1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Ordered (motion by Senator Glassey) -
That the Petition presented byhim From shareholders and cane-growers on Thursday, 8th May, be referred to any committee appointed on the Customs Tariff Bill.
Debate resumed from 8th May on motion by Senator O’Connor -
Thatthe Bill be now reada second time.
– I tender my thanks to the VicePresident of the Executive Concil for consenting to the adjournment of the debate until this morning. I recognise that the Government are naturally anxious to bring it to a conclusion as soon as possible, and I am prepared to give them my assistance, because I think that, no matter where a man happens to sit, he should endeavour to sec that the business of the country is dealt with as speedily as may be. But the matter with which we are now dealing is of such importance that I do not think any honorable senator should be debarred from the fullest expression of his views upon it if he desires to speak upon the second reading. That the measure is of very great importance was recognised when it was placed in the forefront during the general elections, and upon it depends, to a great extent, the financial success or failure of federation. In dealing with the Tariff at this juncture we are called upon to consider, not so much whether free-trade or protection should be its dominant feature, but whether it has been so framed as to enable the Government to carry out the obligations which have been thrust upon the Commonwealth. The Government have the double duty of providing for the requirements of the Commonwealth and of assisting the State Governments, which have givenup their customs revenue, to carry out the very great and important functions which still remain to them. In dealing with this subject one naturally looks back to the time of the general elections, and inquires whether the people were in favour of the introduction of a measure of this kind. We know that the Government recognised the primary duty of obtaining revenue. The Prime Minister, in speaking upon the subject at Maitland, said that he wanted revenue without destruction, but the electors of the Commonwealth, or, at any rate, the electors of’ New South Wales, had no idea that the object of the framers of the Tariff would be to give effect to the policy of protection. No one who has read the debates in another place can fail to have been impressed with the idea that the desire dominating the action of certain Ministers, at any rate, was that many of the duties should have a protective incidence. What they thought of was chiefly whether the freeing of an article from duty, or the reduction of a duty, would diminish the protection hitherto afforded to some industry in Victoria ; and the Minister for Trade and Customs, speaking on behalf of the Government, on one occasion declared that -
We believe in protecting our industries, and we arcs going to do it :and wechallenge the Opposition to fight us upon this question.
Is not that a direct abandonment of the principles upon which, at least, those Ministers who represent New SouthWales constituencies were elected? Did either the Prime Minister, the Minister for Home Affairs, or the Vice-President of the Executive Council, when before his electors say that he believed in protecting industries, and challenge the free-trade party to fight him ?
– I certainly said so, and my colleagues did the same.
SenatorHiggs. - Did Senator Gould say that if he got inhe would sweep away all customs duties?
– No ; I said that I was a revenue Tariffist, and the attitude which I took up was consistent with my free-trade views.
SenatorDe Largie. - How can revenue be raised by means of customs duties without protecting some industries?
– The fact that the Tariff, when first introduced into the House of Representatives, was estimated to yield about £9,000,000, and that now that reductions of duties amounting to nearly £1,000,000 have been made, it still appears likely to yield £9,000,000, shows that the reduction of duties has the effect of increasing the revenue.
– It shows that the Commonwealth is better off than the Government imagined.
– The Secretary for Home Affairs is reported to have said at Cootamundra that the Tariff would be a moderate one of from 10 per cent. to 15 per cent., and that it would be necessary to raise only about £8,000,000 of revenue. Notwithstanding that statement, the Minister is a member of the Cabinet which introduced a Tariff containing duties running up in some cases to nearly 200 per cent. It has been calculated that some of the composite duties were equivalent to ad valorem duties of 160 per cent.
– Did not the Minister for Home Affairs intend to convey that the average rate of duty would not be more than 10 or 15 per cent.
– I do not know what heintended to convey : I only know what he says. On another occasion he said -
He would like to sec a good free list as well as the protection of industries, because he did not. believe in taxing the necessaries of life which could not be produced here.
Then the Vice-President of the Executive. Council said -
It was a necessity that the revenue should be. constant, plentiful, continuous, and reliable.
And the Prime Minister said -
Shall we pile the duties on the cottager or artisan ? Our protection must be moderate.
That was the whole burden of the speeches of the Ministry. Is it not a fact, however., that there are many duties in the Tariff from which the revenue will be neither constant nor reliable, but will gradually decrease as they become more and more effective in shutting out imports. Is not that the case with the high duties upon boots and shoes and clothing, and other necessaries. In a civilized community boots and shoes and clothing are as much necessaries of life as are eatables.
– We want to protect the Australian workman from the conpetition of cheap Japanese and other foreign labour.
– The honorable senator is a protectionist, and would put on duties, not to obtain revenue, but to keep out imports, so that a portion of the community might benefit at the expense of the whole. How many men are there engaged in making boots and shoes, and clothing in comparison with those who wear them ? Will these duties benefit the people who have to pay £1 more for their clothes, or 5s. more for their boots ?
– Without protection they might not have the £1 to spend upon their clothing.
– The duties to which I have referred are an instance of what occurs right through the Tariff. Honorable members seem to have taken the notion into their heads that Great Britain is declining because of her free-trade policy, and that other nations are progressing, because of their protectionist policies ; but, notwithstanding the pessimistic statements and articles which have been read, even those who have read them know that they are overdrawn, and that the position of Great Britain is not what it has been depicted. Senator Barrett in quoting from Mulhall last night, proved that England still stands at the head of the nations of the world in respect of her trade and her wealth. But is it necessary for us to go to the other end of the world in order to see whether a protectionist or a free-trade country can progress ? We have two examples in the Commonwealth. Honorable senators have attempted to draw a parallel to the disadvantage of the free-trade State, and to the advantage generally of the protectionist State. But what was the position of Victoria in ] 865 when protection was introduced 1 She was ahead of all the colonies in Australia in shipping, commerce-
– Owing to the gold she had taken out of the soil.
– No doubt that gave her a great fillip, and .assisted to place her at the head of all the colonies. She had the opportunity of keeping that lead if she adhered to her true policy. But instead of that she adopted protection, and from that day to the present time she has been on the down grade as compared with New. South Wales.
– Population has been vanishing.
– It has decreased in New South Wales, too.
– We admit that population is not so great in any of the States as we should like, but it is a remarkable tiling that from the time when Victoria adopted protection New South Wales has been gradually catching up to her, eventually passing her and keeping a strong lead. In 1866 or 1S67, Sir James Martin, who was then at the head of affairs in New South Wales, was bitten with protection.
– The ablest man we ever had in New South Wales.
– As Senator O’Connor says, the ablest, at any rate one of the ablest, men whom New South Wales has had.
– He had moments of weakness, and one of them was when he became a protectionist.
– Like the honorable Minister who admitted last night that in a moment ‘of weakness he was associated with free-traders. Iii that year Sir James Martin went to the electors advocating a system of protection. His party was absolutely destroyed, for the people of New South Wales would not have the policy at that time. It was not until 1S86 that the fla’g was again attempted to be raised, but consistently New South Wales has adhered to free-trade, and consistently Victoria has adhered to protection, which we find has not been that panacea for all evils which the public were led to believe it would prove. It has been pointed out that in ‘population there has been a decline in Victoria. In fact her population has been a gradually diminishing one as compared with what it ought to have been reckoning the natural increase and immigration. So recently as 1870, Victoria was 228,000 ahead of New South Wales in population. This lead was gradually decreased, until in 1890 it had fallen to 11,500.
– That applies to all mining countries.
– Will honorable senators tell me that, with her present population, Victoria is over populated? I decline to believe that Victoria could not support a population treble, quadruple that which she has, and support it well from her natural resources. We cannot take that loss of population as one of the to be expected events in connexion with a young State such as Victoria is.
– How does the honorable and learned senator account for the loss of population in New South Wales during the fifteen months I referred to the other day 1
– New South Wales has not lost, but has gained constantly. In Victoria, between 1891 and 1900, the excess of departures over arrivals amounted to upwards of 100,000 souls.
– But these figures were said to be wrong by Senator Pulsford the other day.
– I cannot help what Senator Pulsford said. I am simply quoting the figures from Coghlan. In that period the increase of population in New South Wales was 16,167 - not such an increase as I should have liked, but nevertheless a substantial one as compared with the position of Victoria
– It shows that f reetrade does not hurt her.
– Certainly. We are all indebted very much to Senator Playford for the speech he delivered last night in exceedingly good humour, and full of facts - pregnant facts, I admit, from the South Australian point of view.
– Certainly not from the South Australian point of view.
– I submit that he dealt with facts when he said that after being Agent-General for South Australia in the old country, and having had the opportunity of meeting with very many of the great men then dominant in Great Britain, he returned to the State and introduced his protectionist Tariff.
– No ; his protectionist Tariff was introduced in 1887, when he emerged from free-trade and became an ultra-protectionist.
– I understood that Senator Playford was at home in 1885-6. Under his protectionist Tariff of 1 887 what happened? While the population of South Australia had been increasing continuously up to 1881, from that year to 1890, during which period the protectionist Tariff was introduced, there was a diminution of 17,000 souls by means of emigration over immigration, and that loss has kept up. During the last decennial period this diminution, or this minus quantity, was upwards of 16,000. My object in quoting these figures is to show that the two States which deliberately adopted the policy of protection, and about which they seem to be veryproud, nevertheless, are the two States in which there has been a diminution of population by means of emigration over immigration. There must be some reason for that. Are we to believe that South Australia with a territory of 900,000 square miles - not all, I admit, first-class land, but still an enormous area - was not able to find sufficient employment to retain the whole of her small population of 300,000 or 400,000 souls? If honorable senators will take the trouble to compare Victoria and New South Wales with regard to trade they will find that while the trade of the former amounted to £35,724,000 in 1900, the trade of the latter in the same year amounted to £55,725,000. Some honorable senators will say to me - “ That is because of your imports being very much greater than your exports.” But, singular to relate, the imports and exports for both States seemed to be very much on a level during the decennial period for which this calculation was made.
– It is not the amount of wealth, but the distribution of wealth, that has to be considered.
– The distribution of wealth is just as fair in New South Wales as in Victoria.
– I do not think it is.
– The working classes of New South Wales are in quite as good a position as the working classes of Victoria, and I dare say that there are a few rich men in both States.
– I think there is more poverty in New South Wale than in Victoria, from what I have seen, anyway.
– I think the honoroble senator will find that statistics do not prove that. We find that there has been a distinct progress in the free-trade State as against the position of the two protectionist States I have alluded to. There must be some reason for that. It cannot be on account of climate. It cannot be on account of the countries being too thickly inhabited. It is, I contend, due largely to the fact that there have been artificial attempts made to attract the population from the lands of the country to the large towns and cities, in order that it might be engaged in industries for which there was no adequate field within their respective territories.
– Both States were freetrade before 1865. Which was in the van then ?
– The gold acconnted for it.
– Victoria, for the very reason which the honorable and learned senator has given. As soon as the supply of gold fell off, people went on the land, and some departed for other countries where they could get gold. Senator Styles told us a little time ago that the reason for Victoria being ahead of New South Wales was because ofher gold.
– For that particular period.
– Melbourne was a nearer and more attractive port than Sydney.
– Than the beautiful harbor ?
– The honorable senator may have his joke about the beautiful harbor ; but I do not think that people who are travelling to a particular destination are anxious to prolong their journey, even to view the beautiful harbor of Port Jackson. Honorable senators have travelled far afield, they have travelled to the old country, and we have had all sorts of pictures brought up in regard to her position.
– Some of them went back to Babylon.
– No doubt Senator Smith was anxious to show the effects of protection in even that remote period. One of the charges against protection is that it enables the formation of trusts. For whose benefit are they formed? Not for the benefit of the great masses of the people, but for the benefit of the few individuals who happen tobe top sawyers in an industry. We have also seen many statements made with regard to the sweating evil under protection. Senator Barrett yesterday took very severe exception to Senator Ewing for having quoted a speech of his delivered six or ‘seven years ago, in which he pointed out what severe sweating had arisen in Victoria,
– But protection has removed that since.
– It has not. It lias necessitated the passing of certain laws in order to get rid of the sweating evil. In 1895 it was brought so prominently under the notice of the people of Victoria that it became absolutely necessary that some steps should be taken to put a stop to the sweating system which had grown up here under protection, and which enables the manufacturers to grind down their hands to the lowest possible level. In that year, Mr. Bishop, President of the Trades Hall Council, delivered a speech, in which he said -
Ardent protectionist ils he was, he was sorry to admit that protection had failed so far ns.tlie workers were concerned. Workmen united to support protectionist candidates for Parliament, and were told when that system was established their wages would.be secure. But the result hud 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. 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
It then became necessary to take some steps to abolish the system of sweating, and I say that that system was the result of an alleged panacea not having proved to be what the men who introduced it declared it would be. Only last night did not Senator Sargood, who for many years was a member of the Victorian Parliament, tell us that when a protective policy was introduced it was represented to the people of this State that a Tariff of approximately 12-i per cent, would be quite sufficient to enable its infant industries to become established, and that after a time they would be able to do without crutches ? But here, as elsewhere, we find that when once a protective system is instituted we have to continue it in order to keep alive those industries which are not natural to the country. Wherever a new country is being established, the best policy to adopt is to have regard to its primary industries - to see that they are put upon such a basis as will enable them to progress without molestation, and then the secondary industries will spring into existence naturally as the years roll by. New South Wales is a striking instance of this. In that State, where the fiscal policy consistently adopted has been that of free-trade, with the exception of a few lapses, which were put right directly the people had an opportunity of dealing with them, our manufactures have become established. It is true that certain duties were placed upon some articles for revenue purposes, which gave an incidental assistance to particular industries, but when Mr. Reid came into power, and the Tariff of 1896, was passed, free traders were told that by withdrawing support from them in the way they were doing all the industries in existence in that State would fall to the ground, and to use the words of the Prime Minister - “ There would be heard the pattering of bare feet.” But instead of that being the result, the number of hands employed in the industries of New South Wales - industries which had grown up under natural conditions - increased.
– Grown up “ under natural conditions” when New South Wales was raising so many loans and selling so much land ? What is the honorable and learned senator talking about ?
– I am talking about the facts. Industries did exist in New South Wales, and continue to stand well in comparison . with the industries of Victoria.
– And was there no sweating t
– There may have been sweating in New South Wales, but it was never comparable to that which existed in Victoria, and which I hope does not exist now. Senator Best spoke about the question of wages and the number of employes. He stated that, ‘ according to the report of the Factories Commission, the wages paid in the trades referred to by him were higher than those paid in New South Wales. But let me remind honorable Senatot’s that that report was based upon the condition of two classes - one class being composed of those who were connected with the trades chat came under the operation of the Factories Act, and the other comprising those belonging to trades which did not come within the purview of that measure. If a balance be struck between these two classes it will be found that the wages paid are very similar. I do not know what the actual difference is, but I do know that the wages are very similar, and that the remuneration of the employes in the trades which come under the Factories Act in Victoria is practically the same as is paid in the free-trade State of New South Wales. Among the many objections which can be urged against a system of protection is the fact that its operation tends to create trusts and combines. What has been the effect in America, one of the greatest nations of the world - a progressive country which contains more millionaires than does any other country 1 The effect there has been to make the prices for goods supplied to people within the home market higher than are the prices for goods supplied to people in the outside markets of the world. When we witness the establishment of this system in the United States, we may well inquire - “Is it desirable to perpetuate such a state of affairs here” ? Why is it that the Government themselves considered it necessary to make provision in this Bill, as originally introduced, against the creation of trusts and combines 1 How is it they discovered that the only way in which they could deal with these combines was by determining to have freedom of trade 1
– Those clauses were omitted, not because the Government abandoned them, but because they thought their proper place was in a separate Bill.
– I am merely alluding to the fact that those clauses were inserted in the Bill because the Government recognised that under a system of taxation, such as is contained in this Tariff, there was a possibility of combines and trusts being formed, and that the only way to cope with them, was by adopting a system of free-trade.
– What, about the Colonial Sugar Refining Company ?
– The Colonial Sugar Refining Company find employment for an enormous number of people throughout the Common wealth.
– And they regulate the prices.
-GOULD. - They pay very liberal pi-ices to the persons engaged by them.
– Trusts are simply the outcome of our competitive system of industry. The honorable and learned senator knows that.
– I have in my hand an article which appeared in the Fortnightly Review, of April last, upon this very question. It is entitled “ Industrial trusts and national prosperity,” and is from the pen of Mr. J. B. C. Kershaw. Alluding to their disadvantages he points out that as these various companies are amalgamated, so the capital is increased to a very great extent, and this becomes one of the “ evils,” as he terms it, of over-capitalization. But this evil does not interfere very much with the individuals who, put their properties into the combines, and who are jointly paid very liberal sums of money for so doing. The writer goes on to say -
As a natural result oE this over capitalization it follows that the price of the manufactured article is advanced. The interest on the increased capital more than swallows up the gains resulting from consolidation. In this country the writer has knowledge of a rise of 33 per cent, in the prices of manufactured articles following upon the formation of a trust company, and in the United States increased prices have already been declared i n the case of many industries recently consolidated. Thus the price of wire nails has. been raised OS per cent., of cut nails 03 per cent., of bar iron 5S per cent., of steel plates 6S pei- cent., and of tin plates 7S per cent, to home consumers since the formation of trusts in these industries.
These articles could be obtained at a very much lower price prior to the establishment of the trust or combine than that for which they could be secured after its establishment. The fact of outside duties being in existence enabled the trust to raise prices as against individuals in the way it did. The writer goes on to say -
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 bv the democratic element in the community. If one does not happen to hold bonds or preference stock in any of these huge combines, it is natural to object to the inconveniences attending their existence. To be plundered is never pleasant, except when the share of the spoil exceeds the losses. The higher prices are, however, only asked in the home market - where the Tariff protects the producer.
– What about the beef trust?
– I will come to that subject directly. The same author continues -
The neutral markets of the world are used, as the dumping-ground for the surplus manufactured goods at any price which can be obtained for them.
– As Australia will be used if we have free-trade.
– Certainly not. However, the writer deals with the question in a way which will reply to the interjection of my honorable and learned friend. He says-
As regards the increase of price which lias followed the formation of trusts in certain industries in the United Kingdom, the position is somewhat different. There is no Tariff to protect the producer iu the home market, and the consumer cannot be plundered with impunity, as on the other side of the Atlantic.
Does it not stand to reason ? In the home market there is freedom of trade. There the opportunity occurs, which is being deplored by some honorable senators, of enabling America, Germany, France, or other continental nations to pour their goods into the home market. That is the way in which prices are regulated and kept down, as against any great trust or combine. But such a system cannot exist in America, because of her protective barrier against the whole world, which practically says to the combines - “ Here are seventy millions of people ; make your money out of them, and you may sell your excess material in the outside markets as best you can.” Of course the combines will operate, if possible, in other parts of the world. But their home is where they are established, and if it be in a country which has artificial barriers around its confines, that is the country in which they have an opportunity to operate and to make money for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many. In this connexion I should like to quote from the Engineering and Mining Journal of New York, a paper which is disposed to regard everything American from a favorable point of view, and which is not addicted to hypercritical judgments upon, new developments of’ United States industry or finance. In- its issue of 9th March, 1901, an editorial article upon the Pierpont Morgan combine in- the iron and steel industries, contains the following warning : -
The inducements to continue the operation of old plants, and to avoid the expenditure of large sums for improvement will be very strong - too strong we fear to be always overcome. The result will be a conservatism to which we have not been accustomed, aud which may have results not altogether creditable to the American iron and steel industry.
The same publication in its issue of 26th June, 1901, says -
The policy of economy, however, includes the abandonment of many changes, and improvements which had been proposed ; only such additions as have actually been begun are to be completed.
At a later stage, the article contains the following : -
In a free-trade country, where any rise in the price of a home-manufactured article is speedilyfollowed by an increase of imported goods, the consumer is of course protected ; and the action of an industrial trust in raising prices simply results in the transfer of- orders to foreign manufacturers. In the United States, the conditions are different, and a heavy tariff on nearlyall manufactured goods enables the trust companies to raise prices to a very high level with some degree of impunity. In the case of tin plates the price for a time was raised too high, and loss of trade resulted. But in all other manufactures those in charge of the sales departments of the trusts have taken care to keep within more reasonable limits as regards price. 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.
Commissioners were appointed to inquire into this trust movement upon the lines of President R.oosevelt’s message to Congress, and a passage from their report is as follows : -
Many of those who have made it their vocation to denounce the great industrial combinations, popularly, although with technical inaccuracy, known as trusts, appeal especially to hatred and fear. In facing new industrial conditions, the whole history of the world shows that legislation will generally be unwise and ineffective unless undertaken after calm inquiry, and with sober self-restraint. Yet it is true that there are real and grave evils, one of the chief being overcapitalization, and a resolute practical effort must be made to correct these evils.
I have read these quotations because one of the objections to a system of protection is that it induces the establishment of trusts. America is the home of these trusts or combines, and it is in America that they are feeling the effect of them. If we adopt a policy of the character indicated in the measure now before us, we shall give opportunities for the formation of similar combines in our own Commonwealth. They will not be on such an extensive scale as in America, because we have only a population of 4,000,000 to operate on, and we are not such a rapidly growing community.. But we do not wish to see the trust system introduced here.
– Are the people of America poorer under trusts than are those in Great Britain ?
– They are being made poorer. Senator McGregor made an interjection with reference to the beef trust. Where does the beef trust find its home ? In Chicago, and it is in the United States that the operations of the trust are increasing the cost of living. Must not all trusts of whatever kind have exactly the same effect? It has been pointed out that the beef trust is squeezing out all the smaller men, and that owing to this the whole of the people of America are being prejudicially affected.
– Is the beef trust protected?
– I do not say that it is.
SenatorMcGregor. - That shows that protection has nothing whatever to do with the trusts.
– It shows that America is the home of trusts, and’ that they are able to operate in any products that they see fit to manipulate there. It is said of the beef trust-
This recent movement has rendered fresh meat almost a prohibitive luxury to thousands of families in New York. It is within the power of the beef trust to order another advance, and pocket another 100,000,000 dollars merely by taking the trouble to telegraph a new schedule of prices to their agents in everycity and town in the United States.
– And yet meat is not asdear in America as here.
– Even if it is not, the operations of the beef trust are having an important effect in limiting the opportunities ofmany thousands of families in America to obtain fresh meat. Whilst they are comparing America and Great Britain, do my honorable friends, who advocate high duties, ever allow their thoughts to dwell upon the continental nations, where labour is poorly paid ?
– Is the honorable and learned senator referring to Turkey?
– No. I mean France, Germany, and Belgium.
– Is labour there more poorly paid than before protection was introduced ?
– It is far more poorly paid than in Great Britain.
– It always was, even before protection. The wages in continental protected countries are 75 per cent. higher than they were 25 years ago.
– So are wages in Great Britain.
– Yes ; from 50 to 100 per cent. higher.
– I denythat.
– The wages in Great Britain have increased enormously during the last 25 years, and the improvement in the conditions of the working classes generally in the old country more than compensates for any advance that may have been made in wages in continental countries. Senator Barrett last night said that Great Britain had established her industries under a system of protection, and he referred to the laws in force in the fifteenth century and onwards under which the exportation of certain articles from Great Britain was , prohibited. Senator Millen, by interjection, referred to the labour laws that were then in operation. Under these laws, if a man were found wandering about the streets unable to obtain work at the liberal remuneration then offered of1d. per day, he was sent to gaol as a rogue and a vagabond. That was in a protectionist country. What would Senator McGregor or Senator Barrett say now if they had a day off and they were hauled up by a policeman saying - “ Hullo ! how is it you are off; you had better get to work at once.”
– They do that in Great Britain now.
– If a man is caught wandering about he is sent to gaol for fourteen days.
– That is, if he has no visible means of support.
– It is interesting to see the position of Great Britain now as compared with what it was when practically the last of the protectionist laws were repealed - I allude to the navigation laws, which were repealed in 1849. What was the position then ? We find that there were 62-7 paupers per 1,000, whereas in 1901 the proportion had been reduced to 24-3 per 1,000. Again, in 1849, many able-bodied men were unable to find work, and there were then 13-2 able-bodied paupers per 1,000, as contrasted with 2-8 in 1901. These figures are taken from the Local Government Board’s Report of 1901. We find that the hours of habour in protectionist countries range from ten to sixteen per day. I suppose that the average would be from eleven to twelve hours per day, but in some occupations they range as high as sixteen hours per day, and in no instance are they less than ten.
– Does the honorable and learned senator believe in an eight hours day, and would he vote for a legal eight hours day ?
– I believe in eight hours. I would not work for eight hours, if I could earn as much in six.
– Would the honorable and learned senator vote in favour of a Bill to legalize eight hours ?
– I recognise the fact that they have Acts legalizing the eight hours day in some of the States, and that in all of them the labour organizations have been enabled to obtain the eight hours system. Senator Barrett depicted the unfortunate position of Great Britain as compared with that of other nations during the last few years. He quoted Mulhall, to show that some years ago the wealth of Great Britain represented £154 per head, that of France £94, and that of the United States £46 ; and that these amounts had been increased to £302 in Great Britain, to £252 in France, and to £234 in the United States. He argued from these figures that because there was not a greater proportionate advance in Great Britain, she must therefore be going down, as compared with her rivals. The honorable senator, however, must recollect that Great Britain started from a higher level. The man who has a large business does not increase it in the same ratio’ as does the one who has a small and growing trade.
– The argument is certainly in favour of America.
– No, it is not. Great Britain had reached a highposition in regard to wealth at a certain date, when the other nations were at a lower level. They have been gradually building up to the level of Great Britain, but they have not yet attained it.
– Not by a very long way.
– France seems to have approached more nearly to Great Britain than has the United States, but Great Britain still remains at the top of the tree. The population of Great Britain is increasing. Her presentpopulation is 41,000,000, and the last decennial increase was 3,750,000. During that period a large number of her population emigrated to America, the outflow having amounted to 1,000,000 souls.
– Did they go to America to be worse off ?
– Does not the honorable senator recognise the fact that Great Britain is one of the great colonizing nations of the world, and that these Australian States have practically been peopled from Great Britain.
– Because the people were glad to get away from the old country.
– Great Britain is so small that her population are tumbling over her shores.
– It must be remembered thatonly a certain population can be supported in any particular country, and it would be a sorry thing indeed if all the men in the old world remained there instead of going out in certain proportions to people new lands. What about Germany, one of the most progressive nations of the world? There are about 4,000,000 German subjects in the United States - men who have emigrated, many of them, during recent years.
– South Australia is largely populated with Germans.
– Yes, I know that there are a great number of Germans in South Australia, and that they are first-rate colonists and good working men.We have heard a great deal about
Great Britain going down, and I should like to direct attention to an article which appears in the London Times of 3rd April, dealing very lengthily with the subject of “ German versus British trade.” The article is a long one, and I would commend it to the attention of honorable senators who have been reading Drifting, and who have been so much carried away by it. They will learn that the very pessimistic views expressed in Drifting are not correct. Senator Playford will not need to read this article, because I am glad to say that he recognises the improving position of Great Britain, and hopes to see her make still further progress. He is not like some of our protectionist friends, who seem to delight in reciting facts which tend to prove that she is decaying.
– No ; we all regret it.
– A man makes a statement with very much regret, but says it is true all the same. That is not the sort of thing I believe in. The writer of this article in the Times’ deals very extensively with the statistics of the two countries. He refers to the increased prosperity of England, as indicated by her increasing population, and deals with the value of her mineral production, and compares British and German foreign trade and shipping. I should like to refer later on to the shipping question, but in the meantime .1 shall quote the concluding remarks of the writer, who says -
And whan now is the general conclusion to be drawn from this inquiry into the relative industrial progress of the two ‘nations? It is most assuredly not that Great Britain has suffered. It is literally true, in spite of the war, that we are “ more prosperous than ever. “
And those words, “ more prosperous than ever,” are a quotation from one of the official reports on the subject -
For 180!) our exports per head of population reached the highest figure ever recorded, namely, £7 “2s. 4d. per. capita. In spite of isolated and trilling exceptions, all our leading trades are very active, and yield good profits ; labour and pauperism statistics are more favorable than the average. Most of our trade statistics show continuous and steady growth. But if, as a nation, we continue to advance, it cannot be denied that German)’ - if we overlook her passing trade crisis - advances more rapidly. That is partly explained by the circumstance that she had a humbler level to start from ; it is easier to double a small business than a vast establishment. It is also in part due, no doubt, to many special advantages’ which she en joys, such as the effect of compulsory military service upon the habits and discipline of the population, an almost ideal, yet cheap, civil service, and an excellent system of cheap education. The standard of living, and hence the standard of wages, is lower than here. . . Railways are cheaper, and railway rates are consequently much lower. Her splendid rivers provide cheap transport, and they are supplemented by numerous canals, which have not like the English canals been bought up by the railways to bc killed. There is no trade unionism in the British sense . . . Her government and her diplomacy seem to make trade expansion their first and foremost aim. With such advantages it would have been marvellous indeed if her trade and her industries had not advanced by leaps and bounds. No wonder her material prosperity increases in all directions. Yet it cannot be shown that the progress of Germany has brought about British trade retrogression.
That is one of the most important matters to be considered. Has the increase of trade by foreign nations brought about retrogression in the trade of Great Britain 1 It is true that the trade of foreign nations is coming up towards the amount of the trade of Great Britain, and it is equally true that it would be impossible for Great Britain to supply the whole of the wants of the entire world. Some other nations must come forward. Instead of our looking at this from a gloomy point of view, while we find that our own nation is not retrogressing, but is progressing, as all the statistics show, we should not be jealous of the progress made by other nations We should rejoice at their progress so long as Great Britain becomes more prosperous. The more other nations progress the richer we become.
– Cobden did not expect that other nations would .protect their own industries.
– But it cannot be shown that the progress of Germany has brought about British retrogression. This writer goes on to say -
We, too, make headway, and if we cannot show such growth per cent., partly because we had such a large business already and were so far ahead, we yet maintain an appreciable lead in all the great trades and remain in spite of competition by far the leading trading nation.
Then the writer proceeds to amplify that position. The passages I have read are of very much importance and great moment as showing what the position of Great Britain is to-day as compared with that of her rivals. I said I would allude to the figures as to the shipping of Great Britain and Germany. In 1900 Great Britain had 19,982 vessels with a concrete tonnage of 14,064,152, whilst Germany, notwithstanding her policy of subsidies and of pushing forward her shipping and her trade and commerce, had only 3,759 vessels, and her tonnage amounted to 2,459,389. In five years the British tonnage had increased 7 per cent.
– The -figures are not as favorable to England to-day as they were then.
– The figures I have quoted are given for 1900.
– That is a good while ago.
– -It is not much more than 18 months ago. I suppose the honorable senator is thinking of the great combine that has been formed in America for the purpose of absorbing all the shipping trading across the Atlantic.
– It is very ominous for England.
– Great Britain has constantly been in the habit of supplying foreign nations and foreign ports with ships. She builds ships for foreign nations, and also sells them ships which have previously been used by British ‘Companies. But with what result ? Great Britain has built more ships, better ships, and larger ships than the vessels she has sold. Other nations have bought their ships from Great Britain instead of building them for themselves, because they can purchase at a cheaper rate from that country. But England is increasing her own mercantile marine whilst she is selling her old discarded vessels to other nations. There are more goods carried in British bottoms to-day than are carried in the ships of all the rest of the nations of the world.
– The cheapest, fastest and biggest ships are now built in Germany. ,
– There are one or two instances in which Germany has .got to the top by reason of the size and speed of her ships.
– By means of subsidies.
– Exactly; by means of subsidies. ‘ Great Britain does not give enormous subsidies to her shipping companies, but Germany does, in order to induce them to try and -get ahead of the other nations of the world.
– She gives subsidies for the trade, not for the building of the ships.
– For the trade, as the honorable senator says ; but she subsidizes these vessels very largely, and that is probably the reason why we see the magnificent specimens of naval architecture belonging to German companies that come to our waters. “We know right well that the object they have in view is as far as possible to capture trade. But how is Germany doing it? At’ the expense of the taxpayers of her country, by giving enormous subsidies to the shipping companies. ‘Whether Great Britain will have to adopt a similar course or not remains to be seen. Some people think she will, and others think she will not ; but at any rate I know this - that Great Britain has built up her mercantile marine, and her trade and her position in the mercantile world, under free-trade.
– She had protection until 1S46.
– But what was the position of the working, man and th e people generally before 1846? Let the honorable senator compare his present condition of life here with the position in life of English working men 50 years ago. He would feel sorry if he had. to return to the conditions that prevailed in those “..good old days” of protection.
– The working classes do not get so big a share of the wealth to-day as they did 50 years ago.
– I refer the honorable senator to the quotations I made a little while ago about pauperism in Great Britain. There were thirteen men, as against two to-day, who, being desirous Qf working, were unable to obtain employment. The pauperization of England 50 years ago was far above what it is to-day .
– England’s pauperism to-day is the greatest in the world.
– The honorable senator cannot have taken the trouble to look into the matter.
– I will prove it from Mulhall, a free-trade authority.
– The honorable member relies for his facts upon his imagination !
– I will not say that. I believe that the honorable senator quotes facts which he believes to be correct ; though he may draw wrong inferences, as we are all liable to do. Where is there a port in the world to-day where the British flag is not flying ? It will be found all over the world. To what is that due? To Great Britain’s energy, her determination, and her willingness to fight in the world without any favoritism. She asks for a “.fair field and no favour.” And that is what I want to see with regard to our own people. Give them a fair field, and they want no favour. I decline to believe that an Australian is inferior to an Englishman or an American. I decline to believe that he is inferior to any other individual on’ the face of God’s earth. If Australians are true to themselves, they will say that all they want is a “fair field and no favour.” They need to look to their enormous territory which awaits development. How are we to develop this great country of ours by means of protective duties ? What protection can we give to the miner, the pastoralist, or the agriculturist? I thought some honorable senator would interject just there - “ Look at the duties we are putting on produce.” But the producers of this country do not obtain their wealth by means of any artificial system which we may establish. Protective duties cannot help them in regard to the production of wool and the extraction of wealth from our mines.
– Can it not help in regard to iron ?
– In a particu-‘ lar locality it may be possible to do something within our own small market, and so enable some fortunate number of individuals to form a combine to exploit the whole people of the Commonwealth. But we want by our policy’ to do “the greatest good to the greatest number.” I admit that the protectionist wants to do that. I, as a freetrader, claim that I want to do the same thing. But I maintain that protection is not exactly the system that will accomplish that end. I have taken the trouble to ascertain, as far as I could, the number of persons engaged in agricultural pursuits in the Australasian States and colonies. I find that in 1891 a’ return shows that there were 310,642 people so engaged in New South Wales. I was not able to get a return for the whole of the’States, but I have taken the figures so far as New* Sou ih Wales is concerned, as I think that State may fairly be regarded as typical. It is true that in mining New South Wales does not equal Western Australia, and possibly in ! agriculture she has not so many engaged as in Victoria, nor in pastoral pursuits so many as in Queensland. From this return we find that in New South Wales for the year ending 31st March, 1900, there were 4-2,820 people engaged in mining, 95,906 engaged in agriculture, and 26,318 engaged in pastoral pursuits - a total of 167,044 ; while not a third of that number, or 5p,646, were employed in manufacturing industries.
– No wonder, considering the policy of New South Wales.
– In Victoria in the same year there were some 60,000 people engaged in manufacturing. Included in the returns for both States are females engaged as milliners and makers of dresses and other clothing j and this reduces very considerably the number of men employed in Victoria.
– Do women not work in New South Wales?
– Of course they do, but to a great extent the men earn sufficient in New South Wales to support their wives and families.
– Men go into domestic service in New South Wales.
– Do they not do so in Victoria?
– There are 30 per cent, more male domestic servants in New South Wales than in Victoria.
– By means of the Tariff it is proposed to raise under the head of manufactures of metals a sum of £355,960 during the coming year. That money is to be collected at the expense of the people who are not engaged directly in these particular manufacturing pursuits. Making the gratuitous assumption that the Tariff is necessary to keep 50,000” or 60,000 persons employed in manufacturing- goods required by miners, the agriculturists, and pastoralists, we see that in ‘order to attain that result, the general community are asked to pay nearly £400,000. Under the Tariff from New Zealand, which is quite different to that now under consideration, nearly all machinery required ‘ for mining and agriculture is admitted free.
– ‘In the main, the New Zealand Tariff is protectionist.
– I am referring to these particular branches of industry. Agriculturists, pastoralists, and miners derive no benefit from the Tariff, although they are the best citizens a young country can have. They develop our natural resources, and if they are to get fair play and help it will not be by means of a high Tariff, but by means of the lowest Tariff commensurate with carrying on the business of the Commonwealth. Of course they must bear their share of taxation, but they are the people who are pushing this country forward. In the history of every new country the pastoralist appears on the scene with his vast flocks and herds ; then gradually the agriculturist comes to supply the pastoralist with the products of the soil ; and the third stage is the arrival of the manufacturer. In a rnining country mining goes on hand in hand with agriculture. I do not decry manufacturing industries ; I should like to see the whole country fully engaged in such pursuits. But I do not want to build up a system under which the primary producers are taxed in order to provide employment for other persons in artificial industries. We may depend that, as time goes on, industries will spring up.
– Supposing we had all been engaged in wool-growing during the present drought 1
– We know perfectly well that with a large population men go into different occupations, one growing wool, and another cabbages, while others dig for gold and coal.
– Wool-growing and agriculture have had plenty of protection in the past.
– I do not know what protection wool-growing has to-day.
– I can tell the honorable senator.
– Perhaps Senator Stewart will do so when he addresses the Senate.
– I do not propose to take up the time of the Senate.
– A little time ago a return, prepared at the request of the honorable member for .Kooyong, was laid on the table of the other Chamber, showing the number of persons engaged in manufacturing industries in the various States. The number employed ,,in New South Wales is estimated at 60,000, as compared with 63,000 in Victoria.
– That return has been proved to be unreliable in a great many particulars.
– It was laid on the table of the House of Representatives by the Government.
– I do not care by whom it was laid on the table ; it is unreliable. It is the most difficult thing in the world to get accurate information on such a subject. I do not know the view that Senator Gould proposes to take of the figures, but I say at once that- the return is unreliable.
– Then the return must be accepted for what it is worth. It was compiled from the latest available statistics, and gives a list of manufacturing industries, the number of factories, the average number of persons employed and their wages, the horse-power of the machinery used, and other particulars. 1 find that of a population of nearly 4,000,000, there are, in round numbers, 158,000 adults employed in these industries. The male adults represent, of course, their wives and families, but a number of those included in the return are wives and daughters who also find employment in the industries. We have been told that this return is unreliable; but the figures in regard to New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania are very similar to those given in Coy/dan. It is generally accepted that Victoria and New South Wales have about 60,000 and 63,000 operatives respectively ; and if the return be incorrect, all our statistics are of little avail. On the whole, I think the figures may be taken as roughly correct; and this Tariff is, therefore, established to enable 158,000 persons to follow certain industries. It should be remembered that many of those industries are absolutely natural to the country, and would ‘ exist under any circumstances. .There are, for instance, the industries of bacon curing, biscuit making, brewing, boiling down, brick making, flour milling, and furniture making, none of which gain any benefit from protection. But I find that certain revenue is anticipated. From grain and pulse the Government expect a total revenue of £6,206, though from hay on which a duty of £1 a ton is imposed, the)’ expect nothing in a normal year. What can be the effect of imposing this duty on hay 1 It is only when the States are suffering from drought, and hay is scarce, that the impost can have any effect. When stock are dying, and food and fodder have to be bought, we shall find ourselves confronted with a duty of £1 a ton on hay.
– That is a beautiful platitude !
– It is a fact.
– Stock are dying now in millions.
– Senator Fraser knows what the position of the country is to-day, and his remark forcibly reminds me of a paragraphwhich appeared in one of the Sydney newspapers a little time ago. A settler who had about8,000 sheep on his station, spent his bank balance of £3,000 in buying fodder, and when his money became exhausted, he had, after all, to allow his stock to die.
– The banks, who hold the majority of the properties, are still paying 5 per cent. and 6 per cent. dividends.
– Does Senator Higgs think that there are no private persons who own stations ?
– Very few.
– Or that the men who have borrowed money, have not the hope of redeeming their properties at some time?
– Very few of them.
– We learn that from hops, the Government anticipate a revenue of £34,375 ; from onions, nothing; from potatoes, £3,560 ; and from straw, nothing. In a normal year, in order to assist agriculturists, who have to pay largely enhanced prices for all their machinery, the Government propose to collect £43,941.
– Agriculturists will not pay a penny more for their machinery, as is shown by the experience of South Australia.
– Senator Playford was not present when I pointed out the singular circumstance that, from the time whenhe imposed his protectionist Tariff in South Australia to the present day, the population of South Australia has been diminishing by excess of emigration over immigration.
– I suppose that Broken Hill and Western Australia had nothing to do with the circumstances.
– The same remark as to the excess of emigation over immigration can be made in regard to England.
– I think I have shown that the Tariff will not assist primary producers, and we have now to consider what benefit some of the manufacturers expect to derive. On boots and shoes it is proposed to levy a high duty, though not so high as at first contemplated by the Government, the impost being now something like 30 per cent. In New South Wales in 1899, after freetrade had been in operation for four years, there were 79 factories employing 3,510 hands, with an output of 3,207,196 pairs of boots and shoes. In 1900 the factories of New South Wales had increased to 94, and the hands to 3,894. Victoria, notwithstanding the high duties which had prevailed for so many years, was not so much in advance’ with 108 factories and 4,900 hands, as against 94 factories and 3,900 hands in New South Wales. That was under a system of forced protection, a system of high duties in Victoria, which would have a direct tendency to keep out boots and shoes ; yet New South Wales had no countervailing duties. The manufacturers of that State were so strongly impressed with the absence of any necessity for the imposition of these duties that they caused a letter to be written to Mr.Reid, on the 11th October last, which I think I might as well read -
Sir, - We, the undersigned boot manufacturers, desire to enter, through you, a strong protest against the duties now sought to be imposed by the Federal Government. Our reasons are, briefly: - Each of our businesses has been successfully established under free-trade, and we wish to emphasize this very important fact, that under this policy we have developed the three largest boot factories and one largest slipper factory in the Commonwealth.
Should information be needed to confirm the above statement, we shouldbe most happy to forward it,but we do not think what has been stated will be controverted.
Under federation we recognise there must be a Tariff, and in our opinion 15 per cent. ad valorem is the maximum that would be revenueproducing on boots and shoes.
– Does the honorable and learned senator know how many importers are interested in the businesses referred to in the letter?
– Yes. I will give the names of the persons who signed the letter, because we do not want to dissemble in regard to this matter. We desire to arrive at the true position in relation to it. I have the names of the firms who signed the letter.
– Three importers.
– They both import and manufacture.
– Where are the 97 owners of factories to whom the honorable and learnedsenator has referred ?
– This letter was written in 1901, and was signed by the three largest boot and shoe manufacturers in theCommonwealth, who are quite satisfied to continue their business under free-trade. While Senator Playford reminds me that there are 97 boot and shoe manufacturers in New South Wales, let me recall to his mind the fact that those manufacturers have been for years carrying on business under absolutely free-trade conditions.
– They did not sign the letter read by the honorable and learned senator.
– No; but three boot and shoe manufacturers didso.
– And gave themselves away at once by saying that the reduction of the duties would increase the amount of revenue received, because increased imports would mean a diminution of work in the country.
– Hear, hear.
– The VicePresident of the Executive Council is actually applauding the remarks made by Senator Playford, who thinks that these duties would increase the amount of employment in the country and do away with revenue ; I was under the impression that what we desired to obtain was revenue.
– So we do.
– But these duties are going to do away with revenue, and that is why they are said to be such an exceedingly good thing.
– That is too thin.
– I shall now address myself to the question of revenue, and quote a letter which I have received from a gentleman who, I believe, is an. importer. He writes as follows -
The climax in connexion with this wretched Federal Tariff, so far as unfortunate New South Wales is concerned, seems to have been reached by the imposition of the outrageously unjust duty on boots and shoes of 30 per cent. ad valorem, which, when you go to the Custom-house topay the duty, means 331/3 per cent.
– That is the letter which Senator Dobson referred to, but he would not disclose the name of the writer. Let us hear the whole of it. It is not very long.
– The name of the writer, at all events, is not long. Let us have it.
– The letter is written by an ex-member of the New South Wales Parliament. He goes on to say -
No protectionist in New South Wales, even in his wildest dreams, ever dreamt ofsuch on enormous and unjust duty as that carried by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, 5th March. Might I therefore ask you, not on personal grounds, but as an act of common fairness, to use your best efforts to have this imposition minimized?
– Who is he?
– These will be words of consolation to Senator Playford -
Let me assure you as one who, I think, is entitled, after many years of experience in this particular trade, to form an opinion, that should the present proposed duty be allowed to remain as it is, it will fall nothing short of annihilation to this branch of commerce.
– He wants to import.
– Is that satisfactory ?
– We impose protective duties to stop importations,. not for revenue purposes.
– Now the cat is out of the bag ; all these duties are imposed in order to do away with revenue. Where does the honorable senator think the Commonwealth is going to obtain its revenue ?
– From other duties.
– Read the whole of the letter.
– I have given the most important part of it, showing that in the opinion of the writer the duty is altogether too high. It has already been pointed out to us that certain men will be quite satisfied with a small revenue duty. But we find that the real intention of honorable senators who support this particular branch of the Tariff is to get rid of any revenue from this source.
– Give us the name and address of the writer of the letter.
– I do not know exactly what amount Senator O’Connor expects to raise.
– The letter was written byF. G. Springthorpe, a little tinpot importer.
– If it will relieve the honorable senator’s mind, I do not object to tell him that Mr. Springthorpe is not the writer of this letter. The first letter which I read was signed by McMurtrie & Co. Limited, John Hunter & Son Limited, Enoch Taylor, and also Mr. S. Solomon, who, I think, is a manufacturer of slippers. Honorable senators will recognise that these are men who manufacture very largely. They comprise the largest manufacturers.
– Who employ a large number of people.
– As the honorable senator reminds me, they employ a large number of hands. The second letter which I read, and which I said came from an importer, was written by Mr. Whiddon.
– It is a copy of Springthorpe’s letter.
– I have not quoted Mr. Springthorpe’s letter ; this is a different one altogether, although very probably it deals with the same subject. I find that under the Tariff as it stands at the present time, Senator O’Connor contemplates that in a normal year the revenue from boots and shoes will amount to £68,100. I recognise that it is desired to wipe out that revenue, as it has been indicated that that will ultimately be the effect of these duties. The same principle applies to other duties which are excessive. We are confronted with the fact that we require revenue, and revenue should be our primary and not our secondary consideration.
– I thought that the honorable and learned senator was urging the cause of the working classes, whom he desired to protect.
– So I am ; I do not want to see the working man compelled to pay 50 per cent. more for his clothes than he need do.
– He is quite willing to pay it.
– No, he is not.
– If we give him the money to enable him to pay the increased price - and that is what protection will do - he will be quite willing to pay it.
– On the contrary, protection takes money out of the working man’s pocket and gives him the lowest possible wage that he can be persuaded to accept.
– Free-trade gives him neither work nor wages.
– What will be the effect of this Tariff on the smaller States? In dealing with this question from the point of view of Tasmania, Senator Macfarlane showed that there were very few manufactories in that State. I do not think that there are either boot and shoe or clothing factories there. Hitherto that State has derived a large amount of revenue from importations of these particular goods, but under the Tariff it will be deprived of that source of income, because to a very great extent the boots, shoes, and clothing required by Tasmania will be obtained from New South Wales and Victoria. Of course, that is what Senator Playford wants to see - the early stoppage of importations of boots and shoes and clothing from other countries. Tasmania will thus obtain no revenue from these sources. According to the latest returns the importations into Tasmania amounted to a little over £2,000,000 sterling per annum. Upon those importations Tasmania hitherto collected duties, which were of a very important character, for the reason that they were necessary to enable that State to carry on. I think that the duties amounted to about £480,000 per -annum. But twothirds of the goods that were imported into Tasmania prior to federation came from other States of the Commonwealth, leaving only one-third imported from countries beyond the Commonwealth. That means that the former revenue of £480,000 will be reduced by two-thirds, apart altogether from the effect which the duties under this Tariff will have of preventing any importations into Tasmania from beyond the Commonwealth. The people there will bring their goods from the mainland, and that State will receive no revenue whatever from these sources. Is that a fair thing ? If we had a moderate duty we should not interfere with the men who are working here, while at the same time we should enable the smaller States toobtain some revenue from imports from abroad. A man might say that he would sooner buy certain goods from America or Great Britain, provided that the difference in price was not too great, and in that way there would be certain importations into Tasmania from which the State would derive some benefit.
– The honorable and learned senator has backed down on freetrade.
– He is a revenue tariffist.
– That is, a moderate protectionist.
– No ; a revenue tariffist is simply a man who recognises the necessity to collect revenue in order that the business of his country may be carried on, but who has a desire that that revenue should be obtained at the least possible expense to his country. In securing that revenue he objects to large sums of money being placedunnecessarilyin the pockets of a few individuals in the community. Revenue tarriffism is perfectly consistent with the position of a free-trader. A free-trader, unless he is an extreme man, does not say that no revenue shall be derived from the Customs ; he recognises that there are certain lines on which duties may be imposed when the necessity arises to obtain money through the Customs.
– Can the honorable senator tell us how we can raise £8,500,000 through the Customs without protecting some industries ?
– I can tell the honorable senator that the free-trade Tariff of New South Wales realized something like 27s. or 28s. per head of the population without interfering unduly with the people.
– Can the Commonwealth follow that example?
-Not fully; I admit that at once, and that is why I say that I shall vote for a revenue Tariff. This Tariff embraces something like 130 items, apart from stimulants and narcotics. A remark was passed last night by an honorable senator that New South Wales never had free-trade ; that she had a bastard free-trade Tariff. But do honorable senators know that out of the 130 items in this Tariff there are only eight which were in the Tariff of New South Wales ? Do they know that the Tariff of New South Wales approximated more closely to the Tariff of Great Britain than does that of any other country of which we are aware ? Yet the former free-trade Tariff of New South Wales is spoken of as a bastard Tariff, as if it were neither one thing nor the other. When we find that there are thirteen items, some of which embrace several subjects, in the Commonwealth Tariff, to every one that existed in the New South Wales, we must see at once what the position is ; that New
South Wales had a free-trade Tariff. During the past five years New South Wales developed strongly under that Tariff, and her position compares well with that of any of the other States in the union.
– Owing to the expenditure of loan money.
– The honorable senator is always prating about loan money.
– And by means of the revenue acquired from sales of Crown lands.
– Is it not well to have the land in the occupation of the people ? Is it not well if we can borrow money for the construction of reproductive works to expend thatmoney upon such works? How much loan money has been expended upon railways in all the States ? In the State from which the honorable senator comes the loan indebtedness per head is higher than in any of the other States.
– I admit that, but the honorable and learned senator was attributing the prosperity of New SouthWales to free-trade, and I attribute it to the borrowing policy, and the “ blowing “ of the public estate.
– I desire to refer to one matter dealt with in the Bill with regard to duties that have been collected, but have not received the approval of Parliament. Where a man has had the misfortune to take goods out of bond and pay the duty originally imposed upon those goods, before the Bill has beenfinally dealt with by the House of Representatives, he is to get no relief, though the decision of the House of Representatives may have been to abolish the duty originally imposed. I have a very strong case here with regard to carbide of calcium. The Tariff, as originallyproposed, levied a duty of £5 per ton upon this article, but when the matter came to be considered by the House of Representatives that duty was entirely abolished. Anyone who imported carbide of calcium, and took it out of bond before the abolition of the duty, had to pay that duty, and he has no opportunity of getting his money back again.
– If the honorable and learned senator bought shares at a pound and sold them next clay at 30s., would he give back the 10s.he made to the man from whom he bought the shares?
– That is another matter altogether. If I bought shares at a pound and sold them at 30s., and the next man sold them at 40s., would he give me back the 10s?
– Then the honorable senator has answered his own question. I have a letter here in which it was pointed out that on the loth January entries were passed for a shipment of carbide. The Customs officials claimed that carbide w;as liable to duty, and the sum of £107 odd ,’as paid for duty. On the 3rd of February another sum of £171 13s. was paid in duty upon another shipment, and on the 6th February carbide of calcium was declared free of duty. An application made for a refund of the duty paid was declined in view of the terms of the Customs Act and the policy of the Government. The duty was paid under executive authority for collecting it, and now in this Bill it ‘ is proposed to legalize the collection, and not to permit of a refund. Honorable senators may ask why these people did not bond their carbide of calcium instead of paying the duty and taking it away at once. They did not for the simple reason that no bond would take this particular article, because of its supposed dangerous character. Kerosene bonds would not take it, there was no opportunity to obtain a licence for a bond, and the duty had therefore to be paid. It was not a case in which the duty need not have been paid, and I ask honorable senators whether they think it fair and reasonable that under circumstances such as these, people should be mulcted to the extent of £300 for duty, when subsequent importations are admitted absolutely free of duty. It may Be said that this is an extreme case. So it is an extreme case. It is a case in which the duty had to be paid nolens volens. But I say that where under a Tariff a duty has been collected which has not subsequently received the approval of the Parliament of the country, as a matter of common honesty that duty should not be retained by the Government if it can be shown that the article has not been passed OIl. 1 admit that when it is passed on to the public we cannot follow it. We have no option in such a case but to allow the matter to stand, but where it can be shown that the original packages are in existence it is only fair that the duty should be refunded. I hope, therefore, that when we come to consider clauses 5 and 6 of this Bill honorable senators will consent to a modification of those clauses in the direction I have indicated. There are very many anomalies in the Tariff, and amongst them is one affecting the coach-building trade. There are certain articles introduced such as hoods, rims of wheels, and articles of that character, upon which a duty of 25 per cent, has been collected- the same duty as is collected upon the completed article.
– Does the honorable and learned senator mean the same duty on the materials for hoods and rims ?
– The same duty on the unfinished parts as upon the completed article. I find that under item 124, bicycles, tricycles, and similar vehicles, and vehicles and parts thereof not elsewhere included, are provided for by a duty of 20 per cent., but the duty upon the finished article is 25 per cent. Looking a little further on after “Tilburys and dog-carts,” I find that all parts thereof, wheeled, tyred, and bolted, have a duty imposed of 25 per cent., which is the same duty as that charged upon the completed article. But where wheels are not tyred and bolted, and where they come out in parts, the Custom-house authorities are now claiming that they are liable to duty at the same rate as the completed article. This is a matter which requiries looking into. I am sure Senator O’Connor will be glad to inquire into it, and I have correspondence here upon the subject, with which I shall be glad to furnish him.
– It is very often a mere device, where there is a low duty upon the parts to bring them out and put them together in a day, and thus avoid the higher duty upon the completed vehicle.
– I think there is little or no work of this character done. It is cheaper for a man to import a buggy already made, than to import the parts and put them together here. I am sure that from either the free-trade or protectionist stand-point it will be admitted that these parts should be treated differently from the completed article.
– The parts are also used for repairs.
– Yes, that is so. I think the anomalies in the Tariff which have been pointed out by Senator Sargood, and the remarks which have been made by that honorable senator, after an. experience of 40 years, not only in Parliament, but in the business of importing and manufacturing, should carry very great weight with honorable senators. I think they ought, in dealing with this Tariff, to be prepared to cut down high duties, so that we may obtain a fair amount of revenue. I believe we shall be discharging our primary duty to the Commonwealth by doing so, and shall not be destroying industries which have already been established, unless they are absolutely rotten industries, so absolutely foreign to the country that they ought never to have been established here. The experience of New South Wales for five years shows that where an industry is in any way adapted to the needs and requirements of the country, it will continue in existence and will flourish. A healthy state of affairs grows up, and goods are manufactured for sale, not only in the home market, but in foreign markets, without unduly pressing upon our own people, and making them pay an enhanced price. I do not desire to see any man in this community compelled to pay more for the goods he requires than they can be sold for in outside markets. I should like him to be placed in a position of perfect equality. He has the natural advantages of his position, and has the benefit of the cost of freight in bringing goods from the old country. Some of the articles to which I alluded just now in connexion with buggies .are articles upon which freight is very high. I have invoices showing charges and duties amounting to something like. 80 per cent, of the invoice price of the goods.
– It is the same with earthenware and glassware.
– The same may be said of earthenware and glassware and all bulky goods, and the high duties are a very severe penalty upon the people who have to use the articles upon which those duties are imposed. I hope that this is the view that will be taken generally by honorable senators. I am prepared to do what “I can to assist in getting a fair amount of revenue, but I am not prepared to unduly hamper trade or the people of the country, and I am not prepared by my vote to put money into the pockets of the few at the expense of the many. I say that this is the most liberal view which honorable senators can take of a matter of this kind. How honorable senators who are members of what is termed the labour party, and who hold themselves up particularly as representing the vast body of working people can justify the imposition of high duties, I am unable to understand. How they can give their votes to impose a duty which enhances the price of goods, and so make the labouring man’s £2 or £3 a week go . less far than they would go under a fair system of freetrade - how they can justify that to their conscience I do not know. I take it that, where a man is earning £2, or £3, or £4, or £o a week, every shilling is an object to him, because he has to maintain his wife and family, as well as himself. The struggle he has to make is quite hard enough for him without his being called upon to add unduly to his expenditure, not for his own benefit, but for the benefit of a few individuals and a few manufacturers. We can understand that, as a rule, manufacturers enjoy protection, and will do all they can to make sure of a system of protection by which they can make large profits and big incomes, and they are not going to turn round and say that they will give away half of their income.
– The “ calico jimmies “ vote as strongly for free-trade.
– We have heard what Senator Sargood, who is a manufacturer as well as an importer, has had to say upon high duties, and no one has any cause to doubt the judicial position which the honorable senator occupies in connexion with a matter of this kind. I shall listen with a good deal of interest to the speeches to be delivered by Senators McGregor, Higgs, and De Largie, advocating high duties.
– How does the honorable and learned senator know that they will speak at all 1
– Possibly they will think it is just as well to lie low. I am very glad to know that there are some members of the party who do not see eye to eye with them in regard to these duties. There are some members of the party who recognise the necessity for aiding the primary producers and the poorer classes of the community.
– Where are they ? There is only one of them here, and we shall convert him before long.
– The honorable senator will find out where they are before the debate is over. Perhaps if Senator Barrett went to some New South Wales labour constituency he would be converted. I call the attention of the Senate to one labour constituency in that State which occurs to my mind. It is represented by Mr. Hughes, who is one of the truest free-traders in Australia. He was returned triumphantly by a labour constituency, and not by a conservative or kid-gloved constituency.
– As the debate cannot possibly be finished this afternoon, and must be continued next week, I desire to take’ the opportunity of making a few remarks, which, if not made now, would probably have to be made in committee. The fact that this is the 9th of May, and that, therefore, we are entering to-day upon the second year of this session, would incline me not to speak at all if I thought that by refraining from speaking the session would be in any way shortened. I do not intend to enter upon this controversy between the principles of protection and freetrade, especially as exhibited in the policies and careers of the two States of New South Wales and Victoria. We have listened to many very able speeches upon both sides of the question, and if we went to that admirable institution, the Melbourne Public Library, we should find the shelves full of books containing speeches upon the subject delivered both in this State and in New South Wales. Seeing that the controversy has been going on in the two States for about 30 years, and that the champions of the rival policies still show unabated ardour, we have sufficient proof that the question is not going to be settled by argument. I have, too, a feeling that, upon big questions, converts are not made by the speeches delivered in Parliament. Conversion upon a question of this kind, if it comes about at all, is generally the result of the observation of existing facts, sharpened probably by previous reading and study. I cannot claim to be a life-long protectionist, and the words of the Vice-President of the Executive Council upon that point were a little misapprehended. I look upon the question from the stand-point of one who, in his earlylife, was a free-trader. While a number of people have come out to Australia from England as free-traders and have afterwards become protectionists, I know hardly one protectionist whose experiences here have led him to become a free-trader.
– Half the population of Western Australia has turned from protection to free-trade.
– The circumstances of Western Australia are exceptional, and I shall live to see a great many of the politicians from that State, and especially the younger men who are now delighting us with the eloquent recital of platitudes which. I knew by heart when I was nineteen, able defenders of the truly national policy of protection against the outside world and of internal improvement. I was born and bred in London, which, I suppose, may be looked upon as the trading capital of the world, and under those circumstances it would have been extraordinary if I had been anything but a free-trader. At that time, the severe competition of other nations that had adopted a protectionist policy had hardly begun to be felt, and Englishmen still thought that their freetrade policy would carry them on triumphantly until they practically controlled the trade of the world. I believe, however, that a great change has taken place in the public opinion of Great Britain during recent years, though probably, if I were still there, I should see reason to change my own views in regard to the fiscal policy so far as England is affected. But at the present time we have a sufficiently large problem to solve in deciding what is the best policy for Australia, and we may leave the fiscal policy of Great Britain to those statesmen whose business it is to look after it. When I had been a number of years in Australia, and had had considerable opportunities to become aquainted with the commercial conditions of the States, and their trading relations with the outside world, and had given considerable study and thought to the matter, I came to the conclusion that the proper policy for the Australian States was that of protection and internal improvement. I am still more strongly of the opinion that it is the proper policy for the Australian Commonwealth. I can best show the connexion between protection and internal improvement by referring to a remark made by Senator Sargood last night. He said that if the Tariff has a protective operation - as I think we are all agreed that it will - its effect will be to increase local production, and thereby diminish importation, and that by diminishing importation we should increase steam-ship freights, because of the smaller quantity of goods to be carried. I do not think that that consideration should weigh with us very strongly, if, for no other reason than this, that in these days we may wake up any morning and find that the whole ‘of our shipping has been bought up by a foreign nation.
– If our importation is diminished we shall have to pay higher freights, whoever the steamers belong to.
– But when shipping is bought up by a foreign nation, it is bought up for the express purpose of creating a ring, and putting up freights. Therefore, other considerations besides the volume of trade affect the question of freights. I should like to know if the protectionist policy adopted by the United States and by Germany has resulted in the decay of their shipping, and in the charging of higher I freights to their merchants 1
– Protection has ruined’ the shipping trade of America.
– I think that the total shipping trade of America - I do not refer to the foreign trade, but to the internal trade as well - is not much below that of Great Britain.
– It is only 3,000,000 as against 14,000,000 tons. That is taking all registered American shipping.
– It is the American registration laws which have ruined her shipping, not her protective policy.
– I am not satisfied that the shipping of any country has suffered by the adoption of protection, but, if the contention of the honorable senator, that this matter should weigh with us in the present instance is a logical one, it would be a good thing to shut up our existing factories in order to increase our importation, and thus reduce freights.
– That is an extravagant suggestion.
– If, by the adoption of this Tariff, we stimulate internal production, and considerably reduce our importation, while we may suffer a slight increase in freights, we shall gain an enormous advantage by the increase of our inter-State commerce, and the interchange of commodities between our own people. I like the distinction made by Carey between the words “trade” and “commerce,” although in our Constitution Act they are used as - synonymous expressions. “Trade” he takes to mean the interchange of goods between one nation and another, and “ commerce “ the interchange of goods among the people of any nation. To the extent to which our importation is diminished by the adoption of a protective or semi-protective policy, we shall gain by the increase of inter-State commerce, in the exchange of the productions of our own country amongst our own people. If we depend entirely on outside sources for our manufactured goods, and condemn our population to devote itself almost wholly to the production of wool, wheat, and natural commodities, creating thereby the pastoral paradise which Senator Symon desires-
– I desire a pastoral paradise, but not to the exclusion j of other forms of prosperity.
– If. we do that, we must continue to employ ships in bringing us goods from other parts of the world. But if, side by side with the population which is engaged in pastoral, agricultural, and mining pursuits, we have a population engaged in maufacturing their productions into higher forms, and ministering to their requirements in various ways, we get an inter-State commerce that is much more valuable than foreign trade. When the United States and Canada adopted in the early stage of their history the policy of protection and internal improvement, they recognised that by restricting their importation and developing their production, they would create an immense internal commerce, which, in itself, would require means of transportation. If in the early history of the United States that country had adopted free-trade, and the eastern and the western States had dealt separately with the outside world, there would have been more work for the steamships trading between the United States and other countries. But by adopting a policy of protection, and restricting importation, although they gave less work to foreign steam-ships, they made necessary internal means of communication. If they had not created the enormous internal commerce, which is the glory of the country, there would not have been the same work for their railways, and their transcontinental lines would not have been made so rapidly, and would probably not be so numerous and effective as they are to-day.
– Would they not have required those railways to transport imported commodities as well as locally manufactured commodities ?
– If they had been dealing with an outside population the manufacturers would have been living in other countries. The protective policy of the country, no doubt, is one of the factors which have caused the enormous increase of population in the United States. Canada, later, adopted the same policy. Of course the Canadian Pacific Railway to a certain extent was a political necessity in order to bind together the east and the west . But here again there would not be the same amount of work for transportation in Canada, supposing that she were to adopt a free-trade policy, and Eastern Canada and Western Canada were to trade independently with the countries of the world.
– Why should there not be?
– I take that to be a matter absolutely beyond dispute.
– Will the honorable senator give a reason why the railways should not be used for transporting imported goods as well as locally made goods ?
– The railways would be required, no doubt, for transporting the goods manufactured to the coast.
– But the imported goods?
SenatorDRAKE. - Supposing that we arc sending from any State in the Commonwealth £500 worth of wool to England, that we have in England a population manufacturing boots, shoes, hatsand so on, and that they are sending a corresponding quantity of goods to this State. Does the honorable and learned senator tell me that if we adopt a protective policy, and instead of interchanging these products with the old country we interchange them with another State, we do not require the means of transportation which we need not otherwise provide?
– But we require the means of transportation if our hats and boots come from England just as well as if they are made in Melbourne.
– Not so : we should be a customer for one-half, and the people in England who are producing the goods would be customers to the ship-owners for the other half.
– The honorable and learned senator is not talking about ships, but about railways.
-I am talking of ships as against railways. The country which depends upon external sources for its supplies is giving employment to steam-ship companies, whereas the country that depends for its supplies on itself has to provide transportation for those supplies within its own boundaries, corresponding to the transportation that is required, if it is depending for its supplies from the outside world. Senator Sir Josiah Symon. - Supposing that machinery is wanted for Bourke, and that it is made in Sydney, or imported from England, is there any different way of getting it to Bourke than by the same railway?
– That will have to go by railway certainly.
– Whether it is madein England or in Sydney?
– Possibly. Take any article of agricultural machinery, which is being produced somewhere in Australia. We must have means of transportation from the factory where it is made, to the place where it is to be used.
– Hear, hear, just as though the importers had warehoused it.
– If we have six States with a free-trade policy, and each State is doing its business with the outside world, we shall have these machines supplied to each State separately.
– Well, that depends.
– It may be. If each State has its own policy, as we had before we federated, and it adopts what is known as free-trade - with no check to importation - then it gets its supplies separately from the outside world.
– Would not that apply in the same way if there were separate factories in the States ?
– Just as with a separate port in each State.
– Of course, if there is at the port a man who is receiving his machines from outside and distributing them here, means of transportation have to be provided from the port to the place where they are to be employed. But all these machines have had to be brought in the first place oversea.
– Certainly, and then they have to be distributed by railway in the same way as if they were manufactured locally, I think - unless they are locomotive engines which can walk by themselves. Otherwise my honorable and learned friend will see that it will mean that we should concentrate the making of machinery in one State.
– Not at all. The machinery might be made in every State ; but in that case there would have to be means of transport between the manufacturer and the population, and the one population assists to carry on the other. There can be no doubt that under a system of internal commerce, the population who are engaged in tilling the soil - raising the primary products - supply the manufacturing population, and the manufacturing population are ministering to the needs of the agricultural population, as well as becoming consumers of their products. Where a policy of that kind has been pursued in » country, there can be no doubt that it is an advantage in this respect - that it gets better results on the whole from the working force of its population because it has a variety of pursuits, and it is not bound to force any portion of its population into any particular groove. We have young people growing up. Some of them may be suitable for one ‘occupation, and others for another occupation. Why should we say that in a country of this extent, they must be all doomed to one occupation, because, perhaps, at the start, we are able to import our manufactured goods at a little less than we can make them on the spot ?
– Has there been no variety of occupation in New South Wales ?
– Is there not an advantage in starting our manufactures in the country in order that our population may be employed in that particular -work for which they show- an adaptability ?
– Hear, hear ; but do not let us tax the poor to do it.
– That crumb is flung into my throat, and it might be discussed at some other time. The incidence of protective duties has been discussed over and over again, and I suppose will be discussed for the next fifty years, and just as sincerely and earnestly as the free-traders claim that the poor pay, we claim that the poor do not pay, but that it is an advantage to them, and that not only in particular occupations but all the way through. Every man as soon as he begins to raise a family looks round to know what occupation his sons are going to follow. A man may be a farmer ; who, perhaps, has been wringing a very hard living from the soil, and we are told that his lot is a very hard one. Is he to be told that in consequence of the condition of this country his sons will have to become farmers, all competing with one another ? Is it not better that he should have an opportunity of putting one of his boys to perhaps his own occupation, and another boy to another occupation 1 I am sorry to see that there is such a tendency to set the primary producer against what is called the secondary producer, as though the two persons were antagonistic. I do not follow that line of reasoning at all. The man who makes . a plough is just as much a producer as is the man who drives the plough on the farm.
– Except that the man who makes the plough is paid extra for doing it.
– We do not claim that.
– I must ask the honorable and learned senators not to argue the point.
– It might be worth while to pay the man extra for making the plough, on account of the enormous advantages which result to the user of the plough. Take an illustration which, I think, has been given before. Supposing that two men are engaged in tilling the soil with a very imperfect implement in place of a plough. If one of them ‘ ceases to work on the land, and devotes himself to making a plough, would the honorable and* learned senator say that he is wasting his time 1 Supposing that an additional reward is given to him for making the plough, is it not justified afterwards when the two. men with the help of the plough can get more than twice as much produce from the soil ? That seems to me to be the whole philosophy of protection. We have a country with enormous possibilities, and we desire to have the population engaged in every form of industry. We do not wish to be doomed to be simply cultivators and producers of raw material, in order to serve manufacturers in Great Britain and in foreign countries. Surely it is far better to have every variety of industry on the soil, for then there will be more general employment for the population. By following that policy we shall get better results than we should if we doomed a large portion of the population to one particular industry. But, apart from all that, I wish to lay great stress on this point, because I think when honorable senators come to look into it, they will see that it is undeniable that if we have every variety of industry on our soil, there must be a closer and a quicker interchange of commodities than there is where the people of a country are engaged merely in producing raw material, and have to depend on outside countries for their manufactures.
– That is a good reason for not having inter-State freetrade.
– Not at all. By the act of federation we became one nation, and each State must necessarily depend on the others. The welfare’ of all Australia in the future depends on the welfare of the individual States. I claim that in this controversy we ought to cease to look upon industries just from the point of view of where they are carried on, and in discussing a particular item in the Tariff, we should regard a Victorian industry, for example, as an Australian industry. Whatever State we come from, we have all a direct interest in industries which are established in Victoria, in exactly the same way as I claim that the senators who come from Victoria and New South Wales are equally interested in the industries which are carried on in Queensland. As the representatives of that State, we should not be justified in asking the Senate to agree to the proposals in the Tariff with regard to the industry of sugargrowing and sugar manufacturing, if it were not that it has become since Federation an Australian industry. That being the case, we expect the Parliament of Australia to legislate in such a way as will be beneficial to that industry. When I rose to speak I did not intend to address myself to the abstract question of protection verms free-trade, because I recognise that the subject is such a fascinating one that it is impossible to discuss it without, being drawn into a maelstrom of facts and figures. What I particularly desire to say with respect to the main question - now when the Commonwealth is called upon to declare what policy it will adopt - is that a policy of free-trade would mean the development of external trade, whereas a policy of protection would mean the development of internal commerce. That is a very important matter, which must be taken into account. In the future I am sure many other considerations will demand our attention, but eventually the verdict of the people of Australia will be that the proper policy for the Commonwealth to adopt is one which will develop our internal commerce, as against one which will develop our external trade.
– That is freetrade.
SenatorDRAKE. - Free-trade within Australia, and protection against the outside world. That is clearly the policy which was offered to the people at the time politicians were addressing them in connexion with the federal referendum. But leaving the question of whether a policy of protection or free-trade is ideally preferable, I wish to point out that at the present time we are not in a position to put into operation any ideal policy If this were a brand new country without any past, we might perhaps spend our time profitably in deciding whether it would be wise for us to start our national life under a policy of protection or under one of free-trade. But we are not in that position. We are in this position : Federation means that in respect of certain matters the Commonwealth Government have taken over the affairs of six States. At the present time, therefore, no Government could carry out any ideal policy with regard to the affairs of federated Australia. Seeing that prior to the accomplishment of Federation those six States adopted different fiscal policies according to their own requirements, we are placed in the position of having to devise a policy which will, as far as possible, suit their needs and exigencies. Not only were their fiscal policies diverse, but their necessities are just as varying. We have to deal with the affairs of six States, which, in the past, have raised through the Custom-house amounts varying from £1 6s. l1d. per head in the case of New South Wales to £5 5s. 7d. per head in the case of Western Australia; or, to put the matter from the stand-point of percentages, we have to deal with six separate States which have hitherto derived their revenue from Customs in various proportions, ranging from 17-40 in the case of New South
Wales to 47 ‘47 in the case of Tasmania. Under these circumstances it must be perfectly obvious that it is impossible for this or any other Government to adopt a policy which shall accord with the principles of either free-traders or protectionists. We are, in fact hemmed in by a wall upon either side. We have to adopt a policy which will preserve industries that are already established, and which will supply the financial necessities of the States so far as their Customs collections ave concerned. Upon that point the action taken by the Government has been in exact accordance with the declaration made by the Prime Minister at West Maitland, to which such frequent reference has been made. That statement of policy has been crystallized into “the expressive phrase, “ Revenue without destruction.” Under the circumstances which I have described the Government are compelled to raise a sufficient revenue to supply the necessities of the various States, and to do so in such a way as not to destroy existing industries. We are told, especially by the representatives of New South Wales, that the policy which has been laid down by the Government constitutes a breach of faith with the electors, and does not carry out the declaration of the Prime Minister at West Maitland.
– They would say anything.
– Exactly ; they would 7 anything.
– To which Tariff does the Postmaster-General refer ?
– I am referring to the Tariff brought down by the Government.
– Did that fulfil the condition of “ Revenue without destruction 1”
– Then how about the present Tariff? Does it mean revenue with destruction ?
– The Tariff now before the Senate is the Tariff introduced by the Government as altered in the other Chamber, and I claim that in its original form it exactly fulfilled the condition of the Prime Minister’s declaration that he would introduce a Tariff that would raise the ‘necessary revenue without destruction.
– Then the Government intend to restore the Tariff to its original form ?
– It is all very well for the honorable and learned senator to talk in that fashion, but in politics we have to consider possibilities. I am perfectly certain ‘that the people of Australia earnestly desire the question of the Tarin to be definitely settled. Last evening Senator Playford declared that it would have been very much better if the consideration of the Tariff had been deferred till the second session of this Parliament.
– Hear, hear.
– But honorable senators know very well that in the early stages of the Federation there was a demand from all parts of the Commonwealth that the Tariff question should be settled immediately. We were told on all hands that until it was settled upon a permanent basis, the operations of trade would be hindered, and no ohe would be able to buy or sell with safety. Additional force has been given to that objection by the remarks we ‘have heard in this Chamber during the past two or three days.
– - Yet the Government waited for five months before introducing it.
– I am not prepared to admit that we waited atall. I repeat that there was a unanimous cry from all parts of Australia that we should deal with the Tariff during the first session of Parliament. In this connexion I may mention that New South Wales was the most anxious of all the States. Accordingly the Tariff was introduced, and this called for the introduction of all the machinery measures necessary to give effect to it during the same session.
– Such as the Kanaka Bill.
– The kanaka question is intimately connected with the Tariff. The introduction of the Tariff during the first session compelled the Government to simultaneously submit practically their entire policy. That is the reason why the present session has been so prolonged, and surely it does not now lie in the mouths of those who demanded that the Tariff should be dealt with immediately to declare that its consideration should have been deferred until next session. Last night I could not help thinking of what would have happened if the Government had ignored that demand, and had said, “ We will pass certain machinery measures during the first session, then prorogue Parliament, and submit the
Tariff in a future session.” In such circumstances, what would have been said by those who urged that the Tariff must be dealt with during the first session? I am perfectly certain they would have declared that from all sorts of improper and unworthy motives we were postponing its discussion.
– We should have said, “ As usual with the Government ! “
SenatorDRAKE. - Yes ; the Government would have been accused of introducing this measure and that and the other, and of keeping back the Tariff with the most improper and most unworthy motives.
– There was no necessity for the Government to cram all their policy into the one session.
– The Government put the Tariff into their programme for the first session at the command of the people of Australia.
– But the Government did not do that early enough.
– I think I am correct in saying - theVice-President of the Executive Council can correct me if I am wrong - that in the first place it was the intention of the Government to postpone the Tariff until the second session of Parliament, and that it was only when a unanimous demand was made throughout Australia that the Tariff should be dealt with in the firstsession that that intention, was changed.
SenatorO’Connor. - No, there was no decision about it at all.
– I cannot say myself, because I was not a member of the Commonwealth Government at the beginning. I know, however, that the matter was discussed on every public platform, and that it was generally desired that the Tariff should be introduced during the first session in order that people engaged in trade and commerce might know as early as possible the conditions under which they would have to conduct their business. It does not lie in the mouths of those who took part in that agitation to blame the Government because they have brought the Tariff forward during the present session.
SenatorClemons. - This all comes from having an unruly supporter like Senator Playford.
– Senator Playford is the only one who complains.
– I have been drawn into speaking about free-trade and protection to a greater extent than I had desired. I had not intended to refer to the merits of one policy over the other; although, as I have stated on previous occasions, I have strong views in favour of protection. The Government had to consider the necessities of six different States, and no Ministry could have introduced a Tariff which would have carried out to their logical conclusion the views of either freetraders or protectionists. We had to deal with six Tariffs under which taxation was levied, varying from£l 6s.11d. per head in New South Wales to £5 5s. 7d. in Western Australia. The States were deriving revenue through the Customs in proportions, varying from 17-40 per cent. in New South Wales to 47-47 per cent. in Tasmania. The task before us was to devise a Tariff which would not destroy existing industries, but would at the same time give to the several States something approaching the amount they had previously received through the Custom-house.
– That is exactly what the Tariff does not do.
– That is exactly what it honestly attempted to do. That it was impossible to do it actually was known all along from the time of the Commonwealth elections. It was recognised that whatever Tariff might be fixed upon would give a large superabundance of revenue to New South Wales, and create a big deficit in the cases of Tasmania and Queensland. I claim that the Tariff, as presented to the House of Representatives, was framed in such a way as to meet the financial necessities of the States as far as possible, at the same time avoiding the destruction of existing industries.
– Was the Tariff, as introduced by the Government, better than it is now.
– Yes. The Tariff, as introduced, carried out the promise made by the Prime Minister at Maitland, and in every other speech he delivered.
– How can the Minister say that ?
– I had an opportunity of hearing the Prime Minister speak in four of the States, I read the speech delivered by him at West Maitland, and I cannot understand how any one can seriously say that the Tariff as presented to the House of Representatives was not a substantial fulfilment of the policy declared by the Prime Minister.
– It was more than a fulfilment - it left a margin for reduction. .
– No ; it was a fulfilment.
– Then the Government have been beaten all along the line.
– No, I will not say that we have been beaten. I know that alterations have been made, and I regret them.
– By a protectionist majority.
– I am not prepared to say that the Tariff, as presented by the Government, was perfect - it would be absurd to say that, because no set of men are perfect - but it carried out the promises made by the leader of the Government more fully and thoroughly than the schedule now before us. I am sorry that some of the duties which may. be considered as protective have been reduced, because they have been brought down, in some cases, to such a point, that the effect may be - I. will not say that it has been - to destroy industries that are established here. The reductions made in the revenue duties must result in serious inconvenience and embarrassment to the Treasurers of some of the States. I cannot help feeling that the antagonism displayed towards some duties having a protective incidence is due to jealousies which have arisen in the past, and which have been maintained between New South Wales and Victoria. It is quite time that all these jealousies were laid aside, and that we remembered that a great change has taken place. It should be borne in mind that whereas in the past the States of Victoria and New South Wales were separate and independent of one another, and had adopted entirely different policies, they are now members of the Federation, and it is to the interest of both that each should progress. It must be clear to all that under Federation the development of any particular industry, in whatever State, is a matter of great importance to the people of the Commonwealth, and some statements have been made from a protectionist point of view which do not carry any weight under present circumstances. Senator Sargood entered upon a comparison of the duties imposed upon certain articles in the past with those now levied. He mentioned certain specific duties as representing certain percentages upon the values of the articles imported, but the way in which he made his calculations was incorrect and misleading. He spoke, for instance, of duties ranging as high as 160 per cent. Of course we know that no ad valorem duty of 150 or 160 per cent. has ever been imposed. He was referring to certain specific duties, which he translated into ad va1orem percentages.
– And correctly.
– What would be the difference if the calculations were correct ?
– There would be no difference if the calculations were correct, but I wish to point out how the honorable senator’s conclusions were arrived at. Senator Sargood applied the specific duty to the lowest quality of the article with which he was dealing - a quality that is not imported so long as the Tariff operates.
– Why not?
– If a specific duty of 20s., 30s., or 40s. per dozen were levied upon boots, the effect would be to shut out all the lower qualities, and to restrict importations to the higher-priced goods. Senator Sargood, however, applied the duty to the values of the lowest qualities of goods that might be imported, if it were not for the Tariff, and told us that the duty represented a very high percentage. That was not fair, and it was certainly misleading.
– But he spoke from actual knowledge of the class of goods that had come in..
– Senator Sargood spoke of the lowest priced boots, and he took the fixed. Tariff upon all boots, and told us how much per cent. the duty meant. That was misleading for the reason that the Tariff, so far as it has a protectionist effect, will shut out the lowest priced goods altogether, and the duty will only be operative on the higher-priced goods.
– He spoke of his own knowledge in Victoria.
– There may have been two or three cases of boots introduced at a very low price, and that might have justified him in saying what he did ; but that is not a fair thing. I took a part in Queensland in connexion with the introduction of the first protectionist Tariff there, and can speak from my own experience as to how it works. I was returned to Parliament in Queensland in 1S88, when the first measure introduced by the Government was one for the imposition of a protectionist Tariff. Amongst the items was a duty of 2.2s. per dozen on men’s boots, No. S, and on others in proportion. I supported that duty, in spite of the cry that is always raised on such occasions that it was an impost which would fall most heavily upon the poor man. In 1S92, the duty of 22s. was altered to 33s., without a single word of comment. What was the result of the imposition of the duty, of 22s. per dozen upon men’s boots 1 It was that at once boots were made in Queensland, and the ordinary boots worn by working men, who have no money to throw away, were cheaper than they were before. I am certain of that.
– They were not half as . good.
– I have worn them myself. They were certainly as good.
– The PostmasterGeneral is of a self-denying character !
– Any man who wanted a boot, not for the purpose of making a show or a display, but a good boot, could obtain one under that protectionist Tariff cheaper than he could get it before.
– But it was a different boot altogether. This fallacy is the same as Senator Playford ‘s about the wine.
– The boots made were such as are mostly worn by the working classes and the people whom we are told we ought to consider in connexion with the Tariff. The result in Queensland was that if a man wanted a pair of boots that would give him good wear, and was not particular about show, he could get them cheaper than ever ; but if he wanted a pair of boots made in France or Belgium or Austria, he had to pay more for them, because he. had to pay the usual price plus the duty. That is the way a protectionist Tariff works ; and I think it will be found, if we go into the matter, that the revenuefrom boots in Queensland did not fall, off in consequence of the imposition of the higher duty. If one wants to show what a fixed duty means by a percentage, it is not fair to take the value of the boots that have been excluded by the duty ; one must take the value of the boots that have been imported in spite of the duty. If that is done it will be found that the specific duty upon boots does not represent 160 per cent, or anything like it, but a very small percentage. In connexion with that I want to refer to a fallacy that seems to be prevalent amongst our free-trade friends. They tell us that if we increase the duty upon an article that article ceases to produce revenue. That may be true in some cases, but in others it may be absolutely untrue.
– It depends upon the article.
– It depends upon the amount of the duty imposed and the extent to which that duty operates protectively.
– That is admitted.
– I have noticed in the discussion in another place, and also here, that it has been said, in what I may call a flippant manner, that if we reduce duties we shall get more revenue. That does not follow.
– In nine cases out of ten it is the case.
– I do not know whether it occurs in nine cases out of ten or five out of ten ; but it is more correct in principle that if you reduce a duty which is having a protectionist operation you at the same time reduce the revenue.
– How can that be 1 In nine cases out of ten it must be the other way. If this Tariff is a compromise, the reduction of duties must increase revenue.
– Let us put it into figures. Suppose- we have a duty upon a particular article of 10 per cent., and under that duty the country is producing goods internally to the extent of £1,000,000, and importing articles of the same description to the extent of £1,000,000. Suppose that duty is increased from 10 per cent, to 20 per cent. By doing so internal production is developed. Say that goods to the amount of £1,500,000 are manufactured locally, and only goods to the value of £500,000 are imported. Then the increase of duty has had a strongly protective operation.
– And there is less revenue.
– No ; the revenue will be .the same as before. I thank the honorable and learned senator for his interjection, because it emphasizes the fallacy under which the free-traders labour. The revenue is- the same. The country has only imported £500,000 worth of goods, but has collected, at the rate of 20 per cent., the same amount of money as was previously collected at 10 per cent. Consequently it is not correct to say that by reducing duties we shall always get more revenue. If we reduce duties to one-half, local production has to be destroyed to the extent of one-half before the country gets a penny more revenue. That illustration is, I think, mathematically correct. Consequently, if we have a duty which has a protectionist operation, and that duty is reduced to one-half, the local production has to be reduced, factories have to be shut up, and imports have to be increased before the country will get an extra penny of revenue.
– But suppose the duty is increased to such an extent that nothing comes in ?
– That is prohibition. If a duty is increased to such an extent that nothing comes in, the country gets no revenue. I only give that illustration as a standard from which to speak. Every case has to be dealt with according to its own circumstances. We have to consider the amount of revenue required, and the extent to which the increase or decrease of a duty will affect the imports of a particular article. But I am sure the freetraders have fallen into a great fallacy in connexion with that matter, especially with regard to boots ; because I know from my own personal experience that the imposition of a specific duty upon boots in. Queensland had the effect of shutting out the lower class of boots, and by so doing created factories that have turned out boots to supply the working people at a lower price than they paid before. The articles turned out are good boots, such as people were in the habit of purchasing previously. At the same time that this is done, the revenue need not suffer any diminution, because, though the imports may be reduced in volume revenue may be collected at a higher rate upon them. It is therefore possible for us to frame a Tariff in such a way that, while it has a protective incidence, and encourages the manufacture of goods in Australia, at the same time it need not necessarily diminish the revenue derived. There is one other matter to which I wish to refer, namely, a remark made by Senator Sargood, commenting upon something said by Senator Best with regard to the manufacturer paying the duty. I quite admit that in a certain sense the consumer always pays the duty. But that means that the consumer, in paying a certain price, pays a sum in which the duty is wrapped up. But what Senator Best suggests, I think, is - and in this he is perfectly correct - that in a great many cases the man who exports manufactured goods to a country where there is an import duty, lowers his price in order to get them in to such an extent that the consumer gets the goods, plus duty, at less than he would have had to pay for them if the duty had not been imposed. That is what I think Senator Best desired to convey.
– Senator Sargood immediately afterwards told us that in London he had bought American boots at a lower price than that at which they were saleable in New York. These boots he imported to Australia, and having paid the duty, he brought them into competition with the local article. . Does that not mean that the foreign manufacturer reduces prices in order to compete in a country where there is a protective Tariff? The object of protection is to encourage manufactures by securing for them the local market. The foreign manufacturer has then to come into competition with the local manufacturer; and there could not be a more powerful influence for keeping down prices. A manufacturer in England has to take into account what is being done by the local factories, and must lower his prices in order to get into a protected market. We do not want to know the prices at . which American manufacturers can put their boots on the London market ; we want to know at what price they sell, their goods in a country where there are no local manufacturers.
– They sell them at identical^ the same prices.
– I very much doubt that.
– I know it for a fact.
– That may be so at present. Senator Sargood always speaksfrom a very high level on these matters, but I very much doubt whether English manufacturers sell their goods in both countries at the same rate.
– Absolutely the same.
– Do the English manufacturers not get the highest prices obtainable ?
– Turkey has been mentioned as a place where there are no manufacturers ; and I. should like to know whether the boot manufacturers of Northampton get no more for their boots in that country than they do in Victoria.
– I cannot tell the honorable senator that, but I know that English boot manufacturers get exactly the same prices in New South Wales and Victoria.
– We know that for certain reasons there are boot factories in New South Wales ; but what we want to know is whether English manufacturers get the same prices for their goods in countries where there is no local competition. A good many years ago, the United States had an import duty on steel rails, which enabled manufacturers to keep prices fairly uniform. Their rolling mills were always turning out rails, and sometimes, in consequence of a glut, prices fell very low ; and when that took place, English manufacturers were able to send rails into the United States. But does that not mean that the protective Tariff enabled American manufacturers to keep prices uniform, and to get the advantage of the work of another country when prices fell phenomenally low? And I think the same rule operates throughout the world. If there are local factories, foreign manufacturers get into a protected market when they produce at a price so low that they can pay the duty and compete with the local article. But they cannot get into the market at any other time. If local factories be closed, a country is at the mercy of foreign manufacturers.
– Do I understand Senator Drake to say that the effect of the duty is to make foreign manufacturers lower prices, and not to enable local manufacturers to raise prices?
– I say that in the first place the imposition of a duty secures the market to local producers who develop industries. If personsengaged in corresponding industries in a foreign country desire to come into a protected market they must face the opposition of the local manufacturers. If protective duties be abolished, foreign manufacturers can swamp the market and ruin the local factories. When that happens we are absolutely dependent on supplies from
Abroad ; and importers are in a position to form rings and dictate prices. The greatest defence we can possibly have against such rings is local production. Senator Playford last night gave us some interesting information in regard to the manufacture of ploughs and plough shares in South Australia, and I regard his arguments in that connexion as absolutely unanswerable.
– Perhaps Senator Drake is not aware that 20 years ago, long before there was any protective duty, agricultural machinery was made in South Australia at a lower price than was charged for the imported article.
-Under such circumstances protection was not necessary. But is it not much better to give the benefit of the local market to those who live amongst us, and enable them, other circumstances being favourable, to produce the articles we want ? One of the considerations which the Government had to keep in view in framing a Tariff, was that they must not destroy industries which had been established in Australia. Another and most important consideration was the revenue of the States ; and I ask the Senate to remember that the Federal Government was really stepping into the place of the several colonies as a taxing power. The Federal Government took over entirely the power of collecting customs duties, which in the State of New South Wales represented 17-40 per cent., and in the State of Tasmania 47-47 per cent. of the total revenue.
– The Federal Government had to bring an erring brother, New South Wales, into line.
– I thank Senator Higgs for that interjection, which enables me to say sincerely that I have recognised all through that the fiscal conditions of New South Wales, more than those of any other State, have been disturbed or ‘dislocated by federation. That was not the result of malice on the part of the Federal Government or the Federal Parliament, but simply the result of circumstances. The Federal Government had to deal with six colonies and six different Tariffs, if the customs duties of New South Wales could be described as a Tariff. These Tariffs varied from that of Tasmania, which gave nearly 48 per cent. of the total revenue, to that of New South Wales, which was imposed merely for revenue purposes. A federal Tariff which would harmonize all these varying systems must of necessity be more widely different from that of New South Wales than from that of any other State. In any colony in the past an alteration of the Tariff, whether in the direction of raising or in the direction of lowering duties, has meant the dislocation of trade for a certain time ; and such a result is unavoidable. No Tariff could have been proposed in accordance with the pledges of the members of the Federal Government, or in accordance with the wishes of the Australian people, that would not cause more disturbance and dislocation in New South Wales than in any other State. Therefore, I feel sympathy with New South Wales, and far from impatient or angry with the representatives of that State when they complain of the operation of the Tariff. At the same time those representatives ought to look at the matter from the point of view that such an effect is unavoidable. I exceedingly regret the alteration made by the other Chamber in regard to the duties on tea and kerosene. These duties were imposed in order to preserve the financial stability of those States which depend largely on the customs duties for their revenue.
– As a representative of Queensland, Senator Drake thinks these duties are necessary ?
– As a representative of Queensland, I know that that State is at the present time most seriously embarrassed financially, though that is not the fault of federation. The root of the trouble is that, owing to the drought, the receipts on the Queensland railways have enormously diminished during the last two or three years. Some senators, especially those who sit in the Opposition corner, ask the Government - “ Why not resort to direct taxation 1 “ I do not want to enter into the merits of the question of direct versus indirect taxation. It must be remembered, however, that whatever form of taxation may be resorted to, some few years must elapse before we get adequate revenue results from it. With regard to taxation we cannot say that we smite the rock and the water- comes out abundantly. If Ave resort to a new form of taxation, some years must elapse before a steady revenue is obtained from it. That is so in the case of the income tax and the land tax. I supported a land tax in Queensland some fifteen years ago, and if that tax had been imposed, and had been still in operation, no doubt it would have been comparatively easy to obtain some revenue from it. But that is not what we have to consider to-day. We have to consider that the State is in financial trouble, and that relief cannot be obtained immediately by resorting to direct taxation. The Federal Government, in taking over the affairs of the States, was charged with the duty of endeavouring as far as possible to prevent any dislocation of or any trouble in the affairs of the States. When we took over the power of collecting revenue through the Customs I think we did so on the understanding that it should be exercised in such a way that we should be able to return to each of the several States an amount sufficient to enable it to carry on without resorting to a new method of taxation. Seeing that it is impossible, by means of direct taxation, to make good the difference, I certainly deplore very much the fact that in another place the majority have decided against those particular taxes, which, if passed, would have considerably helped the Treasurer of Queensland. If it had not been for the disastrous drought in Queensland, I have no doubt that that State would have been able to pull through in spite of the alterations which have been made in the Tariff. But as things are, I think it would have been very much better if the majority in another place had decided to leave those duties as originally proposed. I have nothing more to say. I think still that this Tariff is a compromise. When I refer to it as a compromise I do not mean to say that it is a compromise between the views held by some parties and the views held by others, but I think it is an accommodation between the two difficulties with which we found ourselves confronted. In the first place the Government were not to agree to a Tariff which would destroy industries, and then they were not to agree to a Tariff which would so diminish revenue as to place the States in financial embarrassment. Between those two walls I think, this Tariff is as fair a compromise as could possibly be arrived at. I hope that in discussing the several items of the Tariff honorable senators will not adopt those views which have been the result of the antagon ism manifested between certain States prior to federation. It is unfortunate that the States of Australia should have been disassociated so long. They grew up as separate colonies under different fiscal policies, and became estranged, to a certain extent, from one another. I think that in this discussion there are continual indications that that feeling still continues. I hope that it will give way to a recognition that the interests of all the States are essentially identical ; that the prosperity of the States means the prosperity of the whole of Australia, and I think that by a generous consideration of the needs of each one of the States, as we discuss the items in the Tariff, we shall manifest that truly federal spirit which should animate the deliberations of the Senate of the Commonwealth.
– The Postmaster-General has laid considerable stress upon the desirability of regarding this Tariff from an Australian point of view. He has pointed out very naturally that what is a Victorian industry should rightly be considered as an Australian industry in the Commonwealth ; but there is an objection to looking at the matter entirely from that point of view, which must exist for the next ten years. It is a fatal objection, as I hope to prove later on. I am only referring to the question now because it is freshly before the Senate. The objection is, that under federation each State is at present absolutely responsible for its financial liabilities, and absolutely dependent on its own separate Customhouse for its solvency and prosperity. In these circumstances, if it is found that the operation of the Tariff is such as to monopolize production in any one State to the detriment of the Custom-houses in all the other States, the others will naturally look round and see what they can do to overcome the difficulty. When they do that it is not from any want of federal feeling. I have no doubt that many of the States would gladly see the whole of the revenue from the Custom-houses pooled, but if they are to keep their heads above water they are obliged to take care that they receive through their Custom-houses every penny that they can obtain. Under these circumstances it is not a matter for surprise if they cavil at this Tariff. However, I shall deal with that question later on. At the outset, I desire to congratulate Senator Drake, if he will permit me to do so, upon the interesting lecture which he has given us upon the operation of the Tariff. He commenced his address by alluding somewhat sneeringly to the “platitudes” - that was the word which he used - of the young senators from Western Australia who had introduced to the Senate arguments which he knew when he was a boy.
– I did not mention W estern Australia.
– It is true that it is difficult to deal with this question without indulging in arguments which have been advanced time after time, and if the honorable and learned senator will look back for an instant on what he said he will realize that he has not kept clear of the same pitfall. A great deal of his address might be found in the text-books which we have all been compelled to study in reading up this question. He says that he has never heard of a conversion from protection to free-trade. But I think I may say without fear of contradiction that 50 per cent, of the population of Western Australia were ardent protectionists before they went there. What happened ? On arriving in Western Australia they found that it was a State which was absolutely dependent upon its natural industries. There is not a manufacturing industry employing 1,000 men there at the present moment which is dependent upon protection. What was the natural, result of this discovery on the part of the new arrivals? When they found that the prosperity of the State depended solely on the development of its natural industries in the cheapest possible manner they all foreswore protection. They began to see the fallacy of the arguments which had been thrust upon them, chiefly by the Legislature of Victoria, and then followed what Senator Drake says he has never seen - 100,000 people who had been protectionists became free-traders.
– They will all become protectionists again.
– That remains to be seen. The fact is that they all became free-traders. I should like Senator Drake to consider what effect a little free air and local influence have in bringing about a conversion from protection to free-trade. I do not think that there is very much to be gained by traversingthe questions raised as to the prosperity of America, the prosperity of Great Britain, or the prosperity of Germany. All those nations, whether they are prosperous or not, are affected by a hundred-and-one influences which do not affect us in Australia, and although, as Senator Playford said last night, every individual figure mentioned in support of the contentions in this respect may be accurate, everything depends on the deductions drawn from the figures. We, on the opposition side, draw a certain set of deductions from them, while honorable senators on the other side draw another set. No one can say which set is right, and, therefore, it is hardly worth while to discuss what has conduced’ most to the prosperity of Great Britain, or what causes are leading to agricultural and other distress in Germany. I do not propose to say anything further on this subject, although, if I have time at the close of my speech, I should like, perhaps, to contradict some of the exaggerated statements which have been made by honorable senators on the other side. As they are. not vital to the debate, and not very pertinent to the question, I do not propose to -deal with them at the present time. I may have missed some of the remarks made during the debate, but I have listened in vain for any real arguments in favour of a high Tariff other than those which the Vice-President -of the Executive Council very fairly gave 4is in his speech in introducing the Bill. All those who have spoken in favour of. a high Tariff have said simply that - “It must be a good thing for Australia, because we are satisfied that it is a good thing in Germany and America.” They have not attempted - and I would freely appeal to them to do so when speaking in future - to prove why a high Tariff is going to be a good tiling for Australia. I propose, there- fore, as I cannot see why they are good, to deal with the reasons which have been given bv Senator O’Connor. In the course of his speech he gave us three reasons for a high Tariff for Australia. His first was the necessities of the States from a revenue point of view. That was a very fair reason. His second was that -
No individual in Australia should suffer unnecessarily by reason of federation. “That, also, is a fair reason. The third one put forward by him was that interests which have grown up in the States should not suffer. He said -
We must take care that the interests which have frown up under the fiscal systems of the States are, as far as possible, conserved consistently with the obtaining of revenue.
I propose to deal with these three reasons separately. First of all I should like to ask on what grounds the honorable and learned senator justifies the expression “a compromise Tariff,” as applied to the Tariff before us ? He said -
We have got a Tariff which is a reasonable compromise. lt dues not give us all we want ; it does not give protectionists anything like what they want, and it does not give all the revenue that we ask for.
That is apparently the definition of a compromise Tariff ; but I would, ask the honorable and learned senator whether he is justified in saying that this Tariff does not give the Government all the revenue that was asked for. As a matter of fact, this Tariff gives more revenue than was asked for, according to the figures contained in the paper circulated amongst honorable senators. The estimate of revenue is £8,500,000, and that revenue is in excess by some £400,000 of the amount the Government asked for.
– It must not be assumed that that is the yield of the Tariff in a normal year, by any means.
– The Tariff in a normal year is estimated, so far as I can judge from the papers supplied, to yield a revenue of £8,900,000.
– That is the Tariff as originally introduced. There is no estimate for a normal year of the revenue to be expected from the Tariff in the condition in which it is now.
– Then the best way in which we can estimate what the revenue from this Tariff is going to be is by looking at the results of its operation during last month. Some one in dealing with that question said that the revenue from the Tariff during April was not a fair criterion, because as soon as the House of Representatives had dealt with the -Tariff, all the merchants rushed to clear their goods. I do not think there is the least justification for any statement of that sort. So far as. I can learn the opinions of people outside, they are all waiting to see what the Senate is going to do. I know that the hope in the minds of at least 60 per cent, of the inhabitants of Australia is that the Senate will materially amend this Tariff.
– How did the honorable senator discover that ?
– I appeal to Senator Sargood to say whether that is not a fact.
– Is Senator Sargood the mind-reader of the 60 per cent. ?
– Senator Sargood knows what business men are doing, and I say, without fear of contradiction, that business men did not rush to clear their goods in April. I think it is therefore a fair thing to take the April receipts as a basis for multiplication by twelve, to arrive at a reasonable estimate of the probable revenue from the Tariff. If we do that we shall find that, as Senator Pulsford has already told us, it will amount to something like £10,000,000. I cannot, therefore, see any justification whatever for calling this a compromise Tariff. It is not a compromise Tariff. It is prohibitive in many cases, and we were given distinctly to understand that there should be no prohibition under the Commonwealth Tariff. It is a Tariff which is undoubtedly calculated to raise a very much larger revenue than the Federal Government require. Let us look in the first place at the necessities of the States.We find that in all the States, with the exception of two, there has been a large surplusage of revenue derived from the Tariff, and if its operation gives anything like the results we expect, the surplus will yet be infinitely larger. If that is the wise there is evidently, so far as four of the States are concerned, a very large margin for reduction of these duties. What is the position in the other States ? I have token some care to analyze the position of Queensland, because Queensland was the State which seemed to be in the worst position. Looking at the Queensland figures, we get some very interesting information. First of all, we find that since 1899, the revenue of Queensland through the Customs has been shrinking, and this has had no connexion with federation at all. There has been some reason - which, not knowingQueensland well, I cannot give - why that State has not been so prosperous as in the past. During the six months from the end of June, 1900, to the end of December, 1900, there was a shrinkage of over £41,000 in the Customs revenue of Queensland. In the next six months, ending 30th June, 1901, there was a shrinkage of £54,000. Then we come to the current year, and if we run through the figures and estimate the probable shrinkage we shall find that it will be something like £215,000 upon the figures at present before us. The Treasurer’s returns show a shrinkage of £280,000, but the Treasurer’s figure is an estimate just as mine is an estimate, and I make it £215,000 ; at any rate, it will be over £200,000. When we come to consider how the shrinkage has been caused we find that the decreased revenue from narcotics and stimulants accounts for the greater part of it, though upon these goods the Federal Tariff is practically the same as the previous State Tariff. Running out the receipts for the next three months on. the basis of the last two months, the shrinkage in revenue upon these goods will amount to about £161,000. That is owing tonothing connected with the Federal Tariff, which is to all intents and purposesthe same as the local Tariff upon these goods. It is a shrinkage evidently owing to the depression in the State. It would be impossible to ask the other four States to submit to such a Tariff as would replace that shrinkage. Itwould be impossible and unreasonable, that the other States should be called upon to make that amount good, simply becauseof the affliction of the Almighty, or from some other reason, Queensland has been suffering depression.
– That has not beenaimed at ; no one is trying to do that.
– The honorable and learned senator’s argument for this Tariff was that to a certain extent Queensland required it.
– Queensland requires it, making full allowance for the drought she is suffering from.
– The argumentagainst any reduction proposed upon this Tariff will undoubtedly be that it will unduly diminish the amount required by Queensland. My contention is that Queensland cannot expect this stupendously excessive Tariff to be accepted by the other States in order to supply a deficiency in her revenue, caused by circumstances over which the Federation has no control. In other respects, I may say that Queensland has done very well, and, upon many items, the revenue through the Customs in Queensland has increased upon that derived from the previously existing Tariff. Take, for instance, the item rice. The State duty upon rice was 8s. 4d. per cental ; the federal duty is 5s. 3d. upon dirty rice, and 6s. upon clean rice. But what has been the result? Under the old Tariff of Queensland, the duty upon this article contributed £3 2,000. Under the new Tariff, the lower duty has contributed £17,000 for the half-year. That would give an annual revenue of £34,000, showing an increased amount of revenue collected with the lower duty.
– What half-year does the honorable senator refer to ?
– The half-year from the 8th October to 30th March.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that that will be kept up?
– I find that upon machinery under the Federal Tariff, Queensland has actually collected £34,665, instead of £15,000 collected under the previous Tariff. That is an enormous amount to take out of the pockets of those engaged in the primary industries. Where Queensland and all the other States, with the exception of Victoria and New South Wales have suffered, has been that owing to the nature of this Tariff they have ceased to get duties of customs, upon clothing and other articles of that description, which they were entitled to expect they would continue’ to receive under a moderate Tariff. They have lost all the revenue they should have received from those goods, simply in order that the factories of Victoria might be kept going. That is a matter of fact, and I shall prove it as I go on. It is that which has affected Queensland quite as much as anything else, and that is why honorable senators from Queensland should join with us in endeavouring to amend this Tariff if they have any regard for the financial condition of their State.
– We shall join the honorable senator for the purpose of increasing the Tariff.
– The honorable senator says that he will join with us to increase the Tariff, though he must be well aware that to increase the Tariff would be to bring about prohibition, and the result of prohibition is to shut out goods coming through the Custom-house, and Queensland would in that way lose revenue she is entitled to receive for the next ten years under Federation and the promises of the Maitland Tariff. I think I have proved so far as the interests of the States are concerned, that, with the exception of Queensland, no State represent a Tariff anything like so high as that before us.
– What about Tasmania ?
– I have been unable to analyze the figures for Tasmania in the .same way as I have analyzed the Queensland figures, but judging from what I have heard from representatives of Tasmania in the Senate, the trouble in that State is exactly the same as in Queensland. They have been accustomed to get revenue from certain articles through the Customhouse, and they were justified in expecting that those articles would continue to give revenue, but the result of this Tariff has been that those articles have not been imported into Tasmania at all. They have been supplied to Tasmania from Victoria; and the owners of the Victorian factories have received the revenue which Tasmania, should have received. It is that kind of thing which we desire to counteract in amending this Tariff.
– Can they not import softgoods into Tasmania %
– They have ceased to import soft goods into Tasmania to the same extent as they did previously, except Victorian softgoods. The made-up article now goes to Tasmania instead of the raw material going there and being made up in that State.
– That is the price paid for Federation.
– That is not the price paid for Federation. The price that was to be paid for Federation was local free-trade in local produce, and not free-trade in the articles of pampered and exotic hothouse industries which cannot exist except underglass. If the honorable gentleman wants the Commonwealth to take over all our responsibilities and pool everything, well and good. If that could be done there might be something in his argument ; but he knows that, under the Constitution, it cannot be done. That disposes of what has been said regard- ing the necessities of the States. I come now to the effect of the Tariff upon individuals. There was a distinct understanding - and it was repeated by Senator O’Connor - that no individual should suffer unnecessarily under the Tariff. How are we to tell whether individuals are or are not suffering unnecessarily under it ? All we have to do is to look in the newspapers, and to listen to the remarks which may be heard everywhere in regard to its operation. Is Australia rampant with joy because of the
Tariff? Is the Prime Minister the crowned hero of the hour ? Does one ever read a good word about the Ministry in the newspapers ? That is the way in which to judge whether individuals are or arenot suffering unnecessarily under the Tariff. Every individual is suffering because of its iniquities, and the people do not fail to let us know the fact. No one can deny that if federation was again proposed to the States it would not be carried, and that that state of feeling is the effect of the operation of the Tariff.
– If the honorable senator and his friends had brought in a Tariff, would the people not have grumbled at it ?
– It would at all events have been an equitable Tariff. The honorable and learned senator may consider my theories wrong, but such a Tariff would have been framed solely with a view to securing revenue, and if any industry obtained protection under its operation, no one would grudge it that protection.
– It would be accidental.
– Yes, and those connected with the industry would be entitled to take advantage of it. There would be no 30 per cent. duties in that Tariff, and no composite duties mounting up to 160 per cent. Senator Drake argued that these duties are inoperative, and that, therefore, it is unfair to say that they exist. His argument was that, . when they were spoken of as duties of 160 per cent., the calculation was made upon a cheap class of goods which were not imported, and that if the calculation was based upon the price of dearer classes of goods, it would work out at a lower percentage.
– That is mere arithmetical legerdemain.
– Well, I should be sorry to see such conduct imputed to this side of the House. These little puzzles may please the honorable senator, but we are here to discuss serious matters, and to endeavour to secure the best interests of the States. I do not think Senator O’Connor can lay the flattering unction to his soul that individuals are satisfied with this Tariff, or even that they are not suffering. The large majority of individuals are suffering acutely.
– How did the honorable senator find that out ?
– If the honorable senator asks any one beyond the immediate circle of his protectionist friends, he will find that the whole of Australia is crying out against the Tariff, some people against one part of it, and others against another part of it. What we wanted was a Tariff that would satisfy the majority, not a minority.
– No compromise would do that.
– I do not talk of a compromise ; it is those on the Ministerial side who do that. I ask for a Tariff such as we were led to expect when we federated ; a Tariff by which the interests of the States and of a majority of the community would be protected. But the States are shrieking out against this Tariff. Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia are all dissatisfied with it.
– South Australia is not dissatisfied with it. What she is crying out against is the expenditure.
– I read the leading articles which appear in the South Australian newspapers, and I have had a dozen letters from friends there, all protesting against this Tariff. The honorable senator is living in a fool’s paradise. This morning he interjected that a protective duty upon machinery did not increase its cost. I know, however, that, prior to the introduction of the Tariff, tenders were called for the supply of machinery to a firm in Coolgardie, and one tender came from a foundry in South Australia ; but immediately the Tariff was introduced the South Australian tenderers telegraphed or wrote to cancel their tender, because they saw that they could take advantage of the duties to increase their prices. If the honorable senator doubts those facts, I can supply him with names and full information.
– I did not say anything about mining machinery.
– Then the honorable senator admits that his remark does not apply to mining machinery, though his interjection this morning referred to all machinery. His view of what the Tariff should do is to destroy revenue by prohibiting importation, and he wished to make up the loss by reinstating the duties on tea and kerosene. That is admittedly his policy. He regrets that the Tariff is so low. He would like to see it higher than it is, and any deficiency made up by duties on tea and kerosene. I submit that even on the other side of the Chamber that is considered an exaggerated proposal. Yet we found Senator O’Connor applauding the ejaculations. He says “Hear, hear,” even now. I am justified in assuming that what the Government aim at is destroying the revenue by prohibition, because that is the sentiment which is applauded, and they also aim at restoring the tea and kerosene duties which we understand press most unduly upon the population of Australia. I do not think they do. I believe they are very fair duties, but absolutely unnecessary in the present state of the Tariff. I shall deal with Senator Playford’s last iniquity straight away so as to polish him off. From his years of experience and loftyattitude in the Senate, he set to work last night to pulverize au unfortunate senator from Western Australia and smother him with ridicule, all over the question of four dollars a week for miners in America. As it so happens, in regard to that statement, as in regard to nearly all his other statements, in fact in regard to all I have been able to check, Senator Smith was absolutely accurate. The following is an extract from the Philadelphia Ledger of 13th May, 1S97 -
The awful central fact reported by the Legislative Committee to investigate the condition of the anthracite coal miners, -is that for the past two years, and particularly for the past six months, the miners have received an average wage of only four dollars (16s. Sd.) a week, and on that many of them have to support large families.
– Simply because they were working only so many days a week, I expect.
– Does not that include boys and all 1
– As honorable senators seem to cavil at these statements, I shall come back to them later on, if there is time, and read, a great deal more on the subject, and explain the whole ‘situation. All I sought to do at the moment was to justify Senator Smith while Senator Playford was still in the chamber.
– That was at the time of the Cleveland slump.
– They may be working only two days a week.
– This extract, from the Cleveland Recorder, of March, 1899, deals with the very question raised by the honorable senator, and it is so apropos that I shall read it -
In other words, counting his whole year’s work, a coal miner receives a trifle less than 53 cents per day - 2s. 2M. - under the McKinley prosperity, while in 1895 he received u trifle over 60 cents per day under the Grover Cleveland starvation panic wages.
His wages absolutely dropped under protection.
– Can the honorable senator tell us if he was paid by contract or by day wages 1
– 1 really cannot tell the honorable and learned senator.
– That makes the whole difference-.
– It makes very little difference when the man has to live on it.
– It makes a great deal of difference as to the rate of wages - the point we were talking about.
– We are talking not of the rate of wages, but what a man can earn, and I assume it is the rate of wages which is given here. But what does it matter to a man whether you call it bread or cheese 1 It is all he gets to support his family on. The social condition is there. It is all he can earn in what the honorable senator would lead us to believe is prosperity compared with all he could earn under other circumstances. We come now to the third argument in favour of a high rate of duty, and that is protection of industries. What Senator O’Connor said on that point was this - lt would be a mockery to say we are going to see that no substantial industry suffers by reason of federation, and to attempt to carry that out by putting on a protective duty which would bleed the industry to death instead of killing it at once.
The argument there is that it must be a high Tariff, or else we cannot protect these industries, and that a low Tariff means destruction. What I have waited to hoar from all those who have spoken on the other side of the chamber, was a single argument to prove the assertions that the destruction was going to follow. They have all said that a low Tariff would bring about destruction ; but they have not brought forward a single argument to prove that statement. Without going to Babylon, to Turkey, or to any of the other countries of the world, but simply confining our arguments to Australia, we find that the reverse is the fact. What has Senator Sargood told us in connexion with the woollen industry ? He has said that, in spite of the reduction of the duties on woollen fabrics since the Tariff was introduced, the woollen factories are full of business. But going further than that, what do we find has been the position in New South Wales? I do not wish to draw any comparison between New South Wales and Victoria, because, as has been pointed out, there may be other circumstances which have led to increase or loss of population. It need not necessarily be free-trade or protection which has affected any of their statistics. But the fact remains, and it cannot be got away from, that without any protection in New South Wales every industry has been flourishing which they have in Victoria.
– That is a pretty broad statement.
– The honorable and learned gentleman will find, if he turns up Coghlan, that every one of the industries he mentions in his book, is working in Victoria and in New South Wales Of course the answer is - consider the extent to which the population of New South Wales is larger than the population of Victoria, and just note that in certain years the number of hands employed has been less in New South Wales than in Victoria. I am perfectly prepared to admit that that is a failargument. Let us see what the very worst of the situation is when we deal with it in that way. In 1899, in New South Wales, as everybody knows from Coc,Alan. there were 55,646 factory operatives, or about 4 per cent, of the population at that date, and in Victoria, at the very zenith of protection, they had 60,000 factory operatives, or about 5 per cent, of the population. What does the difference amount to ? It amounts to this, that protection in Victoria apparently provided occupation for 1 per cent, of the population. I appeal to protectionist senators, is that an unfair way of treating the argument? Can they by straining the figures in any possible way adduce any proof that protection benefited Victoria to the extent of giving employment to more than one per cent, of its population ? If they can I shall be only too pleased to go into the figures and check them carefully. I have looked at the position from every possible stand-point, and I hold that in no way can it -be proved that protection has benefited Victoria by affording employment to more than 1 per cent, of its population. What amount of good, therefore, will this high Tariff confer upon Australia ? Taking the most hopeful view, it will confer employment only upon 1 per cent, more of our population than would otherwise be engaged in these identical industries without the aid of protection. In other words it will provide work for an additional 37,000 people.
– Admitting that argument, does the honorable senator wish to throw those 37,000 persons out of employment?
– I do not. The question then presents itself to us - “Is it just that we should tax 99 per cent, of the inhabitants of Australia in order to benefit only 1 per cent. V
– The honorable senator has been shown that that statement is not correct.
– I have not been shown that it is incorrect. I say that it is absolutely accurate. Under this Tariff we are asked to provide fictitious and unnecessary employment - employment which would not exist upon any natural basis - for an additional 37,000 people in Australia, or 1 per cent, of its population. No one can reasonably claim that these industries will perish in the absence of the operation of a high Tariff. If they will perish in Victoria without such duties, how is it that they have not perished in New South Wales ? How is it that they still exist there? Simply because the natural requirements of the State have kept them alive ; and the natural requirements of the Commonwealth will keep alive an equivalent number of industries. Into what does the whole argument of the high tariffists resolve itself? It amounts to this : - Seeing that . Tasmania does not produce manufactured articles, that there are nc manufacturing industries in Western Australia, and only very small ones in Queensland, which are being destroyed by federation, while in New South Wales they1 need no protection, this preposterous Tariff is to be fastened upon the whole of Australia, simply to preserve the industries of Victoria.
– Tell us how federation destroys the small industries of Queensland.
– They will be de stined by reason of the fact that production will be cheaper in New South Wales and Victoria - which have much larger and more settled populations - than it will be in Queensland.
– How does federation bring that about ?
– Federation, with inter-State free-trade, brings that condition about immediately. According to the press reports, hundreds of factories are starting in New South Wales, where the bulk of the business will be conducted in the future, and the industries which have hitherto been carried on in all the other States except Victoria will cease to exist. Those States will draw their supplies from Victoria and New South Wales. This fact was pointed out clearly enough by a number of witnesses who were examined by the select committee which investigated this question in Western Australia., Small manufacturer after small manufacturer stated that if Western Australia joined the federation the production in factories would centre in New South Wales and Victoria.
– Under free-trade the honorable senator would concentrate it in England.
-The honorable senator is talking nonsense. I want to buy in the cheapest market of the world. I should positively welcome a glut of manufactured products in Australia. I want the consumer to get everything he requires as cheaply as possible, and in the long run it is to the .advantage of the Commonwealth that he should do so. What were we led to expect regarding the character of this Tariff? When in Western Australia the Minister for Defence distinctly mentioned 15 per cent, as the maximum protective duty which could possibly be imposed. The following is an extract from an address which he made at Subiaco -
A la per cent, duty on articles made in Australia -they might call it a revenue Tariff or anything else - was capital protection for any industry. He considered 15 per cent, very good protection.
– But he did not say that 15 per cent, was the maximum rate which would be imposed.
– Of course, he did -not say that it was the maximum, because a maximum rate is proh ibition pure and simple.
We cannot fix a definite percentage as a maximum. Every article the importation of which is prohibited by the imposition of a certain percentage of duty has its own maximum. I understand that in New South Wales the Minister for Home Affairs made a similar statement to that of the Minister for Defence. The fact, however, remains that in Western Australia the people were led to believe that a 15 per cent, rate would constitute a very fair protective duty. In this connexion I wish to point out that in Western Australia the free-trade candidates were returned with . the avowed object of securing” a very much lower rate. Indeed, no candidate in that State who had advocated the rate mentioned by the Minister for Defence could possibly have been returned. Presumably a similar feeling influenced the voters in the other States who supported the candidature of revenue tariffists. They regarded 15 per cent, as the maximum measure of protection which the present Government would impose. Yet we find a Tariff submitted in which - leaving out of consideration narcotics and stimulants - the duties range as high as 1 15 per cent. What did the Prime Minister himself say upon this very question? The report of his utterance, which was wired over to Western Australia, contains the following words : -
It will be a Tariff to give general satisfaction. I have already proved that it does not give general satisfaction.
– How did the honorable senator prove it ?
– I proved it by the utterances of the whole press of Australia.
– The honorable senator quoted the South Austraiian Register only ; he did not quote the Advertiser.
– The honorable senator has been asleep. I said distinctly “ The whole of the newspapers, almost without exception, throughout the Commonwealth.” I quoted the newspapers of South Australia in reference to a remark by Senator Playford.
– Give us the names of the whole of the newspapers.
– The honorable senator knows them as well as I do - probably better. It was to be a real Tariff, an Australian Tariff, a working man’s Tariff.
– Those are platform terms.
– Is the honorable senator reading from a telegraphed report 1
– Yea. It was also to bc a business man’s Tariff and a moderately protective Tariff.
– That is all it is now.
– We were returned as representatives of Western Australia to oppose a Tariff with any protective incidence. The “Vice-President of the Executive Council has spoken of the interests that will be affected by the Tariff. What has ho to say about its effect upon the producing interests that pay in Australia. The producing interests that bring in revenue are to be sacrificed in order that other industries concentrated in Victoria may have the benefit of a protective Tariff. The industries settled in New South Wales do not require it. The Vice-President of the Executive Council said something with regard to our rights. He admitted that the Senate had power to do anything it pleased with regard to the acceptance or rejection of this measure, but he could not imagine any circumstances under which the)7 would take upon themselves the responsibility of plunging the whole of Australia into, fiscal confusion. My position, and that of many other senators, is that we were sent here in the belief that it was only in the Senate that any substantial amendments in the Tariff could be effected, and I do not intend to shrink from my responsibilities in that direction. It is nonsense to suggest that we should shirk our duty because of the risk of plunging Australia into fiscal confusion. I do not admit for an instant that the result of our dealing with the Tariff would be to bring about fiscal confusion. The fiscal conditions of Australia would remain exactly what they are at present. People would go on clearing from bond and using what they required.
– What would become of inter-State free-trade ?
– It would remain on the same basis as at present.
– How could it. At the present time inter-State duties would be collected but for the constitutional usage which enables us to levy uniform duties under this Tariff. It would be impossible for us to continue collecting these duties after the Tariff had been thrown out.
– The VicePresident forgets that the Tariff remains good so long as the present session of Parliament continues. There is provision - I think it is in the Customs Act - to that effect.
– The honorable member is referring to something which has no application to this Tariff.
– The VicePresident of the Executive Council says that the provision has’ no application to this Tariff; but if the Government choose to keep the ‘session alive until three months have expired after the rejection of the Tariff, so as to admit of our dealing with the question again, there need be no constitutional difficulty. Of course that is assuming that any difficulty arises eventually. In such a case the responsibility would be upon the Government, and not upon us. The Government can keep this Tariff alive as long as they choose. I was sen there to support a revenue Tariff pure and simple, and I do not intend to draw any line in dealing with the articles in the schedule. If there is to be’ a free list, I fail to see why the items should be chosen in the way they have been. I hope I have made my position quite clear. I shall not shrink from dealing with this Tariff simply because our proposals may not be agreed to. I should be extremely sorry if our proposals were not agreed to, but I shall certainly endeavour to insist upon them, and I do not intend to modify my views as a free-trader in any particular.
Debate (on motion by Senator Millen) adjourned.
Senate adjourned at 4.8 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 9 May 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020509_senate_1_9/>.