2nd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– I wish to know from the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral if any objection will be raised to the laying on the table of the Senate of a return showing the telephone lines in connexion with which the condenser system, approved by Mr. W. P. Hallam, of Tasmania, is being used, and stating the saving in cost by the adoption of this system.
– Personally, I see no objection. I shall bring the matter under the notice of the PostmasterGeneral, and inform the honorable senator definitely at the earliest opportunity.
– Has the Ministerof Defence read the newspaper account of last night’s proceedings in the South Australian Parliament ? When the Premier of the State was asked if he would introduce a Bill assenting to the survey of the proposed line from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta, seeing that the Federal Senate had virtually agreed to it, he replied that he proposed to do so, subject to the conditions alreadv named in regard to. the mute. Does the Minister understand that the South Australian Government reserve the right to approve or reject the route determined upon ; and, if so, is he, in spite of that fact, going on with the Bill ?
– Of course, I shall go on with the Bill. The statement referred to makes no difference at all. I have not yet had time to read this morning’s newspapers, but I have no doubt that the honorable senator has correctly represented the substance of the parliamentary report. The remarks attributed to the Premier are exactly in accord with those expressed bv him in a written communication to the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth. South Australia is ouite willing to allow a survey to be made, but is determined to have a voice in the selection of the route of the line before consenting to its construction.
– I do not yet know when the proposals will be finally dealt with in another place, but I shall make inquiries, and, if possible, inform honorable senators some days beforehand of the intention to bring them before the Senate.
– May we take it that they will not be brought down on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday?
– I cannot say definitely, but I shall give the Senate notice as early as possible.
– Two or three days’ notice?
– I will not promise that; but I shall give a sufficiently long notice to enable honorable senators to come from Sydney, or from Adelaide, in time to discuss the proposals. There will be at least a day’s notice.
– Has the Minister of Defence seen the statement which appears in this morning’s Age, alleging that there is an ammunition ring in England which prevents Australian manufacturers’ from buying powder there for the making of fuses, and compels them to obtain their supplies from Germany?
– I read a statement of that kind, about six months ago, but have taken no notice of it. I am not aware whether there is any truth in it ; but, if true, it affects us to only a limited extent. The military authorities know nothing about the matter. If I took notice of every newspaper paragraph, I should not have time to do anything else.
– In reference to the call of the Senate, which took place yesterday, three senators did not answer to thennames when they were called. One senator was absent on leave ; the other two attended in their places during the day and’ made explanations which appeared to me to be satisfactory. Therefore, I do not think that any action should be taken.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The ‘ answers te the honorable senator’s questions are as follow .- -
No. At 17 years of age those who have served not less than twelve months in a Cadet Corps may transfer either to the Militia ‘ or Volunteers, and Senior Cadets may remain in their Corps until they reach the age of 19 years. 2. (o) Section 5a of the Defence Act limits Senior Cadets to between the ages of 14 and rg.
The Regulations do not limit applicants for permanent employment to “ teachers,” but the intention is lo give preference to teachers as being more in touch with schools.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice - “1. Is the Government aware that under the present conditions many months frequently elapse before a decision is arrived at in the determination of appeals made to the Appeal Board created under the” Public Service Act, more particularly in the case of suspensions.
– The answers to the honorable senator’s’ questions are as follow : -
Delay in certain cases in the nast has been due to causes beyond the Public Service Commissioner, but steps have since been taken which will prevent any undue delay in the future.
– In moving
That the Bill be now read a third time,
I ask honorable senators to assist me in passing it at as early a date as possible.
Senator MULCAHY (Tasmania) [10.45). - So far, I have taken no part in the debate on the Bill, and I do not propose now to speak at any length, notwithstanding the hints which have appeared in one or two quarters. There are some points which I think have not been dealt with very fully. As a representative of Tasmania, which I believe is almost unanimously opposed to the measure, I feel that I should not be doing my duty if I did not oppose its passage and offer a few remarks on the mode in which it has been brought forward to the displacement of public business important to the whole Commonwealth, and not to a part thereof. In the first place, I desire to deal with some points which I think are sufficient to justify a very strong opposition being offered to the motion. With me, it is not a question of whether this railway should be constructed or not, or whether we should practically commit ourselves to its construction by voting for a survey, but whether the Commonwealth should be directly or indirectly saddled with the responsibility of the work. At some time sooner or later, there is not the slightest doubt that a connexion between the great State of Western Australia and the eastern States will become a necessity. Whether that will be accomplished by means of an ordinary coast line such as is now proposed or by what a good many persons would like to see - a transcontinental line which’ would tap the heart of the country and open up practically a new State for colonization and settlement - I cannot say.
– This is not a coast line. If it were, it might be somewhat useful.
– So far as I can understand, it is a line which would run close to and parallel with the coast, and would not open up the interior of the States concerned at all.
– It might be close to the coast, or 100 miles north.
– I wish that we could get some new arguments.
– I shall furnish the leader of the Senate with some new arguments before I resume my seat, and possibly he may get more of them than He will find pleasant.
– I shall be very, pleased to hear them.
– I am not going to quarrel with the representatives of Western Australia, because undoubtedly, they feel that they are only doing their duty in advocating this proposal. On the other hand, I feel that it is my duty to oppose it in every constitutional way, because I think that honorable senators hardly, appreciate the position in which it is proposed to place the Commonwealth. Over and over again Ave have heard honorable senators carefully make the reservation that they are only voting for a survey, but they”: forget one very important feature. What is the flimsy claim put up now by Western Australia for the construction of the railway bv the Commonwealth? It is the shadowy^ pretence that some public men - Senator Symon, Mr. Deakin, and a few others - went to Western Australia, and said that this line- ought to be constructed. It is sought to fasten upon the Commonwealth an obligation, because of the sayings of men who were irresponsible at that time. If that demand is set up at the present time, because Senator Symon and others, who had no responsibility in years gone by, went to Western Australia, and, no doubt with the best of intentions in advocating the cause of Federation, promised that so far as they could help Western Australia to get this railway connected they would, what will be claimed next session if bv passing; an Act of this Parliament we should acknowledge a responsibility? Can we vote the money for a survey and afterwards repudiate the responsibily that we thereby took upon ourselves ? Presently eighteen senators will have to appeal to their constituents, and perhaps some of those who have so carefully guarded themselves against approving of the construction of the railway may not come. back. Then what becomes of their safeguards? Senator Walker, who is one of them, told us that he was only voting for the survey of the line, and not committing himself n n further. So far as the honorable senator is concerned, that may be perfectly rightbut his action with that of other senators may impose a corporate responsibility on the Senate, which cannot be lightly repudiated.
When it is proposed to construct a real transcontinental railway, Tasmanians will not display any un-Federal spirit. When’ the Northern Territory belongs to the Commonwealth, and it is proposed to construct a railway to Port Darwin, Tasmania will be willing to bear her share of the cost Now we are practically asked to’ commit ourselves to the construction of an intermediate section of a railway of which the beginning belongs to one State and the end to another. Further, it is proposed to enter upon the survey of the line without having, secured even the tacit approval of South Australia? I believe that if the true feeling of the people of that Slate could be recorded it would be found th’a’t it was not in favour of the construction of the railway at the present time. You, sir, told us, and rightly so, that in compliance with a promise made at Port Augusta you deemed it to be your duty to vote for the proposed survey. But there were strong indications that you did not approve of the work, and that you also considered that the people of South Australia were opposed to it. Why are we here? To do what our constituents desire,- or to fly in the face of their wishes? I have not opened my mouth upon this question, except in occasional discussions upon minor points, because I had no desire to repeat arguments that had been very well put over and over again, and because I had reason to believe that the majority of senators would not approve of the proposed expenditure. But I was mistaken and much disappointed. I now ask Senator Keating not to commit Tasmania to her proportion of the proposed expenditure until he has had an opportunity, in eight or ten ‘weeks’ time, to ascertain the wishes of his constituents. He may think that he is committing Tasmania to only her share of the cost of the survey, but I think differently, and I am sure that the people of Tasmania will share my view. I appeal to the honorable senator not to commit an act which may result in a most unjust imposition upon the State he represents. Now I come to what may be called the business aspect of this question. Would any capitalist, or association of capitalists, ever dream of putting money into a venture of this kind? It is true that Western Australia ha.s told us that she will reserve 25 miles of the country upon either side of the line. What for, and for. whom? I am reminded of the generous little boy at school, who, having two apples, ate one and kept the other for himself. Twenty-five miles of the country upon one side of the line is to be reserved for Western Australia and 25 miles on the other side also for Western Australia-
– We have heard- all this from Senator Styles.
– It will not do the honorable senator any harm to hear it again. It does not add to the honorable senator’s credit that he should allow this Bill to displace important public business. Whyshould we be dragooned into passing this measure under present conditions? It is practically a private measure, and is being thrust down our throats- at a time when we should be devoting our attention to business of the most important character.
– Rubbish. The measure has been a public Bill, and has been introduced by every Government that has been in power.
– It has been thrust forward as the result of a bit of political engineering work. All through the piece the advancement of Western Australia has been considered as of more importance than that of the Commonwealth. There has been more time wasted in the consideration of this measure than in dealing with the most important proposal that has been submitted to us. Last year Tasmania was worse off to the extent of £250,000 owing to her having entered the Federation.
– The people of Tasmania do not contribute so much as formerly through the Customs.
– But the £250,000 is not left in the pockets of the people. Some portion of it may be, but it is absurd to ‘say that they have been able to retain anything like even one-half or three-fourths of the amount What they are compelled to do is to starve all their public works, and. unfortunately, to also starve their public servants to some extent. Yet, whilst all this is going on, some of the representatives of Tasmania are voting away money which she cannot afford to pay.
– That is absolutely correct.
– According to the statement of the Commonwealth Treasurer, Tasmania has already lost about £1 ,000.000 through entering the Federation. And yet we are being asked to commit that State to the payment of her proportion of an expenditure of ,£4,000,000 or ^5,000,000. I say that this is shameful treatment to mete out to her. Every Ministry that has been in office since the Commonwealth was established has’ dis? played the most callous indifference with regard to Tasmania. Western Australia is the most un-Federal of all the States. It was in her Parliament that the first proposition for the dismemberment of the Federation was discussed. Yet Western Australia asks Tasmania, whose timber trade she tried to kill, and practically succeeded ‘n killing, so far as her own mines were concerned,, to assist her in the proposed work. Western Australia is the one State that has been pampered from the beginning. She has had special consideration extended to her in being permitted to tax the goods of the other States for five years.
– To tax herself.
– I know this - the honorable senator cannot deny it, and will not, because he is too fair-minded - that Western Australia had a special Tariff, one of the objects of which was to strike at the Tasmanian timber trade.
– It is strange that the Western Australian railways pay, whilst those of the honorable senator’s State do not.
– I give the honor; able senator credit for being one of the most fair-minded men in the Senate, and I ask him to recognise the force of my argument when I urge that Tasmania cannot afford this wretched extravagance. Yet, when we object to the passing of the measure in the interests of our States, we are accused of being un-Federal.
– Why this anger?
– I am warranted in showing resentment when my State is being committed to expenditure. against the will of its people. That point of view should appeal specially to the honorable senator as a member of the Labour Party, one of whose main principles is that the will of the people should prevail.
– How does the honor.able senator know that the people of Tasmania are opposed to this project?
– I will ask Senator Pearce, who has recently been in Tasmania, what he thinks of the opinion of the people concerning it’?
– I did not hear it talked about to any extent.
– It is merely newspaper talk. ‘
– It was not mentioned very much in the newspapers, either, whilst I was there.
– The honorable senator might give, credit to the representatives of Tasmania for knowing the wishes of her people.
– The Bill will only involve them in an expenditure of about £1,000 altogether.
– But to what are we committing ourselves?
– How easy it is for the leader of the Senate to sit there and interject in that irresponsible way !
– It. is absolutely true.
– Why does not the honorable senator give us a single argument in favour of this project? I ask him to tell us candidly whether from the bottom of his heart he believes in it?
– Wait until we get the information, andi then we shall be able to determine; we are not committed in any sense.
– Another very important feature- of this matter is that there is power under the Constitution - rightly given - for the Parliament to acquire and nationalize railways with the consent of the States. I venture to express the opinion that it is a power that the States will never consent that the Commonwealth shall use. But suppose that at some time the Commonwealth did exercise this constitutional right. What are we doing in this instance? We are actually enhancing the value of property which we may afterwards desire to acquire. There are at present two lines of railway which run for a few hundred miles inland from the coast. We are proposing to connect them and convert them into a trunk line. Why should we increase the value of property which, at some time, the Commonwealth may desire to acquire? I can assure the Senate that I am not speaking for the purpose of taking up time. If that were my desire, I.could have fortified myself with material that would have enabled me to continue much longer. But I have spoken because I feel that it is my duty to enter my protest, and to make an appeal to one of the senators from the State which I represent. I do this, not in any unfriendly spirit towards the honorable senator to whom I allude. But I call upon Senator Keating to weigh carefully what he is about to do. What urgent necessity is there at the end of a session to push this Bill through? Would Western Australia suffer from the postponement of it until next session? Is this the sort of measure that ought to be pushed through in the last session of a Parliament when we have an opportunity to ascertain decisively the wishes of our constituents with regard to if? What better excuse could there be for the honorable senator to ask his colleagues - who, I am satisfied, have taken advantage of his good nature - to relieve him from the exercise of what no doubt he’ considers to be his loyalty to them in respect of this Bill ?
– The honorable senator had better ask him to consider his loyalty to his own State as well.
– I appeal to Senator Keating because - and I say this publicly - in my opinion his colleagues have taken advantage of his good nature to induce him to support this Bill. I feel satisfied that they have not hesitated to sacrifice him, should his constituents look upon this matter as being injurious to them, when he goes before them, as he must do, within a short period. They have not considered his position in the slightest degree, and it would be a proper and a manly thing on their part to relieve him from the duty which no doubt he feels called upon to discharge towards them from a sense of loyalty.
– While the honorable senator is making this appeal, Senator Keating actually leaves the chamber !
– Did the honorable senator act upon such a principle while he was a member of a Cabinet?
– I reply .that it is usual for members of Cabinets to reserve to themselves the right to vote upon certain questions in accordance with their personal opinions. When I became a member of a Cabinet in Tasmania, I reserved to myself the right to vote in a certain manner on the question of the taxation of the unimproved value of land if it were brought forward by a private member. In nearly every Cabinet such reservations are made. It is not always possible to form an absolutely homogeneous Government, whose members are agreed upon every question of public importance.
– What Ministry would ever regard this proposal as an essential part of its Ministerial policy ?
– It is not a question of Ministerial policy at all. It is one that has been thrust forward and kept at the front by the energy of a particular man. I admire his persistency. I wish we had a few John Forrests in Tasmania. He is the man who, in my opinion, has overcome Senator Keating’s reluctance to support thisBill.
– As a matter of fact, Sir John Forrest was in opposition to the Ministry which first introduced the Bill.
– He was not in the Labour Government, was he?
– But did he ever sit in opposition to the measure when it was before Parliament? I hope that anything I have- said will not wound Senator Keating’s feelings, because I have been desirous of sparing him. But I feel strongly that Tasmania requires - in fact, demands - that every one of her six senators shall, upon all questions where State rights are infringed, vote as one man. That is the only appeal which I can make to my honorable friend, and with it I conclude.
– I am sure that every member of the Senate has listened with considerable pleasure to the excellent speech - from his point of view - delivered by Senator Mulcahy. We can also, I think, sympathize with the Tasmanian senators who hold a strong opinion in opposition to this Bill. It cannot be said that the measure is the project of one Ministry alone. Every Govern ment we have had in the ‘ Commonwealth has brought it forward. It is alleged that those who take the Federal ‘view of the question are actuated merely by sentiment. Upon this question, three senators representing New South Wales entertain one view, and three another. Yet I venture to say that their electors would not find ‘ fault with them upon that account. I should be very glad to hear the views of certain honorable senators in regard to establishing communication with the northern portion of Australia. It will be interesting to note the attitude which Senator Mulcahy will assume towards the construction of a transcontinental line of railway to Port Darwin. The great advantage which Tasmania has- derived from entering the Federation has been that of Inter-
State free-trade. Concerning the project which is now under discussion, I propose to read an extract from an article which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald upon the 12th inst., and which contains views with which not a few of us coincide. It reads
In the meantime the trial surveys will commit nobody, even if some obstacle does not arise before the close of the session to prevent the complete passage of the Bill. What has been done is but a step in the direction of a national work which must be accomplished some day, and it requires no prophet to foresee a time when both the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, and Port Darwin and Adelaide, will be brought into touch with each other by unbroken transcontinental lines. These railways are part of the fulfilment of the Continent’s destiny, and, so far as settlement and the development of Australian sources are concerned, until these lines are built, we are still at the threshold of Commonwealth progress. The present expansion will imperatively demand their construction before many years, if the Commonwealth does not take the business in hand before. On the ground of rapid communication alone, these enterprises will have to be carried out; and when it is remembered how considerably the .time of transit between the eastern States and Europe may be shortened by these lines, especially if we get the talked-of service by way of the Persian Gulf and Asia Minor, or even if the Siberian line develops as was expected before the war, it will be seen that these undertakings cannot be over long delayed. It is a question of Commonwealth defence also.
In this connexion, I appeal to Senator Dobson. The article proceeds -
Railway lines are required for the rapid transit of troops, and transcontinental lines are essential to the concentration of forces at any point of attack. Our unprotected northern coasts are a standing invitation to any possible invader, and to marauding expeditions. At present the northern and western seaboards of the Continent are virtually isolated from the Federal Defence system, and these parts of the Commonwealth, which contribute to the cost of defence in common with the rest of the States, have a not unreasonable ground of complaint on this score. It is entirely a selfish argument to say that these coasts might be harried, and Perth and Fremantle held to ransom .by any enterprising attacking force, without the security of the Test of Australia being in any way menaced. That attitude would be an unworthy one on our part, even if the Northern Territory and Western Australia stood outside trie Commonwealth altogether. The common Australian “bond and the common racial tie would move us to take up their causes as our own, and that being admitted, we cannot be surprised if our fellow taxpayers within the Federation claim to be considered now, without waiting until the actual moment of trial comes. If the arguments based on the requirements of defective defence are considerably far-fetched, as there is always a tendency to do in the piping times of peace, there remains the argument based on the demands of commercial and developmental expansion.
– The honorable senator himself must have written that article.
– It does not contain a single line in favour of constructing the line now.
– Concerning the sacrifices in which the project will involve the various States, I would point out that Tasmania’s contribution towards the proposed survey will not exceed £900 or -£1,000.
– She has to face a deficiency already.
– At the Federal Convention, I did my best to secure special treatment for Tasmania-
– We do not want special! treatment.
-In New South Wales, I have been twitted with being a sentimentalist upon Federal matters. The other day somebody, said to me, “ I do not believe in sentiment,” to which I replied, “ Sentiment is the salt of the earth.” I then inquired whether my friend entertained the same views upon sentiment that he now holds at the time he took unto himself a wife. Shortly afterwards, he twitted me with a lack of patriotism because he thought I did not belong to the Caledonian Society.
– I ask the honorable senator to confine his remarks to the Bil! under consideration.
– I have a very grave suspicion that our Western Australian friends are not being met in a Federal spirit in the matter of the survey of the proposed transcontinental railway.
.- I cb not intend to delay the third reading of this measure, although I hold very strong views upon it. When I was a candidate for this Chamber five years ago, I denounced the proposed railway. Some twenty-five years ago, I had something to do with the construction of a line from Port Augusta to Farina in South Australia, and, as a result, I know that the country through which the proposed railway would pass is a veritable desert, owing to its lack of a sufficient rainfall. The very fact that it is still unoccupied, notwithstanding that daring men are to be found who are willing to take their lives in their hands, and to travel to any part of the world in order to develop country which is capable of development, is conclusive evidence of that. Yet this piece of country is still undeveloped.
– People will not look at it.
– The country has been tried several times, but it requires superhuman efforts to traverse it, even in the most favorable season. I think that the view I am expressing, so far from being a narrow, is really the common-sense view ; and I believe that if the people of the Commonwealth were polled to-morrow there would not be 5 per cent, in favour of this proposed survey. Of course, South Australia is, to some extent, interested. I can quite understand that the people of Port Augusta, whom I knew twenty-five years ago, are in favour of this expenditure; but that is only natural on the part of any community. Western Australia is a wealthy State ; and, if the State Legislature had any faith in this railway, they would prove that faith by undertaking a survey. I am glad to see the provision in the Bill that the £20,000 must not be exceeded without the sanction of Parliament. This is a territory which cannot be traversed without special precautions in the provision of camels, ana so forth ; and if a railway were built to-morrow, water would have to be carried for hundreds of miles, or provided by some artificial means. This is as wild-cat a scheme as any on earth. There are tens of millions of acres throughout Australia awaiting development ; but we know that this work is in the hands of the States themselves. As to the defence aspect of the question, we know that we depend on British and Australian ships, and not on any railway - over which it would take a week to travel, and which might- be broken mid-way at any time by an enemy. Further, we know that on a gauge of 3ft. 6in. no average speed greater than 25 miles would be attained, and modern vessels can travel quite as quickly. We are now within a few weeks of a general election, and I ask why this question could not be submitted to the people. If it were submitted I have not the slightest doubt that there would be an overwhelming majority against the proposal. In any case, honorable senators and members of another place who have voted for this Bill will have to answer to their constituents. I re gret that, owing to my being paired with Senator Symon, I shall not be able to vote against the third reading.
.- As a reason for the construction of this railway it has been contended that it would be very useful as a means of defence. The railways iri South Africa were useful, but it must not be forgotten that Lord Kitchener was obliged to keep an army of 55,000 men to protect the lines. I am not going to pit my opinion against that of Major-General Edwards, which was giver some fifteen or twenty years ago?
– Major-General Hutton has since expressed his opinion.
– It appears to me that Western Australia is better able to take care of herself than . is any of the other States. When the last census was taken it was found that in the western State there were 70,000 able-bodied male adults between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, and I suppose that by this time the number has increased to 100,000, all able to bear arms. These men are the very pick of the eastern States. Thev were attracted to the west by the gold discoveries; and it will be seen that, so far as numbers are concerned, Western Australia needs no assistance from the eastern States. No land force that could reach Australia would be a match for the men of Western Australia, if the latter were drilled and taught to shoot straight and often. If it be said that a railway be required, it must be for the transport of munitions of war. My opinion is that the best defence for Western Australia would be a citizen soldiery and the fortification of Fremantle, so that an enemy could not get within shelling distance. It is really not a question of men, but of big guns; and 12-inch guns could not be transported from the east by rail in a few days, if they could be transported at all. If it were desired to transport war materiel bv land from Port Augusta to Fremantle, any enemy in. Australian waters would not attempt to land where we were prepared to meet him, but would possibly endeavour to obtain a footing at Eucla. It is proposed to build a jetty at Eucla, and connect it with the proposed line with 60 miles of a. branch railway. Such a jetty would have to be extended far into the water to permit of big ships to go alongside, seeing that it is intended to land tens of thousands of tons of railway material there. If so. any big ves- sels belonging to an enemy would also be able to go alongside; and nothing, it seems to me, would be easier than to destroy this so-called transcontinental railway.
– We would pull up the railway before the beggars arrived.
– Is that a reason for building the railway ?
– I am referring to the short line of 60 miles.
– Then I presume the idea would be to abandon Eucla after all the money had been spent on the jetty and the railway. One of the arguments in favour of this proposed railway from east to west is that it would cause settlement in the neighbourhood of Eucla.
– Why should we not fortify Eucla?
– Fortify a place which is 400 or 500 miles from nowhere ! The suggestion that this line should be built for defence purposes is an extraordinary one. I am quite certain that it would be unnecessary to send to Western Australia, where the- cream of our male population reside, such men as Senator Walker, Senator Macfarlane, you, Mr. President, or myself, to do the fighting of Australia. In the event of a war, what would be wanted over there would be not men, but big guns. We have not the big guns, and even if we had, we should not send them to the gold-fields; we should mount them at Fremantle to keep the enemy at a respectable distance. When Sir John Forrest was Premier of Western Australia, a survey was made of the proposed line towards Esperance Bay, and the right honorable gentleman introduced a Bill to construct a section of it some 120 miles long to Norseman. The people of Esperance wished it to run to Norseman, but the Forrest Government declined to listen to their request, pointing out that such” a line would be completely isolated from the railway system of the State, and that consequently a large sum would have to be expended in constructing railway workshops on it, and producing all the necessary appurtenances. The same argument could be applied with still greater force to the proposal to construct a railway 1,100 miles long, with a line of different gauge at each end of it. The people of the eastern gold-fields will insist upon the construction of a railway to the nearest port - Esperance, 220 miles distance - which would render it unnecessary for them to travel to Fremantle, 387 miles away. The distance from Adelaide to Esperance by sea is only 840 miles. I remember reading an extract from a report by Mr. Pendleton, the Commissioner of Railways in South Australia, to the effect that a line to Esperance would take half the traffic from the railway now under consideration. Three of our most influential senators, the leader of the Government, the leader of the Opposition,, and you, Mr. President - all South Australians - are willing that this survey should be. made at the expense of the Commonwealth; but are not willing that South Australia should contribute to the cost of that railway.
– I have not said anything of the sort.
– I was under the impression that you were willing, Mr. President, to allow this survey to be made by the Commonwealth, but would object to South Australia joining with Western Australia in constructing the line.
– I do not say that the honorable member is right or wrong.
– The leader of the Opposition and the leader of the Government in thg Senate have certainly declared their intention to oppose the construction of the railway.
– I have not.
– They know that if it were constructed all hope of building a line from Oodnadatta to Pine Creek - the only truly transcontinental railway - for the next twenty-five years would disappear. Another point is that South Australia is expending £500,000 in building a dock at Port Adelaide to accommodate the large mail steamers, although, if this line be constructed, thev will never call there. The people of Adelaide might, from the top of Mount Lofty, occasionally see the smoke from the funnels of one of those vessels fiftv or sixty miles away ; thev would certainly see nothing more of it. I am inclined to think, Mr. President, that you know something about the country along the route of the proposed line, and would not be prepared to take up land there for pastoral or agricultural purposes. I am sure that Senator Walker, as an old banker, would not think of putting even 5s. into such an investment. We have been told bv Senator Mulcahv that this line would develop Western Australia. If a valuable gold mine were discovered along the line of route, it certainly would not be handed over to the Commonwealth. Western Australia is going to send out a party of prospectors with our survey party - which is to take care of them - so that she may seek discoveries calculated to increase her wealth. The boast is that Western Australia, per unit of population, is the richest country in the world, whilst Tasmania is one of the poorest amongst new countries. Yet this State, which Sir John Forrest claims Kas raised 300 or 400 tons of gold, is asking Tasmania to pay nearly as much towards the cost of this survey as she is prepared to pay herself. Dives begging from Lazarus is how the case presents itself to my mind. A couple of years ago one of the inducements held out to South Australians was that the line would be a splendid thing for their State, as by means of it she would be enabled to supply wheat, meat, and foodstuffs generally to the eastern gold-fields. We hear nothing about that now. What we hear now is that if this line is .made it will open up beautiful country for 200 miles east from Kalgoorlie, and sufficient in area not only to supply Kalgoorlie and the eastern gold-fields, but the whole of Western Australia with foodstuffs. If that be true, and I hope there is such good country there, why does not Western Australia construct this line herself, as Queensland has constructed the many lines built in that State for the development of the country. In Queensland there are a number of separate railway systems, and that is one reason why Queensland railways do not pay so well. Each system must have its own equipment in the way of workshops and staffs, and separate expenses of management. The separate management and equipment which would be required in connexion with the railway under discussen, would help to make it a non-paying line! because the expense of working it would be enormous. I do not know that it is necessary that I should say very much more on the subject, but I should like to rub the railway deficits in again. Whilst Western Australia cleared £250,000 in three years, and South Australia cleared £82,000 during the same period, the other four States, for the same three years, showed a deficit of £2,550,000. Queensland lost nearly £1,200,000 in that period with a population of about 500,000. Western Aus- tralia, with a population of some 250,000, having cleared £250,000 in three years, asks Queensland, who has been losing at the rate of nearly £1 per head per annum on her railways during the same period, to contribute 13 per cent, of the cost of this survey, and of the construction of the line, whilst she herself contributes, on a population basis, only per cent. But the case of Queensland, bad as it is, is not nearly so bad as is that of Tasmania. In that State they have a deficit of about £100,000 a year on their railways with a population of 170,000 or 180,000 people.
– Roughly, that is about the amount. It is somewhat difficult to trace it, because Tasmanians are carefully concealing it now, but during the two years ending 1904, I think it amounted to £260,000, and it is probable that the actual deficit on the railways of the State during the last three years amounted to something like £100,000 a year. That is an enormous loss. Victoria has about eight times the population of Tasmania, and I might ask honorable senators to imagine Victoria with a railway deficit of £800,000 a year. Proportionately New South Wales would have a deficit . of £900,000 or £1,000,000 a year, and if the States referred to showed deficits to the extent indicated we should hear a lot about it. During the past few years owing to a few good seasons our railways in Victoria have been paying interest and working expenses, but the people of this State have paid out of their own pockets no less a sum than £7,000,000 to meet constantly recurring railway deficits. They are now being asked to put their hands into their pockets to construct a railway which no one believes will pay for at least a generation, and to contribute 30 per cent, to meet the deficit, whatever it may be, on the working of the line, and it is bound to be something pretty stiff, whilst they are to have no voice in the working of the line. The business of the four eastern States in this matter is to do the paying, and look pleasant while the railway is worked for the advantage of one particular State. I tell the people of South Australia that it will be a positive injury rather than an advantage to their State. The people of the four eastern States have spent between £15,000,000 and £20,000,000 to wipe off railway deficits, and they are asked to construct a line - that is what it really amounts to - which every one expects will entail a loss of probably not less than £100,000 a year. It is a monstrous proposition.
– The proposition has not come to that yet.
– No, but it is coming to that. I could understand an honorable senator saying, “ I shall support the survey, and if the report of the surveyors is satisfactory, I shall support the building of the railway, but I cannot understand ‘ any one saying that, however adverse the result of the survey may be, he will vote for the railway. If I were satisfied that this railway would be a paying concern, which would meet expenses and interest on construction, I should not see so much objection to the proposal if the Commonwealth were given a sufficient area of the territory through which the line will pass. If the construction of the line were handed over to a body of capitalists they would probably demand a strip of territory 100 miles wide. In this case the people of one State, Western Australia, have offered to reserve - for themselves - a strip of land 25 miles wide on either side of the line for a distance of 475 miles out of the total distance of 1,100 miles. It is agreed that it would be a good thing to construct the real transcontinental railway from Oodnadatta to Pine Creek, but we attach as a condition to that that we shall receive 500,000 square miles of country in the Northern Territory. I should be prepared to vote for that to-morrow, and if that line were constructed the mails would be delivered at Adelaide eight days earlier than by the railway here proposed. Suppose that by going from Adelaide to Fremantle by this railway a day could be saved. Of course, we know that in a few years, before it could be constructed, even if a route were surveyed to-morrow, we shall have large turbine steamers which will travel at .’the rate of 20 miles per hour. They would do the journey in as short a time as could a railway train, because the distance between those ports is so much less by sea than by land. That I believe is inevitable. The revenue which has been calculated for the railway is based upon present fares. But do we not know perfectly well that if the line were constructed the shipping companies would bring down their fares, just as they have done along the eastern coast, by about one-half, and starve the line in that way? Furthermore, who would get off an ocean-going steamer at Fremantle and travel a distance of 1,750 miles by railway through what is, for a great part, a desert, when he could travel from Fremantle to Adelaide without a charge of one single sixpence? The fare for a first-class passenger from Fremantle to Adelaide would be about £9 or £10, because there is a difference of only 37 miles between the distance from Fremantle to Adelaide and the distance from Adelaide to Brisbane - to which the fare is £10. After crossing the ocean from ‘the old country, no person would care to get out of the steamer and pay £10 for the sake of arriving at Adelaide ten hours earlier than he would do if he went by boat - unless, of course, he had a special reason for taking that step. It is not the first-class, but the second class passengers from whom the revenue of a railway is derived. The other day I mentioned that 73 per cent, of the passenger revenue from the railways in the United Kingdom is derived from thirdclass passengers, although the trains also carry first and second class passengers. But in Australia the great bulk of the passenger revenue is derived from the second-class. What second-class passenger, who was going to or returning from Europe, would pay the fare by the railway when he could travel by the steamer to or from either Melbourne or Sydney for the same price as he could travel to or from Fremantle? A man can join a boat at Sydney and pay no more for his fare to Europe than if he went on board at Fremantle. It is not likely that, except ia a few cases, the railway would be used by a man who was proceeding to or from the old country. Persons with plenty of money might travel in the cold weather, but not in the hot weather. Fancy a man being cooped up in a railway train for sixty hours in such weather as there must be along the route of the proposed railway ! Mr. O’Connor estimated that it would take sixty-one hours to cover the journey, and he has been quoted, rightly so, I think, as a very reliable authority. But. since then, Mr. Premier James has estimated that it would be covered in forty-four hours. Since Mr. O’Connor’s estimate was prepared, it has been done by a steamer in seventy-five hours. Frequently it has been done in from eighty-three and ninety hours. Suppose that it would take sixty-one hours as Mr. O’Connor estimated, the saving on some trips, even with the present steamers, would be only from fourteen to fifteen hours. I am afraid that the Bill will pass, but I hopethat it will not. If I thought that by talking until this time to-morrow I could stop its passage, I would continue.
– Keep going.
– I have not the staying powers which my honorable friend possesses. I notice that all the representatives of Queensland have good staying powers.
– Does the honorable senator want to talk out the Tariff?
– Some representatives of Western Australia, including my honorable friend, are perfectly sincere in thinking that the railway’, if constructed, would be a success. Senator Pearce has thought over the matter so much that he is also quite sincere in thinking that the. eastern States should do all the paying. I give him credit for being absolutely sincere in the matter. But he only takes a one-eyed sort of view. He seems to think that the eastern States should do all the paying and that Western Australia should reap all the benefit. He has looked at the proposal from one point of view for so long that he believes that it is the only one from which it should be viewed. He wonders why some persons in the eastern States take such extraordinary and crooked views of the matter. I believe him to be perfectly honest in his convictions, and he is just as wrong as he is honest, as he very often is.
– My character will stand without the honorable senator’s recommendation.
– I do not want to be offensive to the honorable senator.
– I am not dying for the honorable senator’s recommendation.
– I am sorry that the honorable senator should take that view of my remarks, because I am only saying what I believe. I should like. sir. to see you vote against the Bill ; but I do not suppose that you will.
SenatorPlayford. - The honorable senator ought not to appeal to the President.
– Well, I shallappeal to the Minister.
– That will be quite right.
– The honorable senator does not believe in this railway proposal any more than I do, and why should I not appeal to him? Time after time he has declared that he does not believe in it.
– The honorable senator has said that he would vote for a survey, so that we could get further information -I suppose to enable us to still more disbelieve in it.
– No, to see whether its construction would be warranted or not.
– If a survey would disclose that it would be a really good thing and Western Australia and South Australia would hand over to the Commonwealth a strip of country one hundred miles wide after the survey had been completed, I should vote for the proposal.
– Senator Playford has declared that unless the railway should go by a certain route, South Australia will not consent to its construction.
– The Premier has also laid it down that South Australia must have a voice in determining the route and the gauge of the railway. If, after making a survey, it were proposed to take the direct route, because it might not suit the Commonwealth to go away northwards, the Government of South Australia would say, “ If you do not run the railway by Tarcoola, so that we can take our people to and from Port Augusta, a distance of some 400 miles, we shall not allow von to make it at all.” In fact, they have already said as much as that. One argument which has been used has been that everv Government has brought forward this proposal. The reason why that has been done is because every Government has liked to secure) the support of the representatives of Western Australia. There could be no other reason for their action. Even if it meant that the Government would have to leave the Treasury benches, and give way to better men, who, I know, are available. I would vote against the proposal at this moment. I have such a strong feeling against this wild-cat proposal that I would not hesitate for a moment to cast my vote n gainst it, no matter what the result might be to this or any other Government. I have been looking forward to hearing a speech’ from Senator Smith, who I notice has been very quiet about this railway during the last few days. But the representatives of Western Australia are so very sensitive, that I am afraid to refer by name to one of them. I thought I was doing a very nice thing just now, but I found I was on the wrong track, and therefore I shall not make any remarks of that character.
– The honorable senator got switched off at the wrong point.
– I suppose that I was side-tracked.
– I should like to correct a slight mistake I made when speaking yesterday. I stated that I had not previously said anything upon this question, but I find that last year I had a few words to say with reference to the amendment moved by Senator Givens. The Minister, in moving the third reading of the Bill, asked us to permit it to be cleared out of the way. I do not complain of his anxiety, because he must realize that the Bill is an apple of discord that has been thrown amongst honorable members, and that it may very well be left in abeyance until matters of far. more urgent importance have been dealt with. So far, I have not spoken on the main question at all, and I may be asked why I did not speak upon the motion for the second reading. Like- Senator Mulcahy, 1 was under the impression, and reasonably so, that the majority of senators were opposed to the principle contained in the Bill, and I thought that I would be serving the best interests of the country by refraining from speaking, and thus facilitating the progress of the business, The opponents of the Bill understood that Senator Keating was on their side, and were astonished to see him voting for it. Last year the honorable senator expressed his feeling very strongly against the Bill, but did not record his vote upon the division that took place shortly afterwards. I am not finding fault with the honorable senator, because I take it that he knows his own business. He can pledge Tasmania to the expenditure of £1,000 or £100,000 if he chooses. That has nothing to do with me as the representative of another State. I am merely concerned to account for the impression in the minds of a number of the opponents of the Bill. We know the reception which the Bill met with when it was first brought before us. The representatives of Western Australia did not suppose for a moment that they had any chance of carrying it. Only one or two honorable senators spoke, and the mea sure was talked out by Senator Dobson. Last year the Bill was replaced on the business-paper by resolution, and was very fully debated. Honorable members who advocated the proposed survey quoted long extracts from reports that had been submitted years ago, and from the opinions of persons who had been sent out at the cost of the Western Australian Government to explore the country, and collect information for the enlightenment of the Federal Parliament. After all this information had been cited, the Senate deliberately, by nineteen votes to ten, decided that they would not further consider the question unless the South Australian Parliament gave its consent to the construction of the line. I now ask why we should stultify ourselves and make the Senate look ridiculous in the eyes of the people by coming to a contrary decision? I, for one, decline to be a party to the Senate’s stultifying itself in this way. There is another reason for voting against the Bill on the present occasion. When we considered it last year, there was no immediate chance of eliciting the opinions of the people upon it. There is such a chance now. When I was travelling through Queensland, prior to the last election, the Western Australian railway was never mentioned. There was a sort of general idea that Western Australia and South Australia desired to be connected by railway, but it was never considered that the Commonwealth would be asked to construct that line. The subject was first brought prominently before the people of Queensland at a meeting in Brisbane, which was addressed bv the Prime Minister, Mr. Deakin. I happened to be present, and heard what he said. When he explained the project, a laugh went up. No one thought that the honorable gentleman was in earnest in advocating the line as a Federal project. It was considered that, while the people of Western Australia and South Australia might desire to be connected by railway, the Commonwealth was not called upon to incur the expenditure. The matter was referred to at some length in the newspapers at the time. I have not extracts from them to quote to the Senate, but I am quite sure that the proposal was ridiculed. Not that I lay much stress upon articles published in newspapers, because I am well aware that they are frequently written by men who have not sufficient information, and whose writings are coloured by the views of the proprietors of the journals for which they write. I do not attach as much value as Senator Walker does to newspaper extracts. He has, to-day, quoted ;i long screed from the Sydney Morning Herald, to the effect that there is reason for making further inquiry into the proposal. But we are all aware that leadingnewspapers have frequently upheld propositions which would have been most disastrous if they had been adopted by the Parliaments of the States concerned. I remember that a few years ago, the Sydney Daily Telegraph supported a projected tramway steal. I am satisfied that if what was then contemplated had been accomplished, the people of New South Wales would have regretted it from the moment when they parted with their tramways until they were compelled to buy them back again. Foi yi-ars, in Queensland, we were cursed with black labour, not because there was not an agitation against it, but because newspapers which pretended to represent public opinion had sufficient influence to induce the Parliament of the State to maintain a policy that was in direct opposition to the opinions of the majority of the people. “Very frequently, newspapers manufacture public opinion rather than represent it. Long screeds from journals like the Sydney Morning Herald ought to have very little influence upon our minds, though such an extract as Senator Walker quoted may be verv soothing to him. It must be very comforting to know that his attitude on this question commends itself to the Sydney Morning Herald, and to see his own speeches, to a large extent, reproduced in the form of articles in its columns. The States which we represent will be very seriously affected if the proposed undertaking be. carried out. Senator Mulcahy has already put before us the position that is occupied by Tasmania. I desire to view the matter from a Queensland .standpoint. I am aware that supporters of the line will exclaim. “ Let us think continentally in matters of this kind. Let us view it as if we were entirely independent of State influences.” Personally, I am not prepared to pledge the State of Queensland to an expenditure of probably £650,000 upon the construction of the proposed railway. I contend that the question of its construction cannot be dissociated from that of the survey of the route which it will traverse. In the course of his speech, Senator Pearce quoted, a. number of ex- tracts from the utterances of members of the’ Western Australian Parliament, who advocate secession because they consider that this Parliament has failed to carry out. an alleged promise that the transcontinental railway should be constructed. I propose, by way of reply, to put before him the view which is entertained - not by irresponsible members of the Queensland Parliament - but bv the Treasurer of that State. That gentleman, in speaking of the financial results of Federation, to Queensland, said-
Two years ago, in referring to this matter, I said - “A sud’den drop of £70,000 in our revenue is, of course, a serious matter in itself, and quite sufficient to disorganize our finances for the year.”
– From what is the honorable senator quoting?
– From the last financial statement delivered by the Queensland Treasurer. The tables relating to it were ordered to be printed upon the 28th August, 1906. ‘ He continued -
But the worst aspect of the situation is that another Government has first call upon about one-fourth of our whole revenue, and that it is impossible for us even to forecast what we shall receive until the Federal Treasurer has told us how much he means to retain.
– I call attention to the fact that there is not a quorum present. Quorum formed.]
– The Queensland Treasurer said -
The following table shows the falling off that has taken place in the Customs and Excise revenue of this State since Federation : -
If there is one occasion .more . than another when honorable senators should seek to protect the interests of their States, it is when revenue, which could be used for the purposes of development, gradually decreases, until necessary work cannot be undertaken. That is the fair and legitimate argument advanced this morning by Senator Mulcahy, who told us that at the present time Tasmania is about £100,000 to the bad each year. While Victoria and New South Wales may have surpluses, and there may be a little to the good in Queensland this year, there are the accumulated deficits; and it is necessary that those deficits should be wiped out, even if extra taxation has to be imposed. But if extra taxation is necessary for this purpose, that is one of the strongest reasons why we should oppose the expenditure of money on even a survey, putting aside the pledging of the credit of the States to the extent of hundreds of thousands of pounds for the construction of the proposed line. Queensland senators are always taunted by Western Australian senators with the fact that the northern State has the benefit of the sugar bounties. However, I shall not deal with that question at the present moment, but simply give the opinion of the Queensland Treasurer as follows: -
Despite the compensation of the sugar bounty, Queensland has paid a heavier price for Federation than any State in the Commonwealth, and it would be unreasonable to expect her to continue to pay as dearly as she is now doing foi the privilege of remaining n member of the Union.
There is no threat in those words,-
– They are very weighty words.
– The words are those of a man who knows the financial position of the State the affairs of which he has been guiding for some time. We are admonished to “ think continentally,” and to spread out our arms and embrace the whole interest of the Commonwealth; but we owe a duty to those people who sent us here to guard their interests. I believe as strongly in Federation to-day as I did when the Commonwealth was inaugurated. I was not one who said that he did not believe in the Bill, but believed in Federation, and that he would endeavour to get returned to the Parliament in order to carry out objects of which he did not approve. I believed then, as now, that Federation is the best means to insure that the destinies of Australia will be guided in a direction leading to the benefit of, at any rate, all the white people of the country. But representatives of Tasmania and Western Australia tell us that Federation has not done those States any particular good. We are told that the people of Western Australia received specious promises that have not been fulfilled - that they were so much influenced by the promises of three or four men who had no power to carry them out, but neglected to say so, that Western Australia entered into a Union from which it has received no benefit whatever. On this point I have read the words of the Treasurer of Queensland, and while I do not indorse them iri their entirety, I know that, although in some directions that State Kas benefited by Federation, the Union has been detrimental, especially to some of the industries established before the inauguration of the Commonwealth. But because there is a credit and a debit. I am not prepared to say that it is time Queensland left Federation. I am prepared, however, to vote against any Commonwealth Government, of whomsoever it may be composed, who squander money on projects which have never been remitted to the electors, even if my vote should have the effect of turning that Government out of power. We are all here to protect the interests of the Commonwealth, and in that regard- I am just as sincere as can be’ any honorable senator. But if some one outside says to me, “I am hard up, give me a shilling to get a feed,” that is no reason why T should say, “ Here, old chap, put your hand in my pocket, and help yourself.” That, however, is the position which honorable senators seem to think Queensland ought to take. Some gifts, instead of a blessing, sometimes turn out to be a great curse, and then the recipient turns round and uses language, which, to say the least, is not very complimentary. It is my opinion that if this Bill were passed, and the survey carried out satisfactorily, and if South Australian representatives, who do not believe in the construction of the railway, but only in a survey being made, could be induced to change their opinion, the railway, when built, would make the people of Western Australia the most disappointed on the face of the Continent. For a long time, at any rate, the people of Western Australia would have to find a certain amount of money for interest on cost of construction and working expenses ; and they would find the benefitsfrom the railway not nearly what they had been induced to anticipate. The Treasurer of Queensland, in the remarks from which I have already quoted, dealt extensively with the financial position of the State as affected by Federation, and his final words are -
Later on I propose to take the judgment of the House by a motion dealing with this matter, and I trust honorable members- will discuss it as Australians and as Queenslanders, and without party feeling ; for whatever our political bias may be, we have all a common interest in the well-being and financial stability of the State.
These are the words of a man who does not” become hysterical, and talk about “ thinking continentally,” but is familiar with his subject, and urges that it is our dutv to conserve the rights of the States, as well as those of the Commonwealth. I wish to deal with this matter from the point of view of Queensland, which has expended a very large sum in the construction of railways. The representatives of Western Australia have told us again and again that its condition is so prosperous that it has been able to absorb the unemployed of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania, and to offer employment at fairly good wages to all who go there. We are glad to hear that in some part of Australia. - we care not whether it be in the north, south, east, or west of the Continent - the mining developments have ‘been such as to enable people scattered all over Australia to find employment on going there.
– It is mutually advantageous. Western Australia found work for the men of the eastern States, and the eastern States found men for their work.
– Undoubtedly. I think that Senator Pearce paid the men who went there from the eastern States a great compliment when he said that the population of Western Australia consisted chiefly of men who were more enterprising and energetic, and possessed a more adventurous spirit than those of the other States. I think there is something in that argument.
– Does the honorable senator think that has anything to do with this question ?
– I think it has, sir. Queensland and Tasmania complain that their financial position is such that thev cannot bear the expense of makins a survey of or constructing this line, and its representatives point to the fact that, according to statements made by the representatives of Western Australia, that State is so wealthy that it ought to carry out this work for itself.
– In other words, the representatives of Queensland and Tasmania ask why the wealthy man should request the poor man to make a road to his gate.
– Exactly. We base our objection to this Bill on the statements made by the representatives of Western Australia.’ I would point out that Queensland has a very large railway mileage, and a heavy interest debt in respect of it. Allowing for depreciation, the amount expended by her on the construction of lines is £25>765>457- We have a public debt of over £30,000,000, equal to something like £76 per head of the population.
– Queensland’s funded and unfunded debt is about £42,000,000, or £80 per head of the population.
– I think that the honorable senator is mistaken. Our indebtedness is large, but I do not believe that if is as great as he suggests. I would remind the Senate that Queensland has never called upon any of the other States to assist her in building her railways, or to share with her the losses incurred in respect of them. According to quotations read by Senator Dobson, the leader of the delegates from Western Australia at the Federal Convention distinctly stated that that State was financially so sound that if necessary she could construct at her own expense a transcontinental railway to the South’ Australian border. None of us would have any objection to Western Australia constructing lines all over that State, and offering South Australia, substantial compensation for the right to extend this line over the border ; but when she demands that the other States, which have borrowed largely in order to construct at their own expense railways from which, in some cases, they have received no return, should bear the cost of this survey, she makes a request that is unjustifiable. I hope that the Senate will reject it. Let us look a little further into the results of railway construction in the different States. If honorable senators will refer to page 575 of Coghlan’s Australian and New Zealand Statistics for 1903-4, the last- edition published, they will find that in every State of the Commonwealth, with the exception of Western Australia, losses on the operation of the railway systems have had to be made up from the Consolidated Revenue. In Queensland in 1899-1900 the loss amounted to 1.35 per cent. ; in 1900-1 to 2.67 per cent. ; 1901-2, 2.01 per cent.; 1902-3, 2.44 per cent.; 1903-4, 1.56 per cent. The only State that showed a surplus on the management of the railways was Western Australia, and Coghlan states, that in 1899-1900, Western Australia not only succeeded in paying working expenses and interest on the cost of the construction of her railways, but made a net profit on their working of 2.29 per cent. I do not think that there is another State in the Commonwealth which has ever shown a profit of 2 per cent, on the working of her railways. The profit made in Western Australia in 1 900-1 was .83 per cent.; in 1901-2, .07 per cent.; in 1902-3, .27 per cent. ; and in 1903-4, 1.07 per cent. During the period referred to the New South Wales railways in one year only, 1900-1, showed a profit over working expenses and interest on cost of construction to the extent of .19 per cent.
Sitting suspended from 12.5J to 2.30 p.m.
– The figures which I have been able to quote from Coghlan show the results from the working of the railways in Queensland and Western Australia. I propose to submit a case for the consideration of the representatives of the latter State. Suppose that two persons had engaged in the same kind of business, but in different places, that one of them was receiving a fair income from his enterprise and investment, and that the other, although he had displayed as much energy, and invested as much if not more capital, was not earning the interest on his investment. If the successful man wanted to develop his own piece of country, would it be regarded in commercial circles as fair for him to go down to the other man who also had started from scratch, and exerted like energy, and POSsibly enterprise, and say, “ I want to develop a little more of the country I own. I do not (know that I am very well able to do so. I certainly am doing a great deal’ better than you are; but nevertheless I think you ought to chip in with me, and provide the means whereby I can further develop the country out of which I am doing so well.” We are all very well acquainted with the person who is not doing well, and who meets us in Bourkestreet or Collins-street, and says, “ Look here, old chap, I knew you in the west, I am very glad to see that you have got on. I was one of those who assisted you to get into your present position, and if you have a shilling or two to spare it will come in very handy.” Senator Henderson is smiling. I suppose, because he has been in that position on many occasions. But how would it be if he and Senator Smith went down the street, and met a poor unfortunate nian who they knew had gone down in the west, and said, “ We are in a pretty fair position, and we think that it is about up to you to lend us half-a-crown. “ Of course, they would not think of doing that. Yet that is the very position which they take up regarding this railway project. I have not been able to ascertain the actual sum which the railways of their State have returned to the Treasury. I have only been able to give from Coghlan the percentage of interest which they have returned over and above the amount of working expenses, and interest on capital. But I am able to state the amount which we in Queensland have been called upon to contribute out of the general revenue for a number of years.
– Can the honorable senator state the amount which Queensland has obtained in the way of sugar bounties ?
– I have not the table handy, but if I had I should certainly quote the amount for the information of my honorable friends from Western Australia.
– I can tell the honorable senator that Western Australia has already paid twice as much as would cover the cost of the proposed survey.
– I do not dispute the statement which, if I recollect aright, was also made by Senator Smith in a speech to which, I shall refer by-and-by. I am now in possession of the tables which the Treasurer circulated in the Budget papers, and I propose to give the figures relating to the sugar bounties.
– How can we rely upon estimates?
– I am referring to figures that have been actually published by the Treasurer of Queensland for the information of Parliament and the public. The honorable senator, with his long parliamentary experience, should be aware that a Treasurer’s estimates’ are ‘usually to be re lied upon. Of course, I do not blame honorable senators for not being fully acquainted with the local politics of Queensland. They do not expect me to be well posted in the details of the politics of their States. But when a senator from Tasmania or South Australia tells us what is the practically unanimous opinion of the people of his State upon a certain proposal, I accept his word.
– Why does not the honorable senator accept the opinion of the
Western Australian senators that it is absolutely necessary to have the railway built?
– So I do. I am not denying that Western Australia thinks that she requires the survey to be made, and the railway to be constructed. I am not quarrelling with the Western Australian senators who impress that view upon us. I was in Western Australia some time ago, at the invitation of the Western Australian Government, who treated me remarkably well ; and although not pretending to have an extended knowledge of the affair’s! of that State politically, commercially, or industrially, I have no doubt that the Western Australian senators honestly and straightforwardly represent the opinions of the majority of their people. I believe they are doing their best in the interests of their State; and why should I be denied the right to do exactly the same in the interests of the State I represent? Up to the present the public debt of Queensland amounts to £41,545,000. We have .spent on our railways about £25,000,000, and in the year 1901-2 there was a charge on the Consolidated Revenue in respect of those railways of £513,128 over and above the interest earned.
– What is the interest bill?
– I think it is between £3 75. 6d. and £3 10s. per head.
– I rise to order. I submit that the business now being discussed is not in accordance with the sessional order passed on the 14th June, which reads -
That on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday during the present session^ Government business take precedence of all other business on the notice-paper, except questions and formal motions, and except that private business take precedence of Government business on Thursday up to the tea adjournment, and that, unless otherwise ordered, private orders of the day take precedence of ‘private notices of motion on alternate Thursdays.
– Has there not been another sessional order passed since?
– No, and that is the very point I am stating. I know what the Government attempted to do, but they did not do it. The position is absolutely analogous to one which arose in the New South Wales Parliament some time ago, when I took identically the same point of order, and it was confirmed. In the sessional order to which I have referred there is absolutely no provision for “otherwise ordered,” so far as private business is concerned. Private business is by the sessional order absolutely fixed, and stated for Thursday afternoons. What the Government did on the nth September was this: They did not repeal the sessional order to which I have referred, or move to suspend it, but they invited the Senate to pass, and the Senate in all good faith, and, I submit, also in ignorance, passed a motion to do something which under the sessional order could not be done. Before the motion passed on the nth. September could be validly passed it was necessary to have rescinded the sessional order. It is patent to any lawyer that you cannot destroy a superior instrument by an inferior instrument. You cannot destroy an Act of Parliament by a regulation, a standing order bv a sessional order, or a sessional order by a mere motion or resolution, unless the sessional order contains a proviso to enable you to vary it at any time. The sessional order to which I refer contains no such proviso.
– Would not the words “ until otherwise ordered “ permit of a variation ?
– If the words “ until otherwise ordered “ appeared in the sessional order, I should not have raised the point of order, which affords me an opportunity of calling the attention of the President and the Senate to the serious inroad made upon parliamentary practice by the attempt made to destroy a sessional order by a mere motion. On the nth September a motion was passed under which, instead of private senators’ business taking precedence before the tea hour, it was to have precedence after the tea hour, the Government assuming the power to transact public business up to the tea hour. In pursuance of that motion the Government are now proceeding to perpetrate an outrage on our sessional orders.
– I see the honorable senator’s point.
– I have not quite finished my statement. If you, sir, are prepared to rule in mv favour, so far ‘as I have gone, I shall take up no more time, but if otherwise, I should like to be permitted to finish my statement of the case. It is a serious thing that the Senate in a disorderly manner should set aside its sessional orders. If it is competent to pass a motion altering the transaction of business in a certain way that conflicts with ai> existing sessional order it is quite possible to do the same with our Standing Orders, which are arrived at and confirmed by a process similar to that adopted in the passing of our sessional orders. Our Standing Orders are not passed in the way in which Standing Orders in some of the State Parliaments are passed. In New South Wales the Standing Orders require the confirmation of the Governor in Council ; ours require nothing of the kind. They are simply the acts of the Senate; our process of creating a sessional order and a standing order is exactly the same, and the authority of each is equal, with this one difference, that the Standing Orders are for all time, whilst the sessional orders are for the session only. I am dealing with a sessional order, but I submit that its validity and authority is exactlv equal to that of a standing order. We know that a standing order cannot be wiped out by a motion unless by suspending the Standing Orders first. No attempt was made on the11th September to suspend the sessional order to which I have referred. If the Government made a mistake in the method adopted for the conduct of business, it is not right that the repute of the Senate should be blemished in consequence of a Ministerial blunder. We are the custodians of our own honour, which is involved in the proper conduct of our business in accordance with law. I have ref erred to the sessional order of the 14th June.
– They are both sessional orders.
– And both passed by resolution.
– That is so.
– I see nothing in the Journals of the nth September to show that the motion passed on that day is a sessional order at all.
– It is just as much a sessional order as the first one referred to.
– If the honorable senator will look up the records he will find that the resolution of the 14th June and the resolution of the nth September are exactly the same. Both are resolutions, and resolutions only. I have not, of course, said anything as to the point of order raised.
– I beg, with great respect to you, sir, to point out that on the 14th June the Senate passed a sessional order.
– The records of the Senate do not show that.
– I say, without fear of contradiction, that it was moved as a sessional order.
– So was the other resolution. I do not think that that derogates in any way from the point of order; but I am pointing out that the honorable senator must treat the two resolutions as exactly the same. I see his point, but the honorable senator is trying to draw a distinction between the resolution of the 14th June and that of the11th September, and really there is no such distinction between them as the honorable senator suggests. Neither of them are standing orders.
– They are not standing orders, but one is a sessional order and the other a motion.
– They are both sessional orders.
– I think that if the records of the Senate are looked up, my contention will be borne out, and if it is not, then the entries in the Journals do not agree with the entries in Hansard.
– We have nothing to do with Hansard.
– I am aware of that, and perhaps I have been misled to that extent, as I have not looked up the Journals or the notice-paper of the Senate.
– The honorable senator is still on perfectly sound ground as to his point of order.
– I am absolutely sure that the resolutions the Senate passed on the 14th June were submitted as sessional orders.
– It does not make the slightest difference to the point of order whether they were or not. Both are resolutions. The honorable senator is merely elaborating a point which he cannot substantiate by the records.
– Then I say that the records are faulty. At that rate, we have no sessional orders. We have deliberately adopted certain motions, believing them to be sessional orders, and we are now told that they are not sessional orders. In the circumstances, I must look up the notice-paper.
– A “sessional order “ is only another name for a. resolution, the effects of which last during the session.
– Then in the Senate we do not recognise sessional orders.
If we have come to that pass when we have to depend upon mere resolutions, then God help the Senate in regard to the orderly conduct of its business. It means that, instead of having sessional orders, as in the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, we have a disorderly array of contradictory resolutions, with no credit to the Senate, or to the representatives of the Government.
– According to standing order 127 the Senate cannot rescind a resolution unless it follows a certain procedure. The point is that such procedure has never been adopted.
– I th’ank you, sir, for drawing my attention to the standing order, which says -
An order, resolution, or other vote of the Senate, may be rescinded ; but no such order, resolution, or other vote may be rescinded during the same session, unless seven days’ notice be given, and at least one half of the whole number of senators vote in favour of its rescission : Provided that, to correct irregularities or mistakes, one day’s notice only shall be sufficient.
I now submit, sir, that that standing order has not been complied with, and that, therefore, the sessional order of the 14th June stands, and the resolution of the 1 Itr September is a nullity as concerns the procedure of the Senate in relation to private business on Thursday afternoon.
– As regards the resolution which was passed at the beginning of the session, and which is called a sessional order, it is plain’ that there has been a mistake made. Sessional orders are simply resolutions which may be altered or varied at the will of the Senate.
– In accordance with standing order 127.
– Possibly, but that standing order has never been obeyed here. With al short interval I have been a member of Parliament since 1.868, and I know that it has never been obeyed in any Parliament in which I have sat. Why we did not obey the standing order I do not know.
– In South Australia we always obeyed that standing order.
– It has not been obeyed as regards the resolution to alter the days of meeting.
– Because that resolution contains the words “ unless otherwise ordered “ which were left out of the former one.
– The unfortunate part of it is that we did not have the words put in, but the will of the Senate was that it should meet on the days and hours mentioned in the second sessional order, and that private business should take precedence at a’ certain time other than that mentioned in the first sessional order. I can do no more, sir, than bow to your ruling.
– No more complete admission that the contention of Senator Neild is right could possibly be made than has just been made by the Minister of Defence. The resolution of nth September reads as follows: -
That during the remainder of the present session, unless otherwise ordered, the time of meeting of the Senate on Wednesday and Thursday in each week be half-past ten a.m., and that Government business take precedence of all other business on the notice-paper except questions and formal motions, and except that private members’ Bills already on the notice-paper take precedence of all other business on Thursday after the tea adjournment.
Undoubtedly the resolution of nth September would have been effective if, in the resolution of 14th June, the words “ unless otherwise ordered “ had been i’nserted. lt is quite clear that standing order 127 has not been complied with, and that therefore the resolution of nth September is not binding. I think that you, sir, will see with me that the point of order is absolutely good, and that* there is now nothing left for Senator Playford to do except to throw himself on the mercy of the Senate in some ordinary way.
– I am very much afraid the point raised by Senator Neild is right. I make that statement, because I have to bear a certain portion of the blame as well as the officers of the Senate, because we ought not to have permitted the motion of the nth September to be carried without calling attention to the fact that the first part of the resolution of the 14th June could not be altered or amended unless it was rescinded. There is no val;d difference between the two resolutions. One cannot be called a sessional order and the other not a sessional order. What is a sessional order? It is an order of the Senate which will continue during the session. Both, of these sessional orders will continue during the session, so’ that they are both on a par. The resolution of 14th June says -
That on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday during the present session Government business take precedence of all other business on the notice-paper, except questions and formal motions, and except that private business take precedence of Government business on Thursday up to the tea adjournment, and that, unless otherwise ordered, private orders of the day take precedence of private notices of motion on alternate Thursdays.
It will be seen that that is a positive resolution of the Senate which does not con- tain the limitation “ unless otherwise ordered,” except in reference to private orders of the day taking precedence of private notices of motion on alternate Thursdays. It is not competent for the Senate to annul that resolution unless it takes the procedure prescribed by standing order 127. That procedure has not been taken, and therefore I have to rule that the point of order is. correct. It is with, the greatest reluctance that I give this ruling, because to a certain extent it reflects upon the President, and upon the officers of the Senate.
Honorable Senators. - No.
– I think so. I am quite prepared to take my share of the blame. I ought to have pointed out the defect, and I did not do so. Of course, the primary blame rests with the honorable senator who moved the motion. We are in the middle of a debate on the motion for the third reading of a Government Bill. The question is, what are we going to do?
– The Bill drops off the notice-paper.
– Then it goes to the bottom of the notice- Da,Der
– I think that unless the Senate unanimously resolve to the contrary, private business will have to be called on, and proceeded with until halfpast 6 o’clock.
– And after that what are we to do? I contend that the second part of the second order is right, and that after 7.45 the Senate must proceed with private Bills.
– The motion of the 14th June is the only one with which we have to deal now. Up to half-past 6 o’clock private business takes precedence. But of course the senator in charge of private business may re-arrange it if lie likes. A senator in charge pf a motion that has not been moved may not move it, and a senator in charge of a motion that has been moved may ask that his business be re-arranged. What is to happen after half-past 6 o’clock is a question that I shall leave for decision hereafter.
– After that hour, the order is right.
– It is sufficient for me at the present moment to decide that the point of order taken by Senator Neild is good, and that private business ought to be proceeded with unless it is re-arranged.
– Mav I ask a question? I understand the position to be that private business will now be proceeded with. I also understand that unless the course indicated by the standing order is followed, private business will also come on next Thursday ; because, as has been pointed out, if our procedure has been out of order -in the one case it is in the other. My question is therefore - are we to understand that now we have got back to the position in which we were before the Minister of Defence moved the motion which is now ruled to be ultra vires, because a former order was not rescinded? Am I also to understand that private business will come on every Thursday unless a motion to the contrary is moved in proper form ?
– I think that is so, so far as regards private business on Thursdays. Had the words “ unless otherwise ordered “ been inserted at the beginning of the first resolution with which we have been dealing the subsequent procedure would have Been all right. Bui those words not being there the only question is that unless otherwise ordered private orders of the day take precedence ot private notices of motion on alternate Thursdays. Whether that has been rescinded by the second resolution I will not decide at present. The question is, what are we to do now ?
– I wish to move that Senator Turley be permitted to continue his remarks on the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Survey Bill.
– When is he to continue them?
– - The Minister in charge of the Bill had better fix a time for the Bill to come on again.
– It can come on immediately after the dinner adjournment.
– Oh, no; the Minister will not do anything of the sort. That is where he falls in.
– The Minister of Defence has mentioned to me - and I think that it is only just that I should take some share of the blame of what is undoubtedly under your ruling an error - that the same procedure as has been followed this session was followed last year. The position now seems to me to be that private business should proceed from the present moment. The original order of the 14th June fixed that Government business should on three days take precedence of all other business on the notice-paper, except questions and formal motions; with the exception that private business should take precedence of Government business up to the dinner adjournment on Thursdays. It would seem that the only proper course is to place ourselves right so far as procedure is concerned, and go on with private business this afternoon. That would seem to be the logical course to follow. Then comes the new sessional order, which of course, so far as it is not vitiated by the order of the 14th June, is perfectly good and valid. It would be absurd to vitiate the whole of that additional order, because the results achieved since we began the morning sittings would in that case be illegal.
– The order of the 14th June only refers to the sequence of Government business and private business.
– I am now referring to the order of the nth September. It is under that order that we have been meeting at half-past ten in the morning.
– And why not?
– I think quite rightly ; but some of my honorable friends say that the whole of the new sessional order is invalid. I hold that that is an absurd contention. That sessional order is perfectly good so far as it does not involve a rescission of the sessional order of the 14th June; and, therefore, it is perfectly valid and good as governing our procedure with regard to sitting at half-past ten in the morning. It is also perfectly good in giving conditional precedence to private business after the dinner adjournment. The only particulars in which it is ultra vires, or inconsistent with the previous sessional order is so far as it relates to the precedence of business before the dinner adjournment on Thursday afternoons. It seems to me that the proper position is that we ought to go on with private business now, and that, under the new sessional order, private business should continue after the tea adjournment. That seems to me to be the only consistent way to deal with the matter.
– I submit that we cannot pick, and choose between the various parts of the sessional order which has been challenged.
– The point that requires elucidation is this : The sessional order of the 14th June gives precedence to Government’ business up to the tea adjournment, and thereby implies that after the tea adjournment, private business will take precedence. The sessional order of the 14th June says that on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays during the present session Government business shall take precedence of all business on the paper, except questions and formal motions. That is positive. But then it makes an exception - that on Thursdays private business shall take precedence up to the tea adjournment. The resolution of the nth September contradicts that by giving precedence to private business after the tea adjournment. So that it seems to me that, under the first sessional order, the precedence of private business after the tea adjournment must be done away with.
– Undoubtedly. The first part of the order is positive. It gives precedence to Government business on three days, with one exception, from 2.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. on Thursdays. Can it be contended that the sessional order of September can alter part of that resolution, and not alter the other part?
– In my opinion, the position at which we have arrived is this : You, sir, have already ruled that Government business is out of order at the present stage. But the question for your decision now. is how far, and in what particular direction, our procedure is mow affected by the resolution of the 14th June, which says that, unless otherwise ordered, private orders of the day shall take precedence of notices of motion on alternate Thursdays. The Senate ‘did otherwise order by the resolution of the nth September.
– The honorable senator has not given due effect to the first part of the resolution, of September.
– For the reason that the order of the nth September cannot affect any part of the resolution of the 14th June, except that part that follows the words “ unless otherwise ordered.” The only part of the resolution of the 14th June that could be affected by the subsequent order are the words “ private orders of the day take precedence of private notices of motion on alternate Thursdays.” That is the position in which we absolutely axe.
– The honorable senator will see that that only refers to the precedence inter se of private business.
– The position is that the order of the nth September is of no use at all, except so far, and only so far, as it applies to the words after “ unless otherwise ordered “ of the original motion. Those words are, “ private orders of the dar. take precedence of private notices of motion on alternate Thursdays.”
– If the Senate will permit me, I shall think the matter over and give a ruling at 7.45 p.m.
– I think that is the best course. Seeing that we are in a chao- tic condition, may I suggest to Senator Playford that it would be belter to now suspend the sitting until the hour mentioned by the President?
– I submit that that is the best course we could adopt. If it be decided to now go on with private business, the question arises - what private business? The whole of this re-arrangement of private business has “ gone by the board,” and we must ascertain which private business has the right to be taken to-day - which private business would have been on the notice-paper if we had not been blindly following an order of no validity.
– I may mention that all this private business was placed on the notice-paper before the last order was made, and, therefore, we need not discuss that question. It was placed on the noticepaper in pursuance of the sessional order made on the 14th June;
– I again ask Senator Playford whether he can say what is the private business which we should have to proceed with to-day?
– It is not for me to say.
– Will the President say ? I. admit frankly that we are in a position in which it would be extremely difficult for any honorable senator, President or otherwise, to decide which private business has the right of pre- cedence. Under the circumstances, I think the most advisable course would be to suspend the sitting until 7.45 p.m.
– That matter is in the hands of the President.
– I may point out that on the notice-paper of the 7th September, three days before the later sessional order was made, there stands for Thursday, the 20th September, the order of the day, “Constitution Alteration ; Nationalization of Monopolies Bill (No. 16) - Second Reading. Adjourned Debate - (Senator Millen).” Whether the sessional order of the nth September is good or bad, that is the order of business laid down in pursuance of the .sessional order of the 14th June.
– Would that have been the order of business had there been no change in the arrangements ?
– Yes. Had the sessional order of the nth September never been made, the order of the day in charge of Senator Pearce would have been that which would have come on at half-past’ two o’clock.
– Mr. President, have you noticed the note on the notice-paper with reference to this order of the day ?
– That note’ was made in pursuance of the sessional order of the nth September which has been, declared to be wrong.
– Can you accelerate business ?
The- PRESIDENT.- This is not accelerating business. We have made a mistake, and we must go back.
– The immediate question is what is to be done with’ the business, and I suggest that first of all we ought to get rid of the present situation - clear the’ way. I suggest that Senator Turley ask leave to continue his remarks, and that Senator . Playford then move that the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Survey Bill be made an order for some future day. Under the ruling that Bill cannot further be proceeded with now.
– The question. is whether that Bill is properly before the Senate.
– It raises the question whether S’enator Turley can be regarded as having spoken.
-Col. Gould. - I should like to re-echo the question of Senator Symon, and also to raise the point whether Senator Turley may be regarded as having spoken.
The Senate appears to have met under a regulation or order of the Senate which has been carried illegally, and is ultra vires.
– Senator Turley spoke this morning.
– But I raise the question whether the Senate was legally in .session.
– There is no question about that. That point has never been raised.
– But I am raising it now ; and I should like, with all respect, to give your opinion a little further investigation. At the beginning of the session we passed a certain sessional order, providing that we should meet here on certain days, and that Government business should take ‘precedence on certain days. We have had a ruling that the new order of business on the nth September was not carried in accordance with our Standing Orders, owing to the fact that seven days notice was not given. I now raise the question whether we can divide a resolution carried in that way, and say that one part is legal, and the other part illegal. It may not be amiss to make some reference to what the law is in relation to a by-law. A Statute gives the authority to make bylaws, and- a portion of a bv-law may be ultra vires, and a portion may be quite within the power contemplated by the Statute. But the question arises whether a by-law that is partly ultra vires and partly legal is not altogether ultra vires itself - the legal part as well as the illegal part. Our motions for the conduct of our business are made by virtue of an authority under a Statute, and those .motions can have no greater effect than has- a by-law under a Statute. In the case of a by-law made by a municipality by virtue of a. Statute, if the by-law is ultra vires as to part, and within the law as to the other part, can the part within the law be regarded as valid? Hardcastle, whom I quoted last night, says -
There is some difference of judicial opinion as to whether a by-law is severable. In Clark v. Denton (1830) r B. and Ad. 92, 95, Bayley, J., said that a by-law, if severable, can be good in part and bad in part, and in Dyson v. L. and iV.1V. Railway Co. (1881), 7 Q. B. D. 32, Lindley and Mathew, J. J., treated the by-law there in question as severable. But Cockburn, C. J., said in Saunders v. South-Eastern Railway (18S0) s Q. B. D. at p. 463, “that not only is it essential to the validity of a by-law that, it bc reasonable, but also that a by-law being entire, if it be unreasonable in any particular, shall be void for the whole.” When breach of a by-law is punishable as an offence, it is difficult to divide the by-law so as to leave the valid and quash the invalid portion, but there seems no insuperable obstacle to doing so in a proper case.
It is pointed out that there is a question whether the by-law - for ‘which we may read “ motion “ - is inseparable. If we cannot separate the part that is good from the part that is bad, then everything that that Chamber has done between the hours of half -past 10 in the forenoon and the usual hour of meeting is a simple nullity, and the motion for the third reading of the Bill -submitted this morning was made at a time when the Senate was not legally in session - when we were nothing more than a voluntary meeting of individuals. We are in the extraordinary position that if this sessional order be not separable, then the motion for the third reading was not in order. The point I take is that this question is a question as a whole; and if the sessional order is ultra vires as to part it is ultra vires as to the whole, and the President is not called upon to decide that one part is good and another part is bad. If my contention be correct, the effect of our meeting here at half-past 10 o’clock this morning, and the submitting of the motion for the third reading, had no more effect than if we had met in the Town Hall, as members of the Senate, to discuss this particular measure.
– The first question is. what we are going to do now. I am certainly not going to take notice of Police Court, or other decisions.
– The decision I quoted was one of the higher Court in England.
– This is a Parliament, and’ we have the right to regulate our own proceedings, subject to our Standing Orders. If we break our own Standing Orders, and hold meetings that are not consistent with those Standing Orders, that does not effect the validity of our proceedings. If honorable senators will look at the judgment of Sir Samuel Griffith, given in Queensland in reference to the proceedings of the Queensland Parliament, they will find it there laid down that there is no Court or tribunal which can express any opinion about the conduct of business in Parliament.
– Not if it be done legally.
– Whether the procedure be right or wrong, is a question for the Parliament itself, as laid down in the case of Browne versus Cowley, it cannot be raised in any Court. I am not going to give any opinion whether what we have done is legal or illegal. All I have decided is that private business ought to be taken now ; and I think that the suggestion of Senator Symon is the best by which to regulate our proceedings. The suggestion is that Senator Turley have leave to continue his remarks, that Senator Playford adjourn the debate on the Bill in question to some future date, and that privafe senators business be called on.
– I should like-
– I have given my ruling.
– But I endeavoured to speak before vou commenced to give your ruling.
– I have given my ruling, and the proceeding now is very irregular.
– I claim the right to speak on the whole question..
The PRE SIDENT.- Why ?
– Because I have the right.
– Does the honorable senator move that my ruling be dissented from ?
– If it should be necessary to move that your ruling be dissented from in order that I may have the opportunity I desire, I shall make the motion.
– These motions for dissent from rulings are becoming very tiresome.
– If I were to move the motion I should withdraw it at once if that were the wish of the Senate. I have no desire to move such a motion, but I wish an ooportunity to make some observations, for the reason that I think my honorable friends on this side are wrong in the action thev have taken.
– Is it in order to discuss your ruling without a specific motion to dissent from it?
– I do not think that Senator Drake is in order, but the whole proceedings are so irregular that one more irregularity will really not make much difference.
– Then I shall claim the risrht to speak again after Senator’ Drake sits down.
– The position we have got into is so peculiar that I have permitted irregularities.
– On a point of order I submit that Senator Drake is not in order in disputing your ruling as to the proceedings from this time up to 6.30 p.m.
– Several honorable senators have done so.
– I have not done so. I have in no way disputed your ruling. I submit that Senator Drake will not be in order in disputing the ruling you gave with regard to the conduct of business up to 6.30 p.m. If the honorable senator wishes to make some observations with respect to the procedure subsequent to 7.45 p. m. I withdraw my objection.
– I think that Senator Clemons is strictly right. But I put it to the Senate to say whether - the matter having been discussed in so irregular a manner - it is not fair to allow Senator Drake an opportunitv to discuss the matter.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear !
– Will other honorable senators have the same right?.
– Yes, I suppose so.
– I shall occupy but a very few’ minutes. In justice to myself I do not think that I should remain silent and apparently agree to arguments, and a decision which do not commend themselves to my judgment. I look upon the matter in this way : The sessional order of nth September was not a suspension of the existing sessional order, and was not an attempt to suspend it. It was a fresh sessional order which the Senate passed, which turns out to be contradictory insome respects to the other sessional order which remains unrepealed. I submit, therefore, that the position now is that we have at the present time two sessional orders referring to the same business, and each having exactly the same validity. According to the well-known rule of the interpretation of documents, where there is any inconsistency the later prevails.
– What about standing order 127 ?
– I submit that we have two sessional orders of equal validity, and where one contradicts the other the latter should prevail, and therefore the proceed ings this afternoon have been in perfect order.
– I wish, sir, to direct your attention to the fact that according to the ruling you have given the whole proceedings of to-day have been invalid.
– Not those of this morning.
– Yes, because no proper notice of the sessional order passed on the 11th September was given, and the sessional order of 14th June remained in force.
– The honorable senator is asserting that you, sir, have ruled that everything we did this morning up to the luncheon hour was illegal. I submit that you ruled nothing of the sort.
– I did not say anything of the kind. What I said was that if the President’s ruling was to stand - and presumably it is since nobody disputes it - I contend that the whole proceedings of this morning have been invalid.
– My ruling applies to the proceedings since 2.30 p.m.
– What have we done since 2.30?
– Then what (has become of the Bill ? I contend that it must go off the notice-paper. Nol one adjourned the debate upon it, and no one fixed the resumption of the debate for any particular day. That is the point of order I take. According to your ruling, the proceedings were valid until 2.30. After that hour they ceased to be valid, and the whole thing has gone by the board.
– That is what the honorable senator would like.
– The Senate made no order for the resumption of the debate on the Bill, and the debate that took place after 2.30 was not in conformity with the usual procedure. I say that so far as the Bill is concerned it must disappear from the notice-paper, and I submit that as a point of order. There is another matter to which I should like to ‘direct attention. You, sir, have said that the Chief Justice of the High Court, when Chief Justice of Queensland, decided that every Parliament has a right to regulate its own procedure. Undoubtedly that is correct. I point out that according to your ruling since 2.30 p.m., the proceedings of the Senate have not been regulated by this Parliament at all. We have laid down certain rules which govern our procedure, but it has been contrary to those rules, and therefore, so far as our proceedings since 2.30 p.m. are concerned, we have been merely a disorderly rabble.
– I ask your ruling, sir, as to whether it is in order for Senator Givens to say that since 2.30 p.m., under your ruling, the Senate has been nothing, but a disorderly rabble.
– I do not think, that such a’ description of the Senate^ is inorder. I should like to say that I ~think the word “ invalid “ is not a proper wordto use. Our proceedings since 2.30 p.m. have merely been contrary to our Standing Orders. Seeing that we have done nothing since 2.30 p.m., it really does not matter.
– I should like torefer Senator ‘Playford to standing order 61, which reads -
Any motion connected with the conduct of thebusiness of the Senate may be moved by a Minister of the Crown at any time without notice.
If we are given an opportunity for calm; deliberation upon the present position, it will be better for the’ Senate, and will conserve its dignity. In the circumstances I publicly ask Senator Playford to move the suspension of the sitting until 7.45 p.m., so that in the interval we may calmly consider the position. The adoption of the course I propose will not interfere in any way with Government business.
– I think it is better that we should arrive at some understanding now. It seems to me that if we wereto adopt the course suggested, we should” lose two or three hours, and at 7.45 p.m. we should have the whole -trouble over again. Let us come to some arrangement as to what the proceedings shall be. I think they should be arranged in this way.
– I rise to a point of order. It is entirely disorderly for Senator Playford to be discussing Government business in the time which should be devoted toprivate members’ business.
– Let the Minister makea statement. 0
– I think the Minister might be allowed to state what course he proposes should be taken in referenceto the business of the Senate.
– According to your ruling, sir, the proceedings since 2.30 p.m. have been irregular, and private senators’ business ought strictly to have been called on then. It was not called on, and it should be called on now, and then Govern- ment business could go on in the usual course after the dinner hour.
– No; that has yet to be seen.
– This would take us back precisely to the position .under the first sessional order which has been referred to, which provides for the consideration of private members’ -business on Thursday afternoons until 6.30 p.m., and for the resumption of Government business after the tea adjournment. You, sir, have ruled that that sessional order stands, that private senators’ business should be taken at 2.30 p.m. on Thursdays, and Government business after 7.45 p.m. You have said that that order of business on Thursdays stands, although we endeavoured to pass a sessional order arranging the order of business somewhat differently- I therefore suggest that, in accordance with your ruling, private business should now be proceeded with until 6.30 p.m., and after the tea adjournment Government business will be taken. If that course be adopted there will be no further trouble.
– A little time ago I raised the question as to whether it could be said that one portion of the resolution of nth September was good, and the other was bad.
– Is not the honorable senator proposing to re-discuss what was discussed before. I have given a ruling on the point.
– I was not aware that you had given a ruling on that particular point.
– I have given all the ruling I am going to give- until 6.30 p.m. Private business should be taken. I do not wish to give a ruling on a point before it arises, and I do not think I should be asked to do so.
– Perhaps it would save time if I mentioned the point of order I intend to take.
-The honorable senator can do that at 7.45 p.m.
– I am in the hands of the Senate. If it is desired that a suspension of the Standing Orders should take place-
– No. I object.
– Go om.
– There we are. I think, sir, that the solution of the difficulty now rests with you. Y’ou have ruled that our proceedings since a certain. hour this afternoon have been out of order, and that private business should have been proceeded with. The proper course, I think, for you to adopt is to now call on private business.
– Mr. President, you suggested that Senator Turley should ask leave of the Senate to continue his speech, and that after such leave had been granted, the Minister should move that the resumption of the debate on the third reading of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Survey Bill be made an order of the day for a later period of to-day, or of some other day. ‘ I think that your suggestion ought to be adopted.
– I think it would be just as well to put an end to this discussion, and I shall take upon myself that responsibility. Will Senator Turley adopt the suggestion I made, and that is to ask leave to continue his speech?
– Why should he?
– I am only asking whether he does Or not.
– Suppose that he refuses to do so?
– I resumed my seat, sir, at your suggestion, at 1 o’clock.
– I ask the honorable senator whether he desires to ask leave to continue his speech or not?
– Then I think that the only way to get out of the difficulty is for me to adopt the suggestion of Senator Playford, and to call on private. business.
Debate resumed from 5th September (vide page 4062), on motion by Senator Pearce -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– It will be remembered that a fortnight ago I addressed the Senate at some length on this Bill. The points to which I then devoted attention I desire to briefly summarize. My objections to the measure were, first that it represented a breach of the compact which was made when the States entered into the Federation, inasmuch as if it became law- it would take from the States powers and functions which they enjoy to-day, and which were left to them upon the signing of the Constitution. I also objected because the Bill makes a tremendous advance in the direction of unification. I pointed out that after full discussion all the States had adopted a Federal and not a unified system of Federation. I contend that after having secured the adherence of the States on the ground that we were inviting them to join a Federal Union, it would be a gross breach of faith to seek, by amending the Constitution, to take away from them, against their will, powers and privileges, and even territory which they would not voluntarily surrender. I went on to point out that those who sought to bring about this change ought to have accepted the responsibility of proving that the present system of individualism had proved an absolute failure, and showing that Socialism offered better results than does the existing system. In that connexion, I pointed out that Senator Pearce had refused to take up theonus which undoubtedly rested upon him as the father of the Bill. Not one single word did he utter in his speech to show that the present system is wrong, or that the proposed system would give better results. He dealt practically entirely with the evidence submitted to the Tobacco Monopoly Commission, and as he rested his case upon that evidence, and upon the finding of the Commission, it became incumbent upon me to deal with the statement which he then made. I expressed great regret that he had sought fit to bring into the discussion the particulars of any individual industry. I said then, as I say now, that it would have been far better for him to discuss, as a matter of principle, whether nationalization is good or bacl, rather than to bring into the discussion the question of what particular industry should be nationalized. The time for inquiring whether the tobacco or any other business ought to be nationalized is when we have determined that nationalization is good, and should be adopted. But instead of dealing with the principle of nationalization, and seeking to show that in the interests of Australia it was desirable to have a system of State industries-
– The tobacco monopoly was the horrible example which Senator Pearce gave.
– I am trying to show that, in my opinion, it would have been better if Senator Pearce had discussed whether nationalization was good or bad, without bringing in any particular industry.
– He could not do that apart from a concrete instance.
– The honorable senator has frequently given the Senate admirable examples of his ability to discuss a general principle.
– It is much more effective to deal with a concrete case.
– I think the honorable senator has missed my point. I offered that as my explanation for devoting so much time to the tobacco business. Senator Pearce thought fit to rest his case solely upon the tobacco business, and, therefore, there is no other course open to me but to follow him through his arguments. During my speech the honorable senator frequently interjected and affirmed that if I accused him of taking certain evidence I was open to a similar accusation. Where I have taken the evidence of one witness it was because he was the only witness who had spoken upon the points to which I referred, and I challenge the honorable senator to show that I have taken the evidence of any one witness where there were other witnesses who had given contradictory evidence.
– I shall show the honorable senator plenty of cases.
– All right. I desire to refer to an interjection which the honorable senator frequently made whenI was quoting the evidence of Mr. Jacobs. In dealing with any figures not once did I take evidence which could fairly be called his evidence.
– The honorable senator said -
The only evidence given on which the Commission ought to have entered up a finding, and which I am going to bring under the notice of the Senate, was the evidence of Mr. Jacobs in reference to the price paid in the Regie countries.
– Exactly, and the honorable senator interjected -
It is not what the Commission says, but what Mr Jacobs says.
The only evidence towhich I referred there was the official translation of the French Regie report, certified to by the Consul for France, and put in by Mr. Jacobs. He was merely the individual by whose hand it was presented to the Commission. Therefore, to say that I have taken his evidence is not only untrue in itself, but is utterly misleading. It is simply playing with the facts. It is no more his evidence than it could be said to be my evidence if I took certain figures out of Coghlan’s statistics. If I were to assume that, because I had taken certain statistics from his work they were mine, it would be very rightly put down as a piece of unwarranted presumption. Therefore, for Senator Pearce to charge me with using the evidence of Mr. Jacobs when I was using the figures from the French Regie report, was not only misleading, but, I think, intentionally so. Again, when I was dealing with certain facts, the honorable senator referred me to Mr.. Ferguson. I presume that for that reason he is prepared to accept Mr. Ferguson as a witness on the points which were in dispute between him and me. In order that I shall not incorrectly place the matter before the Senate, I propose to invite the attention of Senator Pearce to that portion of my speech which is reported on page 4047, and in which he made this interjection -
Why. did not the honorable senator quote the evidence of Mr. Ferguson, the Inspector of Excise, on the point as to the price of leaf and the price of tobacco in those countries?
I need not deal further with that point of my previous speech except to refer to Mr. Ferguson’s evidence. I might state, to make the matter abundantly clear, that I had affirmed that the price paid for tobacco in France was less than that paid for it here. That is one of the points disputed by Senator Pearce.
– And I can prove that the honorable senator’s figures as to the price paid here are utterly misleading. He has overstated the price paid bv the trust for leaf in Australia as shown by the Customs returns.
– Are those figures contained in the report?
– No; but they are available to the honorable senator.
– But the honorable senator based his opinion on the Commission’s report, and I am taking the report as the basis for my statement.
– The honorable senator is taking the statement of Mr. Jacobs. Where did he get the figures as to the price paid for leaf? o
– From the evidence.
– The evidence of whom ?
– From the honorable senator’s own figures.
– They are the figures of Mr. Jacobs, and they are altogether misleading.
– If the honorable senator can show from the evidence submitted to the Commission that my figures are misleading, I shall be satisfied.
– Surely Senator Millen will not .dispute the Customs returns ?
– I have nothing to do with them now.
– I find that the statements of Mr. Jacobs are altogether wrong.
– To what statement of Mr. Jacobs does the honorable senator refer?
– That the price paid for leaf in France is 10 4-sd. per lb.
– I am dealing with the statement blf the honorable senator that the price paid in France was not less than that paid in Australia. Did not the honorable senator quote the evidence of Mr. Ferguson as to the price of leaf and tobacco in various countries? Cannot I pin him to something for once?
– The importance of the figures is with regard to the comparison wilh the price paid in Australia.
– But the interjection of ‘the -honorable senator to which I refer was confined to the price of the leaf in France.
– I did not mention France particularly. I mentioned other countries. There is the price paid in Japan, for instance.
– I do not want to deal with Japan.
– There is a very good reason ‘why the honorable senator does not.
– I have had an opportunity to look into the figures mentioned by both Senators Pearce and Findley as to the price paid in France, but when I am prepared to deal with them, the honorable senator refers me to the price in Japan. It is sufficient for my argument at present that .the honorable senator disputed a contention of mine that the price paid in France was considerably less than the price paid here.
– I want the honorable senator to deal with the Australian price; it is the comparison that is important.
– Let us leave the comparison alone for the moment. The honorable senator’s interjection was a denial of my figures.
– I say that the comparison is false, because the Australian figures are wrong.
– The question is whether the figures which I gave with rer gard to France were correct or not. Another point upon which I was challenged was whether French tobacco was inferior; and a third point about which Senator Findley said I was wrongly informed was as to the . practice of the French Regie in selling its tobacco at a lower price in the border districts. I find that on every one of those points Mr. Ferguson’s evidence absolutely confirms what I said. On page 2 of his evidence he said -
A well-known writer says, “ The quality is so inferior that foreigners accustomed to smoke the product of other countries rebel against using it.” I suppose the people of France being accustomed to it are quite satisfied with it. It suits the national taste, though it may not suit that of other nations.
On the same page Mr. Ferguson said -
In France special qualities are sold at lower prices than to the general public to soldiers, sailors, hospitals, and to those within a certain distance from the Frontier.
I invite special attention to that. Senator Findley, by interjection, distinctly said that I had been ‘misled when I affirmed that the French Regie had sold tobacco at a lower price on the Frontier; but my statement is borne out by Mr. Ferguson’s evidence. He also said -
Unmanufactured tobacco, cigars, &c, are practically prohibited.
Yet it was declared by my honorable friends opposite that a man in France can get any tobacco’ he likes, and, in fact, that the Government would import it for him. Mr. Ferguson went on -
But those who can afford somethng better than the States factories can produce are permitted to import for personal use only a quantity up to twenty-two pounds per annum on payment of about 13s. per lb. Foreign-made cigars are imported by the Regie to a limited extent. Twenty per cent, is added to their cost, and then a duty of13s. is also levied. Wages vary according to the proficiency of the men from 2s. 9d. to 3s.11½d. per day. The women receive from1s.2½d. to1s. 7d. per week of ten hours. I have not been able to ascertain the price given by the Regie, but I noticed in a trade journal that in France in 1903, France imported from the Philippine Islands 315,391 lbs., the value of which was about 2½d. per lb.
Now that quotation opens up two other points upon which Senator Pearce denied my statements. The one point was as to the price of the leaf, and the other as to the wages paid in France. The honorable senator said that he had gone through the figures, as worked out by Mr. Jacobs from the French official reports, and that those figures were misleading and incorrect. I am going to challenge that statement. I have gone through the figures now for the second time. I say that there has been a mistake, but that that mistake is more favorable to my point of view than at first indicated. The cause of the error has arisen from taking the franc at a level money value,10d., instead of its actual currency exchange value, which is a few points less. The figures of the official report show that there are 1,746 men and 14,946 women employed in French tobacco factories. Here I would point out to those who advocate the nationalization of this industry the enormous discrepancy between the number of women employed as compared with men.
SenatorFindley. - It will not be long before we have a worse state of things in Australia if we do not “ scotch “ the combine.
– What is the use of “ scotching ‘ ‘ a combine which employs a comparatively large percentage of men compared witlh women, if we areto substitute a system which employs 1,700 men as compared with 14,000 women ? The wages paid to the men work out at 3s. 4½d. per day, and for the women1s. 4¾d. per day. Honorable senators will observe that I am giving the wage in even money instead of fractions. I have worked the figures out to the nearest halfpenny or farthing; the fractions may be a point or two over or under the figure stated by me.
– Where does the honorable senator take those figures from?
– From the official Regie report.
– No, he does not. The lowest wage paid, even to girls, is 14s. 6d. per week.
– I think I can show why my figures differ from those of the honorable senator. He is taking the wages paid in certain branches, whilst I am taking the total number of hands employed in the whole industry, and the total wages paid. That seems to me to be the proper way to work out the average amount earned. My figures are all taken from the evidence submitted to the Commission based upon the Regie report.
– The honorable senator is wrong.
– I think it is probable from the honorable senator’s interjection that the discrepancy between bis figures and mine is due to the fact that he has taken a portion of the hands em’ployed whereas I have taken the whole ‘ lot. I myself could obtain different results! by taking the wages paid to some of the -hands instead of those paid to all. The report shows that the average hours worked per day are ten. Consequently, on the figures I have given, the wages are is. 7 2-ioths per day. That includes the wage’s of all employes, men, women, boys, and girls. I have already given the wages for men, but I am now giving the figures for all the hands employed. Stated in other terms, they amount to i.92d. per hour.
– The honorable senator is a perfect Cinquevalli with figures !
– I am simply taking the evidence placed before the Commission. If the honorable senator takes the total number of hands employed and the total wages paid, he cannot produce any other result. The figures which have been challenged, and which the honorable senator said were Mr. Jacobs’ figures, were taken from the French Regie report, and gavethe wage as 15s. 6d. per week, or 2s. 7d. per day, or 3-rd. per hour. I desire to see how far the statement is supported by the evidence of the witness, Mr. Ferguson, to whom I have referred. On page 3 of the minutes of evidence. Mr. Ferguson, referring to Austria, is reported as saying - average wage of operatives a trifle under £20 per annum per head. . . . equal to not .quite 8s. per week of 52 working hours.
On page 4 he gives the following particulars : - .
Workers, male, 8s. 4d. per week ; apprentices, 6s. 3d. per week.
Now, 8s. per week of fifty-two hours works out at 1.87 pence per hour, confirming Mr. Jacobs’ evidence, which shows these wages to average 7s. 8½d. per week, or i.8d. per hour. The discrepancy is so slight as to make it strange that Senator Pearce should ask why I had taken Mr.
Jacobs’ evidence and overlooked the evidence of Mr. Ferguson.
– I asked the question because Mr. Ferguson gave the price of leaf as 7d. in. Japan.
– And what in France?
– I do not know; the weights are given, in kilogrammes.
– The honorable senator knows that I did not use figures relating to Japan.
– There was a national monopoly in Japan, and the price paid for leaf was 7d.
– The case of Japan has never been before the Senate ; why mention it now ?
– That is one of the countries to which I was referring.
– Why did the honorable senator challenge me as to the price paid im- France?
– The honorable senator was dealing with Regie countries.
– The only countries I quoted were France, Austria, and Italy. I did not refer to Japan, because, apart from the difficulty of obtaining information, there has been such considerable changes in taxation as the result of the war, that it is almost impossible to determine what is happening.
– Mr. Jacobs did not touch on Japan.
– Then why does the honorable senator introduce the case of Japan ?
– Because other witnesses dealt with Japan, and I wondered why the honorable senator only referred to Mr. Jacobs’ evidence.
– I made a statement about the price paid in France which the honorable senator denied, and when I prove my point he asks me why I do not deal with the case of Japan. It is impossible to carry on an argument intelligently if the honorable senator behaves in that way. t reiterate that the price paid for tobacco in France is lower than the price paid in Australia. Senator Pearce asked me why I did not take the evidence of Mr. Ferguson, and when I refer to that gentleman’s evidence, I find that it absolutely confirms my statement. I gave just now some figures relating to the wages paid in France, and it was in reference to this that Senator
Pearce, as reported on page 4048 of Hansard, said by way of interjection -
I have averaged the wages given there, and I find that they are entirely erroneous - that the figures on which they are based do not bear out the conclusion.
That, of course, refers to Mr. Jacobs’ calculation of the relative wages per week and hour in France and in the Commonwealth. As I pointed out, those calculations were based on the translation of the report of the Regie, 1902, the correctness of which was certified to by the French Consul in Melbourne. In the case of Australia, I think I am correct in saying that the wages cited were those paid in the six factories concerned in the combine, and they are ali set out in the evidence on page 327. As to wages in France the evidence shows that in 1902 there were 575 working operatives, whose wages amounted to 504,913.45 francs. The ordinary work-people comprised 1,746 nien and 14,941 women - a total of 16,687 - and they earned a total amount of 16,154,025.17 francs. If we take 25 francs to the sovereign, we get a total of £666,355 los. nd., which gives per worker £38 12s. o£d. per year, or 14s. io£d. per week. That is the average for the whole, although Senator Findley told us that that weekly wage represented about the lowest paid to girls.
– The honorable senator is leaving out of consideration foremen and other more highly-paid employes.
– I atn dealing with the operatives.
– But the higher-paid employes are included in the. Australian calculations.
– The point I am raising is not whether the figures for Australia are correct.
– Surely the honorable senator should compare like with like.
– If I were making a comparison, I certainly should; but at present I am not making a comparison.
– Then what is the value of the figures?
– Surely it is of value to show that a certain state of things exists in France, even though I make no comparison with another country.
– I only draw attention to the fact that the honorable senator is leaving out of consideration certain bodies of workmen.
– I am not so sure that I am, although I have not with me the report of the Royal Commission.
– The high-class workpeople to whom I refer are described in the report as foremen, doorkeepers, and so forth., and they number 749, and there are also 157 clerks. Neither are included in the honorable senator’s calculations.
– It may be that I have inadvertently omitted them. But, even so, I leave it to the Senate to determine how the omission of some 900 workmen would influence the average rate of wages of about 17,000 persons. Honorable senators may load my calculations Avith those additional wages, but it will still be found that the wages in France are much lower than in Australia. The facts which I have stated refute entirely Senator Findley’s contention that the lowest wage paid to girls in France is 15s. per week. ‘
– It does nothing of the kind. The honorable senator and myself evidently get our information from different sources.
– My only source of information is the evidence as reported in the report of the Royal Commission.
– I beg, to call attention to the state of the Senate. [Quorum formed.]
– I refer to these matters because the statement which I made before was challenged. That statement (was incorrect; but the error was against my argument, and not in favour of it. My previous figures brought out the average in France at 15s. 6d., whereas I find that it really is 14s. 10¼d. The difference arises from the fact that the witness took the French R6gie report, and that the franc was calculated as worth iod., whereas it is worth 9.6od. Senator Pearce challenged another statement of mine when, in an interjection, he asked if I had noticed what he termed the significant fact that the French Commission: of 1875 referred to prices in 1902, and how it was that’ the members of that Commission were able to prophesy. I ask Senator Pearce, either now, by interjection, or when he replies, to show me in the evidence the slightest justification for his interjection.
– My reply is too long for an interjection ; and, besides, an interjection is out of order.
– The honorabe senator was not afraid of being ruled out of order when I spoke previously. I am discarding a good many of his interjections in contradiction of statements I made, because I should weary the Senate if I followed him through them all. When I spoke previously I pointed out that Senator Findley, by interjection, had stated that under State nationalization of this industry we should be employing more men for less hours and for the same result. The honorable senator challenged me when I made that statement. I asked him whether he would defend it, and he said he would if he had made it. I then asked him whether he denied having made it, and he was not ‘prepared to do so. I have since gone to the trouble to find out where the statement appears, and it is to be found at page 3002 of Hansard for the 17th August of this year. During the honorable senator’s speech Senator Playford interjected -
Would there not be as many unemployed cigar operatives walking about the streets under st State monopoly ? and in reply Senator Findley said -
Not at all. I am satisfied that if the industry were nationalized to-morrow, every operative, who is now walking about the streets, would not only be fully employed, but would en joy more reasonable hours and better pay than now prevails.
A little further on he said -
Under a well regulated system of society the hours of the employes could be reduced and employment afforded for those who are at present idle.
– Hear, hear.
– I did not suppose that my honorable friend was going to deny one of the contentions of those who, like himself, hold socialistic ideas. I am glad to be able to give him the reference to his remarks, although it took me two hours to find it. In connexion with the Tumut competition, Senator Pearce in some of his statements made very grave reflections upon the tobacco manufacturers who organized the competition, and I think also, although probably the honorable senator did not intend to do so, upon the officials of the Agricultural Department of New South Wales. He said that as a matter of fact the growers had no representative to look after their interests, and were not aware of what leaf was sent to England. He made other reflections which I have re ferred to, and do not propose to repeat. But their effect, if not challenged, must undoubtedly have been to convey the impression that the manufacturers had been guilty of some acts which were not merely mean and dishonest, but almost criminal. The honorable senator lent colour to that impression by stating that from his knowledge of the combine he was prepared to believe them capable of almost anything. The competition was advertised, and if any honorable senator is sufficiently interested in the matter I can show him the poster or handbill in which the terms were set out. I have here what I believe to be a genuine copy of the poster, because in order that there should be no possibility of a mistake I compared it with the one submitted to the Agricultural’ Department of New South Wales, with the invitation to allow its officers to conduct the competition. In addition to casting some reflections upon the manufacturers in this connexion. Senator Pearce asserted that 8d. per lb. was not a fair price for the leaf. On both these points, I propose to produce evidence which I think the Senate will accept as sufficient, not merely to satisfy itself that no injustice was done, but also to show that Senator Pearce spoke without sufficient warrant when he made these very serious imputations on the manufacturers. The competition arose in this way.: The manufacturers offered a prize in four districts for the best two ton lots of tobacco grown in those districts. One of the conditions was that, in addition to paying the prize to those who produced the best leaf, the manufacturers were prepared to purchase at 8d. per lb. the whole of the parcel securing the prize, irrespective of its market value. But in no sense did they bind themselves to pay 8d. per lb. for any tobacco other than that contained in the prize parcel if it was’ not worth that prize.
– If it was of the same quality.
– Thev offered to pay 8d. per lb. for the prize parcel, irrespective of what it was worth. If it was worth only id. per lb., they undertook to pay 8d. per lb. for it.
– As a matter of fact, it was worth more than 8d. per lb. to them.
– The honorable senator is qualifying the matter, hut T shall submit evidence to show whether ;t was worth more or less to them. The first point, and Senator Pearce by his last interjection brings it up again, is as to whether they undertook to pay 8d. per lb. for the balance of the prize winner’s crop, or the balance corresponding to the prize parcel in value. The answer- is that the first prize tobacco was not worth 8d. per lb.
– Is the honorable senator sure of that?
– I think I have evidence which will satisfy any unbiased mind on the subject.
– If evidence can be given to prove that the combine afterwards paid an additional price for the tobacco, would that satisfy the honorable senator on the subject?
– If the honorable senator can bring evidence as unbiased, and as little open, to challenge as that which I am prepared to put before the Senate now, I will accept it, but I do not want evidence from the scores of retailers who tattled to the honorable senator at street corners.
– I refer to evidence supplied by the company themselves in the columns of the daily press.
– I shall then be satisfied. But no evidence of that kind which the honorable senator can submit will be evidence as to the quality of the tobacco. I am going to show how the particular parcel of tobacco which Senator Pearce has said was worth more than 8d. per lb., and in connexion with’ which that price should have been paid for larger parcels, was sent to England.
– The combine could have afforded to pay more than 8d. per lb. for it.
– I see the honorable senator’s point that, owing to the duty, it was worth more to them.
– It was a lighter and superior leaf to that which they had been accustomed to grow.
– Senator Story raises a different point. He says that this tobacco was worth more to the combine than 8d. per lb. I shall come to that, but I. desire now to deal exclusively with the question as to what was its fair market value. The fair market value of a house may be £.1,000, and, because I can afford to give £1,200 for it, that does not make the latter sum the fair market value of the property. This tobacco was selected and packed by Hr. Campbell, the Director of Agriculture in. New South Wales. Senator Pearce has said that the men had no one to look after their interests, and had no knowledge of what tobacco was sent to England. When I state that the Director of the New South Wales Agricultural Department conducted the despatch of the tobacco it will be admitted by any one who is not utterly biased that that is as fair a guarantee as can be given that no trickery was allowed to take place in connexion with’ the shipment.
– No one suggested trickery.
– Senator Pearce said that, as a matter of fact, the growers did not know what tobacco was sent to England, as there was no one to look after their interests, and he added that, from what he knew of the combine, he was prepared to believe them capable of anything.
– Mr. Campbell was not there at the request of the growers.
– Is the honorable senator suspecting Mr. Campbell?
– The honorable senator said that, as a matter of fact, the growers were not aware what leaf was sent to England.
– That was my statement.
– If it is worth anything the honorable senator’s suggestion is that a representative of the growers should have followed the shipment to England.
– When we take the honorable senator’s statements together it is clear that he intended to cast a reflection!. He said -
As a matter of fact the growers were not aware what leaf was sent to England.
And when Senator Gray interjected -
Does the honorable senator infer that the manufacturers in this connexion did what was wrong.
The honorable senator replied -
From my experience of the manufacturers, I think that they are capable of anything.
I say that the fact is that the tobacco was packed under the control of Mr. Campbell. Director of Agriculture in New South Wales, and Senator Pearce must have been familiar with the fact that Mr. Campbell in the evidence he gave before the Commis- sion, said that when he went up to judge the tobacco he’ was bitterly disappointed with it, and his heart sank within him when he saw it.
– What tobacco?
– The prize tobacco which he was asked to judge, and which was sent to England.
– Not the tobacco that was sent to England. The honorable senator is mixing up two things. The “tobacco that was sent to England >was packed in Sydney, and was not sent for months afterwards.
– If Senator Pearce means to say that the Tumut tobacco judged by Mr. Campbell was not so ear-marked that I am able to say that the same tobacco was packed in Sydney, and sold in London, the statement is, of course, correct.
– That is not what I mean. The tobacco I referred to was the tobacco grown at Tumut, and the tobacco sent to England was packed, I admit, under Mr. Campbell’s supervision in Sydney, but months after the competition took place.
- Mr. Campbell went up to judge the tobacco exhibited in two ton lots, which was afterwards packed and sent to England and sold there, and when he saw it he said that his heart sank within him, and that he expected to see something very much better. He attributed the condition of the tobacco to the unsatisfactory season, but my point is that a trustworthy official expert in New South Wales who saw the tobacco which he afterwards packed and despatched to England, described it as being altogether disappointing
– The honorable senator is speaking of two different things. He is speaking of the tobacco which he saw when he went to Tumut. It was not packed until months afterwards.
– No matter when it was packed, it was the same tobacco.
– How does the honorable ssenator know?
– According to the Director of Agriculture, unless he was in the swindle too, it was the same tobacco. A public company offered a. prize under certain conditions, including the following one -
The company moreover will, under the control of the Director of Agriculture, undertake to properly pack for export in barrels one ton of the finest sample, the same to be shipped to
London, and the Agent-General there be requested to place the tobacco upon the market, after which the company will publish for general information a statement of cost, expenses, and account sales.
In accordance with that condition, the Government of New South Wales were communicated with, and they agreed to allow their Director of Agriculture’, Mr. Campbell, to act as judge, and to check the packing of the tobacco, and its despatch to London. Senator Pearce shakes his head. Does he deny that that was the case?
– I do not deny that Mr. Campbell went up to judge the tobacco at Tumut. It was then sent down to the company’s factory, and remained there for months. It might have been packed there under his supervision.
– What portion of the evidence discloses that the tobacco was in the factory for months?
– Only a% week or two ago a newspaper said that the, tobacco had recently been sent to England.
– Where does the honorable senator get the evidence that the tobacco was in the factory for months?
– Because, when the Commission visited Sydney, which was some months after the tobacco had come -from Tumut, it was still in the Sydney factory.
– Which tobacco?
– The tobacco which was to be sent to England.
– How does the honorable senator know that?
– -Because we were told so by Mr. Shaw.
– Was Mr. Campbell, who was selected as a satisfactory person to go to Tumut and judge the tobacco such a rogue or fool that he did not know that the tobacco which he had judged at Tumut was not that which was shipped to England? The honorable senator does not help his case by passing such reflections, and suggesting that all that kind of trickery was going on. I decline to believe that it ‘has taken ‘place. Not only do I think, that Mr. Campbell did what was correct and honest, but he took the ordinary precaution which anyresponsible official would take to see that no trick was possible.
– It is really impossible that the tobacco could have “been in the factory for months after we went to Tumut.
– In reply to question 3693, Mr. Campbell said that he had inspected the whole of the Tumut crop. In answer to the question, he said -
I expected something very much better than what .1 did see; in fact, it made my heart sink when we look the first lot that got second prize. I was very disappointed. The. first prize tobacco was very badly graded, and was not anything up to the mark i expected. The season was not a very good one, for one thing, and the tobacco was graded in a way that it contained a lot of rubbish, which should not have been present.
That is the verdict of an official who judged the competition. Senator Pearce has often said that nothing like 8d. per lb. has been paid for a stock of first-class leaf. But if he looks at question 2563 he will find that, apart from the trash, 8d. per lb. was paid for not less than 24 per cent, of the total quantity, and /d. per lb. for 34 per cent, of it. I mention those facts in order ‘ to show that a very considerable quantity of that tobacco did realize a very good price indeed. But that is apart from the experiment. The tobacco was sent home, and on the 7th August, there appeared in the Sydney Evening News a statement which evidently was obtained by its representative from the officials of the Department, and which, after reciting the conditions of the competi-:ion, contains this passage - .
This shipment was selected from the tobacco bought under the terms of the growers’ competition, and was chosen and .packed under the supervision of Mr. V. S. Campbell, the Director of Agriculture. There were two parcels forwarded, each containing about 1,000 lbs. of selected leaf,, and it is considered bv the company that, from the manner in which it was packed, there is no likelihood of it having deteriorated in transit. The whole of the surrounding circumstances were explained to ‘Mr. Coghlan, who was requested to test the fair market value of the leaf, and to render account sales in detail, showing the purchase price and al! charges.
A cable received from Mr. Coghlan a few flays ago informed the company that the highest price offered was 44d., which is confirmed by our correspondent’s message that the tobacco has now been sold .at 4d. to 4½d. As the company paid 8d. for the leaf, in addition to charges, the result is disappointing both to them and to the growers. At the same time, the Director of Agriculture is of opinion that on other occasions Tumut has produced better tobacco leaf than that grown in the season in question.
If honorable senators will recollect, the price which was shown to be paid for imported leaf, and recognise that in this case the leaf was clearly not of first-class quality-
– Not forgetting that there is a duty of ]S. 6d. per lb.
– The honorable senator is always jumping from one point to another. My present point is whether the price paid for the tobacco was fair or not, and whether there was a. possibility of its being “monkeyed” .with between Australia and England. When we remember the current rates of recognised brands-
– What is the current rate for Virginian tobacco in London ?
– The evidence shows that tobacco of that class was worth from 8 to 1:0 cents.
– I have information that at that very sale prime Virginian tobacco was sold in London at from 5d. to 5jd. per lb., so that the tobacco sent Home could not have been very second rate.
– If the honorable senator admits prime Virginian tobacco realized from 5d. to 5 Jd. at the sale, it seems to account for the fact that the tobacco sent Home realized from 4d. to 4§d. It realized a. very fair price. If the combine had thought of ringing the changes and sending Home tobacco other than that which had won the prize, surely they would have sent tobacco which would not have realized as much as that sample did. Surely that is a proof that the tobacco was honestly sent Home, and that the price it realized is a confirmation of the evidence submitted by Mr. Creesey as to the value of these articles.
– If it is worth that price in London, what is it worth in Australia ?
– The honorable senator is slipping away again. His first point was that there had been trickery, and I appeal to any man with an open mind that I have disposed of that accusation. The next point was that some trick had been played with the tobacco, in that some inferior stuff had been sent Home. It is quite clear that the best tobacco from the Tumut district was sent Home, and, although Mr. Campbell admitted that, owing to the season, it was inferior even for Tumut tobacco, still it realized from 4d. to 4jd. per lb., as against the price of from 5d. to 5^-d. paid for fine Virginian tobacco. The price clearly confirms the report of Mr. Campbell, and lends all the evidence of bona fides to the whole transaction. I now come to Senator Pearce’s argument that if the tobacco is worth½d. pper lb. in London, then, with a duty of is. 6d. per lb. here, it is worth is. iod. per lb. on the floor in a Sydney warehouse, excluding, for the purpose of my argument, transit charges. That is, I presume, the point which Senator Story, by interjection, raised just now when he said that it was worth more to them.
– Australian-grown tobacco is being manufactured in Adelaide, and the product is equal to any imported tobacco.
– That is just the point of difference between us. My honorable friends say that the Australian tobacco is equal to imported tobacco; but there is no official witness who has expressed that view. Mr. Ferguson, upon whom so much reliance has been placed, did not say so.
– But the fact is that the combine can use all they can get, and every pound of Australian leaf means the saving of a pound of American leaf.
– That is just where I differ from the honorable senator, and I am going to show that he is wrong. It is not possible to use the great bulk of Australiangrown leaf in substitution, for American leaf, and that statement is confirmed bv the fact that tobaccoes made from locally produced leaf are selling at much lower prices than tobaccoes made from imported leaf.
– All .the evidence is against it.
– That is largely on account of prejudice.
– What is the good of telling me that an article I have to sell is worth £5, but owing to prejudice the public will give me only £2 10s. ? I rely on the evidence of official witnesses rather than on that of tobacco growers and interested parties. I think that the evidence of Mr. Ferguson is abundantly clear on the point that the production of Colonial leaf is defective to-day, but we are not producing the article which is required by the Australian taste. I want now to deal with the statement of Senator Fearce that if Australian tobacco is worth 4½d. in London, then, with the duty added, it ought to be worth is. 10½d. here. I propose to make a quotation from’ the speech of Senator Pearce on page 3628 of Ilansard -
T drew attention, when dealing with the Australian Industries Preservation Bill, namely, the lessening the cost of production, and the increase of profits to the manufacturers. There is indisputable evidence that in the case of certain brands of tobacco, there has been an increase of. price since 1901. Of course, I know that the combine contend that this is due to the Tariff, but it is significant that in some States the Tariff, so far from warranting an increase in price, should have been followed by a decrease. In South Australia,’ for example, practically no local leaf was used prior to Federation. Every bit of leaf which entered South Australia at that time had to pay a duty, and the Excise was not higher then than it is at present ; therefore, the throwing down of the Inter-State barriers opened to the Australian manufacturers a market - for local leaf. Ever since, those manufacturers have been largely using local leaf, which, of course, pays no duty ; and in their sworn evidence they give the average price as under 5d. per lb.
– Was the import duty as well as the Excise duty, in South Australia the same before Federation as now?
– No, but very nearly the same.
– I mention that, merely because it is a factor that the honorable senator seems to ignore.
– I can assure the honorable senator that the duties do not affect the case I am presenting, the difference being so small. If honorable senators turn to the evidence of Mr. Ferguson, they will there find the rates of duties in the various States. The point is that, so far as raw material is concerned, the manufacturers in South Australia had to pay duty prior to Federation, whereas since then at least one-fourth of their raw material has been duty free. The duty before Federation was greater than the whole cost of Australian leaf at the present time, so that, on the manufacturer’s own showing, and on the facts as presented to the Commission, it cost more to produce tobacco in that State prior to Federation than it has cost since. There has’ been no substantial increase in the price of foreign tobacco leaf since Federation. The position is much the same in the other States as in South Australia. It will be found that, on the whole, so far from Federation having made it more expensive to manufacture, it” has resulted in a saving.
– On so important a debate as this I think we aught to have a quorum present. [Quorum formed.]
– We have to assume that Senator Pearce, in making, the statement that Federation had made it less expensive to manufacture tobacco, was speaking from evidence submitted to the Commission. But, so far as I have been able to examine the evidence - and I have, I suppose, gone into it as exhaustively as any senator, even including members of the Commission themselves - there is a general consensus of opinion on the part of the combine witnesses, wholesale dealers, and retailers, that the rise in price was due to the Commonwealth Tariff. If Senator Pearce denies that statement, I should like him to indicate evidence to the contrary effect. In New South Wales, as the result of Federation, it is costing 3d. per lb. more to manufacture ; in Victoria, 9d. per lb. more; in South Australia,10½d. per lb. more; and in Queensland, 6d. less. I take the case of South Australia particularly because in that State, owing to the fact that no local leaf was grown, the manufacturer there had to obtain all his leaf from other States, or from abroad. Before 1901 imported leaf paid1s. 7½d. per lb. ; now1s. 6d. per lb. is paid on imported leaf, in addition to 1s. Excise.
– There is a higher protectionist wall than there was before.
– That does not affect the point, which is that Senator Pearce contended that it costs less to manufacture a pound of tobacco in Australia to-day than it did before Federation.
– What I said was that the leaf could be obtained cheaper than before Federation
– The honorable senator’s statement was. that Federation had resulted in a saving in manufacture.
– Hear, hear.
– That is a clear statement that the manufacturers can make tobacco at a lower cost than before. I am showing that the Federal duties have made it more expensive to manufacture. Before Federation; in South Australia,1s. 7½d. per lb. was paid; now 2s. 6d. is paid -1s. 6d. on the imported leaf and 1 s. Excise when it is worked up.
– In Adelaide they use local leaf almost exclusively.
– Will the honorable senator indicate any evidence that supports that statement?
– They certainly use more than they did before Federation.
– That is right enough; but when statements are made in this reckless fashion it tires one’s patience. On the figures I have given there is a difference of10½d. against the manufacturers’ working to-day as compared with the conditions before Federation. Let me illustrate the effect of the alteration. Before Federation the duty paid on 100 lbs. of imported leaf at1s. 7½d. was £8 2s. 6d. After Federation the duty and Excise on 75 lbs. of imported leaf come to £9 7s. 6d. The Excise on 25 lbs. of local leaf at1s. comes to £1 5s. That means that the manufacturers pay £10 12s. 6d., as against £8 2s. 6d. paid prior to Federation, a difference of £2 10s. on every 100 lbs. of tobacco, amounting to 6d. per lb. It may be asked why have I calculated on the basis of 75 lbs. of imported leaf arid 25 lbs. of local leaf. I do that on the evidence put before the Commission.
– What evidence?
– The weight of evidence.
– In 1905 the figures show that there were used in South Australia 55,000 lbs. weight of local leaf, and 140,000 lbs. of imported leaf. The proper proportion is 70 per cent., not 75.
– Even at 70 per cent, it is costing more to manufacture tobacco in South Australia to-day than it did before Federation.
– I agree with that, because they used nearly 100 per cent, of imported leaf beforeFederation.
– The leaf was all imported, whether it came from other States or from America. But the point is that the manufacturers absolutely pay more to the Government on every pound of tobacco manufactured in South Australia since F ederation than they did before. It does not matter for the purposes of my argument whether they pay more by 6d. or £1. The argument is that it costs more to manufacture, while Senator Pearce’s contention was that on the whole Federation, so far from having made manufacturing more expensive, has reduced the cost. That is one of the statements in which, I think the honorable senator has allowed his sense of fairness and his judgment to be warped by bias. Senator Pearce also said that there had been no advance in the price of foreign tobacco since Federation. I should like him to indicate the witnesses upon whose evidence he relies in support of that statement. Practically all the witnesses who were likely to know, stated that there had been a rise in the price of leaf. The honorable senator may say that he does not believe the witnesses because they are interested parties. If that be his attitude, well and good. But upon the evidence, it is not possible to come to any other conclusion than that the price of foreign leaf has risen considerably of late years. For instance, Mr. Benjamin quoted a circular stating that the cost of raw material had risen to a serious extent. Messrs. Snider and Abrahams, and Mr. Alston, tobacconists, testified that the price had increased lately. Mr. Cameron, Mr. O’Neill, Mr. Dixson, and Mr. Wilkins, all made similar statements. In fact, the evidence so far as I have been able to follow it, absolutely disproves Senator Pearce’s statement that imported leaf is not costing more to-day than previously. Therefore, I say that Senator Pearce made his statement without justification. I invite him to show ire any part of the evidence which proves that the price of leaf has not increased. I should like to direct Senator Pearce’s attention to one of those incorrect readings of the evidence which he has put before the Senate. This is one of the most serious of the instances; and I should say that it was the most serious, were it not that I anticipate that as soon as I drew his attention to the fact he will admit his error, and say that he has been misled - that he will withdraw a statement involving considerable injustice to those to whom he refers. Senator Pearce, as reported on page 2812 of Hansard, said -
We had one witness before the Tobacco Commission who, when he was asked why the trust *lid not raise prices, very naively said, “You do not suppose that we are going to raise prices while the Labour Party are conducting this campaign for the nationalization of the industry? You surely do not think that we are going to give them an argument to use throughout the Commonwealth? We are not so simple.”
I say that there is not a single word in the whole of the evidence to justify that statement.
– That is a statement I read out to the editor of the Tobacco Journal, who was a witness, and I asked him if it appeared in that journal, and he admitted that it did.
– But the honorable senator’s statement to the Senate conveyed the impression that he referred to a member of the combine. The statement, or substantially that statement, appeared as a footnote to a letter in the trade journal, and that journal Senator Pearce handed to a witness, and asked the latter if it were true. The witness replied that it was not true; and yet Senator Pearce told honorable senators that one of the combine made that statement.
– I did not say it was one of the combine who made the statement.
– Who are “ we “ ?
– The witness was the editor of the Tobacco Journal.
– Can the editor of the Tobacco Journal raise prices? It would be more to the credit of the honorable .senator if he would say at once that he was not justified in using the word “ we.”
– This newspaper man was speaking on behalf of the trade.
– On behalf of the combine ?
– Yes, certainly.
– Senator Findley may profess to believe that.
– I do absolutely believe it ; this journal is the organ of the combine.
– I should now like to read to the Senate the questions which, led up to the extraordinary statement, which Senator Pearce says resulted in this “ naively “ made admission. Mr. H. B. Alston, a tobacconist, was giving evidence. Is Mr. Alston the editor of the Tobacco Journal ?
– No; I put the same question to several witnesses.
– Did any one of those witnesses make the admission on behalf of the combine?
– No; but the editor of the Tobacco Journal acknowledged that he put the foot-note there.
– It appears in a foot-note, but did the editor say that he had any other than his editorial authority ?
– No; but we had pretty good reasons for believing he had.
– Now the honorable senator is guessing. The following is an extract from Mr. Alston’s evidence : - 1379. Did Kronheimer Ltd. ever propose to you, or to retailers generally, to fix the prices at which you should retail the brands of tobacco which they distribute? - Never. 1380. Did they ever propose to you to fix the prices at which you should retail certain brands of cigars? - Never. 1 381. Then what is the meaning of the following letter, which appeared in the Australian Tobacco Journal, of 21st June last? -
Here is the letter which was addressed to the editor of the Tobacco Journal -
MINIMUM RETAIL PRICES.
(To the Editor.)
Sir, - I would like to know, if you have the information at hand, whether the Tobacco Trust intends to make minimum prices at which their goods must be retailed. - Yours, &c,
Newcastle, 20th June, 1905.
To that letter the editor affixed the footnote, which is, in substance, the statement which Senator Pearce put into the mouths of “we.” This is the foot-note-
It is very unlikely at present, while Sir William Lyne and other socialists are accusing the “Trust” of raising prices against the consumer, and declaring that the industry ought, therefore, to be taken over by the State. Kronheimers have shown themselves willing enough to help the retailers to stop the cutting evil ; but in the interests of the whole trade they would be foolish to give the socialists a handle to use in favour of State monopoly. - (Ed. A.T.J.)
The evidence then proceeded -
Do you think there is any authority for that statement? - The replies I gave to your questions are absolutely correct, so far as I am concerned.
Did they ever approach you or suggest to to you to fix the retail price of cigars? - No, sir, never.
And yet in the face of that evidence Senator Pearce made the statement which I have already quoted. Only one inference could be drawn from that statement, namely, that Senator Pearce desired to lead the Senate to believe that one witness connected with the combine had “ naively “ admitted that the combine was not so simple as to raise prices when there was likely to be a crisis in the industry. I had expected that Senator Pearcewould at once admit that he had made a mistake - that trusting to his memory he had used terms to which the facts did not justify. I take his present attitude to indicate that he stands by his statement. All I can do is to place the facts before honorable senators, and leave them to decide. But I repeat that there is not a single word in the evidence to justify Senator Pearce in referring to the combine in that way.
– I think there ought to be a quorum. [Quorum formed].
– The only other aspect of the question to which I desire to refer is the financial aspect. I am not against the nationalization of an industry, if it could be shown that the nationaliza tion would result in benefit to the revenue, to the people employed, and to the public generally. My objection to nationalization is that, in my opinion, it would be attended by results the very opposite of desirable. Senator Pearce has placed several estimates before the Senate as to the probable profits which would be derived from a State monopoly. It is an encouraging sign that, with each succeeding estimate, Senator Pearce has been less optimistic. As he has been brought closer into touch with the realities of the industry, his figures have shrunk to more modest proportions. I am not quite certain what the honorable senator’s first estimate was, but I know that at one time he claimed that the profit, over and above the revenue now derived from Customs and Excise, would amount to , £700,000. To-day, however, as the result of the inquiries made bv the Royal Commission, his estimate of profit in round figures is £400,000. To this extent I have been able to discover that the Royal Commission has had some beneficial result. At one time, I thought that all the work would mean only so much waste of time and effort. But the labour has not been entirely thrown away, if it has enabled the honorable senator to so adjust his calculations as to reduce his original estimate of profit by nearly 50 per cent.
– There was a reliable witness who gave evidence that the profits would be£800,000.
– Who was the reliable witness?
– Mr. Carter.
– I am sorry to have to refer to Mr. Carter, but-
– The honorable senator is referring to a practical man, and, so far as manufacture is concerned, the members of the combine are not practical men.
– Since Mr. Carter’s name has been introduced I may refer to Senator Pearce’s remarks, as reported on page 3266 of Hansard -
– In fact, we had one witness before the Commission, Mr. George Carter, who has made a life-long study of this subject. He presented an estimate, based on his own experience, and disclosed a profit of nearly twice as much as that shown by the Commissioners.
– Does the honorable senator not know that Mr. Carter has made two or three reports, one contradictory to the other?
– I do not know that Mr. Carter has done so, but I do know that Mr.
Jacobs attempted to prove that Mr. Carter’s evidence was misleading.
– Does Senator Pearce re-affirm that he does not know that Mr. Carter had made two or three contradictory reports?
– Did the honorable senator, ait the time he made the statement, not have before him the report of the Commission, in which one of Mr. Carter’s estimates was given, and was the honorable senator not aware of a pamphlet by Mr. Carter, in which another estimate was given ?
– Yes, and I was also aware of Mr. Carter’s explanation.
– We have Senator Pearce declaring that he did not know Mr. Carter had made two or three contradictory estimates.
– They were not contradictory estimates, but estimates which could be reconciled, and which Mr. Carter’s explanation did reconcile.
– Mr. Carter’s estimates were just as contradictory as the two estimates of Senator Pearce, to which I have already called attention. We can always reconcile conflicting judgments by saying that we have obtained further information ; but when Mr. Carter is quoted, on the strength of his life-long experience in the industry, as the sole authority, I of course desire to know what his qualifications are. I first find that, as recently as February, 1904, since which date there has been no great development in the tobacco industry, Mr. Carter published a pamphlet, which was in the possession of Senator Pearce while the Commission was pursuing its inquiries. Mr. Carter does not disguise the fact that he is a staunch advocate of the nationalization of this industry, and in that pamphlet he makes a most glowing estimate. Only a few months afterwards, however, when he came before the Commission, he gave en entirely different estimate.
– No, he did not.
– If the estimates do not differ, they must be the same.
– Thev may be reconciled.
– Did, Mr. Carter, when giving evidence, estimate the profits at the same figure that he did in the pamphlet ?
– In a sense, yes.
– The qualification is sufficient for me.
– The qualification is that, in the one case, Mr. Carter had not deducted the Customs and Excise duties, and, in the other case, he had.
– In every detail the estimates were different.
– In Senator Pearce’s estimates the Customs and Excise revenue is excluded ; but even making a similar allowance in the case of Mr. Carter, that gentleman’s estimates disclose a wide discrepancy.
– In some instances as high as 100 per cent.
– There was something educational in Mr. Carter’s pamphlet, whereas there was a lot of “ flap-doodle “ in the pamphlet issued by the combine.
– The only pamphlet 1 have read is that of “Mr. Carter. It is quite clear that Mr. Carter has made up his mind that nationalization is desirable, and that he is seeking to bring facts and figures to support his conclusions. I suppose that this pamphlet was propaganda work, and, therefore, would present the very best possible view. I now desire to deal with the question of revenue. In the report of the Tariff Commission, paragraph 36, we read -
With regard to the probable results of the nationalization of the industry, we have every reason to believe that it would be distinctly beneficial from a revenue point of view. France, Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Japan, all derive large revenues from this source. France in 1902 obtained a net revenue of ^13,297,464. Italy, 1902, ^6,419,237; Austria, 1901, ^6,107,000. Japan, after sending officials to study the financial system of European Governments, and after trying the system of taxation by ‘Customs and Excise duties, took over the whole tobacco industry last year, and made it a security for her Avar loans, to the extent of ^60,000,000. France has a revenue from tobacco per head of population of 6s. 10¾d., or of 3s. i-4d. per lb., the average retail price for all forms of tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes being 4s. 1½d. per lb. (See Mr. Jacob’s statement, question 6257), the average wholesale price being 3s. 10.7c!. per lb.
– Is that from the report ?
– Yes, does the honorable senator question it? It would be about the only quotation he has not questioned.
– This is the first time the honorable senator has referred to the report.
– I take it that the report includes the evidence attached, and from which I have quoted largely. Senator Pearce. - The honorable senator’s whole speech has been a criticism of my remarks.
– I am replying to the speech delivered by the honorable senator.
– The honorable senator started by saying that he was going to refer to the report, and this is the first time he has mentioned it.
– I used the word “ report ‘ ‘ as including the minutes of evidence attached to the report of the Commission. If I were to ask one of the officers of the Senate to get me a copy of the Tobacco Commission’s report, fie would bring me the report with the evidence attached. I did not undertake to go through the report, and deal with it ‘paragraph by paragraph.
– The honorable senator said that he was going to criticise the report.
– So far as it favours nationalization I have done so.
– The honorable senator has never mentioned it until now.
– I am afraid that the honorable senator is merely quibbling. I continue my quotation from the report -
Tables accompanying this report and compiled from conservative estimates, given in evidence, show that Australia received in revenue from tobacco duties per head of population 7s. 4 ri-i4d., or 2s. 9 4”7<J. per lb. The average retail sale price of all forms of tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes, is 6s. 10 4-/d. per lb. The average wholesale being 5s. 3 4-7CI. per lb. The consumption per head in France is 2.17S lbs.; Australia, 2.645 ‘bs.
On these figures the honorable senator sought to show that a certain revenue was to be obtained if the Commonwealth took over the industry. In dealing with the matters set out in this portion of the report, Senator Pearce has naturally taken only the wages paid in France, and has not shown what would happen if those engaged in the industry there were paid the wages which are paid in Australia. I have changed the French wages to Australian wages, and I find that if Australian wages were paid in France the total wages paid in the industry in that country would amount to £1,601,571. I have taken the number of hands employed in the French factories, and have multiplied by that number the figures for the wages paid in France, as disclosed by the report, and I find that the total wages at present paid in France amounts to & $0,150. This shows that, if France paid Australian wages, the present wages paid in that country would have to be increased by £871,424. If the same quality of leaf were used in France as in Australia, and if France paid the same price for it as is paid here, she would have to pay for it no less a sum than ;£4,838;642.
– I think that France pays a little more for local-grown leaf than is paid for it here.
– That was not shown. I am in this difficult position - that, while Senator Pearce is imploring me to give him an opportunity to reply, Senator Findley questions statements I made last week, and I really cannot go over the ground again. If we add the difference in wages to the amount which would have to be paid for the leaf at Australian prices, the increased cost would represent £5,710,066. The present revenue of France from the industry is £13,297,464, and if the increased cost be deducted, we shall find that the revenue would be £7)587,398, as against £13,297,464, which Senator Pearce said is the present revenue obtained from the industry in France. To secure a like revenue, here is the objective towards which he aims.
– The honorable senator has made his calculation at French selling prices.
– Why not make the calculation at Australian selling prices?
– I do not mind doing that. But Senator Pearce points to the fact that France derives a revenue of £13,297,464 from the industry as one of the great results of the Régie, and I am entitled to show that that revenue is obtained bv paying low prices for the article and ridiculously low wages ‘ to those engaged in the industry.
– No. Higher wages are paid in, the tobacco industry in France than in any private industry in that country.
– There is no evidence of that in the report.
– The retail price in France is 4s. ijd. per lb., and in Australia it is 6s. to 4-7d. per lb.
– The amount paid by the Australian manufacturer for wages _ o is so much higher than that paid in France, and the amount paid for leaf is also so much higher, that the additional cost of production thus involved represents a; higher charge upon the manufacturer than is represented by the higher price which lie receives for the manufactured article.
– The honorable senator should take into consideration the purchasing power of the wages in both countries.
– Senator Findley has said that the wages paid in the French tobacco factories are higher than those paid outside, but I have found no evidence of that in the report.
– I can assure the honorable senator that it is so.
– If, as Senator Story suggests, wages in France, although lower than wages in Australia, have a higher purchasing power, that goes to show that goods in Fiance, and amongst them tobacco, are sold cheaper than in Australia, and, if prices there were increased, the increased purchasing power of wages in France, as compared with that of wages in Australia, would disappear.
– If you raise the cost to the manufacturer he will raise the selling price to the consumer.
– No, because tobacco is not purchased only by the operatives in tobacco factories. However, 1 cannot hope to convince an honorable senator who gave his adherence to libel principle of nationalization before he heard a single witness in the case. With regard to the Japanese monopoly, Senator Pearce has stated that last year it realized in net profit upwards of £4,000,000. This is a big figure, but I point out that in that year a special war tax was on. I may tell honorable senators in this connexion that the Japanese Consul in Sydney, writing under date 30th August, 1906, says -
I find by the sixth financial and economic annual of Japan, being for the year 1906, which is an official publication of the Japanese Government, that the net profit from the tobacco monopoly in that country for the last year available (1904-5) was 27,462,007 yen (one yen equalling as. English money) ; also that the population for the year 1904 was 47,349,544. The Japanese financial year ends on the 31st March.
The figure here stated represents in English money ,£2,753,412 14s. 6d.
– In that year there were thousands of Japanese at the war.
– Senator Pearce has referred to a year in which the revenue from the industry amounted to upwards of £4,000,000, and I am justified in showing that in another year it had fallen to £2,753,412’. That might be due to some adjustment’ of taxation .consequent upon the cessation of the war, but I mention it to show that it would not be safe to assume that Japan derived a permanent revenue of £4,000,000 from the industry. The honorable senator anticipates for the Commonwealth, should the industry here be taken over by the States, a revenue of £400,000, but that must be cut down by a number of deductions for which the honorable senator has made no allowance. He has allowed nothing for interest upon the cost of resuming the industry, and I take it that he does not propose confiscation. He has allowed nothing for. interest orr capital or wear and tear, and nothing for higher wages, whilst he knows as well ha I do that we have a. minimum wage provision in our Public Service Act, and the industry in the hands of the State would come under the operation of that section. The honorable senator lias not allowed anything for higher prices ip growers, and it is clearly the intention that there should be higher prices paid to growers ; and a most important factor is, that fie has assumed that all cigars, cigarettes, and tobacco are to be sold in single packages, that every cigar is to be sold, at per cigar, when he knows that a very great quantity are to-day purchased in bundles and dozens at a lower price. Further, the honorable senator has allowed only 20 per cent, for cost of distribution., whereas it will be found that at question 1 113 Mr. Carter^ the witness on whom the honorable senator relied for his estimate, said that 25 per cent, was not enough to allow in the tobacco business. Yet the honorable senator works out his figures on a 20 per cent, basis for distribution. When all these deductions are allowed for it will be found that instead of a revenue of £400,000 being derived from the nationalization of the industry, this amount must be considered a gross over-estimate. It is, I think, clear that bv a slight adjustment of taxation to-day the Commonwealth, under existing conditions, could obtain more revenue from this industry than we could ever hope. to obtain from it under a system of nationalization.
Debate (on motion by Senator Findley) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the resumption of the debate be an order ofthe day for this day week.
– Mr. President-
– We have reached the hour at which the sitting ought to be suspended.
– I have no objection to that, but I wish to aska question with respect to the adjournment of the debate.
– If the sitting is suspended now Government business will come on at 7.45.
– That is the very point I wish to raise. I am going to object to the adjournment of the debate, because I know of no reason why it should be adjourned.
– It has been adjourned, and the question now is as to the date to be fixed for the resumption of the debate.
– If you, sir, inform me that the debate has been adjourned, and that I have risen too late, I must of course accept your ruling.
– That is so.
– Then I can only say that there will be serious difficulties after dinner.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Sitting suspended from 6.35 to 7.45 p.m.
Order of the day read for the resumption of the debate on motion -
That this Bill be now read a third time.
– My ruling has been asked as to whether the Clerk is in order in calling on the third reading of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Survey Bill. I think that the calling on is in order, and I do not agree with Senator Clemons when he states that if irregularities have occurred we must go back and start at the stage at which they commenced. I think that the Senate condoned all those irregularities by the proceeding which it took. Every honorable senator is to a certain extent responsible for them.
– That is a most dangerousprecedent to create.
– That may be so; . but, after all, is it a great question of principle whether when the Senate which made the Standing Orders for its guidance has been guilty of irregularities in reference to them all the proceedings irregularly taken are invalid. I do not think it is a matter of so much importance as has been made out. In respect of the acts of the Senate, outside the Chamber it does not matter whether it has committed irregularities or not. That is only a question for the Senate itself to consider.
– Does that harmonize with your own ruling?
– You did not condone the irregularity.
– Directly the irregularities of which we had been guilty were pointed out we amended our proceedings and went on. But the other question is whether everything we have done which was irregular under our procedure, owing to the omission of a few words in the sessional order of the 14th June, ought to be annulled. I am not prepared to say that that is so. That resolution provided that on Thursday Government business should take precedence of all other business except between 2.30 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. I would point out that each dav’s sitting is a sitting for that day, that so far as this Bill is concerned our proceedings were regular up to 1 o’clock to-day. Up to that hour there was no opportunity for the Minister of Defence or any one else to ask the Senate to adjourn the debate, and fix a date for its resumption. It is quite clear that the suspension of a sitting is only a suspension. If at 1 o’clock we had suspended the sitting until 7.45 p.m. undoubtedly we could have gone on with the consideration of the Bill. The fact that private business has or ought to have intervened at 2.30 p.m. does not seem to me to alter the result of a suspension of the sitting, in reference to a matter which is then under consideration. I think that the interruption of the consideration of the motion for the third reading of this Bill at 1 o’clock simply suspends the proceedings for the time at which it took place.
– But other business had intervened.
– I do not think that the intervention of that other business does or ought to make any alteration. It will be seen that up to 1 o’clock, as Senator Turley was speaking, no honorable senator could have moved the adjournment of the debate and asked the Senate to fix a date for its resumption. At 2.30 p.m., when private business ought to have come on, no honorable senator could have moved in that direction. So that from 1 p.m. until the present time there has been no opportunity to ask the Senate to adjourn the debate and to fix a date for its resumption. That being so, it seems to me only common sense that we ought to consider that we had suspended the consideration of the
Bill until the present time. I think that we are in order in going on with it.
– I should like your ruling, sir, to be put to me in a little clearer form in order that I can quite understand what it is.
– I am afraid that I cannot -
– I wish to ascertain whether you are deciding now that the debate on the motion for the third reading of this Bill was adjourned.
– The interruption of the debate took place at about 3.30 p.m.
– The debate was interrupted, not adjourned.
– Precisely. May I respectfully ask you, sir, how in that case it is possible under the Standing Orders to bring on the consideration of the Bill now ?
– Because this is the same sitting.
– With great respect, sir, I submit that it is not in conformity with any standing order for you to say that because a debate has been suspended or rather interrupted -
– The honorable senator -will pardon me for saying that the debate was not suspended. The sitting was suspended.
– On the facts, sir, the sitting was not suspended. We are still in precisely the same sitting. There has been simply an interruption of the debate.
– The President appealed to the Minister to move the adjournment of the debate, and hedid not do so.
– That is not so.
– I utterly fail to see how, sir, if we are to conform with the Standing Orders, the interrupted debate can now be resumed without the proper preliminary steps having been taken. The sitting, I repeat, was not suspended.
– The sitting was suspended from 1 p.m. to 2.30 p.m.
– I am not. arguing in regard to that period of time. What I wish to point out to you is that the debate on the third reading of the Bill was interrupted at about 3.30 p.m.
– The proceeidings on the Bill after 2.30 p.m. were irregular.
– The sitting of the Senate has been suspended to-day, first for lunch, and recently for dinner, but my point has reference only to the interruption of the debate at about 3.30 p.m. It is now suggested that it should be resumed as if an adjournment had taken place.
– These arguments ought to have been advanced before I gave my ruling.
– I did not know that you were going to rule in that way on the point. I submit that I am at liberty to advance reasons why we cannot go on with the debate now.
– I am always willing to listen to the reasons of honorable senators, but I have given my ruling to the best of my ability, and I do not think it is in order to advance these reasons now.
– May I suggest to you, sir, that you have given no ruling on the point that it is not possible in conformity with the Standing Orders to renew a debate which has not been adjourned, but which has been interrupted, by an ordinary suspension of the sitting such as for dinner ?
– I think the honorable senator will recollect that I said that this is the same sitting as at 1 o’clock.
– I would remind you, sir, that .in the same sitting we passed from the consideration of the third reading of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Survey Bill without the debate having been adjourned to the consideration of the second reading of the Constitution Alteration (Nationalization of Monopo-lies) Bill. I ask you again, sir, to say how, if we conform to the Standing Orders, we can take up a debate which has not been adjourned.
– I am afraid that I cannot. The sitting was only suspended.
– I fail to see how it can be done. You may ask us to condone an irregularity, but you must admit, I submit, that we are out. of order. If I understand that your ruling is merely to this effect - that you advise the Senate to condone the irregularity, and go on with the debate - I think that if we pay strict regard to our standing order we cannot do that. I admit that the whole question is a difficult one, and it is for that reason that I ask you to rule on the point regarding taking up a debate that has not been adjourned. I am asking you to do that with all respect, because it is an important point in our procedure, and I submit that you have not ruled on it yet - unless I understand your ruling to be that we shall condone the irregularity, and go on.
– The whole of this procedure is out of order, but I try to be very patient. After I have given a ruling - which I am afraid I did not make very. clear; at all events, Senator Clemons did not seem to understand it - the “honorable senator has made a long speech criticising it. I am going to give the ruling again, and after I have given it, I do not want to have any “further debate on the matter: A sitting of the Senate for one day is one sitting. We may suspend that sitting for an hour, or two hours, or half-a-dozen hours; and afterwards we start again exactly as we left off. There is no necessity to move for the adjournment of any debate interrupted by the suspension. It is quite clear that if we had at 1 o’clock suspended the sitting till 7.45 p.m., we could have resumed the debate on the third reading at 7.45. I do not think that any one can deny that. If at 6.30 on’ a day on which there is no question of private business and public business, we suspend a sitting till 7.45, we do not adjourn the debate then proceeding. We proceed with the debate after the suspension. If we can suspend a sitting for an hour and three-quarters. we can suspend it for four or five hours, as long as we are in the one sitting day.
– But we did not suspend the sitting on this occasion.
– We did suspend the sitting from 1 o’clock to half -past 2, undoubtedly.
– What did we do when Senator Turley stopped his remarks?
– We suspended the sitting from 1 o’clock to half-past 2 to-day. We ought then to have gone on, according to our Standing Orders, and according to our sessional orders, with private business. But by some irregularity we did not. Ultimately, however, we got back to a proper basis, and went on with private business. Between 4.30 and’ 6.30 we dealt with private business. Would the suspension of the debate on a motion before the Senate at 1 o’clock, have made it irregular to resume that business at a later hour? I do not think it would. I admit that there is no standing order one way or the other. -It is a question of commonsense, and a question of the convenience of the Senate, as it seems to me.
– Ought not the Senate to decide it?
– I am quite willing that the Senate should decide it if it likes. If the Senate likes to dissent from my ruling, it can do so. But I will point out that these continual motions of dissent from rulings which I give, on questions on which there is such high party feeling, are not, in my opinion, right. I perfectly admit the competence of any senator who chooses to do so to move. to dissent from my ruling when he thinks that I am wrong; and I shall always cheerfully submit to any verdict to which the Senate may come upon such a motion. But, at the same time - I admit that I feel it a little - I do not wish to conceal from the Senate that these continual motions of dissent-
– We have had only one on this Bill.
– We have had more than that one, I think. It does not seem to me that this course of procedure is at all complimentary to myself. I have given my ruling, and I shall not permit any further discussion unless the ruling is dissented from.
.’ - I am extremely sorry to say, sir, that I have again to dissent from your ruling.
– I rise to order. I wish to direct your attention, sir, to standing order 415. My first point is that a motion of “dissent from your ruling ought to have been submitted immediately after you gave your ruling.” Senator Clemons did not dissent from it then-, but asked you to amplify it.
– On another point.
– No, the same point.
– You had given your ruling, but for Senator Clemons’ benefit, you agreed to amplify it.” That is my first point - that standing order 415 provides that the objection must be taken at once.
– So it was.
– It was not taken at once.
– Substantially it was.
– I can answer that.
– If that point of order is not sufficient, I direct your attention to the last line of the standing order to which I have referred, and request you to consider whether in this case the discretion which has been left to you ought not to be exercised - that is to say, that debate is to be adjourned until the next sitting day - unless the matter .require immediate determination.
– This point does require immediate determination.
– Can a point of order be taken on a motion that has not been submitted?
– I think that Senator Neild’s point is correct. Senator Clemons will have to submit his motion in writing.
– I intend to do so. I am writing it out. I now move -
That the President’s ruling - That the third reading of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Survey Bill can be taken without an adjournment of the debate, or without leave to Senator Turley to resume his speech - be dissented from.
On this occasion I am not going to put myself in a position of decided disadvantage, as I did on a former occasion. Unfortunately, I feel impelled to dissent from your ruling, ‘and I admit that I do so with the greatest reluctance ; especially because I have heard you say you do not like to have your rulings dissented from.
– I did not say that. What I said was that I do not like them dissented from- for - well, perhaps I had better not say.
– I think I can fill up the ellipsis which you have created. I think you intended to say that you did not like to have your rulings dissented from’ for party purposes. Neither do I. But if I may be permitted to refer to the last occasion when I had to dissent from your ruling, it will be remembered that the division disclosed that there was no party purpose, inasmuch as the vote was even, whereupon, under our standing order, the question had to pass in the negative. The voting on that occasion was 13 to 13, which in itself, added to the fact that you and the Chairman of Committees - whose rulings were then in dispute - voted orv one side-
– Is the honorable senator now dealing with his point of order ?
– I am.
– I do not thinkthat the honorable senator is. He is making an attack upon the Chairman of Committees and myself.
– If that remark were made by an ordinary member of the Senate, I should immediately take active and decided steps to resent it. Coming from the Chair, I can say nothing; but if you were on the floor of the Senate I should, I say, undoubtedly resent it. My remark was not made for that purpose at all, and I think that you are taking an advantage of your position from the Chair, which you yourself will, on reflection, probably regret. Now I am going to deal with my objection. You yourself, in your ruling, have just made the admission that there is no standing order which supports it. I took a note of your remarks. You said further that this matter must be decided, after all, by common-sense. You emphasized that remark ‘ by repeating it. I submit, therefore, - and I do so with the greatest of respect - that if there ever was an occasion when a member of the Senate might dissent from your ruling, this is such an occasion. Surely, if common-sense is to decide the question, there is no better course than to submit it to the common-sense of the whole Senate. You yourself would be the first to say, I am certain, that if common-sense is to be the sole arbiter, we could not do better than submit the question to a vote of the Senate. You have also said - I noted the exact words - “ I am quite willing that the Senate should decide it.” I wish to give the Senate an opportunity of deciding it. What better occasion could there be for the Senate to decide upon a ruling given by you, believed by some honorable senators to be erroneous, than when you yourself have said that common-sense must decide the question, and that you are perfectly willing to submit it to the Senate ? Now, with regard to another point. If I had been desirous of interfering with the ordinary course of business, I need not have intervened until we had proceeded past half-past 10 o’clock, when no new business could have been taken. If I had waited .until thirty-one minutes past jo, and then had raised an objection to the proceedings, I should have brought the sitting to an end ; because the debate on the dissent from your ruling would have had to be adjourned until the next sitting day.
– I do not know that the honorable senator will have it adjourned.
– Let me point out to Senator Playford that if my objection to the ruling proceeds on the ordinary lines prescribed by the Standing Orders, it will make no difference to his business, because he will be able to take up another measure while the Bill now before us is in abeyance.
– I want to dispose of one piece of business at a time.
– Surely the Senate will recognise that, although I am raising this point at a time when there is, so to speak, keen party strife, it is a point that it will be well to have settled. I venture to say that you have given a ruling on no more important point than this. I also venture to say that you yourself were in difficulties about coming .to a conclusion. I feel sure that you will admit that. Under such circumstances, therefore, is it not a proper matter for the Senate to consider, and to come to a conclusion upon? It is obvious that certain-irregularities have occurred. You admit that, under ordinary circumstances, when it is desired that a debate on one subject shall cease and other business be taken up, the invariable practice of the Senate is for some one to move the adjournment of the debate. After that is done, a motion is submitted that the adjourned debate be made an order of the day for some subsequent time. In this case that was not done. If such a motion had been submitted with regard to this measure, any one could have opposed it.
– No; Senator Turley was in possession of the Chair, and no one could have moved such a motion.
– I do not think that that throws any light upon the subject. What is the position of Senator Turley? His speech has been interrupted, but no one has moved’ the adjournment of the debate. Senator Turley did not ask, because it was not necessary to ask, for leave to resume his speech. The position discloses all sorts of difficulties. We may rely that Senator Turley, not having asked leave to resume his speech, and having sat down., has finished.
– The lunch hour had been reached.
– That was not the cause of Senator Turley’s taking his seat. Under ordinary procedure, Senator Turley would have resumed his speech after lunch, but it is questionable whether Senator Turley could have done so to-day. I submit that, for this and other reasons, your ruling, sir, is beset with grave and great difficulties. I recognise that you- are forming a procedure for the Senate, the value of which I recognise. From time to time you give us your rulings, which are used in the interpretation of our Standing Orders, and the very ruling which you have given to-night will, no doubt, be included amongst your other determinations on disputed points. But is it not right and desirable that the Senate should express an opinion whether or not it upholds your ruling ? You will, I am sure, acquit me of any desire to see your ruling rejected; my only wish is that the Senate may have an opportunity to express the opinion which you have invited it to express.
– I am afraid that the debate will have to be adjourned.
– I rise to a point of order. I contend that this is not a motion which you, Mr. President, can receive, for the reason that it was not moved, as, according to the standing order, such motions must be moved, immediately your ruling is given. I furthermore draw your attention to the concluding words of the standing, order, namely, “ unless the matter requires immediate determination.” I take the view that the Senate is greater than its Standing Orders, and yet, unless the discretion vested in you is to be exercised, one honorable senator may prevent the Senate from proceeding with any business whatever. It would only be necessary for an honorable senator, as soon as a Bill was called upon, to dispute some ruling of yours, and immediately the whole business must be postponed until the following day. I believe that the intention, in inserting the words I have quoted, was to prevent any honorable senator being able thus to cause a dead-lock in the business. This is surely an occasion on which you should exercise the discretion vested in you. I contend that the objection was not taken at once, as it should have been, and that, even had it been taken at once, you ought to exercise your discretion and say that this measure is a matter which ‘requires immediate attention.
– The point has been taken that the objection, to your ruling was not given immediately after the ruling had been stated. The facts are that you, sir, gave your ruling, and that Senator Clemons spoke, whereupon you rose again, and said that you had apparently not made yourself clear. You, sir, said, “I am going to give a ruling now.’”
– I think the President said, “ I have already given a ruling.”
– I do not quarrel with that view of what took place. But you, Mr. President, went on to say, “ I am going to give a ruling, and I trust there will be no discussion afterwards.” It was immediately after that ruling that Senator Clemons, in compliance with the Standing Orders, gave the notice of. protest which is in your hands. As to the second point, I submit that this is not a question of discretion, but a question of whether it is absolutely necessary that the matter should be determined now. There is nothing connected with the third reading of this Bill which renders it imperative that the discussion should proceed now. Unless it be assumed - and I am sure you will be the first to resent such an assumption - that it is part of your duty as President to give decisions te assist the Government in getting through particular measures-
– There is no such suggestion.
– There is not; but unless such’ a suggestion is made, the simple question is whether there is anything connected with this Bill which renders it imperative that a decision regarding it should be arrived at now. I submit that there is nothing in the circumstances of the case which requires us to depart from the clear direction laid down in the standing order.
– So far as concerns the first point - that notice of dissent from my ruling should be given at once - I have, ever since I became President of the Senate, given the greatest latitude to every honorable senator in this connexion ; and I am not going to refuse to accept the motion on the ground suggested. I may have permitted, not only on this, but on other occasions, honorable senators to speak after I have given a ruling, when it would have been better to prevent discussion ; and I am afraid that that latitude has induced honorable senators, in some instances, perhaps, to dispute rulings which otherwise would have been accepted. However, that is by the way. As I say, I am not going to rule this motion out of order on the ground that the objection to it was not taken at once. Now I come to the second question, and I ask what is the meaning of the words “ unless the matter requires immediate determination.” I confess that I am in some doubt as to the meaning, and as to who is to decide, but I do not think it oan possibly say that the debate on a particular Bill shall take precedence of the debate on any other Bill. I am very sorry at having to arrive at this conclusion, because - but perhaps I had better not say. However, I rule that the debate stands adjourned until to-morrow.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from’ 19th September, vide page 4864) :
Spirits, viz. : -
.- When the Bill was last before the Committee the point was raised that a portion’ of clause 11 of the Spirits Bill, which provides that Australian spirits must be matured, should not operate until a certain date. I promised honorable senators that I would look into the matter, and see if I could meet the objections levelled at the clause. It was pointed out that clause n of the Spirits Bill conflicted with the second paragraph of clause 2 of the Bill now before us, and in order to meet the case I have had an amendment drafted to strike out all the words after “ Provided “ in the second paragraph of clause 2, and to insert in lieu” thereof the words - “ that spirits distilled wholly from grape wine and spirits n.e.i. may, until the thirty-first day of December, One thousand nine hundred and seven, inclusive, be delivered at the respective rates of duty specified in the Excise Tariff 1902.”
This amendment will enable spirits to be taken out of bond for human consumption, and which have not been two years matured in wood, on payment of the same duties as now, namely, ns. on brandy,’ and 13s. on all other spirits.
– - It is quite clear that stocked spirits which have been two years in bond may go into consumption at any time.
– All such spirit may be cleared out of bond at the rate provided under the Excise Tariff Bill. The question can be discussed when I propose that clause 2 be reconsidered. Senator Symon agrees with the proposed amendment, but I understand .that Senator
Clemons desires to make a slight addition with the object of providing that brandy shall not have the slightest advantage over spirits n.e.i.
– The suggestion is that the Committee should pass this item on the promise of the Minister that he will recommit clause 2 in order that we may make the alteration indicated. I think we are perfectly safe in permitting the item to pass on such an understanding. But I would point out that if - brandy made from grape wine is put into human consumption at any time before 1907, and it has not been matured by two years storage in wood under Excise supervision, it will be subject to an Excise duty of ns. The provision will utterly and entirely defeat the object that the Tariff Commission had in view when it framed its recommendation, which has met with the cordial approval of a large majority of the Committee. I am convinced that if we permit raw spirits to go out immediately under a duty of its., it will be sent out by the distillers in preference to storing it for two years in wood. In other words, the Australian distiller will much prefer to pay an Excise duty of ns. on his raw spirit, and send it out for consumption as brandy than to keep it maturing in wood for two years, and then have to pay an Excise duty of only 10s. I wish to make him store it in wood in order to secure a good name for Australian brandy. The members of the Tariff Commission are at one that unless the distiller stores his spirit in wood for two years, he will not do what we desire he should do. I am going to suggest later on that we should make him pay an Excise duty of 13s. if he desires to put his spirit at once into consumption, with the alternative that if he keeps it in wood for two years we will let him take it out of bond at an Excise duty ot 1 os.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD, (New South Wales) [8.32].- The reason assigned for not allowing spirits to be distributed without maturity is that it might be injurious to the public health. It has been assumed that distillers will be prepared to pay an extra duty of is. per gallon in order to get their spirits into consumption at once, and Senator Clemons has said that if the Excise is made 13s. per gallon or a difference of 3s., -he will not object to spirits that have not been matured going at once into consumption. If it is really a qu.es- tion of preventing the consumption of immature spirits in the interests of public health, the difference between 3s. and is. per gallon should not be considered by the Committee. Whilst immature spirit distributed for consumption might not be so palatable or so good as spirit matured for two or three years in wood, no evidence was given before the Commission to show that its consumption has been responsible for any injury to the public health, and if sv.ch spirit is fit for human consumption;, there should be no special or undue restrictions placed upon it. Of course if it is unfit for human consumption, steps should be taken to prevent its being placed on the market.
– Why stipulate for two years in bond in any case?
.- If the honorable senator had followed the remarks I made on the second reading of the-Bill, he would know that I indicated that I see no necessity for requiring these spirits to be matured for two years in wood under Customs supervision. I explained that a Committee of the House of Commons, after taking the evidence of men skilled in questions concerning the public health, came to the conclusion that there was no necessity to make any restriction. Of course there is always the power to prevent the distribution of spirits shown to be unfit for human consumption. That power will still be reserved, and if there is any ground for supposing that certain spirit is unfit for human consumption, and the analyst gives a certificate to that effect, the Minister will decline to allow it to go out of bond except as methylated spirit. I have referred’ to this matter because it is intimately associated with the question of revenue to which I propose to refer, and because if I had not done so, my position might be misconceived. In the report of the Tariff Commission, it is shown that the distillation of brandy has increased in South Australia, New South Wales, and Victoria, and if that be the case, there should be no necessity to reduce the Excise duty as proposed, in order to protect the industry, and put more of the money of the people into the pockets of the distillers. I should like honorable senators to bear in mind that local distillers pay duty only on proof spirit, which is a decided advantage, although I suppose importers get over the difficulty in most cases by importing spirit at proof or over proof, and then breaking it down. It might be said that if local distillers are given a greater amount of protection, that will lead to the employment of a larger number of persons in the industry, but the fact remains that distillation in the Commonwealth has increased under existing conditions with a protection of 3s. per gallon. If that be the case, we have a right to consider the interests of the revenue. The Minister said that he had been advised by his officers that probably there will be a loss to the revenue of from £70,000 to £80,000 or £90,000 a year. That is, I know, a calculation which has also been made privately, assuming that only a small proportion of imported spirits be replaced with locally distilled spirits. It should be borne in mind, however, that if that is likely to be the loss of revenue in the first year, and we are to encourage a larger amount of distillation, it must increase year by year, and before very long we shall be called upon to face a loss of twice £80,000 or £90,000 a year, and possibly, as years go on, treble the amount.’ It was suggested by an honorable senator the other day that when that time did arrive, we might then very well take action. That is one way of dealing with the matter, but I wish to impress upon the Committee that while the revenue is gradually decreasing the expenditure is steadily increasing. In a day or two we shall be called upon to consider a Bill which provides for the payment of £500,000 in bounties, at the rate of £50,000 or £75,000 a year, during a period of years. The enactment of the Bill would make an additional inroad upon the revenue. Then the Government propose to introduce penny postage, which, if adopted, would involve a loss of £120,000, or possibly more, per annum. In the face of those proposals, we are now called upon to cut down the revenue from the spirit duties, and at the same time to give an additional benefit to the local distillers, although it has been proved that at the present time they enjoy ample protection for their industry. It has been pointed out here by their representatives that both Tasmania and Queensland need to get as large a revenue as possible through Customs and Excise ‘duties. We have been resisting very strongly a proposal to spend £20,000 upon a railway survey ; but here is a proposal which, if adopted, would affect the amount of the revenue year by year. I asl* honorable senators to pause before they consent to throw away more revenue, especially when it has been shown that that sacrifice is not necessary in order to promote the interests of local manufacturers. Although it is true that every industry gives employment to additional men, still it is always possible to pay too high a premium in order to secure that result. I do not propose, however, to submit an amendment until I have heard an expression of opinion from honorable senators. I have no wish to injure existing industries, which I know from the evidence and the report of the Tariff Commission, have greatly improved. Four members of that body suggested that the Customs duty on spirits might be reduced to 13s. a gallon, in order to make a difference of 3s. between the two duties, while two others were prepared to ‘ reduce the Customs duty, by the sum of 6d.
– Will the honorable senator mention the conditions?
.- The conditions were that we should levy the Excise duty which is now proposed, and reduce the import duty, in order to bring the two duties more in accord with1 one another.
.- If the honorable senator will refer to the report, he will see what the Commission recommended. So far from agreeing to that recommendation the Government submitted a proposal to increase the Customs duty to 15s., and increase the protection to 5s., but it was rejected by the other House. The proposal of a proportion of the members of the. Commission, I understand, was to fix the difference at 3s. or 3s. 6d. per gallon.
– On the condition that the imported spirit was to be kept in bond for two years.
.- The Bill provides that imported spirit shall be kept in bond for two years before it goes into human consumption.
– No; it provides for the production of a certificate that it is two years old.
– The object in requiring the production of this certificate is not I assume to penalize any one, but to insure that matured spirit shall be sold to the public. Clause 10 of the Spirits Bill provides -
After the twenty-eighth day of February, One thousand nine hundred and seven, no imported spirits shall be delivered from the control of the Customs for human consumption unless the Collector ‘ of Customs for the State is satisfied that the spirits have been matured by storage in wood for a period of not less than two years.
Clearly, the object of_the provision is to protect the interests of the consumer.
– It would have to be guaranteed to be pure malt spirit or pure grape brandy ; but there is nothing of that kind imported.
.- The Select Committee of the House of Commons, after listening to the evidence of experienced chemists, came to the conclusion that the rectified spirits which were introduced into brandy or whisky were of a pure character, and that, even when they were introduced without being sufficiently ma- tured, the flavour was improved. There is no reason to make a distinction unless it be on the ground of protecting the public health.
– I wish to correct an impression which Senator Gould, and other honorable senators, may have produced with respect to the object of some members of the Tariff Commission in providing for the storage of spirits in bond for two years, and to explain why Senator Higgs and myself were prepared, under certain circumstances, to agree to a reduction of the import dutv by 6d. per* gallon. The object was chiefly to insure that the pure grape brandy of Australia should acquire a reputation. Some members of the Commission considered that if either pure grape brandy, or pure malt whisky, were stored in wood for two years, certified by an officer, and labelled as such, it would acquire a certain reputation, as well as promote the public health. On the other hand, with respect to the reduction of 6d. in the import duty to which Senator Higgs and I agreed, it was recommended that imported spirits should also be stored in wood for two years. It was also recommended that the low Excise duty of 10s. per gallon should be allowed on pure grape brandy, made in a specified way, and pure malt whisky. It will be noticed that the Excise duty on blended brandy or blended whisky is higher. When Senator Higgs and I agreed to admit imported brandy at 13s. 6d. per gallon, it was on the condition that it should be certified to be pure grape brandy, and not brandy blended with a highly rectified spirit. In the same way, imported whisky was to be a pure malt whisky, and not a whisky containing a certain proportion of malt whisky, and a far higher proportion of a highly rectified spirit. If we could get any reliable certification that spirit is pure grape brandy or pure malt whisky which has been stored in wood for two years, I should still be prepared to concede the reduction of 6d. per gallon. But I feel quite sure that no pure grape brandy is imported. Not enough of the article is made in Europe to supply its requirements, and it commands a verv high price. From my knowledge of distilling in both Ireland and Scotland, I know that there is scarcely such a thing as a pure malt whisky distilled. All whisky is distilled from malt and grain.
– - I was very glad to hear the speech of Senator McGregor, because I expect that he will join with me in seeking to raise the Excise duty on pure grape brandy. If he is prepared to allow a reduction of 6d. pes gallon on imported spirit, surely he will give similar facilities to the local distiller. We have been accustomed to a difference of 3s. between the Customs and Excise duties, but here it is proposed to make a difference of 4s1. per gallon, where it is not wanted, because the industry has been doing very well. We ought not to do away with a very large source of revenue which is required. In accordance with the opinion of six out of eight members of the Tariff Commission, the difference ought to be fixed at 3s. 6d. per gallon, and four considered the present duty of 3s. sufficient.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales) [8.57]. - I find that the statement of Senator McGregor is substantially correct. In their supplementary recommendations, four Commissioners say -
Applying to imported spirits the principles of the recommendations of the Commission in respect of Australian spirits the undersigned members of the Commission are of the opinion that, provided the preceding recommendations are adopted by Parliament, a differentiation of one shilling per gallon less than the existing Customs duty should be made in respect of imported bulk brandy distilled wholly from grape wine by pot still or similar process of a quality not inferior to that indicated in Excise recommen- dation (1), and imported bulk whisky made entirely from barley malt by the pot still or similar process of a quality not inferior to that indicated in Excise recommendations, (3), certified in each case to be such by a Commonwealth analyst.
Again, in schedule B, I find this statement -
We recommend no change in existing rates of duty on imported spirit ; but if the foregoing set of Excise duties be adopted, we recommend that bulk spirit imported into the Commonwealth, and imported bulk spirit reduced and bottled in bond within the Commonwealth, shall be entitled to an allowance for under proof similar to the allowance of Excise duty on spirits produced in Australia upon evidence being given to the satisfaction of the Minister that a period of at least two years has elapsed since the distillation of the same, provided no such allowance shall be made on any strength less than 16.5 under proof.
Honorable senators will see that a proposal is made by the Government to make an allowance on brandy less than 16.5 under proof. At present a spirit 16.5 under proof pays the same duty as proof spirit does. In that way a considerable advantage is given to the local ‘production over imported spirit. I think that adi the arguments go to show that, apart from the recommendations of the Tariff Commission, it would be a reasonable thing to increase the Excise by is., in order to put grape brandy in the same position as it stands under the Excise Tariff of 1902. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item (t) by leaving out the figures “10” and inserting the figures “n.”
– I do not think that the honorable senator has given sufficient reasons why we should alter the schedule as proposed. The Tariff Commission has recommended that grape brandy distilled in a pot still, matured by storage in wood for a period of not less than two years, and certified by an officer to be pure brandy, shall pay 10s. per gallon. The other branch of the .Legislature has adopted that recommendation, and I ask the Committee to adhere to it.
.- I am sorry that we cannot obtain an estimate of the effect upon the revenue of any alterations that may be proposed in the schedule. We know that the whole schedule is estimated to reduce the revenue by £70,000 or £80,000, but we do not know what will be the effect of an alteration in any particular item. The question of revenue is a serious one. I point out that if the recommendations of four members of the Tariff Commission were carried out - that is to say, if brandy were allowed to come in at a reduced import duty - the effect would be to reduce the amount of protection on the article to 3s. If the second rider attached to the Commission’s report’ were carried out the effect would be to reduce the protection to 3s. 6d. There is not the slightest possibility of the Government acting upon either of those recommendations in the direction of altering the import duty. But we might safely adopt the recommendation of the members of the Tariff Commission who signed the second rider, so far as the amount of protection is concerned. As four members of the Commission have proposed to reduce the margin to 3s., making the duty ns.y -and two members have proposed to reduce the margin by 6d., which would be equivalent to; altering the Excise to 10s. 6d., I think we might reasonably add 6d. to the Excise for the sake of securing more revenue.
– The honorable senator is losing sight of the preference to be given to grape and malt spirits.
– I do not think that I am. The proposal is to reduce the import duty upon pure malt whisky or pure malt brandy. If that alteration is not made those articles will pay 14s. on importation. Senator McGregor himself recommended that the import duty should be reduced by 6d. That clearly was a proposal to reduce the margin of protection .to 3s. 6d.
– If the conditions proposed with regard to Australian brandy were applied to imported spirits the protection would be only 3s. 6d. against brandy and whisky of the same quality and having the same guarantee and maturity. But Senator Drake will see that if we raised the Excise by 6d., there would be only a protective margin of 3s. 66. against all other classes of brandy and whisky that would come in at an import duty of 14s. That is what I intend to stand out against as strongly as I can.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales) [9.9]- - Senator McGregor should bear in mind that he approved of giving an allowance for under proof spirit. That in itself would be something like a protection of 6d. or is. per gallon.
– I wish to ask Senator Playford whether the Government is prepared to adopt that part of the recommendations of the Tariff Commission which says -
We recommend no change in existing rates of duty on imported spirit ; but if the foregoing set of excise duties be adopted, we recommend that bulk spirit imported into the .Commonwealth, and imported bulk spirit reduced and bottled in bond within the Commonwealth, shall be entitled to an allowance for under proof similar to the allowance of excise duty on spirits produced in Australia, upon evidence being given to the satisfaction of the Minister that a period of at least two years has elapsed since the distillation of the same, provided no such allowance shall be made on any strength less than 16.5 under proof.
I ask Senator Playford whether the Government are prepared to carry out this essential part of the Tariff Commission’s recommendations, and make the same provision with regard to under proof, when applied to imported spirits, as it is proposed to make, and as have been made hitherto, in regard to spirits manufactured in the Commonwealth.
– No, the Government are not prepared to do that.
– I am sorry to hear that statement, because this was a recommendation made by the whole of the Tariff Commission, and it has a distinct bearing on the amount of protection we have given. What we said was, “ Treat imported spirits and locally manufactured spirits in the same way with regard to the question of under proof, and then we shall deliberately, in order to get high-class brandies, give a margin of 4s.” For a freetrader like myself to make such a concession is a great deal ; and I do not know how either Senator Higgs or myself can support the item unless the whole of the. conditions are complied with. Spirits vary, pf course, as to the percentage under proof, but they are taxed per centum’; and if a tax is applied to the locally manufactured spirit on one standard, and to imported spirit on another, I desire the Committee to understand that the difference, which means the protection, will be considerably increased in some cases. All the members of -the Tariff Commission, including, the four protectionist members, did not desire such a result, but were perfectly willing that the protection of 4s. should be inclusive - that there should be no means of making the difference greater. I really desired to vote for item No. 1 as it stands, but I should be departing from my own recommendation if I did so, and I should find myself in a position in which I should be compelled to accept the increased Excise duty later on, because the Government refused to give the same allowance.
– Is the honorable senator not premature with his suggestion?
– Is it premature when Senator Playford has said that the Government will not grant my request?
– When the whole of these items have been passed, will, I think, be the time to raise the question.
– But what position shall we be in if we pass these items with the full knowledge of the Government’s announcement.
– It is not the Tariff Commission’s recommendation unless the whole of the Excise duties are adopted.
– If we fail, in view of the attitude of the Government, to make the same proviso desired in regard to the under proof allowance, will Senator Playford undertake to recommit item No. 1 ? If you, Mr. Chairman, and myself vote for an Excise duty of 10s., and then find that a distinct proviso was not given, we ought to have an opportunity to deal with the matter on a recommittal of the item. I am willing to allow an Excise duty of 10s., if Senator Playford will comply with the recommendation of the Tariff Commission. I think that is a perfectly fair offer ; and it is made with a view to expedite business. If Senator Playford cannot accede to my request, I shall have to vote for’the request that the duty be11s.
– I cannot make the promise desired by Senator Clemons. This matter has been considered by another place and by the Government, and the conclusion has been arrived at that if we make the allowance suggested we shall only be losing revenue. If a proposal which the Government made in another place had been agreed to this particular recommendation of the Tariff Commission might have been adopted. The proposal was to increase the import duty, and also the Excise duty by1s., and by that means lose practically no revenue. However, the members of another place would not agree to that proposal ; and the Government have declined to adopt every recommendation of the Tariff Commission which would tend to decrease revenue. We are losing a very large amount of revenue just now, and we cannot afford to lose any more, and we should lose more if we adopted Senator Clemons’ proposal. Of course, there would be no loss if we raised the Excise duty.
– I am quite willing that the Excise duty should be raised.
.- The recommendations of the Tariff Commission, with a few verbal alterations, are embodied in the schedule. I understand that Senator Clemons desires that some promise should be made on the part of the Government that the concession referred to in the recommendation should be given effect to. But the recommendation is made only on the understanding that the Excise duties proposed by the Commission are adopted. I could understand Senator Clemons making his suggestion to the Government if the schedule had been carried as it stands, but surely it is premature to talk about a concession of the kind at this particular stage.
– I have asked for a recommittal of the Bill.
– But the first thing is the adoption of the schedule, and then it is for the honorable senator to move for the concession in regard to imported spirits. Otherwise, we should be placed in a distinctly false position. At this stage we are not prepared to give proper consideration to the proposal about the import duties,because we do not know whether the Excise duties are going to be adopted. I ask Senator Clemons to assist in passing the Excise duties, when we shall be able to consider the other matter.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item (1) by leaving out the figures “ 10,” and inserting the figures “ 11 “ - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senator Lt.Col. GOULD (New South Wales) [9.24]. - Some honorable senators consider that it would be reasonable if the Excise duty were made 10s. 6d. instead of 10s., and in order to give them an opportunity to express their opinion, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item (1) by inserting after “ 10s.” the figure “6d.”
Question put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Item 2 -
Blended wine brandy, distilled from grape wine, and containing not less than 25 per cent. of pure grape wine spirit (which has been separately distilled by a pot still or similar process at a strength not exceeding 40 per cent. over proof), the whole being matured by storage in wood for a period not less than two years, and certified by an officer to be brandy so blended and matured, per proof gallon. . .11s.
– It seems to me that this item is somewhat ambiguously worded. As I read it the foundation of this blended wine brandy must be wine. I know that several honorable senators read it otherwise. As regards the 25 per cent. of the blend referred to, it need only be rectified up to 40 per cent. over proof, whilst, as regards the proportion of 75 per cent., it may be rectified to any extent, but it must be wine spirit.
– That is quite clear.
Item agreed to.
Item 3 -
Blended spirits, distilled partly from grape wine and partly from grain, and containing not less than 25 per cent. of pure grape wine spirit (which has been separately distilled by a pot still or similar process at a strength not exceeding 40 per cent. over proof), the whole being matured by storage in wood for a period not less than two years, and certified by an officer to be spirits so blended and matured, per proof gallon. . . 12s.
.- I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item (3) by leaving out the word “grain,” and inserting in lieu thereof the words “other materials.”.
If the request be agreed to it will bring the item into conformity with the recommendation of the Tariff Commission, with this difference only, that whereas the Tariff Commission referred to blended “ brandy “ in their recommendation the item refers to blended “ spirits.”
– It is an additional item, is it not? The Tariff Commission’s recommendation refers to item No. 2, and item No. 3 is an extra item.
– We have passed item No. 2, and I direct attention to the fact that item No. 3 refers to blended “spirits,” . and “ spirits “ may be brandy, I should like to point out to Senator Best, who, I think, advanced an argument the other day which was based partly on the supposition that grain must be barley-
– No, it might be oats, wheat, or rye.
– Or rice, or any other kind of grain. What is required of this particular blend of spirits is that it shall be composed of 25 per cent. of spirit distilled from grape wine under certain conditions. With regard to that I have nothing to say ; but it is provided that 85 per cent. of the blend may be composed of spirit distilled from any kind of grain, in any way. From what we have heard in the course of the debate, if it is distilled from barley it will be more suitable for whisky than for other spirits. If used for other spirits it must be distilled to a high degree of strength, usually by means of a patent still. So that we have a provision here for the use of 75 per cent, of what is called silent spirit distilled from grain in such a way that the peculiarities attaching to the grain are removed, and it becomes a product which, according to experts, is absolutely indistinguishable from spirit distilled from molasses. What I am asking is that the discrimination against molasses spirit, which it is not asserted is unwholesome, shall be removed. I claim that with regard to the proportion of 75 per cent, of the blended spirits dealt with in this item, there should be no bar against spirit distilled from molasses.
– This matter was very fully debated in another place. It is a fact that the Tariff Commission did recommend that these spirits should be blended so far as regards the proportion of 75 per cent, with spirit obtained from any source, but after due consideration the Government came to the conclusion that the blend should be spirit distilled from grain. Grain spirit blends naturally with whisky. The blended spirits dealt with in the item represent really what is known as the ordinary brandy of commerce. Item No. 2 does not refer to the brandy of commerce, but to an absolutely pure wine brandy.
– The spirits dealt with in item No. 3 will not be the brandy of commerce after, this legislation is passed.
– No; so far as we are concerned, it will be blended spirits. The only question is whether we should allow a blend of molasses spirit, potato spirit, and all kinds of spirits with the spirit distilled from grape wine, or whether we should allow a blend only of a grain spirit. The question was decided in another place in the way shown in the item, after a very considerable amount of discussion, and I think without any division. Although I cannot make out so good a case for the use of grain spirit only, in this instance as I can with regard to whisky-
– It is vital as regards whisky.
– It is vital as regards whisky, and in this case I ask honor able senators to pass the item as it has been sent up to the Senate. I have no doubt that this blended spirit would be improved by providing for the use of a grain spirit rather than for molasses spirit or other inferior spirits.
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [9.38]. - I rise to ask the Minister whether he thinks it is consonant with the dignity of the Senate that every time he speaks he tells us what we ought to do because of something that “has been done somewhere else. Unintentionally, I have no doubt, the honorable senator is reducing the status of the Senate to a mere place of record by the adoption of this practice. I ask him to avoid the constant repetition of directions on the ground that something has been done somewhere else. Dealing with the requested amendment, I hardly like the phrase which Senator Drake proposes to insert in lieu of the word “grain,” because it would cover distillation from any kind of material.
– I followed the report of the Tariff Commission.
– Here is another error due to slavishly following what somebody else has done. We should have a little bit of originality about our proceedings. We had some originality this afternoon. Let us keep it up. I would ask Senator Drake if he cannot devise some phrase which would be more acceptable than an all round proposition covering distillation from anything under Heaven. I know what the honorable senator desires to accomplish, and I am with him. I desire that at least under this item of the schedule the wholesome spirits distilled from molasses, which is in itself a wholesome material, may have a show. The schedule also provides for whisky to be distilled from grain. Any kind of grain would “fill the bill.” Under the clause grain which was musty, weavilly, semidestroyed, or rotten, would be grain, and I think could be used for distilling purposes. Surely spirit distilled from such grain would not be as wholesome to the consumer as spirit distilled from molasses ! The great natural industry of Queensland should not be excluded in the interests of other States which do not produce molasses. The cane-growers of New South Wales have just as much right to be considered in this legislation as have the grain-growers of South Australia or Victoria. If Senator Drake can modify his amendment as I have suggested, I shall be very happy to vote with him.
– I do not think that the amendment of Senator Drake is as bad as the clause. If honorable senators will refer to clause 7 of the Spirits Bill, they will see that it attempts to carry on the effort which has been made to give a distinctive importance to the very best qualities of spirits which can be produced in the Commonwealth. It reads as follows : -
At that point the descriptions, and the certificates stop. The only other descriptions are “ Australian standard malt whisky,” “Australian blended whisky” - which, correspond with the two classes of brandy - and “Australian standard rum.” The object of the clause was to secure the production of spirits in the best possible manner. But when we turn, to clause 3, we find that there is no description or certificate provided for. The descriptions were not contained in the Bill as it was originally drafted, but were inserted in the other House. The clause comes in as an absolute hybrid. It is suggested that we should make special provision for a kind of brandy. Suppose that it was made from 25 per. cent, of grape wine and 75 per cent, of grape spirit, that would not be brandy. Still, it could be sold as brandy.
– It could not be labelled brandy.
– There is no provision to prevent the article from being labelled anything. It would really be a hybrid. It would be an Australian product, in which no Australian could take any pride. I do not think that there ought to be such a provision made, and I would much sooner see it struck out. If such a mixture could be produced, it ought to come under the item of “ spirits, n.e.i.” At any rate, we ought not to encourage distillers to produce it. I intend to oppose the clause. By his amendment, Senator Drake is practically asking the Committee to allow Joshua Brothers or any other firm to take spirits which they can purchase at 9d. per gallon, and by the use of 75 per cent, of that spirit and 25 per cent, of grape wine produce an article subject to an Excise duty of only 12s. per gallon. My only fear is that if the amendment were made such spirits would be largely produced and consumed. What I would suggest to the Minister is that he should strike out the item.
.- It is evident that the “ brandy of commerce “ has been produced in order to perpetrate a fraud upon the public. There is no compound brandy which is not distilled wholly from grape wine. In the two previous clauses we have provided for different blends of brandy, namely, pure grape brandy and blended brandy, and having done that we have done all that is required. I am inclined to agree with Senator Clemons that the best thing we can do with blended spirit is to let it come under the item of “ Spirits n.e.i.”
– If it were struck out it would automatically come under that item.
– If there is a possibility of the clause being passed I shall vote for the amendment, because I desire to insure that the public shall get as pure a spirit as possible. There is no doubt that the arguments of Senator Drake in that connexion are unanswerable. The Minister said that grain spirit blended naturally with wine spirit. But I hold that it is an unnatural union. One of the main objects of the Bill, I think, is to establish a high standard of Australian liquor. Therefore we should not do anything which would militate against its accomplishment. If, however, we gave a protection of 2 s. per gallon to blended spirit of this kind, it would not be likely to tend in that direction. It should be borne in mind that the blended spirit would also come into competition with pure Australian malt whisky, and with blended whisky. If it were allowed to compete with blended whisky it would injure an article which is eminently safe and good. I have heard medical men say that the worst drink a man can take if he has to drink atall is bad brandy. I do not intend to encourage the perpetration of a fraud upon the public. I feel inclined to vote against the clause, but if it is not possible to secure its omission, I shj.ll support the amendment, because spirits distilled from molasses are, I hold, just as good as spirits distilled from grain.
I do not think that that should be encouraged, and no vote of mine shall encourage it.
– I am strongly of opinion that by this item we are proposing to allow the distillation of a class of spirits which will not be creditable to the Commonwealth.
– Not the distillation but the blending.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.Will it be possible for spirit of this class to be labelled as brandy?
– Sup pose that it is manufactured and exported, could it be labelled by the exporters as Australian brandy?
– Of course, the exporters could tell all sorts of lies.
-I think that we should strike out the item. If distillers are going to prepare a. liquor which will not be creditable to the Commonwealth, and which is a blend between grain and grape spirit, it should pay Excise duty as spirits, n.e.i., and only receive the advantage of the difference between the Excise duty and the export duty - namely,1s. per gallon. What is proposed, however, is to permit the manufacture of a spurious kind of spirit, and to give to it the enormous protection of 3s. per gallon. It has been argued by Senator Neild that molasses is a very wholesome material from which to manufacture so-called brandy. The stuff from which this spirit is made is certainly not fit for food. I can assure the Committee that the so-called molasses which is used for spirit distillation is stuff that even a blackfellow would not eat. It is simply the dregs or residue remaining after all the wholesome molasses has been extracted. I have seen such stuff sold in Java for 5s. per ton.
– I was talking about Australian molasses.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.The Australian molasses from which the distillers obtain a large amount of their spirit is material which no one would think of using for purposes of food. There is, of course, a market for good molasses in more than one form. There is a market for it as golden syrup.
– That is made from pure sugar.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.The colour proves that it is not made from pure sugar, which is white. We ought not to give a substantial protection to distillers to produce a spirit which will not be creditable to the Commonwealth, and which is 25 per cent, grape spirit, and 75 per cent, grain spirit ; the grain, as Senator Neild has pointed out, meaning any kind df grain. We ought not to allow the enormous loss of revenue which will undoubtedly result from permitting the wide margin of 3s. between the import duty and the Excise. If we struck out the whole item, it would still mean giving a margin of1s. to the distillers. The present Excise is 13s., and the export duty 14s., the protection being ample. I shall vote for excising the item.
-Col. GOULD (New South Wales) [10.2]. - I wish to reiterate what I have already said on the motion for the second reading - that in item 3 we propose to impose an Excise of 12s. on blended spirits distilled partly from grape wine and partly from grain; and that in item 5 we propose to impose an Excise of11s. on blended whisky made partly from barley malt and partly from grain. It appears to me that an undue advantage is proposed to be given to distillers from grain over and above that given to the distillers from grape wine. Whatever we doin regard to blended spirits distilled partly from grape wine and partly from grain we should do with regard to blended whisky. Let them come in as spirits n.e.i.
– I desire to withdraw my request on the understanding that honorable senators desire to strike out the whole of item 3.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
Motion (by Senator Drake) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be re. quested to leave out item (3).
-Col. GOULD (New South Wales) [10.5]. - What does the Minister propose to do with respect to item 5 if we request the House of Representatives to omit item 3? It would not be fair to treat the whisky industry differently from the brandy industry. I certainlydo not like to see the distillation of wine-spirit put at a disadvantage as compared with the distillation of blended whisky and brandy.
– Honorable senators will observe that the scheme of the schedule is to charge an Excise duty of10s. on pure brandy,11s. on blended brandy, 10s. on pure whisky, and11s. on blended whisky. Brandy and whisky are treated precisely on the same lines. What we are dealing with is blended spirit, which it is proposed shall’ pay a higher duty. It is known as the brandy of commerce. It should not receive anything like the same amount of protection as pure whisky and brandy. I observe that this matter was considered by the Tariff Commission, who support what is proposed.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to leave out item (3) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority …… 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Item 4 agreed to.
Item 5 -
Blended whisky, distilled partly from barley malt and partly from other grain, containing not less than 25 per cent, of pure barley malt spirit (which has been separately distilled by a pot still or similar process at a strength not exceeding 45 per cent, over proof), the whole being matured by storage in wood for a period of not less than two years, and certified by an officer to be whisky so blended and matured, per proof gallon,11s.
– It is provided that blended whisky shall consist of not less than 25 per cent, of pure barley malt spirit, whilst the balance of 75 per cent, may be made from other grain. It seems to be fully established that, unless there is some special restriction as to the method of distillation, molasses spirit is as wholesome as that produced from grain. According to the item as it stands, any kind of grain may be used for the production of 75 per cent, of the spirit forming the blend. My desire is to permit of the use of molasses spirit in making up blended whisky, and I should be content if the word “ materials “ were substituted for the word “ grain.” I am not particularly wedded to that term, but am willing to adopt it, because it has been recommended by the Tariff Commission. If it would prove more acceptable to the Committee, I should be prepared to substitute the word “molasses.” With regard to 75 per cent, of the proposed blend, it would be absolutely necessary to distil the spirit to a high degree of purity in order to eliminate the deleterious elements, and the product in the form of silent spirit would be indistinguishable from the molasses spirit, which would be just as wholesome.. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item (5) by inserting after the word “grain,” line 2, the words “‘or molasses.”
– I trust that the Committee will not agree to the amendment. Whisky as made in Scotland and Ireland is composed entirely of spirit distilled from pure barley malt or from grain. I have never heard of any such thing as a whisky made of any other than grain spirit. As a rule, in Scotland and Ireland, whisky contains about 25 per cent, of malt spirit. The dextrine in the malt converts the starch in the crushed grain into sugar, and the sugar in the process of fermentation produces alcohol. The spirit is distilled mostly in patent stills, the product of which is often of quite a low alcoholic strength as that made in the pot stills, and is equally as good for human consumption. Whisky blenders in the old country are not permitted to use any other than grain spirit. I would remind honorable senators that we are giving Australian blended whisky a name, and are imposing upon the blenders the necessity to comply with certain conditions. If we attach the name “ Australian blended whisky “ to a product composed partly of pure barley malt spirit and partly of spirit produced from molasses, we shall interfere seriously with the reputation and sale of the article.
Such a product might be called rum or “molasses spirits.” If the words “any other materials” be used, the spirit might be made from potatoes, beet, or any other material, and the Australian blended whisky would not sell. If the whisky made in the Commonwealth is to have a good name, it must be made from pure malt; and, when so made, it will be certified as Australian standard malt whisky. There may, however, be a blended Australian whisky, the materials of which are clearly set forth in the Bill.
– I should like to point out the difference there is between the proposal before us and the recommendation of the Tariff Commission. In dealing with the question of blended whisky, theTariff Commission recommend that such shall be whisky “ which shall have been separately distilled by the pot still, or similar process, at a strength not exceeding 35 per cent, over proof.” The proposal in the Bill is that this blended whisky shall have been distilled at a strength not exceeding 45 per cent, over proof. The Commission had a lot of evidence as to the different methods of distillation, and we came to the conclusion that if whisky be wanted - although I admit the point is in doubt - it ought to be distilled in a pot still. In progress report No. 2 there is considerable reference to the comparative merits of the pot still and the patent still. I do not need, however, to read more than the following: -
With the patent still, practically all the socalled impurities, which go to give flavour and bouquet, are eliminated, leaving only a silent white spirit.
In Mr. H. Brind’s distillery the pot still is used. In his opinion it produces the best whisky. Joshua Bros. use both patent and pot still. Mr. Henry A. Preston, of Abbotsford, uses a pot still. Mr. C. P. Preston, of the Australian Distillery (South Melbourne), proposes to use a composite still. Messrs. Penfold and Co., and Seppelt and Son (South Australia), have pot stills of an approved type.
This increase up to 45 per cent, represents an intention and a desire to allow this blended whisky to be made by the patent still, whereas the Tariff Commission, in limiting the strength to 35 per cent., showed a desire to almost compel the use of the pot still. All the members of the Tariff Commission attached considerable importance to this point. If honorable senators are going to vote for the item as it is, they will practically encourage the useof the patent stiil, and give effect to the desire of certain distillers to oust the pot still. I believe that the evidence in the United Kingdom and elsewhere is distinctly in favour of the pot still for making the best whisky.
– I do not think that is strictly right.
– May I read to Senator Best the following extract from the report of the Tariff Commission : -
In the United Kingdom a movement is on foot to restrict the use of the expression “ whisky “ to spirit produced by distillation from pure malt, or from malt and corn, in a pot still, and to provide that what has hitherto been called “grain spirit” shall be known as “patent still grain spirit” …
That emphasizes the difference between the production of “ whisky “ from the patent still and “ whisky “ from the pot still.
– The pot still has an appliance attached to it by which spirit may be rectified a good deal above 35 per cent, overproof.
– That, I think, is what is called a composite still.
– Is the patent still one by means of which whisky may be produced from any material ?
– That is so. It produces what is practically only a silent white spirit.
– But spirit of 45 per cent, over proof is not silent spirit.
– If this provision as to the 45 per cent, is allowed to remain, it will distinctly encourage and allow of the use of the patent still, whereas a limitation to 35 per cent, would practically compel the use of the pot still. It is most desirable that the use of the pot still should be encouraged, because it is proposed to produce whisky which, though blended, will go out with our label, and bearing the certificate of a public officer. The proposal of the Government, if carried into effect, would depreciate, or tend to the depreciation of, that which we are going to advertise as our best, or our nextbest, whisky.
– The provision with regard to the method of distillation refers only to the 25 per cent, of pure barley malt spirit. My point throughout is that of this blend 25 per cent, is to be of spirit distilled in a particular way at a low strength to retain the peculiarities which experts speak of as impurities, and which give it a particular flavour.
– They, will not be retained if it is distilled up to 45 per cent, over proof.
– There is a limitation with regard to the method of distillation applying to the 25 per cent., which is intended to retain the impurities which give a distinctive character to the spirit. But with regard to the 75 per cent, of the blend, there is no such provision. It may be a spirit distilled in a patent still or in anyother way whatever, and after it has undergone that process, it is indistinguishable, no matter from what material it has been distilled. It may be distilled from any kind of grain, but if distilled at such a strength as to eliminate the so-called impurities, it will be indistinguishable from spirit distilled from molasses, which all the experts say is as wholesome as spirit distilled from any kind of grain. The experts’ say that spirit distilled at a certain strength become absolutely featureless and neutral, and the same whether distilled from one material or another. This item makes provision for the use in the blend of 75 per cent, of that kind of spirit.
– No; of spirit distilled from grain, and it need not be distilled at 75 or 80 per cent, over proof.
– I am dealing with the words of the schedule, and I say that with regard to the whole of the 75 per cent, of the blend, there is no restriction imposed as to the method of distillation.
– We do not limit it, but what the honorable senator says will not be done.
– If barley be” the grain used, it is possible that it will not be distilled at that strength, but rice or any other kind of grain might be used, and there is nothing in this item to prevent /the blenders putting 75 per cent, of silent spirit into this blend.
– It must be from grain.
– I contend that we have no right to discriminate against a spirit equally wholesome which is made from molasses.
– I hope that the Committee will not adopt this request. It is true that this item provides that as regards 25 per cent, of the blend, it shall be rectified up to 45 per cent, ‘over proof, but nothing is said as regards the balance of 75 per cent. Senator Drake suggests that it will be composed of a neutral spirit. So far as my information goes, the honorable senator is entirely wrong. Grain spirit can be rectified even up to 60 per cent, over proof, and retain much of its destructive character.. The point is that no distiller would think for a moment of rectifying his grain spirit up to such a strength as would, make it a neutral spirit. Senator Drake’s case depends on the supposition that this, whisky will be made of 25 per cent, pure malt spirit, and 75 per cent.’ neutral spirit. But to make true whisky the 75 per cent, must necessarily retain a large degree of its distinctive character. Rectification might take place to a strength between 40 and 50 per cent, over proof, but even above that .strength the distinctive character of the grain is retained. The honorable and learned senator desires that the item should be so amended that it will be possible to substitute molasses for grain spirit in this blended whisky. If molasses spirit is used it must be a neutral spirit. There must he no trace of molasses in it, or that would spoil the whisky altogether. I think that members of the Tariff Commission will support my statement that it is vital to this item that the spirits of which the blend ds composed must be grain spirits.
– That is so.
– If it is made from molasses spirit the blend will not be- a whisky at all. In my second-reading speech I quoted at some length from the opinions of leading distillers to show that the chief constituents from which whiskymust be made are oats, wheat, maize, and, of course, barley. If spirit be made from molasses it is deliberately misleading the public to dare to call it whisky. We should be careful in dealing with this Bill that the public shall not be supplied with, a spirit under the name of whisky which is not whisky.
– Is not sugar used in’ the distillation of whisky?
– I cannot say. I think that the result of malting produces a degree of sugar, but that is only incidental to the grain itself.
– I think that sugar is used quite apart from that.
– I cannot say. Senator Clemons has raised a point which has been discussed a great deal of late; - 1” refer to the relative merits of the pot and patent stills. The Coffey, or patent still, has been used by the leading distilleries of the world for the past sixty or seventy years. The DCL distillery, which has an annual output of 10,000,000 gallons, has used that still during the whole of the period I have indicated. They employ maize, rye, and oats, and the product of all or any of these is distilled either in the pot still or in the patent still.
– They do not make their best whisky with the patent still.
– Dunville and Company, distillers, of Belfast, who manufacture about 2,500,000 gallons of spirits annually, use both the patent and the pot stills. So far as I understand the relative merits of these two stills, it cannot be denied that excellent whisky can be marie from both. The only difference between them is that the patent still is more rapid in its action. If we are careful of the degree of strength to which a spirit may be rectified, it is quite immaterial whether it is distilled by means of the patent or the pot still. But for the reasons which I have urged, we should not support the request of .Senator Drake.
– I shall oppose the amendment, but not because spirits made from molasses are , more injurious than any other highlyrectified spirit. That is not the question at issue. During the past twelve months I have heard a great deal in reference to the respective virtues of the pot still and the patent still, and I really cannot understand why the House of Representatives has departed from the recommendation of the Tariff Commission in respect of the manufacture of whisky. From the sworn evidence tendered to that body, I am satisfied that the very best whisky is always produced by means of the pot still. Of course those who have ‘adopted the patent still have done so because it is more rapid in’ its action, and cheaper. But if we! desire to secure a genuine spirit, it must be distilled by means of the pot still. Why another place has sanctioned the distillation of whisky at a higher strength than that recommended by the Tariff Commission I cannot understand. Honorable senators must always recollect , that the higher a spirit is rectified the more costly does it become, and consequently when a distiller is manufacturing whisky out of grain as well as out of malt, he will naturally rectify it only to that degree of strength which is absolutely necessary to produce whisky. Consequently, the idea of Senator Drake that spirit made from different varieties of grain will be rectified to such a high degree of strength that it will become neutral spirit, is nonsense.
– That contingency is not provided for in the Bill.
– But I would point out to the honorable senator that the cost of doing what he suggests will be too great .for any distiller to incut . If we permit whisky to be blended with spirit of a higher degree of strength than itself, it will naturally require more breaking down and will not contain the properties which, are essential to a good whisky. I do not know whether any honorable senator intends to submit an amendment in favour of adhering to the recommendation of the Tariff Commission that spirit shall only be rectified up to 35 degrees over proof.
– I do.
– If the honorable senator does that I shall support him. I shall oppose any attempt to blend with malt spirit any spirit other than that which is manufactured from grain. That course of action is not prompted by the fear that molasses spirit is unwholesome. Rum may Be just as wholesome as whisky or brandy. But rum should be distilled from the byproducts of sugar, brandy from the products of the vine, and whisky should be manufactured from grain. I may tell honorable senators that grain and malt are often mixed before distillation takes place. But here we provide for a different method. We declare that there shall be at least 25 per cent, of malt spirit in the spirit distilled. As the production of whisky from malt is more expensive than its distillation from grain, it necessarily follows that in any blend distillers will use the maximum of the one and the minimum of the other class of spirit. I trust that we shall not allow any spirit other than that which is produced from grain to be blended, with, any article which is sold as whisky.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item (5) by inserting after the word “ grain,” line 2, the words “ or molasses “ - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Senator Clemons) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item (5) by leaving out the figures “ 45,” line 6, and inserting in lieu thereof the figures “ 35.”
– I have not been informed as to the reason why in this case there has: been a departure made from the recommendation of the Tariff Commission. It will be observed that, although the distillation of pure barley malt spirit is allowed up to a strength of 45 per cent, over proof, it is not to exceed that limit. The Tariff Commission recommended that it should be allowed to be distilled up to a strength not exceeding 35 per cent, over proof. I should imagine that a sufficient reason was given in the other House for increasing the maximum strength to 45per cent, over proof. I see that some witnesses speak of 35 per cent, over-proof as being the limit to which its distillation should be allowed.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 9
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
– Iam surprised that no attempt has been made, except in regard to the first item, to increase these Excise duties, although we have been told that we shall lose from£60,000 to £80,000 in revenue if the Government proposals are adopted.
– That is in the first year.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.Yes. No doubt the loss in subsequent years will be greater.
– Is not the honorable senator opposed to indirect taxation ?
– I think that, except in regard to spirits of the finest quality, the Excise should equal the import duty. It is proposed to levy a duty of only11s. per gallon on whisky, 75 per cent, of which may be spirit distilled from rice, rye, or any kind of grain, only the remaining 25 per cent, being pure barley malt spirit. The former Excise was 13s. a gallon. As the import duty is 14s., there is a difference of 3s. a gallon in favour of the local distiller. Senator Clemons has pointed out that pot still whisky costs probably 4s. a gallon to produce, but I do not think that we should give as much protection to a poor spirit such as this blended whisky as we give to blended wine brandy, for instance, which has also an Excise of 11s. I therefore move -
That the House of Representatives berequested to amend item (5) by leaving out the figures “ 11 “ and inserting in lieu thereof the figures “ 12.”
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the affimative.
Request agreed to.
Item, as requested to be amended, agreed to.
Item 6 agreed to.
Item 7 -
Gin, distilled from barley malt, grain, or grape wine, matured by storage in wood for a period of not less than two years, and certified by an officer to be pure gin, per proof gallon, 12s.
– I hope that the Committee will not insist that gin shall be matured for two years in wood. It was shown during the second-reading debate that it would be a great injustice to subject good gin to treatment that would discolour and injure its sale, because intending purchasers would naturally be suspicious if given an article of the colour of light brandy or whisky. Maturing in wood for two years would provide a deliberate incentive to adulteration. When the spirit is pure white the introduction of adulterants is difficult, but when it is coloured the presence of a foreign ingredient is hidden. We shall not improve the quality of gin by requiring it to be matured in wood for two years. Gin so treated loses its distinctive appearance, and its commercial value must necessarily suffer. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item (7) by leaving out the words “ matured by storage in wood for a period of not less than two years.”
– - I freely admit that the Tariff Commission has blundered, so far as this question is concerned. We came to the conclusion that all these spirits would be improved by being matured in wood, forgetting that gin, which is highly rectified and colourless, would be injuriously affected by being so treated. Senator Smith’s criticism was quite justified. If these words were allowed to remain in the item injury would be done to the industry. They should not appear in the schedule, as the effect of storage in wood would be to cause the discoloration of gin without any value being added to it by reason of its having matured for the period fixed.
– Is any gin distilled in Australia?
– I believe that a fairly large quantity is distilled in Queensland. In any case, the Tariff Commission in this respect made a mistake.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales) [11.10]. - I am glad to have SenatorClemons’ admission that a misunderstanding on the part of the Tariff Commission arose in connexion with the proposal that gin should be matured in wood. It has been clearly demonstrated by some of the leading scientists in Great Britain that gin does not require to be matured for two years, and that it loses its commercial value by being stored in wood, since it not only becomes discolured, but has a tendency to deteriorate.
Request agreed to.
Item, as . requested to be amended, agreed to.
Items1 8 to 10 agreed to.
Item 11 -
Spirit for fortifying Australian wine, subject to Regulations, per proof gallon, 6d.
– I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item (11) by inserting after the word “wine” the words “or for making vinegar.”
A similar provision appears in the existing Excise Tariff Act under the heading of “ Spirits for fortifying wine,” and we think it necessary to insert it here.
Request agreed to.
– I have been informed that some little dissatisfaction has arisen in Queensland owing to the officers requiring that only pure grape spirit shallbe used for fortifying Australian wine, although a very pure spirit, 60 per cent, over proof, which I am informed admirably suits the purpose, and with which the vignerons would be perfectly satisfied, is being produced in that State. I believe the matter is dealt with by regulations under the Distillation Act, and I would ask the Minister of Defence to make inquiries with a view of asserting whether this spirit is of the character described by me, and if so, to direct that the vignerons in Queensland shall be allowed to use it.
– I promise the honorable and learned senator that inquiries will be made.
Item, as requested to be amended, agreed to.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to add the following new item : - “‘(12) Spirits for the manufacture, from Australian products exclusively, of scents and toilet preparations, subject to regulations, per gallon.. . ros.”
– The convenience of honorable senators generally would be studied if the Bill were allowed to remain in Committee until to-morrow. I appeal to the Minister not to proceed further with this proposal tonight.’
Request agreed to.
That clause 2, and item 4, be reconsidered.
Clause 2 -
In lieu of the duties of Excise imposed by the Excise Tariff 1902 on spirits, duties of Excise shall, from the seventeenth day of August, One thousand nine hundred and six, be imposed on spirits in accordance with the schedule.
Provided that spirits distilled wholly from grape wine and spirits, n.e.i., which were on the seventeenth day of August, One thousand nine hundred and six, in the spirit store of any distillery or in any Customs warehouse, may, until the first day of March, One thousand nine hundred and seven, be delivered at the rates of duty specified in the Excise Tariff 1902.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to leave out the proviso to clause 2, and to insert in lieu thereof the following : - “ Provided that spirits distilled wholly from grape wine and spirits n.e.i. may, until the thirty-first day of December, One thousand nine hundred and seven, inclusive, be delivered at the respective rates of duty specified in the Excise Tariff 1902.”
– It is understood that there will be an opportunity for reconsideration ?
– Yes ; I am not proposing to take the Bill out of Committee.
Request agreed to.
Clause, as requested to be amended, agreed to.
Item 4 -
Whisky distilled wholly from barley malt by a pot still or similar process at a strength not exceeding 45 per cent, over proof matured by storage in wood for a period of not less than three years, and certified by an officer to be pure malt whisky, per proof gallon, 10s.
Motion (by Senator Clemons) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 4 by leaving out the figures “ 45,” and inserting the figures “ 35.”
– I shall not call for a. division, but it must not be assumed that I shall not object to the request at a subsequent stage.
Request agreed to.
Item, as requested to be amended, agreed to.
– I wish to ask the Minister if he will see that when the Bill is being dealt with again, honorable senators will be provided with a fair copy showing the amendments made in it?
– The clerks will look after that.
Bill reported with requests.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion bv Senator Keating) read a first time.
Message received from the House of Representatives informing the Senate that it had agreed to the Bill without amendment.
Bill received from House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Playford) read a first time.
Bill received from House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Playford) read a first time.
Senate adjourned at 11.27 P m-
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 20 September 1906, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1906/19060920_senate_2_34/>.