9th Parliament · 3rd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. T.Givens) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
The following papers were presented: -
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determination by the ‘Arbitrator, &c. - No. 24 of1925 - Common Rule - (Leave of absence consequent on injuries received in the. course of duty).
Defence Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1935, Nos. 148, 149, 150, 151.
Papua Act- Infirm and Destitute Natives’ Account - Statement of Transactions of the Trustee for period ‘1st Julv, 1924, to 30th June, 1925.
Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations amended- Statutory Rules 1925, Nos. 128, 129, 143, 144, 163, 154, 160.
Territory for the Seat of Government - Ordinance No. 3 of1925 -Queanbeyan Water Supply.
– What fees are being paid to the Deportation Board? Is the sum of £25 mentioned by Mr. Bruce paid to each member of the board for his-services per day or per hour! What fees are being paid to Mr. Lamb? In addition to Mr. Lamb’s fees, does he receive a large sum at frequent intervals in accordance with the custom of the legal profession under the heading of “ refreshers “ ? What is the cost of the board’s inquiries to date? Has the Government put any limit to its expenditure ?
– The honorable senator has not asked what fees are paid to Mr. Watt,
– I do not mind adding that question also, but I did not’ know that the Government had briefed Mr. Watt. I was under the impression that the other side was paying him.
– I suppose the other side is paying him, but that is what I want to know.
Senntor GARDINER. - This is not a joke.
– Order ! This is not a subject for argument. Questions must be asked solely for the purpose of eliciting information.
– I ask the Leader of the Government if he can supply answers to the questions I have putt
– As this may be the last sitting of the Senate this session, I shall endeavour to obtain the file for the honorable senator before the ‘adjournment. I invite Senator Gardiner to supply similar information as to what is being paid to Mr. Watt and as to who is providing the money.
– Order! The Minister is not entitled to ask a question of a private nature.
– I am quite willing to supply the fullest information.
– The honorable senator cannot supply the information. The Minister is out of order in asking for it.
– I am sorry that I am not permitted to supply it.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice - 1.Isit a fact that it has been decided to dispose of certain plantations in New Guinea ?
– The Treasurer supplies the following answers: -
Debate resumed from 23rd September, (vide page 2616), on motion by Senator Wilson -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– In addressing myself to the proposal to validate taxation imposed on the working classes by the Government, I shall endeavour to placemy views fully before the Senate, but . not with any desire to place obstacles in the way of the completion of business.
It is a public holiday to-day, and members of another place are enjoying it, and Ministers will not mind admitting that it was my suggestion that we should meet ‘early today in order that we might get through our business, and enable the House of Representatives, if it so desired, to finish the session’s programme to-morrow. But this bill is of such far-reaching importance that I am not disposed to let it go without question, even if other honorable senators should be willing to do so. In order that my remarks in regard to the effect of the tariff may not be interrupted, I propose at this stage to quote the opinions of two of Australia’s foremost statesmen on the tariff a few years ago. Perhaps it may be necessary to explain that one of the two gentlemen to whom I have thus referred is Senator Wilson, who is the Minster in charge of the bill. Senator Wilson is reported in Hansard, of the 14th July, 1921, page 10061, to have said -
I am not likely to support heavy duties on tools of trade or any articles necessary in producing from the soil.
I interrupted him, and asked -
Does the honorable senator favour a reduction of the duties upon farming machinery?
Senator Wilson replied ;
I have already said that I do.
Later on, he added -
I hope that, in the interests of the primary producer of this country, the honorable senator will assist’ me to secure a reduction of many of the duties which have been imposed under this Tariff. The farmer, the grazier, and the fruitgrower will be pleased indeed to know that Senator Gardiner is willing to aid me in the matter. “Barkis is willing,” but where is the Minister?
– Are there, any increases on those items in the bill before us?
– I am still willing to aid Senator Wilson in the matter. In moving for a reduction to item 161, the Minister said -
It is indeed difficult to understand why duties, any duties at all, should be placed on. items of this character. If I had my way. or thought it possible to get my way, I should move for much larger reductions.
– Like Mr. Hughes, he has since seen the light.
– I realize that Senator Wilson has seen the light, andI should like to have an explanation from him as to why it has so dazzled him. The honorable senator went on to say -
Earlier in the debate I stated, that I was pledged to’ secure, if possible, a reduction in. the duties on tools of trade. . . This is a very important matter to every one connected with those industries that arc producing the wealth of this country. It is not-sufficient for us to stand up in this. Senate, and talkabout what the farmers should or should not do. This is a time when we might fairly he judged by our actions rather than our words.
Undoubtedly this is the time when we should be judged by our actions rather than by our words -
It . should not be forgotten that, in addition to the tariff itself, the local maker has considerable protection by way of packing charges, carriage, wharfage, and general expenses. . . . . We cannot expect our primary interests to expand under duties which actually amount to prohibition.
Those duties are still operating, and this tariff schedule will impose a still heavier burden upon the man on the land. It will tax him in respect of the shirt he wears, and the other clothing he buys for himself and his family. Yet the Minister, who introduced this bill, then said -
I certainly desire to make all articles that are used by the individual largely for the benefit of the community, free of duty.
There is nothing ambiguous in that statement. It is a clear expression of the convictions of a man who, according to Senator Reid, was then groping in darkness. Senator Wilson referred also to bananas -
In order to protect a Queensland industry, every section of this community is being unnecessarily burdened. . . . We arebeing asked to agree to a duty which is considerably higher than the cost of producing other fruits.
I have no desire to charge the honorable senator with inconsistency. Senator Reid explained this metamorphosis exactly when he said that Senator Wilson had seen the light. What was that light? Was it the dazzling glare he passed through in London? Was it the spotlight that shone upon him at Wembley? Or was it the radiant glory that surrounded his elevation to the Ministry, as a representative of the Country party? We can never forget how Mr. Bruce took Senator Wilson on to the platform in Adelaide and referred to him as “ a gift from the gods.” Unquestionably, he was a gift from the gods. The only sad feature of that gift is that Mr. Bruce and Dr. Earle Page are trying to flog the Nationalist and Country party . organizations in South Australia into continuing it for a further period. I hope they may succeed, for, apart from our political differences, I realize that Senator Wilson jumped into fame in an amazingly short time; he made such marvellous strides that he outstripped all other members of his party. Indeed, his capacity for getting on - I will not be hypocritical enough to refer to his capacity as a statesman - far exceeds his merits, and he has established almost a record in the public life of this country, especially, having regard to the opinions he held only a few years ago. However, I leave Senator Wilson and turn to his colleague, the Minister for Home and Territories. In order to get some indication of Senator Pearce’s earlier fiscal faith, I have had to search further back in the records of this Parliament, and, naturally, I have succeeded in finding a more weighty quotation. I shall quote fromHansard of 14th May, 1902.
– I plead the statute of limitations.
-The honorable senator piloted through this Chamber last night a bill to make retrospective collections of taxation from people who had legally resisted the Government’s claims. Therefore, he must not complain of a retrospect of his own career. Again, I have no desire to show that he has been inconsistent, because if his views had not altered in 23 years we should regard the steadfastness of his faith as proof that he is, in fact, as cold as he appears to be. When I contemplate the honorable senator in charge of the business of this Sen ate, he appears to me as cold and impassive as a statue on a pedestal, or as a flint which - much enforced, shows a hasty spark,
And straight is cold again.
I make this quotation from Senator Pearce’s speech in 1902, because of its historic value -
I am sure that all those who have studied the Labour movement in England must recognize the service that has been rendered to that movement by the newspaper known as the Clarion. In ‘an article which appears in that publication from the pen of Robert Blatchford; entitled “The Wisdom of the Times,” the writer, after dealing with the opposition of the Tories to the social reform movement, says -
They are not the most ominous signs of the times.No;by far the ugliest sign of the times is the fact that, of late years, two words, which have for half a century been tabooed in British politics, are now, after some whisperings and stealthy hintings, beginning to be spoken trippingly on the tongue. These words are ‘ Protection ‘ and’ Conscription.’ They are words of abomination and desolation; words that, being openly spoken, should be resented by the people as an insult to their understanding and a threat to their liberty.”
That is a weighty utterance.
– Would not this matter be more appropriate on the platform ?
– If I amnot on the platform now I very much mistaken. Nobody but Senator Ogden would fail to appreciate that this matter is meant for outside consumption. If Senator Ogden will resign his seat, and contest it with me, I shall be content to let the people of Tasmania pronounce upon this proposal to tax them in the interests of the rich.
– We are not all to be bluffed.
– I am not bluffing, and I invite Senator Ogden to accept my challenge.
– The honorable senator is all bluff and bluster.
– I have quoted Senator Pearce’s reference to protection and conscription, as words of abomination and desolation, and an insult to the people, and a threat to their liberty. Changing circumstances do not alter general principles, and if, 23 years ago, protection and conscription were abominations and insults to the people, they are abominations and insults to-day. Yet the honorable senator who quoted those words is to-day supporting a bill to add to the burdens of the people by the abomination of protection. Senator Pearce’s speech in 1902 continued -
Two British union secretaries - Mr. Thorne, of the Gas Workers Union, and Mr. In skip, of the Boot and Shoe Operatives Union - were sentas Labour delegates to represent Great Britain at the Convention of the American Federation of Labour, held in Kansas City early in 1809; and on their return they made these statements: -
Mr. Thorne. ; As a working man, I would not choose the United States of Amercia as a home.
Mr. Inskip comes to the same conclusion. Speaking with deference to his American brethren, he is, nevertheless of opinion that - “the -workers in England are better off than the workmen in the United States of America, for, while the hitter may earn more in actual cash, the purchasing capacity of their wages for the necessaries of life is less by comparison than the wages paid in England.”
– Mr. Hughes has said exactly the opposite in another placet.
– That quotation was read by the Minister (Senator Pearce) with all the weight of a strong oppositionist in this Senate, and with all the power of an alert young intellect entering the fiscal fight. Even liberty can be taken from us by laws which people imagine will do the country good. The greatest industrial development that the world has seen has occurred in the last 80 years. Great Britain is very small in area by comparison with the United States of America, and she lacks the natural resources of oil, silver, gold, lead and other minerals that America possesses; but, without the assistance of protective duties, she has developed her industries to such an extent that with her 45,000,000 of people she is still ahead of the United States of America with its population of 110,000,000. During the last 80 years one country has been governed under free trade and the other under protection. I admit that until I had travelled through Great Britain 1 had no conception of the enormous extent of her industrial development.
– Her industries appear to be at a dead-end now.
– Yes. That is why I am opposed to this bill. But grave as is Britain’s present danger, it must be admitted that- of all the nations that participated in the late war, she has emerged the most successful. If her war obligations had not placed her in a bad position, it would have been most extraordinary. She financed not only herself, but a number of her dominions, and allies. Whilst Britain has arranged to wipe out her indebtedness to America within a given time, other countries have not been so prompt to make repayment. Her ships are upon every sea; her commerce is being carried to every country. This has been accomplished under a policy of free trade.
– Commerce haa stopped in some countries.
– This bill will cause an even greater stoppage of imports to Australia than any other . obstacle could, without benefiting local industries.
– I cannot follow the honorable senator’s argument.
– I do not suppose so, but I shall give some facts that will substantiate my argument, and that the honorable senator may be able to understand. Figures published in the London Industrial Year-Book, 1922, show the imports and exports of Great Britain to be as follow: -
The corresponding figures for the United States of America are as follow: -
Compared with Great Britain, the United States of America is a new country, and despite the latter’s enormous mineral and agricultural resources, Great Britain, without the assistance of duties, still leads the world in industrial development. When we want the best of anything we go to England for it. If it is a motor car, we choose a Rolls-Royce.
– What about a cruiser?
– If we want the best, we go to England for it.
– Where does Australia come in?
– Owing to the blight that Australia suffers in the form of the present Government, it has never had an opportunity to build cruisers. I am speaking of the conditions that now obtain.
– The honorable senator got out of that hold with a very pretty “ head spin.”
– The honorable senator might have said that this Governmenthas sent to Scotland for the cruisers.
– When I refer to England I have no desire to exclude the rest of Great Britain. I include the shipping yards on the Clyde and at Belfast, but the fact remains that when we want the best in ships we go to Great Britain. In ship building, the yards of Great Britain hold supremacy. Her doors are open and her ports are free to every country. When the war broke out her industrial development savedher. We do not question the bravery of her men or our own, but we know that her ability to throw her industrial machinery into the manufacture of munitions was the weight that turned the balance in favour of the Allies in the recent gigantic struggle in which most of the nations of the world were engaged. I have met men who argue that before the war England laid the foundations of her industrial strength under protection. According to my reading, a protectionist Prime Minister of Great Britain - I refer to Sir Robert Peel - saw the people starving under protection, and consequently altered the fiscal policy of the country.
– Is she not adopting protection now?
– I believe that conscription and protection are becoming an abomination now, and I believe that the short-sighted policy of manufacturers in Great Britain may yet put her in the position of having to adopt protection. Ifso, good-bye to her industrial supremacy.
– But she is adopting protection now.
– And with disaster to herself. Australia is so large in territory, and her population is so small, that under a crippling tariff, industrial stagnation is produced. Evidence of it is to be seen in the smaller States, such as Western Australia and Tasmania. This industrial disease is destroying the vitality of the larger States, but its effects arenot so noticeable where the population is great as “ they are in Tasmania and Western Australia. In the smaller States the primary industries are suffering, and it is there that the primary industries are most important. The best of the population of those States is hurrying to the subsidized factories of the larger States, which are steadily and surely sucking the life-blood of the smaller States.. In protectionist America Henry- Ford has shown the world that high wages and low selling prices can go together. Since 1900 the consumers in Australia have provided £300,000,000 for the Government in Customs taxation. Why should the public be called upon to bolster up inefficiency in industry?
– Does the honorable senator accuse the manufacturers of Australia of inefficiency?
– I say that if they cannot compete with the manufacturers of other countries, they must be inefficient, because the Australian workmen are as efficient as the workmen of any other country. To-day our industries are not flourishing under high tariff duties, and it is for the Government to require the replacement of the present inefficient with scientific and efficient machinery. Australia’s progress depends on thriving and prosperous primary industries. I wish to place before the House the view of the primary producers. Since Senator Wilson forsook them they have had no representative here. To be fair to him, he never was their representative. He is quite well aware that he has gone from flower to flower, and sipped the honey of the Country party, the National party, and the Liberal-Unionist party. He has tried to be everything to all of them, and has been nothing to any of them.
– The honorable senator is nothing if not insulting.
– If I had thought my words were insulting, I would not have used them. I thought that I was merely voicing a self-evident truth. Senator Wilson fired across the chamber at me recently the statement that he had never attended either the Country party or the Nationalist party meetings. If the truth is insulting I shall always be insulting. I have before me a copy of a letter sent by accredited representatives of the primary producers to the Prime Minister. As the primary producers have no representative in this Senate, I consider that it is my duty to take up the job, and let their voice be heard here. Their letter to Mr. Bruce states -
On behalf of the Victorian Farmers’ Union and the Town and Country Union, representative of both primary and secondary industries and consumers generally, we express our appreciation of your promise to give this appeal your special and personal attention.
The part you have played in international matters, your participation in the Councils of the Nations, your statesmanlike decisions, as exemplifiedin the construction of Australian cruisers, inspire confidence in your national leadership.
The elementary truths underlying international trade relations need not be traversed at Length, and we are quite sure you recognise -
That the needs and wants of the nations of to-day are so complex that, as our . Australian families are dependent one upon the other for requirements, so also are nations mutually dependent.
That the principle of high, protection may appear sound when applied to one or two industries, but it fails to fulfil its promise when generally applied. The product of one industry being frequently the raw material of another, any duty upon one makes the manufacture of the other more costly, and so hinders the establishment of export markets and consequent extension of local turnover.
That international trade consists of the exchange of goods for goods, and therefore all goods imported are paid for by goods locally produced.
That excessive protection decreases employment by diverting capital from more to less profitable industries.
Advancing civilization and the higher standards of modern living demand supplies from many parts. Each nation contributes to the welfare of others. Labour and material from many countries now largely enter into the manufacture of goods and the construction of machinery. International trade therefore is now. of more vital importance to the prosperity and material welfare of each nation than ever before, and it is not possible for any progressive and prosperous community to be wholly self-contained.
We need more permanent commercial patrons in the, world’s markets, and this need could be met by reduction of excessive Customs duties, which are limiting the volume and value of our exports.
Our prosperity will be best served by producing goods we are specially fitted to produce under most favorable . conditions.
Such suitability is the solution of the present problems of markets, population, and prices, and this solution of these weighty matters may be brought to nothing by creating privileges for the few at the expense of the many by means of excessive tariff taxation.
Efficiency and reduced coat of production in both primary and secondary industries were never so necessary as now. Recovery from the recent devastating war is proceeding elsewhere, and Australia’s contribution to and profit from serving the material welfare of the nations are dependent upon these factors.
Efficiency and lower cost of production are hindered greatly or prevented by high Customs duties, and the urgent and widespread demand for substantial reductions in tariff taxation, and for a greater recognition of those fundamental industries upon which our national solvency, social stability, and progress depend is indicated by these two resolutions: -
On the 13th. March, 1925, 350 delegates from the various branches of the Victorian Farmers’ Union met, in Melbourne, and unanimously carried the following: - “ That this Conference considers the Australian Commonwealth tariff unnecessarily high, and that its incidence is hurtful to the great primary producing interests, and also to the welfare and progress of the Australian community as a whole; and this Conference further considers that a percentage reduction should be made annually on all tariff items dealing with the staple necessities of primary and secondary industries.”
Similar resolutions have been carried by the Country party in nearly every other State, and also by” the Federal body.”
On the 5th February, 1925, 200 persons, representative of professional and commercial interests, at the inaugural meeting of the Melbourne branch of the Town and Country Union, unanimously resolved - “That the primary and secondary industries should be relieved from the burdensome disabilities imposed upon them by the present tariff.”
This organization, its brandies throughout the State of Victoria, and kindred organizations in other States, support these principles.
Increasing numbers of Nationalist, Country party, and Labour supporters are realizing that extreme fiscal duties grant privileges to ‘ the’ few at the expense of the nation.
The State Governments rightly spend large sums of money in the construction of railways, harbours, and roads that settlement may be expedited and effective transport be cheapened, and at the same time the Commonwealth Government inconsistently levies duties upon the construction material, rolling-stock, &c, involved.
Licence fees paid by motor vehicles contribute to the fund out of which roads are built, and, maintained; but we restrict the efficacy of these roads and limit their convenience by levying heavy taxation upon these vehicles, and upon the lubricating oil and fuel they use.
Transport, the handmaid to settlement and production, thus becomes more instead of less costly. On one hand, the necessity for markets, population, and transport is proclaimed, and simultaneously a high Customs tariff is imposed, which hinders or defeats attainment of these conditions.
The depredations of wild dogs have excluded she;]) farming in certain outback areas. The remedy is a cheap supply of wire netting for fencing, but the extension of our most profitable primary industry, and the addition of millions of sheep to Australia’s flocks, with additional millions of money to our annual production, have been checked, because, notwithstanding the bonus to local manufacturers *o’ wire netting, employing relatively speaking few hands, dumping duties have been imposed to make wire netting still dearer The privileged wire netting manufacturers have repaid this political patronage by selling wire netting to New Zealand farmers and graziers at a lower price than to Australian pastoralists.
The creation of pools for the marketing of certain primary products has. been considered necessary to keep certain .of Australia’s land under cultivation. Subsidies have also been granted. Neither of these expedients can permanently satisfy those engaged in these industries, nor meet economic loss.
Arrangements have been made with the Imperial Government for the settling of British immigrants on our land, with a view to developing our undoubted resources. The initial disability is the high cost of living and taxation upon almost every machine and implement required for their work, and upon all daily requirements. The correction of these conditions is urgently necessary if we are to maintain or increase the proportion of our population now engaged in primary industries, and if our immigration policy is to foster settlement of country areas. Failure to correct these matters will result in difficulties through the drift of peoples to our already overcrowded cities.
The high tariff, rather than ministering to increased prosperity, progress, and sound industrial development, has hindered greater progress and better development, and, in addition, exposes our people to the. effects of a disastrous reaction.
Favoured industries have experienced, and arc experiencing, a temporary inflation at the expense of sound progress and development.
Complications following inflation of capital, reduction in volume of money available for substantial enterprise,’ -losses in returns from marketing, reduction in number of foreign buyers of Australian goods, unemployment due to higher wages that are ineffective because of increased cost of living, false values of both locally -produced goods and heavily taxed imports, following the incidence of the present tariff, are the conditions from which we seek some relief.
Because of alleged “ insufficiency “ of present duties, high tariff advocates are asking higher or more duties. We submit the remedy is the reduction of existing duties.
The great natural resources of the Commonwealth., and the abilities of its people, are be- ing seriously checked in their development by the high tariff, and the harassing anomalies arising from its administration outside the control of Parliament.
The conditions complained of as due to tariff taxation are intensified by Australia’s vast public expenditure, which is largely increased by the operations of the tariff.
That- liberal and general distribution of commodities at reasonable prices, which belongs to real prosperity, and which follows natural rather than artificial conditions of trade, is a disappearing factor in our commercial transactions.
No single individual in this country escapes the blighting effect of heavy taxation. Housewives, wage-earners, and settlers each bear it, and it presses with greatest harshness upon the family man.
The cost of living is one of the questions of the day. lt is discussed in every place by every class. Courts base their decisions upon its movements, and wages move accordingly. As each tariff imposition increases this cost of living, so wages are increased, and the higher wage is swallowed up in the reduced purchasing power of money. “ More protection.’’ therefore, will be the continual cry of those desiring political patronage, while the distrust and discontent engendered continue to be serious factors in preventing national development.
Besides the toll upon the actual and potential wealth by industrial and rural failures, there remains the more subtle and extensive loss through failure to find those markets which, under ‘less artificial trading conditions, would be found throughout well-settled country areas, as contrasted with the present lamentable drift to the overcrowded cities.
Mutual prosperity of both primary and (secondary industries follows rural development whenever natural-conditions obtain. Indeed, the importance of rural development as the greatest factor in national progress can scarcely be over-estimated. With it will come a general efficiency unhindered by industrial mischief-makers and unreasonable opposition to the mutual welfare of each section of society.
The production at lowest cost of quality goods, and of crops, under a system making for industrial contentment, and for a greater share in the value of increased output by the’ worker, will aid greatly in the solution of the problem of marketing to advantage.
The nature of the mutual effort, and its rewards in a country such as ours, enjoying favorable climate, great areas of good land, are dependent upon national policy, and are keenly susceptible to the errors of wrong leadership.
Originally the protective policy was intended to give our infant industries assistance over and above the natural protection of freight, landing charges, &c. It was not, however, intended practically to blockade the primary producer by an excessive tariff that retards rural development, and jeopardizes our immediate welfare.
The gradual removal of hindrances to production in the form of excessive tariff imposts on machinery, tools, implements, fencing materials, clothing, and other general supplies necessary for farms, orchards, mines, stations, road construction, transport facilities, and electrical installation, is advocated to encourage land settlement and the development of primary industries.
We urge that inefficient industry or inefficient individuals should not benefit at the expense of the public, and submit that the expressed intention of the Government to assure efficiency is impracticable under an excessive tariff. Efficiency is the result of keen competition. We urge the adoption of scientific modern methods in all branches, both of agriculture and production, and the encouragement of such educational and research work as will secure for each increasing prosperity on sound economic lines.
Progress and prosperity, peace, and goodwill in national and international life, spring from that mutual consideration, mutual service, and mutual confidence, encouraged by liberal trading relationships; but these ends are endangered, and fear and prejudice fostered, by the spirit responsible for commercial exclusiveness.
We append detailed statements, as typical illustrations, of the burdens due to the existing high -protection policy, dealing with -
Agricultural machines and implements;
Matches: and we hope to send you, in the course of a few days, similar statements with regard to -
Woollens, galvanized iron, fencing wire, and transport.
I have read that letter, because it represents the views of the primary producers who have no voice in this chamber.
– And is that also the policy of the Labour party?
– It is my policy.
– If it is, the honorable senator had better get out of the Labour movement.
– Perhaps, when I am a little nearer to the views held by the honorable senator, I shall go out of the Labour movement.
– Does the honorable senator say that Senator Guthrie and Senator Glasgow do not represent primary producers?
– If they do, all I can say is that I have never heard them express themselves as such during the six years that they have been in the Senate. Neither have I heard Senator Elliott say anything on behalf of the primary producers. Let us examine the position. The Prime Minister’s reply to this appeal from the primary pro ducers is increased taxation ; but not for the purpose of building up industry in Australia, because the facts disclose that the contrary happens. I am aware that a number of people believe that Customs taxation means protection. I believe nothing of the kind. The fact that last year the Government raised nearly £40,000,000 from Customs, duties on goods imported to Australia shows clearly that a Customs tariff does not prevent imports. Consequently, it does not relieve the Australian manufacturer from overseas competition.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that Australian industries would prosper without protection?
– I do. If I thought otherwise, I would not favour giving that system a trial. Will any honorable senator contend that secondary industries in Great Britain have not prospered during the last 80 years?
– That is not a fair comparison.
– Can it be said that they are prospering at the present time?
– Yes, remembering the state of affairs in other countries.
– Surely the honorable senator knows that there are 1,500,000 persons unemployed in England?
– I am aware of that, and I suggest that the policy of ; his Government is partly responsible for that unemployment. If we removed the barrier to British trade, manufacturers in Britain would be able to employ many thousands of additional workmen.
– Why not employ our own?
– The imposition of heavy Customs duties will not necessarily lead to further employment in Australian secondary industries. A heavy duty on cotton goods, for example, will not help Australian manufacturers, since we are not manufacturing cotton piece-goods in Australia. The industrial position in England is not unsatisfactory in comparison with that of Germany, France, and Italy. I think I am right in saying that the volume of British trade is equal to the trade of . those three countries combined. My statement that Customs duties do not necessarily mean more employment in Australia is based on returns furnished by the Commonwealth Statistician of the number of factory employees in Victoria and New South Wales. After the 30 years’ race between freetrade New South Wales and protectionist Victoria, New South Wales had the advantage.
-New South Wales was never freetrade.
– I can only put that remark down to lack of knowledge of the policy of New South Wales prior to federation. I venture to say that New South Wales still holds a large a moun t of Tasmanian trade which she won in her freetrade days.
– New South Wales had her Customs House on her railways and wharfs in the shape of preferential rates. She was never truly freetrade.
– I shall quote from the statistical record of the two states prior to federation. That will be a fair comparison. During the period, 1871 to 1901, which I shall take into account, Victoria was imposing high protective duties, and New South Wales was not doing so. The two States were inhabited by a similar class of people working under practically the same conditions.
– Surely the area of the two States, and other factors, should come into the matter.
– For the information, of the honorable senator, I may say that in the Bourke district, in the western division of New South Wales, the population is one man to every 16 square miles. What bearing has that on the industry of a country? So far as the productivity of the soil is concerned, I think I may fairly say that New South Wales has 20 acres of waste land for every acre of waste land in Victoria. I wish to make a perfectly fair comparison. New South Wales had 601 factories in 1861, and Victoria had 531. In 1871 the respective figures were 1,813, and 1,740. At the end of the 30-years’ period New South Wales had 3,367 factories, and Victoria 3,249. I know that there may be a big difference in the nature of some factories. Two or three people may be employed at one establishment, and several hundreds in another. For that reason I intend to give the total number of employees in the factories of the two States during the same period. The Victorian tariff was first enacted in 1865, so “that my figures begin after it was well established. The table from 1871 to 1901 is as follows:-
It will be seen, therefore, that at the end of the 30-years’ race Victoria had lost her advantage. Since then the two States have been protectionist, on an equal footing, and New South Wales has not grown in the same relative degree. It may be argued that the fact that New South Wales had coal available and Victoria had not, accounted for the increased development in New South Wales; but the coal deposits at Fort Kembla and Woollongong are for all practical purposes as accessible to Melbourne as to Sydney. The population figures of the two States are even more startling. I regret that I have not the actual returns at hand, but, speaking from memory, the population of New South Wales increased far more under freetrade than that of Victoria under protection. Since the adoption of protection New South Wales has not developed in the same ratio as she did under her freetrade policy. During the 30-years’ race that I have mentioned, the people of New South Wales were buying their goods for less than was paid in Victoria, and New South Wales occupied the better position.
I propose now to turn to the bill. If it is agreed to, heavier burdens will be placed upon our people. My objection to the protectionist policy is that it unduly burdens our people. When protectionist supporters find that their policy is not doing what they expect it to do they immediately ask for more protection. I should quite willingly support protection if it did what was claimed for it, but it does not provide employment for our people, nor make conditions better for them. I do not want foreigners to do our work, but I cannot for the life of me see that protection is helping our Australian workers. Our exports are made up of 94 per cent. of primary products and 6 per cent. of manufactured goods. Our primary producers are paid for their goods in other goods that are imported from abroad. If a 40 per cent, tariff is imposed on imported manufactured goods it simply means that the Government retains 40 per cent, of the value of our primary produce or, in other words, that our primary producers get 40 per cent, less than they should for their goods. With a 40 per cent, tariff, if our exported primary produce is valued at £100,000,000, the primary producers get only £60,000,000, and the Government get the other £40,000,000. As a matter of fact, protection is killing our primary industries. It has already killed the mining industry. I am aware that raining fields peter out, but our artificial trade arrangements have caused many mining shows to cease operations, notwithstanding that under fair conditions they could pay handsomely. Why? Because an attempt is being made to enrich a few at the expense of the many, and in consequence primary production is decreasing.
– Has not the increase in wages something to do with it?
– Certainly. Every increase in wages - has that effect, but although the wages paid are higher they cannot be considered better. A rate of 10s. a day, such as 1 received when I was at my trade, was worth more than 20s. to-day, although those engaged in that trade are receiving only 16s. a day. Although wages are higher productivity has not increased, and the purchasing power of money is, of course, not as great as it was a few years ago. High wages are not necessarily good wages, but the rates now paid will not enable mines from which low-grade ores are produced to be successfully worked. I have no quarrel whatever with those who believe in building up our secondary industries, but if we approached those in control of such industries, and asked them to consider their position, apart altogether from the fact that they are operating under conditions which give them a certain sense of security, they would tell us bow they were handicapped by the tariff. Our tariff is crippling Australia as tariffs helped to cripple Great Britain, and this latest instalment will make our position worse than that of Great Britain at one period in her history. During the year 1914, 572,182 persons engaged in primary production produced £150,915,000 worth of produce. In 1923-24, 550,538 primary producers produced £260,178,000 worth of produce; It will be seen from these figures that during the ten years, 1914 to 1924, the number of persons engaged in primary produc-tion decreased by 21,644, whilst the value of the produce increased by £109,263,000. The chief reason for the increase in value is the enhancement of pricey but in a young country such as Australia we cannot view a reduction in the number of out primary producers without the gravest concern. The figures; contained in the *Commonwealth Y ear-Booh reveal an astounding position, and- show how heavily the tariff is pressing on primary producers. The figures in relation to the manufacturing industry show that in 1914, 313,136 persons engaged in manufacturing produced £59,004,000 worth of goods, while in 1923-34j 403,855 person5 produced £132,392^00. The number of employees increased by 90,719 during the period of ten years, whilst the value of the production increased by £73,388,000. If these figures are analyzed it will be seen that while the number engaged in primary production was reduced by 21,644, the number engaged in manufacturing increased by 90,719. The manufacturers, with approximately 90,719 more employees, increased their production to. the extent of £73/388,000, but from that amount we hare to deduct the huge sum of money paid in the form of Customs duties to enable our secondary industries to continue. I believe that our secondary industries can continue to operate successfully in Australia, and compete with the manufacturers in other parts of the world. One of the largest employers of labour in Australia - Mr. Baker, who laid the foundation of huge works at Waratah, and has employed men in practically all countries - has publicly stated that the Australian workman is equal, if not superior, to any workman he had seen iri any other part of the world. - [Extension of time granted.’] - Our tariff is not a protective tariff. I have received a communication from a manufacturer of cotton goods - I refer to Bond, who has just established a factory at Wentworthville, near Parramatta, in which he points out that his firm really requires a bounty, and not a duty.
I now wish to show how our present tariff will affect our trade with Britain, and in this connexion shall give particulars concerning the old duty on cotton goods, the rates for which were 15 per cent, foreign, and British free. The proposed duty is, British, ls. per square yard, and 30 per cent.; and foreign, 2s. per square yard, and 45 per cent, ad valorem. Cotton tweed, of British manufacture, 27 inches wide, at ls. per yard, has been landed here at ls. lid. a yard-; and foreign cotton tweed, costing ls. per yard, at ls. 2d. per yard. Trousers made from either British or foreign tweed at these prices are retailed at from 8s. lid. to 9s, 6d. Under the proposed tariff British cotton tweed at ls. f.o.b. will cost 2s. 2$d. per yard landed in Australia. This will mean that the retail price of similar trousers will vary from 15s. to 17s. lid. a pair, and these higher rates cannot possibly be paid with the present basic wage. No attempt is being made to produce these goods in Australia, and I ask the Minister to seriously consider the suspension of the application of this duty until these goods are being commercially produced in Australia. As cotton tweed is not made in Australia, the duty on this item does not protect any industry, and the ultimate result will be that we shall have more unemployed. The Government evidently intends to protect the manufacture of cheap woollen tweeds in Australia, with which cotton tweeds do not compete. Shoddy tweeds are generally used for suits, but it is not so with cotton tweeds, which are mostly used by miners, labourers, and farm hands, as they are hard-wearing and wash well. Several lines of cotton tweeds are used for motor coats, mens’ working shirts, and overalls, and shoddy woollen tweed would be quite useless for that purpose. The cotton tweeds imported into Australia are specially manufactured for our market, and are suitable for the climatic conditions which prevail here. The position of those who have tweeds in bond and on the water should have some consideration from the Government, as it is impossible for them to resell them in any other country, and the proposed tariff really prohibits payment of the duty. Let me give an example. One holder in bond of cotton tweeds foreign invoiced at £840, required £139 for duty under the old tariff. Under the proposed tariff the duty required is £2,554 on the same invoice. That is only one instance. The proposed tariff will not produce any revenue, for the reason that it means prohibition. The preferential tariff is usually 15 per cent, in favour of British goods, but under the proposed tariff the flat rate of 2s. per yard on foreign goods means 100 per cent, preferential tariff. That is out of all proportion. Those particulars, which I have obtained from Mr. Holland, I place on record because of Senator Elliott’s interjection, “ Why- do we not manufacture them here?” We are only a young country with a population of approximately 6,000,000 people, and our manufacturing industries have not grown to the same extent as the manufacturing industries of other countries. If the honorable senator will study my figures regarding primary and secondary production, he will see that primary production, is the more profitable. Many people in our midst speak as if they believe that the ideal condition would be for large numbers of factories to be established; but I do not think so. I have visited a large number pf factories in Australia, and while I am glad that in the last few years enormous strides have been made towards bettering the conditions of the workers, I should not like to work” amid the whirl of belts and the clash and din of machinery. The nerve-racking factory life is not the life that I am fighting for. In Australia we have wide expanses of rich country, and had the money which has been wasted in attempts to build up our secondary industries been used to send water from the tropical regions to Central Australia, we should ‘now have millions of people settled there. Australia can produce the food, the wool, and the cotton that the world wants. We should realize that they know not Australia who only Melbourne and Sydney know. Australia contains large areas of magnificent country which is only waiting to be developed by an intelligent democracy. Those areas will not be developed while the people believe that by establishing secondary industries, in which we hand the earnings of the worker to the manufacturer, we are attaining prosperity.
I am not remaining silent on the eve of an election. I know that freetrade is a dead question in this country, and that the? politician who is not adaptable to present- day views is in danger politically; but I would rather that my last utterance in this Senate was an outspoken one, showing1 that the way we are treading is a dangerous path, than remain silent on this matter. With Senator Pearce I agree that protection and conscription are words of abomination and desolation. ‘ I desire to place on record a letter received from an English firm of manufacturers by the Australian Association of British Manufacturers -
The proposed duty increase on gents’ and boys’ waterproof coal’s of 7s. 6d. and 30 per cent. or 45 per cent. on gents’, and 5s. each and 30 per cent. or 45 per cent. on boys’, is, strictly speaking,a prohibition tariff, for evidence can be produced showing that even at the old rate of tariff, i.e., 40 per cent., local manufacturers are quoting and selling similar goods to ours at considerably below our landed cost.
For example: - We can produce evidence that the present price of a gent’s black rubber waterproof coat of our manufacture, at the old rate of tariff, landed here at 25s. 6d. each. Local Sydney manufacturershave. and are now selling, a similar coat made up- with our cloth at 22s. 9d. each, against our old landed cost of 25s. 6d. each. At the new rale of tariff, we cannot land our coat here under 33s. 6d. each.
So much for gents’ coats. Now take boys’ coats. We have evidence of one Sydney manufacturer who is selling for indent 1926 delivery, ‘boys’ waterproof coats at less than our English invoice price, made up of our V16 material.
Taking the above into consideration, we submit that, at the old rate of tariff, the local manufacturers have ample protection, and an)’ further increased duty is prohibitive so far as British manufactured goods are concerned.
Attached to the letter is a sample of imported material. Local manufacturers are underselling the British manufacturers; yet we are putting exorbitant duties on these materials in order to make a present to the local manufacturers. The result of these duties will be not to help Australian industries, but to crush them. I thank the Senate for the opportunity to place before it these facts in connexion with the attempt to cripple the trade between Australia and Great Britain.
– I do not suppose that any honorable senator regrets more than I do that we shall not have the opportunity to discuss fully the tariff which has lately been laid upon the table of the House of Representatives. I realize that there is a great deal in it to discuss. It may be to my credit that it is because I realize the paramount importance of the crisis which has arisen, that I am willing to forgo any but a passing reference to a subject which not only affects me, but also affects the State which I have the honour to represent in this chamber. I do not propose to spend more than a few minutes in addressing the Senate on this occasion. I want, first of all, to congratulate Senator Gardiner, who is the Leader of the Labour party in this Senate, upon the extremely rational, sensible, and moderate speech which he has just delivered. On many occasions, the honorable senator has provided us with surprises which have been most staggering, but on this occasion he has outdone himself. I can pay him no higher compliment than to congratulate him on having broken away from what I consider are the worst principles of the Labour party. I do not wish to be misunderstood when I say that the two outstanding members of the Labour party in this Senate, are senator Gardiner and Senator Ogden. Perhaps those honorable senators will not thank me for coupling them together, and it might appear to some that to do so would be like tying together the tails of two Kilkenny cats and hanging them over a clothes line, when they kick themselves to death. The melody resulting from coupling those two honorable senators in that way would be worth going a long way to hear. In that they pick the good out of the Labour platform and eschew the bad, those honorable senators resemble each other. I have here a copy of the Sydney Worker for Thursday, the 27th August. 1925, which contains the Federal platform of the Australian Labour party. I should like Senator Gardiner to understand that I am not making a quotation from that journal out of any disrespect for him, or with the intention of doing him an injury. I desire merely to point out that he, at all events, has recognized the futility of, and the danger that lies in some of the planks of the Labour platform. He and Senator Ogden have realized that in good time, and are evidently preparing to escape from the débâcle which may be experienced in Australia if the present policy of the Labour party is adhered to. Item No. 4 in the platform of that party is “ New Protection.”
– That is my protection.
SenatorKINGSMILL. - What that may be, I candidly confess that I do not know. The protection enunciated by the honorable senator who has just delivered such an eloquent speech, however, contains so many novel features, and is so unlike the protection that is advocated by other members of his party, that it is indeed “ new.” In order to clinch the matter, a further plank in the platform defines “New Protection” as follows: -
Import embargoes for the effective protection of Australian industries, subject to the control of prices and industrial conditions in the industries benefited.
That does not quite fit in with the speech of the Leader of the Opposition, but I have no doubt that he has for that, as he has for everything else, an extremely ingenious explanation. The honorable senator’s faculty for getting into difficulties is equalled only by his agility and ingenuity in getting out of them. He reminds me very forcibly of a gentleman who occupied a high position in Western Australia, whom I often accused in public of tumbling into pitfalls merely in order that he might show how clever he was in getting out of them. If I may be permitted to rase a metaphor which is familiar to some honorable senators, at that game the honorable senator can give to the gentleman to whom I have referred, 40 in 100.
Having dealt with the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition, I shall say a word or two regarding the policy of other members of his party; that is, the policy of high protection, which, of course, necessarily involves high wages. I hope that I am not ungenerous in supposing that the Labour party, with the possible exception of Senator Gardiner, values protection on Account of the high wages that it brings in its train, rather than because of its benefit to the industry that it is supposed to protect. Certain members of the National party also value protection. I hope that I am not wrong in saying that they value it because of its presumed tendency to increase production and create secondary industries. That supposition, however, has been pretty well “knocked on the head” by the utterances of Senator Gardiner. I am glad that my attitude on this matter coincides with what might be expectea from a representative of Western Australia, or, indeed, a Tasmanian representative; because I maintain that, for the present, at all events, and assuredly for many years to come, the primary industries will be very much more important to Australia than the secondary industries. I greatly fear that if this country, under a mistaken sense of doing good to the secondary industries, builds up those industries on a basis and under conditions which will not allow them to compete with similar industries in other parts of the world, we shall be very much better off without them. This artificial feeding, this hot-house treatment of industries must result in their, withering and dying when they are brought into the bright light and the clear sunshine of world- competition.
– The honorable senator should exercise care lest he run counter to the beliefs of his party.
– I am but a humble follower, who has not signed a pledge, and who does not hold as pronounced views on protection as are held by other members of the National party. The policy of high protection is not a plank in the platform of the National party.
– It is not a plank in the platform of the Labour party.
– It is. I have shown that by what I have just read.
– The National party can never make up its mind in regard to any plank. It has never had a platform.
– If the National party cannot corporately make up its mind, at all events some members of that party are able to do so. I have never been backward in expressing my opinions, whether they be in agreement with or contrary to the supposed policy of the party to . which I undoubtedly belong. I thus have the right to express an equally strong opinion in regard to -the platform of any party to which I may be opposed.
– Would the honorable senator mind expressing privately to the Senate his opinion of the National party?
– I shall be delighted to do so, and I shall not give such an evasive answer as was given by the honorable senator, when, on one occasion, I asked for his opinion regarding a certain matter. Shortly, my opinion is that the National party embraces all those attributes, and the ability to give effect to them, wherein the salvation of Australia lies. I admit that that is an allembracing answer, but it is not worse than that which was given by the Leader of the Opposition when he said that the defence policy of the Labour party aimed at providing for an adequate system of defence. When I occupied, in the Western Australian Parliament a position similar ‘ to that which you, Mr. Deputy President, now occupy, am honorable . member, realizing that I was regarding him in a questioning way, said, “ Mr. President, you are wondering what this has to do with the subject. Indeed, I am thinking the same thing myself.” So, warned by your kindly but neverthe-less threatening’ look, I shall return to the subject under discussion. Listening to the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner), one could be pardoned for thinking that he. represented Western Australia or Tasmania, instead of New South Wales. I thank him for giving utterance to sentiments that can be said to lead to that belief. I hope that he will not mind if, in the coming campaign, or in any future campaign, I use a few of his arguments. I could not possibly express my views with such force or cogency - as he has applied to them, and I shall endeavour to employ the sense and tha gist of his arguments to clinch any statement that I may make on this matter.
It is only my recognition of the importance of the present crisis, and the need to determine whether this fair land of ours is to be governed by constitutional law or mob rule, that prevents me from dealing with the tariff in detail. I hope that the State that I represent will forgive me for that admission. I am forced under the circumstances to support the bill.
– I intend not to speak at length on this measure, but to make one or two observations regarding certain omissions from the tariff schedule, and the Govern ment’s neglect to caro for some of our principal industries. I listened with interest to the speech delivered by the Leader of the Labour party in the Senate, who professes to be a freetrader. An honorable member in another place said the other day that freetraders belong to the prehistoric age.
– That is quite right.
– The honorable senator thought fit on previous occasions to flay me for infringing what he considered to be Labour principles. He said that I was a believer in black labour in Australia, because I dared to urge the amendment . of the Navigation Act. Surely the honorable senator who laid that charge against me is an advocate of black labour when he would permit the products of cheap foreign labour to enter Australia duty free to compete with the products of our highly-skilled labour. The honorable senator has thrown out a challenge to me to contest my seat at the next elections, but I do not know whether I ought to accept it, because I am told by some of his friends that if I did he would nearly die of fright. I am also informed that despite his loud voice and dominant manner he often shirks a fight. After three years’ experience’ in this chamber I have deliberately concluded that it would not be fair to inflict the honorable senator upon the people of Tasmania, because during that time I have never heard him give expression to one constructive sentiment. The whole of his efforts have been destructive. It seems to me that he thinks his only duty to the electors is to fill a great part of. Hansard with unnecessary and meaningless speeches. The Labour party has no plank in its platform dealing with protection.
– It has new protection in its platform.
– That is dead and buried.
– It is in the platform now. Senator Kingsmill has just read that plank to the Senate.
– It is understood that every member of the Labour party - has a right to please himself on matters affecting the tariff. If that is not so, then I shall have to bring Senator Gardiner’s position before the caucus, and at the same time ask him to resign from the Labour party, as he asked me to do. If protection is a plank of the Labour party’s platform and Senator Gardiner is allowed freedom on that subject, I should be allowed the same freedom on other questions.
– The Labour party’s platform distinctly states that its members have absolute freedom on fiscal matters.
– That is not so.
– I am not a freetrader; I favour some measure of protection. I believe in watching by the cradle of an industry, taking it by the hand in childhood, and fostering it until it reaches maturity. Protection should then be withdrawn and the industry allowed to go alone. I believe in assisting the development of an industry by protective duties, but I am opposed altogether to assisting an industry like the woollen industry, which has had adequate protection for a number of years and is still asking this Parliament for further protection. . Where is the consistency in the proposals of the present Government? It refuses to protect the timber industry, and yet in all seriousness it asks this Parliament to agree to a tax on dungaree trousers that are worn by the workmen employed in the industry. The price of a pair of dungaree trousers has been increased by 4s. 6d. Is that the result of scientific protection? Let me give the Senate another illustration. It has lately been proposed to establish a key industry in Australia - the paper pulp industry - so that Australian newspapers may be independent of imported newsprint. A certain company is willing to spend upwards of £1,000,000 on this enterprise and to pay the standard rate of wages. This industry, if established, would give employment to 4,000 or 5,000 men. This proposal was submitted to the Tariff Board some months ago. It made its recommendation to the Government, which is now going to the country without any declaration on the subject.
– Who told the honorable senator that?
– No declaration has so far been made, and what is the reason for the delay? I know that certain newspapers oppose a protective duty on newsprint. Some of them are perfectly justified in their attitude. The Argus is a freetrade newspaper, and, like Senator Gardiner, is supposed to believe in the principles of freetrade. Some excuse might also be made for newspapers in Sydney and perhaps in Hobart that profess freetrade principles; but, strange to say, the Age, the chief protectionist newspaper of this country, which on every possible occasion has advocated the imposition of high duties upon imported commodities, now objects to a protective duty on newsprint.
– And quite right, too.
– Where is the consistency of such an attitude? Is there any consistency in this world? There are only two or three newspapers in Australia whose proprietors are sufficiently patriotic to be willing to pay a duty on newsprint in order to secure the establishment of a big industry for its production in the Commonwealth. The Melbourne Age, by its opposition to the proposed protective duty on newsprint has outraged every principle of protection it has hitherto professed. Another Melbourne newspaper, the Herald, which is not regarded as able to influence public opinion to any great extent, has professed the principle of protection, but is also against this proposed duty. When a proposed duty touches the bulging pockets of these rich newspaper proprietors, they are, so far as it is concerned, supporters of freetrade. The establishment of the wood-pulp and paper manufacturing industry would benefit not only Tasmania, but the whole of the Commonwealth. Some Tasmanian people have come to the conclusion that the reason why the Government has deferred a decision on the question of supporting this industry is the opposition of the powerful metropolitan newspapers. I should not like to accuse the Government of being so weak as to surrender its policy at the dictate of the proprietors of the big newspapers, but I warn it that its failure to deal with this matter will mean the loss to the Nationalist party of at least one seat in Tasmania at the coming election, and it may materially influence the result in other constituencies in that State. Will the Government come out with a declaration of its intention to assist the establishment of the “wood-pulp and paper manufacturing industry by affording it adequate protection? The people of Tasmania are naturally curious to know why the Government has submitted a tariff schedule giving protection to quite a number of small Australian industries, and has absolutely neglected, so far, to propose any protection for the industry to which I have referred.
– The Government has been considering it for weeks.
– Yes, and will be considering it until after the elections.
– I want a declaration on the subject. Members are returned to this Parliament to do the best they can for the country, and party considerations should not have weight where the welfare of the country is at stake. Notwithstanding all the difficulties which confront it, the Government should have gone . straight on with its policy. It should then have appealed to the people on that policy. If it did so it would be more likely to secure a mandate to continue the administration of the affairs of the Commonwealth than if, smothering up some important issues, it appeals to the electors on a question which tome will regard as one of sentiment. It may be that there is need for a strong hand to deal with certain outside influences. I have supported the Government in its efforts in this direction, and will continue to support it in those efforts, but I still contend that it should not have neglected its public duty. It should have afforded honorable senators an opportunity to consider the items of the tariff in detail before rushing them into a general election. There is another matter of importance to which I should like to refer. Honorable senators are aware that immediately a tariff schedule is tabled the duties it imposes become payable. Under section 132 of the Customs Act import duties are payable at the rates in force at the time the goods are entered for home consumption. Tasmania receives a great portion of its supplies through the distributing centres of Sydney and Melbourne, and on this account Tasmanian merchants are very frequently placed at a considerable disadvantage. Sydney and Melbourne merchants can withdraw goods from bond before proposed new duties come into operation. At the present time, owing to the strike of British seamen, a number of ships coming from the Old Country and carrying large stocks for various States, have been held up here and in Sydney. Merchants on the mainland were able to withdraw their goods from bond before the higher duties proposed by the new tariff schedule came into operation. But the Tasmanian merchants have been unable to withdraw from bond goods in the ships that have been held up, to the value of many thousands of pounds. They must, as a consequence, pay the higher duties upon them, and are placed at a considerable disadvantage compared with merchants in the other States of the Commonwealth. We have interviewed the Minister for Trade and Customs in connexion with the matter. It has been brought under the notice of the Government, and we are informed that it is not possible to so amend the act as to remove this grievance of Tasmanian merchants. Whether that is so or not, it is certain that under existing conditions serious hardship is inflicted upon the people of Tasmania. I know of one Tasmanian merchant who, because of the conditions to which I have referred, will have to pay increased duties to the extent of £400 or £500 which merchants of the mainland have been able to avoid by withdrawing their goods from bond before these increased duties became payable. This is certainly- not fair, and if it is impossible to so amend the act as to place all on an equality in this regard, it is not, I think, unreasonable that’ the Government should be asked to give special consideration to the position of Tasmanian merchants under existing conditions, due to the unforeseen occurrence of the strike of British seamen. I shall not discuss the tariff items in detail, or attempt to refute arguments which I regard as futile. To compare freetrade England with Australia is ridiculous. To say that England built up her industries under freetrade is not an argument at all, because in the days when England built up her industries she was practically the manufacturing country of the world. Today other countries have so increased their industrial activities that England can no longer afford to leave her ports open to their products. If we were so foolish as to open our ports to the products of the rest of the world, Japan, who is just at our back door, could send goods manufactured; by cheap labour to compete in our market with goods the manufacture of the highly skilled and highly-paid labour of Australians. That would certainly not be desirable. I ask the Government to make a declaration of what it intends to do in connexion with the wood pulp and paper manufacturing industry, whether .established in Tasmania or in any other State of the Commonwealth. It should make such a declaration in view of the fact that a company is prepared to spend £1,000,000 on the establishment of the industry in Tasmania. Some contend that it is not certain that the company can produce an. article which will meet with the approval of those who require it, but that is a matter which concerns not the Government, but the people who are prepared to put their money into the industry. Although I admit that the Government has certain problems to face and is perfectly justified in fighting the rebellious spirit that is abroad, and in dealing with those who are disturbing the peace, order, and good government of this country, I still contend that it would have been better for it to have carried out its policy, to have dealt with the tariff, and to have given Parliament an opportunity to consider questions vitally affecting ‘ tlie ‘ welfare of the people. It could then appealto the country on the broad grounds of its public policy instead of on a question which many will regard as one of sentiment.
– I regret very much that the Government is again adopting the mostreprehensible practice of submitting proposals to increase the Customs duties at a time when it knows very well that it is quite impossible for them to be given that full consideration to which they are entitled. I have listened with, a great deal of attention to -the speeches delivered here this morning. It is generally recognized that the proposals now before us are mainly an effort to place ‘taxation on one section of the community and relievo another section. In view of the wide range of discussion that has been permitted on this bill, I think it is highly desirable tl at we should consider another system of national taxation. side by side with that which is now proposed. I am amused to hear honorable senators talking about protecting local industries. There is nothing more fallacious than the statement that existing Customs and excise duties encourage local industries. Their main purpose is to- bring in revenue and keep the Treasury so full that the imposition of other taxation may be avoided. I congratulate ex-Senator Pratten, who is now Minister for Trade and Customs, and those behind him, on their “intelligent” efforts to place all the taxation of the Commonwealth on the shoulders of the workers ; but I am surprised at the action of many Labourites in supporting them in this endeavour. When I find recognized Tories supporting the Minister for Trade and; Customs in this, policy, I at once declare that I must be in the wrong box if I, as a Labourite, am also found supporting him; but I do not support him, and neither, I am glad to say, does my leader (Senator Gardiner).
– The honorable senator is making an onslaught on other Labourites.
– I am entitled to do so, because, on the fiscal question, all members of the Labour party have a free hand, particularly in New South Wales, where the’ schoolmaster is abroad and where we know full well that a protective policy does not offer any economic salvation for the workers.
– Would the honorable senator wipe out the tariff altogether?
– Is the honorable senator plucky .enough to advocate the exclusion of goods made in low-wage foreign countries? No; he supports those who are in favour of imposing duties on goods made in those low-wage foreign countries, such as Germany and France, and he talks about cheap goods from a low-wage country like Japan; but does he not realize that the competition Australia is likely to have from Japan is negligible in comparison with what it is likely to get from the United States of America, where intelligent workers use the most up-to-date machinery and, by means of mass production, turn out articles very much more cheaply than the Japanese can?
– And then dump them in Australia.
– Many people would not object if very substantial quantities of goods were dumped here.
– Particularly those who lose their employment because of that dumping.
– Dumping is not the cause of unemployment. Evidence was given quite recently which shows conclusively that the volume of unemployment in the United States of America is quite equal to that which is now prevailing in Great Britain or Australia. Protection has little or nothing to do with unemployment. Can I be told that there is no unemployment in Germany, France, Great Britain or the United States of America? As a matter of fact, there is unemployment everywhere in the world, and some of us know the cause of it, but protection never has been nor ever will be a remedy for it
– Mr. Scullin stated, yesterday, that it was a- remedy for it.
– I do not regard Mr. Scullin as an authority on this question. I want to place’ some figures on record to show that the so-called protectionist policy of the Commonwealth does not exclude foreign-made goods, and that there is no intention on the part of the Government to exclude them.
– The Government’s policy is protection, and does not amount to the embargo provided for in the platform of the Labour party.
– It is protection only for the wealthy land-owners, who ought to pay the taxation of the country. I shall put on record, from page 406 of Henry George’s Canons of Taxation, something to show that there are some people who understand that it is arrant humbug that- Senator Wilson talks when he tries to induce people to believe that a protectionist policy of either a high or a low character will benefit them, and get rid of the unemployed problem.
– Has any country adopted Henry George’s policy?
– No. But can the honorable senator tell me any country where there are no unemployed, where destitution does not prevail, or where poor-houses, soup kitchens, and similar institutions are not in evidence?
– There is riot much of that sort of thing in Australia.
– There is a good deal of unemployment in Australia. The Commonwealth Treasurer forecast that he would receive a certain amount of revenue through the Customs duties for the year 1923-4, but his estimate was exceeded by about £6,000,000. Notwithstanding the alleged ‘policy of protection adopted in Australia, the revenue collected through the Customs House increases year by year, and I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that the Pratten crowd are behind these duties for the sole- purpose of increasing the revenue from this source. There would be something . logical in a statement that they were in favour of excluding foreignmade goods.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.30 p.m.
– For very many years the Parliament of Victoria imposed very high protective duties, and when federation was consummated the majority of the States were in favour of the protectionist policy, and New South Wales, being in a minority, had to fall into line with them. The Commonwealth Parliament very early in its history took advantage of the opportunity to impose what were considered at that time fairly high protective duties, and the people were assured that very great benefits would flow therefrom. That promise has not been redeemed by the event, because every year in all the States of the Commonwealth there has been a big unemployment problem, and, so far as I can see, this bill contains no proposal which will assist in solving that difficulty. The Labour party has recognized for many years that the mere imposition of duties on imported goods has no really beneficial effect; but. instead of abandoning the protectionist policy, it adopted what was called the new protection, and that is still its fiscal policy. It has not yet been brought fully into operation, but I have not the least doubt of what the result will be when effect is given to it. We have been told that the members of the Labour party have not a free mind in regard to the tariff. That may be true of some members of the Labour party, but clause 3 of the constitution of the New South Wales Labour party reads - “ Labour candidates shall have a. free hand on the fiscal question.”
– That applies to State politics ; the honorable senator is a Federal representative.
– How can a fiscal plank apply to State politics?. That clause refers to Federal politics.
– And the New South Wales Labour party gives its representatives in the Federal Parliament a free hand.
SenatorJ. GRANT. - The members of the Labour party in- New South Wales are free to advocate whatever fiscal policy they believe in. At times I have even been allowed to advocate land values taxation, which is perhaps not strictly in accordance with my party’s platform. My freedom in that respect indicates the amount of liberty that is permitted inside the Labour movement in New South Wales.
– The honorable senator is a Federal member, and the Federal Labour party is pledged to protection pending an amendment of the Constitution which will permit of effect being given to the new protection.
– Members representing New South Wales in this Parliament have a free hand on the fiscal question.
– But the Labour movement does not believe in freetrade.
– I do not say that it does, but members representing New South Wales have a free hand; at any rate, the constitution of the party says so.
– Too free.
– I have not the least doubt that some of my colleagues would like to prevent any member of this Chamber from opposing Mr. Pratten. I am not a supporter of Mr. Pratten, and when I see members of the Labour party standing behind men who are regarded as the embodiment of toryism, I am convinced that somebody is mistaken, and that somebody is not the present Minister for Trade and Customs. He knows what he is doing, even though others who support him may not. Senator Ogden very rightly argued that when an industry is shielded from the competition of goods produced in foreign countries, where low wages and long hours of labour obtain, it takes a long time to become thoroughly established and self-reliant. As a matter of fact, the older such an industry grows the more protection it requires. I am rather pleased to see that this Government, pursuant to its general principles, has failed, and will, I believe, continue to fail on account of the opposition of the
Age, the Argus, and other newspapers, to state whether it is prepared to grant a heavy bonus to the Amalgamated Zinc Company, to be followed later by a high duty, which, as the Age very well knows, will have the effect of substantially increasing the cost of the raw material. It is significant that the Age is not very enthusiastic about the proposal to establish the paper pulp industry in Tasmania.
– The Age is very enthusiastically in- favour of bringing about the defeat of the Labour party in any circumstances.
– The Age has always been the champion of protection, and probably more hostile to the Labour party than any other newspaper in the Commonwealth.
– And the most con- temptible.
– I will back up any statement which the honorable senator chooses to make about the Age. With very few exceptions, the big newspapers of the Commonwealth have as the first article of their creed high protection, and as the second article bitter hostility to the Labour party and all its works. The protectionist party and the anti-Labour press seem to go hand in hand. Some of my colleagues do not see eye to eye with me on the fiscal question. It is remotely possible that my views may be wrong, but I am convinced that they are not wrong, because no country in the world, whether it be freetrade or protectionist, is without large numbers of unemployed. That very fact should be sufficient to convince reasonable men that protection is not a complete remedy for unemployment. It is true that large numbers of people honestly and urgently advocate that policy, but in its operation it protects, not the manufacturers and the workers, but the wealthy people against direct taxation. They are the chief supporters of the protectionist fallacy in all countries. Bills for the payment of bonuses, and the collection of income taxation, Customs duties, and other taxation are merely part of a scheme to shield the wealthy, and make the poor bear the burden of government.
– What other method of raising revenue does the honorable senator suggest?
– I am afraid that I -would not he in order in stating at this stage my views upon taxation, but I refer the honorable senator to page 406 of Henry George’s Progress and Poverty. where the canons of sound taxation are laid down. I have no desire to unduly prolong this debate, especially as I know that any opposition I may offer to the bill will be futile. But I protest against the action of the Government in deferring the consideration of the tariff so long, and then asking Parliament to validate the collection of duties without affording us an opportunity of discussing the schedule item by item. These duties have been conceived in -the dark : nobody knows who is responsible for them, or what pressure was brought to bear upon the Minister for Trade and Customs.
– The reports of the Tariff Board were conclusive enough.
– A board which the Minister for Trade and Customs appointed.
– I should like to know who is behind these proposals to increase duties and pay bonuses. Although this schedule is to be validated in its entirety, without any opportunity to analyse it having been afforded to honorable senators, I take this opportunity to draw attention to a few items.
Nothing, is of greater importance to a very large number, probably the majority, of people in the Commonwealth, than a plentiful supply of good, well-matured whisky. The consumers of this beverage are a very tame and law-abiding section of the community. In all ages and in all countries men have produced a stumulating drink similar to, but not nearly as good as, whisky. At one time the manufacture and sale of vodka was permitted in Russia, but in a weak moment the late Czar abolished vodka from his dominions! A little later the Czar himself was abolished, and good enough for him! I warn the Government that its interference with the national beverage is the most dangerous step it has taken. For a number of years the duty on whisky has been greatly increased- on almost every occasion when increases in Customs tariff duties have been imposed, and to-day the impost stands at the large sum of 35s. a gallon, or nearly 4s. 6d. a one-pint bottle. I am in favour of no duty at all on whisky, but I cannot expect the Senate to adopt that very sensible view. It has been suggested by some ill-informed persons that the increase has been brought about to encourage the drinking of Australian whisky. I do not object to whisky made in Australia, but I suggest that the best way to encourage its more extensive consumption is to abolish the excise duty. This is now 30s. a gallon, and what chance has Australian whisky with a preference of only 5s. a gallon over imported brands? But the abolition of the excise duty is most unlikely, since we have at the head of the Customs Department a Minister who knows his business, and who most effectively serves those whom he represents. He believes in placing the taxation on the poor, and, notwithstanding all his talk about encouraging local industries, he is not prepared to reduce the excise duty on locally-made spirits. He favours its retention, of course, because of the enormous revenue it yields. In 1921-2, the excise” duty collected in the Commonwealth amounted to £10,302,049. ls the Minister (Mr. Pratten) going to abandon that revenue for the sake of an Australian industry? He knows better than that. He is afraid that it might result in a straight-out land tax on himself and his friends, or an increase in income taxation. The excise revenue in 1922-3 amounted to £10,274,823; in 1923-4, £10,573,902; and in 1924-5, £10,787,620. If we desire to encourage the manufacture of whisky in Australia let us remove the penalty imposed on those engaged in the industry. Why should men who invest their money in .growing barley, or who ‘engage in any process of the manufacture of whisky, be singled out for perpetual penalty ? If a person manufactures boots and clothing he is not penalized in this way; on the other hand, he is sometimes granted a bonus for manufacturing goods from Australian material. One of the advantages of permitting foreign whisky to enter Australia is that the persons who own the land on which barley is grown can obtain higher rents than they otherwise would from their tenants. I am of the opinion that many of the manufacturers -of whisky do not understand the business. Let me tell them that whisky must be matured in wood if it is to be thoroughly palatable. At one time strenuous efforts were made in Australia to impose a duty on tea, but it was apparent to most people that it would mean a tax. on the poor. In Great Britain, unfortunately, tea, sugar, coffee- and similar articles are heavily taxed to-day, while the lairds, lords, dukes, duchesses, counts and countesses are carefully exempted from taxation. The whole of the land-owners contribute only about £2.000,000 towards the national revenue of Great Britain.
– The honorable senator knows that most of the landlords in England have been ruined by the estate duty tax.
– It is nouse asking me to listen to an argument of that nature. The land-owners of Great Britain did not contribute more than £2,000,000 last year out of a total revenue of £800,000,000 or £900,000,000.
– What was the amount of the estate duty they paid ? That comes out of the land.
– But it is not a land tax. There is a wide difference between the tax upon estates and a straightout tax upon land” values. The landowners of the Commonwealth paid only about £2,000,000 to the national revenue last year, while those who consume whisky and other goods on which excise duties are charged paid about £10,000,000. I intend to move an amendment to clause 4 providing that, notwithstanding anything contained in the act, no increased duty shall be collected on whisky until such increase has been approved by Parliament. I do not regard the passage of this bill as the necessary parliamentary, approval for the proposed increase. In common with other honorable senators, I receive a large volume of correspondence, but I -have not read one letter approving of the proposed duties. In fact, every letter bearing on the subject has been in opposition to them. A high revenue tariff has failed in all countries to bring about the conditions desired. Therefore, we should suspend the operation of this bill for a sufficient time to enable us carefully to consider its effect. I am sure that mature consideration would result in its rejection. At first the Tariff Board held its meetings in secret, but, fortunately, Parliament compelled it to hold them with open doors, as a result of which we now know something of what it is doing. When Parliament decides to inflict duties on the public - and they are an infliction, for no one wants, them - those duties ought to remain as Parliament fixes them until Parliament alters them. To have the board meddling with the tariff and introducing new proposals almost every day, leads to no end of litigation, and leaves the commercial community in a state of continuous uncertainty. For these and many other reasons, I hope that the Government will withdraw this bill until the new Parliament meets.
.- I shall not, in the dying stages of the Parliament, oppose the bill now before the Senate. I recognize that it is impossible for Parliament, in the circumstances, to give to the tariff the consideration that such a great and important question requires. Irrespective of certain opinions that have been expressed, every man who stands to-day as a pledged Labour candidate under the Federal constitution of the Australian Labour party, is pledged to effective protection, pending an alteration of the Constitution to give effect to what we know as the new protection. At least 98 per cent. of the men and women who compose the Australian Labour movement, stand for the protection of Australian industries. Owing principally to the educational propaganda of the Labour party in years gone by, it is recognized that to build up in Australia a standard of living and social conditions superior to those in any other part of the world, we must not be subjected to the competition of goods produced under sweated conditions in other parts of the world. To achieve those superior conditions we established wages boards and arbitration courts to fix wages and regulate hours of work, and we built up industrial and social conditions acceptable bo the people of this country. Labour men recognize that if they compel employers to observe a 48 or 44-hour week, and to pay rates of wages that enable the working man to live as human beings ought to live in a civilized community, we must not allow the products of. the sweated labour of other countries to compete on an equal footing with the products of the industries of this country. I hope that as a result of that principle all the ships required for the Australian Navy, and the . vessels needed for the Australian trading fleet, will ultimately be built in this country. To fix rates of wages and hours of work in this country, and then to allow the products of the sweated industries of other countries to enter into free competition with the products of the industries of this country, would be to commit industrial and political suicide. I am prepared to vote for this bill, although I regret that Parliament has not had an opportunity to give consideration to the questions involved. Every man who goes to the country at the forthcoming elections as a pledged Labour candidate, will be pledged to effective protection, pending an alteration of the Constitution to give effect to new protection.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to insert the following new clause : - , “ 2a. Notwithstanding anything contained in this act, no increased duty shall be collected on whisky until such increase has been approved by Parliament.”
In moving that amendment I wish to express my entire disapproval of the method followed first by the Minister, and then by the Government, in placing these proposals before the Senate. . Every endeavour is made to keep alterations of the tariff secret until the new schedule is tabled. I sometimes think that information leaks out, but as to that I may be mistaken. The proposal to impose a duty upon a national beverage before the duty has been approved by Parliament, is entirely opposed to the wishes of a large section of this community. If a referendum were taken on the question of the proposed increase of duty on whisky, or, better still, on a proposal to remove all duties from whisky, I have not the slightest doubt that it would be carried by an overwhelming majority. We have no mandate from the country on this matter. Not one member of Parliament, as far as I know, when he was before the electors and seeking their votes, said that he was willing to increase the duty on whisky.
– It is effective protection.
– If the object is to protect the Victorian distilleries effectively, why not go about it in the proper way? Why not remove the excise duty from the local product? Why should whisky, more than any other article. produced inthis country, be subjected to excise duty? The total amount of excise duties collected in the year 1924-25 was £10,787,620. On spirits, which I assume means Queensland rum and locally manufactured whisky, the total amount of excise duty collected was £1,510,432 in 1921-22, £1,617,975 in 1922-23, £1,757,414 in 1923-24, and £1,766,526 in 1924-25. The Treasurer has estimated that the revenue from excise on spirits for the current year will be £1,705,000, and I feel sure that he will be nearly £500,000 out in his calculation. Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) [3.19]. - I intend to support Senator Grant’s request. I have no desire to see whisky distilleries established all over Australia; but if the Government really wishes to encourage the industry it can do so more effectively by reducing the present excise duty by one-half.
Question - That the request (Senator j. Grant’s amendment) be agreed to - put. The committee divided.
Majority . . . . 13
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I propose to move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to insert the following new clause : - “ 2a. Notwithstanding anything contained in this act, no increased duty shall be collected on cotton piece goods, knitted in tubular form or otherwise; cotton and linen piece goods defined for cutting up for the manufacture of hemmed or hemstitched handkerchiefs, serviettes, tablecloths, or window blinds; silk or containing silk, or having silk worked thereon; velvets, velveteens, plushes, sealette, and cloths imitating furs, astrachans; lace for attire, lace flouncings, millinery, and dress nets, veilings, embroideries, tucked linens, or cottons.”
These are enumerated in item 105 of the tariff schedule. I submit this, request, not with the idea of interfering with local industries, but to remove the burden of taxation from the clothing of the people. We are not producing cotton goods or cotton tweeds in Australia, or, if we are, the industry is not producing sufficient to justify a heavy protective duty.
– My information is that we are producing cotton goods in Australia.
-I shall be pleased to learn from the Minister where and in what quantities cotton goods are being produced in Australia. The total value of cotton goods imported during the last year indicates clearly that we are dependent to a very large extent upon the British manufacturer. Instead of imposing a purely revenue tariff on cotton goods, which are so largely used by the people, the duty should be suspended until Parliament has had an opportunity to discuss the question.
-(Senator Newland). - Do I understand that the honorable senator has taken the items enumerated by him from the tariff schedule originally introduced.
– Yes. They are taken from item 105.
– Then I suggest that the honorable senator should state his request in a simplified form such as that “no increased duty shall be collected on any of the goods enumerated in Item No. 105, until such increase has been approved by Parliament.”
– To meet the wishes of the committee, and expedite business, I shall content myself with moving -
That the House of Representatives be requested to insert the following new clause : - “ 2a. Notwithstanding anything contained in this act, no increased duty shall be collected on cotton goods until such increase has been approved by Parliament.”
– I ask the committee to reject the request. The object of the bill is to validate the amended tariff, which was laid on the table in another place recently, ‘ and it is not desirable to discuss any particular item in the schedule. Senator Gardiner has stated that cotton goods are not being produced in Australia. I am informed that a factory was established recently in Sydney for the manufacture of cotton tweeds, and it is hoped that the output will be of considerable magnitude at an early date.
– Are the manufacturers using Australian cotton?
– I believe most of the raw material is Australian cotton. In the circumstances, I ask Senator Gardiner not to press his request.
.- The Minister has just stated that cotton goods are being manufactured in Australia. I have received a letter - no doubt other honorable senators have also, from G. A. Bond, a manufacturer of cotton at Wentworth, near Parramatta, New South Wales. He states that his firm asks, not for a duty, but for a bounty, on cotton goods, because they are not yet in a position to supply Australian requirements. If it is desired to build up the industry in Australia the duty can very well be deferred until Australian firms are in a position to supply a reasonable proportion of Australian requirements. I object to a revenue tariff. The retail purchasers who will pay this tariff on the goods they buy will not be able to get it back, if ultimately it is not ratified.
– I have frequently spoken on this subject in the Senate. These heavy protective duties are merely to produce revenue and not to encourage our industries. The Minister is unable to inform us where cotton goods are being manufactured in Australia. A gentleman interested in this industry assured me not long ago that cotton goods were not being made here. I told him that the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Pratten) had given me his word that they were. He said, “ Well, the Minister says more than his prayers.” The budget papers showed that the revenue derived in Customs duties from apparel and textiles in the last four years was as follows : -
Yet the Minister for Trade and Customs has the hardihood to. ask us to substantially increase the tariff. He and his supporters know full well that the duties on this class of goods will be paid by the poorer sections of the community. Before I am prepared to vote against Senator Gardiner’s proposal I shall want detailed information from the Government as to the number and capacity of the factories engaged in producing cotton wearing apparel. The Treasurer’s estimate of revenue from this source this year is ?5,490,000, but we know that his estimates are quite unreliable. I am satisfied that the figure will be nearer ?6,000,000. It is absolutely unfair that Senator Guthrie, Senator Elliott, and other supporters of the Government should use their position in this chamber to impose taxation of this nature on the poor people. If they would propose taxing the wealthy landowners to provide the necessary revenue I should heartily support them.
– The statements made by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner) in regard to the production of cotton goods in Australia are correct. Messrs. G. A. Bond & Co. do not want protection, but a bounty.
– They asked for a bounty in preference to protection for the reason that they thought they had more chance of getting it.
– They did not ask for protection. If the Minister in charge of the bill can give me an assurance that a firm or firms are engaged in manufacturing these goods in Australia I shall be prepared to grant them reasonable protection.
– I have already given that assurance. Not only are these goods being manufactured here, but steps are being taken to increase their production.
– I should like to know the names of the firms and . where they arc carrying on their operations. I am not prepared to impose a purely revenue tariff on cotton tweeds or anything else of that nature.
-(Senator Newland). - Cotton tweeds are not mentioned in Item 105, nor does the request deal with them.
– If you, sir, had listened attentively to the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner) you would have known that he particularly mentioned cotton tweeds.
– I did listen to him, and I have carefully looked through the schedule. Cotton tweeds are not mentioned in the schedule, and they are not mentioned in the request.
– In that case I shall support the request.
– I appeal to honorable senators not to allow themselves to be drawn into a discussion of the different items of the tariff. In order to do that effectively we should need to have the schedule before us, and it is not before us. The question is, whether we are prepared to validate this tariff on the understanding that we shall have an opportunity to discuss it in detail as soon as possible after the election. It is not feasible at present to discuss the different items. The whole schedule will come before ‘ Parliament after the elections. The Government has decided to seek a mandate from the people on a certain policy. In the circumstances there is no time for us now to deal with the separate tariff items. We have undertaken to submit the schedule to Parliament as soon as possible after the election: I ask honorable senators not to enter upon a discussion of the merits or de-merits of particular items, but to pass the bill on the understanding that they will have an opportunity later to deal with the schedule.
– The Government would do the fair and honest thing if it withdrew the bill. If it is passed many people will be robbed before we can give any further attention to the tariff. I have received a letter from Messrs Turnbull & Co., clothing manufacturers and importers, 327 Pitt-street, Sydney, which reads as follows : -
We, the undersigned manufacturing warehousemen, makers of boys’ and men’s readymade clothing, and selling to the retail clothing shops, beg to point out the serious consequences and hardship that will occur if the revised tariff, asintroduced into the Federal Parliament, becomes permanent.
Taking cotton tweed : General tariff 2s. per square yard, and 45 per cent. ad valorem, which is extensively used in . the manufacture of men’s trousers and boys’ knickers. Under the former tariff, men’s trousers could be sold ‘ to the wearer at 6s.11d. per pair, under the revised tariff, not less than 13s.11d. per pair.
A strong nap tweed, highly suitable and largely used for- working men’s trousers, under the former tariff could be sold to the wearer at 8s.11d.; under the revised tariff, not less than 15s.11d.
The some difference in cost would apply to the higher grade of cotton tweeds. Under the former tariff, heavy cotton and tweed mixture overcoating, highly suitable for men’s overcoats, could be imported and sold to the wearer at 45s.; under the revised tariff not less than 65s.
We would point out that -
That there ore no cotton tweeds of the description referred to made in Australia, and no substitute can be bad.
That it would amount to robbery to be compelled to charge to the working class the high price that would have to be charged to the wearers.
We are prepared to submit details as to how we arrive at these conclusions.
That the revised tariff has already disorganized business and caused serious loss.
We would suggest that the revised tariff be suspended until fully considered by the Federal Parliament.
That if not remedied as suggested, it will cause serious unemployment.
We trust this matter will receive the serious consideration that it deserves, and feel sure the persons who mode the recommendation do not fully understand the situation as it affects the people of the Commonwealth.
Not only should I like an opportunity to investigate the statements made in that letter, but I certainly think that the Government should reply to them convincingly before it asks us to pass this bill. Messrs. Turnbull and Co. are manufacturers, and they ought to know the position.
– I thought “the honorable senator was a protectionist.
– I am a scientific protectionist, but not a robber.
– What is scientific pro-, lection ?
– It is the imposition of such duties as will encourage the development of our secondary industries, and not the mere imposition of a revenueproducing tariff. If, as the writer of that letter says, cotton tweed trousers which now cost 6s.11d. will, under the proposed new tariff, cost 13s.11d., the poorer classes of our community will suffer severely. I urge the Government not to push on with this bill now. Let the matter remain in abeyance until after the election If we pass this bill, and later, when the detailed schedule is before Parliament, the increased tariff on cotton goods is not ratified, those who have paid the higher prices which will have been charged by the retailers in the meantime will not be able to get a refund of the difference. I shall need very shortly to buy a couple of cotton shirts. It is quite likely that they will cost me 5s. more each under these new conditions than under the old tariff rates. If Parliament ultimately decides against the new proposals, I shall not be able to get a refund of that extra 10s. that I have paid for them.
– How is it that the honorable senator is prepared to accept Messrs. Turnbull and Company’s figures? Usually he would not accept a manufacturer’s figures.
– I am prepared to accept them for the time being. If they are incorrect. I ask the honorable senator opposite to prove it. I ask the Minister in charge of the bill whether he can disprove them. The letter, which has been sent in good faith, states that the firm is prepared to submit proof of the accuracy of its statements, but the Government will not give us an opportunity to examine them. If the Minister can disprove what I have quoted, I shall support the clause, but in the absence of concrete proof that such articles are being manufactured in the Commonwealth, I shall support the requested amendment. The Minister has simply stated that there is likely to be somedevelopment in the local manufacture of cotton goods. Up to the present, apparently, nothing has been done, and if higher duties are imposed the workers of Australia will have topay the increased prices.
– I ask your ruling, Mr. Chairman, as to whether the requested amendment submitted by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner) is in order. I direct your attention to the fact that the bill is to validate the collection of duties of Customs under certain tariff proposals, and that clause 2 of the bill reads -
In this act, “Tariff proposals” means the proposed duties of Customs introduced into the House of Representatives on the following dates, namely, 2nd of September, 1925, and 18th of September, 1925.
As there is no schedule to the bill, there can be no schedule before the committee. The requested amendment submitted by the Leader of the Opposition purports to include in the measure a schedule in which it is stated that no increased duty shall be collected on cotton goods, a list of which he has submitted, until such increase has been approved by Parliament. Some of the . cotton goods mentioned in the list quoted by the Leader of the Opposition are already dutiable, and on some an increased duty is proposed in the tariff schedule which is before another place, but which is not before this Chamber. In some cases “no increases are proposed in the duties imposed in the schedule to the principal act, and in others an actual decrease is provided for. The schedule referred to in the requested amendment is not the schedule to the existing Customs Tariff Act, because, in the proposition which the Minister has submitted, a rearrangement of items and duties has been effected . If the requested amendment were accepted, we would be faced with this extraordinary position : That we should have ‘ carried a requested amendment which purported to put the tariff back to where it was before the Minister submitted his motion in another place, but which actually would have done something else. “We should have amended the schedule by placing goods in a different category from that in which they are in the existing tariff. I ask your ruling, sir, as to whether the requested amendment is relevant to this bill, which merely puts to us the direct question, “Will you validate the collection of duties in accordance with the resolutions tabled in another place?”
– The proposed amendment, as I understand it, means amending something which, to us, has no existence.
– That is so. It is not before us and it cannot be dealt with in this chamber until it has been considered in another place. It appears to me that it is not within the competence of the committee to amend something that is not before it. This bill has only one relevant question and that is the validation of the collection of duties of customs under tariff proposals as introduced in another place.
– The committee has just passed clause 2, which reads -
In this Act “ tariff proposals” means the proposed duties of customs introduced in the House of Representatives on the following dates, namely 2nd September, 1925; 18th September, 1925.
I therefore took a portion of the schedule, pasted it upon a piece of paper so that there could be no misunderstanding and requested that an amendment be made to exempt cotton goods from the payment of the proposed duty until Parliamentary approval had been obtained. We are dealing with a straightforward proposal. The fact that the schedule is not before us has nothing to do with the question. It cannot be said that the Senate has lost its right to deal with the proposed Customs duties.
– Although it is unfortunate I do not think the question admits of much argument. I am as keen as the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner) to dispense with the duties on cotton goods - duties which should never have been imposed. The proposal of the Government is absolutely unjustifiable but I recognize that the requested amendment seeks to amend something which we have not before us. We can request that amendments be made in the tariff schedule when it is before us in the ordinary course, but it must first be dealt with by another place. In this instance the schedule has not been considered by the House of Representatives. As a matter of fact, when the tariff schedule comes before the Senate I shall seek to have the duties on not only cotton goods, but also a- number of other articles, such as mining . machinery, reduced. The proposed tariff deals a staggering blow at the already tottering mining industry and I am not prepared to accept it without a strong protest. Articles that cannot be commercially produced in Australia should not be dutiable. I have been endeavoring for years to obtain from the Customs Department a definition of “commercially produced” but up to the present have been unable to do so and I do not think I ever shall. I can say, however, that there are numerous articles in the tariff schedule that cannot- be commercially produced in Australia and cotton tweed is one. No attempt is being made to prove that such goods can be commercially produced. In the present unfortunate position, however, we either have to validate the collection of these Customs duties on the new basis or reject them. We cannot -at this stage amend a schedule which is not before us.
– We are asked to validate the collection of Customs duties.
– But we can refuse to do that. I am not prepared to do so, because if the collection of duties on the new basis was to be suspended, it would create more confusion than if the schedule were allowed to remain in operation for some time. Under these conditions, and with the assurance which, I understand, has been given that Parliament will have the earliest opportunity to consider the tariff, I must - although I regret to have to do it - oppose the requested amendment; otherwise I should have to take the illogical and unconstitutional course of amending something which we have not before us.
– I am not submitting a requested amendment of the tariff, but have moved the insertion of a new clause to apply to the tariff.
– I do not think the Leader of the Opposition can do that. I am sorry to have to record my vote against the requested amendment, because I am a firm believer in the iniquity of the Government’s proposition.
– Then vote against it.
– As the proposal of the Leader of the Opposition is illogical and unconstitutional, I shall be compelled to oppose it.
– (Senator Newland). - The Minister (Senator Pearce) has urged that this is a bill to validate the collection of duties of Customs under “ tariff proposals,” which by clause 2 are defined as the proposed duties of Customs introduced in the House of Representatives on the 2nd September and 18th September, 1925, and that these are not before the committee. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner) has submitted a requested amendment providing that no increased duties shall be collected on cotton goods until such increase has been approved by Parliament. That is a clear and definite proposal with which the committee can deal. The committee has already dealt with one requested amendment concerning which no objection was raised by the Minister (Senator Pearce), and, that being so, it would be illogical for the Chair to allow one request to be considered and to prevent discussion on another. I rule that the requested amendment of the Leader of the Opposition is in order.
– I submit in writing my dissent from the ruling of the Chairman on the ground that the requested amendment submitted by Senator Gardi ner deals with a proposed amendment of a schedule which is not in the bill, and is not before the Senate; that the only object of the bill is to validate the collection of Customs duties imposed by a certain resolution now before another place, and that no other question than that is relevant to the bill.
In the Senate:
– (Senator Newland). -I have to report that during the debate on this bill a request was moved by Senator J. Grant to exclude a certain item from the operation of the bill. That request was negatived. Senator Gardiner then moved another request in. which he detached item No. 105 from what purports to be the tariff schedule, forming part of the resolutions submitted in another place. The matter was discussed at considerable length. The Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce) then raised the point of order that the request moved by Senator Gardiner was not relevant to the bill. I ruled that itwas in order, for the reason that this bill provides for the validation of the collection of Customs duties, and refers expressly to “ tariff proposals,” which clause 2 defines as the proposed duties of Customs introduced into the House of Representatives on the 2nd September, 1925, and 18th September, 1925. The point of order raised by Senator Pearce was that the committee was asked by the requested amendment to deal with something that was really not before it- I ruled that the requested amendment dealt entirely with a matter that was before us in this bill, and which could be discussed, and, therefore, it was in order. Senator Pearce then dissented from my ruling in the following terms : -
I dissent from the ruling of the Chairman on the’ ground that the requested amendment submitted by Senator Gardiner deals with a proposed amendment of the schedule which is not in the bill, and is not before the Senate; that the only object of the bill is to validate the collection of Customs duties imposed by a certain resolution now before another place, and that no other question than that is relevant to the bill.
In support of my decision, I desire to quote a ruling given on the 15th March, 1917, on what I consider to be a similar matter. That ruling was given in connexion with a Customs Tariff “Validation Bill, and, strange to say, it was Senator Gardiner who on that occasion submitted the proposition that gave rise to the point of order. Senator Gardiner then moved -
That the House of Representatives be requested to add the following clause to the bill :-
Item No. 129 of tlie tariff proposal introduced into tlie House of Representatives on the 3rd December, 1914, is amended by inserting after the word “ cent.” tlie words “ and on and after the 15,th March, 1917, free.”
The ruling of the Chairman was that the requested amendment was out of order. A motion that the Chairman’s ruling should be dissented from was then moved, and, later, the President ruled that the requested amendment moved by Senator Gardiner was relevant to the bill. He considered that it was quite within the competence of Parliament, in considering Customs validating bills, to amend the items proposed to be validated, and this view was borne out by the fact that the Government proposed an amendment in clause 4 of the bill. Therefore, a senator should have the right to propose a request. In addition, any action which limited the rights of the Senate in a matter of this kind was not a desirable precedent. He therefore ruled that the point of order could not be sustained and that Senator Gardiner had a perfect right to move his request. I take it that the ruling of the President in 1917 strengthens my ruling on this occasion.
– I took the point, of order on the ground that the requested amendment is not relevant to the subjectmatter of the bill. Our Standing Orders lay it down clearly that amendments which are not relevant are out of order. The Chairman has quoted a case which he says is similar to that with which we are now dealing, and in which the requested amendment was ruled to be in order. Listening to his reading, I should say that it was not a similar case, because it appeared to me that it dealt with a question of the alteration of a date. The case before us is not a question of the alteration of a date, but that we, in the Senate, should propose to alter a schedule which is now before another place, but which is not before the Senate, and is not in the possession of the committee. One reason that led me to challenge the Chairman’s ruling was the extraordinary reason that he gave for it, namely, that I did not challenge a previous motion submitted by Senator J. Grant. That is hardly a reason, as it might have happened that I was not in the chamber when the first motion was submitted.
– The honorable senator was not only in the chamber, but voted on the proposed request.
– The motion by Senator J . Grant was not on all-fours with that of Senator Gardiner. Senator J. Grant’s motion was that no increased duty should be collected on whisky until approved by Parliament. It made no reference to anything that is not before us. This request makes a distinct reference to a schedule. The position is a little involved, and it is difficult to make my point clear. There are two schedules in question. First there is the schedule in the existing act - a schedule of duties which are now operative. In the resolution submitted in another place by the Minister, he altered, not merely the duty, but the disposition of the articles making up the item in question. He split the item into different compartments from those in the existing tariff. Senator Gardiner has taken the resolution just as submitted by the Minister, picked out certain articles, and asked the Senate to say that on those there shall be no increased duties collected. I draw attention to what I consider to be a vital point, namely, that the articles on which Senator Gardiner now asks that there shall be no increased duty are not in the schedule of items in the existing tariff, but in the schedule of items forming part of the resolution submitted by the Minister for Trade and Customs. It cannot be argued that we can proceed to deal in detail with something that is not before us. What is submitted to us by means of this bill is contained in two clauses - one dealing with the ratification of the collection, which is, however, not pertinent to the issue, and clause 2, which provides that in this act the “ tariff proposals” means the proposed duties of Customs introduced in the House of Representatives on the 2nd September, 1925, and 18th September, 1925. Clause 3 provides that all duties of Customs demanded or collected, whether before or after the dissolution of the House of Representatives, pursuant to the “ tariff proposals “ shall be deemed to be lawfully imposed and lawfully demanded or collected. The Senate is asked whether it will, or will not, validate the collection of duties under those proposals. We are not asked to ratify the proposals in detail. If that were the intention of the bill, there would be a schedule showing the duties in detail. But as no such schedule is attached to the bill, I ask whether we can proceed to legislate in detail upon something that is not before us, although it is before another place? This bill brings one question only before us, whether we will, or will not, validate the collection of duties. Even if- it could be argued that the previous ruling is relevant to the case with which we are now dealing, I submit that it is never too late to mend, and that we should be embarking on a dangerous course if in a bill to validate certain legislation we could amend a schedule which is not part of the bill, and is not before the Senate.
– The point of order seems bo be quite clear, and I do not feel that at this hour it would be either profitable or desirable to take up a great deal of time in discussing it. The Minister’s contention would have very great force if Senator Gardiner’s request in any way attempted to amend any Customs or excise duties which are collected under the Customs Tariff Act already in existence. That, undoubtedly, would be outside the scope of the bill. But I cannot agree with the Minister’s, contention that the “ tariff proposals “ which are now before, another place are not also before the Senate. They are effectively brought before us by clause 2, which clearly sets out that the object of the bill is to ratify proposals which are identified as having been submitted to another place. It is inconceivable that this Senate should be asked to ratify something which is hot before it, and of which it knows nothing. The question for me to decide is whether the request is relevant to the bill ; that is the only question before us. When a bill to validate a tariff comes before a legislative body it is obvious that it must be open to that body to validate it in full or in part. The Senate, by this bill, is asked to validate proposals which are. distinctly brought before it and identified as proposals placed before another place on certain plates. If that were not so the Senate would be dealing with something of which it knew nothing, and that would be a ridiculous position in which to place it. Further, I’ may point out that Senator Gardiner’s requested amendment does not seek to amend the schedule, but merely proposes to impose a condition in the validating bill. The condition sought to be imposed’ is perfectly relevant, and, therefore, is in order. In upholding the Chairman’s ruling. I believe that I am acting in accordance, not only with previous rulings that I have given, but also with those of my predecessors in the Chair.
– I feel inclined to take the point that the committee is not in order in the action that it is taking. It roust be quite clear that, not having the schedule before us, this is only half a validating bill. I shall, however, act more generously than the Minister (Senator Pearce) did, and allow the matterto stand.
Question - That the request be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to insert the following new clause : - 2a. Notwithstanding anything contained in this act, no duty shall be collected on linen threads until approved by Parliament.
I regret exceedingly that this ostensibly Protectionist Government proposes to impose a duty amounting to 25 per cent. on imported linen threads that are used by manufacturers of fishing lines. At the present time that thread is not manufactured in Australia. There can be no other object in the proposal than to impose a high revenue duty. Fishing is one -of the most healthy, and probably one of the easiest and most pleasurable exercises in which a person can engage. This allegedly Protectionist Government claims that, in order to save Australia, it is imperative that a duty of 25 per cent, shall be imposed upon threads, out of which fishing lines are manufactured. If they were manufactured in the Commonwealth, or it was proposed to manufacture them here-, there might be some justification for the desire of the Government to make it more difficult for people to engage in this pastime. The manufacture of fishing lines involves a fairly difficult process. A great deal of expert knowledge and experience are required, and few persons undertake it. Instead of encouraging local industry, this is a wilful attempt to stifle it. The Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Pratten) probably did not know what he was doing when he included this amongst the other items in the schedule. . I have here from one of my valued constituents a communication which I shall read for the information of honorable senators.
– ls the honorable senator trying to stonewall the dissolution ?
– I am not, but I emphatically protest against the attempt of the Government to sneak through this proposal.
– Order ! The honorable senator must not use language of that description.
– I object to the statement of the Minister that I am stonewalling the measure. I am doing nothing of the kind. I am entitled to speak on every item, and, if I so desire, to move an amendment to each. If the Minister makes any more remarks of a similar nature I may be induced to take that action.
– I ask the honorable senator to confine his remarks to hia requested amendment.
– I have received the following letter from Mr. F. Holbeach, Alexandria, Sydney. who is engaged in the manufacture of fishing lines.
Dear Sir, - With, reference to the new tariff which has been in operation since last week, I would like to draw your attention to the way iu which this will affect manufacturers of fishing lines in tlie Commonwealth.
A duty of 25 per cent, has been imposed on linen threads suitable for making these lines, and as wc have got to import this linen thread from the United Kingdom, and afterwards twist same into fishing lines, the extra 25 per cent, will just about kill this industry in Australia. The fishing line manufacturers in the Commonwealth will, -if this duty is insisted on, be compelled to shut their factories, and I hope that you will use your influence to have this duty taken off linen threads suitable for this trade when the matter is being discussed in the Federal House.. As quite 90 per cent. of the lines used in Australia are locally manufactured, you will see that the new tariff, instead of protecting us, will be the means of our having to go out of business altogether, because, in my own case, it means that I will have to pay out £300 extra in duties this year, and this industry cannot stand it.
I shall be pleased to furnish you with any particulars you may require, and hope you will favour me by letting me have a reply with your views.
That man is fully acquainted with his subject. I am at a loss to find a reason for the action of the Government. Is it a fair thing that a man who has invested his money in the purchase of thu machinery necessary to establish and carry on an industry of this description should be required to pay out in one year an additional £800 in duty? That sum, with a substantial addition to it, will be passed on to the purchasers of fishing lines The worst phase of this question is that while the Government professes to be anxious to take action to develop our infant industries, it is doing some of them incalculable harm.
– I would point out to the honorable senator that he has used those arguments three or four times previously.
– I should say twenty times.
– By looking at the Hansard report, you, sir, will find that I have used those arguments twice.
– I cannot allow the honorable senator to. use them again.
– My arguments are unanswerable. I hope that the Government will reconstruct the tariff schedule, so that this particular manufacturer and others will be able to continue their factories. Why should New South Wales be singled out for this detrimental treatment, when other States gain an advantage from the tariff? In this case, no protection is asked for at all. The manufacturer merely wishes to be left alone.
– I ask the honorable senator to resume his seat.
– I hope that the committee will have the good sense to agree to my request.
Question - That the request be agreed to - put. The committee divided.
Majority . . 8
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause 3 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
.- On the report stage, I may be permitted to correct a statement made by Senator Pearce. I find in a leading Melbourne newspaper a statement by Senator Pearce contradicting our claim that Labour candidates have a free hand on fiscal questions. I take this opportunity to refer the Minister to a publication issued by the Labour party of New South Wales, rule 3 of which says that Labour party candidates shall have a free hand on the fiscal question. As this rule does not apply to the other States, Senator Pearce could easily make the mistake that he did.
. I wish to refer to a matter which appears to me to be of vital interest to this country, namely, the establishment of an important industry in Australia.
– I suggest to the honorable senator that he should reserve his remarks until the question “That the report be adopted,” is proposed in the Senate.
– Very well; I shall do that.
Bill reported without request.
Motion (by Senator Wilson) pro posed -
That the report be adopted.
.- I desire to bring under the notice of the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce) a very important matter which I hoped would be included in the bill, but which, through force of circumstances, does not appear therein, namely, some provision regarding the proposed establishment of the paper pulp industry in Australia.
– On a point of order, I ask your ruling, sir, whether Senator Payne is in order in discussing a duty on newsprint which does not appear in either the bill or the schedule. If the honorable senator has this right, then every other senator will be in order in discussing any question affecting the tariff.
– I have not referred to the duty on newsprint. I wish merely to make a statement regarding the establishment of the industry in Australia;
– The honorable senator’s desire may be most estimable, but his remarks are not relevant at this stage. The motion before the House is that the report be adopted and his remarks, to be in order, must be relevant to that question. To enter into a discussion on newsprint the honorable senator must move that the bill be recommitted.
– I do not desire to do that. May I not speak in support of the motion that the report be adopted ?
– The honorable senator can speak on matters that are relevant.
– I have not had an opportunity of showing whether my remarks are relevant or not.
– The honorable senator has informed me that he desires to make a statement regarding the establishment of an industry, and I rule that the honorable senator will not be in order in discussing that subject on this motion. The honorable senator will have an opportunity to deal with the matter to which he wishes to refer, on the Supply Bill which is to come before the Senate.
– I must accept your ruling, sir, but I object to the action which has been taken by the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce).
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.’
Standing and sessional orders suspended.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed.
That the bill be now read a first time.
– I propose to make a few remarks at this stage, as this is a bill which may be debated on the motion for the first reading. I understand that the statement has been made by a Minister in the Senate that I gave my word that the party on this side would allow this and other bills to pass.
– Who made thatstatement?
– I understand it was made by one of the Ministers in the Senate.
– It was not made by me.
– I agreed with Senator Pearce to-day to facilitate the passage of the Supply Bill before the Senate adjourned, to enable honorable senators to attend the dinner to be given” to-night. I said I would facilitate the passage, not only of this bill, but of the whole of the business submitted. I told the honorable senator at the same time that I intended to speak upon this bill. I have never yet made an agreement with the Minister to curtail in any way the rights of honorable senators on this side. Senator Pearce is aware that I could not do that.
– The honorable senator said that he wOuld assist in getting the business through.
– That is so, and I think I have carried out that promise. On the principle of the redress of grievances before Supply it is usual, on the motion for the first reading of a Supply Bill to discuss, not only matters which it contains, but also matters to which it makes no reference. I have a grievance, and it is that the Government should propose to send us away from these comfortable chambers to contest an election, and that, too, in the spring of the year, when we are just beginning to enjoy our selves. Why is the Government adopting this course? I shall give the answer in the words of the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce). I quote what the right “honorable gentleman had to say, as reported in the Melbourne Herald of 22nd September, under the heading “ Craven Cowardice “ -
We have seen the supremacy of Parliament undermined, and the maintenance of law and order challenged. These issues surely are great enough to stir to their depths a democratic people: but the issue before us goes much farther. We ‘have seen this domination extend from the industrial to the political arena, and Governments of the duly-elected representatives of the people docilely obeying, th rough craven cowardice, the commands of a handful of extremists. The laws of the Commonwealth have been defied, the Constitution has .been challenged, and lawlessness and sedition have been openly preached. From Labour Governments in the States, and from Labour representatives iu the Commonwealth Parliament, encouragement and assistance have been given to those who are against the laws of Australia, and are openly for a system tried and found wanting in a foreign country. These crimes must be laid at the door of political Labour; it cannot shirk its responsibility.
In these words the Prime Minister charges leaders of the Labour party in the Federal Parliament with crime, and asserts that they are criminals. I wei. come his challenge on those lines, because, fortunately, our leader in another place is a man whose character challenges comparison with that of any man of the highest integrity who has ever lived in Australia. For myself, I am too well known to put forward any excuse, but I still think that the Prime Minister, will have a job to convince the people who know me that I am a criminal. I intend now to indicate briefly what all the trouble is about. The Prime Minister says that he must go to the country to get more power. If there are in this country offenders against the law what greater power can he have to deal with them than that which he now has in the majority he commands in both Houses of this Parliament? He has in the Senate a majority of 24 to 12 and in another place a majority of 46 anti-labour members to 29 representatives of Labour. What more power does he think he will get? Surely the Government must be mad if it thinks it can get more power by an appeal to the electors. But if the Prime Minister is making his appeal to get more power let us consider the issue which he has chosen. There is a strike of British seamen in progress, and I want to bring under the notice of honorable senators the opinion of a reverend gentleman in Brisbane, who, accompanied by his bishop, visited certain ships to learn the conditions under which British seamen are asked to work. I refer to the Reverend Farnham Maynard.
– He is an out and out socialist. The honorable senator does not seem to know the gentleman.
– I hope that he can be an out-and-out socialist and yet be worthy of his cloth. He appears to meto be one of the most worthy followers of the meek and lowly Nazarene that I have read about for some time. Evidently he is not afraid of the capitalist. I quote the following statement of the views he has expressed -
In the course of his address last night Rev. Maynard said that occasions arose when questions of morality and justice were so interlocked with a dispute that it was plainly the duty of Christian men to express themselves. He believed, firstly, that it was the duty of every industry to provide for those who carried on the work conditions under which decent men could live decently. He had visited the ships, and, in his opinion, those conditions did not yet obtain. Secondly, in fighting the strike, the ship-owners were adopting methods which were not only immoral, but revolting to the last degree. If the public of this country could visualize what wag going on at home, he believed it would rise and demand, in the name ofthe honour of the British Empire, that those tactics should cease at once. The fact was that, in order to constrain the men on strike to return to work, the ship-owners were attacking their wives and families in England by stopping the allotment money paid them out of the men’s wages. This policy would have little effect, if any, unless, as was well known, the wives of the men at sea were largely living on the verge of starvation, with no reserve funds. That being so, stopping the allotment meant that these women and young children, dependent upon the earnings of the sailor, must be driven to starvation or degradation. At the time of the great war, the Germans had bombarded the women in defenceless seaport towns. They could plead in justification that they hoped it would hasten their victory, and that, while the war lasted, their, own lives and those of their families were in danger. These ship-owners likewise attacked defenceless women and children, but they had not the Germans’ excuse, for their lives were not at stake through the strike, but only their profits. It was not with the rights or wrongs of the dispute he was concerned, but his sympathy, as a man and a Christian, and as one who knew whatthe poverty of the great English cities meant, was wholly with the men in this aspect of their fight.
That is to my mind a very important utterance. To show the conditions under which British seamen are called upon to work I refer honorable senators to the sworn testimony given bef ore the Deportation Board by the captain of one of the oversea vessels. William George Summers, captain of the Tairoa, said Dalgety’s were the agents. He pointed out that the laying up of the ships was costing the owners £350 a day. He said -
There were eighteen firemen and nine trimmers who handled 72 tons of coal a day . The coal was placed on the plates near the fires by the trimmers. No fans were in the men’s quarters. Fifty-six men were affected by the £1 reduction a month.
He went on to refer to the wages and the report of the proceedings continues in these words -
Mr. Watt (looking at the articles) : Hero is a young man - an ordinary seaman of twenty years - at £4 15s. a month. Is that a recognized wage? - Yes, under the Maritime Board.
That man had an allotment of 30s. Presumably he has dependants? - Yes.
Is any regard being paid to what it costs people to live? - No reply.
It is fixed entirely irrespective of what it costs to live? - No reply.
It is a little over £1 per week? - No answer.
Mr. Lamb : The wages are fixed by agreement ? - Yes.
I ask honorable senators who are so keen against the strikers to say whether they would like to be able to send the whole of their earnings, assumingthat they amounted to the huge sum of £4 15s. per month, to their wives and families. Their dependants certainly would not live riotously if they received the whole amount.
– Naturally, a married man would not take on a job like that.
– The honorable senator should remember that necessity knows no law. Here is the captain of a ship who swears that a young man on board ‘ is getting wages at the rate of £4 15s. per month. There was a reference to another case of a young man of 24 years of age who was getting £6 15s. a month.
– And his keep.
– Yes, of course, his keep on board the ship. I think I can leave the matter at that. The Prime
Minister claims that he has asked the Labour party to put a certain undesirable element out of the unions in order to prevent these strikes. I ask Senator Pearce and the other members of the Government whether they have made any appeals to the shipowners who are paying the magnificent wages of £4 15s. and £6 15s. a month to pay the £1 a month additional which is asked for by the British seamen, so that the strike might not continue. I venture to say that they have not done so. The Minister for Home and’1 Territories has not yet told me what the Deportation Board and its inquiry are costing. I. make no complaint on that score, because perhaps there has not been time to secure the. information. But I think I may say that on a reasonable estimate the Deportation Board and its proceedings are costing over a £100 a day. There are the fees of the members of the board, of counsel engaged by the Government, and officers attending the inquiry. The cost may bo up to ‘£200 a day. No time is fixed within which the board shall complete its inquiry.
– Has the honorable senator noticed that the British Government is deporting persons without even an inquiry by a board?
– I have seen some statements in the newspapers on the subject, but there is all the difference in the world between what is being clone here and the carrying out of proceedings according to law. If persons are brought before a court and convicted of an offence for which the punishment under the law is deportation, whilst one might object to deportation as a punishment, he could not object to it being enforced in the ordinary courts of law.
– Courts have decided that persons can be deported, and that makes it law.
– So far as British communities are concerned, deportation without a trial is not legal. It may bc daring on my part to make that statement, in defiance of the decision of the courts.
– It is.
– In a time of war, a Government can do what ‘it likes if the State is in danger; but in times of peace the words of Magna Charta apply just as if they were printed in our statutes. Chapter 39 of Magna Charta says -
No free man shall be arrested or detained in prison or deprived of his freehold or banished or in any way molested, and we will not set forth against him nor send against him unless by lawful judgment of his .peers, and by the law of the land.
Chapter 40 says -
To none will we sell, to none will we deny or delay right or justice.
Sir James Mcintosh, in his History of England, pages 219 and 220, commenting on these chapters of Magna Charta, says -
In these clauses of the Charta are clearly contained the habeas corpus and the trial by jury, the most effectual security against oppression which the wisdom of man has hitherto been able to devise.
Taswell-Langmead, writing on these clauses in English Constitutional History, page 103, says -
There is a breadth about the simple language employed, as if those who wrote it felt that they were asserting universal principles of justice.
Henceforth, it must have been a clear principle of our Constitution that no man can l>e detained in prison without a trial.
Blackstone, in his Commentaries, Vol. IV., page 424, says - lt protected every individual of the nation in the free enjoyment of his life, his liberty, and his property, unless declared to be forfeited by the judgment of his peers.
Hallam, in his History of the Middle
Ages, Vol. II., page 324, says that these chapters of Magna Charta -
Protect the personal liberty and property cf all free men by giving security from arbitrary imprisonment and arbitrary spoliation.
Creasy, in his English Constitution, page 151, says -
The ultimate effect of this chapter was to give and to guarantee full protection for persons and property to every human being that breathes English air.
I need not dilate any further on this aspect of the question. In times of peace, every man should have the right of trial in an ordinary court before a jury of his peers. Further than that, he should have the .right to be considered innocent until proof of his guilt has been adduced. That is a right which should not be parted with lightly.
– It has been parted with in a dozen cases.
– So much- the worse. A man may be engineering a strike for wicked purposes, and causing annoyance to every one; but our law provides that he must be brought . before a board to show cause why he should not be deported.
– If he is of foreign birth.
– If he has been “born outside Australia.” Those words apply to persons born in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, as well as to those born in Germany and elsewhere. Would the honorable senator propose that men charged with attacks upon children or with committing brutal murders which stir up the indignation of the community should be arrested and brought before a board of three men, who are paid 25 guineas a day for their services, and be called upon te show cause why they should not be banished ? What would the honorable senator say if a provision were inserted in the criminal code placing upon every man arrested the onus of proving his innocence ? Yet that is what the Commonwealth Immigration Act provides. Our worst criminal has the right to appeal to a court of justice, confident that he will receive a fair trial ; but what, confidence can a man have - that he will get a fair trial when he is brought before a board appointed by the Government which is prosecuting him ?
– Every judge is appointed by a government.
– A judge holds his position free from the Government. He cannot be removed except by a majority vote in both Houses of Parliament, and then only for misconduct on his part.
– Parliament can alter the law at any time.
– But no Government has yet seen fit to take steps to alter it in this respect, because it is every one’s desire to keep our judges independent so that their judgment may be respected. Can there be any respect for a board of three trying two or three individuals against whom the Government has made no charge, but has simply called upon them to show cause why they should not be deported 1 If I were being tried by a board appointed by the Government and paid by the Government, with its remuneration dependent on the length of the trial, I should feel that no matter what evidence was brought forward, there would be only one verdict. The employees of the Government would find me guilty; otherwise they would not get another job of the same kind. We are slipping from those sound principles that have gained for British law and British courts the respect they have to-day. We can look back with pride and pleasure upon judgments given in our courts. At times we may rail against certain decisions, but on the whole we have much to be proud of, and that which we can be proud of we have a right, to preserve. It is often said that it is better that ten guilty men should go free than that one innocent man should be punished. Under this new method 100 innocent men may be punished, if they have to prove their .innocence. The Crown is not asked to produce evidence to prove the guilt of any one: A man is simply summoned to attend before a board and show cause why he should not be deported. This is a wide departure from the principles of justice we have been brought up to respect. The humblest worker in the country will feel his blood stir when he realizes that something which has been the proud possession of the British people for over 700 years is being filched from them by incompetents who are now in control of this Commonwealth. No one can claim that the method of trial before a board is quicker than a trial by jury. I saw a cartoon the other day depicting the end of the trial which is now in progress. It showed members of the board who are now sprightly middle-aged men as gray-haired veterans. The rate of progress must be exceedingly slow. A statistician has produced figures to show the number of days and the amount of wages that have been lost by the workers during a period of years. Probably it will be found necessary to take the evidence of men who have lost that time and those wages to prove their loss. And if that evidence be admitted it will then be necessary to call other -men to prove that neither time nor wages were lost. I ask Senator Pearce will he get a statistician to go before the board and show how much time and money has been lost in Australia through people watching five test cricket matches or attending the spring race meetings in Melbourne and Sydney. Will he go further and have an estimate made of the loss of time and money occasioned in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide through attendance at football matches? These are only fair comparisons to make with the estimated loss of time in wages through industrial troubles. As I have every desire to expedite the passage of this bill so that the session may be brought to a close, I leave the matter at this stage.
– I intend to be very brief. In view of the prolonged discussion in the Senate to-day on the question of national taxation I am sure honorable senators would be disappointed if I did not refresh their memories and place before them for their consumption during the recess into which we are about to enter some facts which will enable them to come back with a’ clearer conception of a system of taxation that would conform to the principles of equity and justice. For many years we have, unfortunately for want of locally developed ideas, slavishly followed those which have been in operation in Great Britain and other countries, failing to realize that those ideas have assisted in rapidly producing in Australia precisely the same conditions as those which prevail in those older and more settled countries. The result is that notwithstanding the many ameliorative acts which have been forced on the statute-book by the Labour party, and in some instances by other parties, unless an alteration takes place we must have here a condition of affairs which will be very much to our discredit This will be largely due to our method of taxing the people not in proportion to the value of the land they own, but in proportion to the value of the services they render to the community at large. I ask honorable senators seriously if it is not time to boldly tackle this question of taxation, and make an effort to place it on a basis that will give satisfaction to every honest person in the community. In New South Wales, thanks mainly to the efforts of Sir Joseph Carruthers, we have probably the finest system of municipal taxation existing in any part of the world: The result is that to-day there is no taxation of industries by local bodies in that State. That is a distinct advantage, and is mainly responsible for the continued progress of New South Wales. Such a system must be in operation for many years before it comes into full bearing. Even at the present day, on account of the difficulty of correctly assessing land, it is almost impossible to make the system fully operative. Local owners of vacant blocks leave nothing, undone to prevent the Valuer-General from accurately valuing their properties. In consequence, many lands have yet to be valued, and some valuations are so faulty that the owners are escaping their just share of taxation. When those defects are adjusted, and all lands are valued under the same system, the recent progress of New South Wales will be greatly eclipsed. That system of taxation is the main reason why the building trade and allied occupations in that State, and, incidentally, in other parts of the Commonwealth have been so busy in recent years. The principles underlying municipal taxation in New South Wales are clearly laid down by Henry George in his well-known book on economics, Progress and Poverty.
– He is not an authority on economics.
– Undoubtedly he is. He has completely wiped the floor with John Stuart Mill’ and other men of the same out-of-date school of economics. Upon the false doctrines promulgated by them the taxation of Great Britain has been. built up, and Australia has slavishly followed the Old Country’s example.
– Henry George is not recognized as an economist.
– He is the greatest economist that the world has produced. His principles of taxation are so clear and logical that nobody can successfully challenge them. I propose to read for the guidance of honorable senators what Henry George terms “ the canons of taxation,” in the hope that they will be prepared in the near future, notwithstanding the possibility of conflict with old established authorities and vested interests, to advocate them. Henry George wrote in Chapter 3, page 406: -
The best tax by which public revenues can be raised is evidently that which will closest conform to the following conditions:
– May I suggest that the honorable senator should not proceed further, but leave that pearl of wisdom unadorned.
– I welcome Senator Pearce’s correct description of the paragraph I have just read. I daresay that the honorable gentleman could, without great effort, recite the whole of that paragraph from memory. At one time he not only held those views, but was prepared to express and act upon them. Unfortunately, his political associations during recent years have completely submerged his earlier and better views, and he introduces into this Chamber taxation bills of a most complicated character, which will be costly to administer, and in no respect conform to the principles laid down by the late Henry George. No man in the Commonwealth is more anxious to do right than I am, and no man applies himself more closely to the study of those problems which, in my opinion, must be solved before we can bring about those conditions which all desire to see established in the Commonwealth. The fact cannot be gainsaid that, in this country, which some of my colleagues characterize as their own, but in which many thousands of people may live only if they pay the rent regularly every Monday morning, although there is approximately 3,000,000 square miles of territory, it is most difficult for anyone to become possessed of a freehold or even a leasehold block. It is regrettable that the members of the Empire Press Delegation are not present to-day to hear the facts I am relating in regard to the conditions in Australia, so that they might be able to place them before the people of Great Britain. Of course, it is very unpleasant for those honorable senators who desire to hide the true state of affairs to listen to the facts I am revealing. The following statement, which has been compiled in New South Wales during the last few months from the records of the Lands office, shows the number of applications for homestead blocks during the present year: -
That table indicates more clearly than anything I could say the extreme difficulty of obtaining land in New South Wales. The position in other States is very similar. These facts the members of the Empire Press Delegation should broadcast throughout the United Kingdom, so that the people there may know exactly the conditions which will confront them if they come to Australia in the hope of selecting land. This is the experience of a young Australian who desired to go upon the land in New South Wales -
Having decided to go on the landas a means of livelihood, I went to the Government Experiment Farm at Bathurst in the year 1916.I was seventeen at the time, and after having spent twelve months at that institution, during which time I gained the Daily Telegraph wheat scholarship, I decided to obtain further experience. I worked on various farms where the conditions for workers were far from good, and the wages ranged from the magnificent remuneration of £1 to 25s. and keep.
In 1918I enlisted, but was discharged some months later, owing to the cessation of hostilities. I then went back to the bush to gain further experience, and in 1920 commenced to ballot for land, as that was the only way I could see of getting a start on my own, the ridiculously high prices asked for private land, together with the high cost of plant - thanks to our robbing tariff - putting any other proposition out of the question. Since 1920 till now, myself and brother - who has had over seven years’ experience in the country - have taken part in ballots for over 70 blocksin New South Wales and Queensland; between 50 and60 in the former State, without ever having had a draw.
-Order! I point out that the Standing Orders provide that an honorable senator may not read his speech. I have permitted the honorable senator to read lengthy quotations, but if he continues along those lines it will be tantamount to reading his speech.
– I am glad that I have had an opportunity of placing on record as many salient facts as I have, and I shall take care that members of the Empire Press Delegation have a copy of my remarks. It is next to impossible even for persons born in Australia to secure homestead farms, and how much more difficult must it be for those who are invited to come here from abroad to obtain land? I entirely disagree with the taxation imposed by this Parliament because it is levied entirely in the interests of the wealthy section of the community, the great bulk of the taxation being paid by the poor. All taxation conies out of the pockets of the man who works, and the only form of taxation that cannot be passed on is a straightout impost on land values. Despite the objection raised to this principle, it is gradually finding support throughout the Commonwealth. I know that many persons desire to follow the line of least resistance in this matter, but I hope to raise it again on the first day on which the new Parliament meets next year.
I was surprised at the nature of a number of the speeches recently delivered by the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) with regard to communists, “ reds “ and bolsheviks. Let me tell him that the election will not be fought on that issue, but on the subject of deportation. Personally I am entirely opposed to the deportation of Britishers from one part of the Empire to another, although I realize that selfgoverning communities claim that they are entitled to exercise that power.
– Does Johannsen belong to the British Empire?
– He may be a British subject; I do not know. A large number of our citizens are either natives, or are descended from natives, of the country in which Johannsen was born, but nothing of a disparaging nature is said about them. If the Seamen’s Union sees fit to elect this man as an official it is entirely its own business. Realizing that the Government is anxious to expedite the passage of the bill and to close the session it is my intention to give assistance in that direction.
– Prior to leaving for South Australia to assist in the return of the Labour candidates for the Senate in my State, I wish to place on record one or two statements that I think will be of interest to the electors. I do not propose to block the business that the Government desires to complete. I am’ sure that it needs money. Members of the Deportation Board are only receiving 25 guineas a day each. I am given to understand on good authority that they are shrewd men, and are determined to have a good “cut” out of the public purse. Of course I realize that nothing of value will result from the board’s appointment. Members of the Ministry have fallen down on their job, and they are afraid of the deportation law that has been passed. It is pleasing to know that at least some of the important newspapers in Great Britain do not agree with what the Bruce Government says about Labour. I shall read what the Manchester Guardian thinks.
– What does that journal know about the matter?
– I presume that it knows something, because it has its advisers in Australia, but I make bold to say that Senator Reid knows nothing about it.
– Did the honorable senator see in to-day’s press that undesirables are being deported from Great Britain?
– I notice that the authorities in the United States of America wanted to deport to this country another Australian named Walsh, and this Government refused to permit him to land.
– Was it not the South Australian Government that refused to take the second Walsh?
– No. The South Australian Government has no power in the matter. The Manchester Guardian states -
The shipping strikehas given Mr. Bruce a chance, which he considers too good to miss, of discrediting the growing power of Labour, which seems on the clear road again to command Federal politics. “ Responsible leaders of the Labour party,” the paper continues, “though firmly dissociating themselves from the strike and the activities of communists and I.W.W. workers, cannot support extreme measures of the Commonwealth, such as the appointment of special police and Deportation Courts. The right and left wings of Labour are temporarily drawn nearer for the purpose of resisting repressive measures. Mr. Bruce’s slogan has little relation to the principle involved. The Australian Labour party, however,has been much damaged by an accident forcing it into sympathy with the present strikers. It had its roots planted before bolshevism was heard of, and does not show . signs of turning communistic.”
That is a sound statement by a sane
English newspaper. Far from the turmoil in Australia, it can take a dispassionate view of the subject of deportation. Of course, I extend my sympathy to the Government on its having become panicky, since in that condition it is capable of almost anything. It has placed on the statute-book a measure of which it is already ashamed. It has a majority in both Houses at the present time, but it knows full well that it will return from the election with fewer supporters than it now possesses. I have an idea that the Prime Minister will be glad to be beaten at the polls, because of the untenable position in which he finds himself. Doubtless he prays that he will be defeated so that he will not have to carry the burdensome baby that the deportation hill has thrust into his arms. Some of the endorsed candidates for Parliamentary honours are honest, although they may not be discreet. Mr. H. S. Gullett, the Nationalist candidate for Henty, has suggested a fine way of getting rid of the men that the Government desires to deport. He thinks that the Prime Minister is too slow. He would do the deed by night, and this is the way he would do it-
Communism certainly has a hold in Australia, and if I had been in power I would have slapped up Walsh, Johannsen, and the bolshevik Garden, and deported them without any trial -
– Hear, hear !
– Now we are hearing what is in the minds of Government supporters. Mr. Gullett proceeded - and taken them away in the night in a Navy boat, and made certain that they would never come back.
I read into that statement that Mr. Gullett would simply toss them overboard - murder them. Mr. Gullett is a Nationalist candidate, who expects to come into this Parliament and sit behind the present inept Government. What is at the back of Mr. Gullett’s mind is also at the back of Senator Thompson’s mind. The proceedings of the past two days have been the most indecent that have ever taken place in this Senate. We should have had this bill yesterday morning, and the Government should have abstained from window-dressing and handing out doles to placate different sections of the community.
– Does the honorable senator call the increase in the invalid and old-age pensions a dole?
– That increase should have been made retrospective. I refer to the Government handing out doles to big interests.
– In the last three years the honorable senator has forgotten a lot.
– I do not forget anything. I have not forgotten that Senator Duncan two years ago, when dealing with the maternity allowance, compared the mothers of Australia with the beeves of Queensland. That is on record in Hansard, and the people of New South Wales will not forget it.
– Show it to me in Hansard. The honorable senator could not have been sober when he read that.
– Now that Senator Duncan knows that he is beaten, and is aware of what is in store for him in a month’s time, he lets loose his nasty old tongue. The people of New South Wales, when they get the opportunity, will let loose something more than their tongue on him. They will let loose their votes.
– The electors of New South Wales, at all events, do not return larrikins to Parliament.
– The honorable senator is not even a decent, common larrikin.
– I ask Senator Duncan to refrain from interjections, and Senator McHugh not to reply to them.
– He referred to rae incidentally as a larrikin, and I say that he is a liar.
– Offensive expressions of that kind must not be made. I remind Senator McHugh that he was the first to make an offensive reference to Senator Duncan. I ask him to withdraw the expression, which is offensive to Senator Duncan, and to apologize.
– I withdraw and apologize, and ask that Senator Duncan withdraw and apologize for calling me a larrikin.
– I did not understand Senator Duncan to say that Senator McHugh was a larrikin. If he did say so, I ask him to withdraw.
– I deny that I called Senator McHugh a larrikin.
– 1 did not understand Senator Duncan to refer to Senator McHugh as a larrikin. Had he done so, I should be as ready to protect Senator McHugh as any other honorable senator.
– Since I commenced to speak there have been from 25 to 30 interjections. I do not mind them, for they show that honorable senators opposite are seeking information, which I am only too pleased to give to them. The information I have given about a statement by one of the Nationalist candidates should make the party to which he belongs feel ashamed. A candidate who says that he would deport men without a trial is not worthy of the confidence of the people’ of Australia. I have no doubt that the electors of Henty will see to it that a man who does not stand for the grand old British tradition of trial by jury does not become a member of the national parliament of this country. The National party would be doing itself credit if it cancelled Mr. Gullett’s nomi nation. We give even a murderer a trial, and in Victoria he has a right of appeal. It is not so with this 25-guinea- a-day board, the members of which, as soon as they have made up their minds, will do as Mr. Gullett advises - “ slap them up.”
– The honorable senator would declare every jury “ black.”
– 1 would not declare a jury black. I believe in trial by jury. If an individual in this country does anything contrary to the laws of the country, he should be tried, and, if found guilty, punished. When we say that we cannot deal with law-breakers in this country, we confess that we are not big enough to have self-government. The effect of the Government’s action is to laud two individuals, and to make them notorious. Even while this alleged trial is taking place, supporters of the Government are publicly abusing those who are on trial. That could not be done if the men were before one of our established courts, because the “ case would be sub judice, and abuse of the persons on trial would be tantamount to contempt of court. The Government that has put these men on their trial is publicly accusing them of breaking the laws of this country. I cannot conceive of anything so indecent as that. It is unworthy of the Government. I can assure the Government that the people will give their answer to such tactics on the 14th November. Notwithstanding, as the Manchester Guardian has said, that the Government is in favour of repressive legislation, the views of the people of Australia are sound. They know full well what the liberty of the subject means, and by it they understand liberty for all subjects. The wealthy men of this community are entitled to a trial, and even those who robbed Australia when the war was on had a trial.
– What about Eather Jerger? Was he not deported after trial before a board?
– Yes, but not by a Labour government. He was deported under another act because it was suggested that he might break up the Empire! That was done during the war, but the war is now over, and we should be at peace. But, of course, peace does not suit the gallant senator, who - can never be at peace with the people of Australia. He must always have them in a state of turmoil, and he is aided in that objective by the large newspapers of this country. The object is to defeat Labour, and the only chance he and those who think with him have of doing that is to get the people in a state of panic. They are trying to do it now by holding up the bogy of communism. The chief apostle of communism in New South Wales is Mr. J. S. Garden, who, during the recent State elections, scored 316 votes. It is too late for the Government to alter anything in connexion with the foolish deportation business, and I think it is impossible for the Government to be returned to power after the elections. South Australia will send back three new senators, and at least an additional Labour member in another place. We shall be very sorry to lose Senator Wilson and Senator Newland, who have graced this chamber so well.
– The honorable senator suggests that we shall be “dropped overboard,” in the words of Mr. Gullett, but we are great swimmers.
-We shall not carry out Mr. Gullett’s proposal; we would not behead the honorable senators. Our method will be fair fighting. I hope that Mr. Gullett will be brought to book by the Government. No man has a right to say that he would drop other men overboard. When the Labour party returns to power after the forthcoming elections it will, I have no doubt, take the necessary steps to remove this deportation law from the statute-book and bring back to Australia any men who may be deported under its provisions. The statement made by Mr. Gullett is an insult to the people of Australia. As we are on the eve of a general election, I take this opportunity to extend my sympathy to many honorable senators opposite who will not be returned to this Chamber.
.- I cannot allow Parliament to close without bringing under the notice of the Minister the very important proposal to establish the paper pulp industry in Tasmania. Very complete investigations have been made by a certain company, which has secured an option over a large tract of heavily-timbered country, and is prepared to incur considerable expendi ture in the manufacture of paper pulp. Representatives of the company have placed their case before the Tariff Board, and that body has made a report to the Government. Unfortunately, it has not been possible for the Government to come to a final determination concerning the recommendations of the board, but I hope that the matter will be finalized as soon as possible. Owing to the delay the company has been obliged, at a cost of £5,000, to acquire an extension of the option, in addition to £650 a month, representing interest on the capital cost of the property to be acquired. It is stated that the capital to be invested will reach about £2,000,000, and that when the industry is in full swing it will give employment to 4,000 or 5,000 people. It is essential that the Government should make an announcement without delay, because the company’s option over the property will expire in December and many preliminary details have to be attended to before this important key industry can be launched. It goes without saying that a favorable decision will mean much to Tasmania. Unfortunately, unemployment is rife in my State and to meet our obligations to the Commonwealth it is essential that we should retain and increase our population.
– The matter mentioned by Senator Payne has been before the Government for some considerable time, and is receiving full and serious consideration. The representatives of the company referred to know what is being done. Every one of the points mentioned by Senator Payne has been receiving the attention of the Government and has been before the Tariff Board. It is the intention of the Government to make a definite statement as soon as possible, having full regard to the interests of Tasmania and the Commonwealth. I should also like to place on record, as Senator Gardiner has done, a few comments with regard to the question which he raised, and I shall be very brief. The honorable senator spoke of the high regard of members of the Labour party for the liberties of the people, the rights secured to them by Magna Charta, and how they reverenced the principle of trial by jury. Let us examine recent history and see what has happened. A few years ago a number of men were indicted before a judge and jury in New South Wales for a very heinous crime. After a careful trial by a judge and jury they were convicted and sentenced to certain terms of imprisonment. The State Labour party took up their case, and announced that if it were returned to power it would take steps to release them. It did so. A Labour government appointed a judge of another State as a royal commission to review the evidence. The commissioner’s finding did not acquit the men. Nevertheless, their sentences were cut down, and they were released from jail.
– Did the commissioner call any evidence?
– I understand that no evidence was called. These men were released by the then Labour Government of New South Wales. One of them, Mr. Donald Grant, will figure as a distinguished colleague of Senator Gardiner at the forthcoming Federal election.
– My most distinguished colleague.
– So much for the admiration of the Labour party for the rights of Magna Charta ! So much for the admiration and esteem of the Labour party for the principle of trial by jury !
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
.- I move-
That the bill be now read a second time.
Supply has already been granted by Parliament to provide for the ordinary services of the Government up to the end of October. In view of the forthcoming dissolution, it is necessary to obtain additional Supply before the present Parliament expires. I am, therefore; submitting the third Supply Bill for the current financial year. The amount asked for is £8,436,553, made up as follows: -
This provision is intended to cover approximately five months’ expenditure, which, with the Supply already granted, will provide funds sufficient to carry on up to the 31st March, 1926. The Supply already granted totals £7, 782,055, covering a period of four months, which compares with the total of the present bill, £8,436,553, to cover a period of five months. Omitting Treasurer’s advance, which was granted in previous Supply, and refunds of revenue, the Supply already granted, and that now being asked for, amount to £14,118,608.. As previously stated, this will cover nine months’ expenditure. Three-fourths of the total estimated expenditure under votes in respect of which Supply is granted is £14,307,255. It will be seen, therefore, that the funds asked for are less than three-fourths of the total estimated expenditure for the year. Provision is made for the full cost of the general elections, which is set down at £98,930. No provision is made for services of which Parliament has not already approved.
– Does the bill provide money for the payment of members of the Deportation Board?
. -If there is no provision in the bill for the payment of the Deportation Board, I should like to know what the members of that tribunal arc doing. Are they volunteers? From the way in which the board is working it looks as if the hearing of the cases before that tribunal will go on for another six months ; and if they are getting 25 guineas a day each, substantial provision should be made for them. We have heard a good deal about the “go-slow” tactics of certain people in this country. If the members of this board are receiving 25 guineas a day, is it likely they will hurry through their work and get back to, say, a mere ten guineas a week? The Government should not tempt barristers and members of the board to “go slow.”
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 (Issue and application of £8,436,553).
– I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to increase the amount by £1,000,000.
I submit this request because, in my opinion, the Government should make ample provision for the remuneration of the Deportation Board. I should also like to take advantage of this opportunity to reply to the remarks of Senator Pearce concerning Mr. Donald Grant, who -is to be one of my colleagues at the forthcoming election.
– The honorable senator’s request is not in order. It is not competent for this committee to propose to increase the amount.
– If I am provented from replying to Senator Pearce on this clause, I shall have to do so by way of personal explanation. The Minister had something to say about the attitude of the Labour party towards the rights of Magna Charta. He also mentioned what had happened in the case of Mr. Donald Grant and certain other men. The State Labour party took up the cause of the men referred to, because they were convicted on what was, in my opinion, a “ frame-up.” The Labour Government merely adopted the recommendation of the royal commissioner who reviewed the sentences. They were released from jail and granted a free pardon. It should be beneath the dignity of the Minister to make such a statement in this chamber.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 3 and 4 agreed to.
Schedule, preamble and title agreed to.
Bill reported without request; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to-
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till Thursday, 1st October, 1925.
Valedictory - Deportation BOARD Fees - Mk. Donald Grant’s Candidature.
– I move-
That the Senate do now adjourn.
On behalf of my colleagues and myself, I wish to express our appreciation of the consideration and courtesy that has been extended to us during the session. In some degree it has been a strenuous time, but on the whole we have received gener ous consideration from honorable senators on both sides of the chamber. Occasionally, of course, the Opposition has been a little troublesome, but that, I suppose, is natural. We wish, also, Mr. President, to express our appreciation of the manner in which you have conducted the proceedings of the Senate, and of the excellent services rendered by the Chairman of Committees (Senator Newland). We appreciate, likewise, the work done by Hansard and members of the staff generally, and are proud to know that they are well maintaining the high traditions of the Senate. As this will probably be the last meeting of the Senate before Christmas, I extend to honorable senators the best wishes of the Government for a happy Christmas. We are approaching an election. I suppose that we cannot all expect to have the good fortune to be returned ; and perhaps the best thing I can do is to wish honorable senators the fate they deserve.
I promised Senator Gardiner that 1 would obtain for him certain information in regard to the board constituted under the provisions of the Immigration Restriction Act. The honorable senator asked -
The replies are - 1 and 2. Twenty-five guineas per day for each member, but in view of the protracted nature of the inquiry, this matter is to be reconsidered.
.- I . join heartily with the Leader of the Government (Senator Pearce) in thanking all those associated with the business of the Senate for the efficiency and ability with which they have discharged their respective duties during the session. They make it easy for honorable senators to do their work. Senator Pearce observed that some members of the Opposition are at times a little troublesome. I do not offer any very humble apologies, but I must admit that I am often a bit unmanageable.
Senator Pearce was astute enough not to make available his information in regard to the Deportation Board while the Supply Bill was before the Senate. He promised to provide me with the information on the adjournment, and he has kept his promise. Seeing that the Govern-, ment could not provide an allowance of £1 a week for an attendant for an exsoldier who had lost both his legs - I refer to the case mentioned last night by Senator J. Grant- it is most unfair that it should pay the members of the Deportation Board 25 guineas a day. In the first place, the board should not be tolerated, and, in the second, its members should not receive anything like that fee. Senator Pearce this morning challenged me to state the fees being paid to Mr. Watt, K.C. I am not quite sure of the amount, but I know that from the position he occupies in the professional life of Sydney, he would get the highest fee paid to the best barrister there. I dare say that Mr. Lamb will be getting a somewhat similar fee. I feel sure that his fee and the refreshers that will be paid to him from time to time by the Government will amount to about 50 guineas a day. I do not desire to conclude my remarks on this occasion with a threat. I said a little while ago that I thought the board should be kept in operation. I now think that it is too costly. When the Labour party is returned after the election it will undoubtedly impeach this Government for sedition for introducing legislation contrary to British principles. It will do so in this Chamber. We shall have a majority after the elections, so that we will be able to do this. If we have not a majority, of course, we shall not do it. I believe, however, that after the elections we shall be able to inflict on those who have been responsible for the constitution of this board fines heavy enough to recoup the country for the cost of that inquiry. We . shall not have our majority until next June, but I assure the members of the Government that then they will be tried here according to the principles of constitutional government as laid down in the
British Constitution, and according to the practice of the House of Commons. That method will be less costly, and, I think, more effective than the one adopted by the Government and I believe that it will be more in keeping with the wishes of the people. 1 can hardly wish honorable senators many happy returns of the 14th November, but I join most heartily with Senator Pearce in wishing them the fate they deserve. That is> an excellent phrase in which to express the kindly feelings that should prevail between the members ‘ of the various political parties. Whilst our political system makes it the duty of honorable members in this Chamber to fight as strongly as they can against their opponents - and if we are in earnest we will not mind hard-hitting - I do not think that the members of any party bear ill-will towards each other. We fight strenuously on political grounds, but personally I feel that we are all attempting, according to our lights,’ to do the very best we can in the interests of our country. I join in wishing honorable senators a merry Christmas and happy New Year.
– I feel that I must accept this opportunity to express my appreciation of the excellent work that our official reporters have done. It is a great pleasure to me to read the speeches I deliver. I sometimes wonder how Hansard manages to report them so well.
I listened very carefully to the remarks made by Senator Pearce with respect to Mr. Donald Grant, who, in my opinion, was wrongly convicted. The judge who recommended that his sentence should be repealed did the right thing. Honorable senators will find when they come to know him, as they will soon have the opportunity of doing, that he is a most capable man. He will make his way in this Senate. It is most unfair that an attempt should have been made here to disparage him, seeing that he has no chance of replying.
– The honorable senator does not believe what he is saying.
– I do, and Senator Newland knows it.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon.
This is the last sitting of this Senate. I therefore wish to specially thank all who have assisted me, and so sympathetically considered me, in the discharge of my duties. Seeing that we are on the eve of an election and do not know who will be returned to this chamber, I desire to inform honorable senators that I shall not again be a candidate for the presidency. Increasing years and somewhat failing health will not permit me to give that close and constant service which long and strenuous sittings of the Senate demand of the occupant of the Chair. I feel that in the future I shall notbe able to give that constant attention which is required to efficiently carry out the presidential duties. I thought it only right that I should make this statement. I sincerely thank honorable senators and all who have given me their consistent support and assistance during the twelve years I have had the honour to occupy this position. While I have been in the chair I have endeavoui’ed to know no party, to hold the scales evenly, and to conserve the honour and dignity of the Senate. I trust that I have to some extent succeeded in my efforts.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear !
Question resolved in the affirmative.
By His Excellency the Right Honorable Henry William, Baron Forster, a Member of His Majesty’s Most Honorable Privy Council, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief in and over the Commonwealth of Australia.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 24 September 1925, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1925/19250924_senate_9_111/>.