1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator GLASSEY presented a petition from the Chambers of Commerce atBrisbane, Maryborough, and Townsville (Queensland), praying that clause 6 of the Customs TariffBill be amended to provide for the refund of all moneys paid in excess of the duties ultimately sanctioned by Parliament.
Petition received and read.
CUSTOMS TARIFF BILL.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 16th July).
Division XIII. - Paper and stationery.
Item 123. - Stationery, manufactured, viz. : - Advertisements and Pictures, framed, for advertising purposes ; Bill Files and Letter Clips ; Boxes, cardboard, cut and shaped or finished ; Mounts for pictures ; Calendars and Almanacs, n.e.i.; Date Cases and Cards; Albums, including Birthday, Scrap, Motto, and Character; Cards and Booklets, viz., Printers’, Visiting, Menu, Programme, Wedding and Funeral ; Christinas,
New Year, Easter, and Birthday; Scraps,and Transfers, Ink-stands, Ink-bottles, and Ink-wells; Paper Knives, Blotters, Blotting Cases and Puds ; Billheads and other printed, ruled, or engraved forms of paper, n.e.i., boundor unbound ; Books, Account, Betting, Cheque, Copy, Copying, Diary, Drawing, Exercise, Guard, Letter, Music, Memo, Pocket, Receipt, and Sketch ; Envelopes, Stationery Packets, Wrappers for Writing Paper, Memo and Sketch Blocks, Memo. Slates and Tablets, Labels, Tags, and Tickets, Manufactures of Paper, n.e.i., including Printers’ Matrices; Inks, writing and printing, and Ink Powders; Wax Sealing and Bottling,ad val., 25 per cent.
– I desire to move two requests in connexion with this item. I wish, in the first place, to move that the duty upon printers’ inks be 10 per cent., and in the second place, to move that the duty upon all other articles included in the item be 20 per cent. If I move the first motion, shall I be in order, whatever the fate of it may be, in moving the second ?
– The honorable senator will be at liberty, if he moves the reduction of the duty upon printing ink to 10 per cent., and his motion is negatived, to move the reduction of the duty imposed upon all the articles embraced in the item to 20 per cent.
.- Then I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 123 by adding the words, ‘“And on and after 1st August, 1902, Inks, printing, 10 per cent.”
This motion refers only to printing ink. I do not wish to reduce the duty upon writing ink to less than 20 per cent. The Senate, recognising the importance of the printing press to the whole community, decided last night that printing paper should’ be admitted free of duty, and, as a corollary, printing ink should also be admitted free of duty, because both the paper and the ink are necessary to make the printed page. That being so, I might fairly move that the duty upon printing ink bestruck off, but I do not propose to go so far as that. As it is possible that the existing duty may be defended on the ground that there are ink factories within the Commonwealth whose interests should be protected, I wish to point out that the same reason could have been urged for the imposition of the duty upon printing paper, but, as the committee has expressed the view that the public interests in this matter are to be considered in preference to those of themanufacturers of printing paper, I think that I am making a very mild request in proposing a reduction of the duty upon printing ink to 10 per cent., instead of moving for its abolition altogether. It is an anomaly that while books, newspapers,magazines, and other publications are admitted dutyfree, there should be a duty upon the raw material of the printing trade. The duty may be of advantage to a few people who are engaged in making ink, but it is altogether to the disadvantage of the much greater number engaged in the printing trade. In every part of the Commonwealth, even to the remote hamlets of the interior which issue their weekly news sheets, there are large numbers of persons employed in theprinting trade, whereas there are only five establishments in the Commonwealth engaged in the manufacture of ink. A document has been placed before us containing the signatures of six. ink manufacturers, but one firm is there represented twice, because it has houses in both Melbourne and Sydney. I do not know how many newspapers are published within the Commonwealth, but in New South W ales alone there are no less than 800. In the operations connected with their publication a much larger number of people must be employed than can possibly find work in the five Australian factories in which printing ink is manufactured. Moreover, these factories do not restrict their operations to the manufacture of printing ink, but devote their attention also to other kinds of ink, with which I do not propose to interfere at present. To admit paper free of duty, and to impose a duty of 25 per cent. upon ink would be outrageously anomalous. Some unimportant duties are imposed upon advertising matter and printed bills, but that fact does not warrant the imposition of a heavy duty upon printers’ ink. An attempt made in the House of Representatives to recommit this duty was defeated by only one vote. This shows that a large number of honorable members were alive to the desirability of having printers’ ink admitted free of duty, and if the question had been discussed at an earlier stage instead of at a time when honorable members were utterly weary of the Tariff discussion there would probably have been no necessity for me to move in the matter. Neither the material nor the machinery necessary for the production of ink such as that used by newspaper proprietors are in Australia at present. The printers’ ink made in Australia is used principally for posters and rough work of that kind. Therefore no matter what rate of duty might be imposed upon news ink it would have to be imported. The Vice-President of the Executive Council will probably say that this is a revenue item, and that any duty would yield a large sum, but that does not affect ray argument that the present duty is excessive. I submit my proposition on the broad basis of fairness to a very important trade and of equity to the great body of consumers throughout the Commonwealth. Every one who reads a newspaper or any other printed matter is a consumer, and the duty of 25 per cent. upon printers’ ink is nothing morenor less than a tax upon human knowledge. I admit that it falls upon every one alike - that it does not bear more oppressively upon the poor than upon the rich, but it is a tax upon knowledge and a huge impost upon the printing industry, and is anomalous in view of the decision to admit paper free of duty.
- Senator Neild has presented his case very forcibly, but there is another side to the question. A large number of people are engaged in the manufacture of printing ink, and we ought to consider the interests of those who have their capital invested in the industry, and who are depending upon it for their living. I do not expect the honorable senator to view this matter sympathetically from a protectionist stand-point.He has told us that the industry is a small one, and apparently thinks that we need have no compunction in sweeping it out of existence. If the duty were reduced as proposed, the whole of the factories in which printers’ ink is manufactured would be closed, and the importers would have it all their own way. Experience shows that the reduction or abolition of the duty upon an article does not necessarily cheapen it. If the local industry were swept away, and the importers had the field all to themselves, they would probably raise the price to the consumer, and thus the tax upon knowledge, about which Senator Neild is so much concerned, would be largely increased. So far as the poorer classes are concerned, the tax upon their knowledge does not amount to very much, because many of them have not the time to read the daily paper, or the yellow back novels of which some people are so fond.Fully three-fourths of the ingredients used in the manufacture of printers’ ink are subject to heavy duties. I do nob approve of these imposts, and I have tried, perhaps more consistently than has any other honorable senator, to remove the duties imposed upon raw material. “Whilst I recognise the revenue necessities of the Government, I have recorded vote aif fter vote against duties on raw materials, because I consider them unnecessary and .unjust. Resin oil, which is one of the commodities-used in the manufacture of printing ink is taxed at the rate of 6d. per .gallon, equal to 80 per cent. ad valorem. Raw linseed oil, another in- gradient, bears a duty of 6d. per gallon, or 10 per cent, ad valorem. Upon other ingredients, which are secret, the duties average about 20 per cent. Dried colours, which are also used by ink manufacturers, bear a duty of ls. per cwt., and ink mills are also dutiable at 20 per cent. If the duty were reduced as proposed the whole of the local ink factories would be closed, and all our printers’ ink would be imported from Germany. A large number of local workmen are employed in the manufacture of tins in which printing ink is very largely put up, and the fact that tinware is also subject to a duty should be taken into account. Senator Neild made a go’od deal of the fact that the duty upon printing paper has been abolished. I think that I am correct in saying that there is a small paper mill in New South Wales, but I do not know of any other Australian State where paper for printing purposes is manufactured. I always accept with a good deal of reservation statements which are made concerningwhat is being done in the way of manufacture in New South Wales, because only today a fact came under my” notice which evidences the position of affairs iia that State with regard to the manufacture of brushware. I refer to this matter only by way of illustration. We have been cold that in New South Wales certain firms engaged in the manufacture of brushware are flourishing without the aid of any protection whatever, when, as a matter of fact, they are actually importing their goods from Victoria. “The same remark is applicable to other lines of industry. These firms positively refuse to allow the Victorian manufacturers to put their names upon their own .goods. Some time ago a large order was given by a Sydney importing house to a Victorian manufacturer, but the former said - “ We cannot allow you to put your name upon these articles.” When asked why such an arbitrary condition should be imposed, the reply was - “We do not in tend to advertise you, but we desire . to advertise ourselves. Consequently we want our names put upon the brushes which are made iri Melbourne.” I have actually seen the workmen engaged in the factory in question stamping the name of the ‘ Sydney firm upon Victorian goods. Therefore I am not likely to be led away by the statements which hare been made concerning the manufacture of ‘printing paper and printing inks in New South Wales. I believe that printing paper is not made iri Australia to -any .great extent. Then w.e are told that the proposed duty will constitute a heavy tax upon small country newspapers. Senator Neild did not enter into any calculation in this connexion, nor did he obtain the services of Senator Pulsford to work out in decimals the extent to which, under the Government proposal, the poor newspaper proprietor in the back-blocks would be taxed upon his printing ink. As a matter of fact, if any such calculation were made it would be ‘found that the duty constitutes a very small tax indeed. If it presses heavily upon any one it will be upon those who are well able to bear it. “Seeing that there are five or six firms engaged in the manufacture of printing ink, I hope that the committee will not agree to a sweeping reduction from 25 to 10 per cent.
– It is always interesting to listen to Senator Barrett when he is “ barracking “ for some special industry. Upon this occasion he is “.barracking” for the inkmaking industry, whilst entirely ignoring the interests of all the people w.ho use ink. Surely the encouragement of the production of books is a more important matter than that of the manufacture of ink. Books and magazines of all kinds are sent to Australia from Great Britain by-almost every steamer. Surely we ought to give our printers the materials used in the production of books at a low rate, and not subject them to any disability by levying a duty upon the ink which they require. It ought to be some consolation to Senator Barrett to know that if Senator Neild’s proposal be carried the printing trade throughout Australia will by assisted to compete with imported books.”
– I * must oppose this motion. The argument used by Senator Pulsford, that because printing paper is admitted free and the printers thereby ‘have derived a great advantage, they should be given a further concessionby admitting their ink at 10 per cent. instead of at the rate which other users of ink have to pay, is surely an extraordinary one. Having been allowed to obtain their paper free of duty, they ought to be very well satisfied. There is no valid reason why printers’ inks should not be manufactured in Australia as cheaply as they can be imported. If the duty is imposed, these inks will be produced locally. The other argument, that because books and printing paper are exempt from duty, printing ink should also be admitted free, is a remarkable one. It is true that ink and paper are required in the production of books, but something is needed in addition, and it is altogether absurd to say that because a book in its finished state is admitted free, printing inks should also be exempt from duty. I see no reason why we should not give these inks the reasonable amount of protection which will be conferred by this duty.
SenatorHIGGS (Queensland). - It is all very well to raise the cry that we are taxing knowledge by levying the duty which the Government propose upon this particular item. My own opinion is that it would not make very much difference to the purchasers of books throughout the Commonwealth if they had to pay 10 per cent. upon all printed matter. It would merely mean that where one now is required to pay 1s. for a book hewould perhaps have to pay ls . 1 d. Certainly it would not in any way prevent the dissemination of knowledge. If free-trade senators had consented last night to the imposition of a duty of 5 per cent. uponprintingpaper, they might, perhaps, have come forward with a better case. But having secured the admission of printing paper free - an advantage which has not been conferred upon any other class in the community - they might very well allow this item to pass. When once the affairs of the Commonwealth are in good running order a great impetuswill be given to the manufacture of ink, and a far better article will be produced. I am aware that at the present time printing firms complain about the inferior quality of colonial inks, but they will not have the same reason for complaint in the future, for the simple reason that the wider market which is now available will induce the production of a better article. Senator Pulsford is always talking about burdens, and in this connexion he reminds me of that celebrated mountain of which we sometimes read. He has twitted Senator Barrett with always championing the cause of the local worker. I do not think that Senator Barrett objects to that. It is far better to champion the cause of the local worker than to champion that of the beer importer.
– In some respects I find myself very much in accord with what Senator O’Connor has said in regard to this item. At the same time my duty is rather divided, becausewhilstrecognisinghowmuch this item is a revenue-producing one, I think it should be borne in mind that 25 per cent. is a very heavy rate - a rate which is considerably higher than any which formerly existed in the States. Of course, it is intended that the proposed duty shall be protective in its incidence. That, however, can be remedied by reducing it. I should have been prepared to vote for a reduction upon printers’ ink itself, but I understand that the bulk of the ink used by the largeprinting offices is imported fromabroad. If a large revenue is derived from this item, I doubt very much whether it would be quite politic to reduce the duty quite so low as 10 per cent. Senator Neild has indicated his intention of moving a reduction on the whole of this item, which will have the effect of weakening the protective incidence of the duty, and possibly the desired purpose may be effected in that way. We cannot tell what is the revenue derived from this particular line, seeing that all the lines coming under the heading of “stationery” have been included in the return ; but, if it be a fact that a large quantity of the best quality of printers’ ink is imported, the result ought to be substantial. The object which Senator Neild has in view is one which I hope we shall assist him in attaining, viz., the reduction of a duty of 25 per cent. to a more reasonable rate.
– I omitted a point which ought to weigh with honorable senators who are trying to secure a reduction of the duty in the interests of printing firms. Under the same heading it is proposedto protect the productions of local printers by imposing a duty of 25 per cent. on calendars and almanacs not elsewhere included, and on “albums, including birthday, scrap, motto, and character ; cards and booklets, viz., printers’, visiting, menu, programme, wedding and funeral ; Christmas, New Year, Easter, and birthday.” Then we come to the very important item of “ billheads, and other printed, ruled, or engraved forms of paper, n.e.i.” The duty on these latter lines will protect local printers from the competition of German and American firms, who at present are taking orders for all kinds of printing, from big posters down to chemists’ labels. “When local printers are protected to the extent of 25 per cent. on printed matter of that description, they can afford to pay 25 per cent. on printers’ ink.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - It is strange to hear two learned gentlemen stating practically the same facts, and yet drawing totally different conclusions from them. Senator O’Connor tells us that printers’ ink for newspapers is produced very largely in Australia, and in that he finds a reason for voting against my motion. Senator Symon, on the other hand, informs us that so thoroughgoing a protectionist as the proprietor of the Melbourne Age has to import his ink because he cannot get it made in Melbourne after 30 long weary years of protection. It may bo stated that the borders of tradehave been widened under federation, and that the Melbourne manufacturers are not now restricted to their own markets. But is that a true statement? When did New South Wales place a duty on printers’ ink ? In that State there are published more newspapers, and more printers’ ink is used, than in all the rest of the States, with the exception of Victoria. The breaking down of Inter-State barriers will not affect the manufacturing trade of Melbourne to anything like the extent that Senator Barrett, in his happy fervour for Victorian advancement, leads himself to believe.
– I am standing up for my Sydney friends as the honorable senator ought to stand up for them.
– It is delightful to find Senator Barrett actuated by such feelings, but I do not thank him on behalf of the people of New South Wales for his persistence in placing so many intolerable burdens of taxation on their shoulders. If after 30 long years of protective imposts Victoria is not able to supply the “ boss “ protectionist of Australia with printers’ ink, then God help the printers of the Commonwealth ! If my motion is not carried, I shall have the consolation of hoping that, as the price of printers’ ink will be enhanced, under the circumstances, it is possible there may be some reasonable limitation on the output and printing of the oratory of Senators Barrett and Higgs.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 123 by adding the words, “and on and after 1st August, 1902, inks, printing, 10 per cent.” - put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the negative.
– In the division lists as handed to me Senator Sir Richard Baker is recorded as voting on both sides. On which side do you vote, Senator Baker ?
– I voted with the “ noes.”
– I desire to direct attention to Standing Order 207 and following standing orders, under which I believe we are acting. “I ask you, Mr. Chairman, whether, under Standing Order 207, it is competent for a senator to sit on the side of the “ayes “ and vote for the “noes”?
– Standing Order 207 is as follows : -
When the doors have been locked,and all the members are in their places, the President shall put the question before the House, and then direct the “ ayes “ to proceed to the right of the Chair, and the “noes” to the left, and shall appoint a teller for each party.
When the doors have been locked, it is, according to the standing orders, the duty of every senator within the Chamber to go either to the right or to the left of the Chair.
– On the point of order–
– The ruling has been given.
– It is strange that this question should be raised now after we have been fifteen months in session.
– We know the reason.
– Order !
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 123 by adding the words, “and onand after 1st August, 1902, 20 per cent.”
I have no doubt it will be said that this item contains a great number of articles of luxury ; but my contention is that there are very few luxuries compared with the number of trading requisites. Strangely enough, articles of luxury which might have come into this item are amongst the special exemptions, autotypes, chromographs, engravings, and etchings, for example. Etchings, at any rate, are pretty expensive, and with them we find oleographs and oil paintings. The position is that oil paintings, worth anything from £10,000 to £30,000, may come in free, while office calendars and children’s birthday cards have topay 25 per cent. The list of special exemptions also includes photogravures and water colours, the latter of which run sometimes to very high prices. If, however, it is desired to import a common little picture to give some air of refinement, however simple, to the cottage home, there is imposed a duty of 25 per cent., which means an addition of 27½ per cent. to the price. That is the kind of Tariff which, according to the historic Maitland speech, was not to fall on the cottager. What does this duty do but fall on the cottager? Illustrated and pictorial Scripture text cards, ceramic transfers for pottery, and other odds and ends of extravagance are to come in duty free, but the funeral card is to be taxed. We have put a duty on medicines and tombstones, and now this liberallydisposed Government are trying to impose a miserable tax on the funeral card. The Government ought to start a new religion in which Customs taxation should be a leading feature. While all the luxuries I have named are to come in free, a duty is to be levied on bill files and letter clips, which are used in every office, small or large ; on cards and on date cases, which are used everywhere, except in this chamber. I shall not go through the list, but unquestionably the bulk of the articles it is sought to tax are trade requisites - or tools of trade in the counting-house, whether it is occupied by one person or by 50 persons. In a bank, or a small country store, or a minute manufactory, will be required books, diaries, envelopes, stationery packets, wrappers, blotting paper, and all the odds and ends that go to make up the outfit of any establishment in which writing is done and accounts kept. Twenty per cent. would be a more rational duty to place on this line. As a free-trader, I think I ought to apologize for moving for such a duty as 20 per cent. It ought to be lower. How much more revenue is this Tariff to bring in than is required? In his secondreading speech, Senator O’Connor announced that it would bring in £800,000 a year more than was necessary for the purposes of the Commonwealth.
– I did not say anything of the kind.
– Well, perhaps it was only half-a-million. Certainly the public accounts more than bear out my allegation that the revenue being derived is more than is needful for the purposes of good government, and for compliance with that eccentric condition known as the Braddon blot.
-I hope that the committee will not interfere with this item. Senator Neild has picked out certain articles and contrasted them with those which are on the free list. He says that bill files and letter clips, . amongst other things, are tools of trade, and therefore ought to receive special consideration. In the same sense, a table or a blotting pad or a chair is a tool of trade, but surely we cannot carry the principle of exempting tools of trade to that extent ! Why should a person be taxed less on the letter clip in his office than on the chair or the table he uses ? If we once begin to introduce that principle we shall get no revenue at all. I think Senator Neild will see on reflection that although these arguments make an interesting speech, there is really nothing in them. With regard to cardboard boxes cut into shape and finished, a duty has to be paid on the cardboard out of which the boxes are made here, so that the amount of protection given by this apparently 25 per cent, duty as not the real amount. Boxes mad of strawboard are also dutiable. .Mounts for pictures .are included in both these lines. Calendars and almanacs which are pasted on cardboard have to pay a duty. With regard to date cases, cards, albums, and other articles of that kind, there does not seem to be any reason why they should not be made here, and therefore protected to a certain extent. Other articles which are . not articles of necessity certainly ought to bear a reasonable tax. If honorable senators will refer to the State Tariffs, they will find that this class of article has always been subject to a large amount of taxation, lor instance, on advertisements and pictures framed for advertising purposes, which were free in New South Wales, as. almost everything else was, the duty was 35 per cent, in Victoria, 25 per cent, in Queensland and South Australia, 20 per cent, in Tasmania, and 15 per cent, in Western Australia. On bill files and letter clips, the duty was 35 per cent, in Victoria, 25 per cent, in Queensland and South Australia, and 20 per cent, in Tasmania. On cardboard boxes, the duty was 25 per cent, in Victoria and Queensland, and from 10 to 25 per cent, in South Australia. On mounts for pictures the duty was 20 per cent, in Victoria and Tasmania, and 25 per cent, in Queensland and South Australia. On date-cases and cards the duty was 25 per cent, in Queensland and South Australia. On albums and birthday cards the duty was 25 per cent, in both those States. On visiting cards the duty was 35 per cent, in Victoria, 25 per cent, in Queensland, and 20 per cent, in Tasmania. On Christmas and New Year cards the duty was 10 per cent, in Victoria, 25 per cent, in Queensland, and 20 per cent, in Tasmania and’ Western Australia. It has always been considered a fair thing in the States to collect a reasonable amount of revenue from these items. Compared with the old duties, 25 per cent, all round is not a high duty, and being a reasonable one for the purposes of revenue, it also has a very large protective incidence. In the Commonwealth there is a very large industry in the making of stationery, and a very large number of persons are employed. This is a case in which we can consider their interests, and, while giving a reasonable amount of protection, at the same time get a very fair amount of revenue. Compared with “the revenue collected under the States’ Tariffs, the receipts so far from this duty have been very good indeed. The estimate of revenue from this item was £38,445. The collections from October, 190.V, to May, 1902 - a period of eight months - were £33,644, or at the rate of £45,000 for the year. In 1899 the . amount collected was £2’5,30S. No revenue was collected in New South Wales ; but if we credit that State with £18,000 - that is, nearly double the amount collected in Victoria - -£43,000 would be the collections in the Commonwealth on the basis of the duties in the State Tariffs. Therefore the revenue collected under this duty will be -a little .more than was collected under the States’ duties. But the States cannot afford to give up any of their revenue. The proposed duty is the same as the Queensland duty, and, in the case of most of the articles enumerated, the same as the South Australian duty, while it is 5 per cent, more than the Tasmanian duty. But it must be remembered that Tasmania may lose a certain amount of revenue through the .abolition of the Inter-State duties, since she will probably get a large amount of her stationery from the manu.facturers of the other States. I ask the committee to affirm that the duty is not too high from the revenue point of view, inasmuch as it has proved by experience to be a good revenue-producing duty, and that from the point of view of protection, seeing that most of the articles enumerated are made from other articles upon which there are duties ranging from 10 to 15 per cent., it is not so high as to leave any margin for a reduction.
– There is great difficulty in dealing with an item such as this, where a large number of articles of a different character, some coming within the category of luxuries, or being such as may fairly be subjected to heavy taxation, and others, such as account books, diaries, labels, tags, and tickets, being requirements of every day business, are mixed up together. But whilst it would be desirable to discriminate between them if we could, it is next to impossible for us to do so. It must be remembered that the duty which Senator Neild proposes is exactly the rate of the Tasmanian duty, whereas under the Western Australian Tariff the duty upon the articles enumerated here was in almost every .case less than 15 per cent. No doubt a considerable .amount of revenue will be derived from the proposed duty, but in taking the collections for the first six months after tobe imposition of the Tariff, the New South Wales collection should be excluded, because formerly all the articles here enumerated were admitted into that State free of duty. The actual collections in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and’ Tasmania - there are no returns from Western Australia - amounted to £13,568. and the returns from New South Wales to £11,138, giving a total of ±’24,698, which is at the rate or about £49,000 a year. But the Treasurer in making his estimate for a normal year assumed, as we all assume, that as a duty of 25 per cent, would have a very heavy protective incidence, £11,000 should be taken off to allow for that incidence. The result of the duty will be, in the first place, that a large amount of encouragement will be given to the manufacturers of New South Wales, who have hitherto had no protection at all. That will ultimately reduce the revenue derived from that State, and in the same way the revenue collected in the other States will be reduced, though of course, the manufacture of stationery in the smaller States will not be so lange as that in Victoria and New South Wales. To allow for this diminution in revenue, the Treasurer has made the reduction I. ha ve referred to. The effect of the duty in reducing imports will begin next year, and will operate more and more every year, to the great diminution of the revenue. We might lessen that evil, and maintain the revenue, if we could discriminate between the articles upon which a revenue duty could be placed, and those manufactures which it is desired to protect^ but we cannot do so. Therefore, unless the committee agree to a reasonable compromise, such as 20 per cent., a large amount of revenue will be thrown away. I ask the committee to accept the Tasmanian duty of 20 per cent., so that there may not be a loss of revenue ; and that the protection which has been enjoyed by the Victorian industries for so many years may not be unnecessarily removed. There is no more reason why people should pay “25 per cent, more for a number of the articles mentioned in this item than there is why the)- should be called upon to pay 25 per cent, upon tools and other things of everyday use.
– Senator O’Connor is not quite fair, I think, in the statements he makes from time to time as to .the revenue likely :to be received from the various duties. I should like to draw his attention to the ‘following .remarks made by him on the 25th April last, in moving the second reading of the Bill. He then said -
I trust, further, that under this ‘Tariff there will be,increases in the revenue derived from many items ; hut it is quite certain that the effect of protection, whether by way of protective or revenue duties, will very soon begin to make itself felt, and that very shortly local -production will influence in n marked degree the receipts from duties upon imports from oversea. Exactly what the result will be no one can at the present time predict : but, having regard to .the experience of Other countries where’ protection has prevailed, and to the experience gained in the Australian States where it has been tried, and particularly taking into consideration the large markets which will immediately be given to every manufacturer and producer in Australia, I think we must admit that the effect of local production will make itself very largely felt upon the revenue through the Customs.
But in regard t-o nearly every item that has come Under our consideration, he has drawn our attention to the actual collections before the protective incidence of the duties could be felt, and has spoken as though the re- ! venue thus collected may be expected to ] continue, thus going back upon the estimate of the Treasurer of the receipts for a normal year.
– The honorable senator .has been continually telling the committee that more revenue is being collected than was estimated by the Treasurer, but now he wants to discount that statement.
– No ; I do not. Another point to which I wish to draw attention is the fact that the large manufactories of Sydney .and Melbourne, with their uptodate arrangements, will be able to export largely to the smaller States, and that there will be- very little revenue collected in those States if so high a duty as 25 per cent.- is imposed. Such a duty will be destructive of revenue, and might very reasonably be reduced by 5 per cent.
– This is I a very important item, and I join with other senators in expressing my regret that so many articles differing in character are comprised in it. If these various articles had been divided under different heads, we could have dealt with them more intelligibly : but we must take the item as we find it; and, that being so, it is hardly worth while to devote much attention to the proposal to reduce the duty from 25 per cent. to 20 per cent., because a reduction of 5 per cent. is not likely to have much effect in any direction. I find that no less than 836 persons are engaged in the manufacture of stationery, and that in the printing and book-binding trades, which are affected by this item, 3,515 persons find employment. Under all the circumstances, therefore,I think we might very well allow the item to pass as it stands.
– Under this item a number of articles are very unfairly taxed. Many of them might very wellhave been admitted at a much lower duty, or even placed upon the free list. The goods classed as stationery are widely diverse in character, and Senator Barrett, who has been a consistent advocate of protective duties, has admitted that many of them might very well have been placed upon a different footing. Included in the list are albums, birthday books, scrap, motto, and character albums, and a number of similar articles. I recently bad placed in my hands two birthday books upon which the 25 per cent. duty had been charged. One of these was a Longfellow birthday book. Longfellow’s poems, published in book form, are admitted free, but birthday books containing selections from them, and having blank spaces for signatures, are subject to a duty of 25 per cent. There does not. appear to be any reason in that.
– Birthday albums are simply extended almanacs, with a tag of poetry opposite each date.
– That is a peculiar way of describing them, and it seems extraordinary that such articles should be placed on the dutiable list. Illuminated and pictorial scripture text cards are upon the free list, and wedding and funeral cards and birthday, scrap, motto, and other albums might just as reasonably have been exempted. I had intended to propose the free admission of these articles, but I found on going through the list that so many others would have to be treated in the same way that it would be necessary to reduce the item by one-half. I regard Senator Neild’s proposal as a step in the right direction, and shall support it.
– I have received suggestions from the Free-trade League and from the Chamber of Commerce at Hobart with regard to the reduction of a number of duties, but no communication has reached me in reference to the articles included in this item. It therefore seems that many of the leading people of Hobart are content that the duty should stand. The item is an exceedingly mixed one, and as 20 per cent. is the highest ad valorem duty that we have hitherto levied in Tasmania, and as, I think, many articles in this item ought not to be subject to any higher rate, I shall support the proposal of Senator Neild. WhilstI agree with Senator O’Connor that a 25 per cent. duty may bring in a trifle more revenue than will a 20 per cent. duty for the first year, I am quite satisfied that that will not apply to subsequent years. Nothing is more certain than that under high protective duties there will be the keenest competition between manufacturers in all the States to capture the local markets, and that importations from abroad will be excluded more and more. Therefore, in the interest of the general consumer and of the revenue, we should not fix these duties at such a high figure as would permit the protectionists to capture our markets to the entire exclusion of foreign importation. Included in this item are a number of office requisites upon which a duty of even 20 per cent. would be too high, and certainly an all-round duty at that rate would be fairer than the higher impost of 25 per cent.
– It is all very well for Senator Gould to endeavour to persuade us that we shall be conferring an advantage upon swagsmen, shearers, and rouseabouts, and upon widows and poor washerwomen by the. reduction of these duties, but there are other people to be considered. I suppose that the honorable and learned senator regards photograph albums and birthday albums, and other books containing selections of poetry, as being among the articles which should beexemptfrom duty as forming an element in the free breakfast table, but I would point out that some protection should be afforded to our local poets. We have plenty of local poets whose verses might very well be used in the compilation of birthday books. Longfellow’s poems may be selected by the local manufacturers who desire to use them in making up birthday books, but I am anxious to encourage local poetry. Here is a verse from a local poet upon “The Laughing Jackass” -
Gentlemen and ladies, have you ever heard
Of a very curious kind of bird
Called the Kookaburra, gobbler up of snakes,
Or the horrid row it ma kes ?
The first timeI heard it make its noises rum,
I was sorely frightened, being a new chum,
For on every gum tree that I had to pass
Yelleda nasty, great Jackass !
Thus it was shrieking over my head,
Till with the noise I was close updead- “ Ha ! ha ! ha ! ha ! ha ! ha ! hoo !
Ha ! ha !ha! ha ! hoo ! hoo! hooooooo !”
What is the matter with that poetry? Should not this verse appear in some of the birthday albums? This selection is taken from a book, Songs ‘Neath the Southern Cross, of which John Cash Neild is the author. Further, what is the matter with Senator Pulsford’s “ In Memoriam “ verse?
– Order. I hope the honorable senator will adhere a little more closely to the subject before the Chair.
– I am arguing in favour of our local poets, butI need not pursue that point any further. There may be something in Senator Barrett’s contention that this item contains many articles upon which a duty of 20 per cent. would be sufficient, but honorable senators who agree with this view are not prepared to vote for the reduction of the duty upon the whole item. I would point out that the articles of stationery used in offices are not particularly expensive, and that, therefore, the duty is not likely to prove very oppressive in that connexion.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 123 by adding the words, “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, 20 per cent.”- put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the negative.
That the House of Representatives berequested to amend the special exemptions to item 123 by adding the words “and on and after 1st August, 1902, box-makers’ paper.”
I would point out to the committee that this class of paper is not made in Australia. It is imported. I have in my hand several samples of box-makers’ paper. There is no dispute with regard to any of these samples save the yellow one, upon which the Customs authorities are levying a duty. The box-makers affirm that this particular paper comes under the same heading as do the other samples, and in order to make the position perfectly clear the firm of Frame and Co., of this city, have asked me to move that box-makers’ paper be included in the special exemptions.
– I must oppose this motion, and I would remind the honorable senator that the box-makers already enjoy a protection of 25 per cent.
Senator BARRETT (Victoria). - I do not think that the Vice-President of the Executive Council has grasped the realposition. The whole of the papers, samples of which I hold in my hand, are already admitted free, with the exception of the yellow sample, in regard to which there is a dispute at the Customs.
– Are the Customs authorities charging duty upon it?
– Yes. But they admit all the other papers free, and charge duty upon the yellow paper, notwithstanding that it belongs to the same class. It is clearly an oversight that duty has been charged upon it, and I wish to remedy the injustice.
Question put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I would direct attention to the fact that at the present time paper patterns, are admitted free. Originally they were subjected to a duty of 25 per cent., whilst the paper used in their production was allowed to come in at a very low rate. This paper cannot be made within the Commonwealth. This paper is practically tissue paper, manufactured in large sizes of 40 inches by 60 inches, and I think Senator O’Connor might adopt a suggestion that it be placed in the special exemptions, provided that it be of the size I have named, and is used for pattern-making, under departmental regulations. If finished paper patterns are allowed to come in free, surely the paper from which the patterns are produced locally should not be taxed. Senator O’Connor, I understand, desires to encourage Australian industries, but, in this case, he is assisting the foreign maker as against the local producer, for whom we should have some consideration. This is a woman’s industry ; and I am prepared to agree to any restrictions which Senator O’Connor or the department may suggest. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the special exemptions to item 123, by adding the words, “ and on andaf ter 1st August,1902, Tissue paper, in sizes not less than 40 inches by60 inches, for patterns, under departmental by-laws. “
– I cannot accept the motion. Paper patterns are admitted free, because it is in the interests of manufacturers of apparel to have them from places outside Australia as soon as possible, in order that they may be enabled to keep up to date in the matterof fashion. Senator Neild, when he refers to this paper as the raw material of pattern-making, forgets, perhaps, that it is used for many other purposes. I do not see how it would be possible to distinguish between paper imported for pattern-making and paper imported for otherpurposes, unless the work were done in bond by a number of ladies, who might attend the Custom-house when the fashions had been decided on, or milliners’ shops were made bonded warehouses for the purpose. Under all the circumstancesI suggest that it would be practically impossible to carry out SenaNeild’s view.
– If Senator Neild presses the motion to a division I shall vote for it, and I congratulate the honorable senator on his appearing in a new role. Cut-paper patterns are being manufactured to some extent in Melbourne. I have had a circular from Madame Weigel, who carries on the business in Richmond, and from another lady who; I think, has an establishment at NorthFitzroy. It seems strange that the Government should allow finished patterns to come in free, and yet tax the tissue paper which is largely used by struggling dressmakers. There should be no insuperable difficulty in allowing this paper to be imported free under Customs regulation, and I do not see why Senator O’Connor should oppose a proposal which is made in the interests of a hard-working section of the community. I shall vote not only for this motion, but f or every motion of the kind when I see that raw material is beingunduly taxed.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the special exemptions to item 123, “ Stationery, manufactured . . . . “ by adding the words “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, tissue paper, in sizes not less than 60 inches by 40 inches for patterns under departmental regulations “ - put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the special exemptions to item 123, by adding the words “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, paper-shavings and waste-paper for paper making.”
This motion is necessary to remove an ambiguity. A quantity of waste-paper is used by paper-makers, and the question has arisen whether it ought to be charged duty. According to the Tariff, as it at present stands, this waste-paper must be charged a duty of 15 per cent. as paper not elsewhere included, and, of course, that was never the intention.
– Should this motion not have been submitted on item 122? We have already dealt with theitem of paper, and are now dealing with manufactured stationery.
– It is hardly competent for me to decide what may be a question for experts ; but there is nothing to prevent the committee making a request to this effect to the House of Representatives.
– It does not matter. If the House of Representatives adopts the suggestion, the articles may then be placed anywhere in the list of exemptions.
– Supposing any person were to import waste-paper or other similar rubbish, not for paper making, would duty have to be paid in the absence of any declaration?
– We do not want paper introduced under this head to be used as wrapping-paper.
Motion agreed to.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the special exemptions to item 123, by adding the words “ and on and after 1 st August,1 902, stay paper and stay cloth “ under departmental regulations.
These commodities are narrow strips of rather stiff paper, and are used for strengthening , the angles of cardboard boxes and similar articles. Under the Tariff, metal fastenings, which are used for precisely similar work of a stronger character, are admitted free, and there appears no reason why stay paper and stay cloth should not also be placed on the exemption list. They were admitted free at one time, but under a later decision by the Customs authorties they have been made dutiable to the extent of 25 per cent. Where it is possible by an act of administration to so unfairly discriminate between manufacturers, it is better to make the intention of Parliament quite clear.
– This matter has just now been placed before me, and; after making the best inquiry I can, I really do not see why stay paper and stay cloth should be. placed on the free list. They are simply strips of what is apparently a cardboard material, and they look remarkably like sticking plaster. The definition is too wide. I do not know what might be covered by the words staypaper and stay-cloth. I shall not offer any objection to the motion if the honorable senator will agree to insert the words, “ under departmental by-laws,” in order to protect the revenue. I do not wish to shut out any article which is patented, and which will help the box-makers. At the same time I do not desire to admit, under this general description, paper which may be used in connexion with dress.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales). - Simple as this product looks, it is only made in one place in the world and by one firm. It is not made in Australia; it is not made even in England. A man obtained a patent for his machine, and he retains the manufacture of this simple product in his own hands. I am quite willing to accept the suggestion of Senator O’Connor to add the words, “ under departmental by-laws.”
Motion amended accordingly and agreed to.
Division XIV. - Vehicles.
Item 124 (Bicycles), and item 125 (Cycle parts, n.e.i.) agreed to.
Item 126. -Vehicles, viz. . . .
Express waggons, waggons for carrying goods, single or double-seatedwaggons, four-wheeled buggies -mounted on springs or thorough braces and without tops,advalorem, 25 per cent.
Hansom cabs; also single or double-seated waggons, waggonettes,and four-wheeled buggies - with tops. ad valorem, 25 per cent.
Omnibuses and coaches for carrying mails or passengers, ad valorem, 25 per cent.
Tilburys, dog carts, gigs, Boston chaises, sulkies, and other two-wheeled vehicles - on springs or thorough braces, ad valorem, 25 per cent.
All ports thereof, viz.. wheels, tyred and bolted, bodies, undergears, under carriages, and tops, ad valorem, 25 per cent
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 126 by adding to the duty, “ Express waggons . … ad valorem, 25 per cent.,” the words, “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 20 per cent.”
The total revenue collected for six months under the six paragraphs of this item was very small. It was very little more than £800, and the estimated revenue for a normal year is £1,080. This includes £390 collected in New South Wales, where these vehicles were formerly duty free. If the duty is maintained at this high level of 25 per cent., the large majority of these vehicles will be made in Australia to a much larger extent than is the case now, and any little revenue which is now derived will disappear, but’ with a 20 per cent, duty there is a very fair and reasonable expectation that the revenue will at least be maintained at something like the same level as is indicated by the receipts in New South Wales for the six months. The importation of these vehicles was £11,3S2 worth into New South Wales, £5,902 worth into Victoria, £1,400 worth into Queensland, and £5,669 worth into South Australia, where, under the Customs arrangement, a large quantity of carriage builders’ materials was admitted under the general line of carriages and vehicles. If we compare the imports into New South Wales, where there was absolute free-trade, with the imports into Victoria, where there was a very high duty, amounting in some cases to 120 per cent., or more, we find that there was an importation of only £5,480 worth less into Victoria than into New South Wales. On that value, the profit of the local manufacturer would not be likely to be more than 20 per cent., which I think is a very liberal estimate. If it is regarded as a protective duty, it merely represents the making of a. profit of about £1,000 per annum in the carriage-making industry in Victoria. Is it worth while to maintain a duty of 25 per cent., a rate altogether destructive to revenue, with a possibility of a reward of £1,000 a, year, at the very outside, to the Victorian carriage builders 1 In New South Wales the duty is not wanted, because with a very much larger use of these vehicles - certainly 50 per cent, more than in Victoria - they make, and have made, under a free- trade Tariff, within £5,400 worth of the value of the Victorian production. In 1900 the employes numbered 2,006 in Victoria, and 1,574 in New South Wales. It must be remembered that in Victoria - as is the ease, I suppose, in other States, certainly in New South Wales - a great many of these vehicles are made by those who do not come within the description of carriage builders. From the labour stand-point, the industry has been quite as extensive an enterprise in New South Wales with absolute free-trade as it has been in Victoria with very high duties. It has also to be remembered that there is a considerable duty on the raw material, and the more we encourage the importation of material and parts which cannot be made here, the moi-e we shall help the revenue. The dutiable material, including the ordinary material and also articles which are not exclusively used by the industry, has been valued at about £75,000, so that there is a very considerable revenue derived by the different States. If we encourage to some extent that importation, we encourage revenue. If we impose a practically prohibitive duty on the vehicles, then we shall further diminish a rapidly diminishing revenue, as is shown by the returns lying on the table. In the first paragraph of this item, barouches, broughams, landaus, victorias, mail phætons, drags, and similar vehicles have been, it seems to me, very fairly charged 25 per cent. duty. Express waggons, waggons for carrying goods,single or double-seated waggons, and four wheeled buggies are universally used, especially in the outlying parts of Australia. They are of the greatest use on stations. They are used wherever light goods have to be carried over a distance to a railway station.
– And they are almost universally made here.
– Therefore there is no reason why we should maintain the high duty of 25 per cent, if the only effect of its imposition will, be to enable the manufacturers to keep up prices. .We know that the effect of such duties-is -to-encourage the formation of rings. Two or three makers lay their heads together, and say that, as a heavy duty of 25 per cent, is imposed, they cannot afford to sell a vehicle under a certain figure, perhaps £5 more than ought to be charged. That is the mischief which is done by the imposition of a very high duty where we have an established industry, which needs no protection, as against a fair duty which, at all events, would yield some revenue.
– Senator Symon has admitted that a large number of persons are employed in the waggon-making industry. It is one which does not require much capital, and, as every blacksmith who is a skilled workman can also perform the work of a coachbuilder and a wheelwright, these waggons are being made in almost every country town throughout the Commonwealth. At any rate, I know that they are largely made in the country parts of New South Wales.
– These waggons have been made in New South Wales without the assistance of a duty.
– Yes, but we must consider the position of the other States also. Vehicles of the kind to which the duty attaches are manufactured very largely and very cheaply in America, and are imported here in parts, packed in such a way as to make the freight very small.
– A duty of 25 per cent. would shut them out altogether.
– No doubt; a duty of 25 per cent. will largely reduce the importation of these waggons, but a very small reduction would enable the importers to obtain a fair profit. This is a protective, not a revenue, duty ; but it must be remembered that those who benefit by it have to pay if they import their raw materials, 15 per cent., upon springs, 15 per cent, upon leather, 10 per cent. upon iron, 15 per cent. upon lamps, 10 per cent. upon bolts and nuts, 6d. a gallon upon paint and oil,1s.10d. a gallon upon varnish, and 15 per cent. upon axles, so that their net protection is much less than25 per cent. Rut although the duty is a protective one, it will be felt only by those who wish to import expensive buggies with special fittings. The ordinary person who is contented witha good, sound buggy will be able to get one made locally, without having to pay any more for it because of theduty.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales). - Senator O’Connor has admitted that in New South Wales a large number of persons are employed in making the waggons to which this duty attaches, and he asked us not to destroy the industry by reducing the duty. But he forgot that in New South Wales the industry has developed withouttheassistanceof a duty, and, therefore, his contention, that the duty is necessary to protect it, falls to the ground. At any rate, if so many men havebeen able to make a living in New South Wales without a duty, surely those engaged in the industry in the other States will be able to get along with a duty of 20 per cent. There is another inconsistency in his statement. He asked us to retain a duty of 25 per cent., because the coachbuilders have to pay duties upon various articles which they use in the manufacture of waggons. But throughout the long debates upon the Tariff we have been told by protectionists that duties make the articles upon which they are imposed cheaper, and, therefore, these coachbuilders are really better off because of the duties which they have to pay. I shall support the motion, chiefly because the committee decided to reduce the duties upon agricultural and mining machinery, and these express waggons, which are so largely used by farmers, are as essential to them as are’ the reaping machines and other agricultural implements which they use. It is rather late in the day to expect uniformity in the Tariff, but I should like to point out that, while it is proposed to charge 25 per cent. upon farmers’ waggons, the duty levied upon gentlemen’s yachts is only 15 per cent. I do not wish to increase this latter duty, but I shall vote for a reduction of theduty upon waggons.
– I notice that all the duties in this division are fixed at 25 per cent., and I think that, taking all the facts into consideration, that rate is a very fair one. Unless I hear stronger arguments than have been advanced by Senators Symon and Millen, I shall not vote to reduce the rate in any case. Senator Symon admitted that a very large number of people are employed in the waggonbuilding industry, and stated that there are 2,000 employed in Victoria. That being so, we should not lightly reduce the protection afforded to the industry. I am a little disappointed, however, that the coach and carriage makers who want protection for their industry were not prepared to give it to those engaged in cognate industries. But although they were successful in wiping out the duty upon bent timber, I shall not give a vote which may prejudicially affect the carriage industry.
– But Senator O’Connor himself told the committee that these waggons are being made throughout New South Wales withoutany protection.
– We have heard a great deal of what is done in New South Wales. We were told that they manufactured iron there, but we found that the manufacturer obtained special concessions from the New SouthWales Government which were equivalent to a protective duty. Whenever I hear of the flourishing state of New South Wales industries, I feel that it is necessary to know something of the surrounding circumstances before accepting the statement. Senator Symon fears that unless the duty is reduced a ring will be formed by the manufacturers of express waggons. The competition among the local manufacturers will prevent the formation of rings such as the honorable senator seems to fear. In 1900 there were 162 coachbuilding establishments in Victoria employing four persons and upwards, the total number of hands engaged being 1,540. In the following year there were 166 factories, employing 1,661 hands. These numbers do not include the blacksmiths’ and coachsmiths’ shops scattered all through the country districts, in which only one or two hands are employed. When the past history of the industry is taken into account we may rest assured that the prices of vehicles will be retained at a reasonable figure by means of local competition. No sufficient reasons have been advanced for the reduction of the duty, but, on the other hand, it is desirable that our local coachbuilders should be protected against competition from America, where manufacturers carry on operations on a very large scale, and employ the latest and most efficient machinery.
– I very much regret chat Senator Symon did not stay away a little longer, because we were making very good progress before he returned, and were not called upon to deal with silly, stupid, inane, and childish amendments. The honorable and learned senator is certainly consistent, for the present proposal is quite in keeping with the attempts he has previously made to relieve certain people of taxation. The desire of the honorable senator to reduce this duty gives away the whole case of the free-trade party. They profess to desire to deal out evenhanded justice to the community, and to call upon the people to pay taxes in accordance with their ability to do so. If, however, any great hardship were inflicted by the imposition of a 25 per cent. duty, would the reduction now proposed make any great difference? What does 5 per cent. upon an imported buggy amount to, when we know that in every town and hamlet throughout the Commonwealth there are people who can make buggies, and that the internal competition amongst the various manufacturers will keep down the prices of the local article ? The reduction of the duty from 25 to 20 per cent. is not likely to confer any advantage upon the poor swagsmen or miners or prospectors, who have been so eloquently championed by some of the freetraders. The Government have acted wisely in extending protection to the local manufacturers, and in endeavouring to obtain a fair amount of revenue from people who disdain the purchase of anything Australian.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 126 by adding to the duty, “ Express waggons ….. 25 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, 20 percent. “-put. The committee divided -
The ACTING CHAIRMAN (Senator Dobson). - To guide me in this matter I have Standing Order 207 and also the ruling of the Chairman of Committees. As the Chairman has ruled that the President ought to be treated as a senator when he is out of the President’s chair, and ought to vote upon the side on whichhe sits, I think Senator Baker, if he desires to vote with the Ayes, should sit on the right of the Chair. At the same time, I may say that for the last twelve or thirteen months we have permitted Senator Baker to sit on whichever side he chose, and to merely indicate how he intended to cast his vote, and I do not think it is fair to place him in the position in which it is now sought to place him. That, however, is no business of mine. The Chairman has already given his decision, and I do not feel disposed to act contrary to it.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. - Will the honorable senator submit his dissent in writing?
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. - No. That would be farcical. I feel bound by the Chairman’s decision, and have acted accordingly
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. - He has voted with the Ayes, although sitting with the Noes.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN.- Senator Best ruled that Senator Baker should sit on the side upon which he intended to vote, and as I am only Acting Chairman, I prefer that this question should be settled by the President himself.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. - I have decided it as far as I can.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN.- I should be very glad to see that course adopted.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN.- Personally I am of opinion that Senator Baker should be allowed the privilege which the Senate has accorded him for the past twelve or thirteen months, but I feel bound to act according to the ruling of the Chairman.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN.- My decision was that according to Standing Order 207, and the ruling of the Chairman, Senator Baker, when voting as a member of the Senate, ought to sit on the side on which he votes.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN.- I do not see how Senator Baker’s vote can technically be counted with the Ayes, but that places the honorable senator in a very invidious position.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. - The statement which Senator Neild has handed in is a dissent from my ruling.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN.- But it is my ruling nevertheless.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. - That is the logical effect of it, but my opinion is that Senator Baker ought not to be placed in that position.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN.- Yes, it is with the Noes. When I say it is with the Noes, my own common sense tells me that it should be with the Ayes, but, in view of the Chairman’s decision, Senator Baker cannot vote with the Ayes if sitting with the Noes. I hope that Senator O’Connor’s suggestion will be adopted, and that the point of order will be withdrawn.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. - I know that, but I again express the hope that Senator O’Connor’s suggestion will be adopted. It is not in accordance with representative government to make a man vote contrary to his conscience, because he happens to be sitting upon the left of the chair, instead of upon the right. On reconsideration, I decide that Senator Baker cannot be considered as voting with the Noes, and his vote will be counted with the Ayes.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN.- I do not know that I gave a decision. I expressed the opinion that I should be guided by the ruling of the Chairman.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. - Do I understand that Senator Neild objects to my ruling before I decided Senator O’Connor’s second point ?
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. - The committee is still in division.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. - I decided that that was the logical outcome of what I said, but I do not think that any man should be called upon to vote contrary to his conscience, and I have now decided that Senator Baker’s vote shall be counted with the Ayes if he wishes it, but that he ought to sit with the Ayes. Senator Neild’s objection does not relate to the decision I have just now given.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN.- But the honorable senator’s objection was not directed to my decision as to how Senator Baker’s vote was to be counted ?
The ACTING CHAIRMAN.- As Senator Neild’s dissent was intended to apply to both the decisions I gave, I will now present it to the President.
In the Senate -
- Mr. President, exception was taken in committee to your sitting with the Noes and voting with the Ayes, and when I was appealed to, I decided - according to Standing Order No. 207, and the decision of the Chairman, whose place I was temporarily filling - that you ought to sit on the side on which you intended to vote. Senator O’Connor then asked me whether, as you sat with the Noes your vote should not be counted with the Noes and not with the Ayes. First, I decided in favour of Senator O’Connor’s view. As the discussion proceeded, however, and I realized that - although Senator O’Connor might be technically right - you would be placed in a false position, I took it upon myself to say that your vote ought to be counted with the Ayes, but that you were sitting in the wrong place. I now submit Senator Neild’s dissent from my ruling.
– I do not think that Iam placed in a false position. I have to perform a judicial function and to decide in accordance with the standing orders whether Senator Baker’s vote ought to be recorded on the side on which he sits, or on the side on which he says he wishes to vote. My ruling is that the Acting Chairman was perfectly right - that Senator Baker’s vote ought to be recorded on the side on which he sits. That is a literal construction of our standing orders, but it is perfectly clear that these standing orders were intended to apply to a different state of affairs. They were intended to apply only to circumstances in which the President in the House, and the Chairman in the Committee, have no deliberative vote, but only a casting vote. My decision, however, is that the Chairman was perfectly right in recording Senator Baker’s vote with the Noes. At the same time, I wish to refer to the courtesy which has been accorded to me for the past fifteen months of allowing me to declare in which way I desired to vote without at the same time changing my seat. I ask honorable senators whether they intend in the future to continue that courtesy, and, if not, why ? I am bound to construe the standing orders in the way I have stated, and although honorable senators have hitherto extended the courtesy of permitting me to indicate how I intended to vote without changing my seat, if it is desired to withdraw that courtesy I shall, of course, obey the decision, and sit on the side on which I intend to vote. In the meantime, I rule that the Acting Chairman was perfectly right.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN.- The result of the division is 9 Ayes and 9 Noes. The question is, therefore, resolved in the negative.
– ShouldI be in order in bringing forward the question of continuing to accord the President the courtesy hitherto extended to him ?
The ACTING CHAIRMAN.- No ; that cannot be done in committee.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 126 by adding to the duty, “Hansom cabs…… ad valorem, 25 per cent.,” the words “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 20 percent.”
The remarks which I made in regard to the item upon which we have just divided are equally applicable to this. I shall therefore content myself with moving the reduction.
– I object to the motion for the reasons I have already given.
Question put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Sir Josiah Symon) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 126 by adding to the duty, “ Omnibuses and coaches for carrying mails or passengers, 25 per cent.,” the words “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, 20 per cent.”
– I should like to know whether there is anything in the nature of a free breakfast-table connected with this proposition. I put it to Senator Symon whether he should not pay more respect to the other Chamber. I ask him whether he thinks it is likely that the members of the House of Representatives, having decided that such vehicles as hansom cabs and omnibuses shall carry a duty of 25 per cent., will consent to a reduction of that rate, especially in view of the fact that he can command only a majority of one?
– Never mind the House of Representatives.
– It is all very well for Senator Pulsford to make that remark, but we are here to pay attention to the decisions of the House of Representatives, just as its members are expected to respect our decisions. “When we know that the other Chamber has paid this Senate so much respect, and has been so deferential as to accept 90out of every 100 of our suggestions, it is wrong for Senator Symon to occupy time in proposing a reduction which will never be adopted by that House. In view of the strong agitation which is proceeding throughout the Commonwealth in favour of a speedy settlement of the Tariff, I ask Senator Symon to relent. He comes back here after having been absent-
The ACTING CHAIRMAN.- I do not think that the honorable senator ought to refer to that.
– Upon a former occasion Senator Clemons took exception to the absence of the leader of the House, although the latter cannot be here for ever. The work which he has been doing in connexion with this Tariff is almost superhuman. I refer to Senator Symon only for the purpose of saying that during his absence he has probably acquired a fund of surplus energy which he now proposes to let loose upon honorable senators who have been working continuously. I ask him to have mercy upon us, and upon the commercial community which is fast losing its respect for this Chamber.
– The honorable senator himself is responsible for occupying a great deal of time.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. - Order.
– I deny that allegation. I ask whether, during the debates upon this Tariff, I have been guilty of anything like the conduct which was witnessed this afternoon on the part of several honorable senators who wanted to put the President in a hole?
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. - The honorable senator has no right to refer to that matter.
– With all due respect, I beg to say that you, sir, ought to pull up Senator Charleston when he interjects.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN.- Will the honorable senator be good enough to proceed ?
– Will the Acting Chairman be good enough to call Senator Charleston to order when he interrupts my speech ?
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. - I did call Senator Charleston to order.
– I will not be too upon you, Mr. Acting Chairman, and I hope that you will be as kind to me.
– I rise to a point of order. Such remarks as we have just heard are too gross for anything, and it is the duty of the leader of the House to protect the Acting Chairman.
– I wish to submit a point of order. My point is that Senator Pulsford has raised no point of order.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN.- My decision is that there is no point of order.
– In all humility, I ask Senator Symon to have mercy upon us, and not to make propositions which there is no reasonable hope of the other Chamber accepting. Honorable senators may think that I desire to lower the dignity of the Senate in some way ; I assure them that I am anxious that we shall maintain a position of influence. But we* can do that only by transacting business in a reasonable and common-sense way. The task upon which we are at present engaged is that of improving the Tariff, and I ask Senator Symon whether his proposal to reduce the duty upon omnibuses is a common-sense one. If Senator Symon insists upon pushing this motion to a division, those who support him will show to the public who are the senators who are responsible for the waste of our time
– I very largely sympathize with the remarks of Senator Higgs, and I ask Senator Symon if he considers it worth while to occupy the time of the committee in discussing this proposal simply because he has a majority of one. He has not given us any reasons why the motion should be carried.
– I gave reasons why the duty upon express waggons should be reduced from 25 to 20 per cent., and the honorable senator then said that none of those reasons would induce him to vote for the reduction of any of the duties in this division.
– We are not now discussing a proposal to reduce the duty upon express waggons ; the item before us deals with omnibuses and coaches. There is probably not one omnibus made in the Commonwealth for every 500 waggons that are so made, and therefore the conditions ure not quite the same. We were asked to vote for a reduction of the duty upon waggons upon the ground that we should assist the poor farmer. It was said that he should not be taxed for the sake of the city manufacturer, and it was argued that, as the duties upon agricultural machinery have been reduced, the duty upon farmers’ waggons should also be reduced. No such argument, however, can be advanced in favour of the proposal now before us, and I shall vote against it.
– I can see no good reason for reducing the duty upon omnibuses and coaches by 5 per cent.
– The duty in Western Australia and in Tasmania was 20 per cent., and the New Zealand duty is 20 per cent. All the other States had specific duties.
– I do not think that 25 per cent, is an unreasonably high duty. It must be remembered that the various parts of vehicles like these are produced by tens of thousands in America, and packed together in such a way that the cost of I bringing them here is very small, and the i cost of putting them together after they I arrive here next to nothing ; but why should i we take work away from our own people simply to enable large and wealthy ‘bus 1 proprietors to purchase cheap vehicles? In Queensland coaches are very largely : used for the conveyance of mails and I passengers throughout that large territory, and have hitherto been made there ; but is it reasonable to bring our workmen into competition with those of other parts of the world, where wages are exceedingly low and the hours of labour very long? Notwithstanding the duty in Queensland, these vehicles have been produced at a reasonable rate there, because of the competition between our manufacturers. If the manufacturers of the Commonwealth cease to make them, not only will our wheelrights and coachbuilders be deprived of employment, but our timber-getters will also be injured.
– In Victoria they have never made coaches of this description from locally grown timber.
– I think the honorable member is misinformed.
– Where do they get the hickory?
– Very likely from the United States.
– Of course they do.
– But omnibuses are not exclusively built of hickory ; only the spokes and shafts are made of that material. There is a vast quantity of softwood and hardwood of every kind growing in Queensland which can be used for the making of omnibuses. Senator Pulsford is anxious to assist the great importing industry, and I have no desire to injure it ; but I certainly have some consideration for our own people who are engaged in this manufacture. Notwithstanding the strong leaning which Senators Symon and Pulsford have towards the great importing industry–
– I have no leaning to the importing industry, but I have consideration for the people of the country who have to pay the taxes.
– Does Senator Symon imagine that the people of the country will receive any benefit from a reduction of the duty on omnibuses and coaches by 5 per cent.?
– If there be a reduction, will the people of the country not have to pay a little less for the carrying of the mails ?
– By way of illustration, I may ask whether the people of the country will benefit by the bringing in of bottle and barrel beer at a duty of 3d. per gallon less than that originally proposed ? It is the importer or the publican, and certainly not the consumer, who will get the benefit. I have been expecting with some degree of hope that Senator Symon, Senator Playford, and Senator Neild would rest on their oars and be content with the destruction they have already done. But they have the boxing-gloves on still, and will doubtless keep them on until the end of the chapter. There are other persons who can use those gloves, and if that is the line of action those honorable senators are going to take, I promise that on this side of the House they will meet foemen worthy of their steel.
– I hope I shall not disappoint honorable senators by keeping them a little longer. I have been very quiet this afternoon, and I rise now only to say that at one time I had an idea there was a free-trade party in the Senate. But I began to get confused when the party seemed to turn into a revenue tariff party. By the attitude assumed by these honorable senators to-day, and for some time past, I am more confused than ever, and begin to imagine that the difference between protection and free-trade is the difference between 20 per cent, and 25 per cent. That is a very ridiculous position for any party to place themselves in. If the great free-trade party, with whom Senator Pulsford is allied, had moved that this item be made free, there would have been necessity for intelligent discussion, and people outside would not be wondering why the Tariff is delayed so long. But honorable senators move that duties of 25 per cent, be reduced to 20 per cent., and if that proposal be defeated, there is another attempt at once made to reduce the imposts to 221/2 per cent. Under the circumstances those who are opposed to the free-traders have a perfect right to call attention to conduct of the kind ; and that is what we are now endeavouring to do. I have no objection to free-traders doing all they possibly can to establish a free-trade Tariff. I am determined to do all I can to, in some respects, make this a protective Tariff in the interests of the people of Australia. But when time is wasted in the discussion of two policies, the difference between which is only 5 per cent., it is time the people expressed their weariness of long discussions on trifling issues. Had there been no possibility of making items free, or of making substantial reductions to 5 per cent, or 10 per cent., a proper, statesmanlike action on the part of the free-traders would have been to leave the Tariff as it is at present, having regard to the almost equal division of opinion. Honorable senators ought to consider the relative positions of the two branches of the Federal Legislature. If there had been a possibility of such a majority being obtained in the Senate, that, when the two Chambers were compelled to sit as one, the majority in the House of Representatives would have been outweighed, I should have no objection to these matters being fought out to the very end. But from what has occurred elsewhere, we know that such an expectation is absurd, and a ridiculous motion such as that we are now discussing will only have the effect of wasting the time of the country.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - Senator Symon may be under the impression that by his present action he is helping the public in the back-blocks, who benefit by the carrying of the mails. But a company like Cobb and Co., for instance, who carry the mails in the western parts of Queensland, make all their own coaches, and verv excellent workmanship they are. The coach manufacturers throughout Queensland have very good workmen, who, in many establishments, are paid good rates of wages. Although a reduction from 25 per cent, to 20 per cent, may appear to be small, the importation of a number of these omnibuses would make a great difference to local manufacturers.
– I do not think that any omnibuses have been imported into the Commonwealth during the last five years.
– Senator Symon, I suppose, submits this motion in the interests of the widow and orphan, whose cause he has recently championed. But do widows and orphans want omnibuses in which to carry mails, or in which, dressed in Parisian garden hats, they can drive to the theatre? This at once shows the holloowness and sham of the proposal. The whole free-trade party profess to champion the cause of the widow and the orphan, the poor farmer, and the swagman, the latter of whom, according to Mr. Reid, wants his starch cheap. Can Senator Symon mention a farmer who requires an omnibus or a coach 1 No doubt the poor farmer will want the coach to carry him to his last resting place when the free-trade party have succeeded in destroying this Tariff and killing his industry. At no time will Senator Symon “ let up,” so to speak, on the local manufacturers. If he cannot get a reduction of 15 or 20 per cent, he will try for a reduction of 5 per cent. - anything to injure the local manufacturer.
– One or two honorable senators have made some rather strange remarks. Senator McGregor implied that we look upon a 20 per cent, duty as the essence of free-trade, and a 25 per cent, duty as the essence of protection.
– That is what the honorable senator’s words implied to my ears. Honorable senators know very well that there is no truth in any such statement. We do not propose a duty which is protective on these articles because we consider it a free-trade duty ; that would be ridiculous. We are moving for a 20 per cent, duty, only because we feel that we cannot expect to do any better. We are content with small mercies at the present time. We are trying to get as much as we can instead of that which Ave think we ought to have. I think that honorable senators generally recognise that 20 per cent, is a very heavy protection. Senator Glassey spoke as if we were proposing that omnibuses and coaches should be placed on the free list, as if we were going to sweep away the protection that is proposed to be given in this item. We have no such luck as to find ourselves in a position that would warrant our moving in that direction. If circumstances would only come about in which we could do so, honorable senators would find us needing no urging to take that course. It costs a great deal to import these articles, and when a 20 per cent, duty is added to the cost of import, the protection, Customs and natural, amounts to an immense sum, probably 50 per cent, all told. So that it is utterly idle for Senator Glassey, or any one else, to make an appeal on behalf of an industry which is going to be starved out by the mere fact of knocking 5 per cent, off a very big duty. In view of all the circumstances, I hope the committee will not raise any objection to the motion.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 1 2C by adding to the duty, “ Omnibuses and coaches for carrying mails or passengers, ad valorem, 25 per cent.,” the words “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, 20 per cent.”- put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 126 by adding to the duty, “ Tilbury, ad valorem, 25 per cent. . . . “ by adding the words, “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 20 per cent.”
The same reasons apply to this paragraph of the item as applied to the paragraph in respect ofwhich a division was taken and the voting was equal. I have dealt with the item as a whole, although it is divided into different paragraphs. It appeared to me that it was absurd to suggest that we should have a 25 per cent. duty on one branch of practically the same item, and a 20 per cent. duty on another branch. Owing to the rule in the Constitution Act - an unfortunate rule, I think, in many of these cases - a question has to pass in the negative when the voting is equal. We, therefore, have a discrepancy between the duties which are embraced in this item. That, unfortunately, cannot be helped, but the object I now have in view is to make the duty on tilburys, dogcarts, and gigs uniform with the duty on hansom cabs, waggonettes, and buggies. Owing to the vote being equal, we have left the duty on omnibuses and coaches at 25 per cent. I also intend to move that the duty on the parts of all these vehicles be reduced from 25 to 20 per cent.
– I am anxious to know why Senator Symon wishes to reduce this duty by 5 per cent. Dogcarts and gigs are used by doctors, merchants, clergymen, commission agents, and other persons who can well afford to pay a 25 per cent. duty. I understood that we were all anxious to distribute the taxation in proportion to the ability to pay. With Senator Symon, however, it is not a question of whether people are able to pay the tax, but merely a question of affording some relief to the well-to-do, and of making some alteration with a view to send the Tariff down to the other House in such a ridiculous form that its members will have something to say against it.
– If anything more were required to show the general public the hollow and sham professions of the free-trade party, it is to be found in the proposal which has been submitted to reduce the duty upon these particular vehicles. At the present time the cry of that party throughout Victoria is that they are anxious to relieve the poor of taxation, and to levy it upon the rich. Surely they must now abandon that claim. Only about 1 per cent. of the population of the Commonwealth are in a position to purchase a sulky, and we should tax people in accordance with their ability to pay. The man who can afford to purchase a dogcart, Tilbury, Boston chaise, or sulky can well afford to pay for it any increased price which may result from the operation of a 25 per cent. duty. The Tariff is already ridiculous enough, but if Senator Symon succeeds in reducing the duty upon these vehicles by 5 per cent. it will be the laughing stock of all political economists throughout Australia. I ask the honorable and learned senator what hope there is of his proposal being accepted by the other Chamber? The voting upon the last division was equal, and the question was thus resolved in the negative.
– We will recommit that item.
– I know that most honorable senators upon the free-trade side of the Chamber are prophets, but my desire is to insure that the manufacturers shall make reasonable profits.
– The accusation made against those who support the proposal of the leader of the Opposition is that a reduction of this duty will not in any way benefit the poorer classes of the community. But I would point out that it is for the other side to justify the imposition of a duty of 25 per cent. upon articles which are in daily use by a large section of the community. Why is this duty to be imposed ? According to Senator Higgs it is to be levied in order that profits may be put into the pockets of the manufacturers. Is the imposition of such a heavy duty to be justified by that plea? For every vehicle that is used by the wealthy classes for pleasure, 99 are used in connexion with the smaller businesses of Melbourne. Quite a large number of small tradespeople keep a sulky as a portion of their working plant. I protest against increasing the cost of vehicles which are used by the poorer sections of the community for the purpose of earning their daily bread.
– The honorable senator is always thinking about the poor.
– The honorable senator is the friend of the poor upon the platform, but he comes here and seeks to falsify every word he has uttered by endeavouring to make it harder for them to live. I have had quite enough of these hypocritical lectures from that corner of the Chamber. If we wish to tax those who use vehicles for pleasure, the right way of doing so is to make them take out licences, as persons in other countries have to take out gun licences and fishing licences. This item, however, covers not only thevehicles which are used wholly for pleasure, but the little village carts which are used by small tradespeople during the week, and are occasionally useful on Sunday for pleasuring. Is it reasonable to levy a duty upon the great number of people who use vehicles of that description chiefly for business purposes, merely to tax the few rich people to whom vehicles are articles of luxury?
– The reductionof the duty from 25 to 20 per cent. will not make these vehicles one halfpenny cheaper. It will have no effect whatever.
– If honorable senators think that, why have they spent so much time in resisting the motion ? But if the reduction of the duty from 25 to 20 per cent. will make no difference, its reduction to 15 per cent., and to 10 per cent., and so on until it is abolished altogether, will make no difference. But the very purpose of the duty is to make these vehicles dearer, with the philanthropic object, as Senator Higgs pointed out, of increasing the profits of the manufacturers. When honorable senators ask for the retention of a duty of 25 per cent., they prove the absolute failure of protection.
– The strenuous way in which the motion has been opposed makes it difficult to believe that honorable senators opposite think that reduction of the duty by 5 per cent. will not make much difference in the price of vehicles. Senator Glassey, for his part, waxed very wrath at the idea that it would seriously injure not only the coachbuilders, but the timber-getters of his State. But if a duty of 20 per cent. has not injured the coachbuilding industry in Western Australia, why should it totally destroy that of Queensland, South Australia, and Victoria? As a matter of fact, Western Australia, with a duty of 20 per cent. and a population of 200,000, contains 335 coachbuilders, while South Australia, with ahigher duty, and a population of nearly 400,000, contains only 210 coachbuilders. Then, too, the wages paid in Western Australia will compare very favorably with those paid elsewhere. On the coast, wheelwrights get 10s. a day, or £3 a week, while on the goldfields they get £4 a week. All kinds of vehicles are made in Western Australia, and they will compare favorably with those imported either from the other States or from America. Queensland, with a population more than double that of Western Australia, has only 397 coachbuilders.
– No ; there are 633 in Queensland.
– According to the figures supplied by the Barton Government, there are, only 397. Those are the figures which I have always quoted, and I am content to stand by them now.
– Senator Pearce knows as well as any other senator that in a new country an industry may exist for years without protection, because of the immense amount of work there is to be done. Ten or twelve years ago there were very few railways in Western Australia, so that most of the travelling had to be done either by horse or in vehicles of some description and a large number of men were required to repair those vehicles, apart from those occupied in making new vehicles. The people of Western Australia required vehicles of one description or another, and had to do all they could to get them as soon as possible. Therefore a large number of hands found employment in the making of new vehicles, because the importations did not keep pace with the demand. But in South Australia, during the same period, there has not been as much progress in coachbuilding, because the majority of those who required vehicles were already supplied, and in the more prosperous times which preceded it the coachbuilders laid in a large stock, of which it has taken them a considerable time to relieve themselves.
– But what about the men required to effect repairs ?
– Does not the honorable senator know that when there was nothing but bush and sand in Western Australia, there were good roads in South Australia, and that where the roads are good there are not so many breakages as where vehicles have to be dragged over practically waste country. Senator Pearce is willing to stand by the figures supplied by the Government on this occasion, but he uses them only when it suits him ; he does not quote them when they would not assist his argument.
Senator GLASSEY (Queensland). - I do not attach much importance to the return from which Senator Pearce has quoted, and I have not used it during this discussion. I prefer to go to the yearly records prepared by the statistical departments of the States. I regard them as of far more value than any return prepared for a special purpose. In Victoria the duty on these articles was £6, though on sulkies it was 25 per cent. ; in Queensland, £10 ; in South Australia, £10 ; in Tasmania, 20 per cent. ; in Western Australia, 20 per cent. ; in New Zealand, 20 per cent.; and in Canada, 35 per cent. The duty of 10 per cent. was imposed in Queensland because it was deemed to be much better for the general welfare of the community that these vehicles should be constructed by our own people, rather than that they should be brought from abroad. If imported commodities are required by persons of means, then certainly those persons should be called upon to pay a certain sum into the exchequer.
– According to the return, there are fewer workmen in Queensland than in Western Australia.
– I have never quoted that return once, but have relied on the statistics furnished by the department. It is impossible for employers to pay decent wages unless they are protected at the ports. - Senator Pearce. - How does the honorable senator account for the workmen of Western Australia getting decent wages?
– I think Senator McGregor answered that question when he said that the work in Western Australia was not so much manufacturing as repairing work.
– That is pure assumption, without the shadow of argument.
– As to the number of persons employed, I do not rely on the statistics quoted by Senator Pearce.
– Does the honorable senator consider the figures unreliable ?
– I do not consider they are so valuable as the statistics prepared year by year by the oflicials of each State.
– That is a reflection on the Government.
– I am not here as the apologist of the Government ; I never was the apologist of any being or Government.
– The honorable senator is an apologist for protection.
– I am an apologist for what is just and right for our people ; I am not here as the special advocate of people abroad. According to the official statistics of Queensland for 1900, I find that in the northern division of that State there were 66 persons employed in this industry; in the central division 96; and in the southern division 471, or a total of 633. I venture to say that if we could refer to the official statistics up to the present time we should find that the number had increased.
– Are all these people engaged in coachbuilding or in blacksmithing and other similar industries?
– They are employed in coachbuilding only, the figures for the saddlery, harness, and other trades being given under different heads. We are everlastingly hearing about New South Wales and Western Australia in this connexion, but it must not be forgotten that there has been a duty of 20 per cent. in the latter State. Why reduce the duty by 5 per cent., and run the risk of injuring our own workmen, without providing the vehicles any more cheaply to the users ?
– The vehicles ought to be cheaper.
– The workman may be prejudiced, but the purchaser cannot be benefited to any great extent.
– In the return it is stated that the figures contained therein are the only reliable figures kept by the department in Queensland. Those which Senator Glassey has been quoting must be a pure estimate.
– No ; the figures I have given are in a table which shows the number of hands employed in 1900 in each of the divisions of the State. That table was prepared by the official statistician of Queensland, who has given unbounded satisfaction, and whose statements are never called in question. A return is prepared hurriedly, and it depends entirely on what questions are asked as to what kind of information is received.
– This return was supplied by a protectionist Government, and ought to be correct.
– That is a little sneer which has no effect on me. Protectionists are not infallible, but neither are free-traders. There is justice and fair play in protecting those who have invested their money, and those who are employed in different manufactures, and the balance of argument is in favour of obtaining our goods from our own countrymen rather than from abroad. I am sick and tired of hearing “foreign patriots “ advocating the claims of any but their own countrymen. I prefer to see our own people employed at fair wages under good conditions, and not brought into competition with the cheapest labour carried on under the worst possible conditions.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 126 by adding to the duty, “ Tilburys …. . ad valorem, 25 per cent.,” the words, “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 20 per cent.” - put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 126 by adding to the duty, “Vehicles, all parts thereof, ad valorem, 25 per cent.,” the words, “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 20 per cent.”
This is the last line in this item, and there should be no objection to the motion, which deals with the raw material of the industry.
– These recommendations have to go to the House of Representatives, and it is a nice question for honorable senators to consider whether this particular line ought to be 20 per cent. or 25 per cent. The completed article, in some instances, pays 25 per cent., and, in other instances, 20 per cent.; and the question is - At which rate should the duty be imposed on these parts?
– It ought to be 10 per cent.
– For reasons which have already been given, I oppose this proposed reduction, and I hope honorable senators will show some semblance of consistency, and maintain the duty at 25 per cent.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - Senator O’Connor is quite right, and I do not take exception to his drawing attention to the position ; but I rather agree with Senator Neild that the duty ought to be very much less than 20 per cent. In another place, however, for what reason I do not know, this duty was fixed at 25 per cent. in uniformity with the duty on the completed article. I submit my motion in order that that uniformity may be maintained.
Question -That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 126 by adding to the duty, “Vehicles all parts thereof. . . . advalorem, 25 per cent.,” the words, “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, 20 per cent.” - put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Division XV. - Musical instruments.
Item 127. - (Musical instruments, n.e.i.) agreed to.
Item 128.- Organs, pipe, ad valorem, 20 per cent.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 128 by adding the words “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, 15 per cent.”
I do not see why pianolas, which are certainly articles of luxury to persons who cannot play the piano, should be admitted at 15 per cent., and a tax of 20 per cent, imposed on articles which are specially adapted to the purpose of religious worship. A 20 per cent, duty on pipe organs is a tax on religion. The Ministry levy a tax of 15 percent, on the medicines of the sick, 25 per cent, on their tombstones, and 25 per cent, on the funeral cards which announce. their death, and now we are asked to impose a duty of 20 per cent, on the organ which is to play the requiem. If this item referred to organs generally, I might take a different view, because it would include organs used in private houses, such as the American organ ; but it relates to only the church organ. Of course, some good old Scotch covenanters, like Senator Stewart, may have an objection to a “box o’ whustles.” I do not see why an organ for a place of worship should be taxed 20 per cent, when I observe, on referring to the special exemptions, that a gentleman may import, duty free, a cheap fiddle, and render insane the populace of a district. It is not a fair thing that a person who is disposed to worship his God according to his conscience, with the aid of a pipe organ, should have a 20 per cent, tax placed on his devotions, while the person who is bent on disturbing the sanity statistics is supplied with weapons of the violin order for that purpose, free of duty. I object to a 20 per cent, tax being placed upon my devotional exercises. While we have orchestral and military band instruments dutyfree, and an entire district can be disturbed in the early hours of the evening by the clashing of cymbals and the banging of drums - all free of duty - those who desire worship according to their conscience in the- humble Gonventicle or in the stately cathedra] have to pay 20 per cent, for the privilege of worshipping God with the help of a pipe-organ. It is a shocking proposal. It appeals to me with a sense of sacrilege. I trust that honorable senators will be true to themselves and to their religious convictions, and vote for a reductipn of this duty. Adopting the beautiful words of Kipling, I do not think that an organ can “moan its sorrows to the roof “ properly, if a 20 per cent, tax is levied on it. A large number of persons who attend church expect to hear the stately tones of an organ re-echoing through the aisles of the noble cathedral, or giving a dignity and a glory to the smaller and humbler place of worship, which necessarily is the spot at which the majority pay their devotions. Having regard to the fact that pipe-organs are not a monetary advantage to any human being, but are an adjunct to divine worship, and are purchased by the subscriptions of all classes, it seems to me utterly preposterous that they should be subject to the highest rate of duty which is placed on musical instruments. All band arid orchestral instruments are allowed to come in free.
– Will the bagpipes be free?
– Yes, owing to the action of an enthusiastic Scotchman in the other House. Why should bagpipes any more than pipe-organs be free ? Why should the skirling of the bagpipes be free, and the melodious tones of the organ of the church taxed 20 per cent. This discrimination is an outrage.
– I do not know whether the honorable senator has a brief from the religious bodies, but I think that the people who are most interested in this duty are those who have to put their hands in their pockets to pay it. Adelaide is described throughout Australia as the “ city of churches,” and if there is any place in the Commonwealth that deserves that title, it is tine capital of South Australia. In that State we have in the past levied the comfortable duty of 25 per cent, upon pipe-organs, and we have had no trouble with our religious friends. Under all the circumstances I consider the duty a reasonable one.
– Pipe-organs were placed on a footing different from that occupied by pianolas, because nine out of every ten of the organs used in the Commonwealth are made by local builders, who are entitled to some encouragement. We have also provided for the free admission of metal pipes for pipe-organs, and this is intended as a further aid to the local industry. Surely this item should not be attacked simply because it affords a little protection, and I hope, therefore, that it will be agreed to.
- Senator Neild tried to be very funny, but I would remind him that his fancied humour is not argument, and that it is quite out of place in connexion with this item. The honorable senator contradicted himself at every point, and the impression left upon my mind was that he was not sincere. I should like to know whether the honorable senator was requested to propose the reduction of the duty?
– The honorable senator spoke as if he had a brief from the religious bodies of Australia. I have not heard any objection raised to the 20 per cent, duty which has hitherto been levied upon pipe-organs in Victoria. If the honorable senator will carefully note the class of instruments which are now subject to a duty of 15 per cent, he will see that they are very different in character from pipeorgans. I cannot understand the honorable senator’s references to the devotions of the people being aided by pipe-organs. The honorable senator may know something about military matters, but he evidently is not an authority upon matters relating to public worship. I have yet to learn that any man with a devotional spirit can make it manifest through a pipeorgan. The honorable senator twitted Senator Stewart about the Scotch Covenanters and their “ box of whustles,” but showed a lamentable want of historical knowledge. He ought to have known that the Covenanters were strongly opposed to the introduction of instrument al music into their religious services.
– I said so.
– The honorable senator says so now. It must not be assumed that pipe-organs are used solely in churches, because for every pipe-organ in the churches 50 could be found in private dwellings. Senator Sargood has a fine pipeorgan at “ Rippon Lea,” and numbers are to be seen in cottages and villas as well as in more pretentious places of abode. Senator Neild therefore talked nonsense when he referred to the duty as a tax upon religion. This duty is imposed in the interests of the large number of persons who are engaged in the building of organs within the Commonwealth, and as no demand has been made by the public for its reduction, I hope the motion will be negatived.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - I should not have spoken again, but for the rather remarkable speech just delivered by Senator Barrett. The honorable senator was either not listening to what I said or had not a sufficient amount of intelligence to apprehend what I set forth in plain English. What I said in reference to the old Scotch Covenanters was that, I could quite understand any one who agreed with them differing from me, because they did not believe in a “ box o’ whustles. Senator Barrett was confusing the American reed-organ with the pipeorgan when he spoke of the latter class of instruments being as common as the humble mangle or the wash-tub. I stated distinctly that I did not propose to reduce the duty upon American organs such as are to found in many households, because the per cent, duty is applied only to pipe-organs of which very few are to be found, except in places of worship.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 128, by adding the words, “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 15 per cent.” - put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to omit, on and after 1st August, 1902, the special exemption to item 128, “Metal pipes for pipe organs.”
I submit this motion at the request of local manufacturers, who declare that these pipes can be made within the Commonwealth quite as well as they can be made elsewhere. I understand that four different tradesmen are required to produce a completed organ metal pipe, namely, the pipe maker, the voicer, the brass-reed maker, and the pipe decorator, all of whom are at present unprotected. I am further informed that these metal pipes can be packed so closely that the oversea freightage affords very little natural protection to the industry. Moreover, it frequently happens that they are brought out in subsidized steamers. In this connexion, Mr. Edward H.Wood, an organ metal pipe maker, carrying on business at Hawthorn, has written to me as follows : -
For the past six years, under the late Victorian Tariff, I have made most of the metal pipes for
Victorian-built organs, and have kept a struggling business going in the hope that federation would give me a much wider field, and enable me to build up a prosperous business ; and I respectfully ask that I be accorded the same protection as the rest of the organ-building business. I have not received one order since metal pipes were placed upon the list of exemptions.
I think that the claim put forward by the writer is a perfectly legitimate one. If the local builders of organs are to be protected by a fairly heavy duty, surely they will be willing to pass on a little of that protection to the man who makes the metal pipes.
– Surely we have not yet reached the position that the 4,500,000 people of the Commonwealth - through their religious organizations - are to be taxed to accomodate one person who has started to manufacture more or less reliable organ pipes. That is a proposition which will scarcely commend itself to the committee, or afford sufficient justification for seeking to bring about a conflict with the other House, about which we have heard so much, followed possibly by an appeal to the electors. I hope that the motion will not be agreed to.
Question put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item 129. - Pianos, viz., grand and semigrand, ad valorem, 20 per cent. Upright, ad valorem, 20 per cent. Whether worked mechanically or otherwise, ad valorem, 20 per cent. Parts thereof, n.e.i., ad valorem, 20 per cent.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 129 byadding to the duty “Pianos, upright, ad valorem, 20 percent.,” the words, “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 15 per cent.”
I ask that a distinction should be drawn between the duty upon the more expensive class of pianos and that upon those instruments which are used by thousands who make an honest living by teaching the rising generation how to play the piano. The latter class of instrument is absolutely the tool of trade of the pianoforte teacher. If the axe-handle, the hammer, the chisel, and the thousand and one other tools by which people earn their livelihood are to be exempt from duty, why should the piano which enables many persons to earn their daily bread be made to bear such a high tax as 20 per cent. ?
– I would point out to Senator Neild that as a rule the people who are able to purchase pianos are better off than the washerwoman of whom he spoke quite recently. Further, if the former are required to pay a little more for their pianos by reason of the operation of the proposed duty, the effect must be to relieve the burden of taxation upon thelatter. Moreover, there is a firm in New South Wales - Messrs. Beale and Company - who have recently established a piano factory in that State, owing to the encouragement afforded them by this Tariff. That firm is turning out a really good article, and is entitled to a fair measure of protection.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - Reference has been made to the piano factory in New South Wales. Here we have another case in which the interests of a single firm are being considered before the interests of the people of. the Commonwealth. As a matter of fact, however, that factory was established under free-trade, and therefore it is a farce to support this duty as a protection to that industry. Senator Higgs has referred to the duty upon mangles, but the Senate, upon my motion, requested the reduction of that duty from 20 to 10 per cent., and both Houses have decided that sewing machines should be admitted free. I would like to point out that teachers of violin playing, who are chiefly men, are allowed to import their violins duty free, while teachers of piano playing, who are chiefly women, are being asked to pay 20 per cent. upon their instruments. There is no sense of fairness in such an arrangement.
– We have already fixed the duty upon grand and semi-grand pianos at 20 per cent., but it is the upright pianos, with which we are now dealing, which come chiefly into competition with the locally-made pianos, and, that being so, why should we reduce the duty upon them from 20 per cent. to 15 per cent.? Although there is a piano factory in only one State, it is capable of supplying to a large extent the wants of the people of that State, and the industry is one which should be protected.
- Senator Neild has tried to introduce a new argument by referring to the piano as a tool of trade. I do not agree with him that it is a tool of trade. But in any case, I would point out that the teacher of piano playing generally goes to the homes of his pupils, and instructs them upon the piano there, instead of buying a piano for them to learn upon. Although the honorable senator speaks lightly of the piano-making industry of New South Wales, there are others in this Chamber who are not inclined to neglect any of the industries of the Commonwealth, wherever situated. Victorian senators have been charged, over and over again, with wishing to benefit Victorian industries alone, but that charge cannot be made against us in this case. The piano industry is a flourishing one in New South Wales.
– It has flourished there under free-trade.
– But at certain periods of its existence it has enjoyed the benefits of protection, and since the Federal Tariff came into operation, the firm of Messrs. Beale and Company have launched out considerably. Some time ago I read an account of the opening of their new premises, at which the State Premier, Senator O’Connor, and other public men were present. It was explicitly stated then that the federal duties were the reason for the expansion of business. I am told that the pianos made by this firm are excellent in quality, and are well made. It must not be forgotten that we are trying to establish a national policy by this Tariff, and that we are considering, not the wants of the Australia of to-day, with its population of less than 4,000,000, but the wants of the Australia of the future. Honorable senators appeal to us to accept this motion, because the reduction is one of only5 per cent. I cannot see how so small a induction can make any difference to those who have to buy pianos, whereas it may make a substantial difference in the amount of protection afforded to the piano-making industry. I shall oppose the motion.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 129 by adding to the duty, “ Upright, ad valorem, 20 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, 15 per cent.” - put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the negative.
– The instrument referred to in the third paragraph dealing with pianos, “worked mechanically or otherwise,” is one that cempetes with the pianola, but I think the latter may supersede the former. The difference in the cost, however, is tremendous, and the class of persons who might be delighted at the operation of a mechanical piano is different from the class who might enjoy what is in my opinion an inartistic performance on the pianola. The latter instrument cannot be made here or purchased here under £55, and is essentially an article of luxury which can be used only in conjunction with a piano. It will be seen that in addition to a pianola, a piano must be purchased at a cost ranging perhaps from £30 to £50. A pianola is taxed to the extent of 15 per cent., but the other instrument, which is what is sometimes called the French piano, and is played in the streets, is to be taxed 20 per cent. Personally, I hate the pianola, and should like to see it taxed much higher, but I have pointed to an absolute inconsistency, and I ask Senator O’Connor to place the poor man’s mechanical music on the same plane as that of the rich man.
– The pianola is not a musical instrument, but a mechanical device for working a piano.
– It is therefore charged 15 per cent. as a revenue duty, seeing that it cannot be manufactured here. The words, ‘“whether worked mechanically or otherwise,” refer to pianos. Since we have imposed a duty on pianos, it is provided that pianos, even if worked by some mechanical process, shall pay some duty. A piano, simply because it has some mechanical attachment, ought not be allowed to come in as a pianola.
– A pianola has nothing to do with a piano.
– I have pointed out already that a mechanical attachment might serve the same purpose as a pianola. If there is a certain duty on pianos, an instrument should not be allowed to come in at a lower rate, simply because there is some mechanical attachment. If the suggestion of Senator Clemons were acted upon, it might, under some circumstances, lead to evasion.
Item agreed to.
Division XVI. - Miscellaneous.
Item 130. - Bags, baskets, boxes, cases, or trunks, including fittings, viz. : - Fancy, hand, sporting, travelling, picnic, toilet, dressing, glove, handkerchief, collar, and work ; satchels, reticules, valises, and companions,ad valorem, 20 per cent.
– I am surprised that it is proposed to tax the school-child’s satchel to the extent of 20 per cent., while, according to the next item, the rich man’s yacht is to be admitted at 15 per cent. I protest against such legislation.
Item agreed to.
Item 131. - Boats, launches, and yachts imported in any vessel, including all fittings, ad valorem, 15 per cent.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania).- I do not know why the words “imported in any vessel “ are used, seeing that articles are not likely to reach Australia by any other means.
– The explanation is that if a boat sails out here it is allowed in free as a ship, but if it is brought in another ship then duty has to be paid.
– Is it contemplated under this item to tax rowing and sculling boats ?
– These boats are equally parts of a ship, so that I still think the words “ imported in any vessel “ are unnecessary.
– It is not probable that any person would row a boat to Australia, but yachts and other vessels may sail out, so that the words may be necessary. For instance, the Tilikum, which sailed here was not charged any duty, but had she been brought out in another vessel, duty would have had to be paid.
SenatorCLEMONS. - I think it is a mistake to interfere with a sport like rowing by imposing a tax upon boats.
Item agreed to.
Item 132. - Brush ware, viz.: -
Carpet sweepers, hairbrushes and combs (toilet), and tooth brushes, ad valorem, 15 per cent.
N.E.I., including brooms, mops, crumb trays mid brushes, ad valorem, 25 per cent.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend . item 132 by adding to the special exemptions on and after 1st August, 1902, the words, “Painters’ and paperhangers’ brushes.”
On the 11th June I had presented a petition from the Master Painters and Decorators’ Association of New South Wales, and on 17th of the same month, a similar petition from the Trades Union of Painters of Sydney, asking that these articles should be made free. The masters have considerable interest in this question, because in the majority of big jobs they provide the brushes for the use of their workmen. But still it is a matter of the greatest consequence to the men, many of whom not only work for employers, but on their own account. In their petition, the Master Painters and Decorators say : -
Your petitioners observe that, according to the Federal Tariff now before your honorable House, all tools of every trade except that followed by your petitioners, are proposed to be admitted free of duty. We would therefore draw your attention to this, especially as brushes used by painters are expensive to purchase, and wear out quicker than any other tool used in the industrial trades. British-made brushes are almost entirely used by the trade throughout Australia, the German and Australian-made brushes being so inferior in quality and make as to be unsuitable for painters.
The petition of the Trades Union of Painters is in precisely similar terms, and the statements are deliberately made. I have here a letter on the subject from one of the best known decorative painters in Sydney, a gentleman who has been a candidate for Parliament in the protectionist interest, and is one of the most enthusiastic supporters of that policy whom I know in that city. I had the honour of having him as an opponent in an election some years ago. He was one of the eleven candidates for four seats, and he writes to me in these terms : -
I am glad indeed to see that you ore moving to get painters’ and paperhangers’ brushware placed on the special exemptions list. All other tools of trade appear to be on that list, and there seems but small reason for taxing one trade more than another, and not only taxing the trade, but, indirectly, every citizen who wishes to keep his house,&c., clean and trim - in fact, a tax on cleanliness. As a protectionist, I would gladly submit to the impost if it offered a chance for the production of brushes as good as the English, or even the American, brushes in use here, but, as one who has been constantly using this class of brushware in Sydney for over twenty years, I can confidently assert that I have not met with any, of even the coarsest kind, which could be used with satisfaction. Fact is, I have only heard of brushes of coarse kind being made here, and have never used them, or seen them offered for sale. As for the finer kind of brushes, such as coachpainters’ and varnish brushes, it seems to me almost impossible to have them made here at all. From what I can gather, the supply of bristles for this kind of brush is becoming more and more limited in the world, and is likely to become still more so. These would have to be imported, and the mere making up of imported goods is not the kind of industry that deserves 25 per cent. protection. I sincerely hope that you will be able to convince senators of the Government side that you have a just claim to exemption for tools used by coach and house painters, as much as for tools used by artists (under the½-inch limit), and that the House of Representatives will accept your suggestion.
The letter is signed “ S. A. Byrne.”
– Who is S. A. Byrne ?
.- If the honorable senator does not know S. A. Byrne, he does not know very much about New South Wales, though I have no doubt I shall find that there are honorable senators who, in the interests of the brush factories, in which they appear to he very much interested, in view of the fact that they have brought samples here, like commercial travellers, to advocate the product of certain persons
– Does S. A. Byrne get his brushes from “Victoria?
– They do not make good enough brushes for him. What have I put forward as a reason for placing this class of brushes on the free list ? I have given the united representation of the Master Painters and the Journeyman Painters’ Association of Sydney. I have also given the opinion of a gentleman who is very well known in the protectionist and the painting world, and who is not afraid, notwithstanding that he is a protectionist, to make plain his views on this question, important to him and to many others. In the Tariff, tools of trade of every calling are free with this one exception. Why is there this one exception of the tools of trade of a great calling 1 Simply because these articles are made to a little extent in some more or less unsatisfactory manner by a few people engaged somewhere in Melbourne. All through the consideration of the Tariff the rule has been applied that every Melbourne factory was sacred, that the duty existing in the State Tariff was to be maintained, and that if by any process it could be increased, it was to be done. After 30 years of laborious and ghastly struggle under protection, this particular trade cannot live, notwithstanding the breaking down of the intercolonial barriers. Why did not this trade, if it is capable of such a splendid expansion under federation, ship its output to New South Wales,- where for only two years out of 25 has there been any impost to prevent Victorian brushware, if it was any good, finding a ready sale ? I can understand persons who are acting as advance agents for certain factories taking a great interest in putting their output. I understand perfectly well a commercial traveller going round with his box of samples and advocating the special qualities of the brand he represents.
– Probably a tin of atmospheric gas.
– Is tins bear garden to continue or not, sir 1
– I ask honorable senators not to interrupt.
– The honorable senator is bringing it on himself.
– The honorable senator must not address me in that way.
– I am speaking of Senator Neild. He is insulting honorable senators, and what more can he expect ?
– The speaker is not allowed to insult any honorable senator.
– He is doing it.
– If any honorable senator complains of being insulted, I shall certainly take notice of the complaint, but Senator Neild is entitled to proceed without interruption.
– I complain of Senator Neild’s utterances. He has stated that certain senators are acting as advance agents, and there is no doubt that he referred to Senator Barrett and myself, who have brought here certain samples of local production. Of course, when he referred to commercial travellers, I thought I was entitled to allude to the fact that he probably had a tin of atmospheric gas.
– If Senator Neild reflected on any honorable senator, of course he must withdraw the remark.
.- I did not do so. I had only “uttered about one-half of my sentence. I can quite understand the enthusiasm with which the commercial representative of a house will advocate the particular brand he is specially paid to represent.
– “ Specially paid “ ! That is very strong language. We never floated a gas company.
– Senator Neild was not referring to any honorable senator at that time.
– Only by implication.
– But I do not quite understand the course of action that induces honorable senators, who should surely have some sense of public duty, to place themselves in a position which reminds one rather of the attitude of the commercial traveller than of the attitude of a legislator in whom is reposed the responsible duty of making laws for the whole community, rather than of advocating–
– Atmospheric gas.
– I decline, sir, to go on while this barking continues.
– Order. When the Chair requests that interruptions shall cease, they must cease. I ask honorable senators again to permit Senator Neild to proceed without interruption.
– As I understand the duty of a legislator, it is to legislate for the whole community rather than to act in the special interest of any given firm or institution. Surely that must be patent to us all. Fortified by the petitions of the representatives of a great trade, both masters and workers, I come here to submit a proposal - not in the interests of a factory, not in the interests of some one who is putting a protective duty in his pocket at the expense of every one else. I could have brought plenty of samples here to represent the great distinction between English -made brushes and other brushes. I decline to take up such an attitude. I expect the representations of a great trade, making known their views by petitions which have been received and read here, to be considered not as my representations, but as the representations of men who are experienced in every detail of their business. I do not know that the exhibition of a few picked brushes by gentlemen who do not know anything about the business is any better, or half so good, a basis for legislation as the deliberate expression of opinion, by petition, by the men whose interests are at stake.If we are going to turn this Chamber into a sample-room for Melbourne manufacturers, let us know it. If to-day it is to be flooded with brushware from some brush factory, I do not see anything to prevent honorable senators introducing ploughs and harrows and steamengines as samples of what splendid work is done by other factories. What kind of Bedlam shall we turn the Federal Legislature into if every honorable senator elects to become the advance agent of some factory ? I do not suppose that honorable senators are paid, or expect to be paid, for acting in such a capacity. The production of a bundle of brushes does not afford the slightest evidence that brushware of good quality is being made within the Commonwealth. Brushware made in England might be submitted to us as samples of local manufacture. We have been told some mysterious tales about Victorian brushware being branded with a New South Wales brand in order to further its sale in Sydney.
– I have been in the factory and have seen it done, and I am ready to take the honorable senator there to-morrow morning so that he may see for himself.
– I shall not accept the honorable senator’s invitation, because it is just possible that some attempt might be made to deceive me as well as the honorable senator. I do not doubt his honesty or sincerity for one moment. People are very often led astray by the production of samples which are specially prepared for a particular occasion. I have already stated that colonial-made brushware is not used by those engaged in the building trades in Sydney, a city in which building operations are being carried on very extensively in connexion with the erection of warehouses and stores and of dwellings by the thousand. As almost every tool of trade is to be found in the list of exemptions, I sec no reason why brushes, the tools of trade of painters and paperhangers, should be subjected to a high duty in the interests of a very few persons employed in a very few brushmaking establishments in one corner of the Commonwealth.
Senate adjourned at 10.22 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 17 July 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020717_senate_1_11/>.