8th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Discussion in Committee.
– I ask the Minister in charge of the Customs Tariff Bill whether, in view of the extraordinary circumstances connected with the Tariff itself, and the Standing Orders applicable to debate in Committee, he will agree to the suspension of the Standing Orders during the consideration of the Tariff in Committee? I could adduce reasons in support of my request, but will content myself now with asking the question.
– I prefer to wait until difficulties arise before determining the matter.
The following papers were . pre sented : -
Public Service Act. - Appointment of E. T. Asche, Attorney-General’s Department.
Returns showing (a) Imports of goods apart from GermanTrade - lists of goods on which restrictions are in force and the nature of such restrictions; (b) importations from Germany under special conditions and the nature of such conditions.
- Senator Pratten, last week, asked the following questions : -
I am now able to furnish the honorable senator with the following replies: -
PROHIBITIONS ON IMPORT.
The following articles are prohibited importations: -
Advertising matter for use in connexion with the exhibition of moving pictures or cinematograph shows unless -
In this Proclamation advertising matter includes posters, photographs, sketches, programmes, slides, and other advertising matter intended for use in connexion with the exhibition of moving pictures or cinematograph shows.
Size- 41 inches by 23 inches.
Weight when baled - 2¼ lbs.
Substance - 8 porter, 9 shot.
Goods manufactured by any manufacturer who employs prison labour, which are of a like character to -
Leather, or manufactures thereof, when for human wear, containing any proportion of barium sulphate or other barium compounds. 31-32. Literature wherein is advocated -
The importation of medicinal opium, morphine, cocaine, and heroin, as hereinafter defined - the salts of morphine; the salts of cocaine; the salts and preparations of heroin which contain more than 0.1 per centum of heroin; all preparations (officinal and nonoflicinal), including remedies which arc advertised as anti-opium remedies, which contain more than 0.2 per centum of morphine, or more than 0.1 per centum of cocaine; and all new derivatives of morphine or of cocaine, or their respective salts, and every other alkaloid of opium which may be shown by scientific research, generally recognised,1 to be liable to similar abuse and productive of like ill-effects, is prohibited, unless, imported by persons licensed by the Collector of Customs in accordance with the Proclamation.
Packages, containers, or appliances used for manufacturing, keeping, or holding moist or liquid food substances which shall have in contact with such moist or liquid food, a surface -
The Birds of Paradise, the Humming Birds, the Pheasants, the Fish Hawk or Osprey, the Crowned Pigeon, any of the several species of Large-crested Pigeons of tho genus Goura, inhabiting New Guinea and the adjacent islands, tho Owls (family Strigidaj), the Kingfishers, the Macaws, any parrot of the genus Sittace or Macrocercus, the Stork Tribe, the Heron, the Ibises and Spoonbills, the Todies, the Cock of the Rock, the Quezal, or Resplendent Trigon.
Rubber-covered Wire, on and from 1st July, 1919, unless there is applied to each coil, in as permanent a manner as practicable, a label setting out in prominent and legible characters the following information, viz.: -
Returns from Phosphate Deposits.
asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Employment of A.I.F. Officers
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
In regard to Citizen Force officers who, by reason of service in the Australian Imperial Force, are temporarily or permanently unfit for active service, but fit for duty on Divisional or other Staffs, it has been decided, in view of the special value of the services of some of these officers, thatconsideration will be given to their employment on Citizen Force Staffs.
These instructions have been further supplemented, whereby employment is not restricted to Citizen Force Stan’s, and provision has been made also for the inclusion of noncommissioned officers.
Representation of Australia
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Is it the. intention of the Government to send a delegate to the next meeting of the League of Nations?
– The matter is at present under consideration, but no decision has yet been arrived at.
Supply of Telephones
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Should the new supply of telephone instruments be longer delayed, would the Government permit intending telephone subscribers to purchase the necessary instruments, and sell them to the Government at the price at which tho successful tenderer has offered to supply the Government?
– It is anticipated that a supply of telephones for all intending subscribers who are at present waiting for telephones only in Sydney, will be available within ten days. There is, therefore, no necessity to consider the alternative suggested bythehonorable senator.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers are -
The first shipment was ahead of time, but the incoming one will be about a fortnight late, owing to an accident to the Benalla.
Spirits Consumed by Troops.
asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -
What amount was paid by -the Government of the Australian Commonwealth to the British Government for spirits and other intoxicating liquors supplied to Australian troops during the war?
-The maintenance charges covering all commodities supplied to the Australian Imperial Force in the various theatres of operations abroad were covered by a per capita payment to the Imperial Government. The only spirit supplied to the troopsother than in hospital was the rum ration, payment for which is comprised in the per capita rate above mentioned, and the value thereof cannot therefore be definitely assessed. Adjustments in respect of Australian troops in Imperial hospitals were also effected on the basis of a flat rate, and for that reason the value of liquors issued to the men cannot be stated.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs whether he is yet in a position to reply to the questions I asked lastweek with respect to appointments made under the Navigation Act. I was informed that the information for which I asked would be obtained.
– I shall have inquiries made during the afternoon, and, if possible, will reply to the honorable senator’s question at a later hour of the day.
Bill received from House of Representatives, and, on motion by Senator Russell, read a first time.
Debate resumed from 15th July (vide page 10151), on motion by Senator Russell -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
Upon which Senator Gardiner had moved by way of amendment -
That all the words after the word “ be “ be left out with a view to inserting in lieu thereof the words “ returned to the House of Representatives with a request for the insertion of an amendment to reduce by 2½ per cent. the duty on all goods imported in vessels owned and controlled by the Commonwealth Government.”
– It will probably result in a saving of time when we come to consider the schedule to this Bill if, upon the motion for its second reading, honorable senators outline in a general way the particular items in which they are interested, and thus afford the VicePresident of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) an opportunity of examining their representations before those items are dealt with in Committee. It will be accepted as a general principle, I think, by Free Traders and Protectionists alike that big and important industries, which are employing a large number of persons and which are receiving no aid from the Tariff, ought not to be unduly hampered by any attempt upon our part to foster very much smaller industries. In seeking to build up an industry which employs, say, a hundred men, we shall not be justified in burdening a bigger industry which employs, perhaps, five times that number of hands.
– It will entirely depend upon the possibilities of both industries.
– I am speaking of an established industry which does not require protection. We should not unduly burden a big industry in order to foster a small one.
– That is the general principle which underlies the Bill. We have to study how duties imposed for the purpose of protecting one industry may affect other industries.
– There are two classes of industries in Australia. The first class requires to be protected, and it may possibly be able to pass on any duties thus imposed to quite a number of other industries. But there are some industries which cannot possibly pass on any duties which may be levied upon them. Take, for example, most of our primary industries. Neither the wheat industry nor the gold-mining industry can pass on any burdens which may be levied upon them. Upon the other hand, any duty imposed upon the timber industry, which practically finds the whole of its market within our own borders, can be successfully passed on. No Tariff . burden levied upon the wheat or the gold- mining industry can be transferred elsewhere, for the simple reason that they have to sell their products in the markets of the world. They come into competition with the cheap labour of other countries.
– Then, I take it that the honorable senator will be opposed to any duties upon agricultural implements?
– Not necessarily. We know that the removal of duties from agricultural implements in some countries has not resulted in making those implements cheaper to the farmers. Some years ago tho Harvester Commission, under the chairmanship of Mr. Poynton, inquired into this question, and its investigations showed that in the Argentine, where there was no duty upon agricultural implements, the farmers were obliged to pay more for those implements than our own farmers were able to purchase them at in Australia, where a high duty was operative.
– Does that position obtain to-day?
– I cannot speak of the position in the Argentine to-day, but I have definite knowledge of the position which obtains in New Zealand, with which we are in closer communication.
– The manufacturers of Australian harvesters can still successfully compete in the Argentine.
– There is no great credit due to them on that account, because the Commission of which I have spoken conclusively proved that in the Argentine there is a combination of sellers who maintain fixed prices for agricultural implements, so that the farmers of that country cannot purchase for less than those prices.
– That is a complete answer to the argument which the honorable senator used just now.
– I cannot follow the reasoning of Senator Duncan. In New Zealand, where there is no duty operative upon certain agricultural implements, the farmer has to pay more for those implements than our own farmers are required to pay for them in Australia.
– Then there is no necessity for anti-dumping laws.Why not dump goods there?
– That is another matter. In regard to anti-dump ing legislation, I shall have something to say at a later stage. I repeat that it does not necessarily follow that I favour the abolition of duties upon agricultural machinery in order to relieve our agriculturists of a burden. Those duties may or may not affect that particular industry. I look for assistance for this particular industry in another direction, and hope I shall not be disappointed. We have great industries in this country carrying very great burdens, and we have to consider whether it is for the welfare of Australia that we should foster them or not. If we come to the conclusion that it is for the welfare of Australia that they should be eased in every way possible, then, I think, a very good case can be made out so far as the wheat industry is concerned. I mentioned some industries that could pass on duties or burdensthat are placed on them. For instance, the clothing trade, the machinery trade, and the boot trade all sell their products within Australia, and, being protected, are in quite a different position from the agricultural industry or the mining industry. We must remember that the secondary industries, to which I am referring, do very little to pay our way in Australia. The amount of wealth, that comes into tho country because of their efforts is verysmall indeed. It is the gold, the wheat, the wool, and other big industries concerned with our primary products that we have to depend on to square the ledger. They supply the wherewithal to carry on the affairs of State.
– The manufacturing industries (provide the primary industries with a very big market.
– It is not a very big market. So far as wheat is concerned, the home market takes only a very small proportion of the whole production.If the wheat producers of Australia relied wholly on the home market, it would be a very poor industry indeed, and I might say the same regarding meat, wool, and gold. If our export trade in wheat is allowed to decline in the way it has been declining, I am afraid that Australia will get into a very parlous position indeed. I have figures here which show that the position of the gold industry is far from satisfactory. In 1901 it was a most important industry to Australia, and over 70,000 persons were engaged in it. Today it has fallen off so much that one can scarcely believe the figures. According to Knibbs’ latestYear-Book, in 1914 2,000,000 ounces of fine gold were produced in Australia; in 1915 the production was 1,900,000 ounces; in 1916 it was 1,600,000 ounces; in 1917 it was 1,400,000 ounces, and for the last year for which he gives figures it was only 1,200,000 ounces. Therefore, there has been a decline of about 200,000 ounces every year, in the output of the gold industry.
– Does that not make it all the more necessary to build up secondary industries to take the place of the gold industry ?
– I will consider later how far that is possible. I dare say that, on general principles, the honorable senator is right, if it is possible, but I shall show that in some ways it is impossible. The number of persons employed in the gold indtistry in Australia was 70,000 in 1901, bub five years ago it had fallen to 29,000, four years ago to 26,000, three years ago to 20,000, two years ago to 18,000, and in the last year quoted by Knibbs it was only 15,000. There, again, has been a tremendous decline. Honorable senators can easily settle for themselves whether we can place much of a burden upon the fast-dying industry of gold production, which may almost be said to be suffering from galloping consumption. It will be well for us to see what we can do to encourage the industry, rather than to put ‘any burden on it.
– To what is the decline due?
– Various causes. There has not been the same amount of prospecting going on in Australia in recent years as formerly.
– Has not the wages question something to do with it?
– That may be so, especially where wages have gone up, but if there is any industry in Australia where good wages shouldbe paid, it is in mining of all kinds. No men work so hard, or risk their health to such an extent or’ take so much risk of accident, as do those who undertake goldmining, coal-mining, and other forms of mining. It is an industry in which, if we can possibly afford it, the very best wages should obtain. When we examine the wheat industry, we find the same story of a steady decline, year after year. I quote again from the 13th edition of Knibbs’ Y ear-Book. I am not taking the year 1914, because, in that year, a most disastrous drought was experienced in all the States. The figures I shall quote are to be found at pages 354 and 355 of the Year-Book. Five years ago the number of acres under cultivation for wheat, in Australia, was 12,000,000; in the year following it was only 11,000,000; in the year after that it wasonly 9,000,000; in the year following it was 7,000,000; and in the last year for which figures are given it had fallen to only 6,000,000. That is a tremendous falling off.
– That was during the war period.
– But the honorable senator must remember that during the war period many thousands of our rural workers were away fighting.
– I do not think that that had any appreciable effect on the area under cultivation.
– It did.
– Not to the extent some may imagine, because the labour difficulty has always been great in rural areas.
– In many instances farmers, whose sons wereabroad, merely carried on operations in a quiet way until they returned.
– That may be so, but in many parts of Australia wheat is now being produced where it was not grown prior to the war. 5n Western Australia, for instance, there is a larger area under cultivation than was the case in 1914.
– The honorable senator’s figures do not prove that.
– I am quoting the figures for the Commonwealth.
– Then Western Australia must have increased her area, whilst the other States have decreased their areas.
– Last year Western Australia had a larger area under wheat than was the case in 1914. For the information of honorable senators, I shall quote the yields in round numbers, apart from last year, which, of course, was a record. The figures werei - In 1915, . 179,000,000 bushels; 1916, 152,000,000; 1917, 114,000,000; 1918, 75,000,000; and 1919, 45,000,000 bushels. These figures show that there has been a remarkable decline in wheat production in Australia.
– What is the estimate for this year?
– It will- be more; but it will not nearly approximate the figures for 1916 and 1917. The yield for last year is not given byKnibbs, but honorable senators will agree that it was abnormal, because of the price ruling and the weather conditions which prevailed. Notwithstandingthe high price for wheat, which reached 9s. per bushel, the wheat farmers are finding it difficult to make ends meet, and one wonders how they are to continue on the land when prices come down, which will inevitably be the case. There has been an alarming decline in production in a most important Australian industry, and we shall have to consider whether by placing additional burdens on this industry to foster smaller industries we will not be instrumental in still further reducing the area under cultivation. Are we justified in jeopardizing the interests of the wheat-grower in order to protect the implement manufacturer? If the wheat producer is unduly handicapped there will not be a great demand for the product of the implement manufacturer.
– In what way is the wheat-producing industry handicapped ?
– In comparison with other wheat producers the Australian wheat farmer has to pay excessive freights to market his product.
– But the honorable senator is speaking from a Tariff point of view.
– The wheat farmer has also to pay high railway freights.
– I was coming to that point. Our railway workers are well paid, as also are those who handle the product of the wharfs when it reaches the sea-board. The rural worker engaged in producing wheat has to be satisfied with Is. per hour, whereas the railway worker receives 2s., and the wharf labourer 3s. per hour. The implement manufacturers’ employees also receive high wages. . I admit that the farmer depends to a large extent upon the assistance of the labour I have mentioned in marketing his product, and the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell), in moving the second reading of the Bill, mentioned that the farmer is assisted in the production of wheat by the use of uptodate machinery, which enables him to reduce his costs. The Minister, however, did not lay particular stress on the fact that the man on the land is sweated, and that the return from his product is not equally distributed amongst those who handle it. It is monstrous that the man who toils in our wheat fields should get the smallest share of the product of labour, whilst others who carry the produce to market should work shorter hours and get higher wages and better conditions of labour in every way. This is neither fair nor square. There are many things quite beyond our power to rectify, but I trust the Senate will endeavour to afford relief wherever possible.
I have already pointed out that agricultural implements cost more in New Zealand than they do in Australia, notwithstanding the fact that they are admitted into the former country free of duty. New Zealand is no longer a< .wheat-producing country, although the fertility of her soil is undoubted, because when wheat was selling at a low price the New Zealand farmers devoted their attention to other activities which they found more profitable, particularly that of raising fat lambs. In these circumstances, the area under wheat in New Zealand has been considerably reduced, and that Dominion is not now able to supply even her own requirements, which are met by Australia. The cost of agricultural implements in New Zealand is, therefore, not of the importance that it is in Australia, There are, however, Protectionist countries, such as Canada, in direct competition with Australia. Canada is a great wheat-producing country, but agricultural machinery there is only about one-half the price that it is in Australia, because implements which cost £100 in Australia can be purchased in Canada for £60. That is a point that requires to be looked into in order that our farmers may be able to get their agricultural machinery at the same price as is charged in countries with which they have to compete. Our producers are at a sufficient disadvantage already in the matter of ocean freights without being required to pay twice as much for their agricultural implements as, say, the Canadian farmers. Therefore, I cannot understand advocates of Protection in Victoria, particularly that great apostle of Protection, the Melbourne Age, continually howling for cheap wheat and protesting against the pooling system, under which the price of last season’s wheat was 9s. These advocates mislead people by making it appear that .the Australian consumer has been paying more for his” wheat than is charged in other countries of the world.
– The Age is not in favour of cheap newspapers, apparently.
– Ear from it. This reference to the Age reminds me that in a leading article which I read yesterday there was a comparison of Lon? don and Melbourne quotations for a number of commodities, the purpose being to demonstrate that prices were lower in London than in Melbourne. The Age did not quote the price of the great daily papers in London, which are sold at a. penny, whilst, it is still selling at the profiteeringprice of two pence.
– .The Age did not quote wheat. Australian wheat is sold to London millers at 9s. 6d. per bushel, and in Australia it is 9s.
– That means 6d. in favour of the Australian miller. Taking the prices during and from the war period, wheat has been sold at lower rates in Australia than in any other country in the world. Last year when the price was fixed at 9s., world’s parity was 10s. In the previous year the overseas . price all through the season averaged about 12s. per bushel, whereas the Australian consumer got his wheat for 7s. 8d. The Age, notwithstanding that it harangues on “The Great Paradox” from day to day, recently laid special emphasis on the statement that the Australian consumers were unable to get cheap wheat, and so forth, but was careful to conceal the fact that thepeople -of other countries were paying itwice as much for their wheatas wascharged in Australia. The Age seized upon oneorder placed ‘with Germany at7s.6d.per bushel; as against the Australian price i9s. ‘That ‘journal conveniently forgot that there -‘were bther orders at other prices, and that if She whole. of the transactions were -averaged the overseas parity would hajve been nearer >10a. than 9s. pel- bushel. 1 desire to say a few words -concerning a matter that so far has not received, very much attention at the hands of honorable senators during this debate. I refer to the question of trade reciprocity, Which, was a prominent feature of the first ^Tariff debate in this Parliament. On that occasion -much was made of the benefits that were to accrue to this country from a policy of reciprocal trade with Great Britain. We were told that if we gaye the manufacturers of the Mother Country preference in our markets we would receive preferential treatment in the British market.. We have had reciprocity for twenty years, ‘but so far have ‘received uio ‘-special benefit from it. I take it that a -Tariff is a business proposition, designed , to increase -wealth production, and that in this matter of reciprocity the advantage should ‘be mutual. If we, for sentimental reasons, give Free Trade Britain certain advantages in, our markets, we might very well say that, as one -of the oversea Dominions, we expect similar advantages in the markets of the Mother Country. We ^ ‘have a just claim for sympathetic consideration, more especially as at the present moment Britain is considering her own position in this matter. There are signs that should not be ignored by us that the Old Country is at last changing its fiscal views. Great - Britain . now , has , an . antidumping, law, quite opposed in its principles to all preconceived Free . Trade ideas, that the best . policy far a country is to buy in the cheapest market.
– I do nob think that Bill was passed.
– I have evidence that it was enacted, for in the Hoard of Tradt Journal oj 12th May, 1921, there appear certain resolutions tinder the,”heading “ The Safeguarding of industries Act1” which come very close up to ‘Protection. This is part of -one !of ‘the resolutioas: -
Thai; for a -period of five years . ‘from the passing of an Act for giving effect to ‘this resolution -there ishall be charged on any <of the . fallowing articles imported . into Great Britain or Ireland a Customs duty, of an amount equal to 33§ per . cent, of the value of the article. . . .
The “quotation then enumerates the various articles referred to. This shows that the anti-dumping ‘law is actually in operation in the Old Country. I have quoted frorn’tiho Board’ of Trade Journal of I2th May, 19,21. .
-Lt speaks of what is to take place “ from the passing of ah “Act,” but I do. not think that the Act was passed, though Icinay be wrong.
– I am not quite positive on the subject, but I cannot understand the Board of Trade Journal printing such matter as I have quoted if the Act was hot^ passed.
– It was seriously in contemplation, if it was not actually passed.
– I have pointed out ‘that the Board of Trade Journal indicated the articles upon which the 33$ per cent, duty was to be collected.
– The law referred to is in force to-day. It was passed . on account of the exchange.
– I can understand such an explanation from a Protectionist like Senator Russell, but it is difficult to account for any explanation of the passing of such a measure by a Free Trader, who would contend that the more dumping the better, because to obtain goods at the cheapest possible price is the cardinal principle of the Free Trader’s fiscal faith.
I have explained that when the first Federal Tariff was under consideration there was a good deal of talk of reciprocity of trade, and now that we have the Tariff again under review , we should bring the need ‘for . reciprocity of trade prominently under the notice of people of the “Old Land. When I was in ‘Scotland four or five years ago, I . mentioned this matter to a number of ‘business men I met there. “Nob one of ‘them, was aware that, in. Australia, we gave preference to imports from the Old Land. I put it to them to say whether it was fair that, in the matter of imports of her produce, Australia should be treated by “the 013
Country in just’ the-‘ same way as- a foreign, nation, or as a German enemy. I pointed, out that, at- the time, there were, countries that were making money, out of the. war. I mentioned. Argentina as a neutral country, and pointed out that that country was in direct competition with Australia in wool, meat-,, and wheat,, as her products went- on to the British market at the same time as ours.
– And their, meat was given -a preference.
-I am not aware of that, but we know that we. got no preference in the. Old Country. Australia made nothing out of the war. We sacrificed: 60,000 of our . best citizens, and shouldered a- burden of something like £300,000,000 in connexion, with thev war, whilst Argentina and. the. mother country of Argentine-, Spain, remained . neutral, and made money out of the- war. We were spending, our’ resources on the Empire, and if the Empire is to be something, more than a, name, we- are- entitled, to expect- that our products- will be given- the same preference in the Old Country that- we give here to the products of Great Britain: In the< circumstances, I consider it an opportune, time to bring this matter of real, reciprocity ‘of trade, well, to the front. I am pleased to say that the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) is doing something: in, this, direction in the Old Land at. the. present’ time. I. have been surprised that soma people in Australia should ‘have sought- to take political advantage of his absence in. the Old Country, ju9t. now.- He da making heroic efforts., in the interests of’ Australia;, and yet we hawei the Leader of the-so-cailled Cbunfcryj party (Dr. Earle Page)! asking that- he -should “come back and face- the music”’ He is- doing- useful) work for Australia- in the Old’ Land. I hope< he will’ takie> no heed of’ those who” refer to him in this^ way, but’ will’ continue his work until he has accomplished -something. Senator Wilson.- I’ Chunk that Dr. Earle- Page- qualified his1 remarks’ to that extent.
– I hope that- he did. E6r. his own credit, it would have been better if he had never said, anything at. all on. the. subject. If the. members of the. Country party represent “the primary producers, , as their name would’ indicate, they ‘should - recognise that there are . no people- in Australia who stand to gain more from Mr. Hughes’ work-in the Old Country than do the primary producers.
In conclusion, I should like to say . that I consider there’ are indications of a change of fiscal faith in the Old Land. I think that such a change will be forced upon, thei authorities’ there before long, There: are” more Conferences than that to which Mr: Hughes’ has been- delegated going on! in London at the- present times Most important negotiations! are! at pre* sent being carried on between Mr. Lloyd George and’ the head of the- Irish Republic; De- Valerav I hope; and I am con* fident that it is- the; hope also of every other- member of the ‘Senate, that the- two peoples’ will shortly- come < together in peace; and- will find it possible- to remain within the one Empire. In my view,: it would be- a misfortune if anything. were to- prevent Ireland continuing’ withi-ii the British Empire. [Extension of time granted.] I thank honorable senators for granting me an extension of time. I shall not trespass much longer on their patience:- I should like, to say that> in my opinion, Ireland has. a great deal more to lose by being outside the British Empire than by being within it. If she were an. independent Republic, she would have ta provide an- armyi and navy to- de? fend ‘herself ‘against somei of the bigger nations of tho’world. I believe that the great majority- of ‘ Irishmen’ at Home and abroad’ desire that Ireland ‘should remain within the’Ernpire; wben’the’-unfdrtu-nate antipathy and1 hatred- between the peoples have1 been brought to an- end by the reasoning ‘out of their differences1.’ If Ireland remains within the1 Empire,-‘ and is granted’, in common with- the- Overseas Dominions, the right ta’make- her own laws, and fiscal autonomy; it- seems certain that she- will adopt’ the- Protectionist principle of fiscalism. If she’ should do so, Great Britain would’then have greater season to- change her - fiscal1 faith. It is impossible, to believe that with so many colonies and overseas. Dominions, the heart of the Empire can. go on for ever without reviewing her fiscal, policy to suit the -altering circumstances. I believe that Great Britain is about to undergo fiscal changes. We have a right to present to the consideration of the… people of that country, the- adoption of reciprocity-, of trade with Australia that will be to their and our advantage Great Britain cannot hope to supply her own requirements in wheat. As Mr. Hughes pointed out the other day, Canada and Australia can supply all the wheat Great Britain requires. At the present time, she gives neutral, and even enemy, countries the same advantages in her market that she extends to her own Dominions; and we are, I think, entitled to greater consideration at her hands. So far as I was able to sound the opinions of the people I met in the Old Land, I am satisfied that they would generally be prepared to give an affirmative reply to a request by Australia for preferential treatment in the way I have suggested. Reciprocity of trade should be adopted between the various component parts of the Empire and the Old Land, and it should prove beneficial to all.
– I shall be as brief as the circumstances will allow in supporting the second reading of the Bill. I do not expect to have to depend upon the courtesy of honorable senators for an extension of my time. This is not the first discussion of a Tariff with which I have been associated in the Senate. Like Senator de Largie, I well remember the time when the first Protectionist Tariff was introduced in this Parliament. The honorable senator was slightly in error in his references to it. He seemed to imply that in that first Federal Tariff provision was made for a preference to Great Britain. That was not the case. It was a general Tariff, applicable equally to imports from all countries. It was not until some years later that we adopted the principle of giving a preference in the Tariff to goods imported from Great Britain.
– How long afterwards?
– In 1907-8. The first Federal Tariff was discussed at great length in both Houses of this Parliament, and reciprocity of trade was very strongly advocated at the time in Parliament, in the press, and on public platforms. It was foreshadowed by Ministers, but no definite proposal to give it effect was then introduced. I am very glad to welcome this particular measure, not, perhaps, in all its details, but gene rally speaking. First of all, it purports to give protection to all Australian industries by the imposition of a general Tariff upon goods coming into the Commonwealth from abroad. Provision is made for a preference to Great - Britain. That preference was first introduced as a feature of our Tariff legislation in the Tariff of 1907-1908. It was introduced by a Government of which I was a member, and I had the honour, in conjunction with a fellow senator, of piloting that measure through this chamber. That was the first instance of the granting by us of a preference to the Old Country. Although at the time we were ridiculed, especially by the Free Trade press, because it was alleged the extent of the preference was insignificant, the preferences set out in the Government proposals were carried. Notwithstanding that Senator de Largie’s experience in Scotland leads him to conclude that quite a number of persons there were unaware of the fact that British goods received a preference upon entry into the Commonwealth, I know that in the United Kingdom the circumstance was not entirely unknown. Plenty of people there were only too eager to take advantage of that preference. They thoroughly appreciated it. But quite apart from those who were commercially interested, many of the press organs in the United Kingdom referred from time to time to : this preference, and actually advocated what Senator de Largie has suggested this afternoon, namely, that there should be something in the nature of reciprocity. They argued that inasmuch as Australia had given a preference in Tariff matters to goods from the United Kingdom, and that Canada had acted similarly, it was the duty of Britain so to arrange its Tariff as to reciprocate that preference. However, we have now recognised the advantages arising from this system of preference. Should the system ultimately result in reciprocity, I shall welcome that. But we ought not to hesitate to extend a preference to tho United Kingdom until we are assured that we shall receive reciprocal treatment. Free Trade has been in vogue in the United Kingdom for the better part of a century - for something like eighty years - and, con* sequently, it has become second nature to the people there. The large mass of public opinion there which has accepted Free
Trade as axiomatic is very difficult to move. There are other questions which agitate the public mind of Britain beside the fiscal question. There are, “ for example, matters affecting the Empire ae a whole, matters affecting the domestic concerns of the United Kingdom as a whole, and matters affecting the domestic concerns of the component parts of the United Kingdom. Those questions are very close to the inhabitants of Britain. They are very important and vital, and when they are present to the mind of a public which- has accepted Free Trade as an axiomatic principle, it is very difficult to divert attention from them to a fiscal question, which, to many persons, seems to be a purely academic matter. For that reason I think that we ought to continue to grant a preference to Great Britain instead of waiting until the people of that country have considered the problems to which I have directed attention, and have resolved to re-adjust their fiscal relations with other portions of the Empire. If they do so re-adjust their fiscal relations, it will only be under the stress of some great necessity. That the war has contributed to some such result is undoubted. Through it, public attention has been directed to the isolated position in which Great Britain has stood in relation- to Tariff matters. Perhaps more attention is now being given to the subject than was ever devoted to it previously. It is true that some twenty years ago attention was directed to it, but that fact was wholly due to the advocacy’ of a very forceful and prominent personality - I refer to Mr. Joseph Chamberlain. With his death a great deal of the interest which had been stimulates? in the subject waned, and almost disappeared. Since then the war has re-awakened interest in it. But the war has also awakened interest in other questions, and it is the measure df importance and vitality which the British public attribute to each of these which will determine the order in which they will receive consideration. I cannot believe that other issues, particularly of a domestic character, will be subordinated by the people of Great Britain to the question of Free Trade versus Protection. But whether they are or not, we are quite justified by past experience, and by our hope of future results, in perpetuating the principle of granting a preference to goods entering
Australia from the United Kingdom. As. far back as 1897, Canada, under the leadership of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, adopted the principle of preferential trade with the United Kingdom. Broadly speaking, that preference- was founded upon the principle that there should be a reduction of 33$ per dent, of the duty upon all goods entering Canada from the United Kingdom.
– Sir Wilfrid Laurier was a Free Trader, and it was quite consistent for him to reduce duties.
– It is quite true tha he gave his allegiance to Free Trade principles. But he knew too much to attempt to give practical effect to those principles in the form of a policy. Probably he succeeded in reconciling his poli-‘ tical conscience with the retention of his office as Prime Minister, by reducing the Canadian Tariff all round to the extent of one-third upon goods from the United Kingdom. It was not until 1907-8 that we followed his example, although we did not adopt his particular method. Instead we made specific reductions in favour of Great Britain upon specific items. But we had the .advantage of the experience of Canada in that connexion, and Senator de Largie and others who were here at the time will confirm”” my statement that one of the matters which we had then to consider was the possibility of outside countries sending their goods to Australia through the United Kingdom. Whilst that particular Tariff was before Parliament it was found necessary to insert in it a provision that the preference should apply only to goods which were the product “ pf the United Kingdom. This Bill goes further than that. It contains an intermediate Tariff - a Tariff which, under certain circumstances, may be applied to goods imported into Australia from other parts of the British Empire, or, indeed, from other countries. I think that that is a very desirable provision. A Tariff containing only one column is a very inelastic Tariff. It may become desirable, for example, to extend specially favoured treatment to particular countries, and it -may be inexpedient or inconvenient for the matter to be brought before Parliament and dealt with specifically. If, therefore, when passing a Tariff of this character, Parliament chooses, having regard to the industries of the country as a whole, to invest the Governor-General in Council or some other authority with.1 power- to make the duties set out in the intermediate Tariff applicable to goods from British Possessions or from some other country, it has” the right ‘to do- so.
– The provision in the Bill is- a little bit wider than that. The duties set out in the Tariff’ may be applied to goods from any portion of the British Empire.
– It is’ open to the Minister’ to apply the British preferential’ Tariff’ or the - intermediate Tariff to1 goods coining from another British country-
– But the British; preferential Tariff’ cannot be applied to -goods’ from foreign countries.
– It is open to the Minister to apply the British preferential1 Tariff, either wholly or in part, to’ any portion of the British Dominions.’ Similarly, the intermediate Tariff maybe applied, either wholly or in- part, to any portion- of the British Dominions or to any foreign country.
– But the British preferential Tariff’ cannot be applied to goods from any foreign country.
– Exactly. There is” a Bill dealing with the creation of a Tariff Board which, I understand, we shall shortly be invited to consider, and still’ another- measure relating to the Tariff has been foreshadowed. Reference was made to the latter by the VicePresident of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) by way of interjection during the concluding portion, of Senator de Largie’s speech this afternoon. He mentioned the. matter of exchange. Before we have finally dealt with Tariff legislation, we shall be asked to consider a Bill’ which purports to overcome what may be regarded as abnormalities due to fluctuations in exchange. We know that the world has been considerably disturbed by the war, and in no countries more than in those which were actual participants. Our Allies have all been considerably disturbed, and their exchanges have been prejudicially affected; but neutral countries like- Switzerland, Holland, Sweden, and Norway have not been affected in their exchanges, while one - of the’ results of the. war to both the 4united -States of’ America and Japan has been that their currency or exchange has appreciated instead of depreciating. When
I saw originally that there was in these proposals an intermediate Tariff column that was to be applicable, in certain circumstances, to foreign countries, I hoped that it was to enable the Commonwealth, through its Tariff, for the future to reciprocate the sentiments of alliance and brotherliness-in-arms with us which had characterized the British, French, Italian, and other allied nations, during the war. I entertained that hope until quite recently; but now I understand that a Bill has been introduced to’ Parliament which has for its object not that at all, but the very opposite to what I conceived to be the purpose of the intermediate column in the Tariff schedule.
– Does not the honorable senator believe in such a thing as reciprocity?
– Then why give without taking?
– That is the reason why I said I understood that the intermediate Tariff was to establish, continue, and perpetuate reciprocity.
– What do we get in return ? Do we get . preferential trade arrangements with those countries?
– I presume we shall ; but -this is not simply confined to trade. We offer preference to Great Britain without asking for anything in return. I believe that this is a good principle, and as I was a member of the Government that was first responsible for applying such principles to our Tariff legislation, I shall support it. Even if it took Great Britain fifty years to change its fiscal faith, I would still support preference to the United Kingdom in any Tariff that came -before me for consideration.
– We are with you - there.
– Then, I say, let us have reciprocity if it comes, and let us welcome it when it does come; but let us give preference whether reciprocity follows or not. I thought at first that the motive for the introduction of the intermediate column in the schedule was to give consideration to those who had recently been ‘ brothers and Allies in arms with us, because of what they are suffer? ing in their currencies to-day in consequence of their participation shoulder to shoulder withus in the recent war. I think, however, that it is not so inteifded, because I hear of a Bill which is being introduced inanother place, and which will have precisely the opposite effect. I probably could not refer to that Bill at all if it were not that the intermediate column ‘in this schedule wouldseem to indicate- the extension to allied countries of some such treatment as we are offering to Great Britain;
SenatorCrawford. - In return for a preference.
– That, I presome is the object.
– Is not the intermediate Tariff an instrument of reciprocity?
– No doubt; but I thought when I first saw it that it would go further than mere reciprocity, and enable the Government of the Commonwealth to say to othercountries, “ Your position is rather a difficult one,and that difficulty has been brought about because you and we have been fighting together for civilization, right, and justice. We have power under the intermediate Tariff column to enable you to trade with us under advantageous conditions.” I am afraid, however, that that is not the way in which the power is going to be exercised. There is nothing in the Bill to prevent it being done, but the ominous sounds of the approach of anotherBill make me feel that it is not one of the purposes of the intermediate column.
I have said that broadly, generally, and in the main, I support this Bill. I do not go so far as the Minister, and support it. on the claim that it is an expression of scientific Protection. I very much doubt if we can ever put forward here or elsewhere, any particular Tariff schedule, and say with confidence, “ This is an expression in Tariff form of scientific Protection.” The question of the Tariff is too complicated, extensive, and detailed to enable us to say, as we can of a general principle, that it is scientific.
– And industry is always altering.
– That is so. It would be almost impossible at any stage to lay down what has been called, for want of a better phrase, byardent advocates of Protection, both in the press and on the platform, a “ scientific “ schedule.
SenatorRussell. - I never used thoser words, but when Senator Gardinerasked ifthis wasa scientific Tariff, I was nob going to say “ No,” so I said” Yes.”
– It is not on those grounds, at any rate, that I would support’ it in the main. After all,wet have to put our Tariff -duties upon numerous ‘items. ‘ There are items appearing in a Tariff schedule descriptive of articles -which members have sometimes heard of for the’ first time when they have seen them in the schedule. I know thatwas the experience of quite a number of members with the items which! appeared in the first Tariff schedule, and I have no doubt that it is true, so far as’ members ofthis Parliament are concerned, of a number of items enumerated in the schedule mow, before us. In dealing with matters so minutely as that, we frequently. and that the finished product of oneindustry is the raw material of another. ‘ A conflict then arises as to whether that finished article is to be allowed,to be imported as raw material for the second industry without a duty upon it. Thosewho are engaged in its productionor manufacture in the Commonwealth say “No; this is an industry which we (are building up for the Commonwealth. There is a great demand for this particular article for such and such a- manufacture, and we want a duty on it to protect our industry.” But those concerned with the second industry, or second manufacture, which uses that product as a raw material, say, “It is true that they are making attempts to produce it in Australia, but, so far, owing to the little experience they have had, and the small demand that has been made upon them, they are not turning out an article such as has been turned out for generations in some country across the sea, audit we are ever expected to manufactureand turn out a finished product that isworthy of our industry, we must get the best raw material, and, therefore, we must be allowed to import this article from abroad.” So we have competition between two industries in Australia, and we have to take all the circumstances into consideration and decide whether we shall protect ‘both or. sacrifice one ; whether we shall apply Free Trade to what I may call the minor industry, and let its product be looked on when imported as a raw material for the purpose of the second industry. That is a condition of affairs which frequently confronts those who are engaged in preparing or considering Tariffs. So, as every set of circumstances has to be considered, one might almost say, separately, it is very hard to say that the same rule applies ‘ throughout to each item in the schedule. It is *for that and other - reasons that I hold that one can hardly properly designate a Tariff schedule as scientific. The best- that one can say of a schedule of this character which one is supporting is that, to his mind, -it is of a common-sense and practical character: that is, that it appears to him, as a Protectionist, that it extends and applies Protection in’ a commonsense and practical way to the manifold industries of Australia, both those in existence and those which can be reasonably and suitably encouraged to come into existence.
There is one feature of this Tariff which has been remarked upon already : I refer to the question of Protection all round - Protection not merely to the producers or manufacturers, but to the employees, and to the general public. I shall be glad, at any time and all times, tb support any proposals which have for their object, and may reasonably be expected to achieve,, the protection of the manufacturers or producers, the protection of the employees in so far as wages and labour conditions are concerned, and the protection of the general public from profiteering or from unreasonable prices.
– Don’t you think our Arbitration Courts will protect the employees sufficiently?
– Well, we did not think that they could not do it, but we thought they were not able to do it, in connexion with particular industries and in relation to the Tariff itself, quickly enough. The Ministry Avith which I was associated in 1907-8. announced to Australia, through Mr. Deakin, a policy known as the New Protection, which embraced those three provisions. We as a Legislature endeavoured to achieve that object in the well-known Harvester case. We passed a heavy import duty on harvesters, and then imposed a substantial, but not so heavy, Excise duty upon the locally-made harvester, and by the amount of that Excise duty we lessened the Protection that was given against the imported article. Thus, supposing the imported harvester had a duty on it of £30, and the locally-produced harvester had. an Excise duty on it of £10, the effective Protection was only the difference of £20? We made a further provision that if the manufacturer of the locally-produced harvester satisfied the authorities that he was paying a reasonable wage to his employees and was selling his implements at a fair price, the Excise duty would be remitted. I have quoted these figures from memory, and, although they may not be exact, they give an idea of the form of legislation which was passed at that time. t,
– We have set up industrial tribunals since then.
– The Arbitration Court was established and functioning at that period. The validity of the legislation which I have outlined was successfully contested, and for a time those who were interested in advancing New Protection were defeated in their object.
It is not my intention at this juncture to discuss the question of Free Trade versus Protection, because” ‘ I think our policy has been practically decided. We have had Tariffs since 1901, when moderate Protection was granted ; in 1907 and 1908 more substantial Protection was given, and now we have even a more advanced Protective schedule. I do not think there is very much of a Free Trade school in Australia, as, broadly and generally speaking, the people of the Commonwealth feel committed to a policy of Protection, and I do not think there is much to be gained in discussing, in an academic fashion, the relative merits and demerits of the, two policies.
In speaking of the legislation introduced some time ago, I referred to the consumers, or users, and I think it will be admitted that their point of view must eventually dominate. AH are consumers, even the manufacturers and the producers, because they are the consumers of the ordinary necessaries of life, and, beyond that, they are the consumers , of ihe raw products required in their manufactures. There is not any one in the community, old or young, who is not a consumer. When we segregate the producers from the consumers we put a certain class against the whole community if
We look upon their interests as antagonistic to those of others, and if we segregate proprietors of the producing interests - whether manufacturers or other producers - from the employees we put one class against another. The “consumers, or users, of the harvesters had to be protected ih the specific case to which I have referred ; but it would be almost’ impossible to adopt such a cumbersome method for protecting the interests of the consumers generally. Our difficulty in protecting the interests of. the consumers is duc to the form in which our Constitution has been framed.
– Our distributers and- producers are consumers.
– We are not all distributers or producers; there are some who generally manage to gloss off a little for themselves, who are neither producers nor distributers. There are also those who are too young; but they are all consumers. We have to consider what attitude we shall adopt when a Tariff duty will not result in establishing an industry in the community. Let us take the Tariff duties imposed by this Parliament upon some particular commodity which is used fairly generally. We hoped that the result of that duty would be to promote the establishment in the Commonwealth of an industry which would furnish a general requirement, and . if it does not do that the duty imposed is not a protective duty, but a revenue-producing one. It really amounts to taxing the community for the purpose of swelling the revenue, and not for the incidental advantage of establishing an industry to create ^employment.
– Are there not some people who would not pay any taxes at all unless we had a Tariff?
– Very likely. -But I am sure the honorable senator is not supporting the duties on some items to overcome that. When the Tariff was originally introduced, certain duties imposed on cinematograph films were considerably increased in another place, particularly on films produced in countries outside of Great Britain. Does any one suggest that the imposition of such duties will bring into being in Australia an industry which will produce films to take the place of those which were previously imported, say, from America ?
– Some say it will have that effect;
– It is impossible to produce films quite similar to some of those we are importing. Since the duty has been increased, the picture-show proprietors have notified the public that the prices of admission are to be in-: creased. If the additional duties were removed, who would derive the benefit? Would the patrons of the picture shows benefit^ or would the proprietors?
– The public would benefit.
– If the people would benefit, my views on this particular item would be considerably modified; but, if the proprietors gained the ad; vantage, such a proposal would be a different matter.
In discussing the items in Commitee we may possibly find some duties which will not promote the growth of industries’ in Australia, and consequently will only be the* means of imposing a further burden upon the people. We shall, therefore, have to “decide whether it is advantageous or not tb use the Tariff for raising revenue; and if we are satisfied that it is not, but that primarily, as far as we can, we should use it for protective purposes, we shall have to decide what will bo the result of the removal of a duty. These are matters that we shall have to consider in connexion with any requests that we may make.
From time to time I have noticed discussions outside of Parliament as to the duty of the Senate. It has been suggested that this Chamber would not give much consideration to the items in the schedule, and in other quarters it has been said that the Senate has power only to “ suggest.” I do not know where the word “ suggest,” which is so frequently used in this connexion, had its origin, because the Senate has power to request .the amendment of an item. I may say, for the benefit of those honorable senators who were not here when the last Tariff was discussed’ in this Chamber, in January, 1908, and onwards, that the Senate successfully, and with advantage, exercised its powers and requested increases on a large number of items.
– What, happens when the two Houses clash?
– What happens in regard to an ordinary amendment? From my point of view, the effect of a request and an amendment is practically the same. The only difference is that in Bending the’ Bill back to another place we do not insert an amendment, but ask the House of Representatives tp do so.
-We please ourelves as to what action we take. .
– Exactly. In these circumstances, while supporting, the Protective policy embodied in the Tariff; the, preferential duties, and the intermediate andgeneral rates, I do not hold myself absolutely bound to slavishly follow every proposal of. the Government contained in the schedule, or in any amendment which the Minister may circulate.
– Or items as amended by another place.
– Exactly. Ido not think there will be many items oh which there will be a divergence of opinion between my point of view and that of the Government, and with these slight qualifications I havevery much pleasure in supporting the second reading of the Bill.
.- I do not intend to take up much time in discussing this measure, or to attempt to add to theinformation which has already been submitted to the Senate. I have listened with interest to the instructive speeches on the Tariff, and I think it right that I should, at this juncture, ‘briefly express my views on the question of Protection versus Free Trade. I am strongly in favour ofadequate Protection being afforded to Australian industries, and I gave my pledgein that direction on public platforms during the recent election campaign. The Minister (Senator Russell), with a twinkle inhis eye,said that this was a scientific” Tariff; His remarks were received with some amount of merriment by honorable senators, so we may gather that neither he nor we are of that opinion.As a matter of fact. Senator Keating; said thateven if it were a scientific Tariff now so varying are the conditions in industry that it may be abso lutely unscientific, to-morrow. But, Senator Keating has. pointed out. that the Tariff is an . honest attempt to give adequate Protection to Australian industries, and in. that sense, generally, I intend to support it. I represent portion of the Commonwealth which, is largely interested in primary production,but with unselfish. generosity the people of South Australia are prepared to accept whatis best for the whole of the Commonwealth. I take it that no-member of this august chamber is sent here to represent and protect only the interests of his own State. Circumstances may arise in which it would be the duty of an honorable senator to vote against the interests of his own State if they conflicted with theinterests of the Commonwealth.I believe in being a good Australian first and a good South Australian next, and I -think this, sentiment is indorsed by every member ; of this Chamber. I am satisfied that if State interestsconflicted with Australian interests, honorable senators would place the interests, of Australia first.
Inthe Tariff there are several anomalies which it will be the; duty of this Senate to remedy. Of course there are anomalies in all Tariffs. Recently I was privileged to visit a factory lately established in South Australia for the- manufacture of French clay, and chalks and similar- articles. During my visit I was informed that barytes is protected “under this Tariff to the extent of £3 per ton, but that the protection is of no avail because kaolin and silicates are not mentioned in the schedule. This is an anomaly which I. intend to bring before honorable: senators whenwe reach, the Committee stage of the measure, so that it may be removed. The company to which I refer have millions of tons of silicates in sight, and they could provide for the requirements of the whole of Australia without the slightest difficulty. Many other industries are affected by the Tariff:; but I do not intend at this stage to occupy honorable’ senators’ time- by “enumerating them. I simply wish to define my view of the Tariff as affording adequate protection, for Australian industries. I believe it is impossible now to discuss in any academic way the relative rrieritsi of Eree Trade and Protection. . I think, we were’ sent here by the people, to pass an effective Protective Tariff, and with that end: inview I intend to supportthe Bill.
– During the. course, of the debate I have been struck with the wonderful results that may be obtained by quoting figures, but it appears to me that figures, or groups of figures, to be of any value in an argument, must be capable of analysis to the last degree. For -instance, Senator Gardiner referred to the remarkable progress, made by New South “Wales under Free Trade- as compared with Victoria under Protection during the period from 1870 to 1900. He might have gone a step further and .revealed the marvellous progress which . New South Wales .has made. since 1901 up to. the present day as compared with Victoria, .both States being under Protection. Then Senator de Largie referred to the decline in the numbers of men employed in the gold mining industry, and admitted that various causes were responsible for this condition of affairs. He might have referred to the great decline in the number employed in the mining industry in, say, Ballarat at present as compared with thirty years ago, and yet show that Ballarat is a very flourishing city.
While all the speeches have been intensely interesting, I feel that the most important discussion on this Tariff will take place when the Bill is in Committee. At the same time, I want to take advantage of. this opportunity to state my attitude. I claim to -be a Protectionist. By this I mean that I want to do all I possibly can to protect our secondary industries by imposing high Customs duties on those articles which can and should be manufactured here. There is no doubt that we were at a great disadvantage during the war, because our secondary industries were not sufficiently developed to supply all our requirements. We then found ourselves practically isolated, and realized more keenly than ever before the disability of being’ situated so far distant from the commercial centres of the world. We were at the mercy of, and exploited by, the merchants of America, Japan, and some other countries. In fact, our position was much; like the position of the American States during the war of American independence. Alexander Hamilton, the great statesman of that time, and, I believe, the greatest statesman the United States, has produced, was then Secretary to the Treasury .in the Washington .Administration, and formulated the policy for. the new republic. This policy aimed at the encouragement, of manufacturing industries by ,the imposition of high Customs duties, though .he went .out of office before it could be brought into operation. Speaking of the very great difficulties which the. States had -experienced during the war, he said -
The extreme embarrassments of the United States during the late war, from an incapacity to supply themselves, -are still .matters of keen recollection. A future war might be. expected to again exemplify the mischief and danger, of a situation to which that incapacity is still in too great a degree applicable unless changed by timely .and vigorous exertion. To effect that change -is .the next great work to be accomplished.
Those words are equally applicable to Australia to-day,, because- we suffered the same disadvantages and experienced the same difficulties. Though, perhaps, we may not be anticipating another war in the near future., we are making preparations in regard to our naval and military establishments, .and I venture to -say that no scheme of preparation for any future war would be complete that did not seek to render the Commonwealth independent, commercially and industrially, of other -countries.
Whether the fiscal policy of the Commonwealth should be Free Trade or Protection was settled in .the early days of Federation’. The decision then was in ‘favour of Protection for Australian industries, and, judging by the progress of this Bill through another place, we can safely say that the majority of our people are in favour of maintaining and developing that policy. I was a little surprised,, therefore, that the discussion in this Chamber should have been in the nature of a debate as to the ‘relative merits of the two systems. In ‘my simplicity I imagined the . debate would merely indicate the length to which honorable- senators were prepared’ to go in taxing : goods ‘coming into Australia: For my part, I want to see this country as nearly as possible self-supporting. There -is -no reason -why? it should not be because we* have, within .-our borders, the raw materials “for practically all the essential industries ; we have wonderful deposits of the purest iron ore in the -world -and abundance of coal. We are all glad of the progress that has been made in the development of the iron industry in Australia. - If I- had my way I would not allow a single rail to be laid in the Commonwealth unless it was produced in the furnaces of this country. And so with regard to our woollen industry. It is a subject of amazement to people who come here that we, who produce the finest wool in the World, should have to send it 12,000 miles over the seas and bring it back in the shape of woollen cloth. The same’ might be said of many other industries. The great American statesman to whom I referred also had something important to. say on this subject of building up the home industries.
– And that was at a time, too, when the population of the United States of America was only 3,750,000.
– This is what Alexander Hamilton had to say on this matter : -
It was possible, in bis opinion,with the prudent assistance of legislation, to come speedily to a point at which all the necessities of life and instruments of labour, and even ‘ the greaterpart of the luxuries that were in common demand, should he supplied from the fields and farms, the mines, mills, and workshops of the new Republic. A nation which was content to drift along the path of least resistance must suffer the inconveniences and dangers of a lopsided development. A nation in which the manufacturing or the agricultural interest was in an overwhelming predominance would never be proof against foreign hostility or catastrophe as a nation might hope to be which maintained the principle of a strong internal market for commodities of every kind.
These are words which we might well ponder over, and as Senator Bakhap has reminded me, they were uttered at a time when the population of the United States was less than that of Australia to-day.
I am not in favour of imposing Customs duties indiscriminately. If I am asked to support the imposition of a duty upon any article, I want to be assured that a reasonable amount of capital is to be invested in the industry here, and to be assured, too, that it will give employment to a considerable number of our people. There are a number of items in the schedule to which it is likely I shall propose amendments when we come to deal with them in Committee. I might give an instance of one industry which will altogether employ not more than about fifty people. It is not worth our while to impose Protective duties for the support of such an industry when that involves penalizing the whole of the com munity to put money into the pockets of perhaps a single firm.
Senator Pratten, in the course of his very interesting speech, referred to what has been done by the Chambers of Manufactures in educating our people. I agreed with what he said, but he might have mentioned that what was done in Sydney has been done also in Melbourne and in Adelaide. I refer to the institution of “Australia Week,” when the shopkeepers in the principal cities display in their windows goods of exclusively Australian manufacture.
– Is that not done now in every capital city?
– I have already said that it is done in Melbourne and Adelaide, as well as in Sydney.
– It was done first in Adelaide.
– That is so, and Adelaide was the first capital city in Australia to hold an All Australian Exhibition. That was done last year, and the result was an eye-opener, not only to the people of South Australia, but to visitors to the exhibition from other States. Senator Pratten and I have been associated in this work for some time. We have endeavoured to do something to break down the unreasoning prejudice that exists amongst little Australians against goods of Australian manufacture. To a good many people, it has been sufficient to mention that an article is Australian-made to prevent them buying it. That unreasoning prejudice has, to a large extent, been broken down. Senator Bakhap referred to this matter when he said that we need a national spirit. That is so, and that national spirit has grown greatly within the last few years. In 1914 our men left Australia to take part in the great war. On the 25th April, 1915, those men made the name of Australia ring around the world. I date the great advance in the growth of the Australian national spirit from that day. Our peoplehave been proud of the achievements of our soldiers, and it was admitted on all sides that our men were the best clothed, the be3t shod, and best equipped of all the troops engaged in the war. A great many of those who went to the war had never previously left the shores of Australia. They have since seen other countries, und have come back convinced that Australia is the best country in the world, and that what is good enough for Australia is good enough for them. The Australian national spirit will be advanced by those men, and they will greatly help to make the operation of this Tariff a success.
Something was said during the debate about the artisans of Australia. I wish to add my testimony to the expression of opinion of their worth. I believe that, on the whole, our artisans are more capable than are those of any other part of the world. Only a short time ago I was speaking to the general manager of large engineering works north of Adelaide. He is a man of great experience, not only in England, but also in America, where he had charge of large numbers of men. Speaking to me of the men under him in Adelaide, he said, “ These men are the finest class of workmen I have ever had under my charge.” I regard that statement,, coming from a man of such wide experience, as a great tribute to the qualities of Australian workmen.
Reference has been made to the drift of population to the metropolitan cities. This is true of Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide. I suppose that’ one-half the people of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia are to be found settled within the areas of the capitals of those States.
– They have neglected the country. Centralization is a curse.
– It might be said that over-centralization is a curse; but I am not dismayed by the fact that onehalf of the people of the States of the Commonwealth are to be found within their capitals, because, up to the present, the people in the metropolitan areas have been profitably employed. I say, further, that if we are to manufacture only one-fourth of the goods that are imported to this country, people will be required within the large city areas even in greater numbers than at present. ‘
– Centralization has been largely due to the expenditure of loan money.
– I believe it will be found that loan moneys have been spent to a greater extent outside the capital cities than within their boundaries.
– I believe that is so. ^ ‘l’
Another matter upon which I should like to touch was referred to by Senator Wilson, who, I think, emphasized one of the most important*, points that have been raised during this debate. He referred to the attitude of organized labour. This Parliament is convinced ‘ that it is of the utmost importance to the Commonwealth that secondary industries should be developed here as fully as possible. To that end we are asked to impose duties of Customs which it is hoped will” be effective. But our labours in that direction will go for naught unless all sections of the community, employers and employees alike, co-operate to make our Protective policy successful. The VicePresident of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) told us that English firms are introducing capital to the extent of £100,000,000 for the establishment of industries here.. We must co-operate with them as fully as possible. There must be no unnecessary dislocation of industry. It must be realized that the Tariff is designed for the benefit of Australia as a whole, and not of a particular class. It behoves all sections of the community to do their -utmost to insure its success.
I shall support the Bill, but as I have indicated, there are a number of items in the schedule in regard to which I may deem it necessary to offer certain suggestions for amendment.
– I do not intend to speak at any length in supporting to a large degree, though not in toto, the Tariff submitted in another ‘place so ably by the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene), and by his representative in the Senate (Senator Russell). It may be necessary for me to preface my remarks by emphasizing the fact that’ I am not a Free Trader. A,t the same time, I am greatly against mie of thumb protection, or the protection of industries which, in my opinion, do not require assistance. The imposition of protective duties when unnecessary tends merely to increase the cost of living to the, community. I favour protection for young or struggling industries, but not for industries that are well established, and in the hands of persons who, in the favoured conditions that prevail in this country, are making fortunes. Parents naturally (protect their children, but when the children have grown to be adults, have accumulated property,and entered into businesses or professions, their, parents do not continue to feed them.I maintain that some industries in. which fortunes are being made ‘in this countryare under his Tariff unnecessarily protected. I agree with Senator Vardon when hespeaks of the necessity for. encouraging the manufacture here of our raw products. I believe in Australian goods for Australian people. I, of course, believe in the development of our great ironi industry. But. I cannot follow SenatorVardon in his references, to wool. Inthis . country we producethe most, thebest, and the cheapest wool in the world. Our woollen manufacturers are making fortunes. The introduction of Protection has notgiven the results we hoped for in the manufacture of our wool here instead of itsexport in the raw state. I shall deal later at some length with this aspect of the Tariff.
I say that it is ourduty as public men in Australia to break down the prejudice against Australian-manufactured goods. In this wonderfully productive country, with a versatile and clever people, there is practicallynothing that we cannot produce as well as it can be produced in any other part of the world. It is an acknowledged fact that our great volunteer Army was the best-equipped army engaged in the war. In Australia, we not only turned out in our own Federal factory the bestclothing I have ever seen, and that in great variety, but our harness, boots, andmilitary equipment generally were acknowledged to be second to none. There is still, however, existingsome of the old prejudice against things Australian as there is against Australianbred stud stock. You have only to put the magic word “imported” after the name of a billygoatand he will bring more money at public auction than if that magic word is not printed after his name. It isthe same with practically everything elsebred in Australia. An imported cat will bring more than acat. bred in Australia, because there is amongst some people the foolish idea that anything imported must he better than anything we can produce here. As a matter of fact, in the great majorityof cases we produce in this country articles quiteas good as those which are imported. We have some artificial protection, whichmust tend to an unnecessarily iigh costof living. I believe in protecting necessary andyoung industries, but I do not believe in increasingthe cost of commodities sby (making them artificially dear, asunnecessarily high Customs duties must do.
I am glad to see that in the schedule to this Bill preference is givento the MotherCountry, althoughwe have not had a similar preferencedn return. Iam strongly in favour of Imperialpreference, but I have a grievance against Great Britain becauseof her treatment ofAustralian products during thewax, saidat the present time.Throughoutthe war, and to this date, the ImperialGovernment have beengiving a preference to Argentine as against Australian meat. They have been taking the Argentine article first, and have been paying higher prices for it thanthey pay for Australian meat. I think it is very necessary in the interests ofAustraliathat we should vigorously protest againstthat, more particularly ata time when there is a glut of our raw products and we cannot obtain prices for them which will pay our producers. We should makea very strong protest through our able Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), who, insteadof being hastily summoned back toattend to comparatively trivial affairs here, should be left, for the present, on the other side of the world, where he is doing magnificent work for the Commonwealth.
-Perhaps the blame for what the honorable senator complains of is due not so much to the Imperial Government asto the official directors appointed by the Government.
SenatorGUTHRIE. - I am notsufficiently conversant with the details to say whether that is so or not, but I am concerned about the fact.
I emphasize the serious position of our producers in this country, who at present are called upon to dispose of wool, skins, hides, meat, tallow, and cereals, with the exception of wheat, at considerably under the cost of production.
– What cereals, except wheat,arebeing produced at a loss ?
-Barley, maize, and. particularly oats. Whilst I as* ‘&- Pror teetipnist,,.!, claim that high; ancV indiscrimiuate, Prcteotipn- means highly cost of living, with its natural concomitant* high, wages.. Most of. us believe: in high wages;. but the increase in the. cost of living during recent years has been in greater- ratio: than has the increase’ in wages: . I ‘ think that our Statistician, who so ably puts before us quarterly statements showing, amongst other things* the cost of living in Australia, should include in those statements the’ cost* of clothing. Hitherto he has- dealt only with the cost of foodstuffs, plus rent. As clothing> enters so: largely ‘into the cost of living, I suggest that in future statistics relatingHb’ that item’ should’ be’ included in hisj statements1.: Considering’ the low price of our raw - commodities in Australia,the high cost of living to our people is”avscandal”‘I speak for the man upon the land’, ‘who ‘is being’ very unfairly treated.’ It is the producer upon whom thie people of the cities live. We are an exporting nation, and1 yet’ we make the man ‘ upon* the land, who” iproduices practically the - whole ofour” wealth, pay through the nose for everything that he uses. Every one of his tools, of trade “is so . ‘.highly prbr (ecte.d thaV ‘his- cost: of. pro’ductipn has been greatly increased. Yet” when he produces he has “ to accept the world’s parity ; for’ his products. Pue e.pnsidefa7 fion should^, therefore,. be. gjLven to^uggesr tion’s either to admit the tools of pro’duor tion for . miners, and farmers, free; or upon a., very much: lower scale of duties than,, is set. out in the schedule to this Bill.
We in Australia have been Protectionists for many. years; but we- have not made the progress that we-.ought to haye made. T,he fact that more than half our people are Hying in. a. few- cities, proves that there is something radically.^ wrpng. , In Victpria, 52 per- cent, of the total papulation pf, this rich . State,-, which, is comparatively closely settled, are tp be fimnd. iit brie pity-
-It. is pretty much the game in other parts, of the world,
-That is no. argument’ in. its, favour-.. Probably- this cpuivtry. has been blessed with the. richest soilin the world* and certa-nl-y with the best climate. We have millions, of acres of rich-, land thai, ncbody-‘ will go- upon. Why ? . Because- the-, whole- of our past legislation’ has i been in . favour+of the city dweller, He has been protected’ in every way; He* en-joys., every ccmforfe- He has water arid1- electric /light’ laid -on tp ‘ his dwelling, there! are’ picture ‘theatres* and race meetings’ whicK he may attend, and there is, usually a doctor-and a chemist’ in the ‘street m which he1 lives. But if we go into, the country districts;- what do1 we find ?’ “There we find people . WsP1 never see’ fresh milk; fresh fruit, or ice, who haye!no eleetrje light; no ‘picture;’ theatres; no electric trains, and no doctors or chemists1 handy. Not long”* ago one lady in the country, remarked* to me; “My husband^ is c’arting water to-day a distance of 20 miles in the, Mallee, whilst the Women iq our cities have merely to turn a tap’ iji.lorder t’o ge’tl ari. abundance of . water.’”- The truth is. th^t we have npf yet awakened to the ‘ fact that Australia is, empty. Unles.s we are going tp make it more profitable for peeple.-4p develop our continent, and’ “mak$ the conditions, of the rural population more -comfortable, it will remain . empty! - - We- . . shall never ‘ become great’ so “Ibngv-‘^as’” we have people huddled , together -in- our cities. Over-protection and -past legisla;- ti’on, are largely responsible for &e<exi£r$ing condition of a^Paijsi.
– As a Victorian; the honorable - senator isi - preaching’ rank heresy.
– I have sufficient courage to say exactly what’ I” think. Our legislation has not been1 sympathetic enough to- our- out-back residents1.- People are being- driven” off the land to-day, and are being- crowded together- in ‘Sydney and Melbourne: Instead of being en^ eouraged’ to- occupy this dangerously eimpty -continent, the drift of population is -all to- out cities. In some’ respects; this Tariff’ wilr accentuate- that movement. Under its- operation- a number of industries’ will be -built’ up which could not live1 if only a reasonable measure ‘of protection were’ extended’ to them. If people are1 to enjoy such good . times -in our cities, what inducement will there be for them to- go put into the country ? We have had, this drift to the cities*’ even in seasons - pf prosperity -to- tie producer; vvhen, owing to the -war, our primary products were realizing high prices. But what is the outlook to-day ? There is a less area under cultivation in Australia than there was twenty years ago, there are. 30,000,000 less sheep than there were in 1896, there are . fewer cattle, and fewer horses. When, then, is . the position likely to be when everything we produce, such as wool, meat, and most of our primary products, is realizing’ much less than its cost of production? Everything that the producer has to buy is dear onaccount of high Protection and high wages. Everything that he has to sell musk be sold at the world’s parity, and, owing to the scandalously high freights which obtain, he is compelled to accept ridiculously low prices for his products. The price of Australian lamb in London to-day is1s.1d. per lb., but the price at which exporters are prepared to operate during the next few months is only 5½d. per lb. ; the difference being largely accounted for by excessively high freights.
– Our ships might help to relieve that position.
– I am a strong supporter of the Commonwealth Line of Steamers, because they constitute the only means by which our producers will be’ able to get a fair deal in the matter of the carriage of their produce. Twopence per lb. is being offered for mutton in Australia to-day, and 20s. per 100 pounds for beef. The latter, therefore, is commanding only 2.4d. per lb. I admit that our consumers are not getting cheap living.
Although wool and meat are being sold ata very low price, our people are still being charged high prices for both clothing and food. What will be the price of Australian meat in the world’s market when the 5,000,000 carcasses of Australian lambs, which are just about to. be sent overseas, are available, goodness only knows. I doubt very much whether we shall have an export trade in meat during the coming year. I doubt whether the inland meat-freezing works, the establishment of which we encouraged in. Australia, will be able to build up a profitable trade during the next few years.
– Does the honorable senator think that the statement published in the press, that beef was realizing only 4½d. per lb. in England, is true ?
– I do. Our beef is realizing only that figure in London.
– If our exports in these commodities cease how shall we carry on?
– I do not know. We shall bebankrupt. I have all along impressed upon the Government the urgent need that exists for real economy.
– Is not the position really that we cannot sell, and, therefore, cannot buy?
– As we shall not be able to profitably sell, we shall have very little money with which to import, and, consequently, there must be an enormous shrinkage in our Customs revenue during the next two years. Whilst the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) was able to make his ledger balance during’ the past twelve months he will not be able to make it balance during the next few years by millions of pounds, unless we indulge in very rigid retrenchment.
Upon some of the items of the Tariff the Protection afforded is sufficient, whilst upon other items it is too much.
– And in some instances it is too little.
– Yes. Take the woollen industry by way of illustration. We have a high Protective Tariff against British goods. I admit that that Tariff was necessary at one time when we were engaged in building up our woollen industry, and when the wages paid in that industry in England were only about onefourth of those which we paid. here. But in Britain to-day the wages paid in the woollen industry are as high as those which we pay. In addition, the buyers of our wool have to pay nearly 2d. per lb. by way of freight on the raw wool. They have also to bear the cost of high wages, insurance, and loss of interest, and the operatives of their mills labour only the same number of hours as do our own. They have also to pay freight to Australia again, and a ridiculously high Protective duty upon the manufactured goods. But as against a country like Japan, where the operatives in the woollen mills work twelve hours daily for an average wage of 9s. per week, our Tariff is not nearly high enough. We shall require to be on the qui vive when the various items come under consideration if we wish to do what is fair.
– Is not a preference granted to Great Britain upon woollens as against France?
-I am in favour of Imperial preference throughout, even though France, our late Ally, is severely handicapped at the present time by the rate of exchange. There are several items upon which I cannot understand why a high Protective duty has been levied. Take, for example, woollen goods. A little coterie or ring has made a fortune out of woollens, and with what result to the people of Australia? Although wool is so good; so plentiful, and so cheap, we have dear blankets, dear flannel, and dear clothing, when, as* a matter of fact, we should have the best and cheapest in the world. Then why is a heavy Tariff imposed upon motor chassis which are required by doctors and farmers in the country districts ? Upon motor bodies, which can be built in Australia as well as they can be anywhere else in the world, I do not care how high a duty is levied. I believe in high duties being imposed upon all luxuries such as jewellery, silks, furs, feathers, cigars, and wines. We have a country which can produce wine’s equal to the best French wines. But we have never given the industry adequate protection. We are settling a number of returned soldiers in vineyards, and I would give them a very high protective duty. I should like to emphasize the fact that I am in favour of a very high Tariff upon all luxuries, but I do not believe in taxing the tools of trade that are required for production, especially farming and mining machinery. I am a Protectionist, so far as it is reasonable to go, for all infant industries and essential industries, but I am not in favour of Protection which is going to further accentuate centralization or unduly increase the cost of living, which inthis country is, at the present time, scandalously high.
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (Western
Australia) [5.36]. - I find myself in agreement with many things said by. a number of honorable senators during this interesting debate, but I have not found myself so much in agreement with any honorable senator who has spoken as with Senator Guthrie. The principles which he has enunciated are, broadly speaking, the principles which I hold. There are, however, some questions upon which he has not expressed opinions, and on those I hope the honorable senator will agree with mine. On Friday last I drew the Minister’s attention to the question of the mandated Territories and other Pacific Possessions, and warned him that Iwould ask for information, so that he might be ready with it when he replied; as to our attitude towards them. Iunderstand that Papua has its own Tariff, which is imposed on imports from Australia and other countries, and that it is contemplated to establish a somewhat similar state of affairs in regard to the mandated Territories. I am not clear on these points, and hope the Minister (Senator Russell) will give full information as to what is proposed by the Government as regards . these islands of ours, and whether it can be effected under the Tariff we are now considering, or whether it must be done by a separate Bill. My idea is that we should not treat these islands as foreign countries, but that the Tariff wall which we are building round the Commonwealth should include within it all our mandated and other Territories in the Pacific.
– That of course, would bring black labour into competition with Australia.
– So far as I can make out, black labour in those islands has not yet been brought into competition with Australian industries to any appreciable extent. The imports to Australia from Papua, New Guinea, and other Pacific Territories, so far as my information goes, are not produced in Australia, or are produced here only to a very small degree, and the amount of hardship that would be imposed on Australian workmen by coming into competition with black labour from the islands is practically negligible. It is, of course, quite possible that when the islands develop in the future, as we hope they will, they may come into competition with Australia. If so, the position may then have to be reconsidered, butat the present time I can see no reason, although the Minister may be able to furnish some, why the Protection that we are establishing for Australia by this Tariff should not be extended also to the Pacific Islands.
– Bananas, for instance?
– Bananas come from Fiji and Queensland.’
– And, other tropical islands.
– Bana’nas are not imported to Australia from any ‘ other island ‘except Fiji. Fiji belongsi to- the British ‘Empire; and1 not to< Australia in the same’ way as- the other island’s to which I have referred. I have indicated to the Minister my ideas on’ the subject, and have asked him, after- warming him in advance that I: would ask him, for full information concerning the intentions of the Government with regard to these islands.
As i -to the general principles’ which should govern the framing of Tariffs, let me say first that I propose- to support the second reading of the Bill, but do not propose to follow the request made to- all 8enators’‘by the Minister to follow blindly the leadershipi of the! Government’ in this matter.
-I did not aski that I asked honorable- senators to remember the pledges that they. gave behind. the Gor verriment. That is a very different thing from what the honorable senator, says..
– If the Minister had allowed me to continue he would; have- found-, that I was, not going to be- unfair to him-. He reminded us that, at the- last election we> were all r&turned pledged to support -Protection, but I do not remember giving a pledge- ito support: any’ particular Tariff; BUI, or any particular duty:-
– I “recognised the right of an individual . senator on parti- . cular items, but I’ said- that the Senate should’ hot reduce the’ average below a fair and: reasonable Protection for, Australia.
Senator DRAKEBROCKMAN.Precisely, and if the Minister had only al-i lowed me to continue I wpuld;have; quoted from . his speech, almost the- exact words that . he has now used.. I propose -to exercise my discretion as: to. what; is a fair average: Protection for the industries of Australia. I do’ not- intend’ to follow bEndly what the Government, or the Min*ister in charge of the Bill, or- anybody else, thinks is a fair average Protection. The only pledges which I have given- arethose I gave to the people of Western Australia.. I have given no pledge to any
Government, and do. . not- p-cqposfe to> be bound, -by. the- ppinipSs. expressed -.by the Government in this measure.
In- my -view; Protection has a threefold’ object-^fjrst, th e “ establishment of industries,* second, ‘ th’e protection of industries already established,, and, third and least important, the raising of revenue.. If we are to have a Tariff w.hich will assist u3 to establish industries! that are essential to. Australia and that, do, not already exist , in: Australia, then, I say, “make your Tariff as- high as. you like.” ‘ Butt where: we- already, have industries . existing in, Australia which can carry, on in competition with-, the -rest of the world,- 1 see no -reason for giving ‘them greater - protection- where they, are already flourishing ‘.under the -. protection, which they have-.now:. Yet I find;: on examining the Tariff schedule now beforei us, that in many instances, where” we hav;e; flourishing industries1 in Australia, by means of which great profits and great -fortunes’ are being’ made, the Ministry, in spite ‘ of those facts, ask us to increase the ‘duties on their productions. -
– And the people are being -already, exploited.
SenatorDRAKE-BROCKMAN.- That is so. In those cases I do ‘not propose to give my ‘support to the proposals brought down by the Government. It seems to me that the very first duty . of a Government in Australia is to fill’ up the empty spaces of! the continent. . 1 think a Tariff oan.be used, for that purpose,, and a, . Tariff, can be used to, prevent” that- purpose. The so? called scientific Tariff, which- we are now considering does, in effect, in a great meaT sure. prevent. the. peopling; and developing of our, great empty spaces., Senator. Var* do% speaking, I am sure, without^ having quite fully considered this aspect pf the question, said that the only steel rails that ‘he - would’ allow’ to be used-‘ in Australia, if . he, bad his’ way,; would be-‘ steel rails, from . Australian, furnaces. Steel rails made in - A-ustran lia tor-day may be the best in the.- world; I am npt saying that they are not, but. . I . do say that they are- to-day about, eight, -times as expensive - as steel rails bought- by Victoria for the building pf Victorian railways a number- of. years- ago,and they- ‘ . are-, more- expensive than, steel rails-, procurable elsewhere. The greatest necessity in this country, particularly in Western Australia, is the construction of . railways, so that we may have agricultural and pastoral development, and anything which we do in this Tariff which makes ‘the construction of those railways more expensive is detrimental, to Australia.I had placed before me recently by a very able gentleman a number of facts and figures concerning the steel industry of New SouthWales. I warned him before he started that if he wanted my assistance to get even further protection than is provided in this schedule, and that is what he was after, he would have to put up a very strong case to convince me. He said he could do -so.’ As he proceeded I began to think he was putting -up a very strong case, until -finally I asked him, “ What about your profits 1” Even then, on the balance-sheets, it looked as though the profits were not too great, but when I began to analyze them, instead of being a modest 4 or 5 per cent, as was shown last year, and 9 or 10 per cent. >a few years ago, they averaged out at something like from 18 to 20 per cent. That is the result of my analysis of the very ‘strong case put before me for my consideration, and yet this. is an industry which -demands even greater protection than has been given to it in the past, . and greater protection than is actually given to dt in this -schedule. If we give the industry . more protection than it has . now, we shall be . doing great damage to Australia, i looking at the position from a -broad and national point, of view.
– Is the < honorable senator >, speaking of the iron ‘and steel duties?
– Yes. Until we. get . Australia ‘developed, . we want. to . procure our . rails from wherever we can get them . cheapest.
– And Ithe honorable senator is prepared tto kill . the local industry to . do.so ?
– I am prepared, to place the development and peopling of Australia first, because, until we people Australia, we- . can never guarantee. that we can. hold it.
-Can that be . done with . cheap iron rails,?
SenatorDRAKE-BROCKMAN.- rThat is one of- the items.; -but -I could -mention -others. Everything we do to ^penalize Ithe man on the land, -and make it more expensive to produce, . particularly pri mary products, makes it more difficult for others to take up rural pursuits, and thus increase development.
Proposals have been, placed before us for imposing high duties- on agricultural implements. I admit . that it is desirable that agricultural implements, should be manufactured in Australia, but when we consider that the men controlling the industry have made,, and are still making huge’ fortunes ‘out of the poor unfortunate “ cocky “ in the back blocks, we. have to consider whether. we are not acting detrimentally to Australia in giving further protection to such industries. We. are damning the man on the land, and interfering with our prospects of holding Australia so long as we continue on these lines.
– The “cocky” in New “Zealand has to pay £26 more for his -reaper and binder than the “ cocky “ in* Australia.
– At the moment I do not intend to quote the figures I have at my disposal, although I am prepared to admit that agricultural machinery in New Zealand under -a policy of Free . Trade is dearer, generally speaking, than it is in Australia, at least that is what one would surmise from a perusal of the figures supplied toy the Massey-Harris Company. There is no occasion to give established industries -in Australia any further protection, particularly when they are flourishing.
– But it is necessary to allow them . to continue.
– Of course it is, arid if the honorable senator can show me that the imposition of the proposed duties is necessary to -enable them to continue ‘in business, he -will have assisted in breaking down my opposition. Butsb long- as an industry is able to hold its own, and, perhaps; a -little more, against outside competition, we have done ail ‘ that is necessary. In connexion -with agricultural implements we- are going further than is necessary.
-We are spoonfeeding the millionaire and starving the “ cocky.’’
– Exactly. I have viewed the matter from its various aspects* arid consider that1 our first . ‘responsibility is ‘to people the country.
-Cannot -that be done -by finding’ employment for them?
– Yes, on the land.
Senator Guthrie directed attention to the absurd duties proposed to be placed on motor chassis, and in this country of huge distances, where we are not allowed to import cheap rails, for Heaven’s sake let us have cheap motor transport. By all means give whatever protection is necessary to the body-building industry, particularly in connexion with the bodies which are used for luxurious cars employed in and around the city; but the man on the land, who has to cover great distances, should have motor transport made available at the cheapest possible rates.
I have indicated on fairly broad lines my attitude towards certain items in the schedule. Unfortunately, I belong to that class for which I fear Senator Bakhap has great contempt. Unlike the honorable senator I am not a “whole hogger”; nor am I like Senator Gardiner, who is a “ whole hogger “ in another direction. I trust the honorable senators to whom I have referred will not regard the term as in any sense offensive, because it is not intended as such.
– Did not the honorable senator ask me if I was a Free Trader or a Protectionist?
– Yes, and I am not yet satisfied.
– If chassis are assembled in Australia a duty of only 5 per cent, is imposed.
– That is capable of very careful analysis. It sounds very simple on the prompting of the expert sitting behind the Minister, but there are other experts who could show that it is more than 5 per cent., as it appears on paper. I have great admiration for those honorable senators who have so fearlessly expressed their opinions on this subject. Senator Bakhap even went so far as to say that he would favour what really amounts to absolute prohibition.
– If it were necessary to protect an industry. He qualified his statement.
– If Senator Bakhap qualified it in any way he is quite capable of explaining on his own behalf. Senator Bakhap was even prepared to encourage - I think he said he preferred - immigrants settling in the cities rather than going on the land, and much as I admire the honorable senator for his fearless attitude and ‘ the sentiments he expressed, I cannot agree with his methods of attaining the ends which
Ave all desire to see attained. I have indicated the lines upon which. I propose to vote iii connexion with some of the items in the schedule, and I have made it fairly clear to the Minister where I stand in regard to the proposals of the Government.
.- Like Senator Drake-Brockman, I have listened with interest to the debate on .the Tariff Bill, but unlike the honorable senator, I have profited from the discussion. As a good Australian, as I claim to be, I realize that the fiscal policy of this country must be one of Protection. During the period of the war the necessity for such a policy was demonstrated in a very conclusive manner, and when Senator Gardiner said that the industrial efficiency of Great Britain won the war, he uttered a truism. When that little Army which was, in affectionate terms, called the “ Old Contemptibles “ was, notwithstanding the heroic devotion to duty and sacrifices of its men, almost annihilated by German hordes, when the British Government began to realize the possibility of defeat, and when they saw how inadequately the men were equipped for the great struggle, what did they do? They achieved one of the greatest feats ever recorded in history in an endeavour to defend the honour and integrity of the British Empire by organizing the forces at their command and converting them into a powerful instrument of war, which eventually destroyed their enemies. Assuming that a similar demand were made upon Australia, how helpless we would be, and how futile would be the sacrifices of our splendid manhood. We have not the facilities in this country to manufacture a fraction of the thousands of articles necessary to successfully prosecute modern warfare.
– The Tariff is really strengthening our defence.
– It is. Notwithstanding the security which may be afforded under the League of Nations, or the proposals for disarmament, I am one of those who believe in keeping a hold on what we have instead of depending too much upon the generosity of our neighbours. Protection is essential to this country for safety in time of war and for success in commerce. Although Protection is naturally the fiscal policy of Australia, Protection alone will not make us a powerful or progressive nation, because behind it we must have energy and enterprise. Business men must possess a high standard of commercial morality, and workers must aim at industrial efficiency. The excellence of our work must be sufficient not only to meet the demands in the local market, but those in the markets of the world, and unless a policy such as this gives us that security, Protection will be in vain. Generally, I appreciate and agree with the proposals embodied in this Bill, although it may contain some anomalies. The legislation we are now considering affects not us only, but the interests of those who are to follow us.
There is another subject - I refer to the timber resources of the Commonwealth - which, so far, has not received much attention during the debate in” - the Senate. There is an ascertained limit to these resources. If we can visualize the exploitation of our timber from the date of settlement in Australia up to the present time, with a comparatively small population, averaging, I suppose, 2,000,000 people for the last century, we can form some idea of what is likely to happen during the next century, when perhaps we shall have a population two or three times as great. This is a matter which calls for serious consideration. We should realize our responsibilities in this respect to future generations. It takes nearly 100 years to grow some Australian trees to perfection for certain purposes, and, therefore, on this subject, I am not at one with the proposal concerning the duty on imported timber. I have been associated with timber practically all my life, and I agree with much of what Senator Gardiner said on this subject. In some respects, oregon is absolutely the best timber for constructional purposes. We have nothing that can quite take its place. We have many timbers that are superior and more valuable, but, unfortunately, these are being destroyed or wasted through being used for purposes for which (hey are entirely unstated. The Semite should consider the advis ability of making some effort to alter the duties on timber.
Reference has been- made during the debate to the crowded condition of our cities. No responsible public man can review the position without a feeling of grave concern. It seems to me that, in the interests of the city dwellers themselves, it is important that we should realize that we have approached perilously near a state of affairs in which the rural industries of the Commonwealth will be unable to support the populations in our cities. Therefore our legislation should be designed to bring about a more equitable distribution of cur people. Is the Tariff an instrument likely to accomplish this end? Is it in the interests of the city workers that protective duties should be imposed on certain manufacturing industries, such as, for instance, the manufacture of agricultural implements, if the effect of those duties will be such as to penalize those engaged in rural production? What is likely to happen to the workers in the cities iu such circumstances ?
– What happened to . the engineering industry in Ballarat ? ‘ ‘
– The manufacturers at Ballarat are able to hold their own in competition. In that city they manufacture the best engines in the world.
– They are not doing it now.
– That is on account of the high wages now being demanded in the industry. The dwellers in our cities would, be well advised to encourage in every possible way the development of rural industries, even to the extent of bribing people to go out on the land, and produce. This encouragement should take the form of greater consideration to all connected with the pioneering work of this’ country. Recently, I had an opportunity of travelling through a portion of the Mallee district of Victoria, and saw the conditions under which the people there, including the women and children, are living. In some districts the farmers have to cart water a distance, of 10 miles for the purpose of watering their stock. They cannot keep cows to provide milk for their children, for the simple reason that there is no water available. Some of these farmers have as many as 600 acres under cultivation. and yet they cannot keep half-a-dozen sheep because of the trouble in regard to water. But in spite of .their difficulties, these people are facing the future cheerfully. They .are glad to be living a free life, and are prepared to work hard. -The other might I attended a meeting for the purpose of establishing the organization known as the New Settlers’ League, the object of which is to keep in touch with all new immigrants to this country. There was some criticism about farm labourers or domestic’ servants coming to Victoria at the present time, the suggestion being ‘that immigration was not advisable in view, of the existing unemployment; and the gentleman who presided at the meeting said, “ I was in Gippsland the other day, and was informed that thousands ,of pounds’ worth of work, for which tenders had been called, could not be done for the simple reason that there was no Habour ..available.” And, .as I have already said, .1 was in the Mallee a little time ago, and I know what is happening there. The difficulty with regard to water is due to the fact that no labour can be obtained for the construction of water channels T-/bich have been promised by the Government. There is a mad rush of people to get into our cities and towns. Parliament should take heed of the trend of events, .and our legislation, and especially this Tariff, should be an instrument to remedy this state of affairs.
i - X do not. wish to delay the Senate, as I understand the amendment is not taken very seriously. The Government are not prepared to accept it. The best way, in my opinion, to overcome the shipping difficulty is for everybody’ to become a canvasser for the Commonwealth Line of Steam-ships. The freights are low at present; but this state of affairs is not likely to continue much longer.
– I have not seen much cheap freight offering.
Senator- RUSSELL - There was some offering at 40s. per ton, and we have shipped wheat at ’47s. 6d., which is comparatively low, but that is not now avail* able. Ships that are carrying our wheat and flour have to come from Great Britain in ballast. This means that we have to pay a freight, sufficient for the running of vessels both ways. It should be our policy to build up the Commonwealth Line ,of Steam-ships by every means in our power, so that, by means of competition between the - several lines, . we may have some (assurance .of reasonable freights in future. During the .whole of the war period, the Shipping Combine charged heavy freights, but they had to pay 75 per cent, of profits in taxation. I have every sympathy with the movement to secure cheap freights for Australian products. We should make special efforts to build up our secondary industries, which need not necessarily conflict with our primary industries, because we have all the necessary raw materials within our own boundaries. I believe that the growth of .our cities apparently at the expense of rural centres, is largely the result of natural evolution. Cities all over the world are growing larger, because the -workers are continually seeking the best employment. If there is one thing that a worker is keen upon, it is to find a better job than the one he holds at present, and therefore this movement of population is not altogether an unmixed evil. I .may remind honorable senators that the Phoenix Foundry, at Ballarat; was one of the finest engineering works in the Commonwealth. It disappeared because it was not sufficiently protected.
– It went out because of the bad policy of the Railway Department.
– Our object should be to encourage business enterprises in country centres, and in other ways to decentralize industry. Some of the aggregation of population in the metropolitan cities has been due -to the adoption of tapering railway rates to give the big ^cities an advantage. Portland, was kept a closed port for many years in. this way through Melbourne influence. I have done something to open .up. Portland,, and I hope to be able to. do something, for the progress of .other .neglected ports in Australia. The. -adoption of tapering railway -rates iri the interests of, metropolitan, cities has been the work of State, Parliaments,and it needs to be prevented by insisting upon a .uniform charge for. a uniform distance. Honorable senators know that if in Victoria wheat was . shipped from the most convenient: port it. would be snipped from Portland. We ‘are advancing the interests of Portland in that way. at the present. ‘time. . During the season we have shipped from that port, between 700,000 and 800,000 tons of wheat . without- a single hitch pf any kind,, whilst it has.insured the work of loading being’ carried out in the day-time,- and ‘under better conditions than those which prevail in Melbourne.
I am not prepared to accept Senator Gardiner’s proposal in. the form in which it is “expressed’ in his . amendment.
– Will the, -Minister say what reasons, actuate the Government in opposing, ah amendment to. . give preference to, Commonwealth vessels?
– We want something bigger than 2£. per cent. . We are, at the . present time, considering a shipping . policy- for’ Australia;.’ We are determined that Australia shall have the benefit’ of cheaper freights. They are’ essential’ to our primary industries, and to the welfare of the country generally. In the circumstances, 1 ask honorable senators: to give the Government an- opportunity of more matura consideration of the- proposal involved in the. amendment. Am advantage ofr 2$, per. cent, is a trifling, matter in view; of; the . fcosfc of building a vessel-, and in., v,iew of . the; fact that vessels kept hanging about- a port idle cost from. £300 to £500 per day to maintain.
– If- the Minister were shipping goods would he . not prefer to shio by a line that gave him an advantage of 2^ per cent. ?’
– We want to compete on fair terms. ‘ I am glad to be able to- report that the vessels of the Commonwealth’’ Line’ are’ still ‘ paying very handsomely indeed, and1 1 hope will continue ‘to do’ so: With “a better and1 faster bias’s- of boat-,- which’ -we ‘intend to’ build in -the near - future; I hope we shall be able tor do- more, effective’ work than it. has,- been possible- to do with the “ hacks,” as >I may call them, ‘purchased- during the- war period; I repeat; that the Government cannot see- their way- to’ accept; the amend.ment.
Original question’ resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Sitting suspended from 6.27 to 8 p.m.
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed’ to.
Clause 3 (Definitions).
– The; schedule to the . Bill ‘ -provides for the bringing into- operation, ‘of. a- number of, deferred duties,, and-. I: should like -to, know whether those duties must become operative- upon the- dates’ specified or whether they can be further postponed,, provided that- the industries to which they relate have not been established ?
. -One of the duties- of1- the proposed Tariff! Board’ will be to observe. the development of industry, and if its- members are df ‘ opinion that sufficient progress- has not been made’ by-‘any industry to enable it to supply the r reasonable “‘requirements of- the Australian- market, action will be taken to postpone the operation- of “the deferred duties until such -progress” “has been made. “
.- I. notice that this clause refers to the Tariff Board, the- Bill for the creation of which has, not yet been approved ‘by this Chamber. Until’ that measure has passed the Senate it seems futile to define a Board which may never come into existence. Seeing that, the motion for the second reading of the Tariff Board Bill is to be moved to-morrow, the ‘VicePresident of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) might well . agree to report progress at this stage in order that, we may know precisely where we stand. ‘ At present we- do not know- whether such a tribunal as< the Tariff- Board- will’ ever be constituted:
– I. would point out to Senator DrakeBrockman that either’ this Bill’ or the Tariff’ Board Bill must’ beu given ‘ precedence/ The* -latter ‘measure’ is already before the Senate-,, and. if- the proposed Board, be not constituted, ‘the particular clause -which, we are- now- discussing, will not affect that.. Bill..
– But < this Bill deals with, the Tariff Board..
– I might* just as logically argue –that Senator- DrakevBrockman wishes us to create . a Tariff ‘Board when there is no’ Tariff -in- existence, . To my. mind, the Bill with, which we- are now dealing is ten times more important than is the measure dealing with the Tariff Board. Consequently, the honorable senator is asking me to give precedence to the Bill which is of least importance. If there be- anything in the Tariff Board Bill which will be affected by the clause under consideration, I do not mind postponing the clause until after the second reading of the Tariff Board Bill has been moved.
– But the Government gave us a promise that we should be afforded an opportunity of dealing with that measure first.
– I only obtained a copy of it this morning, and I did not move its second reading this afternoon because I first desired an opportunity to carefully read its provisions.
– This clause defines a Board which may never come into ex- istence.
– But the Tariff itself may never come into existence. The Government have deliberately determined to put the Customs Tariff Bill through first, because it is the more important measure. I am quite willing to postpone the consideration of any clause in it which refers to the Tariff Board. But no honorable senator asked that the consideration of this Bill should be postponed until we had reached clause 4. .
– The request was made here upon the motion for the first reading of the measure.
– There was no united appeal made to me.
– There were a number of references made to the matter, and, in reply to them, an undertaking was given by the Leader of the Senate.
– Why not postpone the consideration of this clause?
– Then I shall be met with the objection in regard to other clauses that there is no Tariff Board in existence. The Government intend to submit the Tariff Board Bill to the Senate, and, should it be rejected, the clauses in this measure which refer to it will “have to be reconsidered. But we have not yet a Tariff.
– Nor have we a Tariff Board.
– If the request had been made generally by honorable senators, I would probably have recognised the advisableness of deferring the consideration of the whole of these clauses. Wherever there is a vital principle involved I am prepared to postpone the consideration of any clause.
– I . cannot agree with the VicePresident of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) that the request which has been preferred by Senator Drake-Brockman is an unimportant, one. It is so vitally important that I fail to see how we can make progress with the consideration of this Bill until the principle involved in the Tariff Board Bill has been settled. The measure which is now before us provides that the British preferential duties cannot come into operation, until a proclamation has been issued, and that proclamation cannot be issued until after the creation of the Tariff Board. Consequently there is very good reason for deferring consideration of this Bill until we have decided whether or not the Tariff Board shall l?e created. To my mind, that is an insuperable obstacle to the course which has been proposed by the Minister. I hope that he will be reasonable, and that, even at this late hour he will agree to postpone the further consideration of the measure until we have had an opportunity of discussing the provisions of the Tariff Board Bill.
.- I am quite willing to remain here all the year if need he, but I do not wish to stay in Melbourne unnecessarily. To me it seems that to postpone the work of the Senate this evening would constitute a veritable waste of time. It is obvious that if this Bill be carried in its present form, and if the Tariff Board Bill be rejected, it will be the duty of the Government to amend this measure in such a way as to make it meet the altered situation which will then arise. I have the best of reasons to believe that the majority of the Senate will agree to the Tariff Board. We can surely proceed with this Bill to-night, arid pass it with whatever amendments are desired. Then if it is not in conformity with the Bill constituting the Board as it finally passes, it will be the duty of the Government te recommit it.
– I have promised that.
– The Minister must do so. We are up against a dead-end if we do not take some risks, because the Tariff Board Bill has reference to a Tariff. Unless this Bill is passed it maybe said that there is no Tariff, and that we must lay the Tariff Board Bill aside and pass the Tariff Bill. I am prepared to go on with the work now, and leave to the Government the responsibility of bringing this Bill into conformity with the decision of the Senate on the Tariff Board Bill.
.- The whole purpose of bringing this matter under the notice of the Senate during the first-reading debate was that honorable senators should not be committed to any of the items in the schedule until they were perfectly satisfied, and aware of the nature of the safeguard that was to be instituted by means of a Board. The Minister then in charge of the Senate gave a definite promise that the matter would be considered, as far as possible, from that aspect. I therefore urge the Minister to reconsider his decision not to permit the Tariff Board Bill to be brought before the Senate and settled before we go on with the schedule.
– There are only three clauses, numbers 3, 9, and 11, which involve the interpretation of the Tariff Board. It is easy to postpone consideration of them, and go on with the rest of the Bill and the schedule. We shall not commit ourselves to anything by doing so.
– On every item we pass we commit ourselves.
– I do not- think so.
– 1 cannot understand why so much heat should be displayed over this simple matter. -We cannot have both Bills .before the Senate at the one time and make any progress. We know the nature of the Tariff Board Bill, and surely we can adopt a simple definition which involves nothing except that there is to be a ‘Board known as the Tariff Board. Both measures are complementary to each other, and we must deal with one or the other first. I do not agree with Senator Drake-Brockman that in dealing with the Tariff before we deal with, the Tariff Board we are putting the cart before the horse. It is impossible to deal with the Board if we have not a Tariff. Some honorable senators appear to want to have the cart and the horse abreast of one another. The Minister should be allowed to proceed with the business in the order in which it has been arranged.
– This clause would not commit, honorable senators in the way they imagine to any principle in connexion with the Tariff Board. I have already offered to postpone any clause involving the Board, and recommit it later’ if necessary. There seems to be an impression that we are trying to commit senators to the principle of the Board. That is not so. They will vote on that in a separate Bill; and if the Senate deliberately decides to substitute the Minister for the Board, then all the other clauses will have to be amended. I am prepared to postpone certain clauses, but I do not want i.very clause postponed. We can discuss the schedule and the rates of duty; but I do not want the schedule to be postponed on the ground that the whole thing will be subject to the Board, nor do I want every clause postponed on the ground that it is a distant relative of some other clause.
Clauses 4 to 7 agreed to.
Clause 8 (Application of British preferential Tariff to United Kingdom).
– I quite approve of this clause. In the not distant future we shall have a good many complications in connexion with the trade of the world, and this clause is properly and specially designed to prevent the goods of any other nation coming through British ports to Australia under the lowest column of our Tariff schedule.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 9 (Power to apply British Preferential Tariff or Intermediate Tariff to British Dominions or foreign countries).
– Thisclause needs to be postponed, as sub-clause 3 deals with the reference to the Tariff Board of certain . questions.
-I have no objection.
Clause 10 agreedto.
Clause 11 postponed.
Clause 12 (Repeal of Acts).
– By an oversight, South Africa has been cut out of her preferential Tariff, and I propose to move for the insertion of a new clause in substitution for clause 12, so that the existing preferential Tariff, so far as South Africa is concerned, shall continue in force until such time as this Act is proclaimed. When that proclamation is issued, all reciprocal treaties of that kind will be cancelled, and probably new reciprocal arrangements will he made under the new schedule. I more -
That the House of Representatives he requested to make the following amendment: - “ Leave ‘out clause 12 and insert in its stead the following clause: - “ 12. ( 1 )The undermentioned Acts are hereby repealed, as from the time when this Act is deemed to have come into operation, namely -
Customs Tariff 1908 (No. 7 of 1908).
Customs Tariff Amendment 1908 (No. 13 of 1908).
Customs Tariff 1910 (No. 39 of 1910).
Customs Tariff 1911 . (No. 19 of 1911).
Request agreed to.
Clause 13 (Cessation of operation of certain ‘Tariff proposals’).
Motion (by Senator Russell) proposed -
That the HouseofRepresentativesbe requested to make the following amendment : - “ Leave out clause 13 and insert in its stead the following clause : - 13. (1) The undermentioned Tariff proposals shall be deemed to have . ceased . to have effect as from the time when this Act is deemed to have” come into operation, -namely: -
The Tariff proposals - proposed : in the House of Kepresentatives on the . following dates, namely : - 3rd December, 1914 - (‘Kelating to the Tariff on goods other than those imported from, and the , produce . or manufacture of, the Union of South Africa) ; 12th December, 1914; . 9th June, . 1915; 12th November, 1915; 10th August, 1V117; 26th September, 1917; and 25th September, 1918- (Relating to the
Tariff on goods other than those imported from, and the produce or manufacture of, the Union of South Africa). (2.) The undermentioned Tariff proposals shall cease to have effect . as from , tho date of assent ‘to this Act, namely: -
The Tariff proposals proposed -in the House of Kepresentatives on -the following dates, namely : - 3rd December, 1914 - (Kelating to the Tariff on goods imported from,, and the produce or manufacture of, -the Union of South Africa) ; and 25th September, 1918- (Kelating to the Toriff on goods imported from, and the produce or manufacture of, the Union of South Africa)”
.- Will the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) give the Senate some information as to what is the position in regard to the reciprocal trade arrangements between Australia and South Africa? This clause has only now been brought under our notice, and it. seems to repeal everything ‘that -has been in existence before, with the . exception of certain particular and peculiar arrangements with South Africa.
SenatorRussell.- Through an oversight, the arrangement with South Africa was terminated.
– What particular tradewith South Africa will ‘this amendment . affect?
– It applies to quite anumber of commodities that pass between the two countries, and reciprocal arrangements between Australia and South Africa have been in operation for a number of years.
– What particular schedule in the Tariff applies to the existing trade arrangements with South Africa ?
– A separate Act was passed by Parliament establishing those reciprocal arrangements.
– Thenwe shall have two Tariffs?
– No; when this measure is proclaimed the previous arrangements with South Africa will terminate, and reciprocal arrangements will then be entered into, based on the duties shown under the British preferential or the intermediate Tariff.
Request agreed to.
Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, where the duty which would be payable on any goods under any Act repealed by this Act or under the Tariff proposals to which the Customs Tariff Validation Act 1917 or the Customs Tariff Validation Act 1919 applies is higher than the duty payable on the goods under this Act, such higher duty, or if more than one, the highest duty, shall be charged, collected and paid to the use of the King for the purposes of the Commonwealth, on all such goods entered for home consumption prior to the date of assent to this Act, and no refund shall be given of any duty paid or deposited at such higher or highest rate, as the case may be :
Provided that no higher duty than that set out in the Schedule shall, in pursuance of this section, be charged on any goods, entered for home consumption prior to the date of assent to this Act; on which, with the consent of the Minister, a duty lower than the higher or highest duty authorised by this section was paid or deposited at the time of such entry.
– I move-
That the House ofRepresentatives be requested to make the following amendment : - “ Leave out this Act or under the Tariff proposals . to which the Customs Tariff Validation Act 1917 or the Customs Tariff Validation Act 1919 applies insert sub-section (1) of section twelve of this Act or under the Tariff proposals specified in sub-section (1) of section thirteen of this Act.’ “
After this measure has been proclaimed all that is not in conformity with its provisions will cease to operate. This amendment has been necessitated because Tariff duties have been collected for fifteen months under certain resolutions which authorized onlythe collection of duties. This will make the procedure uniform and will dispense with the injustice which has been created in consequence of certainarrangements with South Africa being unintentionally cancelled.
– So far as I can see there is more than the Minister (Senator Russell) suggests in connexion with this amendment, because the clause in effect validates the collection of higher duties, and also, by the- second paragraph, the collection of lower duties.
– I am informed that this amendment is purely consequential on account of a prior amendment made in connexion with the South African rates. It is a newgroup, and the drafting is necessary to enable the present arrangements with South Africa to continue until this Act is proclaimed..
– I thank the Minister for the information, ‘ but I am rather reluctant to assist in passing a validating clause until I know more about it, because the commercial community may have an injustice inflicted upon it in certain circumstances. The second paragraph appears to validate the Minister’s action in allowing any goods to be taken from bond for home consumption at a lower duty than this Bill imposes. I have no objection to that, because I believe the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) possesses not only the confidence of members of Parliament but of the commercial community. I. would, however, like an assurance from the Minister that no validation of either higher or lower duties will in effect inflict any injustice on the commercial community by way of litigation.
– This refers only to the schedule. There is a general Customs Act covering the points mentioned by the honorable senatorwhich will not be amended.
– If the Minister is prepared to give me theassurance I desire, I shall be satisfied.
– I am prepared to do that.I shall give a fuller reply later.
Introductory paragraphs agreed to. division (1) - ale, spirits and beverages.
Ale and other beer, porter, cider and perry, spirituous : - (A)* In bulk, per gallon, British, 2s.; intermediate, 2s. 3d.; general, 2s. 6dAnd on and after 17th September, 1920, per gallon, British, 2s. 6d. ; intermediate, 2s. 9d.; general, 3s.
In bottle*, per gallon, British, 2s. 6d.;° intermediate, 2s. 9d. ; general, 3s. And on and ‘after 17th September, 1920, per gallon, British, 3s.; intermediate, 3s. 3d.; general, 3s. Gd.
*Six reputed quarts, or 12 reputed pints, or 24 reputed half-pints, to be charged as 1 gallon,
– I desire not so much to criticise these duties as to look ahead, and see what may occur in connexion with their incidence. There is in effect now a duty of 6d. per quart bottle on British beer, and in the general Tariff there is an increase of only Id. per quart bottle. I would like honorable senators to consider the position we are likely to be in when we renew trade relations with Germany in the not-distant future, and when we may expect a heavy importation of German lager beer again. I am afraid the difference in duty between the British and foreign beer will not be sufficient. The Minister (Senator Russell) might consider this aspect of the matter. I am informed that a gentleman named Julius Blau is going about Sydney soliciting orders for 4711 Eau de Cologne, which he hopes to place on the market soon and swamp all other perfumery manufacturers. So when we resume our trade relationships with Germany, we may likewise expect heavy importations of lager beer, and I say that if people want to drink that beer they should pay for it. I move, therefore -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty under the general Tariff sub-item A 3s. 6d.
I intend also to move that the duty in the general Tariff, sub-item b, be 4s.
– I support” the request for several reasons. I am in favour of imposing heavy duties on all luxuries. I regard German or Austrian beer as an unnecessary luxury in- this country, as the lager beer now being manufactured here is just as good. We have been doing very well without German beer for several years, and we can very well do without it for the rest of our lives. The brewing industry, with which hop-growing is closely allied, is a valuable one to Australia.
– I may point out to Senator Pratten that at. present we are not trading with Germany, so no German beer is coming into this country. But there are other countries. For instance, there are a fair number of Danes in Australia. If they desire to import a little Danish beer we should not, by means pf this Tariff, prohibit them.
– But when German beer is being imported, where is the Tariff to deal with it?
– I have no doubt . that, when w.e resume our trade relationship with Germany, we shall be able to deal as wisely in the matter of any restrictive measures that may be necessary, as in this Tariff.
– I was hoping that the Minister would accept my amendment with alacrity.
– The Government have no wish to load the Bill unnecessarily with requests merely because of a desire to strike a blow at Germany.
– I am afraid the Minister (Senator Russell) has not grasped all my reasons for the requested amendment. Did I not consider the matter important in the not-distant future I would gladly withdraw my motion.. But sooner or later we must resume trade relationships with Germany, and I do not think the time is very distant. Business must then be renewed on the basis of this Tariff. We shall not set to work again aud raise ‘a Tariff controversy in connexion with the importations from that country. This Tariff” must meet any special circumstances that may crop up during the next six or seven years at least. Before the war there were very heavy importations to Australia of German lager beer to the great prejudice of the British or local article. I have heard of hundreds of hogsheads and thousands of cases .of German lager beer being loaded in one ship at Bremen for Australia. I am not a beer drinker, and, therefore, I cannot give honorable senators a disquisition upon the relative merits of the various beers that we drink in Australia; but with Bass’ and Guinness’ beers coming into Australia at a fairly stiff duty, it should be within the province of this Committee to accept the requested amendment, which, after all, will only put id. per pint, or Id. per quart, bottle extra on the German product. I agree with Senator Guthrie that we can do without German lager beer altogether, but there is in our community a certain element which, when trade relationships with Germany are resumed, will drink German lager beer whatever it costs them. If they do that to the detriment of the British or local product, they should be made to pay for it.
– Senator Pratten has informed us that he is not speaking from the consumers’ ‘ point of view, because he does not drink beer. I am at a loss to understand what his purpose is. First of all, he says that in the not distant future we shall be obliged to resume our trade relationship with Germany, and in view of that possibility he wishes to penalize Ger-‘ many by giving Great Britain a very much greater preference than is provided for in the present schedule. But he also tells us that the effect of the amendment will simply be to put an extra Id. per quart on imported German lager beer. Now, if Germany is likely to be such a f formidable opponent bf our local manufacturers of lager beer, she can do the extra Id. per quart bottle “ standing on her head “ in competition, so I do not see that anything is to be gained by the suggested amendment so far as the local industry is concerned. If there is any virtue in the reason the honorable senator has assigned for the amendment, why stop at Id. per quart bottle? “We shall have a substantial number of requests to make in connexion with the various Tariff items, and I, for one, am not going to be a party to loading up our message of requests with what appear to me to be unnecessary requests, or requests for requesting sake. In regard to the question of competition with locally-brewed lagers and beers, I am of opinion that the Australian industry has been very firmly established, and that the prices being charged to the consumer are very much in advance of what they were a few years ago, and beyond what occasion demands. If honorable senators care to study the balance-sheets of our local breweries, they will find that those breweries do not require very much in the way of protection. If anybody needs protection in regard to this particular industry it is the consumer. I have no doubt that people who prefer imported beers will be quite willing to purchase them, even if the duty upon them be increased by Id. per bottle or more. If Senator Pratten desires to extend a preference to Great Britain over the German product, and if he wishes to persist in penalizing our former enemy, he will go much farther than he has gone in the proposal which he has submitted.
– Now . that we have reached the first division of the schedule, we are asked to consent to the imposition of duties under the British preferential and intermediate Tariffs, which will be contingent in their application upon the appointment of a Tariff Board. I ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) to consider the position in which he is placing us. Before we are asked to determine what these duties shall be, we should be afforded an opportunity of saying whether or not a Tariff Board shall be constituted. For my own part, I am not prepared to vote for high duties in the absence of some means of checking the manufacturers who will reap the benefit of those duties. Other honorable senators are not’ willing to vote for the creation of a Tariff Board at all. In view of this clash of opinion, the VicePresident of the Executive Council will be well advised to report progress.
– This is the reward which I get for postponing the consideration of clause 3 and other clauses.
– The VicePresident of the Executive Council met us when clause 3 was under consideration, because he saw that there was a consensus of opinion amongst honorable senators that it ought not to be discussed under the special circumstances existing. Here, exactly, a similar position obtains.
– Does the honorable senator wish to defer the consideration of the entire schedule until the Tariff Board Bill has been disposed of by this Chamber %
– That is exactly what I am asking, and the Vice-President of the Executive Council has promised that he will move the second reading of the Tariff Board Bill to>morrow.
– I said that 1 would not postpone tho consideration of any clause in the Bill unless it referred to the Tariff’ Board, and the honorable senator sat there and took no exception to my statement.
-But under the honorable gentleman’s own proposal the application both of the British preferential and of the intermediate Tariffs is dependent upon a reference to the Tariff Board.
– We may not get -a Board.
– I’ hope that we shall be given time to think this matter over. If the second’ reading; of the Tariff Board Bill is moved to-morrow we may be prepared to proceed with the consideration of that- measure forthwith*. But I am not willing to vote for the imposition of duties which are contingent in their application upon, the creation of a Board which may not be appointed.
– As I understand Senator Duncan, his view is that these duties may be acceptr able to certain honorable senators if those honorable senators are assured’ that a Tariff Board will’ be created. Upon the other hand,, if they, have no such asr suranoe, they may desire to alter some of the duties. If that be the honorable senator’s view I believe that it is not an unreasonable one. But I desire to point out the practical difficulties of the course which he suggests, though probably the danger which is in his mind can- be avoided’. It is impossible - to proceed with two1 Bill’s ‘ at once.’ I have- conferred, with the Vioe-‘President of the Executive: Council (Senator Russell.) upon this, matter,, and have suggested to him that- he- should move, the second’ reading- of the Tariff. Boaard Bill to-morrow. In order to. enable that measure’ to> be adequately considered by- honorable , senators * it will then be necessary for us -. to consent- to am adjournment of the debate. . As this1 Chamber does- not wish to sit here and -twirl its-, thumbs, . we shall therefore be obliged to resume the- discussion upon- . the, Tariff Bill. Thus- the same ‘fear which, is in - Sena-tor . Duncan’s, mind . tor-night, will be . present tomorrow,, because no- finality- will have been reached upon the Tariff Board Bill’.
– But we shall then have a better idea of what- will be the fate- of the measure.
– That is very complimentary to the Vice- President of the Executive Council. But that fear may still be ‘ present in. Senator Duncan’s mind, notwithstanding’ that the Minister may have removed many of the- doubts which he” at present entertains. What I suggest, therefore, is that before the schedule finally leaves this Chamber, a decision shall be arrived at upon the Tariff Board Bill. If honorablesenators decide’ that a Board shall not be created, it will then’ be’ competent for them to give expression to their.views. They will thus have an opportunity of considering the Tariff “Board Bill and the Tariff Bill in. their relation to: each, other. With, every desire to. meet the difficulty as. it. exists, I am submitting- a practicable proposition. Unless, the Senate wishes to adjourn, for some time, I have outlined. - a course which. - offers every reasonable safeguard that : can. be - deevised . If there be a section, in this Chamber which is strong enough, to want to. revise the Tariff Bill, it will be -strong enough to make its- influence- felt in that direction.
– That- is something definite; anyhow.
– I sincerely trust that it is. something; which, is not only definite, but satisfactory.
– What will be- the position if, there be a; majority- of honorable senators -in opposition to the, Tariff Board Bill?
– If a majority here vote for ‘ the Tariff- Bill upon the assumption that the Tariff Board will come into existence, that same majority- will be strong’ enough to1 compel a revision of the: Tariff. The Government Have ‘ never been slow to meet, the- wishes’ of’ honorable senators, and I. do submit that the Senate may expect- similar conduct- on the part of Ministers in the future:: Having said so much, I ask honorable senators to give us. their help so as, to- enable- us to: get on with our work.
.- Personallyi. I hope that the Minister for Repatriation (Senator E. D. Millen) will ‘see his way clear to go- a. little further than he has gone. If effect be given tohis sugges- tion, the Vice-President Of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) will move the second. Tsadine of the Tariff Board Bill to-morrow,- and, in my opinion, we ought then to proceed with the -eonsideration of that meoswre.
-Will the Senate be prepared to go straight on with itf Invariably a request for an adjournment is preferred. But it honorable senators are prepared te f orgo that privilege, a different prospeot opens up. .
– Personally,I am prepared to go straight on with the consideration of the measure, though other honorable senators nay not be. Assuming that there is a sufficiently strong feeling in this Chamber, to reject, the Tariff Board Bill-
SenatorRussell.- Howmany honorable senators -support the honorable senator’s view?
SenatorDRAKE-BROCKMAN. - I have not had an opportunity of consulting them. But I know that there is a very strong feeling here that we. are putting the. cart before the horse.
– We do. not mind putting the horse before the cart so long as honorable senators will allow the horse to go straight on without an adjournment.
– I have expressed my own opinion in that connexion and, in spite of the gibe of the Vioe-Presjdent of the Executive Council, I cannot pretend to speak for the whole Senate.
-i did not intend any . gibe. I merely -wanted toknow how many honorable senators are prepared to proceed, with the. debateupon the Tariff Board Bill,
– I cannot say how many . there are. The Government . have a Whip; -why do they not use Mm, instead of asking me tbat question ? It is perfectly true, as Senator E. D. Milieu said, that if there is a strong enough opinion in the Senate to throw out the Tariff Board Bill, there is also a strong enough opinion to hold up the schedule. Assuming that that opinion exists here, will it not be quicker to deal with the Tariff Board Bifi, and have it out of the way, and know where we are, than to;nave to go tack and reconsider the whole schedule f Weaken save a great deal more time -by getting the Tariff Board Bill out of the road than by dealing with the schedule, -and then throwing that Bill out, and having to -come back to -the schedule because we have rejected the proposal for a Board.
Senator E.D.Millen (New Booth Wales - Minister for Repatriation) [9.17].- I agree with Senator DrakeBrockman aB to the desirableness of saving time. The only difference, between us appears to be as to die method by which that desirable objective is to -be achieved. When I spoke a little while ago, I assumed that when Senator Russell had made his second-reading -speech on the Tariff Board Bill there would tie the usual request for an adjournment of the debate’. Then, if we did not go back to the schedule, the Senate would have to adjourn at about 3.30 o’clock to-morrow afternoon until the next day. If the Senate is prepared, however, to go straight on with the second-reading debate on ‘the Tariff Board Bill, and carry it to a conclusion, well and good. It is not possible to count heads here, but I shall accept the -silence of the Senate as implying consent to the proposition that when the second reading is moved to-morrow we shall go straight on with the debate without -any adjournment. If that course is approved, there can be no objection to reporting progress on the Tariff now.
.- I am disposed to think that the Minister’s first suggestion waB the better one, that - contentious matters in -the clauses and schedule of theCustoms Tariff Bill Bhould be postponed Spending finality with the Tariff Board Bill, and that Sie second reading of- &e “Tariff Board Bill should be moved by the Minister tomorrow, and the debate on it adjourned, in which case the Bill ‘would probably be completed on Friday. I would prefer to listen carefully to the Minister’s second-treading speech on the Tariff . Board Bill, and then bars an adjournment to consider it. I am not in agreement with Senator DrakeBrookman’s idea of going right on with the Bill and finishing it in one day without further consideration’. ‘ The Senate . seems to indorse the fundamental principle that we ought to know something about the Tariff Board Bill before we can. go mtrch further with the Tariff schedule, but I do not think it matters much whether we complete the Tariff Board Bill to-morrow, Thursday, or Friday, bo long aB we finish it this week and know its incidence in connexion with our deliberations on the Tariff itself. .
Senate adjourned at 9.23 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 19 July 1921, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1921/19210719_senate_8_96/>.