1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
asked the Vice-Presi- dent of the Executive Council, upon notice -
In the caseof officers in the temporary or casual employment of the State, who were transferred to the Commonwealth service at the time of the transfer of their departments, is it the intention of the Government to deal with such officers under section 33 of the Public Service Act, or under section 40 of that Act, dealing with temporary employment ?
– The case of the officers on the temporary staff is one of the difficulties met with in connexion with the initiation of the Public Service Act. The Government is now obtaining information as to the position of these employes in the several States, and. until this is furnished it is, impossible to say under which section of the Act they will be dealt with. It is probable, however, that those who are performing duties of an essentially permanent character will come under section 33 of the Act, while those engaged upon work of a purely temporary or casual nature will come under the terms of section 40 of the Act.
Under what statute or statutes are the military and naval forces of the Commonwealth maintained and administered ?
– Under the Acts of the several States ; and under the Commonwealth Constitution Act, and the laws made under it.
asked the Vice-Presi dent of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 1st July).
Division VI. - Metals and machinery. Item 78. - Manufactures of metal, viz. - Nails, n.e.i., viz., horseshoe nails, per cwt.,5s.
Upon which Senator Pulsford had moved -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding to the duty “‘Nails, n.e.i., viz., horseshoe nails, per cwt., 5s.,” the words “and on and after 1st August, 1902, free.”
– I wish to say a few words on behalf of the horseshoe nail industry in Victoria. Up to twenty years ago in that State there was no duty on horseshoe nails, and when a duty was imposed a Canadian firm started a manufactory here. Senator Pulsford ought to have told the committee the price of horseshoe nails prior to the imposition of the duty, and the price since that time. In 18S2 horseshoe nails ‘were sold at ls. Id. per lb., but now, owing to the internal competition, which always brings down the price, they are sold at 6£d. per lb. What will happen, if the honorable senator succeeds in his object, will be that the local manufactory will have to cease operations. The Joss of work to the 30 or 35 employes will of course be considered by the free-traders only a very small matter, arguing that the men can obtain work in other occupations. Honorable senators have told us in every case where it has been proposed to reduce a duty that it does not matter if the employes in the industry concerned are thrown out of work, as they w.ill be able to find something else to do. About 50 or 60 attacks have been made by the free-trade party on as many industries in the Commonwealth, but in not one instance have we been told how the discharged persons will find a livelihood. Undera protective Tariff the consumers have been able to get horseshoe nails at 50 per cent, less than they could when they were at the mercy of the great importing industry, and if honorable senators have no consideration for the employes in the horseshoe nail industry they certainly ought to be satisfied with the consumers getting the article at a lower price. We know that not in one case, but in a thousand cases, when the great importing industry succeeds in wiping out the local manufacturer, the price of the article to the consumer is raised. What is there about the horseshoe nail industry that prompts Senator Pulsford to be so anxious to get horseshoe nails in free of duty? I do not know that those persons who are able to keep horses will be put to any very great inconvenience. Who are the people so heavily burdened by the duty in Victoria that they would suffer by its retention 1 I assume that if the honorable senator or any other member of the community is able to keep a horse, he is well able to pay the duty on the few nails which would be required to shoe the unfortunate animal. What a doleful picture we could draw about the suffering of the persons who own horses and would have to pay the duty on horseshoe nails ! They must be suffering great distress, and the wonder ‘is that hitherto the honorable senator has not tried to move Parliament to relieve them in some way. He tried the other day to secure the removal of- the duties on fodder in the interests of horseowners, and now he wishes to drive the nail home to the very head. I understand that there is only one horseshoe nail industry in the Commonwealth, and we are told that there are one in Great Britain, one in Germany, and about five in the United States. The aim of an Australian patriot should be to encourage the local manufacturer, whether he is in a small way or in a large way of business. The wages of the 35 men who are employed in the industry in the Commonwealth are expended in the purchase of the products of other local industries. Surely it is far better for us to keep those men at work than to employ 35 persons in some other part of the world, not taking into consideration the number of persons who would be required to manufacture the plant necessary for the nail-making industry. I see from the Ironmonger that the British Consul at Hakodate, in Japan, states that a Japanese merchant is about to open a nail factory at Otaru “He proposes to turn out £50,000 worth of nails annually, and hopes to monopolize the market in the north.” I suppose that it does not concern Senator Pulsford to know that the nailmakers of Victoria will have to come into competition with the low paid nail-makers of Japan. His main object is to encourage the importing industry. If honorable senators remove this duty,- they will raise the price of horseshoe nails to the public, and extinguish the local producer. Surely there can be but one opinion about a proposal of that kind. The protection afforded to the local manufacturer is not very high, amounting to somewhere about 10 per cent. I am surprised at Senator Pulsford taking up valuable time in making such a proposal.
– It is incumbent upon those who make proposals for the reduction of duties under this Tariff to give reasons for asking the committee to take such a step. I listened very patiently to Senator Pulsford last night, but I did not hear him give a single reason why we should wipe out the duty on horseshoe nails and allow them to be imported free. His main idea appears to be to wipe out a local industry. Looking over the returns for Victoria, I find that in 1900 there were four nail-making factories, employing 55 persons, whilst in 1901 there were four factories employing 63 persons.
– Are these factories making horseshoe nails ?
– The returns do not classify the factories or state whether what are made are horseshoe nails or other kinds. It simply says that they are nailmaking factories.
– But the honorable senator himself knows that there is only one factory in Victoria producing horseshoe nails.
– I know nothing of the sort. I am in doubt as to whether the return means horseshoe nails or other kinds, and I have not had sufficient opportunity to follow up the subject in order to find out the details.
– Then the figures are valueless if the honorable senator cannot vouch for them.
– They are not valueless ; and if the honorable senator has any information in his possession to prove that the return refers to other than horseshoe nail factories, it devolves upon him to lay it before the committee. A few years ago when there were no horseshoe nail factories in Victoria the people who used these articles were charged any price that the importer liked to demand. When Mr. Pender started his horseshoe nail works in Brunswick, the importers did all they possibly could to strangle the infant industry. In his initial efforts, Mr. Pender had a hard fight, and now that he has established his factory, Senator Pulsford asks the committee to wipe out the duty, though he gives no valid reason for doing so. I trust that honorable senators will not agree to such a proposal.
– This appears to me to be one of the most wanton attacks upon an industry, simply because it is an industry of Australia, that has yet been made here. Senator Pulsford has not condescended to give a single reason for making the proposed suggestion. One might suppose that as the question had been threshed out in another place very fully, and a majority there had come to the conclusion that appears on the face of the Tariff, an honorable senator, in proposing alterations, would have advanced some reason, at all events, why the suggestion should be made. But it is quite obvious that the honorable senator did not give a reason, because he had not one to give. What is the position from the point of view of the consumer 1 The fact cannot be denied that the local product in Victoria has been selling at the same price as the English product, and a lower price than the American in other parts of Australia. In Victoria, prior to federation, there was a duty of lis. per cwt. We are proposing to charge 5s. per cwt. Under the 14s. duty in Victoria the industry was” created. Itis true that there is only one horseshoe nailmaking factory in Victoria, but horseshoe nails are largely produced by machinery ; they are made very quickly, and probably one factory - or two at the outside - can supply all the requirements of the Commonwealth. This is a case in which the duty proposed is nearly two-thirds less than the duty in Victoria, which certainly did not increase the price of the article to the consumer. The industry employs a certain number of people. It makes its own machines, and therefore consumes a certain amount of material. Why should an industry of that kind be interfered with simply for the sake of carrying out the ideal free-trade views of honorable senators opposite 1 Here is a case in which there is no possible danger of the price being raised to the consumer, and. where an industry has been created without any additional cost to the Commonwealth. But simply because it is an Australian industry it is to be struck down. This is an excellent illustration of the absolutely wanton way in which alterations are proposed in this Tariff from which no benefit can accrue ; but when on the contrary it is quite evident that the result will be to destroy an industry and not to benefit the consumer in any way whatever.
– I proposed this resolution in very brief terms last night, because I thought the committee would appreciate brevity. I do not expect to be called upon to enter into the whole question of free-trade and protection in regard to every item. When I moved the resolution, I pointed out last night that fancy nails were free of duty, and for that reason I fail to see why ordinary nails should not also be free. Since then I have discovered that the following long list of nails used in the making of boots is to be found on the list of exemptions in connexion with item 116 -
Bills, Sparrow and other, Clog, Hob, Hungarian, Nugget, Pin -point, Screw or Ice, Spike, Cricket, Running, Sprigs, Tacks lasting, Tips, Tingles, and Rivets.
– They are exempt because they are not made here.
– I understand that. Screws are also on the free list, and is it not reasonable that ordinary nails should likewise be free, considering that, they are used in various industries which are not protected 1 They are used in large quantities in the making of fruit, butter, and other boxes for export purposes. Senator Higgs has informed us that the duty of 5s. per cwt. upon horse-shoe nails is equal to a duty of only 10 per cent.; but I do not think he could have made any inquiries on the subject. I find that imported horse-shoe nails have a value of about 30s. per cwt. landed in Victoria, or say 28s. per cwt. when shipped on the other side; therefore this duty is clearly equal to at least 20 per cent, on the shipping value. That is a very heavy tax to be imposed on an article of such common use. The majority of horses are used by people following some industry or other - largely by farmers and pastoralists - and I fail to see why they should be Subjected to this very material impost. An attempt has been made to draw the general question of free-trade and protection across the trail, but I decline to be drawn into such a discussion. The employment given by the making of horseshoe nails here is very small, and I do not see why, in order to foster a particular factory, the six States of the Union should be called upon to bear this burden. For these substantial reasons I ask the committee to agree to the motion.
– I do not think that the duty is intended to foster a particular factory. It is in the interests of the consumer. It has been clearly shown by Senator Higgs - and his statement has not been controverted - that horseshoe nails are now selling locally at half the price charged for them before the local factory was established. At the present time the price is 6£d. per lb; but before the establishment of the local industry a charge of ls. Id. was made.
– They cost 4d. per lb. to import.
– That is 33s. per hundred lbs. The importer is doing very well if he is obtaining a profit of 2£d. upon an investment of 4d. No wonder he clings to his industry. If they cost that amount to import, a duty of 5s. is not equal to more than 13 or 14 per cent., and therefore Senator Pulsford was misleading the committee, when he said it was equal to about 20 per cent. The reasons given by Senator Higgs and the Vice-President of the Executive Council for continuing to encourage this industry are sound, and cannot be contradicted. The establishment of the local factory has caused the price of nails to be reduced, and it is a check upon those who import these articles.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - A few evenings ago Senator Pulsford appealed tothe committee to exercise a spirit of compromise. His sweet reasonableness is shown when he is not satisfied with what has taken place in another Chamber. I find, on reference to the records, that Sir William McMillan moved in another place that the original duty of 7s. per cwt. be reduced to 4s. per cwt., and that after being freely debated, the amendment was negatived by a majority of six. A further amendment, proposed by Mr. McCay, that the duty be reduced to 5s. per cwt. was carried on the voices. Surely there was a spirit of compromise shown there ? I appeal to those honorable senators who come here to do business, and desire to see the Tariff put through as quickly as possible, to say whether we should palter with propositions of this kind ; whether we should not say at once that we will not have anything to do with such proposals.
– I am extremely loth to interpose in this debate, and I should not do so but for the fact that Senator O’Connor has quoted certain figures relating to the comparative prices of imported and locally made horseshoe nails, which are utterly misleading, although I am satisfied that he believed in their accuracy. In September, 1 901, which is about the nearest date to the introduction of the Federal Tariff that could be selected, the following were the wholesale prices for
Melbourne made and imported horseshoe nails : - No. 6, Melbourne made, 7d. per lb.; imported, 41/4 per lb ; No 8, Melbourne made, 61/2 per lb.; imported, 31/2d. per lb. ; No. 10, Melbourne made, 61/2d. per lb.; imported, 31/2d. per lb; No. 12, Melbourne made,53/4d. per lb.; imported, 3d. per lb. I admit that from the Melbourne prices a deduction of 12 per cent. is allowed, but even allowing for that deduction there is a wide difference between the two quotations. The very insignificance of this item affords abundant proof of the length to which the Government will go in their desire for protection. We have been told that they wish to protect the workers, and that we are not to lay ruthless hands upon the industries of Australia. My figures show that there are only fifteen men employed in making these nails throughout the Commonwealth, but to be on the safe side I put down the number at twenty. For the sake of twenty men carrying on this ridiculous little industry we are asked to tax - and there is no other alternative - all the consumers in the Commonwealth.
– This is not a tax.
– It can have no operation except to increase the price of horse-shoe nails. Mr. Pender, the local manufacturer, has said frankly that he cannot make horse-shoe nails at the price for which nails of the same quality can be imported, and that if he is to live there must be a duty. I see no reason for taxing all those who use horse-shoe nails for the sake of the few men who are employed in this industry. They do not receive anything wonderful in the way of wages. It is said that they are paid a fair wage, but it is not more than 32s 6d. per week. As a matter of fact the additional price paid by the consumer under this tax does not go to the worker. It goes to the man who carries on this industry, when possibly he ought not to carry it on. I quote the manufacturer himself, and in evidence he gave before a Tariff Commissionhe saidhe employed fifteen hands, and, inclusive of export to the other States, he produced 100 tons a year. His price was £54 per ton on an average, whereas the imported article could be sold for £40 per ton without the duty.
– He does not say that it would be sold at that price, but that it could be sold at that price.
– I can give Senator Styles proof in the matter. The Customs authorities dealt with 600 cwts. of horseshoe nails imported in 1900, and they put down their value at £956, or an average of slightly over £30 per ton. The local manufacturer may very well say that the imported article can be sold at £40 per ton, when the Customs authorities value it at £30 per ton. The reason for the duty in this case is obvious - the consumers of horseshoe nails throughout the Commonwealth are to be taxed to maintain fifteen men in employment. If we desire to impose this tax, let us do it frankly for revenue purposes, and let us not pretend that we do so because to abolish it will mean the ruthless destruction of an industry employing fifteen men all told.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - Senator Clemons does not believe in any encouragement to this industry, because, on the showing of the manufacturer himself, there are only fifteen persons employed in it.
– And there may be 15,000 or 500,000 consumers of horseshoe’ nails in the Commonwealth.
– No matter what the number of consumers may be, there are at least fifteen persons employed in the industry, and the honorable and learned senator is anxious that this local industry shall be closed up, and that these fifteen men shall be thrown out of employment.
– Nonsense !
– The honorable and learned senator’ disclaims the assumption that he desires to close up the industry, while at the same time he quotes the evidence of the manufacturer to prove that horseshoe nails cannot be locally manufactured in competition with the imported article. Honorable senators seem to treat very lightly the question as to what is to become of the fifteen men engaged in this industry if it is closed up. This proposal is only in keeping with 50 other proposals affecting 50 other industries, and if it is agreed to in another place the fifteen men employed in nail-making will have to join many other operatives in seeking employment in other directions. Let honorable senators who make these proposals name the industry in which these nail-makers will find employment.
– Western Australia will take their labour to-morrow.
– Western Australia may get a set-back in mining development, and if there is to be any opening in that State for the unemployed it is more likely to be in connexion with farming, and we know that the farming industry has received several blows at the hands of free-trade senators. This proposition is only a small link in the chain to protect the heavy swell to whom I have previously referred, and who is to have several luxuries he enjoys admitted into the Commonwealth at a low duty. I say that he can well afford to pay the extra farthing which the imposition of this duty may add to the cost of shoeing his horse once in six months. There is no chance of this proposal being agreed to in another place, and I appeal to the hard-headed senators who desire to do business to oppose it. I do not object to the fullest discussion upon important items such as that with which we dealt yesterday, but when an honorable senator submits a tinkering proposition to reduce the duty upon horseshoe nails I can hardly find words to properly describe his action.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78, by adding to the duty “Nails, n.e.i., viz., horseshoe nails, per cwt. 5s.,” the words,, “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, free “ - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 15
Noes … … … 11
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Item 78. - Manufactures of metal, viz. . . . Nails, wire and other, and spikes, staples, brads, andtacks, per cwt., 3s.
– I move -
That the House ofRepresentatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding to the duty, ‘ ‘ Nails, wire and other . . . per cwt., 3s.,” the words “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, free.”
Sufficient explanation has been given of my reasons for submitting this motion, but I might point out that’ nails are a very important item in connexion with the export trade. That, added to other considerations, should, I think, warrant the Senate in placing these articles on the free list.
– The attack which has been made on the items in this division is the most cruel that has been witnessed in this Chamber. I ask honorable senators who are not protectionists, but revenue tariffists, what they mean by proposals of the kind. They have declared that they want a revenue Tariff, but when an opportunity is given them by the Government of moving in that direction, they show a desire to place such items as this on the free list. Such conduct is not at all fair, and cannot conduce to the progress of the business of Parliament. If the desire is to deal fairly with the whole people of the Commonwealth, I do not see why items which will bring in a certain amount of revenue should be swept out of the Tariff. It may be said that the revenue expected from this source is not large, but a motion of this kind, added to a series of others, will undoubtedly multiply the difficulties of the Commonwealth Treasurer.
– It appears to me that, so long as Senator Pulsford thinks he has a majority behind him, he will make any proposition, no matter what the effect may be. The honorable senator has evidently not given the least consideration to the revenue that would be lost by the adoption of his proposal.
– Yes, I have.
– The honorable senator said nothing as to that aspect of the matter.
– I do not want to keep the Senate all the afternoon discussing the item of nails.
– The estimated revenue from this item in a normal year is £10,350. That, of course, may be a small matter to Senator Pulsford so long as his fad of free-trade is carried out; but it is very important to the Commonwealth, and ought to be important to honorable senators who represent Queensland and Tasmania, where revenue is greatly required, and is likely to be more required, if the present season continues. Merely because Senator Pulsford wishes to destroy two or three industries in the different States the revenue aspect of the matter is ignored. It appears to me that the honorable senator, relying on the majority which he and his friends seem to have, is absolutely losing sight of the true position. I have never doubted or expressed any doubt of the power of the Senate to make any suggestion it likes in regard to anr item. The Senate has the power to suggest alterations in every item, but that is a power to be exercised reasonably, and with some regard to the position which this Chamber occupies in the Constitution. The honorable senators who are wantonly throwing away revenue and destroying industries by means of these suggestions are creating a much larger issue than that of free-trade and protection. They are creating an issue which will have to be settled, and settled very soon, namely, whether this Senate, whose powers I admit in the fullest possible degree, is justified in exercising its powers to the extent of completely remoulding and remodelling the whole financial policy of the “Commonwealth. That issue will have to be settled by-and-by, and the reckless, hotheaded attempts on the part of some honorable senators opposite to sweep away duties, whatever they may be, will affect the result.
– Does all this arise, on the item of nails ?
– It arises out of an item of £10,350 of revenue which it is proposed to pitch away simply because Senator Pulsford desires free-trade.
– To which. States will this revenue go ?
– To all the States.
– That is exactly the point the Government have overlooked.
– Prom some of the most extreme free-traders we have heard that we must have revenue. I am having a return prepared which, when completed, will show how much revenue has been thrown away by the suggestions already adopted by the Senate, and I think Senator
Pulsford will be surprised when he sees the result of these continual reductions. When we consider the necessity for revenue, and the impossibility of relying .on the present collections as an indication of what the revenue will be, when we remember that the amount involved here is £10,350, I think honorable senators will, see that it is a matter which cannot be dealt with in any flippant, airy way. We have been told in regard to a number of items that the estimate of the revenue is low, and I, myself, feel certain that the amount involved is much larger than is there shown. In 1899 the duty collected on this item in the various States amounted to £8,340; but it must be remembered that these nails were free in New South Wales and Western Australia. In 1899 the duty in Victoria was 7s. 6d. per cwt.; in Queensland 3s.; South Australia, 2s.; and Tasmania, 2s. 6d. Therefore, I take it that when there are all the States to levy on, the duty will realise at least £10,350. I was asked just now to which States this revenue will go. I take it that a large portion will go to Tasmania and. also to Queensland ; and yet it is proposed to sweep away the duty simply because Senator Pulsford wants to be able to boast of another “ free-trade victory.” This is a most wanton interference with the principle that has been laid down on both sides of the Senate in arranging the Tariff, that principle being that we must not sacrifice revenue, and must have regard to existing industries. Some honorable senators were elected on their express statement that they . were not going to destroy existing industries, and I hope their pledges will be kept. In Victoria the duty was nearly three times that now proposed.
– What quantity was imported into Victoria 1
– The revenue derived in Victoria in 1899 was £1,292 on ‘ 3,227 cwts. The Victorian duty of 7s. 6d. per cwt. was maintaining at least four establishments, and I ask whether any honorable senator supposes that this industry will be able to continue if all protection is swept away ? It is bad enough for the manufacturers to have the duty reduced from 7s. 6d. to 3s. ; and if we sweep it away altogether, what is to become of the industry, and what is to become of the good faith of the Commonwealth and the understanding on which federation was initiated1? From both the revenue and the protectionist point of view the motion is absolutely without reason.
– What quantity of nails was imported into New South Wales as compared with Victoria ?
– In 1899 the nails imported into New South Wales amounted to 60,204 cwts. Those figures, in the first place, enable honorable senators to realize the loss of revenue which is meant by Senator Pulsford’s motion, and in the second place, they afford some idea of the extent of the industries which will be destroyed in Victoria and other places. There is very little difference in population between Victoria and New South Wales, and the importations into the former State, had it been under the same fiscal conditions as New South Wales, would have been something like 50,000 cwt. The balance of the nails used were made in Victoria ; and yet it is proposed to force those engaged in the industry into other employments, or into no employment, and, at the same time, throw away revenue. And all this merely for the sake of another “ free-trade victory.”
– I can very well understand Senator O’Connor feeling annoyed at some of the defeats which the Government have occasionally suffered in the course of this Tariff discussion. We recognise, of course, that the duty of Senator O’Connor is to defend the Tariff, and, no doubt, the object of the Government is to endeavour to keep the measure intact. But while Senator O’Connor may feel angry, that is no reason why we should be told, in a menacing way, that we are attempting to destroy the value of the position of the Senate. It is a mistake to tell us that we are to absolutely place ourselves on one side when we are dealing with the question of the taxation of the people.
– That has not been suggested by anybody.
– That suggestion has been made, not only in connexion with this item, but in connexion with other items already dealt with.
– All I suggest is that the Senate should use its powers reasonably.
– We all recognise that we have to use our powers reasonably. But why should it be said we are not using our power reasonably when we honestly think a certain duty ought to be swept away or materially reduced I It may not be reasonable in the eyes of the honorable and learned senator, but no proposition has been made from this side of the Chamber, or I believe from any other portion of the Chamber, without the mover believing that he was acting in the interests of the community at large, although it might press heavily on some persons. The Minister has stated that New South W ales imported 60,000 cwt. of nails as against 3,000 cwt. imported by Victoria, and that, probably, if there had been no duty, the latter would have imported 50,000 cwt. The users of these nails in Victoria have been paying at the rate of 7s. 6d. on 47,000 cwt. of nails that would have been imported if there had been no duty - to do what ? - to prop up, not a large industry that employs thousands of hands, but a small industry which, if it supplied the requirements of the whole Commonwealth, could not employ more than a handful of operatives. For we know that nails are made most rapidly by a mechanical process, and sometimes 1,000 are turned out in an hour. The only object of a duty, even if it were £1 per cwt., would be to place money in the pockets of a few individuals at the expense of the great bulk of the community. This industry cannot appeal to the sense of the community at large as an industry employing thousands of men would do. Senator Pulsford is acting clearly within his rights in submitting this motion. I should be ashamed if any honorable senator would so wantonly exercise his power as to destroy revenue and to kill industries and merely in order that he might be able to. claim another free-trade victory. It is for the purpose of protecting 4,000,000 souls in the community that we are endeavouring to make changes in the Tariff. At a duty of 3s. per cwt., the 60,000. cwt. of nails imported into New South Wales would have yielded a revenue of over £9,000. Senator O’Connor has estimated the revenue from the duty on all kinds of nails at £13,000.
– We estimate to collect £3,000 on horseshoe nails, and £10,350 on wire nails.
– So that from the enormous quantity of nails imported into the other States, carrying more than two-thirds of our total population, the Government expect to collect the beggarly sum of £1,000. I rose principally to protest I against the enunciation of a doctrine which, if adopted at the suggestion of Senator O’Connor, would sap to the foundation the independence of the Senate. In attempting to interfere with the Tariff, honorable senators have acted under clear directions from their constituents, and in accordance with their constitutional powers. Supposing that the people of the Commonwealth were to demand the establishment of absolute freetrade, what Member of Parliament would be justified in disregarding their instruction, in order that he might maintain a few industries in our midst 1 While we have to deal with these questions in an intelligent way, at the same time we have to recollect what the wishes of our constituents are. We came here professedly to carry out certain principles. What would our constituents or the people of the community think if we did not attempt to carry out those principles 1 I do not object to protectionists doing all they can to advocate their views. The free-traders would be recreant to their duty if they did not exercise their constitutional powers in that way which they think will be conducive to the interests of the community at large. Honorable senators refer to the possibility of the other House not agreeing to our suggestions. Probably the other House will not agree to all our proposals, but I assume that it is composed of reasonable men who will be quite willing to try to discover a modus vivendi between the Houses, and to recognise the powers that we undoubtedly possess. I take it that honorable senators, will be prepared to back up their votes in committee to any extent necessary, in order to show that they voted honestly and conscientiously.
– Senator Clemons stated that fifteen men are employed in making horseshoe nails in the Commonwealth. One hundred and three men are employed in nail making in Victoria, according to a return which was published by Mr. .Fenton on the 15th May last. Eightyeight men are employed in making nails other than horseshoe nails. Including horseshoe nails, the output is valued at £1,000 per week and the output for the year at £50,333, and the value of the buildings, machinery, and plant is £29,000. So that the nailmaking industry, although it is only in its infancy, is not so very small as would appear at first sight. Very little money seems to have been sent from Victoria to other countries for the purchase of nails. We apparently manufactured all our nails while New South Wales imported her nails from other countries instead of spending the money among her own people. We ask that an industry which has been so successful, and which has not increased the price of the article, shall receive some measure of protection. In Victoria the protection was two and a half times that which is now proposed to be given. Surely that ought to satisfy any free-trade senator who professes that he does not wish to destroy industries. I can understand the position of a free-trader who says that he wishes to close up industries, but I cannot understand the position of a man who, while he professes to be anxious about preserving industries, speaks and votes in favour of wiping them out. I am not able to judge whether a duty of 3s. per cwt. will preserve this industry, but it will certainly help to do so* I would support a duty of 7s. Cd. per cwt. if it were proposed. _ I should like to see the Commonwealth manufacture all the nails it requires. I am sure that Senator Pulsford would like to see nails made out of the iron deposits in New South Wales, so long as it did not interfere with importers. It is a waste of time to discuss this item so far as the free-trade party is concerned. It is not possible to alter one vote, for they have decided what they are going to do, and they will adhere to their decision. The protectionists are challenged with wasting time. Who wastes time 1 Who introduces all these small matters like horseshoe nails ? One would have thought that the duty on this article would have been passed without any discussion. I should like to see those honorable senators, who are not such outandout free-traders that they would destroy all industries, voting with the Government on this occasion.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - I must protest against the attempt made by the Vice-President of the’ Executive Council to drive honorable senators when he fails to persuade them. I also want to say a word with regard to the revenue. I admit at once that this committee has made some proposals which, if carried into effect, will lead to a loss of revenue, but many of our proposals will bring about an increase of revenue. Senator O’Connor is very much mistaken in his idea that our suggestions as a whole, if carried out, will lead to a reduction of revenue. I am quite sure that they will not. In regard to this item, the revenue which the Government estimate to receive is about £10,000. But that would be greatly reduced when the Tariff obtained full play. If the nails used here are made in the Commonwealth, what revenue can be obtained from them?
– Does not the honorable senator want them to be made here ?
– I do not care where they are made so long as we obtain them from places where they are made to the best advantage. There are a few people who make nails in Australia, but nails are used by tens of thousands of people, and the interests of the multitude should be considered before the interests of the few individuals directly concerned. Screws, which are very costly as compared with nails, have been put upon the free list by the House of Representatives, and why not continue the same policy by placing upon the free list nails, which are very much less expensive to produce?
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - We could not enter into a discussion as to the powers of the Senate in regard to such items as agricultural machinery, but in a ease like this, where the item under discussion is a comparatively small one, we certainly may view the question from the stand-point suggested by Senator O’Connor, as to whether what is proposed will not tend to diminish the influence and power of the Senate. I am very anxious that we should uphold our power and dignity in every respect ; and I submit that the Senate was not constituted to remould the Tariff, but to revise the work done by another place. I believe that the public of the Commonwealth would not have voted for the Constitution had they known that the Senate would consider the items of the Tariff in detail, and alter them. I would ask Senator Pulsford to put to himself the question whether he is not placing the Senate in a false position, and bringing about a fight which can end in only one way. The other House has the right to deal with Money Bills. We have a certain power of suggestion, and if we exercise that power in a reasonable way we shall undoubtedly acquire a very great deal of influence. But if we occupy the time of the Commonwealth in dealing with proposals such as this, we shall be looked upon as an excrescence on parliamentary institutions, and a body which might very well be done without. Instead of having two Chambers the
Commonwealth may prefer to have only one. I find on looking through the Queensland statistics with regard to interchange, that, in spite of the duty, there were imported into that State from the United Kingdom, 274 tons 11 cwt. 23 lbs. of nails; from New South Wales, 378 tons 17 cwt. 2 qrs. 15 lbs.; from Victoria, 9 tons 4 cwt. 13 lbs.; from South Australia, 5 cwt. 2 qrs. 24 lbs.; from Hong Kong, 7 tons 3 qrs. 14 lbs.; from China, 18 cwt. 2 qrs.; from Germany, 664 tons 3 qrs. 12 lbs.; from Sweden and Norway, 17 cwt. 3 qrs. 12 lbs.; from Belgium, 85 tons 17 cwt. 2 qrs. 4 lbs.; from the United States of America, 28 tons 10 cwt. 1 qr. The countries of origin of these imports of nails were the United Kingdom, India, China, Germany, Austria, Sweden and Norway, Belgium, and the United States of America. Honorable senators should consider the wages paid in those countries when asking that Australian workmen who are engaged in the nail-making industry shall be compelled to compete with foreign makers. Is it suggested for a moment that the Australian product is not equal to any nails which come from other countries? I will ask Senator Pearce, who has probabty driven more nails than any other member of the Commonwealth Parliament, what is the quality of the German article as compared with the Australian product ?
– I do not know the Australian article, but the English nail is certainly superior to the German ; that is, the protectionist nail is inferior to the freetrade nail.
– Queensland imported £11,432 worth of nails from Germany as contrasted with £10,490 worth from other countries, and I suppose those figures are indicative of what has happened throughout the Commonwealth. Senator Pulsford proposes not only to kill revenue by making nails free, but to kill the local industry. If importations are increased, undoubtedly local production must decrease, and that must add to the number of the unemployed. First, because I think that Senator Pulsford’s proposal, if carried, would lead to a considerable amount of irritation, and decrease the influence and power of the Semite; in the second place, because the proposal will detroy revenue ; and, thirdly, because increasing importations will throw the people of the Commonwealth out of employment, I trust that the motion will be rejected.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding to the duty, “Nails, wire and other, . . per cwt., 3s.,” the words “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, free” - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 13
Noes … … … 14
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item 78. - Manufactures of metal, via. . . Engines, gas and oil, and high-speed engines and turbines, water and steam, ad valorem, 15 per cent.
– Under this paragraph, “turbines, water and steam “ are subject to a duty of 15 per cent., but. it will be seen that “ turbines, steam and water “ appear amongst the list of special exemptions on page 12. I do not know whether it is merely a mistake, but the matter is one of consequence. Perhaps the Minister will explain.
– I fail to see why this paragraph should not also include “ hot air engines.” They are largely used, and there seems to be no reason why gas and oil engines should be included in the item while hot air engines are deliberately omitted. I think Senator O’Connor will see the reasonableness of making the addition I have suggested.
– Before the honorable and learned senator moves in the direction indicated by him, I should like to point out there is really nothing to be gained by doing so. If hot air engines are not included in this paragraph, they will still be liable to a duty of 15 per cent. under the heading of “ engines “ generally.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania).- If the Vice-President of the Executive Council is very particular about the present form of the Tariff, I shall not press my proposal, but hot air engines come into direct and continual competition with gas and oil engines, and as the latter have been specified in this paragraph, I think it would be well to specify hot air engines.
– Gas and oil engines were specified in this paragraph, because, originally, engines generally were subject to a duty of 25 per cent. under another part of the item, while the duty fixed for engines under this paragraph was always 15 per cent. The duty on engines generally was subsequently reduced to 15 per cent.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 by omitting from the duty “ Engines, gas, and oil . . . and turbines, water and steam, ad valorem, 15 per cent.,” the words “and turbines.”
The water and steam turbines which are included in the list of exemptions must surely be the same articles, and therefore I move the omission of these words.
– It is true that there is an anomaly on the face of the Tariff as it stands, but 1 intend to ask the committee tocure that anomaly by striking out the word “ turbines” from the list of exemptions. Gas and oil engines and high-speed engines and turbines were originally placed under a duty of 15 per cent., while other engines were made liable to a duty of 25 per cent. That duty was subsequently reduced, first of all to 20 per cent., and then to 15 per cent. It was thought that the engines covered by this paragraph should be subjected to the lower duty, because there might be some question as to their being made cheaply here, and also because they are very largely used. Highspeed engines and turbines were placed in this category, because they are not made here at the present time, and it is very doubtful whether they will be manufactured here for some considerable time to come. They are more difficult to construct and less frequently made than are the ordinary classes of steam engines; but there is no reason why they should not contribute to the revenue. The honorable senator will have to show some very good reason why they should not pay this duty. Machinery of all descriptions must bear some duty ; even agricultural machines, which some honorable senatorshave endeavoured to show are the tools of trade of the farmer, have to bear taxation, and why should not these special classes of engines, which are certainly not employed in the smaller kinds of industry, pay a duty. For these reasons, I oppose the motion.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales.) - All that Senator O’Connor has said in favour of going back upon the action of another place in placing, “turbines, steam and water,” on the list of exemptions, would apply with great force to many other items on the free list. If these turbine engines are of very high class, so also are the linotype and monotype machines placed in the list of special exemptions. I fail to see why we should go back on the action of the House of Representatives and deliberately strike an article off the free list in order to make it dutiable. It is a most extraordinary thing that the committee is asked to do.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania). - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding to the duty, “Engines, gas and oil, and high-speed engines and turbines, water and steam, ad valorem, . 15 per cent.,” the words “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 10 per cent.”
It is not necessary for me to say much in suggesting this amendment. It will not be disputed that it is practically a consequential amendment upon the amendment suggested yesterday in connexion with agricultural machinery. I take it that “ engines “ in this item covers the whole of the engines used in connexion with agriculture, and seeing that we decided to request the House of Representatives to reduce the duty upon agricultural machinery and implements to 10 per cent., it is imperative, for the sake of consistency alone, that we should reduce the duty upon these engines to the same percentage. It cannot be contended that this is a protective duty ; but if that is contended, the answer is ready in the statement that protection is entirely unnecessary in this case. To prove that,
I need only refer Senator O’Connor to the engineering works in his own State, such as the Clyde works, and Mort’s Dock ; and the honorable and learned senator will readily admit that they have been carried on with immense success under free-trade; I need not enter upon details, but it will be admitted that the employment given in these works is very great, that the wages paid are high, and that the industry has continuously flourished and increased under free-trade. That being so, any argument based upon protection is out of place in support of this . duty of 15 per cent. I anticipate that Senator O’Connor will ask honorable senators to vote against my motion, on the ground of the necessity for revenue. I admit that 1 5 per cent. is apparently a higher revenueproducing duty than 10 per cent., but I am not prepared to admit that in this case it would produce more revenue forthe Common wealth. Even if it did, I do not know that I would accept it, because if the duty is to be revenue producing, the taxation must be paid by some one, and I am unwilling to tax the persons who have to use these engines at a higher rate than 10 per cent. I have heard it said that we should not look upon this Tariff as a large taxing machine, but if a Tariff which succeeds in raising a revenue of £9,000,000 a year is. not a large taxing machine, I do not know what is. We are taxing the people of this Commonwealth at a higher rate than any English-speaking people have ever been taxed before through the Customs, speaking of any large State, and I think I am abundantly justified in saying that 10 per cent. is the highest duty which should be imposed in connexion with this item. As we have already agreed that the duty upon almost all other forms of agricultural machinery shall not be more than 10 per cent.,. I need not further elaborate the argument for reducing this duty to 10 per cent. I believe the proposal I make will be carried, and I think it ought to be carried.
– The honorable and learned senator who has moved this suggestion has indicated that he wishes to make the item uniform with other items of the same kind. That is to say, that agricultural machinery and the next items dealing with engines and machineryshould be put upon the same footing. There is certainly no reason why there should be any difference in the duty imposed upon these different classes of machinery. I point out that we have already dealt with all the machines which may practically be spoken of as agricultural machinery, under the item “agricultural, horticultural, and viticultural machinery and implements,” and we have agreed that in the next item, engines, portable, fixed upon a locomotive boiler horizontally with wheels and shafts suitable for transport, traction engines, shall be admitted free. I take it that there is very little engine-power used in connexion with agriculture which is not included in those items, and we may therefore say that we have already dealt with agricultural machinery. When we come to deal with the next item, “ engines,” honorable senators will find that it embraces an immense number of engines, and a great value of taxable material, and what are we to recommend then? There is no reason why oil. engines, gas engines, and high-speed engines should be put upon a differentfooting from other engines. I am pointing out that the whole of these items covering engines and machinery of this kind must be taken together, and if that is done, we shall have endless difficulty of administration, and there will be no justification for a difference in the duties imposed.
– The honorable and learned senator may trust us to work for consistency so far as he will let us.
– I do not ask the honorable and learned senator what he is going to do. I dare say honorable senators opposite will work for consistency so far as they can ; but there is no doubt that to be consistent this item must stand upon the same footing as the other items dealing with engines and with agricultural machinery.
– Then I suppose the honorable and learned senator will not divide upon the motion?
– I certainly shall divide upon it. I hope to reach the intelligence, if not the conscience, of honorable senators when I point out what this involves. I will deal with the matter first from the point of view of revenue. I did not gather from Senator Clemons whether he anticipates that the carrying of his proposal will lead to a loss of revenue.
– I said that I declined to tax the people who use these engines at a higher rate than 10 per cent.
– That is altogether apart from the question whether revenue will be lost by adopting this suggestion ; but I am right in saying that the honorable and learned senator agrees that there must be a loss of some revenue if his suggestion is adopted.
– I do not necessarily concede that.
– Whether the honorable and learned senator concedes it or not, I shall prove it. That there must be a loss of revenue becomes apparent when we look at the figures. Apart altogether from the actual figures of the collections, I take it that it will be admitted that, if we can obtain £15 of revenue upon imports valued at £100; under a duty of 15 per cent., in order to get the same amount of revenue from a duty of 10 per cent., we must have imports to the value of £150. If that is so, Senator Clemons must admit that unless half as much again of this machinery is imported as has been imported under this Tariff we cannot get the amount of revenue already obtained if the dutyis reduced to 10 per cent. Can any honorable senator say that the importations will be increased by 50 per cent. by reason of a reduction of the duty from 15 per cent. to 10 per cent.? It is absurd to suggest such a thing. I can understand that there may be cases where, if we have the heavy duty of say 30 per cent. upon an article, the amount of importations of that article will be immensely increased if that duty is suddenly taken off. But where we have a duty of 15 per cent., and are getting imports under that duty, we must have very largely increased imports in order to derive the same amount of revenue from a duty of 10 per cent., and there is nothing from a revenue point of view to justify the motion now made. Let us see what the figures are. I take the actual collections under the head of item 78, “Manufactures of metal,” generally.Of course I have not the figures for this particular item. It is difficult to get them, but I am treating all these items together, because, as I have already pointed out, they must be taken together.
– Is it fair to quote that, when it cannot be said what propor- tion belongs to this line?
– I do not care what proportion belongs to this line, which must be taken in connexion with the other lines. If there is a loss on the whole, there must be a loss on this line, and I take it that if this duty be reduced to 10 per cent., it is the intention to propose a similar reduction in the case of engines. In considering to what extent the revenue will be affected, we have a right to have regard to that portion of the Tariff over which the reductions must be spread, and item 78 no doubt includes considerably more than machinery.
– Senator O’Connor is taking the whole of the item.
– Of course I am, for the purpose of the illustration I am giving. As a matter of fact, I really need not go beyond my previous illustration, which applies all round. As the figures I was about to give apply to the whole of the item, they may, perhaps, be more fittingly introduced at a later period when we are defiling with the general question. But is it possible that the proposal now made, if carried, will not be followed by a very large loss of revenue?
– These articles were free in Queensland before federation.
– What have we to do with that? They were free, I presume, in New South Wales and were taxed in Victoria. We are here to pass a Tariff which will give a certain amount of revenue, and I am contending that there ought to be some justification for a proposal which will mean pitching away revenue. The honorable senator who submitted the motion gave no further reason than that, in his view, persons who use this kind of machine ought not to be taxed to a greater extent than 10 per cent. But have we not already in numerous other cases imposed duties of 15 per cent.? For instance, we imposed 15 per cent. on woollens, and if any attempt was made to reduce that duty it was not successful. I notice, in passing, that Senator Dobson took care in that instance to vote on the protectionist side. What ground is there for supposing that the present duty is unreasonable from a revenue point of view ? I hope honorable senators will not take the collections in the year just closed as anything like a fair indication of what the yield of the Tariff will be in future years. It is quite evident that the revenue has been to a very small extent affected by any increased local production - that the uncertainty which has surrounded the imposition of these duties has prevented the commencement of new industries to such a degree as to largely affect the importations into such States as New South Wales and Western
Australia. But that state of things cannot be expected to continue, and I hope honorable senators will not be misled into supposing that next year there will be collected anything like the revenue that is being collected now.
– Are oil-engines made in Australia?
– Yes; in both Victoria and New South Wales.
– They were made in New South Wales under free-trade.
– Oil-engines were not made in New South Wales under freetrade. Since the imposition of the present Tariff the industry has been started in that State ; but it will, of course, come to an end if the protection be removed. I hope before the debate is over to be able to supply the committee with some details as to the condition of the industry in New South Wales. From a revenue point of view, I say that it is altogether unjustifiable to ask the committee to make the reduction now proposed. With regard to the protectionist incidence of the duty, I have already used arguments which appear to be unanswerable from the point of view of the whole of Australia. The effect of a protective duty of this kind will be to give employment to a large number of persons without appreciably raising prices. When once local production begins, competition is created between the imported article and the local manufacture, and the price of the former is reduced. An industry of this kind cannot possibly be conducted with less protection than 15 per cent. To commence a factory of this description means the investment of a large amount of capital in plant and buildings before any profit can be expected. In the absence of the protection proposed in the Tariff, the industry might drag on for years in the hope of something better ; but instead of agreeing to the suggested amendment, it would be preferable to at once do away will all protection, when manufacturers would know their position, and could dismiss their hands and close up the factories. It would be much better to take that course, than, under the guise of protection, to impose a miserable duty which would have no effect of any real value, and would in the end place the manufacturers in a really worse position. Let us either give protection worth having, or give no protection.
– The electors have not affirmed a protective policy.
– The electors have affirmed by a majority that there shall be a Federal Tariff, and that in the framing of that Tariff existing industries shall be cared for. The electors have also affirmed the proposition that, as far as possible, revenue must be collected sufficient for the Commonwealth as a whole and sufficient for each of the States, and, further, that wherever it is possible to develop our industries and employ our own people in conformity with those principles, that shall be done. On every ground I submit that the motion ought not to be carried.
– There are very few farmers who use oil engines.
– Hundreds of, fanners use them in South Australia.
– Throughout the Commonwealth there may be hundreds of farmers who use oil engines, but they are men who have been more successful than the majority. The Horsham and Wimmera District Horticultural, Agricultural, and Pastoral Society have issued a list of the plant necessary for a well-equipped farm, the plant costing about £501 ; but in that list I see no mention of oil-engines. The ordinary farmer is not able to buy these conveniences, and depends on horse power. Are the senators from New South Wales absolutely blind to what has taken place ‘in their own State since federation? The buildings for metal working which have been erected since federation, and since the imposition of a duty, show a marked progress in that State. The Victor Motor Company established works at Double Bay, near Sydney, fifteen months ago, and invested some £5,000 in plant, when it was understood that there would be protection against the world. This company was induced to begin its operations in the belief that it would be protected against foreign productions. How does Senator Pulsford propose to encourage the industry at Double Bay ? By seeking to reduce the duty of 10 per cent, after the establishment has been erected and the plant set up. Senator Clemons does not take into consideration the welfare of the 35 men .who are employed at Double Bay. If the prices of these engines had been raised since the establishment of federation I could understand his desire to reduce the rate of duty, but as a matter of fact, the prices are no higher now than they used to be. Here we have one company, not to mention others, putting £5,000 into -a plant and giving employment to 35 hands whose wages circulate indirectly throughout the Commonwealth, .and directly through Double Bay, giving employment to grocers, butchers, bakers, farmers, and others. That consideration, of course, does not appeal to the mind of Senator Clemons. In Victoria we have the firms of Coulsen, Hampton, and Tarrent making these very engines. On all these grounds, I think that the committee should reject the motion. I wonder what Senator Sargood intends to do. He told the public that he would advocate revenue without destruction of local industries. Will he, finding that the local manufacturers are so handicapped by a 15 per cent, duty, vote for its reduction to 10 per cent. 1
– They will do splendidly with 10 per cent.
– The honorable senator has had considerable experience in one branch of industry, but I do not think that he can speak for the manufacturers of oil engines as well as they can speak for themselves, and they declare that with a 10 per cent, duty they will be hampered very greatly in their operations if not compelled to close their factories and turn their hands into the streets.
– In New South Wales 7,000 men are employed at splendid wages in this industry.
– It is a strange thing that in the great State of New South Wales, which, according to Senator Neild, gave up its policy of free-trade, industries are being established in all parts under the protectionist duties in the Federal Tariff. Honorable senators on the other side are doing their level best to hamper that progress and expansion. The protectionists who come from other States are the true representatives of New South Wales. We are protecting that State against the wrongheadedness of her representatives, and I hope that we shall succeed in rejecting this motion.
- Senator Clemons was very much exercised in mind about country producers having to pay something extra for these engines. The country producer does not use gas engines, high speed engines, or turbines. He uses oil engines, and these are made in Victoria by the hundred. It is the manufacturers in cities and towns who use gas engines, and they do not object to the imposition of the duty. A great number of oil and gas engines are used for working lifts in big. buildings. In Port Melbourne, Senator Clemons will see a row of eight large gas engines in one installation, ranging from ten up to sixteen horse-power, and made, I think, in Victoria. Oil engines are used, to a small extent, in the country, and the users are manufacturers who are already protected in the Tariff. Farmers do not use oil engines to any great extent, but they use portable engines largely. Traction engines are used in the country for timber hauling. Portable and traction engines, however, are on the free list. To those who do not think out the matter, Senator Clemons made rather a strong point when he referred to work being carried on at Mort’s Dock, in Sydney, under freetrade. We could not very well have protection for a dock. If the honorable and learned senator were a practical man, he would know the reason why the work can be done more cheaply in Mort’s Dock than, perhaps, in other places. The manufacture of machinery furnishes what might be called a stock job for a great number of their men when they are not engaged in docking vessels, but docking is their principal business.
– They do a lot of other work beside that.
– The engineering work outside keeps their men employed when there is no docking to be done, and therefore they can afford to take work at a cheap rate and to pay good wages. All large engineering establishments are conducted in the same way. I recollect reading in the Melbourne Herald some three months ago that since the Federal Tariff came.into force certain firms had entered into an arrangement for the outlay of over £500,000 in Sydney in the erection of factories and the provision of machinery and plant, and the names of the firms were published. Senator Clemons has stated that 7,000 men are employed in machinery works in New South Wales. According to a return which was ordered by the other House on the 7th J une last year, on the motion of Mr. Knox, the male adults employed in the engine, machinery, iron foundry,.and engineering works of New South Wales numbered 3,064 in 1898, 3,828 in 1899, and 4,479 in 1900. In 1900, in Victoria, 5,026 male adults were employed in similar establishments. Whether the figures are correct or not I do not know. New South Wales had 128 machinery establishments, while Victoria, with a much smaller population had 172, and the output from her engineering establishments was valued at £1,245,960. No distinction is made between the manufacturers of gas and oil engines and the manufacturers of other engines. The exact figures are £1,245,960, and the value of the “Victorian plant and machinery is £714,000. Out of the number, 4,479 employed in New South Wales, probably one-third are engaged in connexion with Mort’s dock. Senator Clemons said that he did not know of any English-speaking country in the world where there was such taxation as is now being imposed. The statistics published this morning show that the customs and excise taxation of the Commonwealth amounts to £2 7s. 3d. per head of the population. In Tasmania, for the five years ending 1900, the customs and excise taxation was £2 lis. ; in New Zealand for last year it was £2 19s. 2d. per head ; in Queensland, £3 ls. id. per head ; and in Western Australia, £6 9s. 2d. per head per annum for the five years ending 1900. It is just as well to correct these erroneous statements, made by an honorable and learned senator, who evidently did not take the trouble to check the figures which were supplied to him.
– I should have thought that a moderate duty of 15 per cent, would have been allowed to pass without any attack from the Opposition, but Senator Clemons asks that it shall be reduced to 10 per cent. In the opinion of those who know something about the business in question, even 15 per cent, is too low. The Amalgamated Society of Engineers desire that the duty shall be 35 per cent, in order that the engineering industry may be put upon a proper footing. I have thought a good deal about this matter, and know something of the engineering establishments that will be affected by Senator Clemons’s proposal. There is no doubt that a good deal of the engineering work that has in the past been done in Australia will be done abroad if the duty is reduced. In the majority of cases this class of engine is used in manufacturing establishments. It is only in a few isolated cases that it is used by farmers. In considering the duty we should have regard to the majority of the people who use engines, and should impose such a duty as will effectually protect the Australian industry. It has been pointed out that Messrs. Coulsen, Hampton, and Torrent, in Victoria, are manufacturing these engines, and Senator Sargood, when asked how he was going to vote, said that in his opinion a 10 per cent. duty would suit these firms very well. Mr. Coulson, with whom I was talking over this matter about a month ago, showed me invoices from the old country, and proved conclusively that unless there was a higher protection than 15 per cent., he would not be able to compete with engines made abroad. With such facts staring us in the face, I urge Senator Clemons to withdraw his proposal. The difference between his motion and the Tariff as it stands is only 5 per cent. That is not very much from his point of view, but I can assure him that it means a great deal to the manufacturers. Reference has been made to Mort’s Dock, and the wages paid there. I know a good many men who work at Mort’s Dock, and certainly they are paid fairly good wages. But that is not due to the company ; it is due to the fact that the men have a splendid organization behind them in the Amalgamated Society of Engineers. Mort’s Dock is to a large extent a huge repairing shop the company are not manufacturers of engineering appliances in’ the sense that that term is usually applied in other States. The people of New South Wales have provided splendid docking accommodation, and have at present, in Sydney, the finest dock south of the line. It will accommodate the largest vessels in the world. That is the reason why there are such large repairing works in New South Wales. I appeal to Senator Clemons to reconsider the position, and not to press his proposal.
– The age in which we live, if marked by anything in particular, is certainly marked by the use of machinery. We might call this “ the machinery age.” Machinery is more used and more necessary to-day than ever. For that reason it is desirable that we should do our best to enable those who need machinery to obtain it on the best terms possible. To put the producers of machinery before the users of it indicates, in my judgment, a lack of common sense. Machinery is needed in numberless industries, and gas and oil engines are largely used inland. For instance, gas engines are used in small newspaper offices, which are usually carried on under very difficult circumstances. Certainly we ought to allow them to obtain their machinery as cheaply as possible. These engines are also used by small manufacturers inland, who cannot afford to put up a large plant. The reduction of the duty will be a means of helping the small man, who has not a large capital behind him and cannot afford to go into a big industry. Surely it is in the interest of the Commonwealth that sucha man should not have obstacles put in his path. To say that the man who makes an engine must be considered first and foremost, is surely to put the cart before the horse. Everybody must admit that if we so arrange our legislation as to force certain manufactures into the hands of local people, those people must have more employment, and similarly it must be admitted that if by increasing the price of machinery we make its use more difficult, we do something to discourage the use of machinery by the multitude. The more the purchase of implements at low prices is facilitated, the greater will be the aggregate production, and consequently the aggregate wealth and payments in the matter of wages. For these reasons I ask honorable senators to agree to the motion. We must always remember the section in the Customs Act which makes goods coming under ad valorem duties subject to an additional 10 per cent.; so that a 10 per cent. ad valorem duty is collected at the rate of 11 per cent., and a 15 per cent. duty at the rate of 161/2 per cent. A duty of 10 per cent., plus the natural protection, is surely enough for the manufacturers of these engines, especially when we consider that the higher the duties we impose the more encouragement we give to the local manufacturer, and the greater the discouragement of the whole producing trade of Australia.
– I desire to say a word or two in regard to the additional charge of 10 per cent. under the Customs Act, to which reference has again been made. Senator Pulsford knows well that that provision was agreed to by the Senate, because it was recognised that importers always invoice their goods at the very lowest rate, and possibly often below cost price. It was designed to protect the revenue.
– The honorable senator is altogether wrong.
– My statement is correct. Senator Pulsford has said that there are small industries in the back-blocks, in which oil and gas engines are used ; but, in dealing with the Tariff, has he not been endeavouring from the first to make it impossible for these small manufacturers to exist? The honorable senator has never promised anything to the industrial classes in Australia ; but I appeal to those who promised in their election speeches that they would do nothing .that would destroy existing industries, to say whether 15 percent, is too high a duty. When the Tariff was first introduced, those who were professedly freetraders said they would be satisfied with a protective incidence of 15 per cent., although they would not support 50 and 60 per cent, duties. But whenever a 15 per cent, duty is put before us, an attempt is made to reduce it. I am certain that honorable senators of the Opposition would move to place these engines on the free list if they thought that they could succeed in doing so.
– Senator McGregor has endeavoured to make it appear that the 10 per cent, provision in the Customs Act is designed to meet the case of those who desire to defraud the revenue, but every one knows that it was inserted simply to cover the cost of freight, and so add to the value of the imported article. Senator McGregor has also charged honorable senators of the Opposition with a desire to destroy the manufacturing industries of the country. There is not and never has been any such desire on our part. Our object is to protect the consumer. We support this motion because we consider that 10 per cent, will be sufficient protection for the local manufacturer, while the reduction from 15 per cent, will be a benefit to the community at large. Senator Barrett has said that the operatives in this industry declare that they can do with nothing less than 35 per cent. Under the Victorian Tariff the duty was something like 35 per cent., and hence the desire on the part of these people to cling to advantages which they have enjoyed for manyyears. If it is true, as has been stated by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, that it is impossible for these high-speed and turbine engines to be manufactured here at the present time, what difference can it make to the local manufacturer whether a duty of 10 or 15 per cent, is charged ?
– Those engines enter into competition with others which are made here.
– High-speed engines are advantageous to the men who use them. Gas engines are used for innumerable purposes, and oil engines have a much more extensive use throughout the Commonwealth. Many farmers in New South Wales are beginning to purchase oil engines to enable them to irrigate land and produce crops where otherwise there would be none.
– Oil and gas engines can be made here as well and as cheaply as anywhere else.
– I do not say anything about that. Oil engines are also used in small craft trading to the islands, and in some of the fishing craft working along the coast. For these reasons we are justified in seeking to keep the price of these engines as low as possible. While the Government orginally proposed a duty of 25 per cent, on engines generally, they proposed a duty of only 15 per cent, on engines coming under this heading, showing that they were anxious to make a distinction between the two classes.
– That plan has been put an end to under a general agreement, by which a number of machines were placed on the free list, while certain other machines and engines were made liable to a duty of 15 per cent.
– I assume that a good deal of the machinery placed upon the free list has been treated in that way, for the reason that it is either patented, or because the Government are satisfied that it will not be made here. Allusion has been made to Mort’s Dock, and while, no doubt, their work relates largely to docking and shipbuilding, I know that they manufacture engines for the general community. The Clyde Engineering Works also do so, and there are a number of other firms in New South Wales which have been able to manufacture engines for mining and other purposes, and to compete against Victorian and English manufacturers under absolutely free- trade conditions in that State. I hope the committee will recognise that 10 per cent. is a reasonable duty to impose upon this class of engines. If this motion is accepted, honorable senators will not find that a single engineering establishment will be closed in either Victoria or South Australia. On the contrary, by the increased work they will get from the extended market of the whole of the Commonwealth, they will progress and prosper to a greater extent than they have done in times past.
– It appears to me that the free-traders in this Chamber have been seized with that particular form of madness known as “ running amuck.” Wherever they see a duty they determine to reduce it. Senator Pulsford says that protectionists are more concerned about the people who produce machinery than about the people who use it. I may tell the honorable senator that we are concerned about both. If the policy which free-trade senators advocate is carried out, Australia will be a one-handed community able to exercise only one set of faculties, atnd absolutely impotent so far as the exercise of certain other functions is concerned. If their policy is adopted we shall be indebted to other communities for all our engines and tools, and for everything but wool, gold, meat, fruit, and a few other things.
– Has the honorable senator ever heard of a place called New South Wales?
– I have heard a great deal of it, and I know that that State is progressing much more rapidly under the new protective policy of the Commonwealth, than it did under the old insane free-trade policy in force there. It is rapidly becoming not only the shipping centre, but the manufacturing centre of the Commonwealth under this protective Tariff. Has Senator Pulsford heard of the huge trusts that are now being formed in America and England 1 Has it not occurred to the honorable senator that if we allow ourselves to be left in such a position that we shall be able to produce nothing, and must import everything in the way of machinery, some day a machinery trust will be formed which will force prices up to such an extent, as will levy toll from every Australian user of machinery ? Is it not desirable that we should now provide against any contingency of that kind arising by assisting our people to establish manufacturing industries in the Commonwealth ? Senator Pulsford. - To establish trusts.
– I remind the honorable senator that we can deal with trusts within our own borders, but we should have no control over trusts formed outside. I call the policy supported by the honorable senator a short-sighted policy, a penny wise and pound foolish policy. It is a policy which sees no further from its nose than about 6 inches, while the protectionist policy which provides for the contingencies of the future is a long-sighted policy, a wise policy, and one which is bound to be extremely beneficial to Australia.
– Exotic, not patriotic.
– I wonder does the honorable senator know the meaning of “ exotic “ ? He wishes to infer that the manufacture of engines is an exotic industry in Australia. Have we not iron and coal in Australia, and what were those minerals placed in the earth for except to be used ? Engine-building is more of a natural industry here than is sheep-growing. There was not a single sheep, cow, or bullock in Australia when it was discovered. If honorable senators want examples of exotic industries there they are. They were not native to the soil. But we have iron and coal in millions of tons buried in the soil, and to call any industry into which those materials enter an exotic industry is to talk so much nonsense. I know very well that it is of no use to appeal to honorable senators who represent the importing industry. They are interested in making Australia get everything she requires from outside her own borders. But I appeal to honorable senators who have the interest of the working classes of Australia at heart. If we expose our manufacturers to the competition of countries in which employes are worked for long hours under bad conditions and for miserable wages, to talk of establishing wages boards, boards of conciliation and arbitration, an eight hours day and a minimum wage, is to talk the sheerest nonsense imaginable. I believe in all these things, and I shall try, by my votes on this Tariff, to place our Australian manufacturers in such a position that when we ask them to pay fair wages to their workmen they will be able to do so, and will not be able to retort upon us, “ You have exposed us to the competition of low wage countries, and you now ask us to do the impossible.”
– Ten per cent. is higher than the average of the duties previously existing in the Australian States.
– I consider Canada is our best example in this matter, and the duty there is 25 per cent. I do not hear that the farmers in Canada are grumbling on that account. Canada is an exceedingly prosperous country at the present time, and I was reading only recently that not only are thousands of people leaving Great Britain for Canada, but that people are also leaving the UnitedStates for that country. Why should we handicap ourselves and our people by exposing ourselves to the exactions of trusts who may force prices up to an extraordinary height whenever it suits them to do so ? I trust that honorable senators will not be carried away by the sophistries of the advocates of free-trade. I hope they will take an Australian view of this matter, and will endeavour to place the Commonwealth in a position of independence. If they do so, they will have the support of the farmers and of the newspaper proprietors. The newspaper proprietors are themselves protected to a certain extent, and it is proper that they should be so. We require to encourage native enterprise as much as possible in a literary as well as in every other direction. I trust that some consideration will be shown for the manufacturing industries of the Commonwealth. We must all remember the bond made when the Commonwealth was formed. It was that the interest of every industry in the Commonwealth should be respected. Industries in Queensland have been respected, and the sugar industry in particular. I cannot forget that, and, remembering it, I think it is due to the workmen engaged in manufacturing industries in the other States that, having received some consideration ourselves, we should extend the same consideration to them.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding to the duty, “ Engines, gas and oil, and high-speed engines and turbines, water and steam, ad valorem, 15 per cent. “ the words “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, 10 per cent.” - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … … 14
Noes … … … … 12
Majority … … 2
Question so resolvedin the affirmative.
Item 78 - Manufactures of metal, viz. . . . Engines, ad valorem., 15 percent.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding to the duty ‘ ‘ Engines, ad valorem, 15 per cent.,” the words “and on and after the 1st August, 1902, 10 per cent.”
It will be recognised, in view of the previous divisions, that this is practically a consequential motion, and, therefore, I shall not attempt to repeat arguments which have already been presented to the committee.
– I do not intend to take up much time in discussing this item. The same arguments, facts, and considerations apply as applied to the other items already dealt with. The whole of the lines of this division have been dealt with on one basis, and any one who followed the debates upon the Tariff in the House of Representatives must see that the duties as introduced into this Chamber are the result of a compromise. In regard to both trade tools and machine tools used in manufacture, a large free list was agreed upon in anotherplace, and in consideration of that the duties in this division were fixed all round at 15 per cent. That arrangement will, I have no doubt, be adhered to in another place ; and after the divisions which have already been taken, it is not worth while to waste time in repeating to ears that are not likely to listen arguments which have already been used. It is far better to go to a division at once, so that we may the more quickly be brought to the point when the real settlement of this matter will take place, and when I have no doubt the duty, as now proposed by the Government, will be agreed to.
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 1
Noes … … … 10
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Item 78. - Manufactures of metal, viz. : . . . Boilers, pumps, machines, and machinery, n.ei., ad valorem, 15 percent.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding to duty “ Boilers, pumps, machines, and machinery n.e.i., ad val. 15 per cent.” the words “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 10 per cent.”
We have discussed fully the item of agricultural machinery, and we now reach a class of machinery which is largely used in the great industry of mining, the importance of which it is difficult for us to over estimate. I am confident that if this duty be carried as proposed by the Government, mining will be seriously injured. Australia is one of the greatest mineral-producing countries of the world, all the principal metals of economic value being found here. That statement will, I think, be agreed with when I state that Australia contributes over one-fourth of the total gold, one-twelfth of the silver, and oneeighteenth of the copper produced in the world. We also produce a very large quantity of lead, tin, and other minerals, and the present prosperity of the Commonwealth is to a great extent due to this mineral wealth, which has attracted thousands and tens of thousands of people to these shores. In times of drought or financial panic, when other industries have been endangered, mining has been our sheet anchor. On several occasions I have quoted Coghlan, whom protectionists and freetraders agree in regarding as an authority who states the position fairly and clearly. Goghlan says -
The present prosperity of Australia is largely due to the discoveries of this metal (gold), the development of other industries being, in a country of varied resources, a natural sequence to the acquisition of mineral treasure.
Coghlan goes on to say -
Victoria, although in area the smallest(colony) of the group, with the exception of Tasmania, achieved the foremost position amongst the colonies, and retained that place so long as the powerful attraction of gold continued.
The total production of minerals in the Commonwealth up to 1900 represented £520,000,000, and in two of the States minerals constituted more than half of the total wealth produced. In Western Australia, in 1889, the total value of all produce was £10,215,000, of which 60 per cent., or £6,346,000, was from minerals. In Tasmania, in the same year, the total value of all produce was £5,090,000, over 50 per cent. of which, or £2,539,000, was from minerals. The other States have benefited very largely, though not to such a great extent as Western Australia and Tasmania from their mineral production. The exports of gold from Australia in the year 1900 amounted to £12,159,077. That sum is sufficient to pay not only the interest on the debts of the whole of the States in the Commonwealth, but on practically the whole of the Australian private borrowings as well. That fact clearly shows the enormous importance of the mining industry of Australia. The industry employs a larger number of men than any other in Australia. But, notwithstanding the enormous importance of the mining industry, I think I can say, without fear of contradiction, that it is at present in an unsatisfactory position, and, in some cases, even in a perilous position. Even in regard to gold mining, in all the States except one, the industry is not prosperous at present. The yield is diminishing in spite of the strenuous efforts that are being made by the State Governments by means of grants, subsidies, and prospecting votes to stem the disaster. In New South Wales, in 1899, the production of gold amounted to 496,196 ozs.; in 1900 it amounted to 345, 350 ozs., and in 1901 to 267,061 ozs. In Tasmania there was a similar fall. The gold yield in 1.899 was S3,922 ozs., and in 1891 59,654 ozs. In Victoria, the gold yield fell from 854,500 ozs. in 1899 to 789,562 ozs. in 1 891. In the first five months in 1S92 there has been a further fall in Victoria of 12,442 ozs. as compared with the yield in the corresponding period of 1891. The Mount Morgan mine, which supplies one-fourth of the gold yield of Queensland, employs 2,000 men. The average yield has been 1 oz. 13 dwts. 8 grs. to the ton. In 1S99, the average yield was 15 dwts., or about onehalf of the average yield of Mount Morgan. The richest deposits in these great mines in Australia are being worked out. In Western Australia the average value of gold production per miner was £297 9s. 3d., in Tasmania £252 14s. 10d., and in Victoria £113 per annum. Whilst the gold-mining industry is not flourishing in the various States with one exception, the position in regard to the production of other metals is even more disquieting. That is indicated by the figures in regard to lead silver, tin, and copper. The mines are not only working on bodies of a lower grade of ore, but they suffer from the additional disadvantage of a steady and continuous reduction in the value of their metal. Broken Hill has contributed £26,000,000 worth of minerals to the wealth of Australia, and in 1900 the group of mines at Broken Hill employed 7,256 men. Last December there were employed there 4,862 men. So that the number of men employed has declined by nearly one-half since 1891. The Mining Standard of the 22nd of February, speaking of the machinery duties, says -
In view of the revision of the Tariff by the Federal Senate, the Broken Hill outlook may well be accepted as a special argument in favour of fixing duties largely affecting the mining industry on the lowest scale consistent with due regard for revenue-raising necessity. The general case has been frequently stated in these columns, but has been by no means exhausted, and the fall in the market price of silver below any point previously recorded, adds further weight to these representations. What has been done by silver-lead mining in the Barrier district is so well known that it need not be minutely recapitulated. It is enough to say that it added a new province to the senior St:ite, transformed a scene of desolation into a hive of industry, built a flourishing city in an arid waste, added enormously to the sum total of Australian realized wealth, stimulated outside business activity, and provided a livelihood for a resident population of about 25,000. What its chief centre is now, with its industry in irons, its trade languishing, its diminished populatioin still dwindling away, and those compelled to remain calling out for State expenditure to find them employment, is also known ; but what it will become with silver below 2s. per ounce and lead still waiting for a substantial improvement, while heavy additional burdens are placed upon its mining companies has yet to appear. In one sense, it might be claimed that Broken Hill companies are entitled to special consideration, because they are so specially affected by the decline in the metal rates, because they have hitherto had the full advantage of a free-trade policy, and because of the magnitude of the enterprise upon which, under these auspices, they have embarked.
This paper goes on to say -
To relieve the producing industry as far as may be consistent with revenue requirement is the true progressive principle which should guide the Senate in its work of Tariff revision, and upon the extent to which it is respected rests not only the future prospects of Broken Hill, but of the Australian Commonwealth, whose fortunes must, of necessity, be materially influenced by the rate of its mining progress. . . . The point to be specially borne in mind Jay the Senate is that to choose this particular time to make the mining burden heavier is to deliberately decrease the prospect of recovery, and to make it well nigh hopeless.
The value of silver and of other metals, with the exception of gold, has fallen enormously during the last few years. The price of silver in 1S90 was 4s. 6£d. per oz.; to-day the price is 2s. 03-5d. per oz., or a fall of 55 per cent. The price of lead in 1890 was £17 15s. a ton; in 1902 the price was £11 5s. per ton, or a fall of 35 per cent. The price of copper was £7S pelton in 1890 ; it is £55 12s. 6d. in 1902, or a fall of 32 per cent. The price of tin has fallen from £146 per ton in 1890 to “ 126 10s. in 1902, or 14 per cent. I think that from the figures I have given it mustbe admitted that the mining industry generally is in an unsatisfactory condition. The present state of the mining industry’ of Australia does not arise from the fact that we have exhausted our ore reserves. In the first place we have worked out some of our richest deposits, and in the second place the price of metals, excepting gold, has fallen enormously during the last few years, and is still falling. On this point, Coghlan says -
Australia possesses invaluable mineral resources, and although enormous quantities of minerals of all kinds have been won since their first discovery, yet the deposits, with the exception perhaps of gold, have only reached the first period of their exploitation. Vast beds of silver, tin, and copper ore, and of coal, are known to exist, but their development has not reached a sufficiently advanced stage to enable an exact opinion to be expressed regarding their commercial value, though it is confidently held by mining experts that this must be enormous.
As we cannot increase the richness of our mineral reserves, or control the price of metals, the situation postulates one of. two courses. Either some of our principal mines must shut clown, and some of our principal centres decay, or we must reduce the cost of extraction. That can only be cloneby reducing wages, which no one wishes to see, or by adopting improved machinery which will treat large quantities of ore at a less cost, and with a higher extraction. The necessity for using the most modern machinery has been recognised in Queensland, New South Wales, New Zealand, and Western Australia. The imposition of very low duties in those States has encouraged the use of modern machinery, and, in the absence of any new- conditions, the yield has continually increased. Queensland had a nominal duty of 25 per cent. ; but there was an enormous* free list, and the Statistical Register shows that of the mining machinery imported £31,477 worth came in absolutely free, while only £18,521 worth paid duty. Coghlan gives the reason for the steady increase in that State as the result of improved gold extraction. He says -
This result is due to the now universal application, wherever practicable, of the cyanide process to the treatment of the mill tailings, and the gold recovered in this manner hist year constituted a little more than one-third of the total yield.
In New Zealand mining machinery is absolutely free, and, concerning the improved yield there, Coghlan says -
The introduction of capital has enabled the claims not only to be opened up at greater depths, but also to be worked in a more systematic andeconomic manner. The improved appliances . ‘ ‘ have made it possible to treat material at a cost of Id. to 3d. per cubic yard.
Ib free-trade New South Wales, the value of the mineral production of 1900 was the largest on record, and Coghlan says -
In the absence of any new finds of importance, the increase is doubtless due to the steady improvement in the methods of mining, and in the plant used in treating the ore.
It is a remarkable fact that in Queensland, New South Wales, New Zealand, and Western Australia, where no restrictions, or very few, have been imposed on the importation of machinery, the output has increased, and Coghlan shows that in the three former cases the result has been due, not to new discoveries, but to a superior mode of treatment and more economical’ extraction. In Victoria, the cost of extraction of gold has been low, perhaps lower than in any other State except New Zealand; but it has not been as cheap as it should be, as the ores are found in their’ simplest forms, less refractory than in any other State, while water and fuel are in abundance, and the wages are lower than in other States. In Western Australia we have the most modern and extensive mining appliances. In one year we imported, no less than £3,000,000 worth of machinery ; yet the cost of extraction is probably higher than in any of the States on account of the complicated nature of the ores, the cost of water, fuel, railway carriage, and other causes. For 66 mines the wattes amounted to £1,933,239; the fuel cost £253,541, the- water £111,258, and therailage £103,194. The cost of mining is enormously expensive, and if the cost of extraction- is going to be increased by the imposition of a higher duty on machinery, the wonderful expansion- which has taken place will undoubtedly be- arrested. While in 1886 we produced hardly £1,000 worth of. gold, in 1901 wa produced £7,089,067 worth. For the last three years that State has held the premier position producing nearly one-half of the gold won in the Commonwealth. But the natural conditions are so adverse, and the cost of transit so enormous, that almost insuperable difficulties have to be overcome in obtaining this gold. It was decided by the directors to erect large reduction plants on certain mines, but since the imposition of the duty, cables have been sent home to stop the exportation of the machinery, and, of course, no plants have been erected. These mines are what we call “low-grade propositions,” about 12 dwts., and They can only be worked on a large scale at a comparatively small profit. The people of the eastern States hardly realize the extent of the auriferous fields of Western Australia, and what - may be the possibilities if we can reduce the cost of extraction by even a few pennyweights. I believe that we have the largest and richest gold-field in the world. Almost the whole of the arid portion of the State contains valuable minerals. Nature seems to have compensated the Western Australians for the aridity of a certain portion of the interior of their State by substituting enormous mineral wealth. The auriferous country stretches from Kimberley in the north to Norseman and Phillip River in the south - a distance of 1,000 miles, and from Cue- in the west to Kurnalpi in the east - a distance of nearly 400 miles. It is divided into eighteen proclaimed gold-fields, containing 324,213 square miles, or an area larger than all New South Wales. . Up to the present time, with even a 5 per cent, duty, ore bodies cannot be touched unless they contain at least 10 dwts. to the ton. If such ore body occurred in Victoria in the simple form in which ore bodies occur in Victoria, it would make a Victorian minemanager’s mouth water to think that he had a lode 6 or 8 feet wide which would go 10 dwts. to the ton. Yet in Western Australia even oxidized ores cannot be worked unless they go 10 dwts. or over to the ton. I believe that if the cost of extraction could be reduced by a few pennyweights the gold yield could be doubled, or even quadrupled, and employment given to 20,000 or 30,000 extra men at the highest wages paid in any industry in Australia. This increased employment rests entirely upon the question of whether new batteries and reduction plants shall be erected. Ever)’ stamp that is put down will crush four or five tons a day, and. as it cannot crush ore of less value than 10 dwts. to the ton, it means that every stamp that falls will turn, out about £S a day, and every stamp will find employment for about five miners at from £3 1 5s. to £4 per week. The people in the Eastern States benefit from the wages- paid in Western Australia, because very many of the miners have left their wives and families here, and the amount sent through the money order office to these States is about £30,000 per month. The very rich mines are not the most profitable mines for Australia. The most profitable mines are the low-grade mines. These require a large number of workmen, and the division of the wealth is infinitely more in favour of labour than in favour of capital. In a rich mine huge dividends are paid and few men employed, but in a low-grade mine a number of men are employed, and the dividends are comparatively small. Those are the mines that we wish to open, up in Western Australia. Speaking generally, the mining plants of Australia are not nearly so modern as are those at Johannesburg,
Cripple Creek, United States of America, and other gold-mining centres. The goldmining machinery in Victoria is valued at £1,914,000, the gold-mining machinery in Queensland is valued at £1,591,000, “and that in New South, Wales at £861,S28. Coghlan does not give any figures as to the value of the gold-mining machinery used in Western Australia, but - from the “fact that over £3,000,000 worth was imported in one year, and that a return which I have obtained shows that the value of themachinery used by 66 mines there is £2,577,665 - it must be- enormous. We must have expensive machinery if we are to treat these very complicated and refractory ores at a low cost. In Johannesburg they have even more expensive machinery than is to be found in Western Australia, and the result is that although the gold mines there are of low grade, yielding from 5 to 8 dwts. per ton, they are not only worked successfully - of course, they have cheap wages - but they return big dividends. There they have no obstacles placed in their way. Scarcely any mining machinery imported, into the Transvaal pays duty, and the British Government have stated recently that they intend to reduce whatever disabilities there are in the way of the importation of mining, machinery there. The mining industry of Australia which has done and is doing so much for the prosperity of the country should not be handicapped any more than are other fields which are worked under better conditions. The machinery used in the mines can be divided fairly into two classes ; first, machinery which can be made in Australia, and, secondly, that which cannot be made here except at increased cost. I would say at once that, with the exception of patented machinery, there is practically no machinery that cannot be made in Australia for gold-mining purposes ; but there is a large quantity of mining machinery that cannot be made here, except at a very increased cost. Western Australia purchased all the machinery that it could obtain in the eastern States when the manufacturers in those States had no advantage whatever over the manufacturers of the outside world, save that the cost of transport was less ; but now it is –proposed to give them an advantage of 10 per cent. Western Australia has imported from the eastern States at least half of the mining machinery which it uses. The machinery thus imported is of the best qualit)’, and as good as any that could be obtained from abroad. The cost of carriage is less, the delay in delivery, which is an important consideration, is less than it is in connexion with machinery imported from abroad, while those requiring machinery are able to superintend its manufacture here. It is to the interests of the miners of Western Australia to obtain all the machinery they can, either here or in that State, so that its manufacture can be under their supervision. The reason that certain classesof machinery cannot be made here, except at greatly increased cost, must appear obvious. Different kinds of machinery are required for different mines. If gold were found in ore of the same character throughout Australia, I should say at once that all the mining machinery required could be made here. But that is the whole crux of the question. The ores are of different descriptions, not only in every State, but they vary in the different States. Kalgoorlie is the only gold-mining centre in Australia where we find tellurium in connexion with gold, and the telluride ores of that district are some of the richest in Australia. They require special machinery, and it is impossible for manufacturers here to lay down a plant, and manufacture that machinery at anything like the price for which it can be manufactured in the United States, Germany or Great Britain. There they can manufacture that class of machinery for all similar ores throughout the world. At Cripple Creek, which is one of the greatest telluride fields in the world, machinery is used that can be used probably in Kalgoorlie, and the manufacturers there can produce it. Machinery of that class will still have to be imported, even if we impose this duty. The best mining machinery in the world is made in the United States of America.
– Would it have been made there but for protection 1
– It is being made there after 100 years or more of protection. No doubt if the policy of protection had prevailed in the Commonwealth for the same period, it would be possible to make all mining machinery here. But is ou r mining industry - whichis languishing at the present time, and which produces a quarter of the gold of the world - to stand back for 100 years and suffer this disability in order that the manufacture of mining machinery may be perfected in Australia? Such would be a very short-sighted policy. In Kalgoorlie we have not only telluride but, sulpho-telluride ores, which are among the most refractory in the world, and there are scarcely two reduction plants in the field which are alike. Some plants, erected at great expense, have been found to be unsuitable for the requirements of the mines, and consequently fresh machinery has had to be imported. I suppose at least £600,000 worth of machinery has been introduced on the Kalgoorlie field, and found to be unsuitable. In Broken Hill, which is one of the greatest silver-mining centres in the world, machinery has been erected at a cost of nearly £1,000,000, but there is not a mine on the Barrier which is paying dividends with the exception of the Broken Hill Proprietary. Many of them have had to stop work. During the last few years the number of men employed on the mines there has been reduced by nearly one-half, and if we impose this additional burden, then, as the Mining Standard says, we shall practically kill that district. Of the £1,000,000 worth of machinery owned by the mines at Broken Hill, three-fourths was obtained in Australia, the greater portion of it being made by the great mining machinery firms of South Australia. The remaining one-fourth, however, consists of machinery which cannot be manufactured here. Machinery of that class will still have to be imported, and if this duty is imposed the people of Broken Hill will have to bear an additional burden purely for revenue purposes. The great industry in Broken Hill, which has practically created a new province for Australia, is in a very perilous condition. The price of its minerals, silver and lead, has fallen enormously, and, as I have said, there is only one mine there which is paying dividends, and those are now very small. I desire to show what would be the increased cost of this machinery as the result of the imposition of a duty of 15 per cent. I have taken out figures showing the value of the machinery, which three mines actually working in Western Australia have had to purchase, and the increased cost by reason of the 15 per cent, duty, as well as the increased cost of the extraction of the gold from the ore.
– They have their machinery.
– That is where the honorable senator shows his utter ignorance of the mining industry in
Western Australia. We have just touched the fringe of the auriferous belts in Western Australia. There is opportunity there for twice or four times the present output, and room for the employment of 20,000 or 30,000 additional men if we can only solve the problem of how to reduce the cost of extracting the gold from the ore. The Government of Western Australia has made herculean efforts to assist the mining industry there, and to the credit of Sir John Forrest be it said that he inagurated a water scheme to convey, the water to the fields over a distance of nearly 400 miles at a cost of £4,000,000. The State Government have constructed railways and done all they can to help the industry there; and are we going to impose upon this industry which is only in its inception in Western Australia - and that is what I desire honorable senators to understand - a burden like this which must arrest its development? During 1901, the money expended in one mine on the eastern goldfields of Western Australia, using the dry crushing and roasting process, amounted to £190,000, of which 50 per cent, or £95,000 was spent in wages. A 15 per cent, duty on materials used exclusive of timber and cyanide, and on repairs and renewals, would amount to £3, 2 1 4 a year, increasing the cost of extraction by 9d. per ton on the 89,000 tons crushed. These figures have been supplied to me by the Chamber of Mines of Western Australia, awd honorable senators will agree that such a body is not likely to deceive any one. They wrote off £20,000 for depreciation on their huge plant and machinery, and £22,000 was spent in additions to the plant, equalling £6,930 in duty, which increased the cost of extraction by a further ls. 6d. per ton, and the duty of 15 per cent, is directly responsible for an increased cost of extraction of 2s. 3d. pelton upon every ton they crushed. I have taken next the case of a mine using the wet crushing process. They spent in 1901 o 160,000 in working expenses, of which ver 60 per cent, or £96,640 was spent in wages alone. They crushed 90,000 tons, and the duty on materials, repairs, and renewals, exclusive of timber and cyanide, would be £2,400 a year, increasing the cost of ex traction by 6£d. per ton. Thus £40,000 spent in new machinery would mean a duty of £6,000, or an increased, cost of extraction of ls. 5Ad., and that is without writing off anything for depreciation of plant. 40 o
– That would not go on every year.
– These mining companies are Continually adding to their plant, and I do not think there is one big mine on the gold-fields upon which less than £20,000 a year has been spent in supplementing plant since its inception. Assuming that one-half of the machinery is purchased in the eastern States, or made locally, I have proved by actual figures in connexion with working mines, that there would be increases in the cost of extraction due to a duty of 15 per cent, of ls. and ls. 3d. per ton on all the ore crushed. I desire now to refer to what is called a “ low-grade proposition.” We will take the case of a mine with a working capital of £20,000. It has been worked at a bare margin of profit. To return a profit of 10 per cent., the property must be worked on a very extensive scale. To do this, a capital of £100,000 must be raised, £80,000 of which would be expended in the purchase of the most modern equipment of plant and machinery. Fifteen per cent, on that, plus 10 per cent, surcharge, would amount to £13,2 , and taking into account the necessary wear and tear of a large plant and the cost of repairs and renewals, a 15. per cent, duty is calculated to reduce the margin of profit from 10 per cent, to at least 6 per cent. In a precarious industry such as this the margin is too small to justify the investment of so large a sum, and the undertaking has, owing to the increased duty, been abandoned. I have given a fair sample of three mines, one using the dry crushing and roasting process, another using the wet crushing process and a low grade mine, and I have stated on the authority of the Chamber of Mines, Western Australia, the actual figures of increased cost of extraction which will be caused if this duty of 15 per cent, is imposed. I confidently believe that if such a duty is imposed, amongst the first people to suffer will be the local manufacturers of mining machinery. As I have pointed out, the mines must import a certain quantity of machinery which cannot be made here at a reasonable cost. If this duty has to be paid on that machinery the result will be that mining development throughout Australia will be arrested. There will be less call upon the local manufacturers of machinery, and the quantity of machinery they will have to make will be lessened. Looking through1 the Tariff, I notice that there is very little rnining machinery upon the list, but there is a provision which says that any machinery may be put upon the free list by proclamation in pursuance of a joint address of both Houses, provided that such machinery cannot be reasonably manufactured in Australia. I say that that is an absolutely useless provision. An amendment of the Tariff could be passed quite as quickly as effect could be given to such a provision. For instance, a mining manager or consulting engineer is sent to America or to Germany to ascertain the latest processes of gold extraction. He may perhaps discover some machinery of which he approves, and he wires to his directors in London and has that machinery sent out. Suppose the Federal Parliament has gone into recess for six months, do honorable senators mean to tell me that the people interested are to wait until Parliament reassembles, on the chance of their passing such a resolution as this - that such mining, machinery cannot reasonably be made in Australia ? Every protectionist member of the Parliament will tell us that any machinery can reasonably be made here. I have spoken to mining men upon the subject, and I have no doubt that the provision to which I have referred is of no use whatever. Senator Stewart . spoke of the huge profits, which have been made from these mines. I propose to give honorable senators a statement of the money invested in Western Australia in all the registered gold-mining companies there, and then to let them know the interest which has actually been earned upon that money.
– Is the honorable senator going to say how much they “ watered up “ i
– I am speaking of capital actually subscribed.’ I have no doubt that Senator McGregor will ask why the people who are drawing such huge dividends from Western Australia should not pay a little extra for their machinery. I do not think there is any State in which the mining industry has. done so well as it has done in Western Australia. But that is not saying much. I hope that the Western Australian mines will continue to attract capital, because if they do not it will mean that the employment which would otherwise be found for thousands of men in a great industry will not be available. Thereis .no investment by British capitalists. from which we obtain so enormous a proportion of wealth while they obtain so little. The total capital actually invested in the registered gold-mining companies in Western Australia amounts to no less than £43,355,925.
– That is only the capital supposed to be invested.
– A lot of that went in floating the companies.
– That is money actually subscribed and invested. Of course there were charges, but that is the money which had to be expended in order to obtain the return.
– Some men. sold their claims for enormous sums of money.
– I am not speaking of what men got for their claims. I am speaking of the money actually invested in- registered gold-mining companies in existence- in Western Australia, at the present time. I may add that the amount I have stated is an under estimate,’ because it does not include all the fresh issues of capital, which have been very large in Western Australia. The actual dividends paid by the w’hole of these companies-in 1901- amounted to £1,299,037 Ss. 4d., so thatthe actual interest received upon the £43,000^000 was under 3 per cent., which is less than can be obtained by investors in any gilt-edged security, in any of the State loans, or. even in a Commonwealth loan. I, can say for the mines of Victoria, that every ounce of gold they extract costs at least £4, and they are working without any return whatever for their capital. But I have taken the mines of -Western Australia,, where the industry has paid best. I say that if this capital is withdrawn, or if the. flow of capital to the industry is stopped, the development of the mining industry of Australia will be seriously impeded. There is every probability that if this slender re-, turn which is now being obtained for theinvestment of capital is farther cut down, some of the money will be withdrawn and investments will be discontinued. The mining industry has reached a critical stage at the present time, because British investors are dissatisfied with their returns, and the re-opening of the Rand mines has turned their attention from Australia to South Africa, and there is a likelihood of capital, being diverted from Australia to South Africa.
– They have put a duty upon gold on the Rand, but that has not been done in Western Australia.
– There, again, thehonorable senator discloses his want of knowledge,because we have a duty on gold in Western Australia.
– What is the amount?
– I think it is 10 per cent. on the dividends.
– That is not a duty on gold. That is a duty on profits.
– That is a fairer kind of tax. We do not want to tax people who are not getting any profit. An influential petition waspresented to this Parliament on the 9 th April, by Sir John Forrest. It was sent through the Agent-General, from London. The petition was signed by men who had invested £13,000,000 in Western Australia, and it brings under the notice of the Federal Parliament the disastrous effects which will result to the trade and future prosperity of Australia if this high duty is imposed. I say that if this duty is continued it will increase the existing dissatisfaction, it will show these people that the return from their investments in Western Australia may bestill further reduced, and it will cause them to turn their eyes towards South Africa, and will divert the stream of capital to that country. Speaking to a large representative of capital, I asked him why British people did not invest more money in the mines in Victoria, and he replied at once that in that State there was a very high duty on mining machinery, and that there was an objection to paying to the Government taxation equal to onequarter the cost of the enormous plants which were necessary. I should now like to draw a comparison between the proportion of wealth which is paid to the workers in mining, and the proportion which is paid to wage-earners in manufactures. The gold won last year in Western Australia amounted to £7,089,767, and the 21,000 wage-earners employed received an average wage of £3 15s. per week, amounting to £4,095,000 per annum, or 57 per cent. of the total gold won. I am not taking into account the wages paid in the subsidiary industries connected with the supply of timber, coal, water, machinery, buildings, and so forth, nor do I. do so in the case of the manufacturing industries. In the manufacturing industries, Coghlan shows that of every £100 worth of the manufactured product 45 per cent. is represented by raw material, 25 per cent. by wages, and 30 per cent. by profit, wear and tear, and so forth. From this it is seen that the division of wealth between labour and capital is more generous in mining than in manufacturing industries. While manufacturers are strenuously demanding higher protection for themselves, they deny it to their employes, and they band themselves together in an Employers’ Union, which numbers 4,000 members, and in other organizations to kill Factories Acts and conciliation and arbitration boards.
– Are there not any organizations on the other side ?
– There is no organization in Western Australia or in any gold-mining centre I know of, having for its object the destruction of Acts which deal with the regulation of wages.
– Have the mine-owners no combinations for that purpose?
– No. The mining industry is one of the most important we have, employing as it does, a larger number of men than any other industry.
– There are 171,000 employes in the factories of the Commonweal th.
– But those factories represent a number of industries, and I am speaking of only one industry. There are not 100,000 workmen employed in the protected industries in Australia.
– There are not so many employed in mining as in agriculture.
– The number of wages men engaged in mining is infinitely larger than the number of wages men engaged in agriculture. Coghlan has shown that at the present time we have hardly touched the great mineral wealth hidden in the soil, and yet the mining industry is in a very bad way. We have worked out the richest portions of our mines, and, excepting in the case of gold, the price of all metals has fallen enormously. All we can do, if we desire this great industry to continue, is to reduce the cost of extraction. I should like to see all machinery admitted free, but I move that the duty be 10 per cent., because it is the generally expressed wish of the House that we should have revenue duties. We can only reduce the cost of extraction in one or two ways ; either by a reduction of wages, such as has taken place in some of the States, or by a reduction in the cost of extraction by the use of improved appliances. We have reached a period when another gold-field has been re-opened ; and heavy duties, such as are proposed, will inflict an injury which every individual in Australia will feel. Other mining countries, like South Africa and New Zealand, have the lowest duties on mining machinery. Many of the States of Australia also had low duties, excepting, perhaps, Victoria and South Australia, and we ought not to impose this increased burden on the mining industry at this very critical juncture.
– I congratulate Senator Smith on having concluded his address so soon. Although I admit the evident care which he has taken in dealing with this subject, I must say that he has not thrown much light -on the question which we have to decide. The sum and substance of the honorable senator’s argument is, I take it, that in the great mining State of Western Australia, which has produced such an enormous amount of gold, and is in such a flourishing position, this 5 per cent, will make all the difference between prosperity and the reverse. I do not think that the honorable senator has borne out that argument by any fact. If the position be as he states, why do not the Government of Western Australia remove the dividend tax of 10 per cent., which would make a very much greater difference to the mining industry than would the removal of 5 per cent, of the duty on mining machinery?
– It is the mines which do not pay that require cheap machinery.
– I dare say the owners of those mines want everything as cheap as possible.
– In order to give employment.
– Persons engaged in all kinds of industries throughout the Commonwealth want things as cheap as possible, and yet it is found necessary to impose taxation on them.
– It appears to be found necessary to make things as dear as possible.
– -We find it necessary to raise some revenue. Senator Pulsford has only one industry which he wishes to protect, namely, the importing industry.
– There is not a word of truth in that.
- Senator Pulsford tells us often enough that he does not wish to protect any industry, but, at the same time, he is continually endeavouring to protect “ the great importing industry.”
– Will the honorable senator tell me of any one direction in which I have asked assistance for the importing industry ?
– In the first place, the phrase, “the great importing industry,” is Senator Pulsford’s own, and in the second place he seeks to remove or reduce duties, not on the ground that any benefit will- accrue to the consumer or to the country, but on the ground that the importation of’ goods from abroad will be increased.
– That is an absolute misrepresentation.
– There, are two persons who are interested in importing goods from abroad - the person who makes them at the other side of the world, and the importer on this side. However Senator Pulsford may describe his efforts, they will be regarded by every impartial person as the strongest that have been made here to aid one industry, and that is ‘ “the great importing industry” of Australia. Senator Matheson interjected that it was the owners of the non-paying mines who wished to have this machinery imported free ; and it may be assumed that even in Western Australia there are some mines which do not pay. But is that any reason why the owners of these mines should not contribute some portion of the revenue of the Commonwealth ? We have imposed high duties in connexion with a great number of other industries, and the persons affected have to pay. If we did not impose those duties, where would our revenue come from ? I should like to direct attention for a moment to the amount which is involved in this particular item. It is very difficult to separate mining machinery fi om other machinery. Under the head of machinery and engines generally, a very large amount of revenue is collected. A 25 per cent, duty on machinery and engines was estimated to yield £80,500. Unfortunately, in the collections the amount paid on machinery and engines only has not been separated, but under item 78, which includes machinery of all kinds, £230,237 was collected in six months. I take it that it is intended to suggest that the duty on each article included in this item be reduced to 10 per cent. A reduction of the duty to 10 per cent, must involve a very large amount of revenue. It is very difficult to say what the exact amount is, but taking the collections for the six months at £230,237, it will be realized that an enormous amount of revenue is involved. It is proposed by honorable senators to give up 33 per cent, of the duty. Do not they anticipate that there will be a loss of revenue ‘! There must be a loss of revenue, and how is it proposed to make it up? Time after time, suggestions for the reduction of duties have been carried in spite of my warnings that we were sacrificing revenue which we could ill afford to lose. According to the calculations I have been able to make, the suggestions which have been agreed to so far will, if they are acted upon, involve a loss of £119,000 to the revenue. Honorable senators opposite seem to be pursuing this course of cutting down duties and throwing away revenue, apparently with very little object, and with very little regard to the consequences. It will be found that some very radical changes will have to be made in these suggestions if the Tariff is to be effective for one of its main purposes. The question of the rate of duty to be imposed on this line was thrashed out in the other House. Every possible representation was made from each side. It was arranged that a large number of machines and tools should be placed in the exemption list, and that the duty on this machinery should be reduced to 15 per cent, all round. That is the compact which will finally settle this question. If we wish to have any regard to the practical question of settling the Tariff at the earliest possible date, is there the least use in our sending to the other House a suggestion that the duty on this line should be reduced to 10 per cent. ? It will be the greatest waste of time to do so. It is a most extraordinary position that the Tariff is to be framed not on any general principle which is applicable to the whole of Australia, which will make every interest contribute, and benefit every interest, but on some plan, the details of which we do not know, but which produces this strange result that, in some cases, a high protection is left on the article. In many instances, no attempt has. been made to deal with the duties. Duties amounting to 80 per cent,, 60 per cent., and 50 per cent, have been passed without a word. For what purpose have these high protectionist duties been left in the Tariff 1 To get the support of particular senators who, otherwise, would not support extreme free-trade views. If that is the way in which the Tariff is to be framed, it is not creditable to the party which is carrying the suggestions here. It will not be creditable to the Parliament if such a Tariff ever becomes law, and I do not think it will. I believe that when the whole thing comes to be panned out, the suggestions will assume a very different shape.
-Col. Neild. - I rise to order. For some time the honorable and learned senator has not said one word on the question before the Chair, but has persistently hectored and lectured the committee in a manner which is wholly unparliamentary and absolutely without precedent. I ask that he may be confined, as other honorable senators have been, to the question before the Chair.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN (Senator- Dobson). - It is usual to allow a Minister of the Crown a little more latitude than others.
-Col. Neild. - No ; it is. against parliamentary law.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN.- I was just about to remark to Senator O’Connor, that if he continued that line of argument, I should bo compelled to allow other honorable senators to follow him, and that I thought it was hardly relevant to the question ; but I understand that he has done with that point.
– I understood you, sir, to say that you would allow a Minister greater latitude than any other honorable senator.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN.- I said that it was usual to allow a Minister a little more latitude.
– It certainly is not usual to allow a Minister any latitude in making accusations against his opponents.
– I do not wish, sir, to take any advantage of your ruling, and I propose to deal with the item now, keeping certainly very much more closely to the point than any speaker has done during the last three-quarters of au hour. I wish to call attention to the number of persons employed in the making of . machinery of all kinds, engines, and iron- work generally. According to Cog/dan, 16,462 persons are so employed. That is a very large number of persons, and their interests are dependent upon these industries. We have to consider three points. In the first place, are we going to give up the revenue involved in a sacrifice of 5 out of 15 per cent. ? Ought that to be done without some justification ? In the second place, if either of these industries are to be affected so that employment will be lessened, or if the mines in Western Australia are to pay 5 per cent, more, which of the two considerations ought to be the choice of the committee 1 There can be no question about it that the various industries which have to do with the making of machinery are amongst the most valuable which Australia possesses. They may be described -eis mother industries. They attract to themselves a number of other industries, and they employ, and will employ, a largely increasing number of people. The market for their products in Australia is endless. There is no industry which we have dealt with that is anything like so important in regard to the number of persons or the interests affected. The extra 5 per cent, will to a large extent affect companies whose capital is owned in England and in other parts of the world. Is it better that they should pay 5 per cent, more upon their machinery, or that we should very largely damage the interests of a number of people employed in this continent ? No question can be raised as to the increase of cost to the consumer in regard to ordinary mining machinery. . Senator Smith himself has admitted that in Victoria, where there was a duty of 25 per cent., the cost of mining machinery is lower than in any other part of Australia. In addition to that, in a continent containing so many miners, one would suppose that if this duty were a tax upon their industry, we should hear complaints from them. Surely t in Victoria, where there was a 25 per cent, duty On mining machinery, the miners could not be expected to be protectionists if the duty injured their industry. But there are no more staunch protectionists in Victoria than the miners. These facts are very much more cogent than are hours of such generalities as ray honorable friend has been giving us.
In Canada there was a protection of 25 per cent. - 30 per cent, in some cases- - on machinery ; -and Canada is going ahead rapidly in the manufacture of mining and agricultural machinery in consequence of the duty. Do the Canadian farmers and miners object to it ? No : because they have realized, as Australia will realize before this Tariff has been very long in operation, that the policy which underlies it is one .which enables every one to benefit, because everyone’s industry is aided. It is only in that way that America and Canada have become great manufacturing centres ; and it is only by every class benefiting, as every class must, from the general prosperity, that we can have anything like a national policy. That pOliCy cannot be pursued if every time a mining company wants to pay more dividends a’nd to save money for its shareholders in other parts of the world, its representatives are to cry out because of an extra 5 per cent, which they are asked to contribute to the revenue through the Customs.
– I understand that we are discussing the item, “ Boilers, pumps, machines, and machinery, n.e.i.,” and it has been said that there is no duty in New Zealand under this heading. But, if honorable senators will be good enough to look up the statistics, they will find that boilers are protected in New. Zealand to the extent of 5 and 20 per cent., pumps 5 and 20 per cent., and machinery 5, 10, and 20 per cent. I can understand the representative of the mining companies in Western Australia, Senator Smith, striving to secure this reduction. He has given as a reason for it that in one case a mining company, whose output is 195,000 tons, would have to pay under the 15 per cent, duty £3,200, whereas if the duty were reduced 10 per cent, it would have to pay £2,200. ‘So that the company would save £1,100 on an output of 200,000 tons, which, at the rate of £2 per ton, would be worth at least £400,000. It is absurd, to my ‘mind, to advance that case as a reason why there Should be a duty of 10 per cent, instead of 15 ‘on mining machinery. Of course, the companies do not care where their mining machinery comes from or who makes it, so long as ‘it is cheap. I am going to quote an extract from a free-trade writer in regard to Japan. He says -
It is’ significant that a good deal of the Japanese imports is represented by English machinery, anil some of these machines have been brought to assist the Japanese - who have enormous iron and coal deposits side by side - to fabricate machinery in competition ultimately with foreign makers of the same article.
If this duty be reducedwe shall have Japanese machinery coming in here soon, for the Japanese are a progressive nation. Senator Pulsford, a little while ago, flatly contradicted the statement that he ever referred to the importing of goods as the “ great importing industry.” But on the 16th May, speaking in the Senate, the honorable senator said, as reported in Hansard -
I am looking at the question all round. The Government must not forget that they came into office pledged to avoid destruction, and I am showing that in oneyear they proposed to smash a great industry in New South Wales.
– What industry?
– The industry connected with the importation of beer.
Our teetotal friend was particularly anxious then about imported beer; but it is clear that he did then refer to the great importing industry.
– The arguments which Senator O’Connor has used in opposition to this motion are as remarkable, and quite as unreasonable and astonishing, as his arguments in regard to tinned milk and other items. He shouts out that we have no consideration for revenue. His one idea, if one can credit his statements, is always revenue. But we find that the very Government which Senator O’Connor represents, with all their regard for revenue, has placed upon the’ exemption list, under the heading of machinery, over 40 articles which might very well be taxed, and on which it would have been perfectly reasonable to have exacted the same revenue duty.
– Name some ?
– There are linotype, monotype, monoline, and other typecomposing machines. Why are they not taxed if revenue is of such importance ? Then there are printing machines and presses.
– Who put them on the free list ?
– Instead of these articles having been placed on the free list against the wish of the Government, Ifind that they were on the list of special exemptions in the Tariff as originally introduced. The Government knew that additional revenue was unnecessary, and they were prepared to have these items on the free list. There are many other machines on the list of exemptions. For instance, we have chaffcutter knives, drill- wheel hoe cultivators, horse rakes, milking machines, potato raisers, and rakes and ploughs combined - all applicable to one industry. Then we have briquetting machinery on the free list. Whatjustification can there be for allowingbriquetting machinery to come in free?
– They are patented.
– That is all the more reason that they should be taxed, if taxes are desired. Patent porcelain and steel rollers are also on the free list. Who ever heard of a poor man importing a patent porcelain or steel roller 1 Why do not honorable senators opposite advocate a tax on machinery of that kind, which must be used by wealthy companies ? Then we find steam road rollers on the free list. They are not used by the poor man, and what justification can there be for exempting them when other machinery is taxed ? In connexion with every industry, save that of mining, we find a shoal of articles exempted which might very well be taxed, yet we have Senator O’Connor shrieking about the need for revenue. It is waste of time to talk about the need for the 5 per cent. which we on this side of the committee wish to strike off this duty when we have this large list of exemptions. The next argument used by Senator O’Connor was that even if this motion were carried it would not be accepted by another place ? That is an argument which he trots out on every possible occasion. If we areto pay any regard to what the honorable and learned senator says we should not suggest any amendment., We should pass the Tariff as it stands, saying - “We do not believe another place would adopt any suggested reduction, and therefore we will not make any suggestion.” It is a childish argument to adduce, and yet Senator O’Connor brings it forward in connexion with every item. Senator O’Connor has ridiculed honorable senators on this side because we have not moved a request for a reduction of any item without being reasonably certain of carrying it. We have adopted that course simply becausewe do not desire to waste time in submitting proposals which we know would be well justified, but which, unfortunately, would not be carried, because some honorable senators who occasionally vote with us do not see eye to eye with us in regard to them. It is Senator O’Connor who is wasting the time of the committee in making these statements, and in endeavouring to prejudice the position which we take up. I come now to his next point. Senator O’Connor said that the amendments which we have asked another place to make will, if adopted, lead to a reduction of revenue to the extent of £119,000 per annum. But he said nothing about the extent to which the revenue will probably be increased as the result of our action.
– Those figures show the net result.
– Then I shall pass by that matter and refer to the revenue returns for the year, issued this morning by the Treasurer. We find that over £800,000 has been collected in excess oi what is required by the exigencies of the Commonwealth. In other words, taking the onefourth of Customs and Excise revenue which the Treasurer is entitled to spend, he has a surplus of over £800,000.
– The honorable senator is not taking into account the excess of revenue in consequence of loading up.
– I have taken into account every figure in the return. It proves that the revenue has not fallen off for the last three months during which the Customs duties have been collected on the reduced scale. I listened with amazement to the assertion of Senator O’Connor that that state of .affairs could not continue. He gave no reason for that statement.
– I gave my reasons earlier in the evening.
– I have sat here during the whole of this debate, but I have not heard the honorable and learned senator give any reason. If he has given a reason, it can not be worth much, because it is impossible to guage what the Customs returns will be. No one has given more attention to this subject than has the Treasurer, and there is no one whose word I would more readily accept than that of the right honorable gentleman, but he has been wrong in every one of the estimates which he has made, with the best of intentions, during the last twelve months. Are we to expect, therefore, that the estimate made by Senator O’Connor, who has taken up this matter as a pastime, will be any better than those of the Treasurer, who has studied the question ? Senator O’Connor seems to- think that the reduction of this duty by 5 per cent, would be nothing to those who require machinery of this kind. I dare say that he honestly holds that opinion, but a reduction of 5 per cent, represents one-third of the duty, and it is a most important proportion when a man comes to buy large pieces of machinery. It may, and probably will, make the difference of abattery being purchased or not purchased. The proposed reduction is a most important one, and should not be lightly thrown aside by those who have the interests of the miner at heart. Senator O’Connor said that there were 16,462 men engaged in the manufacture of this machinery, and he appealed to the committee to consider them. But he did not tell us that out of that 16,462, 6,000 are employed in the freetrade State of New South Wales, in what is called in the schedule boiler-making, but which includes the several other manufactures of machinery in this particular class, leaving only 10,000 for the rest of the Commonwealth. If such a number of people could be employed in this industry in the free-trade State of New South Wales, is it reasonable to ask us to believe that a reduction of this duty by 5 per cent, will lead to a loss of employment in the industry in the other States ? As a final appeal the honorable senator tried to raise some little prejudice against the motion by saying that Senator Smith supported it with the intention of benefiting rich English mining companies. Is it not contemptible to introduce a prejudice of that sort when we are dealing with a large national question involving the mining industry throughout Australia, and in no sense affecting only the small interests which the English capitalists hold in Western Australia? I trust the committee will not be influenced by any such prejudice. I hope honorable senators will recognise the equity of placing mining machinery on the same footing as agricultural machinery, and that they will not be led away by the idea that revenue from this duty is necessary. It is altogether unnecessary, and that is proved by the fact that the Government have largely acquiesced in the placing of articles upon the free list on which revenue might very well have been, obtained, and have themselves placed upon the free list some articles which are absolute luxuries, and which might well have been taxed.
– I desire first of all to refer to the confession which Senator Smith made when he said that probably in 100 yean time Australia will be able to manufacture all -the mining machinery necessary for the rnining industry. That confession satisfies mc that the honorable senator believes in the soundness of the doctrine of protection. But we contend that very much sooner than 100 years we shall be able to manufacture all the machinery required by the mining industry if honorable senators of the Opposition will only assist us to protect the local manufacturer. We do not desire to wait 100 years. We want some of this prosperity in our own time. Where will Senator Smith be in 100 years? The honorable senator made a claim on behalf of the people who have invested their money in Western Australian mines. We can give him credit for having gone to a great deal of trouble to put the case of the mining investor in as clear a light as possible; He told us that £43,355,925 have been invested in Western Australian gold mines, and that the actual dividends paid amounted in 1901 to £1,299,037, or under 3 per cent, on the capital invested. But those of us who have taken even the most casual interest in the mining industry, and have read something about the floating of companies, know that in that sum of £43,000,000 invested in the gold mines of Western Australia there must be many millions which have been invested owing to the “ rainbow “ prospectuses issued by certain bogus mining company promoters. We know that millions of money have been invested in plant and machinery, before a speck of gold has been seen on the ground. How many instances does the honorable senator know of in which ground has been taken up, and, before a pick has been put into it, a company has been floated right away, and the British public have been induced to invest their millions in it ?
– I referred only to the capital invested in mining companies actually existing at the present moment.
– Surely we should not be asked to consider the bogus investments in Western Australia, made at the instance of dishonest persons such as arc to bo found on every gold-field in the world ? Without a doubt Western Australia is a great mining country, but, without a doubt also, some of the greatest rogues who ever breathed the breath of life went to Western Australia, and “ took down “ the British public. When Senator Smith asks us to reduce this duty, because so many millions invested in Western Australia gave a return of only 3 per cent, it must be remembered that nothing like £43,000,000 has been legitimately invested in gold -mining in that State. If the mines in Western Australia can pay £1,299,037 8s. 4d. in dividends iu a year, they can well afford to pay the extra money asked by the Government by way of duty.
– They paid over £4,500,000 in wages.
– The honorable senator cannot, on this occasion, plead on behalf of the “ poor miner,” because he knows very well that nowadays the poor miner is not in it as he used to be in olden times in Australia. The individual miner of times past is almost non-existent in these days. He has now to plead for employment with some great company or some huge syndicate, and the syndicate will only pay him high wages when it is compelled to do so, and when the miners are able by combination in large trade organizations to enforce the payment of fair wages. Miners in Queensland hold a good deal of scrip very often, and though some of them are taken down in the same way as the British public, a number get dividends from their investments in mines. I doubt whether that is the case in Western Australia, and when we are asked to consider individuals in the Commonwealth, let us ask who those individuals are. Senators Smith and Matheson have been pleading, not for the citizens of the Commonwealth, but for foreign investors.
– We have been pleading for the whole mining industry.
– These investors are absentees, who care very little about Australia so long as they draw their dividends. Unlike ourselves, they have not to take a share in the trials, as well as the successes, of the Commonwealth. On Senator Smith’s own showing, three-fourths of the mining machinery used is manufactured within the Commonwealth, and it is not just .that this industry should be subject to the competition of cheap-labour countries in other parts of the world. In this discussion there seems to be only one State under consideration, namely, Western Australia, which has a Tariff against all the other States of the Commonwealth, and which will continue to exercise that Tariff for another five years. This question will be decided by one or two votes, -and T urge Senator Sargood and others to consider the 16,000 persons who are now employed in the manufacture of mining machinery. J ask those honorable senators to go’ further, and consider the wives and families of these 16,000 men, and to ask themselves whether they will n ot be doing a great wrong in voting for the suggested reduction.
Progress . reported.
Senate adjourned at 9.57 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 2 July 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020702_senate_1_11/>.