bill before the Senate amends only three sub-items of item 356 of the Customs Tariff Act, namely, sub-items a, i, and m. Standing order 196 reads -
Any amendment may be made to any part of a Bill provided the same be relevant to the subject-matter’ of the Bill and be otherwise in conformity with the rules and orders of the Senate.
I hold that, inasmuch as there is no reference in the Bill to sub-item k of item 356, which Senator E. J. Russell proposes to deal with, it is not within the power of the Senate to deal with that sub-item, because it is not relevant to the subjectmatter of the Bill. A question of this kind arose only a week or two back, when I wanted to move an amendment in the Electoral Bill. Because my amendment contained a different principle from that referred to in the clause under consideration, it was ruled out of order as being not relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill.
– In the principal Act there was no reference to proportional representation for Senate elections.
– My amendment was ruled out of order as being not relevant, although the ruling of Mr. President Baker was that an amendment of that character was relevant, even though it introduced a new principle.
– The contention in that case was that, on the second reading, the honorable senator ought to have got an instruction to the Committee.
– Which shows that it was not relevant.
– At any rate, if I admit that the ruling was right in that case the request proposed by Senator E. J. Russell is no more relevant to the subjectmatter of this Bill than was my amendment relevant to the subject-matter of the Electoral Bill.
– Your amendment involved a principle, but this request deals with only a detail.
– If that is so, the whole of the sub-items in item 356 in the original schedule, from a to ff can be dealt with.
– Every item in the Tariff which, comes under the numbers mentioned in the schedule to this Bill.
– I feel quite sure that the Senate does not want the Tariff Act opened to that extent. I rely on a previous ruling that, according to our Standing Orders, this request is not relevant to the Bill.
– I did not take any part in this discussion before, sir, because I did not happen to be here when it began, and was not acquainted with the course that had been taken. But your ruling, and the remarks which you offered in explanation of it, have made the position very clear. It is a position which so greatly concerns the power of the Senate in regard to a Bill of this kind, and many other Bills, that I think that all of us must clearly understand the view which you took, and see the extreme desirability of having the matter settled once and for all. Whilst I felt that nothing was lacking, if I may say so, in the lucidity of the statement which you put before the Senate, I am sorry to say that I cannot agree with it. The mistake, if I may put it in that way, was in regarding this Bill as though it was a Bill dealing with the whole of the items under these numbers in the original Tariff. That, I venture to say, is not the Bill at all. The Bill before us, it is true, refers to different items in the Tariff by the numbers 353, 356, and so on, but it goes through a process of exhaustion, and reduces the subitems, so to speak, of the original items to the few on which the Parliament is now engaged in legislating. It is just as though a Bill was introduced amending a certain Act, and it referred to a particular section, which contained a dozen subsections, and said “ Section 8, sub-sections 1, 2, and 3 is amended in the following man-‘ ner.” It is a convenient, but not a scientific, way of legislating. It is one which is very apt to confuse, particularly as the items in the schedule are numbered. There is, for instance, item 356 “ By inserting in sub-item a before the word ‘ Bags ‘ the words ‘ or embossed.’ “ That is not the way in which the amendment ought to be expressed, if I may say so, with all deference to the draftsman. It ought to read, “ Division XIII., item ‘356, sub-item a, amend by inserting before the word ‘ Bags ‘ the words ‘ or Embossed.’ “ Then it would be perfectly clear that all we are legislating about is item 356, sub-item a. Item 356 in the original Tariff is a most comprehensive one. If the Senate had been aware at the beginning of this discussion that all these things were open to consideration, we should not have finished until this time next year.
– We will not be finished till then.
– We will not be finished till then, because there are a few items to come.
– And it is open to us to recommit the Bill and to start again.
– Certainly. It would be putting the Senate, sir, with very great deference indeed, in an extremely false position. We have reached the middle of this schedule under the impression - most of us at all events - that we were only dealing with the particular subitems which were selected by the Government for the purpose of amendment or redressing some anomalies.
– Is selection by request denied to us?
– No. Nobody would dare to deny anything to my honorable friend. It would be a very serious thing for the Senate to be placed in the position of having the right to deal with the whole of the sub-items of item 356 from a to ff.
– Why not, if we have the power?
– I know that my honorable friend is a glutton for that sort of thing, but the rest of us are not ; at any rate, at this late period of the session. Let us just think what it means.
– Why curtail our powers ?
– I do not wish to curtail anything, but merely to deal with the Bill which is before us. The policy of the Government is to legislate with a view to effecting certain amendments in the Tariff.
– But Parliament is superior to the Government, and we are now going to exercise our right to amend it.
– We can deal only with the Bill which has been sent to us from another place. There is no honorable senator who has been a more strenuous advocate of the rights of this Chamber than I have always been. But we must pay some regard to parliamentary procedure. When the Government propose to make certain amendments in the Tariff, they must of necessity set forth in the amending Bill certain items and sub-items. But that fact does not warrant us in dealing with the whole of the sub-items which are set out in the principal Act.
– Have we a right to review the whole Tariff?
– Certainly not, because we are dealing with this Bill. The Bill is a legislative invitation by the House of Representatives to deal with certain items and sub-items, and with no others.
– If the House of Representatives has a right to review the whole Tariff’, why has not the Senate?
– The House of Representatives could not do what is proposed to be done here.
– The House of Representatives has to deal with the Bill which is put before it, just as we have to deal with the measure which is put before us. It may make certain amendments in particular lines of the Tariff, but those amendments must be relevant to the particular items of the Bill. The House of Representatives could not do what is sought to be done by Senator E. J. Russell. It could not review the whole of the subitems under item 356, a to ff.
– The other branch of the Legislature rejected certain items.
– The Senate may do that. It did it in the case of gramaphones.
– Then we have to take what the other House puts before us ?
– We ought to be grateful to you, sir, for having put the matter so clearly. But it seems to me that you fallaciously assumed that item 356 of the original Tariff was before the Committee. 1 venture to say that it was not.
– What was before it?
– Item 356, sub-items a, i, and m. The effect of your ruling would be to enlarge the scope of this Bill in a way that would be subversive of our interests as a legislative chamber. Far better for us to confine ourselves to what has been done by the House of Representatives, and to say whether or not we approve of it. Let us make requests to strike out this or to alter that. But we cannot review the whole of the subitems of item 356 of the Tariff from a to ff.
– Suppose that each of them had been separate .items, instead of sub-items ?
– That is another way of putting it. Suppose that the Bill had read “ Division XIII., sub-item a of item 356,” or “ sub-item 1 of item 356,” there could not have been a doubt about the position. Certain grammatical defects are responsible for the confusion which has resulted. On the face of the Bill it looks as though we were dealing with item 356? But if we put aside little defects of grammar, it becomes as plain as possible that we are dealing only with sub-items a, i, and m of that item, and consequently our attention must be confined to them. Otherwise we should put the Senate in a position surrounded with all sorts of difficulties, and we should be voluntarily taking upon ourselves a task which it would be impossible for us to discharge. The Government say, in effect, “ All that we propose to do is to amend certain sub-items, and we cannot describe them without referring to the particular items under which they appear in the principal Act.” They have introduced a Bill for that purpose, which the House of Representatives has dealt with. That Bill has been forwarded to the Senate, and we are now only at liberty to deal with those sub-items.
– The enumeration of the number of the items is merely an index.
– Exactly. It is merely a method of reference. On the face of the Bill, I admit that it looks as though item 356 were under consideration. But if we examine the position, it becomes clear that it is only a symbol.
– I do not for a moment object to your decision, sir, in upholding the contention of Senator E. J. Russell. I am very glad that this question has been raised once more. Whether we shall ever reach finality in respect of it is another question. If we are to have a due regard for consistency of procedure, the better course for us to take would be to amend our Standing Orders dealing with this particular question. I cannot, sir, accept for a moment your interpretation of relevancy in this connexion. Questions of the relevancy of amendments have been raised in the Senate earlier during this session. It will be remembered that Senator Vardon, when the Electoral Bill was under consideration, moved an amendment which I admitted was quite relevant to the subject-matter of the principal Act, but which I ruled out of order on the ground that it was not relevant to the subjectmatter of the amending Bill. I forget for the moment whether you, sir, were asked to give a decision on that ruling or not. But my ruling was accepted, and Senator Vardon was prevented from doing what he desired to do. Two or three other honorable senators attempted to introduce amendments which, in the same way, were relevant to the subject-matter of the principal Act, and even of ,the section of that Act under consideration in the amending Bill. The proposed amendments were held to be irrelevant to the subject-matter of the amending Bill, and were on that ground ruled out of order. I believe that on one occasion my ruling was questioned by Senator Vardon, and you, sir, upheld my .ruling. If you have decided, by virtue of your authority as President of the Senate, to give a ruling now extending the powers’ of the Senate, I shall make no complaint. I was one of those who in the earlier years of this Parliament held that our Standing Orders did unduly restrict the powers of the Senate. These points were from the beginning threshed out, with a due regard to the difference between the powers of another place and the Senate. Senator Symon and other honorable senators, I remember, were on those occasions found to be great sticklers for the retention of all the powers of the Senate. But, in spite of that, a procedure has grown up as the result of decisions which seem to me to be in direct conflict with the ruling which you, sir, have given to-night. If it is desired that we should depart from the procedure we have followed in the past, in order to extend the powers of the Senate, I submit that the proper course to take, in the interests of the conduct of our business, would be for the Standing Orders Committee to propose an amendment of our existing Standing Orders.
– That would not get over the difficulty, because it would bring us into conflict with another place.
– I object to the President’s ruling on the ground of relevancy. The matter is one on which there is room for a difference of opinion. But I cannot agree that Senator E. J. Russell’s proposed request, dealing as it did with a matter to which there is not the slightest reference in the Bill, can be. considered as other than irrelevant to the subject-matter of the Bill. The whole question is whether we have or have not the whole of item 356 before the Committee. If the Senate accepts your ruling, we must consider that the whole of item 356 is before the Committee, and in the same way the whole of every other item referred to in the schedule to the Bill will also be before the Committee. Is that to be the calmly considered decision of the Senate? My contention is that the Committee have power to deal with item 356 of the existing Tariff in so far as sub-items a, i, and m are concerned, °as these sub-items are specifically referred to in the Bill. But if your ruling is accepted, other sub-items, taking in the rest of the letters of the alphabet, and going over the alphabet a second time up to ff will be open to review, and requests for amendments may be made upon them.
– Will the honorable senator permit me to point out that the same ruling would place the whole of Division XIII. before us?
– That is so. According to your ruling, sir, as items 356,. 357> 3°4> and 370 are but parts of Division XIII. (Paper and Stationery), it would be competent for the Committee todiscuss and request amendments upon any part of Division XIII., after sub-item k. of item 356, because I assume that eventhough your ruling be upheld it would not be competent for the Committee to go back to the consideration of items prior to subitem k.
– On recommittal it would.
– If that be so, I should like honorable senators to consider the position in which we should be landed. Some members of the Senate may have desired to deal with subitemsof item 356 prior to sub-item k, but which were not before the Committee inthe schedule to the Bill, and did not attempt to do so, because of their interpretation of our previous procedure. I hold that the settlement of this question should’ not be confused with any question as tothe expansion or restriction of our powers. We have amply safeguarded our powersby the standing order dealing with these-, cases, which was framed only after certains decisions were given to which reference hasbeen made. Under that standing order,, it is competent for an honorable senator,, after securing from the Senate an instruction to the Committee on the Bill to submit amendments which are not relevant to the subject-matter of the amending Bill, but which are relevant’ to the Act sought to beamended. I repeat that this appears to me to be a question of consistency in our procedure, and with all due deference to your ruling, sir, for which I have the greatest respect, though I venture to differ from it,, we shall not observe consistency of procedure if we accept it in this case.
– After listening to’ your ruling last night in connexion with a similar question arising upon item 177, it appeared to me, before you gave your decision on the question recently raised, that it would be inconsistent for you to give any, ruling than that which you have just given.. As last night, in addressing myself to you before you gave your ruling, I expressed the opinion that the practice and procedure of the Senate, both in relation to Tariff schedules, small though it has been, and in analagous cases in connexion with amending Bills, was in support of the ruling given by the Chairman of Committees in this instance, in the circumstances, there is now nothing left for me to do but to follow Senator Vardon, and respectfully dissent from the ruling you have just given. It seems to me that, however desirable it may be, and I think I sa”id this last night, to exercise to the full our powers of consideration and discussion, we are still largely bound by the practice we have adopted. If we wish to depart from that practice, we should do so with our eyes open, and with full consideration of the circumstances. With the practice of the past before him, the Chairman of Committees had no other course open to him than to give the ruling he gave this afternoon. In dissenting from your ruling, Senator Vardon relied, among other things, on standing order 196, which reads -
Any amendment may be made to any part of a Bill provided the same be relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill and be otherwise in conformity with the rules and orders of the Senate.
The essential part of that standing order, for the purpose of this discussion, is contained in the words “ provided the same be relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill.” What is the subject-matter of this Bill? It is the introduction of a number of amendments of the existing Tariff schedule. It was quite competent for the Minister, in introducing this measure, to have enumerated the amendments in any way he pleased. For the sake of convenience of reference; he has adopted the enumeration of the existing Tariff schedule. It is thus rendered easy for honorable senators and every person affected to understand the purpose and effect of the proposed1 amendments. The Minister might have inserted these amendments of the existing Tariff in a schedule of separate items,, starting with No. 1 and proceeding in numerical order, and a subsequent schedule- might have been provided indicating the existing duties which we altered or received. When we are considering relevancy, we have to consider the essence of the measure before us, and not its form. The form of the schedule to the. Tariff Bill now before the Senate has been adopted as a matter of convenience for the purpose of reference, so that, at a glance, the effect of this new measure may .be seen. But the form adopted is not essential to the measure at all, and relevancy must have a bearing on essence and substance, and not upon form. In this case, the form adopted in the schedule has been to refer to item 356, sub-items a, 1, and m of the existing Tariff. If it be contended that the reference to item 356 of .the existing Tariff throws the whole of that item open to discussion by the Committee of the Senate, it might just as well be said that, because immediately preceding the reference to item 356 of .the existing Tariff there appears the heading - “ Division XIII., Paper and Stationery,” the whole of Division XIII. of the existing Tariff is open to discussion in the same way.
– Similarly, as Division XIII. is but a portion of the existing schedule, the whole of the existing schedule must be open to discussion.
– That is so. Then the Chairman of Committees, prior to calling item 356, called the heading - “ Division XIII., Paper and Stationery.” Would it then have been competent for any honorable senator to move a request in relation to any item included in Division XIII. ? The items referred to in the schedule are 356, 357, 364, and 370. Would it be contended that because these items come under Division XIII., and that heading was referred to from the Chair, all the items between 357 and 364, and between .364 and 370, were open to discussion by the Committee of the Senate ? That would be untenable, but by parity of reasoning upon the ruling given, it would have been open to the Committee to have dealt with any of those items of .the existing schedule, though they are not enumerated in this amending measure. While agreeing with the Chairman of Committees that it is very desirable that this matter should be dealt with fully and finally, I still think that, with due regard to our rights and the necessity for the full exercise of our powers, we must necessarily be bound by those rules that have guided us so far. If we intend to depart from them, we should do so as a deliberate step, and until such a deliberate step is taken in conformity with our powers, we should adhere to the practice which has prevailed in the past, and from that point of view the decision given by the Chairman of Committees in regard to this matter is, in my opinion, the correct decision.
– Honorable senators had an opportunity of hearing what I thought on this question about an hour ago ; but there are one or two other points which are worthy of consideration, arising out of the remarks of the President in giving his ruling, and out of observations by other honorable senators. In the first place, the point has been raised as to whether it is proper to restrict the powers of the Senate in any way whatever. It has been asked, “ Are we not making a mistake if we limit our own powers as some members of the Senate seem to desire.” If we were to accept the ruling of the President, it would involve a reversal of the practice which has been followed by the Senate for the past ten years. It may be asked why the point has not been fully considered on some previous occasion. The reply is that the Senate accepted the decision laid down. In the early days of the Senate’s history we had a number of senators who were always eager to extend the powers of this Chamber, and to make them as strong as possible. But if the Constitution limits our powers, it is quite a different matter from limiting them by means of Standing Orders or rulings. If we turn to the Constitution, we find at once how our powers are restricted. Section 53 gives us power to amend any proposed law which is sent up to us by the House of Representatives, except a proposed law imposing taxation ; but - the Senate may at any stage return to the House of Representatives any proposed law which the Senate may not amend, requesting by message, the omission or amendment of any item or provisions therein.
The terms used are “ any proposed law which the Senate may not amend.” The measure before us is a proposed law of such a character. This proposed law only goes to a certain extent in dealing with the Tariff. We may not amend that proposed law, but we may request, by message, the omission or amendment of any item therein. We are not proposing to omit anything just now, but we are proposing to amend an item in the original Act. Clearly, however, we are not proposing to amend “ any item or provision therein.” - that is, in the Bill. The only provision in the Bill before us in relation to item 356 of the Tariff proposes, in the first place, to amend sub-item a of that item; secondly, to amend sub-item 1; and, thirdly, to amend sub-item m. The sub-item that Senator Russell desires to amend is not one of those sub-items. Not only is it distinct, but it has no connexion whatever with the subitems, which the House of Representatives has sent up to us. That is to say, it has no connexion with bags, wrapping paper, carton paper, apple wrapping, or felt or carpet felt paper.
– Our powers relate to the Bill that comes up from the House of Representatives.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - That Bill does not bring under our purview sub-item k, which deals with cardboard. There is not a single word about it in the Bill. If there were we could request an amendment in it. I fail to understand how honorable senators who support the ruling of the President can get over the provision of the Constitution which I have quoted. The words are very clear and distinct -
The Senate may at any stage return to the House of Representatives any proposed law which the Senate may not amend, requesting by message the omission or amendment of any items or provisions therein.
This is not an “ item therein.” If it were there would be no contention. Rulings bearing on this question have been given on previous occasions. I find from Boydell’s Practice and Procedure of the Senate on Appropriation Taxation and other Money Bills, page 21, that it is stated that. -
Although the Senate has always exercised its right to request alterations in respect of money Bills, whether such alterations may involve an increase of an item or amount named in a Bill or not, it has been held that such requests, inaccordance with the wording of the Constitution, can only deal with “ items or provisions “ already therein. That is in the Bill received* from the House of. Representatives.
Boydell goes on to state a case -
Therefor when in connexion with the Excise Tariff Bill of 1907-8 a proposal was submitted! in Committee to request the House of Representatives to insert a new item the Chairman-, ruled the motion out of order on the above, ground; the President was appealed to and gave a ruling upholding the decision of the Chairman for the following reason, viz. : - “ That the Senate could not ignore the provisions of thoConstitution which limited the powers of this. House to requesting amendments, or the omission of, items already in the Bill.”
That does not say “ in the Act proposed tobe amended,” but “ in the Bill “ -
The proposal to which exception has been, taken was not an amendment of any item in the Bill, but rather a request for the insertion” of a new item.
Is not this Senator Russell’s request for theinsertion of a new item? It will be said, nevertheless, that we have a right to remould our own procedure, and tola)’ downour own practice as to what we shall do itvour own Chamber. Yes, as far as ordinary. practice is concerned. But when we do anything affecting our constitutional powers the other Chamber has a word to say. We may make provision to the effect that, instead of submitting a Bill to three readings we will have only one. We may make a standing order providing that Bills shall be dealt with in Committee in accordance with our own special methods. Such rules would be relevant to the internal working of our own Chamber. But when we deal with a matter affecting the Constitution, we have no more right to go beyond our powers than any individual has the right to disobey a law that may be passed by Parliament. The Senate is as amenable to the law as is any individual ; and the House of Representatives in defence of its position has a right to say to us, “ The moment you transgress the Constitution, you have no standing.” The Constitution has given us certain rights. We are now going beyond those rights. No matter whether the majority of honorable senators may agree with the particular thing proposed to be done, or not, there is a greater point for consideration, and that is the true interpretation of the Constitution. Each Chamber has certain rights given to it. Each Chamber has a perfect right to stand up for what is given to it under the Constitution. If the Constitution, as is undoubtedly the case, limits this Senate, there is only one way of getting over that, and that is by an amendment of the Constitution. It must be remembered that the Senate is not altogether powerless even in regard to making such an amendment as Senator E. J. Russell desires. There is a. way of dealing with the matter if we see fit to adopt it. We can, if we choose, affirm by resolution that it is desirable that an amendment shall be made in the Customs Tariff Act providing that a certain duty shall be placed on cardboard. We might transmit that resolution to the other House, with a request for its concurrence. If the other House concurred, the next step would be for the Government to obtain a message from the GovernorGeneral, for the House to go into Committee of Ways and’ Means, and for a Bill to be brought up, which, if passed, would, in due course, be sent to the Senate. That process would take time, but as long as it is open to us, we cannot be said to be powerless.
– Delay is one of the bulwarks of Conservatism.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - That may be, but. we have to be conser vative at times, even if we are Radicals/ We have to conserve our own rights. The proper way to conserve our own rights; however, is to recognise the rights giver* to us by law, and the rights conferred on others. We should not attempt to interfere with the rights of the other Chamber in the way that Senator. E. J. Russell’s proposed request would bring about an interference. We may turn to May’s Parliamentary Practice to find out what the rule with regard to relevancy is. It must be remembered that our own Constitution provies that -
The powers privileges and immunities of the Senate and of the House of Representatives and of the members and the Committees of eachHouse shall be such as are declared by the Parliament, and until declared shall be those of the Commons House of Parliament of the United Kingdom, and of its members and Committees at the establishment of the Commonwealth.
The next section gives each House of Parliament power to make rules and orders with respect to -
Our powers and privileges, therefore, are - those which existed in the House of Commons at the time of the establishment of the Commonwealth. What are the provisions regarding Bills in Committee, as defined in May’s Parliamentary Practice, nth edition, page 485? Dealing with amendments admissible and inadmissible, it is stated -
An amendment must be coherent and consistent wilh the context of the Bill.
Amendments also cannot be moved which are based on schedules or other provisions, the terms of which have not been placed before the Committee.
The only terms that have been placed before the Committee in this instance are those contained in the Bill, which we are called upon to consider. The Bill contains only a limited number of sub-items. I call attention here to a remark made by Senator Keating. He pointed out that the principle laid down by the President might be carried further. The heading of the division of the Tariff with which we are concerned at present is “ Division XIII. Paper and Stationery.” The whole of that division is before us just as much as the figures “ 356.” If it is said that because item 356 is before us we may take up anything included in that item, although it is not mentioned in the Bill, we might just as well take up everything which comes under “Division XIII. (Paper and Stationery).” That would be attempting to claim a power which even the other House cannot claim. “It is tied up by all sorts of restrictions. In the first place, the Government submit their taxation proposals in Committee of Ways and Means, after the receipt of a message from the Governor-General. The resolutions of that Committee are reported to the House and embodied in a Bill ; but when the House is in Committee on the Bill1, it cannot add items of taxation. An honorable member cannot propose that something new shall be placed in the Bill. I understand that it has been held there that a Minister may propose an alteration, but that a private member is precluded from submitting any amendment in the way of increasing a duty or imposing a new duty. If the Senate accepts the principle which is laid down in this ruling, I submit, sir, with all due respect, that it will land itself -in a sea of difficulties. If it were applied in its entirety, we should have the whole of the Tariff opened up, because every division is, I think, brought before us in the Bill. It has been pointed out that a Bill”, when it is submitted, is supposed to contain the whole of the provisions which the Senate is called upon to consider. Honorable senators come here with a knowledge of its -contents. The public who have an opportunity of seeing the Bill, also know how much the Senate is called upon to consider. Every trade is, more or less, affected by a Tariff Bill. If men find that it contains no proposal which affects their business, they do not worry any further. But if they find a proposal which affects their trade, they set to work, endeavour to give :honorable senators some information, and point out the direction in which they would desire to see the Tariff altered. Under this ruling, however, it would be possible tto so introduce a Bill that it would not really show the principal features in which the law was intended to be amended, and that would mislead, not only honorable senators, but the public generally. Whether “it is viewed as a matter of convenience, or a matter of justice, or a matter of constitutionality, or a matter of our own practice, -everything points unmistakably to one con- elusion, and that is that the Senate cannot uphold the decision which has been given from the Chair. We do not want to be “brought into conflict with the other House where it can be avoided. I am sure thai -no wise man would like anything of that kind to occur. I make these remarks without any reference to the merits of the proposed request. They would apply to any proposal which is not properly concerned with the Bill under consideration.
– I am not at all surprised at the concluding remarks of the last speaker, because I remember that, when he was presiding officer, most of his decisions from the chair were of a character which would cramp the powers of the Senate. I say that advisedly, and I hope without offence. It seemed to me that on every occasion he used to take the most Conservative view possible of the powers of the Senate and of its Committees. Therefore, it is only logical that on this occasion he should take the most Conservative view that is possible.
– That is any view which is opposed to your own.
– I am only expressing my opinion. Senator Gould attempted to make some capital out of the words of the Constitution dealing with a proposed law. It is held that each clause of a Bill is a proposed law. The honorable senator made some capital out of the words - reading, I think, the ruling given by a previous President - “ the amendment of any item therein.” In the present case, what is the “ item therein “ ? Of course, the honorable senator reads the phrase as meaning, in this instance, so much of the sub-items as are in this. Bill. But is that the “ item therein “ ? I venture to say that it is not.. I shall show before I have finished - or I shall attempt to show - that such an interpretation would land the Senate in a ridiculous position. The “item therein,” so far as this question is concerned, is, I contend, with all due deference to the lawyers on the other side, item “ 356, Paper, viz.,” and the amendments requested in certain sub-items named therein, included “ Strawboard.” That request is for an amendment of an item in the proposed law with which we are dealing.
– These are sub-items.
– We are dealing with a proposed law, and with an “ item therein,” “ 356, Paper, viz.”
– No; it is sub-item a.
– If honorable senators will refer to the Tariff, they will find that item 356 commences, “ 356, Paper, viz.,” and then enumerates the subitems, including sub-item e, “ Printing (glazed, unglazed, mill glazed, or coated).” Suppose that instead of “ Bags,” in item 356 in this Bill, we had. Printing.” Would it mean actual printing on leather, or glass, or some other substance ? We have to ascertain what is item 356, and everything in the item is governed by the introductory words “ Paper, viz.” Assuming that the other House had sent up an amendment of subitem e, “Printing.” Unless we accepted this Bill as bringing the whole item before us, there would be no indication to the Committee as to what “ Printing” meant. If honorable senators will turn to the Bill, not to the Act, they will find that item 356 commences in this way - 356. By inserting in sub-item (a) before the word “ Bags “ the words “ or Embossed.”
As a matter of fact, sub-item l of item 356 in. the Tariff itself is “ Bags, n.e.i.” Suppose that, instead of proposing to amend sub-item a, which deals with bags, and is one of a number of sub-items, the other House had proposed to amend subitem l, Bags, n.e.i., the amendment would have come before us in this way, “ By inserting in sub-item l, Bags, n.e.i.,” certain words. According to the contention of legal gentlemen on the other side a member of the Committee could then assume for himself whether “ bags “ meant calico bags, or jute bags, or bags of any other description.
– What do you propose that “ bags “ shall mean?
– We are controlled by the governing words- of item 356 in the Tariff, “Paper, viz.” If I were to move a request that the duty on jute bags be made 35 per cent, the Chairman would at once inform me that it was not relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill, because the subjectmatter was paper bags. But according to the contention of honorable senators on the other side I could get up at once and say that there was nothing in the Bill about paper bags-, and that, as the word “ bags “ appeared in the Bill I was at liberty to propose a duty on jute, or calico, or leather, bags. I am merely accepting their own proposition that, so long as a sub-item is brought before the Committee it can request art amendment as to the sub-item.
– You are not accepting any proposition from this side.
– Their proposition was that we can request amendments of sub-items which are mentioned in the Bill.. Will they disown that?
– Certainly not.
– In the case I have quoted the sub-item in the Bill would be “ Bags,” and, according to the argument of honorable senators opposite, there is nothing in the Bill which restricts me to’ paper bags.
– Yes, we have “ 356 “ in the Bill, and that incorporates the paper.
– That is exactly what I am saying.
– That i» not your argument.
– If the honorable and learned senator says that it incorporated the paper, look at the position hu which he lands himself.
– The subjectmatter is “ bags,” and then you turn to item 356 to see what kind of bags.
– Does not the honorable senator, with his legal mind, see what a difficulty he lands himself in? Because there is no mention of paper in this Bill.
– There is a mention of “356.” It is incorporated by reference, surely. ,
– We say that item- 356 is incorporated by reference.
– Nothing, of the kind.
– The honorable senator _ wants to take up this extraordinaryposition that some portions of the item are incorporated by reference, but that other portions are not.
– Not at all.. Strawboard is not an item in the Bill.
– The honorable anc? learned senator says that paper is incorporated by reference, but I point out that in the Bill there is no reference to paper.
– I say that paper is incorporated immediately after the figures- “356.” The word “Paper” is used in. the heading of the division, and yet you; say that it is not incorporated.
– The introductory words of item 356, which we only find in. the Tariff Act, govern all that we .are dealing with. Therefore, we were dealing with item 356, Paper.
– The Minister said previously that paper was not incorporated with that item.
– It is Senators Gould and Keating who say that. But they can scarcely hold that paper is incorporated with that item, and later on argue that strawboard is not incorporated withit.
– Will the Minister say that there is any connexion between pencils and inkstands; if so, he will find himself in a peculiar position under item 364.
– I do not care how many sub-items are mixed up with these items. I say that when items are referred to the Senate by another place, the whole of those items are open to discussion. If we acted on any other assumption, we should land ourselves in a ridiculous position. Under any other ruling there could be no intelligent reading of this Bill. It is absolutely unintelligible, unless we read it in conjunction with the principal Act.
– Under item 364 inkstands are the only articles mentioned in the amending Bill, whereas the item in the original Tariff specifies dozens of articles which have no connexion with inkstands.
– I say that, just as Senator Symon claims that paper is brought in by reference, so pencils and the other articles mentioned are brought in by reference. Let us suppose that the House of Representatives had placed in the item subitem q, which reads -
Pulp board in the reel for coating, subject to Departmental By-laws.
What construction could be placed upon it except by reference - by the inclusion of the word “Paper”? Now, Senators Gould and Keating, with the approval of Senator Symon, have argued that if the President’s ruling be upheld, because the Chairman of Committees called the division “ Paper and Stationery,” the whole division was under consideration.
– Just so.
– Honorable senators know very well that no request could be made on a division. They know that in connexion with a Bill the Chairman merely calls out the various parts for the information of honorable senators. No honorable senator is at liberty to move an amendment on the parts of a measure. Arguments of that sort are unworthy of consideration. It has been claimed that we ought to apply to this Bill the same principle that we apply to ordinary Bills. I agree with that contention, and I hold that the rulingof the President is consistent with it. But 1 would direct attention to the fact that this Bill differs from an ordinary Bill, and that we ought so to frame our practice as to provide honorable senators with the same opportunities in connexion with Bills of this character as they are afforded in connexion with ordinary Bills. I repeat that the mea sure differs from an ordinary Bill, and that unless the mention of the item by reference brings in the whole of the subitems of which it is composed, we are not in an analagous position to that which we occupy when an ordinary amending Bill brings before us the principal Act to which it relates, for the purposes of alteration. The Senate should take up the stronger position -
– From what is the Minister reading?
– From my own notes.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - It looks as if the Minister were reading . his speech, and there is a standing order which forbids that.
– I will cease reading from notes, if it will please the honorable senator. It is admitted by Senator Symon that the mention of the item, by reference, includes the generic term governing the whole of the sub-items.
– I did not say that. I said that where item 356 is mentioned, it means that we are to look at item 356 of the Tariff to see what it is.
– The honorable senator argued that we could deal with the generic term which governs all the sub-items, but that we must not deal with the sub-items themselves. That would be an extraordinary position to take up. Accepting the argument which he used in regard to paper, that without that reference the Bill would be meaningless and unintelligible, I say that we have before us the whole of item 356, and that it is competent for the Committee to deal with any of its sub-items, and to make requests in regard to them.
– We shall have a terrible row with another place if that position be taken up.
– I am sure that we shall not. Honorable senators who, like myself, have gone through several of these Tariff fights, know that very frequently we have to adjust our differences with the other House by giving way upon a particular sub-item,, whilst the other Chamber yields upon another sub-item. More than once the other Chamber has adopted that attitude when we have sent it a request to amend a particular item. It has forwarded us a message intimating that it has made the amendment conditionally upon - though it was not put as a condition - our making a further amendment to another sub-item which was not before us in the amending Bill. Senator Millen remembers such cases. What do they show ? They show that the other House knew that the whole item was open to review by us. What is the position in which we are asked to place ourselves? We are asked to inform the other House that we intend to adopt a practice under which we shall deliberately exclude from our powers of review any matter which is contained in these items, except such as are expressly dealt with in the amendments which have been forwarded to us.
– Or to send it an intimation to forward Tariff Bills in a different form.
– That is so. When we take up that position, I hope that we shall do so only as a last resort. It ought to be taken up only when some dire constitutional circumstance has forced itself upon us. If this Chamber deliberately, and without any dispute with another place, takes up that attitude, it will find itself in a position to which it will deserve to be relegated. We have a reasonable ground for assuming that the whole of item 356 is before us, just as the other House assumed it when it sent up the Bill to us.
– May I remind the Senate that we ought not to attempt to settle a matter of this kind by declamation or by appeals to party war-cries, or to the very proper pride of honorable senators? Nothing that we can do can enlarge the powers which have been vested in us. Those powers are not of our own creation. Nothing which the Senate can do can ever take away from.it the constitutional powers which properly belong to it.
– We can give them up.
– I say at once that we can never give them up. The Senate of to-day may waive certain powers, but it would be competent for the Senate that succeeds it to re-assert them. As those powers are clearly set out in the Constitution, it is idle to talk about the Senate either abandoning or enlarging them. The whole question which we have to consider is: “ What are the powers of the Senate, and what ought to be its procedure in view of those powers ? “ I do not propose to say a single word in reference to our Standing Orders, or in reference to the rulings which have been given from the Chair. I hold that the matter of our Standing Orders sinks into absolute insignificance when we are brought face to face with the higher authority - the Constitution. I want to see exactly what .section 53 of the Constitution provides, because I wish to traverse the arguments which have been advanced by the Minister of Defence, and which were based upon his carefully written document. Section 53 of the Constitution seems to clearly provide for just such a case as that with which we are now confronted. It reads -
The Senate may at any stage return to the House of Representatives any proposed law which the Senate may not amend, requesting, by message, the omission or amendment of any items or provisions therein. 1
In order to make abundantly clear what is meant by that section, I want to alter it, and to substitute for “ therein “ the words “ in there.” The Constitution says that the Senate may request, by message, the omission of any items “in there” - meaning in a Bill which it may not amend. That is the point which I wish to urge. The question which now arises is: “ What is in there? “ In order to determine that, let us see what we can do with what is “in there.” The Constitution says clearly that we may proceed in two ways, either by omission or amendment. Seeing that we can only omit or amend what is “ in there,” I ask Senator Pearce to show me how we can omit portions of an item which are not “ in there.”
– I say that the whole item is there?
– Will the honorable senator show me how we can omit a portion of the item that is not ‘ ‘ in there ‘ ‘ ?
– We can request an amendment.
– But the request under consideration is for the omission of a portion of the item which is not in the Bill to omit. We may request to . amend, but what? Not something that is not in the Bill. We are entitled to ask for the omission of a provision that is “ in there,” but when I look to see what is “in- there” what do I find? I ask the mover of the request, Senator E. J. Russell, to show me where is the portion of item 356 which is in the schedule to this Bill, and which he seeks to omit?
– It is in item 356.
– Will the honorable senator show me where strawboard is incorporated in this Bill ? I say that we can test this matter by considering that we have the power to ask for the omission or amendment of anything which is in the Bill. I have here a pencil, and I ask Senator Pearce to come across the chamber and strike out that portion of the schedule to the Tariff Bill dealing with strawboard.
– We do not strike it out, but it is proposed to send a” request to the House of Representatives asking them 4o omit from item 356 the sub-item dealing with strawboard.
– I repeat that all we can request the omission of - and I could not make the matter clear if I spoke for an dour - is something which is “in there.”
– What about the power to amend?
– In the same way we can make a request to amend what is “in there,” but we cannot amend or omit what is not “ in there.” It must be clear that something must be in this Bill before we can ask for the omission or amendment of it. I say, therefore, that your ruling, sir, (has carried us beyond the constitutional powers which we are entitled to exercise. I leave the matter at that, because if we have not the constitutional power to do what you suggest, our practice or our Standing Orders do not matter. I think that Senator Pearce will agree that I have always been one of those who have stood up for the Senate exercising to the last fraction the powers that belong to it; but I consider that it would be a fatal mistake for the Senate to stretch out for anything more than its powers, first of all because it could not get it, and also because sooner or later such an attempt would land the Senate in a humiliating position. This is a matter which the judgment of the Senate must now decide; and I ask honorable senators to consider seriously the section of the Constitution which embodies the mandate we have received as to the course which we should take.
– I am in entire difference from my colleagues on this side in this matter. I shall put my point as briefly as I can. Senator Millen has just admitted that we can request the omission of words. What is the extent of our power to request omissions? I do not think that Senator Millen, or any other honorable senator, will pretend to accurately define it. We have the power to request an omission or an amendment, and I agree with the Government in this matter. I shall not abandon what I think is the power of the Senate. Just as we can request the omission of every word in the Bill before us, so it seems to me we may logically make requests to add words, if by such a request we may make a proper use of our powers. I have listened patiently to the arguments on both sides, and though I am opposed to the Government on these Tariff items, notwithstanding all I have heard, I intend to support the ruling of the President.
– It is quite clear to me that the Constitution limits us in this matter. I shall not waste time in discussing the points that have been raised, but, before recording my vote, I wish to say that I shall do so to prevent the Senate dropping into a system of using its constitutional powers when it suits the Government for the time being to exercise them, but as soon as a proposal is made which is against the desire of the governing party, discovering that the exercise of similar powers is unconstitutional, and that the persons attempting their exercise must be pulled up. Exactly the same objection as was taken to the request moved by Senator E. J. Russell was taken to the request moved by Senator McDougall. When that request was ruled out of order, there was no Minister of Defence getting up to appeal against the ruling.
– I was not here at the time. Every honorable senator has a right’ to appeal against a ruling ; it is not necessary that a Minister should do so.
– I have no intention to offend the Minister of Defence in any way by what I am saying; but when the ruling of the Chairman prevented Senator E. J. Russell from submitting his amendment, and that honorable senator did not exercise his right to appeal, the Minister of Defence walked across the floor of thechamber and asked the honorable senator to do so.
– I would do so again, not because of the item, but because of the principle involved.
– I object to a form of procedure being considered right, and remaining unchallenged until something is attempted to be done under it which cuts across the desire of the governing party. I am convinced that the Constitution does not give us the power to interfere with anything that is not in this Bill. I do not propose, simply because it may suit a majority of the Senate at the present time to adopt a course which I am satisfied when it is tested will be declared to be unconstitutional, to accept the ruling which has been given. I shall, in the circumstances, record my vote in a way which will correct what I believe ito be an incorrect decision.
– I should like to say a few words, not altogether with reference to the ruling, but to show what will follow if it is supported. What Senator Gardiner has said might apply if the members of the Senate were unreasonable or fractious. But I do not think there is any section in the Senate that would endeavour” to take an undue advantage of another section. I wish to explain that if the ruling which you, sir, have given is accepted by a majority of the Senate, it will be my duty to propose the recommittal of item 141, on which Senator Vardon unsuccessfully attempted to move a request for an amendment in connexion with incandescent mantles. In the same way, I shall move to recommit the item in connexion with which the request submitted by Senator McDougall was ruled out of order, because if the ruling of the President be accepted, the request to which I have referred must have been ruled out of order under a misapprehension. On the question of the constitutionality of the ruling, there is room for a difference of opinion; but I hold that if a sub-item is named, the item to which it belongs is brought in, because a sub-item by itself might be unintelligible. I make the promise to Senators Vardon and McDougall that if the ruling of the President is supported by the Senate it will be my duty to recommit the items to which I have referred, to enable them to do what they were prevented from doing by a misunderstanding.
– Is this a bribe?
– There is no question of bribery, because I told Senator Vardon as soon as the question was raised, and before it was argued, that I considered that if the ruling of the President were supported it would be my duty to do what I have said I am prepared to do.
– As one who had to submit to an adverse ruling of the Chairman of Committees on a previous request, I have listened to the arguments in support of and against your ruling. I am thoroughly convinced that the Chairman of Committees was right in ruling my request out of order, and in ruling the request of Senator E. J. Russell out of order. So far as I can see, according to the Consti-tution and the Standing Orders, your ruling, sir, is wrong; and I believe it to be my duty to vote against it.
– Before I put the question to the Senate, I should like to say a word or two in connexion with the arguments which have been advanced. Senator Millen was quite right when he said thatthe Senate cannot abandon its powers under the Constitution, nor can it enlarge those powers ; but by refraining from the exercise of powers in dealing with a measure presented in a certain way,, which the Senate would exercise if the measure were presented in another way, it is possible that we may gradually, I will not say, lessen our powers, but leave another place under the impression that the Senate is not prepared to stand up for the powers it possesses under the Constitution. Senator Millen asked whether we can omit anything from the item.. If my interpretation of the standing order is correct, and the ruling I have given is correct, we certainly have the power to omit anything from item 356, just the same asI hold that we have power to deal” with any sub-item of that item. I think that Senator Pearce was quite right when he pointed out that the Senate, by agreeing to a system of procedure whereby we admitted that we had no right to dear with any sub-item not contained in a Tariff Bill of this kind, would be inviting the House of Representatives so to frame itsmeasures in connexion with similar mattersthat we should practically have no power to deal with them. That is a point which it seems to me the Senate would be wise toconsider. We ought to be careful to claim and retain the powers which are intrusted” to us under the Constitution. I consider that the Senate, in accordance with the ruling which I have already given, is entitled to deal with any sub-item, of an item included in the Bill. Senator Symon put his finger upon what I think is a weak spot in connexion with this matter. He pointed out that the wording of the Bill’ would lead any person to believe that we were entitled to amend the whole of item 356. I admit, at once, that there are ways and means that might be adopted by the Government in submitting their Bills whereby the Senate would not be able to> interfere, as we are proposing to interfere, with this Bill. Item 356 in this Bill commences by inserting words in sub-item a. It goes on to deal with sub-item 1 and m. If we were to be confined to the particular method laid down in the Bill itself,. I contend that it would be an inducement to the other Chamber to submit its proposed legislation to the Senate in such a way that we should hardly be able to exercise the powers in regard to taxation which we are entitled to exercise by way of request.
Question - That the ruling of the President be disagreed with - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
In Committee :
Items 357 (Stationery), 364 (Inkstands, &c), and 370 (Licht-pausrohpapier), agreed to.
Item 380 -
By omitting the whole of the item and inserting in its stead the following item : - “ 380. (a) Vehicles n.e.i., ad valorem (General Tariff), 35 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 30 per cent.
Vehicle Parts, n.e.i., including Wheels n.e.i., Undergear (inclusive of Axles, Springs, and Arms), Axles n.e.i., Springs, Hoods, and Bodies n.e.i., ad valorem (General Tariff), 35 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 30 per cent.
Roller bearing and Ball bearing Axles, n.e.i., ad valorem (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
Motor Cars Lorries and Waggons -
Bodies, including Dashboards, Footboards and Mudguards, ad valorem (General Tariff), 35 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 30 per cent. ; and on and after the 15th December, 1911, each (General Tariff), £24 10s. ; (United Kingdom), £21, or, ad valorem (General Tariff), 35 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 30 per cent., whichever rate returns the higher duty.
Chassis, but not including rubber tyres, ad valorem (General Tariff), 5percent.; (United Kingdom), free.
.- I think that the duty on motor car bodies is rather unfair. They differ in character very much. There are two-seated motor cars, such as are bought by a business man who simply wants a small car to carry himself and his driver ; and there are motor cars capable of carrying four, five, or six people. Some distinction should be made. We should not propose a duty of£24 10s. or 35 per cent., whichever rate returns the higher duty, on all motor car bodies alike.
– As we have imposed an increased duty on hubs, felloes, and spokes, it will now be necessary, if we are to equalize duties, to increase correspondingly the duty on the finished article. Otherwise the effect will be to increase the cost to the manufacturer of his raw material, whilst giving no increased duty on the manufactured article. There is no earthly reason why buggies and parts should not be made in Australia. It will be observed that the item proposes to make the duties on vehicles, n.e.i., 25 and 30 per cent. The duty in this Bill is exactly the same as the duty in the Act. We have requested an alteration in the duty on the raw material for the finished article. If we are going to give that protection which is necessary for the local industry we should make a corresponding increase in the duty on the finished article. Therefore, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by making the duties on (a) Vehicles, n.e.i., on and after - December, 1911 (General Tariff), 40 per cent., and (United Kingdom), 35 per cent.
– I submit that the proposal of Senator Givens is not one which, in the absence of any information, ought to be adopted. He has contended that we have already adopted a proposal under which a duty is sought to be placed on the raw material. What we have done has been to request a duty of 10 per cent. on a portion of the raw material only, and that is the wheels. It is very hard to generalize when one is dealing with an article like wheels for buggies, which vary much in “value, as they do in shape and character. Let us take a set of wheels as being worth ^4. A duty of 10 per cent, on that value Would amount to 8s. In order to make up for that the honorable senator proposes to put an extra 5 per cent., not on the wheels, but on the buggy, which may be Worth anything from £25 to £40. A proposal of this kind may be all right when we are revising the Tariff thoroughly, but it is not now.
– We are here to revise so much of the Tariff as is put before us for revision.
– If the honorable senator says straight out that he is here as an advocate for an increased duty on these vehicles, irrespective of all other considerations, I shall understand where he is, but he asks us to request an additional duty of 5 per cent, on the completed article, because we have requested a duty of 10 per cent, on a portion of it. If that is his reason for making this request, it does not require anything like the extra duty on the finished article which he proposes. I do suggest to the Government that they should retain the Tariff as it is until the whole of the duties on vehicles are brought under review.
– “When a duty was put on hubs, felloes, and rims, I expressed the opinion that the duty on vehicles should be raised, and I am very glad that Senator Givens has submitted this request. Of course, it is impossible to calculate with mathematical accuracy the corresponding duty, but I think that his proposal is moderate. I do not believe that it will affect imports very much, because I do not think that many vehicles are brought into the country now. If there is one thing in which our manufacturers excel it is in the manufacture of buggies and vehicles.
Senator RAE (New South Wales) f_io.i6]. - Senator McColl has stated that, in his opinion, this request, if given effect to, will not affect imports very much, because he does not consider that there are very many vehicles imported now. I agree with him. We have requested an increase of the duty on the material out of which wheels are made. Although this request, if given effect to, will not have any substantial effect in reducing the imports, it will have the effect of increasing the price of the vehicles which are made in Aus tralia. ‘If it does not do that, it will not do any good to the persons whom Senator Givens wishes to help, but if it does do that it will be a tax upon the community, and make it more and more difficult for any persons but the richest to ride in vehicles or possess them. I commend that method of securing a more equitable division of the world’s wealth to the honorable senator, and those who think with him, but it does not meet with my approbation.
– I think that what I have submitted on behalf of Senator Fraser will really accomplish what Senator Givens desires. According to the statements which have been made by Senator McColl and others, the duties of 35 and 30 per cent, on vehicles are sufficient to induce the local manufacture of them. If, as they have said, they are all manufactured here now, that will only increase the price. In connexion with the previous item, we requested an increased duty on part of the raw material for wheels. I propose to submit a request for the deletion of “ Wheels n.e.i.” from sub-item b, with a view to inserting the following new sub-item, “ f Vehicle parts, namely, Wheels, n.e.i., 35 and 30 per cent., and on and after December. 191 1. 40 and 35 per cent.” That will, I think, meet the difficulty caused by an increased duty on part of the raw material. 1
– With the wisdom which usually characterizes him, Senator Rae took me to task for trying to increase the cost of vehicles to the poorer people, and he adduced iri support of that statement the extraordinary argument that because buggies are not imported a duty will increase the price. If buggies are not imported, no matter what duties may be imposed, it will not increase the price to poor men by a single farthing. A statement of that kind only shows the confusion in the mind of a Free Trader. As Senator McGregor has said, only a comparatively few of these vehicles are imported. I know that a large number come in here, but in parts, which are put together here.
– Should we not be supplied with statistics bearing on these matters before we are asked to legislate?
– If the honorable senator has any complaint to make in that regard, it does not lie against me, but against the Government.
– You are willing to legislate in the dark, and I do not wonder at it.
– I am not legislating in the dark. I know that we have requested a duty of 10 per cent, on the most important portions of the raw material for buggies, and I want to equalize matters by increasing the duty on the finished article by 5 per cent. That is only a fair and reasonable request, which I hope will be agreed to.
Request agreed to.
– I desire an explanation about the alternative duty of £24 10s. on bodies. It seems to me rather unfair to put a fixed duty on these vehicles, because’ the body of a two-seated vehicle is only worth half the price of the body of the other vehicle.
Request (by Senator McGregor) agreed to-
That the House of Representatives be reQuested to amend sub-item (b) by leaving out the words “Wheels, n.e.i.”
– In consequence of the request which was carried at the instance of Senator Givens, it will now be necessary to make the duties upon the vehicle parts, which are set out in sub-item b, 40 per cent, under the General Tariff and 35 per cent, under the Tariff for the United Kingdom.
– If that be done, there will be no need to exclude wheels.
– We will provide for wheels in another place. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on sub-item (b) on and after - December, 1911 (General Tariff), 40 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 35 per cent.”
Request agreed to.
– I wish to explain to Senator McDougall that certain difficulties have been experienced in administering the portion of the Tariff relating to motor cars by reason of the operation of an ad valorem duty. The duty upon cars of low value was a very small one, and consequently permitted of them being imported to a large extent. It was thought wise, therefore, to substitute for it a fixed duty of £24 ros. under the General Tariff, and of £21 under the Tariff for the United Kingdom, or of 35 per cent under the General Tariff, and of 30 per cent, under the Tariff for the
United Kingdom, whichever rate returns ‘the higher duty. It is believed that the fixed duty will catch the low-valued cars, so that business will be fair from beginning to end. I have heard the question discussed of whether it would not be better to adopt a sliding scale of duties in lieu of an ad valorem rate. But, if the duties proposed by the Government be adopted, I think they will accomplish all that is necessary. Senator McDougall desires that double-seated cars shall be dutiable at ^17 10s. under the General Tariff, and at £14 under the Tariff for the United Kingdom ; that the ordinary motor car should pay £24 10s. under the General Tariff, and ,£21 under the Tariff for the United Kingdom, and that cars of very high values should be taxed at ,£4* under the General Tariff, and .£36 under the Tariff for the United Kingdom. There would then be no ad valorem duty, and, as a result, the law would be much more easily administered by the Customs Department. If the Committee prefer that system of duties, I shall have no hesitation in accepting it. But the Government are quite satisfied with the duties which are set out in the Bill.
– Is it not possible to place an ad valorem duty upon the complete car? The whole trouble which has been experienced with those who import motor cars is due tothe fact that a certain duty is levied upon the bodies of the cars, and another duty upon the chassis. For instance, a car may be invoiced at .£350, the body at ,£,300, and the chassis at £50. When it reaches Australia, the Customs officials may value the body at ^280 and the chassis at £l°. Thus there is continual friction. It has been suggested that the Government might take a certain number of cars - say, 500 of them - total the duty payable upon them, and strike an average duty, which should be the duty charged upon all cars. The importers do not wish to avoid the payment of duty - they are only anxious to avoid disputes.
– Some of them have been very successful in avoiding the payment of duty.
– The gentleman who spoke to me about this matter has no sympathy with those who defraud the revenue. He is an honest man,, and is only anxious to do an honest thing. The plan which I have outlined would obviate a lot of disputes, and might prevent an attempt being made to swindle the Customs by undervaluing the chassis and overvaluing the bodies of cars. If the Government are prepared to consider my suggestion, we might well allow the item to pass with a view to recommitting it at a later stage.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [10.33].- I trust that the Government will not adopt the suggestion which has been made by Senator Vardon. A better plan would be to charge a fixed duty upon motor cars, as is proposed in the Bill, and to deal with the chassis and tyres separately. It is very evident that these parts can be readily distinguished one from the other, and consequently there ought to be no difficulty in ascertaining their relative values. The only question which arises in my mind is as to whether it is wise to adopt a fixed duty of £24.10s. under the General Tariff, and of £21 under the Tariff for the United Kingdom, as an alternative to the ad valorem duties.
– They are not an alternative to those duties. They run with them.
– The duty upon the ordinary car is , £24 ios., or an ad valorem rate of 35 per cent., whichever returns the higher duty. In the case of a very small car, the importer will be charged£24 ios., irrespective of its value. The individual who can afford to import a large and very powerful car will not be required to pay anything like the same proportion of duty as the person who imports a cheap run-about, or lorry, or waggon. To my mind, it is a mistake to penalize the smaller man.
.- I would like to ask why the duties of 15 per cent., under the General Tariff, and of 10 per cent. under the Tariff for the United Kingdom, which were at first levied upon motor cars have been abolished. I understood the Minister of Trade and Customs to claim that the imposition of those duties would simplify matters considerably so far as the Customs Department was concerned ? Have there been any cases in which values have been transferred from the bodies of cars to the chassis to avoid the payment of duty? I believe that the rates proposed in this Bill would operate prejudicially to the interests of the small car owner, and I would suggest that the Government should retain a minimum duty of£2410s. upon this type of car, and increase the ad valorem rate to 45 per cent. This would extend a more effective measure of protection to the industry, and remove the anomaly which at present exists.
– In reply to Senator Ready, I desire to say that it was the intention of the Minister of Trade and Customs to levy a separate duty upon the chassis. But such representations were made to him by members of another place, and by persons outside of this Parliament, that he recognised the impossibility of carrying it. Of course, it is open to Senator Ready to move for the re-insertion of that duty, if he so desires. In reply to the remarks of Senator Gould, I have only to say that if he will move for the abolition of the ad valorem duty in the case of run-about cars, I am prepared to accept fixed duties in lieu thereof, of£17 under the General Tariff, and of£15 under the Tariff for the United Kingdom. I am also willing to forego the other ad valorem duties, and to substitute for them fixed duties in the case of the ordinary motor car - four-seated and otherwise - of £2410s. under the General Tariff, and of£21 under the Tariff for the United Kingdom. In the case of the larger cars, I am ready to adopt fixed duties of£42 under the General Tariff, and of under the Tariff for the United Kingdom. I am sure the Department will welcome fixed duties as they would be much more easily administered. With respect to Senator Vardon’s suggestion that an. ad valorem duty, based upon the proposed duty on bodies and the duty on chassis, should be imposed on completed cars imported, I do not know how that would work, how it would suit the Department, or what its effect would be, but I can assure the honorable senator that his suggestion will be noted, inquiry will be made, and it will be borne in mind when any readjustment of the duties on motor vehicles is proposed. It is for the Committee to accept either of the propositions before it, but I have stated that which the Government support.
Request (by Senator Mcdougall) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by leaving out subitems D and E, and inserting in lieu thereof the following sub-items - “ (D) Motor Cars, Lorries, and Waggons -
Bodies, including Dashboards, Footboards and Mudguards, ad vol. (General Tariff), 35 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 30 per cent. and on and after 15th December,1911 -
Bodies of Motor Cars, Lorries, and Wag gons, including Dashboards, Footboards and Mudguards -
Single Seated Bodies, each (General Tariff),£17; (United Kingdom), £15.
Double Seated Bodies, each (General Tariff),£24 10s. ; (United Kingdom),£21.
Bodies with fixed or movable canopy tops, e.g., Landaulette, Limousine, Taxi-cab, and similar types, and n.e.i., each (General Tariff), £42; (United Kingdom), £36.
Chassis of Motor Cars, Lorries, and Waggons (but not including rubber tyres), ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
Senator GIVENS (Queensland [10.45]. - I hope the Committee will not agree to the request, which involves a considerable reduction upon the duties proposed in the schedule. The main object of these duties is to insure the construction of the bodies of these vehicles in the Commonwealth. The highest duty proposed by Senator McDougall is £42, but the proposal in the Bill of 35 and 30 per cent, would give a more effective protection for the benefit of body-builders, painters, varnishers, upholsterers, and others engaged in the work in Australia.
– I do not wish to start a discussion again on this item, but I may point out to Senator Givens that the request does not deal with the importations of motor cars, but of the bodies of motor cars, and it would be a very elaborate body that would be worth £200.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) agreed to-
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by adding the following new sub-item : -
Item 381 (Musical instruments, n.e.i.), agreed to.
Item 384 -
By omitting the whole of the item and inserting in its stead the following item : - “ 384. Pianos and Pianola-Pianos -
Upright, each (General Tariff), £7; (United Kingdom), £6; or, ad valorem (General Tariff), 35 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 30 per cent., whichever rate returns the higher duty.
– Under this proposal all the duties on pianos, with the exception of those on parts, are increased. I protest against this very strongly. I admit that if the piano industry goes ahead in Australia it will possibly lead to the use of a good deal of Queensland timber. The argument on that ground for an increase of duty may be considered a strong one, but I cannotsee, and I did not see when this item was previously before us, that there is any necessity for these duties upon any kind of piano. It seems to me that the manufacturers of pianos are like some other manufacturers, because the more they are given the more they want. The representative of Mr. Beale, when examined by the Tariff Commission, said -
There is a sufficient demand on the part of the Australian public for pianos to enable you to get a fair price?
The answer to that question was “Yes.” He was asked whether the existing duty had not been the means of giving dividends to those concerned in the manufacture of these instruments, and his answer to that was also “Yes.” The Tariff Commission commenced their inquiries in 1906, and the witness admitted that the difference in the output at that time, as compared with 1899, was fully 50 per cent. He was asked how many pianos they were turning out per annum, and he replied 1,500. He was then asked whether that was their largest output, and he replied that their output was increasing. . He was further asked whether it had been increasing every year since 1900, and the reply was in the affirmative. The whole business of piano making has been on the up grade, so far as the output and dividends are concerned.
– They have been using Queensland timber.
– Nevertheless, I protest against this increase of duty. When we have the manufacturers themselves admitting an increase of business, what more can be required? The duty is absolutely unnecessary.
– The price of timber has increased.
– What has that to do with the subject? This proposal simply means greasing somebody’s fat pig.
– The Queensland timber-grower.
– That kind of argument is all humbug.
– Since 1906, pianos have been imported from Japan.
– Then what have the Australian manufacturers been doing? Did they lower their prices when they first got increased protection?
– Prices “ have been getting lower every day.
– Not at all. No one can say that if this duty is increased more pianos will be introduced into the homes of the working classes. If this were an Australian industry which required assistance, I should not oppose the proposal. But the evidence of Mr. Beale’s manager shows that the business is increasing. No evidence has been supplied to us with regard to the workers’ wages. To ask for an increased duty under present circumstances appears to me to be an outrage upon the public There is no necessity to increase the duty, because output and dividends have alike increased.
– The honorable senator has already used that argument several times in the same words. I must ask him not to repeat himself so frequently.
– If the imported article were interfering with Australian manufactures I should be in favour of the increase. But there is no evidence to that effect. I think this is more or less a sop to one or two monopolistic manufacturers.
– Pioneer manufac.factuers. Why call them “monopolistic”?
– How many manufacturers df pianos are there in Australia? We have been nursing the industry for some time, and it has been increasing.
– The honorable senator is going over the same ground again. Unless he refrains I shall have to ask him to discontinue his speech on the ground of tedious repetition.
– I do not see the slightest necessity for this increased duty.
Senator VARDON (South Australia) [n. 6J. - I hope the Committee will not agree to the increased duty proposed. The present duties add 30 and 25 per cent’, to the cost of importing pianos from Europe, and that ought to be sufficient protection for the greatest gluttons. According to figures which I have before me, it costs £10 in casing, shipping, freight, and other charges to bring the cheapest kind of piano to Australia.
– The item of freight disappears as a protective factor, because there is substantially no difference between the cost of bringing a piano from Europe to Melbourne and the cost of taking one from Melbourne to Brisbane.
– It does not cost more to take a piano from Germany to Western Australia than from Germany to Brisbane. I look upon this as a tax upon the poorer classes of the community. I should like to see a piano in every working* man’s home. I know of nothing better for promoting the happiness of a family than a good piano. I am. something of a musical man myself,, and I do not know of anything that is more delightful in a home than that the members of a. family should have the use of a good instrument. It passes the time away for a family7 better than does anything else I know of. If duties of 30 and 25 per cent, are pot enough, how much more protection do honorable senators want for this industry ?
– Prohibition, if necessary.
– That is generally the Victorian idea of Protection. Why not put on a duty of 100 per .cent, straight away ?
– I have no sympathy with the foreigner; but I do sympathize with my own people.
– I want every person in Australia who desires a piano to be able to get it on the best terms. I do not mind giving decent protection to any industry, but when we give a protection of 30 and 25 per cent, on grand and semi-grand pianos, and a protection of 25 and 20 per cent, on other pianos, we give as much protection as any man engaged in this industry ought to ask for. The piano industry was started in New South Wales when it had a Free Trade Tariff, and the manufacturer prospered.
– No, he did not.
– Did the Ministry receive from this manufacturer a return in reply to the departmental circular?
– Has the information supplied in the return been properly checked ?
– What means did the Ministry use to check the statements ?
– We had the fact that they are working for the greater part under the decisions of Wages Boards and a Statute regulating rates of wages and hours of employment, and their books are open to the Department to search, if necessary.
– These statements ought to be subjected to close scrutiny, to see how far they are true.
– So they are.
– The Minister of Defence has just stated that they are not, but that the books are open to the Department to search, if necessary.
– And they have been scrutinized.
– Either one Minister or the other is correct.
– I did not say that the returns had not been checked, but that the books of the firm are available. I do not knowwhether the statements have been checked or not.
– What is the value of a return of this kind, if we cannot go and check it?
– What is your object in talking like this ?
– My object is to see that the duties on pianos are not increased, and to enable, persons, especially mechanics, to get a piano at a decent price.
– They do now, and they get a better instrument than was supplied previously.
– If the duties are increased by 10 per cent., persons will have to pay so much more for the article.
– Not necessarily.
– Then why raise the duties?
Senator Guthrie. On the foreign pianos, yes.
– If we tax the foreign pianos, the local manufacturers of pianos will charge higher prices.
– Do you do that in your business ?
– Of course, I take full advantage of the Protection granted, and so does everybody else. I shall not be a party to making pianos ‘ dearer to the poorer people. I consider that the local manufacturers are making a large enough profit at the present time.
.- On the last occasion, I voted against the duties on pianos because there was only one factory in Australia, and it seemed to me that we were asked to give a. monopoly to one man. The imposition of a duty has induced another manufacturer to start, and, therefore, we have a certain amount of competition. I have not had the pleasure of visiting his factory, but I have seen instruments which he has made, and they certainly are very fine and beautiful ones. I am prepared to give the manufacturers an additional 5 per cent. I notice that the. duty on the worker’s piano is put up 10 per cent. That is, I think, too much. I da not consider that to-day a piano is a luxury. I am afraid that the proposed duties will have the effect of increasing the price of the worker’s piano very much. Still, I think that we ought to encourage those who have spent their money in establishing a factory. It was a bold and courageous venture, and the chance is that, with a little more Protection, we shall have more competition between the makers. I am prepared to vote for the first sub- item, and to vote for a duty of 30 per cent, on upright pianos.
– I have it onthe best authority that one can go to Mark Foy’s shop in Sydney and find that Japanese pianos are sold there at from £21 to £25 each. Honorable senators may ask me how I know that these are Japanese pianos. They are lacquered, and there is no European or Australian manufacturer who can lacquer. That is a secret which is confined to Japan. There are also cabinet organs of the same description on sale there. This is a new invasion of Australia by Japan, where the wages are low, and the people are really experts. I can remember the time when a great howl was raised in the Senate because there was some printing paper brought in from Japan. Any one can guess who raised the howl.
– I am not ashamed of having done it.
– We imposed a duty of 25 per cent. on the printing matter, and yet the honorable senator was not satisfied. It ought to be our duty to provide as many opportunities as possible for our best class of workmen to get the best class of employment in the world, and that is the manufacture of musical instruments.
– It sounds to me like a romance to hear from the Vice-President of the Executive Council that Japan is a competitor in any market in the world with regard to the manufacture of musical instruments, especially pianos. It is never in the market with musical instruments of. any kind. It contains a population of 30,000,000 or 40,000,000 persons, who scarcely know what a piano is, . and if they did know, would scarcely care to listen to it. Yet, at the last moment, the Minister has told us . that he has received a secret report from Mark Foy’s in Sydney that, within the last two or threeyears, the Japanese have started to manufacture pianos, and are sending them to Australia, and that1, by reason of that fact, increased duties on pianos are required. I should be ashamed of myself if I were to make that statement, even in my own house. The Minister gave himself away when he said, without producing a tittle of proof in support of his statement, that the reason for the increased duties is that the Japanese are sending pianos here. The argument is worthy of the plea.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [11.23].- When honorable senators are protesting against the increase of these duties, it is just as well to consider the history of this industry. , In the original Tariff, grand, semi-grand, and upright pianos were taxed at 20 per cent. The industry was started in New South Wales, when it was a Free Trade Colony. The manufacturer regarded the possibility of a large demand arising in Australia, and the natural protection as a sufficient justification for making the venture. I am not in a position to say whether he found it remarkably remunerative or not. In 1908, when the Tariff was revised., the duties on grand and semi-grand pianos were fixed at 30 and 35 per cent., on upright pianos, at 25 and 20 per cent. ; on pianos, n.e.i., at 25 and 20 per cent. ; and on parts, at 20 per cent. At that time, it was considered that duties of 30 per cent, under the general Tariff, and of 25 per cent., under the Tariff for the United Kingdom would prove adequate protection to insure the continuance of the industry and it was stated that in the event of those duties being imposed, another firm was prepared to embark upon the industry in Victoria. The result was that a second manufacturer of pianos appeared. Those duties were sufficient to justify him in opposing a gentleman who had had possession of the local market for a number of years. I wish to know why these imposts have been further increased? They have been increased by 5 per cent:, and it is further proposed that a minimum duty shall be levied upon any instrument which may be imported irrespective of its value. The duty upon grand and semi-grand pianoshas been increased from 30 and 25 per cent. under the general Tariff, and Tariff for the United Kingdom respectively, to £14 and £12, or 35 and 30per cent., whichever returns the higher duty. Of course, it may be argued that grandpianos are used by the wealthier classes of the community, who should pay for their luxuries. But upon upright pianos, aduty of£7 has been imposed under the general Tariff, and of £6 under the Tariff for the United Kingdom, or of 35 and 30 per cent. respectively, whichever rate returns the higher duty. Now, it is manifest that these duties must increase the cost of the articles in question. The higher the duty we impose upon an imported article, the higher will be the charge made by our manufacturers. Probably they will charge a price for their article just below that of the imported article.
– Suppose that four or five piano manufacturers start operations, and there is room for them here?
– The probability is that they would not cut each other’s throats.
– Would they not?
– If they did, their action would emphasize the fallacy of adopting a protective policy. Before voting upon this item, I desire to know why it is considered necessary that the old rates of duty should be increased. If there has been an increase in the wages paid in the industry, I should like to know the extent of it. I do not wish to do any injustice to our piano manufacturers, but, on the other hand, I have no desire to inflict injustice upon persons who desire to purchase their wares. We have to hold the scales evenly as between the manufacturers and the purchasers.
– I confess that I have been labouring under a huge delusion in regard to this and other items of the Tariff. I forgot that themanufacturers of Australia were philanthropists.It is only now that this aspect of the matter has been put before me. When there was only one piano manufacturer in Australia, landhe was doing very well under the operationof a certain duty, somebody asked for a higher duty to be levied upon pianos. Then a second manufacturer entered the field, and again a demand has been made for a higher duty.
– The honorable senator asked for a higher duty upon bananas.
- ‘Senator Barker is very hard pressed when he has to resort to an argument regarding the duty upon bananas.It is rather refreshing to learn that we have been labouring under a delusion. Is it to be assumed that when we give manufacturers the benefit of a high duty, they will atonce lower the price of the article which they produce? I shouldlike honorable senators who differ from me in my fiscal views to look around and reconcile that theory with the bills which they have to foot in their own households. I cannot reconcile two absolute contradictions. What was the awful argument which we heard about Japan? We have squelched that now. Yet Senator Barker has the temerity to rise in his place, and to declare that, as the result of imposing these higher duties, we shall get cheaper pianos. But in my own household, I know that when increased duties are levied, I have to pay more all the time. I say that every argument which has been adduced in this connexion by my honorable friends is more or less of a delusion. These duties are really intended to benefit one or two monopolistic manufacturers.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by adding to sub-item
” on and after - December,1911 (General Tariff), £6 or 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), £5or25percent.” .
I want to permit those persons who are unable to afford a good piano to purchase an instrument of some kind.
– I ask the Committee to seriously consider what we did three or four years ugo. I then opposed the imposition of a high duty on pianos, and I stated that if such a duty were carried, I would have to see that those who invested their money in the industry received a fair deal. What has happened? I have a little personal knowledge of one firm, which,on the strength of the action which Parliament then took, has invested something like £70,000 in the industry. Whilst that firm has manufactured a fair number of pianos of good quality, their manufacture is landing it in a serious loss. We have induced people to put £70,000 or £80,006 into a particular businessby promising them Protection for their industry, and when, after the experience of a year or two, it is found that they require a little more Protection to make their business pay, though I was opposed to these duties in the first instance. I am prepared to give them the Protection which is shown to be necessary to enable them tomake a reasonable profit on the money they have invested in their business. I visited one of these factories and found that the employes were well treated, and the conditions of their labour were all that could be desired.
– The honorable senator did not see many children employed either, the employes are nearly all adults.
– That is so. I believe in fair play in a matter of this kind. I have not hesitated to ask for Protection for sugar, coffee, and bananas, productions of my own State, and, having done so, I am not mean enough to refuse Protection to industries established in another State. I have no right to be a Protectionist for the northern part of Australia, unless I am prepared to give” fair play “ to the people of other parts. That is my fiscal faith. I understand that the money invested in the piano industry, in the Commonwealth, amounts to something like £180,000. That money was invested on the promise of this Parliament that the Protection afforded the industry would be effective. The proposal now made is intended to make the Protectioneffective, and if honorable senators, who, by their pre vious action, have induced the manufacturers to invest their money in thisbusiness, now turn round and refuse the small amount of extra duty asked for to make the protection to the industry effective they will be no better than those who repudiate their honest debts.
Item agreed to.
Item 387 (Bags, &c), and Item , 389 (Articles bearing advertisements), agreed to.
Item 392 -
By omitting the whole of theitem and inserting in its Stead ‘the ‘following item : - “ 392. On and after1st July,1912-Vessels, including all fittings imported therewith -
Marine, ‘Mining, and similar Dredges, ad valorem (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
Vessels, n.e.i., not exceeding 400 tons gross register, arriving on and after 1st July, 1912, trading intra-State or inter-State, or otherwise employed in Australian waters for any continuous period ‘of three months, ad valorem (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
Yachts, the property of tourists visiting Australia, under such conditions as may be prescribed by Departmental By-laws, free.
Yachts, n.e.i., Launches and Boats, ad valorem (General Tariff), 30 percent.; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
Vessels built in Australia : Vessels upon which duty has been collected under this item ; Vessels owned and registered in Australia on 30th June, 1912, free.”
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [11.50].- I ask the Minister to give some explanation for these proposed increases of duty. Looking at the existing Tariff I find that boats, launches, and yachts imported in any vessel, or which have been put out of any vessel off the coast of Australia, and are substantially brought into Australia, including all fittings, are dutiable at 20 per cent. It is now proposed that a number of comparatively small vessels, including marine, mining, and similar dredges, vessels not exceeding 400 tons gross register, yachts, n.e.i., and launches, and boat’s, shall be dutiable at 30 per cent., and 25 per cent. I should like to know why it was proposed to put these very high duties on vessels of this class.
– Can they not make these vessels in Sydney, and, if they can, why should we not protect them?
– I know that vessels of this class can be made in Sydney, but it should be borne in mind that to meet the requirements of the coastal and river trade of New South Wales and Victoria it is necessary to use ‘comparatively small vessels which will be able to enter bar harbors, and the proposed increase of duty upon these vessels may have the effect of materially increasing freights to farmers and others established on our rivers who have no other means of getting their produce to market. I agree that ship-building should be carried on in Australia toa greater extent than at present ; but I ask the Government to consider whether they are not proposing rather high duties on the smaller class of vessels which are absolutely necessary to carry on the coastal trade to which I have referred.
– It is very nearly time that Australia did something in the matter of ship-building. We must begin somewhere. I can assure Senator Gould that vessels of the class to which he refers can be built, not only by several firms established in Sydney, but also by firms in Brisbane. The Victorian Government are making arrangements which will enable such vessels to be built at Williamstown. They can be built at Adelaide, and almost in every one of the capital cities of the States. Shipbuilding is not a new thing in Australia, Ship-building of this kind was commenced in Australia twenty-seven or ‘thirty years ago. I can recollect the time when, on the Brisbane River, the firm of Sutton and Company had four tug-boats and seven barges building at the same time, and another firm, Phelan and Company, had building seven hopper barges, which were used for carrying silt from the rivers. But owing to the lack of Protection ship-building died out to a large extent. We are proposing this duty to encourage its revival. Undoubtedly we have the requisite skill in Australia. -I know something about the small vessels trading on the New South Wales coast, to_ which Senator Gould has referred. Moreover, I know of a coal company that has entered into arrangements with Mort’s Dock Company to build vessels of 400 and 500 tons if the work can be done at a reasonable cost. The majority of the Manly steam-boats have been built in Sydney by the Mort’s Dock Company, which now has orders for two or three more of a larger kind. We ought to encourage firms to be patriotic enough to give work of this class to local ship-builders. I have not the least fear that if this duty is imposed, and ship-building is commenced in Australia, or, rather, recommenced, the farmers and producers about whom Senator Gould is so anxious will not suffer.
– I desire to move a request, the object of which is to exempt vessels orders for which were sent to England before December of the present year, and which arrive in Australia beforeDecember, 1912 ; but before I can do that certain consequential amendmentswill have to be made in the item. I now, therefore, formally move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by- leaving out where first occurring, the words “ on and after1st July, 1912”; by leaving out of sub-item, (b) the words”arriving on and after1st July, 1912”; and by leaving out of sub-item (e) the words “ 30th June, 1912,” and inserting in lieu thereof the words “30th November, 1911.”
Sitting suspended from 12 to 12.45a.m. (Wednesday).
– When the sitting was suspended for supper, I had not clearly explained the reason why I submit this request. It is consequential upon the request, which I have circulated. My desire is that vessels for the construction of which contracts were entered into prior to the introduction of this Bill shall be allowed to come in until the period mentioned inthe request, because otherwise hardship might be inflicted. . Whilst I am in favour of the proposed duty every time, I still think that vessels which are under construction may not arrive until the end of the year, and for that reason I hope that the Committee will accept the request.
Request agreed to.
Request (by SenatorNeedh am) agreed to-
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend the item by inserting after sub-item (e) the following new sub-item : - “ (f) Vessels specified in sub-item (b), ordered for the purpose of Australian trade, and for the construction of which a contract was signed within twelve months before1st December, 191 1, provided such vessels arrive in Australia on or before 31st December, 1912, free.”
– I rise to submit the request which I have circulated.
– The honorable senator is too late to do that now.
– I was on my feet before Senator Needham rose to move his request. I rose three times to propose my request.
– I put the request moved by Senator Needham slowly and deliberately, so that any honorable senator, if he has missed his chance, has not done so through any hasty putting of the question by me.
– I do not understand, sir, how I have missed a chance to propose a request for increasing the tonnage of the vessels mentioned in sub-item b from 400 tons to 600 tons.
– I beg to inform Senator McDougall that the sub-item to which he refers has been passed, and that, according to our rules and practice it is not competent for the Committee to go back upon what has been done.
– Senator Needham had a chance. to. get his sub-item put in afterwards.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN What the honorable senator should have done was to request Senator. Needham to move the first part of his request, and, after theCommittee had’ dealt’ with that part, he should have moved in the direction in which he desired.
– I was on my feet to do so.
.- Since you sir, have taken the chair, this item has been dis- cussed. Senator McDougall has not only given notice of his intentionto move: this, request, but it has beenprinted , and circulated. He has been waiting for an opportunity to do so, and hasrisen several times for that purpose. I do not blame you, sir, for not calling him,’ because very likely others caught your eye, butI really think than an opportunity ought to be afforded to him now to do what he desires.
– I indicated to Senator McDougall that it was time for him to submit his request, but he neglected to avail himself of the opportunity. I am aware that he had given notice of his intention to take this course. I also know that Senator Needham had no desire to forestall him, and I am certain that you, sir, had no desire to thwart him. When the Billgoesthrough Committee, I shall consent to a reconsideration,of this item and another item.
– That is the proper way to get over the difficulty.
.. - As I may have been the innocent cause of probably forestalling Senator McDougall, I wish to say that I thought that after my first request had been agreed to, he would have proceeded with his request. I whispered to him to hand it tothe Chair.
– As an exceedinglyimportant questionhas beenraised,Sir, think that there ought to be a quorum present. [Quorum formed.)
Items 408 (Corks), 411 (Cameras), and 416 (Clay smoking pipes), agreed to.
Item 419 -
By omitting the whole of the item and inserting in its stead the following item : - “419. (a) Pictures n.e.i., including Scripture Cards of all kinds, free.
Oil or Water Colour Paintings n.e.i., other than those by Australian students or Australian artists abroad, ad val., 25 per cent. ; and on and after 15th December, 1911, each, £1; or ad val., 25 per cent., whichever rate returns the higher duty.
Oil or Water Colour Paintings im- ported by or presented to Public Art Galleries and other similar Public Institutions, free.”
Senator GARDINER (New South Wales)
I12.52 a.m.]. - I am really surprised at the Government proposing to put a tax on scripture cards. I am aware that most of these cards which contain texts are printed in Germany. In our Christian professions, we recognise all nations, and I am surprised at this attempt to tax a method of moral training. I think that Senator Pearce will agree with me that scripture texts should be made as free as possible. I know nothing nicer than to find the walls of a Protectionists’ room hung with texts “Made in Germany.” Our law compels that phrase to be printed on the cards in clear print.
– What are you proposing - a duty of 40 per cent. ?
– From a Protectionist point of view, it is right to impose a duty ; but from the Christian point of view, it is wrong.
– Which is uppermost with you at the present moment?
– The Christian overcomes the Protectionist at present. I did not rise to make fun of the item, but to point out that it is one for the Christian Protectionist or the Protectionist Christian to consider. Germany appears to be doing an immense businessinthepro duction of scripture and post cards. If there is any Australian view which is worthy of being reproduced on post-cards, a proof is sent to Germany, and cards are imported. The question is whether scripture cards shall be taxed.
-They are free.
-I find that the duty of 25 per cent. applies, to oil or water colour paintings, and not to pictures, n.e.i., including scripture cards. I should like to know why these cards should not be printed in Australia by our own workmen ? No one will question that we have men and machinery for the purpose. Perhaps if we did encourage our workmen to print the cards we might send some to Germany just as the Germans are sending them to us. I am really sorry that, when I commenced to speak, I had not noticed that the cards are free under this item. I want to know, however, why our printers and printing establishments are not to be included with those that are to get protection under the Tariff. I intend to move that the House of Representatives be requested to amend subitem (a) by leaving out the word “ Free,” and making the duties 40 and 30 per cent. I propose to submit the request because, all day long I have had to listen to the complaints of honorable senators who seem to think that my attitude has been that of a Free Trader. I am determined to show them that I have repented, and come to the Opposition side of the chamber. From this side, I shall join them in trying to find work for our own people. I cannot believe that a party that puts a tax on the tanks which are so largely used by the farmers, and wants to tax everything else, merely to give work to our own people, will refuse to afford to our printers an opportunity of turning out scripture cards. I recollect that when I was speaking on behalf of a small industry which was interested in the duty upon split hides-
– Order ! The honorable senator must not pursue that line of argument. We are now discussing item 419. The honorable senator will be. in order in making a casual reference to that matter, but he will not be in order in referring to it at length.
– I ask you, sir, whether , I shall be in order in using the absurd argument which you used-
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order ! The honorable senator is not entitled to take advantage. of my temporary presence in the chair by pursuing that line of argument.
– I bow to your ruling, sir, but there is a way of getting over it. I recognise that I would be forgetting my position if I took advantage of your presence in the chair to refer to the arguments which you used in favour of imposing a duty upon split hides. …
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable senator is only entitled to refer to that matter incidentally.
– When I desired the duty under the old Tariff to be retained, so as to protect a small industry which is not in a position to purchase the requisite machinery for splitting hides, an honorable senator who occupies a seat in the Ministerial corner of the chamber rose and in his usual boisterous manner-
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order ! The honorable senator is not entitled to evade my ruling.
– - When I was endeavouring to protect a certain industry, an honorable senator used the absurd argument
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order ! The honorable senator is not entitled to pursue that line of argument. The item to which he refers was dealt with long ago.
– Then I will put the position in this way : If it is reasonable to say to a few men who are engaged in an industry, “ We will impose such a high duty upon the article which you manufacture that you will be forced either tQ go out of the industry or to purchase fresh machinery,” it is equally reasonable to impose such a duty on the class of printing which is mentioned in sub-item 419A as will compel those who are interested in it either to purchase the requisite machinery or to retire from business. I recognise that the honorable senator to whom I have referred is very tender when reference is made to. this matter. But I thought that the fighting Protectionist would be lost in the Chairman.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.If the honorable senator proceeds, tq cast reflections on the Chair, I will very soon put him in- his proper- place.
– I would ask you, sir, in your calmer moments, whether you are justified in telling me that you- will put me in my proper place? Wherever the rules of the: Senate protect, me, I shall be in my proper- place in defending my. rights. I care not” whether you are the Chairman,, the President, or the Governor-General. I defy you by an illegal act to remove me from the position which I occupy at the present time.
– If the honorable senator disputes my ruling, there- is a proper and orderly course for him to adopt.
– I am quite prepared to accept a ruling when it has been given. But 1 ask is it a fair thing that you should tell me that you will put me in my proper place?
– It is not proper for any honorable senator to reflect on the Chair.
– Is it proper for the Chairman to insult me by saying that he will put me in my proper place?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Probably, I should have said that I would take steps to deal with the honorable senator.
– I recognise that at this hour of the morning it would be unreasonable to continue my argument with the Chair, especially when the Chair is in such an unreasonable frame of mind. Consequently, I shall resume my seat.
.- Sub-item b of this item reads -
Oil or water colour paintings n.e.i. other than those by Australian students or Australian) artists abroad, ad valorem, 25 per cent. ; and on * and after 15th December, 191 1, each £t ; or,. ad valorem, 25 per cent., whichever rate returns’ the higher duty,.
Is the calling of- an artist to be regarded as an industry? Is it really intended to impose a duty on works of art ? If so, it is carrying the thing to an extreme. . Have the artists of the Commonwealth applied for the imposition of a duty upon these articles ?
– I do not think that any man with the artistic temperament would ask for the aid of a duty. Let .us suppose that a person wishes to purchase a painting by an old master.
– If is the cheap daubs which this sub-item is intended to affect.
– The best way to encourage a struggling artist is to buy his pictures. I have done that myself. I have a good many pictures which have been painted by Australian artists.
– They pay no duty.
– If an expensive picture be imported, and a man wishes to place it in his home, why should he be penalized for so doing ? Surely such a step will not assist our own artists in any way?’ It will not give them any more orders .than, they receive at present. Personally. I think it is a mistake to tax art in this way.. I doubt if there is any other country in the world which does it.
– In my judgment, it is only maudlin sentimentality which prompts the admission of Scripture cards free merely because they are Scripture cards. Our printers do splendid work in every other direction, and I think they are quite competent to print the best or the worst of Scripture cards. Hence I fail to see why those articles should be admitted free. In regard to pictures, if we are going to protect other articles, I fail to see why we should not encourage Australian art, especially as the Bill provides that oil or water-colour paintings presented to any picture gallery shall be admitted free. Under that provision, all the highest works of art which may be obtained from older lands will be open to public inspection. I am quite in accord with the duty proposed in the Bill, but I see no reason why Scripture cards should be placed on the free list, especially as the bulk of them are imported from Germany. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend sub-item (a) by adding .after the word “ Free “ the words “ and on and after - December, 191 1, 25 per cent.”
Senator ST. LEDGER (Queensland) £1.15 a.m.]. - I see no reason why we should not support Senator Rae in his request. I have been waiting to be told that this work can be done in Australia, and that the duty proposed would find work for Australian workmen. Fiscal agnostic and atheist as I am, I have been listening for two days to Protectionist arguments which might be urged- in support of the re-* -quest now moved.
Senator VARDON (South Australia) fi. 1 7 a.m.]. - I hope that Senator Rae will not press the request. This is a matter about which I know something, and I assure him that the duty he proposes would be a revenue duty and nothing else.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that Scripture cards cannot be printed here?
– They could be printed here, but when we take into consideration the preliminary expenses that would be involved in preparing for the printing of these cards, and ‘ the limited demand there would be for them, the work could not be carried on profitably in Australia. I have some knowledge of this matter, and I am sure that the printing trade generally would indorse my statement that the proposed duty would be of no use to Australian printers.
; - I am induced to ask the reason why Senator Rae proposes to make it difficult to have these Scripture cards imported into Australia. Many of them convey very lurid warnings, and I should like to know whether this request is submitted because the honorable senator is afraid of being confronted with them. Senators Rae and Gardiner have complained that other honorable senators have submitted requests without supplying the fullest statistical information in support of them, and I remind Senator Rae of his inconsistency in failing to give reasons for this request. I suggest that the- honorable senator should lay aside his very natural timidity about the free importation - of 1 Scripture cards, and withdraw his proposed request, for the good reasons which have ‘ been given by Senator Vardon, who is entitled to speak with authority on this subject.
– I have not the slightest intention of withdrawing the request. The duties I propose would not lead to any shortage in the supply of Scripture cards. The printing trade of Australia does a very great deal of work and also a very great variety of work, and I believe that these Scripture cards can be printed here. I have seen walls decorated with quotations from eminent philosophers and writers, and it should be no more difficult to print Scripture texts than it is to print quotations from Shakespeare or Tom Paine. Senator Vardon must agree that the printing trade in Australia is sufficiently advanced to take up this kind of work, if it has not done so already. I would like to remind Senator Millen, who went out of his way to praise Senator Vardon that that honorable senator was guilty pf a reflection upon the Christian character of this community which seems even to me to be outrageous. The honorable senator, who, I understand, is connected with various Christian associations calmly and deliberately stated that there would be such a small demand for these Scripture cards that it would not pay Australian printers to print them. I think an effort should be made to relieve this community of such a reflection, and it can only be done by adopting my request.
– I think that Senator Vardon must have overlooked the fact that these Scripture texts are very widely circulated in Australia. Sydney is very seldom represented as the Holy City, that is a distinction which is reserved for Adelaide, but I can assure the honorable senator that Sunday schools scholars, in Sydney, and its suburbs, are given some of these Scriptural texts on every Sunday afternoon, and printed in small letters upon them will be found the words “ Printed in Germany.” I read these texts with a great deal of pleasure, and I think that the text “ Seek and ye shall find,” should be hung up in the Senate. Protectionist members of the Senate take advantage of every opportunity to ridicule New South Wales probably because her richness excites their envy. She pays half the Customs duties, and more than half the land tax. I hope that the Protectionist press will seek to see if they can find some good reason for refusing to impose a duty on these Scriptural texts which could be printed in Australia, and the printing of which would find work for Australian workers.
Question - That the request be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority ‘ … … 7
Question so resolved in. the negative.
SenatorMcCOLL (Victoria) [1.31 a.m.]. - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend sub-item (b) by adding the words “ and on and after - December, 1911, £1 or ad valorem 15 per cent.”
I consider that the imposition of a high duty on imported works of art would be a great mistake. It would not be protective, but would necessarily be a revenue duty. As Senator E. J. Russell remarked just now, art ought to be international. We need to encourage a high standard of taste in this country, and thatcanonlydone by encouraging the importation of the best specimens of art. People who might be inclined to indulge their taste by importing fine paintings would probably be discouraged if they had to pay this heavy impost. It may be said that the United States has imposed a duty on imported works of art. It is true that under the Dingley Tariff there was a duty of 20 per cent., but under the latest American Tariff the duty has been reduced to 15 per cent. It must be remembered also that there was a peculiar reason which probably influenced Congress in imposing that duty. We know the craze that many American wealthy people have for buying the works of old masters, statuary and artistic curiosities from Europe. The duty operated as a revenue impost to a very large extent, Congress thinking that such persons ought to be made to contribute to the revenue if they chose to indulge their fancy in this manner. Another point to be remembered is that if people coming to reside in Australia wish to bring their paintings with them they ought to be permitted to do so. In many cases paintings are family heirlooms.
– I should prefer to see subitem b struck out. In any case, if a duty is to be imposed on imported works of art, I see no good reason for exempting pictures imported by public art galleries. It would be peculiar for the community to exempt itself from a tax whilst laying an impost upon private individuals. What is a public gallery ? It is, of course, a gallery owned by the public. Yet, under this Tariff the public is to get benefits in the matter of the importation of works of art which are not to be extended to the individual. In other words, the persons who are most likely to import works of art, and who will do so most consistently, are to be the very people to be exempted from the operation of this tax. The Government are making the community say, “ Wewill exempt ourselves, acting conjointly, but we will lay a heavy impost on any individual who does that which we, as a community, take a pride in doing.”
– There are one or two reasons why sub-item b should be retained. Indeed, I had rather see the duty raised than lowered or abolished. In the first place, it would be absurd for the community to tax itself when it is going to get the money raised from a duty under this item. If we are to raise money through the Customs we adust raise it from individuals. It would, for instance, be useless to tax. the rails to be used on the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway. It would simply be taxing ourselves. ,
– The honorable . senator is assuming that public art galleries are supported out of the Consolidated Revenue.
– Are they not subsidized from the public revenue?
– In certain cases, but never .by the Federal Government.
– The question whether the “money for subsidizing such galleries is provided by the Federal or State Government is immaterial. It is obtained from the people. My point is that it would be useless for the community to tax itself, and put the money into its own pocket. There is another very good reason, however, for this duty, and that is that whilst possibly the selection committees, which act for public galleries, may make mistakes, and may sometimes purchase works of art about which connoisseurs differ, yet, on the whole, it must be admitted that the purchases made for public galleries are of a high character. In this respect they differ from purchases made oy many private individuals, who may have money, but no taste or knowledge, and who frequently purchase abroad wretched daubs, frauds, and bogus product-ions, which would not be worthy of a place in any really artistic gallery. If we are going to tax things as articles of luxury there are two reasons why we should tax pictures bought by private individuals in preference to pictures bought for art galleries. Generally speaking, the latter are of a high’ character, and present subjects, such as landscapes, which our artists could not paint here if they wished to do so. It is obvious that an art gallery is open to every member of the community who is within easy distance of it. A private individual, however, may buy to gratify his own selfish pleasure, and keep a work of art locked up. in his own gallery. I do not think that they all do that, but the majority of them do.
– Very few.
– We do not hear of wealthy persons in Australia, as in Great Britain, and I am told in America, throwing open their grounds and art galleries to the public. Here the grounds of a. wealthy person are generally guarded with a high fence, topped with barbed wire or bottles, so that one cannot, see even the flowers that are growing. This shows that a very large number of our wealthy people are so jealous of their wealth that they will not even allow the public to ,look at the outside of their beautiful objects.. What is bought by an individual is bought primarily for his own pleasure, but what is bought for ‘ exhibition in art .galleries is bought for public entertainment and education. Many of our artists are. driven away by the small recognition of their talent which they get. But, on the. other side of the world, they are claimed as geniuses.
– Often it is die other way about.
– I know that in art, sculpture, singing, and other directions, Australians have gained fame and celebrity when they have gone to the other side of the world. Whilst I recognise that their talents may have ripened by study there, yet, in many cases, they showed in Australia great ability which was not recognised until after they had gone away. It is a step in the right direction to strike a blow at the shoddy conduct of our wealthy collectors. A Customs duty will- do something to penalize bad Australians who, while they vaunt their Jingo Imperialism, will give no assistance to their fellow Australians, but look down upon them until the nobs on the other side have taught them what is worthy of recognition. I am sorry that the duty is not 50, instead of 25, per cent.
Senator Lt.-Colonel “Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [1.5b a.m.]. - Senator Rae has done the best he could to destroy his case by the extravagance of the language which he used at the conclusion of his speech. In Australia there are very few persons who are sufficiently wealthy to own a large collection of pictures, but I can recall the names of certain persons in Sydney who had collections which were thrown open to the public periodically.
– Will you tell me the names of any of them, because I have1 never had any chance to see any private collection ?
– No man who is an admirer of works of art is so selfish as to want to keep them to himself. In point of fact most of our wealthy people, if they have any work which is worth showing are only too anxious that others shall have an opportunity of seeing the work-, and so recognising them as persons who are doing- something to beautify, their homes.
– Do- you think, for- a. moment, that a private individual’ would obtrude himself on a person with, whom he had’ ‘no acquaintance ? ,
– If he is a student of art he will.
– Of course, an ordinary individual’;will not go to a man with whom he has no acquaintance and ask permission to see his collection of beautiful pictures. But if a man has sufficient taste to- form a gallery of pictures in his home, he will, oncertain days, most assuredly throw his gallery open, to, those who desire to. see his collection, irrespective of whether they, are personal friends Or not. But, assuming, for the. sake of argument, that a man is not prepared to act so liberally he will da what he can to develop a taste in those who are seeking instruction by seeing the best models..
– Can you deny my statement that there are people who are rich, but who have no taste?
– There are also people who are poor, but who have no taste. I admit that there are many persons who buy all sorts of picture and works of art, because they wish to be considered as patrons of art.. But the honorable senator may depend upon it that if a man has money he will get some person to guide him in respect to his purchases, and afford to the public an opportunity to see what a fine taste he has, although he was indebted to his adviser for the character of his purchases. He must see-that he has put a case which is altogether too strong against the free admission of works of art. He is willing that they should be admitted free if they are brought in for places where they may be seen by the public at stated periods. In an art gallery a student has an opportunity to copy a work of art.. Whether it is in a private, home or in a public institution a work of art is beneficial to the country. Even if a man allows only the members of his family to see the works of art which he purchases he is doing a good work, because he is educating a limited number of persons. In a new country like Australia men are generally compelled to attend to the ordinary duties of life, and have not as much time as have men of leisure in older countries to develop a taste- in high art and in beauty of form and figure. If we caninduce a few persons to, cultivate a taste for art- we shall gradually remove them, from the more material concerns of life. The Greeks were a people with refined tastes, and these were due to the large number of works of art which were constantly coming into the country, or were beingcreated there. Would it not be a great thing to see that in Australia? Why should we throw any obstacle in the way of those who wish to secure works of art ?
– The Greeks, produced, their own works of art.
– Yes, but they, were always prepared to- take works of art from any other nation, and so it has always been- with art> artistic people. I do not believe that there is a true artist in Australia who would advocate this proposal, because naturally he desires to see what can be done by those who possibly have had greater advantages, than he has had. If they are true disciples of art they will do everything they can to develop the principles, of true art until a high standard is reached. We shall find, as the years roll by, that many works of sculpture and beautiful pictureswhich are collected for private galleries will ultimately come into the possession of the State. In their wills, wealthy collectors, will bequeath- pictures and works of art to the art galleries, but if we pass- the- item as it stands these works of art will have paid a duty of 25 per cent. This item applies, not only to pictures worth £20, but also to pictures which may be worth thousands of pounds. If we had wealthy men here as they have in America, they would say, “ We want to get works of the old masters, and are prepared to give any price for them within reason.” If a wealthy man gave £5,000 for a work of art, on its arrival here 10 per cent, would be added to the cost price, and then a duty of 25 per cent, would be charged. Is that a reasonable thing for us to do?
– Yes, it is helping Australia.
– On the contrary, it is not either helping Australia or holding ourselves up to the world as a people prepared to recognise art, but. simply as a people conlent to grovel in the dust and dirt- sooner thin raise themselves to a decent position in the eyes of the world.
– Whois using extravagant language now?
– Possibly I have used one to two words extravagantly. In a new country men are down low in the early stage of their career, but, as they gradually get better off, the influence of art should be allowed to prevail. Why’ should not a man who has become rich be afforded an opportunity toelevate the taste of his fellow-men? It is a duty which we owe to ourselves and the country to give’ some little assistance in this direction. If Senator Rae cares to propose that certain prizes and bonuses should be given to artists in Australia who produce good pictures, I shall vote with him, because I should be very glad to see such encouragement given. What he proposes is no encouragement, but the very reverse. He denies to an artist an opportunity of qualifying himself to produce better work, whereas my suggestion, if adopted, wouldsecure to him that opportunity. This question has been raised on previous occasions. Under the Tariff as it stands, “ Works of art, being statuarynot being less than £10 in value,” are admitted free. We all recognise the beauty of statuary - of a piece of marble, whether it be in the form of a bust or a single figure or a group. We recognise that it is a work of art - a thing of beauty - and one which, under reasonable conditions, people should be afforded an opportunity of inspecting, and thus helping to elevate and refine their tastes. If honorable senators do not think it is desirable to admit the inferior class of works of art free, I would suggest that works of greater value than £10 should be so admitted. By that means we should levy an impost upon the cheap production of pictures, and at the same time allow pictures of a higher grade to be imported, to the advantage of the general community. We all know that some works of art are no larger than a page of the Tariff, and yet they are full of beauty. Why not admit them free? I am sure that honorable senators will recognise that we do not require revenue, and that by imposing a high duty upon the most beautiful works of art, we shall not only not assist our own artists, but we shall hinder the country from securing the better class of works of art which might otherwise be imported, and which would serve to elevate the tastes of out people.
– I should not have risenbut for a stray remark uttered by Senators McColl in regard to a statement whichI had made to the effect that art was international. I take it that he did not intend to do me an injustice. We cannot place any limitations upon art, whether it takes the form of a picture or of a book. While I sympathize with the remarks of Senator Gould, I am desirous of supporting the proposed duty. All of us will welcome the importation of works of the great masters into Australia. But these works cannot be brought here for a few pounds.We shall at all times be glad to receive them, because undoubtedly they tend to elevate the tastes of our people. But we must recognise that Australia has but a small market for that class of works of art, although in proportion to her population she compares favor-‘ ably with any other country from the standpoint of the number of her artists. Unfortunately, for some reason or other, the Australian people, or a large proportion of them, will turn down an Australian work of art for an inferior one, provided the latter has a foreign name rather obscurely printed in the corner. I do not view this proposal from the ordinary stand-point of Protection or Free Trade. But I know that in many schools of the Old Country there are a number of struggling young artists who are not well known. There is no market for their works, which are, therefore, collected and dumped into markets like that of Australia. If we wish to encourage our own artists, it is very unfair to ask them to compete against the collected works of the teeming millions of the Old Country. The best way in which we can encourage them is by giving them a preference, so far as the Australian market is concerned.
– A market for art?
– Certainly !
– Ridiculous !
– Most of the great artists of the world have had to look for a market in order to get bread to live.
– There was never yet an artist who looked for a market.
– As Australians, we do not object to the legitimate competition of established artists. Weare not afraid to admit the superiority of special artists. But I do say that our rising artists should not be subjected to the competition of students of the OldWorld, whose works are dumped into Australia, Unfortunately, if those works haw. a, French or Italian name attached to them, many Australians are only too prong to overlook the work of our own artists. The imposition of the proposed duty will not lessen the cost of these articles-. If any person desires to purchase a work of art, will a tax of 25 per cent, prevent him from doing so? Will he accept an inferior article because it is admitted free? I believe that the method proposed is the best method for encouraging Australian art. I trust that honorable senators will protect our Australian artists against the dumped goods for which there is no market in the Old Country.
– - Are not Australian artists dumping their goods here?
– Where does the Australian, artist dump his goods to the injury. of artists in other countries?
– In the Melbourne Art Gallery.
– Art works are not dumped in the Melbourne gallery, The honorable senator must have stood at the gate, and guessed at what was inside that building. From the stand-point of our population, I do not know where there is a superior institution in the world. We ought to encourage Australian art so as to make this country a self-contained one. Too often it happens that people will pay 1 os. to see a second-rate artist from Europe, who comes here, and has his name printed in big headings on the playbills, while they will refuse to pay 2s. to see a superior Australian artist. I desire to protect our Australian artists against the dumping here of the works of students of the Old World.
– At one time about a century and a half ago all one had to do to arouse every form of stupidity and prejudice was to utter the word “ Papist. “ Here one has only to use the word “Australian “ to excite the same -stupidity and prejudice. To impose a duty of 25 per cent, upon paintings for the purpose -of encouraging Australian art would be just about as useful as would be a tax of 25 per cent, upon lying for the purpose of promoting truth. Such things cannot be protected by the imposition of duties. Art is not Australian; it is universal. It is not confined to any country, and recognises no geographical boundaries. It is absurd for honorable senators to speak of Australian, German, and English art when art is the heritage of the whole human race. Why should not the privilege given for the free admission of pictures which are to be presented to art galleries be extended to similar pictures imported for private individuals? SenatorRae has answered the question by saying that the public will have an opportunity to see pictures exhibited in art galleries, public halls, and cathedrals ; but we know that in many of our art galleries and public, halls there .are pictures exhibited which are outrages and travesties upon art. A muni,cipal magnate will commemorate some deal in which he has been concerned by getting some one to paint his portrait for exhibittion in the public hall, and many of our public halls are filled with that kind of awful rubbish. Our real Australian, artists are coming to the front. Mackennal, one of the foremost sculptors of to-day, is anAustralian ; so is Longstaff , the painter ; and others who might be mentioned. Such men do not fear competition. It is the hypocritical use of the words “ Australian art “ that shocks me. The object of proposing such duties as these is to enable certain people when they go upon the platform to claim that they have supported Australian art, and that certain other persons have not done so, and should, therefore, be downed. The artist who is not able, to hold his own the world over has no right to be called an artist.
– I ask leave to withdraw my request with a view of submittinganother.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
. -The speeches on this item have been very interesting, and, though I quite agree that we should do something to encourage art, I am afraid that it cannot be done in this way. In order that the Government may have an opportunity of considering some better way in which to encourage art, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by inserting after the words “ 25 per cent.” the words “ and on and after - December, 191 1, Free.”
– I wish to say a word or two in reply. Senator Gould said that I weakened my case by using strong language, but the honorable senator used stronger language when it is remembered that I used only the language I generally use. It would seem as if there were no native art in Australia.
– I never said that.
– That was clearly implied in the honorable senator’s statement that if we do not permit the works of the great artists of other lands to be admitted free, we shall be grovelling in the dust of a sordid materialism. Senator St. Ledger in his flamboyant manner also indulged in extra strong language on this item. If there are two ways of about equal distance of getting to a place, and there is a toll on one, most people will take the road on which there is no toll. So I claim that if we tax pictures imported by private individuals for themselves, and admit free pictures intended for public institutions, the tendency will be for those who wish to import pictures to present them to public institutions. By this means, the refining influences of art will be distributed amongst a wider circle than if these pictures are locked up in the mansions of the few. I do not see why we should encourage people who have amassed wealth by sweating the poor - because no man can become wealthy byhis own labours - to indulge their tastes by the importation of pictures free, which they may permit people to view as a charity. On the other hand, the tendency will be to make those persons who can purchase expensive pictures buy them for public galleries, instead of for their own selfish gratification.
– We have been taunted from the other side with doing things prejudicial to Australian art. If the present Government wants to support art in Australia, let them propose to grant £50,000, or even £100,000, for scholarships - then we shall see who is in favour of encouraging art in this country. But we cannot do any good by the method now proposed by a 25 per cent. duty ; we shall merely make ourselves more or less ridiculous. If the Government have any sincerity, let them take up the suggestion which I have made. Let them endow chairs of music, and travelling art scholarships. But let them cease to prate about their love of art, and their desire to encourage it in this absurd way. There is no substance in the proposal.
– No substance in 25 per cent. ?
– No, it will not help art in the smallest degree. I object to this useless and hypocritical pretence.
– I regret that I cannot follow Senator Rae in this matter. It is just as absurd to think of encouraging art in Australia by shutting out art from other countries as it would be to talk of encouraging literature and music by shutting out the great literary masterpieces, and the works of the great musical composers. This proposal exhibits the Protectionist ideal in a light which shows up its absurdity and its illogical character. A little time ago I was anxious for a protective duty in the interests of the printers, but could not get sufficient support. This, however, is carrying Protection to a ridiculous length.
Question - That the request be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … …12
Question so resolved in the negative.
Request (by Senator Pearce) agreed to-
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend sub-item (c) by leaving out the word “ and “ and the word “ similar,” and by adding the words “ Cathedrals or Churches.”
Items 425 (Thermit), 440 and 448 (Scientific Instruments, &c.), agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) proposed -
That items 123h, 380, and 392b be reconsidered.
– I think it is only fair that the Vice-President of the Executive Council should explain why he desires these items to be reconsidered. We have got through with the Tariff at a reasonably rapid pace, and we have yet to consider the Estimates. I should like to have an explanation as to the reason for reconsidering these items, particularly item123.
– Since we dealt with item 123h, it has come to light that we have done a very grave injustice to a manufacturer in New South Wales, who has gone to the trouble of importing machinery, and engaging in the trade of printing the pieces for the manufacture of handkerchiefs. We want to ask the other House to insert after “defined.” the words “otherwise than by printing or dyeing.” That will bring that portion again under duties of 35 and 30 per cent., and give the manufacturer an opportunity of going on with the industry, which he was encouraged to embark in by the Tariff as it existed before. Item 380 deals with motor cars. Some misunderstanding arose in the minds of some honorable senators, including members of the Government, with respect to the duties which were proposed by Senator McDougall, namely, £42 and £36, £24 10s. and £21, £17 10s. and £15 He massed his opportunity to submit a request in connexion with item 392B.
– I did expect that the Minister would have included item 268 in his motion, because I understand that he was agreeable to the course which I propose to take.
– I agree to include the item.
Motion amended accordingly, and agreed to.
By inserting in the item new sub-item as follows : - “ (h) Cotton and Linen Piece Goods defined for cutting up for the manufacture of hemmed or hemstitched Handkerchiefs or Serviettes, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.”
Request (by Senator McGregor) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by inserting after the word “ defined “ the words “ otherwise than by printing or dyeing.”
– I am much obliged to, the Minister for the explanation which he gave regarding this item, but I am not quite clear now as to whether his proposal will not really take away what we have given.
– Oh, no.
– If I have the honorable senator’s assurance that it will leave the matter exactly as the Government agreed, I shall be perfectly satisfied.
– It does.
– Do I understand that this proposal means that the piece goods which are dyed will be taxed more heavily or more lightly than the white ones?
– What it means is that the material will be introduced at 5 per cent., and free, and then it will be printed or dyed in Australia. It will prevent printed or dyed material of that kind coming in in handkerchiefs at 5 per cent., or free, but it will leave the hemming or manufacture of the handkerchiefs from the white material just as we intended it should be left by the alteration we made.
Request agreed to.
Item 268 -
By inserting in sub-item (a) after the word “ Marble “ the words “ and Granite.”
By omitting from sub-item (d) the words “ 30 per cent.” and inserting in their stead the words “ 35 per cent., and on and after14th December, 1911, ad val., 40 per cent.”
Request (by Senator Millen) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by inserting in the second column the words “35 per cent.
Item 380 -
By omitting the whole of the item and inserting in its stead the following item : -
Chassis, but not including rubber tyres, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
– When I moved a request for the insertion of certain words in this item a misunderstanding arose in the Committee. There was an impression that by the proposed alteration of the duties motor cars wholly made up would come in at very much less than they would do at the ad valorem rates, but that is not the case, because even now the whole of the motor car is not dutiable as it stands. The body is dutiable at a high rate, while the chassis is dutiable at a low rate, or is free. The Department, I understand, has had great difficulty because the importers of motor cars have unduly over-valued the chassis and reduced the value of the body. The fully-made-up motor car was coming in at a cheaper rate than it should have done, because of the undue over-valuing of the parts bearing the lower duty. To get over that difficulty the proposal I intend to make is to fix a certain rate for a certain car. It will not interfere at all with the ad valoremduties which are at present imposed.
– What duties do you propose ?
– I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by leaving out subitems (d) and (e) and inserting in lieu thereof the following : - “ (d) Motor Cars, Lorries, and Waggons -
Bodies, including Dashboards, Footboards, and Mudguards, ad val. (General Tariff), 35 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 30 per cent. and on and after15th December,1911 -
Bodies of Motor Cars, Lorries, and Waggons, including Dashboards, Footboards, and Mudguards -
Single-seated Bodies, each (General Tariff),£17; (United Kingdom), £15.
Double-seated buggies, each (General Tariff), £2410s. ; (United Kingdom), £21.
Bodies with fixed or movable canopy tops, e.g., Landaulette, Limousine, Taxi-cab, and similar types, and n.e.i., each (General Tariff), £42; (United Kingdom), £36.
Chassis of Motor Cars Lorries and Waggons (but not including rubber tyres), ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
The adoption of this proposal will not have the effect of altering the duty upon the finished motor car.Hitherto, some importers of these cars have been in the habit of unduly loading up those portions which were admitted free, and of reducing the values of the bodies, for the purpose of defrauding the revenue.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [3.3 a.m.].I think that Senator McDougall, in placing his proposal before the Committee, has created a false impression. He has told us that the -duty which will be collected under it will be the same as that collected under the ad valorem rate. But I would point out that, under it, the same duty will be levied upon the cheaper motor cars as will be imposed upon the dearer ones. I would also point out that the Customs officers will take good care not to allow importers to unduly inflate the value of those portions of motor cars which are admitted free. They can easily ascertain the value of the chassis and the discounts which are allowed. To my mind, it would be much better to retain the item in its present form. All cars would then pay their proportionate share of duty. The chassis, I am informed, represents at least three times the value of the body of a motor car. A fixed duty would operate unfairly.
Request agreed to.
Item 392 -
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend sub-item (b) by leaving out “400” and inserting “ 600 “ in lieu thereof.
The ship-building industry is one of which I know more than I do of any other industry, and I say unhesitatingly that no industry has been starved more than it has been. As far back as fifty years ago, vessels of more than 400 tons were built in Sydney. I recollect being sent to Melbourne some years since for the express purpose of doing what I could to induce the then Government to do something to foster this industry. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful in my efforts. This Government have now decided to help it; but it appears to me that they have not gone quite far enough. My idea is that the duty imposed under this sub-item should apply to vessels of more than 400 tons gross register - say, to vessels of 600 tons.
– Like Senator McDougall, I wish to do something to encourage the shipbuilding industry. But at the beginning we must act very cautiously, because if we load any industry with protection at the outset of its career, for a long time an additional charge is bound to be levied upon the consumer for its product. But I believe that we can profitably commence the ship-building industry, both in the interests of the people and of the shipping companies. To show the willingness of the Government to assist Senator McDougall, we are quite prepared to make the sub-item apply to vessels not exceeding 500 tons gross register.
– I am prepared to accept that offer, and I ask leave to amend my proposal accordingly”.
Request amended accordingly, and agreed to.
Bill reported with requests; report adopted.
Senator PEARCE laid upon the table the following paper: -
Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway : Plan and Section.
Debate resumed from 18th December (vide page 4558), on motion .by Senator
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– I confess that I feel very disinclined to discuss new business at this hour. It is unreasonable for the Government to ask honorable senators, after being in attendance here since half-past 10 o’clock yesterday morning, to make even a pretence of seriously considering other business than that on which we have just been engaged. Such a proposal would not be tolerated anywhere outside of Parliament. I am given to understand that when, this Bill is dealt with the Government propose to go on with still other work. Alii I can say is that I absolutely! decline togo through a farce of pretending to legislate in such circumstances. I have never shirked a fair share of work, and while I quite recognise that when the Opposition, for reasons of their own, protract debate, the Government have only one course open tothem, and that is to exhaust the debate. It cannot be alleged that at any stage of the consideration of the Tariff Bill there- , was, oh the part of the Opposition, an undue consumption of time. We proceeded) with the business in a business-like way, and I think I am now entitled to ask honorable senators to join with me in a protest against the Government proceeding; with fresh business in these circumstances. Personally, I decline to take any further part in legislation if we are not to be givens reasonable time for rest.
– I have very little to reply to. I sympathize with the Leader of the Opposition, but we are nearing theclose of the year, and I am aware that a number of honorable senators are anxious to get to their homes in time for Christmas. It will be difficult for some of them to do so, even though they should? leave now. That is my justification for desiring to push on with this measure. I hope that after it is carried we may have the Estimates before us. We can then proceed with them, and there will he somechance, of our being able to speedily conclude the work of the session.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 (Short title).
– Just before you took theChair, sir, the Vice-President of the Executive Council announced that on the completion of this measure he proposes to ast honorable senators to proceed with the consideration of the Estimates.
– Surely the honorable senator means at the’ next sitting?
– No, he said now. In those circumstances, it is too ridiculous to ask us to do anything of the kind, and? I absolutely decline to take any further part in the proceedings of this sitting.
– 1 quite agree that after the long sitting honorable senators require some rest. This is but a short Bill, and the Minister of Defence has to submit a Bill dealing with the Pacific Cable, which is even shorter than this. There is no reason why we should not deal with both in a few minutes, and if that is done, I shall consent to an adjournment until half-past 10 o’clock.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 2 (Treasurer may borrow £2,460,176).
– I .should like to know whether itis intended that the whole of this money shall be taken from the gold reserve of the Australian Notes Fund. Of course, I’ am aware that there must be a reserve of gold kept in hand. The reason I ask the question is that on reading the Bill I see no indication of where the money is to come from, and, so far as I can see, there is nothing in the Bill to prevent the Government raising it in some other way.
– In moving the second reading; of the Bill T gave the information for which Senator Rae asks, and the Treasurer had previously done so. It is intended to take the whole of this money from the gold reserves in the Treasury, on account of the note issue, without touching- the 2 5 per cent, gold reserve, which must be hela against the Australian notes. I may say that there will te enough money in the Treasury in connexion with our note issue to provide this amount without touching the 25 per cent, gold reserve, or even the reserve of £1 for £1, which, under the Australian Notes Act, must be held in respect of notes issued over the amount of ,£7,000,000. This is
Apart from any amendment of the Austraiian Notes Act which may be contemplated.
– Speaking on behalf of the Opposition, I wish to say. that we quite appreciate the action of the Government in raising this money in the way proposed. So far as honorable senators how on this side are concerned, we can assure the Government of our hearty support if they propose to deal with all future loans in the same way.
– I wish just to add that, while I heard the speech of the Vice-President of the Executive Council in moving the second reading of the Bill, and I knew that the 25 per cent, gold reserve would not be- interfered with, I thought that there would be some indication in the Bill, as in other Loan Bills- I have seen, to show how the money is to be raised. I think this measure is an ample reply to those who have been saying that the Commonwealth Government are now entering upon a borrowing policy. I take it that if it were proposed to raise this money in any other way than that mentioned by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, a special measure would be required. This, is’ not borrowing in the ordinary sense, but taking money from a Commonwealth fund for certain purposes. The interest on this loan will be returned to the fund, and if- we can keep on borrowing in this’ fashion’ I do not care how often, or to’ what extent, we do so.’
.- I might also state, as I have previously stated, that a BiU to provide the machinery to obtain this money by debentures from the Australian Notes Fund will shortly be submitted to the Senate. I undertake not to proceed with the third reading of this measure until the other Bill to which I refer has been dealt with.
, - One thing that may be said about this proposal is that it cannot be fairly claimed that a single one of the works for which this £2,460,000 are to be borrowed will be reproductive. Our first experiment in a loan policy does not seem to me to be just exactly what one would like it to be. It has very often been claimed that the Labour party believe in borrowing for reproductive works. Some of the works on which- it is proposed to spend this money may! pay for themselves in the next century, but I’.do not think they are likely to do so in this. . I believe that a very large loss is likely to accrue to the Commonwealth if these works are gone on with. But the Commonwealth Parliament apparently has decided to take this plunge) and the people will have to bear the burden. I suppose I shall have to vote for the loan; but I am opposed to every one of the works on which the money is to be expended, with the exception, perhaps, of the acquisition of land and the erection of buildings in London. I suppose that is necessary.
– -The money expended on the acquisition of’ land in the Federal
Territory will be reproductive. We shall get that money back.
– Perhaps we shall in about a hundred years from now. Senator Guthrie’ seems to think that the erection of a building in London is the worst item in the schedule. I am not so sure of that. I think that the people of Great Britain are likely to be much impressed by a fine looking building with the word. “Australia” written all over it. I have not the slightest doubt that the attention of the people will be attracted to sucha structure, and that it will induce many to come to this country. As far as the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway is concerned, what is now proposed is the first instalment of a million pounds. We shall get nothing out of that work.
– Remember that we are borrowing from the Commonwealth.
– That does not matter. We shall have to pay interest and principal just the same as if we were borrowing from “ Uncle ‘ 1 in London. Some people seem to think that because we are getting the money from the Commonwealth notes fund, it is not a loan. But’ if the banks present their notes, as they may do some day, every sovereign that has been paid for a note will have to be repaid to the banks. I suppose that I must accept the Bill, but I do so with great reluctance.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 3 agreed to.
Schedule and title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clause i agreed to.
Clause 2 (Definitions).
– I should like to ask the Government what are the respective proportions which the various Governments concerned will contribute towards the Pacific Cable. It appears to me that the growth of wireless will in time render the present cable system practically obsolete, at any rate in regard to moderate distances, such as that between Australia and New Zealand. Therefore, it is rather a risky experiment to lay out money on new cables. Another point which I should like to mention is that I believe that the part of the Pacific
Ocean- to be traversed by- this cable hasbeen named the Tasman Sea. That nameis not mentioned in. the Bill.
– What will this work, cost?
– The proportion of the original cost was paid by Great Britain, Canada,, and the States of New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. Great Britain and Canada paid fiveeighteenths each of the cost; New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland paid* each one-ninth and New Zealand paid’ one-ninth. The responsibility, of thethree Australian States has since beentaken over by the Australian Commonwealth and so far as I know- the responsibility for loss on the cable will rev. main in. the proportions that have hithertobeen observed. Speaking from memory,, the cost will be £1-50,000.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 3 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted. Bill read a third time.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) agreed) to.
That the Senate al its rising adjourn until is a.m. this day.
Senate adjourned at 3.45 a.m. (Wednesday).
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 19 December 1911, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1911/19111219_senate_4_63/>.