8th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon.T. Givens) took thechair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
Dismissal of Lift Attendant
– I wish to aok the President of the Senate -whether it isa fa«£ that a person employed as liftman in the service of the Federal Parliament for the last ten years -has been dismissed? Is it a fact that during his term of employment his health became so impaired as to unfit him for general. employments la it a fact that after ten yoara’ service he was dismissed tin order to give employment to a returned’ soldier?
-In the first plaoe, it is not proper to address questions to the President of the Senate directly. - They should be put in’ the form of questions. to Ministers. X did not follow the whole of’ the honorable senator’s questions, but the answer to the first question he put is “ No.”
-I ask the Minis ter rcpresenting’the Minister in charge of Shipping if it is. a. faot, as reported in the Age newspaper to-day, that the Government contemplates selling or otherwise, disposing ‘ of the Commonwealth Line of Steamer3 to private . interests.
SenatorRUSSELL.-The “article re ferred to has no . basis , in truth;
-It is only in the.Age.’
The following papers were presen ted:- .
Customs ‘- Act.T-^Proolamstion (dated23rd - June, 1921) revoking previous . Proclamation rtlatrae… to . the exportation of Vowel*,- Craft/ and. Boats of . all kinds, Floating . -Docks and their . ‘component parts.
War Service Homes Aot.-Land acquired’ in. New South Wiles at-urange ; Waterloo,’’
Senator Plain presented “a report from the ‘Public Works. Committee relating’ to the acquisition of . ‘and for’tho pro - posed Anzao Memorial Square,- Brisbane, Queensland.
-I ask the Leader, of the- Government ifhe has noticed a paragraph in ..this ‘.morning’s newspapers to the effect that passeogew by the. mail steamers w)ip booked their passages to Perth; ‘aiid afterwards ‘ desired to go on’ to ‘Adblaide and . Sydney, were not afiowed to do. so under the terms’ of the Navigation -:Aoi. ‘. If so’, what’ 6teps do tho . Government intotnd to-takp to prevent the-‘ recurrence of such a difficulty 1 The para; graph “.states, that- one of the persons affiled is an aide-de-camp of the’ GoverndrGenefal, and’, the other an. ..immigrant. . .
-I saw the paragraph referred to, and I assume that the incident arose as. a result of theaifference in time between the proclamation of the Navigation Aot and the first arrival, of the vessel referred to. I shall make fur’ ther -‘inquiries on the subject. la- reply to the latter part of the honorable sena- tor’s question, I should like to say that there can be no- question of consideration for particular individuals, as the laws of the Commonwealth must be applied irrespective of persons.
Retiring Age for Transferred Officers
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice - .
– The answer is - 1, 2, 3, and 4. As intimated to the honorable senator, in reply to a question asked ‘by him on the 13th July) the matters arising out of the recent decision of the High Court in the case of a public servant in South Australia are under consideration by the Government, but no decisionhas yet been arrived at.
asked the Vice-
President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
What money has been paid to Jas. Bell and Co., Jno. Darling and Son, Dreyfus and Co., Dalgety and Co. Ltd., Berry, Barclay, and Co. for-
commission on sales of wheat in London ;
commission on charters of vessels?
What remuneration was paid to George Bell, Harold Darling, Gustave Boehme, and Lazry, as Commissioners of the Australian Wheat’ Board in Melbourne?
– The answers are -
Pools 1915-16, 1916-17, 1917-18, 1918-19, 1919-20. 1. (a) Handling charges are . paid by the State organizations. The services concerned do not affect the operations of the Australian
Wheat Board, which is not supplied with particulars of payments made.
The amount for the five seasons is approximately £261,800, out of which the whole of the expenses of the London organizations of the firms concerned, including salaries, office rent, and cablegrams, together with contributions amounting to £10,000, to meet the administration expenses of the Australian Wheat Board, have been paid.
No remuneration has ‘been paid to any of the gentlemen mentioned for their services in Australia.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
What remuneration is being paid to Jas. Bell and Co., Jno. Darling and Son, Dalgety and Co. Ltd., and Berry, Barclay, and Co. ‘ for -
What financial agreement has been entered into with George Bell, Harold Darling, and Gustave Boehme for acting as Commissioners of the Australian Wheat Board in Melbourne for this season’s control of wheat?
– The answers are - 1. (a.) Handling charges are paid by the State organizations. The services concerned do not affect the operations of the Australian Wheat Board, which is not supplied with particular^ of payments mode.
and (c)For selling wheat overseas and’ chartering tonnage, a remuneration is paid of 13.32 per cent, on the f.o.’b. value of overseas sales made, - excluding sales to South Africa, East, and New -Zealand. Out of this remuneration the whole of the expenses of the London organizations of the firms concerned, including salaries, office rent, and cablegrams, are paid.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
What amount ‘has been spent, and what total amount ‘ is proposed to be spent, ‘by the Art Advisory Board in connexion with private artistic records of the ; war ?
– The answers are– ,
The amount spent by the Australian Art Advisory Board in connexion with private artistic records of the war is £1,500.
In addition to the foregoing, the War Museum Committee, on the advice of the War
Museum Art Committee, which is a separate body of the Art Advisory Board, has spent £2,380 on the purchase .of private artistic records of the war.
Further expenditure upon such records will depend upon the value and nature of those which the War Museum Committee may consider desirable to acquire for the nation.
Motion (by Senator E. D. Millen) agreed to -
That, unless otherwise ordered, Tuesday be a meeting day of the Senate, and that, unless otherwise ordered,’ the hour of meeting on that day be Three o’clock in the afternoon.
Debate resumed from 14th July (vide page 10070) on motion by Senator Russell -
That this Bill bc now read a second time.
– I am sure that the constant attendance of honorable senators during the whole of the proceedings on the Tariff Bill this week was due to the high level attained by the debate.. I listened with very much pleasure to various speeches made, but to none with greater pleasure than that made by the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) last night in moving the secondreading of the Bill. It was one of the most forcible and conclusive speeches on the subject I ever heard delivered in this Chamber. I propose addressing myself to the question of the Tariff and its incidence in various directions. This Bill is really now in operation, although it can become law only after review by another place of requests made by this Chamber and acquiescence therein. I do not regard the Tariff ,-submitted as absolutely a scientific Tariff, but it is by far the most scientific and thorough instrument for the protection of home industries ever formulated in Australia. It is not perfection, and while I hope that the deliberations of the Senate will make it more perfect than it is, we cannot look for absolute perfection in this fallible “world. I believe that most of the duties proposed are the result of very long and searching investigations, and of mature deliberation by experienced and fair minds. To my personal knowledge the Minister for Trade and Cus toms (Mr. Greene) and his officers have carefully and sympathetically considered the very numerous representations made to them by the many and varied interests concerned.
This Bill contains three schedules. The first is a British Preferential Tariff providing for substantial preference to the Mother Country. I am one of those who hold that some day reciprocal relationships will be entered into with us by the Mother Country. But British Tariff reform is not, to my mind,’ a question for any Australian representative. The second schedule is an intermediate Tariff which at present does not operate, but which is included in the. schedule to the Bill, as a basis’ for negotiations with sister Dominions or allied or friendly nations for the purpose of reciprocal trade with Australia. The third schedule is a general Tariff which applies to all goods imported from outside the Mother Country. These schedules, including even the first, should provide Australian manufacturers with an adequate defence against unfair competition, and by the incidence of the whole Bill should foster and encourage trade- “within the Empire as well. I .do not think there are more than one or two honorable senators who will quarrel’ with the principles that the Government has laid down in the . Tariff. In “ order to give Australian industries a reasonable chance to live, I am one of those who believe that the Tariff should be con: sidered from the stand-point of keeping out all goods that are made outside our borders by cheap labour, and that will come into competition with Australian labour. Unless a reasonably high Tariff is adopted, the home industries will not be able to survive the competition that apparently is looming for the world’s trade. Local manufacturers should be given a fair chance to capture the whole of the home trade, and from this, amongst other stand-points, my attitude towards the Tariff will be governed.
In war time Australian manufacturers practically had the whole of the home market to themselves. They had exceedingly high artificial aid in the shape of high shipping freights, and the absence of competitive trade from overseas, but now the world is shaking down again, and it seems to me that the time has arrived when we should consider what our permanent policy with regard to local industries is going to be. Notwithstanding the artificial protection during the war, the home industries of Australia are not even yet satisfying the requirements of the Australian people in many directions. Plenty of room exists for further development, not only in the estab-‘ lishmemt of new industries, but in the multiplication of old ones. When local manufacturers have caught up with home requirements, and Australian industry is supplying the whole of the needs of Australia, there will be no reason why their progress should stop. This country, with few exceptions, produces every commodity and raw material needed in the whole range of the world’s manufacturing activities. It has been said in the Senate, over and over again, that we have plenty of coal, and weall know that coal is the base of most important industries. Metals we have in abundance, and I think that with a good understanding between capital and labour we should, during the next . decade, see a large expansion in the exports’ of Australianmanufactured goods. The point we have reached in connexion with the development of Australian industry has not been attained without some educational effort. My mind goes back to a time not very long ago. when it was almost a tradition with the ^purchasing public that nothing was any good unless it was imported, and for goods to beAustralianmade was for them to be prejudiced. My colleagues from New South Wales will, I think, indorse the statement that I now deliberately make, that thirty years ago almost anything made in Australia was anathema.
– In New South Wales, yes.
– My honorable friend knows that that was the tradition of Free Trade in New South Wales for a considerable time. The work of educating Australian purchasers to the merits of the goods made in their own country has been going on, better articles have been produced, and improvements have been made in manufacture. I have had the great honour and privilege of being connected in some respect with this educational work, as during my tenure of office as President of the Chamber of
Manufactures of New South Wales,I inaugurated a movement called the “ All Australian Manufactures Week,” which I am very pleased to ‘say has been of great educational value- to my fellowpurchasing Australian citizens, and has helped to advertise the fact that our own home-made, goods are the best. It can be confidently said to-day that the old tradition that nothing is any good that is not imported has gone, and in its place there is the knowledge born of actual experience that because an article is home-made it is best.
– If our own Australian goods are what the honorable senator claims them to be, does he not think they can do without a handicap of 40 per cent, on English goods?
– I will come to detailed arguments a little later. I wish at present, in developing one or two phases of my attitude on the Bill, to keep rather closely to my subject.
Any one who was in Sydney during the month of May, and looked around the shop windows during All-Australia manufacturers’ week must have been, struck with the extensive expansion that has taken’ place in Australian industries of all sorts and descriptions, and must have hoped ‘that in the not distant, future Australian shop windows would be full of Australian goods, not only in one week of the fiftytwo, but for the whole of the year.
– And not only the shop windows, but the shop shelves.
– Yes. The progress of Australian manufactures during the last ten years, since we have had some Tariff assistance, has ‘ been phenomenal.During the period 1908-18, agriculture has increased invalue by 50 per cent.; the production of wool by 100 per cent., and the production of manufactured goods also by 100 per cent.
-That includes the period of very high prices.
– Yes ; but it includes also the period of very high prices for wool, so that the comparison, so far as manufacturing development and woolgrowing are concerned is fairly relevant. I may state, for Senator Gardiner’s information, that the latest statistical figures in connexion with the manufacturing position in New South Wales show that in manufacturing industries in that State alone over 144,000 persons are employed, and are paid £21,000,000 per year in wages alone, an average for every employee, male and female, young or old, of £145 per year. In wages alone there is being paid in New South Wales to-day a sum that approximates in value to the whole of the recent phenomenal wheat crop. When it is considered that the world may have to pass, and I believe will have to pass, through a long period of more or ; less depression, it can be seen how very important our secondary industries are to the Commonwealth. The factory output of those 144,000 employees was in the region of £120,000,000, of which over £80,000,000 was for raw material, most of it produced in Australia. In listening to Senator Gardiner, whom I respect for his non-compromisingFree Trade attitude, my mind went back to twenty years ago in those so-called halcyon days ofFree Trade in New South Wales. You saw a man dressed something like this : His hat was American, his hair oil was French, his cigarette was American, the match to light it was Swedish, his collar probably was Irish, his tie was English, he occasionally drank Scotch whisky, his watch was Swiss, his underpants, perhaps, were German, his stick probably was Austrian, his socks were German, and his shoes’ probably were American.
– He was a citizen of the world, anyhow.
– Yes, and he was probably getting 30s. per week, because we could ‘not afford, to pay ^him any more owing to sending our money across the water to pay for other people to clothe him. Thanks to the very great development of Australian industries, that equipment of the average Australian man no longer obtains. It is now both economic and practicable to clothe oneself with Australian productions from head to toe, and. to be paid £5 per week.
Tariff debates in this Parliament in the past have naturally not extended very far beyond the ambit of the controversy betweenFree Trade and Protection. . This was quite natural in past years before a good many old economic theories were upset by the recent war, and Tariff debates quite rightly consisted largely of. the merits and demerits of Free. Trade or Protection. Customs duties were regarded by some as a convenient means of raising revenue, and by others solely from the stand-point of the encouragement of local industry. Some regarded Customs duties as anathema and detrimental to Australia, but there is to-day a rapidly diminishing number of persons who, by conviction, are Free Traders.
In my contribution to this debate, I desire to approach the question of whether or not this Tariff is good for Australia from a somewhat different angle. Another point of view has arisen, which is altogether “ outside the question of Protection and Free Trade, as a result of the overthrow of some of the economic theories of the Victorian era. I remember that not very long ago people seriously argued that the more a’ country imported, the richer it became, but, that theory has gone . overboard ‘ as the result of war experience. It is . common knowledge that there is very little money in the world - compared with the enormous commercial transactions going on between the people of one nation and another, and amongst themselves- and that payments and receipts as between nations for goods exchanged are not made in gold at all, but in debits and credits as the case may be.
– It is practically a barter.
– It is not quite that; and I shall show the honorable senator that, it is a question of liabilities or assets in the- form of debits or credits. Of all the hundreds of millions of pounds that Australia has borrowed in the past, we have received scarcely a single sovereign. The whole of the payments that we have obtained abroad have been made in the form of goods or services, and certainly not inmoney. The greatest war in -the world’s history has cost the nations about £40,000,000,000. The proportion spent by the Allies was about two-thirds of that sum, and that spent by our enemies about one-third. I am wondering how the world is going to meet its liabilities, and how other nations are going to pay their debts. That does not immediately concern us, but we want’ to know more particularly how Australia is going to meet her liabilities, and how our debts will affect our country and its prosperity.’
Before the war, Australia was a heavy debtor nation, and now our national stock-taking shows a total indebtedness, State and Federal, of about £800,000,000, two-thirds of which is owing abroad. As against that total of £800,000,000, there is only approximately about £200,000,000 of interest-earning assets. Australia is, therefore, faced with a noninterestearning debt-Federal and State - of approximately £600,000,000.
– Some of that has been expended in constructing soldiers’ -houses, and in placing men on the land.
– Possibly the honorable senator is correct. I do not think I have included in the figures given some of the assets which the Commonwealth can reasonably expect as a credit against that«debt.
– What have you included ?
– Railways, tramways, waterworks, and such interestproducing assets.
– Surely there is more than £200,000-,000.
– My figures are only approximate, but I think honorable senators may accept them as being substantially correct.
– They.are the New South Wales &figures.
– I am speaking of the whole of the Commonwealth. ‘One of the assets which is placed against this huge debt is the possible indemnity that we may some day obtain from Germany, but, as far as I can see, if Germany carries out the Peace Treaty to the letter, and pays to the uttermost farthing the claims imposed upon her by virtue of that Treaty, I cannot see- how Australia’s share can be more than £20,000,000 or £30,000,000 at the most. I have, therefore, not included that as a possible credit.
I desire to show how the Tariff is going to affect the public debt of Australia, and I think, on these figures,, we may assume that Australia has to-day a nonMnterest-producing debt of approximately £600,000,000. We may reasonably say that on this debt we shall, on the average, have to pay interest’ approximating 5 per cent, per annum. In interest alone the permanent charge imposed upon every man, woman and child in Australia will be about £5 per head per’ year, and obviously in addition to? . that, there will be liabilities for pensions, repatriation and defence, that will for some years add a considerable amount - probably another £10,000,000 - to the figures I have given. An obligation will, therefore, be imposed upon every man, woman and child in the Commonwealth to provide, on the average, £7 per head per annum to pay interest on the aftermath of war debts.
The Tariff we are now discussing will, I hope, have a vital and far-reaching effect in connexion with the relief of our non-revenue-producing indebtedness of £600,000,000, half of which is . owing overseas. I do not think we can pay this amount or attempt to reduce it very much by any foolish financial scheme such as levies on wealth, or even confiscation or repudiation.
– What of the new idea of a levy on capital?
– I have already said that we cannot hope to pay this amount by any fool-like financial schemes such as a levy on ‘Capital, or confiscation or repudiation. The ‘whole fabric of our financial prosperity and stability is built up on credit, and when we take the total capital wealth of the 5,500,000 people in Australia to-day as being in the region of £2,000,000,000, we must remember that this is not comprised of sovereigns or even liquid assets, as nearly half of it consists of land values, which, without use are only paper values, and a large proportion of the remainder is in bricks, mortar and machinery. Only a comparatively small portion is in the form of liquid assets and ‘commodities that can. be used so that both public and private economy is absolutely necessary if we are to have financial stability and derive full benefit from our national assets. Land is of no value without use, and neither is machinery, bricks or mortar.
I propose giving close and careful attention to the items in the Tariff which we shall discuss in Committee, particularly from the standpoint of what is best to be done in connexion with stimulating Australia’s balance of trade. I am glad the policy of the Government has been framed generally in the direction of giving the maximum encouragement to our citizens to produce, and to export every pound’s worth of Australian products above our own requirements’. The policy of the Government, as explained by the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell),1 is broadly in the direction of stimulating internal production as far as possible, particularly in regard to those commodities that we have previously imported, and with that policy I entirely agree. I think’ our legislation should be shaped in the direction of giving as much encouragement as we possibly can to sell goods abroad, and to purchase as little as we can overseas. It : is quite obvious to me that if we <can reduce our imports, say, to £50,000,000 a year oh the average, and increase our exports to £100,000,000 in value,0 there must be available to Australia overseas credits amounting to £50,000,000, which could be used to reduce our liabilities abroad, and provide further credits to purchase foreign securities, or use it in the development of our country. The broad principles of the Tariff give encouragement to this policy, and I trust it will be the means of diminishing imports, and thus do a great deal to assist Australia’s balance of trade. The United States of America has been shrewd enough throughout the whole of her later day policies, to see the benefit that can be derived by her own people and the nation from having a favorable balance of exports over imports. Her excess of exports over imports during the war period was about £2,000,000,000. But she did not get this in money. Where did it go to? Is it not obvious that it went in loans to our Allies, and, also, that a great deal was used in the repurchase of United States securities, which were then held in Europe, or in the purchase of European securities themselves? Speaking nationally and broadly, by pursuing this policy,,,and_,, . stimulating a favorable balance of trade, the UnitedStates of America paid from two-thirds to three-quarters of her costs of the war.
– It must not be forgotten that the commercial > activities of the United States were not disturbed during the war.
– Granted. I am speaking of the facts as they are, and pointing out that America made the fullest use of her commercial and manufacturing resources, with the result that, ultimately, we may find the hub of the financial world moving to New York. This policy is still being pursued by the United Spates, as disclosed in connexion with the recent Tariff, which has been framed on drastic lines in the direction of prohibiting imports and encouraging in every possible waysales overseas of United States manufactures. America does not want to buy. She wants to sell, all the time, even to the extent of dumping her exports.
As regards New. Zealand, speaking nationally again, the evidence shows that during the war period she placed herself in a fairly good position ; her exports exceeded imports to the extent of about - £40,000,000. Canada’s excess exports during war-time really exceeded the whole of her expenditure upon the war. Australia’s excess exports during the four years was only about £26,000,000, or less than 10 per cent, of our war charges, and this, again, was nullified by the recent record imports. The favorable balance of trade in the United States during the four pre-war years was more substantial than in any other country in the world, whereas Australia, in spite of. the high prices for her commodities and reasonably good trade, very little more than held her own. ‘ We have a large overseas trade when exports and imports are lumped together, representing about £50 per head of population. Since 1893 our exports have considerably exceeded our imports, except ‘for the seven years from 1913. This is necessary if we are to pay our way, because there is aliability of £20,000,000 in regard to interest obligations and for services performed . for the Commonwealth overseas; so, if our exports do not more than balance our imports, we shall be running further’ into debt. Therefore, any legislation which will diminish our purchases abroad and encourage’ the development of local industry should secure our hearty indorsement, irrespective of party or fiscal beliefs.
As I have already remarked, the whole of the loan’s raised outside the Commonwealth have been returned to us in goods, and goods alone. A study of the Commonwealth Statistician’s figures sbfcws clearly that for the past twenty or thirty years our imports have been governed largely by loans raised in London. In other words, when no loans have been floated, the figures have shown a diminution of imports; and, on the other hand, when large loans have been placed on the market, or when there has been a. considerable period of loan activity, our imports have been heavy, increasing almost in the same ratio as the value of the loans placed abroad. If we had a large export trade, and I think this Tariff will help us to get into a favorable trade position, we should establish an excess world’s credit, enabling us gradually to shift the ambit of our indebtedness to our own people, with the result that we would have then more taxable income, and consequently much more revenue from this source. The Commonwealth takes in taxation £40,000,000, and another £10,000,000 for services, and probably the direct taxation is pretty well 15 per cent, of the total incomes taxable. Graduation seems fair and reasonable, but if we could possibly by the Tariff and other measures eventually shift our outside indebtedness and owe nothing except to ourselves the load could be funded and dealt with here, and even if we then paid interest to ourselves at 6 per cent, per annum on the whole of the Federal and State non-productive indebtedness of. £400,000,000, this £24,000,000 interest we should have to pay yearly would be taxable, and in Federal direct taxation alone, if it were specially ear-marked, .would allow a sinking fund of nearly 1 per cent., which would extinguish our debts in f forty years. Therefore, I am in favour of the Tariff, because it will help us to stimulate the balance pf trade in our favour, and I think most of our legislation should have this end in view. I am not going into the question of paper money, but I may point out that a favorable balance of trade affects everything in connexion with our communal welfare. This may be seen in the currency of the United States of America, Japan, and Canada, where the balance of trade during the war period was overwhelmingly favorable, whereas in other countries where the balance of trade was in the
Q other direction, currency has depreciated almost in the same ratio.
In view of the facts which I have set out, a Customs Tariff that will stimulate local industry has my warmest support. We have been told that Australia should be self-contained and selfsupporting. I would like this country to be in the position of exporting heavily and importing, lightly. We .would then be better off, because we would be estab lishing our credit overseas from year to year, and it would have to be dealt with in the way ; I ‘ indicated earlier in my address. r
A great deal has been said in connexion with the incidence of the Tariff, so far as our primary producers are concerned. I do not believe it is necessary to make a mountain out df a farmer’s complaint that is a molehill; neither do I desire to make a molehill out of a mountain. But I am certainly not going to forget in connexion with my attitude- towards the Tariff that, if by paying good wages in industry, we can increase value and produce in our secondary industries an extra pound’s worth of Australian commodities, it is of the same value to the community as a pound’s worth of wool, wheat, or sugar.
– -Always, providing we can sell it overseas.
– No ; providing we can use it ourselves. The problem of Australia’s indebtedness need not revolve around the question of reduced wages so much as around the question of honest work, and the stimulation of our primary and secondary industries. In spite of some adverse economic criticism I hold that if we want needles and anchors, this community would be infinitely, better off if it could make these needles and anchors here, because, as I have already shown, by this process we would be retaining credit which otherwise would go out of the country and be a debit against us to somebody overseas. In setting out my argument in connexion with the incidence of this Tariff, I am well aware that excessive costs of production militate against Australia’s ability to sell in the overseas market; but I am convinced that the policy of this country should be to keep our national credit amongst our own people, and that if we have to go outside we should, as far as possible, keep credit - I am talking in terms of credit and r not in terms of money now - in the family. That is the policy which I am pleased to know this Tariff will encourage.
Yesterday the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) supplied us with some very stimulating figures in regard to the investment of capital in our secondary industries since the armistice. After all, our workmen play by far the most important part in the development of those industries. The chief source of irritation and controversy in industrial affairs is the failure ofthe various . groups to think in terms of their common interests, and to take account of the natural forces which are always in play. Nothing is fixed or certain in the business world, but there is always an automatic tendency for things to balance. Yet people sometimes urge that things must ‘be taken in hand, and adjusted forthwith usually by main strength and generally to suit themselves. I believe that the natural resources of- Australia will enable us to continue to pay good wages to our workmen. Providence has helped our capital account by providing us with cheap land and a congenial . climate., The very droughts from -which we* suffer seem, in historic perspective, to be not altogether unmitigated evils. Our . natural resources, I repeat, should- insure the payment of good wages in Australia. The United States of ‘America furnishes us with a very - good example of a country which is blessed with similar conditions, and which is able to pay high wages, even in competition with the world, so long as its home market is secured to its own producers. It cannot be too often stressed that we cannot simultaneously have less work, more wages, and cheap goods. But the workers of this country can reasonably expect to cash Australia’s natural- resources, and thereby obtain higher wages than theworld’s average.
I wish now to say a few words regarding our farmers and their position tinder this Tariff. Several honorable senators have expressed their sympathy with the man upon the land. I indorse a good deal of what they have said in that connexion, and no action of mine will be unfair to our primary producers. But. neither will the primary producer be unfair to his fellow citizens. I have taken the trouble to analyze the figures relating to the production and consumption in Australia of nearly all the products of our primary producers, and I have been gratified to learn that it can be conclusively proved by these statistics that the best market for the man upon the landis his home market.
– What is the use of talking about the home market for the farmers’ wheat?
– The prices of goods in the home market are governed by the world’s, parity.
– I shall deal with that aspect of the matter presently. I repeat that the ‘farmers’ best market is his home market, and the bigger we can make that market, the better off he will be. Take the figures relating to the production andconsumption of quite a number of our primary products for the year 1918-19, and what do they disclose? They show that practically the whole of our production in oats, maize, barley, potatoes, sugar, cheese, and bacon, and ham, was consumed in the home market. What proportion of the total butter production of Australia did our population consume? During the year I have mentioned it consumed more than three times the total amount of butter that was exported from Australia.
– It. was produced by sweated labour.
– I am not prepared to indorse that, interjection.
-That was the finding of a Royal Commission which investigated the matter. ‘
– I sympathize with the dairy farmer, in respect. to many of the difficulties which he has to encounter, and which were so -well voiced last night by Senator Wilson. Our home market . consumedtwo-thirds of the meat produced’ in- Australia during 1918-19, as well as 25 per cent, of the phenomenal wheatcrop which’ was garnered last season. It’ is true that our wool consumption’ is, so far, almost a negligible quantity, but our home market for everything else is far and away the best market possessed by the Australian farmer. Therefore the bigger we can make that market the better it will be for him. Under the present Tariff, barley, maize, C oats, bacon, hams, cheese, butter, sugar, and eggs are all heavily protected,’ and consequently the home market in these commodities is already assured to our farmers. In the discussion of this Tariff, I shall have carefully to consider whether, the ‘ imposition of. fair and reasonable duties upon certain commodities, with a view to fostering local industries, will bear harshly upon our primary producers. I .agree with, what same honorable senators. ha,ve said that, in regard to the main crops of wool, wheat, and meat, our farmers have largely to compete in the markets of the world. But I believe that they are prepared to give as well as to take. They merely desire fair play, and they are entitled to get it. I believe that the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) and his officers have studied this Tariff from almost every angle. But sincere and hard-working as they have been, I do not consider that their decisions in respect of it are necessarily sacrosanct, it will be necessary f or us to carefully scrutinize - many of the duties which have been” imposed in another place. I believe that there are anomalies which require to be rectified, and that a more scientific application of some of the preference duties, for the purpose of assisting trade within the Empire, is possible. “There axe also a few weaknesses in the Tariff caused by the taxation of the raw materials of certain industries, without -sufficient considera-; tion having been devoted to what should be the duties upon the finished articles.
There is another reason why I intend to give this Bill my general support. About two years ago the United States Congress passed what is known as the Webb law, which authorized the “formation of Trusts for the co-operative exploitation of foreign markets. Under that law, American citizens are allowed to practice in foreign countries a form of competition which, if attempted in their own, would be punishable both’ by fine and imprisonment. The United States Congress also passed the .Jones Mercantile Marine Act, / under which the American Mercantile Marine can co-operate wilh the Trusts formed under the Webb law in their raid upon the trade of other countries.
– Order ! The honorable senator’s time .has expired-.
Easttension of time granted on motion by Senator Gardiner.
– I thank the Senate for the consideration which it has extended to me. We cannot blame foreign manufacturers for attempting to capture our markets. But it is our duty to see that they are not successful. We ought, therefore, to do our best in the hurly-burly of commerce to help our manufacturers and. producers. I do not think that the world will get back to pre-war costs for a long time yet, if it ever does. I know that the prices for the world’s principal commodities such as wheat, wool, . rubber, metals, tea, cotton, steel, coal, and fats are not at all steady. I do not think that the pendulum average price has yet been reached or will be reached for some time. But in view of the average rise in” wages throughout the world, we may reasonably expect that the prices of these commodities over a decade, will never again reach the low pre-war level. The cost of living in England even now is over 100 per cent, more than it was before the. war, and it will be agreed that the cost of living has a very vital effect upon the prices of commodities. In pursuing this sidelight of the many phases incidental to the’ Tariff, I wish to say that so far as the primary producer is concerned, in spite of the stagnation in the wool industry to-day, he may look forward with reasonable security to an overseas market for a period of .at least a de- cade with reasonable prices. I am not too keen about making a mountain out of the molehill of a difference in a few pounds in price of a certain article if the., purpose served is to strengthen the policy in which I. thoroughly believe, and that is the making of Australia self-contained and self-supporting.
T believe that Protection and production must automatically attract a larger population. This increased population is one of the keys, and, perhaps, the only key, required to lock up a good many of Australia’s’ troubles. In making the Tariff scientific, and as reasonably Protective as we can, we shall be doing what is best for the future of the country; we shall be helping to meet the financial position, and we shall be stimulating the favorable, balance .of trade. I believe that the Bill is sound in policy, and its main principles will have . my general support.
I should like to. say ‘a word or two fu conclusion upon two matters closely related to the subject of this measure. First of all,.’ what is going to be ,done in connexion with the renewal of commercial relations with Germany? I- hope that we shall obtain some information on this , subject before we are called upon to complete our labours in connexion with this Bill. My attitude in some directions, and to some extent, will depend upon what the futurehas in store for us in this connexion. Another matter that was raised by my honorable friend, Senator DrakeBrockman, is that of the establishment of the proposed Tariff Board. I believe that the fundamental intention, of the Government in creating a Tariff Board is to make it impossible for a manufacturer, or a group of manufacturers or business men, who are highly protected under the Tariff, to exploit the consumer. With that intention, I entirely agree ; but -my vote will be recorded against any Tariff Board if, directly or indirectly, it is proposed to enable it to take out of the control of Parliament the ultimate decision as to what duties shall be imposed. I shall deal with the Tariff as I best can as a representative of the people. I am prepared, so far as, my vote is concerned that it shall be final, and I shall not consent to any abrogation of my rights here as a representative of New South Wales. I shall expect to be asked to support legislation in connexion with the establishment of a Tariff Board, or other legislation appertaining to the Tariff, only * onthe understanding that if it is found that any alteration of the Tariff . as it passes this Chamber is necessary, the alteration proposed must be reviewed by this Chamber before it can come into force. I thank honorable senators for their attention. I hope I have made my attitude upon’ the Tariff clear.
. - In rising . to address myself to the second reading of this Bill, I should like to say that when the high praise given by Senator Pratten to the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) for the speech with which he moved the second reading of the measure received the applause of Senator Bakhap, nothing further need be said on that subject. Senator Pratten alluded to the high level of the general debate on the Tariff, but he rose in his own speech to heights I should have thought unattainable even with an aeroplane. In dealing with the practical business proposition presented to us in the Tariff, he soared beyond the clouds. There was one somewhat surprising feature common to the speeches of both Senators Russell and Pratten to which I should like to direct attention. In somewhat different phrases each honorable senator gave ex pression to practically the same idea as to the primary producer. Honorable senators will recall the remarkable picture of the primary producer which Senator Russell painted for us last evening in contrasting the farmer of to-day with the farmer of a few years ago. He drew for us a picture of the primary producer travelling over his farm on a machine, carrying his youngster on his knee, and smoking a cigar.
– I did not say a cigar.
– Was it a pipe? I should regret above all things misrepresenting the honorable senator in this matter. He told us that instead of labouring as he had to do in years gone by, the primary producer of to-day rides along nursing his youngster and smoking a pipe. Is that a fair representation of what the honorable senator said?
– Yes ; I have seen that on more than one occasion.
– I find that Senator Pratten is also very deeply interested in the primary producer. He had something to say on the subject of droughts, and he said that they are not ‘ an unmixed evil. That is the honorable senator’s view of a, drought.
– Will the honorable senator kindly quote me- fully.
– I have quoted a part of the honorable senator’s speech which struck me particularly.
He has asked me to quote him fully, but I have already said that he reached an altitude to which I cannot hope to follow him. I do know that- he « said that to trie farmer a drought is not an unmixed evil. We “have heard that to-day the farmer is not a hard-worked man as he was some years ago. He now rides, and smokes, and nurses his youngster while at work, and a drought is not an unmixed evil to him.- If this be so, it seems to me that good reasons have been afforded for increasing the number of farmers, and filling up the vacant spaces of Australia, where men can get work under conditions to which factory hands and city unionists can never hope to attain.
We have been told that the farmer, toils from early morning until late at night, and giving all that in, I still believe that the conditions of his employment are better than are those of the man who works eight hours a day in a coal mine or in a factory, with walls all around him. The Tariff aims at putting population into factories and mines, and employing people in uncongenial occupations^ and cutting them off from the more congenial and attractive occupations of farming and primary production. In my view, the people might be expected to develop mentally and physically greater parts if employed in the open air in the work of primary production in the country.
– The honorable senator must recognise . that the facts seem to be. against him, because young men are leaving the country and coming into the factories. The honorable senator will agree with that. .
– We will agree that young men are leaving the country and coming into the city, and why?
– Because the conditions in the cities are so much better.’
– Because in the cities they can secure employment at good wages and for short hours. In the country there is no opportunity of securing employment, because the development of farming on proper lines is prevented by Protectionists who desire to develop secondary production.
– No; the increase in the use of machinery for farming has reduced the number of hands required to carry on the industry.
– I know Australia; and I am satisfied that if we could get farming implements and machinery into-this country at reasonable prices for the production of wealth from the soil, we might produce sufficient in the course of ten years to pay off our national debt. That, inmy view, would be possible if we put into primary production the money we are putting into secondary production.
I have no ..objection to the development of secondary production, and I should not object to Protection if it really developed secondary production. On the contrary,’ it retards it. Let honorable senators consider the correspondence which they have had since the introduction of the Tariff. There is scarcely an industry affected by this Bill in connexion with which we have not been communicated with personally or by letter by persons who claim that the Tariff injuriously affects their interests. The stone-masons refer us to the duty imposed on Italian marble which they require for certain kinds of work, for which the local article is unsuitable. I have received a communication, in, common, I suppose, with other honorable senators, in which it is shown that nine-tenths of the marble-workers of Australia -ask for a reduction of the duty on Italian marble.
– On that specific kind of marble.
– Just so. A particular kind of marble with which Australian marble cannot come into competition.
– The same- would apply to marble from any other country.
– I might refer to a number of other industries in connexion with’ which we are- up’ against a similar proposition. Although honorable senators will claim that by the Tariff they are protecting industries, those concerned in many of them complain that the advantage . they are given by the duty on the finished article of their manufacture is lost in the increased price they are required to pay for their raw materials, because of the duty imposed on them.. If we put a heavy duty on hides and a heavy duty on leather, what is the use of saying that we are going to protect the bootmaker by putting a heavy duty on boots? First, we make the hide and the leather more costly, and the boot manufacturer finds that the . benefit he obtains from a duty of 35 or 45 per cent, on boots is eaten up by the price he has to pay for his raw material.
– He can get his raw material for almost nothing to-day.
– Then why does the honorable senator want to put a duty on it ?
– For fun.
– Senator Thomas has an awkward habit of blurting out the truth in these matters. I like the manner, in which Senator Duncan quite openly and candidly admitted the fact that increased Protective duties increase prices. It is something to get Protectionists to admit the truth of the proposition they are dealing with.
– It is undoubtedly so at the inception of the operation of the Tariff.
– I am glad to have the statement indorsed by practically the whole of the Nationalist party. , If the Tariff increases prices at the beginning, as Senator Bakhap- admits, I take it that in course of time he believes, that prices will again find a. normal or lower level. Sometimes we have a yearning for something of which we are altogether incapable.
If I had the capacity of an artist I should select Senator Russell as a subject, and paint him as the picture of “Innocence.” He delivered here last night a speech in favour of Protection. He pointed out, with an innocence to which no one else can pretend, the awful position in which we found ourselves- during the war through the absence of many trivial- things that could have been manufactured in Australia, but’’ which have not been; made here owing “tq the; fact that thexe was- no> Protection. The honorable: senator appeared to assuane that it was the absence of- this scientific- Tariff that put Australia in. the; false position of not possessing the. factories,, to produce the- things- that wei-e wanted.
– I also blamed the indifference of the people., of Australia.
– I have an idea that the honorable senator has- stirred) them up this time with- his scientific Tariff.. …
– You, admit that it is a scientific Tariff,, then,?
– I think I drew that information fconii theMinister (Senator Russell). During many yearis of- discussion on the question of Protection, I never yet met a Protectionist wiho-. did, not side-step the question by saying-, “ You are discussing’ the- present Tariff,, but that is not scientific Protection.” I propose to discuss, now a Tariff which the Minister- says, is scientific.
– The honorable senator agrees. -with me. that scienceia a wonderful thing?
– Yes, a marvellous, thing, The Minister- tells- us. that in 191.4, the war found, us- unable, to produce for ourselves many. simple . little, essentials whichi we had. been; in the habit of buying from other - countries,, because, we. hftd. established. no industries to. manufacture them, here. Why. was . that, so ? Victoria offered Protection for those* industries before, the Minister wasborn, and has offered it ever since. That is the whole of the difference between a Protectionist and myself. A Protectionist believes that if we put on a heavy Tariff industries will grow, but I do not believe anything of the kind. A heavy Tariff is one of’ the things most calculated to prevent industries from growing. The man who gets in first under it. is put in a very strong position.. Take, for instance, -the Sunshine , Harvester Works. The owner, under the Tariff paid by the people of Australia, has established an enormous business and installed great machinery, but, in that case, instead! ‘of helping to develop business and1 competition, the Tariff has cut. out competition. Who can now compete with the business built up- by subsidies taken from the pockets’ of the Australian taxpayers? Senator Russell drew a picture of the lack of the- simple- yarn required for knitting socks for’ the soldiers. He said! we did- not. mate the yarn in Australia, Victoria has had’ fifty years of Protection, and yet did- not produce a> simple’ article of- that, description-.Fifty years ago there was unlimited wool in this State,., and! there has been unlimited’ wool every year, since. During, all that* time there was a. Tariff, sufficien^lyi high to induce some manufacturer to invest his money in the production of woollen yarn. Perhaps this- scientific Tariff is a Betterbrand of protection- than the old V ictorian Tariff was, but the fact remains that after fifty years of: Protection in a. country which possesses the best wool! in the- world, and the largest’ supplies of it, we- did- not* have one industry that could produce the material’ required, t’o make a pair- of socks ,
– After fifty, years of Free Trade; England had’ no dyes to dye: her woollen materials with.
– There” is a difference’ between German scientific discovery and British scientific -discovery. In the- past, if ai British- scientist made- a . valuable industrial* : discovery, nothingfurther was -done with if.It- was1 not applied to- industry; If’the- same’ discovery was made in Germany, it was, owing ti>the.< system: which’ the ‘G ermans had’, a.p’plied to industry: The result was that* the dye< tirade wasr developed! in Germany* toi an ex-ten tf quite- undreamt/ off- in- Great Britain or any. other country-. Socks made in the. woollen- mills- of Gceat-
Britain had actually* to “be sent to ‘Germany to be dyed before they were placed on the market.
I recognise the apparent hopelessness of getting the Free Trade argument generally accepted, but I am not altogether without hope that this , Tariff will awaken the people, of . Australia to” the absurdity of. trying to djevelop a country by making’ ‘everything dearer in it. It is said that it is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back. Senator Pratten drew a picture of the old-time Australian, and all he could buy on 30e. a week. He said he wore an American hat. I suppose; it was a Stetson, worth about £2 2s. now. He smoked a Manila cigar. I do not know whether he carried a cane from Jamaica,’ but he wore American boots. Probably his,, flannels were made in Germany, the cloth from which his clothes were made was Scotch or Irish tweed, and bis dollar was from Belfast. That is the picture the honorable senatordrew of the average Australian in the good old Free Trade days.. I think the honorable senator added that he drank Highland whisky. We have Protection now, but with all his increased wage, the average Australian cannot buy an Ameripan hat, or smoke an imported cigar, or drink Highland whisky. These things are nearly all cut out. The higher wages have brought with them a higher cost of living. The honorablesenator said the average Australian was now getting £5 a week. I should like to know where that happens. The Government the honorable senator’ supports would not give that wage to the public servants, although a Commission appointed by the Government recommended a living wage of £4 16s. 6d.
– Some of them are getting a good deal more than that, with the bonus.
– Some men are worth . a good deal more. The Minister cannot lay his hand on one man in the Public Service who is getting more than he is worth, but I can lay my hands: on thousands who are not paid half- what they are worth.
– I think I could pick a few who are getting more than ‘ they are -worth. . .
– No doubt the honorable senator could, but if he is worth a thousand a year he cannot. I do not know if Senator Pratten was ac curate in his comparisons’ between the amounts earned in the good old Free Trade days and those earned in these ‘better Protectionist days,, for I suppose alt Protectionists consider that they are- better, but I . have some interesting figures concerning the output of our factories and the wages paid to their employees. In 1908 the average value of the output of, the factories in the several States per employee* amounted to £387, and the average amount of wage’s and salaries paid per employee was £81. In 1918 the average value of -, the output of the factories in ‘ the several States per employee amounted to £688, andthe average amount ‘ of salary and wages paid “-per employee was £121 15s. It will be noted, that during 1908 the average value of the output of factories per employee was 4.77 greater than the average value of wages paid per employee in. factories. In 1918, “however, the average value of’ She output of factories per employee was 5.65- greater than the average value of wages paid per employee.”
– What is the use- of’ quoting those figures unless you give, the cost of the material.
– This is not unfair argument, because I have quoted the. wages paid and the cost of the goods per employee t.en> years- ago and to-day.’ Both sets of figures have been taken from the same source - the Government statistician - and the figures include the cost of material. Notwithstanding the criticisms of Senator Wilson and others concerning the -“so-called go-slow policy, . the quantity produced per employee in 1918 was infinitely greater than it was in 1908.
– The value may be greater, but the quantity less.
– Senator Pratten suggested, that, unless the value of the material was given, the information was useless. When I was speaking on the first reading of the Bill, Senator Pratten, by interjection, said that there had been very little falling off in imports during the war period, and I shall, therefore, quote for the honorable senator’s’ information the following figures-: - Our imports were valued as follows - In 1913, £79,749,653; 1914-15, £64,431,83? ; 1915-16, £77,521,142; 1916-17, £76,228,679 ; ‘ 1917-18, £60,822,164.- Senator Pratten suggested that there had been scarcely any difference in the import trade, but the figures’ Ihave quoted show that in 1917-18 our imports were valued at £60,872,164, and in 1913, £79,749,653.. According to the honorable senator’s argument, these figures are useless unless, the value of the material is. given’ but, if. we measure our imports by their value in . 1913, the £60,822,164, which was the value of the 1917-18 imports, would not, on the 1913 values, amount to more than £20,000,000, because values, had increased by approximately 300 per cent. In view of these figures I presume that the honorable senator will have to seek in some other direction for information to support his contention. The figures which I have quoted are to be found in the Commonwealth Year-Book, No. 13, page 606.
When speaking ‘on this measure before I referred to the previous attitude adopted by the present Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) on the fiscal question; and, as a speech he delivered on the 14th May. 1902, may., be of interest^ to honor- able senators, I quote the following ex-‘ tract from Hansard of that date: -
Iam sure that all those who have studied the Labour movement in England must recognise the service that has been rendered to the movement by the . newspaper known as the Clarion. In an article which appeared in that publication from the pen of Robert Blatchford, entitled “The Wisdom of the Times,’’ the writer, after dealing -with the opposition of the Tories to the social reform movement, says, “ They are not the most ominous signs of the times. No; by far the* ugliest sign of the times is the fact that of late years two words which for half a century have been tabooed in British politics are now, after some whispering and stealthy hintings, beginning tobe spoken trippingly on the tongue. These words are “ Protection “ and “ conscription.” They are the words of abomination and dcso- lation ; words that, being openly spoken, should be resented by the . people as an insult to their understanding and a threat to their liberty..
Honorable senators will notice that the concluding words are those of Robert Blatchford.
– Mr. Blatchford advocated conscription during the war.
– Perhaps so. In the words of the Minister for Repatriation (Senator E. D. Millen), the speech of Senator Pearce on that occasion was the most able one ever’ delivered on the fiscal issue by a Labour man. , The speech is full of information and interest, and is one which should be carefully considered by the Protectionists in this Chamber.
– They have both changed their opinions on the question of conscription, at any rate.
– I cannot speak for Mr.Blatchford, but I believe I am safe in ‘saying that, although the debate on the Tariff will proceed for many weeks, we shall not hear the Minister for Defence utter one word in favour of a Protective policy.
– The honorable senator knows that Mr. Blatchford advocated conscription.
– I am quite prepared to admit that the writer in the Clarion was driven to support conscrip- tion by stress of circumstances, but I am not willing to make a similar admission concerning the Minister for Defence as to Protection, although the pressure may be great.
We may assume that this highly Protective Tariff is going to cost Australia £50,000,000, and the people will have to find the money, and, seeing that the Government are submitting such a proposal, surely they should be prepared to show the people in what way the expenditure is justified. Of . course, we shall be told that there will be direct and indirect benefits - some will argue one way and some another - but we should have some tangible proof that high Protective duties are going to benefit the whole of the community, particularly ‘ when our taxation and expenditure are on the increase. Two British union secretaries - Mr. Thorpeof the Gas-workers Union and Mr. Inskip of the Boot and Shoe Operators Union - were sent as Labour delegates to represent Great Britain at the convention of the American Federation of Labour, held in Kansas City early in 1919, and on their return these statements were made : Mr. Thorpe said, “As a working man, I would not choose the United States as a home.” Mr. Inskip ‘ came to the same conclusion. Speaking with . deference to., his American brethren, he is, nevertheless, of the opinion that the workers in England are better off than the workmen in the United States, for while the latter may earn more in actualcash, the purchasing capacity of their wages, for the necessaries of life is less, by comparison, than in England.
– That is merely an opinion; it is not argument.
– I know it is not argument; but it is the opinion of two gentlemen who went from England, which had been operating under a Free Trade policy for seventy years, to Protectionist America, and when they returned to their old home after exchanging opinions with the workers of the United States of America, they were of the opinion that the working men in poor, decrepit, old Free Trade England were better off than their fellows in the United States of America.
– There are thousands of people who, after remaining in Australia for a little while, would not go back to- England on any account.
– I know that association alters the aspect of life, but I can quite understand Englishmen, coming from those beautiful islands with their fine old home and park-like lands, having a natural longing to return to the country of their birth. My desire is to see this country thickly populated and developed in such a way that we shall be able to make use of the enormous resources at our disposal. If the resources of Australia are to be fully’ utilized, the £50,000,000 which we will take out of the pockets of the Australian people by means of this Tariff could be spent in the development of the primary industries ‘of Australia. If such a policy as that were adopted, we would have, not only 5,500,000 occupying this great continent, but a population of 50,000,000 and instead of looking for markets for our produce we would have sufficient people here to purchase and consume it.
What has Victoria accomplished in fifty years under a policy of Protection? In leaving Melbourne this afternoon for Sydney I shall travel through 180 miles of Victorian territory. What will I see?
– Struggling industries.
– Virgin land, unimproved, untouched, and in practically the same condition as it was fifty years ago. That is Protection.
– The honorable senator will see a lot of the poorest land in the State.
– Not at all. I feel like saying that it is in its present state because we have been working under a policy that makes the rich man richer and the poor poorer. Queensland has rich land.
– And if one resides in Queensland it is not long before he realizes the difference between the taxation imposed in Victoria and in Queensland. <
– Queensland has rich sugar and banana land - in fact, the richest in the world.
– And the most capable taxing Government in Australia.
– A very . fine Government. It is interesting to note that in connexion with the forthcoming by-election in Queensland this Government are not game enough to send a candidate to contest it. I was directing attention to the results which have been achieved in this State, with its English climate and beautiful land, during the last fifty years. I venture to say that after the first 30 miles on leaving Melbourne this afternoon I will see undulating lands, green verdure, a few sheep and cattle, but no’ workmen. When we reach the’ River Murray, what do we find ? On the Victorian side there is the struggling township of Wodonga, which has been under Protection for thirty years, and on the other - the prosperous side - the town df Albury, which has developed and progressed under Free Trade.
– In South Australia we have Tailem. Bend on one side and Murray Bridge on the other - both in the same State - and, similar conditions exist.
– In the good old days, when South Australia had a Protective Tariff, the South Australian people used to go to New South Wales to purchase material and take it back to South Australia to have it made up. They purchased in , ‘ New South Wales, where material was cheaper, and had it handled in South Australia, where wages were lower.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.30 p.m.
– It is my intention to move that the Bill be returned to the House of Representatives, requesting the insertion of an amendment to reduce by 2½ per cent, the duty on all goods carried in vessels owned by the” Commonwealth Government.
– This is the stage at which the honorable senator may move his amendment.
– Very well, Mr. President, I shall accept your suggestion. My proposal, I think, needs merely to be mentioned to be accepted. Certainly the Protectionist members of the Senate can scarcely refuse to support it, because if they are prepared to vote for heavy duties to assist private enterprise, surely it is not too much to expect them to indorse a proposal for a preferential Tariff of 2½ per cent, in respect of goods carried in our own ships, especially in view of the attempts which have been made in England to interfere with cargo offering for the Commonwealth vessels. My proposal is really mixing patriotism with business. I do not like doing that usually, but if we are preparedto tax the people of Australia to the extent of £30,000,000 for the benefit of private enterprise, surely we can adopt this concession in the interests of our shipping enterprise? If it is adopted, there will be the further advantage that the loading . and unloading of cargo in theCommonwealth ships will be under -the supervision of our own officers, and there is not likely to be any difficulty in the matter of carrying goods at other than correct schedule rates.
– Might not your proposal’ lead to” a little more trade between Australia and the other parts of the world?
– In my opinion it would . add considerably to the volume of trade. ‘
– But that is not the purpose of the Tariff Bill.
– This being a scientific Tariff, its. purpose of course is to prevent trade with the rest of the world, and to oblige people of the Commonwealth to do everything for themselves. There is no desire according to this Tariff to take advantage of the labour-saving devices and industrial organization of the teeming millions of England, America, France, or Germany. Protectionists say they do not want any of these advantages at all. They want to put a ring fence around Australia to shut out commodities from other countries in order that we may employ only our own people. If Protectionists are prepared to go to that extent, surely they are willing to do something for ships that have been paid for by Australian people, and which are controlled by Commonwealth officials. My proposal appears to me to be so reasonable as to need no argument. -If goods in . ships owned by the shipping companies are entered for duty at 5 per cent., we simply say to the consignees, “ If these goods are carried in an Australian-owned ship the duty will be only2½ per cent.” That is a simple, straightforward proposal, and one which I think the Senate might well accept.
The Senate, we believe, is composed largely of the best intelligence of the community. Its Protectionist members claim to* be well informed. I do not care to say very much about the speech delivered by Senator Russell, and so I shall let the praise uttered by Senator Pratten stand. The Protectionist case was well put. I, do not mind telling the Minister that I was thrilled by some of his eloquent passages concerning the capacity and skill of the Australian workman. I think my chest expanded at least two inches while he was’ referring to the achievements of Australians in the field of sport, and by our mechanics and engineers in industrial affairs. Of course he did not say it, but he rather inferred that in his opinion Australian workmen were very much better than those of any other country, and therefore I can hardly understand why . it is. necessary in this Tariff to handicap, say, the Japanese workman with a duty of 45 per cent.
– Protection adds value to men as well as to commodities, remember.
– I realize that, and I repeat that I was thrilled by Senator Russell’s remarks. I was delighted to learn what a splendid lot of people we have in this country, and I quite fail to see why it is necessary to handicap the American or -the German workman with a duty of 45 per cent.
– There would be no need for these duties if the Japanese standard of living were the same as ours.
– I shall keep the- Minister to ‘ his “statement, and I say that our men are on the same level as the Americans, and I ask him will he remove the duty on American goods? Of course, the real objection to the Japanese is economic, not racial; but, so far as I am concerned, I have -no objection to trading with them.
– If the Japanese paid the same wages ‘as we do, there would not be the same need for protection against their products.-
– I understand the Minister, and I point out that America pays wages which are quite as high as are paid in Australia; so what objection can there be to allowing American goods in free?
– We fear America more than Japan commercially.
– During the war two-thirds of our matches were coming from Japan at 10s., and I found we could make them at 4s. 9d. I did not, therefore, fix the price.
– The Minister says that if the standard of living in Japan were the same as it is in Australia, there would be no need for this Tariff, so far as Japan is concerned. And again I -point to America. ‘ Wages and working conditions there are on the same level as in Australia. That being so, why should it be necessary to say that for every £100 worth of goods the Americans produce we are going to handicap them to. the extent of £45 in the way of duty?
– Why do - Americans handicap our wool?
– I suppose we can put tjhat down to the stupidity of statesmen who believe in Protection.
– ‘Why do- we not make motor cars in Australia?
– Because, being a small ‘ community at present, the demand would not be sufficient to insure an adequate return upon the capital invested in the industry. America has wellequipped plants for the manufacture of motor cars, and, in addition, has Protection against the outside world and “Free Trade amongst 100,000,000 of people. In our case, we have Protection against the outside world and Free Trade among only 5,000,000 people.
– And America is prepared to dump her goods into other countries.
– I think the Economies Commission ought to look into this matter of dumping, and I suggest that if there is any objection to it, the Government might allow Senator Thomas and myself to take charge of all the dumped goods, which, no doubt, are the things we want in Australia. This talk about dumping goods is the kind of material to “feed Protectionists with. America, under Protection, can give an example to the world of almost any kind of legislation. Only the other day a representative of an American firm travelling through pur States discovered a very capable young man, and induced him to go to America to help in a business in which he had been engaged in Australia; but so many obstacles were placed in his way that, -before he got free from the American authorities, he contracted a disease from which he died. , It appears he was being kept back by some interested persons, and I remember reading a memorial to the American President referring to the ill-treatment of an Australian citizen. What are the anti-dumping laws of America? They are designed to prevent competition from outside, which the Tariff of that country fails to prevent. The Tariff- of the United States of America, though a high one, still leaves the American manufacturer open’ to the competition of ‘ the world.
– It is logical for a Protectionist country to have antidumping laws, but what about a Free Trade country which has such laws?
– To what Free Trade country does the honorable senator refer?
– To Britain.
– I am unaware that Great Britain has any anti-dumping laws in operation ; but if she has, we- may regard it as one of the natural results of the war. I predicted that the terrible war through which we have passed would cause the human intellect to slump by five centuries, and if what Senator de Largie says be true, it certainly has slumped to that extent.
Senator ‘ Earle, during the course of his remarks, supplied us with a long list of figures with a view to showing what the Australian workmen “have lost in strikes. I propose to give the Senate some statistics showing what the Australian workmen will pay under our Customs Tariff. For this purpose I shall assume that the produce of our factories is sold at a reasonable profit upon the cost of production plus the Tariff.
– Why . plus the Tariff?
– If I could manufacture a couple of glasses for 5s., and if the operation of this Tariff would prevent similar glasses from other parts of the world being sold here for less than 15s., I should naturally charge 14s. 9d. for them.
– I have seen children’s boots, upon which the duty was 6s., sold in our shops for 4s. 6d. per pair.
– -Upon agricultural implements our British preferential Tariff ranges from 22½ per cent, to 27½ per cent. . I shall take,- as an average, 22½ per cent. The value of ten years’ production in this particular line amounts to £14,471,454, upon which that duty would represent £3,278,577. Upon other machinery our British preferential Tariff ranges from 27½ per cent, to 30 per cent. Taking 25 per cent, as the average duty, that would mean upon £321,129,958, which represents the value of ten years’ production, the sum of £80,282,487. Coming to boots and shoes, our present British preferential Tariff ranges up to 40 per cent., but I will take it at an average of 35 per cent. As the value of ten years’ production under this heading is £43,008,077, that rate of duty represents a payment of £15,052,827. Upon leather, the duty under our British preferential Tariff ranges from 25 per cent, to 35 per cent. Taking the average as 30 per cent., and the value of ten years’ production at £30,536,249, obviously that duty represents the payment of £9,160,874. Upon woollens the duty under our British preferential Tariff is 30 per cent. Taking 25 per cent, as an average during the first five years of the present decade and 30 per cent, as the average during the remaining five years, as the value of ten years’ production under this heading amounts to £11,965,752, those duties represent payments of £943,652 and £2,457,343 respectively. Upon sugar our present British preferential Tariff is £6 per ton, and upon the value of ten years’ production that represents a payment of £21,574,213. The total Tariff payments, therefore, in connexion with the six industries which I have mentioned ‘ during a period of ten years amounts to the formidable sum of £132,749,973. That is what the workers of Australia have to pay for Protection.
– Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
Extension of time granted, on motion by Senator Thomas.
– We have also, to remember that the cost of Protection is a recurring cost. It is true that a strike this year may involve a loss of millions sterling, but under a . Protective Tariff the fleecing of the workers continues day after day and year after year. That is my reply to the statements of Senator Earle.
– It is a very feeble reply.
– So much the better for the honorable senator. He seemed to discuss the Tariff from the stand-point of the miner. Upon any evening that he may be free, I shall be glad to debate with him upon the public platform in Tasmania, before an audience of miners, the question of Free Trade versus Protection.
I have already directed attention to the fact that . the average duty which the manufacturers of Great Britain will be required to pay under our Tariff is 22-½ per cent. Yet the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) had the temerity to emphasize the preference that we are extending to Britain . It is true that we admit cocoa-nuts free, but Great Britain does not produce any. When, however, it comes to the admission of motor cars, woollen goods, and agricultural machinery, we say to the manufacturers of the Old Country, “ We cannot be as generous towards you in respect of these goods as we are in the matter of cocoanuts!”
– They get a preference upon most of the items mentioned by the honorable senator over the manufacturers of other countries.
– Great Britain gets more preference from the Commonwealth than she extends to it.
– That statement is as much over the odds as it could possibly be. Britain has opened her market to our people ever since we have’ been connected with her.
– Upon the same terms as she offers it to Germany, the; Argentine, and other countries.
– Seeing that she raises no’ fiscal barriers, what more could she do? Yet we say to her “We will admit cocoanuts free, but you must pay a duty of 40 per cent, upon agricultural implements. Coccanuts may come in free, but upon mining machinery which we want, and which we cannot manufacture here, you must pay a duty of 30 per cent.”
– We were making mining machinery here fifty years ago. Within 70 miles of this building we are making the best mining machinery in the world.
– And does an industry which is fifty years old still require to be spoon fed ? Let business be business, but the Minister ought not to pretend that we are granting a preference to Great Britain when in respect of her most important products we are doing no such thing.
I had the pleasure of looking through some of the mighty industries of the Old Country ten years ago.
– Would’ not the honorable senator like to see them duplicated here?
– Yes . And I would like to see a population in Australia greater than that of Great Britain. But that result will never be . achieved until ‘we recognise that we have a country which is capable of supplying hundreds of millions of people with the products which they require.
– Does the honorable senator supportFree Trade in immigrants ?
– If we will only give our country a chance, we should be able to take from the best races of the world 100,000,000 immigrants. At the same time, I am not going to favour bringing immigrants to Australia while the men who fought for us overseas cannot get work.
– That is the same statement as the Protectionist makes.
– The honorable senator is getting in one of those chippy arguments of which he is so fond. I have publicly proclaimed in the press within the past month that Australia is capable of supporting 100,000,000 of people.
– The scientists say that when we have a population of 62,000,000 we shall have reached saturation point in regard to Australian facilities for settlement.
– I have never claimed to set my opinion against that of scientists. But I do claim to have seen more acres in Australia than any scientist Senator Bakhap can name, and I think that my judgment of the value of this country from a productive standpoint is just as good as is the honorable senator’s.
– I . have been right round Australia.
– Then the honorable senator ought to know its possibilities. Give me the £50,000,000 which we shall be taking from the pockets of the people under this Tariff, and with it I will undertake to irrigate the western lands of New South Wales and to provideemployment for more people than we at present dream of. I will develop the mining industry, and I will provide cheap water power.
– Where would the honorable senator get the capital with which to develop the mining industry ?
– I would get it from the same source as it is proposed to get it under the Tariff. I come now to the duties upon timber.
Referring to timber, we have heard Tasmanians claiming that we should put a tax upon the rest of Australia because there are a few little forests of timber in Tasmania. We have some valuable timbers in New. South ‘ Wales, and I can speak on the subject of timber as a practical builder. I served a master for five years, and carried out exactly the terms of an indenture which, as closely as possible, represented slavery in a free country like this. I undertook to serve the interests of my master day and night, and to obey his lawful orders day and night. Having served for five years under an indenture of that kind, I developed so far that I dared to make up estimates and put in tenders for buildings myself . I have seen my own father, as a wheelwright, -many a time cut his own timber, and often helped him to make waggons and wheels. I can pose, shall I say, as a “scientist” on timber, and I hold that for building purposes there is no timber in Australia equal to American Oregon.
– For certain purposes only.
– I shall say for ceilings and roofing purposes. For fitting and joinery we have in Australia some of the most magnificent timbers to be found in any part of the world. Senator Russell has said that Australian timber is good enough for his building. I have never seen the inside of the honorable senator’s house, but I say that if the ceiling joists are of hardwood from Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, or Western Australia, and his ceilings are plain lath and plaster ceilings, they will not be up for two years before every, ceil- ing in his house is cracked. If the ceiling joists are of American Oregon there should not be a crack in them.
– We can get Queensland pine that is as good as’ Oregon for ceiling joists.
– We cannot. I. am dealing with a subject which I knowsomething about. I am now comparing Oregon with Australian hardwoods for use as ceiling joists. If you have a ceiling with an ordinary span of . 16 feet, with laths nailed on to hardwood joists and plaster put up on to the laths, the ceiling will be so heavy in itself that the timber will warp and twist, and the plaster is sure to crack.
– The honorable senator has some experience in jerry-building.
– I have had a* good deal of experience in building. Within the last twelve months I undertook the construction of a building. I made, out estimates, accepted a price, and had the building constructed. I gave the work no more supervision than can be given by the ca’sual eye of a man who knows when work is being properly carried out, and no man working on the job loafed, whilst every one did his utmost. I put that forward in reply. to remarks which have been made by Senator Wilson, who takes advantage of every opportunity in this chamber to refer to the go-slow and’ loafing habits of the workers. There are duties imposed on timber under , the Tariff.
– Not nearly heavy enough.
– Tasmania has: some very beautiful timbers, and if the. supply should run short the . senators representing that State have only to put. their heads together to increase the supply. I Have a short quotation here from a. great man of his time, and, indeed, of all time. I refer to Abraham Lincoln. He said, on 21st March, 1864 -
Property. is the fruit of labour; property isdesirable ; ‘it is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others, may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise.
Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for’‘himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violencewhen built.
Let not honorable senators who havehouses of iheir own make it impossible for. other people to obtain houses. If there is a real grievance in. the city of Sydney to-day it is the lack of house accommodation. Three times as ‘ much is being charged for Australian timbers today as I used to pay for them before I entered Parliament.
– Probably three times the wages are being paid to cut them.
– I am sure that that is not so. The lowest wage for which I worked as a tradesman, out of my time, was 10s. per day. I worked for wages in excess of that amount up to 14s. 6d. per day, and I sup-pose that now about the best wages paid to carpenters runs from £1 to 23s. per day.-
– I was referringto the wages of saw-miller’s and timbergetters.
– There may have been a slight increase in their wages,, but it has not, ; I think, been material. Notwithstanding years of Protection and’ the operation of this scientific instrument, - the prices charged for timber in Australia, to-day are- exorbitant. I do not deny that it is possible, to find pine- in some places which, for certain purposes, might take the place of American pine.But for general: utility there is noAustralian pine equal to Oregon, and it would be a distinct advantage to import. as much as possible of it. It is useless to compare with it Australian timbers, because they may be better adapted to other purposes.
– Is it not a waste of our good timbers to put them into roofs ?
SenatorGARDINER. - I think that sufficient consideration is not given to our valuable timbers. They should be considered in view of the areas which they occupy, and it will then, I think, be admitted that, on the whole, Australia is a, lightly-timbered country.
-Has not the price of bricks advanced as much as the price of timber?
– Yes, under Protection. In the days of Free Trade, in New South Wales, I could go to the kiln and buy 1,000 bricks for 30s. If I go to the kiln to-day to buy 1,000 bricks of the same quality I shall have to pay about £3 for them.
I propose to submit an amendment and then, after a few . words in conclusion, I shall permit honorable senators to go through the schedule of the Bill in Committee as rapidly as they can without interference from me.” I do not intend to sit here . and’ worry over every item of the Tariff. He is not much of a Free Trader who will support that principle only in so far as* it affects the interests of voters in his own district.
– The honorable senator is not a geographical Protectionist.’
– Nor a discriminating one either. I move -
That all the words after the word “ be “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “returned tothe House of Representatives with a request for the insertion of an amendment to reduce, by 2½ per cent., the duty on all good; imported in vessels owned and controlled by the Commonwealth Government.”
Protectionists are looking forward to the day when,, to use their own phrase, we shall, in Australia, be “ self-contained,” and will not require, to import any goods from other countries of the world. When we reach that stage and we desire to send the products or manufactures of Australia to other countries of the . world, ships will have to come empty from those countries to load up with our exports. This will mean double- freights on our exports. I do not believe that Free Trade will bring about the millennium any more than do other honorable senators. I believe that there will be poverty in Free Trade as well as in Protectionist countries, because neither Free Traders nor Protectionists will tackle the problem of giving the worker what he earns. But Free Trade will remove the barriers to trade set up by Protection. We want shipping to come here from other parts of the world.’ If we were self-contained and produced everything we required, the people of other countries would have to send empty ships to Australia to take our wheat. My idea is that we should try to get our goods to market as cheaply as possible, and we can only do that by encouraging trade with other countries of the world. I indulge no racial ‘animosities, and if men of another race and country produce goods which the people of Australia are willing to buy, I consider that it- is a reasonable policy that we should be prepared to trade with them, irrespective of colour or creed.
These are, perhaps, my last observations in this chamber for the next week or two. I hope that honorable senators will direct their energies to the removal of the duties imposed on machinery required for the mining and agricultural industries. I especially plead with honorable senators that, if they are concerned about the defence of their country, they should be careful to strike out’ all duties proposed on motor traction, in order that we may have the greatest assistance to* our defence by admitting freely to this country, and at once, as much motor traction as possible. Holding the views to which I have given expression, I content myself with having spoken on the first and second readings of this measure.
– I wish to raise a point of order as to whether the amendment moved by Senator Gardiner can be accepted in its present form’. I do so because I find that in section 55 of the Constitution it is provided that -
Laws imposing taxation shall deal only with the imposition of taxation, and any provision therein dealing with any other matter shall be of no effect. but laws imposing duties of Customs shall deal with duties of Customs only, and laws imposing duties of Excise shall deal with duties of Excise only.
It is clear that Senator Gardiner’s amendment deals with something more than taxation and something more than duties of Customs. It deals with, the carriage of goods in a certain line of steamers.
– Only another preference.
– It is purely a freight question.
– The interjections do not in any way affect what I have said. The amendment deals with a question that is not one of taxation, nor is it a question of Customs duties. Whether the reference is to a particular line of boats is immaterial, because the fact remains that the amendment deals with something other than taxation, or Customs duties. I know that many Presidents, including yourself, have said that it is not their duty to interpret the Constitution, but I take it that the Constitution is really a part of our Standing Orders, because it is the parent of our Standing Orders. It is the root from which the tree of our Standing Orders grows, and, therefore, we1 are governed by the Constitution as if it were part of our Standing Orders. For instance, no honorable senator can move an amendment to this Bill. That is because it is so provided in” the Constitution. Neither can we move to reduce or increase an item by way of amendment. We must do it by way of request in this particular class of Bill. I submit, therefore, that the President is bound to take notice of this particular prohibition in the Constitution, just as he is bound to take notice of the other prohibition that alterations in this Bill must be made by request and not by direct amendment. This point is of great importance also, because if the course’ proposed by Senator’ Gardiner is in order - no matter whether his proposal passes or not - the fact that the Senate has allowed the question to be discussed and to be put from the Chair will have established the principle that the Senate can, in a Bill to impose duties of Customs, tack on provisions affecting some other matter whether it is freight, shipping, or ‘ anything else. Clearly, that cannot be said of the preferential duties. In that case it is’ simply a question of the place of origin’ of the goods which are the subject of the duty, and that is clearly relevant to the duty itself. But to say that if goods are carried in a ship owned by a certain firm or by the Commonwealth they shall carry a differential rate of duty is, I think, going beyond the scope of the Bill and comes into direct conflict with the prohibition of section 55 of the Constitution. If the Senate were to accept an unconstitutional position or procedure, it would be bound to lose in the long run. If this proposal, could be passed, and the Bill came into law and - was found to be in conflict with the Constitution, it could be declared by the High Court to be ultra vires. Therefore, it would be extremely unwise for the Senate, in its procedure, to adopt anything that is in conflict with the Constitution. As the Senate is the guardian of its own procedure, I submit the point of order in order that we may obtain your view thereon. Itis a matter of such importance that it should not go without being challenged.
– I do not think much time need be taken up in deciding this point of order, because it has been more than once decided already in the Senate. It is my plain duty to follow out the practice of the Senate, and I do so the more readily because it coincides with what, in my view, is the clear interpretation of both the Constitution and the Standing Orders. It is quite true, as the Minister for Defence has said, that section 55 cf the Constitution ‘ provides that laws imposing taxation shall deal only with the imposition of taxation. That provision was put into the Constitution for the protection of the Senate, in order that nothing in the shape of a tack, ais it has been called in .other Legislatures, should be at- . tempted in an effort to coerce the Senate into doing something which it would hot otherwise do. That is the specific purpose for which that provision was included in the Constitution.’ I fail to see, then, how the Senate, by deliberately preferring a request, as it is entitled to do, will abrogate any of its own rights in that regard, more particularly as, in my view, it is not tacking anything on to the Bill. It is merely imposing a condition. This Bill is full of conditions attached to the Tariff. Not only can Parliament prescribe those conditions, but it is laid down that the Minister can prescribe them. Honorable senators will find the words ‘ ‘ as prescribed by the Minister “ in various items. Surely if the Minister has the right to impose conditions in regard to the Tariff the Senate or Parliament has the right to prescribe them. My ruling would, therefore, be that this proposal is not tacking any extraneous matter on to the Tariff. Above and beyond that, there is in the
Constitution itself a provision which binds the Senate. The fourth paragraph of section 53 provides; -
The Senate may, at. any stage, return to the House of Representatives any proposed law which the Senate may not amend, requesting by message the omission or amendment of any items or provisions therein.
That is plain and mandatory language. The Senate must have the power to do what is there stated, and I hold that that provision in itself gives the Senate the right to make almost any request that it wishes. We are not seeking, and, indeed, have no power, to tack on to this Bill anything that is extraneous or not relevant to the Bill. The utmost we can do is to request the House of Representatives to do something. In the session of 1906, it is recorded in Notes on the Practice and Procedure of the Senate in Relation to A’p’pro’priation, Tarnation, and Other Money Billa, that a Bill which came before the Senate for imposing duties of Customs on agricultural machinery contained, - in addition, a clause for regulating the prices at which manufacturers of such machinery should sell their goods. The point was taken “That the Bill was not in order, and could not be proceeded with in the Senate, as it dealt with a matter other than the imposition of duties of Customs, and to that extent violated the provision of the Constitution that ‘ laws imposing duties of Customs shall deal with duties of Customs only That will be found recorded at page 5949 of volume 35 of the Parliamentary debates. After a lengthy debate on the question, the then President - Sir Richard Baker - declined to rule the Bill out of order, basing his decision on the following ruling laid down by himself in the early days of the Senate, which had been accepted ever since by the Senate -
It does not seem to me that I should from the Chair undertake the responsibility of interpreting all the provisions of the Constitution. The Constitution itself has provided for a tribunal, the High Court, which, after argument and consideration such as would be impossible and undesirable in this Senate,- is empowered to finally determine its meaning in most of the cases which will arise. It is my duty to interpret and determine the Standing Orders, and to regulate the procedure ‘of the Senate, and, perhaps, to interpret the Constitution so far as the conduct of the business of the Senate is concerned.
That is recorded at page 5967 of volume 35’ of the Parliamentary Debates. The then President further stated Chat he did not think he should undertake the responsibility of ruling the Bill out of order, but that if the clause to which exception was taken ought not to be in the Bill, it was for the Senate in Committee to vote it out. In Committee, .as recorded at page 5968 of the same volume, it was moved to amend clause 4, whereupon the Chairman ruled that as the Bill was a taxation measure the method of procedure should be by way of request. From this course the Committee dissented, and the matter, was referred to the President, but as the point at issue in that case was not the same as the one now before the Senate, it is not necessary to quote the record further. It has been ruled by the President over and over again that, except so far as it related to the rights and proceedings of the Senate, the Presiding Officer of the Senate was not the proper person to interpret the Constitution, but that where there is a clear direction in the Constitution as to the powers of the Senate, that direction overrides any standing order or practice of the Parliament. We are bound by the terms of the Constitution, and the Constitution clearly provid.es that it is the right of the Senate to return a Bill of this character to the House of Representatives at any - time with a request. I have, therefore, to rule that Senator Gardiner’s amendment is ‘in order. ‘
– One of the noticeable features of this interesting debate is the amount of discussion that has taken place on what may. be termed the definition of Protection. We have heard .the terms “ High Protectionist “ and. d’ Scientific Protectionist “ used. I do not propose to use any qualifying words -to explain what sort of a Protectionist I am in order to define -my position. To me ‘the object to be attained in framing a Tariff, and this is how I propose to approach this Tariff, is to find in what way the industries of Australia can be developed up to the very highest capacity, and to proceed along those .lines as far as is within our power. When that object is attained, we shall have done something to promote the best interests of the country. Production is the cry of the hour, and members of all parties, both Protectionists and Free Traders, have joined in the chorus for more and more production. That is, briefly, my position, and I shall make it more definite as I go on, although I recognise at this stage that we can only indicate in a general way what our views are on- the fiscal question. When Senator Gardiner was speaking, I interjected, and a further interjection was made by Senator Thomas, in which he questioned the possibility of science having anything to do with the Tariff. He seemed to think it was a ridiculous idea that England’s Free Trade policy had helped the chemists of Germany to capture for Germany the trade for aniline dyes. I want to bring this argument right home to Senator Thomas and Senator Gardiner, because, strange to say, no two politicians in Australia today have more responsibility on their shoulders for driving the aniline dye trade into German hands than those two. Free Trade members.. That may seem a strange statement to make, but I shall endeavour to prove it beyond any doubt. Senators Gardiner and Thomas were members of the Free Trade Parliament of New South Wales many years ago, when the Free Trade Administration of the late Sir George Reid abolished the duty on kerosene oil. That action did a great deal to help the aniline dye industry of Germany. It may seem a far cry from Free’ Trade New South Wales to Protectionist Germany, but that is ah absolute fact, and this is how it came about. The well-known Joadja seam of coal in New South Wales, was the raw product . from which a very excellent kerosene oil, in which’ New South Wales had a most remunerative trade, was produced.. There was a duty . on kerosene, which ‘ projected that New South Wales product, , but ‘ the Reid Administration struck it off. Senator Gardiner and; Senator Thomas were members of the State Parliament when the ‘duty was removed from kerosene oil. I was living in New South Wales at the time, and unless my memory is at fault, I think they supported the Free Trade Government in doing this thing. What was the result? A most useful and profitable industry which was giving employment to a large number of men was immediately destroyed, and the works closed down. Any one visiting that locality to-day will see houses, substantial public halls, and churches built of Hawksburn sandstone crumbling ‘ to decay. They will also see great rows of oil retorts - numbering about sixty-four - and long lines of oil pipes, which were used to reticulate the oil from one part of the works to another, lying idle. What was the next tragedy in this unfortunate drama ? Although the retorts were closed, and the distillation of oil ceased, the miners continued to raise the shale and export it. Such a thing had never been known before. The shale was raised and shipped to Germany, where it was afterwards utilized by scientists and chemists’ in connexion with the aniline dye industry. We can charge the two honorable senators I have mentioned with assisting in that direction.
– The honorable senator does not suggest that we knew at that time that Great Britain and Germany were likely to engage in war?
– Certainly not, but it was a blind blunder on the part of Free Traders. .There was a shocking lack of foresight, and when attention is directed to such blunders these Free Traders, in their old age, ought to profit by the failures of the past. In spite of their years of experience, however, they are prepared to go on. blundering so long as they have an opportunity of’ destroying industries. In this particular instance we can see what Australia has lost. The cheap oil coming from America at that time was being dumped into Australia at such a low rate that it was impossible for any similar industry in Australia to make any headway in competition with the imported product. It is quite true that for a while New South Wales under a Free Trade policy continued to obtain supplies of kerosene at a reasonably cheap rate, but that did not continue. New South Wales, in common with other parts of the Commonwealth, is now paying enormous prices for imported kerosene, whereas if the New South Wales’ Government had continued to develop their deposits prices could have been modified to a large extent, because they were producing themselves. The free ports of Britain provided a market for German aniline dyes, which killed an old industry in England. The Free Traders of New South Wales killed another established industry in this country, and supplied shale, the raw material for aniline dyes, to the Germans. Unless these two Free Traders and those who supported them are prepared to adopt a different policy, an9 assist in building up the kerosene shale industry in Australia, there is no hope of ns ever obtaining supplies at a reasonable price from America or any other country.
– Has not the honorable senator and his colleagues been somewhat neglectful, seeing that they have had Protection for twenty yeaVs, and have not done anything?
Senate DE LARGIE. - There is no duty on kerosene, and the Australian people have still to be penalized.
– If I am guilty, others must share the responsibility with me.
– I am glad the honorable senator Bees the error of his ways, and I trust that in future he will adopt a more statesman-like attitude. -
– The honorable senator and the Governments he has supported have been passing Tariff after Tariff, and have never removed the evil.
– Even if that were true, it would not relieve Senator Gardiner of his responsibility in assisting to’ destroy in his own State one of the best secondary industries ever established in New South Wales. I ask leave to continue my remarks.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
.- I move-
That the. Senate do now adjourn.
In doing so I desire to take the opportunity of . offering, not only my own congratulations, but those . of , honorable senators generally, to our honorable and stalwart friend opposite, Senator Gardiner, on the fact that it was thirty years ago yesterday since he first entered the public life of Australia. I am not certain that, during the many years I have been associated with the honorable senator, his presence in public life has added a great deal to my personal comfort; but I still find a great deal of satisfaction in knowing, despite the fact that we have always been political opponents,’ that we are still friends. I can sincerely shake him by- the hand, and wish him good luokj and I am sure honorable senators would like’ to ‘ take the opportunity . I- aim now. . presenting of approving of the congratulations which -I now offer to Senator Gardiner,
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear!
.- I am very much obliged to the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Millen) for the few kindly words he has uttered. Although it is thirty years since I entered the public life of Australia, thanks to the good judgment of the electors, I have not been continuously in Parliament, as ‘they have given me an opportunity of a little relaxation on one or two occasions. Thirty years have passed since the 14th July, 1891, when the Acting Prime Minister (Sir Joseph. Cook) and I were first returned as members of Parliament. I cannot claim the same unbroken record as the present Leader of the Government in another place; but I never once went out regretting the attitude I had adopted, and. when I was returned, I never altered my policy ‘ or opinions in the slightest degree. The Minister for Repatriation has said that on occasions my presence in Parliament has not always added to his comfort, and I can only Bay that I have often found’ that his presence has not added to mine. I look upon the Senate as a club, and however strenuous and bitter onr political, fights may be, party, warfare is soon forgotten when we leave this chamber. I thank the Minister for his kindly references, and I trust that the good feeling which at present . prevails will always continue.
SenatorDE LARGIE (Western Australia) [8.42] . -As I have just been reflecting upon Senator Gardiner’s political past, I wish to add a word or- two in support of the congratulations which have been tendered by the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Millen). Although I have been discussing the honorable senator’s Eree Trade views, I know, he will’ accept my criticism in the- proper spirit, and at the same time my sincere congratulations on the fact that he has completed thirty years of . public . life. Although he stands alone in the Senate, he must not think that those on this side have other than the kindest feelings towards him.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at3:43 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 15 July 1921, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1921/19210715_senate_8_96/>.