2nd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, how it is that the newspapers have been permittedto get the Auditors-General’s Report and comment upon it before members of the Senate have had an opportunity of seeing it?
– I understand that the reportwas laid upon the table of the other House on Saturday. As we did not meet on that day it could not be presented here.
-I did not know that the report had been laid upon the table of the other House.
– I have just received a copy of it.
Senators’ Steamer Fares.
– I rise to move that the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until tomorrow at 10 o’clock, in order to discuss a matter of urgent public importance, namely, the question of the travelling expenses of senators by steamer.
Four honorable senators having risen in their places,
– In this morning’s newspapers I saw a report under the head of “ Senators’ travelling expenses,” in which the Auditor-General has taken exception to certain items. I am very glad that this matter has been brought up, because it will enable us, I think, to place upon a satisfactory basis the question as to whether senators should be allowed to visit other States, if the visit be connected with Federal politics, or be made with a view to ascertain their industrial conditions.
– Hear, hear. The honorable senator is not challenging the AuditorGeneral’s right to draw attention to the items.
– So far from challenging his action, I think that the Auditor-General has been quite right in what he has done. He is to be commended for his action, because it is his duty to see that he has proper authority for passing accounts, and it is well for us to lay down, a rule by which he can be guided. Since the inception of the Commonwealth, it has been the invariable rule, indorsed by every Government, that if senators desired to travel to any State on matters of public importance,’ the Commonwealth should pay their fares to and fro, Whether by rail or. by boat. That is done, of course, with the object of enabling honorable senators to study the political conditions, and the varying industries of the territory which they are called upon to govern, and enable them to legislate with fuller knowledge. It is true that it does not include any trips which are taken for the purpose of pleasure or private business. It has also been the invariable rule in every State for every member of the State Parliament to have the opportunity of travelling on public business to any part of the territory which he, with* his fellow members, was called upon to govern. Honorable senators have travelled to Queensland to study the sugar industry, and other tropical industries therein, and have also travelled to Western Australia to study the local conditions. There has been no questioning of the right of honorable senators to have their fares paid, provided, of course, that the trip was being made, not for the purpose of party politics, or initiating a political propaganda, but for the purpose of acquiring information. It is, of course, true that although’ a senator represents only one State, he is called upon to legislate for every State. If we want good legislation, it is just as necessary for honorable senators to understand the conditions in each and every State, as it is for honorable senators to understand the conditions in their own State. I did not charge the Commonwealth anything in connexion with my first trip to New Guinea, and as regards the second trip, I’ only charged the Commonwealth a single fare from Samarai to the gold-fields, and from the gold-field’s to Sydney.
– And the honorable senator gave the Government and Parliament information worth twenty times the amount of his expenses.
– My trip to Samarai via the Solomon Islands and to British New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the Duke cf York Islands, did not cost the Commonwealth anything. The single fare which I charged the Commonwealth’ amounted, I think, to about £20. I have vouchers to show that on the two trips the personal expenses which’ I defrayed out of my own pocket amounted . to between .£200 and ,£300. But that does not1 include the cost of any pamphlets I issued, in order to give honorable senators ‘ the information I had been able to acquire. I think it may be conceded at once that to travel under the equator in midsummer, in a country which’ is notorious for its malarial fever, and from which I was carried down to the coast, could not be called a pleasure trip. My object in going to British New Guinea was simply to inquire into the political conditions, and judge as to what system of Government, method of administration, and system of development should be adopted. ‘ My object- in travelling to other tropical countries was merely to enable me to make a comparative analysis of the views which’ obtained in those countries, and to ascertain why the Territory of New Guinea, was in a stationary condition, while our neighbours were making some progressand, in some cases, very excellent progressI do not wish to detain the Senate muchlonger. I think I have shown that during; those two trips I did obtain information which I think I can say without egotism has; been of some value to this Parliament.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear.
– I repeat that I am glad that this question hasbeen brought up, because it has enabled me to state what charges have been borne by theCommonwealth and by myself, and probably, when the opinion of the Senate isascertained, it will place the Auditor- General in a better position to judge whether any exception should be taken to chargesof this kind in the future.
– I very much regret that information of the kind! to which Senator Smith has called attention -should go before the public in anirregular way. I do not for a moment blame the Auditor-General for the infor-marion being given to the press, but it musthave been given by some person in a Department.
– The AuditorGeneral’s report was presented to the otherHouse on Saturday.
– What has the AuditorGeneral’s report to do with the question, which Senator Smith has submitted? Hehas brought out. the fact that his namehas been published. It should not haveappeared at all.
– I have noobjection to that.
– Information of thiskind ought to come before the. Senate in a’ regular way, so that its members may havean opportunity of putting the matter fairly before the country. The manner in which this information has come out has rendered it necessary for Senator Smith tointervene with a motton for adjournment. To publish information in this fashion, and’ to single out individual senators, is calculated to give the general public an erroneous idea about the doings of members: of Parliament. Similar information withregard to postages and telegrams has been published lately. It has given the publican idea that trie members of this Parliament are getting concessions which they should not get, and which are unusual inthe States-, and it has a tendency to lower’ its prestige. It ought to be well known that for years in the States it has beers- 4he custom for the correspondence of memiters of Parliament on public business to be franked through the post-office. A great outcry has been made that this cost a large sum to the public. But the fact is that it is merely a book entry, and the Post and Telegraph Department would not cost a penny less if such correspondence were not carried in that way. Inasmuch as it is on public business, I d’o not see any objection to it. In this particular case, it seems to me that the Argus newspaper, which is .responsible for the statements this morning-
– It appeared in both newspapers.
– The names of the senators concerned did not appear in both newspapers. The Argus is particularly anxious to belittle the Federal Parliament. That newspaper was a kind of little god before the Federal Parliament came into existence. To a large extent, it had its own way. But now it is rather to the advantage of those of us who represent other States that the Melbourne newspapers should adversely criticise us. Personally, I think that the Commonwealth is very much indebted to Senator Smith, whose name has been, singled out, for the trouble he took and the expense he incurred in visiting New Guinea and obtaining information which was exceedingly useful to the Commonwealth. When he returned from New Guinea, in consequence of the ravages of malarial fever, he was a positive wreck compared with what he was be”fore he went away. As the question of members’ passes over railways and for journeys on steam-ships has been mentioned, let me say that if I was not compelled to travel on my public duties, I should never enter a railway train. It is no pleasure to me to travel in, trains, and I am quite sure that the train travelling that the members of this Parliament have had to do will take a few years off some of their Jives. When invitations were given to members of this Parliament to visit the Federal Capital sites, many declined to go. They refused to undertake the ordeal of travelling. The journalists who complain so much upon this subject are quite wei come to all my travelling privileges if they can in any way relieve me from them.
– They are the greatest cadgers of all. They are always cadging -for free passes.
– I have no hesitation whatever in saying that the Commonwealth is under an obligation of considerable indebtedness to Senator Smith for the journey he undertook, involving, a considerable length of time and much cost to him. The information which he has been able to give the Commonwealth was of such a character that we should have been justified in voting a considerable sum of money for it if we had had to obtain it in ordinary ways. Certainly the information that he obtained would, if we had sent a Commissioner to obtain it, have involved a great deal of expense.
– The Commonwealth might have paid his personal expenses, anyhow.
– It is to be regretted, as Senator Higgs has observed, that the information alluded to has been made public in, such a way. But I do not think that we have any occasion to regret it, in view of the fact that it has afforded an opportunity for a full explanation to be made. I may add that, although several trips have taken place to various States, I have not joined in them, not because I objected on principle to participate in such journeys, but simply because my engagements would not allow me. If I had been able to accompany honorable senators, I should have been very happy to do so, because I consider that anything that is calculated to better acquaint the members of this Parliament with the circumstances, the growth, and the interests of the States, which it is our function to govern, must necessarily be of great advantage to Parliament and to the community.
– I trust that the Government will, accept this debate as an instruction to them that during the recess they should take into consideration the question of the travelling privileges of the members of this Parliament, and lay down some definite scheme for submission when we meet again. At present the position is so unsatisfactory that a Member of Parliament really does not know what he is entitled to. There should be a clear understanding as to the privileges of members in carrying out their public duties, whether in travelling in railway trains and steam-ships or in franking newspapers and documents.
– Not privileges, but rights.
– Whatever we are entitled to, as public men having public duties to discharge, we should clearly understand.
– The honorable senator is entitled to ^400 per annum, free railway passes, and free postage.
– Senator Fraser is very ready with his information, but if he would control himself a little bit better he would be able to understand the point I am trying to make. I am given to understand that he makes full use of whatever privileges he is entitled to. If a member of this Parliament wishes to travel to any part of the Commonwealth to acquire information on any question which may be pending, he ought to be entitled to do so without being criticised in the public press, as has occurred in the case we are now discussing. It is a perfect shame that members of this Parliament should be paraded before the public by newspapers in this manner, when they have really discharged a public duty for which we should be thankful to them. I may add that in my opinion it comes with a very ill grace from newspaper people to criticise public men as some of them have done lately, In view of the fact that they do not fail to accept any privileges that they can secure in the refreshment-room or elsewhere. There are occasions when newspaper reporters enjoy the privileges of the refreshment-room in common with every member of this House. But that does not prevent them publishing statements calculated to lead their readers to think Members of Parliament a set of gourmands at the public expense. We also know that in respect of travelling the newspapers enjoy privileges that are not extended to other people. Newspaper managers are enabled to obtain railway tickets at cheaper rates than are charged to the general public. It shows very bad taste on their part to dra.w attention to these things when they are only too ready to take advantage of’ anything that comes in their way. I trust that the Government will ‘at the commencement of next session be in a position to let members of this Parliament know exactly what they are entitled to: and that we shall have no more trouble about questions of this kind. I also trust that the Auditor-General will have the matter placed fairly before him.
– In the first place I wish to say that I have not seen the article in this morning’s Argus. I saw the Age, but not the Argus. Therefore I did not know that the name of any senator had been mentioned. If the names were mentioned in the Auditor-General’s report, which waslaid on the table of another place on Saturday, of course the newspapers were perfectly justified in mentioning them. With regard to Senator Smith’s trip “to New Guinea, I may say at once that I am sure that he gave us full value in return for any expenses which he received, and was fully entitled to them.
– The information was worth twenty times more than he got.
– I quite agree with the position taken up bv the late Ministry in bearing part of the cost so far as concerned the portion of his journey within that Territory. Of course, when he was travelling outside the Commonwealth Territory he was quite right in paying his own expenses. The charge that he made was exceedingly reasonable, and the information we received from him was of great value. With regard to ordinary travelling. Members o’f Parliament, of course, have their railway passes, which take them over all the railway lines of the Commonwealth ; inasmuch as nearly all the railways are in the hands of the various States. It is only when a Member of Parliament requires . to travel between Commonwealth ports, that there is any need to apply to the Government. If I wished to go to Brisbane, I should travel on my pass, and* should not need to ask the Government for any consideration. But if I wanted to go to New Guinea, which is a Possession of the Commonwealth, I should have to go by boat. If I wanted to go to Western Australia or Tasmania), it would also be necessary for me to apply for a steamer ticket.
– Members of Parliament should not be required to ask for steamer tickets ; they are as necessary as are railway passes.
– I think it must be admitted that if a Member of Parliament wishes to travel by rail, he ought to make an application for a ticket. If he is travelling for pleasure, or on private business, he ought to pay his own fare. If he is travelling for educational purposes, or to get information which will be useful to him, and enable him the better to discharge his duties as a Member of Parliament, I consider that his steamer fare should unmistakably be paid by the Commonwealth.
The distinction requires that a statement should be made as to why the Member of Parliament is going to travel. It will be better for every member who wishes to travel under such circumstances to make an application, when he will receive his ticket, just as when we wish our wives to come to Melbourne occasionally - as I do - we go to the office and make a requisition. The system we have adopted in the past is a right and proper one, and there is no necessity for laying down any hard-and-fast rule.
– It is fortunate that this question, has been brought up. The whole question of the allowances of Members of Parliament in regard to travelling and postage, appears to me to be in a most unsatisfactory condition ; and if the action taken by the AuditorGeneral leads to some better arrangement being made, it will be an excellent thing. The Melbourne press is persistently carping at Members of Parliament about their “ perquisites,” and all that sort of thing. Much has been said, for instance, as to the Commonwealth being charged for our postage stamps. I want to know what the position is. Are we servants of the Federation? If we are, I think that when conducting correspondence on public business, we ought not to pay postage out of our own pockets. Are we public servants? If we are,_ we ought to be placed in exactly the same position as other public servants*. Does the Commonwealth ask the clerks ir. the Department of Home Affairs to pay the postage on official correspondence?
– We are not officials; we are representatives.
– We are in the position of directors of the joint stock concern known as the Commonwealth of Australia. That is exactly the position, and it ought to be made a great deal clearer to the public than it is. Senator Fraser is himself, I believe, a director of various companies. When he attends a meeting of a board he is paid a fee, and when he travels he is paid travelling expenses, probably in addition to the fee.
– If the board authorizes it.
– When Senator Fraser conducts correspondence on a company’s business, he does not pay the postage out of his own pocket, nor does he pay for telegrams sent on behalf of the company. In short, when he is engaged on a company’s business, he is recouped all these expenses.
– I cannot do better than instance the visit paid to New Guinea by Senator Smith, as contrasted with the visit paid to the same place by Mr. Atlee Hunt, secretary to the Department of External Affairs. Senator Smith is an official of the Commonwealth, just as is Mr. Atlee Hunt.
– Senator Smith is not an official.
- Senator Smith is just as much a Commonwealth official as is Mr. Atlee Hunt.
– No, no !
– The honorable senator will excuse me ; both the gentlemen I have mentioned, during the period they occupy their present positions, are officers of the Commonwealth.
– One is elected and the other is appointed.
– That is true, and there are a number of disadvantages connected with election. I ask honorable senators to focus their attention on the point that, so long as they hold their present positions, they are as much servants df the Commonwealth as any man in the Public Service. When Senator Smith went to New Guinea he got his fare as far as Thursday Island.
– One way.
– A single fare for two trips.
– All Senator Smith’s expenses in New Guinea were defrayed by himself.
– And also on the journey.
– And also on the journey. On the other hand, when Mr. Atlee Hunt travelled he got, not only his salary and steamer fares, but an allowance every day for expenses. When members of the Senate travel on public business they, no doubt, are allowed their railway fares, but that allowance does not Gover their food and other expenses.
– There are the tips which they have to give.
– Tips are not compulsory, and in that respect honorable senators may please themselves. But a man must eat if he has to work ; and this brings me to the question whether the payment to Members of Parliament is an allowance for expenses, of a salary for services rendered.
– Does the honorable senator think that that has anything to do with the question? Senator Smith merely called attention to the travelling allowance of. honorable senators on steamboats. I do not happen to have interrupted honorable senators when they referred to matters of a cognate nature, but I do not think that Senator Stewart ought to raise a general discussion on the emolument of Members of Parliament.
– Very well; if you, Mr. President, rule that I cannot refer to that aspect of the question, I shall desist.
– Do not take up too much time.
– I shall not take up too much time, but I remind the Minister that this is an important matter. We are charged with the business of the Commonwealth, and if anything goes wrong, we shall be blamed. How is it possible for us to legislate intelligently on questions connected with the outlying portions of the Commonwealth, or, indeed, with any part of the Commonwealth, unless we have an opportunity to travel and ascertain the facts on the spot? For myself, at any rate, I feel that it is not possible to sit in an office in Melbourne, take a pen in my fist, dip it into an- ink-bottle, and write on any subject under heaven, without
– Knowing anything.
– As my friend interjects, without knowing anything about the matter. Such happy facility is reserved for newspaper editors and leader writers. Commonwealth senators are on quite an inferior plane. If we want information, we have to go where information can be obtained; and if we would act intelligently, we must observe ‘for ourselves. Every senator ought to be afforded the freest opportunity to visit the various parts of the Commonwealth, in order to inform himself on matters which may become the subject of legislation. I have’ been to North Queensland and to Western Australia, and I should like to go to the latter State again. I have also a very strong desire to see the northern portions of Australia. There has been some talk of the Commonwealth taking over the Northern Territory : and how. I ask. are senators to form> an opinion if they have not seen that part of the country.
– I went once to the North, and Burns, Philp, and Co. refused to honour a Commonwealth cheque for a passage from Townsville to Rockhampton..
– I suppose that, the cheque was ultimately paid?
– Yes, but in Melbourne, a long time afterwards.
– I do not wish to occupy the time of the Senate, but our position certainly wants defining. We; ought to know whether we occupy the position of legislators of the Commonwealth. - directors, so to speak, of the Commonwealth Company Limited - or whether we are mere paupers, “ accepting or begging doles from the Commonwealth.
– Orfilching perquisites ?
– That is a much better phrase - orfilching perquisites, when we are on Commonwealth business.
– Perhaps the honorable senator will allow me to give some information which has been asked for. Since I came into the Senate, I have received the Auditor-General’s report, which is a very voluminous document. I find that paragraph 37 on page 41 of the report^ refers to this matter, but give no particular instances or names.
– -Where did the Melbourne Argus get the information?
– I do not know. There may, of course, be some reference to instances and names in some other part of the report, which, as I say, is exceedingly voluminous. Paragraph 37 is as follows : -
In four instances it has been necessary to question the payment of passage money for conveyance by sea of members of Parliament, and it was sought to be ascertained whether the expense in each of the cases referred to Ead been sanctioned by the Right Honorable the Treasurer as expenditure incurred for travelling on Commonwealth business. Correspondence submitted disclosed that fhe Minister, directly controlling the vote, had sanctioned these payments under the Cabinet rules, framed for governing the expenditure under the vote, but the particular rule relied upon provides for the conveyance of Members “ travelling on Commonwealth business.” The Right Honorable fhe Treasurer had written a minute “that in similar matters he was not satisfied with “the explanations, but as the expenditure had been incurred he had no option but to allow the accounts to be certified. I Have, therefore,to report that the question raised by me with respect to the payments above mentioned has not been answered to my satisfaction.
It must be distinctly understood that I do not say there is no reference to names in some other part of the document.
– We may safely assume that names are not mentioned in any other part.
Seinator Dobson. - I should say that names are mentioned in the minute or the co rrespondence .
– I have no desire to waste time, but I cannot refrain from making a few observations in regard to this debate, a debate which I very much regret. Such discussions in the Senate seem to me to be rather squalid ; and the most regrettable feature is that they appear to originate in the Senate itself. Recently there was a return asked for showing the amount spent in postage stamps and telegrams by each senator, and, although I see no great objection to information of the kind being published, I must protest against ‘the way in which the information is manipulated by the press to the detriment of certain States and certain senators.
– That is entirely the faultof honorable senators who introduce these questions.
– It is this kind of discussion which appears to me to be squalid. We have lately had a suggestion made in a notice of motion that honorable senators are enabled to treat their friends to sea voyages at the expense of the Commonwealth.
– That is a base and unfounded insinuation.
– I do not wish to express myself too strongly, but I think it would have been much better if such a motion had not been placed on the business paper, or, if placed there, that it should have been discussed and the facts elicited. It appears to me that the public are given a very wrong impression. An honorable senator, who, in his desire to keep in touch with his constituents, is constantly engaged in correspondence, necessarily uses more stamps than the average member, and, therefore, is discredited “for doing, his duty, while another honorable senator, who does not concern himself at all about his constituents, has a halo placed around his head by the daily press.
– Take my own case when I am engaged here in Ministerial work.
– I was just about to refer to the honorary Minister. Tasmania is held up to odium because some of the senators from that State have used more stamps than senators from other States. One honorable senator, who, to his credit be it said, is engaged in constant correspondence, is debited with large expenditure simply because he is unable to bear the passage across the States, whereas other honorable senators travel back and forward and keep up their connexion in that way. The honorary Minister, Senator Keating, is confined to his office in this building, and all his expenses as a Minister, so far as concerns stamps and telegrams, are debited to him personally as a senator, and yet he is held up before the public as one who enjoys political perquisites. Such conduct is unworthy of persons conducting great public journals like the Melbourne Argus and the Melbourne Age, who, at least, ought to ascertain the facts before publishing criticisms under unjust headings.
– The words of Senator Mulcahy show the necessity there is for honorable senators to travel to different parts Of the Commonwealth in order to obtain true information. We know very well that if we depended on newspaper reports we should be verv much at sea in our legislation. Whenever I have wished to get an idea of what a place is like, it has been my practice to visit it and investigate matters for myself. I have invariably found that if I had relied on newspaper information, I should have been very much misled. I hope that the discussion, instead of in any way injuring the status of the Federal Parliament, and particularly of the Senate, will be the means of acquainting the public with the true situation. From the paragraph read from the Auditor-General’s report, it would appear that the names of honorable senators, and honorable members of the House of Representatives, have been mentioned in correspondence between the AuditorGeneral and the Departments of the Treasurer, or of the Minister of Home Affairs. I think that it is the duty of the Government to find out how the information was communicated to the press, and why it is that senators should be particularly mentioned. A section of the press here would appear to have a “ set “ on the Senate, and to desire to hold honorable senators up to ridicule as often as they can. Although the explanation may be as Senator Mulcahy has said, that certain matters were first brought up in the Senate, we see nothing in the newspapers showing the relative expenditure in connexion with stamps and other such expenses by honorable members in another place. I hope that when any other honorable senator finds it necessary to travel anywhere in Australia in order to obtain information, and form correct ideas of the true position of affairs in various places, the Commonwealth Government will give him every facility for the purpose, in the interests of the Commonwealth itself. Whether it is the fault of the Treasurer’s Department, or the Auditor-General’s Department, that the paragraph referred to appears in the report, I am unable to say, but it would certainly be better, in the interests of the Commonwealth, if the public officers looked after the Williamses and others of that character, than that they should be at such pains to direct attention to the conduct of members of Parliament.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH (Western Australia). - I am pleased that honorable senators have unanimously indorsed my action in charging a single fare for the two trips I made to British New Guinea. I have no objection to the mention of my nairne in the newspapers. I have never done anything in the course of my publiclife which I should not desire to see publicly referred to. If I travel from New Guinea to Sydney and charge the Commonwealth with the expense, I See nothing to be ashamed of in that, and I have no objection to any newspaper stating that I have done so. I ask leave to withdraw my motion.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
The President laid on the table the following papers: -
Treasurer’s Statement of Receipts and Expenditure during the year ended 30th June, 1905, accompanied by the Report of the AuditorGeneral.
Report from the Joint Library Committee.
Message received from the House of Representatives, intimating that it had agreed to the amendments of the Senate in this Bill.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives, with amendments.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and read a first time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and read a first time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and read a first time.
Arrangements with Foreign Countries.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
With reference to the clause in the Immigration Restriction Amendment Bill which sanctions arrangements being made with foreign countries whereby their subjects are exempted from the dictation tests -
Will the Department of External Affairs intimate to the Governments of India, Japan, and China that the Commonwealth of Australia is now prepared to consider such arrangements?
Have tne Government prepared any draft indicating in any general way the main features or clauses of such arrangements ?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
This guard is furnished from the detachment’ of men stationed at Victoria Barracks. The only extra cost of transit is involved when guards of honour are required. The cost of providing for men stationed in Melbourne is, approximately, the same as if stationed at the Heads.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
What are the number of officers (stating their respective ranks) and men attached to the. condemned warship Cerberus?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -
The Cerberus requires 6 officers and 64 men or the Permanent Force for mobilization. The officers are - Captain, commander, fleet engineer, paymaster, chief gunner, and gunner. There are required, for torpedo craft and other services, 11 officers and 72 men.
The total, however, of the Permanent Force is only 14 officers and 93 men. These are required as instructional staff and nucleus crews for the Cerberus, five torpedo craft, the Naval Depots at Williamstown and Swan Island, the Examination Services, and Signal Stations.
asked the Minister . representing the Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
The following information has been furnished by the Chairman of the Board : -
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
I may inform the honorable senator that I intend to inquire into the matter, and see whether I cannot save some little expense. I have not been able to consult Captain Creswell on the point, but it appears to me that we should be able to use our own craft to bring up some of these men, and so avoid incurring any expense of this kind.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 15th December, 1905, vide page 7083) :
Clause 2 -
In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears : - “Black labour” includes all forms of colourea labour whether half-caste’ or of full blood. “ White-grown cane or beet “ means sugarcane or beet produced on a white planta- tion and in the production of which white labour only has been employed after the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred and seven, or for a period of twelve months immediately pre. ceding the delivery thereof for manufacture or (in respect of the cane crop which will be cut in the year 1906) from the commencement of this Act to the delivery of the cane crop for manufacture. “White plantation” means a plantation particularized in a notice of intention to claim bounty whether given in pursuance of the regulations in force under this Act or the Sugar Bounty Act 1903.
– Honorable senators are aware that the Bill will come into operation only in 1907, and the Customs Department has furnished me with the following estimates, giving the figures with which I promised on Friday to supply the Committee : -
Of course this estimate is a pure piece of guesswork. It will be noticed that the Customs Department estimates that the consumption, of sugar in 1907 and 191 1 will be 200,000 tons. But in the interval there will be an increase in population, and of course that will mean a larger consumption of sugar. I have no doubt that the estimate is approximately correct, but at the same time we cannot pretend for a moment that it will be absolutely accurate, because the production of white sugar is estimated to jump from 107,000 tons in 1907 to 169,000 tons in 191 1 - that is to within 31,000 tons of the estimated consumption. Everything will depend upon the seasons. These are the best figures which the Department can supply. We shall start with a considerable increase in revenue from Excise duty, and also from Customs duty, and we expect to get a net revenue of ,£479,000 from the Excise duty less the bounty.
– For the purpose of saving time, I would suggest that the expediency and wisdom of enacting this Bill could be better discussed on clause 3 than on this definition clause. I am prepared to state the case on behalf of those who are growing sugar by white labour when we reach a vital provision in the Bill.
Senator PLAYFORD (South AustraliaMinister of Defence). - I’ agree with Senator Givens that it would be a great deal better to debate the principle of the Bill on clause 3. It will be remembered that the second reading of the Bill was agreed to on the understanding that the principle should be discussed on the first really debatable clause which was reached. I only took advantage of this opportunity to supply certain figures for which I was asked when I was moving the second reading of the Bill, but which I could not furnish at the moment.
– I move -
That the word “ Black,” line 3, be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “Coloured’.”
The Bounty Act of 1903 speaks of “labour other than white,” which is a very much nicer expression that “ black labour.” It is very much to be regretted that at a time when we are trying to remove offensive words from our Acts, we should adopt the word “ black “ in defining what is meant by coloured labour under this Bill. I notice that in his report, Dr. Maxwell invariably uses the expression “coloured labour.”
– It is used in contradistinction to white labour.
– At a time when we are trying to make our legislation less offensive, it is needless to adopt an offensive word. A -number of the persons engaged in the sugar industry are not black, and, therefore, my amendment ought to be accepted by. the Government.
– I hope the leader of the Government will agree to the amendment. The fact that some persons speak of the Chinese as “ yellow labour,” is an additional reason why the expression “ coloured labour “ should be used in this definition clause.
– I do not know that any one can fairly oppose the amendment. We have been inclined to soften down our expressions, and, therefore, why should we use the term “ black labour “ which does not apply to all nations, when the phrase “coloured” could be used?
Senator GIVENS (Queensland). - I would urge the ‘Minister to accept the amendment, because after the end of 1906. when all the kanakas shall have returned to their islands, the coloured labour in the industry will not be so much black labour as copper or other coloured labour. As the amendment does not affect a vital principle of the Bill, and expresses the views of honorable senators on the other side, it might be accepted.
Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia - Minister of Defence). - I always like to call a thing by its proper name. I really think that the term “ black labour “ is better than the term “coloured labour,” because when we get to coloured labour conditions, it will then mean coloured labour. The point is not worth fighting about, and under the circumstances, I am willing to accept the amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia - Minister of Defence). - I move -
That all the words from the word “ in,” line 14, to the word “ manufacture,” line 17, inclusive, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ (c) in the case of cane cut in the year 1906, after the expiration of one month after the commencement of this Act.”
The only principle involved in this amendment, which otherwise is a drafting one, is that we propose to insert words to give the sugar-growers a month’s grace in which to decide whether they will produce their cane by white labour or not.
– Is a month’s grace sufficient ?
– The Minister of Trade and Customs, who has studied this question, thinks that it is quite sufficient.
– They will really have eighteen months’ grace, because the Act will not come into force until the end of 1906.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - I shall be glad if Senator Playford can tell us whether it is clearly, arranged that wherever the new bounty is paid, the new Excise duty shall be paid.
– When the Act comes into operation, in 1907, the new Excise duty will come into operation.
– That does not quite answer my question. In 1906 there will be a quantity of sugar grown which will be consumed in 1907, and I wish to know whether in regard to that sugar when the bounty of is paid, the Excise duty of £4. will be paid?
Senator PLAYFORD (South AustraliaMinister of Defence). - I understand Senator Pulsford to say that in 1906. a certain quantity of sugar will be produced, and that the Bill will not come into force until 1907. The present bounty willbe paid until then. After 1907, the new Excise duty will be charged, and the increased bounty paid; but certainly not on the previous crop.
Senator GIVENS (Queensland). - I can give Senator Pulsford the assurance that he requires. All the sugar produced in 1:906, although it may not have paid Excise during the year 1906, will pay only the Excise payable in that year. That is to say, that sugar will be in bond and will be allowed to go into consumption on payment of per ton. This Bill does not come into force till 1907. Therefore, the effect will be that on any cane delivered at the mills in 1906 the bounty will be paid at the old rate. There is not the slightest danger that the increased bounty will be paid on sugar which has paid the old Excise.
Senator . PULSFORD (New South Wales). - I direct attention to the words which Senator Playford proposes to insert : “ after the commencement of this Act.” I assume that the measure comes into force when the Governor-General gives his assent. It is possible that the amendment proposed will cause trouble. The
Bill will be in force in January next year. It appears to me that, in order to avoid risk, we should put in the words, “on the expiration of one month after this Act comes into operation.” It is, of course, entirely a legal point, and if the legal members of the Senate are quite satisfied, I shall not persist.
Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia - Minister of Defence). - I cannot see what Senator Pulsford is driving at. This clause defines what white-grown cane or beet shall mean. In addition to that, we give the growers a month’ after the commencement of the measure to get readv.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - I am satisfied that the wording I Have suggested would be an improvement, but ‘I shall not occupy further time over the matter.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
After the first day of January one thousand nine hundred and seven there shall be paid out of the consolidated revenue fund, which is hereby appropriated accordingly, to every grower of white-grown cane or beet within the Commonwealth a bounty at the rates provided by this Act on all such cane or beet delivered for manufacture after that date and before the first day of January one thousand nine hundred and twelve.
– This, I understand, is the clause on which it is considered that the debate on the Bill can most conveniently be taken, as it involves the whole principle of the measure. The necessity for introducing this Bill this year was very great. In order to engage in the sugar industry, it is necessary first to clear the land, and go to considerable expense in breaking it up; then to plant the crop; after which, the sugar-grower cannot possibly secure any return until over eighteen months, or, in some cases, two years, have elapsed. It is necessary, therefore, that the sugar-growers of Queensland and New South Wales should know what course this Parliament proposes to take, so that they may have a reasonable idea of what conditions will prevail when they get a return from the crop they put in.
– We legislated five years ago, and the growers ought to know what the Act provides.
– I do not think if was contemplated five years ago that the present system would end in1906. If it did collapse at the end of 1906 the growers of white sugar would be getting a greater protection than they have now, and the growers of black sugar would be getting an equally great protection. They would all get a protection of JQ6 per ton, because the Sugar Bounty Act and the Excise Act terminate at the same time. The finances of some States would be seriously affected, and the growers of sugar by coloured labour would in 1906 get the same protection as the growers of sugar by white labour. That position, I am sure, was not contemplated by Senator de Largie or any member of the Legislature. Therefore, it cannot be said that the question was settled. It must have been seriously contemplated that some action would be taken prior to the expiration of the present legislation. There would be no need for the bounty or for the Excise duty, were it not for the necessity of differentiating between sugar produced by white labour and black. It would be much better for those engaged in the sugar industry if there were no necessity for this differentiation. Just as great a cost is involved to the consumers in the case of other commodities which are highly protected - and properly so - as in the case of an Excise and bounty on sugar.
– Competition makes all the difference.
– What industry in Western Australia is enjoying the privilege of protection?
– If there is no industry in Western Australia that is enjoying that privilege, it is because Western Australia is a comparatively young country, and has not yet established her industries sufficiently to supply herself and other portions of the Commonwealth with commodities.
– Western Australia is an older State than Queensland.
– At any rate, her industries are not very well established. She had not a very large population prior to the discovery of the gold-fields ten or twelve years ago.
– It cannot be said that the gold industry is not well established : Western Australia produces more gold than all the other States of the Commonwealth put together.
– The industries of Western Australia, apart from mining, are not large. She has no important producing or manufacturing industries.
– Is the honorable senator aware that the timber industry is the greatest of its kind in Australia? Would he make an exception in the case of timber also?
– If my vote could do it, I would protect the timber industry as well as every other industry.
– The honorable senator is ready to promise anything just now.
– That is an unworthy insinuation, because the honorable senator knows that I do not bargain on the protectionist question.
– The honorable senator is extremely reasonable just now.
– I do not bargain with regard to any Australian industry. An industry which gets a certain amount of protection is just as costly to the States as if the Commonwealth imposed an Excise duty and paid a bounty out of that Excise for its benefit.
– I do not admit that for a moment.
– Let me explain it. Suppose ‘for a moment that it was not necessary to differentiate between sugar produced, and that there was no difference between sugar produced by black and white labour. All that would be required would be the same amount of protection as the industry now receives. Would not the sugar which went into consumption in the various States then cost just as much to the consumer as it does now? If we had the same amount of protection, without a bonus and an excise duty, it would come to the same thing.
– No ; as a rule, protection does not increase the price to the consumer.
– It does in the case of sugar.
– Until an industry is so well established that its production has overtaken local consumption, there is always some slight increase in price. The increase in the case of sugar has not been very great. Take the case of Tasmania in this connexion. Take her production of jam and hops. I believe these are more highly protected than any other articles produced in the Commonwealth. I have no objection to that, but I point out that the people of the other States have to pay just as severely by this means as if there had been an Excise duty, and it was returned in the way of bounty to the grower. What controls the price of sugar in Australia is not the Excise or the bounty, but the import duty of £6 per ton.
– The Excise duty also helps to control the price.
– If there were an Excise duty of £6 per ton that would be exactly equivalent to free-trade, so that the Excise duty has absolutely no effect on the price to the consumer.
– Both Excise duty and import duty control the price.
– Will the honorable senator show me how the Excise duty has the remotest relation to the price? Sugar from the outside world has to jump a fence in the shape of a duty of £6 per ton.
– The grower must pay Excise duty, and wages besides.
– Exactly; but until the local consumption is overtaken, the Excise duty has nothing to do with the matter. For instance, if the local producer attempted to put the price too high-
– Of course, the local producer cannot go above the import duty - he can go as high, but not higher.
– That is so. I look forward to the time when Australia will produce as much, if not more, sugar than is necessary to meet the total requirements of the Commonwealth.
– It is very near that now.
– It is not far from it. None of us, however, expect that the population of Australia will remain stationary ; on the contrary, we believe that it will increase by leaps and bounds. That, of course, will mean a greater demand for sugar, and in this industry, as in all others, there is ample room for expansion. The value of the sugar industry to Australia is extremely great.
– The cost of it is also extremely great.
– The cost is not greater than that in connexion with other protected industries in the Commonwealth.
– The wheat-grower is not protected.
Senotor GIVENS. - The wheat-grower is protected.
– There are corn duties in Australia. The highest protection given to agricultural products is in connexion with hops, and there is also a considerable duty on jam. We have heard a great deal about the enormous benefit which Queensland enjoys in consequence of Federation. But any person, who looks through the Treasurer’s figures, will find that, if one State has made sacrifices, and has been sacrificed on the altar of Federation, it is Queensland.
– That is pretty rich !
– If we look at the figures we must admit that industries which were very prominent in Queensland have been pretty well killed by Federation.
– Yes, owing to competition.
– I should say that those industries were half dead at the time of Federation, so that if they have been killed since, it does not very much matter.
– These industries were flourishing and extending steadily when the Colonies federated.
– Some of the ‘ Queensland industries have been revived by Federation; for instance, the timber trade at Maryborough was never so brisk before.
– To my own knowledge the timber trade <at Maryborough was brisker years ago than ever it has been since Federation, particularly the trade in cedar.
-That was not the opinion of the owner of a factory at Maryborough which we visited.
– That factory-owner was not speaking of years ago.
– That factory-owner was of opinion that Federation had been a Godsend.
– I knew Maryborough when many more men were engaged than now find employment in the timber trade. In any case, I have official figures which justify me in my present attitude. In 1899, prior to Federation, the number of factories in Queensland was 214, whereas in 1904 it was 181, or 33 factories less. The number of hands employed in 1899 was 5,342 as against 4,593in1904, a decrease of nearly 1,000, while the -value of the output had decreased from . £1,398,116 in. 1899 to £981,155 in 1904- It will be seen that Queensland has not had all gain from Federation, though the people of that State voted for . Federation, and are still in favour of it. All I desire to show is that, to use a vulgar phrase, Federation has not proved “ all beer and skittles “ to the State I represent.
SenatorFraser. - That is quite true, but the same may be said of Tasmania.
– All this, of course, is simply due to the operation of InterState free-trade, without which” the sugar industry could not have been placed upon its present basis.
– No doubt there are compensating advantages, though, of course, there are disadvantages. My own belief is that in regard to every State the balance of advantage is in favour of Federation.
– Will the honorable senator tell me what advantage Western Australia has gained from Federation ? .
– If Western Australia has not gained trade advantages up to the present time’ from Federation, it is owing to the fact that, apart from the timber industry and mining, her industries are of comparatively recent origin, and have not sufficiently developed.
– The honorable senator’s assertions are altogether too sweeping.
– I have made no assertions ; I have simply quoted official figures.
– I am not referring to the figures.
– In the same document, from which I have already quoted, there are figures showing the value of Australian manufactured goods transferred to Queensland from other States, and these appear to have increased at an enormous rate since Federation. I draw Senator Dobson ‘s attention to the fact that Tasmania’s exports in jam, dried fruit, and other products to Queensland have been largely increased by the substitution of white labour for coloured labour in the sugar industry. The black serf does not consume large quantities of fruit and jam ; these products are demanded by the white worker.
– Is the honorable senator still of opinion that white labour can be employed in the sugar industry at Cairns ?
– Certainly; that is an established fact.
– If Senator Givens wishes the support of Tasmanian senators, he must convince them that the black fellows do not eat jam.
– I shall not labour that point. There is a law in Queensland that no kanaka or aboriginal shall be supplied with intoxicating liquor, and yet a large quantity of Tasmanian beer is imported, and is, I suppose, consumed by the white workers. The value of Australian manufactured! goods! transferred to Queensland in the year 1899 was £91, 523, as against £616,228 in 1904.
– What were the goods?
– Beer, wine, tobacco, cigars, cigarettes, biscuits, fruit, boots and shoes, and a variety of articles. As to boots and shoes, there was, at one time, a flourishing industry,; in Queensland, but the figures I have here show that, while in 1899, the value of these articles imported from the other States amounted to only £929 ; in 1904, the value was no less than £106,000. The beer imported into Queensland is mostly from Tasmania, and the value of the importation, in 1904, was . £21,747,as against a paltry £694 in 1899. The value of the (fermented wine imported in 1899 was £6,823, as against £17,044 in 1904. Queensland had a promising jam industry prior to Federation, but the figures show that, while the importations amounted to £1,340 in. 1899, the value in 1904 was £57,746”.
– Those importations were, I suppose, from Tasmania ?
– Mainly from Tasmania. I find no fault on that score, because, I suppose, the people find the Tasmanian jams good and cheap.
– But Tasmania is the State which is said to have lost so much by Federation.
– Tasmania is the chief producer of hops, and I find that the Queensland imiportation of that product amounted, in 1904, to no less than £6.028. Another important item, that of dried fruits, amounted to £7,457 in 1899, as against -£24,168 in 1904. I could go on reading item after item, but I am afraid that I should weary the Committee. The figures show that the importation of Australian products into Queensland has increased to an enormous extent since Federation. Will anybody deny that there has been a great advantage to the southern States owing to this large market being; opened out to them? As I have already said, it is not the black labourers who consume these southern products, but the white labourer, and, as the former is displaced, so will the importations be increased. I maintain that the ‘Substitution of white labour has been of special advantage to the southern States, as well1 as to the national life of Queensland. When the southern States point to the cost of the White Australia policy, they ought to remember that there are compensating advantages - they ought to remember that Queensland is paying largely for goods which are manufactured under a protective Tariff, in the cooler parts of the Colony. The White Australia policy costs Queensland quite as much as it does the other States. I admit at once- that this portion of my argument has very little force so far as Western Australia is concerned. That is owing to the industrial life of Western Australia having been of recent development.
– That is not the reason at all. It is because, having to pay higher rates of wages, they cannot compete with the niggers up in the north.
– I have no desire that they should. Senator de Largie is aware that there is no stronger opponent of the nigger in Queensland than I have been, and no one desires more than I do that high rates of wages should rule in every part of the Commonwealth.
– I cannot compliment the honorable senator upon his success in that direction in Queensland.
– The wages paid in some parts of Queensland compare favorably with those paid in any other State of the Commonwealth. The wages paid in the shearing industry in Queensland are as high as those paid in that industry in any other State. On some of the mining fields of Queensland the rate of wages is as high as that in any other State. Senator Dawson, who was an old resident of Charters Towers, will bear me out when I say -that the ruling rate of wages in the mines there is 10s. a shift, and machine-men get about the same wages there as do those in Western Australia, although the cost of living is perhaps not so high on the Towers as it 5s on some of the gold-fields of Western Australia. At all events, a man has not to pay is. for a beer if he is thirsty, as he would have to do at Kalgoorlie. I suppose honorable senators are aware of the number of white and black growers in Queensland, and the quantity of cane they produce. They will have seen the figures set out on pages 7 and 8 di the Treasurer’s tables, and I desire only to emphasize the fact that a great many people have gone in for growing sugar with white labour. The number of white growers has very greatly increased, although the total area cultivated does not appear to be great in. comparison with that cultivated by coloured labour. Roughly speaking, one-third of the sugar produced’ in Queensland is now produced by white labour.
– It is not one-third; it is very little more than one-fourth.
– Senator Fraser will accept the authority of Dr. Maxwell, who puts the quantity at 28.62 of the total production, but he was unable to estimate what the total production will be at the end of this year, when it is certain that the figures will have to be revised. When at the end of next year the kanaka has to go willynilly, I fervently hope and believe that it will be found that three-fourths of the sugar produced will be produced by white labour, and one-fourth or less by coloured labour.
– Does the honorable senator mean that it will be grown in the south and not in the north?
– I do not mean anything of the kind. The south cannot hope to compete with the north in the production of sugar-cane, because there is not the same quantity of suitable land available in the south; the climate is not so suitable, and tha quality of cane grown is not so rich as that which is grown in the north. The statement that white men cannot work in the north has been proved over and over again to be false. It is proved! now by actual facts, because even since this legislation was passed gangs of white workmen have been employed in the production of sugar-cane.
– At Cairns?
– Can the honorable senator prove that?
– Undoubtedly I can. One of the largest growers of cane for the Mulgrave Central Mill has, since this legislation was passed, employed white labour in harvesting his cane, and has secured the bounty. Only quite recently we had Mr. Andrew Jack, a cane-grower on the Mosman, engaging white labourers in Victoria to work for him next year. I understand that he took twentyseven labourers with him, and has agreed to pay them 25s. a week and “tucker “ in the off-season, and 30s. and “tucker” in the crushing season. The Mosman Central Mill is the most northern mill in Australia, and ever since this” legislation was passed, white labour has been successfully performing every kind of work in the sugar industry in the north. Honorable senators have an entirely exaggerated idea of the severity of the climate of North Queensland. In the crushing season, from the end of June to the beginning of December, the climate of North Queensland is quite temperate. The worst portion of the year is there, as it is here, just after Christmas, in January and in February, and I can, say that during my twenty-three years’ experience of North Queensland, I never found it so hot as I found Melbourne in last January and February.
– What about the nights ?
– They are much hotter here than they are in North Queensland.
– The honorable senator is referring to spells of hot weather which do not last here for more than a few days.
– I know that one hot spell here lasted for a week. When a wind is blowing such as we have here to-day, the more it blows the hotter it becomes, while in North Queensland, the wind is cool, no matter from what quarter it blows. This legislation is bringing about a very desirable condition of things in North Australia. It is helping to settle the sugar districts with a large number of small farmers, and it must be recognised that that is very much better for Australia than to have lands in the hands of a few big nabobs surrounded by gangs of inferior coloured labourers. If in the future our national independence should ever be challenged, we shall have no better means of defending it than that afforded by the settlement on the soil of small growers. If honorable senators will look at the figures supplied in Dr. Maxwell’s report, they will find that in 1902 in the Northern District there were 36 white growers, and in 1905 that number had increased to 124, the number being more than trebled in three years. In the Central District, the numbers were for 1902, 519 ; and for 1905, 977; Southern District, 617 in 1902; and 937 in 1905. In the extreme south the numbers were 349 in 1902, and 643 in 1905, the totals being 1,521 in 1902, and 2,681 in 1905. This is a most gratifying increase. The fact that small men are continually going into the. sugar industry, and growing sugar by white labour under Commonwealth conditions, should be gratifying to every one who assisted to pass this legislation.
– The figures quoted do not include the number of men engaged during the cutting season.
– No; they represent only the number of white growers settled on the land, and carrying on the business of sugar cultivation for themselves. There are no returns showing the number of these employes, but, in view of the quantity of sugar produced, it is clear that a very considerable number ot white men must be engaged in the industry during the crushing season. The increase in the number of white growers, gratifying as it is, is nothing like what Parliament had a right to expect, and the reason for that is that Parliament made a mistake in giving the growers of cane by coloured labour so large a protection as it did. Had Parliament given the growers of cane by white labour as much protection as could have been afforded to them, and as little as possible to those growing cane with coloured labour, better results would have followed. Those growing cane with coloured labour could have had nothing to complain of, because, so long as they continued to employ coloured labour, they would have had to compete in the market only on precisely the same terms as they would have had to meet if there had been no Federation at all.
– Provided that the Parliament had left them alone entirely, I suppose that they would have been satisfied’.
– I do not think so, because, if there had been no Federation, no man could have grown sugar successfully in Australia in 1902 and 1903 with any sort of labour.
– But the Parliament might have left the industry to go on as it was.
– Suppose that the Parliament had made no change, then there would have been no duty and no bounty.
– They could have put on a duty
– But to put on a duty would not have been to leave the industry alone. If the conditions had been exactly the same in 1902 and 1903, as before Federation, there would not have been a planter who, during those two years, could have successfully grown sugar in Queensland or elsewhere in Australia. They were not competing against the world when sugar could be landed at 1^7 10s. a ton.
– Is not the honorable member aware that for years, they were competing against the world.
– Yes; but I am reminding the honorable senator that the planters were not competing against the world when sugar could be landed at £7 1 os. a ton.
– Sugar is £20 a ton now.
– Yes. When the outcry for coloured labour was greater than ever it has been, when thev were getting £28 a ton, they complained that they could not make the industry pay. if they were to work with white labour.
– But they did not have as good appliances then as now.
– I admit that since that time there have been considerable improvements. All these circumstances have to be taken into account. I believe that were it not for the fact that the big planters in Queensland set their faces against the Commonwealth legislation the increase in the number df growers, the area of “whitegrown sugar, and the total production of white-grown sugar, would have been immensely greater than it has been. They set their faces absolutely against our legislation. They did everything in their power to discredit it as I ‘have proved here by documentary evidence over and over again. They threw every block in the way of its successful operation, because they thought that th’ey had only to kick up noise enough, or to cry “blue ruin “ often enough, to be able to convince this Parliament that it was necessary to retrace its steps. But they see now that it is not possible for them to accomplish that object. I am glad to see that a better spirit is beginning to prevail. I believe that this Bill will induce them to considerably alter their opinions and their attitude. It is a step in the right direction, because, while it will leave the protection to growers by white labour exactly where it is, it will reduce the protection to colouredgrown sugar bv £i a ton. Under the present Act, which will remain in force until the end of this year, the grower by white labour got a protection of ^3 a ton - that is the difference between the Excise duty and the Customs duty - and a bounty of £2 a ton, whereas the grower by coloured labour got a protection of a ton.
To the latter planter the protection was altogether too high; it was a direct encouragement to him to continue to use coloured labour, and that was a bar to the success of our White Australia legislation. Under this Bill, the grower by white labour will get a protection of only £2 a ton, and a bonus of £3 a ton, amounting to £5, being exactly the same as he had before, but the grower by coloured labour will get a protection of £,2, instead of £3. That will mean so much less encouragement to a grower to continue to use coloured labour, and so much more encouragement to a planter to go on growing sugar by white labour. I believe that the effect of the Bill will be that a very much’ larger number of men will go in for growing sugar with white labour than have done so in the past, especially when they realize that by the enactment of its provisions, the Australian Parliament will have indicated its determination not to reverse its original decision. Let us now consider what effect the measure may have upon the revenue of the States. From that stand-point I. believe that it will have a very beneficial effect, because the sugar produced by white labour will not get any more protection from the revenue of the States than it has been getting, while the sugar produced by coloured labour will pay more to the State revenue than it has been paying. Instead of paying only £3 a ton as Excise duty, it will have to pay -£4. a ton, and if anything like, or nearly like, the same proportions of white and coloured sugar be produced in the future, then the States will benefit very considerably by this alteration in the law. In my opinion, sugar is not a proper article of taxation. I should not support the imposition of an Excise duty on sugar, were it not for the fact that it is necessary to differentiate between white and coloured labour. In England it is recognised that sugar is one of the necessaries of life, and, therefore, is not a fit subject for taxation. But they tax nearly everything which is not an absolute necessary of life, in order to raise revenue.
– Does the honorable senator say that in England almost everything is taxed?
-In England they tax almost everything which is regarded as a luxury. Sugar is admitted duty free.
– And so are most food commodities !
– Most food’s which are recognised as necessaries of life are admitted duty free, but where they suspect that an article is a luxury it is taxed. Freetrade England, for instance, derives a very considerable revenue from a duty on tea, because they have an idea that that article is a luxury. For these reasons, I believe that the Bill will commend itself to the representatives of the States more than does the present Act. It is much more welcome to me, as a Queenslander, than would be a. continuation of that Act, although it gives that State less protection than it has, inasmuch as it reduces by £i a ton the protection enjoyed by coloured labour. I do not want any protection for the users of coloured labour. I desire all the protection that Parliament can afford to give to every industry in Australia which can be successfully carried on by white labour, “but I do not want any protection for an industry which can only be conducted by coloured labour. Apart from the manufacture of spirits or narcotics, the sugar industry is the only_ one which is subject to an .Excise d!uty, and that duty is only necessary in order to enable a differentiation to be made. Therefore, those who advocate the substitution of white for coloured labour should support this Bill. Of course, I do not expect my arguments to appeal to those who believe in absolute free-trade, and especially in the right of every man to employ whomsoever he may please, black, coloured, white, or brindle. I believe that this legislation will have the effect of establishing in Queensland, and ultimately, I hope in other parts of the Commonwealth, an industry which will be of immense advantage to Australia. There is no reason why it should not produce an immensely larger quantity of sugar than is now produced. By-and-by, when the Commonwealth is populated by its tens of millions, I hope that enough sugar will be produced in order to supply the local demand. As the Bill wilh I believe, have the effect^ of firmly establishing the industry on a White Australia basis, and making it as prosperous, if not more prosperous, than ever, it has my cordial support. I believe that the Government are to_ be commended for its introduction, and I nope that honorable senators on both sides will agree to its enactment as being a continuation, in a more effective form, of the beneficial, policy of establishing industries on a White Australia basis, which was initiated by the first Parliament.
– It is my intention to move an addition to clause 6, which’, if carried1, would make a radical alteration in the spirit and intention of this clause. I propose to move the addition to clause 6 of the following words : - but on all such cane or beet delivered for manufacture during the years 1908, 1909, 1910, and 191 1 respectively, four-fifths, three-fifths, two-fifths, and one-fifth of the aforesaid rates.
In other words, I propose that the bounty shall diminish at the rate of one-fifth or 20 per cent, during each year, until it disappears at the end of the period.
– Year by year, that would reduce the protection to white-grown sugar while leaving the protection to blackgrown sugar intact.
– This Bill must be considered in relation to the Sugar Excise Bill, which will be submitted. As one of those who loyally supported the grant of a bonus in favour of white-grown sugar, I cannot remember that any indication was given that we should be asked to continue its payment on those lines indefinitely.
– The people of Quensland asked for the grant of a bonus for ten years, and strongly urged upon the Government of the day that it should be continued for that period.
– I believe that the representatives of Queensland did urge that the payment of the bonus should be continued for ten years, but a number of honorable senators stated most emphatically that, in their opinion, five years would be sufficient to accomplish the desired object.
– But always with the proviso that we should reduce the protection to the kanaka-grown sugar. In those circumstances, I think that a bonus for five years would have been sufficient.
– I am willing to meet the representatives of Queensland, who wish to see sugar grown by only white labour, in any direction which would reduce the protection to black-grown sugar. There can be an understanding that if we pass this amendment we shall bring the Sugar Excise Bill into line with our intentions. Under the sliding scale which I propose, up to the end of the year 1907 the growers would have the full advantages they are now getting. In the year 1908 they would get 80 per cent, of the bounty proposed to be given them under this Bill. In 1909 they would get 60 per cent., or threefifths of it; in, 1910, 40 per cent., or twofifths; in 1911, 20 per cent., or one-fifth. The advantage of legislation by sliding scale is clear, but if we pass this Bill we shall be practically committing ourselves to the Queensland people to review the position at the end of five years.
– Dr. Maxwell distinctly lays it down that he is only making certain proposals for five years, and does not indicate that, in his opinion, at the end of seven years the time will have arrived for the bonus to cease. As a matter of fact, Dr. Maxwell’s opinion seems to be that we shall have to go on indefinitely paying the bounty. If that is to be the case, the position should be put pretty clearly before the people of Australia. The object the Federal Parliament had in view in passing its sugar legislation was to do away with kanaka labour. Has that object been effected? Is it being effected as rapidly as ought to be the case?
– Perhaps not, but it has been effected to a certain extent.
– A large number of the Queensland growers do not seem to have made an honest and faithful attempt to substitute white labour for black.
– They will go for the most profit.
SenatorPlayford. - We ought to ‘have had a higher Excise, with a greater advantage to those who use white labour.
– It was within the power of the Government to introduce a Bill practically to compel everybody who grows sugar to employ white labour. Those who visited Queensland since we introduced our sugar legislation must have come to the conclusion that a large number of the growers have not honestly attempted to do away with black labour, and do not intend to do so if they can help it.
– Would the. honorable senator agree to a sliding scale in regard to jams and hops?
– Those articles are not being benefited by bounties.
– They are produced under protection.
– The sugar industry is not only protected, but has the further advantage of a bounty. There is no other Australian industry that is being similarly favoured. Fruit, timber, butter, jams, and all other produce are produced without bounties.
– Did I not state that fact fairly?
– Yes, but the honorable senator’s interjection carried an unfair inference. The sugar-growers of Queensland must realize that a time must come when their bounties shall cease. Our legislation provides that after the end of next year no more kanakas shall be employed.
– The kanakas are only about one-hal!f the coloured population.
– It is true that neither by the Commonwealth nor State legislation has it been provided that coloured aliens shall be deported. But they will die out in the course of time, and our Commonwealth legislation prevents the importation of more. Our -bounty legislation was designed to cover a period during which the Queensland sugar-growers shall gradually substitute white labour for black. That period has just about arrived. Would it not be better to deal with the whole question by way of Excise and Customs duties rather than by mixing up three things - Excise, Customs, and bounties? I’ can assure the Committee that this question of paying bounties is a live one in some of the States, which are not at all satisfied that the bounty proposed by the Government should be continued for another five’ years. Representations have been made by the Premier and Treasurer of Tasmania, though I do not vouch for the correctness of their figures. The Premier says that the annual loss in connexion with sugar revenue during several years in comparison with the year before Federation has been about £23,000. The people of Tasmania were quite prepared to accept a certain loss with a view to bring about the employment of white labour in the sugar plantations. But they are not prepared to incur a further loss of £15,000 which the Premier states will be involved if this Bill is passed. We shall deal fairly and even generously with the growers if we pass a Bill providing ‘for the continuance of the bounty for five years, decreasing it bv a sliding scale from year to year.
– This subject has been so threshed out that there is little new left to be said, and, consequently, my remark’s shall be brief. The view I take of this measure is similar to that which I took of other measures introduced recently in the Senate. It is altogether too late in the session to legislate on this all-important questionMoreover, we have good reason for saying that its consideration might well be held over until the report of the Tariff Commission has been submitted to us. The present Act does not expire until the’ end of next year, and if the measure were postponed, we should have the whole of the ensuing session in which to deal with it in a more comprehensive and intelligent manner than is now possible. The Tariff Commission is doubtless inquring into the subject, and we know that it is difficult to touch one item of the Tariff without finding it necessary to consider many other items. By next session, the Government could supply us with information which is not at their disposal at the present time. When the Minister of’ Defence quoted Dr. Maxwell, who is, no doubt, a very able man, I could not help thinking that, in any case, that gentleman is only the servant of the State whose interests are very much bound up with this industry. The other States of the Commonwealth are called upon to pay a considerable amount of money, from which, practically, only Queensland can benefit; and I cannot get it out of my head that it is somewhat curious that the only authority quoted in’ favour of the measure is a State servant of Queensland. I cannot forget that, in relation to the survey of the proposed transcontinental railway, we had a report drawn up by the engineers-in-chief of the several States - a board or conference - which insured that the interest of each State was conserved.
– Not so far as policy is concerned.
– I am speaking of the technical knowledge which is highly necessary to enable us to arrive at a conclusion. I do not know that we are taking adVice as to policy from Dr. Maxwell.
– Dr. Maxwell’s advice has largely to do with policy.
– That part of Dr. Maxwell’s report I am inclined to ignore, because I do not take my political views from him. or any other individual, but from the electors of Western Australia. Considering the suspicious nature of the evidence, I am inclined to think it very unreasonable to ask us to swallow Dr. Maxwell’s evidence as gospel. I wish it to be understood that I have the highest regard for Dr. Maxwell personally. I regard him as a very capable officer, who fulfils his duties in an eminently satisfactory manner ; but I cannot lose sight of the fact that he is a State servant, speaking on behalf of Queensland, on a question which involves the taxation of every man and woman in Australia. It is only natural to suppose “that Dr. Maxwell^ as a State servant, is biased ; and, further, the Commonwealth Government do not seem to have made themselves acquainted with all the tacts relating “to the sugar industry. Four or five years ago, when this question was before us, I candidly admit that I somewhat blindly .cast my vote, having had little or no opportunity to investigate it. My views were formed on what I could learn from others. I knew nothing personally of the conditions under which the industry is conducted. Since then, however,, I have made inquiries, and, rightly or wrongly, I pride myself on being in a much better position to cast an intelligent vote than I was on the previous occasion. Apparently, however j the Government have learned nothing; they have no fresh information calculated to be of any assistance to honorable senators. It is somewhat difficult to understand why this should be so, considering that in the meantime inquiries have furnished data which should have placed the Government in a position to give us the fullest information. We are all aware that the legislation already passed has not prove? satisfactory ; we may candidly admit that it has not fulfilled expectations. On the former occasion, every honorable senator very generously supported the principle of assisting this industry in a monetary way; but, in spite of that legislation, the ugly fact stares us in the face that, along with an increase of white men engaged in the industry, there has been an increase of ‘ black men. The object of our legislation is to get rid of black labour. Knowing the evil effects of the employment of coloured) men in the industrial life of Queensland, we came to the conclusion that it would be a good thing to get rid of coloured labour, even though the taxpayers had to pay somewhat dearly for the reform. It appears, however, that the black man is just as rampant in the industry today as he was a few years ago.’ Notwithstanding our legislation, which declares that the kanaka must be deported before the end of next year, coloured! labour is still being introduced into Queensland,
– No coloured men are being introduced.
– From whence does Senator de Largie say that coloured men are being introduced to take the place of the kanaka?
– I suppose from all parts. At any rate,, it is a certainty that coloured men are being introduced into the sugar industry in the shape of Chinese, Japanese, and members of other Asiatic races.
– Where from?
– I am not prepared to say where from.
– I do not know that coloured men are being introduced.
– It is sufficient to know that black labour has not been displaced by white labour. Whether- the coloured men have come from LittleBourkestreet - which I very much doubt - or whether they have1 come from other States, matters very little; the fact is that the Chinamen are to-day in the industry, and that the white men are being crushed out.
– Undoubtedly ; but the fact is that the white man cannot stand the climate in the north.
– I hope Senator Fraser will make himself better acquainted with the facts. When this legislation was first introduced, Senator Fraser posed as being thoroughly conversant with the industry; but I think that, if he were to pay a visit to Northern Queensland, he would come to the conclusion that the white man is the best possible worker here.
– I have been there often.
– Then the honorable senator has not gained as much information as have those who have visited the place only rarely. At Green Hills, near Cairns, there are white men actually working for Chinamen, and I cannot imagine a more humiliating position. I have spoken to these men, and they tell me that, so far as wages and general conditions of employment are concerned, they are much better off than they would be working for the rich planter. That is a sad reflection on the white employer. A. man who was driving horses on the tramway outside Cairns told me that the best bosses around the district were the Chinamen - that they paid more wages and showed more consideration for their men than did the rich planters. It must be remembered, further, that at the very place I am referring to, white men made application for the land, but it was given to Chinamen. The mill-owners who own the land actually refused it to white men, and handed it over to Chinamen. The rich planters and mill-owners, who have always tried to defeat our legislation, are as active to-day as they ever were.
– And the honorable senator proposes to make it easier for them to do it.
– When Senator McGregor finds me assisting the employment of black labour, it will be time enough for him to make that charge.
– The honorable senator proposes to assist those who do employ black labour.
– When the honorable senator can show that I am doing anything of the kind, he will be at liberty to make that charge.
– If the honorable senator assists to throw this Bill out, he will be doing it.
– I hope that my honorable friends will reserve comments of that kind until there is some ground for them.
– I am glad to hear that the honorable senator is going to support the Bill.
– I shall be as candid in my criticism of this Bill as of any other, and I could wish that all other honorable senators would follow my example in dealing with questions affecting the wages and conditions of white labourers. This matter has not been presented to us in a reasonable way. I see nothing in the Bill to remedy the objectionable state of affairs which has resulted from the existing legislation. I desire that we should pass legislation which will, at least, make some pretence of getting rid of black labour.
– An Excise duty of £4 will certainly do that.
– But what about the protection given to sugar produced by coloured labour?
– If we did not discriminate as to sugar produced by coloured labour, we should have sugar coming in that was produced by Fijians.
– We have first to set our own house in order; and when ve have dealt with black labour in the Commonwealth it will be an easy matter to deal with the importation from abroad of sugar produced by black labour. I blindly relied upon the assurance that our first legislation of this kind would enable us to get rid of black labour, and I should be doubly blind were I to assist to re-ena:t that legislation.
– Will the honorable senator tell us how he would manage the business ?
– I should deal with the matter in a more comprehensive wav than the Government propose in this Bill.
– How ?
– It is the duty of the Government, and not mine, to propose measures for this purpose; but before the Bill leaves the Committee honorable senators will have an opportunity to vote for some amendments, which I hope will improve it. Before we are asked to legislate in this way a second time, I want to see some provisions inserted which will secure the ‘results for which Australia is asking from this legislation. The people of the Commonwealth have undoubtedly been generous to this industry, but absolutely nothing has been gained by their generosity. Instead of having made any progress towards the accomplishment of a White Australia in the sugar industry, we have in the last four or five years actually lost ground, since there are more coloured workers engaged in that industry to-day than there were when we first passed this legislation. The statistics supplied by the Commonwealth and States Governments, and also by Dr. Maxwell, prove that we have lost ground in this industry, and yet we are now asked to renew legislation which has been proved to be a failure so far.
– Under different conditions.
– I shall require to have some better reasons than those Which have, so far, been urged to induce me to support the new conditions proposed. Representing, as I do, the miners and people of Western Australia, who have so generously accorded financial assistance to this industry, I should be failing in my duty if I did not try to safeguard their interests. Every working man and woman 5n the country is a consumer of sugar. We ask the people to put their hands into their pockets to pay a tax in order to bring about a White Australia, when we know that the money is finding its way into the pockets of rich planters, and of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, who are doing all they can to defeat our White Australia legislation. It is time to cry a halt, and to ask ourselves whether we are on the right track. When I first supported legislation of this kind, the people of Western Australia were not conversant with the conditions of the industry, but they were quite willing to tax themselves if the results were to be a nearer approach to a White Australia. They knew they could get no assistance for their own industries, and” stood to lose, but, that being so, they have now a right to challenge the re-enactment of this legislation, in. view of the results which have followed from it. I trust that by amendments to be proposed in the Bill, we shall be able to safeguard the rights of white men who, at the present time, are working for what are not living rates of wages, and under conditions which white men should not be asked to put up with. Senator Pearce has outlined a proposal to safeguard the rights of white workers, and I trust that representatives of Queensland will give it the same support as they gave to a similar proposal in connexion with contract labour. I shall not anticipate those who desire to introduce amendments to the Bill bv advancing arguments in their favour before they have themselves had an opportunity to do so. If the amendments suggested are made in the Bill they will make it certainly more acceptable. As it stands, there is nothing in it which would justify me in telling the people of Western Australia that I have supported it, and hope it will be satisfactory to them. They will see no advantage in it, and they will naturally say, “ We have given this legislation a trial ; it has been a failur”e, and now something else must be tried.” I. therefore, hope that the Minister will be convinced of the advisability of accepting the amendment’s which are to be proposed.
– I agree with Senator de Largie to some extent in the statement that past legislation on this subject has not been a success. I said many times that I did not think it would be a success. I am still of the opinion that if sugar is to be successfully grown in the far north, it must be by coloured labour. The land in the north is more productive than is that in the south, but still, in giving bonuses for the production of sugar in the south, we have really been throwing money away. Honorable senators will remember that, without any assistance whatever but the State law, providing for the employment of kanaka labour on safe lines, the sugar industry was making great progress. The Minister in charge of this Bill will, I am sure, vouch for the accuracy of that statement. There was not the remotest risk to the White Australia policy in the conditions of this industry as carried on under the State Government. Had we been wise, we should have allowed the employment of coloured labour to continue under the safeguards provided by the State legislation. If we had done so, the people of the Commonwealth would now have been getting their sugar much more cheaply than they are, and we should not have been called upon to undertake fresh legislation as we shall have to do again when the term d6a.lt with in this Bill expires. This will not end the trouble. We have created difficulties in the industry, and we cannot get rid of them except by extending the term during which the assistance proposed shall be continued. We have deliberately created grave difficulties for the sugar industry in Queensland.
-If our legislation were satisfactory I should not mind how often we were called upon to renew it.
– I agree that it is not satisfactory. Why should we be giving a bonus to producers of sugar in the southern districts? Honorable senators are aware that, prior to Federation.. Queensland sugar was sold in Melbourne in competition with sugar grown elsewhere, and it was sold in London at an advance of a few shillings for freight. It was selling in Sydney in competition with Mauritius, and other sugars, and in Tasmania with sugars imported from all parts of the world. It was competing successfully with outside sugars, and was making great headway, until we created an artificial state of things by declaring that white men could work in the sugar-fields of the north.
SenatorO’ Keefe. - We did what ninetenths of the people of Queensland asked us to do.
– How does the honorable senator account for the fact that the people of Queensland, in the lawspassed by the State Legislature, adopted a different course? They had arranged for kanaka labour under very severe conditions.
– Judging by the way in which they voted at the Federal election, nine-tenths of them have altered that idea.
– It is not likely that the people of Queensland would refuse toaccept a big bonus when it was offered. It is very natural, too, that they should ask for the bonus to be continued, and I donot know that it would bejust to interfere with its payment. However, on that subject it is very instructive to know that Senator Plavford is strongly in favour of the employment of coloured labour.
– No !
– Does the Minister say no?
– Then I shall have to quote a few passages from his report on a visit to India and the Northern Territory to the Government of South Australia. Certainly it was written a good many years ago, but I do not suppose that in’ the interval he has changed his mind. It was written, I might add, after a special -trip which he made for the purpose of conducting an investigation.
– In what year was it written?
– In 1892.
– Will the honorable senator kindlv read the report?
– It is rather too long to be read in extenso, but I shall pick out n. few passages.
– Do not pick out an isolated passage or two that may suit the honorable senator.
– No”. It all partakes of one colour - black : but I propose to read only those parts which are appropriate to this discussion -
My inquiries in India caused me to say without hesitation that the Madras coolie, commonly, known as the Tamil, is the best of the Indian races, and the most suited to select immigrants from for the Territory. They are recognised asthe most industrious hard-working and the least troubled with caste prejudices of any of thenatives of India. They emigrate freely to Burmah, Ceylon, Mauritius, and the Straits, and they are now going to Borneo.
In answer to the question, will the Government of India assist us in procuring emigrants, or will they throw obstacles in our way, the answer is they will assist us in every way they can.
– We had upon our statute-book an act which allowed the importation of Hindoos into the Northern Territory, and I went to India to inquire whether we could get men. It does not follow that I approved of thelaw ; I voted against their introduction.
– In 1892 the honorable senator wrote -
On the 6th of April I visited the Chinamen’s gardens on my way to. Mount Hayward Copper Mine. This garden consists of at least ten acres, all under cultivation, cropped with sweet potatoes; yams, ground-nuts, sugar cane, maize, plantains, bananas, pineapples and a few vegetables such as Chinese turnips, cucumbers, &c.
He praised them up to the very skies.
– Why should I not ?
– The honorable senator continued in this strain -
It will be much cheaper and befter for the ‘Government to assist a pioneer company, or individual, who will locate on a really good piece of land in the Territory, to the extent of paying all the expenses of the first, say, fifty or a hundred coolies required, give the land and a bonus in addition, than it will be to give effect to the motion passed in the House of Assembly. Or the Government might establish an experimental plantation on their own account, working on the same lines as a planter would have to do, with regard to coolie labour - that is, engaging them for a term of years, and at the end of the term returning them to their own native land.
It is one thing to have European planters employing coolies, who return to their country after their term of service has expired ; but it is quite another thing to settle a number of Indians permanently in the Territory.
That is the policy which I have always said we should adopt. I heartily indorse every wordwhich Senator Playford used in that report. Previously he wrote -
European labour is not cheap; therefore, if Europeans could stand the climate, tropical products could not be produced at a profit by them. It is generally admitted that Europeans cannot stand field-work in tropical countries ; therefore, first, on the ground that European labour is not cheap, and secondly, on the ground that the labourers cannot stand the climate, it is not possible to employ Europeans at tropical agriculture.
I also heartily indorse that statement. There are many other passages to the same effect. The honorable senator agrees that that is the policy which we should have adopted in regard to the sugar grown in the north. I have contended all along that the climate of Cairns is worse than the climate of Mauritius. It is very likely, I know, that Chinamen, Japanese, and others might go up and take over large plantations, now owned by white men, and worked by blacks, and that possibly, in odd cases the whites might be working for blacks - a deplorable result to bring about. I do not see any use; in debating the question at this period of the session, because if we do not pass the Bill in some form or other, we shall certainly imperil a great and growing industry, which is very suitable to Queensland, and which could be extended indefinitely. There are still left millions of acres of land which are suitable for sugar production. It is very, likely that before the expiration of the period mentioned in the Bill the production of sugar will overtake the consumption, and when that event takes place, the sugar-growers will have to submit to lower prices. I have not yet made up my mind as to whether I shall support the proposed sliding scale. I know that this legislation imposes a very heavy tax upon the greater part of New South Wales consumers, a tremendous tax upon the people of Victoria, and a very great tax upon the people of Tasmania and Western Australia.
– As there has been no objection offered to the Customs, duty on sugar, this proposal will carry us forward for the next six years. I do not see why an industry which draws all its wealth directly from the soil should not be protected equally with a secondary industry. I voted for the imposition of the duty, and I think that a large majority in each House voted in that direction because we were establishing new conditions in the sugar industry. We knew that it had been carried on in Queensland exclusively by coloured labour. We decided, and we decided rightly, to bring about a condition of affairs which would make it, at any rate, difficult for the industry to be carried on with coloured labour. It was part of our White Australia policy to impose the duties. In view of the fact that the various States have decided to have that policy, no State should shrink from bearing its proportion of the cost.
– Ought there not to be a limit to the responsibility?
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.Certainly, and a limit is now proposed. I hold that the States in which the sugar industry is not carried on at the present time ought to be willing to bear their share of this burden. It is by no means certain that, as, time goes on, some of the southern States will not be large competitors with beet sugar, which, it has been demonstrated in Germany and Austria, can compete successfully, on level terms, with cane-grown sugar. It is well for us. to inquire what our White Australia policy has cost. Speaking from a purely taxation stand-point, not only has it cost the Commonwealth nothing, but it has yielded to the Treasurer an increased revenue of £500,000 per annum. It is possible that some States do not receive the same amount of benefit as other States do. The Excise duty of £4 per ton is divided amongst the people of the Commonwealth according to the consumption of the article in each State. But the bounty of £3 per tom is contributed by the people of the States on a per capita basis. If the Excise duty and the bounty was swept away, no one in the Commonwealth would benefit except the employers of coloured labour. It seems to me that there was no reason why there should have been an Excise duty or a bonus in connexion with this industry, except as an instrument by which we could differentiate between sugar grown by coloured labour and sugar grown byl white labour. In other words, it was a lever by which we could assist the repatriation of kanakas.
– It was the only means.
– We had passed a law which made it imperative. But we also provided for a differentiation in the Excise and bounty, so that it would be to the interest of growers to use white labour, and that meant that we were willing to pay something in order to attain that end. This Bill, and the ancillary Bill with regard to the bounty, enables us to say that sugar grown by white labour shall have a protection of £5 per ton, and that grown by coloured labour a protection of £2 per ton.
– How does the honorable senator reconcile that with fair play?
– If that is unfair, I would gladly be more unfair, and say that there shall be no protection whatever to sugar grown with coloured labour in Australia. Let the growers stand on the same footing as those who produce sugar by coloured labour outside Australia. I would give them no advantage.
– We must take into Consideration existing conditions.
– The existing conditions are that if the growers substitute white for coloured labour, the Commonwealth will give them an advantage 01 £5 Per ton- I a111 opposed to Senator O’Keefe’s amendment for this reason.. He proposes gradually to decrease the bounty, but he proposes to retain the Excise.
– If we did reduce the Excise, the effect would be that we should greatly increase the protection to the product of black labour.
– That is what I am coming to. There is no logical justification whatever for charging an Excise duty on sugar. Sugar differs altogether from commodities like spirits and tobacco. It is a necessity of life. But we have imposed an Excise duty on sugar to give us an instrument to differentiate between coloured and white-grown sugar. By adopting Senator O’Keefe’s amendment we should absolutely play into the hands of the employers of black labour. At the end of five years they would be put on precisely the same footing as the employers of white labour. Senator O’Keefe has stated that we shall have no coloured labour in Australia when the kanakas are sent back to their islands. But that is a very great mistake, and one that must not by any means be overlooked. There are at the present time in Australia, apart from the kanakas, something like 80,000 coloured people. There is sufficient coloured labour in Australia to man the cane-fields of Queensland twice over. We must not, by any means, allow ourselves to consider that when the kanakas go away sugar must necessarily be grown by white labour. It is a fact that Chinese, Malays, and coolies from India, who are already in Australia, are gradually migrating to the sugar fields ; and if Senator O’Keefe’s amendment is carried, we shall be deliberately enabling those who desire coloured labour to use it. Certain of the plantations are now being purchased by Chinese. When the kanakas go away, many growers will employ Hindoos* or Malays. If we carry Senator O’Keefe’s amendment, we shall, at the’ end of 191 2, have the people who are employing coloured labour on exactly the same footing as those who are employing white labour. The very object of the differentiation of £3 a ton, and of giving no advantage to those who use coloured labour, is to promote the use of white labour. Senator O’Keefe proposes to wipe out that differentiation of per ton, so that those who grow b”y means of coloured labour will be able still to do so. He must recognise that he has overlooked the large quantity of coloured labour now in Australia, and which will be available after the kanakas are repatriated.
– The coloured labour will not go to Queensland.
– It is going there now. Coloured people are going from Port Darwin. Some are purchasing sugar plantations and others are working them. I saw a sugar plantation in Queensland, upon which 100 coloured people were employed, apart from kanakas. If we adopt Senator O’Keefe’s proposal, we shall gradually bring about a condition of affairs which will tend to make the growers who employ coloured labour realise that it is to their advantage to put up with a distadvantage for a few years, because they will ultimately have the benefit of cheap labour, and will be in the same position as those who grow by white labour.
– Was .not the original intention of our legislation on this question to do away with kanaka labour?
– Has not the kanaka to go ?
– He has to go under an Act of Parliament, which provides that at the end of a certain time the kanakas who came out under contract must be returned.
– Now we are introducing a new phase.
– It is a consideration of the greatest importance that the 0 Chinese, Hindoos, and Malays in Australia will take the place of the kanakas if we adopt an amendment like this.
– What are those people doing in Australia now? They are working at something.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.But the tendency is for many of them to go back to their own countries. If we afford facilities for them to enter into a profitable industry like sugar-growing, they will not go back. At present a considerable number of coloured people, apart from kanakas, are leaving Australia. We want to assist that process, not to give incentives for them to remain. For these reasons, I hone that the amendment will not be adopted.
- Senator Fraser has dug up a quantity of ancient history; but he has not put fairly before the Committee the difference between the Queensland legislation and that of the Federal Parliament. He left out the one important consideration, that the people of Queensland at the time of the election of the Parliament which enacted the legislation to which he referred had a very restrictive franchise. It was only after the franchise was extended1 that a large number of men who were totally opposed to coloured labour being imported into the country were elected to the State Parliament. It was only under the restrictive franchise that those in favour of coloured labour could secure election to the State Parliament, with ‘the object of carrying through legislation in the interests of the class which was at that time running the sugar industry in large plantations.
– The honorable senator will acknowledge that the Queensland people changed their minds. At onetime they’ were very much against coloured labour, and then reversed their decision.
– There was only one party against it at that time. The circumstances which impelled the change, I will’ not go into now; but they were circumstances outside those which appeared before the public notice. After an opportunity was given to the people of Queensland under a broader franchise to express their views as to whether coloured labour, should be brought in to work in the sugar industry, a totally different opinion was expressed. The district represented in the House of Representatives by Mr. Bamford for the first time was able to return a man to the State Parliament who, all his life, had been opposed1 to the introduction of coloured labour.
-Col. Gould. - When did* this change take place?
– In 1901. for the first time, the people of Queensland had an opportunity of expressing an opinion through the ballot-box on a fair and equitable franchise. That was the time of the first Federal election. Prior to that, they had a most restrictive franchise under which dozens of men who had lived for years in Queensland had no opportunity of expressing an opinion through the ballot- box.
– Is it not absolutelycorrect to state that Queensland, prior <o Federation, had pronounced Absolutely against kanaka labour?
– And’ afterwards reversed her decision?
– She declared against colouredl labour by electing a majority of one particular party. That was in 1888. Afterwards an agitation arose which, coupled with other matters, induced the head of the then Government to form a coalition with another party,, (and to go back upon- the legislation enacted in 1888. But as soon as the people bad an opportunity at the following election, even under a restrictive franchise, they returned a party of fifteen men to the Queensland Parliament totally opposed to the reintroduction of coloured labour.
– The honorable senator admits that the sugar industry was ruined by the first policy?
– I do not acknowledge any such thing. All the statements made regarding the industry at that time were made by men directly interested in making Queensland a black man’s country, so far as agriculture was concerned.
– Companies and individuals were ruined wholesale.
– And considering the way the industry was carried on, they deserved to be ruined. Hundreds of thousands of pounds were wasted, because, I suppose, the people were gaining experience - the black fellow got the money and the other people got the experience.
– If the abolition of kanaka labour did not seriously affect the industry, on. what grounds does the honorable member base his claim for a bonus?
– I contend that the policy declared by the people was that there should be a White Australia.
– But the honorable senator says that the abolition of the kanaka did not affect the industry.
– As a matter of fact, the kanaka was never abolished. Legislation was passed with that object, but there was no opportunity to put it into force before it was reversed, owing to the howl of interested parties in 1890.
– Was there any proposal by the State authorities at that time to give the bounty for white-grown sugar ?
– There was never a proposal of that kind, for the simple reason that more sugar was being produced in Queensland than Queensland could consume.
– Queensland was exporting sugar largely.
– Queensland was sending sugar into the other States, and competing against sugar grown by coloured labour in other parts of the world.
– Queensland is producing more sugar now than it was then.
– No; Queensland was ‘ producing more sugar then than she is now. But that, of course, all depends upon the season, the same as in connexion with grain. Last year Queensland produced more grain than she could possibly use, but this year that is not the case.
– In any case, this is going to be a good year for sugar.
– This is going to be a good year, but years ago more sugar was produced than at present. In 1897 there was the heaviest production, but the quantity decreased by thousands of tons, owing to bad seasons.
– There was no proposal to give a bounty.
SenatorMillen. - Was that not because the honorable senator and his friends con tended that this was a white man’s industry, and that no bonus was necessary?
– We contended that white men could do the work, but that, so long as coloured aliens were employed, the white man should be given an advantage. As to the agitation about coolies, it was stated by the sugar-growers that they could not get sufficient labour from the islands, and a correspondence was carried on between the Queensland Government and the Indian Government some years ago. The Queensland Government desired to place some restrictions on the coolies it was proposed to import’, but the Indian authorities would not allow their people to come to Australia on the conditions laid down. The fact that coolies did not come to Australia was not due to any opposition to coloured labour, but merely fo the circumstances ‘I have related ; indeed, the planters did all they could to get coolie labour. However, in the opinion of the people, certain restrictions were necessary, and to these restrictions the Indian authorities refused to assent.
– But the Indian authorities were quite prepared to deal with the Government of South Australia in regard to the Northern Territory.
– I do not know anything about that ; but the Indian authorities would not deal with the Queensland authorities. I shall not deal with the other amendments which have been alluded to, but desire to refer to one or two matters mentioned by Senator de Largie. That honorable senator said that when this legislation was first passed it was believed that the number of coloured labourers would decrease. In the first place, I point out that recruiting was only prohibited after the end of last year, and after the passing of the legislation in 1901 those who were in the habit of sending to the islands for labour increased their efforts to a great extent. They said to themselves, “ Seeing that we are protected now to the extent of per tort on coloured-grown sugar, we have full opportunity to take advantage of coloured labour until the end of 1904.”
– Did they get the Chinamen in that way?
– That is another matter. These growers got more kanakas in the two years after 1901 than had been introduced at any other period. Those who were carrying out sugar-growing on large areas wished to get as many men as possible under contract to the end of 1906. and1 not only did their best in the way of sending recruiting vessels to the Islands, but held out every inducement, to the kanakas to re-engage./ That i’s a simple explanation regarding the increase ot kanakas in Queensland. At the end ot 1906, however, there will be no engagements; all the kanakas will have to be deported to the Islands, and there will then be practically a wiping out of black labour in the sugar industry. There is a large alien population in Australia, which must remain here in any case. I believe there are really more Chinamen in Victoria than in Queensland, and also a large number in South Australia.
– In the Northern Territory, there is.
– A large number of Chinamen were introduced into South Australia, in order to build a railway, and the result has been that during the past three or four years, these aliens have been coming along the two or three available tracks into Queensland as fast as they could. In some cases the Queensland Government have not only stopped them, but shipped them off to
Port Darwin. That, of course, cannot be done’ now ; but the fact was that when these Chinamen got into the small towns, the police arrested them and” shipped them off in the way I have described, at the ex- pense ot the Queensland Government, So long as we are prepared to give a large amount of protection to sugar grown by these people, they will flock- into the industry ; and that is the reason I cannot support tho amendment of Senator O’Keefe. That senator proposes that there shall be a sliding scale; but, even if it were proposed to deal .with the Excise in the same way, those who vote for the amendment will simply reduce the amount of protection to the white worker, and bring him down to the level of the coloured alien. If we took £1 per annum off the bounty, and j£i off the Excise, it would simply mean bringing down the white worker all the time, while the coloured alien would practically remain where he is now.
– The coloured1 alien would get more and more each year.
– Yes, proportionately, and the white worker would be brought down to his level. The greater the difference between, the protection given to the coloured alien, and that given to the white worker, the fewer of the former will go into the industry.
– Some of these aliens are naturalized subjects, and part of the population.
– But how many? Are there 500 in the whole of Australia?
– There will only be 2,000 Or 3,000 coloured aliens in Australia in six years’ time.
– If that is the effect of this legislation, the honorable senator ought to be a strong supporter of it.
– That is not the effect of the legislation.
– If Tasmania were polled to-morrow, T think the honorable senator would find the majority of his constituents in favour of abolishing the coloured labourer at any cost.
– But the remnant of the coloured population cannot be got rid of.
– The sugar industry cannot be carried on by 2,000 people; but requires, I suppose, 15,000 or 20,000. The whole of the land around Bundaberg in the rich Woongarra Scrub was taken up in two or three farms. The whole of the land in this Isis district, and also in the sugar districts around Mackay, was taken up in the same way. What is the position to-day? The tendency for several years past has been for the individual farmer to take up a small area, and produce cane to keep the central mills going. That is now the position of affairs in the Woongarra Scrub. The owners of the big estates there went insolvent. The estates have been cut up, and small, men introduced into the industry are carrying on the work with the assistance of their families and the white labour to be had in the district.
– Small men are bound to be more successful.
– Is not that the policy which the honorable senator desires in connexion with this industry?
– If it is to be carried on by white labour, certainly.
– Most decidedly it is to be carried on by white labour. Senator Fraser must admit that the majority of the people of Victoria would sanction a policy which would result in the cutting up of big estates. That is the very thing they are wanting in this State itself. That is the tendency which has been operating in Queensland for a number of years. When the Woongarra Scrub was held by a small number of men they were unable to keep the industry going.
– Because they could not get labour.
– The honorable senator does not know what he is talking about. There were thousands of kanakas to be had at that time. That was in the “ black-birding “ days, of which the honorable senator has no doubt heard - when it did not matter under what conditions the kanaka was caught, he was worth so much per head when brought to Queensland. In . one year thousands of coloured aliens were landed in Queensland, independently of the supply from the South Sea Islands.
– I was talking of a few years ago.
– The honorable senator was talking of a time when the Woongarra Scrub was in the hands of four or five planters, and at that time any quantity of coloured labour could be got, there and in the Mackay district as well. Let me ask Senator Fraser when the sugar industry was more successful than it is now?
– It was most successful under the State.
– The honorable senator ought to have been aware that that is not a fact. There were thousands of pounds invested in the industry, and lost.
– That was during the crisis.
– There was no crisis at all in the industry.
– Does the honorable senator say that there was no crisis in the sugar industry?
– There was no crisis in the industry in the way the honorable senator suggests. The large amount of money was put into the industry when coloured labour could be got in any quantity. Vessels were going regularly to the South Sea Islands, and the recruiters were paid so much per head for all the darkies they could bring back. Coloured labour was poured into the industry, and the revelations which followed the failure of the banks in. 1893 showed the enormous sums of money that had been advanced to try to keep the people then concerned in the industry going. There was absolutely no crisis in the industry, but it was carried on in such a way that it was impossible for it to pay. If Senator Fraser took up 500 square miles of the country outside Melbourne at the present time, and paid the price he would have to pay for it, he could never make it pay by running sheep on it. He would have to pour money into it every year to keep going, even though he could get the cheapest labour on the face of the globe to work it. Exactly in the same way, when this industry was being carried on by a few people cultivating large areas, it could not be made to pay. Now that men have gone into the industry who are cultivating small holdings, and working it more intelligently, and now that a greater number have interests at stake in its success, the industry has paid. When I hear the references to the fact that Chinese and other aliens are going into the industry, I remind honorable senators that Victoria would be prepared to pay almost any price to get all the Chinese in this State out of it, because thev know that their removal would give employment to the white men who would fill their places. If there is one argument which, more than another, should induce honorable senators to oppose the amendment proposed by Senator. O’Keefe, it is that Chinese and1 other coloured aliens are finding their way from the Northern Territory, from New South Wales, and from Victoria, into the sugar industry in North Queensland. That should be a reason for declining to reduce the protection to white growers, because it is necessary to enable them to compete with the coloured aliens who are going into the industry.
– Can the honorable senator say how long it would be necessary for the Commonwealth to subsidize the industry on a white basis, before it would be able to maintain itself?
– I do not believe that it would be very long.
– There are no signs in this Bill of any termination to the period during which the bonus will be necessary.
– I admit that, but I point out that when we began to legislate against alien labour in Queensland, and restrictions were imposed upon the recruiting system, so that the planters could not get kanakas as easily as they were able to obtain them before, the game they played was to bring out large numbers of Hindoos. I believe we have been successful in stopping that practice. With respect to those aliens, a number are leaving the C6mmonwealth annually, we lose many from death and other causes, and the total number is being gradually reduced every year.
– And the kanaka is soon to be deported.
– I am referring particularly to Chinese, Hindoos, and Malays. Very few of those people are married. They leave no families after them, those who are here are getting old, many leave every year for their own country, death and other causes account for more, and the total number is being gradually reduced.
– Can the honorable senator say when he thinks it will be possible to discontinue the bonus?
– I could not tell the honorable senator. I could make only a guess, as the Minister has done this morning in the statistics that he has submitted. The honorable senator has submitted figures showing that in three years’ time, it is estimated that we shall be producing so many hundreds of thousands of tons of sugar, when we know that if a drought occurs we shall not produce one-twentieth of the estimate. We have seen slumps in the sugar industry before to-day, and everything depends upon the seasons.
– Are we going to give the bonus because of the drought?
– I do not contend that we are; but it has been pointed out that the revenue will be decreased because there will be so many more tons of sugar produced by whilte labour.
– Why does not the honorable senator give a simple answer to a simple question. We have nothing to do with the revenue. The question is, “ When the honorable senator thinks that the industry will be able to stand in Queensland without the bonus?”
– I hope that we shall always have protection for every industry in the Commonwealth.
– I can only say that every year a larger number of white men are going into the sugar industry, especially in the southern part of the State.
– With: the bonus.
– They were doing so without the bonus. A few years ago it was declared that it was impossible to grow sugar, even in Southern Queensland, without coloured labour. I remember the time when the coloured alien was going over the border into New South. Wales. New South Wales planters were holding out every inducement to time-expired boys - “ticket bovs,” as they were called - to go to work in the Richmond and Clarence River districts. They subsequently found that they could do without them. The line above which coloured labourers are employed in this industry has been continually shifting north. It was thought at one time that sugar could not be grown on the Logan bywhite labour, and I suppose that to-day it would be impossible to find a single kanaka or other coloured alien engaged in the production of sugar in the Logan district. White farmers are now carrying on the industry with the aid of their own families.
SenatorFraser. - But that is in the cooler districts.
– I am pointing out that the line above which coloured aliens are employed in the industry has been continually receding further north. Coloured labour was almost exclusively employed in the Bundaberg and Isis districts, and today we find large numbers of white men unable to find employment in those districts, even when the sugar season is at its height. I can assure honorable senators that white men, accustomed to the work of the industry in the Bundaberg, have formed gangs of their own to work in the industry in the north, and they have the record for canecutting. Those by whom they were employed in the north were so satisfied that men accustomed to the industry gave them greater satisfaction than they could have got from the employment of any coloured labour, that if they could secure that class of labour in the future, they would welcome the time when the coloured man would be pushed out of the industry altogether. Senator de Largie has said that the Government are to blame for not bringing this measure in earlier. I wish they had introduced it earlier. But the honorable senator reasoned from that that it would be better to allow this legislation to stand over until the next session. Any one who argues in that way can know nothing about the conditions of the industry. One would think that it is possible to throw down a few shoots of cane and have a crop in . six months. This legislation must be passed this session, for the reason that the men who desire to register their land for the bounty must know whether they will ge’t the bonus in 1907. If .this legislation is not passed now, no more land will be put under sugar than can be avoided, whereas, if growers are assured that they will obtain the bonus in 1907, they will register their land, plough it, and put it under crop. Honorable senators must remember that after the land is sown, the grower cannot hope for any return from it for at least eighteen months, and if he is not favoured with a fairly good season, he may have lost a lot of “standover “ cane, which cannot be cut for two years. That is the answer to Senator de Largie’s statement that it is not necessary to pass this legislation this year. In some cases, men have cultivated land and sown the seed, but have not been able to cut a stick of cane for two years and a half. Will men be induced to extend the cultivation of sugar by white labour unless, this Bill be passed? As soon as it was passed, the growers would” be able to register the land which they intended to crop in 1 907, and they would employ nothing but white labour. Sugar-growing is, different from wheat-growing, because in the latter case one can get a crop within five or six months from the sowing of the seed. Those who intend to support the amendment- of Senator O’Keefe will take away from the white grower the protection which the legislation has afforded him, in comparison with the grower who uses coloured labour. To pass the amendment as it is, even though the Excise Bill bc amended, in the same direction., means to take away so much protection as in three or four years to bring the white grower down to the same level as. the user of coloured labour.
– I think that the Committee cannot be blamed for giving a fair amount of consideration to this proposal to diverge from the policy laid down by the first Parliament, and that was to replace kanaka labour with white labour. In order to carry out that policy, four measures were enacted. We imposed an import duty of £6 a ton ora sugar, an. Excise duty of £3 a ton on sugar ; we granted a bounty, or, as it was then called, a rebate, on white-grown sugar, and we sanctioned the deportation of kanakas. It was enacted that the collection of the Excise duty, the payment of the bounty, and the deportation of the kanakas should take place at the end of 1906. It was never contemplated, or suggested, that legislation was required to deal with otherforms of coloured labour in the Commonwealth. It was asked for to enable the displacement of kanakas with white labour. Before we commit ourselves to a new policy - one which is infinitely more farreachingthan the policy of 1901 - we should be well seised of all the facts of the case. Whatever claim may be made on behalf of the sugar industry can equally be made on behalf of the other industries. The first Parliament recognised that the sugar industry had a special claim for consideration, in that it was proposed to take away, from Queensland 10,000 Pacific Islanders before the end of 1.906, and to prevent the importation of similar labour. So far as I am aware, there was no such special circumstance surrounding any other industry; but if there had been, and it had been proposed to make such a drastic change as we did in connexion with the sugar industry, I feel sure that it would have received similar consideration. Can any one tell me why the sugar industry has any greater claim for protection against the coloured labour which is within the Commonwealth, and which cannot be increased from outside,’ than any other industry’, or why the Parliament should be asked to do in connexion with this one industry what no honorable senator would dare to propose in connexion with any other industry? Why should it be asked to do for the sugar industry in two States what their Parliaments could do, and what, in connexion with other industries in other States, their Parliaments have done? It is possible to use coloured labour in the mining industry. So far as Federal legislation is concerned, there is nothing (to prevent ‘the mine-owners of Western Australia from collecting the coloured aliens from all over the Commonwealth and using, them in their mines.
– The honorable senator knows that there is not the remotest possibility of such a thing being done.
– I should not ask the Federal Parliament to take any action in that direction, because I recognise that the Parliament of Western Australia possesses the necessary power, , and has exercised it. Not only has it exercised that power as regards the mining industry, but it has legislated to protect the white workers in certain industries, notably, the laundry and the cabinet-making industries, from the competition of the Asiatics in the State and in the rest of the Commonwealth. In Victoria, during the past year, there has been a fierce debate on a similar proposal. The Legislative Council rejected a measure from the Legislative Assembly to extend similar protection to the white workers in the trades here. There is nothing to prevent the people of Queensland, if they are in earnest, as I believe they are, from asking their State Parliament to protect the white workers in the sugar industry from the unfair competition of the coloured workers in the rest of the Commonwealth.
– Has not Western Australia been hauled over the coals for passing a Factories Act?
– No. The Chinese workers in the cabinet-making trade sent, through their Government, a petition against the enactment of the measure. When it was presented to the King by the Chinese Ambassador, His Majesty referred it to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, who simply indorsed it, and sent it on to the Premier of Western Australia:
– If the Commonwealth has the power - and no one denies that it has - to protect the white workers in the industries,, why should it not do so?
– The Parliament of Queensland has greater power in this connexion, than we have, because we can only impose a clumsy system of excessive taxation. We are asked to commit ourselves to a new policy. It is not now a question of taking the kanakas awav from the planters and easing the blow, but a question of protecting the sugar industry from the coloured labour in the Commonwealth which it is not proposed to deport, continuing an enormous load of taxation, external and internal, in order to achieve, in a clumsy fashion, what the people of Queensland, through their Parliament, could do if they so wished.
– If the Parliament of Western Australia had failed to legislate, the honorable senator would not object to allow the federal Parliament to do so?
– If the Parliament of my State had failed to act, and this Parliament were to pass, this Bill, I should have very good ground for coming here and asking for a subsidy.
– Can the honorable senator cite another industry which has to compete to the same extent against the product of coloured labour?
– Yes; the cabinetmaking industry. The statistics of Western Australia show that there are as many Chinese as white men in the cabinet-making industry; in fact, the Chinese are increasing, and the white men are decreasing. If ever a case called for remedial legislation, that one did. The cabinet-makers of Western Australia did not ask the Federal Parliament to interfere, but they appealed to the State Parliament. I recognise that in 1901 the Federal Parliament might with very good cause have been called upon by the people of Queensland to act, and that is that the members of its Legislative Assembly had been returned on practically a property qualification. Since then, however, adult suffrage has been introduced, and with a nominee Upper House, there is no reason why the State Parliament should not be brought by the pressure of popular will to act.
– The people of Queensland have not yet had an opportunity to vote on the new franchise.
– No, but at the ensuing election they will.
– Does the honorable senator approve of the Excise duty?
– I. should raise the Excise duty to close on£6 a ton if I could have my way.
– Does the honorable senator think that sugar is a proper subject for taxation ?
– No, and that is why, if you have a proper protective duty, I would impose a high Excise duty. I admit that sugar is not a proper subject of taxation, but it is a very big source of revenue. Nearly ,£800.000 out of a total revenue of ;£8, 000,000 - that is nearly one-eleventh - is derived from .the duties on sugar. No other country in the world, I think, raises such a large proportion of its taxation from this one article of general consumption. I submit that if Queensland desires the abolition of coloured labour in the sugar industry, she has a remedy in her own hands. We have done our part so far as the kanakas are concerned. The Commonwealth has done its part by a system of taxation in the interests of those who employ white labour. Byl means of the Pacific Island Labourers Act we have’ displaced the Pacific Islanders. If Queensland says, “ We find now that other coloured aliens are coming into our State from the other States to engage in the industry,” my reply is, “You have the remedy in your own hands. You can take ‘ precisely the same action in regard to the sugar industry as Western Australia has taken in the mining and cabinetmaking industries.”
– Can Queensland pass an Act to prevent a Chinaman from entering that State?
– No; but she can pass an Act saying what labour shall be employed in a particular [industry. I look upon that as a complete reply to the contention of Senator Turley, and also as a complete reply to the argument of Senator Smith. Senator Smith said, in opposition to Senator O’Keefe’s sliding-scale, “But those who employ white labour will have other coloured labour to compete with?” “Of course, but they will have other coloured labour to compete with under the Government proposal. What is it proposed to do at the expiration of the- term fixed by the Government? Would not the growers have other coloured J abour to compete with then? Are we to be told that at “the end of that term this proposal is to be renewed and perpetuated ?
– At the end of that time, shall we not be free of the “bookkeeping system;, and be able to do what we like with our revenue?
– Two years before the end of that term we shall be free of the bookkeeping system ; but that is an argument for a still shorter period.
– We shall be in a much better position to act five .years hence than we are now.
– That is not an argument against Senator O’Keefe’s proposal. Our Commonwealth legislation was not directed against coloured labour generally, but against Pacific Islanders, and to provide for their deportation. That has been accomplished, but we are now asked to make the legislation permanent.
– The Bill does not say so.
– It means, if we accept the argument, that we must keep up this bounty so long as there is any coloured labour in the Commonwealth.
– And so long as there is a drought, according to Senator Turley.
– If it is to be contended that we must keep up the payment of a bounty so long as there is any coloured labour, not merely in Queensland but in Australia - because honorable senators have included the whole Commonwealth in the scope of their policy - the Government have made the term altogether too short. But I altogether dissent from that proposition. I say that the regulation of the employment of coloured labour within a State is the duty of the States Parliaments. If the people of Queensland wish to keep the sugar industry for the white people, they have the remedy in their own hands. They do not need to ask the people of the Commonwealth to pay this heavy taxation year in and year out, and to keep up this cumbrous method of’ achieving their object. They can achieve it by a direct method, which their State Parliament can impose.
– Would not that line of reasoning be equally applicable to the legislation of the Commonwealth ?
– No; because the people of Queensland could not express’ any opinion on the deportation of the kanakas except through their Federal representatives. The State Parliament has no power to deport. The Federal Parliament is the only power that could get rid of the kanakas. The Federal Parliament, therefore, was the proper body to deal with that question.
-Col. Gould. - How would the honorable senator say that the State Parliament should deal with it?
– By industrial legislation applied to the sugar industry in the same way as Western Australia has dealt with the mining industry. We have no Asiatics in our mines in Western Australia. The State Parliament also passed a law during the last session placing handicaps and hindrances on Asiatics being employed in laundries and in cabinet-making. In precisely the same manner,, if the Queensland people desire to keep coloured people out of the sugar industry, that is the proper method of dealing with it. It Ts a direct method,- it does not impose a tremendous burden of taxation, it will be very effective, and it will be carried out by the people direcfly concerned. Surely if Western Australia keeps her house in order she has every reason to say that Queensland shall do likewise. The rest of the Commonwealth ought not to be taxed to induce the sugar-growers of Queensland to regulate their industry, in the way which the people of Queensland desire. Now I want to give a few figures to enable honorable senators to see what a tremendous burden of taxation this method of dealing with the sugar industry involves. The imports of foreign sugar in 1904 amounted to 55,492 tons. The duty at £6 per ton amounted to . £332,548. The exports of Australian and other sugar amounted to 2,943 tons- The net Excise paid amounted to £413,966. More Excise was paid than the . amount of import duty. The Customs duties net amounted to . £333,337. That is to say, there was a total taxation in Excise and Customs of £747,303. The bounty paid in 1904 was distributed as follows: - Queensland received . £85,211, and New South Wales received £36,066. In other words, the total bounty paid in 1904 was £121,277. As the total revenue was £747,303> and the bounty was £121.277, the revenue benefited to the extent of £626,026, which was, as I have shown, one-eleventh of our total taxation. But that does not represent the total burden upon the consumers by any means. It is estimated that Australia consumes, roughly, about 200,000 tons of sugar per annum. We have a protective duty of £6 per ton; which practically means that the people of Australia are paying £1,200,000 more for their sugar than they would do if there were no import duty and no Excise.
– That does not follow.
– It does in this particular case, because the outside price does not regulate the market. If our- ports wereopen, and we could get sugar at the world’s^ market price, we should pay less by theamount I have specified. Our local production has not . caught up to the local consumption, and it is always admitted, even byprotectionists, that where the local production is not equal to the local consumption, the price of the article affected is higher than the outside price.
– There is a huge sugartrust in Hong Kong.
– But it has no effectupon the world’s price.
– It had a monopoly in the Australian market before we gave protection to the local sugar industry.
– But Germany- and: France are producing beet sugar. There isno trust in those countries. Other tropicat parts of the world are also producing canesugar. When we have France, Germany, Java, Mauritius, and other countries supplying sugar, the price which may be fixed by one company in one part of the world can have no effect.
– The combine in Hong: Kong gets all its cane from Java.
– That is only onelittle cornerof the world’s market. Out of the £1,200,000 which Australia is paying, £747,303 goes to the revenue, and” £452,697 to the manufacturers and” growers; but out of the£747,303 received’ in revenue, £121,277 goes to the whitegrowers in special bounty.
– So that the State getsless than half?
– Yes. The proposal’ put before us by the Government will decrease the revenue for Customs duties, and” will increase the revenue from Excise, by one-third. It will make the proportion, instead of, as at present, as three representing Customs duties is to four representing Excise duties, into two representing; Customs duties and five representing Exciseduties. The bounty will, as I have said, be increased by one-third, which contemplates a possible increase of expenditure of £100,000. When we come to look at themagnitude of these figures, there is surely reason for the Senate to take into consideration whether it should not pause before it enters upon this new policy. Thepeople of the Commonwealth have laid down a White Australia policy to prevent the importation of more coloured labour. They have made the necessary provision for deporting the 10,000 kanakas in Queensland, and have paid the price for doing so. This Bill asks us to take on something more ; to enter into a bargain to continue this method of taxation by putting this tremendous burden on the shoulders of the people of Australia. Why should we save this one industry, among all our industries, from competition by black labour by means of a bounty, when the people of Queensland themselves can accomplish the same purpose without penalizing the other parts of the Commonwealth ? They have power to do it, and itf they refuse to exert their power, they have no right to ask the rest of the Commonwealth to penalize themselves, and to do a thing which they, having the power to do, will not do. For these reasons, I shall vote for any proposal which’ will have the effect of terminating the operation of the bounty at an earlier date than that proposed, and of. making its effect less burdensome on the people of the Commonwealth. The more -we lessen the bounty the more the revenue, which is wrung out of the people, will go into the Treasury. I shall support Senator O’Keefe’s proposal for a sliding scale, although personally I think it would be better to allow the State Parliament to deal with this matter, seeing that we did -our part during the first Commonwealth Parliament.
– There is no mistaking the importance of this matter from a financial point of view. The figures involved are very large - Larger than those involved in the taxation of any other commodity. I for one am not in the least surprised that in the various States there is arising a very strong feeling in reference to the amount which the people are called upon to contribute, and the amount which the revenue is “losing. There are three points of view from which we may regard this question. First of all. there is the point of view of the consumer. As Senator Pearce has very correctly stated, every ounce of sugar consumed in Australia is subject, by the natural process of law, to a Customs taxation of £6 per ton. That fact was admitted in this Chamber by Mr. Justice O’Connor, when he was Vice-President of the Executive Council, and it has been admitted by every speaker to-d’ay, as it is recognised in the report of Dr. Maxwell, -and by the Government, and as it will be recognised, even by Senator Best, if he will take a little time to consider the matter. It is true that this is only a Customs duty, but, owing to its existence, the producers are able to add the £6 to their price. From the point of view of the consumer, our financial arrangements mean the addition of £6 per ton to the price of all the sugar consumed. The next point of view is that of the industry itself. Under the present arrangement, white-grown sugar is protected to the extent of £5 per ton, and black-grown sugar to the extent of £3 per ton. The new arrangements, which the two Bills create, will mean that the protection enjoyed by the white-grown sugar will still he £5, while the protection to the black-grown sugar will be reduced to £2. I presume it will be recognised, even by Senator Best that, if there be a Customs dutiyof £6 per <ton, and the coloured producers pay only £4. Excise, they will be protected to the extent of £2 per ton. The third point of view is that of the Treasury, which at present receives £6 per ton on any sugar imported, an Excise of £1 per ton on white-grown sugar - that is £3 less £2 - and £3 per ton on sugar grown by coloured labour. It is now proposed to vary these arrangements, but the change is only in regard to the coloured producer, who, in the future, will have to pay the Treasury £4 per ton instead of £3. Some three months ago, when we were considering the financial statement, I quoted some figures on this question. I have been drawing attention to the matter for more than five years: indeed1, I did so before the first Federal Parliament was elected, pointing out the results on the finances of the various States of the taxation on sugar. Some three months ago, I quoted a table showing the sugar consumed, the revenue received, the bounties paid, the real net revenue, the taxation paid by the people, and the moneys taken by the industry. These figures, which I have here now, are rather remarkable. They show that in 1902-3, the industry received 32 per cent, of the total taxation paid by the people ; that in 1903-4, it received 37 per cent. ; in 1904-5, -it received 54 per cent. ; and that, according to the figures for the current year, the industry will receive 59 per cent, of the taxation. In other word’s, while the people will pay £1,122,000, the industry, in one form and another, will take £666,170, the revenue benefiting only to the extent of £455,830. I must say that the figures produced by Senator Playford1 last Friday, fairly startled even myself. I was not prepared for a statement indicating that the quantity of white-grown sugar would increase as rapidly, as suggested by the Minister. That, of course, means a rapid decrease in the ‘revenue. If Australia consumed only white-grown sugar, the amount of revenue must of necessity be materially reduced. I do not care to’ address empty benches. [Quorum formed^ I should like to draw attention to the figures which were laid before the Senate on Friday last by Senator Playford. According to the figures for the year 1907-8, with a consumption of 190,000 tons, the revenue will be £760,000, out of which’ £3^1, 000 will be paid in bounties, leaving a net revenue of only £439,000. According to this, there will be taken by the industry a total of £701,000, or 61 per cent, of the entire taxation paid by the people. The last year for which Senator Playford gave us any figures was 1911-12, for which the suggested consumption is 200,000 tons, with a revenue of £800,000, out of which £507,000 is to be paid in bounties, leaving for the Treasurer only £293,000. As the people will pay a total of £1,200,000 - just the figures Senator Pearce mentioned - there will be taken by the industry £907,000, or 76 per cent, of the total. These figures are very startling. That any industry in Australia has to be supported to the rune of nearly £1,000,000, is almost past belief, even though it be the important sugar industry. ..The following table shows the exact position : -
– The honorable senator is in favour of free trade, is he not, all the time?
– I have indicated to honorable senators that in the year to which Senator Playford referred, the people will pay £1 ,200,000, of which the Treasurer will receive only £293,000. If the Treasurer got the whole of that vast sum of money, taxation could be reduced right and left. We know, however, that this cannot be done at present ; and I want those honorable senators, who are protectionists, to bear in mind the simple fact that quite beyond any question of bounty or Excise, there is a substantial protection. Suppose the amount of protection through’ the Customs was reduced to £2 or £3, and the Excise was swept away, there would still be a protection of 20 to 25 per cent. - substantial enough, surely ! Those honorable senators who feel that Australia is burdened by_ the collection of this vast sum of money, will admit that if the bounty were reduced, Australia would still have to meet a heavy payment in the form of protection. I have written out a few figures, which will indicate the position. In the year 1908, taking the production of sugar at 200,000 tons, the protection - that is, the difference between the Excise and the Customs dutywill amount to £2 per ton, or £400,000. If all that sugar be produced by white labour, there will be an additional burden of £600,000. so that in that year alone those engaged in the industry will receive a solid million of money. In the following year the industry will receive £400,000 by way of protection, and, if they get four-fifths of the suggested bounty, that will mean £480,000, or a total of £880,000. If we take the 119Xt year, when they would lose a further one-fifth, they would still get £760,000 ; in the following year, £640,000 ; in the fifth year, £520,000 ; and in the sixth year, when they would get no bounty at all, they would still be receiving protection in the difference between the Excise and Customs duties to the extent of £400,000 a year. Surely that is a very solid protection, which ought to satisfy the most gluttonous protectionist. These figures should attract attention. I find that the sum of £907,000, which the industry would receive in 1911 or 1912, would be equal to something like £5 13s. 6d. per acre of cane. Is not that a most extraordinary amount to be paid? I have estimated the acreage on the basis of the present acreage, quantity for quantity, and I find that the industries have received protection to the extent of £5 13s. 6d. per acre per year.
– Per year?
– Yes. Does the honorable senator know how many acres are being cultivated?
– A good many thousand.
– About 160,000 acres. Then the quantity of sugar - 200,000 tons - makes the average of £4 10s. 8d. per ton. Surely these are monstrous payments to be even suggested to Parliament. I wonder how Senator Playford will justify payments like these when he comes, in a year’s time, to speak to the: electors of South Australia. I wonder how Senator Keating will justify legislation like this when he goes before the electors of Tasmania. I wonder whether thev will not both be charged with betraying and impoverishing the people of Australia by the imposition of such gigantic taxation. I should like to know why the sugar industry is to be favoured to this immense extent, whilst the fruit industry is to be ground in the dust to support ft. These are important questions for the consideration of honorable senators representing Tasmania, and Senator Keating had better be prepared to face them when he comes, next year, to woo the electors of that State. I have a statement here which is worthy of some attention. At a conference of fruit-growers some calculations were made as to the Quantity of sugar required for the preservation of the fruit obtained from the trees on an average acre of orchard. It was found that from an acre of quince trees the value of the fruit obtained would be about £12, and it would require a quantity of sugar to produce it, the duty on which would amount to £24. An acre of plums, representing a value of .£15, would require sugar for preservation the duty on which would amount to £9-* The produce of an acre of apricots, valued at £26, would involve a duty of £20 on the sugar required for its preservation. The product of an acre of peaches, valued at £25, would require for its preservation a quantity of sugar on which the duty would be £19. Surely these are very serious figures. I do not understand how any one who has any care at all for what are called Australian industries can be prepared to make fish of one and flesh of another in this astonishing way. If protection of the sugar industry be granted to a certain extent, there must surely be a limit to the protection proposed, so that it shall not crush other industries of Australia. On reading Dr. Maxwell’s report, I observe that he estimates that it is very doubtful what the position will be at the end of the next period of six or seven years. He thinks - and it is very probable - that Parliament will be asked again to continue the bounty, and may even be asked to increase the rate. It is therefore desirable that we should face this matter squarely ; it should be dealt with on a fair basis, and also on a liberal basis. Having legislated with regard to the labour to be employed in this industry, we should treat it in no illiberal manner; but I really do ask for a little bit of sanity in dealing with it, and a little regard for other industries at the same time. Senator Playford, in introducing the Bill, said that honorable senators would know that in another place a sliding scale was proposed, and he then added, with the most delightful innocence, “ Of course it was rejected.” But the honorable senator did not tell us that it was rejected in another place by a majority of only six, nor did he inform the Senate that another proposal to reduce the term under this Bill was rejected by a majority of two. I think the honorable senator should have told the Senate that, but I presume that he was not acquainted with those facts, which put an entirely different aspect on the matter. I can give the honorable senator another piece of information, and that is that it was stated by the leader of the Opposition that two honorable members had been unable to take part in a division because of some block in the lift, and when he asked him-:to consent to a recommittal of the Bill the Minister of Trade and Customs said, “ Indeed1 1 won’t.” That should be remembered in connexion with the desire of the same Minister to reintroduce a certain other Bill in this Chamber. I ask honorable senators to show a little concern as to the position which Australia would occupy in the face of Europe in connexion with these bounties. In the past, Australia has loudly complained of the bounties paid on beet sugar in Europe. Under our Tariff we have imposed a duty of 10s. or 12s. a cwt. on beet sugar, as against 6s. on cane sugar, on the ground that it was necessary to impose a big duty on beet sugar, because large bounties are given in Europe for its production. What sort of treatment are we going to prepare for Australian sugar abroad if it should ever be produced in quantities in excess of our own consumption? What sort of welcome are we preparing for it in other protectionist countries, if they deal with our cane sugar as we dealt with beet sugar in 1901? We are suggesting legislation against what we call dumping. Are we to give this big protection on sugar to prepare the way for its being dumped into other countries of the world, in order that, in our turn, we may be censured and legislated against for dumping? I have a lot of further notes with which I shall not trouble the Senate. The matter is one of very great importance, and calls for the earnest attention of every member of the Committee. It is very much to be regretted that a measure so complicated should be thrust upon us at the fag end of the session, when so little time is given to consider it. I would suggest to Senator O’Keefe that he should alter his amend’: ment,, so as to give one further full year to the industry. According to the honorable senator’s proposal, I think that the industry would receive the present bounty for 1906. It would receive the increased bounty for one year, 1907, and it would then begin to taper off to four-fifths, three-fifths, two-fifths, and one-fifth. I suggest that the increased’ bounty might be paid for two years before the tapering off process began.
-Col. Gould. - Why not adopt the proposal submitted in another place, and give three years?
-I I am suggesting a compromise between the two. I personally favour Senator O’Keefe’s amendment, and though I am going a little against the grain in making this suggestion, I do so with the desire to be fair all round, and to suggest an arrangement which, I think, ought to satisfy all the interests concerned1 in (this verymportant matter.
– This matter is of far greater importance .than, judging by the attention which is paid to it, honorable senators seem to imagine. It involves not only the doctrine of a. White Australia and its application, but the consideration due to the sugar-planter, who is is deserving of every consideration when we. remember that Queensland has changed its policy, and, to a certain extent, broken faith, with him in the most direct and positive way. It opens up, also, the question of the position, of the industries in which sugar is largely used ; and last, but not least, it raises thequestion of revenue, and shows how vitally the revenue has been reduced in the past,, and how enormously it will be reduced in. the future. These are most important questions, and I venture to say that at. this, stage of the session we cannot do them justice. There seems to be a dispositionto pass the Bill without sufficient consideration. I cannot vote for it, and I am in favour of the amendment proposed; by Senator O’Keefe. When this legislation was first introduced, we were led, to understand that if the bounty were paid to the sugar-planters for five years, that would be sufficient, that he would thus be given time to become accustomed to the altered1 conditions under which he would have to carry on his industry, getting rid of kanakas on the one hand, and supplying their place with white labour on the other. We are now told by the expert, Dr. Maxwell, that the bounty should be given for a further period of seven years, at the end of which time the matter would again come before us for consideration. This is wholly contrary to what we were led to believe, and quite at variance with the representations made to us when we first dealt with this legislation. It certainly behoves every honorable senator representing Tasmania, a State which cannot afford to lose revenue, and is losing revenue enormously, to seriously consider the position. I should like to ask honorable senators of the Labour Party to consider seriously the application of the White Australia doctrine. It may be that I do not apply the doctrine widely- enough, and I do not sympathize sufficiently with it ; but may not some of those honorable senators go a little too far in the other direction ?
– The honorable senator should give us some proof of that.
– I am saying that I may be inclined to go to one extreme in the application of the principle, but that they may be inclined to go to the other extreme. The proof is that during the next ten years, in order to carry out our doctrine, we shall have paid under this Bill, if passed as it” stands, £2,655,000. However good a doctrine may be, can we not pay too much dot it ? Is it fair to continue to vote money recklessly in order to carry out a doctrine »to an extreme extent? I think that my honorable friends are committing a breach of faith with the planters of Queensland, and carrying their doctrine to an extreme. The middle course, which I have always advocated, has been that the kanakas should remain until they died out or that they should be deported at the rate of 1,000 per annum. Some honorable senators do not seem to look at the revenue side of this question. In consequence of the Federal Tariff, Tasmania has lost revenue at the rate of ^150,000 a year, and therefore, in self-defence, we are compelled to ask how far it is intended to carry out this policy? I think that my honorable friends are trying to do an impossibility. When I hear them say that they feel sure that white labour can be found to carry on the industry, I am inclined to doubt their statements, not from what I know personally, but from the pamphlets which have been circulated, and in which planter after planter has declared, from his experience, that it will be impossible to find the necessary supply of white labour to take the place of the 6,000 kanakas.
– Why did not the honorable senator take an opportunity of visiting Queensland during the recess?
– The honorable senator knows that I stick closely to my work here, and after the prorogation, I was anxious to get back to my business, and te my family. I could not afford to spend a few months in Queensland.
– I am satisfied that if the honorable senator had gone he would have obtained proof of the suitability of the industry for the employment of white men.
– I am satisfied that, if I had been in Queensland twice as long as the honorable senator was, I should not know as much about this subject as do the scores of planters with whom he was brought into contact. Has he read a pamphlet which was prepared at Mackay by Mr. Chataway?
– Yes ; I have a copy here.
-In that pamphlet did not the honorable senator find evidence after evidence of the efforts made to get white labour?
– I shall quote the evidence of white cutters in the district, and of white planters, too.
– The evidence of all the white planters cannot be wrong. I have also a report of the proceedings of the North Queensland Sugar Conference., attended by planters from the districts where it is so difficult to get white labour, as even Dr. Maxwell acknowledges.
– On his experimental farm at Mackay, Dr. Maxwell has only to pay 5 s. a day in order to get tip-top workmen.
– I hold in my hand the evidence of men who pay 5s. 6d. a ton, 6s. a ton, and 27s. 6d. a week and rations, that they could not, and do not, get the men. I do not care what evidence the honorable senator has, he cannot get rid of the whole of the evidence I hold in my hand. It all goes to show that, while a few healthy young farmers from Bundaberg may be got, the casual white labourer in the northern part cannot do the work, or, if he can, he will not do it.
– Does Mr’. Carr say that ?
– I am not picking out the evidence of a particular man. Mr. Buchanan gives this evidence -
During igo2 ig farmers registered for rebate on white-grown sugar; of these 10 forfeited their claims before the cane was harvested rather than undertake the risk of having their crop left.
Fancy ten men out of nineteen giving up their claim to the bounty in order to make certain of getting their crop into the mill ! Whatever evidence Senator de Largie may be able to submit, he cannot get rid of that fact. I am willing to admit that everything will depend upon the wages paid. Whether the men are paid 27 s. 6d. or 30s. a week and rations, they ought to be well paid. One man stated at the conference that they paid 6s. ai ton for cutting cane, which was 2s. more than the industry could afford, but that even then he had the greatest trouble to get the labour. The great object in granting the bounty is to encourage the employment in the industry of white labour, and eventually to place it on a “ white “ basis, but I am in dread that when we have paid the whole of the money away it will not have been put on that basis. I should think that Senators Smith and Turley really share that view. In my opinion, both of them argued very unfairly, but Senator
Pearce quickly demolished their arguments. Quite apart from the kanakas, there are 3,500 coloured men on the plantations in Queensland. I assume that in twelve years there willi be about 2,500 coloured men available for the planters. If we are to consider these men we might just as well, as Senator Pearce said, give a bonus to every white man in the furniture trade in Melbourne, because there are twice as many Chinese as white men engaged therein. The same remark would apply to every other industry. That would be taking an unfair advantage of Parliament. We all desire to make up to the sugarplanter for the ‘withdrawal of his kanaka labour. But after the withdrawal of the kanaka and the grant of a bounty for ten years, it would be unfair to continue to bolster up the White Australia policy simply because there were 2,500 coloured aliens in Queensland. An entirely new question has been raised. I was exceedingly astonished to hear Senator Smith say that he would vote against the amend ment of Senator O’Keefe, and that he had no better ground than that for taking that course. If he desires to do what is right, and to confine this policy to the original intention, my honorable friend should not act upon those reasons. Mr. Donnelly made this statement at the Conference -
He himself had tried it, and found it a failure.
To illustrate the unreliableness of white labour he pointed out that out of 60 men employed at the Mossman mill in one shift a week ago-, 15, or 25 per cent.,, knocked off. The percentage would naturally be greater in the fields. And yet this was the labour for which some people were desirous,of sacrificing the sugar industry.
What did Mr. Draper say? He said -
There was no disputing the fact that white men were not fitted for labour in the canefields of tropical Queensland. To emphasize this fact he instanced the case of a number of Indian coolies who had to knock off after four days’ work owing to the heat being too trying. White men would not do the work, and those who advocated bringing them down to the level of the kanakas had a false conception of what white men could and should do. He quoted from Dr. Maxwell’s report to show the injurious effects of work in the tropics on the constitutions of men and women.
Mr. Waller wrote as follows:
His experience in cane cultivation dated back to 1870, and he had been interested in the industry during the whole of the time since then. He had tried both white and coloured labour. Reliable white labour for field work had not been available for the past few years. There were very few men available, and if there had been no kanakas there would have been difficulty in getting the crops off. His experience with white labour for the past two years had been attended with unsatisfactory results, and gangs employed by him had become disorganized through drink’ and quarrels amongst themselves ; in some cases they had thrown up their contracts, and he had been left in a hole. He had last year secured the services of Hood’s gang, and they must be given the credit for doing well, but they were all young men and Bundaberg farmers. This year he had not been so fortunate, and he had had fresh difficulty in getting men to do the necessary work, although a higher rate of wages was being paid, viz., 5s. 6d. per ton.
I gather from all this that if a grower can get hold of young men who have a stake in the country, and who are possessed of energy and a ‘determination to do their best, it is possible to get the work properly done. But if men of that character cannot be obtained,, it is impossible. How far are we to go in our application of the principle of this Bill? Will its supporters tell me what their opinion is? It is a fair question for us to ask whether, even supposing we are in favour of the White Australia policy, we can, with justice to other people, apply the doctrine contained in this Bill.
– The honorable senator asks us to take the opinion of a man like Draper with regard to this matter!
– I have quoted’ the testimony of a man who has been growing cane since 1870, and has tried both black and white labour. He admits that when he got hold of a good gang of men he could get his work done. But when he was not so fortunate, the result was quite otherwise. Senator de Largie puts all this evidence on one side, because he has had the honour to talk to a few canecutters, who have poured into his ears their tale of woe. The sugar-planters may be unconsciously biased in favour of retaining the kanakas. But if the kanakas go their places must be taken by small farmers.
– I talked with men. whom I have known from boyhood, and who are now engaged in the sugar industry. It was their evidence that I drew attention to.
– Does my honorable friend imagine that in a fortnight’s trip he can get hold of every man in the Com monwealth who is capable of giving evidence on this subject? I wish to emphasize the fact that Dr. Maxwell himself says that we have entered upon and are in the middle of a great experiment, with natural and economic conditions. Do not honorable senators realize the great difficulty there is in facing a problem of that kind ? I ask the supporters of this policy how far they want it to go, and when they are to stop? I suppose that Queensland representatives will consider it to be their duty to “barrack “ for this bounty as long as they can get it. But it is their duty to look at the subject from the point of view of the revenue, from the point of view of the interest of (the Commonwealth as a whole, and from the point of view of the ultimate interest of the sugar industry ; and of what is fair to the planters. I am in favour of Senator O’Keefe’s amendment, because it applies the further assistance to a period of five years. I am not so much in favour of the amendment moved by Mr. McCay in another place, because that proposed to extend the time for seven years, and to give the planters bounties exactly as this Bill does. I should like to see the term fixed at not more than five years, and to see the bounty reduced from a total of thirty shillings, as was proposed by Mr. McCay’s amendment down to about 18s. or 20s. I have only one more point to make. What steps do the Government intend to take to help forward the policy which they favour ? If they are to do nothing, ‘ they will be neglecting their business and committing a gross wrong. It is perfectly plain, from the evidence before us, that unless the Government sets to work to influence the cutting up of large plantations into smaller ones, and unless they induce to go upon those plantations men who, with their sons, will be able to do their own_work in trashing and cutting the cane, they will never be able to make the policy of a White Australia successful.
– It is questionable whether trashing is necessary.
– It is a peculiar thing that men who have been engaged in the industry for many years say that it is necessary.
– I have it from Dr. Maxwell that it is not.
– Personally, I should conclude that it is not necessary ; but I understand that the general experience is that, in consequence of trashing, the growers are able to produce a better class of cane. But are steps to be taken by the Government to ascertain what is necessary for the success of this policy?
Long before the period fixed by this Bill has expired, the obligation ought to be placed upon the people of Queensland to take some definite steps. The first thing to do is to settle the condition, to insure that white men shall earn a fair wage ; and, next, to ascertain whether white men can carry on sugar cultivation in large areas. I do not believe that they can. I believe that the only hope for the industry is to get small farmers to cultivate small areas. If Queensland is not prepared to pass such laws as will enable the industry to be conducted under conditions- which will make for its success in the directions T have indicated, I do not know what the result will be. Dr. Maxwell has told us plainly that small plantations are necessary if the industry is to be conducted by white people. It is the bounden duty of my honorable friends from Queensland to see that their State makes every endeavour to carry out this policy. They ought to be prepared to urge that the necessary steps shall be taken to that end. Otherwise, the’ system will be a failure, and at the end of six years we shall be discussing the same sort of Bill again. Very few experiments will have been made, the Queensland people will have done nothing, but will simply open their mouths for a bounty to be dropped in once more.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).I must express my disappointment that, in, the course of this debate, we have not had from the Minister in charge of the Bill any clear and precise statement as to what the policy represented by it is in regard to the rest of the Commonwealth.
– I gave the particulars to-day.
– Then I had the misfortune to be absent when the honorable senator quoted them. It seems to me that the onus is upon those who ask for th;s concession - who ask the Federation to pay a large sum of money to a particular class in Queensland - to show, first of all, the necessity underlying their request, and, secondly, how much it is going to cost us. I am not aware that any one has entered upon the task of placing before the Senate figures which throw any light upon the matter. The perusal of the return which the Minister has just handed to me is a little staggering. It shows that the amount of bounty which it is expected that the Commonwealth will pay, from 1907 to 1911, exceeds ,£2,000,000. I admit that that’ bounty comes from a fund contributed by the payers of Excise. But that Excise, if not returned as bounty, would still be available for the ordinary purposes of government. Therefore, while I merely refer to the source .from which technically the Excise is drawn; I still say that we are asked to make a present of £2,000,000 sterling to the sugar industry.
– Would ihe honorable senator favour an Excise duty without a bounty ?
– That would depend entirely upon the financial condition, not of the Federation, but of those States which, like Queensland, had their finances disturbed by the inauguration of the Commonwealth. The necessity for the sugar duty was not the situation of the Com/monwealth as a whole. It was a necessity arising out of the financial position of certain States. The sugar duty was one of the duties by means of which it was proposed to enable some States to tide over the early years of Federation. Senator Pearce, in a most telling speech, has shown the wide departure which is now being made from the original claims. He pointed out that the original bonus was asked for as compensation to the growers for the sudden wrench given to the business by the abstraction of some thousands of kanaka labourers. Now, as he points out, the basis of the demand is changed, and we are asked to continue the bonus, in order to give the white people engaged in the industry some measure of protection against the Asiatic labourers who are scattered about Australia. Whatever value that argument may have is, I think; disposed of by the fact that other industries are at the present time employing coloured labour. If coloured labour is attracted to the sugar industry, and we endeavour to prevent it from entering that industry, we have to do one of two things - we must either take upon ourselves the maintenance of these aliens, and find free board and lodging for them, or they must be sent out of the country. These people, however, are now in the country, and common humanity prevents our bundling them into the sea or executing them wholesale. We must either keep them gratuitously, or allow them to work for their living. What particular reason is there why the sugar industry should be put on a different footing from that of any other industry? Why should sugar-growers have special treatment as against the growers of cabbages?
Both alike are citizens of the country, and, to my mind, one citizen has no more right to protection, bonus, concession, or favour than has any other citizen similarly situated. For that reason I view the present proposals with a considerable amount of suspicion. Then., again, whenever we grant a concession to an industry, it is not long before that concession is made the basis of further demands. It is pointed out that the industry has been built up under the concession, that vested interests have gathered, and that the withdrawal of the measure of assistance is in the nature of an injustice. We see that idea already developing in connexion with the sugar industry. The bonus when first asked for was, as I have said, in compensation for the deportation of the kanakas, as is shown by the fact that it runs concurrently with their presence in the country.
– Most people expected that the bonus would cease with the deportation of the kanakas.
– I am pointing out that, once a concession of this kind is granted, it is made the basis for claims for further concessions. Parliament, in no ungenerous spirit, granted the bonus in consideration of the deportation of the kanakas. The growers of Queensland, although they have received the bonus, are not satisfied, and now ask that the grant shall be continued1 practically indefinitely. I understand that’ you, Mr. Chairman, together with Senators Givens and Turley, and others, have for very many years consistently contended in Queensland for the abolition of the kanaka, on the ground that the sugar industry is one which can be profitably carried on with white labour. When that claim for the deportation of the kanaka- was made by you and others, it was made without any condition whatever; it was never stipulated that any bonus was necessary. If you, sir, and your fellow senators thoroughly considered the matter before you ventured to put forward that proposal, I ‘can only assume that in your opinion a bonus was not necessary Otherwise you, and those who think with you, will be placed in the position that you were prepared to abolish the kanaka, believing that his banishment would inflict no injury on the industry, but that, now the Federal authority is in power - unless some other factors have come in - you are asking for a bonus, not because it is thought to be necessary, but simply because there is a possibility of getting it. If that be not so, the obligation rests on those who advocated the banishment of the kanaka without a bonus to show why a bonus is necessary now.
– I think that method came as an inspiration.
– You, Mr. Chairman, use the correct term j it was certainly an inspiration - a golden inspiration, shall I call it ? What has made the bonus necessary? What factors have changed so suddenly with the advent of Federation? It appears to me that if there had been no Federation Queensland would long since have abolished the kanaka without a bonus. If that be correct, the industry is not in that parlous position which a number of our friends have depicted. Rightly or wrongly, ‘ I say there is an obligation on those who advocated the abolition of the kanaka without a bonus to show why a bonus is necessary now. Senator O’Keefe, Senator Pulsford, and others have referred to the proposal to introduce the principle of ‘ a sliding scale, and that principle I intend to support. Unless we do something in the nature of tapering off the assistance rendered to this industry, we shall be confronted five or six years hence with exactly the same position. Above all, we ought to see a period put to this bounty. I am quite certain that, unless we adopt a sliding scale, we shall, when the operation of this Bill ceases, be invited to continue the subsidy. I am not prepared’ to see this assistance continued indefinitely, and it is time the sugar-growers of Queensland were very plainly informed that, while this Parliament has treated them with every generosity, and is prepared to mete out to them reasonable treatment, it places on record its firm determination not to sanction any perpetual, bonus or subsidy. We have already passed one Bill granting a fixed bonus for a fixed period, and, if we pass another, the sugar-growers will assume that we are prepared to renew the gift as often as asked.
– That does not follow.
– It follows that the more we give the more will be asked. I say that without desiring to cast any reflection on the sugar-growers. It is only human nature for those engaged in an industry to think that that industry has special claims for consideration^ The sugar-growers, in view of our passing two Bills of this kind, will feel entitled to think that they have, only to ask in order to obtain further assistance. Speaking for myself, I would sooner see the Bill thrown out than that we should do anything in the way of laying the foundation of a perpetual subsidy to this or any other industry.
– The honorable senator believes that a protective duty is always a subsidy ?
– Up to the point of export. The moment the local production reaches the export stage the duty ceases to be effective, or, at any rate, it ceases to affect the price of the article sold locally. We ought to make it clear to the sugargrowers of Queensland that, whilst we extend to them this measure of assistance, we wish it to be clearly understood that there is a limit to our capacity, and a limit to our intention to pay. For that reason I believe that the interests of the Commonwealth., as well as those of the growers, will be best served by adopting a sliding scale. under which the assistance will gradually taper off, and finally disappear. At the end of the period covered by the sliding scale, it may be seen, as I hope it will, that the industry can do without any support of the kind. On the other hand, circumstances may arise which we ought to take into consideration j but if we pass the Bill now, continuing the subsidy for a further fixed period, it is an admission that our past policy has been largely a failure - an admission that the industry requires as much assistance now as it did five years ago, and that it’ will require the same assistance six years hence.It will be an admission that, after a period of ten years, there is no difference in the condition, and that the industry is just’ as much in need of a crutch now as at the establishment of Federation. While I favour a sliding scale as a plain intimation that a period must be put to Commonwealth’ generosity, I am inclined to think that Senator O’Keefe goes a little too far with his proposal, which is to commence the sliding scale from the 1st January, 1907, the whole bonus to terminate in 1912.
– My proposal is that the sliding scale shall commence in 1908. The full bonus will be given next year, under existing legislation, and in the following years the bonus will be as in the proposed legislation.
– Next year, I understand, is already provided for by existing legislation. We have to deal with the period from ist January, 1907, onward. Senator O’Keefe’s amendment would operate for five years from that period. In the first yeal the full rate of bonus, which is 6s. a ton, would be paid, and in each subsequent year the bonus would be reduced bv onefifth.
– And would then be continued at one-fifth’.
– Senator Guthrie is mistaken in that. Under Senator O’Keefe’s amendment the bonus would absolutely cease at the end of 191 1. There can be no doubt that it would put a period to the payment of the bonus. The bonus under the Bill would be 6s. per ton per annum for five years, and each ton of sugar grown during that period would, therefore, cost the Commonwealth 30s., whilst under Senator O’Keefe’s proposal the amount payable during the same period would be 18s. I think that is rather too big a reduction. An amendment was submitted and discussed elsewhere which would have the effect of securing to the sugar-growers the same amount in bonus as the Government propose - 30s. - but spread over a longer period. I refer to the amendment first suggested by_ Mr. McCay. Under that amendment it was proposed to continue the present bonus for three years of a new period, and to reduce it by one-fifth each year after that time. The effect would be to give exactly the same amount in bonus as the Government propose, but to spread the payments over seven years instead of five. It seems to me that that is an infinitely better proposal than that submitted by the Government, because it involves the principle of a sliding, scale, and to that extent might be regarded as a pronouncement in favour of the early abolition of the bonus. In my opinion, it is also better than Senator O’Keefe’s proposal, which appears to me to dislocate existing conditions a little too abruptly. In advocating the amendment first suggested by Mr. McCay, we can hardly be said to propose any injustice to the sugar-growers, because we propose to give them exactly the same amount as is provided for in the Bill, but to give them a period of seven years, instead of five years, in which to gradually conform to the new conditions.
– They would have three years without any reduction at all.’
– They would have three years of a new period, which means four years from to-day, without any reduction, and I do not think they could call that anything but generous treatment. It is, perhaps, a little more liberal than those who support the Bill have shown to be necessary. But it seems to me to be a business-like, as well as a generous provision, which would give considerable financial assistance to the industry, and at the same time bring us to a point at which all such assistance would end, not abruptly, as under the Bill, but gradually, and enabling those concerned in the industry to have ample time in which to adjust their arrangements to the altered conditions. I understand that Senator O’Keefe proposes to submit his amendment on clause 6. It would be competent for us. in dealing with the clause now under consideration, to submit an amendment on which we could take a test vole as to the substitution of the period of sewn years for the period of five years proposed. Honorable senators will see, in the last line of the clause, a reference to the “ first day of January, 1912.” If it were desired to adopt a sliding scale, such as that to which I have referred, and to which Senator Pulsford previously made reference, it would be necessary to make the year mentioned 1914. It might, perhaps, be better to allow Senator O’Keefe to submit his ‘amendment first, as if it is adopted, it will be unnecessary to alter this clause. If it is not adopted, and the sliding scale to which I have referred is adopted, the alteration of the date from 1912 to 1914 in this clause might be regarded as a consequential amendment, or there would be no difficulty in getting the Bill recommitted, in order that the necessary alteration might be made. I prefer the sliding scale I have mentioned to the Government proposal, and, failing its adoption, I should be obliged, though with some considerable hesitation, to vote for that suggested by Senator O’Keefe, because it would give a plain intimation to the sugar-growers of Queensland that the Commonwealth is not prepared to go on paying a bonus year by year, without knowing when and under what circumstances the industry will be proclaimed to be self-supporting.
Senator TURLEY (Queensland). - I should like to say a few words in reply to Senator Dobson. The honorable senator referred to the report of a Conference held at Cairns, and quoted the opinions of two or three members of that Conference. I wish to quote for honorable senators the opinions of a couple of men who had experience in sugar-growing, and whose remarks Senator Dobson must have overlooked. Those men stated that they had been more successful after they ceased to employ coloured labour than they ever had been before. Senator Dobson quoted A J. Draper, Buchanan, and others who have not been actually engaged in the industry ; but I quote the opinion of Mr. Shannon, who said that he had employed white labour and found it infinitely better than black. He went on to say -
He was one of the largest growers in the Mackay district, and drew, he thought, the largest bounty in the whole of Queensland. His experience in that respect had been satisfactory. If men were treated fairly, good hands would be got. He found the produce from his land more satis- factory with white labour than with black.
– There were two or three on that side to twenty on the other.
– I remind honorable senators that some of those who spoke on the other side were not growers of cane, but men who have for years been running the local newspapers, which are at the beck and call of the planters who have been working might and main to keep black labour in the district. One to whom I may refer, Mr. Chataway, of Mackay, was running the local newspaper, and lighting for years for black labour, no matter what happened. Another gentleman quoted by Senator Dobson, Mr. A. J. Draper, runs the black labour journal in Cairns at the present time. I refer honorable senators to the remarks made by another member of the Conference. Mr. Carr: a man who has been employed in sugar-growing for a number of years, and whose evidence has been quite overlooked by Senator Dobson. He says : -
I will give you my experience, which is identical with that of ten other fanners in my vicinity. In August, 1902, my kanakas’ time expired, so I decided to try white labour, and registered the whole of my farm. I grow about seventy acres of cane per annum. I had made nothing at cane growing for some years previous owing to the price obtainable for the cane, viz., 13s. per ton, being insufficient. The first thing to be done was to arrange with a good gang of men for the trashing and Harvesting of the 1903 crop; we came to terms with a gang that had been canecutting in 1902. They finished their contract satisfactorily, and were the second gang out of eight to finish.
In another place he says: -
With regard to the mills, there is no difficulty in getting enough white labour to work them, the applications for work Being largely in excess of the requirements. As to the field labour, I have found no difficulty in getting all the labour I want. My farm is in a better state of cultivation than it has been’ for years, and I have forty acres of young plant cane looking very well for next season’s cutting. All wages have been paid, and I am free from debt, and hardly a day passes without my having applications from white men for work.
There is the evidence of a man who has been a number of years engaged in canegrowing, and his experience of the employment of white labour was entirely satisfactory. He stated that men in his vicinity, as well as himself, were prepared to continue the employment of white labour, because, from their point of view, it was more satisfactory than black labour.
– That does not alter the fact that the balance of the evidence is against him.
– I have said that those whom Senator Dobson has quoted have not been men who have been working in the cane-fields.
– I quoted one man who had been at the business for thirty-four years.
– I can inform the Committee that there are men in Northern Queensland who have for many years been accustomed to employ coloured labour; they have a settled conviction that they cannot get on without the labour to which they have been used, and they will not employ white labour unless they are absolutely forced to do so. These men, who have been running the industry .on the large plantation system, have thrown every possible obstacle in trie way of the employment of white labour, and I am satisfied that nothing will induce them to employ white labour, even though it should be shown that the results would be more satisfactory.
-Col. GOULD (New South Wales). - Senator Turley has proved the case of those who desire that a termination should be put to the period of the bonus. The honorable senator has quoted the statements of cane-growers who have employed white labour, and who have admitted that it has been so much to their advantage that they have been able to pay off their debts, to do what they could not do with coloured labour, and that their farms are in a better position than they were when they employed coloured labour.
– They have had the assistance pf the bonus.
-Col. GOULD. - This means that the Commonwealth, in paying the bonus, has been* making a present to these men, by means of which they have been able to make an industry pay, which would not pay without some artificial stimulus. I point out that if that rule is to be followed in dealing with all the industries of the Commonwealth, honorable ‘senators must be prepared for a very wide extension of the bonus system.
– It is not uncommon in the various States for a bonus to be paid to certain industries.
– I know that there are certain industries which are assisted by bonuses. If we are to follow the principle to its logical conclusion, it means either that every industry should enjoy a bonus of some kind or other, or that the bonus should be confined to industries which either are not natural to the country or are working under unnatural’ conditions. There are many industries which could be worked under natural conditions, at a reasonable profit. Of course, this is not an opportune time to discuss the merits of black versus white labour. I .recognise that we have adopted a policy which is intended to place the sugar’ industry under white labour. Under the operation of our legislation the supply of coloured labour within the Commonwealth must eventually die out. I dare say that some honorable senators will contend that the protection of £6 per ton without a bonus ought to suffice, but as I understand that the only argument in favour of a bonus is that it enables white growers to compete more freely than otherwise they could do with coloured growers, I am perfectly prepared to recognise the existing “position. But when I am confronted with the prospect of having to continue the bonus for all time, I think it is reasonable to consider whether it would not be , much better to fix a period for the termination of its payment ; but in such a way that ample opportunity would be afforded to the planters to put their houses in order. I do not quite agree with Senator O’Keefe, that an. extension for five years on a sliding scale would be quite sufficient. I think that the fairest system is that which was advocated in the other House, and to which’ Senator Millen has ‘referred, and that is to continue the present bonus for a period, of three years and then allow it to diminish on a sliding scale until it disappears. Senator Staniforth’ Smith made one strong point when he urged that, at the end of the period, all the planters would be placed upon the same footing. In view of that possibility, I should be prepared towards the end of the period to consider the propriety of granting a small bonus to white growers only. Dr. Maxwell has stated that it would be necessary to increase the number of growers to 8,000 to produce 200.000- tons of sugar annually by white labour, that is, taking the area of farm and rate of production at the same average as at present. If that estimate be correct, then, for the sake of 8,000 growers, we are asked to lay upon the taxpayers a burden ranging between £400,000 and £500,000 a year. It should be remembered that we have other producers to be considered. The interests of the fruit-growers and the jammakers should not be overlooked when we are dealing with the sugar industry.
– Is it not a fact that they are protected to the extent of £14 a ton on jams and jellies?
.- Whether they are protected to that extent or not, I asio the honorable senator to recollect that the jam-making industry is one which is natural to the Commonwealth, and which can be carried’ on entirely by white labour without the aid of a bonus or special legislation. We should not place any hindrance to its fullest possible development. Senator Pulsford quoted some statistics, which show that the sugar duties and bonus represent to every fruit-grower in Tasmania a tax of from £12 to £24 per acre. It is very much better, I think, that some notice should be given when the grant of the bonus to the sugar industry is to terminate. If my suggestion were adopted, and it could be shown to me later on that there was likely to be any injustice inflicted upon white growers, I should be prepared to reconsider the position with the view to give him a moderate bonus while he was compelled to compete with the black growers in the northern parts of Queensland.
– I hope that honorable senators will adhere to the Bill as it is. At this late stage of the session, it would greatly complicate matters if we each endeavoured to get our own way. The arguments which’ were advanced by Senator Pearce made a very great impression upon a number of honorable senators, and probably may lead them to overlook the real condition of the sugar industry in Queensland, and the position in which it had been placed, not only through the action of its Government in the past, but through its proximity to the very countries from which alien labour had always come. A question of this kind should be viewed from every standpoint. In Western Australia, the mining industry has not been created or fostered in any way by alien labour, nor has it been in any other State. We know that for the last thirty- years British and European miners have striven, and successfully striven, against the Chinese and aliens on every gold and mining field in Australia. There is no one in Australia who can say that the mining industry owes anything to the aliens, who have only been fossickers and messers. I do not think it is necessary to take into account other industries, because they have been acknowledged to be industries just as much for white men as for Chinese, or any one else. No matter what we say or think, it is understood all over Australia, in fact, all over the world, that in the past the sugar-planters in Queensland have had the kanakas. and coloured’’ aliens to rely upon. I agree with Senator Pearce that, very’ probably, when this question was first discussed, n number of honorable senators ‘understood that it was entirely due to dispensing with the kanakas that any assistance to the white growers was necessary. I never looked at the question from that stand-point. I realized that, even although the kanakas were deported, there would, owing to the geographical position of the State, still exist a great menace to white labour. Any one who visits the State today can see the influence which coloured aliens have, not only upon the wages of white men, but upon the conditions under which they are compelled to live. Every visitor who will investigate the conditions without bias, must make that admission. I am looking at the question from the workers’, much more than from the planters’ point of view. If we reduce all the large plantations to small farms, the farmers will become the workers.
– The bounty has been given to men who have always employed white labour.
– That is a difficulty I have always seen. But if we confer a favour -upon some people who have always employed white labour, and would employ no other, and we do that for the purpose of making the employment of white labour universal in Australia, there is no reason to complain. Would the honorable senator refuse to confer a favour upon an unfortunate individual because he might also incidentally benefit a loafer, and be disappointed ? Let us consider this case on its merits. The year after next the kanakas will go. The intention of a great many Members of Parliament was that the bonus on white-grown sugar should cease when the kanakas were deported. But I always had in my mind the possibility of the reconsideration of the matter. Suppose a person broke his leg, and the doctor only bandaged it down to the broken part, and did not extend the splints below the fracture. That is the position the sugar industry will be in after 1906. It will get a shock.
– The honorable senator wishes to pass on the shock for a few years.
– We are going to help the growers over a few years, because a shock given to any part of Australia must re-act on the whole Commonwealth. After 1906, under the present law, the kanaka will be deported. But we must remember that there is in Queensland a greater proportion of aliens to the population than in any other part of the Commonwealth. There are, I believe, over 20,000 aliens in Queensland, whilst there are about 70,000 in the remainder of Australia. If every State in the Commonwealth had the same proportion of aliens, there would be about 160,000. Owing to the past policy of Queensland, and its proximity to the countries from which aliens come, it is overburdened with them. Are we going to refuse to recognise that fact, and not give further assistance to Queensland? What is the assistance for? It is to prevent the selfish, sordid, and unprincipled planter - because there are such characters amongst sugar-planters, as amongst every class of the community - from employing aliens other than kanakas. If they are permitted to do that, there will be a general exodus of aliens from the other States to Queensland. A large proportion of them will seek employment in the sugar-fields. If we wish to do what is fair to the white workers in Queensland, we must give them a little assistance, as long as such a large number of aliens remain there. That is what is proposed in this Bill. It extends the bounty system for five years longer. It is also proposed to extend it because it has been discovered that £3 a ton Excise and £2 per ton bounty to the white grower have not been sufficient, owing to the prejudice existing in the minds of most growers, to do all that we hoped it would do. When the five years are over, we shall be able to ascertain the effect of our policy on the sugar industry. Probably by that time many of the aliens who are now in Australia will have gone to their own country, and will not have asked for exemptions. We shall then be able to arrive at some idea as to whether it is necessary to extend the bounty further.
– There will be a demand to extend it.
– If there is a demand to extend it for two or three years longer, and if the conditions demand it, I shall be prepared to consider it in the interests of the whole Commonwealth. If the number of aliens has materially decreased, however, there will be no necessity for a further extension of the bounty, or we can adopt the sliding scale. I urge honorable senators to pass the Bill as it is, and trust to Providence for the next five years, when we shall have greater knowledge, and shall be better able to see what is in the interests of all sections of the community.
– The question before us is so complicated that it is easy to misinterpret the position that an honorable senator may assume in giving a vote upon it. At the outset, I have to admit that there .are two or three difficulties under which I labour. In the first place, I am not opposed to the payment of the bounty, provided I can see that it will, lead to the accomplishment of some legitimate object worthy of accomplishment. But I am convinced, by the evidence of the past four years, that if we go on paying bounties for another ten or fifteen years we’ shall be . absolutely no nearer to the accomplishment of our object than we are at the present moment. Senator Givens has asserted that this Bill will thoroughly establish the industry. But he has advanced that idea in opposition to a quantity of evidence which negatives any such hope. Every report that we have had upon the industry is indefinite. The conclusions arrived at, as Senator McGregor says, merely shows that we must trust to Providence. I do not ‘know that in this matter it is a safe thing simply to allow our legislation to slip through our fingers, and to trust to Providence as to whether its effect is beneficial or otherwise. I do not oppose this Bill because of the fact of the bonus which it grants. On this point I take an objection altogether different from that put forward by Senator Dobson. That honorable senator asked whether we were prepared to continue paying a bonus for ten years without endeavouring in one way or the other to free ourselves from the burden of taxation which this industry practically imposes on . the shoulders of -the whole of the people of the Commonwealth. To extend the payment of the bounty for ten years might, of course, be a benefit, rather than an injury, to the Commonwealth ; and could I have seen any prospect of such an eventuation, I certainly should not be found opposing the Bill. But when we come to look the facts fairly in the face, we must recognise that even were the kanaka deported - if ever he be deported - there will still remain the great menace which has been pointed out by honorable senators who are favorable to this measure, as it is presented to us. There are 80,000 aliens within the Commonwealth, and it may be found just as necessary to give bonuses to other industries in which these people are engaged, as to the sugar industry of Queensland.
– Many of these 80,000 aliens are white men - Germans, for instance, who, for reasons of their own, have not become naturalized.
– I am not particularly concerned about that class of alien. It has been pointed out very clearly that, with this large number of coloured aliens within the Commonwealth, the payment of the bounty might go on for the next halfcentury, and then we should find ourselves no nearer our goal. It is quite probable that the people of the Commonwealth, with the exception of those engaged in the Queensland sugar industry, may, with a great deal of justice, enter a strong protest against the burden which the bounty involves. There may be a burst of indignation at what is regarded as the application of an unfair principle, inasmuch as the sugar industry is assisted to the exclusion of other industries which might be enumerated. For four years we have been endeavouring to -lessen the production of sugar by coloured labour, and, to our amazement, we find that the sugar produced by that class of labour is actually increasing at almost the same ratio as the production by white labour. We see no prospect of any betterment in the conditions, but rather a strong possibility that, for generations to come, this bounty will have to be continued. Senator McGregor, in answer to an interjection by Senator Gray, presented a simile of a broken leg. That, however, in my opinion, was not a correct simile, because, even if Senator O’ Keefe’ s amendment be agreed to, the bounty will not expire, and the splints will remain. The industry ought to be able to stand alone in the course of five years; if not, and the bounty has to be handed down from generation to generation, we ought to turn our. attention to almost every other industry in the Commonwealth, with a view to rendering similar assistance. Of course, in that event, every industry would soon be reduced to its own level. I shall oppose the Bill, and support the suggested amendment of SenatorO’ Keefe, believing that the Commonwealth has been exceedingly generous to this industry. I am by no means arguing in opposition to -a White Australia. I am as much in favour of that policy as any honorable senator, or any man outside Parliament House. Indeed, I sometimes think I feel too strongly in regard to coloured humanity; but that only applies when it is a case of personal contact. There is ample room for coloured people elsewhere, and they, like the white people, ought to live with their own kind. I admit that the Queensland sugar consumers pay equally per head with the other citizens of the Commonwealth ; but, in my opinion, an industry that cannot be established by the expenditure of nearly a million of money is an absolute failure, and the sooner we recognise the fact the better. Why, with a million of money, we might establish any industry ! We may be asked to continue this bounty., and spend two or three millions more, and then find that we are no nearer the establishment of a substantial industry.
– It is a pity that honorable senators have not considered, as I think they ought, the exceptional circumstances of this industry. One of the first acts of the Federal Parliament - an act which I think almost every man in Australia agreed1 with - was to declare that this continent was not only to be reserved for the white man, but was to be purged of the black man. That was the policy distinctly laid down by the people and Parliament of Australia ; and the measure we are now considering is brought forward with that end in view. This industry was founded with black labour, and has existed for a period of thirty years. At the inauguration of Federation we proposed to remedy the evil of black labour, and, simply because our efforts have not been crowned with success in the short period of four years, there seems a disposition to abandon the attempt in despair. If a man, by a course of dissipation, reduced himself to a condition of ill -health, would he expect, when he called in a physician, to be immediately told to take up his bed andwalk?’
– If he were ill for four years, he would think that he might as well be dead.
– I do not think thafhe would. I remind Senator de Largie that the age of miracles is passed. We cannot cure a nation of a serious industrial and social disorder in a few years any more than we can cure an individual of a serious disease in a few weeks or months. The thing must be done patiently, gradually, and in a spirit of self-sacrifice.
SenatorMillen. - How did they propose to cure it in Queensland?
– I am very glad that Senator Millen has asked the question. We proposed to do it in exactly the way in which it is being done now. There was no otherway open to us. that I can see. The moment the people of Queensland had found themselves in a position to purge themselves of this evil, they would have done so.
– By means of a bounty ?
– Yes ; I know of no other method that could be adopted. In any case, the control of the matter has passed away from Queensland entirely, and is now in the hands of the Commonwealth. I wish to point out to Senator O’ Keefe that he is In this position : Either he is not conscious of the way his amendment is leading him; or, being conscious of it, he is deliberately taking a step which is out of line with the taxation policy of the party to which he belongs. I do not think that the Labour Party ever contemplated that sugar should be regarded as a subject for revenue taxation. I do not believe in taxing a man’s tea, sugar, or tobacco. I do not think that taxation should be imposed upon individuals because of what they eat, drink, smoke, or wear, but for other reasons altogether. Senator O’Keefe proposes to increase . the revenue from, sugar - and why? The honorable senator says that his constituents feel this burden tremendously, but he does not propose to reduce the burden so far as they are concerned. All that he proposes to do is to divert a certain amount of money from the people of Queensland engaged in the production of sugar into the Tasmanian Treasury. In other words, the honorable senator objects to pay for carrying out the policy of a White Australia. The honorable senator believes that by diverting the money into the Tasmanian Treasury he will save the taxpayers of Tasmania. Whom will he save? Not the poor working man, who will pay as much for his sugar as before, but the land monopolist, the property owner, and the rich man of Tasmania. I am sure that if Senator O’Keefe considered the effect of his amendment for a moment, he would abandon it at once. To carry out our ideal of a White Australia, ‘and in doing so to create an important industry in the tropical parts of this country, and people that portion of Australia with white men, is surely of more consequence and more patriotic than to save the skin of the Tasmanian, Victorian, New South Wales, or Western Australian land monopolist?
– Is the honorable senator advocating this Bill as a means of imposing taxation on landlords?
– I advocate it as a dart of a complete policy. Looking at the question from that point of view, I am astonished that any Honorable senator belonging to the party with which I am associated, and subscribing to the platform promulgated by that party, should think of supporting the amendment suggested by Senator’ O’Keefe.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that this should be a permanent tax?
– I do not. I have asked labour members of “the Committee how they, can support the amendment suggested by Senator O’Keefe having the consequences I have enumerated in view. These are not called up out of the depths of my own imagination. I have stated a living actual fact. If the amendment is carried, and the policy it involves becomes the settled law of the country, we shall immediately have an increase of revenue from sugar, and less need’ for the imposition of direct taxation. So that on the one hand we shall be attacking the policy of a White Australia, and on the other bolstering up land and other monopolists.
– There will be an increase of revenue under the Government proposal.
– I am aware of that, and I am very sorry for it. That is the blemish I find in the Bill ; but, as all legislation is a matter of compromise, I am compelled, against my will, to accept the Government proposal as the best that can be brought forward in the circumstances. I ask protectionists in this Chamber, and there are a number of them, how they can support this proposal. Do they mean to impose a duty of j£6 per ton on sugar, and then levy an Excise duty of £4, for the purpose of getting revenue? Is it the policy of a true protectionist to impose taxation for revenue purposes ? I ‘ always understood that protective duties were imposed for the purpose of creating industries. We have heard a great deal about the burden that the sugar industry imposes upon Australia, but I may say that the protectionist has a clear method of reform before Gim. If he thinks the duty is too high,, he can move for its reduction, and abolish the Excise altogether. Then I turn to the free-trader. How can he support a policy of this kind, which, on the one hand, goes “ the whole hog “ in the direction of protection, and, on the other, “the whole hog “ in the direction of revenue? By doing so, he simply declares himself as a rank revenue tariffist. In the circumstances.. I do not see how any section of the Committee can consistently support the amendment suggested by Senator O’Keefe. We are told1 that we have a large number of coloured aliens in Australia, Chinese, Japanese, and all the other “ ese.” I am prepared to persue to the bitter end the policy of excluding these coloured people from every industry in the Commonwealth. I not only desire that they should be excluded from the sugar industry in Northern Queensland, but also from the furniture industry in Melbourne. Instead of abandoning our policy, so far as one industry is concerned, because we cannot reap the harvest in five minutes, let us add to it other industries until we have wrested every industry in “the Commonwealth from the grasp of these people.
– Is this by way of illustration?
– Other honorable senators have referred to this aspect of the question at length, and I thought that probably I might be pardoned if I did the same. I believe that Senator Pearce has referred to the fact that Chinese are not permitted to engage in the gold mining industry in Western Australia, but I think the people of the West had the miners of the East of Australia to thank for that state of affairs. I know that in Queensland a very stiff battle was fought for two or three decades against the Chinese being permitted to engage, in mining. Our friends in the West have benefited to some extent by the feeling created in the minds of miners all over the Commonwealth by the action of those in Queensland.
– How has the action of the East benefited the West in any way? Where is the legislation of the East that has kept the Chinese out of the gold-fields of the West?
– I say that the sen;timent created by the action taken by miners in the East may have largely influenced the legislation of the West.
– Is there a law in Queensland excluding the Chinese from the mining industry ?
– Yes, there is. They cannot go on to a gold-field until it has been opened for a certain number of years. If I had my way, I should exclude them from the gold-fields altogether, but Senator de Largie must remember that in Queensland we were for a very long time in the position in which he and his friends found themselves in the West. We had a conservative Government in power, and could not go any further in this direction than that Government was prepared to allow. I have no wish to labour the question, but I hope that honorable senators will take a broad and enlightened view of it, and will not view it merely as something that Queensland is going to get. If it affected any other State in the way in which’ it will affect Queensland, I should take exactly the same view of the question. I ask my honorable friends of the Labour Party to consider seriously the step they propose to take in view of the remarks I have made on the taxation question.
Senator O’KEEFE (Tasmania).- There has been a very long debate on the amendment I have suggested, and I should like to make a few remarks in reply. I have every sympathy with the sugar industry, and if I thought that I were taking any step to retard its development or injure it in any way I should not proceed with my amendment. Our legislation provides that 1 the kanakas must go at the end of a certain term, but those who oppose my amendment say that their places will be taken by aliens of other races who are already in the Commonwealth. If that be so it will be a bad thing for the portions of Queensland where aliens will be competing with white men. All through Australia there are places where aliens of other races against whom we are not legislating are competing with white men in certain industries. The Chinese, for instance, are competing against white cabinet makers and white gardeners. Ih this State I am sorry to say, as well as in the others, Chinese and aliens, mostly Chinese, are taking the bread out of the mouths of laundresses. I understand, on fair authority,, that in. I believe, the north-western district of Victoria, there are, or recently were,. a number of Hindoos engaged in the oniongrowing industry in competition with European farm, labourers. In the north-eastern portion of Tasmania: there are 200 or 30c* Chinese who are competing against white miners, and incidentally reducing their earning power. I wish that the Parliament of every State would so legislate that Chinese and other cheap aliens who lower the standard of living for white men would not be allowed to compete against Europeans and their descendants. I was one of those who assisted to get the White Australia policy enacted. On the night before tHe referendum was taken, I heard Senator Givens beseech the people of Cairns to vote, and the chief reason for asking his audience to accept the Constitution Bill was because he said it would take out oT the hands of the State Parliament the power to deal with alien immigration, or, as it particularly affected them, with the kanaka question, but I did not hear him refer to a bonus, or say that probably the Federal Parliament would pay a bonus for almost an indefinite period.
– Can the honorable senator suggest a better system?
– It is a very good “ system ; but those in whose interests it was enacted have not reciprocated as they should have done. What is the present position? The planters are clearly saying to the Parliament : “ You have declared for a White
Australia; you have decreed that the kanakas shall go, and either you must continue to pay us a bonus for another term of years, or we shall frustrate your White Australia legislation by employing, instead Of kanakas, all aliens df other races who are already within the Commonwealth.” That is the position, and it is not ‘a fair one in which to place the representatives of other States. What, arguments were addressed to -the Senate in the first Parliament by those who were opposed to the abolition of kanakas? It was argued here, as well as in the press, that the sugar industry was a coloured labour industry, and could not be worked with white men.
– The honorable senator did not believe that?
– I did not.
– Does the honorable senator believe it now?
– No; and the action I am taking shows that I do not. The effort to continue the bonus for a period of five years simply strengthens the position taken up by those who opposed1 the abolition of the kanakas. The effect of this measure, ff passed, will be to make it appear that this is not a white man’s industry, and cannot stand without the aid of a continuous bonus. I sincerely hope that if the representatives of Queensland will look at the question in that light. It is ali very well for Senator Stewart to talk about members of the Labour Party taking a peculiar stand; but this will be a burning question in several States, so long as we do not commence to discontinue the bonus or name a period at which it shall begin to disappear. The argument is used by the supporters of alien labour that this, is not a white man’s industry, that it will continue to cost the Commonwealth an enormous sum in order to make it a white man’s industry, and, consequently, that we were wrong when we said that the plantations could be cultivated by means of white, labour. We framed our legislation in a generous spirit, and if my amendment to continue the bonus for two years from the present date, and thereafter for four years, but to diminish by 20 per cent, each year, be carried, I believe we shall have treated the sugar industry very generously.
– I believe that I was one of those who opposed the discrimination between white and black labour in the sugar industry. When the bonus was granted for five years, it was distinctly understood that at the end of that term the discrimination would cease.
– At any rate, I was under that impression. As a free-trader, I think that any bonus granted should be established on a sliding scale, in order to give a helping hand to an industry in the early stages of its development. It will be my duty, therefore, to support an amendment in favour of adopting a sliding scale. Should Senator O’Keefe’s amendment be not carried1, possibly another amendment on similar lines may be submitted. At the present time, the difference in favour of white-grown sugar as against black-grown sugar is £2 a ton, and under .1 this Bill it will be increased to ^3 a ton. It seems to me that, in fair play, we should endeavour to keep up the same proportion as now exists between the two kinds of labour. Let it then be continued upon a graduated scale. It seems to me that the Treasurer wants to increase his revenue, and, therefore, I do not disapprove of the Excise being raised by £1 per ton. If, however, it is impracticable at the present time to carry out a sliding scale on the lines I desire, we might do worse than accept such a- proposal as was made in the other House, carrying on the ^3 bonus for whitegrown sugar for two or three years, after which we might impose a sliding scale extending over five or seven years. I should not object to seven years, because I recognise that it is more easy to reduce such payments gradually than by too large in,stalments. Dr. Maxwell’s report satisfies me that for a long time to come sugar will be grown by black labour in the northern parts of Queensland, and unless we have a sliding scale those who are in favour of white labour production will naturally wish it to be continued until the use of black labour ceases altogether. I am satisfied that the use of black labour will be continued for an indefinite time. . The figures quoted by Senator Pulsford are simply alarming to one who wishes to protect the revenue of Australia. The amount that we are paying as a bounty to one industry would be sufficient to establish some new industries altogether. I am one of those who think that a great part of Australia is naturally a black man’s country. The aboriginals are black, and some persons allege that Australians are beginning to have a dark appearance in some parts of the country. Dr. Maxwell’s last report contains a very interesting passage, which I should like to quote. He says -
The situation io the North includes a. further condition and problem. So far, these considerations have dealt with, first - White cane-growers, producing with white labour and earning bonus; and second - White farmers producing with coloured labour and not earning bonus. But a third class of cane-growers exists, comprised of alien occupiers and growers, who are producing by the aid of alien labour, and this class is confined almost wholly to the localities of the Northern District. The question essentially arises, whether protection should be extended to this class of producers; and, if so, what proportion of the amount that is being given to those white farmers, who, although they have not yet adopted, are eligible to, and are in part preparing to adopt those conditions that are required to place the sugar industry upon a permanent white basis. Alien producers are outside, and must remain outside, the conditions of white production. The existence of this class of producers not only allows of competition to the immediate injury of white labour; it threatens the position of the white farmers by producing upon terms that European standards of living and civilization are not prepared to accept. It presents a most acute form
Of opposition, where it exists, to the progress of exclusive white production.
My own belief is that we are legislating in such a manner as to establish coloured alien proprietors in the sugar industry, whereas under the old condition of .things we had’ white proprietors employing white or black labour. Senator Stewart spoke of the sugar industry being thirty years old in Queensland. To my knowledge, sugar was grown in the Mackay district forty years ago. Senator Stewart made a very telling point, and a very interesting one from his side of the question, when he said that the free-trader should desire the Excise and the duty to be exactly level. I agree with that view. I should 1 ike to see, soonor or later, genuine free-trade in this country, under which the Excise and the dutv, when both were imposed on any commodity, would be at the same rate.
Senator FRASER (Victoria).- When I spoke a few hours ago, I had not quite made up my mind with regard to the proposed sliding scale. After thinking the matter over, I have come to the conclusion that if the Government will extend the term to 1910 instead of J912, I shall support them. The people of the Commonwealth will have had two general elections before the term expires. By that time I believe we shall be exporting sugar from Australia. It will be ah extraordinary thing if we are exporting, and at the same time paying a bounty on the article exported. We might as well pay a bounty on the exportation of wheat. I shall vote to extend the bounty to 1910, as an intimation to the people of Queensland that the Com. monwealth Parliament may consider s*ix years’ hence that the bounty should be discontinued. They will have no reason to complain. They have not been treated harshly, for they have received tens of thousands of pounds from the Commonwealth.
– I do. not think it worth while to take up the time of the Committee in replying to all the arguments which have been advanced against the proposal of the Government, because they have been met by strong arguments from supporters of the Bill. But I wish to refer to one point. Senator de. Largie has said that he regrets that the Government did not introduce this Bill earlier in the session. I can assure him and the Committee that we have had this question under consideration in Cabinet ever since we became a Government. We were confronted by many difficulties. We considered the sliding-scale proposal, and we ultimately came to the conclusion that five years, instead of seven years, would be fair, and that we preferred to have a uniform system throughout the five years in preference to a system under which the bounty would be lowered year by year until it ceased to operate. We consider that the measure is urgent, because it is important that the Queensland planters should know whether we are going to pay them a bounty in the future or to stop it. If we do not give them sufficient notice, they will not know what to do with regard to their planting. A number of them will say: “If we are not to receive a bounty, we may as well plant with the cheapest labour we can get ; but if we are to be paid a bounty, it will be to our interests to use white labour.” Our aim is to help those who employ white labour, and - discourage those who employ black labour; and that will be the effect of the present measure.
– What will happen at the end of five years?
– We cannot bind a future Parliament as to what it shall do when an Act expires.
– Have we any right to say that a future Parliament shall do a certain thing?
– We do not say that. Nothing that we do binds a future Parliament any more than this Parliament is bound by the Act of 1901.
– Another Bill would be introduced to continue the bonus.
– The operation of the Bill will expire in January, 1912, so that we may take it that the year of expiration is really 191 1 ; but we cannot bind any future Parliament. From inquiries that have been made, we know that unless we do something now in the way of assisting in the production of sugar by white labour, we shall to a considerable extent undo the good which has been accomplished during the last five years. With the exception of Senators de Largie and Henderson, I have not heard any one say that they oppose the granting of a bonus for any further term. Why should we, at the expiration of this Bill, attempt to bind a future Parliament?
– It is absurd to say that we can. By neither proposal can we do so.
– What Senator Playford proposes is to bind Australia to the payment of about £5,000,000 of money.
– No more is proposed than to bind Parliament in exactly the same way as hitherto.
– But we desire to make it plain that the bonus must then cease.
– I know that all the argument in the world ‘will not change a. single vote. We have first to decide whether or not we are in favour of a tapering off of the bounty, and, when we decide that, the question arises as to the mode. SenatorO’ Keefe and Senator Millen have both made suggestions, and, as we are now ready for a vote, we need not further discuss the matter. The question has been very fully discussed, and we shall certainly not finish the session this week unless we somewhat restrain ourselves.
– I do not know whether Senator Fraser has submitted the amendment which he indicated.
– I have moved no amendment.
– If the amendment is moved it must be moved on this clause.
– I think it was suggested that if the clause were altered the Bill might be reconsidered, with a view to making an amendment in clause 3.
– Reading, of course, the alteration of the date as a consequential amendment ?
– That is so.
– Did I understand Senator Fraser to favour the amendment of the clause by the substitution at the end of the word “ten” for “twelve”?
– I should not object to that, nor even to having a sliding scale also, which would be an intimation that the sugar-planters must expecta termination of the present arrangement.
– Personally, I am willing to vote for the proposed bounty, if limited to three years, as has been suggested ; but the Bill ought not to leave this Chamber until we know something about the Excise.
– The Excise Bill has now come to us.
– I should like to test the feeling of the Committee on the question of limiting the duration of the bonus for three years instead of five. At the end of the session we have a Bill introduced which is extremely interesting to Queensland senators as producers, and to senators from the other States as consumers. The Bill presents to us am exceedingly complicated question. Who is going to pay the extra £200,000 a year - the producer or the consumer? It is difficult to ascertain ; but as I understand the Commonwealth has decided to try this experiment, and the trial ought to be a fair one, even though it involves some . little extra cost to individual States, I move -
That the word “ twelve,” line9, be omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ ten.”
Clause agreed to.
Clause 4 agreed to.
Clause 5 consequentially amended and agreed to.
Clause 6 -
The rates of bounty payable under this Act shall be as follows : -
– A verbal amendment is necessary in this clause. I move -
That after the word “ the,” first occurring line 9, the word “ actual “ be inserted.
The rate of the bounty on beet sugar is 60s. per ton, calculated on the cane giving 10 per cent. of sugar. The meaning of that is, that the cane must actually give that percentage - that it must not be a mere assay. There is no similar provision in regard to the beet-sugar, so that beet, assaying 30 per cent, of sugar, would have to be paid a bounty whether that amount was actually extracted ornot. It is only fair that the bounty should be paid on the actual sugar obtained.
Amendment agreed to.
– I had intended, as I intimated, to move an amendment providing that the bounty should be paid on a sliding scale. There has been considerable discussion, and some honorable senators, while they approve of the principle, do not wish to go so far as my amendment would take them. I do not now propose to submit an amendment, but to content myself, with a vote on the clause, regarding the result as an indication as to whether or not the Committee desire to adopt the principle of a sliding scale, or the clause as it stands. I shall vote against the clause, and if it be negatived, the blank which will be thereby created will be an intimation to the Government that the Committee desire some further provision fairer than that proposed in the Bill.
Senator GIVENS (Queensland).- I call the Committee’s attention to the nice little plot that is apparently being hatched. I think it is beneath honorable senators to descend to this sort of thing. If we are to have a vote, let us have a straight-out vote.
– That is what we are going to have.
– The main subject of discussion all da’y has been the proposed amendment of Senator O’Keefe, but that honorable senator has now intimated his intention not to move the amendment, but to be content with a vote on the clause.
– I have not withdrawn my amendment.
– I shall be happy to give Senator Millen an opportunity to submit bis amendment.
– I shall submit my amendment when it suits me; I am not prepared to move it at this stage.
– I want to know what’ the effect will be if Senator O’Keefe’s amendment is not moved. If we wipe out this clause, we shall either defeat the Bill,, or enable the Government to insert any kind of provision they please, and, perhaps, force honorable senators to accept a measure which otherwise they would not approve.
– We take the responsibility for what we do;
– I am not objecting to that.
– I think Senator Millen ought to move his amendment, and let us have a division.
– But that would cause a split. The Minister has charge of the Bill, but I have charge of my amendment.
– I know the game, and I do not think it a fair one.
– The Minister hasplayed it often himself, if, he calls it a game.
– Let me point out what honorable senators are trying to do. We know that according to the Constitution, and, I believe, the Standing Orders, every honorable senator, including the President and Chairman of . Committees, has a vote, but that there is no such thing as a casting vote. That is in order that in this, the States House, each State shall be equally represented, and no representative of any State shall have more than onevote.
– We knew all that before the honorable senator came to the Senate.
– There is a great deal (hat the honorable senator did not know before I came to the Senate. Honorable senators who are supporting the proposed amendment desire to take advantage, if possible, of the negative vote. It is known that when voting is even the question passes in the negative. In this case, they expect, with even voting, to have the advantage of the negative vote.
– They have as much righ’t to it as have those who are opposed to the amendment.
– I have not said that they have not. I am merely pointing out what they are trying to da
– Let it go to a vote. If honorable senators do not desire a White Australia, let them declare themselves. The sooner they do so the better, in order that we may know exactly where they are.
– I want the Committee to know what it is doing before it proceeds to a vote. This proposal was kept religiously in the dark, and those supporting it desire the Committee to vote upon it in the dark.
– Let us have a division.
– I wish the Committee to be seized of the facts before we have a division.
– Those who are against a White Australia will vote against the clause.
– Let me point out that the amendment if agreed to will require an amendment of the Sugar Excise Bill in a similar way. The two measures must be considered together. If the bounty is reduced on a sliding scale, the Excise must be similarly reduced, and, in addition to some other cqnsequences, that will mean a reduction of revenue to the States. But it will have a more important effect. The protection which this Parliament is now giving to the producers of sugar with black labour will remain intact. It will not be touched by the sliding scale. As the sliding scale is put into force, it will continue year by year to be increased. Beyond all question that was never the intention of the people or the Parliament of Australia. The proposal will involve also a reduction of the protection given to those producing sugar with white labour, and that is another thing which neither the people nor the Parliament of Australia desire. The full protection given to black-grown sugar will remain intact, and, at the same time, we shall, year by year, be reducing the protection given to white-grown sugar, and proportionately each year the position of the producer of white-grown sugar will become worse in comparison with that of the producer of black-grown s,ugar. Senator Pearce said that there is no reason for passing this Bill now, because the kanakas will all be gone at the expiration of another year, and that the only reason originally offered for giving the bounty at all was to soften the blow to the planters of removing the kanakas from the industry. The honorable senator has assumed that position without sufficient thought. The view which he has put forward implies that the objection is merely to kanaka labour, and not to other forms of coloured labour; but I think that the honorable senator himself has as much objection to other forms of coloured labour as to kanaka labour. Personally, I believe that the Chinese, Malays, Japanese, and all the other “ ese “ who were coming into Australia were a greater danger to the white workers than are the kanakas. It is quite as necessary that we should free Australia from all other classes of coloured labour. That is a statement with which every man who really believes in the White Australia policy must agree. I point out to Senator Pearce also that if what he is supporting is given effect to, the blow to which he refers will not be softened. The kanakas will not be gone until 1906. That will be the time of the crisis, the time when the blow will have fallen; and then the proposal is to withdraw the legislation which Senator Pearce contends was passed’ to soften the blow. It is after a blow has been delivered that the person struck requires relief. The blow in this instance will not have been delivered until next year, and the legislation which Senator Pearce thought necessary to soften the blow should be provided for now. There is no more reason for adopting a sliding scale as applied to the protective duty on sugar than to adopt a’ similar course with respect to the duty on any other article. Why not adopt the sliding scale for the protective duty on jam, if there is to be one adopted in connexion with the duty on sugar? The Bill proposes at the utmost a protection of £5 per ton for the growers of sugar by white labour, and the adoption of- a sliding scale will reduce that protection every year. There is a duty of £14. per ton on jam, and why should we pot adopt a sliding scale in dealing with that duty?
– It might be removed at anv moment ; it is non-effective.
– Then what about the duty of £56 per ton on hops?
– That is a very small matter.
– I am not advocating the application of a sliding scale to any of these duties ; but the free-traders would advocate a sliding scale as applied to them all.
– There is no consistency in them. The free-traders of Tasmania voted for a duty of £56 per ton on hops.
– And’ the free-traders from another State voted for a duty on suGh a necessary of life as salt. What I am pointing out is that there is just as much reason for the application of, a sliding scale to one duty as to another. The only object of the Excise duty on sugar was to enable Parliament to differentiate between the products of white and of black labour, as it is as necessary to do that now as it was four “years ago. Senator Pearce also said that the State Legislature has power to deal effectively with this matter. I point out that it has not anything like the effective power that is possessed by this Parliament. I further say that when an Australian duty is to be performed - and honorable senators must remember that this is not a Queensland question merely, but an Australian question involving the’ whole policy of a White Australia - that duty should be performed by the Australian Parliament, and we should not shelter ourselves behind any one else. I remind honorable senators that coloured people are drifting into the industry wholesale, owing to the action of those who are continually trying to block the White Australia ideal. They are leasing their lands wholesale to Chinese, and in, the Cairns district alone no less than 3,500 acres of sugar lands have been leased to Chinese by the Colonial Sugar Refining Company. Is that a condition of affairs which any one, much less a labour man, should wish to see encouraged in Australia? Our ideal should be to settle the lands of Australia with white people. By agreeing to the amendment proposed, we shall play into the hands of the advocates of coloured labour, and for that reason I hope that no division will be taken upon it until honorable senators are thoroughly aware of what they are doing. It is curious to note that even’ free-trader in the Senate, without exception,, is going to vote for the amendment. Every advocate of black labour in the Senate will, also vote for the amendment, because he knows that its effect will be to bring the men who are trying to grow sugar with white labour down to the condition of those growing it with black labour.
– What interest did the honorable senator evince in Western Australian industries carried on wholly with white labour?
– If Senator de Largie can indicate any vote of mine calculated to make any white labour industry in Western Australia a failure, I shall apologize for it.
– I suggest the honorable senator’s vote on the Kalgoorlie- Port Augusta Railway Survey Bill.
– That was not a vote - affecting a Western Australian industry. If Senator de Largie thinks I did wrong in voting on that question in the way I did he is entitled to his opinion; but I still think that I did right on that occasion. It is the duty of Australia to see that Australian lands are settled by white people in as large a number as possible, and the effect of the suggested amendment would be to people our lands, not with white people, but with coloured people.
– The honorable senator has acknowledged that Chinamen have taken possession of the north of Queensland.
– That is mainly due to the big land-owners. They have tried first to throw discredit on our White Australia legislation, and secondly to get the highest possible rent for their land. No matter what may become of the country, a big land-owner is prepared to rent his land to a Chinese in preference to a countryman, simply because the former, owing to his low standard of living, can afford to pay a higher rent than the latter. Another curious argument was put forward by Senator Pearce as to why this measure is different from the previous Bill. He said that if we were going to differentiate in this way, we should also differentiate in regard to every other item in the Tariff, and also in regard to the products of the mine. Whenever we can differentiate with any effect, I shall be prepared to go the full length, because I wish to make Australia as little attractive as possible to coloured labour. It should be remembered that sugar is a product which is produced by coloured labour throughout the world. It would be unfair, without giving a decent amount of protection, to ask our white growers to compete against the product’ of black labour in other parts of the world.
– Does the honorable senator say that in Europe sugar is produced with coloured labour?
– No, but it is produced under the bounty conditions, which are just as bad, and that is the reason why we imposed a duty of £10 a ton on beet sugar, as against a duty of £fi a ton on cane sugar. Cane sugar is not produced in any part of the known world by white labour except in Australia. In Singapore,
Hong Kong, Fiji, Mauritius, the West Indies, and elsewhere, cane sugar is produced almost solely by coloured labour. There fore, it is unfair to ask white men to engage in an industry which is conducted elsewhere almost solely by coloured labour, and to engage with them on equal terms, because, if the suggested amendment were carried, after the expiration of the period, the terms would be exactly the same.
– When are we going to a vote?
– The Minister wishes to make an announcement to the Committee.
– In that case, I shall resume my seat.
– We have reached an impasse, because the number on each side is exactly the same, and therefore, according to the provision of the Constitution Act, the question, whichever way it is put, must pass in the negative. Undoubtedly this clause will be lost if a division be taken, and any attempt to insert another clause must fail ; in fact, neither side can do anything. I have listened to the debate. The position which is taken up by a great many honorable senators is one which has been taken up in another place, and considered by Ministers in Cabinet, and that is that we should have a sliding scale of some sort, so as to indicate to the growers in Queensland that, so far as we are concerned, the bounty shall terminate at a certain time, and on a tapering scale. The proposal of the Government is that the bonus shall terminate at the end of five years, but with no sliding scale. When we get into a position of this kind we have to compromise. The genius of Englishmen has always enabled them, in such circumstances, to effect a compromise. I think that a very fair suggestion has been made by honorable senators on the other side, and that is to continue the bounty for a period of four years on the same terms and conditions as Ave proposed to continue it for five years, but in the fifth year to reduce the amount from 6s. to 4s., and in the sixth year from 4s. to 2s. So far as the Government are concerned, we should give exactly the same amount to the canegrowers under that compromise as under the terms of the Bill. There are a great many honorable senators who wish to see a sliding scale of some sort adopted.
– Have the Government accepted this compromise?
– I am prepared to accept the compromise here. I am not absolutely certain, because I have not had an opportunity of consulting all my colleagues, but I believe that in another place it will be accepted by the Government.
– We ought to know whether it will be accepted by the Government or not.
– I do not wish to make an absolute promise when I am not sure, but I believe that the compromise will be accepted.
– Let us go on with something else until the Minister ascertains whether it will be accepted.
– If honorable senators will not trust me I shall fight it out. ,
Senator GIVENS (Queensland).- If the number on each side be the same, and a division be taken on this clause, the result must be that the Bill will be defeated.
– Not if we can find a reasonable compromise.
– If this Bill be defeated the Excise Bill will be defeated, and the result will be that the States will lose revenue.
– We shall have all next year in which to legislate.
– Next year ,the position will be exactly the same. Is it fair to block all enterprise by not legislating in this session ? In addition to the States losing revenue, it will seriously injure an important industry in another State.
– That is a very fair compromise, and if it is accepted it will save the Bill.
– Having put the case to honorable senators, they can vote with their eyes open, and with a full knowledge of the consequences of their votes.
– In the circumstances, there is only one course to adopt, and that is either for one side to secure the defeat of the Bill, which nobody wishes to do. or to arrive at a reasonable compromise which would secure the enactment of the main principle of the Bill, but with a modification to meet the divergence of views. What we have been fighting for has been the recognition of a sliding scale as an intimation to the sugargrowers in Queensland that there is a period beyond ‘which we are not prepared to go in .granting assistance to their industry. It is a minor matter whether the period of the sliding scale be two, three, or four years. I should much prefer a period of four years, but that cannot be secured as the Committee is now constituted. Therefore, I hope that honorable senators will adopt the suggestion of Senator Playford, unsatisfactory as I think it is.
– We ought to be sure that the Government will accept it. ,
– I am quite prepared to accept the assurance of the Minister of Defence, not merely as an intimation of what he will do personally, but as an intimation that he will endeavour to press his view upon his colleagues.
Senator O’KEEFE (Tasmania).- I do not think that the Minister has made a very reasonable effort to meet the views of many honorable senators. If he had wished to make a reasonable compromise, he might have offered the continuation of the bounty for three years, and a sliding - scale for the next two years. But I recognise that it is of no use for me 10 fight for the entire position that I have taken up. But the main principle for which we have been fighting is the recognition of a sliding scale, and the intimation to the planters that a period must be put to the bounty. I am willing to take his assurance - on behalf of the Government - that the suggested amendment will be accepted in another place.
– In agreeing to this amendment, we shall practically agree to a further payment to the sugar industry of something like £5>°°°>°°° sterling. I hope that fact will be recognised, especially in Queensland, as an exceedingly liberal and generous gift.
– I must take exception to Senator Pulsford’s statement. He says that, in agreeing to the compromise, we are practically making a present of £5,000,000 to the people of Queensland. That is a deliberate misrepresentation. The honorable senator does not propose to abolish the duty. If he did, there would be some reason in his statement. What he ought to have said was that this proposal will be the means of diverting about £500,000 to ‘ Queensland and New South’ Wales. That is a fact. The remaining portion will go to the Treasurers of the various States.
Senator GIVENS (Queensland).- What does the Minister propose to do in regard to the Excise during the two years when the sliding-scale will be in operation? The Excise and the bounty must be considered together. This is a very important point.
– There is no necessity to consider the Excise until this measure ‘is dealt with.
– We ought to recognise what the effect on the Excise will be. If we reduce it proportionately during the two years when the sliding scale is in operation, we shall increase the protection to the employer of black labour, whilst reducing it to the employer of white labour.
– We certainly do not propose to play into the hands of those who employ black labour.
– My colleague has asked me to draw an amendment to give effect to the understanding that has been arrived at. Honorable senators are aware that .the bounty is paid with respect of the cane at the time ir is delivered for manufacture. And, of course, unless that is made clear arid” distinct on the face of the Bill, it is quite possible that a man may bring his cane to the mill at a date when the lower rate of bounty is prevailing, and a dispute might arise as to whether he was entitled to the’ then’ rate, or to the higher rate prevailing previously. I think the intention of honorable senators can be met! bv making paragraph a read as follows: -
In the case of sugar cane - 6Y per ton on such cane delivered for manufacture before the first day of January, 191 1, and thereafter 4s. per ton on all cane delivered before the first day of January, 1912, and thereafter 2s. per ton on all cane so delivered before the first day of January, 1913; the bounty in all cases shall be calculated on cane giving 10 per cent, of sugar to be increased or decreased proportionately according to any variation from this standard.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).I recognise that there is a difficulty in preparing an amendment of this character at the table, but I think the object can be attained by adding words to the end of the clause. I move -
That the following words be added : - “ on all such cane or beet delivered for manufacture during the years 1911 and 1912 respectively two-thirds and one-third of the aforesaid rates.”
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to. 0
Clauses 7 and 8 agreed to.
– 1 move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ Sa. Every grower of white-grown sugar who claims the bounty payable under this Act shall, in making such claim, certify, to the Minister the rate of wages paid to any labour employed by him, other than the labour of members of his family. If the Minister finds that such rate of wag’es is below the standard rate, paid in the district in which the sugar is grown, to similar white labour engaged in that industry ; (hen the Minister may withhold the whole or any part of the bounty payable.”
This clause provides that each grower who claims the bounty shall furnish the Minister with a certificate as to the wages paid. The Minister will thus be enabled to ascertain the standard wage in each district. If, for instance, 95 per cent, of the growers are paying a certain wage, and 5 per cent, of the growers are paying a lower rate, the Minister will have some evidence that the former is the stand’ard rate of remuneration. In my opinion, this clause will enable the workers to obtain some of the benefits of this legislation. So far, the growers and manufacturers have been given every consideration, but, from all we hear, the wageearners have not shared in the benefits.
– I feel confident that this amendment will meet with the approval of the Queensland senators. It goes without saying that the men employed in this industry have not hitherto ‘received that fair play to which they are entitled. The rates of wages and other conditions in the suga’r industry are not equalled in any industry in any other part of Australia ; but on this point I need not repeat the observations I have previously made. However, in reply to some honorable senators opposite, I should like to refer to the question of the fitness of white men to engage in this industry. To any one who has been on the spot, there can be no doubt on the point. In other industries elsewhere, much more laborious work, under more adverse circumstances, is performed by white men.
– I hardly think this question is before the Chair.
– In my opinion, the clause opens up the whole question of the fitness of white men for this work, and I desire to expose the fallacies which have been presented by honorable senators opposite. As testimony on this point, I refer honorable senators to a report of a White Labour Conference held in February of this year, and attended by representatives of the cane-cutters and other associations interested. One speaker after another bore testimony as to the suitability of the industry for white men, as compared with other classes of work. All kinds of crocodile sympathy is extended to the men engaged in the cane-fields, but there seems no disposition on the part of honorable senators opposite to render any assistance in this connexion.
– Why cannot the honorable senator speak without being offensive ?
– I regard the remark of Senator Mulcahy as offensive, and request that it be withdrawn.
– I am sure that Senator Mulcahy will withdraw the remark, if it be thought offensive.
– I thought Senator de Largie was referring to honorable senators opposite in an offensive way, but if he was not doing so, of course I withdraw the remark I made.
– I did not take any notice of Senator de Largie’ s remarks, but I say now that I regard them as grossly, offensive to myself.
– When T was down in the sugar districts I met men who had previously been engaged in coal-mining, and I was informed by them that they found the cane-cutting a much easier calling. After seeing these men at work, I came to the conclusion that it was what might be called light labour, particularly as compared with the wharf labour involved in the loading of ships, which is always carried on by white men, and in regard to which we hear no comment made. At the ports white men have to carry bags containing 200 lbs. of sugar, and to work in very badly ventilated ships’ holds, and, altogether, I am of opinion that the men in the cane-fields have much the better bar- , gain. As to the climate, Dr. McDonald, who has given the matter considerable attention, described that of Northern Queensland as being absolutely the best in Australia; indeed, his remarks incline one to the opinion that there are much worse conditions in Melbourne. An important point to consider is that the cane-cutting commences in the second week of June, and is all over by Christmas, so that the men are called upon, to work in the coolest period of the year. As to the necessity for a clause of the kind proposed by Senator Pearce, the secretary of the Mackay branch of the Sugar Workers’ Union informs me that the hours in that district are’ something like twelve a day, and the wages are far from what ‘they ought to be. This gentleman points out that unless some legislative effort is made to secure better conditions, the men have very little hope of improving their lot. On several occasions, when the Tariff was before us, protection was objected to in certain industries, because of the fact that the workers engaged therein were not justly treated. At any rate, I remember one occasion when, for this reason, I voted against protection being afforded, and I am still of opinion that unless the workers receive proper consideration bounties ‘and other conditions should be withheld. For these reasons I support the new clause, believing that it will assist workmen who labour under worse conditions than those prevailing in any other part of Australia. As T said before, I have no doubt as to how the Queensland senators will vote.
– There is ‘no opposition to the new clause.
– I am glad to hear that.
– The veiled sarcasms of Senator de Largie will not affect honorable senators from Queensland. The proposed new clause if inserted in this Bill will be like a. chip in porridge, neither very much good nor very much harm. The .rates of wages vary in different districts. They are lower at Nerang and Nambour than at the Isis, thev are lower at the Isis than at Mackay, and lower at Mackay that further north on the Johnstone River and at Cairns. I doubt very much whether the clause can be administered. Cultivation does not go on in the sugar industry all the year round, and it will be difficult to know what is a standard wage for a particular district. The wages paid may range from 12s. to 20s. per week, and keep. Another difficulty is that the cane-cutting is nearly all done by contract. There are verv few men engaged in the industry employed by the day.
– The clause would apply to contract rates.
– But the honorable senator fails to understand the position. If a man contracts to cut cane in a field carrying 12 tons to the acre, and another contracts at the same price for a paddock carrying 50 tons to the acre, while the one man may make 10s. a day, the other may not make 4s. How is the standard to be fixed? I know that a practice of putting men on to cut poor cane drove white men out of the work. A gang was organized in Brisbane eight or nine years ago, and they went up to Mackay with the idea of making a cheque. When they first went to the district they were given paddocks carrying fairly dense crops of from 30 to 40 tons to the acre, but when they> went up the third year they were given paddocks running to not more than 1 5 tons per acre. With the result that, although they were, offered the same contract price, they could not make ‘tucker’ ‘ at the work. I have no objection to the clause, but I think it will do neither harm nor good.
– Can the honorable senator not improve it?
– I do not know, whether it is possible to improve it.
– Does not the honorable senator think that the difficulty which he has suggested can be remedied by the organization of the men?
– I am glad to think’ that they are organizing for this work, but I think it will be found that the minimum wage must be fixed according to the minimum price per ton of cane cut under contract, and that is altogether outside of this clause.
– The honorable senator is dealing only with the labour employed in cutting the cane.
– The bulk of the labour employed in the sugar industry is employed in cutting the cane, just as in wheat-growing the bulk of the labour is required for harvesting. It does not require many men to run a station, but when shearing time has arrived, it may be necessary to employ a couple of hundred men. ‘
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that there is such a discrepancy as that in the amount of labour required at different times in the industry?,
– The difference” is about the same as in any other occupa-tion.
– Nothing of the kind.
– I congratulate Senator de Largie upon acquiring very rapidly. as much information about the ‘business of growing sugar as persons who have lived in Queensland for many years.
– What is the kanaka doing all the rest of the year?
– He is compelled to be employed all the time under contract, and the white labourer will be required chiefly during the crushing season. I may mention that the State Government has been doing something in the direction suggested by the clause. They have endeavoured to improve the conditions affecting accommodation and rations. A promise has been made that an Arbitration Bill ‘shall be passed by the Queensland Legislature, and under such a measure this matter can be dealt with better than by the clause now proposed. I repeat that I have no objection to it, but I believe that it will be absolutely ineffective.
Proposed new clause agreed’ to.
Clauses 9 to 12 and title agreed to.
Clauses 3 and 6 reconsidered, verbally and consequentially amended, and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Motion (by Senator Playford) agreed to-
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Bill being passed through its remaining stages without delay.
Bill read a third time.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives with amendments.
Motion (by Senator Playford) agreed to-
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the message being at once considered, and all consequent action being taken.
In Committee (Consideration of House of Representatives message) :
Clause 17 (Term of copyright, performing right, and lecturing right).
House of Representatives’ Amendments. - Omit all the words after “years” in line 15 to end of sub-clause 2 ; omit “ and no “ in line 22, and insert “ whichever shall last the.”
– I move -
That the amendments be agreed to.
On these amendments, perhaps, it would be convenient for me to indicate to honorable senators the general effect of the amendments contained in the schedule to the message. The first amendment to which we are asked to agree is contained in clause 17, which defines the term of copyright, performing right, and lecturing right. It will be remembered that when the Bill was first introduced here, the term given the author of these rights was the life of the author, plus thirty years afterwards. After a very long debate, the term was altered to a period of forty-two years, or the author’s life, and seven years, whichever of those two periods should last the longer. Having made that amendment, it was necessary that some verbal and consequential alterations should take place in sub-clause 2 of clause 17. These verbal or consequential alterations were not done at the table, but were left to be carried out in the ordinary course by the Clerk, and were not correctly entered. It was noticed when the Bill was going to the other House that they had nol been correctly entered, because the clause read -
The copyright, performing right, or lecturing right, as the case may be, shall subsist for the term of forty-two years, or for the author’s life and sevenyears, whichever shall last the longer, after the end of the year in which such first publication or performance or delivery took place, and no longer.
In the light of the amendment we had made, all those words were absolutely surplusage, and have been struck out in the other House. In sub-clause 3 of the same clause, it was provided that in. the case of joint authors -
The copyright and the performing right shall subsist for the- term of forty-two years or their joint lives and the life of the survivor of them, and seven years, and no longer.
In order to be in conformity with the period which we had adopted, it should have read - for their joint lives and the life of the survivor of them, and seven years, whichever shall last the longer.
The third amendment to which we are asked to agree is a more important one, and that is to omit clause 34, in which we proposed to give protection to newspapers in the enjoyment of an exclusive right to certain cables, and to which was added here a number of conditions under which alone the proprietor of newspapers in these circumstances could enjoy these exclusive rights. It will be remembered that the clause as amended was reconsidered, and that there was considerable debate on each side. My honorable colleague and myself, while expressing the belief that there ought to be, at any rate, some consideration given to the representations made by those -who insisted on those conditions, advised the Committee that it was not the correct place in which to insert such legislative provisions. In the other House the clause has not been considered. It has been thought there that it should be dealt with separately, and should not embarrass the passage of a Bill such as this, ‘containing very important provisions. Therefore it has been struck out. The fourth amendment relates to clause 42, which reads- -
When the owner of the copyright in any artistic work, being a painting, or a statute, bust, or other like work, disposes of such work for valuable consideration, but does not assign the copyright therein, the owner of the copyright (except in this section mentioned) shall not make a replica of such work, without the consent in writing of the owner of the original work.
The House of Representatives made two amendments in the clause, in order to provide that, in the absence of any agreement in writing to the contrary, the owner may make a replica of such work. It simply shifts the responsibility of providing the writing; in other words, the artist parts with the artistic work, but not with the copyright in it. As the Bill left the Senate he had not the power to make a. replica of the work without the consent, in writing, to the person to whom it was sold. But under the amendment “ of the House of Representatives he can make a replica of the work, unless he is barred from doing so by an agreement, in writing, made with the purchaser. One other amendment does not appear on the schedule. It is consequential upon the omission of clause 34, and is contained in clause 7-5. Sub-clause 3 of that clause reads -
This section shall not affect the right of the owner of the lecturing right in a lecture to bring actions or suits or institute proceedings for infringements of his lecturing right -
The sub-clause should now stop there, in consequence of clause 34 being omitted. 1 am going to ask the Committee to strike out the following words : -
Nor the right of the proprietor of a newspaper or news agency to bring actions or suits or institute proceedings for infringements or the exclusive right con f erred upon him by section 34 of this Act.
We have given a great deal of attention to this Bill here in all its details, and it is no little tribute to our work that the other House, after dealing with the Bill very exhaustively, have made so few amendments. In regard to, the one important amendment, they take an attitude which I took when the Bill was first considered, and when it was recommitted. I think that there were other honorable senators who voted with me, and who also thought -that there were evils which ought to be remedied, but that the way in which it was sought to be done was not the correct one. Outside that amendment, the others are unimportant, verbal, and do not, in spirit, affect our work.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 34 (Protection of Newspapers). -
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit clause.
Motion (by Senator Keating) proposed -
That the amendment be agree? to.
– -Did I understand Senator Keating to say. that it is the intention of the Government to deal with this subject in some other way than that in which it is dealt with in this clause.
– I did not say that. I said that the better way was to deal with it separately.
– There is rio promise made.
– I am not in a position to do that.’
– The clause received full consideration at our hands, and whether it embodies the right method or not it is within the scope of the Bill. It will prevent the starting of new newspapers if the Government take the responsibility of bolstering up a syndicate, which is unmerciful in its terms, and do so without promising to provide a remedy, although the Senate has expressed a very strong opinion or* the subject. If the Government wish the S’enate to1 withdraw from its position, either they ought to say that they do not agree with the clause, or that, if it happens to have been inserted in the wrong measure, they will pay some little attention to the strong opinions which have been expressed here. I feel inclined to insist upon the retention of the clause, unless we get a more definite statement from the Government.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia).T trust that during the recess the Government will take into consideration the ad’ visability of bringing in a measure to meed the genuine difficulties which have been pointed out in this connexion. I take it that they recognise that the Senate has 6trong grounds for taking up- the position -which it did’. We now revert to the original position. I hope that Senator Guthrie will not attempt to carry the matter farther al the present juncture. The Senate has everything to gain by refraining from doing so. It can be dealt with much more satisfactorily on an occasion when a measure like the Copyright Bill does not hinge upon it. The press has no additional rights, and Parliament has not committed itself. At the tail-end of the session it is advisable to postpone the matter.
Motion agreed to.
Amendments in clause 42 agreed to.
Clause 75 consequentially amended.
Resolutions reported; report adopted.
Motion (by Senator Playford) agreed to-
That the Senile at its rising adjourn until half-post 10 o’clock to-morrow.
Senate adjourned at 10.36 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 18 December 1905, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1905/19051218_senate_2_30/>.