3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Assent reported. .
MINISTERS laid upon the table the fol lowing papers -
Federal Capital - Further correspondence between the Prime Minister and the Premier of New South Wales, dated 25th February to 30th March, 1908.
Pacific Island Labourers. - Statement showing the number of Islanders returned, and the number of exemptions, &c.
Repatriation of Kanakas. - Return showing the cost of repatriating Kanakas during the years 1906-7 and 1907-8.
Public Service Act1902 -
Amendment of Regulation 104. - Statutory
Rules 1908,. No. 36.
Amendment of Regulation 104. - Statutory
Rules 1908, No. 38.
Amendment of Regulation 104. - Statutory
Rules 1908, No. 40.
Census and Statistics Act 1905 -
Provisional Regulation - Declaration by Officer under Section 7. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 37.
Population and Vital Statistics of the Commonwealth for the Quarter ended 30th September, 1907. - Bulletin No. 5.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answer to the first question is, “Until the year 19 14,” and the answer to ‘the’ second questionis, “Yes.”
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answer to each question is “ Yes.”
asked the Min ister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Will the wireless telegraph station proposed to be erected on the coast of Western Australia be placed on the mainland at or near Fremantle or on Rottnest Island?
– The intention is to place the station referred to on the mainland.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The Acting Deputy Postmaster-General, Brisbane, has furnished the following information: -
The statement that the telegram was not delivered until 12.8 p.m. on 23rd. instant, is incorrect. On Saturday, the aist, a message was* received for “ Finlayson, Temperance Hall,” at 12.51 p.m., and was taken out for delivery at 1.5 p.m. on the same date. . The messenger found’ the hall closed, and left a slip under the office door at the hall, and the. message was eventually delivered at 8.37 a.m. on Monday, the 23rd instant, to the caretaker, at the hall.’ As there arc no instructions from Messrs. Finlayson and Sons as to the disposal of their messages after office hours, there was no unavoidable delay in delivery.
Senator McGREGOR (for Senator
If he can inform the Senate whether the - manufacturers of harvesters in the Commonwealth have reduced their selling price in accordance with the Act of 1906?
– Inquiries are being made in reference to the matter, and when the information is obtained it will be duly made known to the Senate.
asked the Minister of Home’ Affairs, upon notice -
Is it the intention of the Government to bring down a Bill to amend the Electoral Act before the close of this session?
– A new Electoral Bill is in courseof preparation,” but it is hardly probable, I think, that it can be introduced during . this session.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow -
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 27th March, vide page 9762) :
Division XIII. - Paper and Stationery - Item 356. Paper, viz. : -
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 356, paragraph P, by inserting the following new paragraph : - “pp. Pulpboard in the Reel for coating, sub ject to Departmental By-laws, free.”
These boards are used for avery special class of work. Last week I endeavoured to get coated boards made free, because they are used for a special class of work, but it was ascertained afterwards that coating is done in Australia, and, therefore, the proposal has been changed with a view to having uncoated boards made free,as they are foot made here. . I have seen the manufacturers, who have informed me that they do not make the boards, but do the coating. It ought to be very gratifying, indeed, to honorable senators to find that we have artists, engravers, and printers who can turn out postcards so well as they do. I have not seen anywhere a superior class of work. The postcards I have here depict Australian scenes painted by Australian artists. I do not an ticipate any objection to my proposal. The coating of the boards is- practically a monopoly ; but the manufacturers have guaranteed that they will not raise the price, and, if possible, will lower it. The present price is 31s. per gross, Imperial size, and in no case will this be exceeded; but it may possibly be reduced.
– Before this request can be received it will be necessary for the Committee to dispose of paragraph p.
-The honorable senator moved a request on Friday just before we reported progress.
– Yes, I did.
– The request mentioned by Senator McColl on Friday was to insert in a separate paragraph the words “ Chromo boards, uncoated, free.” It was called on, but I do not understand that it was moved. “It will be necessary for paragraph p to be disposed of before a request for a new paragraph can be submitted, as the articles in the proposed new sub-item are not specifically mentioned in the item.
– Just as we were about to report progress on Friday afternoon, Senator McColl moved a request for the purpose of making uncoated chromo boards free. I have been giving consideration to the proposal, and I see no reason why it should not be adopted if it is altered to read -
Pulpboards in rolls for the manufacture of coated boards, under Departmental By-laws, free.
The honorable senator has used what is practically the same language, but I think that instead of using the word “coating” he might adopt the phrase” for the manufacture of coated boards.” Under paragraph m, pulpboard comes in at duties of 20 and 15 per cent. Provided that the material is imported for the purpose of being converted into coated board, and thus giving employment here, I have no objection to its being made free.
.- Personally I have no objection to acceding to the Minister’s suggestion ; but, as he knows, the subject is a very technical one ; and the definition I have submitted has been agreed to between the printers of these works of art and the manufacturers. I suppose that the meaning of the two definitions is almost identical, but if the Minister insists upon having his own definition, of course, I must accept it.
– -On reference to the Customs officers, I find that they would give the same interpretation to both sets of words, so that it does pot matter which set is adopted.
Request agreed to.
Item 356. Paper, viz. : -……. (Q.) Gummed paperi n.e.i., ad val. 20 per cent.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [2.47]. - I think it is reasonable that on this article, as on many others, a preference should be given to the United Kingdom. Therefore I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested - to make the duty on item 356, paragraph Q (imports from the United Kingdom), ad val. 15 per cent.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item 356.Paper, viz. : - .
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 356 by leavingout paragraph T, and inserting it in item 357, paragraph
A charge of 3s. per dozen packson these cards is equal, on the declared value of these goods, to an ad valorem duty of about 75 per cent. This is altogether unreasonable, and I do not suppose that even honorable senators who are in favour of high pro tective duties desire that there should be this discrimination between different sorts of cards.
– The object of the honorable senator’s request is to cut down the protection proposed. The duty of 3s. per dozen packs on playing cards is the same as that imposed under the Tariff of 1902, and is the duty that was recommended by both sections of the Tariff Commission. Obviously, it was recognised by the members of the Tariff Commission, as it has been by the Government and by Parliament in the past, that playing cards should be subjectto a higher duty than the duties proposed under item 357, paragraph a. Under the 1902 Tariff the industry for the manufacture of these cards has grown up, and has been well established in Sydney. I believe that they are also made in Melbourne, and that considerable employment is given in connexion with their manufacture. I am’ sure that Senator Pulsford does not wish the Committee to misunderstand the object of his request, and to construe it as a desire on his part to cheapen playing cards to the user. The honorable senator has frankly admitted that his object is to reduce the protection proposed to be afforded, and I hope the Committee will not accept the request.
– The Minister has scarcely done me justice in his remarks. My object is that this protective duty should be stated in a way that can be understood. Does the Minister admit that the duty proposed represents an ad valorem duty of 75 per cent.
– These cards vary in value, as the honorable senator must know, and I suppose that on some qualities the duty would represent as much as 80 per cent.
– I dare say that on some kinds of playing cards this duty would be as high as 100 per cent., but the average, according to the declared value of last year’s imports, is over 75 per cent. I say that it is outrageous that a protective duty at the rate of 75 per cent. should be imposed in the form of a specific duty, when perhaps very few members of the Committee are aware that such a very extravagant ad valorem duty is being submitted. If the Minister is not prepared in this case to accept a duty of 30 per cent., as imposed on the cards included in item “357, paragraph a, let him ask for 40 per cent. If the honorable senator wants 75 per cent., let him have the pluck to say so straight out.
Item 356. Paper, viz. : - ….
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 356, paragraphy, free.
If honorable senators will look back to item 125, they will find that sheathing, roofing, and boiler felt is free under that item, and Ihave moved this request because paragraph y of item 356 involves a contradiction of item 125, since it makes the same class of goods dutiable at 5 per cent. under the general Tariff.
– I understood the Minister to say that this is practically the same item as item 125. Does the honorable senator contend that this paper is the same as felt?
– Yes; roofing and sheathing paper is the same as roofingand sheathing felt.
– It seems to me that if this paragraph of item 356 includes articles already included in item 125, it might be left out.
– If it is made free the effect will be the same.
Request agreed to.
Item 356. Paper, viz. : - …. (aa) Writing and Typing Paper (plain), in sheets not less than 16 by 13 inches, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
– In accordance with notice, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 356, paragraph aa, by leaving out the word “Typing “ and inserting in lieu thereof the word “ Type-writing.”
The use of this word “ typing “ has led to a good deal of confusion and dispute as to whether duplicating and such paper is not referred to. The item is intended to cover typewriting paper.
Request agreed to.
.- I desire that this paper should be made free of duty. I therefore move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 356, paragraph aa, free. [ have frequently moved in cases like this that articles which cannot be made here should be admitted duty free, so that revenue should not.be collected upon them, and that the people who require to use them should get them at the lowest possible cost. I must confess that I have not had, so far, much support from the alleged freetraders in the Committee in giving effect to so laudable an object. I find that, whilst free-traders are perfectly willing to impose taxation on Australian taxpayers in order to protect manufacturers in the United Kingdom, they absolutely refuse to give protection to Australian manufacturers. I hope that honorable senators will permit typewriting paper to be admitted free.
– The duty proposed in this case is 5 per cent. on imports under the general Tariff, whilst imports from the United. Kingdom are to be free, and, of course, the objectisto give a preference to the United Kingdom. It is hoped that the imposition of a duty of 5 per cent. on this paper imported from countries other than the United Kingdom will serve to divert the trade from those countries to Great Britain. This paper is made in the United Kingdom, and it would therefore be only in respect of importations from other countries that the duty, small as it is, would be operative.
.- I am not at all satisfied with the Minister’s explanation. If this duty is to be operative, it can only be where countries other than the United Kingdom can supply Australiaat a cheaper rate. I hope that honorable senators who refuse to give protection to Australian manufacturers will assist me in this case to refuse to give protection to British manufactures. If they do not believe in protection at all, where is the logic in voting for protection to British manufactures. If this paper is imported from countries other than the United Kingdom, we shall raise revenue on it, and I am opposed to a purely revenue duty. For these reasons I shall persist with my request, and I hope that it will be carried.
.- There is one reason why countries other than Great Britain can sell us goods at a cheaper rate.
– What is that?
– They pay lower wages than are paid in Great Britain. Senator Givens. - No, theUnited States can supply us with goods more cheaply than can the United Kingdom, although the wages paid in the United States are higher than those paid in the United Kingdom.
– The paper included in this paragraph can be supplied by countries other than Great Britain more cheaply than Great Britain can supply it only because lower wages are paid in foreign countries. Withthe exception, of Australia and the United States, there is no other country in the world that pays as high wages as are paid in the United Kingdom. We talk of a White Australia, and I earnestly hope that Australia will be kept white, but in pursuance of that policy we should prevent the possibility of imports from Japan and other countries where coloured labour is employed.
– None of this writing paper comes from Japan.
– I am told that these writing papers do come from Japan, as well as from other places. We should have a feeling of kinship with the people of Great Britain, and where we can without any sacrifice to Australia we should give British mainufactures a preference.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item 356, Paper, viz. : - …
And on and after 10th December, 1907 - (bb) Copying, Tissue, and Tissue Cap Paper and Paper for Paper Patterns, in sheets or rolls, weight not to exceed 9 lb. for 500 sheets 20 x 30 inches, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; and on and after 10th December, 1907, free; (United Kingdom), free. (dd) Baryta Surface Coated Paper or Board for Photographic purposes - on and after 10thDecember, 1907, free.
– I desire to move a similar request to make paragraph bb free in the first column. I want to see those . free-traders who profess free-trade principles continually voting for protection for the British manufacturer, when all the time they would not give an iota of protection to the Australian manufacturer.
– That paragraph is already free in the first column. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 356, paragraph dd, to read as follows : - “ Paper specially prepared for coating with photographic emulsions - on and after 10th December, 1907, free.”
As the paragraph stands it is confined simply to one class of such paper coated by a special process. We propose to make it applicable to all similar papers.
Request agreed to.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 356 by adding the following new paragraph : - “(ee) Waxed stencil paper and Carbon paper, in packets or otherwise, free.”
Under . the “old Tariff these articles were dutiable as “ Paper n.e.i.” at 15 per cent. Under this Tariff they would be dutiable according to the manner in which they came in. If in boxes, they would be dutiable at 30 and 25 per cent. as manufactured stationery under item 357, paragraph a. If they came in in large sizes, to be cut up locally, they would be dutiable at 20 and 1 5 per cent. under paragraph m of item 356. They are not manufactured locally, they are in great demand, and there does not seem to be any immediate prospect of their local manufacture.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [3.18]. - Under this request carbon paper of any size will be free?
– Thank you; I wanted that done.
Request agreed to.
Item 357. (a) Stationery, manufactured; including . . Pencil Cases; Pen and Pencil Sets and Penholders n.e.i. ; . . . Paper Lace ; …. ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 pex cent. . . .
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 357, paragraph a, by leaving out the words “ Pencil Cases, Pen and Pencil Sets, and Penholders n.e.i.”
My object is to insert those articles in item 364, where they come in more appropriately, at the same rates of duty.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [3.20]. - Wooden penholders have already been made free of duty, but there are a number of metal and bone penholders used by school children. I have a sample here. Is it the Minister’s intention to bring them under a subsequent item?
– Yes ; all pens and pencils will be dealt with under item 364.
Request agreed to.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 357, paragraph a, by leaving out the words “ Paper Lace.”
Lace paper is already made free under item 356, paragraph o. This is only putting the article in twice by inverting the words.
Request agreed to.
Item 357. ….
Printers’ Matrices, ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
.- I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 357, paragraph B, by leaving out the words “ including Printers’ matrices,” and inserting the following new paragraph : - “(B2) Matrices for stereotyping purposes, having a superficial area of 12 square inches or under, teach,1s. For every square inch of superficial area over 12 square inches, 1d.”
This matter was discussed when we dealt with item 187, under which electrotypes and stereotypes are dutiable at the same rates as I now propose for printers’ matrices. These matrices are, roughly speaking, moulds from matter already in type. They are imported and have been admitted at a very low duty, with the result that work which should have been done in Aus tralia has not been done here, to the disadvantage of, at any rate, some printers. A duty of 30 per cent. upon them is practically no duty at all, because, probably, the value of the matrice itself would not amount to more than1d. Even a duty of 100 per cent. would only be equal to a fixed duty of 2d., and would not stop the importation. These moulds should be treated in the same way as electrotypes and stereotypes.
– The honorable senator should ask for a duty of 1,000 per cent.
– The honorable senator, being fairrminded, will see that as the Committee has put a fixed duty on electrotypes and stereotypes, printers’ matrices should be treated similarly.
– On the honorable senator’s reasoning the duty on the matrices should not be so high, because they give an opportunity of some work being done here, while the electrotypes and stereotypes leave no work to be done.
– The matrices leave only a small amount of work to be done in stereotyping. A satisfactory protective duty will cause the whole of the work to be done here. Under the present fixed duty very few stereotypes and electrotypes’ will find their way into the Commonwealth, and I hope that the duty I now propose will stop the importation of these cheap moulds. When the 1902 Tariff was introduced I understand that a similar proposal was operative for a short while. Much of the matter contained in the Review of Reviews, which has a. fairly large circulation in Australia, was up to then printed from casts or stereotypes made from imported moulds, but when the duty was imposed those moulds ceased to come in, and from that time to the present the work in that office has been done by Australian workmen, from matter set up by linotype or monoline machines or by hand. For uniformity, if for no other reason, the freetrade members of the Committee ought to agree to my request, which not merely comes from the artisans and . printers, but’ is also approved of by the employing printers of the Commonwealth.
– I am not personally acquainted with the value of these matrices, but if it is correct, as Senator Findley states, that they would be worth about1d. each, the1s. duty which he asks for is entirely disproportionate.
– I mean that the paper material is worth about1d., but the work done in the mould might be worth 10s. or£1.
– I cannot agree that it is necessary to bring them on a level with item 187.
– When we were discussing item 187, the Vice-President of the Executive Council said he would agree to this request if I submitted it later on.
– That is the first I have heard of that undertaking, although I have gone through my divisions carefully to ascertain if any such arrangements existed. When the honorable senator referred to item 187, it struck me that there was a substantial difference in that case, because it covers stereotypes and electrotypes “ for advertising purposes.” I suppose that printers’ matrices might be brought into the Commonwealth to set up a book that had been printed abroad, and have nothing to do with advertisements at all. Of course they might come in as advertisements. If they were brought in for the purpose of printing in the Commonwealth a book that had been printed abroad it is obvious that they would not come in as single matrices. In regard to advertisements it is plain that the bulk of the matter imported would not be very large, but, on the other hand, the greater parti of the matter brought in for magazines, books, and literary purposes would be very bulky, and the duties of 30 and 25 per cent. would have some appreciable operation on them.
– Would you value it as so much paper?
– I was wondering how the value would be ascertained. I suppose it would be arrived at by the amount paid to the exporters abroad by whoever was importing the article.
– No Customs official could value them.
– The only way to ascertain the value would be by the amount paid by the importer to the person sending them here!. I. will certainly make inquiries from my colleague in regard to this matter, as I can assure Senator Findley that this is the first I have heard of it, and on hearing his arguments it seemed to methat there was some justification for a distinction between the articles brought in for advertising purposes,and those brought in for other purposes.
Senator VARDON (South Australia) the request submitted by Senator Findley. The matrices referred to are really taken from type, and are sent here so that stereotypes may be made from them in order that books or other matter may be printed from those stereotypes. No doubt if these matrices come in it tells somewhat against the printers, because the whole of the work of’ the setting of the type is done abroad.
– The honorable senator’s argument is based on the assumption that if the matrices are shut out the printing will be done here.
– At present I am assuming nothing of the sort. The object of importing matrices is to save the setting up of type here. I do not see exactly how the value of the matrices is to be fixed in the way proposed by Senator Findley, because matrices of 12 inches square or less need not necessarily be of anything like the same value. The duty on matter set up in the larger type might be as much as the setting up is worth, but matter set up in the smaller type would be of greater value so far as the printer’s labour is concerned. There is a great deal of difficulty in connexion with this proposal. I do not know that there is much need for such an alteration as is suggested. I am not aware that matrices are being sent here at the present time, and at any rate I have not heard of it in the course of business. After all, considering the type printing machines we possess, the value of the matrices isnot very great. I think we might let the duty stand as it is.
.- I would like to know the decision of the Government in regard to my request, because I think ona previous occasion I had an assurance from the Vice-President of the Executive Council that he would support the request when I moved it latter.
– I understand now that my honorable colleague gave that assurance.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Item 358(Printing and stencilling inks n.e.i.), agreed to.
Item 359. Printing ink invoiced at 6d. and under per lb. ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
.- I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 359 by inserting before the word “ Printing “ the word “ News.”
I wish the item to read “ News printing ink invoiced at 3d. per lb. and under andin packages of not less than 1 cwt., ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
– The honorable senator ismaking no provision for ink invoiced at 6d. per lb. That would fall back under the previous item and come inat 6½d. per lb.
– How is that?
– That is the effect of the request.
– I do not desire to do that. If the Committee agrees to the alteration I suggest, will news printing ink be dutiable at6½. per lb.?
– No, but all invoiced over 3d. per lb. will be.
– I will deal with that. Since the alteration of duty was made in another place there is no doubt that news printing inks have been so invoiced that not even an expert could tell the correct value of some of the inks invoiced between 6d. and1s. 6d. a lb. They could not tell whether the price was correct if invoiced at 6d., or incorrect if invoiced at1s. It is only after the work has been completed that one can really judge the quality of a particular ink, and give an approximate estimate of its value. That much harm is done by the alteration made elsewhere is evidencedby the fact that a considerable amount of dumping is being carried on by the makers of various kinds of ink, particularly throughout Great Bri tain. I hold in my hand an invoice giving the price of jobbing black ink at 7½d. per lb. Nothing would be easier than for the makers to invoice that ink at 6d. per lb.
– Or at 3d.
– They arenot likely to do that, because that would be a bit below the mark. We find printers’ blue ink invoiced at1s. 3d., and ultramarine ink invoiced at1s. I mention that incidentally to confirm my statement that a considerable amount of dumping is carried on.
– Or false invoicing.
– Yes. Honorable senators who feel interested can consult a catalogue printed and published by one of the ink manufacturers of Great Britain, and inks which are invoiced at the prices I have stated are quoted at 5s., 6s., and 7 s. per lb.
SenatorTurley. - Why lower the duty if dumping is going on?
– I only propose to lower the duty in respect of news inks, so that those who want what is considered a better quality of ink- job printing ink - shall not have an opportunity of getting it brought in invoiced at 6d. per lb.
– The effect of the request will be to increase the duty on all inks over the value of 6d. per lb.
– The effect of the request will be to prevent some persons who are invoicing their inks under their value from continuing a practice which is inimical to established industries here. The manufacturers of the better qualities of jobbing inks in Victoria and New South Wales . have demonstrated that they can turn out inks equal to some of the best inks made in any part of theworld. But while this unfair competition exists, there is little or nohope of the success of the local industry.
– The sole effect of this request will be to very much more than double the duty on a large proportion of the imported inks.
– Why not do that if we want to protect Australian manufacturers ?
– It is just as well that the Committee should know that Senator Findley is proposing to take all inks except those used bythe big daily press-
– And also by the small country press.
– What Senator Findley asks is that every small jobbing printer shall pay a much heavier duty on his ink, but he does not ask that the big daily press shall pay more than 30 per cent.
– No; it only means that the better quality of ink shall not be brought in as news ink.
– In his proposal, Senator Findley has stated the price of the ink per lb., and set out that it shall be imported in bulk. He might just as well . have admitted that he was asking the Committee to more than double the dutv, except in the case of the news ink used by the daily Dress, and, of course, very much more largely used by the big daily newspapers than by the small country ones.
– In any case, they would have that without any alteration.
– They would have the better qualityof ink.
– There is no better quality of ink used by the daily press than by the up-country press. The honorable senator is asking the Committee to very materially increase the duty.
– Because the inks on which the honorable senator proposes to levy a duty of 30 per cent. are those with which newspapers are printed, but all inks which are valued atmove than 3d. per. lb. are to be brought under the previous item, which imposes a duty of6½d. per lb. For instance, inks which were valued at from 4d. to 6d. per lb. will fall under item 358, which deals also with “ Inks, n.e.i., and be dutiable at 6½d. The duty will range from 100 to nearly 200 per cent. on the value of the ink. I am afraid that Senator Findley does not quite understand the effect of his request. He says that his sole object is to prevent the fraudulent manipulation of invoices, but I tell him that that can be carried on under his proposal. If the value is prescribed at 6d. per lb-, men who have ink valued at 7d. per lb. may be under a temptation to falsely invoice it at 6d., and it is exactly the same withmen who have ink valued at 6d. per lb. I ask the Committee to refuse to impose a duty which will equal nearly 200 per cent. on certain kinds of ink, and run down to 100 per cent. on other kinds. If a dutyof30 per cent. is not high enough, let Senator Findley submit a straight proposition to increase the rate, and not attempt to bring news ink under item 358.
. -I think that Senator Findley will achieve his object sufficiently if he is content with the insertion of the word “ News.” The intention of another place was to prevent inks which are not newspaper inks from being imported at a lower duty than they should be, and that appears to be what Senator Findley desires. I agree that the reduction’ in value per ‘ lb. of the inks Which are to come in at that duty will not avail anything where the exporters or importers are dishonest. . If, however, the word “ News “ is inserted before the words “ Printing Ink,” the importers will have to make a declaration, and should they declare falsely they will be liable to a prosecution for perjury. I do not know whether the package provision ought not to be insisted upon in order to secure the wholesale instead of retail packing of the article.
– I can see from Senator Millen’s argument that it would place many newspaper job printers in a manifestly unfair position if the request were carried in its present form. With the permission of the Committee, I should like the requestto be altered so as to read -
News Printing Ink invoiced at 6d. per lb. and under, and in packages of not less than 1 cwt.
– The only request before the Committee at the present time is to insert the word “News” before the words “Printing Ink.”
– Iamglad that Senator Findley has agreed to alter the wording of his request. I do not think that the use of the word “ News “ is material, but I shall not object to its insertion. The difference between news ink and jobbing ink is only a question of quality. There is nothing to prevent news ink from being used for jobbing work. It would be very difficult to get a country printer to declare that ink which is being sent to him for news ink primarily wouldnever be used on a rough poster. The main thing which determines the character of any ink is the package in which it is imported, and ink primarily intended and used for newspaper work comes out in . large packages. Jobbing inks are exported in small packages. If the words “one cwt.” are inserted the honorable senator will secure the object which he has in view, even withoutthe insertion of the word “ News.”
– I prefer the word “ News “ to be inserted.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [3.58]. - It seems to me that this proposal is intendedto benefit a fewlarge printing establishments, while all the smaller ones are to pay a higher price for their inks.
-They are all on the same footing in regard to news printing ink.
– In a large number of cases country newspaper offices do jobbing work as well as. newspaper work.
– They will all have to pay the same rate of duty.
– How can we expect a country printer, to clean up his rollers, and get out a new variety of ink in order to strike off a few posters which are wanted in a hurry? The declaration to which Senator Trenwith has referred is most necessary I admit; but I fear that it would lead to a crop of perjury cases. People would be declaring that they were importingink for newspaper purposes., and hardly a day would pass by without a lie being given to the declaration, made, perhaps, in pure forgetfulness. Country printers certainly wouldnot clean up their rollers merely to print posters or dodgers or anything wanted in a hurry, and a great deal of the work which is done in country offices is required hurriedly in connexion withtravelling shows. It isridiculous to suppose that they would clean the rollers, carefully put away the ink in respect of which declarations have been made, and get out new ink in order to do work required in a hurry.
– “ News” ink is a very wellunderstood term. It does not mean ink that is used solely for the purpose of printing newspapers. It is a term applied to a quality of ink which the proprietors of small’ newspapers can purchase cheaply, and which they can use in the printing of posters as well as of their newspapers. If we were to describe this ink as “ newspaper “ ink, with the condition that it was only to be used for the printing of newspapers, the position would be very different. But “news “ ink is merely descriptive of a quality of ink.
– At first this request came as a surprise to me. I do not think that Senator Findley, when circulating his list of requests, intended to move this. He was probably influenced to some extent by a letter which, I suppose, in common with other honorable senators, he received during the day. I was aware that there had been some considerable conflict of opinion in another place with respect to the duties to be imposed on this and the previous item. I knew that the matter had been dealt with by the Tariff Commission, after listening to a great deal of evidence pro and con. Certain representations were made to the Government with respect to the duties which should be imposed in connexion with these two items, but other representations were madeby master printers in other parts of the Commonwealth, and it was precisely because it was impossible at this stage to get the opinion of master printers in other parts of the Commonwealth in reply to the representations in the letter received to-day, that I determined to take no notice of ‘. the latter. Senator Findley proposes that item 359 should read - .
News printing ink invoiced at 6d. per lb. and under, in packages containing not less than 1 cwt.
When the Tariff was introduced in another place, the wording of this item was -
News printing ink invoiced at under 3d. per lb., and in packages of not less than 1 cwt.
After considerable discussion the. previous item 358 was’ agreed to as it stands, at 6½d. and 6d., or, in the alternative, 30 and 35 per cent., whichever returns the higher duty. That was agreed to upon the understanding that the Treasurer would modify the next item, and alterit from the form in which it originally appeared to that in which it now appears.
– The Treasurer would not have agreed to the suggested alteration if he had been aware of the circumstances in which ink is being imported at the present time.
– That may be, but, as a matter of fact, item 358 was passed in another place as it stands in the schedule on the distinct understanding that item 359 would be altered from the form in which it was first introduced to the form in which it now appears. One strong argument put forward for the adoption of that course was that item 359, as originally introduced, would be manifestly unfair to persons who wished to use ink which would be invoiced at from 3d. to 6d., and would also prejudice the proprietors of country printing offices who did jobbing work as well as the publication of newspapers. Until Senator Vardon spoke just now, I was under the impression that “ news “ printing ink was ink used solely in the-, printing of newspapers. Senator Vardon has explained that “news” printing ink has a definite trade acceptation, and is merely ink of inferior quality, the use of which is not confined solely to the printing of newspapers. In view of that explanation, and as Senator Findley has altered his original proposal from 3d. to 66.., I see no objection to the restoration of the word “news.” But I must say that at first the request came rather as a surprise to me. As matters now stand, I think the Committee might ask honorable members in another place to put the item in the form suggested by Senator Findley.
Request agreed to.
Request (by Senator Findley) agreed to-
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 359 by inserting after the words “ per lb.” the words “ and in packages containing not less than1 cwt.”
Item 360 (Writing ink, &c.) agreed to.
Item 361. Ceramic Transfers for pottery, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 361 (imports under General Tariff), free.
These ceramic transfers are required by manufacturers of pottery in Australia. We hope that the pottery industry will become a very important industry in the Commonwealth.
– We can get plenty of these transfers from the United Kingdom.
– Of course we can, but if new and artistic patterns are prepared elsewhere, our manufacturers will be debarred their use unless they are prepared to pay duty upon them. The Government seem to have gone mad in submitting proposals for an insane preference; which amounts to nothing. A dutyof 5 per cent, would not keep out artistic patterns produced in countries other than the United Kingdom if they were approved by the public taste, and our manufacturers should be in a position to obtain the most artistic patterns produced in any part of the world so that their goods may be made as attractive as pottery manufactured elsewhere. For these reasons, it is altogether inadvisable that the proposed preference should be agreed to, when its only effect will be to impose an unnecessary tax upon the people who will be called upon to pay the duty.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Item 362. Kindergarten Materials prescribed by Departmental By-laws, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent.; and on and after nth December, 1907, free ; (United Kingdom), free.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [4.14]. - I wish to inquire from the Minister whether this item covers the raw material required for the Kindergarten Army which the Government propose for the defence of Australia?
Item agreed to.
Item 363. Paper Patterns, not being connected or associated with advertising matter, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 363 by leaving out the words “not being connected or associated with advertising matter,” and inserting in lieu thereof the word “ each.”
My object is subsequently to move requests asking the House of Representatives to make the duty1½d. under the general Tariff and1d. on imports from the United Kingdom. This may appear to be a some- what insignificant matter, but it is most important to those who have made any inquiries into it. The owners of a few London periodicals, which have no literary pretensions’ whatever, give away these paper patterns gratis with their periodicals. Sometimes *as many as three or four separate patterns are given away with a twopenny journal. I, have here a sample of high-class work done in Australia by Australian hands. Besides those engaged in the trade of making the patterns, a large amount of employment is given to sten.cillers, printers, and artistic designers. Those engaged in the trade of making patterns for women’s apparel, find that the free patterns given away by British periodicals compete seriously with them. It is unnecessary to impress upon the Committee the need for supporting those who have already started , the industry here, by giving them a reasonable degree of protection against the unfair form of competition with which they have been struggling.
– Where is the unfairness ?
– I hold in my hand a sample of the competition of which the Australian pattern manufacturers justly complain. It is alleged to be a literary production, and has the usual accompaniment of free patterns. It finds its way to many Australian homes, and nothing is charged for the patterns.-
– How many people are given employment by the industry in Australia?
– Sufficient, at all events, to warrant the production of an Australian publication such as -I have here, showing what can be and is made in Australia. If the honorable senator will examine the patterns in it, he will find that they lack nothing in artistic design and refinement of taste. My object is to put a tax on the stuff that is’ now circulated here free, because I desire to see the people engaged in this industry protected in common with the steel rail, makers . of New South Wales, the banana, growers of Queensland, and those employed in the timber industry in various States. There is no reason why Ave should not protect the small man as well as the large man.
– The honorable senator wants a high duty on paper patterns for the home of the poor woman, but a low duty on machinery for the Western Australian mines.
– That gag is getting blue-m’ouldy. I move my request in the interests of those engaged in this small but not inconsiderable industry, and also in the subsidiary industries which it helps along.
– This Chamber has reached about the lowest depth of degradation in a proposal of this character-
– The honorable senator must not refer to the Chamber in those terms.
– I will withdraw those words, and say that the proposal now made is about the most degrading which has yet been made in connexion with the Tariff ..
– Is that remark in order?
– The’ honorable, senator must not refer to any request as degrading. I ask him to. withdraw the ex- pression.
– Very well. I will withdraw all phrases and let the proposal stand on its own merits or demerits, whatever ‘they may be, but no proposal has yet been made which will serve outside this Chamber as a better illustration of the spirit which pervades the Tariff as a whole. The paper patterns referred to . are’ used by nearly every woman in Australia. We are to impose taxation of an absurd character upon the women of Australia because, perhaps, half-a-dozen women or girls are getting a small amount of employment.
– In reproducing patterns designed on the other side of the world.
– I suppose they reproduce patterns which have been created in the great fashion centres of the world. The majority of Australian women get in the course of the year a number of patterns, and a proposal’ to tax them in this absurd fashion for the sake of a few people’ will surely not commend itself to the judgment of the Committee. We have sought in various ways in dealing with the Tariff” to lower - taxation wherever possible ‘on the women of Australia.” I understand- that a special reduction was made in the’ case of gloves. I hope we shall not take the step now suggested, because if we do. we shall put ourselves in a position which you, sir, would not allow me fully to describe.
Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) [4.’24T.- Some honorable senators are under the impression that this is’ a small matter which should not engage the serious attention of the Committee, but from a protectionist point of view it is very important. There are in this State, as well as in two or three others, industries that have been created in this particular line, giving employment to a considerable number of women. It is a very nice line of occupation, but the industry is now, and has been for some time, seriously threatened by the manifestly unfair competition of those engaged in similar work abroad.
– Why manifestly unfair ?
– Because there are publications coming into the Commonwealth duty free, the publishers of which have been approached by the paper pattern people with an offer of their surplus supply, in order to advance their circulation, and have no doubt been subsidized bythose pattern people with a view to getting the patterns sent to. the Commonwealth without charge. The publishers, as they receive an advantage from the pattern people, are only too glad to put the patterns inside their periodicals.
– Is not the subsidy the other way about? Why should the patternmakers give their patterns for nothing ?
– The patterns are put in the periodicals with no description upon them, but they are advertised in another part of the periodical at so much each. Buying the papers is like dipping into a lucky bag. You take your chance of what the pattern will be, and people desiring to get a particular pattern often keep on buying the periodical.
– So it is the periodical that the honorable senator wants to keep but?
– No. I want to keep out the patterns because the industry has been established here, and so long as they are allowed to come1 in free in the magazines it is manifestly unfair trading.
– Let them stick to their last.
– Let the newspaper man stick to his business, and not mix it up with patterns. A considerable number of women are employed in Australia in pattern making, while work is given to engravers and printers. . The industry directly, and indirectly, provides a considerable amount of employment.
– This item was free in the 1902 Tariff, and the Tariff
Commission recommended that it should’ still be free. The Government proposed that patterns should be dutiable at 5 per cent. (General Tariff), and free (United Kingdom). When the Tariff Commission investigated the matter, several witnessesattended. The main complaint of those engaged in making patterns was that they had to pay 15 per cent. upon the paper which they used, and it was suggested that that should be made free. Some of the manufacturers said it would satisfy them if that were done. One witness, a dealer in art needlework and paper patterns in Sydney, objected to the imposition of a duty upon paper patterns on the grounds that -
The Tariff Commission also quote that witness as saying that -
A duty on paper patterns would seriously increase their cost. The freedom from duty of the paper for local makers would not he objected to.
It must be apparent that these articles are used practically as tools of trade by many persons. There has hitherto been no duty upon them while their manufacturers have been paying 15 per cent. on their raw material. Considering that the finished articles are used for the purposes of other industries, and that the manufacturers have in the past been subjected to a duty of 15 per cent. on their raw material, while they have had no protection against competing patterns coming from abroad, they’ are surely in a very much better position now with the 15 per cent. duty removed from their raw material, and a 5 per cent. duty imposed on completed patterns coming from foreign countries. I hope the Committee will see the wisdom of adhering to the duties as they stand. If honorable senators refer back to item 356, paragraph bb, they will notice that copying, tissue, and tissue cap paper, and paper for paper patterns are now free. They have been relieved of the 15 per cent. duty, and although paper patterns come in freely from Great Britain, as before, they do not come in freely from abroad. As to the necessity of these papers for pattern purposes, the position is, I think, a much improved one for the paper pattern manufacturers, and conserves the interests of other workers who are interested.
– I hope the Committee will follow the advice given by the Minister, of Home Affairs. If there are any goods which should be admitted duty free, they are those which come under this item. When Senator Findley stated that the patterns imported, are surplus patterns, I- really think he knew that his statement was .inaccurate. His experience must teach him that in. all publications the greater the circulation the more valuable the production is. These patterns are published by hundreds of thousands, and distributed throughout the civilized world. Artists of the very highest class, receiving large salaries, are engaged to produce them, and I venture to say that, with the limited circulation in Australia, they could not be produced at a cost of less than about ten .times the price at which people are at present enabled to buy them. There is scarcely a home in Australia the wives and daughters of which do not receive a benefit from having these patterns placed within their reach at a nominal price, and to impose such a duty as is proposed on such articles, the value of which is inestimable, is absurd. Local publishers are not in a .position to give the same value as regards artistic work of this kind as the publishers of London and Paris, who employ the best artists.
– Why did you not think of that on steel rails?
– I know at times my honorable friend ‘has an extraordinary amount of common sense, but at other times displays an extraordinary lack of it. Perhaps the honorable senator will be able to explain what steel rails have to do with patterns, when I have done. I can only say that if this item were one pertaining to Western Australia, I am sure- my honorable friend would jump to the rescue of the Minister of Home Affairs at once. But he indicates that he is going to support a duty on an article which goes into the home of every woman in Australia, and is valuable to her in regard to her home affairs. It is proposed to put a duty on a large number of artistic newspapers, which the ladies and women of Australia know the value of.
– What is the difference ?
– I will say the women ‘ of Australia, if the honorable senator takes any exception to the term I used. My idea is that there is no nobler word than “woman,” but the articles coming under the item go into the highest as well as the humblest of homes.
– Does the honorable senator say that this duty would be a tax on the people who take the papers ?
– How does the honorable senator reconcile that with the vote he gave on steel rails?
– I thought that was another “ steel rails “ friend. Some honorable senators, when they find they have no evidence to back up then arguments, immediately fly to some single instance that has nothing to do with the subject under discussion. If the mover of the request had as much evidence before him on this matter as I and ‘ other honorable senators had in favour of the duty on steel rails, I venture to say he would not have made such a foolish proposition as to put a tax on these patterns ; and not only that, but to indirectly increase ‘the cost of the magazines which import the patterns. I hope, that considering all sides of the case, the Committee will support the Government.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [4.36]. - There is one point that has not been mentioned, and I think it is worthy of note. These patterns- car hardly be turned out in Australia without a pattern obtained from- the homes of fashion in the Old World to work upon.
– They are. mostly reproductions.
– Exactly.And if they, are kept out of Australia we shall find that people here will get single copies of .’the patterns, and pirate them wholesale.- Senator Gray says it is costly to reproduce the patterns, but it would be impossible to protect them by any form of copyright or patent, as “the) are coming out continuously. Therefore., if the proposed duty is placed on them., people in Australia will be able t’o pirate the work of the brains and the hands oi other people. I intend- to vote for the item to be free.
– I shall vote against the request for the reason that the most unsatisfactory ^information has been given in support of it> and I may -say that when Senator
Lynch does not give satisfactory information in such a case, the reason must be that there is no satisfactory information to give. We have received no information as to what number of people are concerned in this industry, and have not been told what is the relative proportion between the proposed duty and the value of the article which is to be the subject of the. duty. Senator Lynch wishes to put duties of1½d.or1d. on each pattern, and has not fold us what proportion the duty in either case would bear to the actual cost of production.
– About 1,000 to 7.
– A duty of 1½d. or1d. On these patterns, which enjoy almost universalcirculaton, would not be under 200 per cent. Especially in view of the! strong arguments advanced by the Minister of Home Affairs in support of the stand the Government has taken up, and in view of the fact that we have had no satisfactory information in support of the request, I hope the Committee will sit down heavily upon it.
. -I look on the proposed duty as a tax on our homes, because many of the daughters of our homes, who are clever with their needles, buy these patterns, and are able to make blouses and dresses for themselves, thus saving a great deal of expense in employing other people to do the work. As I look upon the proposed duty simply as a tax in that way, I do not think it would be at all fair to vote for it.
.- I do not know what relation the duty proposed bears to the value of the article, and, possibly, the duty indicated may be somewhat high. At the same time, I must certainly dissent from the view that our own people cannot design these patterns. We have been told that they would simply pirate what has been done in other countries. I think we should encourage the artistic faculties of our people. 1 have shown to the Committee some postcards produced in Australia, and I have never seen them surpassed, and rarely equalled. There is a 30 per cent. duty on postcards now, . which has encouraged the artist to get them out. If we. do not make a start in encouraging our people we shall not attain to anything like perfection. The duty proposed may be somewhat, high, but if the mover were to’ modify it I think the Committee might support him. At any rate, I willvote for his request.
Item agreed to.
Item 364. (a) Pens, n.e.i., without holders, or not including holders, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent; (United Kingdom), free.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [4.46]. - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item . 364, paragraph a, by leaving out all the words after the letters n.e.i., and inserting in lieu thereof the words “ Penholders of bone or metal (except gold or silver, or gold and silver plated) and Wood Pencils having metal protectors, free.”
I may draw attention to the fact that under item 329, the Committee agreed to make wooden penholders free. I hold in my hand a card of school requisites. There are a number of penholders of bone, metal, and wood, all priced at1d. I desire to make bone and metal holders duty free. They are clean and wholesome. The youngsters cannot chew them, and thus there are no chewed ends to be-, come the medium of infection. Here is a school pencil with a metal protector for its top. It is used in every public school. It seems to me that after we have been freeing school requisities, it would be preposterous to charge a duty on these small items.
– Are these descriptions requisite, seeing that the letters “ n.e.i.” are used?
– I think so, but on that point I am quite willing to be guided by the Minister and his expert adviser. While we are encouraging education in every way, we ought not to impose a duty on articles of bone or metal, which are of the same value as articles of wood, and freer from the risk of transmitting germs of disease.
– The honorable senatorpractically proposes to leave, as the only pens and penholders that will be dutiable, those which are manufactured wholly or partly of gold or silver. I have no objection to that object being achieved, but I draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that I have given notice of a series of requests for the insertion of new paragraphs, ranging from d to 1, in item 364, for the purpose of transferring to that item articles which appear elsewhere in the schedule. If Senator Neild will refrain from pressing his request just now, I shall be agreeable to allow him, without specifically mentioning “bone” or “ wood,” to move a request practically stating that all penholders except those made partly or wholly of gold or silver shall be free. If .we make a request for the insertion of a new paragraph - j- that will cover everything which he desires to achieve. The intermediate paragraphs, in respect of which I propose to move requests, are a little complicated, as honorable senators will observe if they will read them, but they are required in order to validate practices which have taken place up to the present time.
– Will that cover pencils with metal or bone protectors?
– New paragraph f will include pencils of wood with metal, rubber, or other attachments. At the present time, they are being charged as fancy goods, under item 326 ; but, under the new paragraph, they will be admitted free from the United Kingdom, and at 5 per cent, from other countries. That will cover pencils. So far as pens are concerned, I shall be agreeable to make free all except those which are made wholly or partly of gold or silver.
– In the circumstances, I very willingly fall in with the suggestion of the- Minister. No doubt he is the. best judge of how these matters should be arranged, and, as -the result will be the same to the parent, I ask leave to withdraw the request.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
– - Pursuant to notice, I move -
That the House of Representatives be re- quested to amend item 364 by adding the following new paragraph : - “ (d) Pencils and Penholders of wood, free; and on and after 7th December, 1907 (d) Pencils of wood, but not including Pencils with metal or other clamps or attachments, also Pen Handles of wood (including metal attachments for nibs), free.” “ I may explain that this is a request for the transfer of item 329 as it stands to this part of the schedule.
Request agreed to.
– In accordance with the notice I gave, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 364 by adding the following new paragraph : - “(e) Fancy Pen;cils, ad val. (General Tariff), 35 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent. ; and on and after 7th December, 1907 (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.”
This is a new paragraph, which we desire the other House to insert in this place for the purpose of securing clearness. At the present time, these articles are dealt with as fancy goods under item 326, which imposes duties of 30 and 25 per cent.
Senator ST. LEDGER (Queensland) [4.56J. - I should like to know what is- the Minister’s idea of a fancy pencil. I suppose that it is one which takes a man’s fancy. “Fancy pencils” will be an extraordinary working phrase. We are really asked to impose a duty without underStanding what articles will be covered by the phrase, or how the Department can possibly interpret what it is meant to cover. I suggest to the Minister that he should not press the request for the insertion of this new paragraph e, but should deal with the matter in new paragraph g by adding the words “ Fancy Cases made wholly or partly of gold, silver, aluminium, or nickel.” That is, I think, the common or trade definition of a fancy pencil or pencil case. A very large number of the pencils which are. used are really pencil cases, because they can be folded and put in one’s pocket. Some of them are made of wood, and these probably will be taxed at 5 per cent, when imported from foreign countries, and admitted free from Great Britain. But a fancy pencil might be made of any kind of material. If we fail to define what we mean by “ Fancy Pencils,” it will be very hard for the Department to interpret the words.
– Although to some of ais it may appear rather difficult to define a “fancy” pencil, it is such a pencil as would ordinarily be regarded by the trade as coming within the category of “ fancy goods,” and there has been very little dispute between the Customs authorities and the trade as to the goods which come within that general designation. I point out further that to accept the honorable senator’s suggestion, to include these goods in’ paragraph g would not effect one of the purposes I have mentioned for moving my request, . namely, the validation of the’ collection of duty that has hitherto taken place under the Tariff. If it were not necessary to validate the collection of duty on these articles at 35 per cent., I should be prepared to fall in with Senator St. Ledger’s suggestion.
Request agreed to.
– In accordance with notice, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 364 by adding the following new paragraph : - “ (f) Pencils of Wood, with metal rubber or other attachments, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.”
The object here again is greater clearness. These articles were dutiable as fancy goods under item 326. At present they are regarded as dutiable under 364, paragraph b, pencils n.e.i., at 5 per cent., and free, but so that there shall be no doubt on the subject, it is thought well that they should appear in the Tariff in the form I have proposed.
Request agreed to.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 364 by adding the following utw paragraph : - “ (G) Pencil Cases, Pen and Pencil Sets, and Pen holders n.e.i., ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.” ‘
This is a transfer bodily of these articles from item 327 a, covering manufactured stationery. We propose to remove them from that item to what is regarded as a more appropriate place in the Tariff.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [5.4]. - Does the Minister propose that there should be so high a duty as 30 per cent., or 25 per cent., upon the cheaper pencil cases? There are all kinds of pencil- cases besides gold and silver pencil cases. There are aluminium and nickel pencil cases, and some made of vegetable ivory. Does the Minister propose these high duties on all these goods?
– Yes, they were included in the general item of manufactured stationery under the old Tariff, and previously under this Tariff.
– I hope that the Minister will agree to amend his request by inserting after the word “ cases “ the words “ wholly or partly of gold, silver, aluminium, or nickel.” These are the only pencil cases which I think should bear so high a duty as 30 or 25 per cent. I take it that any man who wishes to have a gold penr.il - to hang on his watch chain - should be prepared to pay a reasonable duty on it; but the ordinary fancy folding pencil cases which many of us like to have should not be dutiable at so high a rate. I am afraid that notwithstanding the Minister’s expressed intention, unless we are very careful, the Customs officers may depend upon the letter of the law, and impose higher duties on these goods than honorable senators generally believe they should bear. I formally move -
That the request be amended by inserting after the word “cases” the words “wholly or partly of gold, silver, aluminium, or nickel.”
– I hope that the honorable senator will not! press his amendment. I have pointed out that the; request I have submitted proposes a bodily transfer of these articles from the very comprehensive item 32 7 a under which they would be dutiable at 30 and 25 per cent. , and under which those . duties have already been collected upon them. These requests are being made in; order that any one may readily see the duties imposed on these articles. If Senator St. Ledger considers the other allied items in conjunction with the request which Senator Neild intends to propose, and which I have agreed to support, he will see that it is not at all likely that duties of 30 and 25 per cent, will be charged on the cheaper kinds of pencil cases. I think also that it would be wise not to specifically set out the materials of these goods, as by so. doing it is possible we might omit one or two which ought to be mentioned.
– In view of the Minister’s explanation, I shall not press my amendment.
Request agreed to.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 364 by adding the following new paragraph : - “ (h) School Pen and Pencil Sets and Boxes, free.”
This is merely a transfer of item 330, the item to which Senator Neild referred in conjunction with item 329.
Request agreed to.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 364 by adding the following new paragraph : - “ (1) School Pencil
Sets and Boxes, ad val. (General Tariff), 35 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent. ; and on and after 7th December, 1907 (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent. ; and on and after . . 1908, free.”
This is a new item. These articles are now classed with fancy goods, and we desire to make them free. The duty on them under the general Tariff was 35 per cent. up to the 7 th December last, after which the duty under the general Tariff was 30 per cent. We wish to take them out of the previous item in which they were included, and make them free, from a date which must later on. be decided by Parliament.
Request agreed to.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [5.12]. - In accordance with the suggestion of the Minister, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend item 364 by adding the following new paragraph : - “ (j) Penholders, other than of wood, and not being partly or wholly made of gold or silver, free.”
Request agreed to.
Postponed item 329….. And on and after 7th December, 1907 - Pencils of wood, but not including. Pencils with metal or other clamps or attachments, also penhandles of wood (including metal attachments for nibs), free.
Request (by Senator Keating) agreed to-
That the House of Representative’s be requested to leave out item 329.
Postponed item 330. School Pen and Pencil Sets and Boxes, free.
Request (by Senator Keating) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to leave out item 330.
Item 365 (Maps) agreed to.
– I have a request to propose on item 365.
– I have declared the item passed.
Item 366. Globes : geographical, topographical, and astronomical, ad val. (General Tariff), 5per cent.; (United Kingdom), free.
– I intended to move that both these items, which cover purely educational requisites, should be free in both columns. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make item 366 (imports under General Tariff), free.
The item was free under the former Tariff, and both sections of the Tariff Commission recommended that it should be free in this.
Why should we put a tax upon globes or maps when we know that the work of producing them cannot be absolutely correctly done in any one country, but requires collaboration?
– The honorable senator is against the 5 per cent. duty on anything.
– I am, but the honorable senator is a free-trader, and is always prepared to tax the Australian taxpayer for the benefit of the British manufacturer, while he will not tax him for the benefit of the Australian manufacturer.
– The honorable senator is always against Great Britain.
– The honorable senator is always against Australia, even on free-trade items.
– I hope the honorable senator will see that it is advisable to retain the item as it stands, because we can get the most of these articles that we want from the United Kingdom, and as there will be no duty in the second column there will be no tax upon the knowledge thus acquired. There was a necessity in the previous item for making some differentiation between the maps ofAustralia and of other countries, because there is at present being very extensively used in all the States of the Commonwealth a recently-issued map of Australia-
– Order. The honorable senator is not in order in discussing the previous item.
– It is, atany rate, desirable that we should encourage the importation free of what we know will be reliable, when ‘we know that information concerning Australia that comes from other countries is often most misleading, and, instead of being educational, has the very opposite effect.
– The Minister has shown that the 5 per. cent. duty is practically a bogus preference, because he says that nothing will come from foreign countries.
– With the 5 per cent. duty imposed.
– The Minister said that practically everything came from Great Britain.
– I said that we could get from Great Britain all that we wanted from abroad.
– In the circumstances the charge against foreign countries is of no advantage, even from a protectionist point of view. I shall vote for the request.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so. resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Item 367 (Parchment); item 368 (School and Drawing Slates); and item 369 (Stay Paper and Stay Cloth), agreed to.
Item 370. Licht-pausrohpapier, and Leatherette, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 370 by leaving out the word “Licht-pausrohpapier,” and . inserting the following new paragraph : - “ (b) Lichtpausrohpapier, free.”
This article should be treated in the same way as we have treated “ paper specially preparedfor coating with photographic emulsions,” under paragraph dd, of item 356. I understand that it is paper prepared in that way, although it is not used for taking photographs in the ordinary sense. It is used for taking helio prints of designs.
– Is there any objection to using the English term for licht-pausrohpapier? It means light tracing paper unprepared. It is brought in, sensitized in Australia, and used for the purpose of reproducing architects’ and engineers’ plans by a very simple process known as heliographing. This paper is also imported prepared and ready for use-. In that state it is called “ Licht-paus- papier,” the syllable “roh” meaning raw, or unprepared.. Under the old Tariff the prepared paper paid 15 per cent. duty, and the unprepared came in free. The Minister proposes now to allow the unprepared paper free, but a duty of 30 per cent. is imposed in this schedule upon the prepared or sensitized paper. I wish to ask the Committee to approve of a lower duty on the prepared article. As the Tariff reached us there was a full difference of 25 per cent. between the unprepared and the prepared, because this paper comes from Germany. The duty which the Minister now asks us to take off is a purely revenue one on a German production. Having taken off that 5 per cent., and allowed free the raw material for the one individual in Australia who is engaged in sensitizing this formof paper, we may reasonably reduce the duty upon the prepared article.
– Does the honorable senator mean that the prepared paper comes under item 410, as sensitized paper?
– It might just as well be dealt with here under the paper division. If the Minister will agree to a duty of 20 per cent. upon the prepared paper, it will be a great concession to the large number of draughtsmen and engineers who use it. I think I am correct in saying that there is only one man in the Commonwealth who is attempting to sensitize licht-pausrohpapier. There is a difference of 25 per cent. between the prepared and unprepared paper. If we make this itemfree, assuming the duty on item 410 is carried at 30 per cent., there will be a difference of 30 per cent. instead of 25 per cent.
– Has the honorablesenator, got a sample of the particularpaper to which he refers?
– I could show a sample, but I do not attach much importance to it. I do not know one paperfrom another, but the honorable senator can lookat the sample I have if he likes. By meansof these’ papers draughtsmen’s plans are produced. They are known as helios. They are not photographic papers in the ordinarysense. The method is to place plans on the papers and to expose them to the sun’s rays, but they cannot be used for photographic purposes.
– I would point out that if these papers are included in item 410 I cannot allow the honorable senator to discuss the matter on this item.
– They are not set out under item 410, and at present we are dealing with tracing papers. This is the only place in the Tariff where tracing paper of the kind I refer to is mentioned. The paper I am dealing with is like tracing paper. I would ask the Minister of Home Affairs to accept a slightly lower duty on the prepared paper.
– I cannot promise Senator Millen that I will accept a lower rate of duty on the finished article, but, in any case, I would point out to him that the proper method of procedure would be to move a request for a new paragraph to item 410, because I understand from the Customs officials that 30 per cent. is charged on the paper referred to under the authority of the provisions contained in that item. . As I have stated; the paper is not used for the purpose of taking an ordinary photographic landscape or subject, but is used for a photographic or sun-print process by which replicas of plans and designs are taken.
– Which have to be hand-drawn.
– It is a photographic operation. The sun is the medium of causingthe print to take place on another surface. The sensitized paper comes under photographic films and. papers,” on which there is a duty of 30 per cent. It will be proper when that item is under discussion for Senator Millen to move a request to reduce the duty on this particular kind of paper. But, as there is nothing dealing with sensitized papers in the present item, I would ask the Committee to make this paper in its raw state free.
Request agreed to.
Item 371 (Books n.e.i., Prospectuses and Catalogues (other than trade) n.e.i., and all printed matter n.e.i. - agreed to.
Division XIV. - Vehicles.
Item 372. Bicycles, Tricycles, and similar Vehicles n.e.i., and Frames thereof, whether partly or wholly finished, ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
– I intend to ask the Committee to request the House of Representatives to fix instead of the duties of 30 per cent. and 25 per cent. duties of 25s. and 20s., but before doing so I will ask the Committee to request the House of Representatives to restore pro forma the original duties of a specific character which were imposed on bicycles when the Tariff was first introduced in another place, and which operated up to a certain date. The first request I will submit is simply for the purpose of validating collections under the original proposals. This is necessary owing to an omission on the part of somebody or other in transferring the Tariff from one Chamber to the other. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 372 by inserting the original duties, viz. (General Tariff),£5 5s. each, dr ad val. 30 per cent., and (United Kingdom),£5 each, or ad val. 25 per cent., whichever rate returns the higher duty, up to and including 10th December, 1907 ; and on and after 11th December, 1907.”
Request agreed to.
– If the request just carried is acceded to by the House of Representatives, and I do not think there is any doubt of that, the duties would, without any further action, stand at 30 and 25 per cent. ad valorem. I now move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 372 (imports under General Tariff ), 25s. each.
I wish to point out that, atthe outset, in another place, as honorable senators are aware, a heavy specific duty was proposed to be imposed on bicycles imported into the Commonwealth. In the discussion that took place elsewhere, it was considered that a general Tariff of 35 per cent. ad valorem, with a preference of 30 per cent., was very reasonable protection, but since the specific duties ceased to operate, and the ad valorem duties have been operative, it has been found that in actual practice, while another place was dealing with the whole completed bicycle, and taking that as the article in respect of which the duty was to be imposed, as a matter of fact the only articles made here to any extent are bicycle frames and forks.Provision is made in the Tariff for the admission, at a very low rate of duty, or free, of most of the parts of bicycles for assembling here. The duties of 35 and 30 per cent., which are supposed to operate as a duty against the completed bicycle, are absolutely inoperative in that regard altogether, because completed bicycles are not imported. On the other hand, the frames and forks are imported. Frames and forks are also made very largely in the Commonwealth, and form the basis of an industry for what is called the manufacture of bicycles from locally-made frames and forks and imported parts.
-Does the Minister propose to leave the wording of the item as it is?
– And the duty will be the same on a frame as on a completed bicycle ?
– Will not that have a tendency to stop the local industry, and to encourage the importation of completed machines ?
– No; because so many of the parts come in free. Pretty well everything but the small leather bags will come in free. Inquiry has shown that the reduction of the duties on the frames would have a very injurious effect on the local industry, and that it would be more profitable to build bicycles here from imported and ready-made frames and forks. The invoiced prices of frames and forks range from10s. to 15s. for the cheapest, up to 30s. for the dearest.
– The honorable senator wants to levy a duty of 25s. on an article worth only10s.
– The duties of 30 and 25 per cent. range from 3s. 6d. to 8s. 6d. per frame and fork, making a total price of 13s. 6d. to 38s. 6d., as against 36s. 2d. to 46s. 8d. for the locallymade frames and forks.
– Will not the effect of the request be that the finished article will come in under a duty of 25s. ?
– No; all our frames and forks should be made locally.
– But, under this request, will it pay them to do so?
– I think so. The object is to encourage the local making ot frames and forks - a thing which is very desirable. If we can conserve the local making of the frames and forks - what is really the most essential part of a bicycle so far as strength and durability are concerned - practically all the other parts will come in at a lower rata or free, and give a considerable amount of employment to those who are concerned in making the frames. Other parts, some of which are patented, will come in at lower rates, or, in some instances, free from the United Kingdom. I hope that the Committee will see its way to concur in the request, because, as a duty on completed bicycles, it is really inoperative.
– The Minister has made rather a’ startling proposition. Quite apart from the heavy duty which he proposes to levy on the frames and forks, he is asking the Committee to agree to the same duty being charged on a part of a machine ason the machine itself. It is quite true that under the old Tariff occupation was given to a number of persons in importing parts and putting them together here, but there was a reason for that, as my honorable friend will discover if he makes inquiry. He is seeking to destroy that reason, because any one outside could send in a machine for exactly the same duty- as would be charged if it were sent in in parts. When a frame will pay as much duty as a machine, what inducement will there be for any one to bring out the parts? A machine will pay only 25s. or 20s. whether it is imported inparts or complete. That does not appear to be good policy, even from the protectionist stand-point.
– We do not want them to bring out that part?
– There will be no inducement to persons to send out other parts of the machine, minus the forks.
– The bulk of the machine might be an objection.
– That might be, but the difference between the cost of the imported and locally-made articles represents a wide margin, namely, 10s., as against 36s. 2d. It will be absolute folly to tell both manufacturers and importers that they will be charged just as much on a frame as on a completed machine.
– It is very difficult to get at these people, and this seems to be the only way in which it can be done.
– A duty of 30per cent. on a completed machine comes to very much more than 25s., which the Minister now proposes to levy.
– No, it is not, because machines come in Here invoiced at from £3 to £5.
-Will the honorable senator tell me that a duty of 25s. per machine is less than a duty of 30 per cent. on£5?
– Not on a machine which is valued at£3.
– The number of machines which would come in at that value would be very small indeed. I should say that the average price of imported machines exceeds £5. The proposal, of the Minister appears to me to be in direct conflict with what I thought protectionists had in view when framing the Tariff. Does the Committee seriously want to. impose a duty which represents 250 per cent. on the value of the article?
– On a frame which is worth from10s. to 30s.
– The item covers bicycles, tricycles, and similar vehicles and frames. A duty of 25s. on a frame which the Minister says is imported at a cost of 10s., represents a duty of 250 per cent. It is really anomalous to have completed bicycles and parts dealt with in one item. In the case of the timber division, we did not deal with vehicles and parts in that way. but separately. Here, for some reason or other, it is sought to group one portion of the machines with the completed machines. Do protectionists mean to say that they seriously want a duty of 250 per cent. on any article? Are they going to admit that our conditions are so far behind those prevailing elsewhere that our manufacturers cannot hope to carry on the industry unless they have a duty equal to 250 per cent., unless we levy a duty of 25s. on an article which can be landed here from the other side of the world for 10s. ? I think that the Minister has had this request placed in his hands by persons who have not seen the effect of their own argument. Is it to be supposed that frames will be made here, if they cost £2, when they could be imported at the low price which the Minister has stated ? I am inclined to think that the Minister has been misinformed bv his advisers.
.- Senator Millen has only presented one side of the question. The whole of his arguments have been directed as though a request had been submitted for duties of 25s. and 20s. on imported frames and forks. The item reads -
Bicycles, Tricycles, and similar Vehicles, n.e.i., and Frames thereof, whether partly or wholly finished.
Under that, I understand that a complete bicycle could be admitted-
– But the Minister said just now that’ completed bicycles do not come in, and therefore the sole object of altering the duty is to tax the frame.
– When the Minister made that statement, the honorable senator said, if I followed him correctly, that probably the completed article would be admitted. If it should turn out that instead of importing the parts they import the completed bicycles, then from a protectionist point of view duties of 25s. and 20s. are not heavy.
– No; but it is going to destroy the local industry of putting the parts together.
– I do not think that it is going to do anything of the kind. Under the old Tariff complete bicycles were dutiable at 20 per cent., and the importers introduced machines that were invoiced at from £3 to £5. Since the new Tariff has been introduced, with the exception of frames and forks, all parts of bicycles have been duty free. These frames and forks which comprise the major portion of the machine are being imported at very low values.
– The honorable senator need not believe that the Customs officers are such fools.
– I do not believe that they are fools, but it is difficult even for an expert to say definitely what is the real value of any particular article.
– They pulled up the importers of harvesters, and why can they not pull up the importers of bicycles.
– They could deal with the harvesters because the differences in values amounted to pounds, whilst here we are dealing with a difference whichl is a matter of only a. few shillings. I assert that it would bei difficult even for an expert to say what’ is the real value of an imported bicycle. In this request the Minister has the approval not only of the local manufacturers of bicycles, but also of their employes.
– It is not a question of their approval. This is done at their instigation.
-Well suppose it is ; they are in a country which has proclaimed in favour of a certain policy and they have as much right to consideration in the application of that policy as has anybody else.
– Every one wants his “ cut in “ now.
– That is a manifestly unfair way of putting if. So far as these people have had their “ cut in “ they have demonstrated that they can put bicycles together and turn them out as well as any imported ‘ article. They import! certain necessary parts that are not made here, but the machines they turn out give as much satisfaction as do imported bicycles, and their prices are as reasonable as are those of the people with whom they are competing
– Many big firms in the old country make bicycles just as they are made here, by assembling the parts.
– That is so. Some of the big foreign factories are indebted’ to other people for certain parts of the bicycles they turn out. I admit that it is difficult to secure for the manufacturers of bicycles a truly protective duty because of certain attempts on the part of importers to take advantage of the Tariff. The request now submitted proposes an improvement upon the Tariff as it originally reached the Senate, and I hope it will- be” supported.
– I sincerely hope that the Committee will not agree to the request. I can assure honorable senators that there was no duty in the Tariff as originally proposed which created more- surprise in . the Old Country than that on bicycles. ‘ It was referred to, I believe,- in every newspaper published in the United Kingdom, and the alteration of the duty to 30 per. cent, ‘ad valorem was accepted as some sort of . a reasonable compromise. If honorable senators will give the matter attention they must see that 30 per cent., with 10 per cent, on the English price added, or a duty of 33 per cent, should be sufficient protection for any local industry. Honorable senators must,- if they look into the matter, admit how very important it is to the workers in the interior of Australia who have to travel vast distances that they should be able to get a good bicycle at .a fair price.
– Which they never did until we made them here.
– I suppose there is no country in the world1 in which it is so desirable that bicycles should be available at a moderate price. I do npt think there can be any doubt that if the views of the users of bicycles, and their name is legion, could be ascertained, they would be found to be in favour of a reduction of the duty of. 30 per cent, rather than of an increase on that duty. There is another point of view from which this matter might be considered. There is such a large demand for bicycles that desirable material of which they can be made should be imported at as low a rate of duty as possible. We are doing our utmost to establish a large bicycle manufacturing industry here by admitting bicycle parts at a moderate rate of duty. Personally, I would say at once that bicycles should be admitted absolutely free of duty, because of the extent - to which they are used, but’, having in view the desirability of cheap bicycles, and the amount of work which the industry affords at the present time, I do not think there can be any solid basis on which to prefer this request. Although I am but repeating what Senator Millen has already so ably said, I think we should give some attention to the fact that the specific duty asked for represents an ad valorem duty of quite an extraordinary amount. Even the most ardent protectionist might well be asked to pause before he inflicts such a duty upon this industry. I suppose that every member of the Committee has been supplied with th’e circular from which the Minister has already quoted. I find that amongst other things, it states -
These frames and forks are to be bought in Birmingham at as low a price as ios. and 15s., complete.
It was afterwards said that the price runs up to 30s. The circular goes on to inform us that the frames and forks, which cost in Birmingham ios. and 15s. complete, cost from 35s. to 40s. to produce in Australia. In the- name of common sense, and on behalf of the tens of -thousands of men throughout the length and breadth of Australia who use bicycles, I ask whether it is desirable that we should increase the cost of “ these machines at this extraordinary rate ? I point out that when an ad valorem rate is imposed, and includes both the completed article and Darts. that is a fair adjustment, but where a’ specific, duty is imposed on parts and on the completed article, it is an unfair duty, even from the protectionist point of view-. However honorable senators choose to look at this matter, I think they cannot but desire that the Minister should withdraw his request.
– At first glance there does seem to be some force in Senator Millen ‘s argument that the imposition of the same duty on parts as on the completed article must “have the effect of discouraging the’ assembling of the parts here, and lead to the importation of the completed bicycle. However, ‘ I think that, after all, it can be shown that that is not necessarily the result. Whilst it is. proposed to impose a duty on forks and frames, the great bulk of the parts of bicycles are admitted free, and the effect is to induce people to assemble the parts in the. Commonwealth rather, than to . import the completed machine. The allegation that this duty represents an ad valorem duty of 250 per cent. is not well founded’. The duty is undoubtedly very high on the’ cheaper frames, but these cheaper frames would probably be made here even if the duty were lowered. We can make the cheaper frames and forks, but people sometimes require very high-class forks and frames, which we do not make here, and it seems to me that the duty on these should be comparatively light. I believe that if our people require something which we cannot make here, they should be permitted to obtain it without having to pay a tax, and, in the case of an article which we cannot make, a duty is obviously a tax. With reference to the increased cost which it is said we have to dread if duties are imposed, I remind Senator Pulsford that since duties were imposed on these articles, and since the commencement of the partial manufacture of bicycles in Australia, these machines have gone up in quality and down in price very materially. The honorable senator probably knows that in the early history of the bicycle, when, probably, the cost of manufacture was very little more than it is to-day, the price was three times as high as it is how.
– In England as well as Australia.
– I am talking of Australia.
– Can the honorable senator say whether the reduction in (price of. the local machine is due to the fact that it costs four times as much to manufacture important parts of it here as it costs in England?
– I know as a matter of fact that it is possible to pay. a very much higher price for bicycle frames produced in Australia than that for which they can be produced abroad, and . still supply to the consumer a cheaper bicycle than the imported article. All our experience teaches that protection to the locallymade article - and consequently to bicycle frames - makes it impossible for the importer to charge the fancy prices which he is able to charge where there is no local . competition. I firmly believe that the effect of this duty, high though it may be, and is, on the lower class of frames, will be to give employment to our people, and at the same time enable those who use bicycles in the bush or elsewhere to procure a more reliable and cheaper machine than they could get if we imposed no duty, and thus left them open to the exploitation of the importers. Senator E. J. RUSSELL (Victoria) [6.15]. - There seemsto be some idea in the minds of honorable senators opposite that it is a little ridiculous to charge the same duty on’ parts of bicycles as on the completed machine. I do not suppose that even honorable senators opposite would be very much inclined to destroy what has become practically an established industry in Australia - the assembling of the bicycle parts info the finished machine. In order to afford them an opportunity of removing the anomaly, ‘ I move -
That the request be amended by adding the words “ or ad val. 30 per cent., whichever rate returns the higher duty.”
I do so for the purpose of restricting the importation of the highest grades of bicycles, and to give a full opportunity for having all the bicycles used in Australia, made and assembled by Australian workmen.
– Thirty per cent. is the existing duty.
– Do I understand the Minister to say that he has no objection to the amendment ?
– I see no objection to it as an alternative duty if it is no higher than that already operative.
– No one, even in this Chamber, has had the audacity to propose a higher duty than 250 per cent., and no one will wrest from the Ministerhis laurels in that regard.It will go down to posterity as an additional laurel upon his brow that he has eclipsed even Senator Findley by proposing the highest protective duty ever put forward in this or any other Parliament.
– A duty of£5 5s. each on bicycles was submitted in another place.
– The Minister has proposed 250 per cent. upon the frames and forks.
– That would be the rate if nothing but 10s. frames and forks were brought in.
– It is the rate on a 10s. article, and the Minister says they are invoiced at that. We all know that his information came from the conference held betweenthose who stand to share in the profits that they hope to obtain by means of ‘the legislation .which we are now passing.
– The duty will be 250 per cent, only on gas piping.
– Whether it is gas piping or not, those men practically say that our machinery is so deficient or our artisans are so incompetent1-
– Our wages are so much higher.
– The difference in wages cannot be so much as the difference between ios. and 40s., because the labour is not in . it. Even if the English workmen Worked for nothing, and the English manufacturer got his material for nothing, a 1 os. duty would be ample. I have no desire to delay the completion of the Tariff or to keep this Chamber sitting, but when a startling proposition of this kind is brought forward honorable senators cannot be expected to allow it -to go to a division in silence. The duty proposed is outrageous. No difference in labour conditions can. make up the difference between the value of ios. and the duty of 25s. This is the one portion of the machine which a few people in Australia are making, and, no matter what the cost will be to the men who have to use the! machines, we are asked now. practically to prohibit the introduction of these frames and forks in order to enable a few people to make here at a cost of 40s. that which can be imported for ios.
– It is not fair to take the lowest price.
– Had the Minister proposed an ad valorem duty it would net have been possible for me to argue in that way, but he has proposed a fixed duty of 25s., which applies just as much to a ios. frame as to a 35s. one.
– Or a £15 bicycle.
– But, as the bicycle is admitted free, barring the frame and forks, so long as it comes in in parts, that argument does not apply. In order that the frames shall be made here, to give employment to a handful of people - not even a handful - we are asked to put a tax upon the thousands of people who use bicycles, because it .cannot be contended that this; duty will lower prices. Its effect must be to increase them, because the local manufacturers have told us, by means of their circular, that it costs them from 35s. to 40s. to make this particular portion of the machine, which is to-day imported for ios. or upwards.
– The people need not pay the tax, but can have an Australian-made bicycle, as I have.
– Those in the trade tell us frankly that every one of these frames locally made is going to cost from 35s. to 40s., because they cannot produce it under.
– The Australian bicycle costs me less than the imported, despite the so-called tax.
-I am quoting the statement of the person who calls himself the secretary to the conference of representatives of employers and employes engaged in the trade. The honorable senator may rest assured that those people have not put forward anything except in the light most favorable to themselves. They complain that they have to compete with a frame sent out from the Old Country at as low a price as ios., and that it costs them from 35s. to 40s. to produce a frame. If they are honest in making this statement - if it is not a deliberate lie - it is clear that the duty cannot lower, but must raise, the price of the completed bicycle. Therefore, whatever may be the effect of duties in other cases, it will in this case’ be an additional impost upon every man who buys a bicycle. The bicycle is met with with increasing frequency in country districts. It is used by men travelling to look for a livelihood, where, twenty years ago, horses were used. In those days, it was easier to find free agistment for the horse. To-day, with country becoming enclosed and fenced, a man has to pay nightly for accommodation for his horse when travelling, and even then has difficulty in getting it. The consequence is that the bicycle is largely taking the place of the horse in that direction, and also in a hundred other ways in the business life of the community. It is obvious, on the showing of the man who speaks for those interested in the trade, that the duty will increase the price of the bicycle out of all proportion to the benefit which will be conferred upon the small handful of people engaged in the trade.
.- Senator Millen states that there are only a handful of men interested in this trade, but he will see’ by the Blue Book that, last year, bicycles, tricycles, and similar vehicles and parts, were imported to the value of over ,£153,000. That sum would employ a very large handful of people. ……
– What proportion of that amount is represented by frames? Thebulk of it is represented by the other parts of the machine, which it is still proposed to allow in free.
– No; another line in the Blue Book gives “ Cycle parts,n.e.i., £17,211.” My chief objection to the Minister’s proposal is that it is not high enough. The Tariff Commission, after taking evidence, recommended a duty of £55sper bicycle. That would have had the effect of absolutely shutting out cheap and unsuitable bicycles. If I cannot get a higher duty, I shall cheerfully support that proposed by the Minister, because it will have a tendency to shut out the cheap unreliable machines, which have been responsible for hundreds of accidents and a good many deaths. One, paragraph in the circular referred to by Senator Millen is as follows -
If a firm import, say, 500. machines annually, they can be handled, i.e., unpacked, wheels put in, and adjusted by one man (1½ machines a day ) ; whereas a firm of Australian builders turning out500 complete cycles per annum would employ 15 to 18 hands, the wages in the first case being some £100 per annum, and in the latter £1,500 to £2,000 per annum.
Since the imposition of the present duty, one Melbourne firm, instead of importing the frames ready built, have been importing the tubing and cutting it up here, thus putting practically three times the amount of labour into the machine that they were doing under the lower duty. The Minister’s request, with Senator E. J. Russell’s amendment’, will have the effect of partially but not wholly shutting out the Canadian bicycles, because the Massey-Harris factory in Canada turns out such immense numbers of machines that it will pay them to ship their surplus stock to Australia rather than to build the machines in Australia, even with the duty proposed.
– An ad valorem duty is surely the better in this case, because the price of bicycles varies very much. It does not seem right to tax the parts at the same rate as the complete bicycle. Senator E. J.’ Russell’s proposal will not make it any better, because the duty of 25s.. on the frames and forks will nearly always be more than 30 per cent. Duties of 30 per cent. and 25 per cent., as proposed in the schedule, are surely high enough, and are fairer in principle than the rate proposed by the Minister.
Question - That the request . (Senator
Keating’ s) be amended by adding the words, “ or ad val., 30 per cent., whichever rate returns the higher duty “ (Senator E. J. Russell’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question soresolvedin the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Sitting suspended from 6.32 to 7.45 p.m.
Request, as amended, agreed to.
Request (by Senator Keating) agreed to-
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 372 (imports from the United Kingdom), each 20s., or ad val. 25 per cent., whichever rate returns the higher duty.
Item 373. Children’s Tricycles (General Tariff), ad val. 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [7.47]. - Surely there is no need for so extravagant a duty. We know perfectly well that these tricycles are merely toys for ‘the use of youngsters. To charge such extraordinary duties as 25 per cent. and 20 per cent. on children’s toys seems to me to savour of more than extravagance. The previous duty was 20 per cent., but even that I considered an extortion, and protested against it. I think it my duty to move a request to the House of Representatives to make the duty in the general Tariff 20 per cent. I do not think I should accomplish any good purpose by speaking at length on the matter. The request is one which must surely appeal to every one who has a child in his house, orhopes to have one. These tricycles are toys, and the duty, in my opinion, is far too high. I move -
That theHouse of Representatives be requested to make the duty on item 373 (imports under General Tariff)20 percent.
– As far as the United Kingdom is concerned,’ the duty is the same as was the general duty originally. The reason for placing a duty of. 25 per cent. on tricycles imported from other countries is simply to retain the rate of duty against the United Kingdom at 20 per cent., and to give her a preference over foreign countries. When the item originally came before the House of Representatives it dealt with “children’s bicycles,” but it was not very long before certain importers prepared to take advantage of the item by trying to introduce into the Commonwealth under it bicycles ostensibly for the use of children, but really for verv grown-up children. Therefore, it was altered to its present description. The duty of 25 per cent. on general imports has been put in to give Great Britain a preference. I will follow the excellent example of Senator Neild, and leave the question to the Committee.
Item agreed to.
Item 374. Motor Cycles, Tricycles, and simitar Vehicles, n.e.i., . and Frames thereof, whether partly or wholly finished, ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
– It is my intention to move, in accordance with notice, a request to the House of Representatives to reimpose the original duties for the period of their operation. The duties, as originally introduced, were general Tariff, each£10 10s., or ad val. 30 per cent, and United Kingdom Tariff, each £10, or ad . val. 25 per cent. Those duties were afterwards altered by the House of Representatives to the existing’ duties of 30 and 25 per cent., but, in doing so, and in transmitting the measure to the Senate, an omission occurred, and the original duties do not appear in the schedule. It is necessary, in order to validate the collection of the duties up to the time they ceased to operate, to restore them in the schedule. Honorable senators will understand that they are simply validating the operation of the “original duties up to the time they ceased to be operative. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 374 by inserting the original duties, viz. : - (General Tariff), each,£10 10s., or 30 per cent. ad. val. whichever rate returns the higher duty ; (United Kingdom), each, £10, or 25 per cent. ad. val. whichever rate returns the higher duty, up to and including 10th December, 1907; and on and after nth Decern-‘ ber, 1907.
Request agreed to.
Item 37s (Cycle Tubing and Forks) agreed to.
Item 376. Perambulators and Go-carts, and parts thereof n.e.i., ad val. (General Tariff), 35 per cent. ; and on and after nth December, 1907, 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom) 30 per cent.; and on and after nth December, 1907, 25 per cent.
– I move -
That the House of . Representatives be requested to amend item 376 by leaving out the words “ parts thereof n.e.i.,” and inserting in lieu thereof the words “bodies therefor.”
It will be observed that the next item deals with “ Perambulator or Go-cart body and under-gear.” Therefore, if the request is agreed to I shall have to ask the Committee to request the House of Representatives to leave out the words “ body and undergear “ in that item, and insert, the words “ parts n.e.i.” Then item 377 . will read -
Perambulator or Go-cart parts n.e.i. (General Tariff), 20 per cent., ad val. ; (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.
That is a lower rate of duty than the previous one. The effect will be. that parts n.e.i. willcome in at the lower rate, but the body of the perambulator will come in at the higher rate.
– According to the circular, they are making the bodies of perambulators in Sydney.
Senator KEATING. That is so, and if this request be carried, it will give them additional protection, because it will increase the duties on the bodies from 15 and 20 per cent. to 25 and 30 per cent. respectively.
– They are also making parts in Sydney.
– They are not, 1 think, making the whole of the parts there. If the words “ bodies therefor “ are substituted for the words “ parts,” the bodies will be dutiable at the higher rate’s I have mentioned.
– Cannot they import the bodies in parts ?
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 31 March 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1908/19080331_senate_3_45/>.