9th Parliament · 2nd Session
The Deputy President (Senator NewLand) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
The following papers were presented . -
Defence Department - Return showing number, classification, &c, of officers in Accounts Branch in each Military District.
Excise Act- Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1924. No. 117.
Northern Territory - Ordinance No. 17 of 1924 - Licensing.
– I ask the Leader of the Senate whether the Government intends to make an announcement that the Commonwealth Bank is to conduct business as usual or whether its present method of carrying on business is to be interfered with in any way?
– The scope of the bank’s activities is set out in the act and the amending legislation. The effect of the latter is to provide for an extension, not a restriction, of the bank’s operations.
– There is a good doal of uncertainty about the position and a feeling that the amending law recently passed will interfere with the bank.
– That misapprehension is based on a misconceptionof the law.
Senator Lynch brought up the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, together with minutes of evidence with regard to the construction of the southern intercepting sewer, Canberra.
Case of Munition Worker W. Dunk
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The Minister has furnished the following replies to the honorable senator’s questions: -
Newspaper. Reports of Proceedings
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The reply to the honorable senator’s questions is “No.”
Effect of Classification
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister supplies the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: - 1 to 4. The classification of the Public Service Board is based on the nature and value of the work performed (vide section 27 (1) of the Public Service Act). As a matter of generalpolicy it is considered undesirable to furnish details of the reasons underlying classification of individual positions.
SenatorFINDLEY asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Has the Government made anyarrangements in respect to the -construction of cruisers ?
If so, what is the estimated cost?
If no definite arrangements have been made, will the Government make known its intentions in respect to the appeals made to have at least one of the cruisers constructed in Australia?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Accounts Branch Officers
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Wilson) read a first time.
Debate resumed from . 29th August (vide page 3777), on motion by Senator Wilson -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– The bill is designed to give assistance to a very worthy and important section of the primary producers, who, owing to circumstances over which they have had no control, find themselves in a dangerous economic position. The Commonwealth Government, in conjunction with several State Governments, has sunk much public money in the fruit-growing settlements, and it is particularly concerned in the success of this industry, by reason of its interest in the settlement of returned soldiers. The success of our irrigation areas, .and, to a greater extent, our immigration policy generally, is dependent on arriving at a solution of the difficulties connected with the dried fruit industry. The position has been developing for a considerable time, and it is due mainly to the operations of the various Governments in establishing the numerous fruit-growing settlements. It is, therefore, incumbent on those Governments to do something to help the men who now find themselves in dire straits. We cannot throw them to the wolves, telling them it is their own business, and they must look after themselves.
– What is the solution?
– The .bill will enable the Government to afford the temporary assistance that is necessary, so that it will be possible, in the immediate future, to give further consideration to the whole problem, and perhaps arrive at a solution that will meet all the requirements of the case. The subject should be approached in a sympathetic spirit. Most of the growers concerned are small men whose political allegiance is given to the various parties in Parliament. I feel sure that this matter will be regarded as one above party considerations, and will be dealt with in a truly national spirit. Production of fruit for drying purposes is one of the industries by which it is possible to settle large areas, more particularly those coming within the scope of the various irrigation schemes, and it is hoped that -many thousands more settlers will eventually be successfully, established in the industry, and enabled to rear their families under good Australian conditions. At the present time, however, the position is such t&at unless the Government comes to the assistance of the fruitgrowers, many of them will be forced to abandon their holdings. The effect of that would be to reduce enormously the value of the properties kept under production. Those producers who might be able to weather the gale would find .their assets seriously depreciated through the exodus of those who were weakest financially, and the damage that would be done to the irrigation settlements generally would be too serious to contemplate. The Government, therefore, has brought down the present bill to assist the settlers over a temporary trouble, hoping that, in a year or two, as the result of judicious advertising and an improved policy of marketing, the conditions on the other side of the world will have changed for the better, and will enable the industry once more to stand on its own feet. I find it difficult to understand the attitude adopted by some honorable senators opposite. The speeches of Senators Gardiner, McDougall, and others do not, I realize, represent the views of the whole of their party, for I feel convinced that many honorable senators on the other side of the chamber recognize the importance of maintaining the settlements and ensuring their success. The issue has been clouded to some extent by other considerations, and some honorable senators have, therefore, taken exception to the bill, but I am sure that on reflection they will regret the stand they have taken. Senator Gardiner, for instance, took the opportunity of favouring the Senate with one of his lectures on the benefits of freetrade, but I fail to see what that policy has to do with the maintenance of the settlers upon the fruit-growing areas. The honorable senator condemned the Government’s proposal as a spasmodic attempt to assist private enterprise, and he further contended that the measure was designed wholly in the interests of the big man. If I thought that that was so, I should hesitate for a long time before supporting the bill. Senator Gardiner has seen the irrigation settlements at Yanco and elsewhere in New South Wales,’ and he must know that practically all the settlers there are small men, struggling hard for a living for themselves and their families. 1 admit that certain big men who make a livelihood by the handling of the products of the industry will perhaps be assisted by the bill- to remain in the industry. But what would become of the thousands of other men, small growers, if because of the neglect of this Parliament to pass the bill, they were compelled to go out of business? They alone would be the sufferers. The big growers referred to by the honorable senator might suffer in the future, but their economic position would not, be jeopardized as would be that of the small men. They could, perhaps, transfer their activities to other fields, but the small men whom this bill is primarily designed to assist would not possess sufficient capital to enable them to transfer their energies elsewhere. On that ground the attitude of the honorable senator to the bill is to be deprecated . Surely we can discuss this proposal from, the stand-point of the actual settlers on the areas who are suffering to-day, and who because of their circumstances may not be able to weather the storm without this assistance. The big men can be left out of consideration altogether. Even if they do gain an advantage because the small men are to be helped, it does not come within the scope of this bill, and if my friend opposite wishes to take steps to deal with them he must devise other means of doing so. I hope that the Senate will pass the bill and give to the men it is almost entirely designed to assist the temporary aid they need. Senator Gardiner went on to point out that when the Labour party came into office, which he hopes will be the case within the next decade or so, it will . regard this bill as a precedent for giving advances to workers in periods of unemployment and during strikes.
– Hear, hear!
– If the dried fruits industry dies, what will be the position of the thousands of workers engaged in it? As a matter of fact, this bill is as much designed to assist the workers as it is to assist the growers. The big men about whom the honorable senator speaks are employers of considerable labour. A gentleman at Yanco who is in a big way of business is Mr. Nulty. He used to be famous in Broken Hill, but subsequently went to Yanco and made good. To-day, he is comparatively wealthy, but he is still called “ Socialist “ Nulty.
– He was a socialist to start with.
– Of ‘course he was, but now he employs a large number of workers, and I do not; know that he shares his profits with them. This bill may assist him, but it will also assist the workers he employs, and all the other workers employed on the Yanco irriga tion area, as well as the workers in the cities and at the ports of shipment who handle the products of these areas. Therefore, when Senator Gardiner talks about using this bill as a precedent for giving advances to workers during periods of unemployment and during strikes, he loses sight of the fact that the assistance to be given under this bill means a lot to the workers engaged in the dried fruits industry. It will go a long way towards ensuring a continuance of the industry.
– What the honorable senator is saying corroborates my statement.
– I hope it does. I am pleased that Senator Gardiner is coming to my way of thinking. I said earlier that on further consideration I thought he would regret very much what he had to say concerning the bill, and I cannot understand . his declaration that the Labour party will use this bill as a precedent for giving advances to workers in periods of unemployment and during strikes. There is no connexion between the two matters. From time to time this country has given assistance to workers in times of unemployment, and at other times when they have needed aid. I hope that we shall always act upon the principle already laid down - that no one in the Commonwealth shall starve, and that the wives and children of workers shall not suffer because of the unemployment of the bread-winners, or because of other circumstances over which they have no control.
– There are people starving in Melbourne to-day.
– I do not know of that.
– It was stated in the Sun a few nights ago.
– If the honorable senator can tell me of any one who is starving I shall consider it my duty to assist him, but when the honorable senator says that people are starving and is not able to name them, it is evidently not his concern to assist any of his fellowworkers who may be so situated.
– I was referring to a picture in the Sun of a recent arrival from the Old Country, and his wife and family, who were said to be starving.
– I may assume that those unfortunate people have now been assisted. Senator Gardiner went on to say that the dried fruits industry should be socialized. I know that honorable senators opposite have as one of their objectives the socialization of industry, and some day, when they have the opportunity to bring it about, we may see what results follow upon its adoption, but it is not the issue at present. The real issue is not whether the dried fruits industry should be socialized, but whether it should be helped to live or . allowed to die. The Government have declared that the industry shall be helped, whereas honorable senators opposite have declared that it shall not be helped - in other words, that it shall be permitted to die. I hope that the majority of the Senate will decide that it is worthy of special help. Senator McDougall opposed the bill.
– I did not.
– The honorable senator said that he was against the payment of bounties in any shape. or form.
– This bill does not provide for the payment of a bounty.
– I took a careful note of the honorable senator’s remarks. If I can interpret English at all, he said that he was opposed to the bill. While certain of his sentences might be construed into support of the measure, the majority of his utterances could easily be construed into bitter opposition to it. He said that the correct way to assist this industry was to foster secondary industries, and he pointed out that one of those secondary industries should be the construction of cruisers. ‘ He said that if cruisers were built at Cockatoo1 Island the workers there would buy dried fruits, and all would be well with the dried fruits industry. Senator Gardiner is not so sure that it is good policy to foster secondary industries, but I quite agree with Senator McDougall that it is a wise- policy for the Commonwealth to pursue. Nevertheless, we must also foster primary industries; we must protect them in every way possible, and when times of adversity strike the primary producers we must give them every assistance to surmount the difficulties facing them.
– Why is not assistance given to the gold-mining industry?
– Senator Lynch has a motion upon the notice-paper dealing with the matter, and we do not know what action will be taken upon that motion. The gold-mining industry is in a parlous condition, and should be helped, but the difficulty is to ascertain the best way in which assistance can be rendered. The dried fruits industry is also one which needs assistance, and the Government propose to overcome the present difficulty in the manner provided in the bill. While damning the proposal with faint praise, honorable senators opposite have not suggested any other means by which the fruit-growing industry can be helped.
– The Government has paid the sugar-refining companies £6,000,000 for four years, and propose in this instance to advance fruit-growers money at 4 per cent. The honorable senator will see that there is a difference in the methods adopted.
– I could reply to that interjection, and show the honorable senator that he is wrong,, but I do not wish to enter into a. dissertation upon the sugar industry at this juncture.
– The sugar industry comprises an aggregation of small men.
– Yes, and in this instance we are dealing with small growers. As I have already stated, it is almost impossible to pin down honorable senators opposite to any particular policy, because one says one thing and one another.
– Some one is bound to be right.
– Yes; even in the individual speeches delivered one can. point to certain utterances in favour of the proposal, while others in the same speech are to the contrary. This may be a very useful method to adopt, because at election time an honorable senator, in addressing constituents at Yanco, for instance, could quote what he said in support of the industry; and in another district, where different interests are ininvolved, could quote another portion. It is a very useful, but not a particularly honest method.
– The same could be said of honorable senators opposite.
– I do not think so.
– I thought we were bound by caucus. We have a platform, which we support.
– As Senator McDougall, apparently, takes exception to my statement, I shall quote, as an illustration, a matter in which he is particularly concerned. He told us that the proper way in which to assist primary industries was by fostering the secondary industries, and suggested that the cruisers which it is proposed to construct should be built in Australia. The Sydney Labour Council despatched a circular to the Melbourne Trades Hall, asking for its support in having one cruiser constructed at Cockatoo Island, but the Melbourne Trades Hall turned down the suggestion and said that it did not intend to lend assistance in the matter of constructing engines of destruction. Here, again, this great party speaks with two voices. One could enumerate hundreds of other instances to show how impossible it is to pin down the party to any particular policy.
– The Sydney Labour Council believes that the Government do not intend to> have even one cruiser constructed in Australia.
– The representatives of the Melbourne Trades Hall are of the opinion that cruisers should not be built at all, as, in their opinion, they are engines of destruction. Senator McDougall says that the Government should build tie cruisers in Australia, and one of the most important sections of the organization to which the honorable senator belongs asserts that the work should not be undertaken in any circumstances whatever. That being so, we must almost entirely discount the remedy suggested by Senator McDougall. I trust the motion for the second reading of the bill will be carried, and that this Parliament will agree to give the industry the assistance which it at present needs, in the belief that it will enable those concerned to overcome the difficulties with which they are now faced. It is to be hoped that, in the meantime, the growers will be able to arrive at some basis of co-operation and organization under which they will be able to face the future without again being compelled to come to the Government for assistance. If they do that, I feel sure that every one will feel that the action the Government has taken on this occasion has been in the best interests of the industry and of the people. I support the bill.
– The bill is to provide for the payment of advances to growers of fruits used for the preparation of dried fruits. It is true that the dried fruits industry is a fairly extensive one in Australia, and I believe there is a larger number engaged in this sphere of activity in Victoria than in any other state.
– The honorable senator only imagines that.
– No; facts and figures will, I think, prove that my statement is correct. The areas in which fruits used for drying are grown are confined, mainly, to Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia.
– Also Western Australia.
– Western Australia has only recently engaged in the industry.
– No; but the Western Australian people do not make as much noise as those in the industry in other states.
– That is the point. Victorians cannot see beyond their own back door.
– Compared with Victoria, there are comparatively few engaged in the fruit-growing industry in Western Australia. Victoria was the pioneer state in the matter of fruitgrowing, and Mildura was one of the first settlements established. Many of the growers who first undertook the business in Mildura did remarkably well.
– The poor unfortunate fellows became bankrupt, and the honorable senator knows it.
– It’ is true that many of those who undertook the growing of citrus fruits at Mildura lost heavily. That is peculiar to many industries. They were the path-finders and track-blazers who did the pioneering work, and made the work easier for those whom Senator Lynch, in a facetious mood, termed the “ J ohnny-come latelys.” Many men at Mildura have done exceptionally well, and, stimulated by their success, a settlement at Merbein was established, where many others also succeeded. The last settlement to be established in that locality was Bed Cliffs, where the Victorian Government opened up a. very large area, and provided facilities for numbers of ex-soldiers to engage in the industry. When at ‘Red Cliffs quite recently,, I was amazed at the transformation which has taken place in a short time. At that settlement a large number of ex-soldiers are engaged in fruit-growing.
– They are all doing well.
– They are not. The earlier fruit-growers at Mildura did well, and those at Merbein, when the settlement was first established, also succeeded, but the settlers at Red Cliffs are up against a very different proposition. Before the establishment of the areas on which fruits used for drying are produced, the agents of importers in Australia conducted a lucrative business, but, when a duty of 3d. a lb. was imposed on imported fruits, the Australian dried fruit industry received a very great impetus. It gave to the Australian producers of dried fruits a monopoly in the Australian market. Because of the success that attended the efforts of those who first engaged in this industry in Australia, many have since engaged in similar pursuits, with the result that not only has the Australian market been fully supplied, but, according to the statement of the Honorary Minister, 75 per cent, of Australia’s production of dried fruits is now available for export. That is evidence of the difficult position in which these men are placed. They were granted protection in the home market because it was impossible to establish the industry without it. Importations of dried fruits were almost shut out. Numbers of men, including many returned soldiers, were encouraged to go on the land, with the result that Australia’s production has now reached the stage where the product of their labours has to compete in the overseas markets with that of other countries. Only by selling our surplus products in the overseas markets at a lower price than that charged to the people of Australia can we hope to compete in those markets with the products of other countries. The position is similar to that existing in the beef industry. Honorable senators know that our best beef is sold overseas at a lower prim than that paid by the people of Australia. The proposition before us is to grant ‘further financial assistance to an industry which has already been protected in the home market to the extent of 3d. per lb. The result probably will be that people in other countries will obtain Australian dried fruits at a lower price than is paid by Australian housewives. Honorable senators on this side are not op posed to the bill, but have .pointed out the vicious principle which the Government continues to follow. That policy cannot be continued for ever. Does any honorable senator on the other side imagine for a moment that financial assistance of this nature will get the producers of dried fruit out of their difficulties?
– It may do so temporarily.
– - Would the honorable senator let them starve ?
– No honorable senator on this side desires that any human being - whether white, black, or any other colour^ - should starve in Australia.. It is of no use for us to say to these people, “ You are up against it financially. Here is something to go on with.” There should be something more substantial to offer the growers. The present Government has no remedy. When the Labour party occupies the Treasury bench, an endeavour will be made to find some substantial remedy. Men should not have been encouraged to go on the land to grow fruits suitable for drying when there waa no profitable market for their products. When I asked the Honorary Minister recently if he would continue at present to- encourage men from overseas to settle on the land in Australia, he said that he would.
– Hear, hear!
– The honorable senator would encourage more men to engage in this industry when markets cannot be found for the dried fruits which are now produced.
– Now that the production has increased sufficiently to warrant it, markets are being found.
– Many of the trees planted are not yet in full bearing, but as time goes on there will be a greatly increased production, with proportionately greater difficulties to be overcome.
– Markets abroad will be found by that time.
– There is to-day in Great Britain a slight preference in favour of Australian dried fruits. ‘ The general duty on currants is 2s. a cwt., whereas in the case of Australian currants it is only ls. Sd. a cwt. Sultanas and lexias are subject to a general duty of 7s. a cwt., but that duty is only 5s. 10d. a cwt. for the Australian product. There is, therefore, a preference of about 16 per cent, in favour of Australian dried fruits.
-We shall get more than that yet.
– The majority of the people of Australia have declared emphatically in favour of protection, but the people of Great Britain are, for the most part, freetraders.
– The honorable senator has . already pointed out that in this industry the people of Great Britain do not enjoy freetrade.
– There is no such thing as absolute freetrade, by which I mean an entire absence fromthe imposition of duties. Great Britain is essentially freetrade in the sense that Australia is a protectionist country, although in some respects the Australian tariff is essentially revenueproducing. The Minister should have been quite candid, and given an indication of the policy of the Government concerning the future of this industry. As a responsible Minister and a business man himself, he must know that a proposition such as this should be looked at from a business point of view. It is certain that although the bill may materially assist the grower for the moment, it will not offer a solution of the growers’ difficulties.
– I thought that I was quite candid, and cleared up the point which the honorable senator is now stressing*
– I also wish to be candid. The Minister ought to have told the people what the Government really intends to do. The bill proposes, to make no differentiation between those growers who are in a strong position and those who are not, although Senator Duncan said that it was intended to give financial assistance to the poor men.
– So it will, and they are in the majority.
– It will also give assistance to growers in a big way of business.
– The honorable senator’s leader said it was designed to help only the big men, and I pointed out that it was intended to assist the small grower, too.
– The smaller growers are the men who took up land in areas which have been opened up within recent years. Generally speaking, they have a limited amount of capital. In my opinion, they paid very high prices for their land, and with high rates of interest on borrowed money and a falling market, they are in an extremely awkward position.
– Do not forget the high rates of wages which they have to pay.
– I say in all seriousness that if a highly protected industry like this cannot pay reasonable rates of wages, and observe decent industrial conditions, it is not worthy of serious consideration. In the newer settlements the growers have done a great deal of the work themselves.
– They have put their all into the industry.
– They have, and they have my sympathy.’ I intend to vote for this measure, not because I believe it is a good bill, but because I should be very sorry indeed to vote against a proposal that will give them a little breathing time, especially in view of the fact that the Commonwealth and State Governments encouraged them to go into the business.
– And there is a great deal of government money behind them.
– I am aware that the various governments interested were moved to acquire areas in the different states in order to place returned men on the land.
– I understand that the Red Cliffs settlement was all Crown lands.
– The land was resumed by the Government.
– They told me, when I was there, that it had been . all Crown lands.
– At all events, men elsewhere in Australia have been settled on areas that were not Crown lands. We ought to have a statement from the Minister showing how the money advanced to these settlers is to be paid. It is true that the bill makes provision for the repayment of the interest and capital, but no period is stated.
– Yes; from the 1925 crop.
– Clause 10, providing for the repayment of advances, states - (1.) The grower shall repay the advance with interest at the rate of 6 per centum per annum. (2.) The repayment of the advance and the payment of interest thereon shall be a charge on the proceeds of the. sale of the dried fruits produced by the grower in the year 1925, after the costs of production and marketing (not exceeding such amount as the Minister determines) of those dried fruits have been provided for.
Does that mean that all those who may be assisted financially must repay the advance with interest after they have disposed of the 1925 crop?
– I do not read that meaning into the clause. What will happen ifthe growers cannot find a profitable market for their exportable surplus ? How then will they be able to pay the principal and interest from the proceeds of the 1925 crop? I have seen statements that growers, after meeting all charges including shipping and other freights, commission and other, charges, have little or nothing for themselves.
– If everybody in this country was as pessimistic as the honorable senator, we would be in a bad way.
– It is not a question of pessimism at all; it is a- question of fact. In some instances growers, after meeting all charges, have had little left for themselves.
– Repayment and interest are to be a first charge on the crop.
– That presupposes that the grower will find a profitable market overseas for his surplus production. In that event he would be able to meet his obligations. The Government, before expending more money in advertising the possibilities of land settlement in Australia, should have a definite scheme to putbefore those who are likely to respond to the invitation. There is no gainsaying that primary producers in all parts of Australia are up against it today. Consequently it is wrong for the Government to be continually telling, people abroad that there are golden opportunities for any man who wishes to settle on the land in Australia.
– So there are if he is prepared to work.
– Doe’s the honorable senator suggest that the fruit-grower does not work as hard as any other man ?
– I think he does.
– Does the honorable senator say that his outlook is satisfactory ?
– It is not too bright.
– I am quite sure the honorable senator would not like to embark on the industry. When men in Australia more familiar with Australian conditions than those overseas could be are in- such difficulties, it is wrong for the Government to induce people overseas to enter into the industry. Would any honorable senator opposite take up- land to-day for the production of dried fruits? Would he induce friends of his to come to Australia to settle on the land as orchardists? I do not think he would.
– They can grow wheat, or produce wool or meat.
– If, as the honorable senator suggests, it is profitable to raise cattle, why have the cattle men in Queensland on two occasions in recent years approached the Government with the proposal that the people of Australia should tax themselves to assist their industry to find a profitable market?
– Theirs is only a temporary difficulty.
– All primary producers, including the hop-growers in the state which the honorable senator assists to represent’ in this chamber, are in difficulties.
– The hop-growers’ troubles are due to the introduction of imported hops.
– Of course, there are reasons for all these difficulties. We also hear it stated that people engaged in the dairying industry in the various states are not doing very well at present, and if report be correct, an effort will soon be made to induce the Government to render them financial assistance also. Notwithstanding all these obvious facts, the Government persists in advertising overseas that golden opportunities are available to any man who settles on the land in Australia. This measure will, as I have said, give the men in the dried fruits industry a little breathing time, and perhaps enable them to get over their present difficulties, but it will not solve the problem with which they are confronted.
– There is no questioning that statement.
– I say then that the Government should not encourage more men to engage in the business. We should have a concrete proposal for a solution of this difficulty. It cannot be overcome in the free and easy way adopted by the Minister.
– It is because we realize the difficulties that we are not rushing into the business until every consideration has been given to the problem.
– The only solution is to find good markets for the exportable surplus production.
SenatorReid. - Does the honorable senator think that the markets everywhere are closed to the Australian producer?
– No; I said, at the commencement of my address, that the Australian growers have the Aus-‘ tralian market to themselves. No outsider has a chance in getting a foothold here.
– And it is the bestmarket.
– The Minister told us that 75 per cent, of the dried fruits produced in Australia has to be exported. If our growers could dispose of their surplus there would be no occasion for this proposal to render them financial assistance. I hope that the financial assistance to be given will notresult in an increased price to the Australian consumer. The people of this country are entitled to first consideration., and they should be able to purchase dried fruits of good quality at a reasonable figure.- It would be manifestly unfair to allow the best of the fruit to be exported and sold’ overseas at a price probably below the cost to the Australian consumer.
– It might be good business to do that.
– Possibly for those engaged in the industry, but it is not good business for the Australian taxpayer to build up an industry by a policy of protection1 and then pay higher prices for its products than are charged to consumers overseas. The Australian consumer does not stand for that.
– Hehas done so for a long time. It is the inevitable result of protection.
– Are we to understand that when the Australian market has been captured by any industry, and the production has overtaken. the local demand, that industry is entitled to financial assistance from the Government? Boot manufacture is largely carried on in this country, and there are high duties on imported boots. The manufacturers might later on appeal for financial assistance to enable them to export boots to- overseas countries, against which they have been protected. The woollen industry deserves every encouragement at the hands of the Parliament and the people. It may be a few years before the Australian mills will be able to meet all the requirements of the Commonwealth, but, when they do so, are we to anticipate that assistance will be sought in finding overseas markets for their surplus products?
– No; we shall export the raw material.
– The Government has introduced the principle that I have indicated.
– Can the honorable senator cite one article that is manufactured in Australia and can compete successfully on a foreign market?
– I understand that beer is exported.
– So is harvesting machinery.
– McKay’s export machinery to the Argentine.
I do not desire to oppose the bill. I realize the awkward position in which the fruit-growers find themselves, and I am willing to help them over a temporary difficulty; but- I hope that, if the Government remains in office for a sufficient time, it will do something of a substantial nature to assist all industries instead of muddling along, Micawber-like, waiting for some valuable suggestion from its opponents.
– What is the honorable senator’s suggestion?
– It is for the Government to find a way out of the difficulty.
– I invite the honorable senator’s co-operation. I thought he put the country’s interests first.
– The Minister belongs to the Country party, and should be fitted for the task of solving the problem.
– I’ think that all . honorable senators on this side of the chamber will support the measure, seeing that it is for the purpose of assisting primary producers; but it seems to me that 6 per cent, interest is too much to charge on the loans to be advanced. The Government should be more generous, and allow the settlers, who are said to be struggling for a living, to have the money at a rate of not more than 4^ per cent. Various reasons have been submitted as to why the industry needs assistance. There are, approximately, 5,000 growers in the industry, and they produced 13,765 tons of dried fruits in 1921; 19,538 tons in 1922; 25,709 tons in 1923; and about 34,000 tons in the last season. Prior to the war about 80 per cent, of the local production was consumed in Australia, but today 70 per cent, of it is exported. Evidently the industry has thrived under protection. It must also be remembered that the employees in the industry, and the men engaged in the handling of the fruit .from the orchards to the sea-board, have enjoyed union rates of . wages. Trade unionists, therefore, should have no objection to contributing their quota towards the maintenance of the industry. Tha Queensland squatters received a straight-out bounty on their beef. They were not asked for repayment of the money on any terms; but in the case of the growers of dried fruits, small struggling men, a charge of 6 per cent, interest is to be made for advances to them. I hope that an effort will be put forward to extend the period for the repayment of the advances.
– This is only to assist them until they have disposed of the coming season’s crop.
– I am pleased that the Minister has put me right in that regard. Now I can tell my friends in the dried fruit industry that this assistance is for one season only. If this assistance will be of benefit to the growers for one season, it would be of greater benefit to continue it for another year, and of still greater benefit if it were to cover three seasons. The Government would then have something to boast about at Mildura and other places.
– This season’s crop has to pay for the assistance given.
– That is the unfairness of the whole business. My complaint is that the Government are making fish of one section of the community and flesh of another. If the men engaged in the dried fruit industry are to be assisted, let them be assisted in the full sense ot the word. Let them be treated as the canners and beef exporters have been treated. Surely they should have priority in the matter of assistance over the cattle kings in the northern part of Queensland.
– And Western Australia, also.
– I grant that cattleowners in Western Australia have received the same help as has been given to those in northern Queensland, but that fact does not alter my argument that the men engaged in the dried fruit industry have been unfairly treated in comparison with canners and beef exporters. The Government should take into serious consideration the rate of interest to be charged for advances under this bill, and see if it cannot be reduced from 6 per cent, to 4i per cent. They should also see if it is not possible to give this assistance for two or three seasons. There is no doubt the bill will pass, because all honorable senators are in favour of it. Australia is a protectionist country. The Labour party is a Protectionist party.
– Not all of it.
– With one excep-tion, honorable senators of the Labour party are protectionists, and the one exception is obliged to support protection for the simple reason that his party says he must do so. I hope that the men engaged in the dried fruit- industry will meet with success. I trust they will not need further assistance, but if they should need it I hope the Government will treat them as generously as they have treated the beef kings of Queensland.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 (Arrangement for payment of advances and appropriation therefor).
– If I remember correctly, Senator McDougall, who at the moment is acting as Temporary Chairman of Committees, suggested on the second reading that all arrangements for the payment of advances should be made through the Commonwealth Bank, and that this clause should be amended to enable this to be done. Why should we not transact all our business through our own bank? Not to do so is to own a store and buy goods elsewhere. I can see no reason for going outside our own bank for the transaction of this business. My statement on the second reading, that if the Labour party were in power we could apply the socialization planks of our platform to the marketing of the whole of the produce of the primary producers, has been interpreted by Senator Duncan to mean that any industry which is exploiting . the people should be socialized. As a matter of fact, our scheme is wider in its scope. Instead of relying upon the rotten stick of protection or upon anything else that brings producers to an unfortunate position, such as that now occupied by the people engaged in the dried fruit industry, our scheme is to handle their products, put them on the market, and, by socializing the means of distribution and exchange, bring the consumer and producer together, thus avoiding the loss between the two, and enabling the whole of the profit to accrue to the grower. As it is worded in our New South Wales platform, the objective of the Labour party is “to secure to the producer the full results of his industry.” Like myself, Senator Duncan is sometimes in a very difficult position. He revels in the fact that on the fiscal issue my views differ from those of the rest of my party, but I am thankful to say my party tolerates me in spite of my fiscal views. On the other hand, Senator Duncan is a red-ragger in the Conservative ranks. He is obliged to trim his views so that he may be accepted as a pure merino- nationalist, but, as it is qtiite impossible for him to do so, he has to cover up his deficiencies by making constant attacks upon me. Here we have an opportunity to apply our socialization to banking. In the Commonwealth Bank we have a socialized institution, and it is quite a simple matter to provide that all advances made to the dried fruit growers are negotiated through that institution: During the war, it was big enough to cash payments for soldiers, arid even prisoners of war in all parts of the world. Surely it can handle the business of making advances to dried fruit growers?
– The clause, as it stands, enables the growers to deal with the banks in which they have accounts.
– As it stands, the clause will permit the Government to stand behind any bank with which the growers do business, but the time has ar rived when every consideration should be given to the institution which has been brought into existence by the Commonwealth, and for whose success the Commonwealth is responsible. I asked Senator Pearce to-day whether it was to go out of business, but I was pleased to hear him say that “ business as usual “ was to be the order of the day so far as the Commonwealth Bank is concerned. I shall move no amendment at this stage. I shall be. pleased to hear the views of the Minister upon Senator McDougall’s suggestion.
– I quite agree with Senator Gardiner that all Commonwealth Government payments in commercial matters should be made through the Commonwealth Bank. That is the attitude taken up by the Government, and it will be put in operation in connexion with advances to the growers who are to be given the assistance afforded by this bill.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 4 to 15 agreed to.
Preamble and title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Debate resumed from 28th August (vide page 3698), on motion by Senator Pearce -
That the papers be printed.
– A matter of particular interest to me is the proposed grant of £85,000 to the State of Tasmania, which I am very pleased has been included in the Estimates of proposed expenditure. I hope that what I consider an error will be adjusted, and that the proposed grant of £85,000 for a period of five years, and which is to be annually reJcluced by £17,500, will be paid for a longer term, and that the amount by which it is to be annually reduced will be smaller. In a small state such as Tasmania, and one which is in straitened circumstances, £17,500 is a large amount by which to reduce the grant, particularly as it has enjoyed a larger grant for a long term of years. I should like £85,000 to be paid annually for ten years, and the amount to be annually reduced by £8,500, instead of adopting the method proposed. Tasmania is compelled to seek for financial assistance, in the first place, principally because of her geographical position, which separates her from the mainland, and deprives her of many of the advantages enjoyed by the other states in the federal compact. I am not one of those who believe that Tasmania would be better out of the federation, because she could not exist alone. I do not suggest that because certain sums are spent in one state similar amounts should be expended in others. Commonwealth money should be spent where it will be of the greatest benefit to the whole of the people, but when a state, owing to its isolation, does not receive a fair share of public expenditure, it should at least receive sympathetic consideration of any request for financial assistance. Tasmania’s present financial position is not due to anything which has been done or has not been done by the Federal Government, but largely owing to the physical features of the country, which have compelled those in authority to expend a large proportion of the money available on non-productive works. Tasmania has probably a larger proportion of its- debt in works that are not directly revenueproducing than any other state, and the smaller portion of its debt has been incurred for works that are revenueproducing. The figures for 1922-3, which are the latest available, show Tasmania has a debt of £23,000,000 of which £6,300,000 has been spent on railways, and £5,300,000 on roads, bridges, and jetties. The expenditure on the last-mentioned items isequal to £24 per head of the population, whilst in the other states the- average is £7 per head. In the five- other states the expenditure on. railways is equivalent to £47 per headj whilst in Tasmania it- is only £29’ per head. It will, therefore, be seen that we have investeda large sum in works which do not give us a return.
– Can the honorable senator, give the mileage of roadsper head of population.?.
– I cannot give that information, but six or seven years ago, when-I had” the figures taken out, more loan’ money had been, spent on roads in Tasmania than in- all the other states combined.’
– The roads may have been constructed out of revenue.
– We could not possibly have done- that.
– What became of the other £14,000,000 ?
– A sum of . £3,000,000 has been spent on the hydroelectric scheme, £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 on soldier settlements, and £1,500,000 has been advanced to local governing bodies for local works. At present Tasmania has nearly 7,000 miles of macadamized roads. Most of the land in Tasmania is heavily timbered,, and when development is commenced and the land is subdivided into small areas it has been necessary to clear the roads of timber and then metal them. I have just returned from New South Wales, where I traversed large areas of’ highly productive country where the construction of metal roads is quite unnecessary.
– In Tasmania there is no natural gravel.
– No; gravelled roads will not stand heavy traffic. Metal has t’o be obtained and crushed, and the cost of construction of a good road is, approximately, £1,000 a mile. Tasmania has also, recently spent over £3,000,000 on the hydro-electric scheme, which will in the future be an even more important undertalcing than it is to-day.. The expenditure on that scheme is not responsible for our present deficiency, because a very small amount has been charged to revenue. Where it has been used, it has been able to pay for itself ; but, at the same time, we must not overlook the fact that £3,000,000 have been spent, and that it is necessary at the outset to develop a larger volume of power than is immediately required. At present the scheme is developing 62,000 horse-power, of which 12,000 horse-power is available for sale. It would be impracticable to develop, say, 50,000 horse-power at the outset and later increase it, because that would involve strengthening the dams and widening canals and pipe lines.In the process of general development it has been found necessary to construct short railway lines, many of which are not carrying much freight, and although their construction is necessary they really pay much; less in interest than railways in> the other states. The railways in New South’ Wales> in addition to meeting working expenses-, pay 4.89 per cent, in interest-, whilst the Victorian railways, during’ the year 1922-3, in addition to paying working expenses, paid 4.3-9 per cent., and I believe since then have paid the full amount of interest, whilst the Tasmanian railways’ are paying only . 87 per cent. As we have no large centres of population from which to derive revenue, we have to depend practically upon the rural population.
– The land, is not of the same productive capacity as land in other si/citGS’
SenatorJ. B. HAYES.- The bulk of the land has a greater productive capacity per acre than land in other states, but we have not nearly the area of other states from which to collect railway revenue.
– Revenue is derived m New South Wales by increasing the fares in the metropolitain area.
– Yes, but in Tas mani a we have not any large metropolitan areas from which an aggregation of small fares would provide a fairly large sum. It has been said that the people of Tasmania are not sufficiently taxed. The latest figures in the Commoriaoeaith Year-Book do not necessarily disclose the extent to which the people are taxed, or their ability to pay, which is an important factor. The Government Statistician in Tasmania has gone to a good deal of trouble to take out figures to show the capacity of the people to pay. That officer went back even to 1914, when the wealth census was taken-, and. by a method of calculation, using the Federal income tax assessment figures and taking 1,000 as- a basis, has sftown that the taacpaying capacity of the people in New South Wales is 1,T20; in Victoria, 1,043 ; in- Queensland, 850 ; in SowKh Australia, 850 : in Western Australia, l’,064; and m Tasmania, 585. On those figures, the taxpayers in New South Wales and in Victoria are a-ble to pay practicably as much again as those in Tasmania.
– I have very grave doubts as to . the value of the basis adopted, because the statistician makes it appear that the people- in Western Australia have a greater taxpaying capacity than- those- in Queensland- or South Australia.
– I am not responsible for the figures, and am. merely quoting them to- show the relative tax- paying capacity of the- people in the different states, and this aspect of the question should not be overlooked when considering whether the people of Tasmania are sufficiently taxed. The present Tasmanian Government has imposed another 12s. per bead in their taxation in the endeavour to assist in adjusting the finances.
– What is the taxation per head of the population ?
– I haive not the figures, but it is quite as much as the people can beair. I have unlimited faith in the state. We have a wonderful hydro-electric power scheme, which has been the means of attracting important industries, which have spent millions of pounds in the erection of buildings and in the installation of plant. These industries take time to become firmly established, and a considerable period is sometimes occupied in deciding whether an industry could profitably be established. One firm which, when I was a member of the Tasmanian Government, considered the establishment of an industry, has now completed its arrangements, and is about to commence operations with a capital of £1 , 000 , 000 . Hydroelectric power can be moire profitably employed by large industries than by small ones,, which- cannot be easily attracted to Tasmania owing to> the absence- of an extensive local market, and the disadvantages associated with isolation. Certain big industries are already established, amdi altogether the prospects in this direction are attractive. If we can successfully surmount thepresent financial trouble, there is. a bright future ahead of Tasmania. I hope that honorable- senators will look at this matter frorat that point of view, and grant the assistance1’ asked’ for by Tasmania with- as little delay as has- occurred in the granting of assistance to the dried fruits industry on. the river Murray.
Because of the fact that Tasmania is a poor state, she has felt, the drain of soldier settlement more than the other states. I se© no reason why the settlement of soldiers on the land1 should’ not be as much a Commonwealth undertaking as are war service homes, pensions, and’ other matters dealt with by the Commonwealth Government. The staites undertook the work primarily because they had> Hhe land, and) the necessary governmental machinery. Sinuce this work- has- been’ undertaken in Tasmania, the loss has reached a total of about £400,000. In some of the other states the loss has run into millions. That the work could not have been done better, in the circumstances, is proved by the fact that all the states are in the same position. If the Commonwealth Government had done the work, it is probable that the loss would have been even greater. So far as the public and the soldiers would allow it, the work has been done well. The trouble was due largely to the fact that many people who were intensely sympathetic towards the soldiers were quite irresponsible. These people urged greater expedition on the part of the Government. It sometimes takes two or three months for an ordinary settler to obtain a farm, but the public generally expected the Government to settle four or five soldiers on the land each week. In addition, the fact that Government money was being expended, . and that a number of new buyers were in the field, caused land values to become inflated. In the circumstances, mistakes were inevitable. The Commonwealth Government, to some extent, recognized its responsibility in that, for a number of years, it paid 2½ per cent, on the losses incurred. That, however, did not recoup Tasmania, because some of the money advanced- to the soldiers was advanced free of interest, while other advances were made at from 3½ per cent, to 5 per cent., whereas the. money cost the Government up to 6 per cent, or 6½ per cent. Notwithstanding that the utmost care was taken, the result was a huge loss to all the states, and Tasmania, being the smallest state, felt it most.
I desire now to refer to the payment by Tasmania of duty to the Commonwealth Government -in connexion with its hydro-electric scheme. The Treasurer of Tasmania, who, no doubt, had the correct figures, said that the Tasmanian Government had paid to the Commonwealth Government not less than £250,000 in duties in connexion with its hydro-electric undertaking. When those works were in course of construction, the war was in progress. Large quantities of machinery and cement were used, much of which had to be imported, as it was unobtainable in Australia. This, also, is a matter which should be taken into account when Tasmania’s claim1 for financial assistance is being considered. I have no desire to make a comparison between the claims of Tasmania, in relation to its hydro-electric scheme, and the claims of Victoria, in connexion with its undertaking at Morwell. In response to a question in this Senate I was supplied with some figures which showed that Tasmania paid in duty, on machinery the sum of £169,000, of which £78,000 was subsequently remitted. Victoria paid duty to the extent of £442,000, and had £304,000 remitted. In” other words, Victoria, whose payments were not double those of Tasmania, had remitted a sum which was four times that remitted to the smaller state. In making that, statement, I have no desire to infer that unfair treatment was meted out to Tasmania by the Customs Department. The difference between the amounts remitted to the two states was due to the fact that the remission of duty operated only after a certain date. Tasmania had paid a larger proportion of the duty before that date than Victoria had done. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that Tasmania had remitted a smaller proportion of the duty paid than was remitted to Victoria. Honorable senators should bear that in mind when this question of financial assistance to Tasmania is before them.
I desire to say a few words also in connexion with the duty on agricultural machinery. In this matter, I am on the side of the farmer every time. I should like to see him get his machinery as cheaply as possible. After a great deal of thought regarding this matter, I have come to the conclusion that if the farmer is to have cheap machinery, it must be manufactured in Australia. To enable that to be done a certain amount of protection is necessary, as if absolute freetrade operated in connexion with farm machinery, the position would be much the same as it is in New Zealand, and the price would be high for a long time. By Fostering this secondary industry for a time I believe that our manufactories will, before long, in quality, equal those of Canada and the United States of America, and be able to supply good machinery at reasonable prices. I have endeavoured to ascertain the amount of duty payable on ‘ reapers and binders, but have been unsuccessful. In my endeavours to get at the root of the matter I inquired of a man in the trade. He said that he could tell me confidentially the amount of the duty, but I said that that was not what I desired. When I informed him that I would find out the position, he said, “ It will probably take you a long time.”
– Is the honorable senator referring to the duty on each machine ?
– Yes. When I asked Senator Wilson the amount of the duty on each machine, he replied that it was £20, but, later, he said that that reply was incorrect as it referred to the total amount of £20,000 paid as duty. I then asked how many reapers and binders had been imported, and was informed that the Customs Department did not know. In that case how is the Customs Department in a position to know whether the amount of duty is fair or otherwise? The present position might operate to the detriment of local manufacturers. Let us suppose that a traveller for agricultural implements is endeavouring to sell a reaper and binder to a country farmer for £92 or £100, which is about the present price.
– The price of an Australian machine is £77.
– I was referring to the imported machine. Should the farmer demur and say that the price asked is too much for the machine, the agent can say that there is 45 per cent, duty on it. I do not say that this is done unfairly, but honorable senators can use their own judgment as to what might take place. An unscrupulous agent can say that the duty is £30, £40, or £45, in order to increase his price. There is nothing so baneful as a mystery. To tell a man that he must pay duty on a machine, but to fail to say how much that duty is, naturally upsets him. There is no reason why the duties on .agricultural machinery should not be set out in detail - so much for each machine. In the case of reapers and binders, the duty at present is £10 or 45 per cent., whichever is the greater. The different implements used by the average farmer could all be set out on the one side of an ordinary sheet of foolscap, and against each it would not be difficult to set the amount of duty. Take, for* instance, the case of a drill : it may have 11, 15, or 20 discs; and the duty could bc £5, £7, or whatever amount was considered a fair charge for the particular machine. That would offer some protec tion to the Australian maker, and yet let the farmer have it at a fair price.
– Is the duty on a £92 machine at present £30 ?
– The duty does not amount to more than half the sum referred to by the honorable senator. His question is, however, one that is frequently asked. When we are aware that the duty does not amount to anything like the sum mentioned, we can realize what a lever is placed in the hands of an unscrupulous agent when so much mystery surrounds the matter. He is able to tell the farmer that there is £30 to be paid in duty on the machine before his firm handles it, and he can, consequently, ask for a higher price than is reasonable. Take the case of motor-car bodies. No matter whether the value of the body is £50 or £250, the amount of duty is the same.
– It is a specific duty.
– There are more variations in motor-car bodies than is the case with agricultural implements, where there is probably not more than £10 difference between the .prices of the machines of the various makers.
– There is a fixed duty of about 200 per cent, in the case of motor-car bodies.
– I am stressing the point that if it is possible to fix a duty in the case of motor-car bodies, it is possible to. do so with agricultural implements. The percentage does not matter for the moment. When a farmer is buying machinery he should know how much of the purchase price represents the duty on it. But he is not in the position to-day to know that.
– Why can he not find out from the Customs Department ? The officials there should know.
– I tried to find out from them, but was unable to do so. The reason is that the whole matter is confidential, and that to disclose the amount of duty would mean disclosing the invoice price of the machine. That the officials are prevented from doing. The difficulty could be overcome by having a fixed amount of duty for each machine, so that a man would know the amount of duty he was called upon to pay when purchasing a machine. Senator Greene said that the local reaper and binder, a very good machine, is sold for £77. I suppose that if the price of the Australian-made reaper and binder were subtracted from the price of the imported machine there would not be much of the duty left. I want to see all agricultural machinery made in Australia,, because I know how the primary producer benefits from the establishment of a strong manufacturing industry. ‘ I know, for example, how a big city like Melbourne, with its numerous factories and large industrial population, strengthens the local market for the sale of primary produce. If the Australian farmers want cheap machinery, their best course is to insist on using only mach-. inery made in this country. The Australian manufacturers can turn out machinery equal, to the best imported. I know, because I have used it. There might not be quite the same finish as in the case of the imported machineiy, but the quality is there. The farmer,, in my opinion, has the remedy in his own hands. If he makes up his mind that he will not use agricultural machinery unless it is made in Australia, the Australian manufacturer, because of the increased demand, will be able to extend his works, and, before long will be in a position to supply our primary producers with machinery at the same price or, if not, at only a slight advance upon the price at which the American manufacturer supplies machinery to the farmers of America. I honestly believe this. The Government should seriously consider the prejudicial effect of these mystery duties in the tariff. In actual operation they cut against both the Australian farmer and the Australian manufacturer. The importer is the only man who benefits. He can say anything that he likes about these mystery duties. I do not suggest that he does so, but, at all events, he is furnished with the opportunity to do so. These mystery duties cause a great deal of dissatisfaction.
– Does the honorable senator advocate fixed instead of ad valorem duties?:
– I do not want ad valorem duties. The duties should be definitely fixed in- pounds, shillings, and pence, so that the Australian farmer may know exactly what he has to pay.
Deeply interested as I have been for many years in the dairying industry, I am glad to know that the Government is trying to do something for those engaged in it. I read the report of the speech delivered the’ other day by the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce), who, notwithstanding that it does not come under any of his departments, showed that he has an exceptionally good’ grasp of the present situation.For the general! information that it contains his speech is well, worth reading and re-printmg. I sincerely hope that the Government will be able to do something to stabilize the industry. I do not say that the scheme propounded is absolutely correct, but the dairymen of Australia are represented by an excellent council, and I am satisfied that if the Government accepts the advice tendered by that bodv, any measures adopted for the relief of the industry will be on a sound basis. I do not lose sight of the consumers’ point of view, for whilst there are comparatively few butter producers, there is a large number of consumers who, as a rule, do not care under what conditions butter is produced so long as they can get it cheaply.
– Nor do they care how dairymen live.
– I like to think that the workers of Australia can get cheap food. Butter is one of the best foods produced; but the workers have no right to expect cheap butter, if, to produce it, our dairymen are forced to work under conditions that every wage-earner would scorn to accept for himself. I warn the people that they will suffer if something ia not. done shortly to increase the price paid to the dairyman for his product, and to bring about stabilization in the industry. Butter produced at anything less than 2s. per lb. is a relatively good and cheap food. Three or four- years ago about 50 per cent, of the Australian production was consumed locally, and about 50 per cent, exported. More recently local consumption has increased very materially in relation to the total output,, until this year, so I am informed, and I believe the figures to* be approximately correct, 75 per cent, of the Australian production is being absorbed by the local market, and only 25 per cent., is being exported. In -January last, owing to certain overpayments in the factories, and they were not heavy, butter fat went down to ls. a lb. So serious was the outlook that in my own state dairymen were turning their cows out. In Victoria and
New South Wales also, dairy farmers were seriously thinking of selling their cows, and buying sheep, because relatively a small number of sheep pays better than cows for dairying with butter fat at anything below1s. 6d. a lb. It would be a calamity if anything happened to the dairying, industry in Australia. A splendid business has been built up, but I warn the people that if the producers cannot depend upon getting1s. 6d. a lb. for butter fat, the dairy farmers will carry their threat into execution, and sell their cows. It is not reasonable to expect a dairy farmer to> work for fourteen hours, and for a few shillings a” day, while men in our principal cities can get anything from 12s. to 18s. or 20s. a. day for eight hours’ work. If, as is contemplated, the dairy farmers go out of the business, consumption of butter in Australia will very quickly equal production, and then the price will rise rapidly to 2s. 6d. or 3s. per lb. Consumers really have most to gain from the stabilization of the industry, and the fixing of prices at a level that will ensure a fair return to the dairy farmer. If consumption overtakes production,, and that certainly is a likely contingency unless the industry is stabilized, butter will rise to such extraordinarily high prices that many people will be unable to afford it. But there is another aspect to this problem. Bacon is another important food largely used by Australian consumers. Although, independently of dairy farming,, it is possible to produce
Email quantities of bacon, the industry must be allied with dairying if bacon is to be produced on a commercial scale and at a reasonable price. Therefore, if the dairying industry declines, so also will pig-raising, and the Australian consumer will probably have to pay twice as much for bacon as at present. Although it is desirable that the dairy farmer should be able to put up a good case for the stabilization of the industry, it is equally necessary that the consumer should see the reasonableness of paying a fair price for dairy products in order that the dairyman may live under decent conditions. I put this point of view to those who may be disposed to object to dairymen receiving an increase of 6d. a lb. for butter fat.
I have been particularly interested in the Government proposals to make grants to the states for wire-netting advances and for road construction. I understand that the Government has set aside £250,000, on the pound for pound basis, for the purchase of wire netting. In my own state, where so many of the farms consist of 100 to 200 acres, it is extremely difficult to keep properties clear of ferns, blackberry, and rabbits. The Government’s proposal with regard to wirenetting advances is one of the best that has’ been made for many years. Babbits, when . they make their appearance, displace stock and ruin the pastures. A great many applications have been made in Tasmania for small quantities of wire netting on terms, the applications, in’the main, being for½ mile,¾ mile, or 1 mile of netting. Pastoralists in mainland states, accustomed to handling very much larger areas, appear surprised that the farmer who applies for a mile of wire netting is- not in a position to pay fox it. Many farmers in my state are in that position. They are extremely anxious to take advantage of the long terms of repayment, and, although they made application for wire netting, some time ago, it has not yet been made available. I placed the position before the Treasurer, and, although he is not the responsible Minister, he informed me that the Government intended to regard the grant as a perpetual endowment. In other words, the idea was that the State Governments should distribute the money, collect repayments from settlers, and, instead of returning it to the Commonwealth Government, should use it for the purchase of additional supplies of wire netting. This is a splendid scheme, but, unfortunately, between the Commonwealth and State Governments there is a hitch which I’ should like to see straightened out. The Government insists on getting a definite security for the advance, but I understood the Treasurer to say that the Commonwealth Ministry would be satisfied with a security that was acceptable to the State Government concerned. In Tasmania, under what is known as the Babbit Netting Act, which has never been put into operation, it is necessary to take a mortgage for any advances made. It is impracticable to do that.
– The state law should be amended.
– It has been a dead “letter for so many years.
– I should think that a very good reason why it should be amended.
– Is there not a better way? The Commonwealth Government, I understand, does not expect the money to be returned. It is intended to help our farmers to combat the rabbit pest. So long as the State Government complies with certain conditions as to the way in which it should be used, there should be no difficulty. Let the money be advanced to small holders. An application from a man for, say, 10 miles of wire netting might very well be ignored, and preference given to the small man who cannot very well get the netting in any other way. If regulations were made to ensure that the netting was supplied to the small farmers who stand most in need of it, I am sure the Government would be glad to hand the money over, for, after all, does it matter very much to the Commonwealth Government what sort of security the State Government gets for the wire netting advanced to its settlers ? Since there is £500,000 to be distributed the Commonwealth Government would be well advised to hand over its contribution to the states proportionately, for I am sure that the money would be wisely expended. In Tasmania, for instance, it was arranged that the municipal bodies should examine the applicants and report whether they approved or disapproved of them. If this system were adopted there would be very few bad debts, and the Commonwealth would not have to take the risk of the money being wasted. It must be a worrying operation to segregate the seeurites, and I am sure that nobody would be better pleased than the Minister for Trade and Customs if the. task were handed over to the state authorities.
A similar argument applies to the main roads development grant. Tasmania has a large mileage of roads on which it cannot expend any of this money, since they have been, partially constructed. Owing to- the large mileage it was necessary to build light roads 12 feet in width and with only 9 inches of metal. These roads now need to be strengthened, and in many places reconstructed, and it is unfortunate that the Commonwealth grant cannot be used for the purpose. The re strictions imposed in regard to grades have been found to be impracticable in a hilly country like Tasmania. My view is that since the grant has been made on a pound for pound basis, the expenditure could safely be left to the states concerned. In Tasmania, it has been necessary to look for roads that comply with the conditions laid down by the federal authorities, instead of spending the money in’ places where the most good would result. It is impossible to draw up conditions in a central office that will suit the needs of all the states, and where money is advanced on a pound for pound basis it is generally safe to trust the local governing authorities to use the money to the best advantage.
– I congratulate the honorable senator from Tasmania on the very thoughtful character of his speech, and with many of his remarks I cordially agree. The truth of his statement that the manufacture in Australia of agricultural implements has resulted’ in the farmers of this country obtaining cheaper machinery than would otherwise be procurable can be demonstrated beyond all shadow of doubt. In the adjoining Dominion of New Zealand many of the identical implements sold by the foreign companies that are trading in Australia are disposed of at a higher price than is charged to the Australian producers. The truth of this statement can be shown by a comparison of the catalogues printed and circulated in both countries. It is obvious that the competition by the Australian manufacturers leads to the farmers of this country obtaining their implements at lower prices than would rule if there were no local manufacture of these goods. With what Senator J. B. Hayes said concerning the dairying industry, I am heartily in accord. When the late war was in progress, and during the period of control, I endeavoured to induce the dairymen of the Commonwealth to agree to a scheme of organization which, if accepted, would have saved them hundreds of thousands of pounds. The dairymen are now. willing to act on the lines I then suggested, but it was felt by the Government with which I was associated at that time that it was not justified in compelling the dairymen to accept its view of the situation. The Government felt that it was necessary for the dairymen to be allowed to gradually realize what action was necessary, although many of their number, particularly .in Queensland and New South Wales, approved of the proposal. The dairymen of Victoria, however, through their organization, were so definitely hostile to the scheme that the Government was not disposed to proceed with it. I hope, however, that the negotiations now in progress will result in steps being taken which will ultimately place the industry on a sound footing. If there is one class among the toilers of this country which deserves well of the people of Australia, it is the dairying section. No other industry, so far as I am aware, demands the same constant application, thought, and care on the part of those engaged in it. The dairymen receive no holidays, and no Saturdays or. Sundays off. For 365 days in the year they must toil early and late, with no hope of being able to secure adequate relief from their unceasing toil. It is almost impossible to adequately recompense them for the amount of labour they put into the industry. If the Government suddenly tried to force the people engaged in other industries to work for 365 days in the year, there would be something approaching a revolution. But here is an industry in which the people are voluntarily doing that, and they are contributing a large sum to the national wealth year by year. Statistics show that the industry is extending its activities in a number of directions that were not thought of a few years ago.
I wish to devote a little attention to the study of the actual budget figures as they are presented to us in the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure which the Treasurer (Dr. Earle Page) brought down a few weeks ago. I think that it was’ almost a pity that the Treasurer was in such great baste to lay the Estimates on the table. Whilst I willingly accord to him and the officials associated with him the praise that is due for their great industry in presenting the figures unusually early in the year, there are other considerations which almost outweigh the advantage of their early presentation. I am strengthened in that opinion by the fact that, although it is now five weeks since the Treasurer tabled the figures, this is the first day practically that the Senate has had an opportunity of dealing with them. It seems to me, therefore, that the figures might have been withheld for a little while longer to enable the statistical information to be brought more up to date than it was. One is handicapped to some extent in discussing matters bearing upon the trade, industry, and commerce of the people when the’ figures supplied are very often two or three years old. That is the position in connexion with some of the figures which accompany the present budget, for some of them date back to 1922. It would be better if an arrangement could be made to enable the latest data to be presented, even if ‘it meant slightly delaying the actual presentation of the budget.
– The figures were not published in New South Wales until three or four days after they were presented here.
– It is desirable that the people in states other than Victoria should be given every opportunity to have placed before them such important figures as the statement of the annual receipts and expenditure of the Commonwealth.
– Did not the other states have that opportunity?
– Not on the present occasion. The press in New South Wales has always previously had the courtesy extended to it of being supplied with advance copies of the budget in sufficient time to enable it to place the whole of the information before the public.
– The press in Sydney could not publish the complete figures even on the following Monday.
– Such unseemly haste to lay the budget on the table places states other than Victoria in a somewhat invidious position. It is impossible for such a mass of information as is contained in the budget to be telegraphed to the other states as soon as it is laid on the table.
In many respects the budget is a record. Making due allowance for a reduced expenditure on the war, the annual recurring expenditure, although a good deal of it is not shown in the figures presented to us in the budget, is to-day considerably greater than it has ever been; and when the other test is applied, that of combining expenditure from revenue with, expenditure from loan, while still making due allowance for a reduced expenditureon war, there is a vastly greater animal recurring expenditure to-day than we have ever previously had. In dealing with the budget, I am- not so much concerned with the actual’ figures presented to- us. Iam nawe concerned with what the- position of this- country will be in a few years, with the commitments into which we are1 now entering both as regard’s reductions of taxation and increased expenditure. The Customs tariff is producing an enormous revenue. I do not know that honorable senators realize that in the tariff which I had the honour to present to another place a little time ago there was designedly included in addition to its protective incidence one of the biggest taxation measures to which this country has ever assented. The enormous revenue now being collected through the Customs House is not the result of an accident. It is the result of the express intention of the Government that introduced the tariff. The Treasurer of that Government knew perfectly well that the peak of the Commonwealth expenditure arising out of the war had not been reached. He knew that in the immediate future there would be an ever-increasing expenditure and that it was necessary, not merely to make provision for the actual moment, but also to meet, as far as possible, the commitments of the future. The Government had already imposed heavy direct taxation, but heavy and all as it was, the revenue could not possibly meet the annual recurring commitments of the Commonwealth in respect to the war alone. It was, therefore, necessary to raise further revenue, and, protective as we hoped the tariff would be to a vast extent of its incidence, it directly and with deliberate intention placed on the shoulders of the Australian people in relation to many items in it a heavy taxation measure, by means of which we are securing heavy collections through the Customs House to-day. In his budget speech, delivered in another place, the Treasurer gave a table of what he called taxation on luxuries, which produces £16,207,000 annually. That was part, but only part, of the vast taxation measure to which I have alluded. ‘ Of that £16,207,000, no less than £14,234,988 is collected fircm Customs duties, and excise on wines, beer, spirits, and tobacco; Many other items in the tariff press upon the wage-earner of the community.
– In other words, the wage-earner has- helped to pay the war debt.
– He has helped to pay it.
– As a matter of fact, he is paying’ it.
– He is helping to pay it, but, as I shall show directly, some of the very wealthy people of this country are contributing enormous sums annually to liquidate our war debt and meet the obligations of Australia. The point I wish to make at the outset is that in addition to the direct taxation placed on the shoulders of the people the Commonwealth Government deliberately and designedly spread that burden, through the Customs House; over every man, woman, and child in the community.
– Then the tariff does not pretend to be protective.
– If Senator Gardiner had listened to me a moment or two ago he would have heard me say that whilst a vast proportion of the tariff which I had the honour to introduce in another place was designedly protective in character, something was designedly included in it which was really a vast taxation measure. The figures I have just quoted from the budget speech of the Treasurer bear this out in every particular. That being the case, I was glad when the Treasurer announced a reduction of the income tax, applying in the greater part to men o£ small or moderate means. I have all along recognized that men of moderate means have been bearing a very heavy burden in connexion with the war. On page 66 of the budget papers is a most interesting table of figures showing the extent to which revenue derived from direct taxation has borne the charges for the war and the repatriation expenditure of the Commonwealth year by year from the first year of the war to the present date. In that table honorable senators will find quite a number of remarkable figures. They will see that in the year 1921-2 direct taxation contributed . £22,048,483 towards the Consolidated Revenue. In that year the war expenditure out of revenue was £31,330,552. Thus, in that year 70 per cent, of the annual recurring war expenditure was met by direct taxation. In 1922-3 direct taxation accounted for £17,012,888, and the war expenditure from revenue was £30,099,428. Thus, 56 per cent, of the war expenditure from revenue was borne by direct taxation. In 1923-4 direct taxation contributed £15,101,699 to a war expenditure of £23,770,106, the ratio being 52 per cent. This year it is estimated to receive by direct taxation £14,504,000, and as the estimated war expenditure from revenue is £28,304,033, the ratio will be 51 per cent. During the war and for the first year after the war the whole of the war expenditure out of revenue was met by . the direct taxation levied. In 1920-21, more than two years after the war, the war expenditure from revenue reached its peak at £33,285,706. In 1918-9, the last year of the war, it amounted to only £20,982,493- in two years it had increased by over £13,000,000 - and this year we have to provide £28,344,033 out of revenue for war expenditure, or nearly £7,500,000 more than for the concluding year of the war. As far as we can see ahead, the expenditure we shall have to incur for a number of years to come cannot be very much less than the amount required this year, because we can only reduce our indebtedness a little each year, and because the amount payable for pensions is rather inclined to grow than to decrease. We are constantly hearing from all sides requests to liberalize the pension payments, and as every liberalization spreads the area of payment over a bigger surface theresult is that more come in at the top than go out at the bottom. Some pensioners die, others perhaps recover from some war disability and no longer require pensions, but the constant gradual liberalization of the scheme of payments has- kept the Commonwealth, expenditure on war pensions pretty steady. When the amounts provided for military pensions for the years 1921-2 and 1924-5 are compared it will be found that the difference in expenditure between the two periods is not more than a few thousand- pounds. As repatriation has practically reached the point where we are simply looking after the medically unfit, there cannot be a large reduction in expenditure for some years to ‘come, and as the reduction will be gradual, we can regard the figure of £27,000,000 or £28,000,000 we have reached as being more or less a constant recurring charge for many years to come. We are paying this year out of revenue £7,361,545 more to meet war expenditure than we did in the last year of the war, and that being so, I must confess that I look upon proposals designed to abolish income taxation with a good deal of misgiving. I do not like paying taxation myself, and I do not know any one who does; but when faced with these figures and the fact that the responsibility for meeting war expenditure is the duty of the Commonwealth - it is not the responsibility of the states - we must look very carefully at any proposal designed to relieve the ‘Commonwealth of the responsibility, and to remove the “burden from the shoulders of those who are best able to bear it.
– Why should the Commonwealth hand over its powers of taxation to the states?
– I am not dealing with the powers of taxation from the constitutional aspect at this juncture.
– In any case, if the Commonwealth Government withdrew from the field of direct taxation it would not surrender its power to impose taxation.
– Certainly not The point I am endeavouring to stress at the moment is that proposals have been mooted from time to time which might possibly be interpreted as a desire on the part of the Commonwealth to shirk its definite responsibilities. The duty of financing the war rests upon this Parliament, and a system, of taxation was introduced during the war which was designed as far as was possible to place the burden of taxation on the shoulders of those best able to bear it. I have dealt with the additional taxation imposed by the Commonwealth Parliament which spreads over the whole community ; but, in addition, a system of direct taxation was deliberately designed to place the obligation on those who were best able to meet it. There are some wealthy men who in the most patriotic way accepted the full burden of that responsibility to pay heavy taxation, and who have not tried to be relieved of it, but there are others on -whom the burden has fallen who have never ceased from the time when it was imposed by every means, insidious and otherwise, to pass it on to others.
– And they are still doing so.
– And, so far, successfully!
– No; I shall show by the official figures which I shall quote that the burden still rests where Parliament placed it. I am not prepared to join in the agitation which has arisen to remove the burden from those who are at present carrying it, or to repudiate the responsibility which definitely belongs to the Commonwealth Parliament. One of the effects of the imposition of direct taxation is to show the incomes of people who have interests spread more or less all over this vast continent, and for the first time the taxation authorities in- Australia collected figures which disclosed what individuals actually received in income throughout the Commonwealth. Prior to the imposition of a direct Com-: monwealth , tax. the work had been done by two, three, four, five, or even six states, and no one knew the aggregate income of certain persons. But when the Commonwealth entered the field of direct taxation, and levied an income tax, as it had every right to do, and placed the burden of financing the war for the first time in the proper place, all these different sources of income were brought together, and the taxing authorities ascertained in most cases what the. incomes were. In order to show that this is so, I shall refer for a moment or two to another set of figures in the budget papers, which deals with the income of individual taxpayers, and discloses the number of taxpayers in each particular class. As will be seen from a perusal of the papers, the number in receipt of incomes of £100 to £500, from £500 to £1,000, and from £1,000 to £5,000, and so on, are grouped, even to those in receipt of over £100,000 a year. On reference to these figures it will be found that of 439,278 persons who it is expected will pay income tax this year, 25,000, or 5.7 per cent, of the total number of taxpayers, pay 75 per cent, of the tax on individual incomes. That is my authority for stating that, the Commonwealth Government has placed the re sponsibility on those who should meet it. Of that 25,000 mentioned there has been a considerable number, I think the vast majority, who have readily and patriotically accepted, just as did the people in England, the heavy burden; but there have been a few - one often sees their names in the newspapers - who, from the day the taxation was imposed to the present time, have never refrained from endeavouring to remove that burden from where it properly belongs. A proposal discussed a little time ago, and which was given some prominence in the Australian press, was that, in lieu of the per capita payments, we should withdraw from the field of direct taxation. I say deliberately that I do not think the Commonwealth ought to entertain such a proposition for a moment, because to do so would be a direct abandonment of the direct responsibility which rests upon the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth only, whose duty it is to see that the burden of meeting war expenditure rests where it is to-day. If we abandoned the right to impose direct taxation, and the responsibility rested on the State Treasurers, who will say that the burden would be properly placed and in the same proportion, or in anything like the same proportion, that it is today ? I know it will be said that it would be possible for the state authorities to aggregate the incomes all over Australia and to impose taxation to the same extent. The people who believe that that could be done have greater faith than I possess in the possibility of getting six State Governments on such a vital matter as taxation to take similar action. I do not believe for a moment that it could be done, and I do not believe that any one else thinks it possible. The states’ systems of taxation vary considerably, and to adjust them in such a way as to enable the burden to be placed on the shoulders of those who are carrying the major portion to-day is an utter and absolute impossibility. Let me take the taxation figures for New South Wales for last year, as supplied to me by the Treasurer of New South Wales, Sir Arthur Cocks, at my request. The letter containing the information is signed by Mr. Whiddon, the Commissioner of Taxation in that state, and reads -
For Senator Massy Greene’s information, the particulars in regard to the New South Wales state income tax levied during the period 1st July, 1023, to 30th June, 1924, are as follows: - Tax on income derived from personal exertion, £1,009,397; tax on income derived from property, one-third extra, £544,577. The tax which is derived from the taxation o£ companies is £2,942,149.
In New South “Wales they have a system of taxation by which probably two-thirds of the income tax is derived from taxes on companies. The tax on individuals provides only about one-half the sum that is raised by the taxation of companies. I ask, how i3 it possible to take our system of taxation and mix it with a system like that? It cannot be clone. I believe that to attempt such a thing would result in the tax falling more heavily on the primary producers - the dairymen, the wheat farmers, and the small producers generally - while the men who would probably escape would be the rich pastoralists who own big interests scattered over Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and, possibly, thu Northern Territory. To do what has been suggested, but which I hope will never be realized, would place a heavy burden on the shoulders of people who should not be called upon to bear any additional burden, while, at the same time, it would relieve from taxation those best able to pay. There is another reason for my belief that the Commonwealth Government should not barter away the per capita payments. For the moment I am putting on one side altogether the view, which I know is held very strongly in a number of states, that as population increases the per capita payments will increase correspondingly and should continue. I am endeavouring, to view the matter entirely from a Commonwealth point of view and from the point of view of our responsibility as representatives of the people of Australia. I believe that the ambit of the powers now exercised by the Commonwealth Parliament must be enlarged in the future. There are many matters which I believe the people of Australia will ultimately, if not immediately, ask to be added to the field of activities of the Commonwealth Government. Take, for instance, the subject of health administration. Today the Commonwealth Government is hampered in many directions in its endeavours to administer even the quarantine laws. As one who occupied the position of Minister for Trade and Customs at a period in Australia’s history when this was a burning question, I can only add my testimony to that of others as to the utterly illogical position which arose between the Commonwealth and the states because, of the jealous care of the states to conserve to themselves their powers and responsibilities.
– Did the honorable senator, when Minister for Trade and Customs, find the states anxious to hand over their powers to the Commonwealth?
– No; on the contrary, I found that they fought for their rights with a tenacity worthy of a better cause. I believe that, in connexion with venereal disease, tuberculosis, and similar diseases which are national in their incidence, if we are to do anything of a permanent and really beneficial character, it is essential that the campaign, when it is undertaken, shall be national in character, and that it shall reach from one end of the continent to the other. What would be the use of Victoria tackling with the greatest assiduity and vigour the control of venereal disease if across the border in New South Wales nothing was done ?
– The same thing applies to the rinderpest -outbreak.
– I am not dealing with the many other diseases which might be mentioned. It seems to me that, sooner or later, the Commonwealth must widen its sphere of activity. I hope that when the time comes that the Commonwealth Government feels that it should assume these additional responsibilities, it will not be necessary for us to go cap in hand to the taxpayers of Australia and say that, to enable us to shoulder this additional responsibility, further contributions on their part are necessary. We should be in a much better position if, in those circumstances, we we’re able to say to the states that, because we were accepting additional responsibilities for the nation’s good, we proposed to reduce the Pel. capita payments from 25s. to 15s.
– That would not be constitutional.
– I fail to follow the honorable senator’s reasoning. I think that such an action would he constitutional. But once we hand over our right to direct taxation, and recoup ourselves by withholding the per capita payments, we shall not be in the position when the time comes - as it inevitably will - for the Commonwealth to assume greater powers, to accept that additional responsibility.
– An alteration of the Constitution would be necessary to widen the powers of the Commonwealth Government.
– I admit that I believe that additional constitutional power is needed by the Commonwealth in the interests of Australia, but I am not prepared to indicate this afternoon the exact nature of the changes which I think should be made to that end. On the platform I have supported those proposals for which Senator Needham at one time stood, but which before the last election he urged the people not to accept.
– The honorable senator has misrepresented me. I urged the people to accept them.
-When we make due allowance for war expenditure, and for some other matters to which I shall refer presently, such as the change over from revenue expenditure to loan expenditure, which has been followed to an extraordinary extent, we shall find that the estimated expenditure of the Commonwealth for this year is far greater than ever before. Let me refer honorable senators- to the Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure for the years 1921-22 and 1924-25. I have chosen 1921-22 because that year has always been held up as a “horrid example” of profligate expenditure. I remember when the present Treasurer almost exhausted his vocabulary in denouncing the 1921-22 budget, and the proposals of the then Treasurer - that great servant of Australia, Sir Joseph Cook - to spend more money from revenue than he anticipated receiving. It was almost impossible to follow the gentleman who to-day is Treasurer of the Commonwealth in the vituperation which he poured out on the head of the Treasurer at that time. The expenditure for 1921-22 was a record up to that time, and for that reason I have chosen that year as the basis of the comparison which I propose to make. In 1921-22, the amount actually expended under the heading “Defence” was £5,964,730. This year it is proposed to expend £5,101,887. One would almost gather from statements appearing in the Treasurer’s budget speech that in 1921-2 there was no sinking fund. But in 1921-22 the amount paid into the sinking fund was £3,032,478, and this year - I am quoting from figures supplied to me by the Treasurer in answer to questions -the total is £2,759,318. Expenditure on repatriation in 1921-22 was £2,102,641, and this year it is £900,563. For other war services, which, of course, include interest on the war debt and so on, the amount paid from revenue in 1921-22 was £26,234,523, and this year it is £25,080,152. If honorable senators have been able to follow my figures and make a rapid calculation, they will have ascertained that in 1921-22 expenditure from revenue under these four headings - defence, sinking fund, repatriation, and other war services - was £3,492,452 more than for this year. Notwithstanding this, the expenditure this year from revenue, as I shall show directly, is very much more than it was in 1921-22. I said a little while ago that there has been a remarkable turnover from expenditure charged to loan instead of to revenue, as in 1921-22. Comparing the two years we find that this year’s expenditure from revenue on new works - which, of course, includes the Department of the Postmaster-General and other departments - is £2,168,005 less than it was in 1921-22. Although the Treasurer has this year taken his heavy charge off his revenue expenditure, and put it on to loan, the expenditure from revenue is still very much greater than it was -in 1921-22. Let me sum up the figures I have just given. The Treasurer has- relieved revenue expenditure by £862,843 less, expended on defence, £1,202,078 less expended on repatriation, £273,160 less paid into the sinking fund, and £1,154,371 less expended on other war services, the total being, as I have stated,. £3,492,452, and by charging to loan expenditure £2-168,005, which previously was charged to revenue, the total is £5,660,457. *[Extension of time granted.”] In other words, had the Treasurer been called upon to pay on account of those services the same sums this year as in 1921-22, and had he charged them to revenue instead of to loan, he would have been obliged to add £5,660,457 to his- revenue expenditure for this year. The total expenditure from revenue for the year 1921-22, not including interest on loans raised for the states, about which I shall have a word or two to say directly, was £64,195,699. Had the Treasurer in 3.921-22 made provision only for defence, repatriation, sinking fund, and war services to the same extent as in this year’s budget, the net expenditure from revenue for 1921-22, instead of being £64,195,699, would have been £58,535,242. The estimated expenditure from revenue for 1925 is £63,445,183. Allowing for automatic reductions for comparison, we find that the added expenditure since 1921-22 on the items - which appear in the budget is £4,909,941. That is not by any means the whole of the story. There is another very extraordinary feature in this budget, and one which I venture to say is not to be found in any other budget that has been presented to this Parliament. It introduces an entirely new method of finance. 1 direct the attention of honorable senators to the receipts and expenditure for this year, as shown on page xii of the Estimates.
Sitting suspended from- 6.S0 to 8 “p.m.
– On page xii of the Estimates one sees what is, I believe, an entirely new feature. It is termed the “allocation of surplus,” and it will be seen that it deals with certain payments such as those for invalid and old-age pensions, war pensions, naval construction, and a reserve for defence. There is £500,000 for main roads, £500,000 for assistance in marketing primary products, and £1,000,000 for naval construction. These sums are left, like Mahomet’s coffin, hanging ‘twixt heaven and earth. They are not brought to account either in last year’s or this year’s figures, except in the table dealing with the consolidated revenue fund. Of course, the net result is obvious. Honorable senators will remember well that when the Treasurer (Dr. Earle Page) made his comments on the budget of 1921-22, he condemned the then Treasurer most bitterly for spending more money in any given year than he was collecting, and I think that he went so far as to move for a reduction in the whole of the surplus expenditure of that year. If the present Treasurer had adopted the measures which the then Treasurer followed, bringing his expenditure for the year to account in the Esti mates for that year, and treating his surplus as meeting part of that year’s expenditure, he would have been in exactly the same position. But, when the Treasurer superimposes these additional figures on the expenditure of the year, the total is relatively and actually vastly greater than the expenditure of 1921-22. The reasons for what has been done, as I have already said, are obvious. If the Treasurer had followed the usual course he would have shown a heavy deficit on this year’s transactions. He did not wish to show that, and, therefore, he adopted this new, and, I venture to say, unjustifiable method of drawing up the annual balance sheet of the country. He avoided showing that he was drawing on his surplus for this year’s expenditure, although it was a practice that he condemned bitterly m the previous Treasurer. Had he done what be said the previous Treasurer should have done, this year’s budget would have represented the “heaviest expenditure out of revenue that the Commonwealth has ever known, not even excepting the budgets presented during the war years, when we had to meet actual war expenditure. Then, of course, the Treasurer would have found it extremely difficult, in view of ‘ the figures presented, to justify the reduction of taxation. The method adopted by him is unjustifiable, and the Treasurer was hardly frank with the country. Surely we should have an honest statement presented of the year’s expenditure out of revenue, but the figures given do not present the position in a way that truthfully tells the whole story. My reason for laying particular stress on this fact is that there is no saying who may be Treasurer of the Commonwealth when the next budget is_ presented, and I am afraid that next year many of these chickens will come home to roost. There is another feature of the budget to which I desire to draw attention. Being a non-recurring item, honorable senators may not have noticed it. I refer to the fact that the Treasurer has received a windfall of £500,000 in interest payable by the State of Victoria, which should have been paid lastyear. The Victorian Government, for some reason, held up the payment to the Commonwealth of this sum, and it is brought to account in the Treasurer’s figures this year. It means that the Treasurer has budgeted to receive :£500.000 more from the State of Victoria this year than he would get in an ordinary year, and, consequently, it is necessary to take that sum into account in obtaining a correct appreciation of the position in regard to the present budget, as compared with those that have preceded it. After all, the matter is passed and done with, but we have to think of the future. 1 Vim the statement of receipts, it will be found that last year the Treasurer received from income tax £11,057,555. He is making a remission of approximately £2,000,000 this year, but we do not find that remission reflected in the budget figures. On the other hand, we notice that the Treasurer proposes to raise from income tax this year £10,500,000. Despite the remission of income tax to the extent of £2,000,000, he expects to raise from this source in 1924-25 only £557,555 less than in 1923-24. It should be realized that it is necessary to make provision to meet a reduction in income tax next year to the extent of £1,500,000, and less interest from the states to the extent of £500,000, unless his anticipations of revenue are falsified. There will be no surplus to meet the additional naval expenditure of £1,000,000 which is provided for this year, thus leaving- no less than £3,000,000 to be made up. It is a somewhat serious state of affairs, in view of the fact that Parliament has already passed a bill which, in all probability, will mean an expenditure on naval construction for ships alone of some £5,000,000, and possibly £5,500,000. Although in this year’s budget there is a special provision from the surplus carried from trust account of £2,500,000, it will not be long before we shall be hard hit in connexion with naval construction, and we shall not be able to meet the expenditure from ordinary revenue. In addition to the two cruisers to be built, the Government proposes to increase the expenditure on the Air Force, and there are many other avenues of defence expenditure - such as the proposed large submarines, and the replacing of some of our vessels that are rapidly becoming obsolete. This makes it difficult to see how we shall balance the ledger in the future. Compared with 1921-22, making due allowance for automatic reductions, we see that there is an added expenditure of £4,909,941. To this must be added recurring expenditure of £1,000,000 or £2,000,000, according to whether we include or exclude £1,000,000 for extra naval expenditure, making the total either £6,909,941 or £5,909,941. Of this added expenditure, £4,000,000 has been added by the Treasurer of his own volition. There is, also, £1,000,000 foa1 old-age pensions. I am not objecting to the expenditure, but I am endeavouring to point out that the responsibility rests upon the shoulders of the present occupant of the Treasury. There is an extra £2,000,000 for the Defence Department and the Navy, £500,000 for main roads, and another £500,000 for assistance in marketing primary produce; and presumably the two last-mentioned items will be continued. Faced, as we are in all probability, with a very large reduction of revenue on this year’s figures, ‘ as I have indicated, and in view of the necessity for adding to next year’s expenditure, the figures which this year are simply left hanging betwixt heaven and earth, and not brought to accountanywhere, the prospect of the Treasurer in budgeting for next year is not rosy unless he obtains an accretion of revenue which cannot at present be foreseen.
– The honorable senator must take his share of that responsibility, because he supports- the Government.
– Certainly I take a share of that responsibility, but I was noi a member of this Parliament when a lot of the expenditure was added, and now that I am here I am endeavouring to point out the road along which I think we are going. It is not necessary that I should point out that there must be a cessation of this largely increased expenditure, because we are rapidly coming to that stage when, if there is not that cessation, we must either re-impose a considerable amount of the taxation we have already lifted from the shoulders of the people, or curtail very considerably our expenditure. I know how extremely difficult it is to curtail expenditure once it has been incurred. It is far easier to say, “ No, we will not incur that expenditure,” than, once it has been incurred, creating considerable vested interests, to curtail it and possibly seriously affect those interests. The time has come for the Commonwealth to consider carefully any proposal for incurring heavy expenditure which may involve regular annual outgoings for many years to come. Since the budget was framed we have agreed to certain other expenditure. It may be that the Government propose to meet it out of the £500,000 provided for helping to market primary produce, but if it is not to be provided in that way, it is something additional, for which we shall also have to make provision in the future.
On page 60 of the budget papers the actual expenditure on every department from revenue and loan is brought to account. Making an allowance for the reduction of £8,625,463 in war expenditure, it will be found that the actual expenditure this year from loan and revenue is £3,346,837 more than it was in the year 1921-22, but that does not include the £2,000,000, which, as I say, is placed in the allocation of surplus, and not brought to account in the Estimates. If this £2,000,000 is added, the actual increased expenditure - from revenue and loan- this year as compared with 1921-22 is £5,346,837.
While I sound this note of warning, I realize to the full the splendid relative position Australia occupies. Notwithstanding the heavy burden of the war placed on our, shoulders, our record has been one of steady and continuous progress. Certain figures in the budget papers are so indicative, of our wonderful prosperity that I think they are well worth bringing under the notice of honorable senators. The burden we are carrying is extremely heavy, but nevertheless there are features in connexion with our position which might well make the rest of the world envious of us. During the last ten years the total area under crop increased by nearly 3,000,000 acres, making the total 16,543,555 acres, the increase being 19 per cent. I understand that this year the area under crop will be close upon 18,000,000 acres. The area under fruit increased from 205,114 acres to 275,687 acres, an increase of 39 per cent. Vineyards increased in area from 62,388 acres to 105,476 acres, an increase of 69 per cent. The value of our exported wool rose from £26,277,062 to £57,138,764. The quantity of wool actually used in Australia, which, of course, has to be added to the quantity exported, increased from 10,133,512 lb. to 23,415,533 lb. Dairying has been under a cloud, but the figures in connexion with that industry are also wonderful. I am sorry that they are not thoroughly up to date, but those available show that before the war the total value of dairy produce was £13,706,384, whereas in 1922, the last year for which I could get the figures, the value was £33,709,177. The value of milk consumed in the cities increased iu the same period from £1,876,900 to £6,781,643, and the value of condensed milk rose from £385,454 to £3,176,473. Notwithstanding the cloud that has been hanging over the dairying industry, it has made wonderful progress. Before the war the’ value of our wheat production was £13,303,396. The last year for which I could get the figures its. value was £35,154,664. Our prosperity is also reflected in our banking statistics. Savings bank deposits increased during ten years from £75,261,354 to £171,643,812, and cheque paying deposits from £154,508,380 to £306,182,458. Thus the bank deposits of Australia increased from £229,769,734 to £467,825,270 in ten years, an increase of no less than £23S,056,536. Our total overseas trade also increased from £158,321,422 to £249,627,982. I have not the time to refer to the figures in regard to our manufactures, but they also show wonderful progress. It does not matter from what aspect it is viewed, the progress has been remarkable, and the outstanding feature of our manufacturing enterprise is that the amount of Australian raw materials used in production has almost trebled in the last decade.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - The honorable senator has exhausted his time.
– I am thankful to the Government for having brought down the national balance-sheet so early in the session. It has already been stated that on only four occasions since the establishment of federation has the budget been presented to Parliament in the month of July. I realize that there may be some disadvantage in having the Treasurer’s financial statement made at such an early date, but I am fully conscious of the many complaints in the past about the late presentation of the budget and of the corresponding disadvantage occasioned. The budget has usually been presented some time between June and Christmas, but most often it has been close to Christmas, with the result that we have had to be content with giving this most important feature of governmental activity anything but the due attention it deserves. Very often, through pressure of business at the last moment in the concluding weeks of the session, the discussion of the budget has been reduced to so many days, and often to a very limited number of hours. I am pleased that om the present occasion that disadvantage has been overcome, and although, as Senator Greene has said, we may be at a disadvantage through not having at our fingers’ ends those figures which would make possible a more intelligent discussion of our finances, at the same time we have the corresponding and offsetting advantage that we have more leisure to devote to a more minute dissection of the budget than we would otherwise have.
The sole reference in the budget to the wheat industry, which employs more than all the other primary industries put together, is contained in seven lines, but that slight reference is more than made up by the Government’s subsequent announcement that it has decided to give some form of guarantee to those people who are working out in a very heroic way the developmental destiny of the Commonwealth. I am pleased that this Government has at length hearkened to the voice, sounded no doubt in a weak manner in this chamber some time ago, when I tabled the motion that it would be a good policy for the Government to step into the arena and give a guarantee of so much per bushel to people engaged in producing wheat. It is true that at the time the suggestive seed I dropped seemed to fall on barren ground, but apparently it has found some modicum of mothersoil on which to take root and grow.
The Government have now come to the conclusion that it is in the interests, not only of the internal development of the country, but also of the development of the whole of the community, to give a helping hand to this most important industry. I have no desire to make comparisons, but I notice that almost every other industry has had the advantage of dipping into the Federal Treasury, and some have been able to dip into the surplus earnings of the people, to an almost unlimited extent, through the operation of the Customs tariff. On not one occasion has the wheat industry been responsible for dipping into the Treasury to secure one penny of government patronage, and on no occasion has it occasioned the Government one penny of loss. I am pleased that Ministers now recognize its position and, realizing what it has done in the past and what it is capable of doing in the future, have offered a guarantee which can be safely extended to it without occasioning the Government any loss.
With regard to the budget, the Treasurer has been out, on two occasions, im his estimates of probable revenue and anticipated expenditure. The result is a happy one, because the funds collected in excess of expenditure have been used for many of the purposes to which Governments can wisely apply their surplus revenue. It is undoubted evidence of prosperity. But whether the incidental effect of raising such am unexpected amount from the Customs is a good thing is an entirely different matter.
In looking over the items in the budget papers we find that in regard to the civil activities of the Government, which include commercial undertakings, special appropriations, additions, new works and buildings, and miscellaneous, there has been an increase in expenditure. Comparing the figures for the present year with those for 1920-21, which may be taken as a standard year, the expenditure on ordinary votes has decreased. Business concerns, which include railways, the PostmasterGeneral’s Department, and shipping enterprises, show an increase in expenditure of £1,270,000, and special appropriations for which the Parliament and not the Government must assume responsibility disclose an increase of £3,400,000 as compared with 1920-21. The cost of additions, new works, and buildings show a decrease of £1,470,000, the deficiency being made good by expenditure from loan funds. Under the heading of Miscellaneous there is an increase of £326,000, which, in conjunction with the figures quoted, shows an increase in the expenditure on civil activities of £3,286,000, against which the expendi- ture in connexion -with the war and repatriation has to be considered. As Senator Greene has stated, as compared with the financial year 1920-21 there has in this connexion been a shrinkage of something in the neighbourhood of £4,500,000, so that the net result is that the difference between the increase in the expenditure of civil activities of government and that in relation to war and repatriation services is about £1,250,000. The amount spent on war and repatriation services has been mentioned by Senator Greene, whose salient remarks concerning the necessity of placing the burden of (he war on those who are best able to bear it are worthy of notice. Whilst that is very desirable it is hard to square the proposal with that of reducing the rate of income taxation, which in some instances seems to be placing additional responsibility on those least able to bear it by taking the surplus earnings out of the pockets of some people and transferring them to the Treasurer. The credit of the Government is superior to that of individuals, and, in the opinion of John Stuart Mill, we have to ask if it is wise or right to take out of the people’s pockets, even for a short period, one penny more than is needed to meet the requirements of government. I have no serious complaint to make in regard to the proposal to reduce taxation and so increase the exemption, or to the payment of annual war and repatriation expenditure in the manner suggested, which may not be in accordance with Senator Greene’s views. On page 65 of the Estimates it is shown how our war and repatriation ‘ expenditure has been met since 1914-5, when our war expenditure was met by the payment of £14,000,000 out of loan and £640,000 out of revenue. The records show that from 1914-5 up to the present financial year the figures were -
The percentages of war expenditure met out of revenue for the following years were : -
That is rather a respectable showing, and1 I shall explain later why I have no fault to find with the war and repatriation expenditure being divided as it has been between the two funds. The question of war and repatriation expenditure is closely related to that of taxation, and shows that if larger amounts have to be paid out of revenue we shall have to submit to increased taxation. We have no “philosopher’s stone,” and cannot turn wood into gold, or adopt some such means of raising money to meet expenditure incurred in that great effort from which we so successfully emerged. For the information of the Senate, I shall quote from the Canadian Y ear-Book, which, by the way, is an excellent production, and compares more than favor.ably with the Commonwealth Y ear-Hook, good as that publication is. We would be more convenienced, however, if we were supplied with more elaborate details, and particulars covering a longer period, as I find that in the Canadian Year-Book the expenditure of every department is given for a period of 60 years. Our publication deserves all the encomiums passed upon it, but whether its compilers are restricted by a shortage of funds, or a lack of sympathy on the part of the Government, I do not know. There is, however, a great difference in favour of the publication I have mentioned, which gives the taxation and other revenue raised per head of population,, and a mass of other particulars as well. But the general revenue raised is not a true index of the pressure of taxation upon the people, as one country may engage in certain forms of enterprise which another may not think of entering upon. Canada, for instance, undertakes canal construction and control on an extensive scale, but has not a shipping line as we have. In Canada , in 1914 the revenue raised per head of population was £3 6s., whereas in 1923 it was £7 5s., which includes all forms of war and repatriation expenditure. The taxation imposed in New Zealand as set out in the Year-Booh of that Dominion shows that the revenue derived from taxation in’ 1914 was equal to £5 10s. per head of the population, and that obtained from other sources £5 17s., or a total of £11 7s. 4d. Last year the amount derived from taxation was £12 7s. per head, and from other sources £9 10s., or a total of £21 17s., as against £7 5s. in Canada. The Commonwealth. Year-Book shows that in Australia during the year before the war, the amount of revenue per head of population was £4 10s., whilst this year it is about £12 15s., which covers all forms of war and repatriation expenditure, so that the totals of Canada and New Zealand were nearly doubled, .and that of Australia increased practically threefold in the same period. Canada does not pay any invalid or old-age pensions, or other forms of endowment such as maternity allowances, which I am sure we will not think of abandoning. The figures show that, compared with Canada, we are an overtaxed community. Our position, when compared with New Zealand, is much better.
– What does the honorable senator think of an increase in the maternity bonus ?
– The expenditure it involves should be much greater than it is at present. It is one of the features in connexion with our social life with which I am dissatisfied. The amount set aside for that purpose remains stationary, while in other directions expenditure is increased. I am sadly disappointed to think that in this item there is no increase. A good deal of criticism is levelled at the Government because of what is termed its extravagant habits. Every honorable senator supporting the Government has at times found it necessary to explain that the money expended has not been wasted. In 1914 our revenue was approximately £22,000,000; last year it was £35,000,000. To any one with the least knowledge of economics it is perfectly clear that during the last nine years many changes have taken place. In the first place, the price of everything that we eat, drink, or wear has gone up considerably,, as has also the cost of .services generally. No sane man would to-day expect to get service or material at the same price as he paid in 1914. According to the Australian Year-Book, wholesale prices increased by 63 per cent, and retail prices by 48 per cent, during the period 1914 to 1922. Roughly speaking, there has been a good increase of over 50 per cent, in the necessaries of life services during that period. In other words, the purchasing power of a sovereign in J 914 is to-day equal to only 14s. Conversely, 14s. would, in 1934, have purchased as much as can be obtained to-day for £1. Add that increase to the revenue of 1914, which was £22,000,000, , and we get an additional £11,000,000, ‘ making a total of £33,000,000. Increase that by the £4,000,000 by which the old-age pensions have been extended, and we find that the £35,000,000 revenue of last year is, by comparison, under, rather than above, that for 1914.
Among some of the most rabid critics of Commonwealth expenditure are some sections of the press. I have received from the Treasury some figures to show what it has cost the Commonwealth Government to advertise its various functions. In 1905, government advertisements cost 5s. 7d. an inch. In 1916, the rate was increased to 7s. 8d. an inch. In 1910 it was 8s. 9d., while from 1920 to the present time, 12s. an inch has been charged. From that it is clear that, if the Government did nothing else but expend its money in advertising, instead of allowing for an increase of 50 per cent., which was the increase during the last eight years, the expenditure would be doubled in eighteen years. When newspaper critics ask what the Government is doing with its money, they should be informed that, if the revenue of the Commonwealth were devoted to advertisements alone, it would be necessary to budget for a larger sum than even £35,000,000. It is well that the Government does not need to advertise more than it does, otherwise additional revenue would be necessary.
The general defence vote of £3,800,000 is inadequate on several grounds, but chiefly on the ground that it does not compare favorably with what is being done in other countries. Instead of our defence vote being increased, the budget papers indicate that the amount has been decreased. If honorable senators will, turn to page 6 of the budget papers they will notice, under the heading of “Department of Defence,” that ordinary expenditure for defence in 1920 was £3,800,000. Last year the expenditure under the same heading was £3,500,000, showing a decrease of £300,000 in three years. I look with apprehension upon anything in the nature of a decrease in the expenditure for defence purposes. If we leave out the amount required for works and buildings, we find that, in connexion with the ordinary defence vote, there has been a decrease. It is true that £2,000,000 is set down side by side with the £3,800,000. Of that amount, £1,000,000 is taken from the accumulated surplus, and the remaining £1,000,000 it is proposed to take from the revenue for next year. There is also that nucleus of a fund- £2,500,000- to pay for the two cruisers. The ordinary expenditure for this year is in the neighbourhood of £4’,SOO,000, or about 15s. per head of population. How does that compare with the position in other countries of the world? From the Statesman’s Tear-Book, I have extracted figures which show that for 1922-3 the expenditure in the United Kingdom for the Army was £45,000,000, for the Air Force £9,000,000, and for the Navy £56,000,000. I do not know whether the present Labour Government originated the Estimates for 1923-4, but it certainly introduced them into the British Parliament. The same authority that I have quoted gives the vote for the Army for this year as £52,000,000, that for the Air Force as £12,000,000, while £58,000,000 was set apart for the Navy. That shows an increase of about £12,000,000 during 1923-4 as compared with the previous year. If we are to be guided by what has taken place in the Old Country, our cheese-paring of the amount required for defence purposes is not justified. The population of Great Britain, apart from Southern Ireland, is 42,000,000 people. Last year’s defence vote was £2 12s. per head, and this year it is in the neighbourhood of £3 per head. If we compare that amount with 15s. per head in Australia, we must conclude that we in Australia are very much underinsured. For the same purposes the United States of America last year voted $64S,000,000. For 1924-5 $618,000,000 was asked for. Although that shows a decrease of $30,000,000, the average amount which the Government of the United States of America considers that its people should pay for the purpose of defence is :£1 3s. per head, as against 15s. in Australia. I do not wish to refer to the relative position of the two countries, except to say that if one stands in greater danger than the other it is Australia rather than the United States of America. In France the vote for 1923-4 was 4,735,000,000 francs, and for the present year the amount is 5,026,000,000 francs - an increase of 291,000,000 francs. There is no evidence of an intention on the part of France to ease the burden upon her citizens for the defence of the country. Japan - it is fitting that I should close my illustration by a reference to Japan - last year expended on defence 306,000,000 yen, as compared with 331,000,000 yen in the previous year. Our comparisons, however, should be made’ with the United Kingdom. As I have shown, the- people of the Mother Country are called upon to pay four times more per head than is levied upon the Australian taxpayer for defence purposes. Australia, by comparison with Britain, is . decidedly parsimonious in a matter that is of vital importance for the safety of this country. If we increased the Australian average to, say,- £2 per head, we should be able to put ships on our coasts for the defence of our shipping, and also strengthen our air force in addition to a much needed increase to our arms and munition supply. At present we are doing nothing to be proud of. We should, if possible, survey the position in its true perspective.
Turning to the post office, I regret the reduction in postage from 2d. to 1 1/2d. occasioning a loss of over £1,000,000 in postal revenue. This loss has to be made good in some shape or form. The Government should have retained 2d. postage until the amount of £282,000, representing the accumulated debit of the post office since the establishment of federation had been wiped off. This annual debit represents interest upon a capital sum of £5,000,000 which the Treasurer has had to make good from time to time. In other words, the general taxpayer has been called upon annually to give a subvention, in the amount stated’, for the purpose of carrying on the business of the post office, and giving cheaper postage rate3 to those who do not want them, and are well able to pay for them. The post office, like other government activities, should be self -suppor ting. There is no reason why we should dip into the Treasury for this £282,000 each year and hand it over to the post office. The reduction in postage rates benefits principally the professional, commercial, and other citizens in our urban areas at the expense of the general taxpayer.
I turn now to the position in my own state, and I offer no apology for referring to this subject, for the simple reason that, like other members of this chamber, I represent in a primary sense the political division that sent me here. We are all anxious to advance the interests of our respective states, but at no time are we disposed to do so at the risk of causing friction between the states which form the component parts of the Commonwealth. I have no desire to be regarded as a chr.onic grumbler, or to be associated with any fictitious claim. I endeavour to have the grievances of my state remedied in an equitable manner, and without encroaching upon the legitimate rights of the Commonwealth. I re-echo the views expressed by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner), who stated that, broadly speaking, federation in its effect has pressed heavily upon the smaller states. In saying that 24 years after the event the honorable senator said nothing new. As a member of the Labour party, I voted for federation. I did so with my eyes open, and in the firm belief that distinct advantages would accrue to those older states with a better industrial organization. I was firmly convinced that, whilst keeping a jealous eye upon the interests of its component parts, all the inhabitants of Australia were animated with a desire to forward the interests of this young nation. The official Labour party of that time opposed federation, but, as I said, we who believed in it voted in the affirmative with our eyes wide open and with our wits about us. I firmly believe that, so long as we live, we should never say “ unto this last.” The man is foolish who says, as has been claimed for Bacon, that he has reached the end of human wisdom. For that type of citizen there is little hope in this world. The smaller states, I repeat, have been hard hit bv federa tion. The Government should authorize the commission appointed to inquire into the effect of the tariff upon Western Australia, to investigate also the entire position of that state, and, if possible, ascertain the effect of federation upon its finance, -its industries, and its economic outlook generally. No one wishes to see harm clone to any one state, but the facts ought to be brought home and grievances rectified. Justice should be done on its merits to the western state. If the scope of the proposed inquiry be widened to enable the commission to ascertain what has happened in that state, 1 shall not oppose an inquiry into the position in some of the other states. Tasmania, and I believe Queensland also, has suffered under federation. But Queensland is in the fortunate position in that she has two golden streams running into the centre of her activities. I refer to that valuable product of which this country has virtually a monopoly, namely, wool, and to that other golden stream in the shape of higher prices for sugar obtained by Queenslanders from their fellow citizens of the Commonwealth. In regard to wool, Australia is in a mostfortunate position, since the product is about 400 or 500 per cent, above pre-war values. This year, it is estimated, Australia will produce about £60,000,000 worth of wool, which at former values would represent only about £15,000,000 or £20,000,000. The position in Western Australia is such as to justify the inquiry which I suggest. I may be permitted to quote a few figures that have an intimate bearing upon the problem. It has been said by certain wiseacres, that it is possible to prove anything with figures. That may be true. It is equally true that nothing can be proved without figures. It would be hopeless for me to submit the case for Western Australia without supplying figures which, I claim, will stand the strictest investigation under the circumstances as to what has happened in my state since federation. We have to remember that Western Australia is essentially a primary industry state, depending in the main upon wheat, wool, timber, and other productions. What prospect she had of developing her secondary industries was lost when she entered the federation. Since the establishment of federation no state has experienced so great’an increase in population . as has Western Australia. It was surprising to me to find that the farmers of Australia contribute no less than 11 per cent, of the total income tax of this country, as compared with 4 per cent, contributed by the great and opulent wool industry, and 3 per cent., or 4 per cent, by the manufacturing section. I find, from page 190 of the budget, that the increase in wheat production in New South Wales has been from 16,464,415 bushels in 1904-5 to 33,040,000 bushels in 1923-4, or an increase of about 100 per cent. In Victoria, during the same period, the production increased from 21,092,139 bushels to 36,246,800 bushels, an increase of about 60 per cent. In Queensland, there has been a decline in the production. In South Australia, the figures rose from 12,023,172 to 34,551,955 bushels, but in Western Australia the increase was from 2,013,237 to 20,008,606 bushels, or about 1,000 per cent. The importance of the wheatgrowing industry is indicated by the fact that, according to the last census, 235,000 people were obtaining their livelihood in the cultivation of the soil, as against 60,000 engaged, for instance, in woolgrowing. There is an unlimited area of country in Western Australia suitable for the production of wheat. It is realized that the present production of 20,000,000 bushels in Western Australia could be increased to 80,000,000, if not to 100,000,000 bushels without placing any undue strain on the resources of that state. All that is needed is an opportunity to convert the great areas now given up to the dingo and the rabbit into prosperous farms and homesteads. The area under cultivation in New South Wales in 1904-5 was 2,674,896 acres, and in 1923-4 it had increased to 4,696,459, or an increase of about 80 per cent. In Victoria, during that period, the area under crop increased from 3,321,785 to 4,862,548 acres, or about 35 per cent. In Queensland the increase was from 539,216 to 835,060 acres, and in South Australia the figures rose from 2,275,506 to 3,575,879 acres. In Western Australia the area under crop in 1904 was 327,391 acres, but it had increased last year to 2,274,998 acres, an increase of 700 per cent. In Tasmania the increase was 40 per cent. These figures bear eloquent testimony to the fact that Western Australia, since the establishment of federation, has made greater progress in wheat production and general cultivation than any other state. Had I time to refer to the increase in production in secondary industries, the figures would show that Western Australia was not in quite as good a position as are the smaller states on the average.
I now intend to show how Western Australia is treated fiscally under federation, and I again have to complain of the lack of statistical information, due either to a desire to save money or a want of knowledge as to what information should be made available to the public. At any rate, there are no reliable statistics showing how each state fares in regard to its fiscal relationship with the Commonwealth. The best one can do it to make a guess at the position. From the Commonwealth Statistician, Mr. Wickens, I have ascertained the amount of income tax per head of the population contributed by Western Australia as compared with the other, states. [Extension of time granted.] The people of Western Australia contribute £1 10s. 6d. a head in income tax, as against an average of £1 18s. Id. in the other states. 1 quite recognize that Western Australia is a young state, and is also the poorest of the group, but I make no apology for that, for I do not measure the richness of a country by the worldly possessions of its inhabitants. I do not vouch for the accuracy of the figures I am about to furnish regarding Customs and excise returns. During the gold boom, Western Australia had a larger masculine population than any of the other states. It is true that a position of greater equality has been reached between the several states, and that now there is very little difference in that respect between Western Australia and Queensland. In 1910 this Parliament passed the Surplus Revenue Act, and it was then clearly shown that the State of Western Australia had a higher revenue per head of the population than any other state. Still, it is ahead of all the rest. On the basis of the figures for 1909-10, we arrive at the following allocation of Customs and excise revenue for 1923-4: -
Thus Western Australia still leads to the extent of, roughly, £2 per head of the population compared with the average of the other states. To further sustain my argument, let me mention that the Premier of Western Australia stated at the Premiers’ Conference in Melbourne last year that the receipts from Customs and excise revenue in Western Australia amounted to £6 4s. 5d. per head as against £4 5s. in Victoria. He did not say what was being paid in the other states, but it was clearly his opinion that Western Australia was undoubtedly paying excess revenue through the Customs. I believe that the figures are of such a nature that an inquiry into the position is warranted, and action should be taken to obtain definite information in regard to the financial relationships between the several states and the Commonwealth.
I do not intend to further occupy the time of the Senate. I support the leading features of the budget, and congratulate the Treasurer on the presentation of a statement that is very creditable. I believe that his efforts to see, by virtue of the exemptions granted, that the burden of taxation falls on the shoulders of those best able to bear it, is deserving of praise, and I feel that the finances of this country are not in bad hands. I believe, also, that the people must put their shoulder to the wheel in their everyday endeavours. It is true that this Parliament can do much to assist the people, but I have the opinion that the rains that’ have fallen within the last few weeks did more good than all the acts passed in this country since legislation first began. It shows how much we are dependent on Providence for our daily bread. Side by side is the necessity for wise counsels to prevail in the government and control of the nation, and, judging by the way the present Government’ has acquitted^ itself and presented its budget, it has struck a fair balance between what should form the load to be borne by the average work-a-day people of the country and that to bo borne by future generations.
I commend the Government for the way in which it has handled the finances. The work accomplished in getting the states together for the first time in 24 years in the matter of loan expenditure is sufficient to earn for it the highest commendation and praise. It is clear that in the past, by means of divided counsels, and through the jealousy between the states and the Commonwealth, and between the various states themselves, the average taxpayer, whose interest should be our daily concern, stood to lose on every occasion, but, as the result of the lead given by the Nationalist Government, the Governments of the states, representing varying shades of political opinion, have been brought together, and made to see that their divergent views, their inclination to go this way and that, and their desire to borrow on the loan market whenever they please, are not in the interests of those people who create them and us as well. In respect to its management and control of the finances,- 1 have no hesitation in saying that the Commonwealth Government has done exceedingly well. It has done well in relieving the burden of taxation of 240,000 taxpayers. I regard the tariff in operation as something that badly needs overhauling.
– If it is overhauled, it will be increased.
– Too much shelter is already given by it to one section of the community, and as a result that section is not doing what it should do. But, while I say that. I admit that any other section of the community placed in the same position would do the same. I am firmly of the belief that there is hardly a section in any democracy which,when given the chance to take advantage of its fellows, will not do’ so. As that condition of human nature stares us in the face in all conditions and climes, I do not blame these people for taking advantage of the opportunity afforded to them by the tariff, but I blame this Government and this Parliament for affording them that opportunity. When I recall what has to be done in a state which has increased its area under cultivation by 700 per cent., when I know that it has to hawk its bushel of wheat and sell it at less than 30 per cent, more than it received for it twenty years ago, while at the same time it is obliged to pay anything from 50 to 100 per cent, more than it paid 20 years ago for whatever it requires, I cannot feel too reconciled to this Government or this Parliament. However, later on, perhapsnext session, with the assistance of Senator Gardiner, I may have some opportunity of seeing a rational tariff passed into law, and I shall reserve my remarks upon the tariff until that opportunity is afforded.
Debate (on motion by Senator DrakeBrockman) adjourned.
Bill received from House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Crawford) read a first time.
In committee (Consideration resumed from 28th August, vide page 3684) :
Clauses 2 to 4 agreed to.
Clause 5 -
There shall not be implied in any contract for the carriage of goods by sea to which this act applies any absolute undertaking by the carrier of the goods to provide a seaworthy ship.
– On the second reading I pointed out that there ought to be some obligation on the part of shippers to provide seaworthy vessels. I also, called attention to article IV. of the schedule, which relieves ship-owners from being liable for negligence on the part of masters, or pilots, or any one connected with a vessel. I thought that the Minister (Senator Wilson) would have made some reply upon those points, but the legal adviser of Ministers, Senator Drake-Brockman, was put up to reply, and endeavoured to throw some light upon the subject. He told us that this particular clause had been in operation for 25 years.
– He said that in regard to the rule to which the honorable senator referred.
– The fact that a rule is musty with old age is no recommendation for retaining it in this bill.
– All that the honorable senator is complaining about is provided for in the Navigation Act.
– I cannot see how the Navigation Act can cover a provision such as is contained in this clause. Senator Drake-Brockman has assured us that he understands all about bills of lading and shipping law.
– I may have clone some foolish things, but I have never clone anything as foolish as’ that.
– Although I was glad to have the honorable senator’s assurances, I would not have discovered his wonderful knowledge from hearing or reading his speech. I do not propose to ask the committee to delete clause 5, but when we reach article IV. I shall ask for the deletion of portions of paragraph 2 of that article. The honorable senator also assured us that this measure is the outcome of a number of conferences, and he went so far as to say that it would be almost impertinence on our part to attempt to dot an “ i “ or cross a “ t.” in this bill. While I am in the Senate I shall not forego my right to criticize any measure simply because it has come to us as the result of certain conferences. Before accepting any bill I think most honorable senators want something more than the assurance of Senator DrakeBrockman, given in that self-sufficient supercilious tone he usually adopts in addressing the Senate. I trust the Minister will give the committee some further information on this important point, and state why a ship-owner should be relieved of the responsibility of providing a seaworthy ship.
– Although I do not profess to be an expert in maritime law, I think that this clause does not do more than codify exist-‘ ing law on the subject. The courts have ruled that there shall not be implied in an ordinary contract made by a . shipper with the ship-owner a warranty that the ship is absolutely seaworthy, but it is clear from the effect of paragraph 1 of article III. that he has to use due diligence to see that the vessel is seaworthy. If there had to be an absolute undertaking that a vessel was seaworthy, notwithstanding the care exercised by the officials in surveying a vessel a defect might develop in the machinery which could not have been discovered after a most careful examination, and the ship-owner would be liable in damages under the contract for not providing a seaworthy vessel. It is not intended to reduce the liability of the ship-owner, or to in any way add to it, but it is a simple declaration of the law as it at present’ stands. If there were any wilful negligence or failure to use due diligence to provide a sound vessel, he would be liable as now. It is the duty of the navigation officials to survey vessels at intervals to ensure, so far as is humanly possible, that they shall proceed to sea in a safe condition.
.- I should like clause 5 to be amended to read -
There shall be explicitly implied in any contract for the carriage of goods by sea to which this act applies an absolute undertaking by the carrier of the goods to provide a seaworthy ship.
I am not so much concerned with articles III. and IV. of the schedule as I am with clause 5, and, notwithstanding what Senator Elliott has said we should determine the meaning of clause 5 because a vessel should not proceed to sea in an unseaworthy condition.
– That is not intended
– That is what is meant by articles III. and IV. and clause 5.
– We are not considering a Navigation Bill.
– No ; but we are dealing with a measure relating to goods which may be carried in unseaworthy vessels. On a steamship, seamen, firemen, trimmers, and possibly passengers are carried, and every care should be taken -to prevent the vessel going to sea in an unseaworthy state.
– It is not intended that it should.
– Senator Elliott is conversant with the agitation started by Plimsoll, who was responsible for the law which prevents vessels being loaded beyond a certain point. What does a ship-owner care for human life?
– What has that to do with the carriage of goods ?
– Goods cannot be carried unless a vessel is manned by human beings.
– They are protected under the Navigation Act.
– Human life is necessary in the conveyance of goods by sen. We should amend clause 5.
– Or delete it altogether; and if that is done we are more likely to support articles III. and IV.
– We cannot allow the clause to pass in its present form, because it permits vessels to proceed to sea in an unseaworthy condition.
– Nothing of the sort.
– I am thinking of the people who are to man vessels. If it were made imperative on the part of those Who contract to carry goods to provide a seaworthy ship, I would have no objection to offer; but I can see a loophole between clause 5 and articles III. and IV.
– After Senator O’Loghlin raised this matter a few days ago I discussed the clause with the Solicitor-General (Sir Robert Garran), who explained it in much the same way as Senator Elliott has done. This clause protects the contractor against any unforeseen circumstances which may occur. There is no possibility of a ship proceeding to sea in an unseaworthy condition as that can be “prevented under the Navigation Act. A contractor should not be responsible if owing to circumstances beyond his control a ship -was in an unseaworthy condition, and that point is covered by article 3. There is a difference between protecting a contractor against adverse conditions over which, he has no control and in safeguarding human life, as mentioned by Senator Needham.
-Do not ships go to sea in an unseaworthy condition?
– If they do those responsible for the administration of the Navigation Act are at fault. As I could not understand why Senator O’Loghlin ob jected to the. provision, I consulted the Solicitor-General, who stated that it is merely to protect the contractor, and that human life is protected under another act.
.- The explanation of the Minister (Senator Wilson) suggests that he did not understand the clause, and I know he will not mind if I admit that I am equally ignorant concerning its meaning. I have learned to look for reasons for everything, and I think the Minister might inquire into the meaning of this provision, which reads: -
There shall not be implied in any contract for the carriage of goods by sea to which this act applies any absolute undertaking by the carrier of the goods to provide a seaworthy ship.
On this occasion the draftsman, I think, inadvertently included the word “ not.” Its inclusion has altered the whole meaning of the clause. This Parliament should protect the man who sends his goods by the vessel father than the man who attempts to carry those goods in an unseaworthy vessel. “We should not go out of our way to protect the carriers of goods in unseaworthy ships. This is a deliberate attempt by an act of Parliament to protect a man who carries goods in an unseaworthy vessel as against the man whose goods ho carries. Senator Wilson said that the seaworthiness of a vessel is provided for in the Navigation Act, and that practically no unseaworthy ship can leave Australia. Suppose we leave out the word “ not,” and thus provide that the carrier of the goods shall be responsible if he carries them in an unseaworthy vessel. We could say that the clause could not apply to him, and that he need fear no unsatisfactory consequences, because the Navigation Act would not let him use an unseaworthy ship. I am not at all interested in protecting shipowners who send unseaworthy ships to sea, but I am interested in protecting the people who send goods by such vessels. Senator Needham struck the highest note when he referred to the value of the human lives that might be lost through a vessel being unseaworthy. We should see that any man who causes an unseaworthy ship to be sent to sea shall be punished.
– Would the honorable senator convict him unfairly?
– That could not be done, as if the ship were seaworthy he could not be punished. Only if the ship were unseaworthy would he be punished. When we realize that no ship can travel the seas without having human lives on board, instead of protecting the shipowner, as this clause will do, we should protect those lives and the persons whose goods are sent by such vessels by making the ship-owner responsible for the unseaworthiness of his ship. If the ship-owner knew that if his ship were unseaworthy he would be responsible, he would take care to see that it did not leave port in an unseaworthy condition.
– He would have to pay for the loss sustained.
– What about the lives that may be lost?
– If a shipowner, in addition to losing his ship, has to pay for the goods lost, and if other safeguards such as have been mentioned, are provided, we shall not find men attempting to carry goods in ships that are not seaworthy.
– Unless storms can be prevented, we may prevent shipping altogether.
– I should be prepared to take that risk. We know that frequently ships are sent to sea in an unseaworthy condition, and that the last profit received by the owners is the insurance paid on the loss of the vessel. With some men human lives do not count. Honorable senators may say that, I am drawing the long bow. While I have had no personal knowledge of ships having gone to sea in an unseaworthy condition, I have read that that has sometimes occurred, and that some shipowners have not cared whether the ship sank or not. If the vessel completed its journey, well and good; if it went to the bottom, they got their insurance money. We are asked to legislate io protect the ship-owner who sends a vessel to sea in an unseaworthy condition. To delete the word “not” would impose no hardship on the owner of a seaworthy vessel, but only on the ship-owner who permits his boat to go to sea in an unseaworthy condition, in times past, legislation of this nature could go through Parliament, but when men like Senator O’Loghlin closely watch a bill, there is not much opportunity for provisions of this kind to escape. We, on this side, intend to make an attempt to put the matter right now. We shall endeavour to strike out the word “ not,” and if we fail in that attempt we shall attempt to delete the whole clause. I move -
That the word “ not,” line 1, be left out.
My motion will enable us to have a test vote, and will show that honorable senators who oppose it are in favour of protecting the carrier of goods who deliberately takes them outside of this country in an unseaworthy vessel.
SenatorReid. - If that is so, how does the honorable senator get over articleIII. ?
– I cannot now discuss articleIII., as clause 5 is before the committee. When articleIII. is reached, the honorable senator will find that there will be an amendment to fit in with that which we are now trying to carry. I want a straight-out division to decide whether the man who carries goods in an unseaworthy ship shall be liable, and whether the sender of the goods shall be protected.
– Senator Gardiner seeks to place, on honorable senators supporting the Government the onus of adhering to the clause in its present form, and, consequently, the onus of supporting the men who, to use his term, deliberately carry goods to sea in an unseaworthy ship. The Leader of the Opposition has been very silent all the evening, but has suddenly come to life. I fear that, to a certain extent, I am responsible, because I feel certain that Senator O’Loghlin rose to speak to clause 5 for the sole purpose of indulging in the gentle amusement of censuring me for venturing to suggest that he had not considered the measure as much as it deserved. What does this clause really mean ? It certainly does not mean what. Senator Gardiner would have us believe. It means that the shipper shall not give an absolute warranty of seaworthiness - that he shall not undertake that in no circumstances will the ship founder.
– Why should he not do so?
– Because he is not the Almighty, and does not control the elements. Honorable senators are asking him to give a warranty that, despite all the care which he may exercise, and which he is compelled by the law to exercise, the ship will not go down. I thought that Senator Elliott had made the position clear., but Senator Gardiner - that astute gentleman who leads the Opposition inthis chamber - apparently did not “follow his line of thought. I have assumed that Senator O’Loghlin really did desire an explanation, and I hope that now that he has obtained it, he will appreciate the true meaning of the clause.
– I listened carefully to the explanations of this clause given by
Senator Drake-Brockman. In his own mind, he has made it perfectly clear; in my mind he has made it just as clear as mud. He interpreted this clause to mean the sinking of a seaworthy ship, but it means nothing of the sort. It deals only with unseaworthy vessels. Have we not a Navigation Department, and marine surveyors, who examine every vessel to see if it is seaworthy ? Why cannot the captain give a guarantee to the shipper of goods on the certificate of the surveyors? We had a case recently where a vessel went to sea in an unseaworthy condition, and a short distance out, shipped 100 tons of water. Had the vessel not been taken behind an island and pumped out, she might have sunk. The captain knew that that vessel was not seaworthy. That which happened in the case of the Port Lyttleton has been referred to by honorable senators opposite. The men who refused to stay on her, because she was unseaworthy, were placed in jail, but the captain of the vessel was not jailed. . Senator Drake-Brockman ‘ has placed an entirely wrong construction on this clause. He does not understand it. He evidently has not studied it, or he would not have made such absurd statements.
Senator WILSON (South Australia-
Honorary Minister) [10.15]. - I ask Senator Gardiner not to press his amendment. At the Imperial Conference in England it was decided that it was advisable to bring about uniformity. Each country represented at the conference undertook to bring in the necessary legislation. I have already said that . the Navigation Act fully protects the interests of passengers. The British legislation, passed in February of this year, provides in section 2 -
There shall not be implied in any contract for the carriage of goods by sea to which the rules apply, an absolute undertaking by the carrier of the goods to provide a seaworthy ship. ‘
That is the British act.
– And therefore it must be right.
– It is Mr. Ramsay MacDonald’s act.
– It is morelikely to be LordInchcape’s.
– I do not think it likely that Lord Inchcape, notwithstanding his position as a shipping magnate, could master the ship of state as the honorable senator suggests. There is, as I have said, a general -desire on the other
Bide of the world for uniformity of the law. Therefore, I ask the committee not to accept the amendment.
– I hope the committee will accept the amendment. Clause 4 provides, in sub-clause 2 -
The Rules shall not, by virtue of this act, apply to the carriage of goods by sea from a port in any state to any other port in the same state.
Clause 5 states that there shall not be implied in any contract for the carriage of the goods by sea an undertaking by the carrier of the goods to provide a seaworthy ship. The carrier, of course, must mean the ship-owner, and the ship must be worked by seamen. Is there to be no law for the protection of passengers or seamen on ships trading from, Bay, Warrnambool, in Victoria, to Portland; in the same state This bill distinctly states that the rules in the schedule shall not apply to a carrier going from port to port in a state. If we are to codify the Empire laws in regard to the sea carriage of goods, we should set an example. If we could eliminate. clause 5 altogether, I would prefer that to be done, and depend upon article in of the rules, which provides that the carrier, in this case the ship-owner, shall provide a seaworthy ship.
– I hoped, when I raised this matter, that we would have had some explanation from the Government, but apparently the Minister, although convinced that we are right, feels that he must stick to his hill. After listening to the legal members in this chamber, I am more than ever convinced that it is absolutely necessary we should make some attempt to amend the clause, and, if we fail, to endeavour to strike it out altogether. The Minister must be aware that the Commonwealth navigation laws are miles ahead of British legislation, which has been under the control of shipping magnates for years. Although there has been considerable progress since Plimsoll’s time, the British law is still much behind our Navigation Act. Where is the harm in trying to make this hill conform to the Navigation Act, if only for the sake of uniformity? I. thought at first that the best way to amend the measure . would be by striking out the clause, but I see some advantage in putting in a positive enactment to provide that the shipper shall be required to provide aseaworthy ship. After consultation with Senator Gardiner,I suggested that if we struck out the word “ not,” we should effect our purpose. I hope that the amendment will be accepted.
.- Senator DrakeBrockman appeared to think that he had fully explained the position when he stated that the carrier of goods would be liable for losses. It. is quite possible for the best equipped ship in the world to be lost in a storm. A seaworthy ship could be defined as one that complied with all the conditions of the Navigation Act. If a ship having all the certificates of seaworthiness required under the Navigation Act foundered, the carrier should still be liable, and then we should have the owners making careful examinations of their vessels. I have heard it said that even ships belonging to the Commonwealth Government Line of Steamers have been sent to sea in an unseaworthy condition so that they might be repaired in countries where cheap labour is available. I understand that a vessel was actually sent away in order to be repaired by cheap labour.
– Sent in an unseaworthy condition?
– I made the allegation, and I am prepared to prove it
– That is a charge against the Navigation Department.
– I should like to ask Senator Drake-Brockman what the weather has to do with the seaworthiness of . a ship. His statement was so exaggerated that I am convinced that the word “ not “ should not have been included in this clause. Parliament should safeguard the shippers of goods, and leave the ship-owners to safeguard themselves.
Question - That the word proposed to be left out be left out (Senator Gardiner’s amendment) - put. The committee divided.
Majority . . 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 6 agreed to.
Senate adjourned at 10.40 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 3 September 1924, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1924/19240903_senate_9_108/>.