1st Parliament · 1st Session
The Deputy President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
asked the Vice-
President of the Executive Council, upon notice - 1 What amount of revenue Tasmania receives on 1lb of tobacco consumed in that State and manufactured in Victoriaout of the imported unmanufactured leaf.
– I - I have been furnished with the following answers -
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
Is it true that arrangements have been or are being mode for the classification of telegraphists as officers of the general division of the public service of the Commonwealth ?
– It is not true that arrangements are being made for the classification of telegraphists as officers of the general division of the public service of the Commonwealth.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
When he will give effect to his expressed intention to exercise the powers conferred upon him by the Post and Telegraph Act 1901 in the direction of interdicting the transmission of postal articles to bookmakers, turf commission agents, and promoters of lotteries and art unions.
– The answer to the honorable and learned member’s question is as follows -
The Postmaster-Goneral has received reports from three of the States. He will consider what further action he will take when he is in possession of the necessary information from those States which have not yet replied to his inquiries.
Motion (by Senator O’Connor) proposed -
That it be a sessional order that whenever the Senate shall be informed by the Clerk at the table of the absence of the President, the Chairman of Committees shall take the chair of the Senate as Deputy-President during such absence.
– I naturally feel a certain amount of diffidence in discussing this motion in the absence of the President, but I submit, subject to correction, that the proper course for the President to follow when he has to absent himself from the sittings of the Senate is to give notice beforehand, and to ask for leave to absenthimself. If I understand the motion which has been proposed by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, the President is to be at liberty to absent himself from our sittings at any time without comment on our part, and need not do more than send word that he will not be here. I think I am right in saying that upon no occasion does the Speaker of the House of Commons absent himself from the sittings of that body without previously asking for leave of absence, unless, of course, his absence is due entirely to illness or some other unforeseen cause. I feel that this motion is not stated in the best possible terms, because it leaves it open to the President to inform the Senate at any time by telegraph of his -intended absence. We are bound by our standing orders, and, where they do not apply, by the procedure of the House of Commons, and, if I am correct in my recollection of the procedure of the House of Commons in this matter, the motion has not been framed in the proper way.
– I suppose no one in any Parliament has ever been more attentive to the business of an assembly than the President has been to the business of this Senate.
– I do not quarrel with that statement.
– My honorable and learned friend expressed himself with great delicacy, and I do not take exception to any word that he uttered. The President is always here, not merely when the Senate is sitting, but at other times, to assist any of us who wish for his advice, and to attend to the business of his department. We have so perfect and utter a confidence in him that I should not like any implied reflection to be made upon him by calling in question any reason which he may think sufficient for his absence.
– I have no motive of that sort.
– I recognise that the honorable and learned senator has not ; but I think that, considering the manner in which the President has attended to his duties hitherto, the least we can do is to gracefully agree to this motion.
– I do not think that, up to the present time, the Senate has had any cause to complain of the President by reason of his nonattendance. Those who knew him when he occupied a similar position in another State, know that from the time he was appointed to it he never missed a sitting. We must recognise that the Senate does not meet in the State which the President represents, and as there are very few honorable senators who have not absented themselves from our sittings, not merely for days, but in some cases for weeks, I do not think it would be graceful to raise any objection to the occasional absence of the President. I think that the ‘Vice-President of the Executive Council has brought this matter forward in a proper manner, and that to have dealt with it in any other way would have been a reflection upon the President.
– Not at all.
– I think so. If we are satisfied that the President has done his duty up to the present time in the matter of regularly attending our sittings, notwithstanding that this is the longest session of Parliament that I believe has ever occurred in Australia, it will be only an act of courtesy to show our confidence in him by passing the motion without further comment. In my opinion it would have been better if there had been no comment at all.
– To my mind some of the remarks which have been made are scarcely to the point. I think that the man in this Senate who above all others is a constitutionalist is our much-esteemed President, and that any motion the Senate may think lit to pass in regard to this matter will be viewed by him absolutely from its constitutional aspect. If it can be shown that certain procedure is customary in the British House of Commons, I think that he will be more than willing to follow it. I do not know that the motion now before us has his approval. I agree with honorable senators who have spoken that our gratitude is due to the President for his unfailing attendance, but at the same time I think that the remarks upon the criticisms of Senator demons upon the action of the VicePresident of the Executive Council are unjustifiable. When the “Vice-President of the Executive Council rises to reply, I should like him to tell us whether the motion has been made with the approval of the President, and whether the practice which it provides for is in strict accordance with that of the British House of Commons. The President will not be likely to think for a moment that there is the slightest wish on the part of any honorable senator to reflect upon him in any degree.
– I do not know that we need trouble ourselves much as to what is or is not the practice of the House of Commons in a matter of this kind. We have to decide what is the proper course for’ the Senate to take. My own feeling is that this is a proper motion to submit - it has been the invariable practice in the Legislative Council since the institution of constitutional government in Victoria. I do not know about the practice in the other States. I am quite sure that if we pass the motion it will not in the slightest degree influence the President in absenting himself from his duty. We know that he will always be here if he can attend. I am not only perfectly agreeable to the motion, but I think it is the right course to pursue.
, in - I moved this motion without any remarks, because it appeared to me, on the face of it, to be in accordance with the usage of all the State Parliaments, and its necessity being apparent from the events of the last few days I thought it would be at once accepted without any question being raised. I quite appreciate the spirit in which Senator Clemons has approached the matter. Hehas dealt . with it in an entirely impersonal way. It is impossible that any gentleman could have occupied the Chair with greater regard and fidelity to the duties of his office than our President has done. But I do not think that the matter ought to be approached from the personal point of view. I am merely submitting the motion because I think it is the right way in which to deal with the matter. There are a great many practices and usages of the House of Commons which I think honorable senators would find very startling if they were asked to adopt them. We, of course, mould our practice on that of the House of Commons wherever it is applicable, but I hope that we have sufficient independence and recognition of our changed conditions to reject any practice which we think is inapplicable. In all the States, so far as my knowledge goes, a standing order has been passed very much in the same words as this motion, authorizing the Chairman of Committees to take the chair in every case when the President is absent. And it has not been the practice in most of the State Parliaments for the President to be obliged to come to the Council to ask for leave to be absent. That, I understand, is the practice in the House of Commons but it has not been the practice in the States, and it would be very inconvenient if it were so. Besides, I think on the highest ground it should not be the practice. The President is a very high officer of Parliament, and it must be presumed that he will never absent himself except in circumstances where his absence is unavoidable. Recognising to the full that Senator Clemons in making these comments has only wished to’ bring under the attention of the Senate the best way of carrying out the object we all have in view, I think he will see as we all must do that we should carry the motion, which in its present form is really identical with the standing orders of all the State Parliaments, and the draft standing orders which are ready for acceptance by the Senate.
– And so far it applies only to the residue of the session.
– Tha That is all.
Question resol-ved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed (from 6th May, vide page 12325) on motion by Senator O’Connor -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– This Bill which provides the means of raising the taxation to carry on the Commonwealth has been described on more than one occasion as the serious work of the session. I agree to some extent with that statement. We were engaged on some very serious work prior to the introduction of this Bill, but we may all fairly agree that the framing of the Tariff is, perhaps, the most serious work in which this Parliament is likely to engage. We have listened to some lengthy and very able speeches. We have had our good friends the free-traders urging their views with all the force and ability which undoubtedly characterize that party to a very considerable extent, and warning Australia how we are likely to suffer should we, blindly, I suppose, or shall I say ignorantly, adopt the principles of protection. We have had pointed out to us the prosperity which New South Wales has enjoyed under the regime of the Reid party, which established to a very great extent free-trade in that State. AVe have had pointed out to us also the immense strides which Great Britain has made in the extension of trade and commerce, and in wealth, population, and so forth. These considerations have been urged with very great force, and I must admit with a very great amount of ability by the free-traders. I do not share the opinions expressed by these honorable senators regarding the prosperity of Great Britain under free-trade, at any rate not during the last few years, and certainly I do not share to a very considerable extent the view that New South Wales has made such great strides in prosperity under the free-trade regime. During thecourseof myremarks l shall have to point out many of the shortcomings and the evils, at any rate in my judgment, of that policy, and I hope I shall be able to give some evidence that England has not advanced in the way that we are told it has, but has rather gone back. I hope to be able to show that some protectionist countries, notably America, Germany and Canada, have made enormous strides under a protective policy. Freetrade is not regarded by some of its most staunch advocates as a mere matter of policy. In fact it is rather regarded as a gospel by some of its apostles, and notably by my good friend, Senator Pulsford, whom I characterize - of course, with every degree of respect and courtesy - as almost its high priest. I shall be obliged to take exception to some of the remarks made by previous speakers, more particularly those who have urged the great advantages of free-trade in England and New South Wales. I think I shall be able to give some proof from reliable authorities that during a number of years Great Britain has been going back rather than advancing, and that the United States of America has made enormous advances in population, in wealth; and in almost every way in which a nation can advance its best and highest interests. Almost the same words ‘have been used by the free-traders with regard to the great advantages which arc to be gained by free interchange as were used in Great Britain prior to the establishment of free-trade by its advocates, with all the force and ability which they were capable of using, Cobden, Bright and others who took the foremost part in the controversy urged with great force and ultimate success the necessity of establishing free intercourse with different countries. They were extremely sanguine that if . they led other countries would of necessity in a very short time follow their example. Other countries have not -adopted the principle. Some ofthem did, but they altered their policyin a very few years. Afterwards it was u urged on the silk manuffactories of Macclesfield that if the shackles were thrown off that industry and it were left free and unrestricted it would be much better for it. It was declared then that if they had ‘full opportunity to employ their genius, their enterprise, and their capital, they would develop their resources to a greater extent, and that the industry would progress in a much better way than it had done during a number of years under protection. I shall be obliged to take exception to some of these remarks, and to give some proof that the silk industry, and others which I shall name seriatim, have not prospered to the extent which was alleged under freetrade, but, on the contrary, have retrogressed to a very considerable extent. Agriculture, instead of advancing, has receded to an alarming degree. I hope to be able to give some proof that both agriculture and manufactures, in various instances, have not prospered during the last few years, but have gone back very materially, and that the prosperity, the comfort, and the happiness which we are told prevails among the British people does not exist, according to the evidence I have been able to gather, to the extent which is alleged by our free-trade friends on the other side. I daresay that most honorable senators read with great interest an extract which appeared in the Melbourne Aye on the 10th of June last year. At the time, I read very carefully the extract, which I cut out with the view of referring to it when we came to discuss the Tariff. The writer, whose identity has not been known, except to a limited circle, has published a very useful and beneficial work, entitled Drifting. In the May number of the Contemporary, he says-
It is perhaps the grandest, and at the same time the saddest, spectacle in the world, to watch the decay of a mighty empire. This spectacle is Afforded by Great Britain, with the whole world us its spectator. In the following pages I intend to show so clearly the decay of Great Britain, that it will be evident to all, and to lay bare the manifest causes which have led to that decay. Unfortunately, English wealth is decreasing very fast, for we as a nation are living on our capital, instead of living on our income….. The increase or decrease of our national prosperity can be largely gauged - (1) by the increase or decrease of the value of our industrial production : (2) by the increase or decrease of English capital profitably invested abroad ; (3) by the increase or decrease of our shipping.
The’ free-traders have laid great stress on the shipping industry of Great Britain. The combination which we see going on in Great Britain is some indication that its shipping trade does not occupy that prominent position which hitherto it has done. This writer gives some tangible proof that even the great shipping trade of Great Britain is not in such a healthy condition as some of our free-trade friends have asserted. The writer then turns to the records of production, and shows that within a period of 30 years, namely, from 1869 to 1899, the area of British crops decreased by 3,988,382 acres, and the pasturage by 5,289,463 acres. Consequently the rural population now earns more than £20,000,000 a year less than it would earn if the crop area of 30 years ago had remained intact. The same author continues -
These figures go a long way to explain - (1) The depopulation of our rural parts ; (2) The steady flow of emigration from the United Kingdom, especially from Ireland ; (3) The terribly over-crowded state of our towns ; (4) The enormous and steady fall in the value of rural land.
The writer next shows that while England raises 2,266,414 more cattle than she did 30 years ago, she raises 2,570,047 fewer sheep, and this while Germany has increased her crop area by 3.484,700 acres, her cattle by 2,706,008, and her pigs by 5,068,362. In other words while British agriculture has decreased 10 per cent., German agriculture has increased 10 per cent., and while British pigs have decreased 7 per cent. German pigs have increased 55 per cent. Yet British soil is more fertile than either French or German soil. If that be so, I think it is clear to any ordinary mind which is free from bias and capable ofexamining this question from a broad, comprehensive and national standpoint that not only has British agriculture failed to make any progress, but that it has actually gone back, whilst under protection during the last 30 years Germany has made enormous strides both in regard to agriculture and manufactures. The same writer adds -
Notwithstanding the facts shown above, that our prolific soil . and climate produce for us 50 per cent. more wheat, barley, and oats per acre than will grow in Germany or France, we find that our agriculture is- rapidly decaying, while it is prosperous in France, and very flourishing in Germany.
The author then enters into a detailed examination of British agricultural returns, showing the decline in the production of various things, such as wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas, potatoes, turnips, vetches, flax, hops, and closer. Yet the national bill for agricultural imports was £51,256,596 in 1888, and £72,909,264 in 1898, or an increase of upwards of £20,000,000 in ten years. Dealing further with the question of the decline of the agricultural industry in Great Britain, and the removal of people from the soil, I will quote from a very eminent work by George Silas Curtis, entitled Protection and Prosperity. I have read that book very carefully, and I presume that other honorable senators are also familiar with it. Upon page 283 of the work in question I find the following : -
The agricultural population of England and Wales, as shown by the census of - 1891, was less than 1 , 5I8,914, or 5.25 per cent, of the whole population. Mr. Arnold White, in The Destitute Alien, says - “With our existing population of 29,000.000, the proportion (of the agricultural class) is only one in every nineteen.” The fifth and final report; of the Royal Commission on Labour shows that the number of agricultural labourers in England and Wales in 189.1 had decreased 20 per cent, in twenty years ; that the decrease in .Scotland was nearly 27, and in Ireland 45 per cent, during the same period, and that in 1S91, of the total number of persons over ten years of age engaged in agriculture in England and Wales, nearly three-fourths, or 73.1. per cent, were common labourers. In Scotland, this class constituted 62.5 per cent., and in Ireland, 30.7 per cent. The decrease in the rural population has been going on, while there has been an increase in the whole population of the kingdom.
That is to say people were driven from the soil to the towns, where owing to the fact that they were not skilled mechanics they have been compelled to engage as common labourers. That is the process which is going on to-day, and which must necessarily continue until England alters her policy. But if we may judge from the recent Budget proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I think that signs are not wanting that Great Britain will shortly change her fiscal policy, with a view to preventing the destruction of her agricultural industries that has been going on for a number of years. However, that is a matter to which I shall refer more elaborately later on. Quoting again from page 282 of the same work I find that the total decline in the number of people engaged in agriculture between 1851 and 1881 was 1,930,419. For the former year there were 7,753,966 persons employed in that industry ; whilst in 1881 the number had decreased to 5,643,547. Dealing with the question of the fall in the price of rural lands, I find the following upon page 283 : -
More specific results which have followed the adoption of free-trade, are very fully set forth in the evidence given before the Royal Commission on Depression of Trade in 18.85. Sir James Caird, K.C.B., senior land commissioner of England, was examined, and gave evidence as follows : - ,
Have you made any inquiry into the loss sustained in recent years by landowners and farmers in this country, and as to how such loss may have influenced the general depression of trade ? - I have, and I may state that those inquiries have extended over Great Britain with the exception of some few counties. Beginning with Northumberland, and the adjoining counties, and part of the borders of Scotland, ohe answer is that on the farms, which are chiefly arable, the landlords’ loss of spendable income is 40 per cent. The spendable income, as I would define it, would be what was left after meeting the usual charges upon the estate, and, therefore, any reduction of rent, or other loss of rent, would mean a diminution of the spendable income. First, 40 percent, loss on farms, which are chiefly arable ; secondly, upon farms which are half pasture and half arable, 30 per cent. On hill farms, where it is all moor or grass, 20 per cent.; that is with regard to landlords. With regard to the tenant, in the first case, that is chiefly arable farms, capital ordinarily lost, and no income as a mutter of fact from the farm. On the first class, the chiefly arable farms, the tenants’ loss is 40 per cent.; on the second class, 25 per cent, and very little income ; and on the third class, 10 per cent, and very little income. With regard to wages, they have fallen 15 per cent, from what they were ten years ago, to something like what they were at the beginning of the twenty years to which we have been referring.
I repeat, therefore, that instead of agriculture in England advancing as it would have done had a more prudent and wise policy been in operation, the industry has absolutely gone back to an alarming extent. Both landlords and tenants have suffered loss, and the reduction of the wages of the latter has been very severely felt indeed. The same author continues -
The next county is Durham and North Riding of Yorkshire ; the loss of the landlord’s spendable income is put down at 25 per cent. ; the tenants show 30 per cent, of spendable income. With regard to wages, there has been 10 per cent, reduction.
In the counties of Yorkshire and Durham, the landlords have 30 per cent, reduction, and the tenants 50 per cent, reduction, and wages have been reduced 10 per cent.
In Staffordshire and Shropshire the landlords have lost 25 per cent, from the reduction of rent and expenditure to assist the tenants, and expenditure beyond the usual expenditure on the estate, and the tenants have lost 40 percent. The landlords have had 33 per cent, and the tenants 75 per cent, reduction in spendable income. With regard to wages, a reduction of .10 per cent. Iws been made, and a further fall of 5 per cent, is expected.
Now coming to part of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Bradfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, and Northamptonshire, the landlords’ spendable income has diminished fully 30 per cent., and the tenants’ capital from 20 to 60 per cent. The tenants’ capital throughout the country has been reduced in ten years in Great Britain by £81,000,000, and their spendable income by £17,590,000- Wages have fallen in the last two years from 10 to 20 per cent. In Hertfordshire the landlords have had 25 per cent, reduction, and the tenants’ capital is 40, 50, GO, and even 100 per cent. less.
In York, Lincoln, Norfolk, Leicester, Warwick, Northampton, Bucks, Oxford and Surrey, the spendable power of the landlords has been reduced. 40 per cent, on the average ; the tenants have lost largely of their capital and they have no profits : and their spending power is not half what it was ten years ago, and is taken, most of it, out of capital. Wages have fallen from 15 to 20 per cent, below what they were five years ago. ‘
In Kent and Sussex the loss of spendable income to landlords is put down at 25 per cent., and the tenants no profits. All the trade in the country towns is in great depression from the mpoverished state of landlord, tenant, and labourer. In Shropshire. Staffordshire, Hertfordshire, Montgomery, Worcester, Warwick, the landlords’ loss of spendable income from reduction of rent is 25 per cent. , and the diminished value of timber for sale, and the increased expenditure on drainage, &c, 10 per cent., making together a loss of spendable income by landlords of 35 per cent., and the tenants income has been diminished 50 per cent. The wages of the labourers have been reduced from 7 to 10 per cent. , and the farmers employ .less labour.
Now coming to Somerset, Devon. Cornwall, and Dorset, the loss to landlords in the north and west of Dartmoor, on the poorer land, is from 25 to 30 per cent., on the better land, on the south and east of Dartmoor, from 15 to 20 per cent., and the tenants are living on their capital on the poorer land, while there is 30 to 50 per cent, less than the usual expenditure by the tenants on the richer land. Wages had not fallen until two years ago, and then the fall was 10 per cent. , but labour is less employed, and farms show this in reduced condition.
Taking the evidence, so far as I have given it, it embraces nearly the whole of England.
That, I think, is rather a gloomy picture. Now, what is the condition of Scotland ? The facts to which I am about to refer must appeal to some of my Scotch friends, including Senator Symon, who naturally have a more intense patriotic feeling for the ‘ country to which they belonged than for others. The position of affairs in Scotland is set forth at page 284 of the same work as follows : -
With regard to Scotland, taking the whole of ‘ the northern counties from Aberdeen north-west, the landlord’s loss is put down at 30 per cent. , and the tenant’s at more than 30 per cent. With regard to wage? they have fallen 10 per cent. In ‘Perthshire, Forfar, and Fife the landlords have lost from 25 to 33 per cent. , which is increased to 50 and 60 per cent, by the. large demand for improvements. Their power of spending is reduced by from 50 to 60 per cent., and the tenants have lost the whole of their spendable income.
This is not very pleasant information for honorable senators, nor will it make pleasant reading for those who may peruse the report of the utterances made in this Chamber. The writer continues -
In Dumfries, Midlothian, and Argyle, and the western .and south-western counties, the landlords have less spendable income by from 20 to 30, to 35 per cent., and the tenants have lost all their spendable income. Their power to spend is lessened by one-half. There has not been much reduction in agricultural wages ; but in the case of masons, joiners, &c, they are 25 per cent. down.
The present as compared with ten years ago as deduced by me from those figures which I have already given would show on an average that the landlords have lost 30 per cent, the tenants 60 per cent., and the labourers 60 per cent. And putting that into figures it brings out that on £65,000,000 of the rental of the United Kingdom, the landlords’ loss of 30 per cent, would be equal to about £20,000,000; and the tenants’ 60. per cent., inasmuch as their income may be taken at about half the rental, would be just the same, that is to say, 60 per cent., or half the rental, is also £20,000,000. With regard to the labourers, there was a difficulty in estimating the amount of reduction.
All this describes the condition of affairs in Great Britain as being the reverse of healthy. I think it proves that agriculture is not prospering in Great Britain, and that it has not held its own in the face of that free interchange of commodities which we are urged to adopt here. Great Britain is held up to us as an example, but it is an example to be avoided rather than one to be followed by us. Those of us who hail from the old land and take a deep interest in the country of our birth, and who are proud to belong to the British, stock, cannot read these reports with complacency, and we cannot find any encouragement to adopt a similar policy in this great country. I warn the people of Australia to be careful with regard to this Tariff, and to see that our fiscal policy is so shaped that the industries of Australia shall not suffer, and that a reasonable . income shall at the same time be brought into the exchequer for the purpose of carrying on the Government. I would urge our farmers and graziers in every part of” the country not to be carried away by theblandishments of free-trade advocates, likeMr. Reid and others, who are endeavouring to induce them not to touch the unclean thing called protection, but to provide for the free interchange of commodities not only between the States, but with all parts of the world. I believe that protection is absolutely necessary for the farmers, so far as it can be extended to them, and that it is also necessary in the interests of various other industries. I think, moreover, that with the example of Great Britain before them, the farmers are too intelligent to be influenced by the arguments of Mr. Reid, and those who think with him. Now coming to manufactures, we find that the decline of British manufactures has been quite as great as, if not greater than, that of British agriculture. The writer to whom I have already referred, on turning his. attention to this subject, shows that the imports into Great Britain in 1898 were valued at £470,378,583, whilst the exports of British produce were stated at £233,359,240. I wish honorable senators to pay some attention to what is said about the cotton trade, because at one time Great Britain used to manufacture cotton goods for the greater part of the world. The writer says -
The imports into Great Britain of. cotton, iron, and woollen manufactures of foreign make have risen between 1873 and . 1898 by £31,500,000, and during the same period our exports of cotton, iron, and woollen manufactures of English make have decreased by £25,000,000. Our cotton, iron, and woollen industries have thus lost home trade to the value of £31,500,000, and foreign trade to the value of £25,000,000. They have, in fact, been less able to hold their ground in Great Britain than abroad. . . . We have lost since 1873 trade of the stupendous value of £56,000,000 per annum, whilst at the same time our imports of food have increased by £62,000,000.
That is not very pleasant reading. Now, referring to the question of shipping. We are everlastingly being told by free-traders that Great Britain is the carrier of the world, and that her shipping trade is stupendous, and so it has been.
– So it is.
– But it is not in as healthy a condition as a few years ago, and the evidence we have before us shows that there is plenty of room for improvement. The same writer says of the British shipping industry -
Our ship-building industry has been prosperous and progressive. The profits of our shipping trade are large, and the development of our merchant marine has been marvellous. But our shipping trade seems to have arrived at its zenith -
That is the point I wish to make. whilst the shipping trade of the United States and Germany is rapidly ousting our own.
– Tn what year was that written?
– The article from whichI am quoting appeared quite recently, but the latest figures referred to are those of 1898. The writer continues -
Germany possessed in 1873 only one-tenth of the tonnage owned in Great Britain, now it possesses already one-sixth.
The three fastest liners afloat are Germanowned, and entirely German-made. They have proved highly remunerative to their owners.
Leading British ship-owners have declared that they will not try to compete with these German ships, because such fast liners will not pay them.
Several British steam-ships have lately been sold to the Germans.
Free-traders, therefore, must not set themselves on too high a pedestal, because even the great shipping trade of Great Britain seems to be on the decline, as, indeed, are all her great industries. That brings me to the point to which I referred in the earlier part of my remarks. Great Britain is likely to suffer very considerably from the enormous shipping combinations which are now being formed. It would seem that the British ship-owners have been induced to sell their ships largely in consequence of the losses they have sustained through the keen competition of foreign companies, which have been assisted by State subsidies. British shipping, therefore, has not only declined, but is likely to still further diminish as the years go on. Now, referring to the silk manufacturing trade, the British silk manufacturers were asked to remove the shackles from this industry, and to expose it to healthy competition from other parts of the world, and they were assured that everything would come right afterwards. Quoting from the same eminent authority, Protection and Prosperity, at pages 227-8-9, I wish to mention these facts : -
So long as protection lasted the silk industry of Macclesfield flourished.
It was at one time the centre of a very great British silk industry. There were also other parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire where the silk industry flourished, but it may be said that Macclesfield was the great centre. A Royal commission was appointed in 1885, and sat during that year and 1886 to inquire into the condition of the industry. Evidence was given by various manufacturers with regard to its condition, and as to the effect of foreign competition on British manufactures. The author I am quoting says -
In 1800 the industry was in a most flourishing condition.
That was a little while after free-trade was established in Great Britain.
Not only in populous districts, but in almost every village in the Midland counties it was giving employment to people, and adding an important part to the industrial life of the kingdom. In 1800 it gave employment to 160,000 people. Countingthree persons to a family, it may be fairly estimated that 480,000 persons found their means of support in this industry. It appeared from the evidence of John Newton, given before theRoyal commission, that in 1885 the number of hands employed had been reduced to 60,000. Up to this time, then, . 100,000 artisans had been displaced by foreign importations, and the goods which they had formerly made in England were giving support to labourers on the Continent. The decline did not stop here. It appeared by the census of factory inspectors of 1890 that the number of persons employed in this industry was only 41,277.
Those facts certainly do not show that the industry has made that progress which it was alleged would be the case, providing the shackles of protection were thrown off, as the advocates of free-trade prior to the establishment of that policy had urged. On the contrary, upwards of 100,000 artisans were thrown out of employment, and men following a similar occupation in different parts of Europe filled their places and supplied the people of Great Britain with commodities which previously had been British productions.
– It meant that the British artisans found employment elsewhere.
– That is the old cry of the free-trader - “Never mind the displacement of the operatives of an industry ; they will be able to find employment in some other branch.” But, I would ask Senator Dobson, what is to happen to them if other industries are similarly treated 1 Fancy men coining from silk-weaving looms to engage in quarrying, or mining, or a similar industry ! I will now refer to some of the other industries.
– Would the honorable senator have allowed any transfer of employment from the old stage coaches to the railways?
– Is there any analogy ?
– Yes, there is.
– If the people of Germany or France were engaged in the manufacture of silk, and the people of England were also engaged in it, does the honorable senator think that the British people had not the Capacity to turn out as good an article as the Continental producers provided they could compete on equal terms 1 But because there was a high protective duty in one country and free imports were admitted into the other, the British industry declined. The competition was unfair, and I would be no party to compelling the people of Australia to compete in such a way as my honorable friend Senator Pulsford, the high priest of freetrade, has been urging under the policy he wishes this Parliament to adopt. Take the ‘ evidence of a manufacturer as to the decline of this industry. He says -
Another evidence of the decline of this industry is found in the decreased consumption of raw silk, which was reduced in value from £6,032,650 in I860 to £1,583,151 in 1875 and to £1,219,322 in 1890.
No sooner, adds the writer -
Were the duties removed, than the flooding of English markets with French fabrics began. The importations for home consumption were £2,826,905 in 1860, and by 1870 they had reached the enormous sum of £14,932,030,” and in 1890 they were £.10,385,153. Exposed to the competition of Continental rivals, the English manufacturers have not only been prevented from extending their trade and selling their goods in foreign markets, but their own home market has been surrendered to foreigners.
– And that in regard to a luxury.
– British people had been engaged in the production of these luxuries, and so long as there is a demand for them it is better that our own artisans should be employed in their production than that they should be produced by foreigners -
It is now a conceded fact that the withdrawal of protection was the cause of the ruin of this industry. The chief centres of silk manufactures that were so .prosperous and thriving in I860 have been ruined! Macclesfield gave employment to 14,000 people in 1859. By 18S5 the number had been reduced to 5,000. In Manchester the industry sustained forty factories, which, by 1S8U hail been reduced to five. Instead of employing the 30,000 people, as was the.case in I860, the number had been reduced by 1886 to 3,000. Previous to the adoption of free-trade there were between 5,000 and 6,000 dyers in England employed in the silk-dying trade. The number had been reduced to 1,200 by .1886.
That is so far as the silk industry is concerned. But other industries have shared in the same distress. I have already mentioned the agricultural industry. Now take another, and certainly a most important branch of industry - that is, the cotton industry of Great Britain. The cotton manufacturers of Manchester, and other parts of Lancashire were, a few years ago, considered almost a dominant factor in British trade. B,ut that industry has suffered very considerably in consequence of the free imports of Great Britain, and some of the manufacturers have been obliged in consequence of the keen competition from all parts of the world to take their capital and plant away from England, and establish factories in India and elsewhere. India has’ become the great competitor ‘so far as concerns the cotton industry. I will refer again to the same work from which I have already quoted, at page 246, where information is given as tothecompetition of the “Bombay mills in the cotton industry. Mr. George Lord, a member of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, gave evidence before the Royal commission in February, 1886. He was asked -
Have you anything to say with regard to the position of the cotton trade in this country and its course during the last fifteen or twenty years, or as to the cause of the ‘ depression which has been complained of ?
The answer was as follows : -
I have some interesting tables here with regard to the subject of competition from Bombay mills.
This competition was caused by the very cheap labour that could be employed in India, and was also in consequence of Great Britain having to compete -with the cotton producers of the whole world.
My partner in Bombay made up, with the assistance of others, at the end of September last, a most complete statement down to that date of the mills in India, from which it appears that there are 02 mills in existence. I should say that when I arrived in Bombay in 1857 the first mills had just been started. There were only two mills there at that time, and since then they have gone on increasing very rapidly. In September last there were 92 mills altogether. It was difficult to get information with regard to five of them, bub I have very detailed information with regard to the other 87 mills. The spindles at work then were .2,145,000, and there were 16,537 looms. In the tables that I have put in, table C shows that out of those 92 mills there were in the Bombay Presidency 68, namely, in the City of Bombay itself 49, and 19 in the Motfussil. That is in the Presidency of Bombay. With regard to your Lordship’s questions as to the competition, I have here, which I will hand in, a table marked C of the imports and exports of British and Bombay yarns to China and Japan, from the year 1S67 up to the 31st December, 1885, the end of last year.
Great Britain used to send enormous quantities of yarns to China and Japan, which, of course, kept the spinning-mills engaged, but since the Indian competition became so pronounced, as it has proved to be, not only the manufacture of cloth, but the spinning of yarn, has lessened very considerably.
The first year in which Bombay figured very largely as an exporter of yarn to China and Japan was 1S70, when she sent 16,216 bales, and the increase has been gradual and rapid until 1885, last year, when she sent 173,000 bales, more than ten times as much ; and in the meantime England had sent to the same markets, China and Japan, in 1876, 73,765 bales, whilst last year only 80,000 bales were sent, so that there is an increase of only 7,000 bales of English yarn in ten years, whilst Bombay had increased from 16,000 to .173,000.
Surely these figures must be some proof to our free-trade friends of the danger with which we should be encountered even by the establishment of a low Tariff. If the people of the Commonwealth, manufacturers and artisans generally,” are to be protected, it cannot be by means of an exceedingly low Tariff, but must be by means of a reasonably high Tariff. The people of this Commonwealth have arrived at a moderately high standard of living. We do not want to have that standard reduced to a lower level than it has already attained. We rather wish to have it increased in the future, and by means of a low Tariff that cannot be done. Let me give some further information in order to show the decline which followed free competition in the cotton industry. It is a beautiful phrase - “ free competition.” Our free-trade friends talk about “ healthy” free competition increasing the stamina of the people and enabling them to hold their own against the rest of the world. But free competition “is manifestly unfair. It results in wages which ,are out of all propor-_ tion to those we desire to see maintained in this country ; and other conditions of labour abroad are such that we should not care to have them applied to our own people. Mr. Joshua Rawlinson, Secretary of the NorthEast Lancashire Cotton Spinners’ Association, gave the following evidence before the Royal commission : -
A.. It has been very much depressed ; in fact, the present depression may be said to have commenced in the year 1.876. The year of 1.877 was * worse than 1876, and 1878 was worse than either of them. The effect of the depression in those years was to reduce the price of labour. In June of that year, the wages in both the spinning and weaving departments were reduced by 10 per cent., after a strike of nine weeks’ duration, which extended from Preston to Burnley, Blackburn, Accrington, and intervening districts. In April, 1879, a- further reduction of 5 per cent, was made. In December, 1883, a reduction of 5 per cent, was again made in the weaving department, and this caused another strike in Blackburn, Darwen and Padiham, which lasted nine weeks. The weavers in the Preston and Burnley districts accepted the reduction. At the present time the wages paid in North and North-East Lancashire are, therefore, 10 per cent, below the level of 1878. In the course of that reduction there have been two prolonged, strikes.
That must be the inevitable consequence if ourfree-tradefriendsaresuccessful in carrying out their policy of a low Tariff or no Tariff. The only results of such a system ‘ can be bad conditions of labour, low wages, conflict between employers and employed, and general disaster. Mr. Rawlinson’s evidence continued : -
In the town of Burnley there ure 1,400 looms and 53,400 spindles standing idle at the present time, that is relating to machinery solely ; and there are empty mills and sheds in the town capable of holding 5,869 looms and ‘126,000 spindles, which only need equipping with machinery to be set to work. In the Blackburn district, I am informed, there are 6,700 looms and 186,000 spindles standing idle, and that mills have been burnt down, or pulled down, and not rebuilt within the last few years, capable of holding 330,000 spindles.
What effect does this have upon the rents obtained upon mills and sheds ?
The rents obtainable for mills and sheds have fallen very greatly during the last two years. Spinning mills in Blackburn cannot be let at any price, and I am informed that a fireproof spinning mill, containing 18,000 spindles, will be let rent free, if the tenant will pay rates and taxes, and keep the building and machinery in repair.
– No wonder people go to America !
– Such are the results of free competition, and, as Senator McGregor says, no wonder people go to other countries, especially to America. They are driven out of their own country - driven from the soil ; driven from the manufactories ; driven from the rural villages - by the blind policy of Great Britain for many years past. That is the policy which some honorable senators would like to see established in Australia. I believe, however, that there is sufficient strength of character, sufficient ability, and, shall I say, sufficient patriotism in the Senate to resist, and, I hope, successfully resist, the establishment here of conditions which many of us were obliged to leave behind in England some years ago.
– What about the 70,000 people who have been driven out of “Victoria by protection ?
– Later on I shall refer to the relative positions of Victoria and New South Wales. I now come to a branch of industry with which I had some little acquaintance in my early days, namely, the linen industry. Possibly Senator McGregor had some acquaintance with this industry in Ireland some years ago. I do not confine my remarks to Ireland, however, but will’ deal with the history of the industry in Great Britain. At one time Great Britain held the premier place in the linen trade ; but free imports have dealt a severe blow to this as to other industries. On this point I refer honorable senators to that eminent work, Protection and Prosperity, in which, on page 257, I find the following : -
The linen industry of the United .Kingdom is also engaged in a life-and-death struggle. In I860-] -2 their exports of linen manufactures amounted to £4,597,019. The sales to foreign countries increased and reached £7,549,331 in J 872-3-4. By this time the industry had seen its best days. Exports began to decline, and were reduced to £5,302,755 in 1S90-1-2, a decline of 29.8 per cent, from .1.872-3-4. Up to 1875 the domestic manufacturers held such absolute supremacy at home that imports of these fabrics amounted only to £167,452. Imports continued to increase until 1890, when they amounted to £432,556, an increase of 15S per cent, in fifteen years.
– Who has that trade. now 1
– The trade has gone to Germany and Russia, particularly R ussia, where exceedingly cheap labour is to be obtained. The extract proceeds : -
Fifteen or twenty years more of the same ratio of decline in exports and increase of imports will bring the linen industry of England to a deplorable condition. Free-trade has, then, resulted in “arresting further expansion of this industry and sent it on the downward road of cheapness.
That is bound to be the result, according to the evidence we have before us. That testimony may, of course, be discounted as unreliable, but I challenge Senator Pulsford or any other honorable senator to bring evidence to the contrary. The woollen industry is one to which, I think, honorable senators will attach no small value. At one time some of the English towns, notably Bradford, had scarcely a competitor in the world. That is not the case now, other countries having made enormous strides in the manufacture of woollen goods. As to this, the author of Protection and Prosperity says -
The staple manufactures of Bradford and the district have of late years fallen off. Some of the old staple manufacturers have lost their heart and died off.
And there is not much wonder. That is the result of a free-trade policy in Britain, the advocates of which say - “ Never mind the people who may be scattered to the four winds of heaven - never mind how many starve or die, or how much suffering1 there may be in towns and villages - all that is of no consequence so long as we have free interchange of commodities, and subject manufacturers to the healthy breeze of unrestricted competition.” We all desire to see our country advance, but to follow Great Britain in her fiscal policy is a most peculiar method of bringing about prosperity. The following is a further extract from Protection and Prosperity : -
In 1846, when protective duties were repealed and it was exposed to competing imports, the supremacy was such that the total imports of woollen manufactures into England for home consumption were only £265,450. By I860 they had reached £1,182,083. It was between this time and 1875 that imports began to be felt in the home market. They had reached £4,088,135 in 1875, and £7,796, 151 in 1890, an increase of 90’7 per cent. in fifteen years. It is a most astonishing fact that the English people are paying the Continent this vast sum of money to support foreign labour, when, were it not for free-trade, every dollar paid for these goods might be retained in England to furnish employment for a large number of those who now depend upon public charity. It is surprising that, while imports have been so increasing, the exports of domestic productions have declined from £26,844,700 in J 872-3-4, to £18,923,910 in 1890-1-2 or 29-5 per cent. The English people consume at home woollen goods made in foreign countries of nearly one-half the value of those which they export.
As I said before, Bradford and the neighbouring towns held practical supremacy in this industry : but at the present time the English people are, and have been for years past, obliged to buy woollen goods from other parts of the world. Instead of employing their own people, they employ people abroad ; and yet that is called patriotism byour free-trade friends. I confess I do not know what such patriotism means. My patriotism means the preservation of the best interests of my own country and the advancement of the welfare of my own people. The clap-trap patriotism - if I may be pardoned the term - which characterizes those who advocate free competition, finds no place with those who think as I do on this question. Evidence was given before the Royal Commission by Mr. Henry Mitchell, a man of recognised ability in this branch of trade. For twenty years this gentleman was a member of the Chamber of Commerce at Bradford, and he said -
There has generally been a falling-off in trade with foreign countries. The greatest falling-off has been in the case of Germany-
I want my honorable friends of the freetrade party to pay attention to this. The falling-off has taken place only since the adoption of a protective policy by Germany, and to that I shall make allusion later on -
Germany formerly took from us at least £3,000,000 a year in stuff goods, and at the present timeit is not £300,000-
That was in 1886.
– Germany has some sense now.
– Mr. Mitchell continued -
In stuff goods it is not more than one-tenth of what it was at the period to which I have referred (between 1870 and 1875). Although there has been a very large decline in exports of manufactured goods to Germany, there has been a very large increase in exports of yarn and semi-raw materials to that country.
The work of spinning has been kept going, but not the manufacture of the cloth required for British people. The free-trade policy is that we should produce the raw material, but that we should not use our own brains or the capacity which we possess to manufacture what we require - that we should depend upon the capacity of other people. That is the doctrine of honorable senators on the other side, but it is not the policy of those who wish to see the country prosper under a reasonable protection calculated to promote the best interests of Australia. The witness continued -
Germany has been very largely increasing her own production. They now supply their own consumption almost exclusively, and they arc also becoming rather severe competitors with us in some of the neutral markets, especially in the United States of America, and in South America, and to some extent in the British colonies.
I am sorry to say that in the colonies their competition with British manufactures is rather severe, but I hope thatin time to come we shall see less of it. If we should require to purchase goods from outside, I trust that we shall, at all events, buy them in countries where decent wages are paid to those engaged in their manufacture. Let us take another industry, which, although not as large as the woollen or cotton trade, is one which used to flourish to a considerable extent in the town of Nottingham, and in other parts of Great Britain. I refer to the lace industry, in regard to which I quote the following from pages 2623 of Protection and Prosperity : -
The import of lace goods into the United Kingdom for home consumption was very insignificant in1860, amounting to only £55,561 : but by 1875 it had increased to £338,006. Since that date it has become quite considerable, amounting to £907,647 in 1890. an increase since 1875 of 134 per cent.
I trust that honorable senators on the other side will make a note of this - while on the other hand the exports of domestic productions declined from £2,722,079 in 1881-2-3 to £2,000,073 in 1890-1-2, or 23 per cent.
The causes which have contributed to this result are free-trade in England and protection in other countries.
That is the evidence of those who were capable of producing facts before the commission to which I have alluded. The writer continues -
Rival industries have been built up under protection on the continent which have grown so strong that they are invading English markets, and driving English manufacturers out of the foreign trade. The English people are Still clinging to the policy of free-trade, and seeing their own industry undermined and ruined.
Other evidence in regard to this matter was also given, but I think I have put before the Senate sufficient to show that the lace industry, like others, has declined to a considerable extent. Another important industry in Great Britain, as well as in all other cold countries, is the manufacture of wall and other kinds of papers which constitutes a very considerable item of trade. Let me quote from page 276 of the book to which I have referred already, on the paper industry of Great Britain, which suffered like others -
The paper industry is not an exception to the general rule which is shown to prevail with regard to all British industries. With their ports open to receive the surplus products of the continent, they have suffered, as all free-trade countries must suffer, when so exposed. The imports into England in I860 were only £102,380. No sooner hud the duty been removed than imports began to increase.
In 1875 they amounted to £953,508 for home consumption, and by 1890 they had reached £1,840,328.
– That was the natural increase of trade.
– Unfortunately, it was not. The position was quite the reverse, for while certain trades were increasing in other countries, they were declining in Great Britain.
– The honorable senator might just as well quote the figures relating to the increase of population.
– The writer continues -
During this time, the exports of paper made in English factories increased from £908,034 in 1872-3-4 to £1,501,797 in I890-1-2. By 1890 they had reached the point under free-trade where they were buying more paper than they were selling. This is certainly a result which wasnever contemplated by Mr. Cobden and his associates.
With the exception, perhaps, of coal-mining and some kindred industries - as we know, coal-mining has increased - the same woeful tale applies to almost any branch of manufacture in Great Britain that one chooses to name.
– -Yet England has not put up her shutters.
– She has not, but, unfortunately, she is not in that happyposition which she ought to occupy. Instead of supplying all her own wants and keeping her own people in employment, she is compelled to purchase supplies from abroad, and to keep the people of other countries in work. I will refer now to the chemical industry, which occupied some years ago a prominent position in the industrial life of Tyneside, as well as on the Clyde. At pages 274-275 of Protection and Prosperity, I find a reference to the testimony given, before the Royal commission, by an eminent authority on chemicals, Mr. W. CharlesAlthusen, of whom I had a slight knowledge some years ago. He said, in the course of his evidence, that the only way in which it was possible for Great Britain to compete with any degree of success against foreign competition in. this, and other industries, was by reducing wages to the discomfort of the wage-earners. That is the policy which our honorable friends of the Opposition wish us to adopt. The evidence given before the commission showed that low wages were the resultof free competition. The writer states that -
The imports of chemicals into the United Kingdom, which were £340,481 in 1860 -
Just two or three years after the establishment of free-trade - increased year by year until they reached £,1392,332in 1890 for home consumption. The loss of foreign markets, however, from foreign competition has inflicted a severe blow upon the industry.
The following evidence upon the condition of the chemical industry of the United Kingdom is very important in many respects. In the first place, the long business experience, ability, “and candour of the witness give such weight to his expressions upon certain economic propositions that they command the most careful consideration. The injurious effect of free competition upon the industries of,a country is clearly proven. Low wages are shown to be the only means by which England, under free-trade, oan resist foreign competition, and tight the industrial battle in which she is engaged. Another fact pointed out is, the very slight improvement in wages which has taken place in this industry between 1855 and 1885. The reductions which were made between 1876 and 1885 disclosed the fact that English manufacturers have been attempting to accomplish, by a reduction of wages, what might have been secured through protective tariffs. They have reached a point where their home market can be held only by sacrificing the comfort and prosperity of their wage-earners. This’ is not only occurring, but the profits of manufacturers are being wiped out, mid industries destroyed.
It is my desire that honorable senators should pay some little attention to the next paragraph, which I am about to quote. The witness, Mr. Althusen, was actually one of the gentlemen who proceeded to Germany, and other countries, in the days of Cobden and Bright, with a view to induce the Governments of those countries to adopt ti free-trade policy. He has lived to declare that that policy was a mistake ; that the establishment of free-trade in Great Britain was an error ; and that it would have been much better if the people of the old land had attempted to obtain what they required by means of reciprocity treaties rather than by opening their ports to imports from other countries. The paragraph is as follows : -
It is a most significant fact that after 40 years’ experience with free-trade; the witness, who was an eminent tariff reformer with Richard Cobden should arrive at the conclusion that free-trade is. a failure, and that reciprocity treaties would have been more beneficial to their interests.
I have dealt with the cotton, silk, woollen, chemical, and other industries, every one of which has suffered most disastrously by the adoption of that policy which found * place in the statute-book of Great Britain in 1846. I come now to another industry in Great Britain, and one of no mean importance. At one time the sugar-refining industry was of the utmost importance in several of the centres of population of Great Britain. It flourished At London, Bristol, Liverpool, Glasgow, and Greenock on the Clyde. Indeed it prospered in Bristol for nearly 200 years, but the bounty-fed sugar of the continent - and bounties are only another form of protection - played sad havoc with it. The conditions of the industry became so deplorable that a commission was appointed, and in 1898 it presented a report to the British Parliament. That report is embodied in the English parliamentary papers, and is to be found in the Library. Mr. Tate, chairman of the British Sugar Refiners’ Association, in giving evidence before the Royal commission on the West Indian sugar industry, said -
We have here prepared a chart, giving you rough figures. I think on this-, chart you will see much more quickly what is our position, and what has been our position for the last twenty years. If you will kindly look at the top line, the yellow line, you will see that it represents the consumption of sugar in the United Kingdom since 1881. In 1881, the consumption was 990,000 tons, and it has risen gradually up to 1896. It was nearly 50 per cent, more, or 1,124,000 tons, whereas the position of the refining interest in this country is that in 1884 we produced 842,000 tons, or 84 per cent, of the total consumption. In 1894, as far as our figures have gone, we have gone down to 622,000 tons, or only 42 per cent, of the consumption, whereas in the same time, if you will kindly look at the red line, which represents the importation of foreign refined, we began, in 1881, with 139,000 tons, and that rises up, you will see, almost in the same proportion as the consumption increases. It has risen up to 738,000 tons, or more than onehalf of the consumption. It has increased over 400 per cent. There were, I think, in 1881. 29 refiners ; there are now only twelve. Seventeen have been closed, so that there are only twelve, and this is going on. If this line goes down a little more, and this goes up (indicating on chart) the refining industry in this country- is done. I say that quite emphatically, and quite earnestly, that in a few years’ time, with the present bounties which are being given in France and Germany for refining, it is impossible. It has already come to the point that it does not pay-
– This is all qualified by the little word “ if.”
– Of course ; but the men engaged in the industry have prepared this chart pointing out as clearly a-s the noonday sun what occurred, and that has been going on until Great Britain was obliged to protect the industry to some extent, as she did in the Budget of last year. England had to put a duty on to save her industry, but at what time was it done and what expense 1 Only after the destruction of the West Indian Islands to a considerable extent, and without giving that encouragement to the production of sugar in Australia which we had a right to expect, but, on the contrary, by giving encouragement to the bounty-fed sugars of other countries. I hope we shall see Great Britain giving encouragement to her own people in whatever part of the Empire they ma)- be rather than to the employment of persons in other countries in the production of an article which we can supply.
– T - The bounty-fed sugar was carried out of Germany in subsidized ships.
– That is so. Let me give a little further evidence upon this point. Mr. Crosfield, chairman of the Lancashire Sugar Refiners’ Association, in his evidence said-
I have had the opportunity for the last few days of looking into the figures that Mr. Tate has handed in, and I have analyzed the figures for two years. I took haphazard the year 1884, and . 1 found that in that year 582,000 tons of cane sugar - these are the Board of Trade returns - were imported, 241,000 tons of which came from the British colonies, and. 341,000 tons came from foreign countries.
I hope our friends, the free-traders, will make a note of this -
The British colonies got £4,000,000 for their share, and the foreigners, £5,500,000. In 1890 the figures had fallen to 155,000 tons from the British colonies and 250,000 tons from foreign countries. The British colonies got £1,600,000 and the foreign countries £2,600,000.
Similar evidence was obtained from Liverpool and other places. The industry had been established in Liverpool for many years, and a Mr. Easton, giving evidence before the commission, said his firm had been in business for over 100 years. He went on to say -
We started in 1890 with ten refineries ; we are down now to one half the number. How many will be left in a few years I should not like to prophesy : probably none, if things go on as they are. Sir Louis Malet said in his evidence before the select committee that the industry is undergoing a progressive process of extinction. And this is the picture which we have to lay before you. On the Clyde, in London, Bristol, Liverpool, the same thing in the same proportions almost. It is a most remarkable fact which Mr. Neill will bring before you, that of the committee of 1880 there are now hardly four of the number of refiners then existing on the committee stillin the trade. Here is an object lesson.
This is what I wish to bring before the attention of our friends the free-traders, in order to avoid increasing the prosperity of the auctioneers by the sale of the plants of the various industries which they will ruin, I do not say wilfully, by the adoption of their blind policy. This gentleman says -
Here is an object lesson. This is the kind of process that is going on. On May 19th and 20th a refinery comes to the hammer, and they come to the hammer one by one. This is the latest (producing catalogue of sale of a sugar refinery). The conclusion which was come to by the select committee, that it was not due to any want of skill or enterprise, or to natural disadvantages, is correct.
I desire also to emphasize this point, because it is sometimes alleged that the decline of these industries is owing to a want of skill, of proper appliances, or to a want of enterprise and vigilance. The select committee who inquired into this matter some years ago declared in language which cannot be misunderstood that, instead of there being any want of enterprise or ability or any lack of machinery and appliances there was.one thing, and one thing alone, which operated against the refining industry in Great Britain, and that was the unfair competition which that, as well as other industries in Great Britain, had to meet. This witness went on to say -
But this process of progressive extinction which is going on is only due to one cause, the unfair, unjust competition by meansof bounties which no trade can possibly survive. It only has to go on long enough. We cannot compete against the exchequers of all the great countries of Europe. The refineries must go down one by one. There is no doubt about it ; there is no mystery in it. It has to take place.
shall deal now with another portion of. England, and take the experience of Bristol, where, as I have said, this industry lived and flourished for a couple of hundred year. It is no longer flourishing or living in Bristol except to a very limited extent. Mr. Mirehouse gave evidence before the commission, and he said -
I have put my statements in draft, which I will hand in. The sugar-refining industry has existed in Bristol for over 200 years. Bristol was the principal port for the West India sugar, and of all the West Indian merchants and importers (some of my own relations), not one exist at the present time, and no cane sugar has been brought into Bristol of late years, unless some small portion from London or Liverpool. Bristol, from its situation naturally, should refine about 60,000 tons to 70,000 tons per year from its position as an inland port. Bristol as a centre ought, and did, cover the ground of Birmingham, Oxford, Exeter, and South Wales. The Bristol Dock Board complain that the company of which I am chairman do not import sufficient sugar to cover this area, which is more than covered by the corn-millers of Bristol, and that their tolls suffer from this cause. If the areawere so covered, this industry would employ directly about 580 men. The trade connected with the refinery - namely, coal, casks, sacks, hauliers, engineers - would employ for this purpose about the same number, making 1,160. Up to 1877 the number of men, all heads of families, were so employed. At that time Finsell’s refinery stopped. Some few of the hands found employment, but the old men - - and I commend these last words to Senators Pulsford and Dobson - but the old men who could not do so lived for a short time on charity or the union. Three, at least, committed suicide.
This, surely, is evidence which should cause us to pause and think seriously of what a similar policy, or a policy approaching it, is likely to bring about in Australia. Now, take the example of Scotland, where the trade flourished for many years, though not for so long as at Bristol. Upon the experience of Scotland I can speak from personal knowledge for 43 or 44 years. Mr. Neill, a gentleman already referred, to, in giving evidence before the commission, said -
I speak for the Scottish sugar refining trade, and I am sorry to say that we have the same story to tell that our brethren in England have. I have got a few figures here showing what the refining in the Clyde ports has been for some years back, and the bulk of the trade in 1855-56, the furthest back figures which I have got was 40,000 tons refined on the Clyde. That gradually increased until about .1888, when it was about 250,000 tons. That was our maximum that we refined in Scotland, and last year it had declined to 160,000 tons. I have got the whole of the figures - not for every year, but for a great many years - showing the progress, I have also taken for these years the proportion of British West India sugar that we have refined on the Clyde. In .1855-56 more than one-half of the sugar that was refined on the Clyde come from the British West; Indies. In I860 it had declined to about 34 per cent., in 1866-67 to about 24 per cent., and in and about .1876 it was down to .19 per cent. In 1883 it was .13 per cent, with fractions, in 18S4 6 per cent., in 1886, 4 per cent., and by 1890 it was down to nothing.
The industry had absolutely ceased to exist so far as the refining of British Wed India sugar was concerned.
In 1890 there was no British West India sugar refined on the Clyde at all.
– It is all from beetroot culture.
– That does not strengthen the position the honorable senator takes up as a free-trader, because it meant the annihilation of the industry in some of the British possessions, and our own production of sugar in Australia has not been encouraged in the way in which I think the people of Australia had a right to expect. The witness goes on to refer to the beet sugar that was refined on the Clyde -
In thesametimethe proportion of beet- root to the whole sugar refined on the Clyde - I have not got any figures so far back as 1855-56, where I began with my West India statistics, but from 1S60-67 there was about 17 per cent. - 16 to 18 per cent, respectively in those yearn of beet-root used; that gradually increased ; in 1882 it was up to 30 per cent.; in 1886, 51 percent.; in 1888, 73 percent.; in 1889, 85 percent.; and in 1890 the enormous proportion of 96 per cent, of all the sugar refined on the Clyde was beet-root sugar.
That is a further proof of the disastrous effects upon her own people of the want of encouragement shown by Great Britain to her own industries, and the throwing open of her ports to the sugar of the subsidized producers of foreign countries, brought to them by the subsidized vessels of those countries. Some of our friends have told us of the increase of population in Great Britain. While it is true that the population of Great Britain itself has increased, there has been no increase in the population of Ireland. That is due very considerably to the policy which I am condemning.
– Free-trade has destroyed Ireland’s industries.
-But while the population of Great Britain increased between 1876 and 1900 by 33-5 per cent., the yield of the income tax, which should have increased in still larger proportions, rose by only S per cent., and is now rapidly falling. - Then again, while the amount of the deposits in the British savings banks is equal to only £19 per head of population, the amount in those of the United States is equal to £80 per head, in Canada to £66 per head, in Denmark to £33, in Russia to £31, and in Switzerland to £30. The authority from, which I take these figures says -
If we sum up the facts and figures given, every symptom points unmistakably to the fact that the British nation is living upon its capital.
Allusion was made by Senator Symon and others to the enormous prosperity of Great Britain, and the decline of pauperism in that country. Although there may have been* a slight decline, I am sorry to say that there is still great room for improvement. On page 380 of the work from which I have previously quoted, it is stated that -
The official returns of the British Government, as reported in the Statisticial Abstract, give the number of paupers relieved on the 1st of January, 1891 and 1894, as follows :-
Paupers in Europe in 1S88, given by Mulhall’s Dictionary o£ Statistics : -
So that there were nearly as many paupers in Great Britain in that year as in all the other countries of Europe put together. To show still more clearly the terrible condition of the workers of Great Britain, I quote the following extract from page 380 of the same work : -
The population of the United Kingdom in 1801 was 37,731 ,4.15. By the official records then, of the British Government, it appears that one out of every 28 was a pauper. It may be well to mention in this connexion that the census of the United Stated in 1890 returns 73,045 paupers (United States Census Bulletin of 1890, No. 154), out of a population of 62,000,000, or one in every 851.
– Those returns are not to be compared with the English returns. They are not made out on the same basis.
– I know of no country in the world - and I have investigated the matter pretty thoroughly - where they have such a perfect system for obtaining statistics as they have in the United States of America. There is no more eminent or more sympathetic authority on this subject than Mr. Wright, who is at the head of the Labour Statistical department of the United States. The statistics of the United States are as reliable as those of any other country in the world. Continuing my quotations -
In January, 1885, Mr. Frederic Harrison, in commenting on the widespread destitution before the Industrial Remuneration Conference, said : - “ To me, at least, it would be enough to condemn modern society as hardly an advance on slavery or serfdom if the permanent condition of industry were to be that which we behold, that 90 per cent, of the actual producers of wealth have no home that they can call their own beyond the end of the week, have no bit of soil, or so much as a room that belongs to them ; have nothing of value of any kind, except as much old furniture its will go in a cart; have the precarious chance of weekly wages, which barely suffice to keep them in health ; are housed for the most part in places that no man thinks fit for his horse ; are separated by so narrow a margin from destitution that a month of bad trade, sickness, or unexpected loss brings them face to face with hunger and pauperism.”
After a careful examination of the subject, General Booth reaches the conclusion that the destitute army is 3,000,000 strong. Hie says, according to ‘Lord Brabazon and Mr. Samuel Smith, “ between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 of our population are always pauperized and degraded.” Mr. Chamberlain says there is a “population equal to that of the metropolis” - that is, between 4,000,000 and 5,000,000, “which has remained constantly in a state of abject destitution and misery.” Mr. Giffen is more moderate. The submerged class, according to him, comprises one in five of manual labourers, six in 100 of the 35 f population. Mr. Giffen does not add the third 1,000,000 which is living on the border line. Between Mr. Chamberlain’s 4,500,000 and Mr. Giffen’s 1,800,000, I am content to take 3,000,000 as representing the total strength of the destitute army.
That is very painful reading, but the worst thing about it is that it is absolutely true. Some years ago a Royal commission was appointed to inquire into the conditions of labour in Great Britain, and on page 382 of the work from which I am quoting, I find this statement as to the results of their investigations -
The most trustworthy and authentic evidence of thedeplorable condition of the masses offthe English. people is found in the final report of the Royal Commsssion on” Labour, which was made to Parliament injune, 1894, after a most searching and thorough investigation, extending over a period of more than two years. The official character of the statements contained in the report, together with the fact that they were based upon evidence- presented before the commission of numerous, witnesses consisting of Government experts,, officials, and individuals who had made a special study of the condition of the masses, confirms, the Largest estimates hitherto made by individuals. . . .
Mr. William Abraham, Mr. Michael Austin,. Mr. James Mawdsley, and Mr. Tom Mann, members of the Royal Commission on Labour, in their minority Report to Parliament, dated June, 1S94, in describing the condition of the working classes as disclosed by the evidence presented before the commission, said -
Notwithstanding a great increase in national wealth, whole sections of the population, comprising, as we believe, at least 5,000,000, are unable to obtain a subsistence compatible with health or efficiency. Probably 2,000,000 are every year- driven to accept Poor Law relief in one form oranother. In London, the wealthiest and most productive city of the world, we learn from Mr. Charles Booth’s researches that 32 per cent, of ‘ the total population falls below the “Poverty Line “ - that guinea per week of regular earnings . below which no family can live in decency and health. And when we find that in certain districts of the metropolis one-half and even threefifths of the entire population fall below that minimum, and that this state of things arises from no exceptional distress, but represents the out-, come of 50 years of steady improvement, we cannot but regard the situation as calling for the gravest consideration of the Government. Nor is this destitution confined to unskilled or speciallydegraded classes of workers. Even in those grades in which labour is better paid, the statistics of the Labour department show that a large number of competent mechanics are at all times out of employment, whilst in periods of trade depression many thousands of men are in the same condition. . . .
– If there has been a “ steady improvement,” what were things like under protection 1
– I intend to show presently that the condition of the workers in protected America compares very favorably with that of the workers of Great Britain. Perhaps in no country in the world is there such a widespread diffusion of wealth as in the United States, and so limited a diffusion of wealth as in Great Britain. To show the wretched accommodation in which many of those belonging to the working classes of Great Britain have to live, I quote from page 3S3 of my authority - .
And if we turn from the occupations of the workers to the homes in which they live, the state of things appears to us equally unsatisfactory. We do not here refer so much to the insanitury state of the slums us to the actual amount of house accommodation which each family obtains. Nearly two and a half millions of persons in England and Wales alone live in tenements which the Registrar-General declares to be overcrowded. The statistics of the census, and those of Mr. Charles Booth, indicate that probably from 20 to 33 per cent, of the whole population of some of our largest towns dwell in one-room homes. In London alone, we infer that a quarter of a million persons, including probably 100,000 children, must be living under the conditions which are implied by the occupation by a whole family of a single small room for all the purposes of domestic life. The percentage of one-room homes in Glasgow, Kilmarnock., and. other Scotch towns is even greater, whilst of English towns the Registrar-General reports that Gateshead, Newcastle, Sunderland, Plymouth, Halifax, Bradford, and Huddersfield all showed a higher percentage of overcrowding than London as a whole. In many districts of Ireland the conditions are equally bad. Nor are the evils of bad housing confined to the towns. The reports of the assistant commissioners on the agricultural population reveal in nearly all the districts a terrible deficiency of house accommodation, even for the at present diminishing population of the countryside.
This is, as far as the rural part, indeed the whole of Ireland, is concerned.
– Yet New York is more overcrowded than is London.
– I have been in New York, many times in London, time and again in Glasgow, and many of the towns there named, but I have never seen anything approaching to such a terrible state of slum life in New York, although I admit that some parts of thatcity are bad. On the question of agriculture it may be well to mention additional proof from the report of Sir John E. Gorst. To show the permanent condition of labourers in this department he said at page 383 -
The depressed condition of the actual tiller of the soil in most parts of the United Kingdom I appears to me to re-act in a very pernicious way upon the wages and general conditions of labour of the whole body of the less skilled workers. The insufficient wages of the agricultural labourer, his long and monotonous hours of toil, the dilapidated dwelling in which he is too often housed, the absence of leisure, and all interest in his life, the difficulties’ (only now in process of removal) of obtaining the use of hind for his own cultivation, and the prospect of the workhouse as the ultimate destiny of his old age, all combine to induce the younger generation to denounce the vocation of their fathers and to migrate into the towns, where they displace the older and less efficient workers in industries already overcrowded.
Those are the conditions which are driving people from agriculture. They are driving them into the towns, to compete unfairly and sometimes unduly with those who are working for a miserable pittance at precarious occupations. The concluding part of this report deserves some little consideration, coming as it did from nien who have token an interest in industrial and social questions for many long years. The commissioners say*-
Finally, we have the fact that of all who survive to the age of 70, one out of every three is believed to be in receipt of poor relief. In London one death in every six takes place in the workhouse or workhouse infirmary. In some rural districts it has been said that nearly every aged agricultural labourer is a pauper. We have been unable to ascertain the actual number of pauper funerals, but we believe that it would be found that throughout the whole kingdom one person out of every four or five is buried by the parish.
That is the condition of the labourer.
– What is the good of an assertion like “ we believe “ 1
– I think my honorable friend will hardly call in question the statements made by men like Tom Mann and others who have studied these questions for a life-time, and made on sworn testimony, too.
– Why did they not give the testimony ?
– They gave the evidence which was tendered, and if they put it in a mild form like that, it, in my judgment, makes it all the more reliable. Summing up the case against free-trade, the author of the book to which I referred says, on page 3S4 -
Never was such an indictment framed against an economic policy. A similar condition of the working classes is not to be found in. any civilized country on the face of the globe. Were the foregoing statements contained in reports of the United States consuls, or in letters written by the most trustworthy and candid protectionists, they would be denounced and discredited by every professional free-trader in the world. But coming as they do from an official report to the British Parliament, from men who were held in such high esteem by the Government as to appear worthy of executing such an important trust, they cannot he questioned. The report is above impeachment. The facts set forth are more appalling because they are true. ‘ ‘ Throughout the whole kingdom one person out of every four or five is buried by the parish.” What a fact to contemplate! “ Of all who survive to the age of 70, one out of every three” is a pauper. Death at middle life is better than old age, yet even then a paupers grave is the lot of one out of five. No amount of accumulated wealth centred in the hands of a few can compensate a nation for such a condition of the masses. A vast commerce, innumerableships visiting every harbor in the world, are dumb and speechless as expressions of national growth and prosperity, when the harbors from which they are sent, and the country whose flag flies at their masthead, arc festering with destitution and despair. The loud boastings of the champions of a policy, under which such conditions exist cannot long drown the voice of multitudes pleading for work. No false statistics, no amount of jugglery or of legerdemain, with alleged “economic truths,” can cover upor explain away the undeniable evidence of the terrible effects of the policy of free-trade upon the social and industrial life of the English people. This is the result of nearly fifty years of an economic policy which was put out by Mr. Cobden and his associates as a “cure-all” - a system which, before it became tested by actual experience, received the approval and indorsement of many able and conscientious political economists. Sustained at first by assumptions, prophecies, and speculations, it has been condemned and exposed by a fair trial. Originally false in theory, it has been equally infamous in its results. Had it not been for the patriotism, wisdom, and humanity of the people of other nations this economic devil-fish would have fastened its tentacles upon all nations, and dragged the whole world into its pool. It has reduced to degradation and misery the wageearners of the greatest commercial nation on the globe, and bound them to a condition of servitude in some respects worse than chattel slavery.
I entirely agree with every word in that summary of the case against free-trade. One unfortunate part of the business is that it comes from the country to which most of us are proud to belong. I, and I am sure that I speak for a considerable number of people, am ashamed that such a condition of things should exist in the country from which we have come.
– The very same condition exists in New York.
– My honorable friend cannot find such a condition of things in New York, Chicago, or other towns in the United States.
– I shall prove it.
– I shall be only too glad to hear the information which the honorable senator may produce. I am not taking New York, but a country under the baneful influence of a blind policy. I shall take the results under the influence of another policy. I will now refer briefly to the condition of things in the country in which I was born - Ireland. The author of Protection and Prosperity says, at page 372-
A review of the commercial policy of Great Britain would not be complete without a special reference to the injuries which were inflicted on the trade and commerce of Ireland during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the effect of the policy of free-trade on manufacturing and agriculture since its union with England. The antagonisms which have existed between the two countries through so many centuries have not been confined wholly to questions affecting religious and political rights. The energy and enterprise which manifested itself in the Irish people soon aroused the jealousy of the commercial classes of Great Britain.
This I regret -
As early as the seventeenth century they engaged in manufacturing, making cotton, woollen, and other fabrics, built ships, and were increasing their foreign trade. In order to obstruct and restrict their commercial enterprises, to prevent them from sharing foreign markets, laws were enacted in 1665 and 1680, which prohibited the Irish people from exporting cattle, sheep, swine, beef, pork, and mutton. Through this legislation one of the chief sources of their prosperity was utterly annihilated. In 1696, by navigation laws, the carrying trade was confined to British ships, which drove nearly every Irish sailing vessel from the sea. In 1669 the export of manufactured articles was prohibited. This closed woollen mills, threw out of employment 30,000 people, and reduced 12,000 families to a state of destitution. “So ended,” says Lecky, “ the fairest promise Ireland ever had of becoming a happy and prosperous country.” It would not be within the province of this work to trace the history of those events which led to the independence of the Irish people, which was achieved in 1782 under the leadership of Henry Grattan and others. During the short period of selfgovernment which followed, the development of industries was stimulated and fostered by a system of protective legislation.
That is the point I wish to get at. I question whether a parallel can be found for the magnificent prosperity that Ireland en joyed during that short period of eight years under her protective laws.
The prospects and hopes of this unfortunate people were again blasted, when, in theyear 1800, a union was effected with England, andall local self-government taken away. Thecom mercial features of the Act of union wereof the highest importance. Import duties on woollen goods and several other articles werecontinued for a period of twenty years on calicoes and muslins until 1 808, reductions were to be gradually made to reach 10 per cent. in 1816, and to disappear in 1821. Cotton yarn and cotton twist were similarly treated. Protection to the linen industry lasted until 1826, when it was withdrawn.
The following brief summary of the effect of such legislation was given by Sir John Barnard Byles : -
In 1800 they had in Ireland 01 master woollen manufacturers, employing 4,918 hands. In 1840, the master manufacturers were 12, the hands 002.
Master woolcombers in 1800 were 30, the hands 230. In 1834, masters 5, hands 66.
Carpet manufacturers in 1800 - masters 13, hands 720. In 1841 - masters 1, hands 10.
That is to say, the primary industries on which our good friends lay such great stress.
Blanket manufacturers in Kilkenny in 1800 - masters 56, hands 3,000. In 1822 - masters 42, hands 925.
Flannel looms in the county of Wicklow in 1800-1,000; in 1841, not one.
In the city of Cork -
Cotton spinners, bleachers, calico printers - thousands employed ; utterly extinct.
The linen trade, protected and fostered until 1826, was not in those days confined to the North of Ireland. In Clonakilty, in the count of Cork, £1,200 a week was expended on the purchase of coarse linen webs so late as 1825. In Mayo, £111,000 was expended in purchasing the same species of web. In 1825 the sum of £2,500,000 sterling was expended in Ireland in the purchase of coarse, unbleached, home-made webs.
The small establishments of Ireland, unable to withstand the excessive competition of those powerful British masters, were closed, and agriculture again became practically the sole occupation of the people. This was urged by Englishmen to be a change which would result in great benefits to the Irish, as they could buy their clothing, implements, &c, much cheaper than they could be made at home, and a trade profitable to both countries could be carried on by exchanging Irish farm produce for British manufactures.
These were the inducements which were held out to the Irish people to surrender their manufactures. I am quite satisfied thatif Senator Pearce takes the trouble to consult history he will find no parallel to theenormous progress made by Ireland duringthe eight years when she enjoyed the benefitsarising from a protective policy. Butnosooner did the people confine their attention to the primary industries than a free-trade policy was adopted, which injured them to an alarming extent. In this connexion the writer says -
But scarcely had the Irish people settled down exclusively to rural pursuits when, in 1846, the repeal of the Corn Laws inflicted a more severe injury upon the country than it had sustained through the loss of the manufactures. It threw the ports of Ireland open to the free admission of the farm products of all countries, and brought them into direct competition with the wheatgrowers of the fertile regions of America. At the time of the repeal of the Corn Laws, and during the few years preceding that event, what the English people lacked they were buying largely in Ireland. British imports of grain from this source in 1845 amounted to 3,225,000 quarters. To this were added cattle, sheep, swine, &c, which swelled the total purchases from Ireland to £17,000,000. This market for Irish produce was not only destroyed by the adoption of free-trade, but the Irish people themselves became importers of those breadstuff’s which hitherto had been produced at home. Although the economic condition of the peasant was deplorable on account of the evils of the land system, the farming interests of the country had kept pace with the constantly increasing population, which rose from 5,216,000 in . 1801, to 8,175,000 in 1841. Since the adoption of freetrade their manufactures have been ruined, and competing agricultural imports have so increased that, at the present time, the Irish people are annually buying from other countries 33,000,000 bushels of grain to feed the population which, as appears by the census of 1891, is reduced to 4,704,000 persons”. Although a system of tyranny, which has denied to the Irish people the right of self-government and kept the agricultural population in a condition of poverty and degradation, has driven many into exile, yet freetrade has largely contributed to the destitution and misery of the people and to that excessive emigration whichhas occurred. If the British Government had set about designedly to destroy a political rival, it could have adopted no surer means of accomplishing such an end than the commercial policy to which it has compelled the Irish people to submit since the union was effected.
That is the condition of the Irish people. As her manufactures were destroyed, so also her shipping was destroyed, and when, by reason of the policy adopted by Great Britain, the people were driven to engage exclusively in agricultural pursuits, a freetrade policy became operative, and brought the country to the unhappy position which she occupies to-day. Viewing the whole situation dispassionately and calmly, I ask where is the evidence of Great Britain’s magnificent prosperity, to which allusion has been made? I repeat that in that country an amount of pauperism prevails for which it is impossible to find a parallel in any other part of the world. It is true that in Ireland there is one industry which flourishes. This industry was referred to by Mr. John Brennan, in a speech which he delivered in New York, on the 14th May, 1890. On that occasion he said -
The cotton manufacture of Dublin, which employed 14,000 operatives, has been destroyed ; the stuff and serge manufactures, which employed 1,490 operatives, have been destroyed ; the calico looms of Balbriggan have been destroyed ; the flannel manufacture of Rathdrum has been destroyed ; the blanket manufacture of Kilkenny has been destroyed ; the camlet trade of Bandon, which produced £100,000 a year, has been destroyed ; the rateen and frieze manufactures of Carrick-on-Suir have been destroyed. One business alone thrives and flourishes and dreads no bankruptcy. That fortunate business which the Union Act stood by, which the absentees’ drain has not slackened, but has stimulated, which the Drainage Acts and Navigation Acts of the Imperial Senate have not deadened but invigorated - that favoured and privileged and patronized business is the Irish coffin-makers.
Honorable senators have been told something about the progress of agriculture in some of the protectionist countries of the world, and particularly in America. On page 631 of the work, to which I have previously alluded, I find that in 1860 there were 1,311,246 hands employed in various branches of manufacture in that country, whilst in 1890 there were 4,712,622 hands thus employed - an increase of 259 per cent. Then again, Great Britain used to be the great iron-producing country of the world. In 1860, America produced only 183,080 tons of iron, whilst in 1890, her output was 1,885,307 tons - an increase of 930 percent. I commend these statements to my free-trade friends opposite. Similarly, the value of wool manufactures in America was 68,865,963 dollars in I860, whilst in 1890 it was 338,231,109 dollarsan increase of 391 per cent. The value of cotton manufactures in 1860 represented 115,681,774 dollars, whilst in 1890 it was 267,981,724 dollars - an increase of 132 per cent. The chemicals produced in the United States in I860 were valued at 4,705,741 dollars, whilst in 1890 they represented 59,352,548 dollars - an increase of 1,161 per cent. Protected America has advanced in the production of every article in regard to which Great Britain has retrogressed. The strides made by the agricultural industry in America have been enormous. For example, in 1850 the total farm values in America represented £604,315,085, whilst in 1890 they had reached £2,655,850,529. Similarly the value of the total agricultural products in 1850 was £265,338,265, whereas in 1890 it had advanced to £492,021,490. This represents an enormous increase. Thus, whilst Great Britain has doubled backward America has doubled forward. Let me refer to a few other items. I find that in 1870 America produced 287,745,626 bushels of wheat, whilst in 1880 the aggregate production was 459,483,137 bushels - an increase of 59 per cent. In the production of oats there was an increase of 44 per cent., and in regard to potatoes - which, by the way, are called “ Irish potatoes” in the book from which I am quoting - there was an increase of 182 per cent. The writer says -
The foregoing tables, with the accompanying explanations of General Walker, give a comprehensive view of the American agriculturists’ progress during the last 50 years, while during the same period the English agriculturist, under free-trade, has been steadily going from bad to worse, until he is hardly a factor in the industrial life of Great Britain. The table shows decided gains in every feature of farm life. While the total value of products shows an increase from 1850 to 1890 of less than . 100 per cent. , it must be remembered that there has been a great change in prices of all commodities both agricultural and manufacturing. The table shows clearly, however, the increase in quantities of the various products of the farm, and although prices have fallen in agricultural products, or what the farmer sells, they have fallen by a far greater margin in manufactures, or what the farmer buys, making his net gain a most substantial one.
So much for agriculture and for manufactures in America. A comparison of the wages paid in the United States with those earnedby workmen in the United Kingdom shows that bricklayers in America are paid at the rate of £4 8s. per week, whilst those in Great Britain receive £111s. ; that masons in America receive £4 4s. per week, and in Great Britain, £1 11s.; carpenters in America are paid £31s.01/2d., and in Great Britain, £1 10s. 10d.: blacksmiths in America receive £2 8s. per week, and in Great Britain, £1 9s. 6d. ; brassfounders in America are paid £2 10s.1d., and in Great Britain, £1 10s. 41/2d.; cabinet-makers in America receive £2 14s., and in Great Britain, £1 8s. 7d.; wheelwrights in America are paid £2 16s., and in Great Britain, £1 8s. l1/2d.:and that saddlers in America receive £2 6s.1d., and in Great Britain, £1 6s. 81/2d. Now let us see how Germany has prospered under protection. Speaking of the condition of affairs in Germany under free-trade, the author of
Protection and Prosperity, pages 418 and 419, says : -
As soon as the period of speculation had passed away - - He is there referring, of course, to the speculation following upon the pouring into Germany of the enormous sums of money derived from France as an indemnity after the close of the Franco-Prussian war - and the trade of the country assumed its normal condition, the disastrous effect of free competition and open ports began to be -felt. The various industries of the country were checked in their expansion by foreign competition, and the people were brought face to face with the practical working of the Manchester policy. Theconditions which prevailed, and the first steps taken by Bismarck toward a return to protection, are very concisely stated by Mr. Dawson, as follows : -
Hard Times. - Failure followed failure. Factories were stopped, warehouses were closed, and industrial fortunes, built up slowly by the accumulation of hard-earned profits, disappeared like the snow beneath the sun. Labour fared even worse than capital. The wages which had risen so rapidly fell with a shock, where, through the cessation of employment, they were entirely lost to the toiler’s family. Agriculture, too, had long been suffering severely. Prices had fallen while taxation had risen. In many parts corn could no longer be grown at a profit on account of the enormous imports of foreign grain, and the area under cultivation had considerably decreased. The imports of rye, barley, and oats over the Russo-Prussian frontier, or by the Baltic Sea, had doubled in two years as follows : -
Then Bismarck had to step in. He said : -
During the first fifteen years of my ministerial activity 1 was absorbed by foreign politics, and I did not feel called upon to trouble myself much with the internal politics of the Empire, nor had I the requisite time. I took it for granted that the internal affairs were in good hands. Afterward, when I lost the help which I had thought reliable, I was compelled to look into matters myself, and I found that though I had up to then sworn in verba, magistri, the actual results did not come, up to the expectations which underlay our legislation. I had the impression that since the introduction of the free-trade system in 1865, we fell into atrophy, which was only checked for a time by the new blood of the five milliard contribution, and that it was necessary to adopt a remedy.
Then the author, at page 424, speaking of the need of protection in Germany, and of the attitude assumed by Bismarck says : -
At present there were too many direct and too few indirect taxes, and he aimed at reversing this order. The Prince contended that civil servants should not have to pay the income tax. Another mistake was the distinction made between movable and immovable property. No branch of industry was so highly taxed as agriculture, and the present indirect taxation did not give native labour the protection which it ought to have. He would not enter into the question of free-trade versus protection, but one thing was clear, that through the widely opened doors of its import trade, the German market had become the mere storage-space for the overproduction of other countries. They must, therefore, shut their gates, and take care that the German market, which was now being monopolized by foreign wares, should be reserved for native industry. Countries which were enclosed had become great, and those which had remained open had fallen behind. Were the perils of protection really so great as sometimes painted, France would long ago have been ruined, instead of which she was more prosperous after paying the five milliards than Germany is to-day. And protectionist Russia, too- look at her marvellous prosperity ! Manufacturers there had lately been able tosave from 30 to 35 per cent. , and all at the cost of the German market. The question before them was not a political but a financial one, and they should put all personal sensibility aside. “Let us close our doors, and erect somewhat higher barriers,” said the Chancellor, “ and let us thus take care to preserve at least the German market to German industry.”
At a later stage, speaking of the triumph of protection, the writer says -
The free-trade forces were completely routed. They had met an intellectual giant, one who could expose all of their dogmas, and set the misguided members of the Reichstag aright. The brief experience of the German people with the policy of free-trade had afforded examples which proved the error that had been committed in 1877 by the free-trade Minister in abandoning the time-honoured policy under which Germany had grown great, and the” foundation had been laid for erecting the mightiest Empire in Central Europe. The Bill passed the Reichstag on 7th July, 1879, by a vote of 217 for, and 117 against.
Then he proceeds to refer to the improvement of trade and industry in Germany under protection as follows : -
In 1881, when protective duties were further increased, Bismarck told the Reichstag that “in the development of our Tariff I am determined to oppose any modification in the direction of free-trade, and to use my influence in favour of greater protective and of a higher revenue from frontier duties. “ In 1885, when the Chancellor moved a still further increase of duties and extension of his policy, he was able to point to definite results which had followed the return to protection, in the revival of business and the growth and expansion of industries which were taking place. Referring to the polio)’ of protection, he said - “ It has freed the country from its poverty of blood.” The exports of manufactured articles had increased from £51, 325,000 in 1878 to £68,415,000 in 1880, or 33 per cent. Wages and profits had materially increased. By a report of the German iron and steel manufactures, representing 247 works, it appeared that the number of artisans employed had increased 35 per cent, in 1884 over 1879’.
– What is the position now, as the result 1
– I shall leave the honorable senator to show that.
– The honorable senator does not wish to touch on that point.
– So far as the German Empire is concerned she has certainlymade immense progress under protection, and is now in a much better position than she occupied under free-trade.
– What is the position of her working classes ?
– A great deal better than it was 40 years ago.
– Now, take the case of Canada, which is referred to by the same authority on pages 533-5, as follows: -
It was not till 1858 that a Tariff law was enacted in the interest of protection. In that year a duty of 20 per cent, on general merchandise was levied, and 25 per cent, on manufactures of leather, boots, and shoes, harness, saddlery, and certain wearing apparel. In the following year duties were raised on many goods which were classified under Customs rates of 100, 40, 35, 30, 25, 15, and 10 per cent. In 1866-67 the duties of 1858-59 were lowered, and in 1874 the Tariff consisted almost wholly of duties for revenue only. The Act of March, 1879, was really the first Canadian Tariff that gave thorough protection to home industries. The beneficial results were not only immediate, but most significant. The Finance Minister, in his Budget speech of the 24th of February, 1882, three years after the adoption of protection, called attention to the fact that while- there had been n deficit during the five years preceding the Act of 1879, of £.1,098,251, in the two years following the Act there was collected £580,000 more than was necessary for expenditure.
I wish Senator Matheson to pay particular attention to the way in which Canada has prospered under protection. The Finance Minister said -
That was the surplus for the two years, and having been used in the reduction of the debt, diminished our taxation for all time to come. . When I was asked by an honorable member opposite, in 1879, what demand the Government expected to create for Nova Scotia coal by the operation of the Tariff, I stated that probably within a short time the consumption of Nova Scotia coal in the Dominion of Canada would increase to the extent of 4,000,000 tons. I did not suppose, Mr. Speaker, sanguine as I was with reference- to the effect of this Tariff, that in three years, by the increased demand for steam power, it would make a demand which would require over 4,000,000 to meet it, but we find that these industries have been growing up all over the country to such an extent that it has required more than 4,000,000 tons more from the Nova Scotia mines, and has also caused a largely increased amount to be imported from the United States us well.
We are very often told that even though under protection wages are a little higher, prices for the various articles also go up. But that does not follow. Internal competition in most instances regulatesprices. That has been found to be the case in Canada and elsewhere, where prices have decreased whilst wages have increased. This writer continues -
He then described the increase of manufacturing for the three years, showing that in the cotton, leather, and woollen manufactures alone the increase hud amounted to £1,100,000 ; that there was an increase of 17 per cent, in the number of employes, and while in 135 factories out of 430 visited, wages remained the same, yet instead of working on short time the labourers were now working full time, while in 277 factories wages had been increased from 8 to 35 per cent. “The rate of wages,” said he, “ has been generally increased throughout the Dominion. “
The author also says -
Referring to the question of prices, he showed conclusively that cotton and woollens had not advanced in price, but, on the contrary, had in numerous cases fallen in price since 1878. Canadian free-traders, like those of the United States in 1892, tried to circulate the idea of so-called “McKinley prices.” They told the farmer that out of the nine or twelve yards of dress goods bought for his wife, three or four yards would have to be sent to Ottawa. But the farmer’s wife on opening the package found the Whole number of yards bought, and at a lower price than had been paid for the same goods under free- trade. In hats and caps the same result was proven, a larger production, increased employment, and lower-prices to the consumer, “ But,” said the Canadian, “ if wages are higher, how can prices be lower ?” To this the Minister replied by quoting a manufacturer whom he had asked the same question : - “ The fact is we used to have to spend a large sum in employing runners to go through the country to make sales, but now we have doubled our production, have orders ahead, our expenses of management have not increased, we can sell at smaller profits than we could before, and yet, in consequence of the increased production, we have larger profits at the end of the year.”
Then the same writer proceeds to say -
The Minister of Finance then showed the decreased price of various other articles. Ploughs were selling at 15 per cent. less than in 1878 ; all agricultural implements from 5 to 20 pel- cent, less, and the business had increased four-fold in the three years. Sewing machines were reduced in price by ten dollars, and the business trebled. Boots and shoes were cheaper, and the price of factory labour higher. Nails were lower, and so were countings other articles of necessity and daily use. In the few cases where prices remained the same, or had advanced a trifle, the compensation of higher wages was more than equivalent. Especially was the condition of the farmer improved. Everything he had to buy, whether of clothing or implements, was lower, while his market was increased, in some instances, faster than he could supply it.
That is the experience of the two policies in a country which has tried both. Then the writer goes on to speak of the general prosperity of Canada. He says -
It was shown that there were at least 100,000 more employed people to be fed in 1882 than in 1870. The people had plenty of money to buy the farmers’ produce, and they got their own prices instead of standing around the markets all day, as they did in 1870, sometimes taking back home the vegetables they could get no price at all for. Ten million bushels more of Canadian grain were consumed in Ca,nada,in the first two years of protection than in the last two years of free-trade. But the benefits of protection in Canada at the outset of the national policy, as it was called, were not confined to individuals. In 1878 the securities of New South Wales were the highest colonial securities in the English market, and were 4 or 5 per cent, above Canadian. Two years after protection had been adopted, Canadian 4 per cents, had increased from S!) to 104, and were 1 percent, above those of New South Wales. In another yean they had increased to 2 per cent, above New South Wales, and stood higher than anY other colonial security offered in the English market. Bank stock was worth £4,000,000 more in 1882 than in 1879. The labourer was getting higher wages, and the manufacturer was making more profits, the farmer had a demand at high prices for all his produce, the merchant had doubled his business, and the Government credit and finances were.in a most satisfactory condition.
That is under protection as compared with free-trade. The Finance Minister of Canada, in concluding the speech from which I have already quoted, said -
Adding the manufactures from the various factories that are sending their products all over the Dominion, it will be found that the railway proprietors have a large interest in this new policy. Every interest in the country has been largely and materially benefited. This policy, supplemented by our legislation securing the rapid construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, has combined to place us in the enviable position we now occupy - the best position of any people on the face of the earth.
That is Canada under protection, as compared with her condition under free-trade. In every department of life - agriculture, manufactures, finance - Canada is in an infinitely better position under protection. I should like briefly to refer to a comparison between two adjoining Australian States. I refer to New South Wales and Victoria. I make this comparison out of no spirit of hostility to one State or the other. W e have been told again and again of the prosperity of New South
Wales, and it has been said that that prosperity arises in consequence of the freetrade policy pursued during the last few years. But, taking the public debt of New South Wales, I find that her public indebtedness is considerably higher than that of the protectionist State of Victoria. According to Cog/dan the public debt of New South Wales in the year 1S99-1900 amounted to £4S per head of the population, whilst the debt of Victoria amounted to only £42 4s. 6d. New South Wales has a far larger territory and a greater population than Victoria, and she also possesses great natural conveniences. She has one of the finest natural harbors in the world, whilst Victoria has had to spend a considerable amount of money in making her harbor. Moreover, New South Wales is blessed with an abundant supply of coal at a cheap figure, whilst Victoria has had to ‘purchase her coal supplies at a high rate for many years, and only during the last few years has had a few small coal-mines of her own. Yet, in spite of these natural advantages, New South Wales is far worse off in respect of indebtedness than Victoria. Let us take the savings of the people of the two States. . In Victoria nearly one person in every 1 three has a credit balance in the savings banks ; but there is no such prosperity as reflected in savings banks returns in the case of New South Wales. Referring to Coghlan again, the following figures show the average amount of deposits per head of population, and the average number of depositors per 100 of the population, for the year 1 S99-1900. New South Wales has an average amount per head of £7 8s. 5d., whilst the depositors per 100 of the population amount to nineteen. Victoria, however, has £7 ‘ 16s. deposited per head of the population, whilst the depositors per 100 number 32. Take, again, the number of people employed in factories in Victoria as compared with New South Wales. There were no less than 60,071 workers employed in Victoria in the year 1899. Out of that number there are 34,461 employed in industries the production from which comes into competition with imported goods from every country in the world. In New South Wales there were 55,646 persons engaged in factories, and there were only 22,522 who found employment in connexion with industries the products from which come into competition with imported goods. So that, as a matter of fact, the number of persons employed in protective Victoria, the amount of savings, the credit balances, and the diffusion of wealth were far more favorable than was the case in free-trade New South Wales, although, as I have already remarked, the latter State possesses advantages in the way of a fine harbor, a large coal supply, and a larger population than that with which Victoria is favoured. In making these comparisons, I wish it to be clearly understood that I have not the slightest feeling in my mind with regard to one State or the other. Of course I favour protection rather than free-trade as a policy, and I say that the balance of evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that protection rather than freetrade is the proper policy for us to adopt. We shall be asked to lower our Tariff so as to make it one merely for revenue purposes. I do not want to see the Tariff framed in such a way that the industries which exist will have a very poor opportunity of growing, and that others will have no chance of starting. I want to see the woollen industry of this State prosper, and the little woollen mill in my own State grow, and others established. But take the wages paid in England in the woollen industry as compared with those paid in Australia. All I can say is, in the face of the facts I am going to quote, that if the Tariff is framed in such a way as not to protect local industries, they will have little opportunity of remaining or of developing in face of the competition from abroad. In the woollen mills of Huddersfield, the operatives work 56 hours per week. The highest wages paid to teasers are 21s. per week; to fettlers, 24s. per week ; to spinners, 35s. per week ; and to machine warpers, who work the mules, 18s. per week. At the Ballarat mills, for example, for 48 instead of 56 hours’ work, teasers are paid £2 ls., in place of £1 ls. as in England : fettlers, 36s., in the place of 24s. ; spinners, £2 5s., in the place of 35s., working one loom here as compared with two; and machine warpers £2 5s., in the place of 188. Is it possible to keep to the high standard of wages, the reasonable hours, and other desirable conditions in Australia, when we have to compete with that class of labour in Great Britain ? Let us turn to the wages paid in Japan. There is no great amount of importation from that country at present; but, considering the enormous.progress which Japan is making in almost every branch of industry, we shall before long experience keen competition, unless, in the language of Bismarck, we “ close our gates.” I agree with Senator Pulsford that there has been a considerable increase in wages in Japan during the last two years, but the latest returns furnished are for 1898. We learn that carpenters were then paid for 12 hours’ work the handsome sum of ls. lid. per day; plasterers, ls. 1-Jd. ; stone-cutters, ls. 2>d. : sawyers, ls. 1-^d. ; joiners, ls. 0½d. ; coopers, 10£d. ; boot and shoemakers, ls. 0-hd. ; wheelwrights, ls. ; saddlers and harnessmakers, ls. 0½d. ; makers of European garments - singular to say - ,1s. 3£d. ; blacksmiths, ls. 0£d. ; makers of metal implements - and there are many iron workers in Melbourne - ls. Id. ; agricultural labourers, male 8-Jd., and female 5£d ; day labourers, 9id. ; and miners, ls. 0½d. per da) The last item may appeal to Senator Pearce, who does not believe in low wages, long hours, or bad conditions. . But how are these bad conditions to be provided against except by means of protection ?
– Do the Japanese export manufactures to Australia 1
– Only to a limited extent, I admit.
– Notwithstanding the cheap labour in Japan.
– But the industries of Japan are just beginning, and Senator Pearce must have observed the enormous development during the last few years.
– How does Senator Glassey propose to protect the agriculturist ?
– By preventing the cheap products of every country in the world coming in to compete against Australian products.
– But the agriculturist wants the commodities he requires as cheap as possible.
– Russia is another country in which wages are exceedingly low, and we see there enormous progress in manufactures under a protective system. Russia will send large quantities of all kinds of produce to Australia in the next few years at rates so low as to defy the competition of the people here, either on the land or in the factory, unless, to again use the language of Bismarck, we “ close our gates.” And Japan will very soon be a keen competitor in Australia in the production of boots and shoes, though, I am glad to say, the wages boards, under the law of Victoria, provide that proper remuneration shall be paid to our own workmen. In most of the trades which have come under the control of the boards, particularly in the boot trade, men are paid from £2 2s. to £2 8s. per week, and women from 20s. to 48s., though, I am sorry to say, not many women receive the higher rate. Senator O’Connor described the Tariff as a fair compromise. In my opinion, the Tariff as a whole, does not merit that description, though there may have been fair compromise in certain respects. For instance, the duty on wool,andparticularly on woollen cloth, ought to be much higher if our own mills are to prosper and extend. Then there is iron, on which, even in New South “Wales, there was at one time a duty ; and I hope that the required protection may be given in some other way.
– T - There is no duty on galvanized iron.
– Another instance is the removal of the tea duty. I have no desire to impose unnecessary burdens on the great mass of the people ; on the contrary, I should like to see the poor man relieved as much as possible, and protected in his work and his wages. At the same time I think the 3d. a lb. on tea, as originally proposed, was a fair duty. No doubt the duty of 6d. per lb., previously imposed in Queensland, was too high. In the North of England I had nine years’ experience as a travelling agent,of selling tea wholesale ; and I say distinctly and emphatically that there could be no greater folly than to remove the whole of the duty. It will lead to our markets being flooded with cheap rubbish, and it will be the merchants and not the public who will reap the benefit of the free importation. I yield to no man in my desire to promote the best interests of the wage-earners in the various industries of Australia, but, beyond doubt, the results which I have indicated will follow the removal of the tea duty. There will be no inspection worthy of the name.
– What about the inspection provision of the Customs Act ?
– There will be no inspection worthy of the name unless the Customs authorities are empowered to collect duty. With absolutely free importation there is not the same inducement to properly inspect as there is with a reasonable duty ; and I regard the original proposal of the
Government as a fair compromise between the 6d. per lb. levied in Queensland and free admission. I ask honorable senators, in the interests particularly of the consumer, who should have a pure article at a reasonable price, to assist in restoring the duty of 3d. per lb., with a Id. per lb. extra on packet tea. In Queensland the duty meant8d. per lb. on packet tea, and this resulted in the employment of a considerable number of persons. So surely as the duties are entirely removed will there be, in thecase of packet tea, many people deprived of their means of livelihood, and I am sure that is not the intention of honorable senators who favour free-trade. I urge the restoration of the duty, first, with the object of obtaining purity, secondly, to insure rigid inspection, and, thirdly, in order that more revenue may be returned to the smaller States, Queensland particularly, which are in a desperate financial condition.
– Why does the honorable senator assume that no inspection will take place?
– It is as certain as life that, without a duty, there will not be the same amount of vigilance displayed at the Custom-house.
– That is perfectly true.
– S - Senator Glassey has forgotten that there are special provisions in the Customs Act making it compulsory to have an expert who must examine all tea imported.
– But those provisions will not be enforced so rigidly unless a duty be levied. For the reasons I have given, I hope to receive the assistance of the Senate in an endeavour . to restore the duty of 3d. per lb. on tea. A duty of 6d. per gallon on kerosene, which was the old Queensland duty, is too much, but, considering the financial position of some of the States, a duty of 3d. might very well be imposed. Senator O’Connor, when introducing the Tariff, showed that the shortage of revenue in Queensland, based on the returns for the year 1900, would be £280,006. In that State there has been a loss of revenue through the abolition of the intercolonial duties which was estimated by Sir George Turner at £1 14,009. Furthermore, Queensland’s proportionate share of. the new expenditure of the Commonwealth will be about £30,000. If those amounts are added together it will be’ seen that the total loss amounts, to £454,075.
– Has Queensland a land tax ?
– Only for local’ government purposes. I admit that the time has come when Queensland should change her system of taxation to get more revenue. Never before in the history of that State have we been in- such a deplorable financial condition, and, that being so, I shall certainly vote to make the duty upon tea 3d. per lb., and to impose a duty of 3d. per gallon upon kerosene. . I trust that honorable senators will endeavour, in dealing with this Tariff, not to pull down, but to build up ; not to destroy, but to protect, and to adjust taxation in such a manner as to, as far as possible, preserve the financial equilibrium of the States. I hope that they will show regard to the interests of chose who are connected with our various industries, both agricultural and manufacturing. It has been- stated that the Tariff is to be remodelled in such a way as to relieve the poor of the community. But to reduce duties on. some articles will not relieve the poor. Such reductions are in the interest, not of the workers, but of the merchants, the traders, and the shippers, and will prevent those engaged in our various industries from continuing their work with profit and satisfaction, and maintaining the high standard of living which the people of Australia have reached, and which I trust they will improve upon as the years go by. It is moonshine to speak of a low Tariff as protection to industries. The United States of America have imposed low duties upon many occasions, but they have always had afterwards to adopt high duties. The experience of Canada has been the same. If Australia is to make the progress of which we all believe her to be capable, it will be only by protecting her industries in such a way as will enable those employed in them to obtain good wages, reasonable hours, and fair conditions. I want noi only to exclude the black man and the yellow man, but to exclude the productions of such people. We have already decided upon the policy of a white Australia, and, to be consistent, we must exclude the productions of those whom we consider undesirable immigrants. It is not long since a deputation front Western Australia waited upon the Prime Minister, pointing out that foreign labour had been introduced into that State under circumstances which militated against the interests of the workers there. We have made up our minds that cheap labour shall be excluded from the Commonwealth, and, that being so, it is manifestly unfair that the goods manufactured elsewhere by cheap labour should be allowed to come here to compete with our own productions, to the ruin of those engaged in our industries.
-‘ Aft After the very exhaustive addresses which we have had lately, I do not think honor.able senators would thank me if I went into the broad question of free-trade and protection. I wish to call their attention more particularly to the remarks of the VicePresident of the Executive Council. He stated that this is and must be a uniform Tariff; but I ask honorable senators if they consider it uniform in its incidence 1 Does it do justice to all the States ? I say that it does not, and I shall give some reasons for that opinion. The Vice-President of the Executive Council told us that the Tariff gives real and substantial protection to industrial and manufacturing industries, and that it is the policy of the Government to do that. But what provision is made for the loss of revenue which the smaller States will suffer by the increased consumption of locally made articles, and the consequent decreased importation. No provision is made for that at all.
– H - How can a Tariff be made uniform in any other way than by imposing the same rates of duty in each State? There cannot be a high duty in one State and a low duty in another.
– No ; but duties can be imposed which will provide revenue by not shutting out imports.
-T .-That has been done as far as possible.
– I do not think so. It is admitted by the Government that this is a protective Tariff, and, that being so, it will shut out imports, and thus reduce the revenue of the smaller States.
– T - The Tariff is divided into two parts, a protective part and a- revenue part. The revenue obtained from the protective duties will decrease as local production increases, but the returns from purely revenue duties will increase.
– The honorable and learned senator said in his speech last Friday week -
I hope that this Tariff will settle our revenue from customs for some considerable time, and having this in view, we ought to be very careful to make adequate provision to meet allour requirements, and to allow a sufficient margin for the reduction of revenue by local production, so that it may not be necessary, after passing a Tariff, to again open up the whole question and impose fresh duties.
I look forward with great desire to the time when the duties will be pooled, and the revenue distributed either per capita or according to the necessities of the States. The Tariff as now framed is chiefly protective in its incidence, and benefits almost solely the two large producing States.
– It benefits South Australia too.
– In the matter of salt.
– I do not like to speak on behalf of any particular State, because I thinkwe should take as broad a view of these matters as possible, but we are forced to consider the necessities of the smaller States.
– I thought that the honorable member wanted to reduce the Customs returns.
– I should like to reduce the rates, of duty and to increase the revenue. The Vice-President of the Executive Council told us that the policy of the Government is - “ To protect real and substantial industries.” Why should substantial industries be protected, especially when that is done for the benefit of the larger States at the expense of the smaller States. I think that Tasmania will have a bigger deficit than Senator Dobson estimates, though I hope that his estimate may prove correct. I am confident that in a few years’ time Tasmania will become the Belgium of the Commonwealth. She has large hikes, 2,000 feet above the level of the sea, and in this way she can obtain enormous water power, so that her manufactures and her mineral resources are likely in the future to make a wonderful advance. Still for the present we have to look forward to a decreasing revenue. I think that the remedy for this decreasing revenue is to strike off protective duties - duties that it is admitted will decrease the revenue. I should be in favour of reducing every 30 per cent, and 25 per cent, duty to, say, 15 per cent. Any industry that cannot carry on with 15 per cent, of incidental protection, together with a natural protection of 15 per cent., making a total of 30 per cent., can hardly be called a substantial one.
– Nearly all the Tasmanian fixed revenue duties were reduced 50 per cent, by the free-trade party in another place.
– Some of them were.
– Nearly all of them.
– I shall only take one instance, because I do not desire to go into too much detail. The 25 per cent, duty on apparel and attire is estimated to return to Tasmania for nine months revenue amounting to £12,445. The very next item on the Tariff is blankets, on which there is a duty of 15 per cent. During the same period, that duty will produce £5,500 revenue for Tasmania. It is clear, from the difference in the returns from these articles, that a very much larger revenue would accrue to the smaller States if the 25 per cent, duties were reduced to 15 per cent.
– T - The Tasmanian Tariff was 20 per cent.
– Yes; but, at that time, there was no free interchange between the States.
– That is the point.
– T - Thatoperates against the honorable senator.
– It makes it worse for his argument.
– No ; we are losing by the free interchange. The duty of 25 per cent, on apparel and attire is sufficient to keep out the imported article from Tasmania, and therefore the smaller States must obtain their supplies from the large manufacturing States. If we secure the slight reduction that I have named I think it is manifest that there will be no resultant loss to the working classes. If the industries are substantia], this comparatively slight reduction in the duties would affect only the wealthy manufacturers, some of whom own the finest residences in this city, and I believe that such a small concession would hardly be felt by them. The principle that I desire to lay down is that by adopting the course I have suggested a larger revenue will be given to the smaller States which require it. I would remind the Senate of the dictum of that great thinker, Thomas Carlyle, that when private interests interfere with public revenue it is a crime. I hold that there are many crimes of that character in this Tariff, and while the Government plead, as they have done, that it is a compromise Tariff, I can only say that I, for one, do not feel inclined to compromise a crime of that kind. I have a number of notes that I thought of putting before the Senate, but the same information has been given to such an extent already by other honorable senators that I do not propose to say anything further than that in committee I shall do_my best to remove from the Tariff those high duties, the imposition of which I consider to be a crime.
– ‘The cases for protection and free-trade have been so fully stated by the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition, and have been so exhaustively elaborated by subsequent speakers’ that I think it is unnecessary for me to speak at any great length. But I would appeal to honorable senators to look at this very important question from a broad Australian stand-point. I would ask them to look at it from the stand-point of what is best in the interests of Australia as a whole. There is a certain danger of honorable senators being unconsciously biased, and of their mental horizon being restricted somewhat to the bounds of this great city ; that, living in the’ protectionist atmosphere of Melbourne they may give greater attention to the affairs of this city than to those of the whole of Australia. As one speaker put it, their is a danger that their vision may be obscured by the smoke of the factories of South Melbourne and Collingwood, and that they may not look at the matter from the Australian stand-point. Protectionists and free-traders alike must admit that our great primary industries demand our chief care and attention in formulating a Tariff. We must all admit that the other industries, however important in themselves, are, after all, subsidiary and secondary to the great natural industries of the soil.
– How can a man dig for gold without a pick’1?
– He can import the picks, but he cannot import the gold. If, by any chance, those great natural industries suddenly ceased their production ; if our farms, pastoral holdings, vineyards and mines ceased to yield their products, every other industry would come to disaster. We must admit that we are all directly or indirectly dependent upon the great primary industries of Australia. It is absolutely necessary to have imports if we wish to continue our civilization and our progress, but we must remember that those imports are paid for by our exports. There is, however, a further call upon our exports, and that is for meeting the huge amount of interest which requires to be paid upon borrowed money. The Australian States have borrowed over £200,000,000, and at least another £200,000,000 has been borrowed privately. The interest upon that money amounting to some £15,000,000 a year has to be paid by our exports, and our debts, if we are going to pay them, must also be paid by our exports.
– Nobody proposes an export duty.
– It is therefore evident that we should do nothing that will in any way injure those industries which provide our exports or that will decrease the volume of those exports. If we look at the exports of Australia to ascertain what they are, we shall find that practically the whole of them are the productions of our great primary industries. It is therefore evident that if we desire progress, if we wish to possess the necessary concomitants of civilization, and if we wish to remain solvent, we must do nothing that will lessen our export trade. The number of people employed in our primary industries -is infinitely greater than the number employed in our manufacturing industries. Senator Styles yesterday, in one of the finest protectionist speeches I have heard in this Chamber, spoke of the enormous number of people who are dependent upon manufacturing industries. The honorable senator over-estimated the importance of those industries, and the number of people engaged in them. I think that if we sa)r that 10 per cent of the workers of Australia are engaged in manufacturing industries it will probably overstate the number.
– Five per cent.
– I know that the statisticians say 5 per cent., but doubling that figure, I say 10 per cent., because I am always willing to make the fullest allowances. If protection does benefit 10 per cent, of the people, but if at the same time it injures or places some clog upon the progress of the natural industries of Australia, which employ 90 per cent, of the people, we must admit that it is not the policy that ought to be adopted by the Commonwealth. The object of protection is to draw people away from industries already established in order to put them to work at industries which would not have been started unless some special stimulus had been given to them by creating an artificial price for their products, and it must be remembered that the other 90 per cent, of the people of Australia have to pay the increased price for these products. In addition to that it must not be forgotten that they have also to pay the increased price upon commodities of the same kind which are imported. A double injury is, therefore, done by protection in taking people from more productive to work at less productive industries, and at the same time putting the rest of the people of Australia under tribute to keep up those industries. We are told that without protection we cannot diversify our industries. I believe that industries should be diversified, but I say that we should not diversify industries if those we establish were a clog upon, rather than a help to, our prosperity. It is quite a mistake to say that manufacturing industries will not be established unless we have protection. We have the eternal example of New South Wales to the contrary. We find that’ industries grew up and were flourishing there under free-trade. They sprang up naturally and spontaneously, and proved a benefit to the community. If they have been established inNew South Wales under free-trade it -is evident that the same industries could also have been established in Victoria if a policy of protection had never been adopted here. When I hear from Victorian members the plea that we are injuring the industries of Victoria by reducing the duties, I say that if there is one State which should be in a position to accept free-trade, it is Victoria, because for 30 years her industries have been growing up, they are supposed to be strong and virile at the present time, and they should, therefore, be better able to stand the competition of the world than the industries of any other State. I do not intend to discuss the broad principles of protection and free-trade, nor their effect upon the production and accumulation of wealth. I desire to say nothing upon any branch of this subject that has been previously discussed during this debate. I wish to confine my remarks to two questions ; the effect of protection upon the distribution of wealth and the formation of trusts, and protection as it affects the worker. I consider that the more even distribution of wealth throughout a nation is one of the most important questions that can come under our consideration. The prosperity of a nation depends to a great extent, not upon its wealth, but upon the even distribution of that wealth. It will readily occur to honorable senators that nations in the past have disappeared principally through their wealth accumulating in the hands of a few. I could mention instances where writers have pointed out the causes of the decay of nations in the past. If we take a nation like ancient Babylon, to which we are indebted for so much of our arts and civilization, we shall find that be- fore that nation fell 2 per cent, of the people owned the whole of the wealth of that great kingdom.
– They were all freetraders.
– I do not think that protectionists object to having wealth if they can get it. ‘If we take the Persian Empire, which was an equally great empire”, we shall find that 1 per cent, of the Persian people owned the whole of the land. If we turn to Egypt we shall find that 2 per cent, of the people owned 90 per cent, of the total wealth of that affluent and magnificent empire.
– When the honorable senator says “ wealth,” does he mean land?
– I spoke of the total wealth in the case of Babylon and Egypt, but I referred to the land in the case of Persia.
– T - The honorable senator is speaking of the time before Christ. He has not “reached the Christian era yet.
– What about the desert of Sahara - who owns that?
– If my honorable friend Senator McGregor had read his Herodotus carefully he would have known that the Sahara desert was not included in the Egyptian Empire. In the of the Roman Empire, it is stated that 1,800 persons owned the whole of Italy before its downfall.
– Gibbon says something very different to that.
– The whole of the wealth of the Roman Empire was in the hands of a few patricians. That is a well-known historical fact. The Vice.Presidentof the Executive Councill madesome derisive remark just now about my going back to the time before Christ, but I think it is not inadvisable that in the case of a young nation like this our infant footsteps should be guided by the light of history. It is not altogether a mistake for us to consider the causes which have tended to the ruin of empires in the past, to be warned by them, and to take such steps as will enable us to avoid a like fate. I admit that many causes combine to bring about an uneven distribution of wealth. I admit that the land laws and many other laws of a country may have much to do with it. But at the present day it is a noticeable fact that the wealth of various countries seems to be accumulating in the hands of the few, and the many are practically penniless.
– If the honorable senator reads Giffen he Will find that in England exactly the contrary is the case.
– lam going to quote Giffen later on. Looking at the different nations of the present day, I believe the fact to which I have referred is mores noticeable in the case of protectionist than in the case of free-trade nations. And I shall endeavour to give some reasons why I think protection conduces to the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few. One of the causes that accentuates the uneven distribution of wealth is the formation through protection of great trusts, or what are better termed industrial combines, that have been the creation of the last few years. I draw a distinction between an ordinary industrial combination and a combination or trust of a monopolistic nature, such as can only occur in a protectionist country. We have heard a great deal lately about what is known as “TheNavigationSyndicate” - that greatsyndicate which is buying up the steamers in the Atlantic. ‘ From an economic point of view I can see no reason to say that any injury has been done to any one by such a combination. It is well known that for years these steam-shipcompanieshad been adopting acutthroat policy. They reduced their fares and freights untill someof the lines were barely paying expenses. Industries that are not paying are not healthy, and there is no reason why these industries should not pay. A great financier like Pierpont Morgan arranges an amalgamation, and the effect is that the companies concerned will raise the fares and freights to such a point that they will obtain a fair returnfrom their very largeexpenditure. But the distinction is, that directly they raise their prices in order to obtain an enormous revenue, steam-ships from all parts of the world can come in and compete. Therefore they are unable to raise their freights and fares to such a price that they receive an unfair profit on the money expended. The same thing applies equally to the combinations in Great Britain. Let us take the Coal Trust. The price of coal was. cut down to such an extent that it hardly paid to bring it to the surface. What was the result? The great mine owners agreed to have a scale of charges, and they. sold their coal at a fair price. But if they had put up that price above the world’s price, if they had endeavoured to make a larger profit out of their coal mines than they should have done, what would have been the effect? On account of England being free-trade, coal would have been sent in from Belgium, America, and other places, and either the local mine-owners would have had to lower their prices or lose their market.
– Have they got freetrade in coal in England ?
– What about the export tax 1
– I am speaking about imports. A very different state of affairs with regard to these trusts exists in protectionist countries. The United States is surrounded by a huge wall of protection, and the astute Americans are quick to see that there is an opportunity ‘for them to exploit the public. They find that in certain lines of manufacture, if they can only agree amongst themselves, they can put. up the prices, not to make an ordinary profit, but until they are just below what foreign goods can be imported for and sold after the enormous duty has been paid.
– But they have . not done it yet.
-I shall give some quotations to show that they have dane it. This extraordinary development in trusts has taken place during the last five years. It started almost coincidentally with the Dingley Tariff, which, I believe, is the highest in the world. In 1889 no less than 183 trusts were registered in the State of New Jersey alone. Latterly there has been a lull in the formation of trusts, and the reason given is that there are practically no industries that are not grouped under some combine. The object of these trusts is solely to make huge profits, not so much by economic effort as by monopoly. Taking the great steel trust, or other trusts, we shall find that in various parts of the United States they have bought up factories, dismantled or pulled them down, and turned the men out to beg or starve if they could not get work. They have brought a great deal of hardship to many persons in the community by simply closing up the factories or dismantling them in order to create an absolute monopoly in their particular trade. These trusts have also been enormously over-capitalized. If we take the great steel trust, which has an enormous capital of £280,000,000 - more than all the State debts of Australia - we shall find that it is over-capitalized to the extent of £100,000,000. They have to make enormous profits in order to pay even a fair rate of interest on that enormously over-capitalized corporation. How are they going to raise those profits ? In the first place, by keeping down wages, and in the second place and principally, by deliberately robbing the people, by charging them an exorbitant price for everything they may require. Let us take an illustration of the operations of the steel trust. Senator McGregor asked me to give some particulars of how prices had been increased. If he will turn to the last number of the FortnightlyReview, he will see a very able article, in which are given the increases in prices which have taken place since the formation of that great steel trust. In the United States, the price of wire nails has been raised 68 per cent.; cut. nails; 63 per cent.; bar iron, 58 per cent.; steel plates, 68 per cent.; tin plates, 78 per cent.; pig iron, 50 per cent.; and rails, 50 per cent. That is just one instance - I could quote many from other trusts, but I do not wish to take up time - where the prices of commodities have been increased enormously, but they are increased to only the home consumers. Mulhall points out that before this trust era the extra expense of protection to the people of the United States was no less a sum than £488,000,000 per year, but since the trusts have been formed, and prices have been further increased, that extra expense to the people of the United States must be something enormous.
– How is it that living is cheaper in the United States than in the United Kingdom ?
– Living is not cheaper in the United States. In the last number of the Fortnightly Review, Mr. J. B. C. Kershaw writes as follows : -
It is this increase in the price of almost every manufactured article in the States to the home consumer that is the cause of the hostile feeling with which the trusts are regarded by the democratic element in the community. The higher prices are, however, only asked in the home market - where the tariff protects the producer. In Great Britain there is no tariff to protect the producer in the home market, and the consumer cannot be plundered with impunity as on the other side of the Atlantic. The combine in Great Britain can only obtain a moderate increase in profits from the sales in the home market, and if any attempt is made to obtain an advanced price for the export trade, a decline in its volume is always observable, sin a free-trade connbry, where any rise in the price of a homemanufactured article is speedily followed by an increase in the volume of imported goods, the consumer is, of course, protected.
In the United States the conditions are different, and a heavy tariff on nearly all manufactured goods enables the trust companies to raise prices to a very high level with some degree of impunity. In America, therefore, the tariff system is assisting the trusts to earn interest on the largely inflated capital, and the home consumer is being made to pay a price higher than that demanded for the same goods when sold to buyers in other countries.
For the last two years an Industrial Commission, appointed by the United States Government, has been collecting facts and figures relating to the trust movement in Europe and America. The preliminary report was published last year. The objections to monopolist trusts have been summarized by the commissioners as follows : -
They are destructive to individual initiative.
Their power is a menace to the public politically.
They are objectionable practically, because -
They tend to become a monopoly, raising the price of their product to the public, or diminishing the output.
They destroy private enterprise by direct control or intentionally unfair competition, such as the local cutting of rates below cost to destroy local rivals.
In England I am of opinion that monopolistic trusts are doomed to failure, while in theUnited States their, future depends largely upon the maintenance of the present high Tariff.
President Roosevelt advocates legislation to mitigate the evil.
I think honorable senators will admit that these trusts of a monopolistic character are brought about by protection, and that their effect is very baneful and very injurious to the best interests of the country.
– Did they not start in the United Kingdom before they started in the United States 1
SenatorSTANIFORTH SMITH.- Trusts started in the United Kingdom thirteen years ago, but I pointed out very clearly that they cannot raise their prices above the world’s prices, otherwise importations will come in and their market will be lost. Naturally these huge combines have the effect of enormously increasing, the present disproportion in the distribution of wealth. It is evident that when people can charge these huge prices - when they can take an undue amount of money out of the pockets of the people and pay it into their banking account - the tendency of the unequal distribution of wealth must be accentuated. To-day there is no more regrettable feature in the social life of the United States than the enormous disproportion which obtains in the distribution of wealth. It is a fact admitted by the most patriotic sons of America, that the rich there are growing richer, whilst the poor are becoming poorer.
– In the United States there is a greater diffusion of wealth than there is in any other country in the world.
– I prefer to rely upon well-known authorities, and, in support of my statement, I cite Mr. George K. Holmes, of the United States Census department, who classifies the distribution of wealth as follows : -
The working classes compose 52 per cent, of the population, and own per cent, of the wealth.
Thus, more than half of the population of that country owns only 4£ per cent, of the wealth.
– And they are the individuals who produce that wealth.
– Exactly. The same writer continues -
The middle classes comprise 39 per cent, of the people, and own 24A per cent, of the wealth ; whilst the capitalistic class compose 9 per cent, of the population, and own 71 per cent, of the wealth. . 35 g
In this connexion I may mention that I endeavoured to obtain figures giving the position in the United Kingdom. I did get some from Mulhall, and they were more favorable to Great Britain than were the figures I have quoted to America. At the same time, I am not satisfied that the divisions which Mulhall makes into “ capitalists, middle classes, and workers,” correspond with those made by Holmes, and, therefore, I did not quote them because I have no desire to mislead the Senate.
– One and a half per cent, of the population of England owns 80 per cent, of its wealth.
– An American writer says : -
The wealth of the capitalist is doubling every three 3’ears, and before the first decade of the twentieth century has rolled away, a few thousand families will own the country from ocean to ocean.
Recently I looked up a list of American millionaires in the World directory. I commenced to count them, without realizing how stupendous was the task before me. In the United States there are thousands and thousands of millionaires whose names are mentioned in that publication. If we study the list we shall find that very many of them are manufacturers, or the owners of factories. I mention this fact with the object of pointing a warning to honorable senators in their consideration of this Tariff. Surely such a state of affairs, which even President Roosevelt declares it will require legislation to overcome, should constitute a warning to us. We should see that under this Tariff no duties are imposed which will allow certain scheming individuals to form trusts and monopolies, and to rob the people in the scandalous way that the population of the United States are being plundered.
– The honorable senatormust refer to the importers.
– Amongst importers there may be monopolies ; but it is possible for any individual to import, and there is no trade restriction to prevent one from sending to any country in the world and indenting his requirements.
– And the freer the port, the easier it is to accomplish that.
– I have noticed that in this Tariff some specific duties amount to no less than 100 per cent.
-Col. Neild.. - Some of them represent nearly 300 per cent.
– I have studiously endeavoured to avoid exaggeration. We are already faced with a huge tobacco combine. We are told that one large manufacturer intends amalgamating with another, so that in a few years, if we only allow a sufficient difference between the excise and import duties, we shall find ourselves in the octopus grasp of a huge tobacco combine. What is the position in regard to such articles as boots and shoes 1 Under the present Tariff a duty of 30 per cent, is levied upon them. Is there any reason why the manufacturers should not agree amongst themselves to charge a certain scale price for particular lines of boots which they can manufacture cheaply t
– They have never done so.
– No ; because Victoria offered only a restricted market. Now, however, the whole of Australia is open to the manufacturers, in addition to which I might point out that these combines have come into fashion only within the last five years. Therefore it is no argument to urge that because the manufacturers in the past have not combined, they will not do so in the future.’ When we consider that a duty of 30 per cent, is levied upon boots and shoes, we can readily understand that ample opportunity is given to these people to act in the way suggested. A similar remark is applicable to the manufacture of hats, which is protected at the rate of 30 per cent. In Western Australia we have experienced the evil effects of the formation of a “ring.” I am sure that my colleagues can speak very feelingly in regard to the meat ring which existed there.
– Surely there was no protection upon meat 1
– Stock was practically prohibited from entering Western Australia, owing to -the quarantine regulations and the duty of 30s. per head which was operative upon cattle. I do not intend to occupy more time in discussing this question of trusts. I merely desire to read a few extracts setting forth the opinions of leading people regarding their baneful effect. In this connexion, I wish to disabuse the mind of Senator De Largie of the idea that 1£ per cent, of the people of the United Kingdom own more than half of its wealth.
– Mulhall is my authority.
– In opposition to what the honorable senator has said, I will quote the opinion of Edward Pommeroy, as expressed in the American Arena. I have not used Mulhall’s figures, because they are not up to date.
– -They do not suit the honorable senator’s case.
– I do not think the honorable senator has any right to make that remark. The rapid accumulation of wealth has taken place chiefly during the past four or five years, and Mulhall does -not deal with that period. In Great Britain, I find that 152,000 families, or 2 per cent, of the population, own 66§ per cent, of all the wealth. That is a very regrettable state of affairs, but in the United States 24,600 families, or 014 per cent, of the population, own 58£ per cent, of the wealth: That means that one-seventh per cent, of the people of the United States own more than half of the wealth, which is worse even than Babylon ; whereas 14. times that percentage in the United Kingdom owns only 66 per cent, of the wealth. Henry O. Havemeyer, President of the Sugar Trust in America, when before the Industrial Commission in Congress, on 13th June, 1889, gave the following evidence, which, the *New York World remarks, “ is surprising in its candour and fearlessness “ : -
The mother of all trusts is the Customs Tariff Bill. The existing Bill and the preceding one have been the occasion of -the formation of all the large trusts, with few exceptions, inasmuch as they provide for an inordinate protection to all the interests- of the country, sugar refining excepted. Economic advantages incident to the consolidation of large interests in the same line of business are. a great incentive to their formation, but these bear an insignificant proportion to the advantages granted in the way of protection under the Customs Tariff.
That, I think, is very candid evidence for the director of a trust to give. The New York Journal qf Commerce also writes - ‘
The total capital .in trusts and combinations, held in the form of - stocks and bonds, now reaches the enormous sum of 5,832,882,842 dollars, and the trusts embrace close on 90 per cent, of the manufacturing and mechanical industries of the United States. It has become practically impossible for any private individual in America to commence business either as a manufacturer or producer. He must enter through the gateway of a trust, or keep out of it altogether.
Writing on American millionaires in a Melbourne paper early in 190.1, Mr. James Burnley said -
These millionaires have acquired their questionable riches, not by honest industry, not by fair methods, but by exploiting the Tariff. They subscribe to election funds, they poseas friends of the workers, they bribe Members of Parliament, and they subsidize their press.
Speaking of American trusts, the Montreal Stan; of 1st February, 1901, in a fine spirit of irony, remarked -
The American people still have their glorious personal freedom. The Constitution guarantees that. They will be absolutely free to do anything they want to do but to buy and sell, to eat and drink, to work for wages, to travel, to light their houses, to wear clothes and to do a few little things of that sort, except upon terms dictated by their sovereign lords the trusts. With this freedom, they will still be able to look with pity upon the down-trodden nations of Europe, oppressed by royal tyrants and privileged ‘ aristocracies. The serfs, vassals, and villains of Europe may not be able to appreciate the subtle superiority of the American type of serfdom, vassalage, and villainage, but it is there all right. The present generation of Europeans have inherited their bonds ; the present generation of Americans can proudly boast that they are self-made people and have themselves forged the fetters that hold them, and they can boast that they have forged the fetters strong enough and good enough for the purpose.
I could cite other publications in support of my argument, but I refrain from doing so. Before concluding, I desire to point out how protection affects the worker. I think it will be admitted that the worker himself is the most reliable judge of whether a protective or free-trade policy is better in his interests. Therefore, at the beginning of this inquiry, it is well to consider what is the opinion of the workmen throughout the world. If we find’ that the democrats of the world are in favour of one policy or the other, we can assume that they must have some reasons for it. Now, in Germany the liberals, the socialists, and the radicals axe free-traders.
– What authority has the honorable member for making that statement?
– I will give the honorable senator my authority at once. I have the authority of the journals of these associations, and also that of Liebnecht, the great socialist leader who died twelve months.ago, Kaatzki, Bebel, and Birnbaum, the great socialist and radical leaders of Germany. Every one of these men is a f ree-trader. The protectionists are composed of the conservatives, the landowners, the manufacturers, and the wealthy peoplegenerally. If we turn to France we find that the socialists in that country are also free-traders. Millerand, the great socialist leader there, who is a cabinet minister in the present Government, is an out-and-out free-trader.
– So was Napoleon
– I was not aware that I said anything to the contrary. I am very glad to hear that he was. In Germany no less than 3,500,000 socialists and radicals recently sent in a petition to Parliament against either the Tariff or a portion of the Tariff.
– That was against the new Tariff.
– The petition was lodged against the Tariff now being revised by the German Parliament. This huge petition signed by 3,500,000 socialists is the largest ever sent in to any Parliament.
– What are 3,500,000 amongst 60,000,000?
– There are not 60,000,000 men, women, and children in Germany. In America the democrats and the populists, or radicals, are free-traders, and it is generally admitted that had the democratic party not advocated bi-metalism at the last election the free-traders would now have been in power.
– T - The honorable senator knows that the term “ democrat “ has not the same meaning in America as in Australia - in fact, quite the opposite.
– I am quite- aware of the significance of the term “democrat” in America. What I say is that the democratic party is free-trade.
– It is not considered so.
– There may be a few exceptions.
– A great many exceptions.
– I repeat that the democratic party is free-trade, as is also the populist or radical party. By taking up the cry of bi-metalism at the last elections the democrats lost the support of a great many free-traders. I need only instance the case of Mr. Grover Cleveland, one of the most prominent men inthe United States, and a man of immense influence in the democratic party. He deliberately said that in order to. maintain a sound money basis he would temporally leave the democratic party and throw in the whole of his influence and weight with the republicans. This undoubtedly carried the day for the latter party.
– It showed that he had not much faith in the intelligence of the democratic party.
– He thought that the bi-metallist cry was a danger and that it would end in a financial cataclysm, and he therefore preferred to defer the introduction of free-trade rather than support it. Among the protectionists of the United States are the republicans, the millionaires - who are quite entitled to be regarded as a class in the United States, because they are so numerous - and the trust monopolists. In Great Britain the liberals, radicals, and socialists are freetraders almost to a man. The labour leaders - Burns, Keir-Hardie, Mann, Holyoake, Burt, Howell, and Sidney Webb are strong free-traders. The workers of the United Kingdom are also staunch free-traders. There is no body of men in the world who are so united in their fiscal faith as are the workmen of Great Britain. I will read what the writer of a leading article in the Contemporary Review of last March said with regard to the workmen of Great Britain. He was bewailing the fact that the workers of Great Britain were free-traders, and was endeavouring to show that they should adopt a protectionist policy. This article was written under the nOm. de plume of “Ogniben,” a well-known contributor. He says, -
No other community, for instance, has clung to free-trade with the tight death-like grip with which we have fastened on to it from the very first. Even the working classes, which looked on listlessly during the agitation that ushered in the repeal of the Corn Laws, has come to view the permanent abolition of any custom duties, except such as are levied for purely fiscal purposes, as a palladium more precious than the Habeas Corpus Act itself.
These workers look upon the abolition of customs duties as a greater boon and safeguard to them than even the Habeas Corpus Act.
– W - What does that prove in regard to A ustralia ?
– I am discussing this question from the standpoint of the workers. The speeches delivered on the second reading of a Bill are supposed to be addressed to general principles, and I do not think I am straining any rights I may possess an speaking on the general principles of free-trade and protection. I know my honorable friend is very anxious to see this debate closed.
– I - I suppose the remarks of the honorable senator must have some application to the Tariff, or he would not address them to us.
– I am speaking of the Tariff from the workers’ point of view, and I think it is well to state first of all what the workers of the world think of the fiscal issue. In England we find that the writers who are advocating protection at the present time are confined to a few conservatives. The land-owners of Great Britain would undoubtedly derive benefit from a protectionist policy.
– Does protection benefit the landlords here 1
– Our circumstances are totally dissimilar from those of Great Britain. We are a produceexporting country, and Great Britain is a produce-importing country. I think I have shown that outside of Australia, except in isolated cases, the democrats of the world are free-traders. In Victoria we find that the democrats are almost to a man - or have been - protectionists, and I think there is no State in Australia where the workingmen have had less influenceuponlegislation. If we ask ourselves why it is that the working men are so strongly in favour of free-trade, I think many reasons will suggest themselves. Protection means monopoly. It confers benefits on a few at the expense of the many, unless the manufacturing community represents more than half of the whole population of the State. It means that a privileged few are permitted to levy tribute on the many ; and the privileged few are certainly not the workers. Protected countries are, as I have shown, the homes of trusts, and it is in these countries that the employers are able to band themselves together and to so unite their forces as tq crush down every effort made by working men to improve their position. Protection accentuates the uneven distribution of wealth, and it enormously increases the cost of living. It is one of the most inequitable forms of taxation that could be devised.
– How is it that living is more expensive in New South Wales than in Victoria.
– I shall not discuss’ the relative conditions of New South Wales and Victoria. We have had them referred to ad nauseam. As a free-trader I am quite satisfied to know that New South Wales is prosperous, and that it has built up many flourishing industries under a free-trade regime ; also that its working men receive as good wages as were paid in Melbourne, at any rate before artificial means were used to increase the pay of the workers. New South Wales affords a splendid example for any young country with regard to the fiscal policy to be adopted to insure success. Protection is a most inequitable form of taxation, because it levies tribute to a far greater extent on the poorer than on the richer classes of the community. The wealthy man and the worker alike can wear only one suit of clothes at a time. Therefore customs duties press on the working man much more than on the rich man. No political economist will defend customs duties as a means of taxation. With equality of political power surely every one should have equality of opportunity to earn his living. Even in protectionist Victoria only a small proportion of the workers are engaged in protected industries and the others - say SO or 90 per cent. - have to pay extra in order to keep the protected industries going.
– Boots and shoes are as cheap in Victoria as in New South Wales.
– Only certain kinds of boots.
– Can the working man buy his boots as cheaply ? - that is the question.
– I am speaking about the working man. Referring to boots, I know of no trade in which the workmen were treated more abominably than in the Victoria boot trade. It will be found from the report of the “ Sweating” Commission in Victoria that the workers in that trade were sweated to a most horrible extent. Some of the labour leaders in Victoria said that the sweating in Melbourne was as bad as in any of the sweating dens of Europe, I contend that protection operates to the disadvantage of those who are not engaged in protected industries. It deprives them of work because it hinders and harasses those industries which are not protected, and places obstacles in the way of their progress and development. Assuming foi- the sake of argument that protection does increase the wages of those who are engaged in protected industries, I ask how it can increase the wages of the rest of the people ? If the wages were increased in protectionist industries to an extent far greater than the wage of the average working man, is it not plain that the supply of labour would immediately become so great, through people flocking to those industries, that the price of the labour would be lowered ?
– Evidently the honorable senator does not want people to come here.
– I would sooner see our people producing from the soil than being sweated in an ill-yentilated factory in Melbourne. If we we want to increase the wages of the worker, we have to go to that body which constitutes the majority of the working classes of the’ country. They are engaged in our great primary industries, and we can only increase their wages in one way - by placing no restrictions whatever upon those industries, and by assisting them all we can. If those industries are prosperous we can safely leave it to the workers, with their organizations, to see that they secure a fair share of the wealth which is produced by labour and capital.
– I suppose the honorable senator would increase wealth by closing the factories, and send the workers in them up country to compete with the workers on the soil 1
– I would not assist in passing any Act of .Parliament to close up factories, and if we had absolute free-trade the factories would not be closed. They have been established in Melbourne for no less than 30 years. If there is one State of the whole Commonwealth which ought not to object to a freetrade Tariff it is Victoria, because her wellestablished manufacturing industries are far abler to bear the wind of foreign competition than are those of any other State in Australia.
– The honorable senator says that all the working men of Victoria are protectionists. Surely they know what they want.
– I am not looking at the matter from a Melbourne or a Victorian stand-point, but from an Australian stand-point. Then it has been contended that the workers of Australia cannot compete against cheap coloured labour. That point was put strongly by Senator Glassey in his very able speech this afternoon. The fear is a pure bogy. Low-priced labour is not cheap labour, and we need fear nothing from the competition of the low-priced labour of Asia. If honorable senators turn to the details of our trade, they will find that about 10 per cent. of the imports of Australia come from what we call the cheap labour countries ; probably the actual amount is less than that. But we must bear in mind that those imports are principally the produce of the tropics. They comprise tea, coffee, cocoa, and such commodities that we gladly welcome. We have no occasion to fear competition, in that direction ; but if we want to know the competitors we have to fear we must turn to Great Britain, the United States, and Germany. As was shown to-day those countries send nearly 90 per cent, of our total imports, and they are countries which employ the highest-priced labour in the world. I want to dwell for a moment on the trust question in the United States so far as it affects the workmen. I have already dealt with it in regard to the unequal distribution of wealth. If we turn to that trust-ridden country we shall find that combines there are strong enough to crush every attempt made by the workers to better their lot. It is well known that the workers have been unsuccessful in nearly everyattempttheyhave madeto increase their wages or improve their conditions. But the trusts are even strong enough to have legislation created hostile to the workers of the United States.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that the workers could not, if they used the franchise properly, protect themselves ?
– The fact remains that the trusts have been able to use sufficient influence to have legislation created which is hostile to the workers. Any employer can go before a Judge if he says he apprehends trouble in his factory, and can get an order pronounced forbidding working men to make, that trouble; and if any difficulty occurs the working man is guilty of contempt of court, and is imprisoned without trial. If the working men do make some disturbance, or if they endeavour to make any disturbance, against this intolerable tyranny, they are shot down by the police as theyhave been in previous strikes - in the strike at Carnegie’s works, for instance. It is quite true that wages in many unprotected industries in the United States are higher than in the protected industries ; and the reason for that is that it is in the protected industries that the trusts and combines exist, and the employers are so banded together that they can keep down the wages of the working men.
– They are the highest wages in the world.
– They pay higher wages than any country in Europe in some industries, but the cost of living is so great that the best authorities on the subject state that the worker is better off in Great Britain than in the United States. I will, directly,’ read quotations endeavoring to prove that what I say is correct.
– I thought British, prices ruled the cost of foodstuffs.
– I am going to make a comparison between the working man in Great Britain and in the United States. It is unnecessary for me to make a comparison between the position of the working man of Europe and the working man of Great Britain, because my honorable friend, Senator Styles, in his very able speech last night, stated that wages in Great Britain were higher than in any country in Europe. It would be useless for me, therefore, to endeavour to prove what is already admitted by a leading protectionist. But I will read one or two extracts regarding the condition of labour in America, and the Senate will see that the authorities I quote are entitled to credit. Professor Ely, of the John Hopkins University, says in the North AmericanReview, of 1891, in an article dealing with the growth of pauperism in the United States -
There are 3,000,000 of destitute persons, while at least 10 and probably 20 per cent. of the population of New York are paupers. On the other hand there has been a similar rise in the number of millionaires.
Mr. Keir Hardie, M.P., writes
I have had an opportunity of studying the condition of the American workman on the spot, and I unhesitatingly declare that….. his condition is immeasurably worse than that of the British worker. The position of workers in this country hits improved since the inauguration of the free-trade policy.
That gentleman may be wrong, but I quote him as one of the most prominent labour leaders in England, and, as will be seen, he states, after personal inquiry, that the working man is better off in Great Britain than in the United States. What is more significant, he attributes that to the free-trade policy of Great Britain.
– : I was as long in Great Britain as he has been.
-I have no doubt that the honorable senator is a greater authority on the condition of the worker in Great Britain than Mr. Keir Hardie, and that he will be able to tell us the facts. The Textile Record of Philadelphia, the organ of the textile manufacturers of the United States, says -
If the argument shall be presented that the Tariff is necessary for the maintenance of high American wages, will it be surprising if somebody steps to the front with a demonstration that wages, in many protected industries, have fallen under the Dingley Tariff?
Then take this passage -
Of the 33,000 operators in the cotton mills of Massachusetts, ld,S00 are women and children. Skilled men receive 4s. 5d. .per day ; unskilled, 2s. 8d. ; skilled women, 2s. 7?d. : . unskilled women, 2s. ; and children, lOd. - working from ten to twelve hours per day. At these wages, a man and wife and three children could earn 7s. 1?d. per day. ,
I make that extract from a paper which the labour party know very well - the Melbourne Tocsin. The Philadelphia Ledger says -
The awful central fact reported by the legislative committee to investigate the ‘ condition of the anthracite coal miners is that, for the post two years, and particularly for the past six months, the miners have received an average wage of only 4 dollars (16s. Sd.) a week, and on that many of them have to support large families.
That is a lower wage than is paid even in France and in Germany, and an infinitely lower wage than is paid in Great Britain for coal miners.
– I do not believe it : and I have travelled in America.
– Mr. Sidney Webb, who is a well-known writer on questions affecting the working classes, says -
Nothing that I saw in my recent visit to the United States and Australia gave me any reason to change my opinion as to the disadvantages of fiscal protection. On the contrary, my visit strengthened my belief in the great superiority of tariffs for revenue only, with a great deal more taxation of land values.
– Oh, ves !
– ThenMr. John Burns, the member for Battersea, is reported in a London paper as follows : -
Mr. John Burns, M.P. for Battersea, made some candid remarks on the condition of the poorer classes in New York when addressing a mass meeting in that city yesterday. In the course of his address Mr. Burns told his hearers that his observations in New York had shown him that the houses in Whitechapel itself - the poorest quarter in London - were clean, wholesome, and luxurious compared with the horrible tenements in which lived the workers of the chief city of the United States.
I am not saying that those statements are correct, but I simply urge that they are worthy of some consideration, seeing that they are remarks made by leaders of labourin the United Kingdom.
– If they are not correct they are not worthy of any consideration.
– I am not saying that those whom I have quoted are infallible. Even Senator Playford is not infallible, and therefore he may be wrong in some of his statements. But, though I am not claiming infallibility for these people, I am entitled to quote them as leaders of the labour party in England. As such, they have a right to be heard, and their opinions should have some weight. I will take a few more extracts in regard to Great Britain. Sidney Webb says, in his Labour in the Longest Reign - 1837 marks almost the lowest depths of degradation of the English rural population, and a low level indeed in the condition of the miner and the mill operative.
Sir Robert Giffen, statistician to the Board of Trade, comparing wages in 1842 under protection, with wages in 1881 under freetrade, says -
In all cases where I have found it possible, from the apparent similarity of the work, to make a comparison, there is an enormous apparent rise in money wages, ranging from 20, and in most cases from 50 to 100 per cent., and in one or two instances more than 100 per cent.
In reference to that opinion, Mr. Sidney Webb, says -
There seems no reason to doubt, so far as concerns the male worker, the general accuracy of Sir Robert Giffen’s conclusions, that the rise in nearly all trades has been from 50 to 100 per cent.
I have already shown what are the wages of the anthracite miners in the United
States, and I shall now quote the words of Mr. Ralph Young, general secretary of the Northumberland Miners’ Association in England. Mr. Young says -
The average daily wage earned by coal-miners in this county 50 years ago was slightly under 4s. tor ten and a half hours’ work. The average wage earned during the last nine years has been 5s. 10d. for six and a half hours’ work.
– The wages in Australia are more than double what they were.
– I am comparing the wages of the anthracite miners in the United States with the wages of the English miners. Mr. Young continues -
The average wages of miners in Staffordshire 64 years ago was 3s. The averageduring the last nine years has been 5s.9d. for about three hours less than they worked at the earlier period. Bricklayers 60 years ago earned 4s. per day of twelve hours ; they now receive 6s. 4d. for eight hours. These instances may be taken as fairly representative of the general improvement that has taken place in the condition of labour in this country since the inauguration of her free-trade policy. Not only are wages very much higher,
And hours of labour very much shorter, but what is not less important, the necessaries of life are very much cheaper. Tea that cost5s. per lb. 50 years ago, can now be purchased for Is.8d., and sugar, which our parents paid 7d. and8d. a pound for at that time, and which the Germans and Belgians are still paying, can be bought in any shop in this country for11/2d.
Mr. Burt, M.P., says
For myself, I am a convinced free-trader, believing that such a policy is advantageous, not only to the community generally, but especially to the workers.
– Senator Glassey helped to return Mr. Burt to the British Parliament.
– Both Mr. Young and Mr. Burt are friends of mine, notwithstanding their opinions.
– 1 have a number of other extracts here, but I do not wish to tire the Senate. In Europe, so far as it is possible to classify them, the Tariffs stand in the following order of stringent protectiveness : - Russia, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Austria, Germany, Belgium, and Holland. Wages are at their lowest point in Russia, a little higher in Spain, Portugal, and Italy, considerably higher in France, Austria, and Germany, and far higher in Great Britain.
– Are the wages lower than in free-trade Turkey ?
– I have not the returns as to wages in Turkey.
It will be seen that as Tariffs go up so, in inverse ratio, wages go down. I am not half through my notes, but I determined that I would not occupy more than an hour of the valuable time of the Senate. I desire, however, to show why European nations adopted a high protective policy. From 1850 to 1874 the Tariffs of Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Holland, and Belgium were all on the down grade. But 1874, after the Franco-Prussian war, saw the beginning of those huge bloated armaments which are now characteristic of European nations. At first direct taxes were imposed, but the wealthier classes raised such strenuous opposition that recourse was had to customs duties.
– But the honorable senator says that protective duties bring in no revenue.
– If protective duties are high enough they bring in no revenue. These high duties were imposed in Europe for the purpose of obtaining sufficient revenue to maintain huge armaments.
– How could revenue be obtained from protective duties ?
– We have before us a protective Tariff by means of which it is proposed to raise ?8,500,000 or ?9,000,000 of revenue. At first these Tariffs in Europe were introduced for revenue purposes, which created a privileged manufacturing class ; and when Australia, the United States, and other countries became fierce competitors in the grain trade, owing to the great fall in freights, the landowners also desired protection. There were the wealthier classes who wanted indirect taxation, and these were supported by the farmers and manufacturers. In America, from 1850 to 1861 the Tariff was continually falling, but the civil war caused such devastation and expense so enormous that heavy duties were resorted to in order to obtain a large amount of revenue. These duties, though imposed for revenue purposes, became protective for the same reason which, as I have shown, operated in Europe. Bismarck announced himself to be a protectionist.
– Bismarck imposed high duties, and said that he did so for protective purposes.
– Bismarck may have said so, but that great statesman often said what he did not mean. If we look at his speeches and some of his foreign correspondence, we see that Bismarck misled very many people. Increases in the tariffs of Europe and the United States have in every case been the result of large war expenditure.
– Thiers, in France, after the fall of Napoleon III., put on high duties for protective purposes, and Bismarck did the same in Germany.
– These huge standing armies, which grind the lifeblood out of the people, could not exist if it were not for the enormous revenue produced by the high duties. I believe thatsolong as these standing armies remain a feature of the continent of Europe, we shall have high protective duties there. Protection has been the handmaid of militarism ; as cause and effect, protection has followed great military expenditure. These tariffs have been increased in many cases. But if we were to take the map of Europe of 50 years ago, and draw the fiscal boundaries which then existed, it would present the appearance of cells in a piece of honeycomb to-day, whereas these barriers around little centres of free-trade have been broken down, and have merged into huge lakes of industrial and commercial life. At the present day we have the United States, with 80,000,000 people, and we have Canada, the continent of Australia, the huge Russian Empire, the German Empire, G reat Britain, ‘ and India, each with its system of internal free-trade ; and that accounts for their prosperity. It is peculiar that free-trade boundaries are coincident with the boundaries of the nation. If it was right for Alsace-Lorraine to send goods into France or into Paris free of duty before 1871, why is it not right to do so now ? If Napoleon’s dream had been realized, and he had become the master of the whole of Europe, there would have been, free - trade throughout that continent, with protection against Great Britain ; and protectionists of to-day, with their usual logic, would have said - “ Quite right.” We see that as the boundaries of the nation alter, so do ‘ the boundaries of free-trade; there is nothing scientific in the policy of protection. If protectionists would advocate free-trade between nations with similar conditions of life and similar rates of wages, there would be some logic in their policy. It seems to me, however, that protective duties are imposed not so much for the purposes of protection as to raise large revenue, and to comply with provincial, national, and racial prejudices. If we read carefully the history of Europe, we must be led to that conclusion. I have in my notes many pearls of wisdom which I had intended to transmit through the imperishable pages of Hansard to posterity ; but as the hour is late, I abandon my intention. I trust that the Tariff that we finally decide upon may be one that is the best in the interests of Australia as a whole.
– I had no intention of speaking this evening, because there are a certain number of protectionists in this Chamber, and judging from the soliloquising of Senator Playford, I thought that he, at any rate, would have been able to give us some of the valuable information with which he is evidently bubbling over. But the protectionists have not seen fit to continue the debate, and, unfortunately, I am the third free-trader to endeavour to convince our friends opposite of the error of their ways. Senator Smith struck the keynote of the policy of protection when he pointed out that it resulted in the creation of monopolies. Protection, ever since it has been in vogue, has, I believe, had a direct tendency in that direction. Senator Best, when speaking the other day, urged that protection created a large amount of wealth in the community ; but of what avail is large wealth if it does not flow into the proper channel 1 Our policy should undoubtedly be that which puts most into the pockets of the people, and takes least out. My argument is that the policy of protection does create monopolies. We have evidence before us that years ago wealth was fairly evenly distributed in America. But we find that as events have progressed America has, year after year, driven her wealth into the hands of a few monopolists. Who do we see at the head of the trusts of the civilized world ? Americans ! And in protectionist America there are more millionaires than are to be found anywhere else.
– H - Have not millions of workmen in America also benefited by the same principle ?
– I shall endeavour to show before I conclude that under protection working men have not benefited in anything like the proportion that the employers of labour have benefited. We have a provision in the legislation that has been submitted to another place, which shows that the Government realize that protection is an instrument for the creation of monopolies. Clause 7 of the Customs Tariff Bill as introduced in the House of Representatives provided that if it were ascertained that, as a resultant of the Tariff regulations and the imposition of these duties, rings had been formed in order to compel the people to pay more than that which they ought honestly to pay, the matter might be taken before a Justice of the High Court; and that if he determined that a ring or monopoly had been established, a remedy should be applied. And what was the remedy prescribed ? The abolition of the duty which had enabled the ring to spring into existence. The introduction of that provision in the Bill shows that the Government itself admits that it is bringing into effect an instrument for the creation of monopolies. The same clause which set forth that monopolies would probably arise under this Tariff, and that when they arose they should be condemned by the Judge, prescribed the remedy? What was the remedy ? Free-trade or partial free-trade - the only instrument by which the people of this or of any other country can obtain a reasonable return for the money that they earn.
– The Government condemned their own policy.
– Of course they did. Senator Best and Senator O’Connor told us, in the course of their remarks, that it was an implied condition of the union that there should be as little interference as possible with existing industries or existing conditions. Their argument is that, by reason of that implied contract of our union, we are under obligation to abstain from interfering with duties under which manufactories have grown up in Victoria, or in any other State. If it was understood that we were not to interfere with the conditions of industries at the time of federation, I would ask Senator O’Connor and Senator Best why the Government interfered with the sugar industry, although I entirely agree with the action taken in that respect. If it was implied in the terms of the union that industries should continue under the same conditions in the future as they had enjoyed in the past was it not manifestly their duty to refrain from doing anything which would materially affect the sugar industry of Queensland.
– Why interfere with “ Tattersall “ ?
– Why interfere with a number of other things in regard to which we have taken action ? We interfered with the sugar industry because we believed that the majority of the people had said that the black man must go. We deny that there was any contract implied or expressed that industries should be allowed to remain as they were, whether supported either by black labour or by protective duties. I would ask these honorable senators what was the cry at the federal elections 1 Was not the issue submitted to the electors of Australia to a very large extent that of whether they would have free-trade or protection? Was not every candidate voted for or against by a large section of every community because he was either a freetrader or a protectionist? And is it not idle for honorable senators to come here and say that it was an implied term of the contract of union that whatever the consequences might be to the people of united Australia, and regardless of what it might take out of the pockets of the people of Western Australia or Tasmania, we were to respect these paltry industries - and many of them are paltry - which have grown up under this fictitious system of protection in Victoria? I deny absolutely that there was any such implied contract. I told the electors, as numbers of other candidates did, that if elected I should do all that lay in my power to secure freedom of trade for the Commonwealth. We told our constituents that the States were no longer to be regarded as having separate interests ; that no State could claim, by reason of its past fiscal policy, any advantages that were not to the interests of the Commonwealth of Australia. We said to the people - “ You are electing a Commonwealth Parliament which will represent the people not of Victoria, or of any otherState, but the people of the Commonwealth, and of the Commonwealth alone - a Parliament which will speak in the interests of the great body, and not in the interests of any section. Is not this cry of vested interests - this cry that we must not interfere with any of these established conditions - the same old conservative cry that has been raised year after year against every reform ? What have the manufacturers told us in the newspapers of Victoria ? What do we find in the pages of. history1! Times without number they have told the people, not only of the Commonwealth, but all the world over, that the consequences of giving a fair day’s pay for an honest day’s work would be the closing down of factories. Time after time this phantom of established industries, and the preservation of established rights, has been reared up to rob the people of their honest means of earning a livelihood. It was raised against the demand for the abolition of child labour ; it was raised against the demand for the abolition of black labour. Only recently we were told what the result cif the abolition of -black labour would be to the sugar industry of Queensland. The same old bogy is reared up time after time by the noble conservatives of Victoria. They say that we must keep in force the established condition of Victorian industries, no matter what the consequences may be. They say that we must maintain the industries that are established, even at the cost of a black Australia. But who.are those who adopt this cry? Are they democrats? Are they the persons whom we hear time after time urging the rights of the people - urging that we must have a free and enlightened population, in Australia? Surely they cannot be the same persons that we heard recently discussing the question of black labour and flatly telling us that, no matter what the consequences to the sugar, industry might be, we must abolish “ this curse,” as they called it? To-day they tell us that the primary consideration of an Australian Legislature is to preserve the interests that are established in the Commonwealth, making the poor poorer and the rich richer,
– Oh, how horrible !
– I am glad that the honorable senator recognises that it is horrible. I admit that it is an abominable thing to hear a man who calls himself a democrat uttering the old cry of the conservatives. The honorable senator knows well that for ages past the people who have been crying for reform - the very party to which he belongs - have been met with the cry, not only here, but in almost every country where there has been an advance in civilization, that if these humane principles are brought to bear, and that if these conditions are removed, great harm will be done. Industries are pot only to bleed the people by means of taxation, but to bleed the people by making them work unreasonable and unfair hours. The reply has been given time after time to the party to which the honorable senator belongs, that if the hours of labour are reduced, industries will be crippled, and that if we remove the black man from the sugarcane fields of Queensland we shall ruin that industry. He knows that as well >as I do. He knows that the protectionist has to fly to the realms of con-servatism in these matters. Even the protectionist labour man has to desert the banner under which he has fought, and stand side by side with those old conservatives who always tell us that the one thing -to be considered is the .financial aspect - the commercial aspect - and that the last thing that we are to take into consideration is the interests of the great mass of the people.
– Henry George-said that there might be some excuse for a protectionist Tariff, but that there was none for a revenue Tariff. Yet he was a democrat.
– The honorable senator must admit that whether Henry George said it was right or whether he said it was wrong, we are face to face with the position that we must have a revenue Tariff. The financial conditions of Australia have compelled us to adopt a Tariff for revenue purposes, and so far as my vote will enable me, I intend to keep this Tariff within those limits, and not allow it to be made protectionist.
– The Government claim this to be a revenue Tariff as well as a protectionist Tariff.
– The honorable senator, who comes from Western Australia, ought to know that we have there a vast number of men employed in .farming and in general mining. He knows perfectly well that if we pass this Tariff, which imposes heavy duties, amounting, in some cases, to 40 and 50 per cent., on everything that the miners use, we shall simply exploit the wages of the miner and the workers generally of Western Australia, and, indeed, throughout the Commonwealth, for .the benefit of the manufacturers of Victoria.
– I - Is not Western Australia capable of manufacturing anything for herself?
– Protectionists of the Senator Best and Senator Styles school tell us that protection is necessary for the creation and establishment of native industries, and that it is in the early life of these industries particularly that this assistance is required by them. They say that in the face of the world’s competition we cannot expect industries to grow up in Australia, unless wegive them some assistance. We have protectionists of another school, but which of the two is right I cannot say. Yet these same gentlemen tell us that protection does not increase the cost of the local product ; in fact, they say that it reduces the cost. Nevertheless they place all the tools of trade on the free list. Why do they do that ? They do so because they know that the freer these tools are the cheaper they are. If protection makes a machine cheaper, why can it not also make the tools that are produced by a protected industry cheaper? In placing these tools on the free list, they give an answer to their own contention. They create a large free list in order to help the protectionist manufacturer, to enable him to obtain his tools of trade cheaper, so that he may be able to produce the article in which he is concerned at a reasonable rate. That is their intention. The Minister for Trade and Customs is another type of protectionist. He tells us that until an industry can supply all the local wants - until it is in full swing - it is dangerous to impose duties, because, if that is done, it . will be at the expense of the people. At page 10034 of Hansard, Mr. Kingston is reported as follows : -
We fear that if we were to impose a duty at the present moment it would possibly result in an increase of prices to the consumers of iron, and in consequent disadvantage to the general community.
– He was speaking about raw material, I presume?
– The manufacture of the raw material. I care not whether it is machinery or pig-iron, the same principle applies.
– The Minister was cautioning honorable members against putting a duty on pig-iron.
– It makes no difference whatever whether it is pig-iron or an engine that is being manufactured. Mr. Kingston’s argument was this : If by means of protection you shut the doors of the community against external competition, you will - while you are establishing, your industry, and until it has reached the exporting stage - increase the price of the article that you are producing, whatever that article may be.
– We do not produce pig iron here at all.
– Then he goes on to say that we ought not to protect in the early stages, but to give bonuses.
– That is only another form of protection.
– Here is what he says-
Then when Ministers certify that this stage has been reached, and both Houses have declared that a time when a duty can be called into existence has come without detriment to the consumer, the duties will be levied.
So that Mr. Kingston admits that the result of the imposition of a duty is to increase the price of the article produced.
– Yes, under certain circumstances, and he is quite right.
– Mr. Kingston is drawing no distinction of circumstances.
– Y - Yes, because he is referring to a particular duty.
– If the price is not increased I should like to ask the protectionists what is the benefit of the duty ? I am going to show in a moment that the price is increased, and very materially. Mr. Kingston, I have already said, tells us that the price is increased. Senators Best and Styles have told us that the price is not increased.
– They never told the honorable and learned senator that the price would not be increased under those circumstances.
– Then let us see what has happened within the last few months in the Commonwealth of Australia.
– Reapers and binders is what the honorable and learned senator is thinking of now.
– I am not thinking of reapers and binders. I take first the item of pearl barley. Before the Tariff, the price quoted by Messrs. Parsons Brothers and Company Proprietary Limited, of Melbourne, was11s. per cwt. Since the Tariff the price has been 12s. 6d. per cwt. For flaked barley, before the Tariff, the price was 14s. Since the introduction of the Tariff the price has been 15s. 6d. per cwt. I find that every item in their list of 10th October, 1901, shows an increase upon the price quoted in the list of 1st September, 1901.
– May I ask where the honorable and learned senator got the list from? From the same old source, I expect.
– The lists from which I quote are published, and any one may get a copy of them. In the case of almost every item upon which the Federal Government has imposed a duty, the firms of Victoria have raised the price.
– I - I could give the honorable and learned senator cases in which prices have been raised of articles which have not been affected by the Tariff at all.
– Possibly; storekeepers and merchants are not above imposition. But it is the Government who give them the opportunity to impose upon the public. Notwithstanding the statements of Senator Styles and some of the protectionist prophets, the public know perfectly well that protection does increase prices, and because of that knowledge being in the minds of the public, manufacturers and importers are able to impose upon them. Not only do they sometimes raise the price of articles the duties upon which have been increased, but they raise the price of articles in connexion with which there has been no change in the duties. But it is the same thing that enables them to do it, and that is the knowledge the public have, that by the imposition of duties which did not exist before the price of articles is necessarily raised. There is another aspect of the case. We are told that the manufacturer does not raise his price in turn, but if we look at the price list published by Robert Harper and Co. we shall find that in the case, for instance, of Tam O’Shanter oats, the export price is 5s., and the local price is 6s. Take Empire Milk ; the export price is 4s. 6d., and the local price is 5s. 9d. The local consumer, therefore, has to pay more for the article that is produced in the same factory, the only difference being that in one case the manufacturer has got the advantage of the protection which this Tariff gives him, and in the other he has to put the article on the markets of the world. Robert Harper and Co. do not put their products on the markets of the world unless it pays them. It is manifest, therefore, that they are making a fair profit upon the articles that they are selling outside the limits of the Commonwealth. Why do they not sell them at the same price within the Commonwealth ? Because this Government gives them the advantage of a protective Tariff, which enables them to charge more for these articles to the people of the Commonwealth than to people outside.
– Why does not Colman sell his starch for the same price at Home as he does out here ?
– Why do not the Liverpool firms sell their candles at the same price in Liverpool as they do out here ?
– Honorable senators who are protectionists are very eloquent in their interjections, but why have they not stood up to give expression to their opinions ? Three free-traders have followed each other in this debate.
– I think I did give expression to my opinions in an unmistakable form.
– I think the honorable senator did. If those honorable senators desired to express their opinions upon the subject they were at liberty to do so. I say that the prices which I have quoted show clearly that there is one price for the same product, produced by the same workmen under the same conditions, within the area influenced by the protective duties, and another price outside that area. Is it not, therefore, manifest that to the person consuming these goods within the Commonwealth the effect of the Tariff is to raise prices ?
– To raise prices within the area of contamination.
– The same difficulty would exist without the Tariff.
– Who gets the extra profit? Do honorable senators mean to tell me that Robert Harper and Co. subdivide their manufactures into two classes ; that there is one set of persons manufacturing for export and another for sale to the internal consumer ? Of course they are all products of the same labour. It is the same article which is sold outside the Commonwealth at a profit that is sold inside the Commonwealth at a far greater profit - at 30 per cent, more profit. Who gets the advantage ? Of course it is the manufacturer. The workmen who manufacture these articles do not get a penny more for those sold within the Commonwealth than for those sold outside. It is manifest, therefore, that if Robert Harper and Co. sell an article within the Commonwealth for 6s., and outside the Commonwealth for 5s., the profit goes into their own pockets, and not into the pockets of their workmen.
– D - Do not importers doprecisely the same thing ?
Sentator EWING. - I am not endeavouring to justify immorality in anybody. I am simply dealing with a condition of things which, I say, gives facilities for commercial immorality. They could not do these things if they were open to the competition of the world. Senator Smith has shown, and the Government themselves have shown, in the clause to which I havereferred, the remedy for swindles of this kind.
– T - There ought to be a remedy for importers’ rings also.
– The honorable and learned senator refers to the need for a remedy for importers’ rings. There is a remedy. The remedy sought to be provided in theCustoms Tariff Bill was the removal of the tax, but tlie removal of the tax would not affect the importer.
– H - Hear, hear. That is the difficulty.
– If Robert Harper’ and Co. can sell an article outside the Commonwealth for 5s., and within the Commonwealth for 6s., the same men producing the’ article under the same conditions, it is clear that not a penny of the increased price goes into the pockets of the workers, and the duty1 simply creates those profits upon which the* monopolies to which Senator Smith has referred are built up. In this case it .simply) takes the extra shilling out of the pockets of the people of Australia. Why? Not to give it to the labourers of Victoria, but toMessrs. Harper and Co. If protection) always tends to give greater advantages) to the working man, I should like laboursenators to explain why it is that in this instance he does not get increased- wages.i I have many other instances here in which the same process goes on. It goes on in connexion with the production of candlesby the Victorian Soap and Candle Company, and the production of biscuits by Messrs.Swallow and Ariell. By the operation ofl this Tariff companies like these will mak& the workers of Western Australia, Tasmania, and the outlying portions of the Commonwealth pay more highly for what they require. If that were done to assist the workers of the eastern States, there- might be some justification for it from a labour point of view ; but it is obvious from the evidence placed before us that the profits will go into the pockets of the manufacturers, and bring about the centralization of wealth and the huge ‘ combinations which are always the result of protection. With regard to the vaunted prosperity of Victoria - through the adoption of protection - that system which keeps money in the country, provides employment, and high wages - what do we find ? We find that for a period of 30 years, except for a very short interval, the departures from the State were in excess of the arrivals. During 30 years 16,200 more people left Victoria than came here.
– They made their money here, and then went away again.
– As a rule, people do not leave a prosperous country. Work is not too easy to get in the old countries of the world, nor are the conditions there so good that people axe ready to leave a working mauls paradise, which is what Victoria has been described to be. During the period in which Victoria lost 16,200 persons, New South Wales gained in population 282,465 ; and they stayed. People do not leave a country where ‘they can easily obtain a livelihood ; they leave only countries like Victoria, where they cannot find employment. The protectionist advocates’ tell us that protection gives employment to all, and increases the wages, and improves the conditions of the whole community. In contradiction of that general- statement, I wish’ to quote the utterances of some of the Victorian protectionists in regard to their own State, which has so long enjoyed the benefits of protection. Senator’ Barrett, who has been for some considerable time in Victorian political life, when addressing an audience at Carlton on the 26th May, 1895, said -
The worst phases of sweating existed in this colony to-day.
– The honorable and learned senator should quote the context.
– If it is possible to place another construction upon what I am about to- read, the honorable- senator will have an opportunity to do so when he rises to speak: in- this debate.
– I will knock the bottom out of it to-morrow, if I am alive.
– The honorable senator is not usually” verbose. He generally goes to the point, and says what he means.
– The honorable and learned senator is quoting an election speech.
– What a horrible admission. The honorable senator went on to say that the sweating which existed in Victoria was worse than that of Great Britain -
England was immeasurably superior to Victoria in this respect just now.
– I was then speaking in regard to a certain contract which had been let by the City Council.
– Thase are general expressions. There is no qualification. The speech continues : -
There were men now in the employ of the Melbourne City Council who, by the time they reached their home again, had done 13 hours work, and their remuneration was £1 per week.
That is a Victorian protectionist’s picture of the conditions existing in this workingman’s paradise. Then the Honorable W. A. Trenwith, M.P., speaking in the Victorian Assembly on 8th October, 1893, is reported in the Victorian Hansard to have said -
He desired to draw the attention of membersto the present extraordinary condition of the country, and the very low wages that prevailed in a large number of industries, and, in fact, the difficulty of getting any wages at all in some. It would be remembered that only a short time ago this country responded with wonderful unanimity to an appeal from the dockers in London, who were struggling to obtain6d. an hour for the work they had to do. It would surprise honorable members to hear that there were men working to-day in Melbourne in many branches of industry for less than that sum. . . . We found ourselves in a condition as bad as, and, in some instances, even worse than that of the people of the old world.
– Is he a free-trader?
– I am not going to quote free-traders. I am going to quote to honorable senators their own prophets, to show that they have been living in a fool’s paradise. Mr. Bishop, president of. the Trades Hall Council, said on the 30th September, 1895 -
Ardent protectionist as he was he was sorry to dmit that protection had failed so far as the workers were concerned. Workmen united to support protectionist candidates, and were told when thatsystem was established their wages would be secure. But the result had been that the employer was protected, whilst the workmen were starving. There were three trades that had suffered more than others by sweating - the boot trade, the furniture trade, and the clothing trade. (A Voice. - All heavily protected. ) He was bound to admit that protection had failed in that respect. It was granted on the understanding that employers should maintain the standard rate of wages. Had they done so ?
No ; they had not done so, and the workmen were ground down. They must insist on protection to the worker as well as the employer. Otherwise they must call upon the Legislature to withdraw that principle.
– N - Notwithstanding that, at the federal elections 90 per cent, of the members returned by Victoria were protectionists.
– Notwithstanding Mr. Bishop’s statement he was chairman for me at an election meeting, subsequent to that, and I am a protectionist.
– There must have been something in the honorable senator which overcame Mr. Bishop’s dislike to his policy in that direction.
– There was a free-trader opposing me.
– I am sure that this gentleman could not have taken the chair for a candidate who was a protectionist alone; Of course he knew the honorable senator as I know him, and I recognise that though he is wrong on this question, yet on many others his views are sound, and I agree with Mr. Bishop that he is a good man. Senator Best, in referring to Victoria, gave- some figures which showed, from his point of view, that there are more persons employed in the factories of Victoria than in the factories of New South Wales. That is true, but I think it is not true to anything like the extent which his figures would suggest. In Victoria, he said, there are 62,956 employed in factories and works, and in New South Wales 60,663, the majority in favour of Victoria being 2,293. When we analyze that statement we find that a large proportion of the persons employedinfactories in Victoria are women, and that that is largely how the majority is made up. In Victoria 44,541 are males, and 18; 41 5 females ; and in New South Wales 50,265 are males, and 10,398 females. No doubt, in New South Wales the women have not to go to the factories, but in Victoria the factoriesare full of women.
– Doing women’s work. In New South Wales the men are making ladies’ underclothing. There are 17 per cent. of males employed at dressmaking and millinery.
– Still the fact remains that in Victoria the women have to go into the factories and work, while in New South Wales, apparently, it is not necessary. That is the conclusion to which we come from a perusal of the figures.-
– There are no protected factories in New South Wales.
– Women do not work in factories for the fun of the thing. They only go there because they have to do it.
– In New South Wales women have no employment except in domestic service.
– We find that the aggregate employment is almost the same, and the great balance is against Victoria in the matter of female labour.
– But the honorable and learned senator has made a slight mistake. He has made no allowance for the 16 per cent, greater population in New South Wales. That would make a difference of 8,000 or 10,000.
– Because they employ their people in natural industries, because they do not seek to hamper them in their settlement on the land by the imposition of protectionist duties, is that to be used against the free-trade State ? The industries of New South Wales employ practically as many people in the aggregate as are employed in Victoria - more men though fewer -women. And, on the other hand, a larger number of people are settled on the soil. We are told that wages are lower in New South Wales than in Victoria. Coghlan does not say so. He tells us that the weekly wage per 100 in trades under the wages boards in Victoria is £136 12s.11d.; and in New South Wales, £139 17s. lid.; and in all other trades, £126 5s. 6d. in Victoria, and £146 6s. in New South Wales.
– The honorable and learned senator is giving the average in the case of New South Wales, and the minimum in the case of Victoria.
– I am giving the average for every 100, according to Mr. Coghlan.
– Get them from the wages boards.
– Thehonorable senator gave us Mr. Coghlan ad nauseam, and whenever anyone else quotes him he immediately disputes his accuracy.
– I object to that. What I gave last night were the wages boards’ decisions for Victoria, and Mr. Coghlan’s figures for New South Wales.
– That is the statement of Mr. Coghlan, as nearly as I have been able to get it.
– That is some years old.
– It cannot be many years old, because it is not very long since they have had wages boards in Victoria. What is the result? We know perfectly well that wages have been increased by the wages boards. We know the screech that the boodled-up manufacturer of Victoria made against the payment of a fair wage. We know that the arm of the law had to be brought down upon him to make him do it.
– And it is making him do it at the present time.
– Yes. These honorable senators know that they had by legislation to compel him to do an honest thing by his workmen or something approaching it. But even after they lash their manufacturer with all the whips that the law can make they cannot compel him to pay as much as the New South Welshman does of his own free will. That is the condition of the Victorian factories under the wages boards, and New South Wales with its genuine honest factories beats Victoria very materially.
– Can the honorable and learned senator tell me why they want an Arbitration Act in New South Wales ?
– If the honorable senator wishes to know why they want things he had better ask them.
– For precisely the same reason - to protect the workman.
– Why did the ironworkers’ assistants at Mort’s Dock go on strike, if it were not to get their wages raised to the Melbourne standard ?
– There may be isolated instances of that kind. There is no doubt that New South Wales is not perfect. All I am endeavouring to show is that she occupies a much better position than does Victoria. Honorable senators will recollect that the Tariff in its present form is not anything like the evil thing which the Government desired to inflict upon Australia. Thanks to the free-trade party in the House of Representatives it has had the sting taken out of it in many directions. But even in its present form it imposes specific duties upon tinned food, biscuits, and a great many other articles which constitute the necessaries of life, with the result that the working man is called upon to bear more than his just share of taxation. For example, if a man in a good position in Western Australia wants to purchase jam he will probably pay 8d. or 9d. per lb. for it wholesale, whereas the working man will buy an article which is worth only 2d. or 3d. per lb. Yet the Government, which professes to be the friend of the workers, levies a duty of 2d. per lb. upon the poor man’s jam just as it dues upon the rich man’s.
– The honorable and learned senator would do the same.
– I can assure Senator McGregor that I would not, and if ho votes in favour of these specific duties, thereby imposing upon the poor man the same amount of taxation that is levied upon the rich, he will bo unduly oppressing the people whom he is supposed to represent
– H - How are we to distinguish between the poor man’s jam and the rich man’s?
– By imposing an ad valorem instead of a specific duty. If we levy a duty of 15 per cent, upon all jam we shall be acting equitably, but if we place 2d. per lb. upon tills article we shall be taxing the working man to the extent of 60 per cent, and allowing the rich man to escape by paying only 15 per cent. In the aggregate the result of the operation of the Tariff is to make those who have very little contribute most towards the revenue, the avowed intention of the Government being to establish and maintain - no matter at what cost - the manufactures of the rich. In order to keep these industries going, and to give them the protection which it is alleged they require, the Government seek to levy taxation upon every worker in thebackblocks of Australia. I find, for example, that all sorts of tinned meats, tinned fruits,
Sat., which must be used by those engaged in developing the resources of this country in its early stages, because they cannot secure anything else, are heavily taxed. To enable the manufacturers of Victoria to obtain a bigger price for their goods, the residents of te gold-fields of Western Australia are compelled to contribute more than their fair share of the revenue of the country. Although I admit ‘that under existing circumstances every man in the Commonwealth must contribute a reasonable amount of taxation through the Customs, I hold that it should be imposed upon equitable lines so that the burden will falluponthe people just in proportion to their ability to bear it.
SenatorLt-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - Probably at this hour the leader of the Senate will consent to an adjournment of the debate. It would be very inconvenient to me to begin my speech tonight, and continue it to-morrow. I therefore move -
That the debate be adjourned.
– I - I have no objection to the debate being adjourned, but I wish to intimate that I shall endeavour to close the discussion on Friday. There is really no reason why it should not be concluded upon that day, and, as I have consented each evening to an early adjournment, I think 1 may fairly ask the Senate to dispose of the second reading debate this week.
Motion agreed to ;. debate adjourned.
Senate adjourned at 10.6 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 7 May 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020507_senate_1_9/>.