1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
OVERTIME: CUSTOMS DEPARTMENT.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania). - I wish to know from the Vice-President of the Executive Council if the return showing the length of overtime worked by the officials in the Customs department in the State of Tasmania, for which I moved many weeks ago, is ready yet.
Senator O’CONNOR. - I shall inquire into the matter. When the honorable and learned senator spoke to me about it, I thought he was referring to a question which he had asked.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - I desire to call attention to a matter of privilege - the reportingof the Parliamentary Debates of the Senate by the official staff.
The PRESIDENT. - I do not think that that is a question of privilege.
Senator HIGGS. - I think that if anything concerns the privileges of members it is surely the method in which our debates are reported.
The PRESIDENT. - I do not think so. I will read from May what the privileges of Parliament are-
Breaches of privilege may be divided into (1) Disobedience to general orders or rules of either House.
The reporting of the debates cannot come under that heading.
It is undoubted that that heading does not comprise the question to which the honorable senator wishes to refer.
It is equally clear that the reporting of the debates cannot come under that heading.
Those are the four heads into which May divides breaches of privilege, and I cannot see that the manner in which the Hansard officials reportour proceedings can be a breach of privilege. The honorable senator has, however, a remedy if he considers that he has a grievance in the manner in which the debates are reported. He can either move a specific motion after notice, or he can move, without notice, that the Senate at its rising adjourn until some particular hour. If the question were a breach of privilegehe could not adopt the latter course, because a breach of privilege cannot be dealt with upon such a motion. When a breach of privilege has been committed, the member who brings it forward must move a motion vindicating the power and position of theSenate. The Senate is not a debating society, and it is not consistent with its position or dignity that it should simply talk about a matter and apply no remedy. I think that the honorable senator is not in order in seeking to supersede the ordinary business of debate by bringing under review in this way the manner in which our debates are reported. At the commencement of the session the Mansard reporters were placed under the jurisdiction of Mr. Speaker and myself, and we gave them certain instructions as to’ the manner in which the debates were to be reported. They will continue to obey those instructions until the Senate expresses a wish to thecontrary. If the members of the Senate think that the reports are not long enough, it isfor themto take action, and until they do so, the officials will obey the instructions which have been given by Mr. Speaker and myself.
Senator HIGGS. - I am obliged to you for your ruling, sir, and in pursuance of the course you have suggested, I move-
That the Senate at its rising adjourn until 10.30 a.m. to-morrow.
In moving this motion I do not wish to be takenas finding fault with the members of theHansard staff, because I believe that senators generally are indebted to them for the manner inwhich our speeches are presented to the general public. Ifour utterances were interspersed with the hems and haws with which we intersperse them, and our grammatical blunders and faulty constructions were set out in full, it would no doubt be considerably to our disadvantage. What I find fault with is that certain personal exchanges between senators are not reported.
Senator Dobson. - Surely we do not want them reported.
Senator HIGGS.- I am inclined to think that they wouldbe more interesting to the electors than some of the arguments occasionally put forward in support of propositions. The particular omission to which I take exception to is this : Ata recent evening sitting I challenged Senator Neild–
SenatorLt.-Col. Neild. - I rise to order. Under Standing Order 48, the motion for the adjournment of the Senate to a particular day can be moved only for the purpose of discussing some matter of urgency. Is this a matter of urgency ?
The PRESIDENT.- That is a question for the Senate to decide. Of course, any member can object to the debate proceeding, and if such objection is taken the business of the day mustbe called on.
Senator HIGGS. - I had challenged Senator Neild with having written, to the Australian Star, stating that it would be well for New South Wales to adopt federation, even with a high protective Tariff. He described that statement as a “mendacious” one.
Senator Lt.-Col. Neild. - So it was.
Senator HIGGS. - TheChairman, so far as I recollect, then said, “Did the honorable senator write anything about blacking ? “ And Senator Neild said, “ I shall be writing something about blacking somebody’s eyes presently.”
Senator Dobson. - Do we want to hear all this?
Senator HIGGS. - I said that Senator Neild having followed up his remark, that my statement was a “mendacious” one, with the further observation, that he would, perhaps, blacken my eyes showed what the Senate was coming to. Senator Neild said, that he did not say that, and I replied that Hansard would show. The members of the committee will agree with me that Senator Neild said that my statement was a mendacious one. The Chairman asked me if I deemed that to be a reflection upon myself, and I said, “ No” ; that I took higher ground.
Senator Lt.-Col. Neild. - How can the Senate discuss something which took place in committee, and of which it has no knowledge?
The PRESIDENT. - Does Senator Higgs think it worth while to bring forward this trivial matter ?
Senator HIGGS. - With all deference to you, sir, I do not think it a trivial matter. Every member of the Senate must take full responsibility for his utterances. I am willing to take the responsibility of everything I say, and I think that other honorable senators should be willing to do the same. They should not be in a position to make remarks in this Chamber which are not fully reported in the daily press, and then to disclaim them. Our utterances are sometimes only partiallyreported in . the press, because there is not space for verbatim reports, and the electors, when they desire to ascertain what actually occurred, naturally go to Hansard, but when they do so they cannot find there an account of what took place. They couldfind an account of such observations in the official reports of the State Parliaments”, the debates of which are more fully reported than ours are. If people take exception to the length of our reports, the best thing we can do is to reduce the length ofoursittings. We have sat three times as long as the duration of an ordinary Parliamentary session, and therefore it is only natural that the reports of our debates should be three times as bulky as the reports of an ordinary session. I was at one time inclined to think that some condensation might well be effected in the reports of debates in committee, but knowing the omissions which have been made, I have cometo the conclusion that it would be better for Hansard to be an absolutely full record of our proceedings. The other night, when I mentioned that Senator Neild threatened to blacken somebody’s eyes, he said - “ I did not say that.”
Senator Lt.-Col. Neild. - Neither did I, and the honorable senator ought to know it.
Senator HIGGS. - The honorable senator did not say that, but he did say something which appeared to me very much like a threat of thatnature. I said that Hansard would show whether he said it, but Hansard does not show. The observation he made was, “Ishall, perhaps, be writing something about blackening somebody’s eyes.”
Senator Lt.-Col. Neild. - I did not say that. The honorable senator should stick to the truth.
The PRESIDENT. - Senator Neild must not say that.
Senator HIGGS. - We must make allowance for Senator Neild’s heat in this matter. I can prove that the statement was made, and I challenge Senator Neild to call for the original proofs of the debate to substantiate what I say. “When the proof of roy speech came to ‘me, I read it to Senator McGregor, and I said, “ I was right about what Senator Neild said.” But when I referred to the printed and bound copy of Hansard I found that the remarks were not recorded there.
Senator Dobson. - Quite right.
Senator HIGGS. - Senator Dobson may wish that the Senate should appear before the public as an immaculate body of men, but I desire that it should appear as it really is. If honorable senators indulge in undignified threats, the public should know it. It is only fair to us that the electors whom we represent should be made aware of the treatment we receive in the Senate.
Senator Dobson. - -The honorable senator has received fair treatment, I think.
Senator HIGGS. - I leave it to the honorable and learned senator ‘ to imagine what would happen to me,- if I were a particularly thin-skinned and nervous man, under the threats of such an august and herculean personage as Senator Neild. Some honorable senators are positively afraid of that belligerent gentleman.
Senator Dobson - The honorable senator should speak for himself.
Senator HIGGS. - I am not speaking for the honorable and learned senator. He has given us an excellent idea of the abundant courage he possesses, so that it is not necessary for me to speak ou his behalf. Exchanges sometimes take place here between honorable senators which throw the speaker off his subject, and prevent him from presenting his case as well as he otherwise would be able to do. When speakers are thus interfered with, it is only fair that the interruption should appear in Howard, so that their constituents may gain some idea of the work they have to do, and the difficulties which present themselves.
Senator McGREGOR (South Australia). - I second the motion, and desire to support to a very great extent the statements made by Senator Higgs. I would point out that, as far as the affair between Senator Higgs and Senator Neild is concerned, the latter honorable senator need not take the matter to heart, because it is not with any feeling of animosity towards him that Senator Higgs has brought this subject forward. Senator Higgs and myself, ns well as many others, think that the public are as much entitled to know ‘ of the ability, the discretion, the courage, and the courteous conduct exhibited by their representatives as they are to be informed whether senators are imbecile or idiotic. The people have a right to know everything that goes on here, and it is for that reason that I- consider that the Hansard reports of our proceedings should be as nearly as possible (a correct record of what really takes place. If the Hansard is to be corrected out of all resemblance to a record of what actually takes place, it will lose its value. If it is to be a mere record of the motions proposed and the decisions arrived at it will be an entirely superfluous publication, because we have the ordinary parliamentary journals which give all that information. It is desirable, however, that Hansard should be. a “record of such a. character as will show the people of Australia the general conduct and ability of their representatives. I am sure that if you, Mr. President, made some remarks, either in committee, or upon the second reading of a Bill, or upon any other question, you would like to see them reported. You might moke remarks having a particular meaning, which could be understood only by those to whom’ yourstatements were directed, and yet, under present conditions, the whole responsibility of deciding whether these remarks should be reported or not is thrown upon the Hansard staff. I am sure that you will regard that as scarcely fair. Senator Dobson may think that some of the little irregularities which take place here are entirely undignified, but we have to remember that other people may hold a different opinion. Therefore I hope that steps will be taken to secure a full report of our proceedings, irrespective of the eternal cry which we hear about economy. I am fully convinced that, as far as the Commonwealth Parliament is concerned, our arrangements for reporting and printing are as economical as those which exist in connexion with any State Parliament. The people who eternally cry out about the undue length of the Hansard reports pay no consideration to the fact that we have been fifteen months in session, and have been meeting three and four days a week, instead of, as in the case of some State Houses, perhaps one day per week during the earlier part of the session. If these facts were taken into account the public would hold an entirely different idea as to what is being done here, and I hope that some attention will be paid to the representations now being made. Neither Senator Higgs nor myself have anything to say against the ability or integrity of the gentlemen who are carrying out the Hansard work. We know that they are able and willing to do what is right, and I am sure we all have confidence in them.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania). - I should be sorry to think that you, Mr. President, or any of the public outside, should for one moment rest under the impression that the two honorable senators who have just spoken have in any way voiced the opinion of the majority inthe Senate. Nothing could be. more suicidal or wasteful of public money than a determination on the part of this Senate that Hansard should record the numerous silly and stupid interjections that have been made during the discussion of the Tariff. When we recollect that Senator Higgs and Senator McGregor have interjected probably more silly remarks than the whole of the other members of the Senate put together it is rather–
Senator De Largie. - I rise to a point of order. I desire to know whether the honorable and learned senator is in order in stating that certain honorable senators have made silly and stupid remarks ?
The PRESIDENT. - I am not prepared to call the honorable and learned senator to order. I have frequently heard remarks made by honorable members in other Parliaments characterized as silly.
Senator DOBSON. - I do not desire to say anything that might be considered impertinent, but I wish to Speak the truth. I assert that more silly and stupid interjections have been made by honorable senators in the labour corner - interjections which have had nothing whatever to do with the subject under discussion and which have been utterly irrelevant and absolutely out of order - than have emanated.from the whole of the other members of the Senate. Itsavours of cant and insincerity for Senator Higgs to complain about the interjections which have been made against himself. With regard to the one point which Senator Higgs desired to have noticed, I wish to express an absolutely contrary opinion to that voiced by him. You, Mr. President, and the Chairman, have told us again and again that all interjections are out of order, and I hope the day will never come when Hansard will record any interjections whatever, unless they are strictly relevant to the question before us. If interjections are relevant they are equally out of order; but we know that, according to an unwritten law of Parliament, they are allowed, and that they are also of the greatest use in assisting in the elucidation of the matter under discussion. I hope that interjections which bear upon the matter before the Chair will be recorded if the reporters have time; but I shall oppose any suggestion that all silly and stupid interjections of a personal character, which have nothing to do with the question before us, should be placed on record. I hope that, if there is any chance of such a thing being brought about, other honorable senators will express their opinions against the proposal.
Senator STEWART (Queensland). -I must confess that I am rather surprised at the attitude taken up by Senator Dobson. If his desire were achieved he would be able, whenever it so pleased him, to make a left-handed attack upon honorable senators who sit in the labour corner, who would have no opportunity of replying. The honorable and learned senator has stated that more silly, stupid, and irrelevant interjections have emanated from honorable senators in this corner than from honorable senators in any other part of the House. That is a charge which will appear in Hansard, and will go forth to the public who will be led to suppose that the labour senators are a little clique of silly, stupid, and irrelevant interjectors. No stronger argument could have been adduced for reporting all interjections, so that the’ public might beallowed to judge for themselves whether certain honorable senators’ come within the category maintained by Senator Dobson. We do not want charges of this kind made whilst the interjections complained of do not appear in Hansard. There has been a great deal said about the cost of Hansard, but I think we should, in our own defence, insist upon as complete a report of our proceedings as it is possible to give in Hansard. Honorable senators are subject not only to the misrepresentations of their fellow members - we have had an example of it here to-day - but they are also exposed to misrepresentation at the hands of the press and of the public. We ought to be prepared to stand or fall by our utterances, but if our statements are not reported, is it not possible that a cloud of false witnesses may arise against us, and disseminate gross and erroneous information throughout the country with regard not only to our actions but to our words. In our own defence, and in order to maintain our own integrity, we ought to insist upon being reported as fully as possible. As to the COSt of Hansard, I could suggest a hundred different ways in which the expenses of government might very well be minimized” without loss to the community or clanger to the representatives who have been chosen by the electors of the Commonwealth to conduct their business, and whose words ought to be conveyed to the people. I could point out a hundred cases in which useless expenditure might be dispensed with, if economy were- the sole consideration. I agree with Senator Higgs, that it is extremely desirable that interjection’s should be reported, and that there should be as little editing of Hansard as possible. I believe that there is a good deal of this going on at the present time, but I hope it will not continue. No man should say anything here that he would be ashamed of outside. If the reporting were more verbatim in character, honorable senators, I dare say, would be more careful in their treatment of their fellow members. In the interests of the preservation of that courtesy which every honorable senator should exhibit towards his fellows, I think it is desirable that the reporting should be as full as possible.
Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia). - I should have been satisfied to remain silent upon this occasion - seeing that only Senators Higgs and Neild are directly interested in the matter which has been brought forward - but for the quite uncalled for observations of Senator Dobson. When a question of this sort is under discussion I think it is going a little too far for the honorable and learned senator to seize the opportunity to make direct attacks upon senators who are not concerned with the main question, and to stigmatize the remarks of the members of the labour corner as “ silly.” Such a course of conduct evidences the animus which Senator Dobson never misses an opportunity of exhibiting towards members of the labour party.
Senator Dobson. - Did I not confine my remarks to Senators Higgs. and McGregor 1
Senator DE LARGIE.- No ; the honorable and learned senator applied them to every member who sits in the labour corner. Of course, we all understand that during’ the heat of debate honorable senators sometimes make observations which they would not make in their calmer moments. But if any honorable senator, upon reflection, desired that such remarks should be omitted from Hansard, he would merely have to rise in his place and express a wish to that effect, thus showing that he was sorry for having made them, and the Senate would doubtless be willing that they should be excised. But honorable senators ought not to be . allowed the privilege of editing what they have previously said, and, therefore, I quite agree that the reports should be as full as possible. I hope that when a matter of this, kind again comes before this Chamber, Senator Dobson will be careful to avoid making such charges as he has made this afternoon.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - It appears from what has just been u ttered by Senator DeLargie that some people entertain the very erroneous impression that the excision of what is alleged to have been recorded in the proof slips of Hansard was in some way due to myself. I am sure that no one knows better than the President that it is quite impossible for any member of the Senate to eleminate anything from Hansard, or to alter the reports in any way. Honorable senators are merely allowed to correct their own utterances. I know nothing whatever about this matter. Until I saw the Hansard report, I did not know whether the incident to which Senator Higgs has referred had been recorded or not. But from the remarks of some senators, not only should Hansard be a verbatim report of everything that is uttered, stupid or otherwise, jocular or the reverse, but it seems to me that it ought to be illustrated, and some member of the staff should be specially told off to write descriptive side notes for thepurpose of adding effect to the report. Unless details such as I have indicated are given, even with verbatim reporting, it will be impossible to convey to readers- - if there be any persons left in the community who are insane enough to peruse these reports - whether or not a remark was made in anger. In my view this matter has been brought forward as a piece of jocularity by Senator Higgs. In the course of his remarkshe has given very good reasons for my entertaining that view. He has raised this question partly as a joke, and partly in the hope that by misrepresenting me as much as possible, even considering the license that is permitted inParliament, he may do me some vague form of injury. To begin with, the whole incident arose from a statement which was repeated by Senator Higgs, - a statement which he could not have made from his own personal knowledge. Therefore, I am justified in saying that he repeated here one of the most absolute of falsehoods. He stated that I wrote a letter of a certain character to the Australian Star, advocating protection. As I never wrote such a letter to theStar, and as theStarnever published it, it is quite clear that Senator Higgs must have spoken from hearsay, and I say again that the statement which he repeated in this Chamber is absolutely an untruth. I do not charge Senator Higgs with falsehood, but with repeating a falsehood. That statement had previously been made in this Chamber, and I had contradicted it, and I must ask that, in accordance with parliamentary rule, my contradiction and assurance shall be accepted. I object to senators continually flinging at me a statement which I assert has been concocted by some one whom I can characterize only as a liar. I never wrote such a letter to the Star ; I have contradicted the statement again and again, and I hope it will not be repeated in the future. Now, as to what took place the other night.When Senator Higgs asserted that I had written this letter, I did interject that his statement was a “mendacious” one, and this I repeat. It was the repetition of a falsehood. The question before the committee at the time was that of the duty on blacking and other articles. The Chairman, addressing Senator Higgs, said - “Never mind what the honorable senator wrote about that matter, but did he write anything about blacking ? “ Thereupon I was guilty of a very poor joke, and that is the whole of my offence. I interjected, more by way of reply to the Chairman than to Senator Higgs - “ I may have written something about blacking some one’s eyes.” I did not say “ blackening,” but “ blacking,” and thus perpetrated a very bad joke. Senator Higgs then complained that I had threatened to blacken some one’s eyes. I denied the charge, and he expressed himself as greatly relieved that I did not intend to do any senator personal injury. Commencing with the unintentional repetition of a falsehood by Senator Higgs, and on my part a very bad joke–
Senator Styles. - It would need a marginal note to explain that joke.
Senator Lt. -Col. NEILD. - Yes, and that is why I am explaining it at the present time. Necessarily what I said was uttered in anything but an angry manner, and I cannot see what advantage can accrue to Parliament or the public by spending half-an-hour in discussing an incident which ought not to have taken place. Beyond that I have nothing to say, except that I should like the President, in view of what has been said, to make inquiries from the chief of the Hansard staff, with a view of ascertaining whether I had anything whatever to do with the excision of the incident in question from the official report. It is only just to myself, particularly in view of the remarks of Senator De Largie, that the President should make such an inquiry, and if it is found that I was in any way responsible for the alteration of the report, I hope he will acquaint the Senate with the fact. I do not think it to the advantage of the public that every little exchange of jocularity, or heat, should be published at the public expense. The public do not crave for it. If anything of a spicy character takes place, the press always find space for it, even if they have not space for more solid matter, because it is usually regarded as being a little more attractive to the genera] reader.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - I disagree with the view taken that this matter is not worth the half-hour’s discussion, which it has occupied.
Senator Dobson. - It arose from a bad joke.
Senator HIGGS. - It is all very well for Senators Dobson or Neild to say that it originated in a bad joke, but honorable senators can judge whether or not it was a joke by the earnestness with whichSenator Neild dealt with the suggestion that he had written a certain letter to the Australian Star. He declared that that statement was an absolute falsehood, and that he could only characterize the writer of it as a liar. Of course we must not judge by appearances but at the time Senator Neild uttered his alleged joke, he will pardon me for saying that he looked most ferocious. Of course Senator Dobson does not want aHansard at all, because he has stated that he does not think it is very necessary. Members of the labour party, however, regardHansard as the greatest protection which honorable senators can have. I can quite imagine a case in which a majority of Members of Parliament might combine to browbeat and threaten some other members to such an extent that the latter would scarcely dare to open their mouths. I take the view that if any honorable senator utters a threat, even in the form of a joke, it ought to be reported, because it may protect the Senate by preventing it from getting beyond the joking stage. We can well understand that the free use of threats might develop into something serious, although, as a rule, we are not a very belligerent body. Senator Dobson has described the interjections of Senator McGregor and myself as “ inane, stupid, and silly.”
Senator Dobson. - No, I have not. I am sorry that two such clever men make such silly interjections.
Senator HIGGS. - The honorable and learned senator declared that Senator McGregor and myself make more silly and stupid interjections than all the rest of the senators combined. He followed up that statement by declaring that we were guilty of cant and insincerity. If we have been guilty of silly and inane interjections, and of cant and insincerity, the fact should be made known to the electors as far as possible. I do not take the view that we are guilty of such conduct.
Senator Pulsford. - It is a quarter-past three o’clock !
Senator HIGGS. - That is one of Senator Pulsford’s mathematical discoveries ; and I really believe that when the honorable senator’s brain ultimately comes to be examined, in the interests of science, each lobe will be found to be full of figures. If we were to come to this Senate and sing “ Good-bye, Ladies,” and “ Cockles and Mussels,” as some people did elsewhere, we might be guilty of silly and stupid conduct.
Senator Dobson. - There is a time for everything.
Senator HIGGS. - I do not treat this as a trivial matter. I remember the other evening, when Senator Matheson was speaking, and an interjection was made by Senator Neild about the former honorable senator taking a nine months’ holiday–
The PRESIDENT.- I do not think that that relates to this discussion.
Senator HIGGS. - It is relevant because it was a personal matter, which is reported in Hansard.
The PRESIDENT.- The question before the Senate is a complaint by Senator Higgs as to the manner in which the debates are reported in Hansard.
Senator HIGGS. - I am referring to a personal interjection by Senator Neild, which is reported.
The PRESIDENT.- Does the honorable senator say that the interjection was incorrectly reported?
Senator HIGGS.- No.
The PRESIDENT.- Then the honorable senator must confine himself to the question of the correctness of the Hansard reports.
Senator HIGGS. - It is of just as much interest to me to have Senator Neild’s observations or interjections reported when they concern myself personally, as it is to Senator Matheson to have interjections reported which concern him.
Senator Matheson. - Why drag me in?
Senator HIGGS. - I am not dragging the honorable senator in except to show that an opportunity was given him to denythe interjection by Senator Neild, and that it was to Senator Matheson’s interest, and to the interest of the Senate, that the incident should be reported.
The PRESIDENT.- Senator Higgs must really confine himself to the original question, namely, that of the incorrectness of the reporting in Hansard of some remarks by Senator Neild. I do not think that the honorable senator ought to discuss the whole of the Hansard reporting from the commencement of the session.
Senator HIGGS. - I mention the incident about Senator Matheson because Senator Dobson has asked why I introduce what he calls trivial matters. I do not regard it as a trivial matter that Senator Neild should have written the letter to the Australian Star, nor is it trivial when charges are made against honorable senators. It is to the interest of the Senate, and the interest of the general public, that these matters should be reported.
Senator McGregor. - The letter was reproduced in Hansard.
Senator HIGGS. - I should like to refer to the fact that Senator Ewing the other day said that the common or garden name of spelter was lead.
ThePRESIDENT.- SenatorHiggs would do well to confine himself here to the original question brought forward.
Senator HIGGS. - My object is to show that the Hansard reports should be full and complete, and that whereas an interjection regarding Senator Matheson was reported-
Senator Matheson. - Is Senator Higgs in order in introducing fresh matter when speaking in reply?
The PRESIDENT.- I have already twice asked Senator Higgs to confine himself to the question at issue. We have business to perform in the Senate, and the question before us ought to be disposed of as soon as possible.
Senator HIGGS. - Will you permit me, sir, with all respect, to ask what is the question at issue ?
The PRESIDENT. - The question at issue is that of the non-reporting of an interjection made by Senator Neild. That, I understand, was the question originally brought forward. I do not say that Senator Higgs must confine himself absolutely to that question, but he must only refer to other interjections, reported or not reported, by way of illustration. I do not think the honorable senator ought to wander over the reporting of Hansard from the commencement of the session.
Senator HIGGS. - If the general impression of the Senate is that I brought this matter up merely to obtain the publication of an interjection by Senator Neild, such an impression is erroneous. My object is to have in Hansard a complete record of our proceedings in the Senate and in committee. If people complain of the length of the Hansard reports, they must consider the length of the session. I have no desire to reflect on Senator Matheson. I am only too glad he had an opportunity of defending himself.
The PRESIDENT. - I must really ask Senator Higgs to obey my ruling. The question before us is not whether Senator Matheson had an opportunity of defending himself, but whether or not the Hansard reports are correct or incorrect.
Senator HIGGS. - I do not want to debate this matter at any length by taking exception to the President’s ruling. I must, however, reiterate that I did not submit this motion with a view of getting this particular interjection of Senator Neild’s published, but to endeavour to secure, in the interest of honorable senators and of the general public, full reports of the parliamentary debates. The general public refer to Hansard to see what takes place here on a given night. In conclusion, I am perfectly willing, as I have no doubt other honorable senators are, to take the responsibility for all my utterances, whether they be ridiculous, inane, silly or wise, relevant or irrelevant, lengthy or brief. I have been sent here by the electors, for whom I shall, do my best, and they, in judging of my conduct, will be guided by the Hansard reports. I do not agree with honorable senators who say that the Hansard reports, should be condensed. If the reports are to be condensed in one part, and full in another, then let an intimation be given as to which plan has been adopted in regard to each speech. At the present time, the feeling in the public mind is that Hansard is an absolute record of what takes place in Parliament. I ask leave to withdraw the motion.
The PRESIDENT. - Before putting the question, I wish to state that I take the full responsibility on myself. This is not a matter for the Hansard reporters, who simply obey instructions. It is considered necessary to curtail the length of the reports in committee, and, to that end, the Hansard reporters have been instructed to leave out all irrelevant interjections. It seems to me that this debate has shown how necessary it is to strictly apply the standing orders, and prevent interjections, especially when these have nothing to do with the question at issue. I believe I am correct in saying that it is the custom in the New South Wales Parliament to record irrelevant interjections only when they elicit a ruling from the Chair, or are subsequently debated. The question now is that Senator Higgs have leave to withdraw his motion.
Senator Lt.-Col. Neild. - I object.
Question resolved in the negative.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from loth July, vide page 14345).
Item 110. - Boot and shoes, except partl y or wholly of lasting or stuff, English sizes to be the standard, viz. : -
Men’s sizes above5, 30 per cent, ad valorem.
Youths’ sizes above 1 , 30 per cent, ad valorem.
Boys’ 7-1 , 30 per cent, ad valorem.
Womens’ sizes above 2, 30 per cent, ad valorem.
Girls’ sizes above 10, 30 per cent, ad valorem.
Girls 7-10, 30 per cent, ad valorem.
Slippers, leather, 30 per cent,ad valorem.
– With the permission of Senator Neild, who has already given notice of motion; I have a suggestion to make with regard to this item, a suggestion which, I understand, has the approval of the revenue-tariff party. It will be noticed that the item consists of seven lines to each of which there is attached a duty of 30 per cent. My desire is to move that in each instance the duty be reduced to 20 per cent.
– The question can be tested on the first line.
– I desire to consider the convenience of honorable senators. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item116 by adding to the duty, “ Men’s sizes above 5, advalorem, 30 per cent.,” the words “ and on and after the 1st August, 1902, 20 per cent.”
It will be apparent to those who have studied the matter, and looked at the Tariffs which prevailed in the various States, that 30 per cent., which is equivalent to 33 per cent., is not a fair compromise. The Victorian duty on men’s boots was 60s. per dozen ; and the Queensland and South Australian duty 33s. per dozen, or a little more than half that of Victoria. On women’s boots the Victorian duty was 45s. per dozen, and the Queensland and South Australian duties 19s. 6d., or absolutely less than one-half that of Victoria. In Western Australia there were varying rates averaging about 15 per cent., while in Tasmania all. boots had to pay an ad valorem duty of 20 percent. On girls’ boots the Victorian duty was 36s. per dozen, and the Queensland and South Australian duty 16s., which is again less than half. In Victoria the duty on boys’ boots was 30s. per dozen as against a duty of 1 7s. 6d. in Queensland and South Australia. On another class of girls’ boots the duty in Victoria was 34s., as against11s. 6d. in Queensland and South Australia. In the face of these figures I contend that the duty of 20 per cent, would be a fairer compromise than the duty of 30 per cent, proposed by the Government.
– Can Senator Dobson tell us what the percentage was in Queensland and South Australia ?
– I have not worked out the percentage, but I have worked it out sufficiently to know that 20 per cent, is a fair compromise, if we take the duties in all the States into consideration. I am glad to deal, with this industry, because the more it is studied the more interesting it becomes. It should be a great object lesson to the protectionists of Victoria. If they are not blind, and will try to look at the matter with an open mind, and realize the facts of the case, they will get some useful lessons as to the injury and the harm which ultraprotection has been doing in this State. I hold in my hand a return of the duties which the Victorian Legislature have thought fit to impose on boots since 1865. Strange to say, in that year boots and shoes were duty free. In 1866 a duty of 4s. per cubic foot was imposed. In 1867 there was imposed a moderate revenue duty of 10 per cent., which lasted down to 1871. During all that time the factories which had started under absolute free-trade were progressing and increasing their output, and, of course, employing more men. In 1871, the duty was raised from 10 to 20 per cent, and it lasted until 1874, when they substituted a specific for the ad valorem duty. In 1875, the duty per dozen pairs was fixed at 25s. on men’s boots, 14s. on women’s boots, 15s. on youths’ boots,11s. on boys’ and girls’ boots, and so on down to children’s boots. In 1879, the duty per dozen pairs was raised on men’s boots from 25s. to 33s., on women’s boots from 14s. to 19s. 6d., on youths’ boots from 15s. to 21s., on girls’ boots from 11s. to 16s., and on boys’ boots from11s. to 1 7s. 6d. I suppose that during this time the factories were improving and increasing in number, but let it be borne in mind that they started under free-trade, and progressed enormously under a moderate revenue duty. In 1889 the duties were still further increased. The duty per dozen pairs was increased on men’s boots from 33s. to 45s., on women’s boots from 19s. 6d. to 28s. 6d., on youths’ boots from 21s. to 30s., on girls’ boots from 16s. to 22s., and on boys’ boots from 1 7s. 6d. to 23s. 6d. These rates were continued until 1892, when the highest duties, as we know them to-day, were imposed. I take it that the rates could only have been raised year after year, because the protectionists had absolutely captured the Legislature of the State, and from the cries and pleadings which a number of protectionist representatives now utter, I can quite understand the fallacious arguments which were brought to bear on that Legislature. Before I pass on,
I shall compare Victoria with the formerly free-trade State of New South Wales. The comparison becomes intensely interesting from the point of view of this everlasting fiscal issue, and it shows most conclusively that the utterances of protectionist senators on other items, if repeated on this item, are absolutely falsified by what has taken place year after year in the adjoining State. According to a return which was laid on the table of the House of Representatives at the instance of Mr. Knox, in 1899 the boot factories numbered 79 in New South Wales and 105 in Victoria. The men and women employed numbered 3,510 in New South Wales, and 4,288 in Victoria. The value of the machinery employed in the 79 factories of the mother State was £77,939, and in the 105 factories of Victoria it was only £70,300 odd. The output was 3,400,000 odd pairs in New South Wales as against 2,900,000 odd pairs in Victoria. In 1900 the factories numbered 94 in New South Wales, and 108 in Victoria. The employes numbered 3,959 in New South Wales, and 4,812 in Victoria, being 525 more in the latter than in the former. The machinery column is again interesting, because the 94 factories in New South Wales had machinery worth £82,000, while the 106 factories inVictoria had machinery worth only £78,000. The output of the factories of the mother State under free-trade was 3,657,000 pairs as against 3,44-6,000 in Victoria. How do my protectionist friends account for the fact that while the imports of New South Wales were almost ten times more than those of Victoria, - certainly the population of New SouthWales was 15 per cent, more than that of Victoria - and the employes 525 more inVictoria than in New SouthWales, the New SouthWales factories turned out 211,000 pair of boots more than did the factories of Victoria ?
– Better machinery.
– That is one answer to my question. In New SouthWales the factories must be better organized. There must be more work got out of the men there must be less of the half-time system ; in every way the factories of that State must be superior; and the workmen, I presume, must be more skilled, or better managed, or there must be more of that canny system that we hear so much of at home. The people here, thinking that they have an enormous protection to bolster them up, do not put forth the same energies as others who have to fight their way without a duty. Unconsciously to themselves the workers of Victoria are less energetic, less industrious, and less skilful than are the workers in some other places. I have read the statement in Coghlan that the wages in New SouthWales average about 6d. per week less than the wages inVictoria; but when we go into the question we find that two or three large factories in New South Wales - one of which is larger than any factory in Victoria - pay higher wages than have been fixed by the VictorianWages Board. But in some of the factories in New South Wales, which have gone back, and which are now crying out for protection, the wages have been and are falling, and that accounts for the difference. If we take the two or three largest factories in the mother State and the two or three largest factories in Victoria, we find that the wages paid in the former are quite equal to, if not larger than, those paid in the latter. I quite admit that on the whole the wages paid inVictoria are higher than those paid in the mother State.
– We should take the average.
– If protectionists are going to argue that the wages paid inVictoria are higher than those paid in New South Wales, all I have to say is that the workmen of the latter State, for less wages, do more work, and turn out more goods than do the higher-paid men here. Honorable senators may get over some of the difficulties, but they cannot get over all these facts.
– There is a duty of 15 per cent on leather.
– Quite so, and leather was free in New South Wales. I believe that a 30 per cent, duty will cripple our revenue to a very great extent. This being an article of common use, we might reasonably hope to get a very large revenue from it without doing any harm to the factories. The estimate of revenue for the year is about £68,000, and from some figures which Senator O’Connor showed me yesterday, I think that the importations for a period of eight months come to about £40,000 or £41,000. But what is the use of bothering our heads about estimates where we have reliable data that, with a very small duty, the revenue ought to be £200,000 or £300,000. It certainly would be over £200,000 with a 20 per cent. duty. In 1900 the imports of boots into New South Wales, where there was no duty, were £464,000, and into Victoria, with an enormous duty, only £49,871. The imports into Queensland, where the duty was about onehalf . less than the Victorian duty, were £69,577. Theimports into South Australia, where the duty was also one-half less than the Victorian duty, were £62,194. The imports into Western Australia, where the duty averaged about 15 per cent., were £1 08,375. Theimports into Tasmania, where the duty was 20 per cent., were £46, 205. In that year the imports into all the States forming the Commonwealth were £800,910, of which £355,896 worth came from Great Britain, £218,339 from the United States, £179,144 from the other Australian colonies, £28,138 from Germany, and £8,288 from other European countries. In view of those figures the talk about Chinese and Japanese competition may be put on one side, because we have imported hardly any boots from those countries. It is perfectly certain that under the duty proposed in the Tariff the importation of boots must decrease. There are boot factories in all the States, most of them equipped with uptodate machinery, and capable of turning out good articles, so that the competition will be very keen. In this connexion the following extract from the Sydney Daily Telegraph of the 10th July is exceedingly interesting : -
During the past five weeks the imports of merchandise have averaged£320,074 per week, us against £431,904 in the corresponding weeks last year, a drop of 26 per cent., and, if the InterState trade could be deducted, the rate of contraction shown would be even greater.
Those facts go to , show that Senator
O’Connor and his officials are wrong in saying that a reduction of the duty upon boots will bring about a reduction in the revenue. There can be no getting away from the facts which I have just quoted. Even when every allowance is made for the loading up which took place before the declaration of the Tariff, the decrease in the importations is very large.
– Are Inter-State importations included ?
– No; they must be deducted.
– That would account for the shrinkage.
– It could not account for it. Of course, all figures of this kind must he taken cum grano salis . I wish now to give the committee some more facts which tell against the policy adopted in protectionist Victoria, and in favour of the free-trade policy of the mother State of New South Wales. In 1900 Victoria exported goods to the value of £61,463, and New South Wales to the value of £25,931. But upon analyzing those figures it will be found that the free-trade State of New South Wales did a larger export business in protected markets than did the boasted protected State of Victoria. The difference in exports is explained by the fact that while Victorian boots were admitted duty free in New South Wales, the boots of the latter State were excluded from Victoria b y prohibitive duties. As a result only £71 worth of boots made in New South Wales were imported into Victoria, while the latter State sent £43,605 worth of its boots into New South Wales. Apart front this trade between the two States, the export of locally-manufactured boots was greater from New SouthWales than from Victoria, the exportation from New SouthWales being £25,860, and from Victoria, £17,858.
– Victoria consumed most of the boots she made. She preferred them to the German article.
-With fewer factories, and 500 fewer hands, but with better machinery, and an importation ten times as large as that of Victoria, New South Wales had a better and larger exportbusiness.
– How many of the boots imported into New South Wales were re-exported ?
– I have already pointed out that these figures must be taken cum grano salis - that allowances must be made. But other honorable senators have trotted out similar figures, and, therefore, I wish to give these figures for what they are worth, - to show that the fears of my Victorian friends are unfounded, and that if they tried to walk alone, and became more.self-reliant, it would be better for them. I contend that boots and shoes do not require heavy protection on the ground that they represent a large cost in labour. The industry has been a strong one in all the States for many years past. In Victoria it has been coddled and fostered for 30 years, so that the factories here should be, and, I believe, are, up-to-date. Therefore, I hope that instead of making the duties upon boots higher than they were in New South Wales, Tasmania, and Western Australia, and about on a par with what they were in South Australia and Queensland, they will be reduced in order that the Commonwealth may. obtain a little more revenue, while the industry is at the same time’ given a moderate amount of protection. In the engineering trade, where the cost of labour represents about 60 per cent, of the price of the finished article, we have given a protection amounting to about 20 per cent. In boiler-making, the cost of labour is equal to about 50 per cent, of the price of the finished article, and we have given a protection of 15 per cent. We have given the same amount of protection to the manufacturers of woollens, and a protection of 20 per cent, to the manufacturers of apparel, while it is proposed to give to the manufacturers of boots, who have to pay in labour only from 25 to 30 per cent, of the price of the finished article, a protection of from 30 to 33 per cent. Therefore, from whatever point of view it is looked at, the duty appears to be an unfair compromise. I think Ministers would have done better if they had kept to their original idea of not having higher duties than 25 per cent., and the fewer of those the better. A duty of 30 per cent, is, in my judgment, a blot upon any Tariff. In , New Zealand the duty is only 22½ per cent., but there are a considerable number of factories which are doing well. In Canada the duty is 25 per cent. ; in France about 2s.1d. per pair on men’s boots, and about 9¾d. a pair upon shoes. In Germany it is about 8d. per pair upon men’s boots, and about 4d. per pair on shoes.
– But Germany is an exporter of boots.
– Yes ; but Germany is also one of the closely-protected nations. In 1882 New South Wales, under a duty of 5 per cent., imported boots to the value of £635,596, or at the rate of about 15s. 6½d. per head of the population. In 1883 she imported boots to the value of £571,402, or at therate of 13s.1¾d. per head of the population ; in 1884 she imported boots to the value of £581,820, or at the rate of 12s. 7½d. per head of the population. In 1 898 the importation was reduced to a value of £316,650, or at the rate of 4s. 8½d. per head of the population, and in 1899 to £348,295, or at the rate of about 5s. 1½d. per head of the population. With absolute freedom of trade the importations into New South Wales decreased and the local factories more than held their own against the competition of foreign, manufacturers. If any advocate of protection can explain those facts so as to make them support his policy I shall be glad to hear him, but, in my opinion, they show that free-trade has benefited the boot industry of New SouthWales, whileprotection has so coddled the industry inVictoria as to make it unsound and unhealthy. Shortly after the duty of 60s. per dozen was placed upon boots in Victoria, men with insufficient capital and knowledge of business started factories all over the State, and within from 12 to 24 months many of these factories could not pay their way, and the industry was brought into discredit. Surely we do not want to repeat that state of affairs. The duty of 30 per cent., which is equivalent to a duty of 33 per cent., is, in some instances, higher than the Victorian State duties. For instance, the duty upon an American boot valued at 21s. is now one-third, or 7s., whereas the highest duty in Victoria was 5s. per pair. I think Senator O’Connor desires to fix some rate below that which was previously collected inVictoria, and one which would be a fair and just compromise between the Tariffs of all the States. Take the case of American boots at 24s. per pair - that is an enamelled kid boot, with a hard toe - a few of which are imported. The duty upon these would be 8s. per pair as against 5s. under theVictorian Tariff. Women’s 13s. 6d. boots were subject to a duty of 3s. 9d. per pair under the Victorian Tariff, but now bear an impost of 4s. 6d. Therefore, in these leading lines in men’s boots and women’s boots, the duty of 33 per cent, represents more than that which was previously collected inVictoria, and is not a fair compromise.
– On the other hand, it is very much less than the duty hitherto levied inVictoria upon the lower qualities of boots.
– Yes ; but even on the lowest quality of boots a high duty is levied. It will be sufficient to stop the importation of women’s boots worth between 2s. and 4s. per pair, and men’s boots worth from 4s. to 6s. per pair. Not only is the duty of 30 per cent, excessive, but the import charges range from8 to 20 per cent. The average is probably 10 or 12½ per cent., but on the lowest class of goods the charges would amount to 15,18, or even 20 per cent. Supposing that it case of boots containing 50 pairs, worth 10s. per pair, were imported, the freight charges would, perhaps, represent a reasonable amount ; but upon a consignment of 50 pairs, worth 2s., 3s., or 4s. per pair, the freight would represent a very much larger percentage. The protection afforded by import charges is far more than honorable senators generally recognise. If a trader buys local boots, he can order in small quantities, and select the sizes according to immediate market requirements ; but those who have to import boots have to send home their orders six, nine, or twelve months in advance, and the goods remain on their hands a long time. Therefore, the charges for rent and interest are much higher in the case of the imported article, and that tends to increase the protection given by the import charges. The protection under a duty of 20 per cent, would amount in reality to from 36 to 40 per cent., whereas the present rate affords a protection ranging from 46 to 50 per cent., and that seems absolutely unreasonable. I hope honorable senators will look at the veal facts of the case, and realize that a high protective duty will cause a material loss of revenue which three at least of the States urgently require.
– I always admire my honorable friend’s speeches upon freetrade, and his clear exposition of its principles. He applies those principles most rigidly to the continental States, and allows the kindly feeling in his heart to qualify them in some degree where any little industry in Tasmania is concerned. He remindsme very much of Hamlet’s description of his own madness.
I am but mad north-north-west : when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.
When I listen to my honorable friend’s clear exposition of the principles of freetrade, and his denunciation of any duty over 30 per cent, as being outrageous - I need not mention any item - I cannot help thinking of Tasmania. Coming to the question that my honorable friend has dealt with very concisely and ably, the first point that presents itself is the matter of revenue. We have to deal with the same problem that has previously presented itself over and over again during the Tariff discussion, namely, to provide a duty which will yield a reasonable amount of revenue, and at the same time afford fair protection. I contend that this duty fulfils both requirements. In the first place, how has it affected the collections, and how does the revenue derived under it compare with that received under the State Tariffs? In 1899 the total revenue collected under this item in the whole of the States was £43,169. That did not include anything from New South Wales, where boots were admitted free of duty. Supposing, however, that we allow for New South Wales £20,000, which is something like double the amount received in Victoria during that year, the total revenue under the State Tariffs would amount to £63,000. We have returns of the collections of duty under the Federal Tariff for eight months. During a portion of that time the duties in force were higher in regard to some classes of boots and lower in respect to others. The specific duty was in force from October to 6th March, and after that an ad valorem duty of 30 per cent, was levied. The amount collected under item 116 was £42,093; and under item 117, £17,336 ; making a total of £59,429, or, roughly speaking, £60,000 for the eight months. Taking that as a fair basis, . we may assume that the total collections for the year would be something like £90,000 or nearly £30,000 more than the amount I have stated as representing the revenue collected under the State Tariffs in 1899. How can it be complained, therefore, that the present duty does not yield a substantial amount of revenue? I admit that if our only object were to obtain revenue it would be much better to reduce the duties to 10 or even 5 per cent., but, as I have before pointed out, our aim is to obtain revenue without the destruction of existing industries, and I think the figures I have quoted prove that this object has been attained. Before any attempt is made to obtain mora revenue by a reduction of the duties, it will be necessary to consider to some extent the position of the industry which will be affected.
– The honorable and learned senator is arguing that the. States are deriving more revenue from the present duties than they collected under their own Tariffs.
– Undoubtedly : taking the States as a whole, they are obtaining more revenue.
– That cannot possibly be the case.
– I have read the figures showing the actual collections, which entirely bear out my statement. These returns extend from October, 1901, to May, 1902. The honorable and learned senator says it is impossible that the States could derive more revenue, but it is a. fact.
– It would be impossible in ii normal year.
– Why should it be impossible?
– Does the honorable and learned senator mean to say that Tasmania will derive more revenue from a 30 per cent, duty than from an impost of 20 per cent. 1
– -I do not know whether Tasmania will derive more revenue, because her case is complicated by the importations from Victoria and New South Wales. There was a duty in Tasmania prior to federation against goods introduced from those States, but now that Inter-State trade is free, it is possible that the importations from America and the United Kingdom will diminish, and that the importations from New South Wales and Victoria will correspondingly increase. I do not say that Tasmania will receive more revenue. She may, on the whole, obtain less because of the displacement of importations from abroad by goods introduced from the other States.
– That must assume enormous proportions.
– That maybe, but I am speaking generally of the revenue of Australia under this item, and there is no question about the correctness of what I have stated. I admit at once that if our manufactures grow, there must be a fallingoff in the revenue, but even allowing for that, there is a great deal of difference between the revenue actually received by the States before federation and that which is now being collected. That is to say, there is a margin of between £20,000 and £30,000 with which to make allowance for any difference that may be made in the revenue by reason of the increase of local production. If we were considering the question of revenue alone, there might be a very great deal in what Senator Dobson has said regarding the wisdom of reducing the proposed duty. No doubt a lower duty would yield more revenue : but it would do so only by displacing our own productions. Because we find in framing, this Tariff that we are faced bv a large number of interests connected with the boot industry throughout Australia, we are bound to consider how our proposed legislation will affect those interests. I think that the honorable and learned senator and ‘myself may very well agree in a general way as to the number of factories which exist throughout the Commonwealth. When I speak of “ interests “ I refer in the first place to the capital, labour, and skill which have been invested in the industry, and in the second to the interests of the immense number who find ‘employment in it all over Australia. I find that in 1899 the total number thus employed was 11,224.
– How many are employed in New South Wales and Victoria respectively ?
– Victoria employs 4,304 and New South Wales 3,227. Those are the latest figures. I am not now dealing, however, with this question from the point of view of contrast, but from that of the interests involved. When we have to deal with 218 factories, with the capital that has been invested in them, and with more than 11,000 employes, we are bound to consider how legislation will affect existing conditions. It may be that it is unnecessary to grant to the industry more than a certain measure of protection foi- the purpose of enabling it to be carried on successfully. But we must also consider that in Victoria a number of these factories are carrying on so prosperously that, not only have they been able to raise the wages of their employes to the highest possible standard, but the Legislature has thought it right to interfere to secure the permanence of those wages. We must further recollect the condition of affairs in New South Wales,- where the wages paid are in some instances higher than those paid in Victoria, although in the great bulk of cases they are lower. We must also consider not only whether the protection which we propose to grant is sufficient to enable these different businesses to be profitably carried on, but whether it is sufficient to allow of them being conducted in such a way as to ensure the payment of a reasonable wage to the operatives - such a wage as will enable them to live up to the standard of comfort which in the past they have- been able to enjoy. That is one of the reasons why I so strongly object to some free-, trade doctrines which measure everything simply from the standpoint of how much it is going to cost- which reduce everything to the attainment of the utmost amount of cheapness. I hold that the other considerations merit our close attention. Social considerations come into play in connexion with this question, and we have to look at the loss or gain to the nation as a whole. It may be found upon analysis that it is very much better that persons who desire to wear American or English boots should be made to pay a little more for them, if thereby we give permanent employment to our own people and enable them to live up to a higher standard of comfort and happiness. I point to these considerations simply for the purpose of showing that we cannot fix a duty by merely adopting the arithmetical process of taking the duties that formerly existed and striking an average. Many other points have to be remembered. We have to consider how our legislation will affect existing conditions, and also that our primary purpose is to give_something like a real protection to the industry. It would be worse than useless to impose a duty which is called protective, by way of carrying out. the obligation which rests upon this Parliament to regard existing industries, but which was not protective in its operation - a duty which would have the effect of keeping a number of persons employed in these industries lingering on in a state of uncertainty, but which would ultimately lead to their extinction. Senator Dobson has made a point of the history of the legislation in Victoria in this connexion, but it appears to me that that history proves exactly the opposite of that for which he contended. It shows that these industries were established in I860, when there was no protection upon boots. In the next year, however, a protective duty was imposed.
– A revenue duty of 10 per cent.
– My honorable friend calls it a revenue duty. I know that very much higher duties than 10 per cent, are imposed upon articles produced by farmers in different parts of Australia and in Tasmania. I say that 10 per cent, may be a revenue duty merely, or it may be a protective duty. Looking at the history of Victoria, it is evident that that 10 per cent, duty was intended as a protective impost. But under its operation it is quite evident that the industry did not flourish, because the duties imposed in 1866 lasted only three years, and were then increased to 20 per cent. Finally, in 1879, they were made very much the same as those which operated when federation was accomplished. What does that show? .It evidences that these successive duties were imposed not by some foreign power, but by the people of Victoria in Parliament assembled.
– Because the protectionists had captured the Legislature.
– But why did the protectionists capture the Legislature 1 Because the people of Victoria generally had come to the conclusion that it was better for their interests that the protectionists should rule, than that the free-traders should constitute the dominant party. These duties, therefore, were imposed by the will of a majority of the people. If the effect of these gradually increasing duties had been to enhance the cost of boots to the great bulk of the consumers, would those consumers in their own Parliament have made the duties higher 1 No ! They must have observed that the operation of the duties did not increase the cost of boots to the average consumer, and that they were able to obtain locally-manufactured boots quite as cheaply, or cheaper, than they could obtain them from abroad. They also realized not only that the industry provided employment to a large number of operatives, but that- it created a demand for hides, leather, and other products of the country. It is also known that the persons who pay this duty are those who, as a matter of taste or for other reasons, desire to have their boots from America or England. The historical aspect of the matter in Victoria, so far from supplying reasons against the imposition of the proposed duty, seems to me to be the strongest possible argument which can be used in its favour. It is an argument drawn from the experience of the people, amongst whom the experiment of protection - it was an experiment in years gone by - was tried, and who absolutely believed that in the interests of the State, as a whole, the duties were necessary. The duties were regarded as imposing no hardship on the great bulk of the consumers, while giving certainty of employment, at higher wages, to a large number of persons.
That will be and is the effect of protection, wherever the policy is applied.
– Senator O’Connor has practically proved that the Victorian Legislature imposed those duties for no purpose whatever.
– Does any legislature impose duties for no purpose whatever?
SenatorDobson. - That is the result of Senator O’Connor’s argument. The duties apparently did not increaseprices, or do anything but shut out imports, which was what was wanted.
-I wonder at Senator Dobson making such an observation, seeing that in Victoria, in 1899, the imports amounted to £24,944, and brought in a revenue of £9,812. Of course, the effect of these duties was to greatly cut down importations ; but a certain amount of importation must always go on, and the duty, is paid by persons who insist on having articles made abroad. It was not the common class of boots made of kip or calf which paid the duty, because these were shut out altogether, and a large amount of manufacture was encouraged in the State. It was the higher-priced boots from abroad on which the revenue was collected ; and that is exactly a right condition of things. If people will insist on buying that kind of article which cannot be made in the State, they ought to be prepared to pay the extra price which is involved. It may be asked why this duty is required on boots, while in regard to other articles, a much less rate of protection is found sufficient. One of the reasons is connected with the Tariff itself. The great bulk of these boots which are imported will compete with boots made of glace kid, on which material manufacturers have to pay a duty of 15 per cent. It will be noted, therefore, that the 30 per cent, is not net, but really means no more than 25 per cent, seeing that the 15 per cent, is chargeable on say a third of the value of a pair of boots. When we compare, this protection with that afforded in other businesses, the former is not at all too high. Another reason is afforded in the fact that the development of machinery and the specialization of labour of late years, particularly in the United States, have been such as to make it possible to produce boots in large quantities at exceedingly low prices. These American factories, with the best of machinery and an enormous output on a market which is secured to them by heavy, duties, are able to produce at a cheap rate and to sell their surplus stocks abroad at very low figures. American boots are beating the English in every market in the world where they come into competition ; and it is necessary that we here should have reasonable protection. As to New South Wales we are delighted to know that the boot factories there have been able to carry on so large a business, but the range of work in the factories of New South Wales cannot be compared with that in the factories in Victoria. The work in New South Wales . is confined largely to the cheaper articles, and consists, to a considerable extent, in making up imported parts. In Victoria, there is a considerable manufacture of the better class of boots, upon which the duty will be charged. If we wish to compare the two States we must not simply take the output of boots, but also ‘have regard to the general quality and range of the product, and endeavour to ascertain which is best calculated to supply almost the whole needs of Australia if the local market be secured. I hope that factories in all the States will have an opportunity of sharing the local market. In imposing a reasonable amount of duty we must not lose sight of the fact, that a large portion of the boots are made for wholesale clothiers, who are very often importers, and keenly appreciate the small profits on which such business depends. It may often be a small matter whether it is more profitable, to import certain classes of goods or ; to have them made in the Commonwealth. A very large portion of the business is in the hands of importers, and we know that the firm of McArthur and Co., of which Sir William McMillan is a member, have already started a manufactory of the kind in New South Wales. Other firms connected with the softgoods business have also started factories; because if it be shown to them that it is more to their interest to manufacture than import they will start manufacturing. Considering how finely profits are cut, it is, as I have said, very often a small matter between the amount of duty which will give real protection and the amount which will give nominal protection by allowing profits to be made by importing in large quantities. I should like to call the attention of the Senate to the history of this item, as disclosed by the records of another place. The duty as originally proposed was a composite duty of £1 per dozen pairs, and 15 per cent, on the line we are now discussing. An attempt was made to reduce that duty to 20 per cent., but the proposed amendment was negatived by 27 votes to 18. A further attempt to reduce the duty to 25 per cent, was negatived by 27 votes’ to 21. An attempt to make the duty 27£ percent, was negatived by 27 to 23 votes, and then ‘the Treasurer moved that the duty be 30 percent., as representing in the fairest possible way’ the general feeling of the House of Representatives after the question had been thrashed out for days, and there had been ‘ no fewer than five divisions. These facts ought to be taken into consideration in this Chamber, and I hope honorable senators will come to the conclusion that the duty as now proposed by the Government hits the happy medium between a reasonable revenue and what is only fair protection to an immense number of people throughout the Commonwealth who have invested their money, skill, and enterprise, or are engaged as operatives in this industry.
– I regret that the House of Representatives saw fit to strike out the specific duty and adopt an ad valorem duty. Ad valorem duties send the trade to the foreigner, while fixed duties keep it for our own people. Senator Dobson -gave a very interesting statement which he characterized as an object lesson to protectionists, and I intend to return the compliment by giving an equally interesting statement which is certainly an object-lesson to freetraders. From the latest returns laid by command of the King before both Houses of the British Parliament last year, we learn that in 1896 the imports of hoots and shoes into Great Britain amounted to £519,000, and five years later, in 1900, they were £695,000, an increase of £176,000. In 1896 the exports of boots and shoes from the United Kingdom amounted- to £1,799,000, as against £l,479,000in 1900, or a decrease of £320,000. The increase in imports and decrease in exports represent a loss of £496,000 for the five years, or about £100,000 per annum. If the loss continues at that rate for a period of seven or eight years,, the imports will balance the exports, and the. great boot-exporting industry will have come to an end. America, sent to the United Kingdom £91,000 worth of boots in 1896, and £201,000 worth in 1901, showing an increase of 121 percent, in the five years. America exported to British Australasia £119,000 worth of boots in 1899, and £.214,000 worth in 1900, showing a rise of 79 per cent, in one year. The bulk of these boots went into New South Wales. As Senator Dobson has made a reference
Co Japan, I wish to point out what his freetrade friend has to say about the Japanese boots -
What do you think of patent Russian leather dress-boots, made to order, at 8s. to 9s. a pair ; of ordinary walking measured boots, at 6s. to 8s! j patent leather shoes, at (is.; and sac suit of best Scotch tweed, tit 36s ?
Hear what the same writer has to say about what is known as the natural protection -
The E. and A. and the China Navigation Companies have to compete with a company able to charge greatly reduced freight rates for the simple reason that its- profits on- the service are practically supplied by a paternal government. From the stand-point of the Australian artisan, the competition of the Yusen Kaisha involves the offering of great encouragement to Japanese manufacturers of boots, hats, and numerous other things to do with the colonial market business that has not usually been done on account of high freightage charges, which represented in many cases, one-fourth of the cost price of the article.
To come a little nearer ome, in 1899 New South Wales imported £146,900 worth of British boots, and £146,700 worth of foreign boots. Victoria, on the other hand, imported only £19,000 worth of British boots, and £10,000 worth of foreign boots. While New South Wales sent £146,700 to the foreigner, ‘Victoria sent only £10,000 to him. Surely these matters are worth considering a little. Senator Dobson attached a great deal of importance to the boot industry, and the rate of wages paid in New South Wales. From Coghlan’s returns, and from the wages board returns, I showed here months ago that the rates of pay were considerably higher in Victoria than in New South Wales. It was only in yesterday’s .Age that I read the following telegram from Sydney : -
At u special meeting of the Boot Clickers’ Association this evening the president, Mr. Mugglestone, said the trade in New South Wales was gradually slipping away to Victoria. It was bad enough to have to acknowledge the fact that very bad times had been experienced recently in New South Wales, but notwithstanding that Victoria was taking the market for New South Wales boots away from the Sydney makers. He produced statistics to show that in May of this year one firm in Melbourne sent £3,000 worth of boots into Sydney, and in the same month over 25,000 pairs of boots were put on the” New South Wales market by Victorian manufacturers. In Melbourne recently he noticed that the one topic of conversation in the boot manufacturing circles was how best to capture the Kew South Wales market. It was most serious, because it was bound to hit the Sydney manufacturers, and it concerned the employes, who would lose their bread and butter. Hie suggested that an endeavour be made to find out the cause of the trouble, and that the masters be aided in every way in the matter. This was agreed to.
It whs announced with regard to the minimum wage question that a conference had been held between the association and the masters, that the former pointed out that £2 5s. had been agreed upon as the minimum wage by the wages board in Melbourne, instead of £2 2s. As the Sydney manufacturers had agreed to raise-wages when Melbourne did, the rise was asked for. At the conference the -employers held out on the point that they were not in possession of any official notification that the Victorian wages board hud gazetted an increase. .The president of the association last evening announced that he held an official notification on the subject, and a further demand will be made for the increase.
Of course they are .following Victoria’s lead, and very properly so, too. We are told that the wages in Sydney are higher than, or as high as, they are here, but there is a flat contradiction given by the Sydney Clickers’ Union. Senator Dobson was a little astray in his statement of the number of the employes. He did .not tell us that out of the 3,894 employes in New South Wales mentioned in the return he quoted 165 were boys and girls, and that the 4,812 employes in Victoria were all men and women. I apprehend that the boot-making industry consumes a natural product. Surely we do not wish to send away a natural product that we grow -in large quantities ? According to a return that I got from Mr. Penton, the Victorian statist, in May last, £501,000 worth of material was used in the boot factories of Victoria in 1900, and the articles produced were valued at £867,000. Senator Dobson said that the “value of the machinery and land in Victoria was £78,000, but Mr. Penton gives the value at £204,000. In Sydney one or two of the very large factories have their men well under control, and, having up-to-date machinery and an established trade, they can import boots. I can -well understand that those manufacturers may not want a very high duty, and it would be quite consistent with their interests to say - “If we have a very high duty on boots the result in the Commonwealth will be as it. was in Victoria. Innumerable factories will spring up all over the place, prices will go down, and our factories will have to close.” Surely those consumers whom we hear so much about would benefit if !the price of boots fell so low that the factories could not keep their hands at. work on account of the cheapness of the article they produced. What do my free-trade friends say to that % One of the strongest arguments in favour of the high duty on boots was furnished by Senator Dobson, when he was reminded by Senator Playford that-there is a duty of 15 per cent, on leather.
– ..Does the honorable senator say that high protection kills industries 1
Senator- STYLES.- It will keep enough factories going to supply the wants of the people. It will kill the surplus factories. If you increase the duties to a prohibitive extent, too many factories may start, but even in that case the consumers must be benefited by the competition. Protectionists have always contended that internal competition is sufficient to protect the consumer, and that that is so has been proved only this afternoon by Senator Dobson.
– Senator O’Connor is .a member of a Government which is very much concerned about the ‘pattering of bare feet ; but to prevent it they propose to make boots dearer - a proposition -which sounds very much like the chattering of barefaced politicians. The history of the boot and shoe industry in New South Wales- is in very many respects an interesting one, and cuts away any excuse for protective duties. I find, from the New South Wales Statistical Register, that in the year 1S90-91 there were in New South Wales 60 factories, employing 2,806 hands, while in 1900 there were 94 factories, employing 3,953 hands. That increase in the manufacturing business of the State occurred under free-trade, and notwithstanding the development of the American boot and shoe industry, to which Senator O’Connor has referred. In 1891 the New South Wales output of boots was 2,600,000 pairs, but in 1900 it had risen to 3,200,000 pairs, and 400,000 pairs of slippers and shoes - an increase pf 1,000.000- pairs of boots, slippers, and slices within ten years. It is interesting to note, too,, that, notwithstanding her free ports, the importations of boots and shoes into New South Wales steadily decreased. Nearly the whole of the present boot manufacturers of New South Wales were originally only importers, but one by one they began to manufacture - without any assistance from the State in the shape of duties. Deducting the re-exportations, the net importations of boots into New South Wales during 1901 were valued at £581,000, and in the succeeding eight years at £431,000, £336,000, £271,000, £270,000, £341,000, £277,000, £295,000, and £318,000 respectively. Those figures show a remarkable decline in the importations. The importation of boots and shoes per head of population was, in 1882, 15s. 6½d., and in 1899 only 5s. 3id. In 1888 the manufacturers of New South Wales produced boots valued at £342,000, and in 1899 boots valued at £823,000, an increase of 200 per cent., whereas the importation/) were worth, in 1888, £582,000, and in 1899 only £348,000. In spite of those .facts we are asked to believe that the boot industry in New South Wales would be destroyed without a heavy duty. I am glad that Senator O’Connor has admitted that a reduction of the duty upon boots would mean an increase in the revenue - an admission which he has refused to make in regard to reductions which have been proposed in other items. The duty of 20 per cent, is higher than the average, duty under the State Tariffs, and although it is not so high as the Victorian duty, it is in respect to New South Wales an absolutely new duty. In many parts df Australia the people hope that weshall reduce the duty to 15 per cent. It must be remembered that the manufacturers of the various States have now the whole Commonwealth for their market. Messrs. John Hunter and Sons, Limited, wholesale boot manufacturers and importers, writing to me from Sydney, say -
We believe we are correct in stating’ that, with very few exceptions, the manufacturers of! this State would be satisfied with a 15 per cent, duty, and if that had been adopted for all classes of boots, including lasting boots, canvas shoes, sand shoes, goloshes, &c, the Commonwealth would derive a good revenue, and the protection afforded manufacturers would be ample, taking into consideration the fact’ that freight and charges average from 12A per cent, to .174 Pei- cent. We consider that any industry which requires more than 25 per cent, protection is not worth fostering, as the boot trade in this State for years past has ad,vanced very considerably with a free port, and, in fact, we consider that high duties are rather detrimental than otherwise, as manufacturers have no incentive to put any energy into their business when such excessive duties are imposed.
The principal of the firm has been one of the most pronounced and sincere free-traders in Sydney. During recent years he has been gradually, changing his business from an importing to a manufacturing one,- and now employs hundreds of hands. Mr. Whiddon, a member of the Legislative Assembly in New South Wales, who for the greater part of his life has been engaged in the boot trade, says -
As free-traders we were prepared for a. fairly stiff dose of protection, but no protectionist in New South Wales, even in his wildest dreams, ever dreamt of such an enormous and unjust duty as that carried by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, 5th March.
I have another letter from a corespondent who says - lb is a purely Victorian impost, bused, essentialy on the lines of their protectionist policy. To support this contention, I would draw your careful attention to an analysis of the voting on the various divisions on this duty on the 5th March last. Counting pairs, I find-that on the 20 per cent, division nineteen Victorians were in the majority numbering 40 - nearly one-half. In the subsequent three divisions the numbers were practically the same. Only four Victorians voted in favour of the 20 per cent., and in the three other divisions this number was increased to five only by one member coming over. ‘Deducting the 23 Victorian votes, nineteen of whom voted for, and four against, you will find that the 20 per cent, duty was carried by the remaining five States’ representatives by 27 to 2.1,.
In connexion with the amount of revenue that will be derived under this duty, it must be remembered that prior to the introduction of the Tariff a considerable proportion of the boots imported into Tasmania, Queensland, and Western Australia came from New South Wales and Victoria, and now that Inter-State free-trade is established, importations from abroad are likely to be displaced to a still further extent. In Western Australia the importations of boots in 190.0 were valued at £65,000, upon which duties amounting to £10,700 were collected. The rates of duty varied, but they were equal to an - all-round ad valorem charge of 16A- per cent. Of the i total importations, no ‘ less than £1,8,000 worth came from the other States, and it is certain that .the trade with the other States will very largely increase under the influence of a high protective duty. This will have the effect of considerably diminishing the revenue. In 1900, Tasmania derived £9,000 from the duty upon boots. More than one-third of her total -imports came from Victoria, and the Treasurer estimates that the revenue Tasmania will receive from the duty upon boots under the present Tariff will amount to. only £3,600 per annum. This shows that a large falling-off in importations from abroad is contemplated.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 116 by adding to the duty, “Men’s sizes above 5, 30 per cent.,” the words “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, 20 per cent.”- put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 9
Noes … … … 7
Majority … …2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Dobson) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 116 by adding to the duty, “Youths’ sizes above . 1, 30 per cent.,” the words “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 20 percent.”
– It is really inane, stupid, and silly on the part of Senator Dobson to expect this item to pass without proper discussion. I am very glad to see that a number of honorable senators areprepared to abide by the decision arrived at in another Chamber. As Senator O’Connor has pointed out, a very long debate took place upon these items in the House of Representatives. Their discussion occupies a whole volume of Hansard. The Government proposals were altered by the freetrade party in the other Chamber, and . yet that party is not satisfied, but now desires to make further alterations. Does Senator Pulsford think that if he succeeds in carrying his proposal by nine votes to seven, honorable members in another place, who debated this question for so many days and arrived at the compromise which appears in the schedule, will accept his suggestion ?
– That has nothing to do with the question. We are not going to be intimidated by the other House.
– But weought torespect the views of the other Chamber, just as we expect its members to respect our views. If the free-trade party in another place had not succeeded in reducing the duties proposed by the Government upon boots, it would be fair for that party to attempt to effect an alteration in this Chamber. But seeing that a compromise was arrived at between the protectionists and freetraders, it is sheer waste of time for Senator Pulsford to endeavour to bring about, any further alteration. When he puts before the public the view that we are not to be intimidated by the other House, the general public will say that there has been no attempt at intimidation.
– All these statements are intended only to fill the mouths of honorable members of the other House.
– Does Senator Pulsford imagine that members of the House of Representatives require to come to the Senate for arguments regarding their particular rights and privileges ? Where their position is concerned, are they not just as keen as we are ? Both free-traders and protectionists will resist a proposal of this kind.
– That is where the honorable senator makes a mistake.
– We shall see.
– Then why talk about the matter in advance?
– Because I object to the waste of time involved in its discussion, and because I do not desire to witness the spectacle of a number of senators - who now appear to be very belligerent - backing down at a later stage, thus making the Senate appear to be a spineless body. I am very pleased to note that some senators who hold free-trade views voted with the Government upon the last division. Why did they do so? Was it because they believed in the duty? No ; it was because they respected the decision arrived at by the other House, and I venture to say that the public will respect them for the attitude which they have taken up. I do not wish to discuss the abstract question of free-trade versus protection in its relation to the bootmaking industry. But I may be permitted to point out that Australia is so eminently suited to cattle raising that we can produce any quantity of leather. In all the States a large number of people are engaged in the bootmanufacturing industry. Fortunately, our standard of living is a great deal higher than that which is adopted in other parts of the world. There are teeming millions of people in the world who have j ust emerged from serfdom, and are available for exploitation by capitalists. There are capitalists who are prepared to establish works in any country. Some have already gone to Japan, and we have a right to protect Australian manufacturers and their employes from foreign competition. It may be said by Senator Charleston and others that if Australia is so naturally fitted for the production of cattle and cheap leather, there is already sufficient protection. We know, however, that these circumstances do not mean sufficient protection. Where we can produce leather cheaply the Japanese can produce it more cheaply still, and the same holds good in regard to. the manufacture of boots. Some honorable senators may take the view that it is far better for Australia to have this interchange with Japan ; but I take an opposite view, and submit that all the facts are in favour of protection. If we allow our boot manufacturers to be brought into competition with the cheap labour of Japan, or any other country, our own people must go down. Circumstances are very different from what they were a few years ago. Most of us can remember the time when it took months to get a cargo of goods from other parts of the world to Australia, whereas now there are lines of steam-ships which can bring a cargo of boots or anything else from Japan in three weeks.
– Why are these cargoes not brought?
– They are being brought now.
– Why do they not appear in the Statistical Register ?
– Because the industry has not yet grown to that extent ; but it has taken J apan only a few years to become one of the strongest competitors in the match trade, she having almost captured the markets of the world against a country like Sweden. Once the Japanese acquire sufficient knowledge to make them suitable employes for foreign capitalists, we shall find them producing boots just as cheaply as they now produce matches. I find, on reference to page180 of the Statistical Register of New South Wales for 1900, that Japan is attempting to obtain a market there, £37 worth of boots and shoessamples, I suppose - having been received from that country. I am in great hopes, now that the facts about the compromise made in another place have been reiterated, that honorable senators will alter the decision recently arrived at. We may retrace our steps gracefully, without loss of dignity, and without any danger of our rights and privileges being interfered with in any way.
– After the division which has recently been taken, there is no need for honorable senators to speak at any great length on the present proposal. While it is perfectly true that there was very little debate on the motion, I do not suppose that further discussion would make any important change in honorable senators’ views. I desire, however, to accentuate one or two points. Senator O’Connor has given us one very excellent reason, from a revenue standpoint, why the Senate should adopt; a duty of 20 per cent. The honorable and learned senator said that if our object was only to get revenue, that could be attained by reducing the duties, and he pointed out how the reductions in another Chamber had resulted in a larger amount than would have been brought in under the original duties as they existed in the various States. Senator O’Connor told us that we had to consider the industries already established in our midst, and contended that it. would be unfair to reduce the duty below 30 per cent., because that would mean greater importation, and an increase of the amount of revenue which the Government anticipated.
– And would displace men.
– And would displace a lot of men who are working at the present time. In New
South Wales, under absolute free- trade, there are 3,000 persons employed in this industry as against 4,000 employed in Victoria. Although the numbers seem so different, . the production in certain years was greater in New South Wales than in Victoria. If this industry was established, and could remain in existence in New South Wales without any duty, can it be said that a duty of 20 per cent, will close up similar industries in other States? It stands to reason that the larger area over which these manufacturers may now send their goods duty free must foe equivalent to a large duty with the market of only one State. Surely we are not going to say to the people of the Commonwealth that they are to be unduly and needlessly taxed, and that revenue is to be destroyed in the interests of any particular industry? If Senator O’Connor could have said that the proposed reduction would both reduce revenue and turn men out of employment, there might have been some strength in his contention. But the honorable senator’s contention was absolutely the reverse. He urged that by reducing the duty we should increase the revenue; and I ask honorable senators who represent the smaller States, and are desirous of obtaining as much revenue as can fairly be raised - I ask honorable members who do not want additional taxation imposed on the people by the States Governments - whether they can vote for the imposition of a heavy duty, which will be to the detriment and injury of State finances 1 I do not think honorable senators can have realized what Senator O’Connor was saying in the earlier portion of his address on the revenue aspect of the question. The honorable gentleman made out a clear and incontestable case in favour of the proposed reduction; andf romtheprotectionist stand-point, and that of keeping men in employment, Senator O’Connor failed to prove his case. If we had similar importations under a duty of 20 per cent, to those which have taken place throughout the Commonwealth within the last two or three years, we should receive a large revenue. Speaking on the authority of the Treasurer, I point out that the value of the importations of boots and shoes in 1898 into the Commonwealth was £484,000, which, with a duty of 20 per cent., would mean a revenue of £97,000 annually. The importations in 1899 were valued at £465,000, which would realize £93,000 per annum; and in 1900 the value was £623,000, representing a revenue of £125,000. For the sake of argument, I shall assume that the importations in 1900 would not have amounted to £623,000 had it not been in anticipation of duties being levied by the Commonwealth Government. I shall take it that the importations in 1900 would have amounted to an average as between . 1898 and 1899, and represent a value of £470,000 odd. That means a revenue of £94,000, which is larger than the estimate of the Government ; and that is in spite of the fact of an important reduction of the duties in the State of Victoria. Do honorable senators believe that the importations throughout the whole of the States will be very much less than those which have taken place hitherto ? At any rate, it may be taken for granted that with a duty of 30 per cent, we should have far fewer goods imported : and we are justified in adhering to the proposal of 20 per cent. It must not be forgotten that we reduced the duty on apparel to 20 per cent., and in other cases have made similar reductions. We are only following the line of action taken by the Senate from the very commencement up to the present time. Senator Higgs said that we ought to give fair consideration to the decisions of the other Chamber. The high duties were supported in the House of Representatives mainly by those who represented Victorian constituencies.
– Had they not the right to vote on the question ?
– Of course they had ; but, out of the 23 members who represent Victoria in the House of Representatives, nineteen voted against the reduction of the duty to 20 per cent. Had the Victorian vote been equally divided, there would have been an absolute majority in favour of the reduction.
-And had the New South Wales vote been equally divided, things would have been very different.
– Of course, Victorian representatives have as much right to consideration as have the representatives of other States, but the life-training of Victorian politicians is such that the bulk of them naturally desire the highest duties they can get, . because they are under the impression that with free-trade the industries of Victoria would go by the board. They are unwilling, to take note of the march of events in New South Wales, where our manufacturing industries have not gone by the board, although they have had no duties to protect them. The manufacturers of the other States will be able to compete against the manufacturers of New South Wales if the duty is reduced, just as New South Wales has been able in the past to compete against the manufacturers of other countries. I hope that honorable senators will agree to the motion now before the House by a larger majority than carried the last motion. With regard to the wretched bugbear which Senator Higgs has attempted to raise about the other Chamber not agreeing to this or that, let honorable senators realize that they have a right to exercise an independent judgment upon the Tariff, and that a means is provided by the Constitution for the settlement of any difficulty which may be created by their action in so doing. If we accepted the doctrine of Senator Higgs we might as well agree to the proposals of the House of Representatives without any deliberation at .all.
– No one is arguing that we should do that.
– The statement has been made; but the position cannot be argued.
– The statement has been made to frighten honorable senators, as if they were mere children, and to prevent them from exercising a free and independent judgment upon the matters before lis. When the Senate sends a Bill to the House of Representatives, do the members of that body speak with bated breath of our powers 1
– No ; but they pay some respect to our decisions.
– And we pay respect to their decisions. If I had not regard for the opinions of the other House, I should move to abolish this duty altogether, because I do not think that its abolition would injure any industry. Honorable senators who are worthy of their positions will exercise an independent judgment upon these questions. Those who are afraid to do so are not worthy to be members of an independent chamber.
– I wish to protest against the statement of Senator Higgs as to what should be our attitude upon this question. This is not the time to advocate unification. The people who sent us here voted for federation, not for unification ; and they elected us upon the clear understanding that the Senate would have power to alter the Tariff by suggesting amendments. If our suggestions are not accepted, we can withdraw them, or, after a certain procedure, reject the Bill.
– Will the honorable senator be prepared to throw out the Bill if the House of Representatives refuses to accept our suggestions ?
– I am not prepared to say beforehand what I should do, but I protest against the statement that because the House of Representatives may not think fit to accept our suggestions, we should not express our will regarding this Tariff.
– Our wish, not our will.
– It is our will, because we have the power to enforce it. It has been said that because the other House may reject our suggestion in regard to this duty, we are only wasting time by discussing it. But more time has been wasted by other senators than has been occupied by those who advocate the reduction of these duties. The duty proposed by Senator Pulsford is 5 per cent, more than the duty which has hitherto been in force in Western Australia, and, -as a representative of that State, I have a right to put forward what I consider to be the views of my constituents. We should be untrue to those who sent us here, and to the Constitution, if we were afraid to do that. We were not elected upon a property qualification, but upon the same broad franchise as that on which the members of the House of Representatives were elected, and we represent the people as truly as they do. The duty upon boots originally proposed by the Government was in some instances twice as high as that now contained in the Tariff ;.but, seeing that the debate in the other House was almost wholly upon the question of composite duties, we have ground for assuming that they did not consider whether the actual ad valorem duty imposed was or was not high enough. In. Western Australia a considerable boot industry has been built up under a duty of 15 per cent., whilst Victorian manufacturers have been protected by a duty of 35’ per cent. Western Australia entered into federation, however, upon the distinct understanding that in the Senate her representatives would be as powerful as those of Victoria or of any other State, upon this or any other question. Those who framed the Constitution gave us much greater powers in respect of taxation than have ever been given to the members of an UpperHouse of any State Parliament, and it is idle to ask us to surrender those powers. We have a. right to say what duty we believe should be imposed, and to trust that the other House will agree to our suggestions. There can be no compromise until each House has expressed its will in regard to the Tariff, and we must follow up the vote whichwe have just given by reducing these other duties.
– I have already voted for a duty of 30 per cent., and I am going to do so again, because I know that when there was a duty of 20 per cent, on boots in Tasmania, and a much heavier duty in Victoria, the ordinary classes of boots could be obtained here for from 15 to 20 per cent, less than in Tasmania.
-Therefore the duty was not wanted.
– I shall not answer that old stock argument. The argument that this heavy duty will increase the price of boots to the poorer classes falls to the ground when it is viewed from the stand-point of practical experience. In a country in which the duty is 20 per cent, and the consumer has to depend entirely on foreign imports, boots are from 20 to 50 per cent, dearer than is the case in a country in which the duty is very much higher, and the heavy duty in Victoria does not seem to have increased very much the price to the consumer. These are the reasons why I think that, in voting for a 30 per cent, duty, I am not increasing the burden of taxation to the great masses of the people. I am increasing the burden of taxation to those who will under any conditions wear imported boots. For nearly a year I have been wearing a pair of Victorian boots, which cost me 20 per cent, less than I should have had to pay for them in Tasmania, where the protection was not so high, and they are almost as good as when I bought them.
– I have some figures which have been prepared by a gentleman well known in the trade as to the rate of duty in the different States. In the paper that Senator O’Connor laid upon the table at the commencement’ of our consideration of. the Tariff, it is shown that in the majority of the States the duty is reckoned at so much per dozen pairs. This gentleman shows that a 30 per cent, duty nominally is a 33 per cent, duty actually, because the cost of importation has to be added to the shipping value of the goods. Reckoning the duty at 33 per cent., it appears that it is 15 per cent, higher than the duties which have obtained in Western Australia, South Australia, and Queensland ; exactly 13 per cent, higher than the duty which obtained in Tasmania; obviously 33 per cent, more than that which obtained in New South Wales; and somewhere between 10 and 15 per cent, less than the duties which obtained in Victoria. Thepeople of New South Wales, who constitute a third of the population of the Commonwealth, have a right to be considered to some little extent, I suppose, as well as the people of Tasmania, or any other section. If they are to be burdened with a from 22 to 33 per cent, duty, according to whether this is fixed at the schedule rate or according to the amendment. Surely they have as much right to consideration as have the manufacturers of Victoria. There must be some levelling up or some levelling down somewhere, and I submit, with great confidence, that the entire population of one State is entitled to more consideration than are the comparatively few persons who are engaged in a given industry in another. I have been asked by one of the largest manufacturers of boots in New South Wales to strenuously oppose a duty of 30 per cent. He says that he does not want it, and by my vote I shall oppose its imposition. With reference to the amount which Senator O’Connor hopes to derive from the duty, let me point out what has happened in New South Wales. I propose to compare the imports from the 1st January to the 22nd March, 1902, with the imports for the corresponding period of the previous, year. The goods that were imported in the three first months of 1901 were goods that had been ordered before any Tariff proposals were placed before the country. The imports amounted to £137.000 in that period of 1901, and to £58,000 in the corresponding period of 1902. Senator O’Connor, therefore, will see that he has very small prospect of deriving any material revenue, in New South Wales at any rate, under a duty of 33 per cent. I think that enough has now been said on this matter to enable a division to be taken. I cannot believe that the committee, having fixed a duty of 20 per cent. on men’s boots, will vote to impose a higher duty on the boots of their sons.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 116 by adding to the duty, “ Youths, sizes above 1, ad valorem, 30 per cent.,” the words, “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, 20 per cent.” - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 7
Noes … … … 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Senator Lt.-Col.Neild) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item J . 16 by adding to the duty “ Youths’ si zes above1, ad valorem, 30 per cent. , “ the words “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, 25 per cent.”.
The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 7
Noes … … … 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the Houseof Representatives be requested to amend item116 by adding to the duty “Boys’ 7-1, ad valorem, 30 per cent.,” the words “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 20 per cent. “
I submit this motion because the facts most conclusively show that this high protection is not wanted. Comparing New South Wales with Victoria, it is idle for the protectionists to contend that it is wanted. It will prohibit the importation of some boots entirely. If the importation of low priced boots is prevented by a protective duty, the poor will never know how Australian boots compare in quality with the boots of other nations. In my opinion a little competition would be a good thing.
– I desire to direct attention to . the fact that under item 117, boots and shoes, n.e.i., including goloshes and slippers, are subject to a duty of 25 per cent., whilst the impost upon rubber sand shoes is 20 per cent.., and upon infants’ boots, shoes and slippers, ] 5 per cent. I find that one-third of the revenue derived from the duties upon boots is obtained from those which I have just enumerated, and in view of this fact, the proposal to reduce the duty upon boys’ boots to 20 per cent. does not seem unreasonable. The determination just arrived at by the Senate is a most regrettable one, and we should do our best to rectify the mistake made.
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … …8
Noes … … …8
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Senator Pulsford) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 116 by adding to the duty, “ Women’s sizes above 2, ad, valorem, 30 percent. , “ the words, “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 20 percent.”
– Honorable senators can very well make a distinction between the boots worn by men and youths and women’s foot wear, because when the Tariff was first submitted, the Government.proposed a duty of 20s. and 15 per cent., ad valorem, upon men’s boots in sizes above fives, whereas the duty upon women’s boots was fixed at 15s. and 15 per cent, ad valorem. So far as I know, the lower grades of women’s boots are not made within the Commonwealth to the same extent as are men’s. With very few exceptions, I understand that they are imported, whereas the lower classes of men’s boots have always been made in Australia. I therefore ask Senator O’Connor if he cannot see his way clear to make some distinction between the duty upon men’s boots and shoes and that upon women’s.
– I am sorry to say that I cannot. The distinction is a little too fine.
– I presume that the public outside will criticise our actions in this Chamber. Believing, as I do, that a 20 per cent, rate is the maximum measure of protection required upon boots, that the operation of such a duty will foster the industry and return a reasonable amount of revenue, I think the conclusion at which the public will arrive is that the Government are asking for what is unfair. However, it is quite certain that things cannot remain as they are. Either one or more senators must give way and allow the committee to reduce the duty upon this item to 20 per cent., or we must restore the duty upon men’s boots to 30 per cent. If the latter course be adopted the Government will issue a Tariff containing so many imperfections that it will be within the power of revenue tariffists to criticise it from one end of the Commonwealth to the other.
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 9
Noes … … … 9
Question so resolved in the negative.
– After the division which has just been taken, I do not think it is worth while attempting to effect any alteration in the remaining items which stand at 30 per cent. But I should like to remind honorable senators that when we arrived at the decision to reduce these duties to 20 per cent., it was regarded as a satisfactory solution of a very difficult question. Whilst protectionists who were accustomed to the high duties which operated in Victoria felt that it was very hard to forego that measure of protection which the boot industry had previously enjoyed, it was nevertheless recognised that to call upon the free-trade States to pay heavy taxes upon articles which they had previously admitted free would constitute a great hardship. Therefore, it occurred to honorable senators upon this side of the Chamber that ! if they assented to the imposition of a duty of 4s. in the £1, or 20 per cent., they would be giving a large amount of assistance to industries -which had enjoyed protection for many years, and at the same time would be able to justify their action, and urge the community to accept it as a satisfactory settlement. But instead of the action of the committee being regarded in that light, there will probably be a demand, which will grow irresistible, for a reduction of these duties. I should like to point out the peculiar position in which the Senate finds itself at the present moment. We deliberately decided that the duty upon men’s sizes above 5 should be 20 per cent., but almost immediately after we adopted a different line of action in regard to the smaller sizes of boots. Within the last two hours the Senate has jumped jimcrow. One vote was given in one direction, and another in an entirely different direction. However, I recognise that it would be quite futile to expect the Senate to go back to its original decision, and therefore I am prepared to accept as final, the divisions which have taken place. I wish, however, to impress upon the committee that their action is bound to cause trouble in the future. People will recognise that the prices which they will be compelled to pay for articles of universal consumption have been considerably enhanced, and will grumble accordingly. I protest against the imposition of these heavy duties in the interests of the free-trade State of New South Wales, which contains a third of the population of the Commonwealth, in the interests of free-trade Western Australia, and of the large number of free-traders to be found in the other States. Of course, where the voting is equal the duty proposed by the Government is retained, but if the various items in this Tariff hud been dealt with in the same way as items in an ordinary Bill, the position would have been absolutely reversed, and upon almost every occasion the Government would have been defeated. I protest against the retention of these unreasonably high duties.
– I do not know why Senator Gould should lecture the Senate simply because it has been decided to retain a duty much lower than that which prevailed in Victoria. According to the honorable and learned senator, if the higher duty be retained the
Commonwealth will be up in arms and upset the Tariff ; but at the present time the leader of the free-trade party is on a stumping tour in Victoria, assuring the people that the Tariff will be upset in a very short time. Whether we pass a 15 per cent, duty or a 30 per cent, duty, the free-traders are all working for a re-opening of the question of the Tariff ; and simply because the Senate has not chosen to agree with the particular views of Senator Gould, the present imposts, instead of lasting for a great many years, ai-e to be upset. The honorable and learned senator gave us another fallacious argument when he told us that he was moving in the interests of the poor working man. The poor working man does not care a snap of the finger what the particular duty is on his boots and shoes, because the class of goods which he uses would still be made in the States if there were absolute free-trade. To talk about the working men and the working women rising up in arms against the proposed duty, is simply absurd. It is further argued that the duty introduced by the Government is not a fair compromise, because in Victoria there was an exceedingly high duty, while in New South Wales these goods were free. But the duty now proposed approximates as nearly as possible to those which prevailed in South Australia and Queensland, and in this way the Government have hit the happy medium, the latter duties having been in force for a great many years, and given ever)’ satisfaction. The people of South Australia or Queensland will not rise in indignation, nor will the people of Victoria, seeing that it means a reduction of the duty in the latter State. The compromise arrived at in another place is exceedingly fair, and I have much pleasure in supporting it.
– I cannot agree with the view taken by Senator Gould, that no further motion should be moved. I consider it a duty I owe to my constituents, to throw on the protectionist party the onus of refusing to adopt the lower duty. I do not intend to waste time by making a speech, and I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 1.10, by adding to the duty, “Girls’ sizes above JO, ad valorem, 30 per cent.,” the words, “and on and after ..1st August, J902, 20 per cent.”
When the protectionists go to the country, and their newspaper organs deal with this question, it would undoubtedly be said, if this motion were not proposed, that we had not taken the necessary steps to have the Tariff amended. The responsibility of saddling the people of the Commonwealth with a duty of 30 per cent, on boots must be thrown on Senator O’Connor and his friends.
Senator EWING (Western Australia).I do not think it is of any use dividing the committee on this item, because I recognise that those who favour the lower duty are beaten, and beaten not by their enemies, but by one of the nominees of the FreetradeAssociation’ of South Australia.
-The honorable and. learned senator has no right to make any personal references.
– I have not referred to any one. All I say-is that we have been beaten in division, and it is absolutely useless going further, so long as Senator Baker, the free-trader, is going to vote for duties of 30 per cent.
– The honorable and learned senator must not refer to personal matters.
– I shall not refer to Senator Baker; but I say that if we have in this Chamber nominees of freetrade associations, returned as free- traders, and pretending to be free-traders, voting for duties of 30 per cent., the sooner the people of Australia know the sort of freetraders with whom they have to deal, the better it will be for all concerned.
– I do not think I ought to allow a personal attack of the nature just made to pass unnoticed. The statements of Senator Ewing are not correct.- In the first place, I am not the nominee of any association whatever. I stated when before my constituents that I considered that the question of free-trade and protection was a very much over- rated issue. I said that I considered that free-traders talked an immense amount of rubbish, and I gave illustrations of the nonsense they do talk.
– Sometimes Senator Baker talks free-trade, and sometimes he talks protection.
– I told my constituents that I considered the free-traders talked an immense amount of rubbish, and that the protectionists did the same. .Tam really -astonished that people who call themselves free-traders can so far forget the principles which they enunciate as to vote against free-trade items. What did we see here the other day? When the question was raised of imposing a duty on kerosene, where were the free-traders ? They deserted their principles. Can honorable senators imagine any taxation more consistent with a’ free-trade Tariff than a duty on kerosene or tea ? On the item of kerosene, those honorable senators who pretend to be free-traders deserted their principles, and voted on the other side. I am astonished to find that persons who call themselves free-traders very often do not know what free-trade means. Does free-trade necessarily mean either high duties or low duties? Most certainly not; there can be a very high .free-trade duty, just as there may be a low protectionist duty. If the duty on boots and shoes is borne by the whole of the community, and goes into the Treasury, it is a free-trade duty, whether it be high or low.
– “ If ! “
– I say that if the duty goes into the Treasury, it is a free-trade duty, no matter whether it be high or low. Some people are continually stating that a high duty is necessarily protectionist ; but they do not understand what they are talking about. This item of boots and shoes I divide into three classes. There . is one class - the lowest class - which, as Senator Playford says, will be made in the States, no matter what duty is imposed. In regard to the highest classes of boots, the same remark may be made, seeing that people who use them have them made to order, very often on their own lasts. It is the intermediate class of boots which we have to consider. In my own State of South Australia, we must have revenue, and as, in my opinion, this tax will be spread over the whole of the community, I voted for the higher dutv. For a senator to attack me when I have never said a word during the whole of the debate, and have voted according to my conscience, is, to say the least of it, in exceedingly bad taste.
Senator Major GOULD (New South Wales). - I do not propose to allude in a personal way to any vote which Senator Baker may have given on any particular item. But the remarks made by the honorable and learned senator induce me to say a few words in reply to both him and Senator Playford. Senator Baker has told us truly that one of the tests of a f ree-trade dutv is whether or not it goes into the Treasury. But it has been expressly stated by Senator O’Connor that with a duty of 30 per cent, there will not be so rauch money go into the Treasury as there will with a duty of 20 per cent. No doubt if Senator Baker takes the trouble to examine into the matter carefully, he will find that the conclusion arrived at by Senator O’Connor is absolutely and literally correct. Can any honorable senator say that, as a free-trader, he has cast a vote in favour of a duty of 30 per cent., when it is shown that that duty will go into the pockets of certain favoured manufacturers of boots and shoes 1 The duty must go one way or the other, and if it does not go into the Treasury’ it must go into the pockets of the manufacturers, though the labouring man may get a small portion of it. There is no doubt that the lower duty will induce greater importation, but under all the circumstances it is just such an impost as will command “revenue without destruction,” to adopt the words of the Prime Minister in his Maitland speech. Senator Baker has alluded to the action of certain free-traders on the item of kerosene. Was it not stated clearly and distinctly by those free-traders that they were not prepared to put their hands into the pockets of the people of the country unnecessarily ? The people have high duties surrounding them in every direction. Whenever a man wants to buy an article, he has, in consequence of those duties, to pay a higher price. That is the main reason that kerosene was not touched, and the free-traders were perfectly justified in their action. It is no part of our duty to take more money out of the pockets of the people simply on the ground that the tax is a free-trade tax. The only justification for taxation is the necessity for revenue in the interests of the States ; and when the Tariff was introduced there appeared no duty of this character. The Treasurer has told us that he is satisfied with the Tariff as it left the other House, and free-traders would have made a very serious mistake if they had taken a couple of hundred thousand pounds out of the pockets of the people without any justification in the shape of need for revenue. When honorable senators twit the freetrade party with being in favour of duties upon kerosene and other similar articles, my reply is that they are revenue producing duties which must be borne equally by the whole community, but that we. are not justified in imposing such duties when there are already in existence many protective duties which will produce more than the revenue required. If the VicePresident of the Executive Council agreed to remit the high duties upon boots and shoes and other necessaries, we on this side might be prepared to vote for duties on kerosene and tea and similar articles. Senator Playford told us that the House of Representatives acted wisely in adopting the duty under discussion, because it is practically the duty which was formerly in force in Queensland and South Australia. But in Tasmania and Queensland the State duty was only 20 per cent., in Western Australia 10s. and 18s. per dozen pairs, or 15 per cent., while in New South Wales there was no duty at all. Even in Canada and New Zealand, whose protective Tariffs are very high, the duty on boots is only 25 and 2.2^ per cent, respectively. It was no compromise to take all but the highest rate prevailing under* the State Tariffs. It is regrettable that this subject has caused so much discussion, and warmth of feeling, but it is a disappointment when men whom we were led to believe were returned as free-traders or protectionists, give votes which seem to be contrary to the doctrines which they profess. Of course, honorable senators must vote as their consciences dictate, and* must ultimately submit their actions for the approval of their constituents. I have no doubt that if the right honorable gentleman, to whom Senator Pulsford has referred, has his way, the country will be stirred up pretty strongly against this Tariff.
– I should be willing to assist Senator Baker in imposing a duty upon kerosene if equivalent duties upon other articles were remitted. ‘It is because Senator Baker had no intention of moving for the remission of other duties that I was not willing to assist ‘ him in imposing a duty on kerosene.
– How does the honorable senator know that ?
– The only right reason for imposing taxation is to obtain revenue for the administration of the Government, and if the Government are already obtaining from the Tariff as much as, or more money than they need, why should we increase the burden i upon the taxpayers ? Many of the duties to which we have agreed, while they produce perhaps £100,000 of revenue, take from the pockets of the people £200,000 or £300,000. I could show how duties .might be remitted which would save the people perhaps £500,000 in taxation, but which bring into the Treasury only about£1 50,000. The object of the free-trade party is to prevent the absorption of revenue by protected manufacturers. I agree with Senator Baker that the amount of a duty does not determine whether it is protective or not. A duty may be very high, but if the whole of the revenue derived from it goes into the Treasury, it is not protective, and the more we can reduce protective duties the nearer we get to free-trade. We on this side have tried to reduce the protective duties, and have in every case allowed purely revenue duties to stand.
Motions (by Senator Matheson) negatived -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 1.16 by adding to the duty, “ Girl’s, 7-10, ad valorem, 30 per cent.,” the words, “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 20 per cent.”
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 116 by adding to the duty, “Slippers, leather, aci valorem, 30 per cent.,” the words, “and on and of tei’ 1 st August, .1 902, 20 per cent.”
Item 1 17. - Boots and shoes, n.e.i….. ad valorem, 25 per cent…..
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - Do not our protectionist friends wish to increase the duties in this item to 30 per cent. 1 I should like to hear from them why the duties in this item are lower than those in the preceding item.
Item agreed to.
Item 118 (Waterproof cloth) agreed to..
Item 119. - Indiarubber or other hose, and manufactures, n.e.i., in which indiarubber forms a part, including cycle and vehicle tyres, ad valorem, .1 5 per cent. . . . .
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 1.19 by adding to the duty, “Indiarubber or other hose, and manufactures, n.e.i., * . . . ad valorem,* 15 per cent. , “ the words, “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 10 per cent.”
I should like to move to strike out this duty altogether, but I am satisfied that it would be useless to make the attempt. The effect of the duty is simply to drive business from the Commonwealth to other parts of the world. “It has been imposed for the protection of one small factory, which, of course, exists in Melbourne.
– It is rather a large factory.
– There are two factories.
– I suppose the second is a very new affair. The chief users of indiarubber hose and the other articles embraced under this duty are the Governments of the Commonwealth, and of the various States and the large steam- ship companies. It cannot be of any advantage to the Governments to have to pay duty upon the articles they, use, and the steam-ship companies avoid the payment of the duty by obtaining their supplies outside the Commonwealth. Although New Zealand is a heavily protected country, these goods are -admitted free there, and the steam-ship companies obtain their supplies from New Zealand rather than pay this duty. As the duty upon canvas or tyre fabric made waterproof with indiarubber, and outer tyre rubber, is only 10 per cent., it would facilitate the working of the Tariff to make both duties in this item 10 per cent.
Item agreed to.
Item 120. - Leather manufactures, n.e.i., leather cut into shapes, harness, composition belting, razor strops, footballs, and parts thereof, and whips, including keepers, thongs, and lashes, ad valorem 20 per cent.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 120 by adding the words, “ and onand after 1st August, 1902, Composition belting, 10 per cent, ad valorem.”
A duty of 20 per cent, on composition belting is an anomaly. Under the head of “ Cotton piece goods, n.e.i.,” cotton belting comes in at the rate of 5 per cent., and as it is manufactured here the duty operates not only as a revenue, but as a protectionist one. Composition belting is not and cannot be manufactured here. It is manufactured by a patented process, and is very largely used in the machinery factories. It is also used in mining : in fact, in almost every avocation in which machinery is employed. This duty will largely affect all manufacturers. I think it was an oversight on the part of the other House to allow cotton belting to come in at 5 per cent., and to tax composition belting at 20 per cent. It- may be said that we are protecting the manufacturers of leather belting, but it cannot be used in many avocations where it comes in contact with steam, acids, or great heat. It is not so good as composition belting for some of the finer classes of machinery, as it has to be jointed every 4 feet. That increases the thickness of the belt, and makes the motion more uneven. Composition belting was previously absolutely free in Victoria and New South Wales, which are the two largest manufacturing States in the Commonwealth, and we shall be doing a very great injury to all the manufacturers here if we say that it shall be subjected to a duty of 20 per cent. In South Australia, the duty on composition belting was 10 per cent. I appeal not only to free-traders, but to other honorable senators who have the interests of our industries at heart, to vote for my suggestion for a revenue duty pure and simple.
– I understand, from the officer of Customs who supplies me with information, that composition belting is manufactured here. The patents for several kinds of composition belting have expired. As composition belting is made of canvas and other materials, there is no reason why it should not be made here. . Apart from the patent, it is a very simple article of manufacture. It is not only because of that, but because it comes into competition with leather belting that this duty is. imposed. It may be that under certain circumstances composition belting is better than leather belting. It is really because it comes into competition with the leather belting that it is put under this head. There may be certain circumstances under which composition belting may be preferable, but there are a very large number of cases in which it simply comes into competition with leather belting, and the question of price will affect the sale of the local product. It would be rather absurd to protect our leather manufacturers in every other way, and not to protect the product of their work. With regard to cotton belting, I do not see the point of my honorable friend’s argument. It has been explained over and over again that it is necessary to make all cotton goods as cheap as possible, and for that reason the duty is fixed at 5 per cent. 13ut that is really no ground why either leather or composition belting should be subject to a 5 per cent. duty. We must take this item “as a whole. I hope the committee will see that it will be unwise and inconsistent to make any alteration.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH (Western Australia). - Senator O’Connor is quite wrong in saying that the patents for composition belting have expired. For instance, the Lancashire Patent Belt and Hose Company and R. J. Dicks and Company are manufacturing patented composition belting. No reason has been shown by the honorable and learned senator why any difference should be made between cotton belting and composition belting. If composition belting competes with leather belting, does it not also compete with the cotton belting which is made here 1 If this duty is imposed for protectionist purposes, why is the 5 per cent, duty placed on cotton belting? It seems to me an extraordinary thing that on their belting one class of manufacturers should be required to pay a 20 per cent, duty, while another class is required to pay only a 5 per cent. duty. I have tried to ascertain if composition belting is made here. I have asked Mr. Campbell, a large importer of belting, and others, in Melbourne, and they have all informed me that no composition belting for large machinery is made in Australia. In Victoria and New South Wales, where composition belting has been free hitherto, we find the only leather belt factories that exist in the Commonwealth. Why should we require the manufacturers, who use composition belting - and it is used in the great majority of the factories - to pay a 20 per cent, duty when in this highly - protected State of Victoria it was found advisable in the interests of the manufacturers to allow the article to come in free 1 I think I can appeal to the good sense of the committee to vote for my motion.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - The debate on this item shows once again how a protectionist Tariff is used to benefit a few and injure the many. There seems to be every reason why the users of machinery should be able to obtain their belting on. the best terms possible. Because certain persons are manufacturing composition-belting, the Government say that the users of imported composition-belting shall pay a 20 per cent, duty. And because no one is manufacturing cotton piece goods here, they say that the users of cotton-belting shall pay a 5 per cent. duty. I have in my hand a letter which is signed by the India Rubber, Gutta
Percha, and Telegraph Company Limited, and two other firms, and which reads as follows : -
We have the honour to bring under your special notice what appears to us to be a most unfair proposal in the Tariff as finally pissed by the House of Representatives, viz. -
Belting Cotton a per cent., while all compositionbeltings are subject to a duty of 20 per cent. We cannot conceive that the intention of the Legislature is to specially form a Tariff which is to help one body of importers by penalizing another, and which latter body, as represented by us, imports the bulk of the belting used by the agricultural, mining, and manufacturing interests.
As cotton-belting is manufactured locally, while composition- beltings are not, the Tariff, as it at present stands, affords no protection to the local industry.
Although we fully believe the best interests of the community at large would be served by admitting all composition-belting free, we quite feel that revenue requires to be raised wherever possible : we would, therefore, suggest that all compositionbelting be placed under a special heading carrying a 10 per cent. duty.
Composition-belting has all along been free in Victoria and New South Wales, where the five successful leather-belt manufacturers have been established, so that when they were able to build up businesses with composition-belting free, surely they can carry on now much more successfully with the larger field to work upon, seeing that five of the other States were previously closed against them, through the high duties on leather-belting, especially if they are afforded the 10 per cent, protection which we now propose.
It is impossible for leather-belting to be used in mining, agricultural, and other industries in cases where belting has to be run through water; and composition-belting is the only kind that can be used for this purpose. It seems unfair to handicap any industries, or compel them to use belting that is absolutely unfitted for their purpose. As it is, the Commonwealth will derive little or no revenue from belting made in the States, and. very little belting can be imported with a 20 per cent, duty imposed.
The arguments which have been adduced are fair and reasonable, and ought to appeal to all honorable senators whose judgments are not biased in favour of the antediluvian policy of protection.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 120, by adding the words, “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, Composition belting 10 per cent.” - put. The committee divided -
Noes … … 7
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Item. 121. - Leather, n.e.i., … ad valorem 15 per cent.
– As we have not succeeded in reducing to fair and reasonable proportions the duties levied upon boots and shoes, we do not consider it necessary to move for a reduction of the duty upon the boot manufacturer’s raw material. If we had succeeded in reducing the enormous duties now levied upon boots we should have been prepared to propose a corresponding reduction in the impost upon leather.
– I had given notice of my intention to propose to add to the list of exemptions glacie kid, both tan and black, American ooze calf, and French and German calf. I had also intended to propose the exemption of patent calf. For the reason advanced by Senator Pulsford, I have abandoned my original purpose. The leathers which I have enumerated are not produced successfully within the Commonwealth, and manufacturers of high-class boots are placed at a disadvantage compared with the American boot-makers, who are able to obtain their raw material free of duty. Some of these leathers may be produced here, but I am informed by boot manufacturers that they are not equal in quality to the American goods, and that the boots made of them do not exhibit the same finish as the American foot-wear. In view, however, of the high duties retained upon boots, there is no reason why any leathers should be admitted free, because the boot manufacturers are already over-protected.
– I congratulate Senator Pulsford and Senator Pearce upon the attitude they have assumed,but I assure Senator Pearce that all the leathers he has mentioned are made in large quantities not only in Victoria but in South Australia, and that he is altogether wrong in his estimate of the quality of the local product.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - I cannot allow that statement to pass unchallenged, because I have the best of authority for my statements. Some of the leathers mentioned by me are made within the Commonwealth, but their quality is not satisfactory. It is true that samples of glacie kid have been exhibited, but I defy any honorable senator to name any place within the Commonwealth where supplies can be obtained sufficient for the purpose of boot manufacture. I have received a letter from the Colonial Boot and Shoe Manufacturing Company, Sampson-street, East Perth, which reads as follows : -
As manufacturers and very large importers of leather, in which branch we are employing a great many hands, we beg sincerely to protest against our having to pay15 per cent. , ad valorem, duty on glace kid, American ooze, and French and German calf, both black and colours, which lines cannot be produced in any part of the Commonwealth ; and assame must be imported from America, and our having to pay the above rate of duty, absolutely debars all our efforts to compete with the lines of boots manufactured in America and other parts of the world. We sincerely trust that at some opportune moment you will use your best endeavours to have these lines placed on the list of goods exempt from duty, by doing which you will confer a great help to the boot-manufacturing industry of this State.
I also have a letter from Messrs. Bedggood and Co., boot manufacturers, of Melbourne, who make a similar statement with regard to glace kid. The Boot Manufacturers’ Association of Sydney drew up a list of leathers which they considered should be dutiable, and they mentioned other leathers, including glace kid, which they thought should not be dutiable, on the ground that they could not be satisfactorily produced here. This statement was signed by Mr. P. O’Connor, president of the association, and Mr. H. Davis, secretary. These communications should be sufficient to convince honorable senators that I have ample justification for my statement.
Senator BARRETT (Victoria). - I have taken a good deal of trouble to inform myself of the facts, and if Senator Pearce has a few hours to spare, I shall be able to take him to at least half-a-dozen factories, within 2 or 3 miles from Parliament House, and prove to him conclusively that my statements are correct - namely, that all the leathers I have mentioned are made largely in Victoria.
– Not proper glace kid?.
– Yes; proper glace kid. I know exactly what I am talking about. I have seen the article.
– I have seen specimens of shoddy glace.
– I know the men who are making the leather. They include Messrs. Kennon Brothers, of Richmond, Messrs. Burgess& Company and Mr. Russell, of Melbourne, Messrs. Lloyd Brothers and McGinnis, of Broadford, Mr. Bailey and Mr. Yates, of Sydney, Messrs. Reid & Company, of Hindmarsh, near Adelaide, and others. In addition to this, a manufacturer of glace, who formerly carried on extensive operations in Dunedin, New Zealand, has, since the Tariff was passed in another place, removed his plant to Sydney, and intends to’ enter upon the manufacture of glace there. I have in my hand a letter from Mr. G. Dupree, secretary of the Amalgamated Tanners andFancy Leather-workers of Victoria, which will show Senator Pearce that, whilst he has been working in a certain direction, I have been labouring in another. The communication is as follows : -
I received your letter this morning relative to certain classes of leathers mentioned therein, as well as a proposal to place same on the free list.
I may state that my societies, having supported the proposals of the House of Representatives as they affected the leather industry, and believing that those proposals re leather are the lowestpossible that the trade can stand with any advantage to itself and the community, will most emphatically protest against any lowering of the duties as fixed by the House of Representatives as being disastrous. Glace kid, tan hide, tan ooze, both hide and calf, black ooze, Russian calf, glace wax, and dull wallaby and kangaroo, wax calf, chrome calf, kip, harness and saddle leather, bag leather, coach leather, book-binding leather, belt leather, leather for furniture, and numerous other kinds of leathers are made here in large quantities.
The tanning and leather-dressing industry, with a fair amount of protection, is capable of being one of the most flourishing trades in the Commonwealth. We have the raw material of most leathers here, as well as workmen who have served their apprenticeship and worked in various parts of the world, and are capable of turning out work, if only given the opportunity, equal to that produced in any other part of the world.
The views of my societies, us previously stated, are that the duties on leathers, as they left the House of Representatives, were sufficiently low, und any attempt to lower them, or to cause any of them to be placed cm the free list, on the part of the Senate, would be very disappointing to the members of my societies.
I am exceedingly glad that the stand which was taken up by the free- trade party in the House of Representatives has been indorsed in this Chamber.
– I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the special exemption to item 121, “ Leather, namely, crust or rough tanned or tanned hogskins, goat, and Persian sheep . …” by omitting, on and, after 1st August, .1302, the words, “ or tanned hogskins,” and also the word “and,” with a view to adding the word “Hogskins.”
As it at present stands, the Tariff might be interpreted -to mean that tanned hogskins, tanned goatskins, and Persian sheepskins were to be exempt from duty. That is not intended, and I submit this proposal to overcome the ambiguity.
Motion agreed to.
Division XIII. - Paper and Stationery.
Item 122. - Paper, viz.: Manufactures of untrained, for advertising purposes, including price lists, catalogues, and. all printed or lithographed matter for such purposes, per lb., 3d.
Printing (uncoated), in sizes not less than 20 by 25 inches, or its equivalent, free.
Browns and Sugar (grey, blue, and other tints), fruit-bag paper, tinfoil paper, per Cwt. 3s.
Bugs, per cwt., 5s.
Gilds, (laving, in sheet or cut, per dozen packs, 3s.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - This duty applies to the advertising matter which foreign manufacturers send to Australia with their goods for distribution amongst the public. I should like some explanation with regard to the proposed rate from an ad valorem, stand-point. I believe that in iv great many instances it is equivalent to 100 per cent. I scarcely think that the Government desire the committee to accept a rate of such a prohibitive character. I therefore move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item .122 by adding to the duty, “ Paper, viz., Manufactures of . . -.per lb., 3d.,” the words, “and on and after 1st August. 1902, ari valorem, 20 per cent.,:
– The duty which it is proposed to levy upon this item is aimed at all the different forms df advertisements which enter the Commonwealth, either accompanying goods, or sent out in connexion therewith. If these advertisements can be produced locally, there seems to be no reason why a duty should not be imposed upon them. Senator Pulsford has declared that in some instances the rate proposed will range up to 100 per cent. In the case of very cheap paper upon which advertisements are printed, it may represent that amount ; but if an average were struck, it would be found to be equivalent to about 33 per cent. Is there any reason why that duty should not be paid 1 The greater portion of these advertisements can be produced here, and if we impose only an ad valorem duty upon them it certainly will not shut out the bulk of the cheaper advertisements. Moreover, these goods are seldom invoiced, and cannot be accurately valued. There would thus be great difficulty in collecting a duty founded upon value.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - The Vice-President of the Executive Council has confirmed practically everything that I said. He admits that in some instances the duty would be equivalent to 100 per cent., but claims that in other cases it would not- be so much. For that very reason it appears to me that an ad valorem rate would be a very fair one. Moreover, the duty upon printing paper qf large sizes, which was originally 10 per cent., has been abolished, and consequently the protection to all articles manufactured from paper has been considerably increased. A duty of 3d. per lb. is simply a monstrous one. Manufactures for advertising purposes may comprise pictures unfrained. .These may be very bulky, and weigh a great deal. It is only fair that foreign manufacturers, who are sending goods here in large quantities and paying heavy duties, should lie permitted to land their advertising material at a moderate cost.
– Cannot printing be done here ?
– Of course it can, but 100 per cent, is a prohibitive duty. When the printing is done abroad for distribution, perhaps in ten or twenty different countries, it can be obtained on much better terms than in Australia. But I think that 20 per cent, is a fair and reasonable duty to give to the local producers. There are protectionists in the other House, at any rate, who say that an industry which cannot stand with a duty of less than 20 or 25 per cent, had better be allowed to go. I do not see why we should be pressed to adopt a prohibitive duty.
– There seems to be a difference of opinion as to the value. of the articles which it is proposed to tax. Senator Pulsford estimates the duty at 100 per cent.
– That is only in certain cases where the advertising is printed on very cheap paper.
– Then 1 understand Senator O’Connor to say that the duty will mean 33 per cent, as a minimum.
– No: that is the average.
– It is urged that an ad valorem duty is almost impossible of collection, because of the difficulty of determining values.
– In this particular instance.
– According to the information furnished by the Government the duty in Queensland was 25 per cent., in South Australia 25 per cent., in Tasmania 20 per cent., in Western Australia 15 per cent., in New Zealand 25 per cent., and in Canada 7-id. per lb.
– According to a later document the duty is 25 per cent, in Canada.
– It appears that in all the States with the exception of “Victoria, the duty was collected on an ad valorem basis, and I do not see how there can be any difficulty in taking a similar course for the whole Commonwealth. It is a great anomaly that while we propose a duty of 3d. per lb. on this particular class of advertising matter, magazines and publications of that character are admitted absolutely free. I believe that the anomalies in the Tariff will be found more in connexion with the printing trade than with any other trade. I have here illustrated catalogues printed by the Mallery, Wheeler Company of New York, for distribution over the whole of the world. The books show various kinds of padlocks and agricultural implements which the firm sell, and they are printed in large numbers in order to save expense. It would be absurd to say that the company should be -compelled to have all its advertising matter printed in the particular States in which they desire to do business. There is, however, no desire to prevent a reasonable duty, and 25 per cent, ad valorem would result in a fair amount of revenue, and would not be an unknown rate.
– In the case of the higher classes of catalogue, 25 per cent, would mean considerably more than 3d. per lb.
– I dare say that may be the ease, but, at the same time, it is reasonable that all these articles should be charged at- the same rates.
– From his remarks I should say Senator Gould is going to support the Government.
– Senator Gould has not said which way he intends to vote.
– I am concerned with printers throughout the Commonwealth who, as a general rule, are struggling men. It is very hard for a local printer, when seeking orders, to discover that in the various Australian capitals there are representatives of American and German firms who are prepared to undertake printing at very low rates. This duty is intended to prevent the importation of large quantities of advertising matter of various kinds, from great ornamental poster down to chemists’ labels. I do not see how it would be possible for the Customs officials to decide a fair charge on an ad valorem basis. An American firm might send over 100 catalogues, out of 1.000 which had been printed, and it would be impossible for an officer to decide their . value, though it would be easy enough to put them on. a scale.
– How is the value arrived at in Queensland 1
– It has been found to be a very bad system there.
– I have no doubt that that is the reason the Government proposed a duty of 3d. per lb., and I hope the item will remain as printed.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - Senator Dobson a little while ago spoke of his great courage, which I now put to the test by moving -
That the House of Representatives be requested, to amend item 122 by adding after the words “Paper, printing . . . free,” the words, “ and on and after 1st August, 1002, 5 y>er cent.”
The original proposal was a duty of 10 per’ cent., and in that the Government showed that they are not actuated by the spirit to which exception has been taken in this
Chamber. It has been said that the Government have singled out particular classes for taxation while allowing other classes to go scot-free ; but a proposal to impose a duty of 10 per cent, on paper used in the production of newspapers evidences a desire to compel every classof the community to share the expense of carrying on the Government. When we look down the schedule we see that all classes excepting newspaper proprietors are called upon to pay taxation. Every class in the community, from the woman who buys a mangle to the lady who wears Parisian bonnets, has to contribute something towards the administration of the Commonwealth, and whyshould the newspaper proprietors escape ? Honorable senators may ask, “ Why do you propose a tax upon knowledge?”I admit that some newspapers - especially those which preach protectionist doctrines - are really unbound books ; but the proposed duty cannot be regarded as a tax upon knowledge. I believe that the House of Representatives struck off the proposed duty of 10 per cent, out of consideration for the small country newspaper proprietors, but a duty of 5 per cent, on printing paper will not cost them more than 6d. per week.
– Absurd ! Does the honorable senator think that they use only 10s. or £1 worth of printing, paper in a week?
– Yes, where their circulation is only about 250 copies. How many copies of Senator Pulsford’s weakly country newspaper were issued every week ? I take it that he did not print more than 500 copies.
– I never printed so small an edition as that.
– The average circulation of a country newspaper is not more than 500 copies. Why should the proprietors of these papers go scot-free? This duty would fall most heavily upon the proprietors of the big metropolitan dailies, with their circulation of 50,000 copies, and per 100,000 on Saturdays. I do not blame them for getting the small country proprietors to join with them in opposing this tax, because every one tries to escape taxation ; but it is our duty to see that every class pays its fair contribution to the revenue.
– Why should we interfere?
-From the very first I have agreed with Senator Dobson that it is the duty of the Senate to remove all anomalies from the Tariff, and I regard it as an anomaly that the users of printing paper escape without paying a duty, while all other classes of the community are taxed. If a duty is imposed, newspapers will not be any dearer, and therefore those who buy newspapers will not have to pay it. On that ground I ask for the support of Senator Pulsford, who is always anxious to protect the consumers, except when he is assisting the interests of the great importing industry. Let honorable senators show their courage in this matter. As a rule, the politician looks through his newspaper in the morning to see what is said of him, and he is perfectly happy if he can discover a paragraph in which his name is mentioned, whether favorably or otherwise. His great trouble is that he may be ignored.
– The honorable senator speaks from his own knowledge
– My experience in politics is making me a little bit callous. I do not think that any fair-minded newspaper proprietor would wreak his vengeance upon senators who voted for this motion by having them written out of politics.
– The newspaper proprietors are not so small as that.
– I hope they are not. Senators who vote against the motion because they are afraid of the press will be despised, if not by the newspaper proprietors, by the pressmen from whom they are so anxious to get a pat on the back. The Tariff is not a scientific protectionist Tariff - the free-trade party have seen to that - it is a kind of medley. But even a revenue Tariff should press as evenly as possible upon all classes, and I therefore appeal to honorable senators to make the newspaper proprietors contribute with the rest of the community.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - If Senator Higgs knew as much of what goes on in a printing-office as he assumes to know, he would not have made some of the statements which we have just heard. He has told the committee that newspaper proprietors entirely escape taxation, but as a matter of fact country newspaper proprietors have to pay heavily for the carriage of their supplies, and are taxed upon many kinds of paper which they use, as well as upon their ink and other requirements. Then he told us that the tax upon printing paper would amount to only about 6d. a week in the case of small country offices, but I know from personal experience that it would aamount to a great deal more. A very strong reason why we should reject the motion is that it is not desirable to impose taxation which will in any way prevent the dissemination of knowledge. Senator Higgs foresaw that objection to his proposal. It is a very substantial objection. ‘We should do all we can to make literature as cheap as possible, and therefore I would rather support the removal of the duty upon printers’ ink than’ vote for the imposition of a duty upon printing paper. I hope that,, the committee will not entertain this proposal.
– I oppose this suggestion. Originally the Government proposed a duty of 10 per cent., and they would have been quite willing if it had been adopted, but as the other House decided that the article’ should be free, following’ the course I have invariably taken, I intend to stand by the Tariff as it is. I hope that iti this instance I shall have my free-trade friends voting with mc
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - I shall support the motion because I recognise that, while nearly everybody else in the community is being taxed, the big newspaper proprietors ought to be taxed on their printing paper. If, as has been said, it is not manufactured in the Commonwealth, then Senator Pulsford and others can very well support what Senator Baker has called a free-trade tax. The article must come in, and therefore a tax should be imposed. This duty will not press hardly on small newspaper proprietors in the country, and the proprietors of the big journals can well afford to pay it. When we are putting a tax of 30 per cent, on the boots of the people we may very well put a little taxation on the printing paper which is used by the proprietors of big journals.
Senator Major GOULD (New South Wales). - Too much attention has been given ‘ to the position of the newspapers. We have to go a step further and see how this duty will affect the use of printing paper in the Commonwealth. It is perfectly true that newspaper proprietors use a very large quantity of printing paper in . their business. Even if it were newspaper proprietors alone whom we had to consider I should be prepared to support the position which the Government is taking up, because ! recognise that newspapers are great educators of the people in the community. In the country districts particularly they are of great educational value. It is of very great moment to a struggling, country newspaper proprietor to be able to get all his material at as low a rate as possible. There are different works which might be printed in the Commonwealth from time to time, but the printing of which is discouraged by. the Tariff. We admit books duty free,, but if- an author decides to publish a work in Australia a duty is levied on the type, the ink, the paper, and. whatever else may be used in its production.-. That policy is a distinct discouragement to- authors to publish their works in the Commonwealth. At the present time it pays a man much better to have his work published at the other end of the world. There are great advantages in having a work published, in the old country by a firm which is in a position te)’ give an enormous circulation, to a book of- any merit. At the same time, it is a great pity to see the printing of. many Australian books driven- out of the Commonwealth by the imposition of heavy, duties. I think it is the duty of honorable senators to free printing materials from duty as far as they can.
– It is ridiculous for Senator Higgs to expect that the free-trade party will assist him in adding this duty to the Tariff. A reference to the proceedings of. the other House will show that it was by the assistance of the free-trade party that this duty was struck off. It was considered there extremely unfair that all books and printed matter of an educational value should be admitted free, and yet it is proposed to tax the very paper on which Commonwealth books will be printed. Senator Higgs did not deal .fairly with this question when he considered it from only the newspaper point of view. When it is regarded simply as a newspaper question, there is an extremely good case, for there does seen* to be no reason why newspapers should get free printing papen. But we cannot confine our view of the case to one industry that uses printing paper. We have to take into account all the industries in which it is used. Certainly from an educational point of view, quite apart from newspapers, it ought to remain duty free.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - If this motion were carried it would impose a pretty heavy tax upon the various Governments in the Commonwealth, who, I suppose, are the largest consumersof printing paper. A Hansard is published by every State as well! as by the Commonwealth, and an immense mass of official’ papers is published by every Government. A very considerable quantity of printing paper is consumed in the Government printingoffices throughout the Commonwealth, and a 5 per cent. duty would increase the taxation by a sum which would run into four figures. I hope that we shall take no step in this direction.
Question - That the Houseof Representatives be requested to amend item 122 by adding after the words, “ Paper printing . .. . free,” the words, “and on and. after 1st August, 1902,5 percent.” - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … …8
Noes … … … 12
Question so resolved in the negative.
-I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 132 by adding to. the duty, “ Browns and sugar, fruit-bag paper, tinfoilpnper, per cwt. , 3s,” the words, “and on and after 1st August, 1902, tinfoil paper free.”
It is desirable that free tinfoil paper should be at the service of the packers of tea, which is duty free, and various other articles. On the free-trade list we find emery and flint paper, filter paper, litmus paper, coated printing-paper, tissuecappaper, and parchments. Surely we can also have tinfoil paper on the free list in view of the important uses to which it is put.
– When the Tariff was introduced, tinfoil paper was included in the line “n.e.i.,” but it was expressly placed in its present position on the Tariff and subjected to the lower duty of 3s. per cwt., because it was understood that it would probably be largely used for tea packing and other similar purposes. It may or may not be made within the Commonwealth, but there is no reason why it should not pay duty.
– Senator Pulsford has advanceda very strong reason why this class of paper should be admitted free. If tea in packets is tobe admitted free, our own tea packers should have an opportunity of competing against those who carry on similar operations in India, China, and Ceylon.
Motion agreed to.
– I move -
That the House of Representativesbe requested to amend item 122 by inserting after “Bags, per cwt;, 5s.,” the following new duty : - “Papers: - Copying, fancy and embossed, crayon, handmade drawing, duplex, leatherette of all kinds, includingskytogan, gilt, metallic, fibre leather, fibrette, marble, tissue, veneer, enamel, and flint, on and after 1st August, 1902, 5 per cent.”
These classes of paper, which are among the raw materials used by bookbinders, would come under the duty of 15 per cent. imposed upon paper, n.e.i. None of them are made here, and a duty of 15 per cent. is altogether too high for revenue purposes, and too oppressive upon those engaged in the bookbinding trade.
– I object to the motion because the bookbinders have been very well treated in having their tools of trade, their printing paper, and a number of other articles used by them placed upon the free list. There is no reason why they should enjoy special privileges with regard to these particular classes of paper. The Tariff must be regarded as a whole. A large number of trades are involved, and they are compensated for the duties which they have to pay upon their raw material by the protection which is afforded to them in connexion with their finished products. If special advantages are given to a particular trade, the balance of the Tariff will be disturbed, and therefore I shall oppose any change.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales)… - I would direct the attention of the Vice President of the Executive Council to the duty of 3s. per dozen packets imposed upon playing cards in sheet or cut. Playing cards form a very proper subject for taxation, and an excise duty witha countervailing Customs duty is levied in England. The present duty, which is equivalent to 100 per cent., ad valorem, will be absolutely prohibitive, and, therefore, destructive of revenue. The duty should be reduced, or an excise duty should be imposed, so that local manufacturers may not be able to charge what prices they like.
– Common playing cards are made in Australia, but the better classes of goods are not made here, and are not . likely to be. We shall, therefore, continue to import them, and collect the duty.
Motion (by Senator Lt.-Col. Neild) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the special exemption to item 122, “ Paper, writing, in shoots not less than 10 inches by 13 inches,” by inserting,on and after 1st August, 1902, the voids, “ and typing,” after the word “ writing.”
Senate adjourned at 10.28 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 16 July 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020716_senate_1_11/>.