4th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Debate resumed from 15th December (vide page 4503) on motion by Senator McGregor -
That this Bill be now read a first time.
– When the Senate rose on Friday I was endeavouring to point out that any adherent of the Labour party, or representative of that party in Parliament, must be a Protectionist, to be consistent in his policy. That fact is evident on the face of it. We cannot compel Australian employers to pay Australian wages, and to observe Australian conditions, unless sufficent protection against the sweated labour of other countries is given to them.
– Is that the principle of Protection, according to the Labour party?
– I am not speaking for the Labour party; I am pointing out that if a Labour man is to be consistent in the endeavour to maintain a high standard of . living here, he must protect our manufacturers against the competition of the sweated labour of Europe and other countries. We have to ask ourselves : Is the Tariff doing what it ought to do from a Labour stand-point? Any one who looks at the record of our imports would at once come to the conclusion that it is not. We import goods per head of population to a larger extent than any other country, with the exception perhaps of New Zealand. That is sufficient evidence that the Tariff is not doing its work, and instead of being Protectionist in its incidence is a revenue Tariff. I direct the attention of the members of the party to which I belong, and of the Government, to the fact that a revenue Tariff buttresses land monopoly. So long as the Commonwealth and the States derive a large part of their revenue from Customs and Excise duties, there will be no need for direct taxation. The objective of every Labour man. ought therefore to be to make the Tariff Free Trade, that is, to have no duties except on stimulants or narcotics, or to make it Protec tive, so that it would return the minimum of revenue, and compel resort to direct taxation.
– Is there such a protective Tariff on earth?
– I am not troubling about that. Australia is in advance of most countries in social legislation, and in my remarks I am not addressing the Opposition just now. The policy which I support is one to which the honorable senator and the party with which he is associated is directly opposed.
– There are strong Protectionists, in the Opposition.
– I am addressing the members of my own party, and showing that if they are to be consistent they must vote for an admittedly revenue Tariff, buttressing up land monopoly and imposing the severest taxation on the poor - because the poorer the man and the larger his family the more heavily the Customs taxation falls on him - or must support a Tariff which will not be a revenue Tariff, with the necessary consequence that Customs revenue will be reduced to a minimum, and direct taxation must follow. To my way of thinking, the latter policy is the proper one for a Labour man to support.
– It is not, to. my way of thinking.
– I am speaking for myself. The honorable senator will have an opportunity to address the Senate later. If the policy which I advocate. is not that to which he can agree, he would be more comfortable outside the Labour party. He has no right to be in the party if he does not believe in that policy, which is accepted by almost every man here, and in every other country where there is a Labour party as a part of the Labour policy.
– It is not.
– As I have said, we must do one of two things. The people of Australia have declared against Free Trade and in favour of a Protectionist Tariff. The Labour party is bound, not only by its own platform and its principles, but in addition, by the mandate of the people who placed it in power to pass a Tariff which will give effective Protection to existing industries and create others. Let us analyze a few of the articles which are imported to a very large extent. Imports are going up at a remarkably rapid rate, and revenue is being correspondingly increased. No doubt all that is evidence of the prosperity of the people. It is admitted by everybody that Australia is passing through a period of great prosperity, but every man who knows its history is aware that we have, so to speak, a succession of heights and hollows. We are on one of the heights now. The hollow is either in the near or in the more or less remote future, but that it is there every man must admit. Some day Australia will be in the trough, just as she was ten years ago, and that will be the time when the need of local industries will be apparent to everybody, and when the failure of this Parliament to put in force a policy which would result in creating industries in town and country will be more and more apparent, and will be regretted by everybody connected with it. If the Tariff is made Protectionist, not only will it create a large number of secondary industries, and in that way give a large amount of employment, but it will result in freeing the lands of the Commonwealth as a consequence of the imposition of direct taxation. The land monopoly in that case would have to be broken up. The demand for revenue would be so great that Parliament would have its attention directed straight away to the huge amount of community -created< value which passes every year into the pockets of private individuals. That practically unexplored region of taxation would be attacked and dealt with in earnest.
– After the monopoly had been broken up you would still have to get your revenue from the land.
– We would still have to get our revenue from where it ought to come. Every farthing of communitycreated value in this continent belongs, I repeat, to the people who created that value, and not to any private individuals. It is one of the monstrosities of public life, not only in Australia, but in a great number of countries, that the rich stores of communitycreated values almost everywhere pass not into the hands of the people who created them, but into the hands of the private owners of land. I as a member of this Parliament, and a citizen of Australia, intend to do everything in my power to-
– To be honest.
– Bring that state pf affairs to a close, and I shall be exceedingly glad if Senator W. Russell will give his assistance.
– Not much.
– Instead of being,, as he appears to be, an advocate of land monopoly.
– Of new Protection, and no Protection without it.
– That is a very sliding out for Senator W. Russell. He says, “ No Protection without new Protection.”
– My hustings pledges.
– I believe in new Protection just as firmly as does Senator W. Russell. But I also believe in doing to-day what you can do to-day, and if you cannot do all you would like to do, do it to-morrow, or some other day. Now we have a mandate from the people to pass a Protectionist Tariff. We ask them to give Parliament power to fix rates of wages, hours, and conditions of labour, and everything else in connexionwith labour, and they refused to give us that mandate. They said in effect, “ We are satisfied with the provision which existsfor fixing rates of wages and conditions of labour in the States.” I believe that the people of the Commonwealth were wrong, in coming to that decision, and I am prepared to go out to-morrow and help tobring them to a better frame of mind. But meanwhile let us give the various industriessuch effective Protection that not a single manufacturer throughout Australia will have the shred of an excuse for refusing to pay his workmen a decent living Australia!* wage. Take the wages as they exist. I donot say that they are anything like what they ought to be, but they are very mud* higher than the wages paid in countries which now compete with Australian manufacturers in a number of industries. They are 100 per cent, higher in somecases, and 150 per cent, higher in several others, so that the claim that the peopleworking in our manufactories are not getting a fair share of Protection seems to me to be not quite so valid as it ought to be. In any case, let us bring in a Tariff whichwill protect. When that is done, if the workmen and the workwomen do not get their fair share they will have the matterin their own hands. They can give the Parliament of the Commonwealth the power of dealing with the rates of wages and conditions of labour.
– Do you think that our industries are languishing?
– I do not say that our industries are languishing, but our imports are “very much greater than they ought to be. As I mentioned a minute ago, we are living in a period of unexampled prosperity. Everybody is employed more or less, but the day is coming, as Senator Ready ought to know, when Australia will be down in the rut, as she was a few years ago, when there will be thousands of unemployed both in town and in country. Now is the time - and this is what I am trying to impress on Senator Ready and every other member of the party to which I belong - to lay the foundation of industries in the future. Now is the tune to break up land monopoly. Now is the time to bring forward such a Tariff as will create industries of many kinds throughout the Commonwealth. Now is the time to bring forward a Tariff which will encourage manufacturers in the Old Country and other countries to come here with their capital, lay down their plants, and proceed to manufacture with every modern improvement at their command. It will be too late to do that when trouble knocks at our door. I do not know exactly the amount, but in 1909 we imported goods to the value of over ,£50,000,000. Our Customs revenue was the second highest per head in the world, so far as I have been able to discover. New Zealand, with £2 14s. 7d. per head of the. population, had the highest, while ours was £2 is. 4d. per head. The Customs revenue of the United States of America amounted to only 13s. 1 id. per head. That is a fact to which I should like to direct the attention of honorable senators very strongly. There is one of the most prosperous countries under the sun ; a country which is probably more self-contained than any other community of people to be found on the face of the earth, and yet their Customs revenue amounts to only 13s. nd. per head, the reason being that they have a Tariff which effectively protects their manufacturers against the manufacturers in the sweated countries of Europe. Some honorable senators may say that the people of the United States of America have not found the New Jerusalem, so far as industrialism is concerned, even with their high Tariff. I quite admit it. A high . Tariff of itself is not sufficient. I merely point out that under high Tariff conditions these people have become so selfcontained as to be practically independent, so far as their products are concerned, of almost every other country. Where the United States of America have failed, and_ where we hope to succeed, is that they have not protected their workmen, and. have allowed the land monopolist and- the industrial monopolist, in other words, the trust and the ring, to reign supreme. We in Australia hope, if not to-day, at least in the near future, to deal not only with the trust and the combine, but with the land monopolist, who is a greater evil to any country than any other kind of monopolist I know of. Those are the essential differences between the positions of Australia and the’ United States. I urge honorable senators who desire to see industries created and fostered in Australia to keep the Tariff of the United States in. view. Last year we imported about £260,000 worth of boots and shoes. Does any man think that we are not capable of manufacturing all the boots and shoes required in the Commonwealth? As ha3 been said on this floor numbers of times, and I believe it is true, we can produce as good a boot as is to be found in Germany, Great Britain, or America. I have been told that if four pairs of boots, Australian, American, English, and German are placed upon a counter without distinguishing marks - the United States, England, and Germany being the three leading nations in the boot industry - the difference cannot be distinguished, except by an expert, and in many cases even the expert fails. The duty on boots is 35 per cent, (general Tariff) and 30 per cent.- (United Kingdom). I suppose a number of honorable senators will say that that ought to be quite sufficient, but apparently it is not. Our bootmakers receive 100 per cent, higher wages than those paid in Great Britain, and I believe at least 150 per cent, higher than those paid in Germany, but the protection given by our Customs Tariff to the industry does not seem to be enough. It ought to be made enough. If we are to establish an Australian standard of living we ought to make the protective wall so high as to keep out at least 95 per cent, of the products of those . sweated countries. Wie imported about £1,500,000 worth of apparel upon which the duty is 40 per cent, (general Tariff), and 35 per cent. (United Kingdom), yielding a revenue of £500,000. This, I suppose, is an important item,- but it does not establish an industry, although, so far as I am concerned, that is the only reason why a Cus- toms tax should be imposed at all. If those duties are not sufficient, let the protection be raised to 50 or 60 per cent., or to whatever figure is necessary to establish the industry, and enable the Australian standard of living to be maintained. We had an. import of nearly ^200,000 worth of hats and caps. We have plenty of wool and rabbit furs, and plenty of labour, to manufacture ‘those articles here. Why do we riot do it? There may be several reasons, but the principal one is that the duty is not sufficiently high. In every industry, of course, there are wheels within wheels, and no doubt after the great principle has been established and the wall has been built so high as to enable those industries to flourish within our own borders it will be the duty of the Commonwealth, having repelled the invader from outside, to clear the ring inside. That will have to be done some day. Undoubtedly some people are taking more advantage of the Tariff than they have a right to take.
– You have a big contract on hand.
– We have a great many big contracts on hand, and the bigger they are the better we like to grapple with them. In any case they are contracts which must be undertaken. These are conditions which must be attacked and destroyed. Our duty is first to keep the invader where he ought to be, on the outside, and in the second place, when the industries have been established, to protect our people against rings and trusts and combines inside.
– Have we not done a great deal in that direction?
– We have only begun. The result of what has already been accomplished is so slight as to be worth next to nothing so far as increasing the welfare and general comfort of the people of the Commonwealth is concerned. We have only touched the fringe of this great question, and if I understand the feeling of the people aright they have made up their minds that the heart and centre of it must be reached, and that the evil, so far as it injuriously affects the welfare of the people, must be destroyed.
– You must have been, studying the Melbourne Age !
– I do study the Age. I am not bigoted. I read newspapers of all politics. I do not confine my reading to one set of opinions. I try to gather wisdom from every source. Probably Senator W. Russell does not feel the need of resorting to any authority outside himself for enlightenment.
– I am often asked to what party the honorable senator belongs.
– The honorable senator can only sit there and gibe. Apparently he can do absolutely nothing to advance the welfare of Australia. That being so, I ask him to permit me to proceed without interruption. I may listen to the honorable senator when he is prepared to do something effective for the benefit of the people who sent him here instead of being, I will not say, one of the advance guards of land monopolists, but one who appears to be on that side.
– The honorable senator knows that that is not true.
– I know that it is exactly true. It is as true as that I am standing here to-day. If I were asked to go before a Court and take my solemn oath on it, I would take that oath and prove it out of the honorable senator’s own mouth. I have pointed out that the present Tariff is a revenue Tariff, the one kind of Tariff against which every Labour man is pledged by every principle and plank of the policy of his party. Indirect taxation is the kind of taxation which the Labour party are pledged to sweep away. But here we have it in this Tariff in the most flagrant form. We have Customs taxation greater than is to be found in any other civilized country on the face of the earth, with the exception of New Zealand. The present Tariff is everything that it ought not to be from a Labour point of view. We have a Labour Government in power, with Labour majorities in both Houses, and our Customs Tariff imposing the kind of taxation to which the Labour party are opposed, we have now a unique opportunity to deal with it. I ask that the Labour party should do so, or say at once that they have abandoned the” fight against indirect taxation.
– They have said nothing of the sort.
– If they have not said so directly, they say so by implication when they refuse to deal with this evil.
– That is the honorable senator’s own construction.
– No one can put any other construction on the circumstances. If the Labour party had not a majority in both Houses of this Parliament, and some other party were in power, I have not the slightest .doubt that Senator Needham and other members of the party would be getting up in their places and raving against indirect taxation. Now we have a majority in both Houses of the Parliament, and an assured* majority in the Senate, for two Parliaments the Labour party can do what is necessary if they will, but yet they will not do it. What conclusion can any man come to in the circumstances, except that they do not intend to touch the Tariff so far as its revenueproducing capacity is concerned. That is the only conclusion at which any unprejudiced observer of the situation can arrive. The party have an opportunity which may never again arise in their history. It is a very good maxim to do a thing when the opportunity offers, as you never know whether such an opportunity will ever come round to you again. I say once more that the Labour party have now a unique opportunity. They have complete control of both Houses of this Parliament. We have here a gigantic evil. We have a system of taxation which preys with the greatest possible severity on the very people whom the members of the Labour party are sent here to represent, and they do not lift a finger to assist in removing this burden from the shoulders of those people.
– The honorable senator will have a leading article in the Age to-morrow on his speech.
– I will not. The Age considers me a much greater enemy than is Senator Needham of the policy it would like to see pursued. The honorable senator is a Revenue Tariffist.
– I am nothing of the kind.
– The honorable senator is one of those who do not desire to alter the present system of taxation, and being a Revenue Tariffist, he is the aider and abettor of land monopoly.
– That is a lie.
– That is the policy which the honorable senator is an absolute advocate of.
– That is an absolute lie.
– I do not care; the honorable senator may say what he likes so far as I am concerned.
– Order! So far as the Standing Orders are concerned, no senator has a right to say what he likes. I ask Senator Needham to withdraw his statement that what Senator Stewart said is an. absolute lie.
– Senator Stewart said, that I am an aider and abettor of land monopoly. I said that that statement was a lie. I still stick to that opinion.
– According to the Standing Orders, I must ask Senator Needham to withdraw the statement.
– In virtue of the Standing Orders, I withdraw the statement, but I still think in the same way.
– I wish to point out to Senator Needham that direct taxation is unnecessary now, and will continue to be unnecessary so long as this huge Customs revenue is being poured into the Commonwealth exchequer. Any man who desires to see land monopoly broken up and direct taxation established will do something toalter the Tariff in such a way as to reduce its revenue-producing capacity. Senator Needham may imagine that he is the enemy of land monopoly. I assume that he does. But if he is, he will assist to so reduce the revenue-earning capacity of the existing Tariff as to make more and more land value taxation necessary, because every one knows that land monopoly cannot be broken up by any other means than by land value taxation. I know what Senator Needham’* opinions are,- and I was merely pointing out to him that, like many other individuals, whilst believing one thing, the honorable senator by his action is perpetuating, or, at least, assisting to perpetuate, the very evil which he desires to see put an end to. That is all that I meant to say regarding the honorable senator. I again repeat that the present Tariff is a revenue Tariff, and) should be altered, especially by the party at present in power. What is the alternative. Is it to be a Free Trade Tariff ? The people of Australia do not want a Free Trade Tariff. They want a Protectionist Tariff, and they are entitled to the kind of Tariff they desire, which will not only create secondary industries, as they are called, but which, incidentally and indirectly, will be the -means of freeing the land of the Commonwealth so as to lead to a great expansion of settlement. I ask honorable senators to take a serious view of the situation, and adopt the course which I think that every man who has given the subject any consideration whatever believes to be necessary for the advancement and welfare of the people of Australia.
– Senator Stewart began his speech with a remarkable definition of the kind of Protection which would satisfy him. I feel extremely grateful to the honorable senator for the new light which he has thrown upon the meaning of Protection and its application to Australian industries. He says that the object of the Protectionist party - and he assumes the Government are in tha main Protectionists - is to place the Australian workers above the condition of the struggling workers of other coun-tries. If there is anything that could convert me to a system of Protection it would foe the definition which ‘Senator Stewart has given. While what the honorable senator has said may not be the accepted definition, it is, to some extent, an economic justification for the imposition of some form of protective Tariff. But, unfortunately, Protectionists themselves, and certainly the Republican party in America, have over and over again scouted and flouted that justification; and the honorable senator, who says that he devotes a great deal of his time to newspapers and, doubtless, magazines dealing with the subject, ought to be thoroughly well aware of the fact. Further, Canadian Protectionists will not Admit the principle, and we all know that there are many high Protectionists in Australia who also refuse to accept it. Some of us who may not improperly be called fiscal atheists are faced with a puzzle when dealing with this matter. Protectionists in every country, but more especially those who find expression in very high Tariffs, when they come to give a definition or seek a reason for their attitude, are found quarrelling with their own definition and its application and extension. It is not more amusing than it is instructive to find a high Protectionist, in the person of a Government supporter, quarrelling unmistakably with the Government which he assumes to be high Protectionist. I hope that some day those who are perpetually appealing to Parliament for higher and higher duties will be able to make up their minds, and give us some scientific and economic definition of what high Protection and a high Tariff mean, and that they will alSO be able to agree on some common form of application of the definition. It is unchallengable that the measure of Protection before us is a “ poor thing,” though, after all, it is the Government’s “own.” I quite agree with Senator Stewart that, if there is anything in a Pro tectionist or high Tariff policy - if that is what the people in their tens of thousands have been looking to the Labour party, as their economic saviour, to provide - the result is the sorriest thing that has ever been presented for consideration in any Parliament in the world. This is the first time in the history of the Commonwealth when a measure brought down by the Government has produced almost unanimity of comment in the way of condemnation of almost every item, and certainly of the main principles involved. I said that I had been described, both inside and outside Parliament, and not altogether improperly, as a sort of fiscal atheist.
– The honorable senator is a fiscal farce !
– The honorable gentleman, with characteristic courtesy, can never listen to criticism, especially from myself, which drives something home to him, without becoming personal, and, as a rule, insulting. Of course, it is late in the session, and we on this side are driving the Government very hard; but the. VicePresident of the Executive Council ought to consider his important position and the large salary he enjoys, inadequate though it may be, and not descend to such depths.
– How can the honorable senator be a fiscal atheist, and yet believe in a duty on bananas?
– I shall meet the Minister on that ground if I am challenged. No doubt the honorable gentleman, like a boy cricketer, regards himself as the most expert of players, and able to clean bowl me at first ball. But he will find me ready to debate the point he has raised when we reach that item on the Tariff - he will find me ready to convert this discussion into a battle royal on the relative merits of a duty on the dried herbs of South Australia, and a duty on the bananas of Queensland. However, the business is too urgent to permit me to proceed on those lines. When I said that I had been not improperly described as a fiscal atheist, I meant that I, in common with many supporters of the Labour party throughout the world, am of opinion that fiscalism does not mean industrialism, and that industrialism does not mean fiscalism. When the VicePresident of the Executive Council gibes at me, will he turn his eyes towards the composition of his own party, a powerful section of which holds the same view as that entertained by every Labour party throughout the world ? They regard a high protective Tariff-
– Does the honorable senator say that the English Labour party support a high protective Tariff-
– No, I say that they regard a high Tariff with suspicion. Unless within the last few. years the English Labour party have departed from their fiscal belief, or Senator Pearce has thrown overboard his own belief, then the Labour party throughout the world is closer in touch with the fiscal policy which the honorable senator would support if the necessities of political life or the occupancy of the Ministerial benches-
– Like the honorable senator’s leader, I have accepted the verdict of the people.
– Exactly. Whilst I am a fiscal atheist, I recognise the fact than on two appeals the people of Australia have unmistakably assented to the doctrine of Protection ; and, consequently, I am bound to accept their verdict. I should be unfit to be the representative of any constituency or State unless I were to give intelligent effect to the desire the people have expressed. But though I am a fiscal atheist, what evidence is there of fiscal faith in this measure which the Government have sat upon and1 hatched, and which they now lay upon the table as a source of political salvation for themselves? None whatever. It is not an expression of the principle of Protection in any way. I believe that every fiscal party, whether representative of Free Traders, Protectionists, or Revenue Tariffists is more or less seized with the necessity of rectifying anomalies in the Tariff. But in this Bill there is no attempt to rectify anomalies. The Government have merely introduced a measure of expediency. They have resorted to the diplomacy of Chinese ambassadors who eternally commit themselves to nothing, and are always praying to their Joss for means of saving their face.
– The last thing that this Government would want to do is to save its face.
– I really believe that on this question the Government have not a face to save. Ever since this Bill was brought before Parliament manufacturers and importers have, so to speak, taken up their residence on the doormats of Parliament House. 1 do not object to that. Subject to the convenience of members of Parliament they have a right to make their views known. Every member of this Parliament has been deluged with a flood of correspondence giving reasons why a duty should be raised here and lowered there. Every man represents that his particular industry is going to be ruined unless the Tariff is altered in some particular. Many ask for reductions in certain items. A few ask for increases. But the evidence produced is entirely ex forte, and is made under such circumstances that no member of Parliament can sift it. The majority of us have little more than a nodding acquaintance with the industries affected. The statements made by manufacturers and importers, though supplied to us in good faith, may be absolutely misleading. Their real import cannot be grasped by a single member, nor by the Government itself. The last time the Tariff was under review, we had the advantage of the reports and evidence of a Commission which had sat for about eighteen months. Nevertheless we were not able to give satisfaction. The difficulty will be eternally present until a Tariff advisory board is appointed by some Government.
– When in doubt trust the Government.
– In this instance I should say, “ When in doubt mistrust the Government.” Our experience shows that not even the expert officers can satisfactorily advise Parliament as to the adjustment of the Tariff in such a way as to do justice to the public, to the manufacturers, and to what is called the Protectionist verdict of the people of Australia. The last Government suggested as a matter of policy -that a Tariff board should be appointed in order that Parliament might be thoroughly well informed when alterations of duties were proposed.
– How could such a board do any better than the Tariff Commission did?
– Because, with all respect to the members of that Commission, it was composed of men who were not fitted to come to an impartial conclusion. The situation was similar to that of a number of men engaged in a tug-of-war. The Free Traders pulled one way and the Protectionists pulled the other.
– The honorable senator wants fiscal atheists, like himself, on the advisory board.
– A fiscal atheist is a man who watches the whole question critically, and deals with it impartially and disinterestedly.
– That is a fiscal agnostic,
– There is not much difference between the two terms ; but let us say “fiscal agnostic” if it pleases the honorable senator. The honorable senator in mentioning the work of the Royal Commission gave away his case. A Commission consisting of Protectionists, Free Traders, and Revenue Tariffists must necessarily be prejudiced, and its report, as was the case with the report of the last Royal Commission, instead of instructing and guiding Parliament, will rather hamper it. To obtain sound and impartial opinions upon Tariff matters, you must eliminate the Department - you must eliminate Ministers and politicians generally - so far as the Tariff is concerned, and refer the whole question to an impartial tribunal outside Parliament for advice.
– The honorable senator wants a few archangels for his proposed board.
– The honorable senator only a few days ago invited us to pass a Bill in which he set up a tribunal for the Public Service which- will have to be presided over by an archangel if it is to give satisfaction. We cannot get infallible intelligence, but we can obtain impartial judgment, and if there is a question on which we require to secure an impartial judgment, it is that of the Tariff. The war of Tariffs in the United States recently became so pressing that the Democratic party, which has Free Trade leanings, and the Republican party, which is strongly wedded to Protection, agreed that it was about time, if the public of the United States were to be served economically and properly, that the Tariff should be transferred from Congress to an impartial body for consideration, and that it should finally be brought back to both Houses through Standing Committees appointed still further to revise it. This Bill and our experience regarding similar Tariff proposals, show the absolute necessity for such a tribunal as I have suggested. Those who speak of the policy of Australia as a Protectionist ohe seem to use that phrase as meaning a highly protective Tariff. Like Senator Stewart, they make frequent reference to the growth of our imports, and seem to think that because our importations are increasing our Tariff should be made higher and higher. If that is to be the expression of the protective policy of Australia, then I for one deny it. I deny that the people of Australia have given the verdict that because our imports are increasing our Tariff must be increased accordingly. Since parties will probably dispute later as to what is the meaning of the term “ Protection,” it is well that I should call attention to some figures which I think will speak more accurately and clearly than could any argument to which we might give expression on the subject. In 1905-6 the duties collected on imports into Australia amounted to £8,921,819, and in 1911-12 it is estimated that they will amount to ^13,800,000. Possibly next year the figures will be a little higher. In other words, between 1905-6 and 1911-12 there will be an increase of ^4,878,181, or about 54 per cent., in our import duties.
– But our natural prosperity had doubled in the meantime. The honorable n.ember is comparing last year’s returns with those of a year just following the big drought.
– Will the honorable member allow me to complete my sentence before he jumps in? As Senator Stewart has pointed out, the increase is very largely due to the remarkable prosperity of Australia, and I do not wish to press that point very strongly. I am anxious, however, to call attention to the fact that our Customs and Excise taxation is equal to about £3 2s. 8d. per head of the population, or, with the exception of New Zealand, greater than that of any other country. That being so, those who ask for a still higher Tariff should surely be required to give good reasons for their demand. It seems to me that the very prosperity of Australia has been made a pretext by the present Government, and possibly by Governments which have preceded them, for depriving the people of the full measure of prosperity to which they are entitled. It does not follow that people should be taxed because they are prosperous. The only justification for taxation is the absolute necessities of the Government. When we find that the Customs and Excise taxation of Australia per head of the population is about the highest of any country, save New Zealand, it is not unreasonable to sound a warning to those who are asking for still more protection, and to let them know that we shall require them to give reasons, and pretty strong ones too, for their demand. Let us compare our taxation, Customs and Excise taxation, with that of other countries which are equally pronounced in favour of Protection. In 19 10 the population of the United States of America was estimated at about 92,000,000, and its Customs and Excise taxation for that year was £125,117,590, or £1 7s. per capita. American economists are continually proclaiming that there and there alone is what might be called the truly scientific Protection, yet the Customs and Excise taxation of that country per head of its. population, is less than half of our own. Canada’s population in 191.0 was estimated at 7,500,000, and her Customs and Excise taxation amounts to £15,710,310, or about £2 per head. Then again, let us look at the figures for Germany where, it is also claimed. Protection has been reduced to a science. In 1 9 10 the population of that country was 65,000,000, and its total Customs and Excise revenue was just under £60,000,000, or less than £1 per head. Yet we do not hear any complaint that the industries of Germany are being strangled. When, therefore, the assertion is made that the industries of Australia require a larger measure of Protection than that which has already been accorded -them, I say that the onus is upon those who make the statement to establish an irrefutable case.. From official figures I learn that in 1905 there were 11,945 factories throughout the Commonwealth, in 1909 there were 13,197, and in 1910 there were 13,822. In other words there was an increase during those years of 1,887. In this connexion I would remind honorable senators that there is a uniform definition of “ factory “ throughout Australia. It means a place in which more than four persons are engaged in some work.
– In South Australia a factory is a place in which one person is engaged.
– But for the purposes of the Year-Book of Australia the statistics have all been standardized. Then I find that whilst in 1905 there were 214,594 persons employed in these factories, in 1909 there were 266,418, and in 1910, there were 286,831. That is to say, between 1905 and 19 10 there was an increase of nearly 72,000 hands, or approximately 25 per cent. Then, what is the position from the stand-point of the sala ries and wages paid? In 1905 the salaries and wages paid amounted to £15,319,000, in 1909 they were £21,105,000, and in 1910, they were £23.874,959, an increase of £8,000,000, or approximately 52 per cent. In the light of these figures it seems to me that when the assertion is made that the industries of Australia are being strangled, those who make it leave the gentle slopes of rhetorical exaggeration and reach in one steep descent the region of cold almost snowbound mendacity. Statistics show that our industries are not being strangled. They do not even exhibit signs of languishing. On the contrary, they display a development which is probably unparalleled - having regard to the number of our people - in any other country in the world. Then we hear a good deal about the wages which are paid in these industries, and of their relation to the Tariff. We are told how vital, is the necessity for correlating the two. Let us see how the industries of. Australia stand from the point of view of the wages which are paid in them. I find that the value added to the raw material by manuafcturing processes during 1909 was ,£42,216,493, and that the salaries and wages paid in our factories was £21,105,456, leaving a residue of £21,111,037. That means that for every pound of added value to output of our factories the workers of Australia received 10s. or one-half. I challenge honorable senators opposite to point to a country on earth where a larger return has been secured to the workers. Consequently, I am- inclined to believe that a good many of the complaints that we hear of ill-treatment of the workers by trusts and monopolists are largely manufactured for platform and political purposes. It must be a source of general satisfaction to every man in the community to find that the wages of the workers are advancing, and the number of our factories is increasing. /
– Is that not a great recommendation for a Labour Administration ?
– Not at all. It is part and parcel of the prosperity of the country. The Vice-President of the Executive Council is too prone to seize upon any advantage which the community may have derived, and to place it to the credit of the Labour party. But my chief object was to disabuse the minds of honorable senators opposite of the idea that our industries are being strangled. They are not ; otherwise there is no truth in the multiplication table. If we accept the fiscal verdict of Australia, we are bound to rectify Tariff anomalies. We are bound to see that those anomalies do not operate to the advantage of one industry, and to the detriment of another, but that each industry shall fight for its existence on an equal footing. For these reasons I am inclined to scoff at the cry that the necessity for this measure arises from the fact that Australian industries are being strangled.
– I should not have taken part in this discussion but for the tirade of abuse which has been levelled at honorable senators upon this side of the chamber, and particularly at myself by Senator Stewart. This Bill has only one object in view, namely, the rectification of Tariff anomalies. It is not intended by the Government that it shall deal exhaustively with Tariff revision.
– Does the honorable senator say that it deals exhaustively with Tariff anomalies?
– I think that it does.
– I do not.
– So far as it deals with Tariff anomalies I shall support it, and I shall support it wholeheartedly without in any way prostituting my Protectionist principles. Despite the onslaught which has been made by Senator Stewart upon other members of the party to which he belongs, I say that we are just as pronounced Protectionists to-day as we were when the 1907-8 Tariff was under consideration. I repeat that I can support this Bill without renouncing one tittle of my Protectionist principles. The Bill is intended only to rectify anomalies. At this period of the session there is no opportunity to do more. To the question, “ Is the present Tariff sufficiently protective”? I reply that it is not as protective as I desire that it should be; but it would not be so protective as it is had not Labour members in this Senate and in another branch of the Legislature who hold Free Trade opinions voted for it because promised by the Government they were then supporting and the manufacturers of Australia that, if they did, new Protection would ensue. They have been disillusioned. The manufacturers who during the consideration of the Tariff besieged honorable members in the lobbies with applications for higher duties, contested the validity of the new Protection legislation. Since that time neither the workers nor the consumers have benefited by the Tarin;. Whilst I desire to see the highest Tariff possible, I shall not vote for an increase of duties until the national Parliament has received from the people the powers sought at the last referendum. It is idle for the press or for any fiscalist to say that I am prostituting my Protectionist principles because I refuse to vote for increased duties until the workers and the consumers, as well as the manufacturers, can benefit. Senator Stewart, in reply to an interjection, accused me of being a friend of the land monopolists. He is usually calm and deliberate in his language, but no one knows better than he that when he made that charge he told a deliberate untruth. Neither I nor any member of this party is a friend of the land monopolist. The Bill may not go as far as I should like it to go, but until the people increase our constitutional powers, it goes as far as it should go.
– The honorable senator would help the land monopolist until that time comes ?
– No. There is on our statute-book a measure imposing a tax on unimproved land values, which has been instrumental in bursting up many of the large estates . formerly held by land monopolists. This party has used its constitutional powers to the utmost for preventing land monopoly. Senator St. Ledger asserts that there are no monopolies in Australia, and has quoted figuresin support of the assertion, but that monopolies exist in Australia I have not theslightest doubt, and I could name them if I chose to do so. For that reason, .we desire to have the power to at least cripple, if not to kill them. I am surprised at any senator professing Labour principles saying that because we are not now increasing the protective duties, we are abandoning Labour principles. Whilst in this Parliament I shall never renounce my Protectionist views, but until the people give us the power to impose new Protection so that the workers and consumers may share with’ the manufacturers in the benefits produced by a high Tariff, I shall not be prepared to give a vote for higher duties.Once we get the power we seek, I shall be ready to assist in building a Tariff wall so high that nothing will be able to get into this country except by aeroplane or balloon.
– At this period of the session there is little opportunity for a lengthy examination of the .Bill, but it is such a small and unimportant measure that even, the most rabid Free Trader could excuse it on the grounds that the young lady in Captain Marryat’s novel excused her promiscuous baby, that it is “ only a very little one.” I am opposed to the policy which has been pursued since the inauguration of the Commonwealth, of depending largely upon Customs taxation for revenue. I can find an excuse for the Free Trailer, and much reason in his arguments, hut no excuse for, and no reason in, the arguments of the revenue Tariffist. To me the greatest anomaly is a revenue Tariff Labourite. Since we inaugurated the Commonwealth we find that instead of decreasing the burden of taxation upon the people through the Customs House, we have been increasing it. Instead of building up great manufacturing industries, and making Australia what it really ought to be - a self-contained country as much as possible, and as it is quite capable of becoming with its enormous diversity of climate and soil, and resources of various kinds. - we find that our imports per head are also largely increasing. Honorable senators fondly hoped that the last Tariff would be mainly Protective in its incidence, but instead of being Protective, instead of inducing a larger quantity of the goods required by Australians to be manufactured locally, the opposite effect has resulted, because our imports are going up by leaps and bounds.
– That is proof of 0U prosperity.
– I shall come to that view of the subject directly if the honorable senator will permit me. The net Customs and Excise revenue in 1900-1 was £8,000,000; in 1910-11 it was £13,000,000, showing a jump of £5,000,000 since Federation; and it is estimated that for the current year.it will be very nearly £14,000,000. During the same period the receipts from the Customs and Excise per head* have risen from £2 is. 5¼d. in 1900 to £3 os. nd., estimated, in 1911-12, while the actual receipts for the last financial year were £2 18s. 9¼d Anybody who desires the true welfare of Australia cannot look upon those figures as disclosing anything else but a disastrous and calamitous state of affairs.
– If it continues.
– It appears to me that it is not. only going to continue, but to become accentuated. What are we doing to alter that state of affairs? Are we trying to build up our industries by a Tariff which will really be effective? When the last Tariff was under consideration, I fought all I knew .to make absolutely free goods which could not be produced here, and which could not be viewed in the light of extravagant luxuries, such as spirits, wines, champagne, and things of that kind, and to impose really effective duties on those goods which could be, and ought to be manufactured here. Unfortunately, we have never had a Parliament which has had sufficient backbone and initiative to insist upon the Government of the day doing its will. To me, it appears that there will have to be a struggle in the near future as to whether the Cabinet should boss Parliament or vice versa. We have imposed a duty on almost every article which is imported, but the duty in most cases is not sufficiently heavy to be effectively Protectionist. The consequence is that we import these goods in larger quantities as the years go by, as is evidenced by our imports and Customs receipts. The chief effect of the Tariff has been to extract money from the pockets of the taxpayers, instead of, as it ought to do, assisting to create and establish new industries, and to foster and enlarge existing industries.
– What chance have new industries to be created when old industries, which have done well, can hardly get sufficient hands to carry on with?
– The honorable senator is voicing one of the fallacies which are very commonly held, that if we raise the duties we shall only put an increased burden on the taxpayers. That I deny altogether. My own opinion is that many manufacturers in Australia do not want to see the Customs duties increased, because they enjoy a close preserve, and the Tariff is not sufficiently high to induce others to come here and compete with them. Take the case of pianos, which are included in this Bill. Does anybody believe that if the duty were trebled to-morrow the cost of pianos would be increased by one iota to the customers ? I believe that it would not be increased by a single farthing. But the effect would be that those who now export pianos to Australia would come here and manufacture them locally. It is well known that when the last Tariff was under consideration Mr. Beale, the piano manufacturer in Sydney, did not want any increase in the duty, and I doubt very much whether his competitors in Australia, Wer- theim and Company, want any increase in the duty.
– They are asking for it.
– What they desire is sufficient Protection to give them an advantage over the very large imports which are coming in, but they do not want a sufficiently high duty to induce other manufacturers to come here and compete with them. Under present conditions, Mr. Beale, in Sydney, and Wertheim and Company, in Melbourne, have a monopoly of the business of manufacturing pianos in Australia. And while the duty remains as it is there is not sufficient inducement for anybody else to come here and compete. While they are doing very well, the public of Australia are suffering. On the contrary, if we had a Tariff which was sufficiently high to be really effective in its Protectionist incidence, a large number of other manufacturers would come here, establish their works, and we should have free competition amongst the manufacturers, with the result that the people of Australia would be much better served than they are at present. 1 Senator McGregor. - What justification have you for saying that Mr. Wertheim or Mr. Beale does not want more Protection? Senator GIVENS. - Because I heard Mr. Beale say so when the last Tariff was put through.
– Mr. Wertheim does not say that.
– I know as a matter of fact, and you, sir, ought to know it too, that in one particular line of manufacture it was proposed to increase the duty. Were the manufacturers engaged in that line in favour of the increased duty? On the contrary, they circularized the representatives of the States in which their manufactories were situated opposing an increase in the duty.
– Who was that?
– The condensed milk manufacturers of Australia. I have in my possession, and can produce it at five minutes’ notice, a circular which was sent to every senator for Queensland objecting to an increase in the duty on condensed milk. Why did the manufacturers object? They were enjoying sufficient Protection at the time to carry on their factories at a profit and make a success of them, and they feared what has since happened, that if the duty were increased the large manufacturers in the Old World would come here and compete with them. I am glad to say that the duty was increased, and that
Nestle Company - perhaps the biggest, firm in this line of business in the world - came to Australia and nestled here, and are now manufacturing condensed milk all over Australia. Does anybody say that that has not been a good thing for its people? It was in spite of the manufacturers of condensed milk that the duty was raised.
– There was no manufacture of condensed milk then worth talking about.
– The honorable senator does not seem to know that there were at least three factories in Queensland at that time, and one in Victoria.
– Why did they send out a circular if it was not worth talking about?
– What they feared was competition on the part of those who were manufacturing the article in the Old Country. That increase in duty has not put up the price of condensed milE to the people of Australia by one farthing. On the contrary, we are- getting a better quality of milk, and having it manufactured within our own borders, where profitable employment is being found for a large number of people. That is a splendid thing for those settled on the land, and all round it adds to our general prosperity. It is the sort of thing we get from effective Protection, but what we get for the most part from the mongrel Tariff now in existence is an ineffective Protection which does not create anything in the way of manufactures, but extracts large sums of money from the people’s pockets. It has been said on behalf of the Protectionist senators on this side that they cannot be expected to vote for higher duties until the Federal Parliament is given authority to enforce the new Protection. While that view appeals to everybody’s sympathies, there is no justification for making it’ a buckler and shield for the Free Traders and Revenue Tariffists on this side of the Senate. This Parliament’ has been elected to work under a Constitution which gives it specific duties to perform, and we should be recreant to our trust were we to refuse to carry out those duties because we do not get some other power that we think we ought to possess. It is essential that this Parliament should be clothed with full powers to enforce new Protection, but we appealed to the people for them, and the people refused them to us. I hope that the people will be wiser on the next occasion, but in the meantime the people have given us power to enforce Protection through the Customs House.
– What do you mean by the new Protection?
– Shortly put, the power to protect the worker and consumer as well as the manufacturer.
– How are you going to protect the consumer?
– The honorable senator opens up a very tempting vista for discussion along which I may not be allowed to travel. The people have deliberately refused for the time being to give us power to enforce new Protection, but is there any reason imaginable why we should sulk like a lot of school-kids, and refuse to carry out the duty of enforcing Protection through the Customs House? A reasonable view of the situation is that it is our duty to carry out all those functions with which we have been intrusted, and allow the poeple to say in good time whether it is wise or not to give us further power-. The people have very nearly the same power, or would have if they put their foot down strongly enough, to enforce new Protection through the State Parliaments.
– Not under the franchise of the Legislative Councils.
– At any rate, it was the people’s right to say to which Parliament they would give the power. As Senator O’Keefe points out, there is a very fierce and stubborn lion in- the path of the new Protection in the shape of the Upper Houses of the State Parliaments; but there is not an Upper House in Australia which dare withstand the will of the people for any length of time if the people are only sufficiently in earnest.
– They have done it most effectually in Tasmania for the last twenty years.
– The climate of Tasmania is so genial that its people are inclined to be good-humoured with everybody, and to take everything very easily. What I am trying to emphasize is that simply because the people refuse to enlarge, its powers is absolutely no excuse for this Parliament to refuse to carry out the duties with which it has been intrusted. The granting of extra powers is a question entirely for the people themselves. Until such time as they, are given to us, they must remain outside the functions of this Parliament. We have, however, the power, if we choose to use it, to protect Australianindustries through the Customs House, tofoster and build up existing industries, create new industries, and make Australia a great manufacturing nation, or, if we like to use it, to make our Customs House a great engine for revenue-producing purposes.
– Australia is a great manufacturing nation now.
– It is not. We import into Australia more per head of population than any other country in the world., Of course, Senator Fraser, Senator Vardon, and others on that side say that thisis all due to prosperity, but it is not. If we had a properly effective Tariff, which would build up Australian industries, £20,000,000, or £30,000,000, or evert £40,000,000, which we now send away for the products of foreign manufactories, could be used in the purchase of goods produced in our own manufactories.
– Then you want to increase your population 50 per cent.
– The very way ta do it is to impose a really effective. Tariff. If £40,000,000 worth of goods now imported were made in Australia by Australian hands profitable employment would be found for another 1,000,000 people. It may be said that £40,000,000 .would not keep another 1,000,000 people, but the number of workmen with their wives and families engaged in the productionof those .£40,000,000 worth of goods, with the others to whom the fructifying flood of production which would be going on all. round would give employment, would quite account for an increase of population to that extent. That is the sort of policy we want for Australia. I have no use for a shilly-shally Tariff policy. A Tariff should be either one thing or the other. It should make no pretence to be protective unless it is really meant to be protective in earnest. It should make no pretence to be a Free Trade Tariff unless it is really Free Trade, and that is where 1 join issue with my honorable friends on the other side. They pretend to be Free Traders, but I never yet found one of them’ to be other than a revenue tariffist. Every one of them wants the highest possible return of revenue from the Customs inorder that the money bags’ and the land’ monopolists of Australia may escape their just share of taxation. The CustomsHouse hitherto, in this and other countries,, has been nothing but a great engine -for extracting money out of the pockets of the people without the people knowing it. Through it there has been imposed taxation of the most oppressive kind upon the poorer classes of the people without their being aware of it. From :the Labour stand - point that should not be, and we on this side of the House, at least, should have no desire to use the ‘Customs House for that purpose. My policy, from long before I became a member of this Parliament, has been to
Allow every article required for the use of the people that we c’annot reasonably hope to manufacture here to come in absolutely free, and to impose such a high protective Tariff as would be really effective upon any article which we manufacture or can reasonably hope to manufacture. :So far I have never yet found any Australian Government which would translate that reasonable view of a Tariff into an Act of Parliament, nor does there -seem to be any in prospect that will. Every Government desires to choose the line of least resistance. No Government cares to levy direct taxation, because that comes home at once to the taxpayers. Governments, consequently, view with the greatest approval a Tariff which extracts from the people, in an indirect way, £3 per head per annum. Mr. Holman, a member of the Labour Government of New South Wales, in a speech which he had printed in pamphlet form during the discussion on the Financial Agreement, and which he had sent to every member of this Parliament, made the statement that the great advantage of Customs House taxation was that it collected itself. It is imposed upon the necessaries of life, and before any man can use them for the support of his family he must purchase them from some shopkeeper, who has had to pay the duty upon them to the Government before he could get possession of. the goods. Customs taxation is self-collecting, and the poorer people have to pay the bulk of it. A Tariff of that sort has no fascination for me. I am exceedingly sorry that this small amendment of the Tariff should have been brought down, not merely in the closing days, but in the closing hours of the session, when honorable members are afforded no opportunity to deal fully with the matter. Many of the proposals contained in this Bill are concerned with mere technicalities, alterations of definitions, which may be quite justifiable from the departmental point of view ; but we have no time to examine these proposals and see what will be the real effect of the altered definitions. Some of the direct alterations of Tariff duties go a little way in the direction I desire, and on the principle that one should be thankful even for small mercies, I am prepared to approve of this Bill as far as it goes. We have no time in dealing with this Bill to establish a really protective Tariff. From that point of view this measure may be considered an abortion, because it is so absolutely unformed and incomplete. We are always living in hope that the future will bring something good, and I hope that Ministers will take note of the fact that many Protectionist members of the Labour party will insist upon a really effective revision of the Tariff. Merely tinkering with it in the way now proposed can do no real good. So long as the Tariff continues to result in a large increase of importations and in the taxation paid by the people, so long will it be unsatisfactory. It has been put forward as an excuse for the failure of the Government to propose a general revision of the Tariff this session that a number of Australian manufacturers have refused to answer inquiries , made by the Minister of Trade and Customs. It has been said that before bringing in any- real revision of the Tariff, he had a right to be supplied with truthful answers to the questions put by him. I have nothing but approval for Mr. Tudor’s effort to obtain the information for which he sought. It is highly desirable -for statistical purposes, if for no other reason, that the Government should have the information asked for. But the refusal of the manufacturers to give it is no excuse for the failure of the Government to deal properly with the Tariff. An earnest Protectionist who desires a really protective Tariff for Australia requires an answer to only two questions. These two questions are : Is die importation of goods of a particular class which can be manufactured in Australia increasing or otherwise; and is the revenue produced by the Tariff increasing or otherwise? An answer to these two questions is all that is necessary to satisfy any real Protectionist as to whether a revision of the Tariff is required. It must be patent to every one that if the imports of goods which can be manufactured here are increasing, the protective duty upon those goods is not effective, and ought to be made effective. Again, if the revenue derived from the Customs is increasing that is proof positive that we are continuing to import more goods which might be manufactured here, and there is need for. greater protection. Mr. -Tudor, as Minister of Trade and Customs, has had an absolute answer to both these questions. In his official position he has had evidence before him every day in the week of increasing imports of goods which can be manufactured in Australia. He has had the same evidence of a continuous increase in the taxation of the people through the Customs. He has, therefore, had complete information showing the necessity for a proper revision of the Tariff. In the circumstances, I regret exceedingly that the Government, who are the Executive authority of Parliament, and more than that, of the party on this side, the majority of whom are militant Protectionists, did not bring forward a proposal for a revision of the Tariff which would give effective Protection to the industries of Australia. Many established industries require to be fostered to a greater extent, and there are several industries which might be established. The time is too limited for me to go into a general disquisition on the subject. But I hope that during the recess the Government will take into ‘serious consideration the statements which have been” made during the debate on this proposal, and will make it the main business of next session to carry such a complete revision of the Tariff as will result in the better establishment of existing industries and the creation of new industries, and, at the same time, a reduction of the very large revenue at present derived from the Tariff. Honorable senators may say that increased duties under the Tariff will increase the taxation of the people. They may increase the taxation for a year or two, while industries are being properly established here : but when our industries are properly established and in full swing, we shall have a reduction of the taxation of the people, because they will be able to get the goods they require locally. I again express the hope that during the recess the Government will see their way to consider a full revision of the Tariff, and that it will be the main business of the next session of Parliament.
– In dealing with these Tariff proposals, which have been discussed rather exhaustively in another place, I am forced to the conclusion that the old saying that misfortune makes friends of us all is as true as trite. This Bill, which only tickles the palates of the Protectionists, drives me into* the same camp as Senator Stewart and Senator Givens. I do not see eye to eye with Senator Stewart on many questions which agitate the minds of the people of Australia from time to time; but on this occasion, when we are dealing with one of the most important that can affect the pockets and the well-being of the community, I have to admit that the honorable senator’s remarks are in the main absolutely correct, and his conclusions logical and sound. Small as this measure of Protection is, I thank the Government for the sixty increases in the duties that are foreshadowed. I desire to explain my position, because in the last election campaign, on a. hundred platforms throughout Victoria, I expressed myself in favour of Protection almost to the verge of prohibition, providing that the Protection is on a scientific basis and that its incidence does not touch the raw material of our workmen. When we are in Committee I intend to consistently vote for the lowest duties possible on the raw material which I am absolutely convinced cannot be made in Australia, and has not the slightest chance of being made here within a reasonable time. On the other hand, I am no revenue Tariffist, and I shall vote, as far as I have the opportunity; for the highest rates of duty on the finished articles turned out by Australian workmen. However serious a debate may be, there are always a certain number of ludicrous and laughable interludes; and, perhaps, one of the most amusing is that presented in the attitude of those high priests of Protection, Senators Millen, Gould, - and St. Ledger. They profess that they have been forced by the everflowing tide of public opinion to the conviction that Protection is the best policy for the Commonwealth ; but I venture to say that, when we come to vote on the 113 or 114 items in the schedule, which they have in effect described to us as palsied’ and anaemic, they will use the stilleto, and endeavour to take its very life blood. They claim now to be Protectionists; but when their votes come to be analyzed, we shall find that they are still worshipping their old joss, Free Trade. In Australia there is one of the highest Customs and Excise revenues of any country in the world, amounting to £?. 2s. 4d. per head ; and with Senator Givens I hope that this Bill is only the forerunner of more earnest and effective legislation next session - that the Government^ during recess, wiil endeavour to give effect to the voice of the people as expressed, not only at the last general election, but on several previous occasions. We ought to grasp the nettle, and show that while Liberal and Fusion Governments have dilly-dallied with fiscal reform, the Labour Government decline to follow in the same steps or to be side-tracked into devious paths, and are prepared to give the people of Australia what they have hitherto called for in vain. Poor as this measure of Protection is, it is better than nothing, seeing that it rectifies a number of anomalies ; and I thank the Government for the sixty increases in duties, and hope that they are the forerunners of more Protection next session.
– As a consistent Protectionist in this Parliament during the first six years of its existence - practically the only period during which I had an opportunity to speak and vote on the subject - I should like to say a few words.. This Bill is useful so far as it goes, but it does not go far enough ; and I am not at all surprised at the adverse comments in both branches of the Legislature on the fact that an amending measure of this character is introduced at this late hour of the session - a fact that places Protectionists in a very anomalous position. It seems to me that this Bill might very fittingly be described as something like a poor relation, in so far as “ nobody wants it.” It is not of much use to the new Protectionists, while it is not acceptable to the old1 Protectionists, and the Free Trader resents it because it proposes to increase the duties in a few cases.
– Every Free Trader in the House has accepted the verdict of the people in favour of Protection !
SenatorO’KEEFE. - I am afraid that when we reach the schedule, we shall find every Free Trader voting on every occasion for a reduction in the duties, in spite of their protest that they bow to the will of the people. There may not be much opportunity to see those gentlemen in their true colours on the present occasion ; but 1 fancy that if, during thelife of this Par liament, a comprehensive amendment of the Tariff is introduced we shall find them to be the same old Free Traders. We can only hope for their conversion, though the ground for such hope is small. There is one reason why we Protectionists are justified in feeling sorry that such a measure is before us now. While the Commonwealth Parliament continues to sit in Melbourne, those Protectionists, Free Traders, and others interested, who live within a mile or so of Parliament House, are placed in a far better position to have their wishes carried out than are the less fortunate brethren at a distance. When, in the closing hours of the session, a Tariff Bill dealing with only a few items is introduced, people in Melbourne and neighbourhood may with the greatest ease interview their friends in both Houses, and are thus given a good chance to have the Tariff arranged in accordance with their ideas. They must necessarily have a better chance of doing that than have those who have been engaged in similar industries in other parts of Australia. Therefore, as a Protectionist:,I am very sorry that I am compelled to consider Tariff proposals which have been brought down under existing circumstances. When one looks at the vast increase in the volume of imports one must realize that the existing Tariff is not effective from a Protectionist point of view.
– There has also been a great increase in exports.
– Even making allowances for that, and for the unparalleled prosperity in all branches of industry - largely due to good seasons, but in a larger degree to the fact that there is a Labour Government in power, which has introduced beneficial legislation - the fact remains that there has been too large an increase in imports to permit us to say that the Tariff is truly Protectionist. I cannot go into details at this stage, but I will mention one item, apparel. Many kinds of goods are embraced under that heading, but, lumping the apparel items together, it will be found that for the first six months of 1911 the value of imported apparel was , £269,804, being an increase of , £29,954 over the corresponding six months of last year. I do not think that it is a good thing for the country that there should have been such an increase in the importation of ready-made goods. The manufacture of those goods in this country would have provided employment for our own people. In this relation it is interesting to notice an advertisement which appeared in the Melbourne evening newspaper on Thursday of last week. It shows that the present Tariff is not anything likeefficient in stemming the tide of imports of ready-made clothing. This advertisement reads -
Now Australian Headquarters for the Worldfamous American-made Ready-tailored Adler. Rochester Clothes.
Adler-Rochester ready-to-wear clothes are, it is well known, the finest made in America - their wearers rank amongst the best-dressed men in the world. More in style, in fit, in workmanship, or in materials than this famous make offers it is impossible to get. The way in which the coat collar fits around the neck, and the shoulders shape themselves to form, simply could not be bettered. Each modish detail that is in good taste is an Adler-Rochester detail. Add to this the distinctiveness that belongs to American clothes and American fabrics, and you will understand why the best-dressed men in town are now making their selection from our Adler-Rochester collection.
– Morning papers please copy !
– I do not think that they will. It is a lamentable fact from a Protectionist point of view that these clothes should’ be imported in such quantities from America. It has to be borne in mind that the raw material is, in the first instance, very largely imported from Great Britain into America, where it pays a substantial duty. Then the clothes are made up in the United States, where high wages have to be paid. It stands to reason, therefore, that these garments could not be imported into Australia under such conditions except under the system known as dumping. Instead of imposing duties of 35 and 40 per cent, on apparel, I would increase them to 45 and 50 per cent. Such duties would not result in one penny more having to be paid by men and boys who get their clothes made in Australia. This is merely one of many instances which make a Protectionist regret that we have to consider this vast subject of Tariff reform, involving so many intricate details, without proper time and opportunity for looking into the subject in all its bearings. It is a pity that it was considered necessary by the Minister of Trade and Customs to bring down this small measure at a late hour of the session. I can understand that immense pressure has been brought to bear upon him, and which it was very hard for him to withstand. The Minister represents a constituency which is in the centre of. a large manufacturing district of Australia - a centre which, in many respects has led manufacturing enterprise for many years. It is because the Minister in his own electorate is surrounded by so many factories, employing so many people, that he has had to yield to the pressure which has been brought to bear.
So far as the Tariff goes, I welcome the measure, though I am of opinion that it does not go far enough. In my own. opinion, it would have been much better if the question had been left over until next session, when it could have been dealt with* in a larger and more comprehensive way. This is supposed to be a Tariff AnomaliesBill. It may remedy some anomalies, but it also creates some. As I shall not havemuch opportunity of speaking on the detailswhen the Bill gets into Committee, I willmention one item now. I hold in my hand; a card containing, specimens of braids. This amending Tariff makes braids up to 2 inches in width free. But a braid only a’ little over 2 inches has to pay 15 per cent, duty. Both the narrower and wider kinds of braids are used very largely on the garments of people who are amongst the poorest in the communityThat seems to be a very serious anomaly, although no doubt a departmental explanation of it will be forthcoming. Such a proposal could only be made for theconvenience of the Department. I haveinformation as to quite a number of cases that seem to disclose an equally anomalous state of affairs in connexion with this schedule. Why is it proposed that braid up to a certain width shall be free, and other lines of the same material, only a little wider, dutiable at 15 and 25 per cent. Surely it would be better to have an ad valorem duty at per yard, quite irrespective of the width of the braid.
– Up to what width would the honorable1 member go?
– I should consider the value, not the width of the braid.
– With an ad valorem duty it would be necessary to define the width, otherwise we might have stuff a yard wide coming in under this heading, although it should be dutiable as piece goods.
– This discussion between the Minister and myself serves only to show the absurdity of asking the Senate to deal in detail with the Tariff with’in practically twenty-four hours of its submission to us. We have had no time to go into details.
– The Tariff was introduced at the beginning of the present month.
– In another place, but we received it only on Friday last. Does the honorable senator suggest that noamendments were made by another place ?
It is not fair for him to attempt to sidetrack me.
– And it is not fair to try to make any one believe that honorable senators have not had an opportunity to consider the Tariff.
– The Minister knows we have had insufficient opportunities, and he ought to sympathize with his Protectionist followers in the position in which they consequently find thmselves. Immediately one proceeds to the consideration of the Tariff one is confronted by hundreds of details that are inextricably interwoven with it. Let me refer to another anomaly in regard to the position of ready-made garments under this schedule. I know of a firm in this city, one of the partners of which is now in London buying stock. He has recently advised his firm that he has purchased thousands of ready-made garments at 7s. 6d. each, although they could not be manufactured even in London under
I2S. 6d. each. Those garments will be dumped in Australia, and the advantage will go, not to the people, but to the importer, who will make a vast profit to the detriment- of those who ought to be engaged in making up these goods here. This is yet another illustration of the fact that if the Tariff is to be considered at all, it must be carefully considered. Ministers should not get restive under a little friendly criticism.
– I hope that the honorable senator will not take my interjections in that way.
– Very well. We are all trying to do the best we can in regard to the Bill before us, but I must express regret that we are asked to deal with it within a very limited space of time.
– The object of the Bill is only to remove anomalies.
– Had it been a purely Tariff Anomalies Bill-
– That is all that it is.
– The honorable senator is wrong. It makes increases of duty, not only to cure anomalies, but in some cases to protect industries in a way that will affect other industries which are not mentioned in it. My argument is that when we go beyond the removal of anomalies to increase the protection granted to some half-a-dozen industries, the whole Tariff should be re-opened, and increased protection given to those deserving it. People carrying on industries in the more remote parts of Australia, and whose interests are not dealt with in this Bill have fair reason to ask why they have not been considered. My belief is that they were not considered because they were unable to get the ear of the Minister of Trade and Customs - they were not near enough to him - and when only a few days elapse between the introduction of the schedule and the prorogation of Parliament, persons so situated have no opportunity to make representations as to their position either to the Minister or to the Parliament.
Sitting suspended front 1 to 2.30 f.m.
– I do not intend to occupy much time in discussing this Bill, nor do I propose to join in a diatribe against the Government for their failure to bring it forward earlier. I think that the Ministerial supporters who have blamed the Government so strongly might have achieved some good if their fault finding had not been so belated. No doubt this small measure of Tariff reform will prove useful if it only succeeds in remedying a large number of Tariff anomalies. One could wish that it had been confined to those anomalies, and that we could have been called upon to deal with a comprehensive measure of Tariff reform at a later stage. But I do not think that the Government could have submitted a comprehensive measure of Tariff reform this session. Their hands have been so full of important measures, which they had placed in the forefront of their programme, and to which they were pledged to give effect, that it was absolutely impossible for them to bring forward a comprehensive measure of Tariff reform. Besides, Protection does not appear in the platform of the Political Labour Council. It is true that new Protection does appear there, but it is in so vague and shadowy a form that it seems to have been put there more with a view to avoid giving effect to a policy of Protection than of assisting it. I have always been a Protectionist. Twenty-six years ago, when I entered the Victorian Parliament, the duties which were operative ranged from 5 and 10 to 15 per cent. The last mentioned duty was the limit. Since then I have gone through a good many Tariff battles, and I have always voted for protective duties. When I entered the House of Representatives I was opposed by a large number of Free Traders, and when the first Tariff was under consideration, I, as a Protectionist, had to fight that very able man, the late Mr. Max Hirsch. Representing, as I have always done, a country constituency, I have had to fight hard to get my fiscal doctrine accepted. But prior to the establishment of the Commonwealth we had obtained in Victoria, as the result of a number of revisions, a fairly scientific Tariff - a Tariff which was almost perfect in its incidence, and one which it seemed a great pity that the Commonwealth could not adopt. However, that was impossible, because it was recognised that we must have revenue. As the first Prime Minister, Mr. Barton, put it, he brought forward a Tariff the avowed object of which was to obtain revenue without destruction. In other words, it was to be a revenue Tariff with a protective incidence. I well remember the magnificent fight which the late Mr. Kingston put up on that occasion in an endeavour to get a fair measure of Protection embodied in that Tariff. At the time the House of Representatives was almost equally divided between Free Traders and Protectionists. The Labour party was similarly divided, and, consequently, it was very difficult to secure a protective Tariff. Nearly all the duties upon important items - as will be seen by reference to Hansard -were carried’ by one or two votes. At the same time, I have never seen a more magnificent fight than that which Mr. Kingston put up in his endeavour to get his Protectionist views translated into law. I do not think that the reflections which have been cast upon previous Governments as to the character of the Tariff are in any way justified. The matter had necessarily to be one of development. In the first place we had to adopt almost a revenue Tariff,, because no direct taxation could be imposed. With all its glaring delects, the Tariff which we have to-day is not nearly so bad as it might have been, considering the way in which the Parliament was divided on the fiscal question. When that battle was fought we did not get much assistance from outside. The Trades Hall allowed us to fight it as best we could. Since then a Tariff Commission has been appointed, and as the result of an exhaustive inquiry, it obtained very valuable information. But much of that information was cast on one side when it was brought before Parliament. Personally I believe that if we could have adopted the Commission’s report in globo we would have had a more satisfactory Tariff than we have to-day. But the money which was spent upon that Commission might have been much more profitably em- ployed in the creation of a permanent Tariff board, which could make the necessary recommendations to Parliament regarding the incidence of various duties, and which could show us how those duties would work. Theentire question must come up for full and free discussion. We need a better classification of items than we have, and we require more information as to the effect of various duties. We need to ascertain whether our Protectionist ideals are being realized, whether the production of articles which are covered by protective duties is increasing, whether we are supplying out own needs at the present time, and whether goods are still being imported from oversea. We also require to learn how far we are using our raw materials in the manufacture of finished articles. We need to ascertain whether the importation of goods which are protected is falling off, and, if not, why not. Further, we require to know whether the conditions of labour are satisfactory, and whether the prices paid by the consumers are all that they should be. These are important phases of this question, and if the Government go into it next session I would like them to appoint a Tariff board, because I hold that manufacturers and others would be much more inclined to give such a body the fullest information in regard to their business than they would be to give it to a political Tariff commission or to officers of our Customs Department. In short, we desire to know whether our protective policy is operating in the way that we desire it to operate. A good many complaints have been made as to the large number of revenue duties contained in the old Tariff. But they could not be avoided. Revenue has all along been required, and no Treasurer will forego sources of revenue without a struggle. Consequently, it’ will be very difficult to remove revenue items either from the existing Tariff or any other Tariff that we may frame. At the same time, I am not in’ favour of a large number of revenue duties upon articles which can be produced in Australia. Then, again, it must be remembered that we cannot absolutely resort to direct taxation. If we do so, we shall trench very largely upon the domain of the States, and bring about State financial strangulation. We must consider the States. There is nodoubt that some persons desire to embarrass them financially, and that may have been the object of some of the questions which were put to the electors at the recent referenda. But the rejection of the Go.vernment proposals on that occasion is a sufficient answer to those who hold these views. In ‘giving effect to a protective policy it is not sufficient to impose duties. If we are to carry on a thorough system of Protection such as I believe we require, and without which no country has ever attained anything like commercial supremacy, we must be loyal to the Commonwealth. We must use Australian goods as far as possible. If our people will do that, we shall have very little difficulty in making our protective policy a successful one. By doing that we shall use our own raw material, find employment for our people, cheapen the cost of production, and encourage, investment in manufactures. We must impart confidence to our investors if we desire our industries to prosper. I have no doubt that at the last election the Labour party won very largely because the people thought that they intended to take up this question. But I do not intend to pursue that phase of the matter any further than to say that the party in question has not carried out the promises which it then made. We have had very many members of the Labour party since declaring that they will not sanction the imposition of any more protective duties unless the extra profits find their way into the pockets of the workers. Senators Givens and E. J. Russell have dealt with that aspect of the question, and consequently there is no need for me to dwell upon it. But the first thing we have to do is to catch our hare - that is to say, get our industries started. With the Wages Boards and Arbitration Court which are now in existence, the workers engaged in our industries ought to have a ready means of securing fair rates of remuneration. But, meanwhile, our imports are growing enormously in volume. The work which our own people should do is being done in foreign lands. During the past ten years our imports have increased, notwithsanding that a decade ago we had a light Tariff operative, by £20,000,000. From the Journal of Commerce, which is a journal that is extremely careful of its statements, I find that in quite a number of items which are covered by protective duties there has been a large increase in our importations. For example, for nine months of the year 1910-11 the importations of apparel and softgoods increased from £11,351,000 to £12,120,000. In the case of boots and shoes, the increase is from £271,000 to £283,000; brushware, from £98,000 to £108,000 ; cement, from £98,000 to £109,000 ; confectionery, from £130,000 to £240,000; cordage and twines, from £454,000 to £55 1 ,000 ; bananas, from £41,000 to £110,000 ; furniture, from £129,000 to £180,000; hats and caps, from £237,000 to £252,000; and pianos, from £236,000 to £331,000. It will be seen what an enormous increase there has been in the case of these very few lines. That simply illustrates what has happened in the case of nearly all the articles which we use. We should stop these importations, and make a large quantity of these goods ourselves. We have had bountiful seasons, and our exports have been very large, which may have had some effect in producing this result. At the same time, an enormous quantity of goods is coming, in which our own people should be making. But there is another reason to account for these enormous importations, and that is that in many places there is a limitation to the work and the output. It is absolutely impossible for a large number of factories to secure the necessary labour. In some cases, I am sorry to say, those who have derived great benefit through Protection have been setting their backs against new people coming here and engaging in the industries. I have questioned many storekeepers in the country as to how they are situated for goods, and they have complained that they cannot get supplied. The wholesale men, they tell me, cannot get the goods from the factories, while the factories assure me that they cannot get hands with which to carry on the work. We cannot expect any system of Protection to be a success unless we can staff our factories to the full extent of their output. This is a matter for very serious consideration. It will militate very strongly against the success of our protective policy unless some alteration is made. Most of the lines I have quoted, and a number of others which we import, are purely natural lines which we should supply ourselves. In the case of a number of these lines, the factories cannot get the hands to increase their output, while in some cases men working in the factories positively object to the importation of new men. We also have a limitation to apprenticeship. We have been supporting Protection all these years in order that our young people might be able to learn various trades, but we find that the apprenticeship is limited. These are all phases of the Tariff question, which call for very earnest consideration, and which, if not inquired into and settled will always militate against the success of the Tariff. Last year, a number of union hatters came out from England with their clearances, and were denied admission into the Felt Hatters Union, and deprived of the opportunity to work. Finally, when the facts became public, and the union, from very shame, admitted the men, it passed a resolution that future tradesmen should be required to pay an admission fee of £20. We cannot hope to carry on a protective policy if that is done. Mr. Beazley, who is chairman of the Denton mills, has complained very bitterly that in spite of the good times which, the workmen enjoyed, they could not get the mills properly staffed, and hence their output is greatly limited. I think that we should have a board clothed with full power and bound to secrecy, so that men might be inclined to extend to it their fullest confidence. We cannot get away from the fact that in a great number of industries the principle of new Protection has been -operating through Wages Boards. I doubt whether any other system would operate better for the benefit of the workers.
– It is doing well in Tasmania.
– The Wages Boards have only just been introduced into that State, but they have been working well elsewhere. Through the establishment of Wages Boards in the various industries the following increases in wages have resulted: - Aerated watermakers, 16 per cent. ; bedsteadmakers, 20 per cent. ; boot and shoemakers, 40 per cent. ; breadbakers, 42 per cent. ; breadcarters, 18 per cent. ; breweries, 32 per cent. ; brickmakers, 16 per cent. ; brushmakers, 65 per cent. ; butchers, 23 per cent. ; candlemakers, 55 per cent. ; card-boxmakers, 27 per cent. ; carpenters, 18 per cent. ; carriage-builders, 8 per cent. ; cigarmakers, 20 per cent. ; clothingmakers, 11 per cent. ; confectioners, 19 per cent. ; drapers, 23 per cent. ; dressmakers, 29 per cent. ; engravers, 26 per cent. ; farriers, 19 per cent, j fellmongers, 22 per cent, mantlemakers, 31 per cent. ; glassworkers, 15 per cent. ; grocers, 37 per cent. ; hairdressers, 34 per cent. ; hay, chaff, and woodmen, 39 per cent. ; iron moulders, 19 per cent. ; jam trade, 12 per cent. ; jewellers, 27 per cent. ; maltsters, 16 per cent. ; millet broom makers, 28 per cent. ; milliners, 26 per cent. ; ovenmakers, 23 per cent. ; painters, 19 per cent. ; pastrycooks, 10 per cent. ; picture-framers, 20 per cent. ; plate glass workers, 39 per cent. ; plumbers, 45 per cent. ; pottery workers, 27 per cent. ; printers, 19 per cent. ; saddlers, 20 per cent. ; shirtmakers, 29 per cent. ; soapmakers, 12 per cent. ; starchmakers, 48 per cent. ; stonecutters, 34 per cent. ; tanners, 21 per cent. ; tinsmiths, 12 per cent, j underclothing makers, 23 per cent. ; waterproof clothing makers, 26 per cent. ; wickerworkers. 53 per cent. ; wireworkers, 14 per cent. ; woodworkers, 43 per cent. ; and woollen mills, 10 per cent. We have had new Protection, to a great extent, since Wages Boards were brought into operation.
– Has it kept down the price of machinery for farmers?
– I do not know what new Protection is, and I should like the honorable senator, when he speaks, to explain what it is. We require all these matters to be attended to. Wages are good, but there is a very strange anomaly, and that is that, in spite of all our protective duties, the prices of many things were never so high before. That is a matter which a board should inquire into. Whether the manufacturers are getting too large a profit, or what other cause is making prices so high, can only be ascertained by an outside board. There is certainly room for inquiry. I do trust that whether ordered by Parliament or not, the Government will take this step.
– There is an item in the cost of living which does not come within the purview of the Tariff.
– There are a good many items which contribute towards the increased cost of living. A few years ago the Senate of the United States appointed a body to inquire into the increased cost of living, and after investigating the subject in the United States, Canada, and most of the European countries, it gave ten or eleven different reason’s. The increased cost of living, it reported, was not due altogether to the increase in the wages. It pointed out that in twenty or thirty years the appreciation of gold had risen from £60,000,000 to £90, 000,000. It mentioned a number of factors which I have not at the tip of my tongue at the present moment. However, all these things need to be inquired into. It is often stated that the increase in wages has caused the increase in the cost of goods. That is only one factor, and, perhaps, not the largest one. All these are matters which the public should know before they are asked to consent to a higher Customs duty. I, of course, want to see Protection a success; but, if higher duties are imposed, and the prices of goods are still maintained, people will get critical and cautious and ask, “ What is the use of having duties that do not protect? What is the use of having duties, and seeing the importations increase by leaps and bounds and work taken away from our people? What is the use of having duties which, so far as we can see, only raise the prices of articles against us and limit production?” We have now a new factor in politics, and that is the introduction of the women, who form a majority, not only in Victoria, but in Australia. They are the ones who really, in a sense, feel the pinch, because they are the treasurers of the household who have to make ends meet. When they find the cost of living increasing, and that the extra amount which their husbands get is more than covered by the increased cost of commodities, they will begin to ask the reason for the increase, and to say, “ If that is the result of your Protection, then we are not going to support that policy any longer.” I know many men who have always been sound Protectionists, who are beginning to doubt whether under existing conditions Protection is the wisest policy. We do not want that spirit to get into the public mind, and that is why a full inquiry is desirable. I am assured that the women who find that -20s. will only go as far as 15s. did a few years ago, and the men who are thinking as I have mentioned, will do some hard thinking, and if something is not done to put ‘the matter clearly before them they will probably do more than think and talk. They will do some act at a not very distant date.
– You admit the increased cost of living?
– Yes, that is patent to every one.
– Give us new Protection.
– I want to know what it is. In 1905 I travelled over a large portion of the United States, and found a very restive feeling existing there because the cost of living was going up enormously. There was a factor there which we have not here; at any rate, not in any appreciable degree. There is no doubt that the big trusts were a great factor there. At the same time, people were beginning to grumble at the high cost of living, and to complain that they could not make ends meet. During the visit I made, nearly two and a-half years ago, I found that this feeling was still more pronounced, and that it is so is shown by the elections. Mr. Taft secured the Presidency about three years ago by a promise to go into the whole question of duties, to lower some of them, and to make living cheaper. Colorado, which had always gone Republican, turned round and, went Democratic, both at -the election of Governor and at the election of the members of the Houses. In Arizona, which was only admitted as a State last year, elections took place last week, and the people have gone Democratic in regard to. almost every position.
– Is that the* only question at elections in the United; States ?
– I admit that it isnot the only question, but it is a very important one. The Democrats of the United States believe in a revenue Tariff, and the fact that feeling in that country is swinging round in favour of the Democratic party should be a. warning, to us to get upon solid ground that we may command the good will and support of the majority of the people, otherwise we may have a change of policy here, as apparently they are having at the present time in the United States. I believe, from what I have been able to read, that at the next election in the United States there will be elected a Democratic House of Representatives, if not a Democratic Senate, and that the next President will be a Democrat. I do not make theseremarks in criticism of the proposal now before us, but rather as reflections of my. own in considering the question of theTariff. When Tariff proposals are submitted, whether they be high or low, theyafford an opportunity for us to take counsel together, without party feeling, to see how we are getting along, and to enable us tomark out a sound, safe line of policy for the future.
– I do not believe that I shall have much trouble in replying to the criticisms levelled at this Bill. From what has been said on both sides, the Bill should go through Committee and become law almost immediately. Supporters of the Government have declared that they are in sympathy with it so far as it goes, and they will therefore support it. Honorable senators on the other side admit that the country has declared for Protection, and therefore they will not oppose the protective items involved in the Tariff now submitted. If the Bill is to be supported by one side and is not to be opposed by the other, it should pass rapidly. A few remarks have, however, been made which may be considered to require some answer. It has been said by honorable senators on both sides that the existing Tariff does not afford sufficient protection to Australian industries. On the other hand, it has been snown that all industries in Australia are in a flourishing condition, that the number of factories is increasing, that the number of employes connected with our industries has materially increased, and that the wages paid have gone up very nearly 50 per cent. Those who have asserted that the increase of imports is an indication that the existing Tariff is not effective have been misled by the results of the prosperity of the Commonwealth during the last five or six years. The general prosperity of Australia has enabled people to purchase more than they were able to purchase previously. They have had more money, and there has been a greater accumulation of the products of the country to be divided amongst them. Even if £1 will purchase to-day no more than 16s. would purchase some time ago, the fact remains that the people have had more money in their possession than they previously had, and their purchasing power has therefore been greater than it was some time ago. This accounts to a great extent for the increase of imports. It must be admitted that the amount of revenue collected through the Customs has been increased as the result of a more effective, stringent, and honest administration of the Trade and Customs Department. Senator Vardon will recollect that two or three years ago an individual in his own State was detected in defrauding the country at the rate of £3,000 or £4,000 a year. He was punished. The proceedings against him only indicated that the same kind of thing was going on. in many other directions, but those who were doing that kind of thing became alarmed at the fate of the individual referred to, and stopped their malpractices. As a consequence, the revenue from theCustoms naturally increased.
– The lax administration of the Department was largely accountable for the malpractices referred to.
– That may be so; but it was not a Labour Government that was in power when those malpractices occurred.
– A Labour Government was in power part of the time.
– Now that we have a Labour Minister in charge of that Department, surrounded by energetic officers, that sort of thing is put an end to.
– Mr. Kingston was as severe as any one who has been in charge of the Department.
– No doubt he was, but he was not as successful as some others have been. Only quite recently honorable senators have seen that in connexion with the importation of motor cars and such vehicles serious disclosures have been made, and prosecutions of an astounding character have been launched. Thousands of pounds have, as a result, been paid into the Treasury that previously went somewhere else. For one who has been discovered in an attempt to defraud the Customs, probably as many ‘ more have been carrying on the same game without discovery, but they have become alarmed, have ceased their operations, and consequently the revenue has been increased. Every £1 by which the revenue from Customs has been increased is an indication of an increase of imports. If we get £1,000 more of Customs revenue, it is an indication that our imports have increased in value by probably £4,000 or £5,000. There are many reasons why the revenue from Customs and the value of our imports have mounted up, although Protection may all the time have been effective. That it has been effective is shown, as I have already said, by the increase in the number of factories, and of their employes, and in the increase generally of the wages of those employes. The very fact that almost every manufacturer in the Commonwealth is crying out for more workmen and workwomen is an indication that the Tariff has had a good effect.
– That is the crux of the whole difficulty.
– There is no crux in the difficulty, if that is all that can be complained of, because at the present time the stream of emigration has turned to Australia to such an extent that it looks as if it would become necessary to build vessels specially to provide accommodation for those who wish to come to this ‘ country. This shows, further, that the advent of the Labour party to power and the existence of an effective Protectionist Tariff has so increased the confidence in
Australia of people in other parts of the world that they are turning attention to this country as a desirable place to which to emigrate. Success is bound to follow us. Our friend and colleague, Senator Stewart, considers that we should raise the Protectionist wall to such a height that, as some honorable senators have said, one would need a flying machine or balloon to get over it. If we were to raise it to a height above the moon it would make no difference if we had not the people here to supply the requirements of our population in the products of the industries affected by the Tariff. The Tariff must be of such a character that it will be effective in encouraging the establishment of industries, and yet not so high that it may result in exorbitant prices to our consumers for local products. This Government will see that advantage is taken of fitting opportunities to increase the Tariff so that industries may be started which will supply employment, and afford good wages and a good living to the immigrants who are now coming in increased numbers to the Commonwealth. On the subject of direct taxation, I should like to point out to Senator Stewart that the way to make an industry or a policy thrive is not to screw its neck straight away, but to encourage its growth by providing the food necessary for it. That is exactly what the present Government are doing in connexion both with Protection and the imposition of direct taxation. No one can say that we have not imposed direct taxation to a considerable extent. We are waiting, but not unreasonably, to see what will be the effect of the indirect taxation already imposed. Senators Stewart and Givens and other honorable senators of the same way of thinking must recognise that in a new country such as Australia a protective Tariff, no matter how high, must be revenueproducing for some time. If, for instance, we raised the duty upon a particular article which is not manufactured here but which could be manufactured here to 50 or 60’ per cent,, it would take two or three years before the industry for its manufacture could become established in this country, and for that period the duty of 50 or 60 per cent. on that article would be collected upon the imports of it required by the people. These are things which have to be considered in gradually adapting the Tariff to the requirements of the country. That is what the Government are endeavouring to do at the present time, and hope to do in the future. They hope to make the Tariff of Australia of such a character that it will give employment to people as they come here at fair wages and under good conditions, and will not produce an excessive amount of revenue, so that direct taxation may be justified in the interests of crushing monopolies and the proper development of our resources. I hope the Bill will soon pass through all its stages.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
The Clerk laid on the table the follow ing papers -
Further Return to Order of the Senate of 5th October, 191 1 -
Press Cable Subsidy - Amount paid to date, &c.
Return to Order of the Senate of 2nd November, 191 1 -
Sugar - Excise Received, Tonnage Produced, &c.
– As it is extremely unlikely that the Printing Committee will have another meeting this session, and as the documents laid upon the table will probably be of interest to honorable senators, I move -
That the papers be printed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Return to Order of the Senate of 28th November,1911 -
Post Offices, Official and Non-official - Number receiving moneys on behalf of Savings Banks, &c.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Mc gregor), read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Mcgregor) agreed to-
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent this Bill being passed through all its stages without delay.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
This, as no one will attempt to deny, is really a Loan Bill. It is for the purpose of borrowing £2,460,476 for certain purposes. There may be honorable senators opposite, and even some on my own side of the Chamber, who will urge that a Loan Bill is against the declared policy of the Labour party. But I say emphatically, that at no time in the history of the Labour party have I ever known that it was directly opposed to borrowing, lock, stock, and barrel. The party has always declared itself opposed to borrowing for purposes for which the revenue of the Commonwealth could be applied.
– Every other party was opposed to borrowing in the same way. The only point is as to when revenue can best be applied to a certain purpose.
– We have contended that all matters with respect to defence should be paid for out of revenue. But there is another feature that has to be taken into consideration. We do not propose to go to the pawnbroker or to the foreign money-lender. We have decided to depend entirely on our own resources. There is enough money, or there will be enough, available when required, in the 75 per cent, of gold in connexion with the note issue, without any interference with the position as it exists at the present time. It will not be necessary to take away the precaution that was instituted with respect to the Commonwealth retaining a sovereign for every note issued in excess of £7,000,000. At present there ‘will be enough money available without resorting to that source. I am not saying that it will not be necessary to remove that obstacle, because the obstacle is there, and it acts as a block to the investment of money that might be used in the interests of the people of Australia. Apart from those considerations, this is a Loan Bill for useful and practical purposes. It is a Loan Bill that any Labour man can defend. We propose to borrow from the people of Australia themselves. As to the purposes for which the money is to be applied, I have only to remind honorable senators, in the first instance, that we have incurred serious obligations with respect to the construction of the railway from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie. A sum of £1,000,000 is required for that purpose. With the aid of that £1,000,000 which it is proposed to devote to the railway, and of surplus revenues which may be in future utilized, we may be able to carry on without further loans. Whether we (can or not, the £1,000,000 is sufficient for the present. A sum of £600,000 is required for the purchase of land and the erection of buildings in London to house the High Commissioner. The necessity for that work is proved by the speedy passage of a Bill for the purpose through the Senate. A .~.um of £600,000 isalso required for the purchase of freehold; land in the Federal Capital area. That is a reproductive investment. The value of the land to which the ,£606,000 will be applied will continually increase, and the people of the Commonwealth will receive the benefit from that augmentation of value. In appropriating a sum for the purpose, I think that the Government are doing a wise thing and making a good investment in the interests of the people. A sum of £246,400 is required for the discharge of our responsibilities in connexion with the taking over of the Northern Territory. There is also a sum of £34,470 to pay for a portion of the work that was carried out by the South Australian Government in connexion with the Oodnadatta railway. Those items make up the total sum included in this Loan Bill. Consequently, what we propose to do is clear and above-board. The Government are laying all the facts before the representatives of the people, and we hope that the Bill will speedily receive the concurrence of the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Millen^ adjourned.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) proposed -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– As I did not speak on the motion for the first reading of this Bill, I hope that the Senate will excuse me for the liberty I am taking at the present stage in laying my view before the Chamber and the country. I had the advantage of listening to the glowing peroration of the VicePresident of the Executive Council, and I hope I shall not be exaggerating when I say that I cannot share his hopeful outlook or his belief that the Tariff is responsible for the great prosperity of Australia at the present time.
– I did not say that. I said that the Labour party was responsible for the prosperity.
– I agree with the honorable senator there. Some most interesting speeches were delivered during the first-reading debate, and I daresay that before the measure is disposed of we shall hear more of the same character. I can, at all -events, give the Government my word as one who is interested in the effect of duties in New South Wales, that where an in jus- tice is being done, it matters not how small it may be, I shall be prepared to use all the forms of the Senate to prevent its perpetuation.
– Only New South Wales? I thought the honorable senator was an Australian.
– I hope that I represent Australia as much as any senator does. But I go further. If I can lay my finger on one direct injustice to only one man who has invested his money in an industry in New South Wales, and that industry is threatened by this Tariff, I maintain that it will be my duty, and that of others who realize the facts, to try to secure a remedy. At any rate, I shall require an explanation from the Minister in charge of the Bill as to what the effect of the Tariff will be. I fear, however that, in accordance with their usual conduct, Ministers will be deaf to an appeal for absolute justice from their own supporters. If the industry to which I refer was a large one, there would be no necessity for me to make the appeal. Powerful interests would at once be aroused in its favour. If they were engaged in a big industry, they would have no difficulty in securing the ears of certain members of this Parliament. But they are only engaged in a small concern, which sprang into existence as the result of the operation of the old Tariff. It is connected with the manufacture of pocket handkerchiefs, and it employs only a few persons. It was entered upon by two brothers, one of whom was a farmer, whilst the other had some knowledge of the business. At that time the duties imposed were 40 per cent. under the general Tariff, and 35 per cent. under the Tariff for the United Kingdom. The business went on swimmingly ; the farm was sold, and the proceeds invested in it. Then suddenly another Tariff was introduced which reduced the previous duties to 25 per cent. under the general Tariff, and 20 per cent. under the Tariff for the United Kingdom, thus eliminating their margin of protection. I appeal to the Vice-President of the Executice Council to say whether it is fair that men who have invested their money in an industry should have that industry wiped out merely because a re-adjustment of the Tariff takes place? I say that it is not. If the VicePresident of the Executive Council will give me an assurance-
– Don’t shoot ; and I will come down.
– I am quite prepared not to shoot, and I hope that my manner towards the Vice-President of the Executive Council has not been threatening. Despite all his jocularity, I believe that he would be the last man to assist to alter a Tariff in such a way as to inflict a direct injustice upon a single individual in the commiunity. But how far he will come down I do not know. I wish now to make my position in regard to this Tariff perfectly clear. During the course of his remarks, Senator Stewart said that no man can be a Labour representative unless he is a Protectionist.
– In Australia.
– Exactly. I try to be a Labour representative, and the reason why I cannot be a Protectionist is that, although I have watched keenly all the Tariffs which have been discussed in Australia during the past twenty years, I have never yet seen that Protectionist ideal - a scientific Tariff. On the contrary, I have always seen a Tariff which Protectionists themselves have condemned. Senator Stewart spoke of building a Tariff wall around Australia so high that we should receive no Customs revenue. Does he not recognise that the more our industries grow the more our revenue will increase, because the raw material of one industry is the finished article of another
– But we would produce the raw material of all the great staple industries. The honorable senator’s statement is true of Great Britain, but it is not true of Australia.
– I recognise that we have a large scope for production in the Commonwealth, but I am not a Protectionist, because I do not believe that Protection protects. Let us assume that we desired to protect the cabinetmaker. His finished article is a piece of furniture with a highlydressed marble top, and with a beautifullypolished surface. How can we impose a duty upon the polished surface, uponthe marble, and upon the timber used inthe article, and at the same time assist the cabinetmaker ?
– Is thehonorable senator a Revenue Tariffist?
– No, I am a La bour representative.
– That is a shuffle.
– I have aslittle hope of Free Trade accomplishinganything for the benefit of the working classes as have of Protection.
– The honorable senator is another fiscal agnostic.
– I would point out to the honorable senator that, on the motion for the first reading of a Bill which the Senate cannot amend, the debate need not be at all relevant to its subject-matter. But the debate upon the motion for the second reading of such a Bill must be relevant to the Bill.
– I will be as relevant as I possibly can, and I hope that I shall not trespass upon your ruling. I wish to show how impossible it is for a duty which is imposed for the express purpose of benefiting a particular industry to accomplish its object. Seeing that it is impossible to protect an industry by the imposition of a duty, I shall advance some very good reasons why the motion for the second reading of this Bill should not be carried.
– The honorable senator will be in order in doing that, so long as he confines his remarks to items which are included in the Bill.
– Exactly. I was remarking that if we tax the articles which are used by a cabinetmaker, we cannot afford him protection. What has happened in regard to the marble workers of Australia? They ask for more protection. They have written to me to that effect. I do not blame them for so doing, . because, if what Senator Millen has said be correct, and if Australia is committed to this system, we must accept that position.
– I do not see why we should.
– I accept that position, just as Senator Millen a one-time Free Trader of New South Wales, accepts the position of working under or in conjunction with Protectionist Deakin. I am content to work with the Protectionist members of my party under the arrangement that we shall have no further Protection unless it be new Protection. That is the honorable condition upon which I entered this Parliament. I regret that in this Bill there is a breaking away from that condition, although I admit that it is only a small one. Senator Stewart complained that there is too a great a Free Trade influence in the Cabinet.
– The tail wagging the dog, evidently.
– I wish that the honorable senator were at the head of affairs, because he would go straight ahead. Senator Stewart in his remarks expressed dissatisfaction with the Bill because it does not give him as much Protection as he desires, and for this he blamed the preponderating influence of the Free Traders in the Cabinet. Coming here as I do, pledged to secure extra protective duties conditionally upon fair wages being paid to the employes in our industries, without any increase of price to the consumers, I accept what the party has put before us. From that condition I do not intend to swerve. It may be due to the influence of Senators E. J. Russell, Barker, and Blakey that the modicum of Protection contained in this Bill has been secured. I do not complain of that. They deserve well of those who sent them here for having been able to secure it. But before going further, it would be well for the Government to know whether compacts which were entered into before the electors of Australia can be lightly disregarded, even to the advantage of any section of Parliament.
– When I signed the Labour pledge, I was pledged to Protection straight out.
– I hope that the honorable senator will not think that my remarks are calculated to injure him. I do not complain of those who are pledged to Protection. But I do wish that they would give more attention to the subject, with a view to seeing whether Protection isgoing to benefit the workers whom they represent. I have here a letter from the firm of Wertheim and Company, in regard to the duty upon pianos. I propose to place the whole of that letter upon record, because I am always pleased to receive such communications, recognising as I do that, in connexion with so great a matter as the Tariff, it is impossible for any honorable senator to know what is happening around him unless he obtains his information from those persons who are directly interested. The letter is as follows: -
Division XV. - Musical Instruments.
Item 384 b, Pianos (Upright.)
Since 1907 there has been a duty on upright pianos of 25 per cent. General Tariff and 20 per cent. Preferential Rate.
The proposed new duties are 35 per cent., or £7, and 30 per cent., or £6, whichever in each case returns the higher rate.
The introduction of a fixed minimum rate of duty is highly essential ; in fact, indispensable to the welfare and further development of the piano-making industry, and the creation of allied trades in Australia; it will, besides, have the effect of improving the quality of pianos coming to Australia, but the rate of £7 proposed is not sufficient protection against the foreign dumping of inferior instruments - so-called pianos.
About four years ago, when we decided to establish the Wertheim Piano Factory, we believed and hoped that 25 per cent. ad valorem would be sufficient, but with the experience since to guide us, we have found this rate entirely too low.
Apart from other considerations, wages in almost every department have increased considerably ; those of cabinetmakers’ polishers are fixed by the Furniture Trades Wages Board, the minimum being£3 weekly of 48 hours. Compare this with 26s. for the weekly average earnings by piece work for similar labour in Germany for 60 hours weekly, and you will readily understand that in wages alone the Australian manufacturer has to pay more than double as much as Germany, and, in fact, European manufacturers.
The average cost at the port of shipment in Europe of fully 10,000 pianos (out of 14,000) exported to Australia annually, is less per piano than we have to pay in wages alone per instrument. Material, such as timber, has to be stocked by us in very large quantities for seasoning purposes. A large amount of capital remains locked up, and loss of interest annually is very considerable. Almost the whole of the timber is Australian, and we have induced the Victorian Forestry Department to cultivate such timbers which we are, so far, forced to import, and thus hope in later years to be independent of foreign supplies. In fact, we have to rely entirely upon our own resources, whereas the German manufacturer can buy seasoned timber from the timber merchant in any small quantity as required.
Iron frames are cast in Melbourne, and owing to the high rate of wages prevailing cost very much more than the frames in Germany. The same applies to other lines required in the manufacture of pianos as well.
Natural protection in pianos does not exist. We have to make piano packing cases for country towns in Victoria and for Inter-State shipments, and freights to Inter-State ports from Melbourne are almost as high as from Germany to Australia - often higher, for cheap sailing freights can be procured for consignments from Germany.
High Grade Pianos. - Having invested , £70,000 in our piano factory, we, as Australian manufacturers, with a determined policy to produce high-grade pianos only, do not mind being brought into competition with high-grade pianos of other countries, and, although we require a higher ad valorem rate, we do not think it is so essential as a higher fixed minimum rate.
The Effect of a Fixed Minimum Duty of £10.
Duties on Upright pianos existing in foreign countries, &c, are as follows, and we wish to refer particularly to our latest competitors to be seriously reckoned with, viz., Japan, where expert cabinetmakers in strenuous piece work realize only is.9d. per day. There the minimum duty is £13 10s. per piano, or double that proposed by the Commonwealth.
Germany, from £6 to £12, according to weight.
Russia, from £10 to £17.
Spain, from £10 to £13.
France, from £12 10s., according to weight (1 franc per kilo).
Sweden, from £8 to £11.
Italy, from £3 to £7.
Canada, 40 per cent.
United States of America, 45 per cent.
With regard to Canada, it appears that there are three distinct divisions in the Tariff : -
Additional Factories. - There is room for at least seven additional piano factories, capable of employing over 3,000 hands, and, further, employment would be found by the establishment of special factories to supply piano manufacturers with many of the intricate action parts. - Yours faithfully,
The Wertheim Piano Factory Propty. Ltd.
I am obliged to the firm for addressing the letter to me. We find that in enlightened Germany, after fifty years of Protection, cabinet-makers and others employed in piano factories earn 26s. per week of sixty hours. I do not intend to refer to Japan, because that would not be a fair argument to use. The statement is that the highlyprotected Japanese receives1s.9d. a day. I have a higher ideal for the working men of Australia - and I am sorry that Senator Stewart is not here - than to try to bring prosperity to them by a system which, after a trial of fifty years in Germany - one of the most learned and advanced countries in the civilized world - gives skilled artisans 26s. a week. It matters not to me how bad our conditions are. I may be told by some persons who want to put me in the position of defending Free Trade, that things are just as bad in England. They are bad enough there. I wish to point out to those who argue that duties increase the cost of living here, that the cost of living to the working man is higher in Free Trade Great Britain to-day than it is in Australia with its Tariff. Perhaps Senator Stewart will say that I am only trying to shuffle with the question. These duties cannot improve the conditions of the people whom I represent here. What has happened, in not only Germany, but America? We find a great object-lesson of almost untold wealth on the one hand, and the lowest and most degrading poverty on the other, and that is after a trial of Protection for fifty years in the former case, and for nearly a century in the latter case. Protection may possibly work out the salvation of our working people, but it has left the people of enlightened Germany and America in a worse state’ than are the people of Australia. I want something elseto strive for. If I wished to utter a word of complaint against the Government, I would say that when the time next comes round for reviewing the Tariff, it should be laid before both Houses of Parliament on the first day of the session, so that the public could know how they are to be taxed, and how business is to be interfered with. If that course were taken, we could all get acquainted with the conditions of trade, and try to do the greatest good to the greatest number in the community. This Bill increases the tax on bananas. Whenever I see a boy eating a banana in the street, I shall feel that it is almost, my duty to buy another banana for him, because we have made the article almost twice as costly as it was before. It is chiefly the children of the working classes who use this fruit. When I find that a boy, with his penny, is sable to procure only one banana instead of two as before, I realize that he is being taxed to benefit a Queensland industry - I -was almost going to say a Chinese industry. “Where would the bananas come from if we “were to strike out the duty? They would come from Fiji, where the work is done’ by islanders or imported coolies. Should we protect the Chinamen of Queensland, or -give an advantage to the islanders and coolies in Fiji? There are two considerations present to my mind. One is that the increased duty makes more costly the fruit of the children in the cities of Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Bris.bane The other is that Queensland will lose ten times as much by the imposition of the increased duty which shuts out Fiji bananas than it can gain. Brisbane is a” natural market for the products of Fiji.
– Put the Tariff into the local pot again and we will fight that point.
– Exactly ; I do not want to complain. But where the interests of people of my State are affected I shall fight to give them a chance. If we adopt a free Tariff it will benefit princi pally a few big employers of coolie labour in Fiji.
– Do you know that the Queensland Parliament has just passed a law to prohibit the further alienation of land to Chinese, and have done so partly for the purpose of excluding them from the banana industry ?
– There are two great competitors for the trade of Fiji, Australia and New Zealand. If we drive from the Australian markets the chief product of Fiji it will go to New Zealand, and if they sell their products there they will also procure their supplies there, and Australia will be so much the poorer. It is of no use to shut our eyes to that fact.
– Do you ever consider that there is such a thing as a White Australia?
– Not when it comes to a question of the Tariff.
– The Chinese who works in Queensland has as much interest for me as has the coolie who works in Fiji. I go so far as to say that while we are part of the British Empire the rich islands of Fiji should be part and parcel of the Commonwealth. At present they are part of the Empire to which we are all so proud to belong. Senator St. Ledger, who trades so much on his loyalty to the Empire, wants to tax the bananas of Fiji.
– Fiscally, I am an agnostic, like yourself.
– We can shake hands on that. While we may agree to stand on a common platform in saying in a common-sense way that Tariffs are not the beginning and end of the struggle which is going on, I would point out to the honorable senator, who so frequently boasts of his extraordinary loyalty to the’ Empire, that when it comes to a question of admitting the produce of one portion of the Empire and protecting a few Chinese who trade in Queensland bananas, he has reached the limit of his loyalty.
– He comes on to your level with handkerchiefs, then.
– I recognise that the retort is quite fair, and that is the level to which a Tariff discussion reduces us all.
– Can you not make a bargain with Senator St. Ledger to give you 15 per cent, on handkerchiefs, and give him an extra 6d. per cental on bananas?
– I do not want to make a bargain with Senator St. Ledger, but I wish the Government to restore the duty on handkerchiefs to the rate which induced poor, but honest, men to put their money into the industry. Let the duty on bananas, too, be restored to the rate which induced men to put their money into the industry in Queensland. I am not at all disconcerted about Senator Millen showing my inconsistency in the matter. A grave injustice is done to the business of one of the people whom I represent here. It is a matter of no importance or concern to me personally, but it is a matter of great importance to him, and that is why I am making so much of the increase in the duty. I have no doubt that, on the public platform and elsewhere, it will be pointed out that I wanted an increased duty on some article which the whole of the community use, but I am prepared to defend that inconsistency. We are asked to protect the white growers in Queensland, and protect them, too, at the cost of the loss of the trade with Fiji. Fiji will soon be a selfgoverning country. Rapidly as Australia is growing, so will the rich islands round Fiji grow.
– Will Fiji ever be to Australia what Queensland is?
– No. I have been twice through Queensland, which I hold is rich enough to prosper without any of these merely artificial methods. As most of the trade with Fiji is done through Brisbane, Queensland should benefit from the development of that trade.
– Most of it is not done with Brisbane.
– I should like the honorable senator to quote a few figures in support of that statement.
– Out of a total import of 89,000 centals of bananas from Fiji 72,000 centals go to Sydney.
– I was not thinking merely of bananas, but of the export and import trade between Australia and Fiji generally, and I remembered that Brisbane was the direct port of call for the big steamers engaged in that trade. It struck me, naturally therefore, that Queensland would derive the chief advantage from the trade with Fiji. We cannot protect the iron industry, for instance, without having the manufacturer, as Mr. Hoskins has done; claiming that he cannot continue his industry successfully unless he gets the raw material of it - pig iron - admitted free. In the same way, the cabinetmaker, the tanner, and the bootmaker requires their raw material to be admitted free. The raw material of the bootmaker is the finished article of the tanner, and if we follow the ramifications of every industry in the same way, we shall find that the higher we raise duties the greater must be the revenue. As our prosperity increases, so our revenue from the Tariff will increase, because with the expansion of our industries there must be an increase in the raw materials with which they are carried on. We have now passed the time to argue in support of Free Trade, because the majority of both parties are against it. Free Traders like Senators Millen, Gould, and Walker have hauled down their flag, and are now fighting gallantly for Protection, in the army led by Mr. Deakin. Mr. Deakin has promised not to alter the Tariff, and I hope he will keepthat promise if he is returned to power again.
– I am an out-and-out Free Trader.
– I recognise that it is not my place to ridicule the position occupied by Senators Millen, Walker, and Gould, because, from the point of view of my party, I am myself in an exactly similar position. The party to which I belong agreed that they would not alter the Tariff unless they could carry the principles of the new Protection. At the last referendum the people said that, for the time being at all events’, there was to be no new Protection. I think that our party would, in the circumstances, have been better advised if they had accepted the position, and! said candidly to the people, “ You have refused us the power to bring into existence the principles of new Protection.”
– I see that I had better get back to a discussion of some of the items included in the proposed Tariff, I commented on the letter quoted from a certain firm as to the rate of wages. There is another comment which I wish to make upon it. They say that four years ago they believed, and hoped, that a duty of 25 per cent. ad valorem would be sufficient, but that, with experience since to guide them, they have found that that rate is entirely too low.
– How much do they want ?
– They want what every protected industry in every country in the world wants, and that is a little more than they are getting at the present timeIt matters not how much Protection the people engaged in an industry are given. they still find it a little short of the margin necessary to enable them to carry on their business successfully. It is worth while directing the attention of the Senate to the fact that these men, who I believe are honorable men, claim that they cannot conduct their business successfully unless they are given a little higher duty. We are informed of the grave danger of the importation of the lowest class of German article. No doubt that is a serious reason for the increase of the duty, but what does it mean ? An all-wise Providence has not given the musical taste and talent to the children of the rich, but rather to the children of the poorer classes in the community, and if the cheaper classes of pianos are not to be imported, what chance will the children of the poorer classes have to cultivate their musical talents? The people engaged in the piano industry in Australia do not object to compete with high-class articles manufactured elsewhere. They profess to be able to compete with high-class articles against the world. But their proposal really means that the only people for whom pianos should be manufactured are the high-class people.
– They request a specific duty particularly on low-class goods.
– Yes, they want to shut them out.
– Yet their letter discloses the fact that they do not fear the competition of that class of goods.
– On the contrary, they say that they do fear it, and that the existing duties bring them into competition with the low-class goods. They wish that the low-class article should be entirely shut out, because they claim that they can compete successfully with the high-class article produced elsewhere. If we carry their claim to its logical conclusion, and impose a duty sufficiently high to shut out all lowclass pianos, the effect will be to keep such instruments out of the homes of the working people, who have barely sufficient to enable them to purchase the lower-class article. This will prevent the development of the musical talent of which Australians are so justly proud I do not object to a protective duty which would enable the manufacture of articles here at a price upon which a reasonable profit might be made by. the producer, but, as soon as we give protection to those concerned in an industry, like Oliver Twist, they continue to ask for more.
– How can we pay double the wages paid in European countries and still sell at the same price?
– The honorable senator’s question answers itself. We can alford to pay double the wages paid in European countries, because we have workmen who are more capable andcompetent than are the workmen of other parts of the world. They are more capable, because they are better fed, and so are able to do more work. I can speak of a trade I know something about, and that is the bricklayers’ trade. Bricklayers coming to this country from the Old Land are satisfied if they can lay 400 or 500 bricks in a day, whilst Australian bricklayers have no hesitation about laying 700 or 800 bricks in the same time.
– Is the honorable senator satisfied with the Tariff as it stands ?
– I am satisfied that, whether we have a Free Trade Tariff or a Protectionist Tariff, the workers will only get a fair living from the industries in which they are employed.
– Will the honorable senator answer my question directly? Is he satisfied with the Tariff as it stands?
– Yes, until we get the new Protection.
– Another Revenue Tariffist; another buttress of the land monopolist.
– When Senator Stewart asks me how we can compete with protected industries elsewhere, I should like to take him only halfaday’s journey to the River Murray. Albury and Corowa became rich and thriving towns under Free Trade. There was Free Trade in New South Wales for thirty years, and Protection in Victoria for the same time, and a Free Trader had only to pack his furniture and cross the River Murray if he thought he would do better in Protectionist Victoria. If Protection, which necessarily costs us so much, makes our people richer, why did not people flock across the River Murray from New South Wales into the richly protected territory of Victoria ?
– There are far more people in Victoria to the square mile than there are in New South Wales.
– When Victoria adopted the policy of Protection forty years ago, she had, in the aggregate, more people than there were in New South
Wales, but thirty years of Free Trade in New South Wales, and of Protection in Victoria, has enabled the former State to overtake the population of the latter. Victoria is certainly one of God’s own countries, but. instead of Protection making it a paradise for the working man, we found, when we were drafting a shearing agreement, that it was necessary to make* provision that a shearer following his occupation in Victoria should get a lesser wage than a shearer in New South Wales.
– That was because of land monopoly.
– When we were drafting an agreement for piece-work shearing, we were able to arrange that a man should get 22s. in New South Wales for what he could only ask 17s. 6d. if working in Victoria.
– Land monopoly again.
– Order ! Senator Stewart must cease these interjections, which are taking Senator Gardiner away from the subject under discussion.
– I may, perhaps, be excused for some digression, because I have been accustomed to a rule under which it is customary to debate the general principles of a measure upon the second reading. That is the reason I reserved my remarks upon this Bill for the second reading.
– We discuss principles on the second reading of a Bill here, also.
– I think that the principles of this Bill depend very much upon the duties proposed. I had on some occasions, earnestly sometimes, and not so earnestly at other times, accused the Government of paying greater attention to what is said by honorable members of the Opposition than to what is said on their own side, and this leads me now to suggest that perhaps the increased duty proposed on pianos is really a reward for Mr. Beale for his efforts in bringing about the Fusion party. I recognise that Senator Pearce would probably not be in office as Minister of Defence but for the splendid work done by Mr. Beale in organizing the Fusion party.
– Order ! It is not a question of whether Mr. Beale organized the Fusion party, or of what he may have done in connexion with politics. The question is the principles of the Tariff Bill which is now under consideration.
– With all respect, sir, for your ruling, I feel that, as pianos are dealt with in the Tariff, I am justified in asking the Vice-President of the Executive Council the question point-blank, whether it is because of the work done by Mr. Beale that these increased duties are to be given him? Though I should be the last to transgress your rulings, there must be some freedom of discussion of a question of this kind, and when there are only two manufacturers of pianos in Australia - Wertheim in Melbourne and Beale in Sydney - who will benefit by these proposed increases of duties, whilst hundreds of thousands of people will be placed at a disadvantage because of them, I am bound to seek for the reason for the proposed increase in the duty upon these ‘articles. The Government propose an additional tax on timber.
– To help a Commonwealth industry. We grow splendid timber in Australia.
– We grow timber that is excellent for many purposes ; but the dairy farmers must have cheap pine for their butter boxes. Various States in this country for many years granted bonuses to encourage the production- of this commodity, and yet the Commonwealth Government is now making it difficult for the dairy farmer to place his goods upon the world’s market. I do not say this because the dairy farmers are particular friends of mine. They are not.
– They are my friends.
– Politically, the, have never been mine. But, quite apart from friendships, I am satisfied that the development of Australia lies in the encouragement ‘of those industries in which people can make the most money with the least labour.
– Dear land is what is killing the butter industry.
– I never heard that a high Tariff was a cure for dear land.
– I did not say that ; but the kind of Tariff which the honorable senator wants - a revenue Tariff - encourages dear land in Australia.
– I hope that my honorable friend will not represent me as desiring a revenue Tariff.
– I do, undoubtedly. We must pin this butterfly down to something.
– All that I am saying is that we ought not to make it more costly for our farmers to put their butter upon the market. But throughout this Tariff, while we are assisting one section of the community we are injuring another. We are assisting one industry at the expense of another. Of course, quite a number of people will say that it is the high Tariff system that has given this country prosperity.
– No one will say that.
– Why are so many of the New South Wales representatives Free Traders ?
– The reason is that New South Wales tried the experiment, and that under Free Trade our workmen got better wages than did workmen in any other part of Australia. ‘ After thirty years of Free Trade, municipal labour in Sydney never got down to the 5s. a day that was paid in Hobart, and after thirty years of Protection that class of labour in Hobart never rose to the 8s. a day paid in Sydney.
– New South Wales is Protectionist now, and her people get better wages than ever.
– That is certainly mot the case.
– The cost of living is dearer than it used to be.
– Well, I found that the cost of living in Free Trade England was clearer than it is in Protectionist Australia, and dearer in Protectionist Belgium, France, and Germany. On the other hand, England is overrun with German workmen, who find that they can earn better wages there than in their own country.
– If they cross the Atlantic and go to America, they can earn tetter wages still.
– I am by no means satisfied with the condition of the working classes in America. I am not anxious for the state of things under which there are enormous fortunes on the one side and great poverty on the other.
– I thought the honorable senator had been contending that Protection had at least encouraged two honest men in Sydney.
– The point with regard to that case is that, under the existing Tariff, duties of 40 and 35 per cent, were imposed on certain articles. Under this duty, two brothers went into business.
They invested their money in making handkerchiefs. Now it is proposed to reduce the duty to 25 and 20 per cent., which will wipe away the margin upon which they work.
– Does not this Tariff give them increased Protection in one direction in which their business is concerned? I cannot reconcile the honorable senator’s statement with the Tariff itself.
– I have the statement from one of the principals of the firm. I found that he was satisfied with the Tariff remaining as it stood when he started his business. He made his statemerit to me very clearly, and I was much impressed by it, as well as by his honesty and sincerity. He assured me that the alteration of the duty would entail his going out of business, for the simple reason that the importers could put their goods on the market much cheaper than the price for which he could sell. If the business were one in which £70,000 had been,sunk I should not have much difficulty in persuading some honorable senators.
– I will help.
– It is help that I want in this matter. We do not want this Tariff to be so manipulated as that while one man gets an advantage another one shall be robbed. These brothers put their money into their business under the conditions imposed by the last Tariff. He wishes the Tariff to remain exactly as it was, in order that he may continue in his business. He is much concerned with the proposed alteration, because it will affect him adversely. I had not intended to speak at such length upon this Bill, but the proposal to make people rich by taking, money out of their pockets is a most fascinating one. The point which I specially wish to emphasize is that as soon as we start to protect one industry, we make it more difficult for another industry to continue operations. I am not a Labour representative who is in favour of the old Protection, but a Labour representative who is in favour of the new Protection - the Protection that protects the individual who has invested his capital in an industry, the wage earner, arid the consumer. I hope that the Government will introduce no more instalments of Tariff reform until we have obtained from the people the power to give effect to the new Protection. I hope they will say to those who are importuning them for higher duties, “ It is no part of the Labour platform to grant increased duties to any industry unless we have first obtained from the people the power to protect die workman and the consumer.” I thank honorable senators for the patience with which they have listened to my remarks. If the Government will assure me that the anomaly to which I have directed attention will be remedied, I hope to have very little more to say upon this Tariff, but if that assurance be not forthcoming, I trust that I shall be here on Christmas Day.
. - I do not intend to speak at length on this Bill. From the little attention that I have given to it, I do not think it is in the interests of this country. It has been put forward ostensibly to correct Tariff anomalies, but, in my judgment, the whole Tariff is an anomaly. I have no desire to see a big revenue Tariff, but undoubtedly that is what we have at the present time. . Instead of deriving an enormous revenue from Customs, and a comparatively trifling amount from land, I would like to see the position reversed.
– There are only two ways of bringing that about, and the honorable senator must take one of them.
– I am going to take my own way, that is quite certain. It appears to me that this Bill will create quite as many anomalies as it seeks to remedy, and that it will probably result in an increase rather than a decrease of revenue. Personally, if any rectification of the Tariff is to be undertaken, I would like it to be in the direction of giving us a larger free list, and of imposing prohibitive duties upon goods which are the product of industries which have a reasonable chance of manufacturing sufficient for our own requirements. I intend to vote against the Bill. It is my duty to do so. I am not responsible for what my Victorian colleagues may have promised their constituents. No doubt, the best meaning men who live under the shadow of that mighty journal, the Age, and who have not cast off the old superstitious belief in the power of journalism, may have pledged themselves to something entirely different from that to which I am committed. Personally, I am rather disappointed when I happen to please a newspaper, and when- . ever I am the subject of its praise, I begin to wonder if I have not been guilty of a dereliction of duty. But I promised the electors of New South Wales that I would not vote for increased duties until we had power to give effect to the new Protection.
Acting upon that promise I intend to oppose this Bill, lock, stock, and barrel. If a vote of mine could defeat it I would willingly register that vote.
– The honorable senator wishes the Tariff to remain as it is ?
– No; but I object to alter it in the direction of giving more Protection to any individual until we have power to introduce the new Protection. Nobody can misunderstand that attitude.
– The honorable senator is helping the land monopolist.
– I do not care ‘whom I am helping. I intend to respect my pledge to the electors. As far as the land monopolist is concerned I am prepared to deal with him as drastically as possible. But we cannot deal with him under the Tariff.
– If the Tariff does not provide us with revenue we shall have to deal with him.
– I am, quite convinced that under this Tariff we shall derive as much revenue as we obtained under the previous Tariff - probably a great deal more. There can be no such thing as adequate Protection, and, at the same time, an increase of revenue. I do not believe that there ever was in this, or any other, Parliament a sincerely Protectionist party or Government. I do not think that any Government wish to stifle the sources from: which they derive their revenue. They wish to get all the revenue that they can, and incidentally to grant a little measure of Protection. I believe that all revenue Tariffs-
– This is a revenue Tariff.
– Undoubtedly it is. The proposed alterations will make it more of a revenue Tariff than ever it was. We are merely paltering with the question by the introduction of these proposals which are put forward under the plea that it is necessary to correct anomalies. I have no sympathy with Senator Millen, who says that, because the country has given a certain verdict, he is bound to haul down his fiscalflag. I consider that every honorable senator is responsible only for his own position, and not for what other electorates may have decided. If he believes in a principlehe should fight for it so long as he has breath. Assuming that the second reading, of the Bill be carried my vote in Committee will be cast in the direction of maintaining the duties which were imposed under the previous Tariff, so as to inflict as little injustice as possible upon any interest which may have grown up under them. At the same time, I believe that, as a party, we are guilty of a dereliction of duty in seeking to give more Protection to industries until we have secured from the electors the power to give effect to the new Protection. I shall vote against the motion for the second reading of the Bill.
– I was returned by the electors of Queensland to maintain the Tariff, as far as possible, in the form in which it appeared in 1906. Since then certain vested interests have been created, and, in recording my vote, it will probably be necessary for me to take due notice of them. I think that the Government have made a mistake in introducing a number of amendments which do not appear to be absolutely necessary. But I shall deal with them when the schedule is under consideration.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.
Introductory paragraph and definitions agreed to.
Item 1 (Ale, beer, &c).
– A great many of the amendments in the schedule are merely in the nature of re-adjustments to make the Tariff uniform and to avoid misinterpretation by different officers. Therefore, I shall not deal with each item as it comes up. If, however, any honorable senator should desire any information about an item, I shall endeavour, as we proceed, to supply it.
Item agreed to.
Items 2 (Ale, beer, &c), 6 (Wood naphtha), 9 (Spirituous preparations), 16 (Limejuice), and 42 (Stearine), agreed to.
Item 44 - - By inserting in the item, after the word “ solid “ the words “ also Shoemakers’ Wax and Brewers’ Pitch.”
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by leaving out the words “ and Brewers’ Pitch.”
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. -Why ?
– Brewers’ pitch is supposed to be composed of resin and other substances of that kind, and if these words are taken out of this item, it will fall, as a natural sequence, under its proper heading.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - At a higher duty?
– No, at the same duty.
– - I have no objection to the proposal ; but I cannot resist the temptation to draw attention to a curious fact. I presume that the question of inserting brewers’ pitch in item 44 has been before the Minister for months, but the schedule is no sooner printed and brought before us, than the Vice-President of the Executive Council wants the article struck out.
– The item will be made free. That will please the honorable senator all the better.
– That is not .the question. I suggest to the Government that they should withdraw the whole thing, when, apparently, they do not seem to know their own mind.
– I want to know why it is proposed to withdraw brewers’ pitch from this amendment, and to keep the duty on shoemakers’ wax? I ask the Government to include the latter article in the withdrawal.
– Cobblers’ wax can be made here, and it comes under another item.
– I wish that the Minister would tell the Committee what brewers’ pitch is.
– - Brewers’ pitch is made of resin and other ingredients, and is put into a cask in a melted state, in order to put on the inside a coating which makes the cask practically airtight, prevents leakage, and also makes the beer cleaner. The cask is rolled round after the melted pitch is put in, and then the balance is emptied out.
– Do I understand that in the. future brewers’ pitch will come in free?
– Was the honorable senator correct when he said that it will come in at the same duty as before?
– I have since made inquiry, and I understand that it will now come in free.
Request agreed to.
Item 54 -
By omitting the whole of sub-items (e) (f) (g) and (h) and (1) and inserting in their stead the following sub-items : - “(e) Quarter-pints and smaller sizes, per dozen (General Tariff),7½d. ; (United Kingdom), 6d.
Half-pintsand over quarter-pints, per dozen (General Tariff),1s. 3d. ; (United Kingdom),1s.
Pints and over half-pints, per dozen (General Tariff), 2s. 6d. ; (United Kingdom), 2s.
Quarts and over pints, per dozen (General Tariff), 5s.; (United Kingdom), 4s.
Exceeding a quart, per gallon (General Tariff),1s. 8d. ; (United Kingdom), 1s. 4d.
When preserved in spirituous liquid, additional duty at 14s. per gallon to be paid on the liquid.
Ginger n.e.i. in brine for the manufacture of Crystallized Preserved Ginger, as prescribed by Departmental By-laws, per lb., on and after 14th December, 1911,1d.”
– I wish to call the attention of the Minister to the duty of1d. which has been imposed since the 14th December on ginger n.e.i. in brine for the manufacture of crystallized preserved ginger, as prescribed by departmental by-laws. That, I am informed, places an embargo on the local manufacturers of preserved ginger. I should like to have an explanation from the Minister.
– At the request of my honorable colleague, I rise to submit two requests in respect of this item. In the first place, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by inserting at the commencement the following new paragraph : - “ By inserting in the item after the word ‘ ginger ‘ in the sub-heading to sub-items e to i the letters ‘n.e.i.’”
This is a request for an alteration, not in the schedule to this Bill, but in the schedule to the principal Act. At present item 54 reads -
Fruits and vegetables, including Ginger (preserved in liquid, or partly preserved, or pulped) -
By inserting these words the item will read - “ Fruits and vegetables including ginger n.e.i.,” &c. I shall follow up this request with a proposal that the other House be requested to leave out “ n.e.i. “ after “ ginger “ in sub-item k of item 54 in this schedule. The duty on green ginger is1d. per lb. under item 57, and the duty on crystallized preserved ginger is 3d. per lb. under item 54d. Under our original proposal in this Bill, the duty on ginger for preserving would have been practically 2d. per lb., and a margin of1d. is stated to be insufficient for the local manufacturer. Ginger is packed in brine merely to temporarily preserve it for transit, and it is considered that it might reasonably be placed on the same level as green ginger, namely,1d. per lb. The effect of the two requests I am submitting will be a reduction of1d. in the duty. I may mention, for the information of Senator McDougall, that the duty is being reduced at the request of those who are interested in the manufacture of preserved ginger.
– This raises the question of the competence of the Committee to deal with matters which are not contained in the schedule to this Bill. Item 54 begins with the words “ By omiting the whole of sub-items e, f, g, h, andi, and inserting in their stead the following sub-items, “ namely, e to k,” and the question arises whether the sub-items in the original schedule are before the Committee.
– They are clearly before the Committee, because the object of item 54 in the present schedule is to omit them and insert others.
– I am raising the question to see exactly how we stand, because it may have a bearing on other requests which may be moved.
– I would point out that item 54 in the original schedule deals with ginger, and the Minister’s proposal is to introduce, for convenience, a new subitem between sub-item d and sub-item e.
-Is the whole of item 54. as it appears in the original schedule, considered to be before the Committee ?
– I think that Senator Keating has overlooked the fact that my motion does not touch the whole item, but only so much of the item as is before the’ Committee. It is only in the form of the Bill that the actual words are omitted. Sub-iteme as it appears in the original schedule, is preceded by the following, words -
Fruits and Vegetables, including Ginger (preserved in liquid or partly preserved, or pulped) -
Item 54 in the schedule to this Bill omits the sub-items under the covering words, and inserts in their stead new sub-items. These paragraphs are meaningless without the insertion of these words. I am proposing to insert the letters n.e.i. at the commencement of item 54. Clearly, I am not requesting the amendment with reference to something that is not in the Bill, but in connexion with something that has strict and direct reference to what is in the Bill.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Item 54 of the existing Tariff deals with -
Fruits and vegetables, including Ginger (preserved in liquid or partly preserved or pulped).
That follows sub-item d of item 54, but sub-item d is not dealt with in this Bill at all.
– My request would not affect sub-item d.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - We are dealing in this Bill with item 54, so far as concerns sub-items e, f, g, h, and 1, and we are adding new sub-items j and k, but the Minister proposes that we should go back upon the existing Tariff, and insert an amendment before sub-item e. If this were permitted, we should be amending a portion of the item which this Bill does not propose to amend, and we have no right to consider amendments dealing with matters that are not included in the Bill.
– These governing letters “ n.e.i.” have to be read in connexion with all of these sub-items.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. -If the amendment be accepted, the existing Tariff mav be left open to serious amendment in Directions not contemplated by this Bill.
– I think the Committee might reasonably complain of the method adopted by the Government in submitting these requests for amendment. At all times a Tariff is an extremely complicated matter to understand, but we are now asked to consider a request brought under our notice for the first time the moment it is submitted, and it has reference, not to the Bill, which has been in our hands for but ,a few hours, but to a portion of the Tariff which this Bill does not propose to amend. The Government might be excused if this were a matter of sudden urgency, but they have had months to consider these proposals, which we are told are brought forward as the result of departmental experience, and in order to remedy anomalies. Now, at the last moment, when the Bill has been passed by another place after protracted sittings, a request for an amendment is submitted, and I frankly admit that I am not quite able to see what its effect will be. We have the assurance of the Minister as to what it means, but not infrequently honorable senators differ as to the effect of an amendment. I am not quite clear that it is competent for the Committee to request another place to make this amendment upon a portion of the Tariff , which has not been submitted to the Senate for consideration. Only recently, in dealing with the Electoral Bill and other measures, it was held that we can only propose amendments which are relevant, not to the principal Act, but to the Bill before the Senate, unless special instructions have been given to the Committee to make such amendments. In view of my doubt as to whether it is competent for us to make this request, I shall not press the matter, but I urge the Government that if there are any more surprises of this kind in store for us, they will be submitted in printed form, or that the Government will indicate them now, and postpone the items which will be affected by them until we have had some little time to consider what their effect will be.
– The contention of the Minister is that by the reference in this Bill to sub-items e, f, g, h, and 1 of item 54 we bring under consideration the introductory words of the existing Tariff -
Fruits and vegetables, including ginger (preserved in liquid, or partly preserved, or pulped).
Whether we do or not, I agree with the Minister that these words are meaningless without the following sub-items e, f, g, h, and 1. There is no duty declared opposite the words I have quoted in the existing Tariff, and it is clear they are meaningless without the following sub-items. We are proposing to repeal the existing sub-items e, f, g, h, and 1, and, having done so, we should leave the words to which I have referred, and which really, represent a heading to these sub-items, meaningless. I understand that it is the object of the Minister’s request to give them a meaning.
– It is proposed to omit these sub-items, but it is also proposed to substitute others for them.
– That is so. Are we to understand that the Minister desires to impose an effective duty in connexion with the words which I have quoted as the heading of these sub-items?
– The object is to bring preserved ginger, where not elsewhere included, under the same duty as other preserved fruits, and, later on, by including ginger in brine, which is the raw material of manufactured ginger in. this item, to make it dutiable at1d. per lb.
– Instead of ?
– Instead of the duties set against the paragraphs which have been referred to.
– Inthe other House the letters “N.E.I.” were inadvertently inserted in the wrong place.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - I question the relevancy of this proposal. We are distinctly limited to the matter contained in the Bill before us. The Bill deals with item 54 of the Tariff only so far as sub-items e, f, g, h, andi are concerned, and I submit that we have no right to request an amendment in connexion with any part of the item previous to the part proposed to be dealt with in this Bill. The Minister might just as well go back to sub-items a, b,. c, and d of item 54, and request amendments upon them. This, in my opinion, would not be in order any more than it would be in order for an honorable senator to propose the insertion of new sub-items l, m, and n, dealing with the exemption from duty or the imposition of a duty upon, articles not dealt with in this Bill. If the practice were otherwise, all sorts of surprises might be sprung upon us, which might involve serious alterations of the Tariff. The requested amendment might materially affect the existing duties on ginger, and, in my opinion, we cannot deal with this matter in the way the Minister proposes. On the second reading of the measure we were confined to a discussion of such amendments of the existing Tariff as are included in the Bill, and, if we desired to extend our consideration of the Tariff, instruction should have been given to the Committee to that effect. That was not done, and we are now confined strictly to matters included in the Bill, whilst the Minister proposes a request upon a portion of the existing Tariff, which is not referred to in this Bill.
– I am somewhat surprised that such a point of order should have been raised at this stage of the session. I do not propose to discuss it at length, but I direct attention to the fact that, even in regard to sub-items e, f, g, h, andi of the existing Tariff, they are only referred to in the Bill by the letters, and,’ according to Senator Gould’s contention, we should not be able to deal with them. The honorable senator’s contention, if upheld, would require that where in this
Bill it is proposed to omit the whole of sub-item e, the words -
– My argument has been that we are not prevented from requesting an amendment of any portion of sub-items e, f, g, h, and i, which are distinctly before us in thi9 Bill.
– Under the Constitution, the Senate can make requests on items which are contained in the schedule. According to our previous practice items which are not contained in the Bill before the Committee cannot be requested to be amended unless an instruction has been given to the Committee. We are now dealing with item 54 of the Tariff. The proposal is to omit sub-items e, f, g, h, andi. The Minister’s contention is that his motion is submitted in order to request an amendment of the covering words of each of the sub-items which it is proposed to amend. There seems to me to be a good deal of doubt about the point, and when there is a doubt I feel inclined not to restrict the powers of the Committee. Therefore, I accept the motion.
– I do not propose to dissent from your ruling, Mr. Chairman, but, at the same time, I hold to the view I have already put.
– I am at a loss to reconcile the statements made by the Vice-President of the Executive Council and by Senator Pearce. We have been informed that, as the Tariff stood before the introduction of these amendments, the duty on raw ginger was 2d., and on preserved ginger 3d.; but under the new proposal ginger in brine will pay id., with the object of increasing the measure of protection to those who preserve ginger.
– I said that green ginger was1d. per lb. under item 57, and crystallized ginger was 3d. We are reducing the duty on ginger in brine from 2d. to 1d. There are 10 lbs. to the gallon. If we left the duty on ginger in brine, there would be a duty of1s. 8d. per gallon.
– The Minister means that the amendment will effect that alteration?
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [5.21].- As the Chairman has ruled that the Committee can make amendments in portions of the original Tariff that are not before us in the Bill, I take it that I am at liberty to move an amendment upon paragraph a of item 54?
– No. I do not propose to accept any amendments upon portions of the Tariff which do not affect proposals contained in the Bill. I accepted the Minister’s request, because it affected sub-items of the Tariff which are before us in the Bill. That is to say, the schedule before us deals with sub-items e, f, g, h, and 1 of item 54. But, clearly, if we could go back to a portion of item 54 in the original Tariff preceding the sub-items mentioned in the schedule, we should be getting into the position which Senator Gould himself contended was out of order.
– I wish to follow out what I took to be the ruling of the Chairman in connexion with this matter. If the two lines of the original Tariff immediately preceding the lines in the Bill are before the Committee, it appears to me that previous sub-items of the item are also before the Committee. I wish to have a clear and distinct understanding on that point. I understand the Chairman to rule now that anything that will tend to elucidate the particular portion of an item proposed to be amended can be dealt with ‘ by the Committee. We may have to deal with another item as to which some honorable senator may desire to move a request under similar circumstances.
– Obviously, if the circumstances are the same as these, a request can be moved.
Request agreed to.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend the item bv leaving out from sub-item k the letters “ n.e.i.”
Unless we make this alteration ginger in brine will not be made dutiable as we intend. It will now pay id. per lb., whilst crystallized preserved ginger will pay 3d., thus giving a protection of 2d. per lb. to the Australian manufacturer.
. -I do not understand the effect of the alterations proposed. Why is it proposed on the one hand to give a certain amount of protection to this industry, and, on the other hand, to reduce it? Does the Minister think that any injustice is going to be done by keeping the duty on ginger in brine at a higher amount?
– The object of this item is to afford greater encouragement to the preserved fruit industry. Under sub-item 1 of this item ginger in brine will be admitted, and each gallon receptacle which contains 10 lbs. will be required to pay is. 8d., whereas under the previous Tariff it had to pay only is. In order to restore the position of green ginger, which is the raw material of those who manufacture crystallized ginger, we propose to transfer it from that paragraph to sub-item k, and to make it dutiable at id. per lb. We do not desire to treat the manufacturers of preserved ginger unjustly, and under this proposal they will receive about the same amount of benefit as they received previously.
5-33]– What is the reason for the large increase of duty that is here proposed? Originally fruits and vegetables in half-pints and smaller sizes were dutiable at 9d. per dozen, whereas it is now proposed to make them dutiable at is. 3d. per dozen, or is. per dozen if they come from the United Kingdom. I would also point out that in this schedule pints and over half-pints are made dutiable at 2s. 6d. per dozen instead of is. 6d. j whilst quarts and over pints will be required to pay 5s. per dozen, as against 3s. per dozen under the former Tariff. It will be seen, therefore, thatthe increase in the duties upon imported fruits far more than counterbalances any additional expense to which the manufacturers of preserved fruits will be subjected. I think we should have some explanation as to why in a Tariff which is avowedly intended to rectify anomalies an attempt has been made to increase duties by 70 or 80 per cent. ?
– So far as the development of the fruit-growing industry in Australia is concerned, I think it will be admitted that we ought to be able to grow and preserve sufficient fruit for the whole world.
It is necessary, in some instances, to grant an increase of duty, so as to diminish the very large amount pf revenue which has hitherto been derived from the Tariff, and to which Senator Stewart and some other honorable senators so strongly object.
– In order to permit the manufacturers of those fruits to sell at a lower rate elsewhere, we are to pay an increased duty ?
– If honorable senators seriously object to our proposal, I am quite agreeable to make the duty upon ginger in brine1½d. per lb. Then the lowest class of ginger, namely, green ginger, would be admitted at1d. per lb. ; ginger in brine would be dutiable at1½d. per lb., and preserved ginger at 3d. per lb. I would remind the Committee that during a period of four years the value of the imports under this heading has increased by more than £19,000. Another reason why these duties are proposed is that, in dealing with imports of this description, our Customs officers find it difficult to determine . where preserved fruits end and preserved vegetables begin. Our idea is to protect the fruit-preserving industry, and to make the Tariff easier of administration by drawing no distinction between fruit preserving and pickling. If honorable senators desire it, I am quite prepared to move in the direction of making ginger in brine n.e.i. dutiable at1½d. per lb.
– Nobody has asked for that.
– Some have asked for it. They say that there ought to be a margin between the duty upon green ginger, which is the lowest form of ginger, the duty upon ginger in brine, and that upon preserved ginger.
– I cordially concur in the statement of the Vice-President of the Executive Council that the fruit industry should be sufficiently established to meet the whole of the requirements of the Commonwealth in the matter of dried fruits. As one who is interested in the fruit-growing industry, I say that there should be no difficulty in the way of achieving that result. But what our people want is more ginger, and not less. If they had had a little more ginger in them, they would have preserved sufficient fruit to meet our requirements long ago. As a matter of fact, I can see no reason why we cannot grow green ginger. It can be grown in many parts of the Commonwealth. We can produce it quite as well as we can work up the raw material when it is imported. If we are going to help this industry, why should we specially assist those individuals who are engaged in the working up of the raw material? Why not help those who would grow the green ginger itself? If we are really desirous of assisting the fruit-preserving industry, we can achieve our object far more effectively by giving the producers of the raw material pecuniary assistance to establish a State-owned co-operative factory.
Request agreed to.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) agreed to-
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend the item by making the duty on sub-item (k)1½d.
Item 59 -
By adding at the end of the item the words “and on and after the 15th December, 1911 . . Bananas per cental1s. 6d.”
– This item increases the duty on bananas by 6d. per cental. The production of this fruit in Queensland is not increasing very rapidly. There is a complaint, particularly from Sydney, that the banana trade is in the hands of a “ ring.” I have received an anonymous letter, which states that this trade is under the control of a Chinese “ ring.” If it is a fact, as I believe it is, that owing to our present prosperity - due, as the Minister said, to the existence of a Labour Government - there is a greater demand than ever for bananas by the children of our workers, and no demand for increased Protection, why should the duty be raised? Owing to the enormous prosperity throughout Australia, the growers of bananas can get better prices without the increased duty than ever they could before. The exclusion of Fiji bananas will involve a great loss all round. If there was an increase in the number of growers in Queensland which would warrant this proposal, I should have no hesitation in supporting it, but there is no such increase.
– How do you know ?
– I understand that the white growers are displacing the Chinese growers. Imported bananas are grown by coolie labour. Whether the article is grown by coolie labour in Fiji or by Chinese labour in Queensland, the fruitgrowers in the large cities experience great difficulty in supplying the enormous demand owing to the prosperity which prevails now as compared with the times when a previous Government held office, and times were not so good.[s it wise to increase the duty on this popular fruit, and so add to the difficulties of consumers ?
– I think that the duty on bananas ought not to be increased. This proposal means an increase of 50 per cent.
– It does not come to ½d.on a dozen bundles.
– The local producers of bananas are protected, not merely by a duty of1s. per cental, but by the freight on bananas from Fiji to Australia. I think there is a great deal of force in what Senator Gardiner said in his previous speech. This is an article of food, and very wholesome food, too. I intend to oppose the item, and will divide the Committee if others will join me.
– I am not going to vote against the increased duty, but, to my mind, it is a wrong way to induce the extension of banana-growing in Queensland. A bounty on white-grown bananas should be given. Recently, when we had the pleasure of taking a trip to Papua we called at Cairns, and were taken along the railway line for a few miles. I really could not believe that I was in Australia. I thought that I was in a foreign country. I could see only yellow men, yellow women, black men, and black women, and piebalds, who were engaged in growing bananas. By increasing the duty we shall help that colony of piebald people. That is wrong.
– I do not know where Senator McDougall saw the colony to which he refers.
– At Cairns.
– I quite believe what the honorable senator has said. I know that there are still one or two colonies of that kind in North Queensland, but I also know that the industry is extending along the whole coast of Australia, from the Richmond River right up beyond Cairns.
– At Buderim Mountains we saw bananas grown by white men tinder good conditions.
– They are all grown by white men. It is a fact that there are more white men engaged in growing bananas now than were engaged at any previous period of Australian history.
– What proof of that can you give ?
– I cannot bring the white growers here. I can only tell the honorable senator the position.
– Because they do not exist, I suppose.
– I would not come here and tell a lie about the matter. I know that in the district where I live, there are at least a dozen men growing bananas who did not grow one five years ago. I know that right up the coast the same extension of the industry is going on, and I have not the slightest doubt that if this additional encouragement be given, in a very short time the Chinese will be squeezed out. Every product of Australia is, more or less, in the hands of some ring or other, and probably bananas are no exception to the general rule. I think it is unfair that this industry, which is the door to the settlement of people where we most want them, should be brought into competition, not only with the cheap coolie labour of Fiji, but with the high subsidy paid by the Fiji Government and the Victorian Government to a steam-ship company.
– May I ask whether anybody is opposing this item?
– Do you think we are going to swallow protection for the Chinamen wholesale?
– There are not nearly as many Chinamen growing bananas in Queensland as there are Chinamen manufacturing furniture in Melbourne. The people of Queensland do not grumble at the protection which is afforded to the furniture industry, because there are Chinamen making furniture in Melbourne. They say, “ According to our law, no additional Chinamen are allowed to come to Australia. In time the whole of them will be dead, and then the furniture industry will be on a proper basis.” I ask our Victorian friends to reciprocate these friendly sentiments, and to assist us in growing bananas. I think that is only fair as between two States.
– I do not intend to say very much, because it is quite evident that the Committee intend to approve of the item.
– If yousupport the item it will be lost.
– I can quite understand the laughter on one side, and, possibly, the gibe on the other. I would remind honorable senators that, for a long time, they fought in Parliament for the policy of a White Australia. Although this extra duty is put on bananas, it is part of a social policy to help, if we can, the development and the settlement of a white population in the tropical and sub-tropical portions of the continent. I admit right away that, fiscally, the duty is, possibly, not defensible.
– Why defend it, then?
– Because my honorable friends on the other side want a White Australia. I wish to compliment Senator Gardiner on the speech which he made with regard to the protective and economic aspect of this Bill. I was delighted with every word he uttered on that matter, and I accept the criticism of the Government proposal from many points of view. The banana and sugar industries are assisted, in the hope that, by the Tariff or some other arrangement, we can settle a white population in the tropical portions of Queensland, the Northern Territory, and the north-west portion of Western Australia. I admit, with Senator Gardiner, that if I had to stand on economic or fiscal grounds simply, this increased duty could not be defended j but I do contend that, if we want to help to settle the tropical portions which I have just mentioned, we must try to give some slight assistance through the Tariff. If assistance from that point of view will settle the industry, we are bound to give some aid, whether we are Free Traders or Revenue Tariffists, because, after all, the great problem with these portions of Australia is the settlement of them by white Australians. Notwithstanding that I have announced myself pretty strongly as a fiscal agnostic, I always watch suspiciously any increase of Customs duties. The proposed duty may not be defensible from an economic point of view, but it may be defended if the object is to settle the tropical and sub-tropical portions of Australia with white people. The people who are engaged in this industry in Queensland ask for the duty to enable them to compete with imported bananas, in order that the Government of Queensland may be able to carry out the policy they have announced of keeping the banana industry out of the hands of ‘ Chinese and other coloured aliens. A Bill has been submitted to the Queensland Parliament, the object of which is to keep lands which may be used for the cultivation of bananas out of the hands of coloured aliens. In view of this fact, those engaged in the banana industry in Queensland are entitled to the assistance for which they ask. Honorable senators should also bear in mind that the proposed protection of is. 6d. per cental on bananas is infinitesimal when compared with the protection afforded to industries in which the people of New South Wales and of Victoria are specially concerned. If it is desired to adhere to the White Australia policy in the settlement, especially of the coastal districts of sub-tropical and tropical Australia, the assistance asked for under this item might very well be given to carry out that policy.
– I have only one word to say on this item, and that is, that I find it to be my duty to vote for a reduction of the duty.
.- As one who accompanied Senator McDougall on the tour in Queensland, during which he spoke in such extravagant terms of the coloured population we saw, I should like to say in connexion with this matter that some of us had the privilege of visiting parts of the State within 50 or 60 miles north of Brisbane, and found that bananas were grown there by white men which were as good as any to be seen on the barrows in Melbourne. The men engaged in growing these bananas strongly urged upon us - and Senator E. J. Russell can bear me out in the statement - the need for the imposition of a higher duty, if it was intended that the growth of bananas should be made a white man’s industry in Queensland. In? the circumstances, I hope that the higher duty will be agreed to.
– I had the opportunity of visitingbanana plantations in Queensland, and of replying to deputations from men engaged in the cultivation of bananas. I believe that there is an unlimited field for the growth of bananas in the districts we visited. It is quite clear to me that, in Queensland and in the northern portions of Australia generally, we can produce ali the bananas we require for the whole of the people of the Commonwealth. For that reason, I support this proposal. I believe that there is not a citizen of Victoria who has enjoyed the benefits of Protection who will object, during the transition stage, while the cultivation of the bananas is passing from the Chinese to white people, to pay from id. to i£d. per dozen for bananas, when he knows that by so doing, he will be assisting the establishment of an industry for which certain districts of Queensland are peculiarly suitable. I hope that the proposed increased duty will be carried for the benefit of the people of the north, who have supported many duties for the benefit of the people in the south.
Item agreed to.
Items 88 (Condition Foods, &c), 97 (Seed), 100 (Soap Substitutes), and 101 (Curry Paste, &c), agreed to.
Item 106 -
By omitting the whole of sub-item (a), and inserting in its stead the following sub-item : - “ (a) N.E.I., for the human body, partly or wholly made up, including materials cut into shape therefor ; also Looping for Boots and Labels and Hangers for Coats and other textile goods, plain, printed, or having woven lettering or ornamental designs, whether in the piece or otherwise, ad valorem (General Tariff), 40 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 35 per cent.”
– I understood that this Bill was introduced for the purpose of rectifying anomalies. I direct attention to” the proposal in this item dealing with made-up garments. The manufacturers in this State, and of New South Wales, of cotton garments, especially for women and children, have been fairly successful, enjoying, as they do, a protection of 40 and 35 per cent. In last Saturday’s Age, I found an advertisement inserted by one of the leading manufacturers of Fitzroy, to this effect -
Wanted girls accustomed to making blouses and similar articles, 30s. per week. No work on Saturdays.
That is a fair indication that girls are receiving a good rate of wages as the result of the high protection afforded by the existing Tariff. What I want to know is whether there is any reason why the women who have been so successful in this industry as to secure such a rate of wages should not be able to make garments of light woollen goods, or mixed woollen and » cotton goods just as successfully ? We may divide the year into two parts. During the first portion of the year, when the employes of the factories are engaged in the manufacture of goods from cotton materials for summer wear, the manufacturers have the advantage of protective duties of 40 and 35 per cent. But as soon as they begin the manufacture of light woollen and mixed woollen and cotton goods for winter wear, though they employ the same girls, with the same machines, and in nine cases out of ten with the same thread, they enjoy protective duties of only 15 and 10 per cent. The object of Protection, if it has an object at all, is to give employment to our own workers. As a result of the high protection upon made-up cotton goods, we have almost a monopoly of the manufacture of those goods in the hands of Australian .workers. But in the case of made-up garments of light tweeds, or mixed woollen and cotton materials, our manufacturers have to compete with importations from America and Germany, which, after paying the Customs duty, can be sold here at less than the labour cost of making similar garments in Melbourne. This is because the duties of 30 and 25 per cent, on the raw material reduce the protection on the made-up goods to 20 and 15 per cent. I wish to bring under notice the increase in the value of the importations of these goods. Perhaps, it is hardly right to speak of them as imports, because they are merely articles dumped into Australia at the close of the seasons in the Old Country. I have here figures for the first six months of the years 1909, 1910, and 191 1. I have taken the figures for the first six months in each year, not because they present a better case, but because the figures for the first six months only of 1911 are available. The importations of these dumped goods made of mixed woollen and cotton materials for the first six months of 1909 were valued at £188,000 ; for the first six months of 1910 at £239,000; and for the first six months of 1911 at £269,000. These figures show a net increase for the half-year of 1911 of £81,000 over the importations for 1909, and an increase of over £130,000 for the first six months of the last two years as compared with the value of the imports for the first six months of 1909. I say, unhesitatingly, that duties of 15 and 10 per cent, have distinctly failed to secure the manufacture of these articles in Australia. I take up the position that if a duty is not in effect protective, it is better to abolish it altogether. I content myself on this occasion by bringing the matter forward, trusting that the Government will take notice of the increased importations. When the imports of particular articles have increased to the extent of £130,000 in two years, though it is clear that the goods can equally well be made in Australia, there must be something radically wrong.
– We can make everything in Australia ; we can make battleships if we are willing to pay for them.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that girls who are earning 21s. a week making mantles are overpaid?
– Did the honorable senator see the advertisement in the Argus offering girls 30s. a week? The manufacturers were unable to get them even at that rate.
– If a reputable man like the honorable senasenator would advertise for girls at 30s. a week, I could guarantee to find him a thousand. I know that there are thousands of girls in Melbourne engaged in making up women’s materials who are earning less than that. I might point out that in this industry the Wages Board minimum rate is 21s. per week.
– After forty years of Protection.
– My honorable friend’s interjection, despite his assertion regarding the new Protection, shows that he is still a Sydney Free Trader at heart.
– What is the age of the girls who are getting 21s. a week?
– There are few in this industry who are not receiving more than 21s. a week. The minimum, I am glad to say, has not become the maximum. I know that in a case where girls were required for the manufacture of certain articles for the Defence Department, they earned as much as 30s. a week. I am not prepared to suggest a remedy now for what I have pointed out; but I ask Ministers to see whether it is not possible to give increased protection in regard to articles made of woollen, or wool and cotton materials.
– I should like to know why a difference is made between corsets and other articles of apparel. Corsets are only dutiable at 15 and 10 per cent., whereas other articles are taxed at 40 and 35 per cent.
– There is nothing about corsets in the Bill before the Committee.
– Corsets remain as at present.
– I am sorry that the duty cannot be increased. These articles are produced in New South Wales factories under State laws, which compel certain rates of wages to be paid to the girls and women employed. The necessity for a higher duty has been pointed out to me By one firm, and I was assured that fair wages are being paid.
– Next time the honorable senator sees that manufacturer, he might ask him to furnish a reply to the circular of the Minister of Trade and Customs.
– Wages in accordance with Wages Board rates are being paid. Learners receive 8s. 6d. per week, and the remainder of the employes 30s. The present duties are of little use to the manufacturers.
Item agreed to.
Items 107 (Apparel and attire), 108 (Felts, &c), no (Feathers dressed), 114 (Blankets, &c), 115 (Carpets, &c), and 116 (Coir mats) agreed to.
Item 117 -
By inserting in the item after the word “sachets” the words “cotton or linen handkerchiefs and serviettes.”
– I understand that the present duty on these goods is 40 and 35 per cent. I have already suggested that that rate should be allowed to remain.
– After listening to Senator Gardiner and other honorable senators in connexion with this item, I am prepared to move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by leaving out the present words and inserting in lieu thereof : - “ By inserting in the item before the word Cosies ‘ the letter ‘ (a),’ and by adding a new sub-item : - (b) Cotton or Linen Handkerchiefs and Serviettes, ad valorem (General Tariff), 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent. ; and on and after December, 1911 (General Tariff), 35 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 30 per cent.”
. -I understand that cotton serviettes are imported as piece goods at 5 per cent. But if they are cut up and hemmed before importation, the duties are 35 and 30 per cent. It is obvious that the housewife gains no advantage if the merchant imports these goods in the piece, cuts them up in his warehouse, and hems one side of them. She is made to pay the full duty. In the same way, some handkerchiefs are imported in the piece, whilst others are imported ready cut up. If a merchant cuts them up in his warehouse, he will be able to charge the full 35 per cent, duty against the customer. I think it is a great mistake to make this difference, which simply means putting more money into the pockets of the rag men, who are making quite enough out of the public already.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8.p.m.
Request agreed to.
Item 123 (Cotton and linen piece goods) agreed to.
Item 126 -
By omitting from the item the words “ Collar check ; collar cloth,” and inserting in lieu thereof the words “ Collar check and collar cloth thirty-six inches and over in width.”
– I should like to know the reason for excluding the narrower check cloths from this item, and I also desire to be informed under what itemthey will fall?
– In answer to Senator Millen, I may say that a very low grade of check cloth, from 24 to 26 inches wide, is being imported for floor cloths. We do not wish them to be introduced as collar checks, which are used by saddlers. We have communicated with a number of saddlers on the subject, and this proposal is quite acceptable to them.
– Under what item will the narrower widths of check cloth fall ?
– Under item
Item agreed to.
Item 134 -
By omitting from sub-item (b) the words “ Braids n.e.i.” and inserting in lieu thereof the following words : - “ Cotton feather stitch braids ; plain braids (other than cotton feather-stitch of one colour and not exceeding two inches in width but not including braids containing gold, silver, or tinsel threads;”
– I understand that the object of this provision is to bring braids under the heading of apparel, and to make them dutiable at 35 per cent. under the general Tariff, and 30 per cent, under the Tariff for the United Kingdom. We know that many braids, particularly cheap ones, are used chiefly in the manufacture of common dresses, and seeing that cotton goods are admitted free, I think that braids of this description should also be placed upon the free list. The sub-item relates to braids exceeding 2 inches in width, but I would point out that braids 5 inches wide, and costing only4½d. a yard, are sometimes imported. Under this proposal, such a braid would pay a very heavy duty, while a braid only half an inch oran inch wide, which is worth 5s. per yard, would be admitted free. I do not think that taxation? should be heaped upon a very common article while a costly article should escapethe payment of duty. . We ought to have some sound reason for declaring that a braid an inch wide, and costing 2s. or 2s. 6d. per yard, should be admitted free, whilst a braid3½ inches wide, and costing, only a few pence per yard, should be dutiable. I have no objection to silk braid being taxed-
– I admit that I would prefer to see it admitted free, but I am particularly anxious that the cheaper class of braid shall be so admitted. With that object in view, Imove -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by leaving out of” the last paragraph all the words after “ words,”” line 3, and inserting in lieu thereof the words- “ Trimmings and Braids in the piece invoiced under1s. per yard, free.”
– What will happen tobraid which is worth1s. 3d. per yard?
– It will betaxable.
– Under what item ?
– Under trimmings-
– To my mind, the price of the article ought to bethe determining factor of its quality.
– The Government desire to makeevery article that is necessary to the manufacturer of clothing for men, women, and children free, so long as it is not manufactured in Australia. But the object of thissubitem is to distinguish braid from trimmings. Senator Russell’s proposal would not do that. He has referred to braids- 5 inches in width and over, which he says are often attached to the dresses of poor women. But I would point out that suchbraids are not in reality braids, but trimmings. A braid is intended to be used either for an ornament or for binding, and the Customs Department has always experienced great difficulty in distinguishing between what is a braid and what is a trimming. I am prepared to accept an amendment to make the sub-item apply to braids- 3 inches in width, instead of 2 inches. Everybody must acknowledge that that is.’ about the limit of what may be termed a braid.
– That is a reasonableconcession.
– Then everything which had the appearance of braid, and which is under 3 inches in width, would be admitted free.
– Whether it be composed of silk, cotton, or wool ?
– As far as I understand, that is so.
– I am glad that the Vice-President of the Executive Council has seen fit to make this concession. As the item stands, it is purely a revenue-producing item. To my mind, any braid in excess of 3 inches in width can be very well made up by the workers of our dress materials in Australia.
– Yes. I know a little about women’s dresses, because I have to pay for them sometimes. I think that anything over 3 inches wide could not reasonably be classed as a ‘braid. I am opposed to all purely revenue duties. It appears to me that the item, as originally brought down, was little better than a revenueproducing one. But, seeing that the Minister has made a fairly reasonable concession, I think that Senator E. J. Russell would be very well advised if he accepted it. I am prepared to accept the concession, although I was inclined to support the request. I hope that the Minister will be equally reasonable on all other items which may be classed as revenue-producing ones. I do not hold with the idea which Senator E.J. Russell enunciated, that, while we should let in the cheaper braids free, the more costly ones should be taxed. Silk braids, if dutiable, would only come within the reach of wealthy persons, and the amount of duty would not be very much to them, but I see no reason why they should have a monopoly of all the nice things in the world. Why should not poor people be allowed to enjoy them free of duty?
– If Senator E. J. Russell is prepared to accept my suggestion I shall move the substitution of “three” for “ two.”
– Seeing, after all is said and done, that this is not an item which needs any more protection, and as I understand that little or none of it is made here, perhaps I shall be quite consistent with my desire to knock out some of the revenue-producing items, even if I agree to admit silk braids worth 5s. per yard. I am very glad to accept the Minister’s suggestion.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
Request (by Senator McGregor) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by leaving out “ two,” line 6, and inserting in lieu thereof “ three.”
– I desire to leave out of sub-itein b, of item 134, of the original schedule, the word “ Gimp, n.e.i.,” because it is a term which has gone out of existence inthe trade. I move -
That the House of Representatives bere quested to amend the item by adding : - “ By omitting from sub-item (b), as on and after December, 1911, the words ‘Gimp n.e.i.’”
– I submit, sir, that the request cannot be received. Now that we have dealt with the last paragraph of item 134 of the schedule before the Committee down tothe word “ inches,” if we can go back to amend a sub-item which precedes the one under consideration, we could deal with a proposal to amend the first item in the Tariff.
– The item before the Committee contains three proposals to amend sub-item b of item 134 of the original Tariff, and the Minister has submitted another proposal to deal with that subitem.
– I submit, sir, that if we can proceed in the way which you have suggested, we could now deal with the first paragraph in the schedule.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.This proposal will not alter the harmony of the revision of the item at all.
– I am not concerned with the harmony, but with the technical procedure.
– I think that the Minister is right for once, and possibly, because I say so, he may begin to think he is wrong. We have dealt with sub-item b, of item 134, so far as it relates to “ braids n.e.i.” We are now asked by the Minister to deal with item 134 as it appears in the original schedule so far as it relates to gimp n.e.i.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The Committee are still dealing with subitem b, of item 134, of the original schedule, and I rule that the request is in order.
Request agreed to.
Item 139 -
By inserting in sub-item (g) before the word “ Fittings “ the word “ Service.”
– The sub-item, in the original schedule, reads -
This amendment will mean that, under this comparatively free item, service fittings will come in free, but match rifle fittings will fall under some other head. Seeing that we admit match rifles free, including rifles generally, why should fittings for match rifles be placed in a different category from that in which service fittings are placed? I should like to hear an explanation from the Minister.
– I am informed on very good authority that rifle mounts and sights are made in Australia, and, therefore, we should give some consideration to the manufacturers.
– There are other fittings to a rifle than the mere sight, and if sights are being made here why should we allow service fittings to come in free, and beat down the new industry? What I wish to draw attention to is the fact that, while service fittings are still to be allowed to come in free, a duty is to be charged on the fittings for the ordinary rifle which comes in free. Again, what is a service rifle? Is it a rifle which is imported by the military authorities, or if I were to send Home for a rifle built on the service type, would it come in under this head? I think that the Minister ought to tell lis a little more or give some other explanation. It certainly does not seem to me sufficient to say that, whilst we admit sporting and match rifles at 5 per cent, and free, as we do the military rifle, the fittings for the one shall come in free, but the fittings for the other shall fall under a high duty.
– Before the Minister replies I wish to ask a further question. Now that we have instituted a Small Arms Factory, what is to prevent the military and service fittings from being. manufactured by the Commonwealth ?
– May I ask the Minister why there is to he a distinction between match fittings and service fittings ? All the match fittings will be up to the standard of the service fittings, surely. We shall have matches for the rifle corps, and so on, and the fittingsfor the rifle will be for exactly the same purpose as the service fittings. If it is anAustralian product, in the one case, it is in the other. The match fittings, as far as the rifles are concerned, must be up to the standard of the service fittings, unless the latter are defective. Why make any distinction in the matter at all ?
– I think there is very little to complain of in a duty of 5 per cent. under the general Tariff when these articles may be admitted free from Great Britain. Men here design improvements upon sights used for rifle-shooting, and at once protect their right. A new sight in this way may come into vogue for use at rifle matches. These fittings are small articles, which are worth, perhaps, not more than 10s. each, anda duty of 5 per cent. upon them, if imported from countries other than Great Britain, would not be a matter of serious moment to riflemen. I take it that there will not be many importations of rifles or rifle fittings when the Commonwealth Small Arms Factory commences the manufacture of rifles. I do not know whether it has started yet, but, if not, it is time it had.
– I think this matter has been sufficiently explained. Apart from service fittings, there are elaborate fittings, some of which, as Senator Gardiner has said, have been invented and are being manufactured in Australia. The Minister of Defence is now present, and perhaps it would be as well if he gave some explanation of the item.
– The insertion of the word “service” before the word- “ fittings” will have the effect of bringing all other fittings under the heading of “ manufactures of metals,” where they will be dutiable at a much higher rate. So far as service fittings are concerned, they will be made at the Lithgow Rifle Factory, and we hope that it will not be necessary to import them at all after a time. As regards other fittings, although there are no rifle factories in the Commonwealth, we have a number of substantial establishments in which fittings for rifles, and especially rifle sights, are being manufactured to-day. As Senator Gardiner has said, there are several Australian patents for rifle sights. It is only right that these industries should receive the same protection as others of a kindred character. The idea in mind when the existing Tariff item was passed was that these articles would be required for defence purposes. As a matter of fact, they are not required for defence purposes at all, and there is no reason why fittings other than service fittings should be placed in a favoured position and admitted free.
– I shall not delay the Committee by discussing the matter at length, but I point out that the adoption of this proposal will leave us face to face with the absurdity that a complete rifle, with all fittings, will be admitted free; whilst, if the fittings require to be imported later on, they will have to pay a duty. Senator Pearce states that rifle sights are made in Australia, but that is no reason why a duty should be imposed upon all rifle fittings.
– All these fittings are made in Australia.
– Then we shall still have the absurdity that, while a complete rifle is admitted free, duty is charged upon rifle fittings.
– That is because no one makes a complete rifle in Australia.
– A rifle turned out by the Birmingham Small. Arms Company may be imported free with all its fittings; whilst, if the fittings are imported apart from the rifle, a duty is charged upon them.
– It is Protection reversed.
– Senator Rae has exactly summed up the position. I would ask the Minister whether fittings cover such parts of a rifle, for instance, as the breech action of some sporting rifles, which can be more easily detached from the rifle than can the rifle sight?
– No; breeches are not parts of the rifle in this sense.
Item agreed to.
Item 141 -
By omitting the present sub-item (c) and inserting in its stead the following sub-item : - “ (c) Primus and other similar heating lamps, ad valorem, 20 per cent.”
– I am afraid that the phraseology adopted for this item will give the Department some trouble later on. The object of the proposed amendment is to shut out lamps used for cooking purposes, and to include in this sub-item only lamps used for heating purposes. It should be remembered that the Primus is not the only lamp of this kind on the market. I should like to know what is meant by the words “other similar heating lamps.” I suggest for the convenience of the Department that some more suitable terms might be found to express what is desired, and that it would be better to say “ Vapour and oil heating lamps.” I believe that is what is intended.
– The public are better acquainted with the Primus stove than with any other of these stoves, and when we mention the Primus stove, and add “ other similar heating lamps,” the public will understand what is meant.
.- I can quite understand that the object of this proposal is to take gas and similar cooking stoves out of this item and place them in another under which they will have to pay a higher duty. I have no objection to that, because I believe gas stoves are manufactured in Australia, and if they are not, they ought to be. I fail altogether, however, to understand why we should continue to make Primus and other similar stoves, which are not manufactured in Australia, and are not likely to be manufactured here, dutiable at 20 per cent. This is merely a revenue duty, and I should like some explanation from the Minister on that point.
– I have heard that these stoves are manufactured in Brisbane; but whether that is so or not, I am unable to say. I will venture to say, however, that no one who has examined them will contend that they cannot be manufactured in Australia. They come into competition with other stoves that are manufactured here, and, in the hope that that competition will be destroyed and that these stoves will be manufactured here, I trust honorable senators will agree to the item.
– The Minister tells us that the public know what is meant by a Primus stove; but the difficulty is that it is not the public who import them, and those who do import them very soon get to understand the departmental interpretation of an item in the Tariff. I ask Ministers to consider whether difficulties may not arise from the use of the word “similar” in this sub-item. Does it mean to infer similarity in the material of which the stove is made, in the dimensions, or in the nature of the fuel used ? .
– No; similar in the object for which the stoves are used.
– If that be so, we should refer in this sub-item merely to heating stoves. I take it that the Department do not intend to include in this sub-item stoves in which wood fuel is consumed. I suggest again that the words used should be “ Vapour and oil stoves for heating.” That would give a clear indication of what is desired.
– We have just dealt with sub-item c and I wish to know if I would be in order in moving that the House of Representatives be requested to amend sub-item d, which refers to incandescent mantles. I have a very strongly-worded letter from the Chamber of Manufactures, which says that it is desired to increase the duty on sub-item d, of item 141, from 25 and 15 per cent. to 40 and 30 per cent. The reason given for asking for the increased duties is that there is a heavy duty on the raw material which reduces the protection upon the manufactured article, and is causing the market to be flooded with continental makes. If that be so, the Australian industry would appear to have a fair claim for consideration. I ask your ruling, sir, as to whether I should be in order in submitting a request for an amendment of subitem d, of item 141 ?
– The item before the Committee does not deal with incandescent mantles. I do not think, therefore, that the honorable senator’s request canbe received.
– -Do I understand that what I desire to move would be out of order ?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Yes.
Item agreed to.
Items 147 (Grain Shelters, &c), 148 (Refrigerators), and 152 (Cultivators), agreed to.
By omitting, the whole item and inserting in its stead the following item : - “153 Cutlery, n.e.i., Forks, Spoons, and Knife Sharpeners, including silver ferruled or plated articles, but not including any article otherwise partly or wholly made of gold or silver, ad valorem (General Tariff), 15 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 10 per cent.”
Senator. MILLEN (New South Wales) word “ spoons “ covers spoons of all kinds-, and of all materials? Item 170 deals with kettles and kitchen cooking utensils, aluminium or nickel, which are admitted free. Would aluminium spoons comeunder item 153 or item 170?
– This item covers all spoons.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by leaving out the words “ including silver ferruled or plated< articles” and by inserting in lieu thereof thewords “ including the articles named when plated or silver ferruled.”
The explanation is that the amendment is required to give effect to a promise madeby the Minister in the House of Representatives. As plated articles are dutiable under item 137 a at 30 and 25 per cent., it would be highly anomalous to admit certain plated articles under this item at 15: and 10 per cent.
– Does the Minister give us tounderstand that silverplated articles willcome under the same heading as kitchen utensils ?
– No ; they wilt come under this item.
– Then we are to understand that a spoon that may be used for stirring porridge by the poor is to be taxed at the same rate as silver plate used by the rich?
Request agreed to.
Item 157 -
By omitting the whole item and inserting taits stead the following item : - “ 157. Tanks not exceeding 400 gallons in capacity, whether imported empty or as containers of goods, free.”
– I am opposed to admitting tanks free of duty. When the last Tariff was under discussion, I moved that a duty be imposed, and I still think that, no matter what the size of imported tanks may be, we should impose a duty in order to encourage their manufacture in Australia. Whilst we are imposing a duty on the raw material, we are allowing the completed article to come in free. We have the material, the workmen, and the demand for the goods in Australia. That being so, it is a great mistake on the part of the Government to propose that tanks shall escape duty. I know that all kinds of tanks, round, square, or oval; corrugated or plain, can be made here. Of course, some honorable senators will put in a plea for the farmer. I have no desire to penalize the farmer. But I thinkof the miner as well. He will be penalized quite as much as the farmer, yet the miner is anxious that the duties shall be imposed.
– I question that.
– I have no doubt about it. I am following out my fiscal faith, because I am satisfied that tanks can easily be made in Australia. What reason is there why we should allow a 400- gallon tank to come in free?
– Has the honorable senator ever been in the northern or central parts of Australia?
– I venture to say that I have been in more distant parts than the honorable senator has been, and that I have a greater experience of the lives of the people in those parts. This Bill is intended to rectify anomalies in the Tariff, tout if the item is allowed to pass in its present shape, it will create a greater anomaly than it is proposed to remedy.
– I wish to point out how unjust it is that Parliament should penalize a particular class of workers. When the last Tariff was under consideration, Parliament by its action expressed the opinion that our workmen had not the requisite skill to make : a gas-meter. Now it is intended to imply that our ironworkers have not the requisite skill to make an ordinary tank; which practically consists of driving a few rivets into a piece of metal.
– The honorable senator never made one.
– I venture to say that I have made more than the honorable senator ever saw.
– Did they hold water ?
– I think so.
– I was judging from the honorable senator’s arguments.
– This item can only be described as a deliberate attempt on the part of politicians to “ smoodge “ to a certain section of the community. We have thousands of competent workmen in Australia who are capable of making tanks. I have seen hundred’s of these articles come here full of coffee and cocoa beans. Sometimes they come filled with drapery. In nearly all cases where a tank is used for packing other goods, those goods are of a valuable description, and can well afford to pay the extra duty on account of the tank. If we are entitled to protect the blacksmith and the harvester-maker, surely we ought to protect the ironworker. It will be said that a duty will fall hardly on farmers, who would not be able to get tanks so cheaply as they can do when these goods are imported, in the first instance, as substitutes for packing cases. But the ironworker should not be forced to compete against second-hand tanks. I know of no other class of workers who are placed in the same position. As a Protectionist, I strongly protest against this item, and cannot see how any consistent Protectionist can support it.
– I am sorry that any discussion should have taken place upon this item. The Government thought that they were doing a very fair thing. So far the competition has been between the two great Russells - Senator E. J. Russell, of Victoria, and Senator W. Russell, of South Australia. The item really represents a compromise as between the views held by those honorable senators.
– All compromises are bad.
– But the world is made up of compromises, and all legislation has the element of compromise in it. I would point out to Senator E. J. Russell that under the old Tariff all tanks were admitted free. But what happened under that Tariff? Tanks up to a capacity of 400 gallons were very useful for packing purposes, but when they exceeded that capacity they became so unwieldy that they were no longer useful for those purposes. As a result, these larger tanks were manufactured in other countries, taken to pieces and shipped to Australia, where they were admitted free. The Department did not think that right, and as a result, the Government propose that only tanks up to a capacity of 400 gallons, whether full or empty, should be placed upon the free list. All other tanks are dutiable under manufactures of metals. . I would further point out to Senator E. J. Russell that the tanks which are imported full of goods are generally square iron tanks. They are very useful to farmers in the country, but not for the purposes of water conservation, because at most farms one will see a galvanized corrugated iron tank of 600 or 1,000, or 1,600 gallons capacity- a tank which has been manufactured in Australia. But these square iron tanks are used for carting water for 5, 6, or even 20 miles. They can be made here, but so few are required that it is scarcely worth while calling into existence an industry for their manufacture. The larger tanks, which have a capacity of 2,000 or perhaps 5,000 gallons, and which are used for railway purposes, are all manufactured in Australia.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by inserting the word “ all “ before the word “ Tanks,” by leaving out “not exceeding 400 gallons in capacity” and by adding after the word “. goods,” the words “per 100 gallons,1s.”.
In reply to the Vice-President of the Executive Council, I still maintain that the square tanks which he said are being used by the farmer can bemadein Australia.
– I know that.
– And they are being made here. I have seen them made in the railway workshops of Western Australia.
– Always of a larger capacity than 400 gallons.
– And smaller. By agreeing to the item in its present form we shall not be remedying an anomaly, but creating one.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council has stated that it is scarcely worth while establishing an industry for the manufacture of these tanks. But my reply is that the industry is already established in places like Bendigo and Ballarat.
– The honorable senator is speaking of galvanized-irontanks ?
– They are not suitable for the work which I mentioned.
– Nine cut of ten of the tanks which are imported are filled with the heaviest possible leads. They are filled with coffee or cocoa beans, and they will stand practicallyany strain. They are brought into competition with tanks which are manufactured locally. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has said that before they were admitted free they were imported in pieces.
-i was speaking of the larger tanks.
– Under this itemthey will be dutiable if they areimported in pieces.
– That makes the position worse. The complete tank will be admitted free, while the tanks in pieces will be taxable. We do not make any galvanized iron in Australia.
– There are several galvanizing firms in the Commonwealth.
– But they do make the sheet iron.
– The tanks to which. I referred are never galvanized.
– There is only one reason why the makers of these tanks are being singled out for special treatment, namely, the desire of the Government to smoodge to the farmer by saying to him, “ Here is a cheap tank.” We know that increased production cheapensthe cost of commodities, and if Australian workmen are given command of the home market they will be able to supply the farmer with these tanks as cheaply as they can be purchased by him to-day.
– I can quite understand my young friend going off at a tangent in protectionist Victoria. But if he had had the experience in connexion with farms that I have had, he would not speak as he has done. I have sometimes been compelled to put two of these tanks on a waggon, and to cart water in them for the stock during the summer months. The honorable senator said he did not know of any other section of the community which was being treated in the way that the tank makers are being treated. But I would ask him what Parliament has done for the farmer? It has imposed taxation upon machinery for revenue purposes.
– The farmer is getting his machinery made in Australia.
– And he has to pay stiffly for it. Before I was elected to this Parliament, I stated that, having been connected with farming pursuits all my life, I would do my best to see that the producing interests were fairly represented. To say that a duty should be imposedon these tanks for the sake of a few men, is to argue in the wrong direction. We ought to encourage the primary producer.
– The farmer will be ruined.
– If the honorable senator had his way, he would impose a stiff single tax, and the farmer would suffer severely. But, thank God, he has not the power to do that. Although he belongs to the Labour party, he is a “ wee bit cronk “ in that respect. I hope that, on the present occasion, the Committee will take the same stand as it did on a previous occasion, and fight for the interests of the primary producer.
Question - That the request to insert “All” before “Tanks” be agreed to (Senator Needham’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … 1
Question so resolved. in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Item 163 -
By omitting from the item the words “ and Parts thereof.”
– Item 163 admits certain descriptions “ of machinery and parts thereof “ free. The intention of this amendment is, I suppose, to admit the machinery therein enumerated free, and to charge a duty on all parts of a machine. I should like to know why the alteration is needed.
– If Senator Vardon will refer to the paragraphs covering the schedule, he will see a reference to parts. The idea is that when a machine is dutiable it shall pay the duty, and if any parts of that machine come in they shall also pay the duty. On the other hand, if a machine or other article comes in free, then the Minister may decide that the parts of that machine shall also come in free. The honorable senator will find that in one or two other places in the schedule this idea is given effect to. I do not think that any one can object to it.
– I have no objection.
Item agreed to.
Items 164 (Machinery) and 165 (Machines) agreed to.
Item 169 -
By omitting the whole item.
.- The item which we are asked to omit is “ Mixed metalware and platedware for household use, not elsewhere specified, ad valorem 25 and 20 per cent.” I am not sure as to the head under which these articles will fall if this amendment is made, and I shall be obliged if the Minister can inform me.
– Where goods are not plated, they are charged sometimes at a higher rate of duty than when they are plated. The object of this amendment is to remove that anomaly. These articles will fall under duties of 30 and 25 per cent.
Item agreed to.
Items 170 (Articles made of Aluminium) and 172 (Brasswork and Gunmetal work) agreed to.
Item 177 -
By omitting the first line of the item and inserting in its stead the following words : - “ Electrical Machines and Appliances : - “
By omitting the whole of sub-item (g).
– I want the Minister to state why it is proposed to omit sub-item g, “ Generators for direct coupling to Steam Turbines, ad valorem, 5 per cent. and free,” and to bring these under the head of Electrical Machines 20 and12½ per cent. ?
– There is no alteration made except to omit generators.
– One of the effects of the alteration is, as Senator Needham has correctly stated, to bring generators for direct coupling to steam-engines, previously admitted at 5 per cent. and free, under duties of 20 and12½ per cent. There is another effect brought about by the alteration, and that is to withdraw the preference which was previously given to these articles when imported from Great Britain. By striking out sub-item g we not only bring these generators under a much higher duty, but we remove the preference to British-made articles. When the Minister stated that the change is merely to strike out the item, he stated the position in a very bald fashion indeed. I have a distinct recollection of the reasons why a previous Parliament placed these generators practically on the free list. The first reason was that they were not made in Australia, and the second was that they were very necessary, for very many of our developmental purposes, particularly mining. The latter reason prevailed with the Parliament which was distinctly Protectionist, to place the articles on the free list. It also sought to give a preference to imports from Great Britain, and to do that it imposed a duty of 5 per cent, in the general Tariff, allowing free importation of the articles from Great Britain. By this amendment we destroy that preference, and subject articles which cannot be made in Australia to duties of 20 and 12½ per cent. I should like to hear a further explanation from the Minister.
– By striking sub-item g out of item 177 these generators will fall under a higher duty. Before the first Tariff was passed there were negotiations for the manufacture of the articles in Australia. All other generators come under the duty under which these generators will fall in connexion with high-speed engines, and others, up to 200 horse- power. Those under 200 :horse-power will be dutiable at 20 per cent., .and those over 200 horse-power at 12J per cent.
– These generators are now dutiable, except when they are for direct coupling to steam turbines. It is an anomaly that they do not appear along with the rest. Senator Millen has raised the point that a preference was given when these generators were admitted free from Great Britain, but the. preference applied only to this class. If the Senate desires to continue that preference to the class under which the articles will fall, I am prepared to make high-speed engines, under 200 horse-power, dutiable at 25 and 20 per trent., and all over 200 horse-power dutiable at 17
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - That will increase the duty all round.
– It will leave the duty as it is, so far as Great Britain is concerned, but it will add 5 per cent, to the duty on imports from foreign countries. If honorable senators are imbued with that high Imperial idea, about which they are always talking, they will be willing to accept my offer gladly.
– What is the reason for making a difference as regards the horsepower?
– That distinction is made in the Tariff now.
Request (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by adding the following new sub-items : -
Bv adding at the end of sub-item (a) the words “and on and after December, 1911, ad valorem (General Tariff), 25 per cent. (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.”
By adding at the end of sub-item (d) the words “ and on and after December, 191 1, ad valorem (General Tariff), 17^ per cent. (United Kingdom), 12^ per cent.”
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [9.28].- It is very evident that the Minister has a lively view of the effect of the Tariff, so far as bringing in revenue is concerned. At present any one who has occasion to use these particular machines can get them in at 12j per cent., but it is now proposed that when they come from places other than Great Britain they shall pay an extra duty of 5 per cent. It occurs to me that the better way to give a preference would be to leave the duties at- 20 and 12J per cent., and to make the preference Tariff 5 per cent, less than those rates.
– Can the Minister tell us where the bulk of these machines come from ? I should like to know whether the bulk of these goods are imported from England, America, or Germany.
– From the United Kingdom.
– That means that if any one desired to import them from America or Germany, he would still have to pay 5 per cent, more duty than if he imported them from the United Kingdom. An honorable senator asked whether these machines are made in Australia. I believe that electrical machines up to 200 horse-power are not made here, and if that be so we may assume that machines- of higher power are not made here. Perhaps the Minister will inform the Committee whether machines of this character under or above 200 horsepower are made in Australia ; if so, where, and to what extent?
– The value of the importations of these machines was £120,000 from the United Kingdom, £76,000 from America; and £22,000 from Germany. Honorable senators will see that we propose a substantial preference for the United Kingdom, and I think we ought to do so.
– I asked whether any of these machines are being made in Australia at the present time.
– The Minister’s reply was, I think, very unsatisfactory. He brushed aside the query I put to him as to the reason for the deletion of sub-item g - generators for direct coupling to steam turbines. Senator Millen has stated that the real intent in passing this item in the existing Tariff was to help the mining industry. There is not the slightest doubt that under the alterations now proposed these particular machines will be dutiable at 12J per cent, or 20 per cent., according to their power, although the Minister, in reply to me, said that this would not alter the Tariff. I am troubled very little , about the question of preference. During the consideration of the 1908 Tariff, I religiously opposed preference. I should like to know the reason for the sudden change now proposed. This particular machine is not being made in Australia to such an extent as to justify the proposed increase of duty.
– It never will be until we give sufficient protection.
– I answer that suggestion by saying that the duty now proposed is insufficient to establish an industry for the manufacture of these machines. If the object be to establish such an industry, I should prefer to see the duties made 20 per cent, and 40 per cent., instead of 1-2 J per cent, and 25 per cent. If the Minister can prove that these generators for direct coupling to steam turbines are being manufactured in Australia in sufficient number to supply the demand, particularly of the mining industry, I shall be prepared to vote for the item as it stands. But if they are not being made here, and the intention is to establish an industry for their manufacture, the duties now proposed are insufficient for the purpose.
– I have considerable sympathy with the view put forward by Senator Needham that the duties are either too little or too high. That is the usual cry in regard to all duties. They are too high for some people, and not high enough for others. I wish, however, to call attention to the honorable senator’s inconsistency when he says that he desires that the duty on these machines should not be interfered with in the interest of the miners. I find it difficult to understand why he should consider the interests of the miners in the matter of generators for direct coupling to steam turbines, and should neglect their interests in the matter of die conservation, of water in tanks.
– Has the honorable senator not yet discovered the influence of geography upon Tariff matters?
– No one can say that the whole of Western Australia is so admirably watered that tanks are not necessary there for the conservation of water. I could understand Senators Long and Ready supporting a duty upon tanks, coming, as they do, from a State that has an overplus of water, but I cannot understand a representative of the waterless West voting for a> duty upon tanks, and suggesting a reduction of the duty upon electrical generators,, when I remember that water is probablymore necessary for the mining industry thanare electrical generators.
– Since generators of this kind have had a little protection they have been manufactured here, and high-speed engines up to 200 horse- power have also been manufactured here. It is hardly reasonable to expect that generators for direct coupling to steam turbines should be manufactured here, when they are duty free under the existing Tariff. But there is no> reason why they should not be manufactured here. If we impose duties of 20 and 25 per cent, on these machines up to 200 horse-power, and 12 £ and 17 J per cent, above 200 horse-power, the extra weight,, massiveness, and awkwardness of the machines of the higher power will equalize theduties of 25 and 20 per cent, proposed for machines of under 200 horse-power, I hope that these duties will lead to this industry being developed in Australia. I am led to understand that Parsons, one of the biggest manufacturers in this line, may start the manufacture of these machines in Australia. Those in favour of reasonable protection, and those in favour of a preference to the United Kingdom, should vote for the duties I have indicated.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [9.40].-! am not prepared to accept the doctrine being laid down by honorable senators opposite that, in order to give a preference to the United Kingdom, it is necessary to increase the duties upon articles imported.
– It would be unreasonable to reduce them.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD. - I do not agree with the honorable senator. The idea of reducing duties on articles manufactured in the United Kingdom was to show that we recognised that it is desirable to obtain British rather than foreign goods. The proposition now made revives the battle as to whether preference should be given by reducing duties upon imports from the United Kingdom or by increasing duties on imports from foreign countries. Senator Needham has spoken of the mining industry, and I recollect that, in the discussion of particular items, it was pointed out that it was undesirable to impose high duties upon machinery required for the mining industry.
– The representatives of Western Australia bolted altogether in connexion with these duties.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD. - I remind the honorable senator that Western Australia is not the only State in which the mining industry is carried on. I protest against advantage being taken of every opportunity to impose additional duties. I do not know whether the Government previously considered the matter, but the moment anything was said about granting a preference in this case, the Minister told us that he was willing to grant a preference so long as he could raise the duties. We have been informed that during a specified period this machinery, to the value of £120,000, was imported from Great Britain, to the value of . £76,000 from the United States, and to the value of £22,000 from Germany.
– The value of imports of machinery in 1910 was £321,000.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD. - The Minister mentioned about £226,000. I presume that the balance is made up of electrical appliances, or else the additional figures relate to an additional period. In any case, I protest against this wav of jumping up duties. Why did not the Government think of this increase when the Tariff was before the other House? Why was it not discussed there? The Treasurer and the bulk of the Ministers are in another place, and yet this proposal was left to be brought forward by Ministers in the Senate. Why could not the Minister of Trade and Customs have proposed it?
– Because the other place sat too long.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD. - It looks as if Ministers imagined that they could “ jockey “ through their proposal, owing to the fact that many of their critics have left Melbourne for their own homes.
– I thought the honorable senator was a better Imperialist.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD. - I do not know that Imperialists believe in “ jockeying “ a thing through by taking advantage of the absence of those who might criticise it. Our extremity is the Government’s opportunity, and they take advantage of it.
– The Minister’s explanation of this proposal was that since the original Tariff was settled, the person who has the patent for making these articles has made up his mind to open a manufactory in Australia if a sufficiently high duty is imposed. This amounts almost to a bribe on behalf of the monopolists, who want to secure the advantage of high duties in this country. I understood that the policy of the Government was to suppress monopolies, and to prevent their creation in Australia. Now we find that the contrary is the case, and that Ministers actually propose a duty to help a monopolist to come here. Senator Needham has made out a very good case. I object to the policy of forcing the Committee to deal with the subject in this way, and of legislating in order to hand over an advantage to a monopolist who may think of commencing business in Australia.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [9.53].- The Minister has practically admitted that one of the reasons for this increase of duty is to enable the Government to obtain a large amount of revenue. It means that, while £120,000 worth of machinery will pay exactly the same duty as it has hitherto done, another £100,000 will pay 25 per cent. more. It. is not really for the purpose of having the machines made in Australia, but to obtain more revenue that this policy has been launched. If the proposal meant the production of these machines in the country, there would be some argument in favour of it. But that argument does not exist.
– It is rather refreshing to hear Senator Gould arguing against revenue duties. I thought he was a Revenue Tariffist pure and simple. ; I am absolutely opposed to
Revenue Tariffism. I would derive taxation from wealth, and strike hard ; and then, if I did not get what I wanted, I would go there again, and yet again. I do not believe in increasing the revenue derivable under this or any other Tariff. Ministers practically admit that this is a purely revenue duty.
– Do not misrepresent me.
– Remember that the Vice-President of the Executive Council did not say that this machinery could not be made in Australia.
– I said that it was being made in Richmond.
– I understood that the lower-power machinery was being made in Australia, and that that was the reason for higher duties on this as against machinery exceeding 200 horse-power. I think the principle of trying to increase the burdensome character of the Tariff is wrong altogether. If there is anything like the quantity of these goods used in Australia that we have heard, it is about time that we made them ourselves ; and if I had anything to do with the drawing up of a Tariff, I would see that we obtained a quid fro quo in cases of this kind. I would not increase the duties unless the country derived some advantage. I cannot see that the building up of a monopoly is going to be to the advantage of Australia. The policy of this Government should not be to construct a huge revenue Tariff on the one hand, or to bolster up manufacturers who have the habit of “ turning dog “ on us on the other. If we cannot get this machinery manufactured in any other way, I should be in favour of the Government employing electricians and engineers, and, establishing a Commonwealth factory to make it. If £250,000 worth of machinery of this kind is being produced here, the Commonwealth ought to produce it.
– I wish to direct attention to the possibility of those who hold the view which I do of this item being unable to give expression to their opinion upon it. In the first place, we have before us the proposal which is embodied in the Bill itself, and in the second the amendment which has been submitted by the Minister of Defence. Now, if we vote on . the amendment first, I shall be unable to give expression to my view upon the item itself. I wish to maintain the Tariff in the form in which it appeared prior to the introduction of this Bill. If I am defeated upon that, I am prepared to support the amendment. But if I have to vote upon the amendment first, I shall have to vote against it. Will the Minister show me how I can vote to retain the item as it stands and afterwards vote in favour of giving a preference to Great Britain ?
– I cannot show the honorable senator how he can do that, because it would be a course of procedure which is opposed to our Standing Orders. But I can show him how he will be afforded an opportunity of voting on the three propositions before us, if he so desires. The first proposal is to increase the duty upon sub-items a and b. Honorable senators who are in favour of the duty remaining as it was under the previous Tariff will vote against that proposal. Then the proposition to be determined will be one to omit sub-item g. The honorable senator will be at liberty to vote for or against that. The only other alternative is that we should impose a different rate of duty in respect of sub-items a and b ; and if any honorable senator desires that, now is the time for him to submit a further amendment.
– The Minister is only trifling with the question. Let him assume that his amendment is defeated, and that later on the proposal in the Bill is carried. My vote upon his amendment might have enabled him to carry it.
– I understand that the honorable senator desires to impose. a higher rate of duty in respect of subitem g.
– No. That is not what I want, and the Minister must see it.
– I confess that I do not see it.
– The Minister of Defence has said that I will have an opportunity of giving expression to my views, whatever they may be; but when I asked him to assume that his amendment had been defeated, he declined to do so. I wish to retain the item as it stood before this Bill was introduced. Failing that, I wish to vote for the amendment which the Minister has submitted. But he has put that amendment forward first, with the result that I shall have to vote against it. I do not wish to help him to carry it, because by so doing I should be deprived of my first choice.
– If the request for the amendment be carried, the honorable senator can vote against the item, and thus get back to the original position.
– If I cannot retain the item as it stood in the previous Tariff, I want to support the amendment. Consequently, we should arrange to take a vote upon sub- item g.
– We cannot do that and then go back to sub-items a and b.
– If the Minister will admit the force of my contention, there is, I think, a simple way out of the difficulty. There are three proposals before the Committee. The first is the item in the form in which it appears in the old Tariff, the second is the amendment which is proposed in the Bill, and the third is the amendment which is embodied in the request proposed by the Minister.
– The proposal in the Bill only . touches sub-item g.
– How am I to vote to give expression to my views?
– If the honorable senator be not in favour of the item as it stands he will vote for the amendment.
– It has been the practice of this Parliament to afford every honorable senator an opportunity to vote in the way that he desires to vote. If the proposal to omit the first line of the item and to insert in lieu thereof the words “ Electrical machines and appliances “ were first put from the Chair, those who wish to retain the item as it appears in the old Tariff could vote against it, and the Minister’s amendment might then follow.
– Could not the amendment be postponed till the item has been dealt with. I am perfectly willing to withdraw my request for the amendment to enable sub-item g to be dealt with first, so long as I have an assurance that I shall be permitted to submit it subsequently.
– The first proposal before the Committee is to strike out the words “ and parts thereof,” so that item 177 would read, “ Electrical machines and appliances.” Then the sub-item will follow. Is it not possible for us to say “ Yes “ or “ No “ to the proposal in regard to electrical machines and appliances ?
– Before withdrawing my request, I would like the assurance of the Chair that I shall be allowed to submit it at a later stage. . I( am perfectly willing to withdraw it conditionally that I have that assurance.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales> [10.15]. - If Senator Pearce will withdraw his request I shall move a request to deletethe first two words “ By omitting,” and if that is defeated it will be open to him tomove the present request, or any other.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by leaving out thowords “ By omitting.”
If that request is carried I propose to submit a further request to deal with the rest of the item, which, if carried, will meanthat the present Tariff will remain untouched, as far as this item1 is concerned,, that is, dynamos up to 200 horse-power, will remain at 20 per cent., and dynamosabove 200 horse-power, at 12
– Oh, no ! That is * separate proposition.
– Of course it is a; separate proposition, and I did not stateanything else.
– The understandingwas to deal separately with sub-items a and b.
– Nobody proposed to go beyond that understanding. The Minister seems to think that I am trying totrip him up, whereas I was merely trying, to explain my desire, and the procedure by which I sought to attain that end.
– I confess that I do not know what the Minister’s request is.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.We will come to that directly.
– We want to know what it is, so that we may be able to voteintelligently.
– My proposal is to put duties of 25 and 20 per cent, on sub-item a, duties of 17J and 12J per cent, on subitem b, and to strike out sub-item g.
– If the Minister would circulate his request in print we might consider it more conveniently, and’ probably get on a little faster. I ask your ruling, sir, as to whether we could not adopt the first line of this item?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.There is a request to delete the first two words, which must be dealt with by the Committee.
– I want to know whether we could not adopt Senator Millen’ s suggestion, and then consider the Minister’s proposition regarding sub-items a and b before we come down to sub-item g.
– Then you would shut me out.
Question - That the request to leave out “ By omitting “ be agreed to (Senator Millen’s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 9
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I take it, sir, that I am now at liberty to move the request which I indicated?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Yes.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by inserting the following new sub-items : -
By adding at the end of sub-item A the words “ and on and after December, 1911, ad valorem (General Tariff), 25 (United Kingdom) 20 per cent.”
By adding at the end of sub-item B the words “ and on and after December, 1911, ad valorem (General Tariff),17½ (United Kingdom)12½ per cent.”
– I shall put the first part of the request to the Committee.
– I rise to a point of order, sir. Sub-item a has not been placed before the Committee, and I want to know whether the request is in order?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Subitem a is . placed before the Committee by this request.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould.. - It is not a question of whether sub-item a is placed before the Committee or not which Senator Chataway wished to raise, but whether the request is in order.
– Are you going to raise a point of order now?
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - I am.
– It is the dirtiest thing which has ever been done in the Senate.
– Wait and see what is coming before you talk like that. Keep your temper under control.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - I do object to a silly and an impertinent interruption, because every honorable senator has the right to address the Committee. If the Minister will bear that fact in mind, we may get along much more smoothly.
– Raising a point of order after a promise is given.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - The only thing which has been submitted by the other House is an amendment to omit the first line of item 177, and to insert in its stead certain words, and also to omit the whole of sub-item g. I contend that the amendment does not enable the Committee to deal with portions of the item which have not been submitted for our consideration in the Bill. Inother words, it raises the old question as to whether, when an amending Bill is submitted, it is possible to amend the principal Act in matters which have not been referred to the Committee in the amending Bill. We have exactly the same position here, Honorable members in another place have amended item 177 in the way indicated in the schedule to this Bill, and we areasked to say whether we agree to. what is proposed. I submit that we have no right to deal with any part of item 177 other than those which are before us in this Bill. I can readily understand that honorable senators may fall into some error in dealing with these matters by reason of the fact that we have before us a document including the provisions of the existing Tariff, as well as the amendments of it proposed in this Bill. We have no more right to consider sub-items a and b of the existing Tariff than we should have to consider, for instance, items 173, 174, 175, or 176, which are not included in this, schedule at all. I contend that we can only deal with item, 177 as it has been submitted to us in the schedule to this Bill. The question of a duty on articles included in sub-items a and b, of item 177, has not been referred to us by another place.
– The question was raised earlier in the day, not as to whether we could take into consideration sub-items between two parts of an item dealt with in the Bill, but as to whether we could go back to the heading of a particular item. The Chairman ruled that we could do so. There was no dissent from that ruling, and it was accepted by the Committee. We have a much more simple matter before us now. Item 177 is before the Committee in the shape of an amendment of the heading of the item by omitting parts thereof, and also by an amendment omitting a sub-item. The effect of the omission of that sub-item will be that the articles dutiable under it will fall under sub-items a and b, and I ask honorable senators to consider the position in which the Committee would be placed if it were to be ruled that we can omit a sub-item, but cannot follow the articles dutiable under it into the sub-items under which they will fall by reason of its omission. The whole of item 177 is before the Committee. I thought the honorable senator intended to raise the point that the request could not be submitted at this stage. If he had done so, I intended to point out that Senator Millen’s request has only just been dealt with, and the proposition before the Committee now is to amend item 177 in a particular way. It is proposed in the schedule to amend the item in a certain way, but surely the Committee can amend it in another way, if honorable senators see fit.
– We can only amend the amendment submitted to us.
– That would be ridiculous. It would be an admission that another place is supreme, that it may mould an item of the Tariff as it pleases, and that the Senate can deal only with the matter submitted to it by the House of Representatives.
– I very much regret that, on the point of order being raised, the Minister of Defence should immediately assume that some unfair tactics were being indulged in by honorable senators on this side.
– I think that the point of order might have been raised before the agreement was arrived at.
– I remind the honorable senator that that would not have made the slightest difference. If the point of order be fatal now, it would be fatal then. 1 resent the Minister’s interjection when Senator Gould was speaking for the simple reason that I do not think the point of order taken is tenable. The view 1 take is, that the* mere proposal that we should delete sub-item g raises the question as to what is to become of generators covered by that sub-item if it be omitted. The answer is, that they will fall under sub-items a and b, and I contend that when it is proposed to transfer these articles from subitem g to sub-items a and b, we should know what duty will be imposed upon them under those sub-items. It seems to me that, on this account sub-items a and b, of item 177, are brought under our review. This case is very different from the point previously raised, when it was proposed to deal with an article contained in an item which was not brought under our review by this Bill.
– I ruled that item 177 is before the Committee, and that I may accept the requests of the Minister of Defence and deal with them in their proper order before the Committee deals with the proposed omission of sub-item g- We have already had a test vote on the first part of Senator Millen’s request, with the distinct understanding that, if it were not agreed to, other requests mentioned by the Minister of Defence could be submitted in their order. There is nothing in the Standing Orders to prevent that being done, and, therefore, I now propose to submit the first request proposed by the Minister of Defence.
– I dissent, sir, from your ruling, in the following terms: -
I object to the decision of the Temporary Chairman of Committees that it is in order to receive a request for the amendment of subitem (a) of item 177 in the schedule to the Customs Tariff Act 1908-10.
In the Senate :
The Temporary Chairman (Senator
McColl). - A point of order has arisen in connexion with item 177 of the schedule to the Tariff Bill. It is in two. parts, the first proposing the omission of the first line of the item, and the insertion in its stead of the words “Electrical machines and appliances,” and the second proposing the omission of the whole of sub-item g. The Minister of Defence proposed to submit requests for the amendment of sub-items a and b of the existing Tariff. Senator Millen desired that there should be, first of all, a test vote on the first part of the item in the schedule.
– The honorable senator will pardon me, but is that involved?
– I am recounting what took place. Senator Millen submitted a request for the omission of the first two words of the item in the schedule “ By omitting.” That request was negatived on division. An agreement was arrived at by the Committee, without any objection being taken, that if Senator Millen’s request was not agreed to the Minister of Defence should submit two requests separately for the amendment of sub-items a and b. After the division on Senator Millen’s request, Senator Pearce moved his first request for the amendment of sub-item
I object to the decision of the Temporary Chairman of Committees that it is in order to propose a request for the amendment of subitem (a) of item 177 in the schedule to the Customs Tariff Act 1908-10.
The question submitted to you, sir, is whether the Committee has power. to deal with sub-items of item 177 of the existing Tariff other than those which have been directly submitted to the Senate by the House of Representatives.
-On the point of order which I have taken, I may say that a reference to the agreement which has been referred to may be brushed aside at once. It is well known that when a Bill is introduced to amend an Act the Committee, on the Bill, is not entitled to consider the principal Act, except in so far as it may be affected by the provisions of the amending Bill, unless an instruction is given to the Committee to consider other portions of the principal Act. That is in accordance with an indisputable rule which has been followed in the Senate. The question arises as to whether the rule applicable to ordinary Bills is also applicable to a Bill which we cannot amend, but in connexion with which we can make requests. Standing order 327 provides that -
An instruction can be given to a Committee of the Whole on a Bill to amend an existing Act, to consider amendments which are not relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill, but are relevant to the subject-matter of the Act it is proposed to amend, provided that such motion shall be carried by at least 15 affirmative votes.
In this case no such instructions were given to the Committee on the Bill now before the Senate. If you, sir, will turn to the schedule now under consideration by the Committee, you will see that item 177 reads -
By omitting the first line of the item and inserting in its stead the following words : - “ Electrical Machines and Appliances.”
By omitting the whole of sub-item (g).
The Minister of Defence desires to submit a request for the amendment of sub-item A of item 177 of the existing Tariff, which provides for certain fixed rates of duty. It reads -
Dynamo electric machines up to the capacity of 200 b.p. ; static transformers and indication coils for all purposes; electric fans, ad valorem, 20 per cent. .
The Minister desires to add words providing that on. and after a certain date the duties shall be 25 per cent, under the general Tariff, and 20 per cent, on goods manufactured in the United Kingdom. My contention is that, in accordance with our practice, which has been laid down with regard to Bills to amend Acts, it is not possible for us to deal with anything except so much as may be presented to us in so many words in the amending Bill. This Bill being one of that kind, my contention is that the only portion of the Bill upon which we can submit any request is as to the four lines contained after the number 177. If we had seen fit, we could have made an alteration in the first line of the item. The next opportunity presented for making an alteration was with regard to the proposal to omit the whole of sub-item g. But the whole of that sub-item, I submit, is the only sub- item in item 177 of the Tariff which we are amending that we are entitled to deal with at all. We have no power whatever to deal with the other subitems contained in item 177. It will be observed that in this Bill, after amendments of items 178 and 179 of the “Tariff, items 180 and 181 are skipped. The other House has deliberately abstained from making amendments in those two items. We should be exceeding our powers if we proposed to amend them. I contend that, in exactly the same way, we have no right to amend any sub-item in item 177 except sub-item g, which is referred to us. It must be remembered that taxation measures are dealt with in Committee by the other House before a Bill is brought in. When a Bill is introduced including the decisions arrived at in Committee, the other House itself is confined absolutely to the particular items included by the Committee in the Bill. By parity of reasoning, we surely cannot have greater powers over such a Bill than are possessed ‘by the other House, even if our own Standing Orders did not disqualify us from making requests on items that are not before ais in the Bill.
– This is one of the most extraordinary attempts to clip the ;powers of the Senate which has ever been attempted, and if tit were successful it would do more to make this Chamber a mere recording House than has ever been done in our history. Obviously, when this Bill comes before us, it brings item 177 of the Tariff under our purview. In doing so, it makes a proposition regarding the item. Senator Gould’s contention is that we have not the power, which another place has, of considering item 177 as a whole. The honorable senator was entirely incorrect in saying that the other House could not amend item 177 in any way it thought fit. If that item is brought before the «other House in accordance with the GovernorGeneral’s message, they can amend it in any way they please. Senator Gould “is asking you to rule that item 177 as a whole does not come before us at all, but that we have only to deal with the actual contents of the Bill. Consequently, he contends that all that we can do is to request an amendment of, or to reject, or to accept, the wording of it. “That is an extraordinary proposition. Item 177 of the Tariff includes a number of -sub-items from a to g. The other House makes a proposition to us regarding subitem g. Senator Gould says that we cannot make a request with regard to any other sub-item than that. There is also this important point. “ Under sub-item o, if we give effect to it, these articles become dutiable in the same category as articles under sub-items a and b. By the adoption of the proposition of the other House, therefore, we do affect subitems a and b. That is to say, we bring articles under those sub-items which are not there now. Senator Gould actually contends that we can adopt the proposition of the other House, making the articles dutiable under sub-items a and b, but that we cannot alter the rate of duty applicable to a and b ; that we can only make a request in regard to sub-item g. I do not think that anything more need be said on the question. Surely the Senate will not agree to have its wings clipped in this way.
– I am inclined to agree with the Minister of Defence. Unless we had the power to make requests in regard to the whole of an item, brought before us by an amending Bill, our powers would be seriously curtailed. Senator Millen moved for a request omitting from the item in the Bill the words” By omitting.” That request was defeated. It having been defeated, surely the whole of item 177 is now before us. The Minister of Defence desires to move a request with regard to electrical appliances. It does not matter whether or not that request affects an amendment of the Tariff carried by another place. The whole item is in front of us, and it is within the province of the Senate to consider any request regarding it which any honorable senator may choose to move, whether affecting electrical appliances, or any other of the articles mentioned in the item. I think that the Minister’s contention is correct, and, if upheld, will make for maintaining the rights of the Senate.
– I think that the question to be considered by you, Mr. President, is whether the ruling that has already been laid down for the guidance of the Senate, and that has been followed hitherto, has, or has not, curtailed our powers. It is not a question of whether the Minister desires that our powers shall not be curtailed. Our practice has already been established. I am sorry to confess that I really think that Senator Gould is -correct in his contention having regard : to the rulings that have been given in the past, and that have been upheld by the Senate. I, therefore, do not think that it is competent for the Committee to deal with the whole of item 177.
– It has always been held that we could amend any particular section of an Act dealt with by an amending Bill before the Committee of the Senate.
– That is the point which the President will have to determine. The Minister contends that, by omitting sub-item g of item 177 we affect sub-items a and b. That is to say, we take “ generators for direct coupling to steam turbines “ out of the general Tariff of 5 per cent., and free when the goods are made in the United Kingdom, and those articles then fall under another classification. That is to say we must assume that the other House in passing sub-item g had in contemplation what would happen to the goods.
– Are we not also to have that in contemplation?
– Exactly. We must assume that the other House had the destination of the goods in contemplation - whether they would become free or dutiable at a higher or lower rate of duty. In bringing sub-item g before us in this Bill they ask us to concur with them. They assume that we shall contemplate the destination of the goods just as we must assume that they did. The Minister says that the goods will be dealt with under subitems a and b. I think that point was mentioned by Senator Millen in Committee. He argued that, therefore, we have a right to propose requests in a and b. But I would ask the Minister whether it would have been competent for this Committee - assuming that the articles mentioned in sub-item g had fallen into item 171, instead of into sub-item a and b - to have gone back and amended that item?
– It would not have been necessary. We could then have shaped our own request in another form.
– That may be. But suppose that we struck out sub-item g, where would “ generators for direct coupling to steam- turbines “ fall under the Tariff? I have always feared that under certain rulings which have been given in the past, our powers in the matter of dealing with Bills which have come to us from the House of Representatives have been very much curtailed. I admit that it is open to the President, if he sees his way clear to do so, to extend the rule in regard to the competence of the Committee to deal with such measures. If there be anything in the argument -of the Minister, that as sub-item g has been omitted, and as the articles enumerated in it fall automatically into sub-items a and b, we are at liberty to amend those sub-items, by a parity of reasoning if the articles in question had fallen into some other item of the Tariff, we should have been equally entitled to amend that item. Such a process of reasoning will not hold for a moment.
– Like other honorable senators, I was under the impression that we were at liberty to discuss item 177 under its various sub-items a, b, and g.
– Why not c, d, and: e?
– I am speaking of the sub-items which are presented in thisBill. My opinion was that the Committee could deal with sub-item a, then with subitem b, and then with sub-item g; and it was on that understanding that the Temporary Chairman gave his ruling. I thought that after the Committee had disposed of sub-items a and b I would be at liberty to speak upon the general’ question of whether generators for direct coupling to steam turbines should be omitted. Otherwise, we should have had’ either to accept or reject the whole item. After all, it is a question of whether we should deal with the item in its entirety or whether we should be afforded an opportunity to analyze the various portions of it. For that reason, if the ruling of the Temporary Chairman be not upheld, the Committee will be limited in the exercise of the powers which have been conferred’ upon it by the Constitution.
– I have no desire to prolong this discussion. But if honorable senators choose to turn up the records of the debate which took place upon the last Tariff, they will see that .the Chairman of Committees of that time laid it down very clearly that we were not at liberty to go back upon any item which had already been dealt with. I would ask you,, sir, to note that during the present discussion we have already been refused permission to go back to items mentioned in the Tariff, but not actually amended. I refer particularly to item 54, in connexion with which Senator Gould desired to move an amendment.
– Dealing with a subject which was not under review.
– I hold that we cannot anticipate the decision of the Committee by reviewing some item which may later on be amended.
– I understand that the position as stated by the Temporary Chairman is that, upon item 177, a request for an amendment was moved, which was defeated. After that, the Minister of Defence submitted a request for an amendment to add to the end of sub-item a certain words. Objection has been taken that the item is not under consideration, and it has been pointed out by Senator Chataway that, in considering such a provision,” the practice has been to prevent the Committee from going back upon anything that it has done. But I would point out that it is not proposed that the Committee should go back upon anything that it has done. In regard to what Senator Keating has said, I cannot find any record in our procedure relating to Tariff matters of any objection having been taken to the Committee dealing with a particular matter under the heading of the item which was under consideration at the time. Senator Gould has contended that if the Committee were allowed to deal with item 177, and decided to request the imposition of an increased duty upon it, the House of Representatives, seeing that it would not have power to amend it under the Bill as introduced, would not have power to amend it at the request of the Senate. But I would point out that on two or three occasions the Senate has requested an increase in the duty upon particular items which were not touched by the other branch of the Legislature, and that it has agreed to those requests, and amended the Tariff accordingly. The Committee would be stultified if it were not allowed to deal with items which are specifically mentioned in the Bill. Senator Gould asked me to suppose that the articles mentioned in subitem g had some connexion with items which are not mentioned in the schedule at all, such as items 80 and 81 of the Tariff. I submit that the Committee would not have power to deal with them, but, as item 177 is under consideration, no question is involved of the Committee going back upon anything that it has previously done. In the interests of freedom of consideration by the Senate, I am of opinion that the request proposed by the Minister is in order, and that the Temporary Chairman was perfectly right in ruling to that effect.
-Before you leave the Chair, sir, am I to understand that, under your ruling, the whole of item 177 is open for consideration ? There are a number of other items which occupy a similar position, and I should like to be clear on the point.
– In the Bill, no sub-items, save sub-item g of item 177, is mentioned. The remaining sub-items are only set out in the paper which has been issued for the information of honorable senators. If, according to my ruling, item 177 is open for consideration, certainly the whole of it will be open for consideration.
– If sub-item g is to be eliminated, we ought certainly to give preference to imports from the United Kingdom. I should like to’ know whether the Minister now takes the trouble to raise the duty in the general Tariff by 5 per cent., so as to enable a duty of 20 per cent, to be charged on the British-made article. I understand that nearly the whole of our imported machines - two-thirds of them, according to his own statement - come from Great Britain. Has there been an increased importation from Germany and the United States to make it necessary that we should increase the duty by 5 per cent., in order to get the articles from Great Britain at 20 per cent. ? We are entitled, I submit, to know whether the imports from foreign countries are increasing in greater proportion to the imports from Great Britain?
Question - That the request to add to sub-item a be agreed to (Senator Pearce’ s request) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 17
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Request agreed to.
Question - That the request to add to sub-item b be agreed to - resolved in the affirmative.
. -I cannot very well move a request regarding the amendment to omit the whole of sub-item g, but I think that if the Committee agree to the proposal, they will make a mistake.
– Vote against it.
– I ask honorable senators to vote against the omission of the sub-item.
– If we vote for the omission of the sub-item, we shall do something which will be injurious to a very big industry in Australia.
– If there is no request regarding sub-item g, I shall declare that part of the item passed.
– I want to get an expression of opinion from honorable senators, sir.
The TEMPORARYCH AIRMAN . - It will be necessary for the honorable senator to submit a request if he desires a change to be made.
– I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to further amend the item by leaving out the words “ By omitting the whole of subitem (c).”
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 7
Motion (by Senator McGregor) agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until half-past 10 o’clock a.m. to-morrow.
Senate adjourned at 11.29p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 18 December 1911, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1911/19111218_senate_4_63/>.