3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took thechair at 2 30 p.m., and read prayers.
Assent to the following Bills reported : - .
Officers Compensation Bill.
Australian ‘Industries Preservation Bill.
Appropriation Bill, 1907-8.
– I beg to ask the ‘ Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, if his attention has been called to the statements made ..by the representative of the British Chamber of Manufactures with respect to a ring controlling freights to Australia from Great Britain and other parts of the world; and what steps, if any, the. Government intend to take for the protection of the . Australian consumer ?
– The statements appearing in the press, and referred to by my honorable friend, have received the attention of the Government, and the steps to be taken by . them are under consideration..’
– I am not in a position to’ say that the amounts have vet been paid, but on the day when the Royal assent to the measure was communicated to another place, I made inquiry of the Defence Department, and learned that all proper expedition would be adopted in seeing that the amounts were paid. I shall make further inquiry during the afternoon, and I hope before we rise to be able to state how matters stand.
Bonds forsick Sailors.
– Thematter to which the honorable senator refers is one of which I have no personal knowledge. The first information I had on the subject was the representation implied in his question. It comes within the province of the Department of External Affairs”, which administers the Immigration Restriction Act, and I have no doubt that if he will give notice of a question; or repeat his inquiry, my honorable colleague, as its representative here, will be able to furnish him with satisfactory information.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers -
Memorandum by the Hon. Sir William Lyne on the subject of Transfer of State Debts to the Commonwealth and Financial arrangements connected therewith.
Public Debts of Australia, as at 30th . June, 1907.
Copies of the Affidavits made by marine surveyors in England on the condition of the s.s. Afric, as laid before the Court of Marine Inquiry at Melbourne, on nth March, 1908.
Excise Procedure Act 1907. - Provisional Regulations. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 45.
Excise Tariff 1906 (No. 16 of 1906). - Repeal of Provisional Regulations (Statutory Rules 1907, No. 27) relating to remuneration of labour. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 48.
Papua. - Timber Ordinance of 1907.
Military Order No. 68, of 24th March, 1908. - Australian Army Medical Corps Reserve.
Census and Statistics Act 1905 -
Summary of Australian Financial Statistics, 1901 to1907. - Bulletin No. 1.
Trade, Shipping, Oversea Migration, and Finance of the Commonwealth of Australia for the month of January, igo8. - Bulletin No. 13.
Defence Acts 1903-1904 -
Regulations for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth. - New Regulations 6a, ioia, 212a, 225A, and 284A; and amendment of Regulations 10, 57, 65, 115, 117, 119, 124, 127, 139, 200, 203, 204, 205, 224, and 225. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 41.
Financial and Allowance Regulations for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth. New Regulations i2a, 15A, and 233A; Amendment of Regulations 92, 93, 95, 1 no, and in. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 42.
Financial and Allowance Regulations for the Naval Forces of the Commonwealth. - Amendment of Regulation 49A. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 43.
Regulations for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth. - Cancellation of Regulation 56 (a) and substitution of new Regulation in lieu thereof. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 44.
Regulations for the Commonwealth Military Cadet Corps. - Amendment of Regulation 2 of Section I. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 49.
Post and Telegraph Act 1901 -
Telephone Regulations. - Amendment of Regulations 7 and 108, and repeal of Regulation 8 and substitution of new Regulation in lieu thereof. - Statutorv Rules 1908, No. 46.
General Postal and Telephone Regulations. - Repeal and Amendments. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 47.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
What was the net profit or loss on the working of the Sydney-Melbourne telephone line from the date on which the line was opened to 31st March, 1908, after making full allowance for all working expenses and interest on capital cost of construction ?
– The reply that has been furnished to me by’ the PostmasterGeneral, is as follows -
The loss involyed for the nine months from nth July, 1907, to 10th April, 1908, was £526 15s. 4d.
That reply reached my hands only just before the Senate met, and I am not in a position to ascertain upon what revenue the sum mentioned has been based, but I assume that it refers only to the revenue received for telephone purposes. I understand, however, that the line is also used constantly throughout the day for telegraphic purposes, and that if it were hot used for that purpose another- line would have to be laid. If Senator Givens cares to ask the question at a later date, I may be able to give him a different statement from the one which has been furnished to me, showing what is the” actual loss, if any, upon the line, taking into consideration its value as a (telegraph as well’ as a telephone line.
– Arising out of the answer, I wish to give notice of an amended question for Fridav next.
– If the honorable senator wants that question put upon the notice-paper, he will have to give notice of it to-morrow. It is too late to do so to-day.
– I wish to ask the Minister a question without notice.
– That question must arise out of the Minister’s answer.
– It does, undoubtedly. Can the Minister, in addition to what he has already stated, give the Senate information showing the estimated or approximate loss of revenue to the telegraph branch of the Department through the establishment of telephonic communication between Melbourne and Sydnev ?
– If the honorable, senator will ask the question on Friday, I shall endeavour in the meantime’ to obtain the information.
– I have to report that I have received the following message from the House of Representatives -
The House of Representatives transmits to the Senate a schedule showing the manner in which the House has dealt with certain Senate’s requests for amendments in the Customs Tariff Bill, 1907- As soon as the House has dealt with, the remainder of the requests the Tesult will be communicated to the Senate, and the Bill will be returned to it.
– It will be within the knowledge of honorable senators, that we have already passed a resolution that the Committee have leave to sit again on receipt of a message from the House of Representatives with reference to this Bill. The procedure which I propose to invite the Senate to adopt on this bccasion is, I admit, a departure to some extent from the practice which has so far obtained in dealing with messages received from the other Chamber. The Senate adjourned until to-day, as it was contemplated that sufficient time would have elapsed by this to permit another place to deal with the 238 requests sent down by us. Certain things occurred which resulted in our anticipations not being altogether realized, but as the other Chamber has made great progress, and has dealt with 113 of our requests
– And apparently from this paper refused almost every one.
– Oh, no. I will discuss later what took place. I had to> consider, as the leader of ‘the Senate, whether I should bring honorable senators here having no work for them to do, or resort to what I regarded as the more commonsense and businesslike method of consulting with the Prime Minister and theTreasurer with a view to inviting another place to report the requests with which it had already dealt, and forward them to us, so as to enable us to deal with them when we met to-day.
– Is there any motion before the Chair?
– I shall submit a motion. The course which I adopted naturally ancf properly commended itself . to those honorable senators who were accessible, and whom I consulted. . There is no standing order which directly says that a message must be considered upon the return of the Bill, or that the Bill must accompany the message, so far as proceedings on Bills which the Senate may not amend are concerned. There is, however, one standing order which implies that the Bill will in the ordinary way accompany the message.- I refer to standing order 245, which says -
If the Bill is returned to the Senate bv the House of Representatives with any request not agreed to, or agreed to with modifications, any of the following motions may be moved.
The standing order thereupon sets out the motions which may be moved upon the various requests. I think it desirable, in the circumstances, to invite the Senate, with a view to getting on with what is urgent business, to suspend that particular standing order so far as it would prevent the immediate consideration of the message. Hon- ‘ orable members are aware that in case of urgent necessity, any standing order or sessional order, or orders of the Senate, maybe suspended on motion duly made and seconded, without notice, provided that such motion is carried by an absolute majority of the whole number of senators. I consequently move -
That so much of the. Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Message from the House of ^ Representatives in reference to the Customs Tariff Bill being taken into consideration without such Bill having been returned to the Senate.
I hope that honorable senators will see their way to pass this motion unanimously, so that we may proceed at once with the consideration of the message received from the House of Representatives. The message -covers the determinations of another place, who have so far dealt with 113 out of a total of 238 requests made by the Senate. The requests with which another place has already dealt represent, in my judgment, infinitely the more important features’ of the Tariff. If honorable members do not agree to pass this motion to enable us to get on with the business at once, the alternative is to adjourn the Senate perhaps until the week after next, during which interval the House of Representatives will be engaged in the consideration of the Tariff. It was quite impossible for me to communicate with honorable senators who had of course made their arrangements upon the understanding that the Senate would meet on the 6th May. I say that this is a case of urgent necessity. The business and general trading sections of the community have naturally been looking to us to get through this work expeditiously. I do not believe that honorable senators will permit any mere trifling technical form - for it would be. “nothing more - to interfere with the adoption of the procedure proposed.
– A great deal more than a technical form is involved-
– It is nothing more in my judgment than a mere technical form. I wish honorable senators to realize that it is not as though we had passed the third reading of the Customs Tariff Bill. That Bill is still completely within our power and control.
– The Bill is in another place.
– It is in another place, but it cannot become law until it has passed its third reading in the Senate.
– Has the honorable gentleman ever known of a case in which amendments dealt with in one branch of the Legislature have been considered piecemeal in the other without the Bill ?
– I explained at the outset that a slight technical departure was proposed in this case.
– The honorable gentleman said “a departure,” not a “slight technical departure.”
– Well, I now modify the statement I first made by saying that, in my judgment it is a mere technical departure.
I emphasize, the fact that we are not parting with the Bill which oefore it can become law must pass its third reading in the .. Senate. We have, therefore, full confrol over the Bill.
– Will the. honorable gentleman agree to support any proposal for the recommittal of items?
SenatorBEST. - In that connexion I point out that almost without exception, and certainly for the most part, the various items of the Tariff are dependent upon other items contained within the same division, and the message we have received covers all the items included in several divisions. I say, further, that if by any chance it is found that any item considered in dealing with- the message is contingent upon an item we have not vet received it will be quite reasonable for ‘ honorable senators to ask for the postponement of that particular item. If that course were adopted. I submit that every objection to the immediate consideration of the message would be met. In conclusion-, I would ask honorable senators to differentiate between the Customs Tariff Bill and the ordinary class of Bill. The body of the Customs Tariff Bill is the mere enacting part of the measure, and the all important feature in connexion with it is the schedule, each item of which can be dealt with on its individual merits. The other Chamber, in this message, has returned to the Senate, if honorable members please, so many small Bills - regarding each item included in the message as a small Bill. They have sent- us 113 of these items with which they have dealt, and of which they ask our consideration on their own individual merits. I submit that in the interests of the- community and the expedition of our parliamentary work, it is a- fair and business-like proposition that we should now proceed to deal with these items on the understanding I have already mentioned - that if any item is regarded by honorable senators as more or less contingent upon some other item we have not yet received, I will gladly consent to the postponement of its consideration.
– I suppose that in ordinary circumstances, . seeing that the Government have submitted a motion asking the Senate to adopt a distinctly unusual course, any one speaking from this side might be expected to oppose the motion.. However, having regard to the interests at stake, and the obligations which I conceive rest upon members of the Senate, I find myself able to support the motion. I do so for one or two reasons which I shall takethe liberty of outlining. The motion submitted really opens up two matters for consideration. First of all, the Vice-President of the Executive Council has moved the suspension of the Standing Orders. In the next place, I desire to direct attention to the purpose for. which he seeks that suspension. I come to that first.. The Government is seeking now to induce the Senate to consider a message from the other House, which only partially deals with a Bill which has been transmitted by the Senate to the House of Representatives. I admit at once that that is, so far as our ordinary practice is concerned, quite unusual.But I wish to ask honorable senators to draw a distinction between considering a message on a Bill, and considering the original Bill upon which that message is founded. Some time ago, when an attempt was made to consider the Tariff in sections, I, in common with other honorable senators, made our objections to that course pretty well known. . I emphasized the fact that, in my opinion, there is the widest possible difference between being asked to consider a Tariff in sections, and a message upon the Tariff. In the first case it appeared to me to be essential that the’ Tariff should be before the Senate as a whole, in order that honorable senators might be able to see that its various portions were well balanced, and that they dovetailed and fitted one into the other ; and, above all, that we should be able to take some notice of its effect upon the revenue, which we could not do if the Tariff reached us in sections. But the position has been entirely altered now, when we come to deal with what are matters of detail. I have, during the time since the message has been in print, been looking through it, and I have notfound one item which, in my judgment, is not capable of being considered solely by itself. There may be some which have relation to other items, but even when items are inter-related, there is nothing to prevent us from considering them, especially as the Vice-President of the Executive Council has given his assurance that he will raise no objection to any application for the postponement of an item, if it is found that one item is inter-related with another item which is not now before us. That appears to me to make the position of the Senate absolutely safe. I have, therefore, to ask myselfwhether the rights and responsibilities, of the Senate are jeopardized in any way by the new departure which we are asked to take, and my inquiries lead me to the conclusion that the position, of the Senate, its rights, and its duties, are in no way infringed. That being so, we had . to ask the question whether . it was desirable that the Senate, with work before it - and work which, as I have said, I can conceive of no reasonable objection to our proceeding with - should leave that work on one side,, and adjourn,’ as the Vice-President of the Executive Council said, possibly for two weeks, but with no certain knowledge that even then we should not be asked to adjourn for a longer period? It appears to me that in the absence of any substantial objection, it is a business-like and commonsense thing that we should follow the course which has been proposed by the Vice-President of the Executive Council. I want to draw the attention of honorable senators to one aspect of the case to which the Vice-President of the Executive Council made no reference, though I can hardlyimagine that he . overlooked it. It seems to me that he attached too much importance to standing order 245, which, taken alone, has rendered necessary his motion. But I direct attention to standing, order 242. Standing order 245 deals with a case where a Bill is returned to the Senate. That is not the present circumstance at all. A Bill has not been returned to the Senate.
– It ought to have been.
– That is a point upon which honorable senators may be allowed to have their own opinions. I am saying that standing order 245 does not appear to me to be directly applicable to the case with which we are confronted; but standing order 242 does. Standing order 245, says -
If the Bill is returned to the Senate.
The Bill has not been returned to the Senate, and, therefore, I say that that standing order is not applicable. If, however, we turn to standing . order 242, I think that we shall find that it directly fits the circumstances of the present case. That standing order reads -
All messages from the House of Representatives -
The standing order, I may parenthetically remark, relates to messages dealing with Bills which the Senate may not amend - inreference to such Bills.
It does not say that the Bill must accompany the. message, but merely that the message must have “ reference “ to the Bill-.
– What standing order is it that provides what we are to do if we have before us a message without the Bill to which it relates?
– I ani drawing attention to what appears to me to be a standing order that is applicable to present circumstances. The standing order goes on to say that all such messages - which do not completely comply with the requests of the Senate - - which again is our position now - shall be referred to the Committee. “Under that standing order, I say, it is quite competent for the Senate, quite apart from the matter of desirableness, to receive . the message and refer it to the Committee. It is at this stage that reference may be .made to the other standing order. I submit to the Senate that although the course now proposed to be followed is unusual, that ought not in itself to be fatal to the Government proposal. These standing- orders are, like the Senate itself, m.-w, and it may be found that as time goes on our own experience may suggest the wisdom of modifying some of them. I do not say that there is any immediate necessity for modifying the Standing Orders under review. But there is no sound reason why we should allow ourselves to be hampered by standing orders which may have been framed to meet cases and circumstances which ariose in the past. While I admit at once that it might have been within the province of the Government to expedite this business elsewhere, so that we might have had the complete Bill before us- indeed, I am of that opinion - yet I hardly think that the fact that the Government have not made that progress that might have been expected of them, Ought to be considered a sound reason why the. Senate should close its doors when there is business before us waiting to be performed. I can conceive of no sound common-sense or business-like objection to the course now proposed ; and for that reason I propose to support it.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [3.12]. - It appears 1 to me that this matter is very important, and that whatever course the, Senate in its wisdom may decide to follow, it would not be consistent with the consideration that we should give to our own powers, our own privileges, and our own- status, that the motion should pass without sufficient discussion. I, personally, am most anxious, as we all are, that the Tariff should be got rid of at the earliest possible date ; and I am particularly anxious that we should expedite, as far as possible, our own business in connexion with the Tariff. But there are some considerations which have to be borne in mind, and which, I think, have been overlooked in the remarks that have already been made. At the first blush the course proposed is undoubtedly a departure from our ordinary pro- .cedure. It is a departure in respect of the power of the Constitution, and those powers of the Senate itself, which differentiate this as a legislative body from an ordinary Upper Chamber. My honorable friend the Vice-President of the Executive Council stated that although what he has proposed is a departure, it was, in the words that he added, merely a “ slight technical departure. I entirely disagree with that quali’fication. I think it is a departure that instead of being slight and technical is very serious. The Senate ma’ make it. The matter is entirely in the hands of the Senate. But the departure is one which ought to be carefully considered. It is a departure, undoubtedly, to relieve the Government from a very awkward position into which they have got. There can be no doubt about that. Moreover, it is a departure which may be extremely inconvenient to those members of the Senate who are not here. I wish to say for myself, that I was entirely unaware, until coming over to Melbourne in the train last night, that there was any idea whatever of following the course which has now been proposed. I certainly was unaware that it was contemplated, as consistent with the dignity of the Senate, that we, should be placed in the position, so to speak, of picking up the crumbs which fell from the table of the House of Representatives, that we should be asked to deal with this important Bill - with a Bill, and not merely with resolutions of the other House - by instalments, in a manner which is entirely without precedent in any British Legislature. It has never been heard of before. We should all enter, as I propose to do, an emphatic protest against what may be hereafter regarded as a precedent.. I have said that’ it is to relieve the Government from, a. difficulty. I believe it to be the case, as Senator Best has indicated, that there is no other business for the Senate to proceed with.
– Oh, yes; there is, indeed.
– Is there ?
– There is the Navigation Bill.
– That is absolute rot, because the Government do not intend to go on with the Bill.
– We introduced it, and there it is on the notice-paper.
– If my honorable friend is serious, he cuts the ground from under bis contention that it is urgent that we should, suspend the Standing Orders to enable us to deal with our requests, considered by the House of Representatives, and brought back to us . before the Bill is completed and returned. There is no justification for it at all.
– Infinitely more urgent.
– It may be more urgent, but the honorable senator put it to the Senate before, as I understood, that there was no other business to be gone on with. Are we to take it that there is business or that there is not? I think that most honorable senators will agree thaithere is no other business, and that our being brought back without other business to deal with is due to what I cannot help calling grave mismanagement on the part of the Government. Either they ought to have been aware that we should meet to-day without other business, or, if they did not think that there was any other business, they ought to have intimated that an arrangement would be made to adjourn for a week or a fortnight. “ I am not complaining of my honorable friend seeking to escape from that difficulty. This is a procedure for the purpose of relieving the Government from a very awkward position. I ask honorable senators to consider what they are asked to do. It is the well understood practice of all Parliaments that, when an ordinary Bill has been dealt with by the revising Chamber, it is returned to the other Chamber with amendments to be considered there, and is then sent back to the revising Chamber with the amendments either assented to or dissented from. This is not an ordinary Bill, but it is a Bill ‘all the same. When, under the Constitution, the Senate was given the power to deal with Money Bills in the same way as, but in a different form from, that in which it- dealt with ordinary Bills- that is, by request instead of by amendment - the same procedure, as far as possible, was adopted, and that procedure is embodied in the standing orders from 242 to 246. Of course, it is admitted that unless, stand-, ing order 245 is suspended, we cannot deal with this message, which invites us to consider particular amendments irrespective of the Bill, which is not returned to us. It is placing the Senate in an altogether inferior position to that which it ought to hold. It is asking us on this occasion to set at naught our Standing Orders, which disable us from considering proposals in regard to our requests unless the Bill is returned to us.
– It is taking a power which the Standing Orders give us.
– It is not taking a power of the kind at all. Of course, we have the right to suspend our Standing Orders.
– If it is not wise, we will not do it, but if it is wise, how can it be a derogation of our power?
– It is not wise. We are asked to suspend- the Standing Orders, and to give up our powers and privileges under the Constitution.
– We want to get on with the business.
– So do I, but the business is to consider the Bill, and not to consider a few requests which have been dealt with by the other House. The object of the Standing Orders was to secure that a financial or tax Bill should come back to the Senate with all its requests considered, and placed before us with the opinions or resolutions of that House in regard thereto. T, of course, feel, as the Government have felt, that standing order 245 is an insuperable bar to this message being considered. My honorable friend thinks that by suspending that rule in the form which he has suggested, he will be able to get rid of that difficultv. but I entirely disagree with. the view that Senator Millen has put forward in respect of standing order 242. He thought that the Vice-President of the Executive Council had taken too serious a view in thinking that standing order 245 ought to be suspended, and invited him to consider whether all this could not be done under standing order 242.
– No; I did not go so far as that.
– My honorable friend, to encourage the Government and assist them, as we are all bound to do in a difficulty, suggested that this might be done under standing order 242. It is quite obvious that that is simply a general’ order prescribing what is to be done with messages which come up in proper form, for the consideration of the Senate. They go before the Committee; but my honorable friend cannot bring a mes-sage of this kind before the Committee, nor can the Committee touch the message unless it is in conformity with standing order 245 ; and, what is more, none of the motions set out in that standing order can be moved upon requests which have been considered by the other House, and which come up either not agreed to or agreed to with modifications to be dealt with here, unless they are accompanied by the Bill. If the Senate intends to suspend the Standing Orders, that should be done in a form which would make it possible to carry out the intention correctly. It would not be sufficient to suspend the Standing Orders so far as they would prevent the message from being taken into consideration in Committee.
– That is already dealt with. The message goes as a matter of course to the Committee.
– I know that j but the motion is to suspend so much of the Standing Orders as would prevent the message from’ being taken into consideration, and dealt with in Committee. If my honorable friend would add to his motion the. words.. “ and the motions specifically mentioned in standing order 245, or any of. them, from- being moved,” it would bemade perfectly clear. There can be no harm in making that addition. As it is, when we get into Committee, we might be met with a difficulty as to what motions might.be moved.
– I do not think that my honorable friend has realized the terms of the message. We are only picking out the one contingency - that is, the Bill being returned ‘ - and we say that, although the Bill has not been returned to us, yet we can proceed.
– A mes-sage can be considered, but these motions cannot be moved on a message, even if we say that it can be. taken into consideration, without the Bill having been returned.
– The standing order says -
If the Bill is. returned to the Senate bv the House of Representatives with any request not agreed to. or agreed to with modifications, any of the following motions may be moved.
– That is conditional, not upon a message, but upon the Bill being returned with any request not agreed to. I suggest to my honorable friend .that it would be very much better to adopt my suggestion, so that there should be no difficulty as to the motions which we can move, no’: upon requests accompanying a’ Bill, but upon a message dealt with by itself under a standing order which has no relation to a Bill, but to the returned Bill and requests. I wish to make an emphatic protest against this departure and against any precedent being established for the Senate agreeing to consider requests, especially in respect of such a Bill as this, on being returned from the House of Representatives in sections. If it is done on this Bill, it may be done on any Bill ; and, except for the consideration which my honorable friend has pointed out - as o the Senate being without business- there is no reason why we should make this departure, and establish an innovation seriously affecting, as I think, the powers and status of the Senate in relation to matters of so much importance . as a taxation Bill of this character. I protest emphatically against it, and 1 do so particularly because I think it is a course which ought not to be adopted in this instance, and one which, if adopted now without a protest, would be considered as an easy precedent for the future to enable the Government to get out of the difficulty.
– - hope that honorable senators will take the most common-sense view of the position in which, not the Government, but Parliament and the country are placed. I like at all times to do everything in accordance with our Constitution and our Standing .Orders.
– That is what we are doing.
– It is in accordance with our Standing Orders, owing to the power which the framers of the Standing Orders in their wisdom gave us to meet just such critical positions as the . present. They saw that at times difficulties would arise in the way of Parliament carrying out the wishes of the people, and what was most in the interests of the people, at some particular time. The country and Parliament are sick of the Tariff question, and I am sure that honorable senators are full up of it and want to get rid of it.
– And we are going to get it in instalments.
– The honorable member is very particular how he gets anything good. I do not care whether I get it in instalments or all in a lump, so long as it effects .the purposes that I desire. It” it is in the best interests of the people and is constitutional, the sooner I get it the better. I do not trouble about the “means, so long as they are not illegal or dishonorable. No one who has spoken has shown that there is anything unconstitutional in the Government’s proposition. It has only been shown that it is against certain of our standing orders, but the Standing Orders themselves give us power to remove that difficulty.
– It has been declared to be in derogation of our powers, but it has not been shown what power we will lose by it.
– I am not going to trouble about that. What appeals to me is the wisdom of doing what I hope we shall do to-day. Some honorable senators object to it because it is new and has not been done before.
– Because we have had absolutely no notice of it.’
– I do not wonder at the attitude of Senator Symon, who no doubt when’ it suits him will always stand up for precedent, but I am rather surprised at Senator’ Guthrie, who has been accustomed to a life’ full of incident - a life that probably led him into many critical positions which he had to exercise the greatest ingenuity to get out of. He has been at sea. If anything occurred on th~e ship in which he was employed, would he delay action to consider how his forefathers or his foremothers would have acted in similar circumstances? A man like the honorable senator would jump to a conclusion instantly and take action that would probably save the ship and- the lives of those on board. That is exactly what the Government propose to do in this’ case. They propose to take action that will give employment to honorable senators and fulfil the greatest desire of the people - to be finished with the Tariff.
– Let us get to work.
– I am not in a great hurry. I believe that the Senate will deal with the message so expeditiously that we shall have to get another instalment, and then there might be another discussion such as we are having to-day. I do not see therefore that anything will be lost if we continue this” debate for another five minutes. We. are taking- a course of action that Senator Symon said has never been taken in Parliament before. What df that? If it is a wise course of action, then we are wiser than our- forefathers were. If they would not have taken the same course in the same circumstances, their intelligence was not as great as ours.
– It is not so much wise as expedient.
– I believe sometimes in expediency. I believe in doing everything that is in the interests of the people as soon as possible. It is said that this is only a part of the schedule of the Bill, without the Bill itself. If the Bill had never been before the Senate some difficulty might have been raised on that score. But the Bill has been before us. Every item has been discussed ; our requests have gone to another place, and now they are coming back to. us. Are they to be followed by the Bill every time? Is it absolutely necessary that the Bill should be here with the requests, that have already been dealt with? Let us deal with those requests now, and1 accept or reject what has been done By another place. By the time we have finished that work, probably the whole Bill will be before us, and then we can finish the work of the present session to the advantage of Australia. There is a certain’ amount of justification in Senator Guthrie’s interjection that this course was taken without the knowledge of a certain number of honorable senators. Probably no honorable senator knew of it until he came to Melbourne, or was on his way here.
– It was published in the press of at least one of the other States, and I believe of all the other States, on Tuesday morning.
– There might have been some grievance on the part of some honorable senators with respect to lack of information as to what was to be done, “but I believe the statement of the Government, that they could not make up their minds, as they did not know what could be done until the House of Representatives came to a decision. How could they know until the thing was done?
– We are all agreed that the Government could not make up their minds.
– If they have a mind to make up they are in just as good a position as the honorable senator is, because I have known occasions when even he was doubtful as to which course of action would be wisest for him to pursue. But when the Government obtained the consent of another place’ and made up their minds, quite recently, the matter was published as soon as possible. As to sending a notification to every honorable senator that the Senate would continue to sit after the 6th Mav, that would have been an’ absurdity. It was the duty of every honorable senator to be here to-day. If any honorable senator is not here, the responsibility rests with himself, and not with the Government, the Senate, or another place. Although any honorable senator who is not here may have a grievance on that score, it does not amount to much, and certainly he would not get the sympathy of the people if he appealed to them for it, because he was absent when a question of this kind was before Parliament. . I hope that the Standing Orders will be suspended. I would1 even go so far as to suggest to the “Vice-President of the Executive Council that, if any difficulty is likely to arise in the future owing to the form of the motion, he might consider the suggestion made by Senator Symon, so that everything may be done in as orderly a fashion as possible, and the work be finished in the interests of the .people at the earliest moment.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [3.36]. - I do not think there is a great deal in the argument that a process of this kind was never previously attempted, because I know of no Constitution under which such a method of dealing with’ the Bill could have been attempted. Still there is grave objection to be taken to the course submitted by the Government. I own that when the honorable senator gave notice of motion the other day for the suspension of the Standing Orders, I did not gather the gravity of the proposal contained in his proposition. Senator Symon has so well expressed my’ views with reference to standing orders 242 and 245 that I shall not attempt to go over the ground again, beyond saying’ that I entirely agree with him that standing order 242 has nothing to do with the question, and that the whole situation is governed by standing order 245. But I wish to make myself clear on one or two points connected with this procedure. If it is adopted1, it will be found to have provided an eminent amount of friction between the two Chambers, because we shall have this Chamber dealing with requests that another place refused to agree to, while another place is- dealing with other requests which we have submitted to it. Therefore, instead of there being a single, there will be a double friction between the two Chambers.
– Another place may use the requests with which they have not yet dealt, as an additional lever if we do not agree with them now.
– That is precisely what I anticipate will follow. I wish also to draw attention to the fact that there are included in this message certain decisions which have been achieved in another place by so devious .a method that I am justified in- bringing it under notice. The Government submitted to another place a statement, of the requests of this Chamber which they were prepared to accept. That statement was circulated’ and became public property.’ Yet at the last moment - sometimes at midnight - the “Minister would rise and say, “1 have changed my mind; I will not agree to this request.” Then a motion would be sprung upon honorable members of another place when they least expected any such proceeding.
– Order ! I remind the honorable senator that the conduct of the business of another place in connexion with these requests is not under consideration. The question before the Senate is whether the Standing Orders shall be suspended for the purpose of enabling honorable senators to proceed with the consideration of the requests so far dealt with by the House of Representatives. The other House must decide its own course of procedure and it is not open to honorable senators to comment upon it.
– Precisely. I am offering reasons why I object to the course of procedure proposed in the Senate, and I take exception to ‘ the manner in which this message was .arrived at. However, I shall not pursue that matter further. While I am speaking, I may certainly direct attention, even if it be only as a matter of privilege, to the manner in which, in defiance of all parliamentary custom, this Chamber has been discussed, in another place, by name, and in a manner derogatory to the status of the Senate and its members. I know, sir, that under your presidency, and the presidency of your predecessor, the greatest care has always been taken .to conserve the well-known parliamentary rule in reference to a discussion involving another branch of the Legislature,. I regret sincerely that the same care and the same regard for parliamentary method and parliamentary decency has not been recognised and maintained in another place. I have no desire to delay the transaction of public business, but really it is rather too late in , the day, after having had the Tariff under consideration for ten months, to be told that this is a matter of urgency. There has been no urgency about, the Tariff for ten months, and yet the VicePresident of the Executive Council tells us to-day that all Australia is fairly gasping, like a dying fish in the bottom of a boat, for the completion of the Tariff, and we must rush the business through at all cost, and at any hazard, to constitutional usage and parliamentary method. .
– How will the completion of the Tariff be expedited if we are not to get the decision of another place in respect to the balance of our requests for a fortnight?
– I do not think that the procedure proposed will expedite the consideration of the Tariff at all. I have already said that I believe it will cause friction, and friction will certainly cause delay. I . do not propose to quote them, but it is necessary only to compare some of the requests which another place has refused to accept with some of those which still remain to’ be dealt with in that Chamber to show that it is certain that friction will be set up.
– The honorable senator is lucky in having secured a
I’opy of the message ; I have not a copy.
– I have not received a copy of the message. I have received this paper, and God knows what it is, because the like of it was never seen before, and I really do not know how to classify . it. It is a document that is not signed by anybody, or headed by anybody, and is not dated anywhere. It is the most extraordinary piece of loose literature that I ever came across. I see that some one does own that he printed it.
– I point out to the honorable senator that the original document is dated 5th May,1908, and the message covering it is also dated. The honorable senator has been provided with a copy of the original document, in order that he may know exactly what has been done by another place.
– If there is a date on another document, that is. not the document we shall have to consider. If we go. into Committee we shall have to consider the document which I hold in my hand, and which has neither a beginning nor an end.
– I have already, pointed out to the honorable senator that the document which will be considered’ in Committee has a date upon it, and is covered by a. message from the House of Representatives, which is also dated.
– Then there has been gross carelessness in preparing for circulation in this Chamber- a document which is not a copy of the document which has come from another place. In the circumstances, I shall feel it my duty to vote against the motion. I do not believe that Australia is at the last gasp for thisblessed Tariff. I do not believe that if we pass the motion it will expedite the consideration of public ‘business, but I know that by doing so we shall be. making a serious inroad upon -the status of the Senate under the Constitution, and a serious assault upon the methods which should be adopted in dealing with communications, between the two branches of the Legislature which are involved in messages affecting contemplated legislation.
– I do not think . that the motion should be allowed to pass without a strong expression of opinion that we are establishing a most dangerous precedent. I do. not propose to take advantage of this occasion to obstruct the passage of the Tariff or the means by which the Government seek to expedite the business, but I wish it to be distinctly understood - and I feet sure that honorable senators generally accept my view - that in giving assent to thi adoption of the course of procedure proposed by the Government we do so under a sense of almost public compulsion, and. because of the absolute necessities of the case.
– The motion would not be submitted except under such circumstances.
– I quite understand that it is because of the necessity of the case that the Government, through the Vice-President of the Executive Council, ask the Senate to adopt this procedure.
– They are only using a little common sense.
-I do not know that Senator Gray need emphasize the plea of common sense, because I have already said that the absolute necessity of the case is the only justification for the adoption of such a course of procedure. It should be. adopted, however, with a distinct understanding that the matter is not. to be lightly regarded, and that it is only the absolute urgency of the case that secures consent to such a course of procedure. The reason for saying so should be more or less obvious. The most important piece of legislation intrusted to the’ Commonwealth Parliament in connexion with which the Senate has co-ordinate or almost co-ordinate powers with the House’ of - Representatives is the framing of a Tariff. It is, perhaps, the most important responsibility we have. Whilst in the adoption of the course of procedure proposed in this case we may do no injury, it must be remembered that Tariffs will again be submitted for consideration, and I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that the precedent we are now establishing will then be followed if, unfortunately, the Government of the day should find themselves in the same position as the present Government are in to-day. We are establishing a precedent which will certainly be followed in the time to come. As a senator charged with the duty of seeing that these things are done properly and in order, I take the opportunity to point out the grave danger of the precedent we are asked to establish, and to’ repeat that if it were not for the extreme necessity and gravity of the existing position, I should not be prepared to permit the Tariff to be considered in the way proposed.
– I cannot allow the motion to pass without expressing not only my regret that it has been brought forward, but mv feeling that the course pursued by the Government is a mistake. ‘ In the first place, with regard to the absence of certain honorable senators, we were told by Senator Best that the statement appeared in the press throughout the Commonwealth on Tuesday that business was to be gone on with to-day in the Senate. The honorable senator will admit that there was no positive statement to that effect.
– How could there be?
– Just so. On Monday morning I did not know- what the position was. I knew, what they had done and had’ not done in another place. A member of the House of Representatives told me that it would be of no use for me to attend to-day. because there would be nothing for the Senate to do.’ The Vice-
President of the Executive Council will remember that on Monday I sent him a telegram asking what was to be done. The honorable senator was good enough to reply to me in the course of the afternoon, but his message began with the word’ “Expect “-
– I could not bind the other Chamber.
– Of course not, and for that reason the honorable senator was not in a position to guide us. Honorable .senators from other States who decided to attend to-day came here on the off chance. I did not know up till yesterday whether I might not receive some further message- from Senator Best saying that the matter would not be brought forward today. I am here to-day mainly because Senator Millen) knowing of my uncertainty, was good enough to cause a message to. be sent to me stating that this business would be brought forward.
– That is more than the Government did for their supporters.
– Senator Pulsford sent me a telegram, and I sent him a reply, as I should have done in the case of any other honorable senator.
– I wired to Senator Keating-
– And the honorable senator got a reply, after Senator Keating had consulted me. .Senator PULSFORD.- It is clear that there was some uncertainty as to whether the business would be brought on to-day, and honorable senators are absent who would probably be present but that they were convinced that there would not be any business to put before the Senate. We are consequently in this position - that decisions may be come to in dealing with the matter to-day in the Senate which might be varied if honorable senators now absent were present.
– The honorable senator is not quite correct in that statement. Thirty members of the Senate are- present, and arrangements have been made as regards the votes of those who are absent.
– Will the Vice-President of the Executive Council consent to the recommittal of items if necessary owing to the absence of certain honorable senators?
– I have, another reason for ‘ objecting to this piecemeal method of dealing with the business. Tt seems to me that by dealing with it in this way we are to some extent limiting what I might call our power of compromise. If we had before us the whole of the results of the deliberations of another place we should be better able to accept this or reject that proposal and to treat all in a spirit of fair arid reasonable compromise, as I suppose we all desire to do. I confess that I do not like the position at all. I further object to the course proposed, because it represents the introduction of quite a startling change of procedure with very great haste and without opportunity for consideration. Although the course may not to-day be fraught with very grave consequences, we shall have a record of proceedings which when followed later may have effects very much more serious than any that may result to-day from the adoption of the course proposed. I notice that the very first item in the schedule is that relating to tobacco.
– The honorable senator cannot enter into a discussion of the items in the schedule at this stage, although, if he merely desires to refer to an item incidentally to illustrate his argument, he mav do so.
– I merely wish to say that tobacco is an item that is dealt with both in the Excise Tariff Bill and the Customs Tariff Bill. The Senate was very careful to keep both Bills before us while the Customs Tariff Bill was under consideration. That was a wise course. The procedure now proposed is, to some extent, a departure from that course. For these and other reasons I regret that I have to protest against what the Government have proposed.
– I have but a few words to say in reply. I can hardly complain that Senator Symon in a playful manner has spoken of the difficulties of the Government in connexion with this matter.
– In a sympathetic manner.
– It was a kind of sympathy that I do not altogether appreciate. I do not admit that the Government were in any difficulty, or that there was anything which can be directly or indirectly construed as a matter of mismanagement in what they have done. As a matter of fact, I invited honorable senators to assist me in assessing the time it would take the other Chamber to deal with the requests which we sent to them ; and, unanimously, we agreed to the 6th May as the date on which the Senate should meet again.
– 1 think that the honorable senator wished to make the date of meeting a week earlier.
– I admit that I did; and, except for some extraordinary happenings in the meantime, the probabilities are that to-day we. should have been in a position! to proceed with the consideration of the whole of our requests, together with the Bill as returned from the other Chamber. I do not think that the Senate is in any way derogating from its rights, powers, or privileges, nor do I admit that the slightest indignity is being placed upon this Chamber.
– An honorable senator could not now move that the Bill be read six months hence.
– An honorable senator could not do that at the .present stage if the Bill were before us. He might be able to submit such a motion at the thirdreading stage, but that stage has not yet been reached. The Senate has already determined that upon a message being received from the House of. Representatives, we shall go into Committee as of course.
– Does the honorable senator think that it is a fair trang that we should be called upon to deal with a. Bill by dribs and drabs ?
– I reply that, in” the urgent circumstances, I should have beenliable to the strictures of my honorable friend if I had not resorted to such a sensible course. When I consulted the Prime Minister, it was necessary that he should consult with the Speaker. I also did myself the honour of consulting the President. But I was not then in a position to give any guarantee as to how the House of Representatives would take a proposal to sendup to us a schedule showing how they had’ dealt with part of our requests. What wedid was this : In my presence, the PrimeMinister stated to the press, on Monday afternoon, what our intentions were, and heurged that that information should be sent to every Stale.
– It did’ not go to every State.
– I have not seen thenewspapers of the State represented .by my honorable friend.- All that I can say isthat on Monday I was present when the Prime Minister made’ a statement to the press as to what we intended to do, and that my chief urged that the information- should receive prominence in the newspapers of all the States. Several of my honorable friends sent telegrams to me asking what I intended doing. I, of course, as was my duty, at once replied informing them of my intentions. But nothing that I could “ say, or that the Prime Minister could do, could bind the other Chamber. The House of Representatives only agreed after, dinner last night to send up their message, and . ‘the announcementappeared in the press this morning. But we are here, and I am sure that my honorable friends are anxious to do business.
– We have had no notice.
– It was not competent for me to give notice. . The honorable senator knows very well that we, as a Government, are pledged to dispose of the Tariff before we proceed with other business.
– I thought that some Estimates were to come before us ?
– The Additional Estimates have not yet been passed by the other Chamber.
– The Minister said before we adjourned that when we reassembled, if we could not proceed with, the Tariff, we might get on with the Navigation Bill.
– The Bill is on the noticepaper now.
– Let us get on with that.
– Is it to be abandoned ?
– I cannot agree to proceed with that measure, because of the pledge to which I have referred. The Tariff being the most urgent measure before us, must be disposed of first. I ask this question : If I had not provided honorable senators with this means of proceeding with business, should I not have been subject to the strictures of honorable senators opposite. Would not an attack have been made upon the Government in this connexion? I submit that, under the circumstances, a proper course has been adopted, and I trust that honorable senators will pass the motion, unanimously.
– Before I submit the motion, -I will cause the bells to be rung, inasmuch as it is necessary for it to be carried by an absolute majority.
Question - That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the message from the House of Representa tives in reference to the Customs Tariff Bill being taken into consideration without such Bill having been returned to the Senate -put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 19
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
In Committee (Consideration of House of Representatives’ Message) :
Item 21. Tobacco, unmanufactured, but entered to be locally manufactured into Tobaccoor Cigarettes - to be paid at the time of removal to the factory : -
Unstemmed, per lb.,1s. 9d. ; and on and after 5th October, 1907,1s. 6d.
Senate’s Request. - Make the duty1s.9d.
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amendment not made.
– I desire, at the outset, to be permitted to make a general explanation. Out of the 238 requests that we sent to the other House, we are invited to consider 112, one having been postponed. It disagreed outright with twenty-four requests ; it modified, or partly agreed to, twenty-two requests,’ and it accepted outright sixty-six requests. Out of the accepted requests, sixteen represent increases of duty ; twentythree represent decreases of duties ; twentythree do not affect the revenue, or, if they do, only infinitesimally ; while four represent partly increases and partly decreases. The Committee has, I think, every reason, to be satisfied with the manner in which, the other House has dealt with its requests. I trust that honorable senators will . also see fit to exhibit a spirit of compromise, so that the Tariff may be settled to the satisfaction of not one Chamber alone, but of both Chambers and the public generally. Concerning the item before the Committee, the Government originally proposed a duty of is. od. on unstemmed tobacco, but, in view of certain representations that were made to them, they felt that is. 6d. would be a better rate to adopt. The Senate, however, in its wisdom, saw fit to request that the rate be increased to is. od.. The other House has not accepted that rate, and therefore I’ move -
That the request be not pressed.
It is not necessary for me to recapitulate the arguments that were used when this item was under consideration, because they will all be found in Hansard, at page 7649. I propose to show how the increased duty requested by the Senate would reduce the margin of protection. If stemmed leaf were used, the protection of 6d. per lb. on machine-made tobacco would be .reduced to 3d., and the protection of 9d. per lb. on hand-made tobacco would be reduced to 6d. If unstemmed leaf were used, the protection of 9d. per lb. on machine-made tobacco would be reduced to 6d.. and the protection of is. per lb. on hand-made tobacco would be reduced to 9d.
– What would the position be if local lv-grown leaf were used ?
– That is the protection which was proposed by the Government, and if would be reduced in each case by 3d. per lb. if our request were adopted. Honorable members will see that if it were persisted in, the effect would be largely to injure the small manufacturer, and really to play into the hands of the combine. I have no doubt that my honorable friend who proposed the req’uest had an idea of altering correspondingly the Excise duty, but we determined to adhere to that! duty. I submit that we should, almost as a matter of course, see our way not to press our request.
– The circumstances under which the Committee was induced to increase the duty on this item will be well remembered. It was not done, I venture to suggest, so much with the view of lessening the protection given to the manufacturer of imported . leaf as with the desire to encourage the use of the. locally. -grown leaf. I voted to increase the duty from is. 6d. to is. 9d. per lb. with. that sole object, and I remember, sir, that you contributed a very informative speech on that occasion, the purpose being to offer an additional inducement of ?d. per lb. to. the local manufacturers to manufacture Australian leaf. I see no reason for altering the vote which T gave..
At the same time one has to recognise that, if the -duty be fixed at is. 6d. per lb., it will be giving a very substantial measure ot protection to local growers. I believe -that the average price of tobacco leaf is from 4d. to 6d. per lb. At that rate it would be giving a protection of at least 150 per cent, to the local growers. . It appears to me to be probably one of the most highly protected articles produced in Australia. To that extent it can hardly be said that ‘the local growers would suffer any injustice if the Senate should recede from its position. I do not regard the matter as being of anyserious importance, whatever way it may be decided. The tobacco duties in the Excise Tariff Bill have been assented to by both Houses, and therefore we are free to consider this item without reference to those duties.
– On a previous occasion I advocated very strongly the claims and interests of the local tobacco-grOwers, and I am sure that the Committee also went strongly in that direction.
– The honorable senator misled us.
– No ; I do not consider that the Committee was misled. I believed that the position which I then took up would be the best in the interests of the settlers. .
– But my honorable friend will admit that it seriously broke up the scheme which the Government submitted under expert advice?
– I am not so much concerned in that matter as I am in the position that has been taken up so firmly in another place. If I -expect to get any concessions from that House, I think that it is my duty to give a little consideration to its opinions. I do not intend to take up the same attitude on this item a» I did on a. previous occasion, so that I mav be in a position to insist more strongly on a request which I think might be of more importance ‘to Australian industry.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [4.21]. - I think that Senator McGregor is exercising a wise discretion. It is always wise to give way about a thing which one does not value much in order to get something which he values- more. .My honorable friend is keeping in pickle a rod for some other items. I support the proposal of the Government. I was not present when the item was under consideration before. It seems to me that a duty of is. 6d. per lb. is . ample to protect the local grower and encourage the use of the locallymade article. I feel that the Government are taking the only course which, under the circumstances, they could very well take.
. -I have no intention of reversing the vote I gave on a previous occasion. I believe that if the duty be fixed at1s. 9d. per lb. the result will be not only to encourage the growth of tobacco in Australia, but also to take the manufacture of tobacco’ largely out of the hands of the Combine. I know that an expert was sent down from Queensland to treat with the Government in connexion with tobacco. His instructions were that, while he was to be careful to try to help the tobacco-growing industry, he was to be particularly careful not to suggest anything which would interfere with the revenue. I believe that the reason why the Government are sticking to the duty of1s. 6d. per lb. is that it means more revenue.
– No; that is a mistake. To alter the duty to1s. 9d. per lb. means to disturb our scheme. My honorable friend will remember that the Excise duty was adhered to;
– The scheme is to get as much revenue as possible out of tobacco. Believing, as I do, that it is not a proper subject for taxation, I want to vote for something which will tend in the direction of killing the revenue from that source. If we can encourage the growth of tobacco by acomparatively high duty, we shall have established another native industry and taken a step in the direction of more direct taxation.
Question - That the request be not pressed (Tobacco, unstemmed) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 16
Question so resolved inthe affirmative.
Request not pressed.
Item 21. Tobacco, &c. -
Senate’s Requests. - Insert after the word “stemmed” the words “or partly stemmed.” Make the duty 2s. 3d.
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amendment made asregards insertion of words ; not made as regards alteration of duty.
– I move- -
That the request to make the duty, per lb., 2s. 3d., be not pressed.
This is really almost consequential upon the last vote.
– This is an item in which the Senate tried to obtain a little more protection for the manufacturers and workers in Australia. With regard to the previous request, the Minister put forward the plea that we should preserve to the full all the protection which we could give to the manufacturer. In this case the Minister, on behalf of the Government, argues that we should weakly give in, although to do so will mean a reduction of the protection given to the Australian manufacturer, and worker. There isno reason why this tobacco, when imported, should not be in an unstemmed condition. Ail the stemming work could be done in Australia. The effect of an increased duty would be to bring about that result. We should therefore press the request.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 18
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request not pressed. .
Item 36. Blue, laundry, per lb. (General Tariff), 2d.
Senate’s Request. - Make the duty (imports from the United Kingdom), per lb.,1½d.
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amendment not made.
– This Chamber agreed to a duty of 2d. per lb. on blue in the general Tariff, but requested another place to make the duty on imports from the United Kingdom1½d. All the importations of blue, however, come from the United Kingdom,
– That is utterly wrong.
– Why not give Great Britain a preference on the things she does manufacture? What is the good of a preference on the things she does not make?
– We have given the manufacturers of Great Britain a large preference on the things they do manufacture, and the result of our action has been cabled to us. We picked out certain items in which we could afford to give preference. There are other items in which we could not. We ‘must have due regard to our own industries. According to the statistics, £5,491 worth of blue came from the United Kingdom as the country of origin, and £2 worth from the United States, in 1906.
– That is notoriously absurd.
– That is what the statistics record as a fact. The object of the requested amendment is to reduce the protection to our own industries-
– The protection to Harper.
– To reduce the protection to our own industries, which are in existence throughout the Commonwealth, from 2d. to1½d. per lb.
– That is the vote which the honorable senator gave two minutes ago on another item.
– The honorable senator must not talk like that. I move -
That the request be not pressed.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council states that the request represents a reduction of protection to Austra lian industries, yet a duty of1½d. is really an increase of 50 per cent, upon the very high rate which was previously enjoyed by the manufacturers of local blue, and under which, as -I am reminded, the industry made substantial and satisfactory progress. This is a matter in which the other place might reasonably have met the Senate. We made no wild inroad upon their proposition. ‘Qn the contrary, we proposed merely a reduction in the preferential column - a column which is supposed to embodv the ardent desire of this Government to treat the products of Great Britain with greater leniency than the products of other parts of the world. Although the Vice-President of the Executive Council gave us figures showing the number of requests accepted by another place, he did not point out the value of the requests which had been accepted, and of those which had been rejected. Had we asked another place to remove the duty altogether, one would not have been surprised at our request being refused, but we made an extremely moderate proposition for a reduction of the duty, not on the whole of the imports, but only on those coming from Great Britain. We asked for a reduction merely of½d., leaving the duty still . 50 per cent, above that contained in the Tariff of 1902.
– The increase is 50 per cent, in one case and 100 per cent, in the other.
– In the circumstances the Senate might very reasonably persist in its request. I probably anticipate your answer, but I wish to ask you, sir, whether, if the Committee negatives the motion now submitted, that will be tantamount to affirming that the Senate persists in its request.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [4.41]. - This is a case in which the Senate would be thoroughly justified in maintaining its position. If we are going to give this away we might just as well never have taken the trouble to attend in this Chamber. As Senator Millen has explained, the lowest rate proposed represents an increase of 50 per cent, on the previously existing duty, whilst the increase proposed on imports from foreign countries is as much as 100 per cent. If I am not too inquisitive I should like to know what connexion exists between the refusal of the Government to accept the request of this Chamber and the well-known fact that they are drawing their financial policy from a laundry-blue source. If we are not going to stand by anything that we have done what are we herefor? If we are going to stand by any request we have made this is certainly one on which we should remain firm.
Question - That the request be not pressed (Blue, Laundry) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 5
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request not pressed.
Item. 42. Stearine, Paraffine Wax, Bees-wax, Carnauba, Ceresine, and Japanese or Vegetable Wax, per lb.,1d.
Request. - Amend the item by making the duty on Stearine and Paraffine Wax, per lb.,½d.
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amendment not made.
– I submit that we are dealing here with a matter of very great importance to one of our best industries, the stearine candle industry. It is estimated that throughout Australia there has been invested in the stearine candle industry with the associated industries for the manufacture of soap, glycerine, pitch and such like byproducts, something like , £250,000. I admit that the duty under the old Tariff was½d. per lb. on stearineand paraffine wax. We have been asked” why, if the industry was able to exist under the old duty, those engaged in it are now clamoring for an increased duty. The fact is that they were unable to carry on the industry on a profitable basis under the old duty. I can mention one firm, whose books are open to inspection, that has invested some thing like , £100,000 in the candle branch of . the industry alone. The profits made by the firm on that branch of the industry since Federation have been purely nominal, and if we take the whole of their investment in the industry to the extent of £160,000, the profits derived have not exceeded 2½ per cent., which, it will be admitted, is not a very satisfactory return. It “is true that paraffine wax is regarded as the raw material of one industry established in the Commonwealth, but as a matter of fact the paraffine wax is imported in very large quantities from Burmah, India and America, and is really a made-up article. So far as my’ inquiries go it would be necessary only to mould it and insert wicks to convert it into candles, and less than a score of people doing such work could supply the demand of the whole of the Commonwealth if paraffine candles were to replace the. ordinary stearine candles. It is to protect the stearine candle industry that we ask for the imposition of a duty of1d. ‘per lb. on stearine and paraffine wax. Throughout the Commonwealth, there are some 600 or 700 people employed in the stearine candle industry, and honorable senators will therefore realize how important it is thatwe shouldprotect this industry.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that the industry would be destroyed if the amendment requested by the Senate were accepted?
– I mean to say that the imposition of a duty of1d. per lb. will make all the difference between a reasonably profitable and flourishing industry and a struggling- and strangled industry.
– The industry, has been progressing during the last few years.
– That is not so. It is true thatprogress has been made in the manufacture of soap and other by-products associated with the candle industry, but the stearine candle industry itself did not make any progress under the Federal Tariff of 1902. If we encourage the importation of paraffine wax we shall deal a serious blow at the stearine candle industry. It should not be forgotten that the competition which the local industry has to meet is a very serious competition. Paraffine is a byproduct of shale, and is produced in America, and in Burmah, and in Borneo, and other places where only blacklabour is employed in its production. The wages paid in the Australian stearine candle industry range between 6s. and ios. per day, and it is quite impossible for those carrying on that industry to pay a reasonable living wage to their employes if they are to be subjected to the competition .of the product of the black labour to which I have referred.
– Can the honorable senator tell the Committee what duty the Tariff Commission recommended? If not, I can tell him that they recommended a duty of d. per lb.
– That is so; but I do not agree with the Tariff Commission, In framing this Tariff, we desired to give reasonable encouragement to an industry which must be regarded as essentially an Australian industry. There were exported during the year 1906, 4,000 tons of tallow. If, instead of that tallow being exported, it had been utilized in the production of stearine candles, it would have involved the employment of a large amount of additional labour. There is no reason why it should not have been manufactured into candles in this country. The imports of paraffine wax in 1906 represented 76,345 lbs. Every ton imported means competition with our own stearine candle industry, and I submit, therefore, that, on the facts stated, it is most desirable that we must give additional protection. I am given to understand that there are two or three factories in Tasmania’ which ‘ produce paraffine candles, and look upon paraffine wax as their raw material. I suppose that Tasmania .is the only State ‘ in which, by reason of climatic conditions, paraffine wax candles can1 be used all the year round. The industry, I am given tj understand, employs between seventeen and twenty-one - people, and in the candle industry alone - that is, in the moulding and wicking of the paraffine wax - there would be employed only five or six people.
– What about the making of candles from imported stearine ?
– We produce our own stearine, and import very little.
– Then the duty of Jd. has been ample. If it has stopped the importation of stearine, a duty of id. per lb. is not required.
– In 1903, we” imported 317,500 lbs., and in 1904 38,200 lbs..
– Of what?
– Of stearine alone. In 1905, the imports were 2,415 lbs., and in j 906 no stearine was imported.
– So that we have stopped importations with the ½d. duty ?
– And have increased the imports of the wax.
– The imports of paraffine wax have increased since 1904. In that year they .amounted to 1,168,700 lbs. ; Li 1905-, to 3,662,000, and in 1906 to 6,363,000 lbs. In 1906, the value at 2jd. per Jb. represented ^76,345.
– The Standard Oil Company have made a good thing out of it.
– And Mr. Kitchen will make a better if we give him the opportunity.
– The main imports came from the Standard Oil Company. The portion that, did not come from that source came from Burmah, India, and Borneo, where black labour only is employed. Honorable senators will therefore realize what our own manufacturers have to contend against. Of course, in the estimation of some honorable senators, it is a crime for Kitchen and Sons, or any other manufacturers in this country, to’ make any profit. 1 presume that honorable senators have received letters and circulars from various firms bearing upon this subject. I have received a very, interesting letter from the firm of W. H. Burford and Sons Limited, Adelaide.
– What about the communication of the man who offered Sir William Lyne ,£100 if he would substantiate a statement which he made?
– My information is that as soon as this extra duty is imposed, the Standard Oil Company will establish a factory, and produce this material in Australia.
– At its own price.
– This letter from Messrs.. W. H. Burford and Sons is a typical one, and I will read it - “We trust you will use your endeavours to at least’ retain the duty on Paraffine Wax as passed by the House of Representatives, viz., id. per lb., otherwise, the stearine candle trade will be most seriously affected, as has already been pointed out. We, ourselves, have spent large sums of money in plant for the .manufacture, of stearine candles from tallow, the raw material and product of our land. A large number of hands are employed in the manufacture of stearine and its bi-products, whereas, the cost of machinery and labour in moulding imported wax into candles is very small in comparison. Besides this, there would be the loss of bi-products, Glycerine and Oleine, and the labour in working these up. The Oleine is entering very largely into use in connection with the recovery of ores at the Broken Hill mines. Lessening the output of this product will be a serious loss in this respect.
If Paraffine Wax, a bi-product of the oilfields, manufactured by cheap labour, . or the lower grades controlled by the Standard Oil Company and its allies, is allowed to come in, it will be a most serious blow to the Australian stearine industry and those industries connected with the bi-products.
We, therefore, again most respectfully urge you to use your influence on behalf of retaining .the higher duties.
I have received other letters from Sydney and Melbourne manufacturers to the same effect. This is essentially an Australian industry, the raw material of which is at our own doors and of our own manufacture. I submit that we must have- first regard to the due and efficient protection of this industry. I move -
That the request be not pressed.
– I wish to draw attention to the fact that if any honorable senator desires to move a modification of a previous request, according to the practice established when the message from the House of Representatives on the requests of the Senate on the 1902 Tariff was before the Senate in Committee, the proper procedure will be as follows : - On such a motion as that now. submitted - “ That the request ‘ be not pressed,” an honorable senator may move to strike out all the words after the word “ be “ with a view to insert in Heu thereof words requesting the House of Representatives to .modify the request in terms set forth in the amendment. That proposition will be submitted to the Committee as an amendment, and if carried will be the request of the Senate.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [5.5]. - It seems to me that the whole object of the Government in this matter is to benefit a Victorian factory ‘at the expense of a Tasmanian firm, although a .little while ago we found Ministers breaking their necks to benefit somebody who had absolutely made four locks in Tasmania. I do not understand this kind of procedure, nor do I understand* why, when the Vice-President of the Executive Council has a series of letters on the subject, he picks out one of an exceedingly vague character, and ignores the others. I received this afternoon a letter which I am going to read. It is as follows -
The Honorable Senator Neild, Sir,
During the discussion on paraffine wax last evening Sir William Lyne referred to me as having influenced several votes in the Senate through misrepresentation, and otherwise made use of such words that left an impression that communications from me to members of the House of Representatives, as regards accepting the Senate’s suggestion that the duty On paraffine wax should be made at the old rate of £d. per lb., were not to be relied on. A man in his position should not stand’ up in the House and tell members that some of the votes in the Senate were gained through misrepresentation by me. It is more than he dare do outside of the privileged Chamber. I challenge him to grove that I have made either a misstatement, or writ- ten a word that is untrue, and I cannot but think he knows it.’ About six months ago, when the item of paraffine was before the Representatives last, he will recollect that, after the division was taken, I then challenged his state= ment, that “ I could get all the paraffine wax that I required in the Commonwealth.” I then /confronted him with the representative of the only firm who make paraffine wax in Australia, and offered to book 100 tons right away, and pay a deposit. This took place in the presence of himself, Mr. Carr, M.H.R., of New South Wales, and Mr. Storrer, M.H.R., of Tasmania.
– Order. I must ask the honorable senator to desist from reading that letter. I draw his attention to the fact that there are two standing orders relating to the reading of letters and documents. Standing order 400 says -
No senator shall read extracts from newspapers or other documents except Hansard referring to debates in the Senate during the same session.
Standing order 402 says -
No senator shall allude to any debate of the current session in the House of Representatives or to any measure impending therein.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council read a letter which referred to a proposal of the House of Representatives.
– So far as the document quoted by Senator Neild alludes to another place it comes under standing order 402 ; and so far as it refers to what was done in the Senate it comes under standing order 400. I therefore think that the quoting of the document is out of order.
– I hope I shall be at liberty to .suggest to you, Mr. Chairman, that the view you have expressed hardly applies to this document.- Certainly I was not reading anything or making allusion to anything that took place in the Senate; and I have not read anything that stated what took place in connexion with adiscussion in the House of Representatives-
– If the honorable senator looks at the letter again he will find that he did. ‘
– I clearly heard the honorable senator read a statement to- the effect that Sir William Lyne had made an assertion in the House of Representatives. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate are, I think, mentioned in the document.
– I beg pardon ; reference to Sir William Lyne did not state where his statement was made-
During the discussion on paraffine wax last evening, Sir William Lyne referred to me -
There is not a word to show where the statement of Sir William Lyne was made, and that being the case, sir, I maintain most respectfully that I am strictly in order.
– Is there not an inference that it was made in the office of the Colonial Oil Company?
– When I was pulled up I was reading of a conversation that took place between the writer of the letter, who is not a member of Parliament, and certain members that sit in another place. Clearly that conversation could not have been held in any privileged place. It was a discussion that took place outside the Chamber.
– In order to clear up the matter, I ask the honorable senator to read again the first part of the statement.
– That is the part which he should not read, because it is disorderly to do so.
– It reads - The Honorable Senator Neild, Sir,
During the discussion on paraffine wax last evening, Sir William Lyne referred to me as having influenced several votes in the Senate through misrepresentation.
– There .is a reference to the Senate.
– It is not a reference to any discussion in the Senate, but only a reference to the fact that certain members were influenced-
– Will the honorable senator read on ?
– It continues - and otherwise made use of such words that left an impression ‘ that communications from me to members of the Representatives, ‘as regards accepting the Senate’s suggestion that the duty on paraffine wax should remain at the old rate of 2d. per lb., were not to be relied on.
I venture with great respect to say that there is not one word that refers to any proceeding in either House of the Parliament.
– So far the honorable senator is right.
– [ challenge him to prove that I have made either a misstatement, or written a word that is untrue, and I cannot but think he knows it. About six months ago, when the item of paraffine was before the Representatives last, he will recollect that, after the division was taken, I’ then challenged his statement that “ i could get all the paraffine wax I required in the Commonwealth.”
Clearly he made the challenge outside Parliament. He could not have made it inside Parliament, and therefore it is not a reference to a proceeding therein.
I then confronted him with the representative of the only firm who make paraffine wax in Australia, and offered to book 100 tons right away, and pay a deposit. This took place in the presence of himself, Mr. Carr, M.H.R., of New South Wales, and Mr. Storrer, M.H.R., of Tasmania. What was the reply? He surely remembers the . surprise he showed, or pretended to show, when the representative of the Commonwealth Oil Co. absolutely refused to book the order, and further stated he could not possibly supply for six months.
I venture to suggest, sir, that there is the clearest possible proof that this was a conversation which took place somewhere. Where it took place I do not know, but clearly it is impossible that it was a proceeding of the other Chamber.
– - The honorable senator need not further discuss the matter, because I am satisfied that he is quite in order.
– I thank you, sir. The letter continues -
Six months have now about elapsed, still this same man, representing the only firm in Australia who makes any paraffine wax, absolutely refused to book an order last night, on my behalf, when asked to do so by Mr. Mcwilliams, M.H.R’., of .Tasmania, in the presence of Mr. Watson. Mr. Mcwilliams had full authority to act for me, and held my cheque for ,£100 as a deposit against the contract, which, several members of the House were aware of, but the reply was the Commonwealth Oil Co. would not supply for four months, and, I understand, refused to book an order, for delivery at the end .of four months at the price I am now paying. This same firm cannot supply their own demands, but have to import for their own use. Why was Sir William Lyne so impressed, after the division was taken about November last, that, in the presence of Mr. Storrer and myself, he sent a message to the Prime Minister to know if he had . any objection to not collecting the increased duty for six months, or until such time as paraffine could be made in Australia to supply our demand ? That was a reasonable suggestion. Surely he recognised at that time we could not purchase it here, and yet he deliberately stated-
I shall not read that line because it does refer to something to which exception might be taken. I shall leave it out.
– What is it that the honorable senator is leaving out?
– It is a slight and indirect reference to something that was said in the House of Representatives, and therefore I shall not attempt to read it.
I challenge Sir William Lyne to purchase for me 100 or 200 tons of Victorian-made paraffine wax at the same price as I am now paying, and openly state that I will fulfil the contract, and pay, in addition, to any benevolent institute he cares to name in Victoria, the sum of£100: If he cannot accept this challenge, Sir William Lyne should publicly withdraw his statement, and apologise to the firms I represent.
We in Tasmania are quite prepared to pay a reasonable duty on our raw material, but we strongly object to being forced to close up. our industries, and hand over to ‘the large firms the connection it has taken us years of . hard work to attain. We maintain that the duty, of½d. is ample for any stearine or paraffine firm, and, at the same time, will prevent the largefirms crippling our small industries. After what transpired last night, and the statements made by Sir William Lyne, how is it possible for any representative for Tasmania to give the present Ministry support? I have already instructed our firm to book no further order’s “for candles, as we cannot pay1d. per. lb. duty and compete with the cheap candles made by the large stearine manufacturers.
I do not see that anything is going to be gained for the Commonwealth by this system of robbing, Peter to pay Paul, of destroying a comparatively small factory in Tasmania, in- order to benefit a larger factory in Victoria. It is not a form of procedure such as the advocates of Federation ever anticipated. When the Commonwealth was brought into existence, it certainly was not contemplated that the small factories should be destroyed in the interests of the larger ones, or that the whole object of the Union should be centralization, not only of government,- but of factory life in one State; This seems to me to be a cruel case. I do not know anything about the firm. I only received this letter today. I do not know that I have ever seen the writer. It has nothing to do with my State, but as one who Was sent here to assist in the representation of all Australia, I feel that I should say a few words on behalf of a struggling industry against factories which have existed for a great many years, and had protection to help them along. We’ know that firms have come into being, and grown up on a duty of½d. per lb. But now they want to crush smaller firms, and are clamouring through their representatives here for a duty 100 per cent, higher than that under which they have lived. I want to know what we are going to do if every request that we make is to be quietly and blandly surrendered with a few words of. protest - with some indignant words of protest it may be, but still comparatively few. It seems to me that the Senate is seeking to occupy a position so absolutely- secondary to another place, so positively puerile from a constitutional stand-point, that if this sort of thing is to continue, the sooner the Constitution is amended, and the Senate put out of its meagre and unhappy existence, the better it will be. It is sup- . posed to have duties to discharge under the Constitution ; but if every one of them is to be abrogated because somebody elsewhere objects, it is a most deplorable condition of affair’s.
– Every now and then Senator Best indulges the Committee with various pathetic requests that we should not strangle industries. He talks about strangled industries.
– Theyare only Victorian ones.
– I read a letter from the Adelaide industry.
– Which is also controlled by Kitchen.
– That is not so. I also read two letters from the New South Wales industry.
– Which is also controlled by Kitchen.
– The Minister is anxious to strangle an industry which happens to exist in Tasmania.
– Let us be fair all round. If we want to strangle industries let us do so,, and if we do not, let us leave them - alone. I take great exception to this talk that we continually have from the Minister about “our” industries. It is not “ our “ industries that he is anxious . about.
– It is.
– “ Our “ industries, are the great natural industries which to-day are carrying the burden of Australia. What the honorable gentleman wishes to do is to bring into existence more and more the industries of other lands. . I do not know whether honorable senators generally are aware that Australia sells more of its’ produce to the rest of the world proportionately to its population than does any other country. There is no country that sells so many million pounds worth of its goods to the rest of the world as does Australia. We cannot continue to do this splendid business unless we allow some goods to come here. If we will not allow to come in the goods that we want most some goods will come here that we want least.
– I ask the honorable senator not to enter into the general question of free-trade.
– I am sure that you, sir, will be one of the first to see the bearing of that statement on the question in hand. We requested a duty of Jd. per lb. on paraffine wax, which the Minister has told us is worth, when landed here, a little over 2d. per lb. I suppose that at the most it is worth something under that price in New York,’ so that a duty of Jd.’ per lb. is at least 25 per cent, on the American value. If that is not enough duty to impose on an article, even if it were completely manufactured, I do not know what is. When we come to remember that paraffine wax is the raw material for certain manufactures in the Commonwealth, 1 cannot see why the Committee should hesitate for a moment in pressing its request.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [5.25]. - My feeling about a number of these requests and the attitude of the House of. Representatives towards them is very much that indicated by Senator McGregor this afternoon. I am doubtful whether, in respect of some of the minor requests involving small amounts and secured here by comparatively small majorities on close divisions, it would be desirable to precipitate a conflict with another place. I notice with satisfaction that the VicePresident of the Executive Council cheers that sentiment. . I shall expect him to cheer the corollary which I propose to attach to it. When I find that a request embodies the sentiment of justice of this Chamber as expressed by a very large majority, I feel that we ought to insist upon it. -This is certainly one of the first that we have come across in respect of which honorable senators ought to abstain from making an unconditional and humiliating surrender right off the reel. It was carried by a majority of eighteen votes ; the numbers being twenty-three to five. If, the moment that it is indicated to the Senate that the House of Representatives has expressed its dis’ approval of what was really the unanimous feeling and wish of the Senate, we are im mediately and basely to surrender bur position, we had better swallow the whole message at once.
– In spite of the fact that we are older, and know better now ?
– Not a particle of argument or reason has been offered why there should be any change in the sentiment of’ the Senate, and- there is certainly not present in the chamber at this moment anything like the number of senators who voted in that division previously, so that- they, at any rate, do not desire further argument to induce them to adhere to the decision which they have already arrived at. I am surprised that the Minister should ask us to bow down and kiss the hand that smites us the moment it does so.
– They have been very generous in their consideration of our requests.
– The House of Representatives have in some respects taken a very reasonable view of some things, but T do not think the Government are entitled to the credit for that. I was astonished that the Minister, who usually feels the weight of a majority, should urge us at’ the first time of asking - if it were the third time of asking we might reconsider it - to give way. We ought not, at the very first time of asking, to surrender after a practically unanimous vote. If we did so people would be in a position to say that the Senate had/ no backbone; that it was ready to stultify itself on the smallest provocation, and to eat its requests in order to secure an early adjournment and to get rid of the Tariff. I ask the Minister ‘to withdraw his motion, and to uphold the dignity and justice of the Senate by assenting to what I am sure will be the feeling of the chamber - that the request should be pressed. In addition to the fact that there was that big majority, one of the strongest supporters of. the request, which was moved by Senator Millen, was Senator McGregor, who declared - and gave his reasons - that it was the desire of the Tariff Commission that the duty should be reduced from id. to Ad.
– That was two years ago.
- Senator McGregor said it only two or three weeks ago. Apparently Senator Trenwith will clutch at anything in order to induce the Senate to swallow its requests. Surely the Minister has some regard for our position and dignity? . ‘
– I shall’ give the honorable senator a full opportunity later on of upholding our dignity in regard to other items.
– There are a number of others, but I wish the Senate to adhere to the position which was taken by so large a majority in this case. We ought not to throw away a request based upon a majority of eighteen. The strong expression of opinion, supported by conclusive arguments given by Senator McGregor, influenced to a large extent, if not all the member’s of the Senate, at any rate those sitting on his side. Nearly all his supporters voted with him for the request. If there is one request that we ought to press, it is this.
– I rely upon the good sense of the Senate.
– That has been expressed already in the most emphatic manner. Why does the honorable senator waste time by pressing this motion, which he has no chance of, carrying ?
-33l- - I hope the Minister will withdraw the motion. His speech bristled with the assumption that paraffine wax would largely interfere with the manufacture of stearine candles. It does nothing of the kind. Paraffine candles are, in nine cases out of ten, a mixture with stearine. It is only because Tasmania has a cooler climate that the manufacturers there are able to put a larger amount of paraffine wax into the candle, and give a better flame. The Treasurer was evidently misinformed on this matter, and, consequently, misrepresented the position to another place. The following letter- from Mr. Upton, a New South Wales manufacturer, confirms Mr. Metz’s letter - -
My attention being drawn to a letter in the Argus by Mr. Metz, of Tasmania, re paraffine wax, I hereby endorse every word contained in that letter. With regard to the Commonwealth Oil Company : First, the said company, I believe, cannot produce .a marketable cheap wax similar to American 118/120 melting point. Second, the said company, I believe, cannot produce a wax of Rangoon quality, viz., 134/136 melting point. Third, the said company make, as far as I know, only one quality of good colour wax, at about 128 melting point. This wax is too good, or, rather, too dear for a cheap household candle, and not good enough for a mining candle, so if the duty on wax is kept up to id., both the cheap household and best mining candle must advance in price. Fourth, 1 know, as a fact, the Commonwealth
Oil Company has imported 1 18/120 American wax, and is to-day in the market for Rangoon wax. Are you going to penalise the whole community for one company, who cannot, produce anything like enough wai for their own use?
Yet, in face of that, the company have the effrontery to tell the Minister, and the Minister tells the Committee, that they are prepared to supply paraffine wax to. their opponents. As Mr. Metz has shown, and Mr. Upton confirms his statement, they cannot do it ; they have not clone lt, and have declined to make a contract. Why should we support them in their attempt to crush the small industries, more particularly of my own State? There is no justice in the proposition. I have been waiting in the hope that its supporters would show some reason for their attitude, but nobody has risen to justify it, and I suppose nobody will.
– - The effect of the duty, if it is retained, will certainly be to enable the large candle manufacturers, who make stearine, to eat up the small candle manufacturers, who do not. That will be the sole effect of it, whatever may be the intention of those who favour it. So far as I understand the principles of the manufacturing process, a plant for the manufacture of stearine is very costly, and, when installed, is capable of turning out very large quantities - so much so that one. or two plants are quite equal to supply the whole Australian demand. The large manufacturers of candles, like Mr. Kitchen and the firms with which he is associated, have installed a stearine plant, and are also makers of candles, but the smaller candle manufacturers, not having a sufficiently large business, and, it may be, not a sufficiently large capital, have not put up a stearine plant, and therefore are bound to apply to their competitors, the opulent candle makers, like Kitchen and Sons,, for a supply of their raw material. The effect of putting an increased duty on stearine is simply to enable Kitchen and Sons to charge a higher price to their smaller competitors, with the inevitable result that, as they can get the stearine, they manufacture themselves at cost price,! and are- enabled by means of the duty to charge an increased price to their competitors, they will in a small space of time absolutely crush out the smaller men who are seeking to gain a livelihood as honest as their own.
– The honorable senator is referring to stearine?
– The honorable senator by his interjection ‘practically concedes my contention.
– I do not.
– - The honorable senator’s answer to that contention is that paraffine wax competes with stearine. If so’, surely the obviously common-sense course in adopt is npt to put a duty upon stearine, but to put it on paraffine wax.
– Is the honorable senator prepared to put a duty on paraffine wax?
– Whilst I propose to stand by the vote which I gave before. I would suggest to those who contend that, paraffine wax is the competitor at which they are aiming, that the way out of the difficulty would be to separate the two articles. Rather than consent to put a duty of id. per lb. on both articles, I am prepared to support a proposal to increase the duty on paraffine wax, leaving that upon stearine as it is at present. The duty on stearine has been Jd. since 1902, and during that time, according to the figures quoted by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, the manufacturers of it have captured the Australian market so successfully that not a single lb. of it is now being imported. That indicates clearly that the plants in Australia are turning out all the stearine required to meet the demands of the whole of Australia. What justification therefore is there for imposing an additional duty on stearine, seeing that the only people who purchase from those manufacturers are the small candle-makers who come into competition with them ? Does this Chamber want deliberately to encourage a policy the effect of which is to say to the larger manufacturers : ‘‘“You can with confidence look to the Senate- to help you to crush your smaller competitors “?
– What is to prevent the small men from making their own stearine?
– I have already told the Committee, and I thought I was telling the honorable senator.
– -The honorable senator has not demonstrated it.
– I affirm - and the honorable senator can try to disprove it - that the cost and output of a stearine plant are so great that a small manufacturer could not face the undertaking. The cost of an up-to-date stearine plant is, I believe, somewhere in the neighbourhood of ,£50,000 or .£60,000. That plant, having been in stalled, must necessarily turn out such a large quantity that a small manufacturer cannot hope to grapple with the business. He is bound, therefore, to look to the larger firms, who are making stearine, and also candles, for his supply of raw material. Even Senator Trenwith will understand the enormous advantage which that must give to the larger manufacturers, who can, by means of the duty now proposed, put such a price on the raw material as to make it impossible for the smaller men to compete with . them. The effect must be that the smaller manufacturers will have to transfer their legitimate business to the already flourishing and satisfactory business carried on by Kitchen and Sons. I ask the Committee to hesitate before it sanctions a proposal of that kind. I have said that I consider the duty suggested by the Senate sufficiently high. If honorable senators are -not prepared to go with me to that extent, believing that paraffine wax should be suppressed, they might agree to divide the item into two lines and impose a duty of id. per lb. on paraffine wax, and at the same time decline to increase the duty on stearine, seeing that for six or seven years the old duty proved ample protection to secure the market for the local manufacturer. Any increase upon that duty must have the effect of transferring to the larger manufacturers the business of their smaller competitors. T voted for the request as it left the Seriate, but rather than see the duty of id. per lb., originally proposed, reverted to, in the case of stearine* I shall gladly support a proposal to divide the item into two lines in the way I have suggested.
– I should be inclined to say that, in the absence of any more definite argument against it than we have yet heard, the Committee should stand to its original decision. This matter was threshed out here a few weeks ago, and apparently overwhelming reasons were given which justified a strong majority in favour of fixing the duty at Jd. per lb. on both stearine and paraffine wax. Since that time we have had a. remarkably clear and precise declaration by Mr. Metz, a manufacturer in a small way in Tasmania. The Minister has not attempted to contradict it. The casethis gentleman makes out is a very strong one, and in the absence of Contradiction, his statement must be taken to be absolutely true. He has made out the cost which, over and over again, we intimated would be a result of much of this Tariff making. We said that the manufacture of many of these articles would inevitably pass into the hands of monopolists. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has said that we are framing a Tariff for the Commonwealth, but the answer given by the Tasmanian manufacturer is that the honorable gentleman proposes to destroy his industry. He says that he has been able to compete successfully with the bigger manufacturers, because of the comparatively small duty previously imposed on the raw material he uses. . He says that if the increased duty is imposed, on one of the raw materialshe uses, he will be unable to’ obtain it, and, to make his case good, explains that he must go to larger firms in Sydney and Melbourne to obtain the raw material he requires for his smaller industry. When the VicePresident of the Executive Council speaks of building up a Commonwealth Tariff, I ask him whether, in this case, he is not proposing to frame a Tariff which, on the uncontradicted statement of a small manufacturer, will result in the destruction of his industry. It is. entirely inconsistent with either the dignity or, what is more, the duty of the Senate that the Committee should stultify itself by reversing a carefully considered decision, arrived . at after an exhaustive debate, when not a single additional argument has been submitted in support of the change. The position previously taken- up by the Committee is strengthened by the statement of the small manufacturer in Tasmania that he anticipates that his industry will be ruined if the alteration is made. In the circumstances, I hope that the original decision of the Committee will be adhered to, and that the majority in favour of it will be greater than it was when the matter, was last under our consideration.
– I am in some little difficulty as to procedure. I wish to be able to vote in support of the request as originally submitted by the Senate.- Failing that,I wish to divide the two items of stearine and paraffine wax. If we are called upon to vote on. the motion submitted by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, no opportunity will be given later - on for a modification of our original request. I hardly know how to proceed, but I ‘ am sure that there is no desire on the part of the Chairman or any member of the Committee to prevent a full expression of the opinion of the Committee being recorded. I would askyou, sir, if it is not possible to divide the items in some, way so that we may take a vote upon the duty to be imposed upon each, separately.
– I suggest to the honorable senator that he might submit an amendment of the motion omitting the words “ not pressed “ with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ modified by making the duty on stearine½d. per lb.” We could take that as one amendment and then the honorable’ senator might move by way of further amendment that the motion should be modified by making the duty on paraffine wax½d. per lb.
– That would give me ‘ the opportunity I want.
– I point out that the carrying of the first amendment” would not dispose of the question. The main question would still be before the Committee and might be further amended.
– I do not wish to interpose any difficulties in the way of the adoption of the course suggested, but it occurs to me that it would be equivalent to a repetition of the Senate’s previous request to which the House of Representatives has disagreed.
– In the Senate’s original request the two articles are submitted in one line, and to submit them separately would be to modify the original request.
– Adopting your suggestion, sir, I move -
That the motion be amended by leaving out the words “ not pressed,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ modified by making the duty on Stearine, per lb.,½d.”
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [5.53]. - I am not going to take any exception to the course proposed if it is necessary to facilitate the consideration of the relative merits of the two articles dealt with.
– The proposal is not satisfactory.
– It is not. I think it would be a great pity to divide stearine from paraffine wax. I wish only to say at this stage that I shall vote against the motion that the request be not pressed for reasons which I have already given, and which were given on the merits when the matter was originally before the Committee. I think that the duty on both should be½d. per lb. - I am entirely opposed to an increase of the duty on paraffine wax. The question was exhaustively debated both as regards stearine and paraffine when the matter was first before the Committee of the Senate. The . deliberate judgment of the Committee, indicated by a majority of eighteen, which represented an almost unanimous vote of the senators then present, was that both paraffine and stearine should be dutiable at ½d. per lb. It does not appear to me that anything has been or could be added to the discussion which then took place.
– There was no suggestion then that they should be treated as separate items.
– That is so; they were debated together. Honorable senators will recollect that Mr. Kitchen, whose letters were read by the VicePresident of the Executive Council, put the two together. He was the exponent of the wishes of the trade, and he contended that both paraffine wax and stearine are really finished articles, and are made by him in circumstances which justify him in asking for protection for his industry to the extent . represented by a duty of1d. per lb. on both. He said that they needed merely to be moulded into candles on arrival here, and should not, therefore, be allowed to come into the Commonwealth at a low rate of duty, when they competed with the locally-manufactured candles in just the same way as candles which originally were admitted at the same rate of duty. ‘With that statement before us we dealt with the request of the industry, for a uniform duty on these two articles, and by a practically unanimous vote decided that a uniform duty should be imposed upon them. As honorablesenators are aware, we took these articles out of the general category of item 42, leaving beeswax and other articles, including Japanese and vegetable wax, in that item dutiable at1d. per lb. We then adopted a special item making the duty on stearine and paraffine wax½d. I think that we should be simply making ourselves ridiculous to separate these articles now. It would be better to take a division straight out on the motion of the Vice-President of the Executive Council.
– As has been pointed out, stearine and paraffine wax have always been dealt with in conjunction. The desire of the manufacturers is that the duty should be increased to1d. on both articles. I may state frankly that if Senator Millen’s amendment is carried,
I shall at once rise and move that the request be modified by making the duty on paraffine wax1d. It would . be no modification at all to make the duty½d. I wish to ask you, Mr. Chairman, whether, if Senator Millen’s amendment is carried. I shall be prevented from moving the further modification, that the duty on paraffine wax be1d. per lb. ?
-“The honorable senator will be able to do . so. The vote on Senator Millen’s amendment will not. decide the main question, and a further amendment may be moved to add other words.
– The former duty of½d. on stearine has been sufficient to enable the local manufacturers to capture the market, and 1 understand that now there is no importa-. tion of this article. But paraffine wax is imported, and comes into unfair competition withstearine. I was very much in favour of separating the two articles, so that the duty on stearine might remain the same as previously, . and a larger duty put on paraffine wax. As the matter presents itself to my mind, the local manufacturers, having captured the market, and no stearine being imported,’ it does not matter whether we take the duty off or leave it on, because all that is used in Australia is manufactured here; but I want to see the duty retained on paraffine wax, because it enters into competition with our own manufacturers of stearine candles.
Question - That the words ‘ proposed to be left out be’ left out (Senator Millen’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Question - That the request be not pressed (Stearine and Paraffine Wax) - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request not pressed.
Item 45. Confectionery, Cocoa and Chocolate, viz. : -
Senate’s Request. - : Make the ‘duty (General Tariff), 2½d. per lb.
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amendment not made.
– I propose to ask the Committee to agree to the duty of 3d. per lb. in the general Tariff in order to secure a preferential duty of½d. per lb. In 1905 we imported 2,230,000 lbs. of confectionery from the United Kingdom and 466,000 lbs. from other countries, while in 1906 we imported 2,609,000 lbs. from the United Kingdom, and 575,000 lbs. from other countries. Our object in proposing a preference is to afford to the United Kingdom an opportunity of obtaining additional trade with Australia. I move -
That the request be not pressed.
Motion agreed to.
Item 45. Confectionery, &c, viz. : -
Senate’s Request. - Insert the following paragraph : -
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amend ment not made.
– It will be recollected that the object in making this request was to preclude as far as possible the importation of confectionery containing glucose, paraffine wax, or plaster of Paris, and of course it was intended that an Excise duty shouldbe levied upon the locally-made article. After a lengthy consideration, however, the Committee determined not to request the imposition of an Excise duty, and the non-compliance with our request is practically consequential upon that. vote. I move - .
That . the request be not pressed.
Motion agreed to.
Item 46. Liquorice, viz. : -
Senate’s Request. - Make the duty 2d.
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amendment not made.
– I think that this request was made by the Committee to some extent under a misapprehension. The class of liquorice that is manufactured locally has always been regarded as confectionery and subject to the same rate of duty as that article. It will be remembered that the proposal to request a reduction of duty was suddenly sprung upon us. The general impression was that the object of the duty was to protect that class of liquorice which is purchased in chemists’ shops, whereas as a matter of fact the real intention was to protect the class of tasty,wholesome, and digestible sweetmeats which are produced in the Commonwealth: Here are various samples of them.
– Why does not the Minister say that he is . quoting from a letter sent by A.- Hoadley and Company?
– I do not . quite understand what my honorable friend means.
– The phrase “ harmless, tasty, and pure ‘ ‘ is contained in their letter, as the honorable senator knows.
– These are samples of the sweetmeats which it is intended to protect by this duty. As they are really confectionery, and have always been so regarded, it will be a great mistake to attempt to differentiate them.
– Is that the only sort of liquorice to which it applies?
– Yes.. We dealt with the expensive class in pursuance of the recommendation of the Tariff Commission, and the other House agreed to our request to insert the following paragraph -
I presume that every honorable senator has’ received from Messrs. Hoadley and Company a letter stating that a reduction of the duty on these sweetmeats, as requested by the Senate, will interfere seriously with their trade. They represent that they have every prospect of considerably increasing the volume of their trade if the duty of 3d. per lb. is retained. 1 move-
That the request be not pressed.
.- I suppose that we shall have to do exactly aswe are ordered - bow down and place our necks under the yoke. It is very absurd that we cannot be supplied at a fairly moderate price with liquorice confectionery ; but because the Minister is able to tell us that one firm has written a letter saying that unless the duty be retained they will suffer, we are asked not to press our request. Apparently the community can go to the dogs so long as certain firms can derive a benefit.
– I think that there should be a preferential duty of 2½d. per lb. on this item as in the case of confectionery, cocoa, and chocolate. Therefore I move -
That the motion be amended by adding the words “but that the House of Representatives be requested to amend the sub-item by making the duty on imports from the United Kingdom, per lb., 2½d.”
Amendment agreed to.
Motion, as amended, agreed to.
Item 53. Fish, viz. : -
Senate’s Request- Leave out’ “ and smoked or dried.”
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amendment made, with the omission also of the words “(except Fish preserved in salt or brine:”
– I move -
That the modification be agreed to.
Since our request was made, it was found by the Department that importershad been importing in tins and bottles fish preserved in salt or brine, and demanding its admission under paragraph d at 5s. per cwt. The Department had no choice but to accede to the demand. It was intended that such fish should be dutiable under item 53c at1d. per lb. The modification of our request will remove all possible doubt as to our intention. The effect will be to impose the same rate on fish whether imported in brine or oil. For example, smoked sardines in oil will pay exactly the same rate as plain sardines in oil. It is certainly a desirable amendment to make.
Motion agreed to.
Item 67.” Hay and Chaff, per cwt:,1s. ; and on and after 31st October, 1907, free.
Senate’s Request. - Make the duty1s.
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amendment made, to take effect on and after 1st November, 1908.
.- Originally the Government proposed a duty of 1s. per cwt on hay and chaff, but on the 31st October last, it. was taken off by the other House. The Senate requested that the original duty should be restored, and the request has been made with a modification that it shall take effect on and after 1st November, 1908. I move -
That the modification be agreed to.
– I move -
That the motion be amended by adding the . words “with an amendment substituting ‘1928’ for ‘1908.’”
Honorable senators are aware, I suppose, that in certain parts of Victoria there is a drought. In Australia a drought is a constant thing. When it is not in one part, it is in another. Therefore, the reason why the freedom of the item from duty should be extended to November next on behalf of Victoria may be safely assumed to exist for some other State after November, and for various other States from time to time. In 1902-3 there was a most appalling drought, extending over almost the whole of New South Wales . and into Queensland. The losses of stock at that time were fabulous. We lost sheep by the tens of millions, cattle to the extent of two or three millions, and horses to- the number of several hundred thousands. . It was pretty well known at the time that the effects of the drought would have been modified if we had been able to get cheaper supplies of fodder from New Zealand. Drought is a very serious matter, and the fact that it has been considered desirable in the interests of Victoria at the present time to leave the item free, shows that another place recognised that where drought exists there ought to be a possibility of obtaining free fodder.
– I have only one comment to make upon the amendment. I hope the Committee will not stultify itself in the ridiculous manner suggested by Senator Pulsford. His object is to nullify in an indirect way the previous decision of this Chamber.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
– There hardly seems to be a large enough attendance to deal with a big item like this. [Quorum formed.] I do not propose to discuss the, main arguments which were addressed to the Committee when the item was previously before us, but I always believe in giving honour to those to whom honour is due, and I certainly should like to pay honour to the’ Vice-President of t the Executive Council for the success with which he has entered the ranks of the humourists. Immediately before the suspension of the sitting he made a perfervid appeal to the Committee not to stultify itself. Seeing that riot many minutes before he had used all h’is logic and persuasion, and had succeeded in getting the Committee to stultify itself to the extent of reversing a vote arrived at by eighteen to five, it appeared to me that he was qualifying for a position on the staff of the Bulletin, or some other journal devoted to light reading. I should like honorable senators tq note the modification proposed by another place. No stronger indictment was ever made of a request submitted’ by this Chamber. We proposed, from my point of view wrongly, that there should be a duty upon fodder. To that the House of Representatives agreed with a modification,’ proposed by the representative of a drought-stricken district, post poning the date upon which the duty was to apply, until a time when it was thought that the drought would be over in that immediate locality. The laughter I hear is the right reception for a modification of that kind. In any other assembly in the world 1 such a proposition would have been scouted the moment it was stated. Honorable members who profess to believe in the protectionist faith come forward with the proposal that we should inflict a duty upon fodder, but they say, “ For Heaven’s sake shield our particular electorates from it for a few months while the drought lasts.” There is never a moment or . a month or a. year in which1 a- drought is not prevailing somewhere in Australia. If there is_a.ny virtue in the protectionist theory, anything in the ostensible object with .which that duty was imposed, this is the very time that it should be enforced. “It was advocated here by Senator-W. Russell and others as being distinctly the farmer’s opportunity - -the time when a drought prevailed. Now is the time that duty ought to be enforced and collected, if there is anything in the plea- that a drought is the .one chance of enabling the farmer to turn cannibal and eat up Ms unfortunate ‘ and struggling brother.
– That is not a fair way of putting it. ‘
– It is a truthful way of stating it. I shall leave it to the farmer to determine whether it is fair or not. IK was frankly admitted, when we discussed the item before, that the duty would be in- operative in all normal or good seasons, and that only when the drought fell heavily upon the land, when nature was unkind, the season adverse, when in a time of stress those upon the land might be struggling to their last ounce and their last shilling, in a valiant effort to save their few remaining head of stock, we should place the farmers in a position to . say, “ Heavy as is your adversity, Ave demand our pound of flesh, even if by means of that levy we still further cripple you in the undertaking in which you are engaged.” If there was anything in that plea - the only one addressed to this Chamber - now is the time that those who were sincere in making it ought to enforce the duty. Senator Pulsford has moved to postpone the duty indefinitely. That is another way ..of stating that he believes that -fodder ought to be free, as I do.
– Is the honorable senator going to vote with him?
– I do not know whether I shall not move an amendment postponing the operation of the duty, not for twenty, but for two thousand years. I hope that then a more intelligent race will deal with the fodder duties than that which has dealt with them on this occasion. If there was anything in the plea coming from Riverina, ‘ which I admit is sorely troubled with drought to-day - if there was any reason why Ave should turn a kindly and considerate ear to the pleading of Mr. Chanter - then the only thing for us to do is to return the request” with such a modification as .will insure wiping out the duty altogether.
– There are more districts than Riverina in New South Wales suffering from the present drought.
– It all depends on what the honorable senator calls Riverina
– It extends as far as Moss Vale.
– Moss Vale was never in a better position than it is in today. The southwestern district and a good portion of the western district of New South Wales is to-day in as pitiable a condition is I have even seen it. If any one wants to know how to spell drought, he has only to travel from here to Albury to see it. If Ave are to suspend the duty because the climatic conditions of the districts to which I ha%’e referred are likely to be relieved before the date named, that , is a justification for suspending it for all time, because no sooner will the drought be relieved in those portions of Victoria and New South Wales than Ave shall hear of it somewhere else in Australia. As a matter of fairness and justice, if it is right to suspend the fodder duty because certain localities are troubled to-day, it is equally fair and right to suspend it when other portions of Australia are similarly afflicted. I ask .those who have supported the duty to be’ consistent, and either to vote to. strike it Out, or, Avith Senator” Pulsford, practically to postpone it to a time before which Ave may reasonably assume that the Tariff will again come under review. I ask them not to make fish of one and fowl of the other, but to hold the scales of. justice evenly between: all parts of Australia - not to make a favorite of one particular’ locality because it happens at this, time tha) a certain’ representative who may be supporting a party can secure for that district a concession which Ave refuse elsewhere. Whatever Ave do, let us stand before Australia as extending’ the samepolicy, the same rule, and. the same justice! to every man, whether he lives north, south/ east or west. <
– - I agree Avith the leader on this “side that it is almost impossible to win this battle, but he would be a very poor, soldier who, because he thought he might, be defeated, would not be prepared to face the foe again and again. In view of the extent of their territory, their vast resources and possibilities, New South Wales and Queensland must certainly, if one canforecast the future at all, be the two great States of the Commonwealth, and the f foun1.dation of their wealth, and of that of theCommonwealth, since they form a part of it, is to be found in their herds of cattle and flocks of sheep. When Federation Avas first proposed, these two great States, hesitated longer than any of the others to. accept it, and they did so because their people believed that past experience indicated that if they . entered the Federation their great resources might not be adequately appreciated by the people of the southern States, and that, consequently,’ the development of their territories and resources might be retarded. The prediction’, made at that time by the people in New South Wales and Queensland opposed to Federation has been strongly justified by. the course proposed in connexion Avith this,, item. I do not care two straws whether the appeal I nbw make is made in vain, but certainly a remark which fell from; Senator Trenwith, who is a stalwart protectionist, justifies a speech’ from representa- .tives of either New South Wales or Queensland. When it Avas pointed out: that those two great States would specially suffer under this proposal, and Senator; Pulsford mentioned that New South Wales ; stock had been decimated by hundreds of , thousands in the drought, and that the. losses of stock from drought in Queens- , land might be estimated by millions,- Sena- , tor Trenwith’s reply Avas that those losses were due to want of water
– The honorablesenator never heard of artesian wells
– There is a largearea of Queensland where there are no artesian wells. ;
– The honorable - senator has not the slightest appreciation of : the difficulties which have to be faced by ; pastoral settlers in New South Wales and, Queensland. .-…<
– My interjection meant that it was not from want of fodder tout from want of water that the stock died.
– And I saythat the interjection justifies the prediction of some of the opponents of Federation when the Commonwealth Bill was first placed before the people of New South Wales and Queensland. Want of water was an aggravation of the disaster, due to lack of fodder and the high price which was charged for the fodder necessary to keep stock alive, added still more to the difficulties which settlers in New South Wales and Queensland had to face.
– Bananas are very costly in South Australia.
– These interjections about bananas and sugar are never made but when some representative of Queensland or New South Wales is driving home some important point. They are the last refuge of honorable senators from other States who are unable to answer the arguments submitted by representatives of New South Wales and Queensland.
– The honorable senator should not speak so strongly.
– There, again, we have a Victorian speaking. . If. it were Victoria that was called upon to suffer, I wonder whether we should be able to stand the honorable senator’s thunder. If the honorable senator thinks that I am speaking too strongly, my retort must be that, as vital interests of New South Wales and Queensland are concerned in this matter, I feel strongly.
– We are suffering as much in Victoria from drought now as are. the people of New South Wales or Queensland.
– Not at all. The honorable senator only shows how little be knows about the subject. If the preservation of the life of a single beast were a matter of vitalimportance to settlers in Victoria, would Senator Trenwith address to them the argument that he addresses to the people of Queensland and New South Wales, that God, having forbidden water to their flocks, we should add to their misfortune by preventing them from obtaining fodder?
– I do not remember saying that at any time.
– Will the honorable senator voteto strike out the date, and let the duty apply in Victoria while the; drought is on in that State?
– Stalwart protectionist as the honorable senator . is, I do not think that he would dare to do that.
– When the ‘item was previously before the Committee, I voted against any date being fixed.
– When the Tariff was introduced in the House of Representatives, there was every indication that Victorian stock would suffer from drought, and I believe that even in protectionist Victoria it would be regarded as an outrage oh humanity if it were proposed
– Let us get on.
– I dare say that if I push the matter very much further I shall be charged, even by honorable senators, on’ this side, with trying to obstruct business, knowing that the obstruction will be in vain.. But I have felt it necessary to take advantage of the opportunity to speak as I have done, because of what I regard as a gross exhibition of un-Federal spirit displayed in the action of the Government in this matter. I know of a case in history where, through the failure of supplies, the lives of many citizens of a nation were at stake. The protectionists then said in answer to an appeal for cheap food for these people, “ No, if you agree to that you will be violating the principles of protection.” That example will never be repeated again. But a somewhat analogous reply is, in this case, being given to the appeal on behalf “of the flocks and herds of the people in Queensland and New South Wales. I believe that the people of the great State I represent are entitled to every assistance that can be given them, and I should be doing less than my duty if I did not protest in the strongest possible language against this duty.
– Unlike the last speaker, it is not my intention to indulge in the strongest language possible. If I were to consider my present state of health, I should go home to bed instead of remaining, here to reply to such statements as we have heard’ from honorable senators opposite. I thought that, we were not to have any secon’d-reading speeches on these items. Let me remind Senator Millen that he has departed from the principle that he’ laid down for himself of being guided by the rates of duty imposed under the old Tariff. This duty is exactly on the lines of the old Tariff, and was carried previously in the Senate by a large majority, in spite of
Senator Millen’s very able and very warm protests. As a matter of justice, we should apply the principle of protection to all industries, and not only to ninety-nine out of every hundred. I think that the whole of the representatives of Victoria, including even Senator Fraser, voted for this duty on the last occasion, notwithstanding the fact that Victorian pastoralists were in as bad aposition as the pastoralists of New South Wales. It is simply a question of the application of the principle of protection all round.
– What about tanks?
– The Chairman would call me to order if I discussed tanks even to oblige the honorable senator. If protection is a good principle to adopt, are we going to impose protective duties on the agricultural implements and machinery required by farmers, and at the same time permit farmers in New Zealand, which is not connected with the Commonwealth in any way, when they can find a better markethere than in their own Dominion, to send their produce to the Commonwealth by the shipload, and so reduce the value of the produce grown by farmers in Australia ? Senator Millen, in dealing with the question before, desired to score a point, and in order to do so was prepared to sacrifice what he laid down forhimstlf as a principle to follow.
– What became of the honorable senator’s principles on wire netting and tanks?
– I should not have been in the least surprised if Senator Pulsford had moved that the operation of this protective Tariff should be suspended for the next thousand years. Is Senator Millen, the leader of the party opposite, going to be led by Senator Pulsford onthis question? I suppose that the honorable senator considers it cowardly of the Government, and of their supporters, not to insist upon immediately bringing this duty into operation, and so bring the Senate into conflict with another place. Senator Millen knows that politics are carried on by compromise, and it is another place that has the power, to say what is to be or is not to be in a matter of this kind. It is for us to suggest, but we can go no further. Every year there is drought in some part of Australia. It so happens that this year there has been no drought in South Australia; and I believe that the same remark applies to Western Australia. In the State from which I have come we have many thousands of tons of fodder lying ready- for market. People who have been prudent enough to look ahead, and ‘ to preserve fodder for emergencies, deserve to be encouraged. It is only reasonable and fair that- we should Consider their interests. I have a free hand in regard to such matters as this. When I was before the electors I told them that farming interests would at all times have my first consideration, and I am acting on that principle now. As the six States have banded themselves together to receive the benefits of Federation, and as at the same time they have to bear the expense of it, why should New Zealand be allowed to profit in times of emergency ?
– New Zealand stuff is being allowed to come in now.
-If the honorable senator had had his way the request made by the Senate would not have been agreed to at all. Why should New Zealand share the profits and advantages of Federation without subscribing anything, towards the cost of it? I could not go before myconstituents if I. agree to anything so inconsistent as that. I believe in protection all round.
– Not as to wire netting.
– Or tanks.
– Honorable senators opposite appear to have wire netting on the brain. They ought to be satisfied now that wire netting has been placed on the free list, and I helped to place it there. When I find honorable senators opposite interjecting in the snappy way in which they have been doing, I always think that I am rubbing them up in a manner that they do notlike.I hope that the Committee will support the Government in this matter, and stand by protectionist principles. Although we may not get all that we should like, let us take what we can, and do our best to get the rest by- and-by.
– If ever there was an illustration of the selfishness which underlies the policy of some of our ‘ ‘ geographical protectionists,” it has been exhibited by my honorable friend, Senator W. Russell, as well as by a certain gentleman in the House of Representatives. Although Senator W. Russell professes to believe in the principle of protection, I venture to say that his votes in regard to wire netting and tanks make his arguments simply ridiculous. I point to what was done by another member of Parliament in regard to the item under consideration. It was proposed by a certain gentleman who represents. Riverina, that the duty under consideration should come into operation at a certain date. The constituency of that gentleman is suffering at the present time . from, drought. But when the great drought overtook New South Wales some years ago, almost desolating our flocks, and making the price of fodder prohibitory, so that the prosperity of the great pastoral industry was seriously threatened, the very gentleman who proposed recently that the fodder duties should be deferred to a certain date, most strongly opposed, any’ relief being given to New South Wales and Queensland ; because he stated that there were . two or three individuals in his constituency who had some corn to sell. Similarly, Senator W. Russell has informed us that there is plenty of hay in South Australia, and therefore he considers that the farmers in his State should get the highest possible price for it. The honorable senator cannot realize the present condition of affairs. I. assure the Committee that though the drought of a few years ago was severe in many parts of Australia, it is equally severe to-day. In New South Wales fodder is selling at an almost prohibitive price. Chaff is fetching from£7 5s. to £7 10s. per ton, maize £9 per ton, and the prices of other commodities are equally high. It is a well-known fact, vouched for by those who are in a position to know, that there was never a time in Australia when the small farmers in some parts of the country were in, such a precarious position as they are now.- There are hundreds of them who cannot afford to buy fodder for their horses to enable them to ploughtheir land and put in their seed. Every carter, every cabman, every dairyman, every person who has horses to feed or cows to stall feed, is suffering severely. Milk is at present selling for 6d. per quart in Sydney, whilst twelve months ago it was fetching only 3d. -The duties levied by this Parliament operate most cruelly on the pastoral and farming industries; and especially cruel are these fodder duties. At such a time we ought to do all we can to assist the country people. In other countries similar duties have been suspended in. times of drought. Such was the case in America; and even in Spain duties were suspended until the drought had broken up and the farmers could buy fodder at reasonable prices. These . duties may suit people in some parts of Australia to-day, but they will severely injure people in other parts. From knowledge which I have obtained- for practical purposes 1 can say that under no circumstances will fodder be cheap until at least the beginning of next year. The rains that have fallen in some .. parts of the country have come too late. The consequence is that practically the only fodder obtainable in Australia is in, South Australia and a small portion of . Western Australia. These duties may therefore’ benefit people in those States ifthey have a good season.
– Even when bountiful rains come.
– Exactly. Are honorable senators prepared to handicap all those whose living depends upon their ability to obtain cheap fodder? Are they prepared to enable the farmers of South Australia to get famine prices for their fodder at the expense of the farming community in other parts of Australia? I can realize that under ordinary conditions Senator W. Russell as a protectionist is in favour of the imposition of a duty, but his arguments show the utter want of principle which actuates a geographical protectionist. How he can possibly call himself a friend of the farmer is beyond my comprehension. If he says, “Iama friend of the South Australian farmers at the present time because the conditions will enable them to get a high price for their chaff at the expense of all other farmers “ he will be consistent, but not otherwise. I hope that the Committee will see its way to agree to the-, amendment of Senator Pulsford.
– If anything were needed to show the absurdity of our request to levy a duty on hay and chaff, it is the proposition from the other House to suspend its collection until the 1st November, 1908. I believe that a good many honorable senators voted for the request under a misapprehension. There is no doubt that at the present time the most severe drought which has been experienced for many years is afflicting Victoria and a large part of New South’ Wales. The very fact that the otherHouse wants the collection of the duty to be postponed until the 1st . November, 1908, shows that we were wrong in requesting its imposition. It indicates that no matter when the duty may be enforced, some other portion of Australia may then be suffering from a drought. I remember -the. time when Queensland suffered as badly from a drought as are Victoria and New South Wales to-day. It may be in that position next year and the year after. If it is in the best interests of the Commonwealth that the collection of this duty should be suspended on behalf of a large portion’ of Victoria and New South Wales, for a certain time, surely it is desirable that it should be suspended altogether !
– Victoria does not ask that.-
– But its representatives helped to carry the request here.
- Senator Trenwith knows as well as I do that at the . present time it would be a cruelty to tax the people of Victoria who have to buy fodder.
– It would not increase the price by. one penny.
– Then what is the. good of imposing the duty? I am sure that if a proposal were made for the Committee to adhere to its request for a duty of 1s. per cwt. on hay and chaff, the honorable senator, notwithstanding his recent statement- .
– If the Committee could effect it, I would vote for it.
– The honorable senator knows that no one here is hardhearted enough to ‘ make such a proposition. It certainly looks . as if the protectionists have not the courage of their convictions. Senator W. Russell has talked about his protectionist principles.
– And the honorable senator talked about wire netting.
– The honorable senator had better keep cool, else I shall rouse him a little more. We know what his protectionist principles are worth. When it was. proposed to levy a duty which he believed would affect his own State his principles were, cast to the winds. On this occasion he says that it will assist the farmers of South Australia to retain this duty, and- therefore he intends to vote for its retention, although Senator Trenwith has said that it will not assist them.
– I did not say any such thing. I said that it would not increase the price of fodder.
– If the duty will not make the price of fodder one penny dearer, it will not assist the farmers.
- Senator W. Russell is advocating the imposition of this duty, butI do not believe that in Australia there is a farmer who wants to live on the misery and heart’s blood of the farmers in those States which are afflicted with a drought. I do not believe, even though the honorablesenator says it is the case, that in South Australia there is a farmer who wants to live on the sweat and blood of his brother farmers, in the drought-stricken States.’
– I never talked such stuff.
– The honorable senator’s argument was to the effect that the distress of the farmers in other States made* the opportunity for . the farmers in South Australia. If that is not living on the sweat and blood of other farmers, I do not know what is. I have never heard a more cold-blooded argument used. I do not think ‘that the honorable senator is so hardhearted as his language would lead one to suppose, but I was surprised at him rising here and stating that the farmers of South Australia want this duty imposed. Sup- ‘ pose that that State was afflicted with a drought as it has been, and its farmers could not procure food for their teams and plough their lands. Does any one imagine . for a moment that the farmers of New South Wales or Victoria would want to take advantage of the position to bleed the men whose; stock were face to face with starvation* No. I was shocked indeed to hear the honorable senator make such assertions about the farmers of South Australia. I do not. believe that they would indorse them. I, do not think- that they would ask that a duty on fodder should be levied when drought conditions prevailed in other parts of the Commonwealth. What are we asked to do? . Weare simply asked to suspend, the collection of the duty until a certain date. Why ? Because, at the present time, a drought prevails in Victoria and a large part of New South Wales. The message from the other House proves that we made a request which was not fair and just to the people of the Commonwealth. We are therefore’ asked to suspend the collection of the duty until such time as it is believed the drought will have broken up in Victoria arid New South Wales.- What will the people of Australia say if we refuse to remit the duty ? I am sure that they will say that it is a wrong tax to levy, because, while’ it presses hard on one State this year, it may press hard on another State next year. Alt the States are subject to the visitation of a drought, I can remember the great drought in Queensland, which lasted for seven or eight years, ruining thousands of small men, with their 500 or 600 head of cattle. F odder went up to ah enormous price. After the men had spent all their means in trying to keep their stock alive, the drought continued. Let us also consider the position of the carters on a gold-field.
– If we have this duty there will be plenty of fodder.
– I do not see how it will provide any more fodder.
– It will.
– It will help to keep out importations and to increase the price of local fodder. I believe that when Senator Gray was estimating the price of fodder in the future he was speaking by the book. I remember that, during the great drought in Queensland, many . a man was obliged to mortgage his property in order to keep his team alive. Is not the fact that we are asked to suspend the collection of this duty until the 1st November positive proof that we did something wrong ?
– Queensland has had a bountiful season, but I am sure that its farmers do not wish to penalize the farmers of Victoria or New South Wales. At the present time Victoria has to send stock to Queensland in order to keep them alive. We in Queensland do not want to penalize the southern farmers or to charge them exhorbitant rates.
– I suppose that the Queenslanders are providing grass . for nothing.
– No, but the owners of the Victorian stock will get grass at a fair price.
– At the highest price which can be extorted.
– If ‘ Victoria had a plentiful year, and Queensland stock were starving, the honorable gentleman ‘would like , to levy a duty on their fodder.
– No, we always admitted stock in bond. They could come and getgrass’ and return.
– The honorable senator knows in his heart that he is wrong. He is going to vote to undo to a certain extent what he did before. He ought to remember the conditions in other portions of the Commonwealth, and not to forget that portions which are prosperous to-day may be suffering from a drought later on. If it is wise to suspend the collection of the duty at the present time for the sake of Victoria and New South Wales, surely it will be wise to remove it ? Why should there be a duty collected on fodder when a drought is visiting Queensland, Western Australia, or South Australia? We ought either to repeal the duty or to postpone its imposition until such time as people shall have acquired a little more common-sense than, they appear to possess to-day. I intend to support the proposal of’ Senator Pulsford if “no other amendment is moved, but I should like to see the duty taken off.
– I am almost forced to rise again by what has been said, not so much by . Senator Sayers as by other honorable senators. If’ I am the man that Senator Sayers paints me, them the people of South Australia cannot have known me for the last forty-one years. The honorable senator may paint me as he likes, but I object to his painting my constituents as anxious to sweat others and draw their life-blood.
– The honorable senator said a drought was their opportunity.
– I do not know that I said even that. What I did say was that if protection was the law of the Common wealth - and in spite of Senator Pulsford it is-
– The cattle must starve.
– It does not follow. If protection is the law, why should not the farming industry reap the benefit of. it? We hear a lot about the farming community and their terrible troubles. I think we hear a lot more than is really felt..I have seen land in South Australia, near Georgetown, in the month of April, nearly as bare as the floor of this chamber, and, with an abundant rain during the winter, we could in September or October mow the grass for hay. We hear a great deal about the trouble of keeping a few cows on a farm, but with two inches of rain in a mild climate like that of New South Wales or Queensland the feed comes up very quickly. In 1888, at Beridleby and Eurilpa, where I was living, in the north of South Australia, we had a severe drought. Four inches of rain fell on the 1 st of January, and fourteen days afterwards, when I measured it, the grass was 10½ inches high.
– Did that10½ inches of grass revive dead sheep?
– The honorable senator ought to know better than to ask such senseless questions. What I have Stated shows how quickly the feed grows after rain in a moderately warm climate. There is nothing unreasonable in the modification proposed by another place. Two inches of rain at any time throughout the Commonwealth will, if the temperature is moderate, be followed by an immense growth of grass. I fallowed 530 acres in the year following the drought to which I referred without using ‘ a single bag of chaff or a Sheaf of hay. I speak simply of what I have seen. I resent being told that I have no sympathy with suffering humanity. If that had been said by any one but Senator Sayers I should have been annoyed, but I hope that Senator Millen will bridle that jokey mischievous member of his party. If we are to have protection, let all classes Share in it straight away. The action which the Senate took in imposing this duty in the Tariff of 1902 was the right one. The Government will always have the power in a case of great emergency, if Australia as a whole is suffering from drought, to suspend the operation of the duty.
– They refused to do so previously.
– Even a freetrade Government would agree to do so in those circumstances. I am sure that Senator Millen, if he were a Minister, would listen to a request of that kind.
– Why suspend the duty if it does not increase the price?
– I have already explained my reasons. Why should New Zealand or any other country outside the Commonwealth enjoy the privilege of swamping our markets? Honorable senators opposite, especially those representing Queensland, do not like my arguments, but if it was a question of a duty on bananas how eloquent would Senator St. Ledger, the legal adviser on the other side, become ! How swiftly Senator Sayers, and’ Senator Chataway would fly to the rescue ! I am fighting for a principle, and surely those honorable senators will give me credit for being sincere, and not bloodthirsty. That is generally an attribute of the Conservatives. We on this side take a different view. I hope that we shall adhere to the decision ‘we arrived at by a large majority in a fuller Committee.
– The modification proposed by another place is the most lamentable instance of parochialism that I ever came across. If it is right to suspend the duty until No vember, it will be right then to suspend it for another six months on behalf of some other State, and beyond that again for some other drought-stricken part of 7ié Commonwealth. There is scarcely a time when some part of Australia is not suffering from drought. To postpone the operation of the duty for the benefit of one locality that is suffering from drought at the present time is certainly parochialism.’ I have just been to the south-east of South Australia, where there is scarcely a blade of grass to be seen, and one squatter is trucking 2,000’ head of cattle- 900 miles to save their lives. If the duty is to be postponed at all, it ought to be postponed altogether. The difficulty I see is that if we agree to Senator Pulsford’s amendment there is not the least chance of another place adopting it, and we shall only have to fight the matter out again. The duty is either right or wrong. Although I owed my election largely to the farmers’ vote, if I had been here at the time I should not have voted for imposing this duty. I am quite sure that the farmers, of South Australia do not demand that it should be imposed, because what is the case of Riverina to-day may be the case of South Australia to-morrow, and in times of drought farmers, generally recognise that they should be mutually helpful one to the other. I do not think that the farming community generally would make any strenuous- demand to have the duty imposed. It has, however, been put on at the request of the Senate. There is no possible way of removing it altogether. If it was right to impose it, it is right to enforce it straight away. If not, it should be put off indefinitely. I do not -see any way of removing it now that the other Chamber has accepted it. As it is in the schedule, I am going* to vote against the modification proposed and force the thing home, because I think that is the best thing to do.
Senator LYNCH (Western Australia)[8;55J - To° much altogether has been said about the Riverina in debating this Question. Those who take a broader view of the Commonwealth recognise that the Riverina . is not the only district of- New South Wales that, at the present time, is unfortunately afflicted bv the drought. Its effects extend across the border into Victoria.
– And I am getting chaff, cheaper to-day by £3 per ton than I did in 1902, because of the imposition of a duty.
– A very large area in New South Wales and Victoria is affected by the drought, and it is possible that action in the matter was taken by the honorable member for Riverina under an influence that is exerted in both Chambers in dealing with the Tariff. In the first instance honorable members in another place dealt in their own way with the Tariff, and honorable senators did the same later on. Then the arrival of the time to adjust differences between the Houses, suggests a reason for the proposal to postpone the operation of this duty until November next.
– Can the honorable senator suggest one ?
– I am suggesting that it is probably due to the influence of the spirit of compromise. It may be that the proposal to postpone the operation of the duty was made with a view to secure a winning vote for the duty in another place. One would imagine from the remarks made by honorable senators opposite that Australia is doomed to perpetually suffer and be scourged by drought, when, as a matter of fact, the statistical records prove that during the trying time of 1902-3 we exported more hay and chaff than we imported.
– Where to? .
-i suppose it. was sent to South Africa.
– It was sent to all parts of the world. The statistical records show that during the exceptionally trying season of 1902-3, our exports of hay and chaff greatly exceeded our imports.
– The honorable senator has discovered a mare’s nest.
– If I have, the Commonwealth statistical records must be very unreliable. I should no doubt receive’ with very great respect any statement connected with statistics from so high an authority on figures as Senator Pulsford, but I have a greater respect for the figures supplied by official statisticians.
– No one would export fodder worth£7 or , £8 per ton to Europe, where it is worth only £3 or £4 per ton.
– I find that the value of the imports of hay and chaff for 1902 was . £10,000. For 1903 it was£3,000, and for 1904 £168. No one will deny that in 1902 the whole Commonwealth suffered more or less from the effects . of drought. The yield of wheat per acre in that year was the lowest on record, and our imports of wheat in 1902 or in 1903 were higher than in any other year of our history. That is a clear indication of the character of the season in that year. Yet during, that drought-stricken yearwe exported , £252,000 worth of hay and chaff. In 1903, our exports were valued at £43,000, or an excess of . £40,000 over the value of the imports of hay and chaff in that year. In 1904, our exports of hay and chaff were valued at . £28,000, and in 1905 they were, valued at . £21,000. We can safely brush aside the arguments urged by honorable senators opposite, whose sole object is to place Australian producers . at the mercy of outsiders who may wish to send produce into the Commonwealth in ordinary seasons. I flatly refuse to assist by my vote to do anything of the kind. The figures I have quoted prove that the Commonwealth is, in this matter, selfsustaining, even during the most trying time of drought. I do not care to remind, the leader of the Opposition of his promise to uphold the rates of duties imposed under the old Tariff, but there is yet one more chance left the honorable senator to keep faith with the Committee. in this matter. Under the Tariff of 1902 a duty of1s. per cwt. was imposed on hay and chaff, and under its operation the Commonwealth did not suffer, as is shown by the fact that we exported more than we imported.
– Senator W. Russell is the only honorable senator on the other side who has attempted to deal with the great objection to the imposition of this duty, and he did so only in his second address, and after he was brought to his feet by some remarks made by Senator Sayers. The honorable senator rose to defend himself against the supposition that he was likely to do anything inhuman. No member of the Committee dare face the ghastliness of this proposal. Who dare rise and say. that he is prepared to support this policy when grim death is stalking through the country and sheep by the million and cattle by the hundred thousand are being destroyed? Honorable senators opposite fall back upon some feeble talk about a protectionist, policy,’ but when Senator Sayers pointed out what is really at the back of this proposal, Senator W. Russell rose to repudiate any such unfeeling sentiments being harbored by him. Are honorable senators prepared to say that they support a policy, the adoption of which may be fraught with great destruction to stock? I have here the new issue of the Commonwealth YearBook, and I find in it some figures showing the falling off in the number of stock in Australia in 1901 and in 1902. I find that horses decreased in number by 96,000, cattle by 1,420,000, sheep by 18,000,000, and pigs by 150,000.
– That is because we had no duty on hay and chaff at the time.
– The honorable senator must know that we had such a duty at the time.
– It had not begun to operate.
– Many ‘ of us tried hard to get the duty taken off. At that time there was a certain amount of fodder produced in New Zealand, and a great deal of it might have been used to save stock if the duty of £1 per ton had not been imposed. I want honorable sena tors opposite to be game to face the reaL position. Let the Minister rise in his place and tell the Committee that the Government are prepared to back this policy whatever . its consequences may be. They are not prepared to put the policy into operation over the next few months, because that would affect sheep and cattle in Victoria. I wish to know what is to be done for the sheep and cattle of Australia generally. I have submitted a just and constitutional proposal. The Constitution requires that all the States should be placed on the same footing. I ask that what is proposed for a time for the special benefit of Victoria shall be granted in perpetuity for the benefit of all Australia. I should like to remind honorable senators that pastoralists are not the only persons interested in this matter. I suppose that hundreds of thousands of cabmen in our great cities are to-day feeling the pinch of the hard times due to the effects of drought. Surely they . are . entitled to a little consideration even from protectionists? I ask on their behalf that this duty should not be imposed.
– On their behalf we should impose it. They are getting chaff’ to-day cheaper than they did in 1902, when a similarseason of drought prevailed.
– At the present ‘ time the price of fodder is very high, although the duty has been in operation for years. If Senator Trenwith’s panacea were effective we should have cheaper fodder to-day ; but it has proved to be use less. In all the circumstances I confidently ask the Committee to postpone the” opera tion of the duty to the date I have suggested. .
– Before the question goes to a vote I should like to refer to a point raised by Senator Trenwith when.the matter was previously under consideration, and mentioned again by the honorable senator on this occasion by way of interjection. The honorable senator has said that in a time of drought more stock die from want of water than from want of fodder: That idea is due to a misconception of what occurs in parts of Australia outside the small State in which we are assembled. It is notorious that however much water is conserved by means of dams and artesian wells the great loss of stock in times of drought is due to the weakness brought about by the stock being continually travelled backwards and forwards to water without the necessary food to sustain their strength: This is proved by the fact that thousands of stock in such seasons are trucked from the western districts to the coastal districts that they may be brought within easy reach of fodder supplies.
– Does the honorable senator assert that if this duty were not imposed the stock would not be trucked to the coastal districts?
– One thing clear to my mind after listening to Senator W. Russell is that if the duty is imposed the cost of feeding stock trucked to the coastal districts will be ‘ increased. Senator W. Russell described the wonderful way in which a fall of a few inches of rain will cause the grass to spring up in every part, of Australia. I quite agree with the honorable senator that the recuperative powers of Australia are most remarkable. ‘ But we are discussing, the effect of the duty at a time when, the rain has’ not fallen. It is useless to tell us that the grass will grow when there is rain, at a time when we are urging the Senate to postpone for the next twenty years the application of the duty upon the fodder that is required to keep our stock alive before the rain falls to produce thegrass. Another honorable senator declared that he had not any doubt that in case of emergency the Government would suspend the duty. I do not profess to know very much about the powers of the Government in this respect, butI take it’ that there is nothing within the four corners of our Customs legislation to enable the Government to do anything of the kind. I cannot refrain from drawing attention ‘ to the extraordinary . form in which this proposal comes before us. It reminds me very much of the old saying -
The Devil was sick, the Devil a saint would be;
The Devil was well, the Devil a saint was he.
Our protectionist friends want these duties, but they are sick where there is a drought, and therefore wish the duties to be suspended. But by about next November, when they anticipate that the drought will have been broken up, and there will be plenty of fodder, it will be a case of “The Devil a saint is he.” Honorable senators surely recognise how such an action as this must stink in the nostrils of. every Federalist in Australia when he sees in a Tariff which is -intended to settle the fiscal issue for years tocome a duty which is only to take effect at the end of six months, simply because there is a corner of Australia in which it is believed that by that time the drought will have broken up. The proposal in its present form is an absolutely disgraceful one, of which this Parliament, I feel sure, will feel thoroughly ashamed in the not far-distant future. Let us either impose the duty from -the present date or let it be put off altogether, but do not let us carry a proposal which, if it were not unparliamentary, I should call dishonest. It practically means this : “ Here is a duty which, we believe to be desirable, but just at present it does not suit us to have it in operation, because there is a certain part of Australia which is drought stricken ; but within a few months the drought will have- disappeared, so that we will fix the duty to come into operation at that time “ -regardless of the fact that later on exactly the same conditions may exist in other parts of Australia.
Question - That the words proposed . to be added be added (Senator Pulsford’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion agreed to.
Item 70. Matches and Vestas of all kinds -
Senate’s Request. - Insert after the word “with” the word “ printed “;. leave out the words “advertising any commodity other than the matches contained therein,” and insert in lieu thereof the words “ other than the manufacturer’s name and address and description of the article contained ‘ therein.”
House of Representatives’ Message. - Not made, but the . following modification made, “ After present sub-item (d) the following added, “and on and after 1st October, 1908 (d)’When in boxes with printed matter thereon other than the manufacturer’s name, trade mark, and address, and description of the article contained therein, in addition to the duties set out in (a),, (b), (c) above, per gross of boxes (General Tariff), ; 7d. ; (United Kingdom), 6d.”
– In this case the alteration made by the House of Representatives is really verbal. They have practically accepted our request,- have deferred the operation of the new duty until the 1 st October, 1908, and have added the words “ trade mark.” It was felt that the comprehensive words, theinsertion of which we requested, would precludefirms from introducing their trade marks. I move -
That the request be not pressed, and that the modification be agreed to.
.-I desire to refer to a matter which came before the Committee during the former discussion on this item. At that time a statement was made to the effect that matches had been sent out by a certain firm in boxes that did. not contain the number that they should contain. The firm concerned felt greatly aggrieved, and I told them that if they furnished me with a statementwith regard to the matter I would place it. before the Committee when the item came up again for consideration, so that their side of the case might be placed on record. I have in consequence received the following communication from Messrs.’ Bell and Company, and I shall read it without comment. [ express no opinion of my own. The statement is as follows -
The following is a- true statement of the facts in connexion with the sale of vestas, which was referred to. by you in the Senate on 12th February last, when you said-: -
– The honorable senator must not, according to the standing order, read an extract from a newspaper, or any other document than Hansard, referring to a previous debate, and therefore he must not read that portion of the communication referring to what he formerly said in the Senate.
– I will omit that passage, . and will proceed to read the firm’s comments -
You further said that we had undertaken to supply 410 matches because our name was upon the box. ‘ In the first place, we may say that we have never had any contract with the State Tender Board, and, consequently, have never guaranteed 410 matches in a box, or any other number, to it. The contract, if one was entered into, was made with a person who apparently obtained some of the matches from us to enable him to carry it out. If, therefore, any guarantee of number was given, it must have been given by that person. The name of the person was openly mentioned, so that there can be no doubt as to the sale by us which was referred to ; there was no contract with this person to supply him with our vestas over a. given period, but only a sale to him of10 cases.
The following is an exact copy (omitting, only for obvious reasons, the name ofbuyer and the price) of ‘ the contract or sold note. The press copy in our letter-book has already been exhibited to you, and. we are quite prepared to allow any other member to see it : - “11th February, 1908. “Dear Sirs, “We have now to thank you for and confirm the following order : - “ 10 (ten) cases, each a gross, Brown dip, R. Bell and Co.’s London make, No. 10 Vestas, in tins, at- per gross, duty paid on Melbourne wharf. “For prompt shipment from London. “ Terms : Cash on arrival, less 2½ per cent. “ We have sent Messrs. R. Bell and Co. instructions regarding length and thickness of taper, and we have advised them that should it be necessary to charge more for these special matches, you are prepared to’ pay up to - per gross extra for same. We think, however, that Messrs. Bell and Co. will be able to supply the match you want without extra cost to you. “Yours faithfully, “ (Sgd.) Philips and Pike.”
Philips and Pike are the company’s brokers.
The reference to thickness and extra price is made because the buyer particularly desired the vestas to be of extra thickness. It will be seen that there is no mention whatever of any guaranteed number to the box. No number was guaranteed. Vesta boxes are known by names and numbers in the trade, and whether made here or elsewhere, by us or any other manufacturer, boxes with a specific name or. number are exactly of the same size. The vestas sold in the instance referred to were No. 10. They were of the regular size and were quite full.
If, as was stated, the Tender Board has been unable for years to obtain 410 vestas in a box, it is quite evident, as we have only supplied a small quantity to the contractor, that other makers do not get more into their boxes than we do. The number in. the box depends upon the thickness of the taper used, and if extra thick matches are specified, a fewer number will go into a box.
We are quite prepared to make a statutory declaration of any or all of the foregoing facts.
I thank the Committee for listening to this statement, which I thought in justice to the firm ought to be placed on record.
Motion agreed to.
Request not pressed ; modification agreed to.
Item 85. Mustard, including French Mustard, per lb. (General Tariff), 3d.
Senate’s Request. - Make the duty (United Kingdom), per lb., 2d.
House of Representatives’ Message.- Amendment not made.
– The item of mustard is somewhat similar to the item of blue. The Government picked out certain items in connexion with which they could afford to give a preference to the United Kingdom. Their list did not include this item for the reason, amongst others, that practically the whole of our importations of mustard come from the United Kingdom. In1906for instance, we imported from the United Kingdom £41,445 worth, and from other countries’ only£719 worth. Practically the United Kingdom requires no preference, and it is simply a question of fixing the duty. The Government considered that the old duty of 2d. per lb. was insufficient, and therefore proposed a duty of 3d., which was accepted by the other House. We feel that that’ duty is necessary in order to afford sufficient protection to the local manufacturers. I move -
That the request be not pressed.
– I point out. to the Committee that the duty which is pressed by the Govern- ment represents an increase of 50 per cent, on the old duty. It is rather a. strange way of showing a preference to the Mother
Country to increase a duty levied against its product by 50 per cent. L am reminded by Senator Pulsford that the A section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 2d., as under the old Tariff.
– The importations from the United Kingdom amounted to ,£41,445 worth.
-Of course I recognise that so long as a single article is imported some one will say that it is an argument for an increase of the duty. If that is so, a simple way is to prohibit its importation. I ask honorable senators to consider what we have been doing this evening. If it is decided that all that the other House has to do is to demur to our suggestions, and that we are necessarily to beat a retreat, it will be a clear admission that honorable senators absolutely forego the rights and functions of the Senate.
– That was the very complaint made in another place.
– In no sense can the Senate ever look to the Minister for any guidance or help in a matter of this kind. So long as we have responsible government we must always understand that the Ministers here, as -part of the Cabinet, are bound to ask the Senate to do not what it might wish or ought to do, but what has been decided by the Cabinet and the other House. Instead of being our leaders and guides, the Ministers’ sole object must be to mislead and misguide us.
– No; this, is a Government proposal.
– Clearly when the Houses are in conflict it must be the business -of the Ministers here not to ask the Senate to stand by its previous decision, but always to ask it to give way to’ the other House.
– Originally the Government proposed a duty of 3d. per lb.
– How does the honorable senator account for the acceptance of so many of our suggestions?
– In his introductory speech the Minister did allude to that matter, but he was very careful not to refer to the nature of some of the suggestions accepted. I remind the honorable senator’ that some of the alterations which have been made and which swell the total of the acceptances were suggested at the instance of the Minister here who said that .mistakes had been made elsewhere, and that alterations were desired for departmental reasons. One suggestion, I believe, was to insert a semicolon. That is one of the requests which the other House has accepted.
– If has accepted ‘ some very important requests.
– It has very wisely accepted all our proposals for increased duties.
– 1 ask the honorable senator not to enter into a general discussion.
– I will not, sir. I feel satisfied that the other House will be highly gratified to have Senator Trenwith’ s assurance that it has acted wisely sometimes. -. So far as we have gone, the Committee has merely said to the other House, “ We humbly apologize for having ventured to make any suggestions, and by the shortest possible cut, and in the briefest possible space of time we withdraw them.” Is it not due to the Committee that these matters should be . considered on their merits? I should like to ask it to adhere to its request concerning this item, but in view of its decisions I am hardly justified in doing so. I. invite the Minister to consider if he cannot accept a compromise. There is no earthly reason why the Senate should give way any more than the other House. The difference between the Houses is as to whether the duty shall be 3d. or 2d. per lb. This Committee did not seek to interfere with the duty of 3d. per lb. in the general Tariff, but merely ventured to request- in pursuance of the policy of preference in which the Government ardently believe - that a duty of 2d. per lbshould be levied on imports from the United Kingdom. I ask the Government to accept a duty of 2^-d. as a fair compromise.
– We grow our own mustard seed.
– How much?
– Then if we do not grow it there is no reason why we should not.
– Now the honorable senator hedges.
– My proposition is to increase the old duty of 2d. per lb. by 25 per cent. How much percentage that represents on the article itself I do not know ; but it must be enormous. I am not proposing to take away any protection from the local manufacturers. I want the Committee seriously to consider whether the time has not arrived when instead of conceding every point, it ought not to ask the Other House to agree to a fair ‘compromise.
– By overwhelming numbers, they gave way to us in many cases.
– Yes.; for instance, they’ accepted a reduction of 5 per cent, on minor articles, but refused to agree to our request concerning a substantial item like that of gloves. , I appeal to the Minister whether, having some regard to the status of the Senate, it is not reasonable to ask the. other House to meet us half way. It will show that the Senate is not prepared to withdraw every suggestion the moment that the other House refuses to accept it. I move -
That the motion be amended by leaving out the words “not pressed,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “modified by making the duty on imports from the United Kingdom, per lb., 2½d.”
– I dare say that from one point of view it is a wise policy in a Chamber disposed to increase duties to try to throw overboard some cargo in order to save the rest. On the score of prudence, I shall not obstruct any . attempt to try to save something. I rise to point out an admission which we have had from the VicePresident of the Executive Council. It more or less illustrates what I believe has been called on more, than one occasion the gross fiscal hypocrisy of the ‘ Government. When the Minister was driven to find an argument in favour of a duty of 3d. per lb. on mustard, although it was pointed out to him that.it represented an increase of. 50 per cent, on the old duty, . he at once directed attention to the fact that the Government desired to strike at the import trade from the United Kingdom. That was about as clear a declaration as could possibly be made with regard to what some people would call sincerity, and what others would probably call hypocrisy. Why the honorable senator had the courage to make it, I do not know. I should have thought that he would almost have blushed to do so..
– Is this a lecture on hypocrisy ?
– No. Nobody need rise here to illustrate anything about hypocrisy with regard to the framing of a Tariff after the example which the honorable senator has just given. I shall not fellow my leader in the matter of . this compromise if I can find any other course to pursue. If it is a step which I must take, . I shall take it . very reluctantly. . I should not have expressed my reluctance so strongly had not the Minister - naked and unashamed, as. it were - declared that on this item, and no doubt on very many others, he intended to abandon a request for a preferential duty. He does not care one straw about the trade from the Old Country, but whenever it suits him he will strike a blow at it. It is very , seldom that we get such a clear and frank admissionfrom him as we did just now. , He has shown that when it comes to a question of fiscal politics, he does not care two. straws about assisting the trade of the Mother Country.
Question - That the words; proposed ‘ to be left out be left out (Senator Millen’s amendment)- put. The Committee divided.
Majority … …2
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion agreed to ;. request not pressed.
Item 88. Oilmen’s Stores, n.e.i….. ad val. (General Tariff), 20 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.
Senate’s Request. - Insert the following new . paragraph : -
Invalids’ Foods not manufactured in the Commonwealth, as prescribed by departmental bylaws, free.
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amend’ment made with the following modification - the words “ not manufactured in the Commonwealth, as” omitted from the requested amendment. .
– This is a formal modification. The words which another place has omitted are not’ necessary. Their effect is covered by the voids “ prescribed by departmental bylaws.” I move -
That the modification be agreed to.
Motion agreed to.
Item 93. Pickles, Sauces, Chutney, Olives, and Capers.
Senate’s Request. - Make the duties (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amendment not made. 1
– Animated by the spirit suggested by Senator Millen, I think there is room for a compromise in this case. The duty in the general Tariff column might be reduced to 30 per cent., leaving that against the United Kingdom at 25 per cent. If that meets with the approval of the Committee I will move it, but if not I will move that the request be’ not pressed.
Senator. Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [9.47]. - This request was one that I moved. I recognise that. the Minister is now making a proposition which accords with’ the general action of both Chambers in reference to United Kingdom preference. There has generally been . a difference of 5 per cent. In this ease the difference is 10 per cent. I am therefore willing, personally, to accept the compromise suggested, because it will bring the item into line with the rest of the Tariff.
– And duties of 30 and 25 per cent, were recommended by the Tariff Commission. I therefore move -
That the request be pressed as to the duty in the General Tariff, and not pressed as to the duty on imports from the United Kingdom.
– Is it possible to move now a request for higher duties than we originally requested?
– By our not pressing the request for 20 per cent, in the United Kingdom column, the duty of 25 per cent, originally passed by another place stands.
Motion agreed to.
Item94. Rice, viz…..
C, N.E.I. , including Rice Meal and Flour, per cental, 6s.
Senate’s Request. - Make the duty 4s. 3d.
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amendment not made.
– This is rather an important matter. I am certain that the request was made by the Senate under a misapprehension. The item as originally passed by another place provided for a duty of 3s. 4d. per cental on uncleaned rice, and of 6s. on cleaned rice. Those articles have a relative value, 100 lbs. of uncleaned rice would produce only 70 lbs. of cleaned rice. It would therefore take about 143 lbs. of uncleaned rice to produce 100 lbs. of cleaned rice. The duty on 10c lbs. of cleaned rice would consequently be equal to the duty on 143 lbs.’ of uncleaned rice at 3s. 4d. per cental, or 4s. 9d. If a man wanted to get 100 lbs. of cleaned rice, it would be necessary for him to pay duty to the extent of4s. 9d. In addition, the cost of cleaning the rice comes to1s. 3d. By. adding that to the 4s. 9d. we arrive at the ‘ duty of 6s. per cental which was proposed by the Government on cleaned rice.
– So the Government propose to give a duty equal to the whole cost of the labour?
-Yes. . It was scientifically adjusted in that way. If the Senate’s request to reduce the duty on cleaned rice to 4s. 3d. were agreed to, the result would be that’ only cleaned rice would be imported, and no cleaning would be done here at all. If cleaned rice could be imported for 4s. 3d. per 100 lbs., it is not likely that people would pay 4s.9d. in duty in order to import that amount of uncleaned rice which would produce 100 lbs. of cleaned rice,, and in addition, pay 1s. 3d. for the cost of cleaning it. The effect of the requested amendment would therefore be to completely disturb the adjustment of the duties and wipe out the rice-cleaning industry in Australia. I move -
That the request be not pressed.
.- The Minister has given a very strong reason why his motion shouldnot be carried without at least some modification. I am willing to admit his contention that when the Committee arrived at its previous decision we were in some doubt as to how the figures would work out. But the honorable senator has shown that the proportion which uncleaned rice bears to cleaned rice is 100 to 70, and upon that proportion the duty upon the item we are now discussing should be 4s.9d. per cental to. represent a duty equivalent to that imposed on ‘uncleaned rice. To that the Minister says that the Government add1s. “ 3d. per cental as the cost of cleaning) which brings the duty up to 6s. That is tantamount, as the honorable senator admitted in reply to an interjection of mine, to a duty equal to the whole cost of labour in the industry. In submitting the Tariff in the first instance, the most that the Minister claimed for the protective policy was the imposition of a duty which would equalize the difference between the cost of labour here and elsewhere, with a little to spare. Now, the honorable senator goes much further, and proposes a duty equal to the whole cost of the labour employed in the industry,. I admit that we, made a mistake in dealing with this item on the last occasion, and should rectify it, but when the Minister asks us to impose a duty equal to the whole cost of labour involved in this industry he is asking us to do more than we ought to do. Whilst the honorable senator has said that the whole cost of the labour of cleaning amounts to is. 3d. per cental, he has said nothing with respect to the commercial value of the byproducts derived in the process of cleaning. They are utilized in connexion with the manufacture of starch, and represent a factor which’ should be taken into consideration. Though they are certainly worth, something, I discard them for the purpose of my argument, because .1 am not in a position to estimate their commercial value. If we impose a duty equal to one-half the cost of the labour involved in the industry, that will surely meet any difference between the cost of labour here and elsewhere. Half the cost of the labour would be 7jd. I am prepared to’ go a little further, and concede od., which would make the duty 5s. 6-1. per cental. That, in my opinion, would amply protect those who clean rice in Australia against any competition they might have to face from abroad. I move -
That the motion be amended by leaving out the words “ not pressed,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ modified by making the duty 5s. 6d. per cental.”
Might I remind honorable senators of an argument I addressed to the Committee a little time ago? Do they think that on hearing that another place has disagreed to a request made by the Senate, . we should immediately climb down ?
– We did not do so in dealing with the last item.
– That was only a very little one, and only one of several that have been dealt with to-day. The only argument used in support of the proposal that we should reverse our previous decision in this case, is that we did not at first impose a sufficiently high duty. I have admitted that, and am prepared by my vote to impose a reasonable duty in the circumstances.
– And to ask some honorable senators to stultify themselves.
– I do not ask any honorable senator to stultify himself, but if I were looking to find any member of the Committee to do that I should probably look to Senator Needham first. What I say is, that the most that even a protectionist can ask is a duty that will equalize the conditions of labour here and elsewhere. .
– The honorable senator does not know what a protectionist might ask.
– The honorable senator is quite right. I had forgotten him when 1 made the remark. I ask honorable senators to give a, little consideration . to the position and status of the Senate, and not too readily and without clue consideration to set aside not merely our rights but our duties and obligations.
Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) [10. o”.On many occasions during the consideration of the Tariff Senator ‘Millen promised to support duties imposed under the 1902 Tariff. I remind the honorable senator that the duty on cleaned rice under that Tariff was 6s. per cental, and I ask him now to follow the course which he adopted’ with a fair degree of consistency in dealing with other items .in the Tariff. Senator Vardon will pardon me for saying that honorable senators took a very great interest ir> the election of a senator to represent South Australia, which took place not long ago, and they are aware that on a number of platforms the honorable senator said that he would support the rates of duty imposed’ under the 1902 Tariff.
– The honorable senator has overlooked the fact that an increase upon the duties imposed by the 1902 Tariff is proposed with respect to certain articlesincluded in this item.
– That does not apply to the article we are now discussing. Honorable senators are aware that our request for a reduction of the duty at first submitted was carried by only one vote. I have no doubt that honorable senators have received a circular in connexion with the proposed reduction of this duty from 6s. to 4s. 3d. per cental. It was evidently drawn up by those engaged in the industry, and it points out that the proposed reduction would absolutely ruin an industry established under the 1902 Tariff. It is stated that there are five rice mills in Sydney, one in Brisbane, one in Adelaide, and one in Fremantle, and all were brought into existence under the 1902 Tariff. _ It is pointed out also that, in connexion with the cleansing of rice, there is a loss involved of from 20 to 25 per cent., which is entirely lost sight of by those who support a reduction of the duty. I feel that it would he a very great injustice to this industry established under the 1902- Tariff, to reduce the protective duty imposed from 6s. to 4s. 3d. per cental.
– How much protection does the grower receive?
– The duty on uncleaned rice is 4s. 3d. . ‘per cental. ‘ These duties are the same as in the last Tariff. .
SenatorFINDLEY. - The honorable senator refers to the duties- as originally introduced, and not to the duties which the Senate requested should be imposed, and which represent a reduction of1s. 9d. per cental on the duties imposed under the old Tariff. . Honorable senators who are protectionists should have no hesitation in’ supporting a duty of 6s. per cental, and those who have promised to support the dutiesimposed under the 1902 Tariff should not insist upon the request made by the Senate.
– Senator Findley, who reminds people of what was said on the hustings, seems to forget that the duty imposed under the 1902 Tariff on a portion of this item - ricemeal and flour - was only 4s.2d. per cental, and not, as he apparently supposes, 6s. per cental. When this item was previously under consideration, I particularly asked the Minister whether the uncleaned rice imported was the rice known as “paddy “ rice. I went so far as to suggest that the word “ paddy “ should be inserted in the item. When I voted for a certain ‘ reduction of the duty, I was- unr>er the impression that the uncleaned rice imported was “paddy” rice, and that the very important byproduct obtained in Hulling the rice would add to the profits derived by those who hulled it in the Commonwealth. Since the matter was last under consideration I have made inquiries, and I find that the so-called uncleaned rice imported is really to a large extent cleaned rice, and that the cleaning process, carried out in the Commonwealth, is not so much the cleaning as the polishing of the rice. If I was misled when we were dealing with the matter when the item was previously before the Committee, I can at least plead that when I sought information from the Minister I was unable to get it. I have received several letters referring to the remarks I previously made on the question, and explaining that it would be absurd to describe this uncleaned rice as “ paddy” rice, because, paddy rice is never imported. The rice is imported already hulled, and, therefore, those cleaning rice in the Commonwealth are deprived of the advantage of the important by-product obtained in hulling the rice. . ..
– And have the advantage of the reduced cost of cleaning.
– I do not think sn, because the pclishing is very much moie expensive than the hulling of rice. Now that I understand the question nore thoroughly, I am unable to support the modification suggested by Senator Millun, and I intend to support the motion submitted bv the Government.
– I intend to support the motion, and I should not have spoken on Senator Millen’s amendment were it not for the fact that the honorable senator, in reply to an interjection of mine, suggested that I might be the first member of the Committee to set an example ofstultifving a vote. When this item was previously before the Committee, I voted for a duty of 6s. per cental. Fearful lest I might forget exactly how I voted upon this and some other items, I have taken, the’ trouble to- go through the division lists. When Senator Millen suggested that we ought not to climb down at the behest of another place, I said that possibly some honorable senators might be found to be stultifying their votes. Senator Millen replied to me in a manner that I flunk he will regret on further considera-. tion. I shall support the proposal of theVicePresident of the Executive Council. I need not quote statistics, but I recognisethat a duty of 6s. is quite little enough.
Motion agreed to; request not pressed.
Item101. Spices, viz. (a) Unground, n.e.i.,. - per lb., 2d.
Senate’s Reauest. - Make the item free!
House of. Representatives’ Message. - Amendment not made.
– The original proposal was that the duty on unground spices should be 2d. per lb., and that the duty on ground spices should be 4d. ; the intention being to make the protection on the finished article 2d. The Senate requested that unground spices should be made duty free. . The effect, would be not only to remove the protection on the raw material, but practically to put some ^18,000 per annum into the pockets of the manufacturers who under ordinary circumstances were satisfied with a duty of 4d. on ground spices. I do not think that that was the intention. I am well aware of what was intended by honorable senators .opposite, but they did hot succeed. They wanted to strike out the duty of 2d. on unground spices and then reduce the duty on the manufactured article from 4d. to 2d% I. move -
That the request be not pressed.
Motion agreed to. . Progress reported.
Motion, (by. Senator Best). agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until to-morrow at a. 30 p.m.
Senate adjourned at 10.17 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 6 May 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1908/19080506_senate_3_46/>.