15 December 1911

4th Parliament · 2nd Session

The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

page 4484



Senator READY:

– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council if he will give an indication as to the amount of the special grant which is to be allotted to Tasmania. This is a matter of first importance to the State I represent, and, therefore, I should like to know before the Senate rises to-day, the amount of the proposed grant, the terms under which the money will be allotted, and when the first payment will be made.

Senator McGREGOR:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP

– I have not consulted the Treasurer yet. He has made no public statement on this subject, but as soon as I have an opportunity I shall communicate with him, and give the information to the Senate.

page 4484


Conduct of Business

Senator McGREGOR:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · ALP

– On account of the condition of public business, I move -

That the Senate, at its rising to-day, adjourn until half-past Ten o’clock on Monday next.

Senator MILLEN:
New South Wales

– I have risen, not with a view to oppose the motion - which has been submitted, I think, as the result of a conference I have had with the Minister - but to invite him to explain his intentions regarding the business before the Senate. On the notice-paper there is no measure which apparently it is the intention of the Government to proceed with, and we are awaiting the arrival of the Tariff Bill from the other House. It would he, as I think the Government will recognise, very unreasonable to ask the Senate, as a deliberative body, to proceed at once with the consideration of a Tariff Bill which it has not yet seen. As I understand that they recognise the reasonableness of that view, and the Minister has discussed the matter with me, I invite him to tell us how he proposes to deal with the business which remains to be done before the close of the session.

Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Defence · Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP

– As a speech from the Vice-President of the Executive Council would close the debate, and other honorable senators may wish to speak to the motion, I have risen to state that the Government recognise that it would not be fair to ask the Senate to proceed with the discussion of the Tariff Bill without having been supplied with copies. In order that copies may be supplied, it is proposed, if this motion be carried, to move the first reading of the Bill, and then ask that the sitting be suspended until half-past 2 o’clock to-day. In the interim copies of the Tariff will be distributed. In the afternoon the general discussion can be commenced and continued until the usual hour of adjournment on Friday, to be resumed on Monday morning.

Senator WALKER:
New South Wales

– Seeing that it is proposed to adjourn to-day at the usual hour, I wish to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether he cannot arrange for the sitting on Monday to commence after luncheon ?

Senator Millen:

– I have arranged for live pairs.

Senator WALKER:

– That will do.

Senator) Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [10.34].- I assume that the discussion of the second reading of the Tariff Bill will be proceeded with on Monday morning, so that practically very little Committee work could reasonably be expected to be done until after the luncheon adjournment on Monday. It will be a good thing to get so much of the debate out of the way. If there are any honorable senators who have arranged to go away this afternoon, and desire to have an opportunity of speaking on the second reading, they could do so on

Monday afternoon, though, of course, it will be impossible to pledge honorable senators who remain to continue the debate. The probability is that very much might be said at the second-reading stage which would have the effect of materially shortening the consideration of the measure in Committee.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [10.35]. -Iam personally gratified that an arrangement is to be made, because I think that it is for the convenience of honorable senators to know what the course of business is, and the time at which it is likely to be taken. I do not want to interfere with any arrangement which has been come to between Senator Millen and the VicePresident of the Executive Council, but if it could be arranged to fall in with the suggestion to meet at a later hour on Monday, it would be a very great convenience, because there is no train from Adelaide on Sunday evening, as there is from Sydney. There is a difficulty in that respect, but as we have to enter on business next week, and get through the Committee stage of the Tariff Bill as speedily as possible, it would be a convenience, and I think in the interests of the business before the Senate, if the Government could see their way - with the concurrence, of course, of Senator Millen - to make the concession suggested by Senator Walker. I was not aware that the Senate was going to sit late last night; otherwise I should have been here if that had been possible. From that point of view, it is desirable that we should have some timely notice of any intention to prolong a sitting.

Senator O’KEEFE:

– I hope that the Government will adhere to their intention to meet at half-past 10 o’clock on Monday morning. While sympathizing with those who are in the position just mentioned by Senator Symon, I would point out that there are not many hours remaining before the close of the session. As the intention is to prorogue before Christmas, every hour is valuable, and useful work might be done.A number of honorable senators who have been waiting in Melbourne for weeks and weeks, can attend at that hour, and take part in the discussion on the Tariff Bill. I do not think that any inconvenience will be caused to those who may be unable to return to Melbourne until after mid-day on Monday, or, in perhaps a few cases, even until after mid-day on Tuesday.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon:

– Tuesday morning ! I am not pressing the suggestion. It is merely a matter of convenience.

Senator O’KEEFE:

– I would suggest that it is also a matter of convenience for a number of honorable senators to sit on Monday morning. I believe that it will meet the general convenience if we meet on Monday morning at half-past 10 o’clock, adjourning, of course, at the usual hour to-day. I ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council to adhere to his intention.

Senator McDOUGALL:
New South Wales

– I hope that some consideration will be extended to those representatives from other States who have not. the pleasure of staying in Melbourne with their wives and families. In my opinion, we have been treated unfairly. I do not approve of the method of procedure that has been followed during the last week or two. My view is that we should adjourn at the usual hour to-day, meet again in’ January, and do the business of the country properly. The Government ought to study our convenience a little in connexion with the sitting on Monday morning. I have been in the habit of going to New South Wales at every week-end, and I would rather do that than enjoy the pleasure of stopping in Melbourne for two or three days. I hope that the Government will have some regard to the convenience of the representatives of New South Wales, who have been constant attendants, and always ready to do the country’s business. We are entitled to a little consideration.

Senator Pearce:

– We can meet your case; a pair can be arranged for you. It will only be for a few hours in the morning.

Senator McDOUGALL:

– The duty on pianos might go through in my absence.

Senator Needham:

– There is no fear of that ; the music will be kept going until you come back.

Senator McGREGOR:
South AustraliaVice President of the Executive Council · ALP

– The desire of the Government is to meet the convenience of every honorable senator. If Senator Symon, or any other representative of South Australia, wishes to leave to-night for Adelaide, we will do all we possibly can to give them pairs if they are not here before any matter which is really of a debatable character comes on.

Senator McDougall:

– How do you know the way in which they wish to vote?

Senator McGREGOR:

– There is a number of honorable senators who would like to leave Melbourne to-day. I should like to go to Adelaide to-night. I had as ranged to go, but, of course, I cannot leave.

Senator O’Keefe:

– I would like to goto Tasmania to-day, but I cannot.

Senator McGREGOR:

– Other honorable senators who have been absent from their homes for a long while would like to leave Melbourne to-day. Any senator from New South Wales who goes away this evening can be back at 1 o’clock on Monday, ready to attend the afternoon sitting. It there is anything which the Leader of the Opposition wishes to be postponed until the Sydney contingent return, the Government will be quite willing to accede to the request and to go on with the general discussion, so that no one shall be put to any inconvenience.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon:

– That is very fair.

Senator McGREGOR:

– As regards coming back in January, that is a question on which I dare say the Senate will be divided

Senator Millen:

– That is an emanation from a political novice.

Senator McGREGOR:

– If it is possible to legitimately finish the session before Christmas without curtailing the privileges of any honorable senator, I think it is the duty of the Senate to do so. It should be remembered that if we were to adjourn until next year the session might go on for weeks. Every sitting involves a big expense, which, if Parliament could be prorogued before Christmas, would be saved to the country. I hope that my proposal to adjourn until Monday morning will be carried, and everything will be done to suit the convenience of honorable senators.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 4486


Bill received from House of Represen tatives.

Motion (by Senator McGregor) proposed -

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent this Bill being passed through all its stages without delay.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [10.46]. - I wish to ask a question with regard to the very fair statement made by my honorable friend, the Vice-President of the Executive Council, as to arrangements for the sittings of the

*Customs* [15 December, 1911.] *Tariff Bill.* 4487 Senate. Is there any prospect of an allnight sitting on Monday? If my honorable friend will make the concession that there shall be no all-night sitting, then I think it will meet with the convenience of the majority of honorable senators. {: #debate-2-s0 .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGREGOR:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · ALP -- I can hardly give any pledge, butI will certainly agree to consult the Leader of the Opposition, who will, of course, have the interests of his section of "the Senate under consideration. It may foe necessary, If the other House passes a number of minor Bills, that we should proceed, as far as possible, with business on Monday night. We might have to sit late, but I do not think that there will be any necessity to sit all night. Much, of course, will depend upon the progress made elsewhere. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: #debate-2-s1 .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGREGOR:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · ALP -- I move - >That this Bill be now read a first time. This is one of those measures discussion on which always takes place on the first reading. I intend briefly to outline the purport of the Bill, so that honorable senators may consider it between the present time and the hour which will be fixed for the resumption of the debate. It is my intention to ask for a suspension of the sitting when I have concluded what I have to say, in order that the Senate may look into the details of the schedule. It will be remembered that some time ago the Minister of Trade and Customs sent out circulars to all manufacturers in the Commonwealth with a view to ascertain what industries required additional protection, and what anomalies in the Tariff needed to be rectified. We also wished to ascertain whether it would be desirable to decrease some duties in the interests of industries that were dependent for their success on the importation of cheap raw material, A number of manufacturers furnished replies to the Minister's questions. Alarge number took no notice of them. Although it may be argued that because some manufacturers did not furnish information, we need not consider their industries, nevertheless it would be unfair to take up the position that we should not review the Tariff in the interests of those who have taken the trouble to furnish all the information at their disposal, and who have treated the Minister in the fairest possible way, by giving him and his officers opportunities to ascertain the real condition of the industries concerned. Consequently it has been found necessary to introduce this Bill. There are fifty-three items in the schedule that involve increases of duty. Those increases have been proposed largely as the result of the inquiries that have been made, and of the replies that have been received by the Minister. There are nine items which entail decreases of duty. Those decreases have been proposed so as to adjust the relative positions of raw materials and finished articles under the Tariff. There are fifty-one items which are included in the schedule for departmental reasons, to remove anomalies and obviate misinterpretation. Such are the purposes of the Bill. I do not think it necessary to enter into details at the present moment. If any answers are required to questions and criticisms brought forward by honorable senators during the course of debate, I shall endeavour to obtain information from the officers, which I shall furnish in due course. I have much pleasure in moving the first reading of the Bill. *Sitting suspended from 10.53a.m. to2 p.m* {: #debate-2-s2 .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN:
New South Wales -- In approaching this subject I feel that the very character of the Tariff itself hardly invites any general discussion on the much-worn controversy of Free Trade *versus* Protection. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- That is a bygone luxury. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- It is, except so far as it is forced into view bythe contrast between the measure which we are now asked to consider and the militant promises which were made prior to the last general elections by the Protectionist section of the Labour party. At those elections and prior to them there was no accusation which was hurled at the Fusion party with more emphasis or with greater frequency than was the accusation that while that parity remained in power Protection was in danger, and that Protectionists could not hope for any assistance from that Administration. Inferentially the electors were asked to believe that, if they would only intrust their political destinies to the Labour party, from that time forward Protection- ists could sleep in their beds in perfect comfort. It may truly be said that in Victoria the Labour party lived upon that cry. For any of its members to mount the public platform and shout some reference to **Mr. Joseph** Cook and the renegades from New South Wales was quite sufficient to provoke a cheer, and it was upon references of that sort that the Labour party climbed into their present position. {: .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- In justice to **Mr. Cook,** the honorable senator ought to reverse the position. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: **- Senator E.** J. Russell knows that the very first thing which he of all men did when he wished to place himself upon good terms with the ardent Protectionists of Victoria was to make a reference to **Mr. Cook** and other New South Wales Free Traders. If he will take the trouble to look up the speeches which he delivered during the time that the Fusion Government held office, he will find that he bitterly denounced the failure of that Government to introduce a protective policy, and that he assured the electors that the Labour Codlin was their friend, and not Short. {: .speaker-K3G} ##### Senator W RUSSELL:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I hope that the honorable senator is not denouncing me. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I am not denouncing anybody. I merely wish to hammer home this point : that every Bill which this Government bring forward serves to direct the attention of the people of this country to the wide difference which exists between their pre-election promises and their laterday performances. **Senator de** Largie is inclined to smile at my statement. But what treatment has been meted out to this Bill either by its friends or its opponents? The very supporters of the Government, when they beheld the result of this great effort at Tariff reform - a result which was arrived at only after a long period of incubation on the part of that militant Protectionist, **Mr. Tudor** - received it with derision. They treated it so contemptuously that they have absolutely shown that they do not care whether the Bill passes or not. With equal emphasis the opponents of a protective policy have exhibited their Scornful indifference of it. And what has been the attitude of persons outside of this Parliament ? There have been critics of the measure amongst every section of the community - indeed, scarcely a single individual has received it with favour. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator Stewart: -- Does the honorable senator call it a measure? {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I call it a measure worthy of this Government. One of the first things which happened when these duties were, brought forward was that the Chamber of Manufactures in Victoria - an admittedly Protectionist body - rose and condemned some of them. It was supported in its view by deputations representing both Protectionist employers and Protectionist workmen. These men were not expressing the heresies of Free Trade : on the contrary, they were staunch *in* the true faith, and they joined together to denounce these proposals. But I wish to again direct attention to the fact that if this Bill is put forward by the Labour Government in redemption of the promises made by them in Victoria prior to the last election - in this State the party lived on the promise that they would frame a truly scientific Protectionist Tariff - the electors have once again been absolutely sold like a bullock at Smithfield. Let us see what this measure does, in addition to disappointing the hopes of those who voted for the Government in the belief that they had at last in office a Government who would give them true Protection. I say that *the* Tariff amendments contained in this Bill offend both Free Traders and Protectionists. Vague as are some of its proposals, the Bill unquestionably provides for the imposition- of revenue duties. Now. if there is one class of duty more than another which has merited the condemnation of both fiscal sections of this Chamber, it is that class of duty which levies an impost upon the poorer sections of the community without having any but the most remote association with -Protection. Some of these revenue duties are so pronounced that even so stalwart a Protectionist as **Dr. Maloney** felt it incumbent upon him to seek their removal, What can we say of a Government who have so repeatedly denounced this class of duty, and who now submit propositions which they have never tired of condemning ? Yet I have no doubt that these proposals will find their way to our statute-book. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- Hear, hear. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- Although such duties have been denounced by **Senator Gardiner** and his confreres, the honorable senator now approves my anticipation that they will become law. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- The honorable senator will help to pass them into law? {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I will not. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- Will the honorable senator oppose them on . Free Trade grounds ? {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I have declared my attitude on this question both in the Senate *Customs* [15 December, 1911.] *Tariff Bill.* 4489 and outside of it, time and again. As a Free Trader who has on three occasions fought the Free Trade battle, and who has upon three occasions seen that plea turned down by the electors, I am going to accept their verdict. I will accept it honestly and frankly. But because I accept the verdict of my constituency, and recognise that Australia has declared for another fiscal policy, that circumstance does not impose upon me the necessity to maintain silence when a specious piece of humbug and hypocrisy is attempted to be fastened upon the country. {: .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable senator is merely a delegate if he accepts that view. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- At any rate I am going to be an honest delegate. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable senator in order in describing the policy of the Government as a " piece of humbug and hypocrisy " ? {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- All I wish to say is that I did not denounce the Government policy at all. What I said was that the mere fact that I had adopted a certain attitude in regard tothe fiscal question did not impose upon me the obligation to remain silent when an attempt was made to fasten upon the country a piece of humbug and hypocrisy. {: #debate-2-s3 .speaker-10000} ##### The PRESIDENT: -- That is clearly what I understood the honorable senator to say. I did not understand him to describe any honorable senator as a humbug or a hypocrite, and I was listening very closely to his remarks. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I very much regret that any of the hats which I have thrown about have been fitted to a certain head. {: .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- Does the honorable senatorthink that in throwing the last hat he was quite fair ? {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- If I have the unfortunate habit of hitting hard I have no personal feeling in the matter. But I wish to differentiate my position from that which has been taken up by **Senator E.** J. Russell and his political associates. Unquestionably they did appeal to the electors of Victoria upon the assurance that the Labour party would give the country an effective protective policy. {: .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator Rae: -- On the lines of new Protection. Serator MlLLEN. - If **Senator Rae** will take the trouble to turn up the records connected with the last general election in Victoria, he will find that that qualification is absent in nine cases out of ten. {: .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator Rae: -- It was not absent in New South Wales. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I will deal with New South Wales presently. At present I am speaking of the attitude which was taken up by **Senator E.** J. Russell. {: .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- The statement of the honorable senator as applied to me is perfectly correct, but as applied to the majority of the Labour party it is absolutely incorrect. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I will deal with the majority of the party when that majority butts in. But **Senator E.** J. Russell and his associates in Victoria did unquestionably pledge themselves that the Labour party if returned to power would secure to the people of Australia an effective and scientific protective Tariff. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- Is the honorable senator sorry that we have not a scientific protective Tariff? {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I am not dealing with that matter at present, but with the pledge which **Senator E.J.** Russell and his associates gave to the people. What was the position in New South Wales? I presume that I am entitled to take the statements of the Attorney-General as being fairly representative of the attitude of the Labour party in that State. {: .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- As the honorable senator quoted the manifesto of the Labour party upon the banking question, why does not he quote it upon the Tariff issue ? {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I am going to do so. Upon more than one occasion in New South Wales the Attorney-General, **Mr. Hughes,** stated that no attempt would be made to impose additional Customs duties until side by side with them the Government were in a position to introduce the new Protection. Yet in this Bill an attempt is being made to impose those additional duties. Where is the consistency there? I have shown - and **Senator E.** J.. Russell has admitted my contention in regard to Victoria- {: .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- In regard to myself. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- When I am dealing with the attitude of his party, the honorable senator's name and Victoria are almost synonymous terms. In New South Wales this matter was not stressedbecause the Labour party knew that they were there appealing to a constituency which was traditionally Free Trade, and that consequently the story that was told in Victoria would not be acceptable. In New South Wales they said that no additional imposts would be proposed until, by means of the new Protection, they could assure fair wages to the workers. Yet in this Bill we find increased duties proposed without any attempt being made to give effect to the principles of the new Protection. {: .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- The Government must have redeemed my pledges, if what the honorable senator says be true. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- If **Senator E.** J. Russell says that this Bill is a redemption of his pledges, I shall ask him whether he intends to tell the people of Victoria that it represents the scientific and effective policy of Protection which he promised them. {: .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- I did not say :rhat. I said that if the honorable senator's statement were true the Government must "have redeemed my pledges. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I am endeavouring to show that the Government have broken faith with Victoria by failing to introduce an effective Protectionist policy, and they have broken faith with New South Wales by proposing increased duties without making provision for the application of the principles of new Protection. {: .speaker-K3G} ##### Senator W RUSSELL:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- The honorable senator supported a duty on steel rails. ' {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- Yes; and my honorable friend **Senator W.** Russell supported the free admission of tanks, because farmers use them. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- This is the *tit quoque* argument ! {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- It is the only one which is effective with certain intelligences. It is quite evident to me that the Government have no policy on the subject of the Tariff. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator Stewart: -- They are a revenue Tariff Government. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I do not think that they have sufficient courage even to be that. They are being pushed from pillar to pest by every wave of public feeling. The proof of that is that, after eighteen months of office, the great militant Protectionist, **Mr. Tudor,** proposes certain duties in an amended Tariff, and then proceeds to throw overboard certain items in it. {: .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- The statement has been asserted a hundred times, but can the honorable senator refer me to a definite pledge by **Mr. Tudor** not to introduce a measure of Protection unless accompanied by a measure to give effect to the principles of new Protection? {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- Because of the dulcet tones in which he speaks in thi» Chamber, **Senator E.** J. Russell is entitled to be accounted as in the front rank of the Protectionists of Victoria. {: .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- **Mr. Tudor** and I differ in connexion with this matter. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I do not know what the differences between the honorable senator and **Mr. Tudor** may be. They have been careful to keep them from the public eye, or 1 should have discovered them. Will **Senator E.** J. Russell deny that **Mr. Tudor** is a Protectionist in theory, and on the electioneering platform? He presented himself to the electors at the last election as a straight-out Protectionist. Having a period of eighteen months in which to consider whether he would bring in a fully Protective Tariff, or should deal merely with anomalies - and if so, what anomalies - he comes down with a measure which is indecisive, and about which he is so undecided himself that he does not know whether to stand by it or abandon it. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- The party was in labour and brought forth a mouse. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- The party, having brought forth this mouse, do not know whether to father it or to abandon it. The moment the amended Tariff was subjected to a little criticism, we found the Government throwing item after item to the wolves. Surely the Government might have been expected to stand by proposals decided upon after full consideration. Were items put into this Tariff as a mere flying of kites to discover what the public feeling was? {: .speaker-K22} ##### Senator Blakey: -- Does not what the honorable senator said show that the Government a re open to reason and argument ? {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I think that it shows that they are very open to the influence of numbers. Was the duty proposed in connexion with the motor industry submitted as the result of full inquiry and a firm conviction that it was necessary for the protection of an Australian industry ? If so, why was it jettisoned at once upon the disclosure of a hostile feeling towards it? {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- Do not mention flannelette. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- No; that subject is much too inflammable for me to mention in the brief time at my disposal. I say that, although they have had ample time to consider it, the Government have put forward a Tariff which carries, on the face of it, *Customs* [15 December,1911.] *Tariff Bill.* 4491 evidences of indifference, vacillation, and negligence in connexion with matters which should have called for the closest inquiry. Not only have the Government shown by their vacillation that they are not quite certain where they stand, but they are responsible, to a large extent, for putting this Parliament in the same position. What information has been given to either House of the Parliament to justify the proposed alterations? Ministers have told Parliament and the country that, as the result of certain inquiries, the Minister of Trade and Customs was supplied with certain information from a number of manufacturing firms. The Minister may have that information, but we have not got it here. No attempt has been made to put before Parliament the facts which, in the opinion of the Government, justify these proposed alterations in the Tariff. {: .speaker-K22} ##### Senator Blakey: -- The honorable senator specially asked the Minister to keep this information secret, and now he wants him to disclose it. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- What **Senator Blakey's** statement means is that the Minister has only to tell his party that he is in receipt of information which justifies the Government in certain action, and the party have nothing to do but swallow it. {: .speaker-K22} ##### Senator Blakey: -- He is not going to give the honorable senator details of confidential information. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I do not want them. But I do desire that, in broad outline, we should have the statements made in connexion with particular industries which, in the opinion of the Government, justify the proposed alterations. {: .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable senator does not want any Protection. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- My honorable friend is wrong. I have said that, for the time being, I accept Protection as the settled policy of the country. {: .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable senator is also influenced by the force of numbers. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I admit that the force of numbers has made me do so. If the numbers were the other way about, it would not have been necessary for me to make a public capitulation. Having put the matter three times before the electors, and the electors having on each occasion turned down the appeal addressed to them by the Free Traders of the country, it was only fair and reasonable that we should accept their decision. No information is presented by the Government to enable us to form a judgment upon the Tariff alterations proposed. It would introduce an altogether pernicious state of affairs if, in this Parliament, we were to accept the mere assurance of Ministers that they were in possession of information sufficient, in their opinion, to justify alterations of the Tariff. To accept such a course of procedure would be to transfer all deliberative work from this Parliament to secret conferences, which might be held in the privacy of the Ministerial office. That would, sooner or later, bring about a condition of affairs which iscommonly associated with American politics, but which, so far, has been kept out of politics in the British Empire. I should be the last to submit to the doctrine that a Tariff is to be formed by private conferences between manufacturers and Ministers. We should be informed as to the circumstances of each industry affected by the proposed alterations which justify them to the Ministerial mind. Until we are, we must be unable to say how we ' should deal with these alterations. I am, in this matter, under a disability, which I assume is shared by every member of the Senate. In the absence of information, I am unable to determine how far the proposed alterations of the Tariff may be beneficial. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- We expect to get that information in Committee. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- If the honorable senator does expect to get it, his hope triumphs over his experience. It is one of the most difficult things in the world to get at the real facts connected with any industry. Perhaps upon any statement of the facts no two members of the Senate would be agreed. The whole trend of things is forcing opinion outside to the conclusion that, sooner or later, we shall have to establish some permanent institution whose business it will be to conduct investigations into the conditions of industries, and submit facts and recommendations to Parliament. It was the policy of the late Administration that there should be created some tribunal of a permanent character which should have delegated to it the duty of inquiring into all industries, gathering facts, statistics, and information, and having the power from time to time to make certain recommendations or suggestions to Parliament. Without such a body, it is impossible that Tariff matters can ever be adjusted on sound business lines. Under existing conditions it is not the merits of an industry, but the importunities of those connected with it, that determine the liberality with which it will be treated. For the time being, the present Government have refused to take the way out of the difficulty which has been suggested. They have turned their backs upon the assistance which would be afforded by the adoption of such a proposal. But I am thoroughly convinced that in the mind of the public outside there is a growing conviction that some such institution as that to which I have referred should be established, and that it is only by the adoption of such a course that we .can be placed in possession of the necessary facts- in order that we may be able to adjust the Tariff to meet the changing requirements of the country. As in common with other honorable senators I am anxious to do what I can to bring the business of this session to a close, I do not propose to deal with the items at length in Committee. I shall endeavour to confine criticism, and also divisions, to as few of the items as possible, but upon items which do stand out as inviting criticism, it must be understood that honorable senators on this side will not, from any consideration of personal convenience, shirk their public responsibilities. {: #debate-2-s4 .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator SAYERS:
Queensland -- I confess that I do not like the way in which this Bill to amend the Tariff is submitted to us. The schedule to it is so framed that it is difficult to discover what is proposed. After a sitting lasting until 4 o'clock this morning, we are now asked to take up the consideration of this Bill, having had only a short adjournment of two hours in which to consider what it contains. We know that a great number of people have been making complaints as to the way in which the existing Tariff has operated. This has been particularly noticeable in Victoria, where several deputations have waited upon the Minister in connexion with the subject. It would be far better to have an advisory board, composed of men who thoroughly understand the subject, who could secure information, carefully consider it, and then submit their recommendations to Parliament. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- Does not the Customs Department do that now? {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- Where is the information secured by the Customs Department to justify the alterations now proposed ? {: .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator SAYERS: -- We are working in the dark to a certain extent. The Minister of Trade and Customs has officers who furnish him with information that we do not get. If there were an advisory board to which these matters could be referred, they would enter into all the necessary details to ascertain whether it was worth while for Parliament to impose a certain duty or not. They would be able to make recommendations to us, and we should be in a position to make up our minds as to whether we should adopt their recommendations or reject them. The Minister has been approached personally by deputations, who have supplied him with information. We have seen brief reports in the newspapers about these deputations, but we have not been fully informed about them, and we know absolutely nothing about the views of the opponents of the claims put forward by these persons. I have received letters and circulars asking me to bring forward grievances in connexion with the Tariff. If these grievances had been investigated by an advisory board, I should have concrete evidence to act upon. At present I have only *ex forte* statements. {: .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable senator was not a very loyal supporter of the recommendations of the Tariff Commission. {: .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator SAYERS: -- I followed their recommendations whenever I thought it right tb do so. I see that amongst the new proposals is one for the imposition of a duty of 6d. per cental on bananas. **Senator Guthrie** laughs, but when the last Tariff was under review he secured the imposition of a duty pf 4d. on dried herbs because there was a man at One Tree Hill who was making a living by growing them. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator ALBERT GOULD:
NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1910; LP from 1913 **-Colonel Sir** Albert Gould. - Was there not a boy working with him? {: .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator SAYERS: -- I beg pardon; I believe there was. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- And the industry is growing. {: .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator SAYERS: -- It was an absurd thing to alter the Tariff because one man and a boy were engaged in a certain industry. There are thousands of people growing bananas in Queensland ; yet **Senator Guthrie** emits a laugh of derision when the subject is mentioned. Desiring to be fair, I admit that in North Queensland, round about Cairns, the banana industry has been in the hands of Chinamen. Some of them employ white men. {: .speaker-K3G} ##### Senator W RUSSELL:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- That is a nice state of things ! *Customs* [15 December, 1911.] *Tariff Bill.* 4493 {: #debate-2-s5 .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator SAYERS: -I am giving the facts. From Rockhampton southward bananas are grown by white men. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- Those whom I saw were yellow. {: .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator SAYERS: -- Here is another sneer from **Senator de** Largie. If he had to work out in the sun all day, he would be rather yellow. But he takes care that he does not do that kind of work. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- Would the sun change the shape of their eyes ? {: .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator SAYERS: -- I say, without hesitation, that three-fourths of the banana industry from Rockhampton southward is in the hands of white men. My statement will be corroborated by senators from Queensland who sit on the honorable senator's own side. At Nerang Creek there are between 250 and 260 white farmers growing arrowroot. This is not a onemanandaboy industry. How can these farmers pay standard rates of wages, and sell their product in competition with arrowroot grown in Java and Fiji, where black labour is employed ? These men are being starved out, and little consideration is given to them, though Parliament was ready enough to assist a one-man-and-a-boy industry. It seems that Parliament only regards the Tariff through one eye, keeping the other eye closed. {: .speaker-K3G} ##### Senator W RUSSELL:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- There is too much parochialism. {: .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator SAYERS: -- No man in the Senate has been more parochial than **Senator W.** Russell. Let me ask him - who grow the vegetables which are consumed by the people of our great cities? Nine-tenths of them are grown by Chinese. {: .speaker-K3G} ##### Senator W RUSSELL:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Scotchmen. {: .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator SAYERS: -- The people who grow vegetables round about Melbourne are almond-eyed. I never saw such Scotchmen in Scotland, and I doubt whether the honorable senator's countrymen will appreciate the reference. I should be prepared to vote on duties of this kind very much more freely if the evidence had been sifted by a Tariff board. At present, however, it is the industries that are carried on in the neighbourhood of Parliament House that seem to stand the best chance of getting assistance. This building has lately been besieged by deputationists. Queen's Hall has been full of them since the Tariff has been under consideration in another place. In previous years when the Tariff was under review one could hardly get into Parliament House for them. You never see these men here unless they have something to gain personally. I object to that sort of thing. I would rather have an advisory board to make inquiries and submit recommendations to Parliament than have these crowds of interested persons button-holing the representatives of the people. I should be quite satisfied to refer any grievances that were brought under my notice to such a board. If, after making exhaustive examinations, they came to the conclusion that a recommendation in favour of a duty was not justified, I should have to be content. I hope that the Government will take the advice that has been offered them in relation to the appointment of such a board, which I feel sure would give satisfaction to honorable senators on both sides. **Senator Sir JOSIAH** SYMON (South Australia) [2.40]. - As one of those who have felt compelled to submit to the policy of Protection, which, as we all know, has been adopted by the people of this country, I was delighted to hear the speech of **Senator Sayers.** There could be nothing more true than what he says, that in regard to all these Tariff matters a Government that brings in proposals for increased Protection merely looks at the question with one eye, and that is an eye whose vision is allowed to be directed by the selfish interests of those who can manage to get into closest touch with the Government of the day. My honorable friend has rendered a service in revealing this feature, which is always incidental to proposals of the kind. He chaffed **Senator Guthrie** about the Protection given for the production of dried herbs in order to provide additional employment for one man and a boy. I do not know whether the number of employes has since increased. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: -- By another boy. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON: **- Senator Sayers** was chaffed in turn about the Queensland banana industry. He is quite right from the point of view of his State in demanding that a particular industry shall not fall on evil days. But he would, I think, have been on stronger ground if he had vindicated the industry, not because in some places there may be white men engaged in the production of this fruit, but on the broad ground of whether or not it is a just or legitimate thing that we should increase a tax upon what is substantially a food of the people. {: .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator Sayers: -- I did not go into that matter, because I did not wish to take up too much time. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON: -- The argument tells rather against my honorable friend's view. If bananas are a food of the people, it is unreasonable and unjust to increase the duty already imposed upon them even by 6d- per cental. At the same time, there is no necessity whatever to disparage the Chinese who are employed in growing Bananas. Nor is it necessary to support" the demand for a duty by showing that in certain parts of Queensland the fruit is produced by white labour. The Protection was imposed, not because bananas were or were not grown by Chinese or white people, but because it was contended that the duty was for the benefit of the industry, taking into consideration also the broad interests of the community. It does not matter whether the production is carried on by Chinamen, by kanakas, or by any other form of coloured labour, so long as it is the labour of the citizens of this country. Therefore, I think my honorable friend will be well advised if he takes the broader ground that the duty which he supports will benefit an industry in the State from which he comes. The Vice-President of the Executive Council very properly refrained from entering into details in respect of the schedule when he moved the first reading of the Bill. We do not want to go into details, as this is a matter for the Committee; but I think we are entitled to know on what ground it was considered necessary that there should be any interference with the Tariff at this late stage of the session. I protest against the disturbance of trade which is incidental to any interference with the Tariff when the time is so limited for its consideration as it is in the present instance. When we are engaged on the business of the country day and night, the Government are quite entitled to say, " We want to close the session before Christmas," and we ought to do our utmost to assist them. But I venture to say that they are not dealing fairly with Parliament when they bring down this measure within the last few days of an expiring session, and expect these proposals to be considered as they ought to be. My honorable friend's only reason is that there have been representations made to the Government in answer to inquiries, or by means of letters, or by means of buttonholing on the part of interested persons. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- I said nothing of the kind. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON: -- Not button-holing? {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- No. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON: -- Did not the honorable senator say, " in response to representations which were made in answer to inquiries?" {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- Yes. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON: -- Then I supply " by interested persons," because, unless the representations were made by interested persons, we should not be troubled with a Tariff Bill at the present time. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- I did not say anything about button-holing. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON: -- What does my honorable friend call it ? Does he not think that that is a proper expression ? {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- No. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON: -- We know - honorable senators have referred to it - that whenever there is a Tariff Bill before Parliament, the lobbies are filled: with persons who are personally interested. {: .speaker-KTD} ##### Senator McDougall: -- That has nothing: to do with the Government. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON: -- Of course it has, because they bring in the Bill in answer to these solicitations, and under the pressure - a pressure which is not satisfied by it - of Protectionist newspapers and! Protectionists who are perfectly entitled to advocate their own views. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- I explained that the inquiries were made by means of a circular letter addressed to the manufacturers, and that a certain number of then replied. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON: -- That is part of it. Does any honorable senator consider that that is an adequate reason for bothering Parliament with a Tariff at this period of the year? {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- Yes. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON: -- Is it possible that the representations which are made, whether in answer to a circular or not, are disinterested or unselfish? We know perfectly well that all of them emanated from those who, rightly enough, are seeking to benefit their own pockets. And the circumstance that my honorable friend **Senator Millen** has pointed out is. the most cogent evidence that the materials; which are before the Government are not such as will bear investigation from any other point of view than the particular wish of these people to benefit their own industries. Is it to be said that, whenever there are a few manufacturers, who, in consequence of incapacity or bad luck, are not making the profit which they desire, and want a little more Protection put on in order that their profits may be enlarged, out of the pockets of the consumers, that is a justification for introducing an amendment of the Tariff? Surely rot. {: .speaker-K22} ##### Senator Blakey: -- That is a good old Free Trade sophistry. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON: -- It is not sophistry. {: .speaker-K22} ##### Senator Blakey: -- It is an old Free Trade argument. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON: -- Not at all. I am taking the view of the Protectionist. Is it not a fact that the Protectionists look on the policy of Protection as one which is for the benefit, not of themselves or of manufacturers, but of the whole community ? Are we not to consider, when a change is being made in the Tariff, how it will affect the industries which are interwoven with the particular one which is in question ? How can we possibly deal with one particular increase of duty unless we also deal with various cognate industries which are mixed up with it? Is not that the policy of the Protectionists ? The Protectionists are just. They do not desire to - put on a duty for the benefit of a particular manufacturer. Let me take an article called dextrine, on which it is proposed to put a duty. Now dextrine is not made in Australia. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- Are you sure about that? {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON: -- I am as sure as the best information I have will enable me to be sure, that it never has been made in Australia, and is not made in England. It is made in Germany, and is greatly used in Australia. Surely it is not a reason for putting on a duty - I dismiss that at once - that it is made in Germany. It is widely used here in the stationery, printing, box-making, and various allied trades. For what reason is the duty to be imposed? I suppose that some individual who thinks that he can make dextrine wants to start an industry, and to start it first at the expense of the trades in which it is used, and, secondly, at the cost of the consumers. Let the man who wants to start this business start it out of his own pocket. {: .speaker-K22} ##### Senator Blakey: -- Would you not foster an industry and give it a chance? {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON: -- If my honorable friend wants to take up some particular thing, let him try it himself. I know that he has individuality enough., Why should we, the moment a man wants to start a new business, enable him at the expense of the taxpayers to do so ? {: .speaker-K22} ##### Senator Blakey: -- It is not at the expense of the taxpayers, it is only giving him just assistance. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON: -- Offer a bounty, as you have done in the case of other things. Before an industry is started, and without any evidence that it will be remunerative or employ any number of men, you are going to disturb established industries which you have already protected. That is a monstrous position to take up, and it is still more monstrous that this Bill is brought before Parliament, I presume seriously, at this' period of the session. I ask honorable senators who are Protectionists by conviction, quite apart from those who, like myself, recognise the policy of the country as one of Protection, to say that they will not encourage tinkering with the Tariff, pettifogging alterations which may disturb, inconvenience, and cause loss in more industries than the particular one which is sought to be benefited. Looking at it from that point of view, it is an unfortunate thing that the Government have introduced this Bill at the present juncture without any other reason than, as my honorable friend said, representations or answers to various circulars which have been sent out to manufacturers. If you invite persons who are at present benefited by Protection whether they would like some more, what answer do you expect? Of course, they would like some more, and they would be less than human if they did not. No one can deny that it is a benefit. We have only to look at the advantage to New South Wales, which formerly was a comparatively Free Trade Colony, since the advent of Protection. If you send out a circular to a manufacturer and ask him whether he is satisfied with his Protection, or would like more, you need not wait for his answer. You know perfectly well what lt will be. So it is with all demands of that kind. Throughout this session, everybody has understood that the Government were not going to have any Tariff alterations. It was thoroughly understood until within the last few weeks that there was to be no revision of the Tariff this session, and that, at the very utmost, even a.= late as a few weeks ago, it was merely to be some rectification of anomalies. I do not call the increase of duties or the imposition of new duties the redress of anomalies. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- It is taking off duties. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON: -- My honorable friend has told us, and I was very glad to hear the statement, that certain duties are taken off. That is, of course, a matter to be justified, because we know that revenue duties must be imposed, but we do not want revenue. In the last Budget statement, the Treasurer anticipated for the current year a revenue of something like ,£13,000, odo from Customs duties. That is an enormous revenue, and if there are duties - and, as has been pointed out, undoubtedly there are in this Bill - which will still further increase that revenue, they ought to be taken off, because we do not want it. We do not want to impose taxation on the people simply for the fun of the thing, or in order that we may have in the Treasury a plethora of money which is exacted from the producing interests. I should have been glad if it had been possible for my honorable friends on the other side to have said that, looking at the fact that throughout the entire session they have not really contemplated for a moment any interference with the Tariff, that they would withdraw the Bill, and, next session, if they like, arid can show adequate grounds for it, introduce a measure which will enable Parliament to discuss, not merely the particular items in this schedule, but other industries which may be affected by the duties sought to be imposed. I protest against this Bill being brought in now, and against it being brought in for such inadequate reasons - reasons which are merely an expression of the influence of the selfish interests of those who want duties increased in order to put more money into their own pockets. {: #debate-2-s6 .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING:
Tasmania -- I intend to follow the excellent example set by those who have spoken to this motion, and to be very brief. 1, as a Protectionist, must confess to a feeling of very great disappointment at the Government's introduction of this Bill at this time. I emphasize both expressions - " this Bill " and " this time." In relation to the Bill, I say that the modicum of Protection which is being extended to the industries of the Commonwealth is ludicrously absurd in its smallness, and, with regard to the time, I say that it is asking members of Parlia ment to approach the consideration of one of their most important duties under circumstances and conditions which do not enable them to act with a proper sense of responsibility. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- That is why the Government brought in the Bill in this way. {: .speaker-K22} ##### Senator Blakey: -- Nothing of the kind ; it is not. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- Does **Senator Blakey** know why they brought it in ? {: .speaker-K22} ##### Senator Blakey: -- I know that the reason is different from the motive which is attributed by **Senator St.** Ledger. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- I venture to say that it is hardly within the competence of anybody outside the Cabinet to assign a good and adequate reason for the introduction of the measure at this particular period of the session. Everybody knew that the session must necessarily be a very short one, perhaps the shortest in the history of this Parliament. Seeing that we met so late in the year, and that it was announced that we were to rise before Christmas, a very large programme of work had been indicated for us in the GovernorGeneral's Speech, and until quite recently there was not the slightest indication on the surface of things to show that the Minister of Trade and Customs intended to introduce a schedule amending the Tariff. I might go even further than that, and say, though I am not in a position to quote the particular times and the particular references, that it had been given out - if not by the Government in circumstances which,, at any rate, called for a denial on their part if it had not been correctly given out - that there was no intention on their part to alter the Tariff in the direction of extending Protection unless they had enabled this Parliament to insist on. conditions which would make that Protection of the new Protectionist character. I believe it was generally understood that,, until some alteration of the Constitution took place, those manufacturers who desired increased Protection were doomed to disappointment. Yet now, at the tail end of the session, and with the Estimates unconsidered, this schedule has been tabled'. Necessarily, it has had to be rushed' through another place, just as it will haveto be rushed through here. I suppose that if we examine the hundred odd items which are contained in it, we shall find" that not 25 per cent, of them have the slightest protective incidence. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- What does **Senator Symon** say to that? {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- I say that this Bill is a farce. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- I am speaking for myself, and I have no hesitation in affirming that not 25 per cent, of the duties which this schedule seeks to impose have a protective incidence. Out of that number there are not half-a-dozen which are of any practical consequence. If we are to have a revision of the Tariff in a Protectionist direction, why should it be limited to half-a-dozen industries in the Commonwealth? Do the Government intend to plead that they have not received replies to the invitation which they issued to our manufacturers? {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- Is that not a very good plea? {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- It is not. If Protection is the settled policy of the country, it is the bounden duty of the Government to inform themselves of where protective duties will have a beneficial effect. They have no right to wait till they can obtain that information from individuals who are associated with various industries. But if the Government put forward the plea which I have mentioned, I say that information has been supplied to them in regard to industries other than Victorian industries - information as to where a protective policy would exert a beneficial influence - but I look in vain in this schedule for any evidence that they have given consideration to it. At any rate, there has been nothing like an organized and systematic attempt made to ascertain where the old Tariff has failed to give expression to a protective policy. In other words, the proposals contained in this Bill are a sop which has been thrown out by the Government to their Protectionist supporters, with a view to conveying the impression that they are bent, upon Tariff reform. I challenge the assertion, if it comes from the Government, that they have made any serious effort to alter the Tariff in a Protectionist direction. To ask the Senate or the other branch of the Legislature, clogged as they are with, other business, the consideration of which is of the gravest importance, to deal with alterations of the Tariff at this late hour of the session, is absolutely farcical. As has been pointed cut by honorable senators who have preceded me, even, if we had a whole session before us, such as we .had in 1907-8, the revision of the Tariff would be a most dif ficult task to undertake. In that year, we were fortified by the report of the Tariff Commission, whose exhaustive inquiries had extended over many months, by the recommendations which it had made, and by the evidence upon which those recommendations were based. On that occasion, the precincts of this Parliament were thronged with persons who were interested in the maintenance, the reduction, or the increase of duties. That being so, it was only to be expected that when this measure was under consideration the Parliamentary Buildings would be similarly thronged by representatives of the commercial and trading community. I have even been asked by persons in my own State whether it would be an advantage for them to come to Melbourne in order that they might make their own representations in respect of Tariff alterations. They are just as much affected by some of the items in this Bill as are the manufacturers and traders who are resident in Melbourne. The same remark is applicable to the other States. But, in such circumstances, how is it. possible for us to give anything like fair consideration to the items of this schedule? For that reason I am disappointed that the Government have introduced the Bill at the present juncture. But, apart from the particular period at which it has been submitted, I say that, in considering this schedule, we are following a precedent which, in the early history of the Commonwealth, we recognised that it would be very undesirable to follow in the future. That is to say. we have already placed upon our statute-book a comprehensive Tariff, and that Tariff is being amended year after year. We have amended the principal Act by the Act of 1907-8, we have amended it by the Act of last year, and now we are asked- to consider still further amendments. Amongst the commercial and trading community the confusion and uncertainty which will be introduced by a succession of amendments of this character are hardly possible to estimate. By no stretch of imagination can it be contended that the schedule to this Bill represents the be-all and end-all of the requirements of the people and of the Government. It surely cannot be pretended that there are no other items in respect of which protective duties should not be imposed or increased. Are we then, in 1912, to be confronted with still another Tariff schedule? If so, will not the entire community be disturbed in the interim? Cannot we frame a comprehensive Tariff which will embrace all that is good in the old Tariff, and all that is necessary to supplement it? But I feel certain that it will be impossible for Parliament to adopt that course, unless it is first fortified by the recommendations of a body in the nature of a board or of a commission, which will be competent to investigate the incidence of our Tariff. So far as the items in this Bill are concerned, I do not now intend to deal with them. I shall content myself at this juncture with registering my objection ito the mode of procedure that has been adopted by the Government and to the mature of the Tariff amendment generally. In Committee, I shall offer some observations upon certain items of the schedule, and I hope then to be as brief in my remarks as I have been in addressing myself to the motion for the first reading of this Bill. {: #debate-2-s7 .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- I desire to say a few words in reply to Senators Millen and Keating. The former took considerable delight- {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- I merely expressed my grief at the honorable senator's backsliding. {: .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- There has been no backsliding on my part. I have always been a believer in effective Protection, which will give the command of our Australian market to Australian industries. I admit that there are many commodities manufactured in the Commonwealth upon -which I would impose a prohibitive duty. 1 intend to vote for the Bill which is now under consideration in all cases in which it seeks to increase the measure of Protection which has hitherto been granted to Australian goods. But 1 wish to point out to **Senator Keating** that we once had a glorious opportunity to improve the old Tariff, and that if it had not 'been for the position which was taken up by the socalled Protectionist Government which was "then in power, and which was too ready to compromise in regard to dozens of amendments submitted by Free Traders, we might have improved it beyond all recognition. **Senator Keating** was a member of that Government. At that time we had one Free Trader in the Labour party. There were fourteen others in the Parliament, besides three Free Traders in the Government. The result was that on no fewer than thirty occasions we found an m,0 wed l v Protectionist Government voting with the Free Trade section of this Senate, while fourteen or fifteen Labour Protec tionists had the humiliation of being defeated as a result of members of the Protectionist Government joining forces with **Senator Millen** and his friends. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- Was it .a humiliation to vote with **Senator Pearce?** {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator Stewart: -- What Ls the use of washing dirty linen? This is not a washhouse. {: .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 **- Senator Stewart** uses it as a washhouse on a good many occasions. **Senator Millen** has accused me of using **Mr. Joseph** Cook as a bogy for the purpose of frightening the Protectionists of Victoria. Now, I have never abused **Mr. Cook** for his attitude on the Tariff question, because .1 believe that he has always been a consistent Free Trader. But I have many times denounced the whole of the Protectionist members of Victoria who joined that gentleman in a political alliance, and then proclaimed to the electors that they were the real Protectionists, who would frame a decent Tariff for Australia. I express my disappointment that the amendments of the Tariff proposed in this Bill will not give us the Protectionist Tariff required for Australia. Although, as I have previously said, I do not like tinkering with .the Tariff, I hope that very early next session we shall be afforded an opportunity to give a really Protectionist Tariff to Australia. I trust that in framing that Tariff we shall knock out many of the revenue-producing items which were introduced by the socalled Protectionist Governments of the past. I wish to say a word or two about the Tariff board, which has been mentioned on many occasions. I am absolutely opposed to the appointment of an independent board for the consideration of Tariff matters. It seems to me that the appointment of these boards is always an evasion of the duties of Parliament. 1 do believe, however, that our Customs officers should be something more than mere collectors of Customs revenue. I believe thai we have many competent officers in the Trade and Customs Department who should, under the control of the Minister, be gi ven the special duty of investigating and analyzing the effects of every item in the Tariff. I believe that if our Customs officers were charged with that duty, they would be able to supply the detailed information necessary to enable Parliament to properly deal with the Tariff. {: #debate-2-s8 .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -The honorable senator is coming round. *Customs* [15 December, 1911.] *Tariff Bill.* 4499 {: #debate-2-s9 .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- I think I have made a proposal which is altogether different from that made by the honorable senator for the appointment of an independent Tariff board. Whilst pleased with the proposed amendment of the Tariff so far as it goes, I again express the hope that before very long we shall have a really . effective Protectionist Tariff for Australia. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator ALBERT GOULD:
NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1910; LP from 1913 **-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD (New South Wales) [3.18]. - I think that Ministers might fairly ask to be saved from their friends. Every one of the supporters of the Government in the Senate, and also in another place, have condemned the Tariff now proposed as a wretched apology for the policy of Protection, in which they believe. The Government come down at the close of the session with a Bill which none of their supporters can say a word in favour of. **Senator Keating** has been unsparing in his condemnation of this measure. It may be said that the honorable senator is not a supporter of the present Government, but he is a supporter of a Protectionist policy for this country. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- The honorable senator has fallen from grace. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator ALBERT GOULD:
NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1910; LP from 1913 **-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD. - I presume that **Senator O'Keefe** does not consider that **Senator E.** J. Russell has fallen from grace? {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- No; he is true blue. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator ALBERT GOULD:
NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1910; LP from 1913 **-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD.- But **Senator E.** J. Russell has been just as condemnatory of this wretched apology for a Tariff. Ministers cannot find a single ardent supporter of the Tariff now put before us. It may be that it has been introduced to enable the party opposite to tell the electors that they have done the best they possibly could in the circumstances. But they took care not to submit this Tariff at a time when it might be fully considered and dealt with effectively. We are asked at the close of the session to accept this measure as fulfilling the highsounding principles of Protection, which the Government have advocated. Is there an honest Protectionist in the Senate who will say that this Tariff meets the wishes of Protectionists? {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- We are all new Protectionists on this side, but the Government have not the power to carry the principles of new Protection. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator ALBERT GOULD:
NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1910; LP from 1913 **-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD. - The Government were returned with an overwhelming majority of members to enable them to carry out the policy they had advocated. They told the electors that they intended to give effect to the principles of new Protection, and to adopt a scientific system of Protection, by means of which there would be high prices for the manufacturer, high wages for the wage-earner, and low prices for the consumer. But the electors soon found out how hollow were the shams which they placed before them. Within twelve months after their return to power the Government went again before the electors to ask for amendments of the Constitution, which they said were absolutely necessary to enable them to give effect to the policy of new Protection. What was the result ? The country turned the Government down. I do not say that the people who had been gulled previously by the Government entirely lost the idea that it would be possible to carry out the reform promised in the interests of manufacturer, wage-earner, and consumer.. Possibly a large number of people in this country are still under the impression that some Government will be able to carry such a policy into effect. But we know what happened on the 26th April last year. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- The people of every country make mistakes sometimes. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT1 GOULD: -- The people of the Commonwealth made a mistake on the 13th April, 19 10, but on the 26th April last they said! to the present Government, " Although you say that the powers for which you ask are necessary to give effect to the principles of" new Protection, we will not trust you one step further than is absolutely necessary."' Although the people, on the 13th April,. 1 9 10, gave a verdict in favour of those who now occupy the Treasury bench, it was clear that they had discovered' the mistake they then made within' twelve short months afterwards, and they refused to amend the Constitution at the request of the party opposite. They said, " We are willing to trust you with powers sufficient to give effect to the policy of new Protection, but we are not willing to trust you with powers which you may abuse to the detriment of the States." {: .speaker-K3E} ##### Senator E J RUSSELL:
VICTORIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- Doesthe honorable senator think that the people would have voted, on the 26th of April last, for the policy he advocates? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT' GOULD: -- I think that the people who voted against the referenda proposals of the Government displayed a want of confidence in honorable senators opposite.. No doubt, they had found out that they had made a mistake twelve months previously, and were anxious to rectify it. What is the position with regard to Protection and Free Trade? We recognise that the verdict of the people has been given against the views of the Free Trade party. The Free Traders have fought the battle upon three occasions, but without success ; but as we have accepted the verdict of the people one honorable senator has suggested that we have become delegates. The fact is, that while accepting the verdict of the country in this matter, we are not such fools as to run our heads against a stone wall. I would remind honorable senators, however, that there are many Free Traders still in the Parliament of the Commonwealth; and I have little doubt that they will be returned to represent the people for many years to come. {: .speaker-K22} ##### Senator Blakey: -- Why does the honorable senator pose as an advance agent for Protection when he knows very well that he is not in favour of Protection? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- I have not posed as an advance agent for Protection. {: .speaker-K22} ##### Senator Blakey: -- The honorable senator has said that he accepts the verdict of the people. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- 1 have accepted the verdict of the people, as every man must do. When there is no possibility of bringing the people to what we believe to be a saner condition of mind, we must, as sensible men, accept the position. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- **Senator Blakey** is trying to show that he views this Tariff with a great deal of enthusiasm. {: .speaker-K22} ##### Senator Blakey: -- It is better than nothing. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- How consoling that statement must be to the Government. The honorable senator accepts the Tariff now proposed as better than nothing, and, with other supporters of the Government, he is most contemptuous in his references to what they have done in this matter. Although the Government talked of new Protection, they have, under the guise of attempting to rectify Tariff anomalies, introduced increased duties for the benefit of specially favoured industries, in which those who have been most persistent in the advocacy of their own interests are concerned. The requirements of industries which have not. had persistent advocates may go hang so far as the Government is con cerned. The Government say to these people, " As you have not taken the trouble to communicate with us, we do not consider it worth while to inquire whether any assistance should be given to your industries." So we have a measure submitted for the benefit of a few manufacturers, and not in the general interests of the country. If we are to have a system of Protection, it should be for the advantage of the country generally, and not in the interests of a few individual manufacturers. The Government of which **Senator Millen** was a member submitted a proposal for getting over Tariff difficulties. Honorable senators may say what they like in derogation of the honesty of Protectionist members of the late Fusion Government, but they cannot deny that they still occupy a place in the front rank of the Protectionists of Australia. That Government, in accepting the verdict of the country, and to get rid of all these wretched bickerings about the Tariff, proposed to appoint an independent Tariff board - and again we hear some honorable senators advocating the appointment of such a board - so that the question might be brought before Parliament in the light of full and fair information. If we are to have that -scientific Protection which some people talk about, how much better it would be to allow an independent body to devote their whole attention to the subject, and to make representations independently of Free Trade or Protectionist prejudices. At present we are working in the dark. What is the use of imposing a duty for the benefit of one industry if you are going to penalize a number of others? {: .speaker-K22} ##### Senator Blakey: -- The honorable senator is on good, solid ground there. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- I am glad to hear that recognised. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- There was just as much bickering over the Tariff Commission's report. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- But that was because the members of the Tariff Commission were strong party men. There were four Protectionists and four Free Traders. That method of inquiry merely demonstrated the futility of leaving such a subject to be dealt with by partisans. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- Where would the honorable senator get his independent commission from? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- There are competent men in this country who would be able to make inquiries, and submit recommendations to Parliament, and whom we could trust to bring to bear a judicial temperament. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- I do not know where we should find men who would be absolutely independent in regard to such questions as Free Trade and Protection. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- Do we not appoint to the Judicial Bench men who can be trusted to deal with the questions brought before them in a spirit of independence and impartiality ? With but possibly few exceptions our Judges have always been men who have upheld the judicial traditions of freedom from prejudice and partisan feeling. 1 feel satisfied that we could select such a body of men to deal with Tariff issues. Of course, if partisans were appointed, I admit that their recommendations would perhaps be of little value. But it would be a serious reflection upon the honesty of any Government to appoint men of that character. I am speaking from the point of view of a man who has been a Free Trader all his life. I have stood on Free Trade platforms over and over again. I have been returned to Parliament as a Free Trader. But I recognise that, rightly or wrongly, this country has adopted a Protectionist policy, and I want to see it carried out honestly, not by means of abortive measures, such as the one that the Government have now submitted to us. At present I am bound to register my strong condemnation of this Bill. It is nothing better than a source of disappointment and irritation to the people who were expecting it. It will do no good either on the one side or the other. Nevertheless, with the aid of their majority Ministers are prepared to rush it through Parliament; and then, I suppose, they will puff out their chests and say to the country, " See how we have carried out our pledges ! See how we have given effect to the policy approved of by the majority of the electors ! " Let us get rid of this sort of sham, and have a policy that is honest, straightforward, and effective. How many honorable senators really desire to stand behind the Government in respect of this measure? Honest Protectionists have condemned it already. How many of the supporters of the Government are prepared to exercise their independence of judgment, and condemn it also? {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator Needham: -- T, for one, will exercise my independence. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- I am glad to hear the honorable senator say that. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- **Senator Needham** means that he will exercise his independence by voting with the Government every time. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- How often have we heard honorable senators by voice condemn, and by vote approve of, measures submitted by this Government. Honorable senators opposite are free enough in their language, but very seldom do they help to form a majority opposed to the Ministry. They are bound to their party, and have to make the best of what they regard, and honestly regard, as a very bad job, and a mere pretence at meeting the wishes of the people of the country. {: #debate-2-s10 .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART:
Queensland -- Amidst all the confusion that seems to surround this very important question, one fact stands out prominently. It is that the people of Australia have, by a large majority, approved of the policy of Protection. That fact is beyond dispute. There is a majority of members of this Parliament in both Houses pledged to Protection. The only inference we can draw is that there is a majority in the country. But, nevertheless, what chance has that policy of being carried out? We have two parties in the Senate at present, and I ask any man who pays even the slightest attention to the question to say whether there is any hope in this direction from either of them. What is the standpoint of the party in power, the Labour party, the party which, of all others, ought to support the policy of Protection? The policy of the Labour party is that, when the people of the Commonwealth gives this Parliament the power to fix wages and conditions of labour, this party will assist in passing a truly Protectionist Tariff. I say frankly that I am not one of those who believe in that position. I believe it to be wrong. We can no more carry out our policy as a whole, all at once, than a man can build a house otherwise than brick by brick. We have a mandate from the people of Australia to pass a Protectionist Tariff. We asked them for power to fix wages and conditions of labour. They refused to give us that power. They gave us one mandate; they refused to give us the other. The wise, patriotic, and common-sense policy would be to establish a system of Protection, as required by the people of Australia, trusting to their good sense and 4502 *Customs* [SENATE.] *Tariff Bill.* to the righteousness of our cause to obtain the extra powers which we require at some future time. As far as I can see, Protection has no hope at present from the party in power. What has it to hope for from the party on the left of the President? That party is composed of Free Traders and Revenue Tariffists. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- Your own side is that. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- That party is composed of men who are pledged up to the very hilt against any form of direct taxation. How do they propose to raise revenue if they oppose a Protectionist Tariff ? {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- Which party is pledged against that? {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- The party with which the honorable senator is associated. Has it not opposed direct taxation within these walls? Is not the party outside, of which my honorable friends are the representatives here, opposed to direct taxation, not only in the Commonwealth, but in the States ? I want to know from that party, when they profess to be in favour of Projection, and to treat this amendment of the Tariff with scorn, and contempt, what they are prepared to do. They may say what they please, but I want to know how they propose to get revenue, if they give the country a Protectionist Tariff. If we have a Protectionist Tariff, they ought to know that just as it is Protectionist in its incidence, so it fails to give revenue. Both : sides of the Senate know that, or ought to know it. I have shown that, on the Government's own policy, as enunciated by honorable senators here, there is no hope, so far as Protection is concerned, from that side of the Chamber, and I claim that there is no hope from this side. Between the two stools, the country goes to the ground. The policy of Protection fails. Here we have an example of parliamentary government, as it is carried on in most civilized countries at the present time. The people of the Commonwealth have declared for a Protectionist policy - a policy which will create industries, and employ labour, not in Europe, or Africa, or India, but on Australian soil. The people of Australia have told us, their representatives in this Parliament, to pass a policy of that kind, and we simply cannot do it. Parliament is impotent. One side renders itself impotent, and fetters itself hand and foot. The other side wants revenue. It will not impose any kind of taxation other than Customs duties. No party can introduce a Tariff here which will at once create industries and yield revenue without taxing the ordinary necessaries of life to a much greater extent than any one in Australia, I think, desires should be the case. I want to know what is going to be done. Is the Government party going to wait for this warrant from the people before it will give any further Protection ? We have a feeble, halting, lame, impotent attempt in this Tariff to do something in that direction. It shows that, although the Government professes that it will not do this, and that it will not do that, still when pressure is brought to bear, though it swears it will never consent, it does consent. It seems to me that it is only a matter of sufficient pressure being brought to bear. I do not want to pose as a prophet, but I believe that at the coming election, unless the Government puts a move on, pressure will be brought to bear, and many of its present representatives will be defeated at the polls - men who stood on the platform and proclaimed their faith in the policy of Protection, and their desire to see it carried out, but who failed. When these men go before their constituents, in many cases, they will find that these people resent action of that description. We ought, I think, to take a national view of this question. I am appealing now to the party with which I am associated. I think that every man belonging to the Labour party is, or ought to be, a Protectionist. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- He ought to be a single taxer, too. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- No ; he ought to be a land value taxer. The Labour man who is not a land value taxer does not know the A B C of his business. What I want to say - and perhaps some of my Free Trade Labour friends will excuse me for making the statement- {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- There is none of them here. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- I do not know, but there used to be. Free Trade means no Customs revenue, while revenue Tariff means taxing the poorest of the people most of all. The latter is the kind of Tariff we have, and I do not find that the party in power, although it has the numbers, has any desire to alter it. We have here evidence of how far it is prepared to go. It is not prepared to deal exhaustively with the Tariff. In the Cabinet, we have a predominance of men who were professed Free Traders a few years ago. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- That is not so. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- I cannot get away from the conclusion that these men have had an overpowering influence in directing the policy of the Labour party. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- That is not so. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- I cannot see how any man who professes Labour principles can be a Free Trader in Australia. If he professes himself a Free Trader, he cannot be a Labour man. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- In a Cabinet of ten members, there are seven Protectionists. What is the honorable senator talking about ? {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- I do not know how many men there are in the Cabinet, but it says very little for the seven Protectionists. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- That may be so; but stick to facts all the same. **Senator** Millen. - **Senator** O'Keefe had better cease interjecting. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- **Senator Stewart** said that there was a predominance of Free Traders, but apparently he does not know the members of the Cabinet. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- There was a pre- dominance of Free Trade influence. I do not care how great a man's gifts may be, or how profuse his profession of a desire to help the working men of Australia may be, if he is a Free Trader or revenue Tariffist, he is only a hypocrite, a sham, and a fraud. That is my deliberate statement, and I am going to show how I came to that conclusion. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -In your travels, did you find any Protectionist countries to which you would advise working men in Australia to go? {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- I am not talking of other countries, but of a policy which is suitable for Australia. Here is the position of our Labour Free Traders. They say, for instance, to a manufacturer of boots, " You must pay your men 50s. or *£3* a week. You must not work them for more than eight hours. You must give them the best conditions of labour which it is possible to bring about," and yet they expose him to the competition of countries where about one- third the rate of wages is paid, where about 50 per cent. more hours are worked, and where the sanitary and other conditions are not to be mentioned in the same breath with those prevailing in Australia. Some honorable senators may tell me that these people live in other countries, but they might just as well say to a bootmaker living in Swanstonstreet that he must do all the things which I have recounted, and at the same time allow a bootmaker in Bourke-street to carry on in the same way as does a bootmaker in Germany, or Great Britain, or some of those countries where sweated labour prevails to such an extent as to compete so largely with our workmen. The cost of transportation nowadays is so small that the product of cheap labour, coming into this country, no matter from what portion of the earth, competes unfairly from the point of view of Australia. I ask leave to continue myremarks at the next sitting. Leave granted ; debate adjourned; {: .page-start } page 4503 {:#debate-3} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-3-0} #### Grant to Tasmania {: #subdebate-3-0-s0 .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGREGOR:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · ALP -- I move- >That the Senate do now adjourn. This morning, I promised **Senator Ready,** in reply to a question which he asked, to endeavour to get an outline of a statement which was made by the Treasurer in another place with respect to assisting Tasmania. The intention of the Government is that a sum of £500,000, distributed over a period of ten years, shall be paid to the State, and that the first payment shall commence in thenext financial year. Question resolved in the affirmative. Senate adjourned at 3.58 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 15 December 1911, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.