7th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Senate MILLEN (New SouthWales. - Minister for Repatriation). [3.1]. - I wish to inform the Senate, that the , Government . havereceived a further report fromtheRoyal Commission appointed to inquireinto Navy and Defence administration, and I propose at a later stage of the’ proceedings to lay that report.. on the table, together with a statement by the Government thereon.
Admission of Ministers of Religion
– I ask the Leader of the Senate whether, the Government has had an opportunity to further consider the question of the admission to quarantined areas of ministers ofreligion to minister to the dying and the dead?
-(By leave.)The Government have further considered the whole question, and have received the best advice of medical experts, including Dr. Cumpston, on the subject. The advice is practically as strong as ever in regard to the danger of admitting persons other than patients and medical men to a Quarantine Station. But the Government recognise that the question is one in which the whole com-, munity is interested, and upon which many in the community are highly sensitive. For that reason the following action has been taken : - The Government have been considering the matter very carefully ever since the question wasraised, and in close consultation- with the heads of churches, with a view to arriving at some method which would reduce the added risk to the public of allowing clergymen to enter quarantine to an absolute minimum. Whilst recognising that there is some added risk, the Government’s desire is to do nothing which would wound the religious susceptibilities of our people in any way, and the Government have issued the following instructions, which are being communicated to the heads of all churches, and the necessary departmental action taken. Each’ denomination should select its -clergymen for service in the Quarantine Station at once, so that the clergyman could be inoculated in advance. The selected clergymen should he available at short notice. The clergyman would enter the Quarantine Station only upon notification from the Chief Quarantine Officer or his representative accredited for this purpose that a patient belonging to the church in question was likely to die, and had requested the attentions of a clergyman of his church, and that no patients other than those notified to him as approaching death should be attended. The clergyman should be conducted direct to the bedside of the patient, should remain there only so long as was necessary . to complete his ministrations, and should then be at once’ removed to an isolated portion of the station, where he would not come into contact with any others of the persons detained on the station, and should there complete such period of quarantine as was considered necessary. That in the event of further need for his services arising during the period of his detention that the same procedure should be followed as above. That the. clergyman should faithfully and completely carry out all precautions against the spread of infection, which should be prescribed by the Chief Quarantine Officer. That a clergyman would be prepared to accept such accommodation and attendance as the exigencies of the station administration would permit, and would abide by the instructions of the officer in charge of the station in all details, both as regards to infection and to administration. I may say that these proposals are generally accepted by representatives of the various churches, and action is being taken to put them into operation at the earliest possible moment.
– Arising . out of the statement of the Vice-President of the Executive Council, I should like to ask whether he is aware that a precedent already exists in one State in Australia for the action proposed to meet the circumstances which have recently arisen in connexion with the Sydney QuarantineStation ? A few years ago, when the small-pox epidemic broke out at Launoeston, a clergyman belonging to the Church of England and another belonging to the Roman Catholic Church were allowed to enter the quarantine area and remain there during the period of quarantine.
– Order ! The honorable senator is giving information to . the Senate rather than asking for information from, the Minister.
– I should like the. point to he cleared up. I have no wish to contravene the Standing Orders, but it seems to me that I have frequently heard questions’ asked in the form I have adopted. Honorable senators frequently ask whether the Minister is aware that certain things have occurred. I should like to know if that is against the Standing Orders’!
– There is only one way in which the honorable senator can. dispute my ruling.
– If you, sir, rule in the way suggested, I shall resume my seat.
– I do.
Inquiry into Case of Me. Keily.
– Can the Minister for Defence give me any further information as to the date on which the case is to be heard against the man Kiely, who was interned under the War Precautions Act?
– I shall endeavour to obtain the information for the honorable senator during the day.
– Have the Government any objection to laying on the table of the Senate all papers in connexion with tin scrap ?
– I am not aware of any other papers than those which have been disclosed in this Chamber. But, knowing of no objection, I will place the request before the Minister primarily responsible.
The following papers were presented : -
Defence Act 1903-1918. , - Regulations amended.- Statutory Rules 1918, Nos. 302, 304, 305, 309.
Papers presented to British Parliament -
Coal Conservation Committee - Pinal Report.
Company Law Amendment Committee - Report.
Luxury Duty - Report, &c, from Select Committee.
Medical Education in England - Memornndum by Sir George Newman, K.C.B., M.D.
Military Service -
Convention between United Kingdom and United States of America.
Agreement between United Kingdom and Greece.
National Expenditure - Select Committee -
Proportional Representation - Memoran dum on Working of, at Danish Elections.
Booking of Through Seats
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Works and Railways, upon notice -
Will he make arrangements for passengers who have booked n through passage on the Trans-Australian railway from ‘Perth to the capitals of the eastern States, and vice versâ, to have seats allotted to them on the train between Port Augusta and Adelaide, and viceversâ.
– The Commonwealth Railways Commissioner reports -
The matter is one for the South Australian Railway Department to arrange. The Commonwealth Railways Commissioner has already been in communication with that Department on the subject, and it is hoped that a system of reservation of seats between Adelaide and Port Augusta, and vice versa for through passengers will be introduced.
Badges for Volunteers - Conditions on Transport “Port Sydney.”
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Is it the intention of the Government to issue to those public servants, State or Federal, who have volunteered for active service with the Australian Imperial Force, but were prevented going abroad by their Governments in consequence of the service they were rendering to the State or Commonwealth, a medal or badge which will indicate that they have done their duty?
– The matter is being brought under the notice of the Acting Prime Minister for consideration.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
If it is a fact that there is a number of men in military home service who desire their immediate discharge in order that they may take up their civil duties, will the Government take steps to relieve such men of their present duties, and replace them by returned soldiers as soon as possible?
– In view of the cessation of hostilities, the Home Service personnel has been greatly reduced.. All men employed in the Australian Imperial Force Camps have been granted fourteen days’ leave prior to discharge, and have been advised to resume their civil occupa tions. The small numbers retained consist of men enlisted for guard and military police duties, and are mainly returned Soldiers. A number of men are enlisted in the Royal Australian Garrison Artillery at the forts for the period of the war to replace permanent men on active service, and the question of their early release is now under consideration. Owing to the very greatly increased pressure shortly to be caused by demobilization, it is imperative in the interests of the returning soldiers as a whole, that every trained and capable man at present employed in the Pay Corps shall be retained, and, further, that their numbers shall be augmented by further suitable men. It is certain that any wholesale discharge of trained men - because it happens that they are not returned soldiers - would have disastrous consequences on the interests of the great body of soldiers now about to return, in respect of the speedy and accurate finalization of their accounts.
Motion (by Senator Millen) agreed to-
That until the 10th day of December, 1918, Government business, unless otherwise ordered, take precedence of all other business on the notice-paper, except questions and formal motions.
Motion (by Senator Millen) pro posed -
That standing order No. 68 be suspended up to and including Thursday, the 19th instant, for the purpose of enabling new business to be commenced after half-past Ten o’clock at night.
Question put. The Senate divided.
Majority . . . . 9
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
The following Bills were read a third time : -
Loan Bill (No. 2).
On the Order of the Day for the resumption of the debate (vide page 8803), on motion by Senator Pearce (for Senator Millen) -
That the following new standing order be adopted by the Senate: -
No senator shall speak for more than one hour at a time in any debate in the- Senate, except that in the debate on the AddressinReply, or on the first reading of a Bill which the
Senate may not amend, or in moving the second reading of a Bill, he shall be at liberty to speak for one hour and a half. Any senator may move that the limit of one hour or of one hour and a half may be extended for thirty minutes; such motion shall forthwith be put without debate.
In Committee no senator shall speak for more than a quarter of an hour at any one time, or more than twice on any one question before the Committee: provided that no limitation shall apply in Committee to a senator in charge of a Bill, or to any senator during the proceedings in Committee on the Tariff, or to a Minister of the Crown, in Committee on an Appropriation or a Supply Bill, in regard to the number of his speeches in connexion with any Departments which he represents.
– I propose to move as an amendment that the motion be referred to the Standing Orders Committee for consideration and report. I intend to make no comment on this amendment. Although I am responsible for the motion, I think the course I am now suggesting will more generally command the approval of honorable senators.
– The proper course for the honorable senator to take is to move for the omission of certain words from the motion,, and the insertion of others.
Amendment (by Senator Millen) agreed to -
That thewords “adopted by the Senate” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ referred to the Standing Orders Committee for consideration and report.”
Question, as amended, resolved in the ‘ affirmative.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 4th December, vide page 8707) :
Clause 3 -
In the event of such circumstances arising as would, in the opinion of the Minister, warrant the use of sheet bar steel, other than that made in Australia, for the manufacture in Australia of black steel sheets not exceeding onesixteenth of an inch in thickness and galvanized sheets, the Minister may authorize that sheet bar steel to he so used, and the black steel sheets not exceeding one-sixteenth of an inch in thickness and the galvanized sheets made from that sheet bar steel shall be deemed to be black steel sheets and galvanized sheets for the purposes of this Act.
Upon which Senator Pratten had moved - .
That after the word “ that,” line 1, the word “ British “ be inserted.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN (South Australia) [3.30]. - I gave notice of an amendment previously to add a proviso to the clause, but honorable senators will remember that I gave way then to Senator Pratten. The amendment I desire now to move is prior to Senator Pratten ‘s.
Amendment,- by leave, withdrawn.
That after the word “ may,” line 7, the words “ by regulation “ be inserted.
My previous amendment provided that the Minister, if he authorized . the importation of sheet bar steel to be used in the manufacture of black steel sheets , to be subject to the bounty, should be required to lay his reasons before Parliament. The amendment I have now proposed secures my objective in a much more effective and simpler manner. Honorable senators will remember that Senator Gardiner took exception to my previous amendment on the ground that the mere laying of reasons before Parliament by the Minister would give no effective guarantee of control by Parliament. By inserting the words “ by regulation “ the effect will be as provided in the Act for the Interpretation of Acts of Parliament 1904. Section 10 of that Act provides -
Where an Act confers power to make regulations, all regulations made accordingly shnll, unless the contrary intention appears -
be notified in the Gazette;
take effect from the date of notification, or from a later date specified in the regulations;
be laid before both Houses of the Parliament within thirty days of the making thereof, or if the Parliament is not then sitting, within thirty days after the next meeting of the Parliament.
But if either Houses of the Parliament passes a resolution, of which notice has been given at any time within fifteen sitting days after such regulations have been laid before such House disallowing any regulation, such regulation shall thereupon cease to have effect.
This simply insures that the power which the Minister is ,. given under this clause shall not be exercised except under these provisions. That is to say, the regulation will have to be published stating the reasons, and the regulation will be open to review by both Houses. 1 think that the exercise of such important authority as herein provided should be subject to the control of Parliament.
– When the Bill was last under consideration I agreed to an amendment which required the Minister to lay the reasons before Parliament. I recognise that if that only were done Parliament would have no control over the action of the Minister, except by attacking a proposal on a Supply Bill. The object now is to give the Parliament direct control, by means of a regulation, over the action of the Minister. I see no objection to it,’ and I accept the honorable senator’s amendment. j Amendment agreed to.
.- I move-
That the following new sub-clause be added : - “ (2) In authorizing the use of sheet bar steel, other than that made in Australia, the Minister shall give preference to sheet bar steel made in the United Kingdom.”
– This amendment is similar to one previously move’d by Senator Pratten, and which I accepted when the Bill was last under discussion. I asked Senator Pratten to move it in a different form, for the purpose of making the intention clearer. As we have accepted the principle, the Government have no objection to the amendment.
.- I think that if Senator Pratten is going to persist with this amendment, he ought to broaden it in order to give preference to Canada and New Zealand.
– This gives preference to the United Kingdom.
– But Canada and New Zealand are not included in the
United Kingdom. The United Kingdom comprises England, Scotland, and Wales.
– And Ireland. I think the honorable senator means “ Great Britain.”
– Yes, I admit I have been confusing the terms “ Great Britain” and “the United Kingdom.” But what about preference to the Dominions? Personally, if any preference is to be given at all, I would much sooner give preference to New Zealand than to any other part of the British Empire. Next to New Zealand, I would give preference to Canada, and then Britain. I would sooner give preference to New Zealand and Canada for the reason that they are working on much the same wage rates as Australia, and that is a very important factor to be considered in relation to this question of preference. Englishmen, Scotchmen, and Irishmen, unfortunately for them, work at about half the wage rates of Australians, New Zealanders, and Canadians, and I think it is unwise to use patriotism as a lever for preference without considering the wage factor. This question of preference ought to be settled by an Act of Parliament. The principle ought not to be inserted piecemeal in any legislation that comes before us. I am quite prepared at all times to consider Empire preference. It is essential, but I do not think it is wise for any honorable senator to propose, the insertion of such a provision in all legislation. I am not disputing any honorable senator’s right or wisdom in taking this action, but if preference is to be given, to my mind it ought to be Empire preference, and not preference to any particular part of the Empire.
– Would the honorable senator be in favour of substituting the words “British Empire” for the United Kingdom?
– I think the whole question of preference should be dealt with in a special measure, in a full session, as it is of great importance to Australia. We shall not do ourselves justice if we deal with matters of such magnitude at this stage of - the session, when many arguments, either for or against the proposal, will probably pass unnoticed.
– But preference has a very immediate relationship to the object of this Bill.
– It has also an immediate relationship to the object of every piece of legislation that we enact.
– Let us amend the amendment by inserting the words “ Until the Parliament otherwise provides.”
– I do not wish to mutilate Acts o Parliament. I prefer that we should deal with the question of preference by means of a separate Bill; but if we are going to grant any preference, we must grant it upon terms of absolute equality bo all sections of the Empire.
– That would knock out the economic reasons urged by the honorable senator.
– Any such proposal would have to include India, where the rate of pay is ls. per day, and those portions of British China where, possibly, it is less. The whole question of preference, from the view-point of sentiment, will not stand consideration, owing to the economic conditions under which Australia is living to-day. Consequently, it would be better for the Government to deal with it by means of a separate measure next year. All these matters could then be considered in their relation to Australia. Personally, in regard to trade, business, and everything else, I put Australia first. The granting of a preference to British ironmasters - one of whom, I am informed, upon the very day that the armistice was signed, intimated that steel could be delivered here at £13 per ton less than the price previously exacted by him, which had been much higher - does not appeal to me.- I cannot profess any enthusiasm for those manufacturers who, in time of war, exploited the people who have been fighting for them. To them, preference is doubtless a very fine sentiment. But preference to the man who charged for his product, in time of war, double the price which he had previously charged, and who, the moment the armistice was signed, dropped his price’ by 50 per cent., does not appeal to me.
– That may have been due to the shipping conditions.
– During the war, the manufacturers throughout the British Empire, Australia not excepted, have not set an example which merits consideration at my hands. They have set an example of exploiting the whole of our people, an example for which they ought to be put upon their trial, just as much as the Kaiser should be -placed upon his trial. If there be no Statute under which they can be tried, it is time that this Parliament brought one into existence. I am not inclined to grant a preference to men who have exploited our markets, and who have hindered the prosecution of the war by their enormously inflated prices. Yet we are now asked to trip over ourselves in our hurry to give- them a preference. If we are going to grant a preference stall , we should grant it on a basis of absolute equality to all parts of the Empire. I regret that the amendment has been brought forward, for the simple reason that this question of preference is the biggest with which Australia will be confronted for some time to come. It is one which is worthy of the best energies and abilities that this Parliament can devote to it. Consequently, I hope that it will be brought forward in the form of a separate measure. I oppose the amendment.
Senator RUSSELL (Victoria - Vice-
President of the Executive Council) [3.46]. - I was under the impression that the Committee desired to grant the preference which is here proposed. Personally, I believe in preference, but I do not believe in bringing down Australian conditions to the level of those of other parts of the Empire any more than does Senator Gardiner. Honorable senators are aware, however, that we have already committed ourselves to the granting of preference to the United Kingdom in our Tariff legislation, and the proposal which we are now considering merely seeks to continue that policy, which we have deliberately adopted. In the case of Canada, South Africa, and New Zealand we have entered into reciprocal arrangements, instead of granting them a straight-out preference. But in the case of the Mother Country we have always said, “ Here is a preference irrespective of economic conditions.” I repeat, however, that for economic reasons I am not prepared to extend that principle to every portion of the Empire. But the proposal we are now considering is merely one to continue the existing preference to the United Kingdom in consonance with our previously declared policy. I think that what we propose is a fair compromise, and I suggest to the Leader of the Opposition that he should either let it pass or knock it out altogether.
– I think there is a misapprehension in the mind of Senator Gardiner in regard to this matter. This is a Bounty Bill that cannot be affected by any Tariff proposals with which we may deal in the future. Under this measure it is proposed to grant a bounty to certain Australian manufacturers, and the object of the amendment is - if there be not sufficient sheet bar steel in Australia, and that shortage has to be made
– There will be more steel here than is wanted.
– Then this clause will not operate. But if there be not sufficient sheet bar steel in Australia, and it is shown that the shortage requires to be imported, this clause will make it mandatory upon the Minister to grant a preference to sheet bar steel that rs produced in the United Kingdom. The Leader of the Opposition mentioned the case of New Zealand, but he must know that no sheet bar steel is manufactured there. Certainly there is some produced in Canada. But will not the question of granting a preference to Canada arise in the not-far-distant future in connexion with a reciprocal arrangement with that country? When the honorable senator spoke of profiteering, I fancy that he was labouring under a misapprehension. The enormous profiteering that has taken place in connexion with the price of ships’ plates, and steel and iron of all descriptions, has been due to the Steel Trust of America. A maximum price has been placed by the Bri tish Government upon sheet, plate, bar, and angle iron, and, indeed, upon all iron, manufactured by the ironmasters of the United Kingdom. Very little, if any, was sent from England during the latter two years of the war. The great rise of £60 to £80 per ton on ships’ plates and merchant iron that took place in Australia, and which has had to be paid by consumers, in countries bordering- on the Pacific, has been paid for American iron.
– That was not onesixteenth iron.
– I am not talking about one-sixteenth iron. I am speaking of the matter referred to by Senator Gardiner in connexion with iron profiteers. The honorable senator said frankly, and to some extent justly, that those men should be faced with some responsibility for what they have done. But I want to tell the Committee that, so far as my information and experience go, it was not by the British ironmasters, but by the ironmasters of the United States of America that this was done. Only twelve months ago merchant iron was selling in Singapore at ls. per 1 lb. ; but that iron did not come from Great Britain. It was American iron being offered by American travellers. As a Britisher, I do not like to hear false aspersions made upon the manufacturers of Great Britain, who have been restricted during the last two years to a reasonable maximum price for their manufactures. To my personal knowledge, most of the iron for which these very high prices have been charged came to Australia from America, arid the money paid for it went to America.. I hope that, in the circumstances, Senator Gardiner will see that the amendment proposed is a reasonable one. It would safeguard our position to some extent if any attempt were made to import cheap bar steel from Germany, Norway, or Sweden. I am sure that the honorable senator will agree with me that our first preference should be given to our kith and kin across the water.
– This is a Bill to provide for the payment of a bounty on black steel sheets manufactured in Australia from Australian ores. I am at a loss to understand why, in the circumstances, we should he discussing the giving of a preference to Canada, America, or any other country. There are works at Lithgow that to-day are turning out this one-sixteenth iron in any quantities desired. We do not wish to give a bounty to Canadian manufacturers who are sending one-sixteenth iron here to-day for taxi cabs. I have samples of one-sixteenth iron in my room which is being manufactured at Lithgow, and can be obtained at a lower price than that for which it can be imported from Canada. I am dead against giving any such preference as is proposed. It will not be suggested that we should export our iron ores in order that they may be manufactured into iron in Canada. The Bill seems to me to be a piece of humbug, intended to cover up something. The Hoskins works at Lithgow are turning out the best onesixteenth steel bar plates in the world today. Senator Pratten speaks of steel plates for ships, but they have no connexion with the matter under consideration in this Bill. People have gone to tremendous expense putting up mills in Australia, at which this one-sixteenth iron is being rolled.
– What is (proposed is a penal preference, to be operated by the Minister with the consent of Parliament only if the people here charge too much for their product.-
– In addition to the Hoskins works, we have the Newcastle works, where it is contemplated to roll this iron, and Gray’s works established down here at Newport. These works will be in competition with each other, and why not encourage our own industries rather than the industries of some other part of the world ? I am dead against any amendment in this Bill which will permit outside manufacturers to get into this industry whilst we have two manufacturers of this article established in New South Wales and a third in Victoria.
– The proposal will not affect the local people if they keep up the supply.
– The trouble is that under the Tariff we allowed chassis to come in free, and, later, the Government allowed the importation of two chassis for one cover. To-day, for every two chassis imported there is one cover imported, though we are here prepared to manufacture the same article as good as it can be manufactured in Canada or elsewhere, and at a lower price, because the freight from other countries on the article is very high. Do honorable senators propose to shut up the works which Hoskins has established at Lithgow at tremendous cost, to prevent the Broken Hill Company from carrying out their intention to manufacture this article at Newcastle, and to close the works of Gray Brothers at Newport? The proposal ma.de in connexion with this clause will give a preference in connexion with this article to manufacturers outside of Australia, and that is absolutely opposed to the Australian policy that we should be self-contained and do what we can for ourselves.
Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) [3.57”. - -Senator Pratten has put up an astonishing argument. He says that we can give preferential treatment to Canada when we come to deal with the Tariff, but we could also deal with Great Britain in the same way under the Tariff. If the amendment is carried, the_ manufacturer of a certain class of steel in Australia will secure the bounty if he uses iron imported from Great Britain, assuming that the Minister permits it, but will not get the bounty if he uses iron manufactured in Canada.
– Not the Minister, but Parliament permitting it.
– Parliament permitting it on the representation of the Minister. I am not going to agree to any piece-meal Empire preference^ of the kin d proposed. Senator Guthrie was perfectly right in what he said. We are dealing with an Australian product, and the only people who should receive this bounty are those who, lock, stock, and barrel, use only an Australian product in their manufacture. There is no room for preference or bounty to any other person.
– If this provision were not made, the ‘honorable senator would soon complain of profiteering by the Australian manufacturers.
-Senator de Largie put the matter very clearly last week. It is evident that if a mill set up in Western Australia used imported steel and iron it could compete with New South Wales manufacturers. The honorable senator tried to put representatives of New South Wales in the position of desiring a monopoly for New South Wales manufacturers. I do not want any monopoly for New South Wales manufacturers, and I remind Senator Pratten that, when I dealt with the profiteers, I dealt with the New South Wales iron- . masters as well as with those of other countries I say that there is a combine in this industry. The Lithgow Ironworks could not sell me a ton of iron tomorrow if I offered them ready cash for it. They have to sell to the merchants first.
– The honorable senator referred to a price received by cable.
– I referred .to the British profiteers as well. I say that the Lithgow Ironworks could not sell me a ton of iron to-morrow if I offered cash for it, because they are under an agreement with the merchants.
– The honorable - senator will remember what happened when we tried to secure steel rails for the transcontinental railway. He knows that all countries quoted practically the same figure.
– Yes; Australia had to he fleeced, and they were all in it. We had to pay.
– The honorable senator did not expect to get steel rails for nothing.
– No ; but when a great Empire developmental work was being undertaken which involved huge taxation upon the people of Australia, we were blackmailed, and I do not feel like offering a bounty now to the people who two or three years ago blackmailed us when we wanted their steel rails. When they learned that this Parliament had given authority for a great undertaking that would require thousands of tons of steel rails, there was immediately a marvellous similarity in the price quoted for steel rails throughout the world. I do not see why we should to-day offer the people responsible for that a bounty. which will give them a stronger grip upon us. If there is to be an Empire preference, let it be a true Empire preference. I am quite in accord with Senator Russell that we should do nothing to bring Australia down to the economic level of India and other cheap labour sections of the British Empire. Senator Pratten has no hesitation in proposing a preference to Great Britain which he will not give to Canada in this connexion, though from the economic point of view, Canada is nearer to our standard than is Great Britain.
– We expect preference from Great Britain in many things.
– We have received preference from Great Britain.
– Hear, hear!
– I would not be too generous in my applause of that statement.
– Great Britain has purchased our wool and wheat.
– Great Britain took our wheat at 4s. per bushel, and fixed a price of 8s. or 10s. per bushel for her own farmers.
– Great Britain did not purchase one bushel of wheat from us at 4s. per bushel.
– Well, our farmers will not get much more than 4s. per bushel for the wheat purchased by Great Britain.
– Wheat is not under discussion on this clause.
– I agree with you, sir, but the matter is referred to as an illustration to show that the monopolists of Great Britain fixed the price of wheat to their farmers at from 8s. to 10s. per bushel, whilst our farmers are getting only about 4s. per bushel for it. I know that 4s. 9d. was the Government price, but the losses from weevils, mice, and Government blunders will reduce that price to the farmers to about 4s. per bushel. 1 am not prepared to concede the preference proposed in this case. If the intention is to bring into existence an Australian industry by means of a bounty, let us give effect to that intention. The only people who will have a claim upon this bounty will be those who produce an Australianproduct from the soil till it passes from the mill. If we secure that, there will be no complaint.
– The first thing the honorable senator will complain about will be the price charged by the Australian manufacturers.
– I can quite understand Senator Bakhap, as a representative of Tasmania, advocating a bounty to the exploiters, in the hope that they will start to exploit the Tasmanian iron fields.
– I hope they do.
– But I cannot understand the honorable senator wanting to set up in competition with the people who may be endeavouring to develop those deposits, the iron ores of the world. At present, of course, anything having to do with the Empire goes without argument. I dare say I shall be interned for the arguments I have used against this form of Empire preference’; that is, if the Minister is sufficiently irritated with what I say. Men have been interned for less. I quite appreciate Senator Pratten getting in early with his Empire amendment. Nevertheless, I oppose it, not on the ground of opposition to the Empire, but that I would rather it were done in a better way. Nothing is well done that is done piecemeal. In this Bill half the Empire is to be overlooked. Our kith and kin in Canada and in New Zealand are not to get a share. Senator Pratten said New Zealand had no iron mills. New Zealand may be equally as rich as Tasmania in iron deposits, and the establishment of iron mills may be but a question of a few days.
– I said New Zealand did not make sheet bar steel.
– If New Zealand does not, it is quite possible that she may have all the elements necessary for its manufacture. And, who knows but that one of her first after-war developments may be the establishment pf such an industry? I would advocate the granting of preference to Canada and New Zealand, as to the rest of the Empire. But I am not satisfied altogether, in the matter of Canadian preference. Statesmen of that Dominion are particularly keen gentlemen. They rightly put. Canadian interests first, and they are loath to give preference which they think may affect Canada adversely. Preference is not a matter of merely setting out the principle as a sentiment in a Bill. This bounty is intended to develop an Australian product, and I would like it to be conferred on users of Australian ores.
– That is a different matter altogether.
– The honorable senator says so; but if it were proposed to bring in a Bill to give a bounty for the production of some product out of Empire material, I am quite certain the Government would turn, it down. A measure ha3 been introduced which proposes to give a bounty upon the manufacture of an Australian product, after which an innocent little clause is inserted to the effect that, under certain conditions, the product may be made from imported material. That is just how loopholes get into our legislation.
Although honorable senators from Tasmania bold that the richest iron ore deposits of the Commonwealth are in that State, I happen to know that the richest throughout Australasia are to be found at Cadia, in New South “Wales. I do not mind the contradiction of Tasmanian representatives.
-What about Iron Knob, in South Australia?
– That has some claim for consideration, but I am given to understand that the South Australian deposits are lying idle.
– They are supplying the Newcastle works.
– Is that a proof of their richness, or merely that they belong to the Broken Hill Proprietary Company?
– A proof of their richness.
– I am pleased, then, that South Australia comes second to New South “Wales in the richness of its iron ore deposits. I might add that I am given to understand that the
Broken Hill Company uses the South Australian iron deposits because they provide a sort of back-loading after taking coke. I do not pretend to have any knowledge of that myself, however.
– The company uses Iron Knob ore because it can get none better anywhere.
– Order! I have had to make frequent requests that interjections shall cease. These conversations across the chamber are distinctly out of order.
– I wish you would not rule honorable senators out’ of order, sir, because they are proving my case better than I could do so alone.. I hold that there is no need for granting preference to the British product, and South Australian and Tasmanian senators are in agreement with me that the richness and extent of our Australian iron deposits are such that there is no reason why the proposed bounty should apply to products from imported material. If we are to embark upon an expensive and unsatisfactory method of using up our money just to enrich ironmasters, I agree that the bounty is a much more preferable system than the Tariff. Between honorable senators from the three iron-ore States, we have established that Australia has immense and wealthy iron deposits - by general consent amongst us, the finest in the world. That being so, here is a Bill to develop those deposits. The idea is that this measure shall give a bounty to those who put their money into the development of this particular form of manufacture. It is a case of “ To him that hath shall be given.” The bounty is to be granted to those who have taken from us during the war. Senator Pratten took exception to a statement by myself concerning what certain ironmasters were doing elsewhere. I call attention to an extraordinary variation in prices of corrugated iron immediately after the news of the signing of the armistice. On the day following, the quotation was £23 lower than on the previous day.
– Where was that?
– In New South Wales. It was evidently a slump in the huge stores of corrugated iron held by certain people who had been fleecing the public to the extent of £23 a ton.
– The honorable senator is talking of merchants now, whereas previously he was referring to the ironmasters.
– I have already pointed out that ihe Lithgow company, for example, is bound to the merchants, so that it cannot sell its iron except through the merchants. These considerations make it difficult to deal with the question on the basis of equality for all parts of the Empire, but the honorable senator’s proposal means leaving Canada and New Zealand out of consideration.
– Make it “ self-governing Dominions.”
– Then, what about Crown colonies ? The honorable senator sees the difficulty as soon as we start to define. I hope Senator Pratten will seriously consider the aspects which I have pointed out. Instead of his proposal helping to link up all sections of the Empire - and he has made it with the best intentions in the world - the result, with the meagre reports that will get out of what we are doing, is likely to be that” Canada will feel itself affronted, and that New Zealand may feel that the brotherly love between it and Australia has been set at naught for want of sympathy on our part. Even if New Zealand has no iron to compete with, it may assume that we would not let its product in if it had any.
– Make it “ the British Empire.”
– Then we are immediately up against the economic difficulty of the coloured labour of India and China. The question is really too big to be handled in an amendment of this kind. I trust that Senator Pratten will deal with it in a way that will not set one part of the Empire against another.
Senator SENIOR (South Australia) [4.221. - This brings up the question whether we should not differentiate between iron rolled out from imported bar steel and iron rolled out entirely from Australian ores.
– Would you not lose the object for which the Minister wants to insert this clause?
– No, because we should still be giving that proportion of bounty which is due for the rolling of the sheet and the galvanizing of the sheet. We should be giving a direct bounty, whereas, in the other case, we should be giving practically the same bounty for outside labour.
– There is no bounty on the steel rods.
– No; but there would be a temptation to import them in order to roll them into sheets and galvanize them.
– That could be done only by permission of the Minister.
– The Minister is to. give his consent under certain, conditions. Instead of trying to differentiate by specifying that the imported bar steel shall come from the British Empire, which immediately brings in tha cheap coloured labour question, we could reasonably do what we want by differentiating in the bounty according as the product was rolled out from imported bars, or from Australian ore. In that way we should be giving the bounty to the Australian manufacturer for the work he does, which is really what is intended.
– Would not your suggestion shut the bounty out altogether from sheets made from imported bars?
– Yes. I do not. think there should be any bounty on them. We are giving it for the purpose of encouraging Australian industry.
– That amendment has already been defeated.
– If we gave tie same bounty in each case, it would be an advantage to the man who imports. He would say: “I can get imported bars for so much, roll them out for a trifle cheaper, and make galvanized iron out of them.”
– No Minister would permit importation in those circumstances.
– We should legislate for any difficulties that we can foresee. Senator “Crawford will learn , as he grows older in politics, what Ministers can do. We hedge our laws round with restrictions to prevent Ministers doing certain things. Senator O’Loghlin, the other day, moved an amendment which would have had the effect of restricting the power of the Minister, but withdrew it temporarily. We should keep clearly in mind the fact that the object of the Bill is to encourage the Australian manufacturer to produce a certain product, and that the bounty includes the whole process from the ore to the finished article. There should not be a bounty when part of the article is imported.
– The bounty should not be paid at all in those circumstances.
– It should not. If imported material is used we should provide that the maker should not be the recipient of any bounty. We can say that imported stuff could be used if there was a local scarcity, but that it should carry no bounty. I would point out to the Minister (Senator Russell) that my suggestion is too important to be brushed aside, because it carries out the spirit of the Bill and encourages the industry that the Bill is introduced to encourage.
, - Senator Senior’s suggestion is worthy of more consideration than the Minister (Senator Russell) seems prepared to give it. The Bill should aim at giving the bounty, for industry purely and entirely Australian. The Committee have already decided on division that the Minister shall have power in certain circumstances in the interests of the industry to allow the importation of bar steel tei be made into steel sheets. T voted with the minority on that occasion. Senator Senior’s idea is that if the Minister authorizes importation to prevent future monopolists charging unfair prices, only portion of the bounty should be paid. That suggestion does more to reconcile the conflicting opinions , expressed on the whole question than any other that has been made since we began to discuss the Bill.
– Would you recommend the same principle with regard tothe Tariff?
– This is not aTariff question, but stands by itself. When the Tariff is before us we can deal with that matter on its merits. We were unable to prevent the Minister being given power to allow importations, but I still believe the real object of the Bill is to encourage Australian industries only. Senator Senior’s suggestion would go some way to meet the objections of those of us who voted with the minority on the previous division. I should be glad if he would put it in the form of an amendment, so that it might receive more consideration from some senators than it seems to have received from the Minister.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN ( South
Australia) [4.30]. - I understand Senator Senior’s suggestion to be that no bounty should be paid if bar steel is imported from anywhere outside Australia.
– His suggestion is that only portion of the bounty should be paid in those circumstances.
– There is nothing to prevent a manufacturer from importing sheet bar steel now. The manufacturer gets the bounty only if the steel bars are manufactured in Australia, or if they have been imported with the approval of the Minister. Senator Pratten’s amendment to confine importations to British steel bars should recommend itself to those who, like Senator O’Keefe, voted the other day for an amendment to prevent importations altogether, because, while it does not totally prevent importations, it decidedly and materially restricts them. Instead of allowing importations from the whole world, it confines them to those from the United Kingdom. I did not vote for Senator Grant’s amendment last week, and am not prepared to vote for Senator Pratten’s amendment now, because, while I am prepared to agree to some restriction, the restriction he proposes is too great. If Senator Pratten will include “ The United Kingdom and the self-governing Dominions,” I shall be prepared to support him, because he will be meeting Senator Gardiner’s objection to allowing importations from cheap labour countries like India and China.
– When this amendment is disposed of, I shall move for the addition of a proviso that no bounty shall be paid for sheet steel or galvanized sheets made fromimported bar steel, as provided for -in. clause 3.
– There seems to be a good deal of confusion in the minds of the Committee. Unfortunately, I was not present to hear the debate on the Bill and the early discussion in Committee, but I have read the Hansard report of what took -pla.ee, and from it I understand that the Bill provides for the payment of a bounty on the Australian manufacture of certain articles out of iron. In the course of thediscussion it was suggested that the suppliers of iron and steel in Australia might develop into profiteers, and that it was. therefore desirable to give the Minister power, if they became too arrogantly prosperous, and charged their customers too much, to permit the importation of iron and steel from abroad, and at the same time to pay the bounty on articles made from materials so imported. Of course, it is obvious that, in the usual course of things, importations from abroad are permitted now. The point is. the payment of bounty on articles manufactured from imported material. In other words, it is a kind of penal provision, to operate if the Australian manufacturers make the mistake of overcharging their Australian customers. Senator Pratten’s amendment limits the exercise of the discretion of the Minister by stipulating that the imported material must come only from the United Kingdom. The clause is framed with the object of curtailing the profiteering propensities of any Australian manufacturer of bar steel, and Senator Pratten proposes that if the Minister, in exercising his discretion, permits the payment of bounty on articles made out of imported steel, the importations shall come only from the United Kingdom. The amendment is a reasonable one. I do not know what the fear in. the minds of honorable senators is. In the first place it is proposed to give a bounty to the Australian manufacturer, and in the second place the Minister will be empowered to allow of the payment of bounty on sheets made out of imported raw material so as to check any tendency <on the part of the Australian manufacturer to overcharge for raw material made in Australia. The position seems to he very clear.. I do not think the amendment is objectionable. I am supporting the Bill because I believe in the development of the iron industry in Australia. It is an industry that no civilized country can he without. It bids fair to be successfully established in Australia. The. products of the industry are readily available to Australian consumers, and if the Government . at any time think that the manufacturers, whom we have pushed well on the road to success, are charging consumers too much, the bounty will “be paid on the product of imported material, so that we may get back to something like a normal state of things. I intend to vote for the amendment, which I think is a reasonable one in the circumstances.
Senator PRATTEN (New South Wales)
T/4.37]. - For the sake of clarity, I should like to follow’, approximately and -roughly, the process of manufacturing steel. I understand it first starts with the iron ore and limestone and coke in the blast furnaces, and comes out in a rough state called pig iron. These blocks are further puddled in furnaces, and as the result of various, processes are converted into iron and steel, described as iron and steel bars.
– Not puddled.
– The blocks become iron bars after the iron is puddled. Eventually they are converted to small slabs called sheet har steel, from which the black steel sheets are rolled. Under this Bill it is proposed to pay a bounty of fi 10s. per ton on black steel sheets rolled in Australia, and an additional bounty of 10s. per ton upon the galvanized iron of commerce made from these sheets, the processes in between the flat black steel sheets and the finished corrugated iron being the dipping of these flat black sheets ‘ in a bath of spelter or zinc, and the sheets being afterwards run through machines for the purpose of corrugation, thereby giving us the galvanized corrugated iron of commerce. Under this clause, as I read it, a manufacturer may buy, and in certain circumstances import, .sheet bar steel, put up a rolling mill, and avail himself of this bounty by manufacturing from . this raw material the galvanized corrugated iron of commerce. If there is not sufficient of this raw material made in Australia, or if on account of other circumstances, including the creation of a monopoly, unfair prices are charged to the manufacturer using this sheet har steel, the Minister may allow the importation of sheet bar steel for manufacture into black steel sheets and galvanized corrugated iron. All we are asked to do by the amendment of which I have given notice, and which I understand the Minister has accepted, is that, in the event of it being necessary to import sheet bar steel, preference shall be given to the raw material manufactured by the ironmasters of the United Kingdom, excluding the products of Germany, Austria, Scandinavia, or other countries. Under these circumstances, I see no reason for opposition to the amendment, if this Parliament is in a position to give preference.
In this connexion I point out again to the Committee that no discussion in connexion with preference in relation to Tariff matters can affect this Bounty Bill in any way. This Bill stands entirely on its own basis, and once it is placed on the statute-book it cannot be affected by any future Tariff discussion. Discussion with regard to a preferential Tariff must refer to the admission of certain products at a lower rate of duty than, others.
– You, yourself, by this amendment–
– I do not want interruptions from the Government Whip. I have had too” many from him. I repeat that, if this Parliament, before it expires by effluxion of time, deals with the Tariff, any such discussions will not, in any shape or form, affect this Bounty Bill. For weal or woe we are asked to pass this Bill, and thus help to create further industries in. Australia; and, if we insert preference, it must be obeyed by the Minister. If we do not insert thi* principle, the Minister will have power to allow the importation of sheet bar steel from any country he likes; and I, for one, will not stand to give any Minister power to import such material from the Continent of Europe when it is made in very large quantities by the manufacturers of the United Kingdom. To some extent, I am in agreement with Senator O’Keefe when he asks why there should be any necessity to import this raw material at all. But we have got further than that. We have adopted the principle that the Minister shall have power, under certain circumstances, to allow of its importation. My amendment seeks to restrict that power and definitely make it obligatory, should it be necessary to import at all, to give preference to the products of the United Kingdom.
– It is a pity, when Senator Pratten got up to lecture the Committee and explain to honorable senators the process of making iron, that he did not understand his subject. I can assure him that he doe3 not understand it. He was right in his description of the first process for the conversion of iron ore into pig iron, but he was quite astray when he tried to explain the second stage, which he said was the puddling of the product in furnaces. I could wager all the money he possesses that he does not know what puddled iron is. Puddled iron does not come into this question in any shape or form.
– What is puddled iron, anyhow?
– It is commonly called malleable or wrought iron. After it has passed the pig-iron stage, it is put into the furnaces and puddled till it gets into the malleable state. It is then called malleable iron. When ore is smelted it is either run into pigs or put into a converting furnace - not a puddling furnace - the mild steel for sheet iron may be made either by the Bessemer process, or the newer open hearth processes. Senator Pratten, as I have said, was quite astray in his explanation of the second process, and I ask honorable senators to bear in mind that he rose for the purpose of making it quite clear to them. When any honorable senator rises in that presumptuous way, he ought to know his subject, and in this case evidently Senator Pratten did not. With reference to the bounty, he said the question of preference was not affected at all ; but I maintain that the proposition now before the Committee is definitely for preference, and I question whether the Committee can consider it in connexion with a Bounty Bill. Evidently Senator Pratten does not understand his own proposal when he says that preference does not come into the question at all, and, that being so, I leave honorable senators to judge the value of his lecture to the Committee on iron making or on the question of preference.
– I should like to join in the general discussion on this clause for the reason that, when I can see any chance of getting information that is likely to be of life-long value to me, I do not like to miss it. I asked Senator de Largie, who, I know, is an authority on the manufacture of iron, what puddled iron was, and he said it was puddled until it got into the malleable state. He left it there. But I wanted to know what is the puddling process.
– I can fully explain the whole process. I have spent many years at the business.
– I do not doubt Senator de Largie’s ability to explain the process, but I point out that he simply left the subject exactly where Senator Pratten left it, because he said that when it was puddled it became malleable iron.
– The honorable senator wishes to be let into some of the secret processes of manufacture.
– I recognise that Senator de Largie is an expert upon this matter, having had advantages that many of us have not enjoyed. I have no doubt that he can discern the weakness of Senator Pratten’s position. I confess, however, that I fail to see the line which divides their statements. In view of the approaching close of the session, I think that the Government should withdraw amendments which are calculated to> prolong debate, and thus assist us to put through the necessary measures. I do not wish to be told when later on I desire to make a few remarks upon any proposal that lam” stone-walling,” as I am sometimes accused of doing, by Senator Senior.
Amendment (by Senator Senior) proposed -
That the following proviso be added : - “ Provided that where black steel sheets are made from sheet bar seel, other than that made in Australia, the Minister may withhold such portion of the bounty as he thinks reasonable.”
.- The Government cannot accept the amendment. To do so would be to destroy the whole framework of the Bill.
– How is that? It would give the Minister power to differentiate between’ sheet bar steel which is made in Australia and sheet bar steel which is not.
– This Bill is intended to encourage the manufacture of black steel and galvanized sheets. Now, it may be, that at some time or other, there may exist a scarcity of the raw material for these sheets. In such circumstances, Parliament does not desire that the entire process of manufacture shall be hung up. The Minister ought, therefore, to be empowered to ;permit of the raw material being imported. The amendment would render that course impossible, and, consequently, we cannot accept it.
Senator O’KEEFE (Tasmania) T4.55]. - In his hurried and very brief reply to Senator Senior, the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) did not make himself quite clear. He stated that this Bill is intended to authorize the payment of the bounty upon black steel and galvanized sheets manufactured in Australia. Quite so. But it is intended that it shall be paid only upon sheets which are made out of pig iron that is produced in Australia. The Minister’s argument would lead one to suppose that it is intended to be paid upon all black steel and galvanized sheets manufactured in Australia, whether from bar steel produced locally, or otherwise. In his explanation, the honorable gentleman did not go far enough. The amendment of Senator Senior will meet the objections which some of us have to the clause in its present form, namely, the payment of the full amount of the bounty upon black steel and galvanized sheets manufactured in Australia from sheet bar steel which has been imported.
– I submit that the amendment is out of order, inasmuch as the Committee has already declined to omit from clause 2 the words, “ or from such imported sheet bar steel as is authorized in pursuance of section 3 of this Act.” Under that decision we are obliged to pay the bounty provided for in this Bill to the manufacturers of black steel and galvanized sheets in Australia made from imported sheet bar steel. The amendment, therefore, I contend, is out of order.
– Had the amendment not been in order I would not have accepted it.
– May I point out that under my amendment the Minister will have power to import sheet bar steel should circumstances warrant the adoption of that course. My object is to insure that the bounty shall be paid only upon work done in Australia in converting that sheet bar steel into black and galvanized sheets. If the proviso be not inserted, the bounty may be paid on black and galvanized sheets, irrespective of whether they are manufactured from material locally produced or imported. By empowering the Minister to import sheet bar steel we shall certainly be permitting the importation of a large quantity of it, unless we hedge the clause round with sufficient safeguards.
– Cannot we produce the sheet bar steel locally cheaper than it can be imported?
– Why is the bounty offered if it be not to assist in the establishment of an Australian industry? Yet it is now proposed that a share of the bounty shall go to a British or continental industry. I do not wish to see any portion of it disbursed in that way. The whole process should be an Australian one.
– Then the honorable senator should vote against clause 3 in its entirety.
– No. There may be circumstances in which it will be necessary to import the raw material.
– The honorable senator wishes to give the full amount of the bounty to full Australian material, and only half the bounty to what is only half Australian material?
– Exactly. I think that my amendment will commend itself to the Committee.
– We are all in sympathy with the desire of Senator Senior; but he is not seeking to achieve his desire in the right way. This Bill is intended to encourage the manufacture of black and galvanized sheets in the Commonwealth. That is the process which we desire to promote. The Bill is not designed to encourage the first process, namely, the production of pig iron. Wo have already provided for that. Another Bounty Act has been in operation under which the parent industry has already been established. This Bill is intended to encourage the establishment of a secondary industry springing from that industry.
– Why is “Australian bar steel” mentioned in the Bill?
– Because that is the steel from which we wish these sheets to be manufactured. It is only in special circumstances that we will permit them to be made from other material, and those special circumstances are to be subject to the judgment of the Minister. There may, for example, be a scarcity of raw material, or a combine may wish to extort from the industry an iinfair price for that material. In such circumstances, Senator Senior will see that those who had established this secondary industry would not be to blame. Why, then, should they be granted only a portion of the bounty? The amendment of the honorable senator would penalize this secondary industry in certain conditions. The Bill specially provides that if the Minister discovers that any arrangement exists by means of which the bounty is to be handed over to those who are engaged in the parent industry, he may stop its payment. Of course, if we wish to further encourage the primary industry - the production of pig iron - we may do iteither by means of a Tariff or by re-enacting the bounty. But we know that the parent industry has already been established, and that it is to-day producing the raw material in sufficient quantities to provide for the needs of. the secondary industry that we desire to establish. In such circumstances the amendment is not required.
.- The Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) has evaded the main point, which is the purpose of this Bill. Clause 2 mentions specifically that “black steel sheets “” means black steel sheets not exceeding one-sixteenth of an inch in thickness made from Australian iron ore and steel manufactured in Aus tralia, or from such imported sheet bar steel as is authorized in pursuance of clause 3. Then in clause 3 it is provided that sheet bar steel may be imported for a specific reason. The whole purport of the Bill clearly is to encourage the Australian industry of the manufacture of black steel sheets and galvanized sheets from Australian sheet bar steel.
– No, the manufacturer of steel sheets may make them from Australian, or from imported sheet bar steel.
– That has nothing to do with the point I am making, which is that the object of the Bill is to encourage an Australian industry, in two parts if honorable senators please - the manufacture of steel sheets from sheet bar steel produced in Australia, and the manufacture of steel sheets from imported sheet bar steel. The fact that it is provided that these steel sheets may be manufactured from sheet bar steel produced in Australia, shows that the production of bar steel is an Australian industry. I contend that the true application of the Bill is to the industry as a whole. The purpose of the Bill will be defeated if the full bounty may be paid on the manufacture of steel sheets whether they are manufactured from bar steel made from our owu iron ores or not.
– We do not pay any bouuty on steel sheets made from imported bar steel unless it is imported with the consent of the Minister.
– That is quite clear, and has been fully explained, but Senator Senior, by his amendment, desires to give additional power to the Minister to withhold a portion of the bounty in that case. The Minister may, under the clause, exercise a discretion, and authorize the importation of bar steel, and Senator Senior proposes that in that case the Minister may withhold a portion of the bounty where the steel sheets are manufactured from that imported bar steel, because the whole process will not then have been confined to Australia. I think the amendment a very good one, and it deserves more support than it appears likely to get.
– The Committee decided last week to permit the importation of bar steel for the manufacture of these steel sheets, and, in the circumstances, all the amendments that are being moved are only so much camouflage. An amendment was moved to compel the manufacturers to manufacture their steel sheets from Australian bar steel produced from Australian ore, but the Committee decided against that. In the circumstances, what is the use of all these dazzle-painting amendments ? I should dearly like to see the whole of this manufacture carried out in Australia, and I personally am not afraid that any of this bar steel will be imported for this purpose. Australian manufacturers are now in a position to manufacture ten times as much bar steel as can be used in the manufacture in this country of these steel sheets. I am against all these humbugging amendments.
– I desire, sir, to ask your ruling as to whether clause 3 is in order, since, in my opinion, it is not within the title of the Bill. According to the title this is a Bill -
To provide for the payment of bounty on the manufacture of black steel sheets and galvanized sheets in the Commonwealth.
But clause 3 deals with imported sheets.
– Not with imported sheets, but with imported sheet bar steel.
– Under clause 2 “ black steel sheets “ includes sheetsmanufactured - fromsuch imported sheet bar steel as isauthorized in pursuance of section 3 of thisAct,
Clause 3 then provides - ‘
In the event of such circumstances arising as would, in the opinion of the Minister, warrant, the use of sheet bar steel, other than that, made in Australia:-
My point is that the title of the Bill confines its application to black steel sheetsand galvanized sheets made in the Commonwealth, and not outside of it. I ask your ruling as to whether, in the circumstances, clause 3 is within the title of the Bill. It is quite a usual practice to include in the title of a Bill the words “and for other purposes,” but it will be noted that those words are not included in the title of this Bill; and I again contend that we are confined, under the title of the Bill, to deal with black steel sheets and galvanized sheets made in theCommonwealth.
– The title may yet be altered.
– There has beenno proposal to alter the title, and it should be remembered that this Bill hascome to us from another place.
– I rule that the clause is distinctly in order.
– I disagree with that ruling.
– The honorable senator will put his disagreement in writing.
– I will do so.
In the Senate:
The Chairman of Committees. - Whilst in Committee, Senator Guthrie raised the question whether clause 3 of the Bill under discussion is in order. I ruled that it is, and he has taken exception to my ruling in these terms -
Clause 3 of Bill No. 77 is not in order in so far as it is not included within the title of the Bill.
– My contention is this : This Bill has been received from the House of Representatives with the title -
To provide for the payment of bounty on the manufacture of black steel sheets and galvanized sheets in the Commonwealth.
In clause 3 there is provision made for payment of the bounty on imported sheets. It provides that, in certain circumstances, the black steel sheets and the galvanized sheets made from imported sheet bar steel shall be deemed to be black steel sheets and galvanized sheets for the purposes of the Act. My point of order is that, under the title of the Bill, there is no provision made for anything but the manufacture of black steel sheets and galvanized sheets in the Commonwealth, and not outside of it. Usually, when it is the intention to cover purposes other than that specifically mentioned in the title of a Bill, the words “and for other purposes” are included in the title, but those words are not used in the title of this Bill. I contend that clause 3 is outside the title. It may be argued that the title of the Bill has not yet been decided, but we received this Bill from another place, and accepted the title when we received it; and I hold that nothing can be discussed that is not within the title of the Bill.
– Assuming that the point of order can be taken at this juncture - as to which I am not quite sure - clause 3 does not deal with black steel sheets and galvanized sheets, but with steel from which the sheets are manufactured - the raw material. Surely, it is rather a stretch of the imagination to say that there can be a -Bill to provide for the manufacture of black steel sheets and galvanized sheets, but that there must be no mention within that measure of what those sheets are to be made from. To hold such a view is obviously against commonsense.
– The point raised by Senator Guthrie might have been a good one if it had been taken at the proper time. The proper time at which to have taken a point of . order in such circumstances as these would have been upon the second reading. Frequently Bills have beer; thrown out by the Presiding Officer either at the first or the second reading, on the point that the provisions of the Bill, or the Bill itself, are not within the order of leave. When a Bill is transmitted to the Committee by the Senate that is sufficient warrant and authority for the Committee to proceed with the consideration of that measure. The point, so far as my study of parliamentary practice has taken me, has never been raised in Committee as to whether or not the provisions of a Bill have been within the order of leave. And, even on that point, I should have to rule against Senator Guthrie.
But I believe that the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) has put his finger on the actual vital point. The title of a Bill does not necessarily compel its provisions to be within the four corners of that title, because it can be amended. The order of leave for the introduction of a Bill is the guiding and governing principle as to the provisions of that Bill. The title of this Bill states -
So far as I have been able to see from my reading of clause 3, all that that clause authorizes is that the Government may pay a bounty on galvanized sheets manufactured in Australia from iron or steel sheets imported from abroad. That is the point. Therefore, even on the narrow ground of the clause coming within the title of the Bill, I think that the title sufficiently covers this clause. It is almost impossible, in the case of complicated manufactures, to get everything that may be required in the course of such manufactures from one country. Various materials must be secured from various sources; and it could not be said that a certain product was not of Australian manufacture simply because the person or company manufacturing it required to get some of the necessary material from another country. I am of opinion that the Chairman of Committees was correct in ruling against the point raised by Senator Guthrie.
.- The Minister (Senator Pearce) put the matter fairly clearly in reply to Senator Senior, in connexion with the amendment now before the Committee. I would not have intervened again but for the suggestion that the present established iron works in Australia will not be able to exist much longer unless they export. I draw attention to the actual position regarding the consumption of galvanized and sheet iron in Australia, lt appears, from Customs figures before me, that something like 4,000,000 cwt. was imported into the Commonwealth during 1912-13. That amounts to about 200,000 tons. In this Bill, only £200,000 has been allocated, for the payment of the bounty. If sufficent black steel sheets and galvanized sheets were manufactured in Australia to supply our needs, and their manufacture came within the scope of this bounty, then the amount of the bounty to be granted under. this Bill would not last more than twelve months - if that long. Even the restricted imports of 1914-15 amounted to 2,500,000 cwt., approximately; and the imports were about the same in 1915-16. In 1916-17, the imports totalled, roughly, 1,000,000 cwt.
– The honorable senator is getting a little wide of the amendment before the Committee.
– Even if we imported the whole of the steel bars for rolling into steel sheets, and did the galvanizing in Australia, I would still support the principle in the Bill for the reason that we shall be establishing, independently of outside manufacturers and importers, a very necessary industry in Australia. I hope that the whole of our requirements will be made within the Commonwealth; but if that should be so, within the period covered by this Bill, the amount of bounty will not go very far. There would be an average of only £1 of bounty per ton on the 200,000 tons of riack sheets and galvanized iron which we imported during one recent year. I shall vote against the amendment.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 4 -
The Governor-General may authorize the payment out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which is hereby appropriated for the purpose, of bounty on the manufacture in Australia, after the 1st day of October, 1918, of black steel sheets and galvanized sheets according to the rates set out in the Schedule to this Act. . . .
– I move -
That the “following words be added to the clause : “ Provided further that any business or company accepting a bounty under this Act shall in return give the Commonwealth shares in its business or company corresponding in value to the amount of the bounty received.”
I move this amendment on principle. Bounties may be necessary to the development of new industries in a young country; but if we grant a bounty, it must be remembered that it will bo given out of the people’s money. In effect, the people of Australia will become shareholders. It is only right, therefore, that they should derive profits on their shares, just as though they were private shareholders in a concern made successful by the employment of their capital. Bounties can do much good in establishing Australian industries.
– They certainly can do no harm.
– It is possible that they could do harm. The granting of a bounty to one firm might have the effect of unduly developing it as against a company which had not sought such Government assistance. The bounty would, in such circumstances, give an unfair advantage. My amendment is intended to safeguard the interests of the Commonwealth. It will prevent a company from asking for a bounty unless it requires the money urgently for the development of the industry concerned. If a firm realizes that, for every £1 of bounty granted by the Commonwealth Government, the Government are to become shareholders accordingly, it will not be likely to ask for a larger sum than it actually requires.
– Your proposition really amounts to the Commonwealth subscribing for reserve shares.
– In effect, yes. If a company pleaded that it could not get on any further with its own capital, and that it required some of the people’s capital for its further development, I would not object to the granting of a bounty. But the Commonwealth should derive an interest in that business in proportion to the amount of capital put into it. There are two large sections of thought in a community. There are those who believe in State enterprise and those who believe in private enterprise. As a believer in the former, I maintain that the effect of my amendment would be to make a beginning in the successful management of private enterprise by the assistance of Commonwealth enterprise.
– How would the honorable senator differentiate .between an enterprise made successful as a consequence of a high Tariff, and as the outcome of the granting of’ a bounty ? Would not the Commonwealth have almost as much right to hold shares in the one as in the other?
– Certainly. I believe the old system of developing industries by high Tariffs ‘will finally succumb to the bounty system, because the public will not much longer permit themselves to pay very high prices for many things they require in order that a few people may make profits out of the very few things they produce. That is what happens in a great many of our protected industries. If we compare the advantages that manufacturers gain from a high Tariff with the benefits offered by my proposal, I admit that from their point of view the comparison is all in favour of Tariff protection. I prefer the bounty system to the Tariff system, but if we grant bounties the people who provide the money to pay them should get a return. My proposition is worthy of the serious consideration of honorable senators, because it aims directly at the Commonwealth giving the companies a bounty to help them develop their business, and taking from the companies a share of the profits they make when their businesses have been developed. This idea originated in my mind from the following incident: On one occasion when I was in New Zealand that great statesman, Richard Seddon, visited Auckland. A delegation representing a mining company waited on him and pointed out to him the advantages of developing the deep lead mines on the Thames goldfields in the Northern District. I went in with the deputation to hear what took place. Mr. Seddon listened to all they had to say. They showed that great wealth would be secured at greater depths, and stressed the necessity of a grant of Government money to help them to get through the barren strata. He said lie could see nothing wrong with their proposition. As an old miner, he agreed that if they could get to the lower depths they would reach the dividendpaying stage, and he promised to put the request favorably before his Cabinet. But, he added, when the profit-paying period arrived, the Government would expect a share of the profits pro raid with the amount they put in, as compared with the amount the company put in. That was a perfectly sound business proposal by a big-brained business man. I have tried to embody the same principle in this amendment, because the two cases, are almost parallel. The New Zealand deputation asked for a grant, which is simply a bounty under another name, and the benefit they offered was the development of a gold-field which would give employment for a considerable time, if the venture was successful. The benefit the company would get, if successful, would be represented by a long period of dividend paying, while the very doubtful advantage the New Zealand Government would get would be the knowledge that they had expended the people’s money to develop the Dominion’s mining industry. In this case I put this amendment forward deliberately with a view to initiate the idea that we must not give away the people’s money merely for the sake of an indirect return, and that, if companies require the people’s money to help them to develop their businesses, we should invest it on business principles.
– Although on a previous occasion a similar proposal by Senator Gardiner did not receive the support of the majority of the Senate, the more it is considered the greater number of votes will it secure in this Chamber. There is, and always has been, a great difference of opinion on the question whether bounties should be provided at all, and, generally speaking, on the wider question whether it is wise to tax one section of the community for the purpose of enabling another section to provide commodities for them. Having regard to the enormous prices that the community have had to pay, especially during the past four years, for certain articles, notably galvanized iron, it seems to me that something very drastic is required, and on that account I have given my support to the Government proposal to pay the manufacturers of galvanized iron a bounty of so much per ton. But I quite agree with the idea that the bounty should not be given unconditionally. It should be circumscribed with some such condition as that outlined by Senator Gardiner. His amendment, if carried, as I hope it will be, will give the Commonwealth Government the satisfaction of knowing that its action has resulted in giving the people of Australia, not only an adequate supply of corrugated galvanized iron, but also an interest in whatever companies take the manufacture of that commodity in hand. That seems perfectly fair, because, when any business man is asked to put his money into a. venture, his first question is, “Where do I come in ? “ If he does not come in anywhere, none of his cash will go into the concern. I see no reason why the Commonwealth should not put the same question. The Commonwealth is very hard pressed for funds. It is looking round in all directions to extract money from the community. We were told the other night that the people growing -wheat were in an overwhelming majority in the community, and the plea was put up that they should be placed in a position to extract cash from the minority in the community in order to enable them to carry on their business. I ‘am not prepared to say at this stage whether that is a good idea or not. At the moment, it ‘does not appeal to me. By this Bill we are asked to devote a substantial sum belonging to the people to the manufacture of galvanized iron, even though the Government are hard pressed for funds. So hard pressed are they, that Parliament has actually agreed to extract one penny from every one who pays 3d. to see a picture show. It seems an extraordinary procedure to collect money in that way from the poor workers, from the wives or widows of soldiers, and then hand over those pennies, perhaps, to the Broken Hill Proprietary Company, or Messrs. Hoskins, of Lithgow, or some other firm that may take on the manufacture of galvanized iron, although those gentlemen are already in a fairly substantial financial position. Such companies come here, through their agents, and deliberately ask us to give them at least £4.0,000 per annum out of the £350,000 that we expect to receive every year from the tax on cheap tickets of admission to picture shows. That seems an extraordinary thing to do. However, this Parliament seems to be committed to the idea of paying bounties. That being so, we should adopt the business methods of business men. They tell us ad nauseam that the Commonwealth should be run on business lines. One cannot open his mouth in a railway train or at a public meeting on questions of this kind, when a business man is present, but ho will at once take advantage of any effort to draw one’s breath to point out that the country should be run on business lines. Let us, therefore, ran this little thing on business lines. We- do not want to imitate the business men of earlier days, who left us the legacy of varying railway gauges, but we do want to invest the people’s money, which is placed at our disposal, on business principles. In this case I ask, “Where does the Commonwealth come in?” I may be told that the people will get cheap galvanized iron, foat the building trade will be immensely advantaged, and that returned soldiers will obtain cheaper houses, if a more plentiful supply of galvanized iron is available at cheaper rates. I am not sure that we shall get iron cheaper merely because we pay a bounty. No one with money of his own to invest would think of placing it in a venture unless he could see, not only a direct cash return every year at a substantial rate of interest, but also the certainty that he would get his capital back. If we pay away £200,000 in bounties to certain companies, what value will their scrip have for the Government? The money will be gone, and we shall see no more of it ; but, if Senator Gardiner’s amendment is carried, we shall have a tangible asset, and a voice and vote in the control of the businesses which are aided by the people’s money. I support the amendment with pleasure.
– While theoretically there may be something in Senator Gardiner’s proposal, I remind him that when discussing the question of preference, he said it ought to be dealt with in a separate measure, and not introduced into this Bill. I venture to apply the same argument to his proposal. Whatever merits or demerits it may have - and it may possibly have considerable merits - it should be discussed in a separate measure, because if the principle is sound it should be made to apply to all businesses to which the Commonwealth gives, or contemplates giving, bounties. It would be invidious to agree to this amendment constraining iron-working companies accepting the bounty to set aside a certain amount of their share capital so as to repay with shares Commonwealth advances in the shape of bounties, while other companies or industries to which bounties have been paid or may be payable are exempt. This measure deals specifically with a certain industry, and therefore I consider the amendment very injudicious at this juncture. If there is any merit in the proposal - and I am not saying there is not - it should be given an all-round application in regard to companies or corporations carrying on industries and which care to avail themselves of Commonwealth bounties. Senator Grant said something about the need for running everything on business lines. Possibly it would be a good thing if the Commonwealth were run on business lines, but there happens to be an
Oriental proverb to this effect - “You cannot govern a country with the yardstick of the merchant.” I do not think any country can be governed altogether on business lines, and I would like Senator Gardiner to remember that the Commonwealth is in a different position from the ordinary person who advances money to build up an enterprise, or subscribes capital to further the operations of a company. The Commonwealth benefits not only indirectly, in many ways, but directly from an income tax. If an enterprise is successful as the result of having availed itself of Commonwealth bounties, its profits are available for taxation. .Senator Grant speaks of the money of the people being provided to buttress the Broken Hill Company, and so on. But I ask, How does that entity called the State get its money? It gets it largely from the taxation of successful enterprises. It draws upon the incomes of individuals and corporations. In other words, it draws upon the successes of the community. An ordinary capitalist subscribes money, and if the enterprise to which he has subscribed is not successful, he gets no return. The Commonwealth gives a bounty, and it has always unlimited power of taxation, which it is using pretty considerably at the present time. But I am not going to labour the question except to use Senator Gardiner’s own argument in regard to an attempt to introduce preference, which, he said, should be dealt with in a Bill by itself. I say that this proposal to make the Commonwealth a partner in business enterprises - because of its having advanced certain capital in the way of bounties- is also a matter that should be discussed by itself. If Senator Gardiner’s proposal has any merit at all to recommend it to Parliament, it should have general, and not special, application. Although I believe that the proposal might be” profitably discussed, and that possibly it might open the way to a considerable relaxation of that feeling of acerbity that is abroad in connexion with industrial enterprises, I think it is quite unsuitable for discussion in connexion with this measure.
– I should like to discuss this question in the presence of a quorum, and I direct attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.’] I rose to reply to Senator Bakhap’s statement that as I had contended that the question of preference should be dealt with in a separate measure, so also should my proposal be embodied in a separate Bill. But what is the difference between the two propositions ? This is a Bill to give bounties, and I have proposed a method by which, in return for any bounty given, the Commonwealth shall receive equal value in the shares of a company or companies that take advantage of the provisions of this Bill. The question of preference which I was dealing with a little while ago related to Empire preference; and I contended that it should be dealt with in a separate measure, because the amendments were, in my opinion, dealing so hurriedly with it that it seemed possible that certain parts of the Empire, equally Ant tied to preference, would be overlooked ; but, as far as this Bill is concerned, if we carry my proposal, that the Commonwealth shall receive equal value in share capital of a company for any bounty given, no injury will be done to any one.
– I contend that it0 should have general application, and not be applied to a specific enterprise.
– I point out that once the will of the Senate became apparent, the Government would see that they must apply the principle, also, to other bounty provisions, and see that they are all brought into line. This principle, I contend, must be dealt with in this Bill, and on its merits, which, to my mind, are outstanding. I quite indorse the sentiment expressed by Senator Bakhap, and contained in the axiom that a country cannot be governed by the yardstick of the merchant. I fully indorse that; but there is something more to be considered. When exact measurements are to be taken, the yard-stick of the merchant may be usefully employed. I want to get an exact measurement for the whole of the people’s money expended in the way of bounties, and for that purpose I propose to use the yard-stick of the merchant to see that we get back in return for such bounties equal value in shares and interest in any companies that participate in Commonwealth bounties. That is a perfectly legitimate proposition, and one which, in my opinion, no honest man should object to. No doubt, some people certainly would prefer bounties without any liability, and without the responsibility of handing’ any of their profits over to the Commonwealth; but to business men, who really wanted, for the further development of enterprises, money which the shareholders of companies, or proprietors of firms, were not prepared to put into it, this proposition of mine should appeal. Although I have spoken harshly of combines and certain business men - particularly those who have been exploiting the consumers in time of war - I realize that we are just as likely to find honest men in the business world as in any other section of the community. A man’s occupation does not necessarily alter his temperament. It has no bearing upon his honesty. If he is honest, he is honest as a lawyer, although I grant it is. somewhat unusual in that profession.
– In the majority of cases, the successful business man is successful because of his honesty.
– I agree with the honorable senator, that many very successful men would have failed in business but for the fact that they were honest, perhaps above the average, just as other men have failed because they lacked this quality.
– The individual is honest; but a company, as a rule, has no soul.
– The company is another factor. We have evidence of this in the large number of glowing prospectuses designed to secure subscription of capital, irrespective of the fact whether a venture is likely to be successful or not. This constitutes the danger in regard to bounty payments. A man desiring to float a company may offer, as an inducement, that in a given event there is a certainty of getting £100,000 of Commonwealth money as a bounty; but if we insert in the Bill a clause, as I propose, to the effect that in the event of the Commonwealth granting a bounty of £100,000, the Government should hold £100,000 worth of shares or interest in the company, that temptation will be removed, and there will be no flotation of companies by one set of shareholders, who get out and leave the work to be carried on by what I may term the honest set of shareholders.
These are the considerations I had in mind when moving my amendment. I have taken similar action previously, because I believe it is a sound business principle for the Commonwealth to obtain the equivalent for bounty payments. When a Labour Government proposed to give preference to unionists, many people objected they could see nothing sound about that principle, though from our knowledge of unionists we could see it was a perfectly sound proposition. We knew that unionists had more intelligence than non-unionists. The fact that they were unionists was prima facie evidence of greater intelligence, and so we were prepared to give preference to this increased intelligence, without asking from the unionists anything in return for that higher award. I am trying to apply this argument to that section of the community which holds up its hands in horror at the idea of men getting preference in employment, but yet is prepared to give preference to companies to participate in the earnings of the rest of the community; money that all have toiled and slaved for - because now our taxation proposals permit no section of the community to escape. And now, after a disastrous war-
– You teetotallers have escaped pretty well, .though.
– I feel very much the indignity which the Legislature has placed upon me of saying that I cannot contribute to the revenue in the same way as the smokers and drinkers of this country. That is something which ought not to occur. The total abstainer and the non-smoker should be called upon to pay in proportion to the amount of taxation which they now escape, and which, I am sure, Senator de Largie pays.
– Does the honorable senator remember what happened to one Government which proposed to levy a duty upon tea? What would happen to a Ministry which proposed to levy upon tea a duty similar to that which is imposed upon whisky?
– The business of this Chamber is to hold the balance of taxation evenly in respect of all sections of the community. I am determined that the manufacturers of whom I speak shall not feel the indignity of escaping taxation which I feel. Senator Bakhap commenced his remarks by declaring that I should deal with this matter in the same way as I desire to deal with the question of preference, May I point out that the question of preference affects the goodwill of many sections of our Empire, whereas this proposal will affect only the people of Australia? There is, therefore, a wide gulf between the two things. This question is one which can be dealt with as effectively in this Bill as it can be by means of a separate measure.
– What have -the remarks of the honorable senator to do with this clause?
– I will show the Vice-President of the Executive Council. The Government desire to pay this bounty without insuring that they shall get value for it.
– The value will come to the people of this country, “otherwise the bounty will not be paid.
– Let us see how the matter will work out. Take the case of Hoskins Brothers. Under this Bill we intimate to them our preparedness to pay them a bounty ranging from £2 to £4 10s. per ton, if the whole of the material used in the production of _ black steel and galvanized sheets is produced in Australia. The Government are prepared to give them that amount of the money provided by the people - the people whom they are taxing even in respect to their attendance at picture shows. Ministers are endeavouring to avert deficits by increasing taxation, instead of seeking to avert them by the exercise of increased care and economy. My proposal possesses all the advantages that are connected with the exercise of increased care and economy, and I fail to understand why the Minister cannot accept it.
– If the honorable senator will give me an opportunity to do so I will tell him.
– I thought that the honorable gentleman was disposed to pass by the amendment without comment, otherwise I would not have trespassed so long on the time of the Committee.
– I do not know whether Senator Gardiner has devoted much study to the financial side of running a business. In the first place he suggests that the Commonwealth should be humiliated by accepting shares in any company to the amount of the bounty paid to that company. Let us suppose, for example, that the capital of a company is £200,000, and that in five years we pay to that companv. by way of bounty, a further sum of £200,000. The company would be called upon to pay cash for its shares, whereas the Commonwealth would obtain its shares on the instalment plan. To ask a private enterprise, which has embarked upon a new industry to pay cash for its shares, whilst allowing the Commonwealth to pay for its shares on the instalment plan, would be a humiliation to which no Government could submit.
Hitherto the manufacture of black steel and galvanized sheets has not been established in Australia because the cost of labour has been so high that the industry could not hope to successfully compete with the cheap labour of other countries. Suppose that £200,000 were invested by a single company in this industry to-morrow ? Black steel and galvanized sheets could not then be manufactured without the aid of the bounty. Otherwise the industry would have been established long ago. The bounty is intended to make up the deficiency which would otherwise accrue from the manufacture of these articles. If Parliament were prepared to support the establishment of the iron industry by the Commonwealth I would vote for the proposal, because I regard the iron industry as our basic industry. But Parliament is not prepared to do that. It may be asked, ‘ Why is it proposed to grant a bounty t Why not deal with the industry by means of the Tariff?” But suppose that we imposed a duty of £4 per ton upon black steel and galvanized sheets. Every member of the community who uses iron would then have to pay that amount extra on the imported article, though, doubtless, it would be a good thing for the revenue. But the bounty, the payment of which is limited to £40,000 during any one year, will be paid only upon perhaps onetwentieth of the iron that is consumed within the Commonwealth. We are seeking ibo establish an industry which everybody - irrespective of whether he be a Protectionist or a Free Trader - desires to see established. If we succeed in our object, we shall have accomplished a splendid -work for Australia. I hope that the’ amendment will not be accepted.
.- I am obliged to the VicePresident of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) for his reply, but I quite fail to follow his argument. He simply cited the case of a company which invested £200,000 in the industry, and to which the Government paid a further sum of £200,000 by way of bounty, making a total of £400,000. If it is not to go to capital, the bounty should not be paid. If the business does not require the bounty, the Government have no right to pay away the people’s money to enable an established business merely to continue operations. I have said that I prefer the bounty system to protection by a Tariff, and I agree with the Vice-President of the Executive Council that a, Tariff duty of £5 . per ton upon an article means that every one who uses that article has to pay the tax. I am very glad to have had that admission from the honorable senator. He now acknowledges that it is the Australian consumer who pays’ taxation levied through the Tariff.
– I have always admitted that that is so in the earlier stages of an industry.
– The admission is worth having for future use.
– I shall stand to it.
– I agree that the bounty system is preferable to protection under the Tariff because, under the Tariff, it is the person inside who pays. That is not what we used to be told in New South Wales bv Victorians some years ago. What they said was that, in the case of protection under the Tariff, we would not have to pay the tax, and that it was the foreigner who would have to pay it. I remind the Minister that the manufacture of sheet iron was established in New South Wales under Free Trade.
– Where - at Lithgow? The manufacturers used to live on our doorstep when we were considering the Tariff.
– It was established at Lithgow in Mr. Sandford’s time under Free Trade conditions in New South Wales. I know that Lysaght also manufactured galvanized iron, [ think on the Parramatta River. I know that they did, because I have handled many thousands of sheets of it.
– It was imported ; it was not made in Australia.
– Under Free Trade conditions in New South Wales, galvanized iron was successfully manufactured. It is important to consider why the manufacture of galvanized iron was given up. When Sandford went out of the iron business at Lithgow, Hoskins came into it. He secured a handsome bounty from the Commonwealth for making other iron material, and it was not profitable for him to continue the manufacture of galvanized iron. Sandford was making galvanized iron at hia works at Lithgow, and competing with imported material under Free Trade conditions, but when he went out of the business, Hoskins, who came into it, found that it was more profitable to make iron for . the bounty than to make it for the community. Immediately the Government agreed to pay the bounty, he developed bis business on such lines as to secure the thousands of pounds offered in the shape of bounties. I venture to say that the business at Lithgow to-day has more of the people’s capital in it in the shape of bounty than it has of Mr. Hoskins’ capital. The branch of the business consisting of rolling out sheets and galvanizing them became non-existent, as we found when, during the war, we re quired galvanized iron. I think that there was not then a single factory in Australia making the article. I am sure that, years ago, it was manufactured in Australia, and one of the factors responsible for the cessation of its manufacture was the bounty paid to the. iron works at Lithgow. Honorable senators know exactly what occurred. I do not wish to make any rash charges, but it is wellknown that the idea was that the bounty should be paid upon iron produced from native ores, and yet I venture to say that as much iron was produced under bounty conditions from scrap iron as ‘from native ores. I know that that was so, because of the demand at the time for scrap iron. I am of opinion that it was found more profitable to make iron at Lithgow for the bounty than to make it for the market. Of course, the market got the iron produced, and the people reaped the advantage of the establishment of these works with their capital. When the war. was upon us, the people whose business was brought into existence by the taxpayers’ hard-earned money started to exploit those taxpayers to the utmost. I think I am quite right in saying that the price of ordinary bar iron before the war was £8 or £9 per ton, and it went up to £27 per ton. That is what the people got for the thousands of pounds of their money that was used to establish these ‘industries. Now the Government propose that the people controlling these works shall be paid bounty to the extent of £40,000 a year. I believe that they are ready to jump off the mark with their rolling mills complete to draw the £40,000 per year for the next five years. That is the reward which the Government are offering these people for treating the community so patriotically during the war. They have trebled their profits, it may be said, because the coal is within a few hundred yards of their furnaces, and there has been very little increase in its cost. There has been little or no increase in the cost of labour, and very little increase in the cost of the raw material of the works.
Sitting suspended from 6.28 to 8 p.m.
In Committee (Consideration resumed) :
– Prior to the suspension of the sitting I was emphasizing my reasons why the amendment should be agreed to. I hope the Committee will see the fairness of the proposal.
Question - That the words proposed to be added be added (Senator Gardiner’s amendment) - - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 13
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 5 to 8 agreed to.
Clause 9 -
If the net profitsof any person, firm or company claiming bounty under this Act exceed, in any year, fifteen per centum on the capital employed in the business, the Minister may withhold so much of the bounty payable as will reduce the net profits for that year to fifteen per centum on the capital employed in the business.
– I move -
That the word “fifteen” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ ten.”
I have already indicated the reasons for my amendment, and need not greatly stress them. If a firm can turn over a net profit of 10 per cent, on its capital it should be considered to be doing a fair thing.. Even if the clause were permitted to remain as it is, it would be just as easy as if the provision had relation to 10 per cent, net profits, for a firm to so manipulate its expenses account that it would be able to claim the bounty.
– I hope the Committee will not accept the amendment.For a long time we have been endeavouring to establish industries in Australia, and we have been rather slow. Our enterprise has not been such as should have existed in a new country with possibilities like Australia. In this Bill we are asking persons to risk from £200,000 to £300,000 in a business which is an essential industry to Australia. The scope of the measure is limited to five years. Considering the risks which have to be faced by ordinary businesses, and the difficulties to be overcome in establishing new industries, the provision set out in this clause is not unreasonable.
– The clause should not be in the Bill at all.
– Probably not; but it is not unlikely that the bounty will not be availed of at- all, because it is based on the position that freights will come back to normal. Freights to-day which are £10 to £12 a ton will have to return to £2 10s. before any bounty can be granted. Fifteen per cent, is not too high when a person or company is called upon to take the risk of losing, not merely 15 per cent., but probably 20 to 25 per cent.
– (By leave). - I beg to lay on the table of the Senate the report of the Royal Commission on Navy and Defence Administration in regard to -
Having presented that report, I desire to state that Cabinet has carefully considered it. Yesterday and to-day it gave Mr. Jensen full opportunity of presenting his views upon the issues involved.
Ministers, after due deliberation, adopted the conclusion of the Commission that there was no evidence to connect Mr. Jensen with the receipt of money in connexion with the acquisition of the Shaw Wireless Works, but decided that the findings of the Commission and the matters disclosed in the report rendered it undesirable that he should remain a member of the Government. The Government have consulted with the Chairman and secretary of the Commission, and the Law advisers of the Commission as to whether further investigation of any kind would elicit any additional information relating to this transaction, and in each case the answer was an emphatic negative.
Mr. Jensen has intimated to the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Watt) that he considers he has been exonerated of wrong doing, and that he does not intend to resign from the Government.
With the unanimous approval of Ministers, the Acting Prime Minister is taking, without delay, the necessary steps to arrange his retirement from ‘ the Government.
The Acting Prime Minister is in communication with -His Excellency the GovernorGeneral, and is informing the Prime Minister of the action taken.
As to the fiudings of the Commission with respect to Senator Long, Cabinet further determined that eminent counsel be asked to consider and advise whether the evidence taken discloses any facts which would justify or demand action in Court of law, and, further, to advise as to the powers, precedents, and procedure of Parliament in cases of this character.
The recommendations of the Commission with respect to the disposal of the works has been referred to the Naval Board for consideration.
Pending completion of action with respect to Mr. Jensen, Mr. Greene will continue to administer the Department of
Trade and Customs, and Senator Russell will officiate as President of the Board of Trade. I move -
That the report be printed.
Debate (on motion by Senator Gardiner) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Millen) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– Senator O’ Keefe asked me when the inquiry regarding a man named Kiely, who had been interned, was to be proceeded with. I find that the inquiry will be held on Monday, 16th December, or Tuesday, 17th December.
– In Hobart?
– I have not that information.
– Will it be a magisterial inquiry?
.- I wish to ask the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce)-
– The Minister for Defence, having already spoken, cannot speak again on this motion.
– Then I ask the Leader of the Senate (Senator Millen), as it is a Government matter, if it is a fact, as asserted, that Senator Pearce has booked his passage to England to represent Australia, and that a number of officers of the Defence Department have booked to go with him? I am not complaining of the Minister taking a wellearned trip. He has earned it as well as most of those who have already had trips. It would be more in keeping with the dignity of the Government to remove the element of secrecy that surrounds the actions of Ministers. If the Minister for Defence and his officers are going to Great Britain in connexion with demobilization it is a -matter of public interest, from which all mystery should be removed as soon as possible. Senator Pearce has had the control of the Defence Department for four and a half years of war, and if he is now going to Great Britain to take part in the demobilization of our troops or their repatriation, the first information regarding the matter should be given to Parliament. I may be oldfashioned in my ideas, but I object to information regarding the actions of members of the Government leaking out through the press. It reminds me of what Mr; Hughes said in England about the terms of the armistice: that he heard of them only in common with the rest of the community. Parliament ought to hear about the public actions of its public officers, and particularly its Ministers, first, by means of announcements made within the walls of Parliament. -That course of conduct will always be appreciated by Parliament. It will be better for the Government, instead of surrounding all their movements with an air of mystery, to take Parliament into their confidence, because by that means they take tho general public into their confidence. One of the greatest functions of this Parliament is the function of giving information to the nation. I have no objection to Senator Pearce going, and taking any officers he deems necessary, and in that spirit I respectfully ask if the rumours current are correct, and if the Senate will be informed of all the facts, such as the boat he is to travel by, when he is going, what arrangements . have been made to carry on the Department during his absence, and when he is to come back, if he is ever to come back. We cannot afford to. lose an able Minister with the vague intimation that he is going, and may never return.
– I bring under the notice of the Minister, for Defence (Senator Pearce) an important aspect of the case of Mr. Kiely. I had never seen or heard of him until this case arose. He wrote me a letter, which I read to the Senate about a fort night ago. Apparently, he has access to Hansard in the Darlinghurst Detention Camp, because the other day I received another letter saying he was glad to know that an investigation was to take place, and asking whether I thought it possible that the expenses of a witness as to character, whom he believed he could get, would be defrayed by the Government. He says he does not know yet on what charge he was arrested, or kept in detention under the War Precautions Act for some months, but he judges from Senator Pearce’s reply to me, when I moved the adjournment of the Senate, that it will be something in the nature of a charge of disloyalty, and of being a danger to the community. He adds that, having only that vague idea of the probable charge, he does not know what position he will stand in, having to meet a charge of which he will only hear the details in the Court of investigation. He will, therefore, not be in a position to bring: the witnesses that he might otherwise be able to. brins: in rebuttal of what is alleged against him; but he mentions one man who accompanied him to Hobart, and who, he thinks, is now in the Warrnambool district. He believes he will be able to get that man to give evidence on his behalf if his expenses are paid; but the man will probably not be able to pay his own expenses, and he is not in a position to pay them for him. I am sure the Minister only desires that the accused shall be given a fair trial. I therefore urge him to give full consideration to the question whether he is not entitled to grant reasonable expenses for this witness to be taken from Victoria to Tasmania, where the investigation will have to take place. I do not expect the Minister to give a reply on the spur of the moment. All the interest I take in the case is on the purely public ground that no man’s liberty should be withheld from him without a public hearing. Now that an investigation is to take place, the man’s request that this particular witness should be provided with expenses to enable him to attend is not unreasonable.
– Now that men who have been interned under the War Precautions Act during the period of the war are being released, is it the policy of the Government to give them an opportunity to face the men who have made charges against them, in order to prove their innocence or otherwise? I know one man who, through being interned, has lost the whole of his business. He was dragged away from his home, and had no opportunity to defend himself. He now finds himself released, with his business gone, and a stigma upon him. He pleads that he is not guilty, but no one can say whether he is or not until he has been given an opportunity to face his accuser or accusers. Do the Government intend to give such an opportunity to all men in that position, so that, if they are not guilty, they may be able to remove the stigma from their names, and once more become good citizens of the Commonwealth ?
I draw the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories (Mr. Glynn) to the following letter that appeared in the press recently regarding the large increase that has, apparently, taken place in the cost of the Weather Bureau -
Sir, - As the father of a son who enlisted, I crave your leave to show how easily money could be saved on the estimates coming befor’e’ Parliament soon. Apart from war costs, administrative extravagance is rife, even in non-essential’ Departments. For instance, the Government Meteorologist’s staff is now booming worse than before this terrible war. The Melbourne staff has now grown to about forty weather prophets and clerks, and there are big groups of them in all the other States. (See permanent staff list for 1917). The Arbitration ‘Court has just loaded the taxpayers with these extra burdens: - Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide weather prophets’ wages raised from £330 to £408 per annum each. On the Melbourne staff one salary was raised from £504 to £588, another from £408 to £552, three others from £408 to £480, two from £288 to £354, one from £204 to £354, and two from £240 to £318. (See professional officers’ award). Not satisfied with the Court’s shower of gold, Mr. Watt’s estimates rush in to give, voluntarily, still more benefits for weather prophets, who did not enlist. Presumably they are intended to be bestowed before the soldiers can get back, and claim them. Three bran new jobs - two with salaries of £320 to £420 per annum, and another with salary of £220 to £310 are on the Estimates for the happy stay-at-homes of the Melbourne staff. There are also some rises of £24 each for other men already drawing more than £250 per annum. (See Federal estimates for 1918-10). Most of these men are young enough to have gone to the Front, so I propose that the increases might at least have been postponed until our brave sons are back, and able to compete for them. I have instanced the waste revealed on just one tiny page of, the new Estimates. The total waste in the whole Budget must be enormous. Does the Acting Prime Minister remember his economy pledge to the people? Has the Government any conscience at all?
I know it is not possible for Parliament to interfere with arbitration awards, and I do not expect the Government to reply to every statement appearing in the press, but the press is quite entitled to make these things public, and I would ask the Government, seeing that they are pledged to economy, to make a statement either refuting or admitting serious charges of the character I have quoted.
– I understand that a number of members of the Australian Imperial Force are now in Darlinghurst Gaol awaiting trial on a charge of failing to report themselves, which practically amounts to a charge of desertion. Do the Government intend to proceed with those trials now that the war is over?
– I do not know the details of the case brought forward by-Senator Foll regarding the Meteorological Branch of the Department of Home and Territories, but I shall have inquiries made and mention the matter later. When general statements of the character quoted by the honorable senator are made in the press, it is only fair to say that they omit the honorable exceptions that should be mentioned. Lieutenant Tulloch, a. personal friend of my own, and a member of the staff in question, went to Macquarie Island on the Endeavour, and gave twelve months service there. When he returned he enlisted, and is still at the Front as a lieutenant. Another young fellow also went to the Front from that Department. Lieutenant Tulloch is one of the bravest young Australians we have. I shall, as I promised, make inquiries; but I am sure the whole of the facts are not stated in the extract quoted by Senator Foll.
.- I gather, from the statement which the Leader of the Senate (Senator Millen) made a few minutes ago, that the Government propose to submit my connexion with the purchase by the Navy Department of the Shaw Wireless Works, at Randwick, New South Wales, to eminent counsel for opinion. I do not ask it, but I suggest that the Government might defer any such action as that until I have had an opportunity of making an explanation to this Senate.
SenatorMILLEN (New South WalesMinister for Repatriation) [8.31]. - Senator Long has quite correctly assumed the intention of the Government with regard to the statement I made a little while ago. I can only say that I shall seo that any statement which he makes here at any time is placed . before the Government; and I have “not the slightest doubt that it will receive the same full consideration that has been given to every other document or paper connected with this matter.
Senator Grant has asked a question which, unfortunately, my colleague ; Senator Pearce ; is not, owing to the rules of the Senate, free to reply to. He has asked what action has been taken in the case of members of the Australian Imperial Force who have been arrested for being absent without leave in Australia. Where the cases referred to are those of returning Anzacs, it has been decided that no further action shall be taken. These men, if. they are at present interned, will be released. With regard to others, however) that is, men who have deserted, itis not intended to interfere with their sentences now; but their cases will he reyiewed immediately peace is proclaimed. Senator Pearce has also requested me to ask Senator O’Keefe to see that he is . favoured with a copy of his remarks as they appear in Hansard, and he will then look into the matter.
Coming now to Senator Gardiner’s very praiseworthy efforts to fan the flame of mystery-mongering which seems to he running throughout this’ country just now, I can say that no difficulty need be experienced, and no very heroic efforts required to make mystery about anything. All this mystery has simply been conjured up by journalists, or others who have spread the rumours, and on this have charged the -Government with want of frankness because they have not made any declaration concerning things which do not exist. That is exactly the position in regard to this case.
– I asked if Senator Pearce was going to London. I think three Ministers there are not required.
– The position is this: Senator Gardiner himself referred to certain rumours, and upon these rumours he proceeded, in his well-known and vigorous manner, to belabour the Government for not having told the people about things which are mere rumours. But there is something more. The Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Watt) has already made a clear and definite statement on this very subject, and nothing has transpired since then to justify any one in suggesting . that there is any mystery, or that the Government are suppressing anything. I may add, as Senator Gardiner has put a specific question, that Senator Pearce informs me that he certainly has not hooked . his passage to London. He does not know whether any one else has done so for him; but that is very unlikely. And, as to the officers who, it is alleged, he is taking with him, possibly that rumour arose from the fact that certain officers of the Australian Imperial Force on leave in Australia are returning to re-join their regiments. It does not require a very lively imagination for those who are out to create mystery to assume that these men were booking their passages as a kind of staff to the Minister.
– Is the Minister for Defence going to England?
– The Acting Prime Minister’s statement in that regard still stands.
– Is the Minister for Defence going to England?
– At present, there is no such arangement. ‘ I do not want to be offensive; but I cannot help Baying that, after the Acting Prime Minister has made a definite statement on this subject, it is hardly’ decent, and certainly does not add to the. decency of public life, to have that statement questioned, and doubt. thrown on the veracity of the acting head of the Government.
– You have not answered my question. I am not talking of Ministers in the other House. Surely we are entitled to an answer to these public questions. I want to know if the Minister for Defence is going or not ? -
– If the honorable senator means for all eternity, I cannot say. But if he asks, me this question: “ Have the Government arranged for Senator Pearce to go to London?” the answer is “ No.”
– That is satisfactory. Thank you. .
– I can only again refer the honorable senator to the lengthy statement made by the Acting Prime Minister.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 8.35 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 10 December 1918, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1918/19181210_senate_7_87/>.