4th Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Assent to the following Bills reported : -
Royal Commissions Bill.
Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill.
Senator SAYERS presented a petition from seventyseven timberworkers, settlers, farmers, and others in North Queensland, praying that a Commission be appointed to inquire into the timber industry of Australia.
Petition received and read.
– Can the VicePresident of the Executive Council now reply to the question I asked on the 1st August, 1912, as to how many of the appointments published in the Argus of 27 th July, were those of persons hitherto outside the Public Service?
– Yes. The number of persons appointed by the Government, who were outside the Public Service, was as follows : - Treasury, 2 ; External Affairs, 22 ; Defence, 44; Trade and Customs, 11; Home Affairs, 15; PostmasterGeneral,1; total, 95. The number of those appointed on the recommendation of the Public Service Commissioner, who were outside the Public Service, was four.
– Can the Minister representing the Postmaster-General make a statement in regard to the renewal of the contract for conveying mails between the mainland and Tasmania?
– Negotiations in respect to the Tasmanian mail service are still proceeding. It is hoped that in a few days finality will be reached, and that an announcement will be made.
-I wish to ask the Minister representing the Minister of
Trade and Customs the following question : -
Seeing that the bounties, under the Act of 1907, on flax, hemp, jute, linseed, rice, cigar leaf, preserved fish, and dried fruits expired on the 30th June last, which, if any, of these bounties does the Government propose to renew?
– In all probability the bounties on the articles named by the honorable senator will be renewed with certain modifications, and a Bill will be introduced later in the session disclosing those modifications.
– Will the Minister of Defence obtain and lay upon the table of the Library, a return showing the hours worked by the non-commissioned officers on the Military Instructional Staff at Launceston, Tasmania, during the past year?
– With regard to the regulations which honorable, senators receive so frequently, and so copiously, and the evident difficulty of keeping them in anything like order, especially considering the number of amendments, will the Vice-President of the Executive Council consider the advisableness of having issued periodically to honorable senators at least the more important of these regulations in something like a bound form?
– This question has already been put. A suggestion has been made, and steps with respect to it are under consideration.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers : -
Census and Statistics Act 1905 -
Regulations relating to Quarterly Returns of House Rents by House Agents. - Statutory Rules 1912, No. 184.
Chinese Students and Merchants - Conditions of admission to the Commonwealth for certain limited periods.
Defence Act 1903-1911. - Regulations, amendments, &c. (Provisional) -
Military Forces -
Statutory Rules 1912, Nos. 170, 175, and 183.
Universal Training -
Statutory Rules 1912, Nos. 174, 176, 177, 178, 180, 181, and 182.
Electoral Act 1902-1911 -
Redistribution Scheme, Queensland - Further Report and Map furnished by the Commonwealth Electoral Boundaries Commission.
Redistribution Scheme, Western AustraliarFurther Report and Map furnished by the Commonwealth Electoral Boundaries Commission.
Excise Act 1901. - New Regulation 137. - Statutory Rules 1912, No.172.
Government House, Sydney - Copy of Correspondence between the Government of the Commonwealth and the Government of New South Wales respecting occupancy by the Governor-General.
Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act 1908-1909 - Statement re Pensions, for year ended 30th June, 1912.
Lands Acquisition Act1906 -
Land Acquired -
At Merredin, Western Australia - For Postal purposes.
At Davenport, South Australia - For Commonwealth purposes.
At Redbank, Queensland- For Defence purposes
At Bogan Gate, New South Wales- For Postal purposes.
At Fremantle, Western Australia - For Postal purposes.
At Pinkenba, Queensland - For Postal purposes.
Land disposed of -
At Bordertown, South Australia.
Northern Territory Lands Acquisition Ordi nance1911 - Land acquired under, at Goyder (Hundred of), County of Palmerston, Northern Territory - For experimental farms.
Panama Canal - Copy of Telegram and Despatch from the Secretary of State for the Colonies . stating the views ofHis Majesty’s Government on the subject of tolls to be levied on vessels passingthrough the Panama Canal.
Papua. - Ordinance of 1912, No. 8. - Supplementary Appropriation- of 1911-12, No. 4.
Post and Telegraph Act 1901-1910. - Regulations, amended, &c. -
Statutory Rules 1912, Nos. 130, 142, 143, 147.156,157,and158.
Public Service Act 1902-1911 -
Appointments, Promotions, &c. -
Department of Home Affairs -
Mr. Haslam, Draughtsman, Class F, Lands and Survey Branch.
Postmaster-General’s Department, Central Staff-
Department of Trade and Customs - C. B. Cantwell, Clerk, Fourth Class.
New Regulation 166A. - Statutory Rules 1912, No. 179.
Seat of Government. - Ordinance No. 4 of 1912 - Public Health.
Wireless Telegraphy Act 1905. - Amendment (provisional) of Regulation 2. - Statutory Rules 1912, No. 146.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator McGregor) read a first time.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives without amendment.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Findley) read a first time.
Debate resumed from 1st August (vide page 1543), on motion by Senator McGregor -
That the Budget-papers be printed.
– Before considering the details disclosed in the Budget-papers, I wish to acknowledge the wisdom and courtesy of the Government in giving the Senate at so early a stage of the session an opportunity to discuss our financial position, which is the most important feature of government. I intend without apology to go into it pretty extensively. It is apparent to every member of both Houses of this Parliament, and is becoming more and more patent to every citizen of the Commonwealth, that our taxation and expenditure, and our finances generally, have arrived at such a condition as to require the most careful investigation and thought that can be bestowed upon them. My views on the figures disclosed in the Budget-papers, which I have taken the trouble to examine carefully, will be recorded during this debate. I have chosen, first, a reference to the population of the Commonwealth as a starting point from which all who choose to discuss our finances may determine their course. It is really the foundation of every development, financial and otherwise. In 1901, the population of Australia was3,775,356. According to the Budget-papers, the estimated population in 1912 is 4,700,000. During that period our increase of population averaged but 1.8 per cent. per annum.
– Has the honorable senator the average increase for the two years during which the Labour Government have been in power?
– If the honorable senator had not been so quick in interjecting, he would have known that Iwas not seeking to attribute this low average to the fact that any particular Government had been in office. I have merely reduced the analysis of our taxation expenditure to a percentage form, in order that the contrast may be made more vivid. One remarkable circumstance - and it is as alarming as it is remarkable - is that during the years 1910-11, ending with the year 191 1, as compared with the years 1906-7, ending with the year 1907, the Commonwealth Government imposed additional taxation upon the people to the extent of £4,702,232. During the same period the States were able to discharge their functions by the imposition of only £208,563 of increased taxation. I submit that these figures show that the Commonwealth, so far as taxation is concerned, is coming down with a heavy hand upon the people.
– Hear, hear !
– The honorable senator says, “ Hear, hear !” It may be that his is the voice of a millionaire; but to the ordinary individual, upon whom this taxation will fall most heavily, the position is one which demands grave consideration.
– I am not a millionaire.
– The honorable senator is always interesting and instructive, and I shall be glad to hear a full explanation from him as to what he meant by interjecting “Hear, hear!” If he meant that the imposition of this additional taxation is. to be commended, it is well that we should know it.
– Would the honorable senator repeal any of our taxation ?
– That question is always the refuge of the Government. I intend to let the figures speak for themselves, because, when we are discussing the financial position of the Commonwealth, it is not . a very statesmanlike way of overcoming the difficulty which I have presented by inquiring, “Who did it?” or “What did you do?” My reply to the Minister of Defence is that it is not for me to say what is right or wrong in connexion with this expenditure. It is for the Government to justify their taxation policy.
– Does not the honorable senator think that the people ought to know what he himself would do?
– When the electors choose to reinstate in power the party with which I am associated, if I can imagine myself in the position of Treasurer, there will be no delay in pronouncing what taxation shall be imposed and what taxation shall be remitted.
– The honorable senator wishes the people to give him a blank cheque in the meantime?
– That is merely a parrot cry, which is raised by honorable senators opposite upon every conceivable opportunity. I repeat that, during the period 1910-11, which marks the accession to power of the Labour Government, additional taxation has been imposed to the extent of£4,702,232, whilst during the same period the State Governments have discharged all their functions, with the aid of increased taxation to the extent of only £208,000. It may be that the Minister of Defence will be able to show that the money thus raised has been well spent. But it is part of my duty to point out this striking fact.
– What additional taxation have we imposed?
– I said that taxation to the extent I have indicated has been imposed. If the honorable member chooses to urge that the Opposition are to blame for that increase, by all means let him seek that refuge. But I am speaking from a point of view in which the public are becoming daily more interested. Where is the increase of taxation going to end? If it is not going to end, how are we to continue to carry on?
– If the honorable senator condemns it, he should suggest some alternative.
– I am not the Treasurer. I am merely analyzing the figures, with a view to showing their significance. Let me now present the position from a per capita stand-point. During 1906-7 our taxation amounted to £3 6s. 2d. per capita, during 1910-11 it rose to £4 3s.10d. per capita, and during 1911-12 it was . £4 7s. per ‘capita. That is to say that, during the brief period I have outlined, our taxation increased 30 per cent. per capita. There is no country in the world in which the per capita taxation is higher than it is in Australia. When we find such an enormous increase in our taxation, it becomes a subject for alarm, and it is the duty of the Treasurer to point out how far he intends to proceed in this direction.
– We are likely to increase the taxation which we have imposed.
– 1 am glad to hear that statement from Senator de Largie, who is such a very effective whip for his party. I am glad to hear it acknowledged that the party opposite contemplate more and more taxation. But surely the taxpayers have a right to have the whole position analyzed, and to receive a clear expression from the Treasurer as to how he is likely to raise the taxation, and . what effect it is likely to have on the people. The figures as to expenditure are equally significant. I am convinced that the word “alarming” is not an improper one to apply under the circumstances. In 1907-8 the Commonwealth was able to carry on with a sum of £6,162,129. In 1908-9 the expenditure rose to £6,420,398. In 1909- 30 it rose to £7,449,517. I have chosen the period 1907 to 1910 to mark that in which the Labour Socialistic Government was not in office. I come now to the expenditure required by the Commonwealth for the years in which they were in office. In 1910-11, the expenditure was ,£13,158,529. In 1911-12 it was £14,721,938, and the estimate for 1912-13, £i4,343<25°- That is to say, immediately after the accession of the present Government to the Treasury Bench, the expenditure rose from i millions to, roughly, 14J million pounds. In other words, the expenditure during their term of office has risen 33 per cent per annum. Let it be remembered, also, that while they have been in office the average increase in population was only 1.9 per cent. When we find expenditure going up at the rate of 33 per cent, per annum, whilst the population increases slowly, we cannot envy the position of a Treasurer who can contemplate the position with equanimity.
– But look at the sort of Government we have got !
– That is the reason why I am making these remarks. Look at the legislation we have had from this Government !
– The country is bounding forward every day.
– My honorable friend’s countryman, and poet, Robert Burns, exclaimed, “Oh ! Lord, gie us a good conceit o’ ourseld i” There are none who should take that observation more to heart than my honorable friends opposite. Take the total cost of the Commonwealth Departments during a period of about ten years. I do not intend to cast any party reflection, because the figures will show that there has been an increase of a somewhat alarming nature in the cost of these Departments. To save time as much as possible, I shall give round figures. For the year 1902 the Departments cost us £3,733,000. In 1905 the expenditure rose to £4,322,000. In 1907 it rose to £6,162,000. In 1909-10, a year which I emphasize for obvious reasons, the expenditure rose to £7,449,000. By 1910-11 it had risen to £13,158,000, and in 1911-12 to £14,736,000. For the present year the estimate is £14,343,000. That is to say, from 1901-2 to 1909-10 the cost of the various Commonwealth Departments rose about 100 per cent. Averaging the nine years, the cost was 11 per cent, per annum, whilst in 1910 to 1913 the increase was 100 per cent., or at the . rate of 33 per cent, annually, which is certainly a most alarming increase. I shall deal with the in.crease of expenditure from another point of view after I have given other figures. I desire honorable members to contemplate these figures in relation to the position outlined to us before Federation. I have shown that the cost of the Departments has risen to more than ,£14,000,000. Whenwe went into Federation, the estimated COSt, as furnished by the ablest financiers in the Commonwealth, in a document which went forth to all Australia, and was published as a reason why we should not be alarmed about the cost of Federation, was that the expenditure incurred in the exercise of the rights and powers conferred by the Constitution would amount to £300,000. In plain language, that meant that the expenditure on purely Federal service would cost no more than £300,000 additional. It was further estimated that the cost of the services transferred from the States would be £3,005,400, whilst the revenue derived from transferred services would be .£1,755,400, leaving the net expenditure at £1,250,000, making a total expenditure of £1,550,000. When we compare the actual expenditure to-day with the estimate madeby the Federal Convention just before Federation, we must be inclined to feelings of alarm. It may be that the able financiers of that time were baffled in their efforts to anticipate the future; or it may be that it was not then within the power of any financier or statesman to anticipate what our needs would be under Federation; or it may be that, at last, the Commonwealth is practically in the control of a Government which has, so to speak, taken the bit between its teeth, and is carrying expenditure up to a point which threatens to wreck the Commonwealth. The principal sources of revenue upon which the Government rely for carrying out their work are Customs and Excise. I do not think it will be seriously disputed now that the burden of Customs and Excise is largely borne by the population as a whole. Whether they receive an equivalent compensation by the institution of industries is a question which, at this stage, neither the Government nor possibly the Opposition are prepared to discuss from a full-dress point of view. But the amount of taxation received from these two sources is certainly a very heavy one. In 1906-7, we received ,£9,648,000; in 1909-10, ^11,593,000; in 1910-11, £12, 980,000; :ind in 1911-12, £14,710,000. The revenue from these sources, for 1912-13 is estimated at ,£14,511,000. It is certain that that estimate is going to be exceeded, and it is highly probable that it will equal the amount received in 1911-12, namely, £14,710,000, and probably reach £15,000,000. It is not seriously contended by any political party that this taxation is not largely paid by the whole of the population in proportion to their means and spending power. Let us now glance at the additional taxation which has been imposed by the present Government. In 1910-11, the land tax yielded £1, 370,000; in 1911-12, ,£1,366,000; and this year it is estimated to yield £1,300,000. The present Government collected from Customs and Excise and land tax in 1910-11, £14,350,000; in 1911-12, ,£16,076,000; and expect to collect in 1912-13 ,£15,811,000. I venture to say that the Government of no other country, in proportion to its population, are collecting so much taxation. I venture to say that nowhere else has a civilized Government, within a period of three years, had the expenditure and the taxation of the country mounting up so swiftly and so alarmingly. Reducing these large figures to a per capita basis, we find that, in 1906-7, the taxation from Customs and Excise alone - I am omitting now the land tax - was £2 6s. 9 1/4 d. per capita, while in 1912-13 it is estimated to rise to £3 is. 9fd., or, plus the land tax, to £3 7s- 7§ d. 6 Not only has the Customs and Excise taxation very largely increased, but, added to the incidence of the land tax, which is shared by at least two-thirds, and possibly by four-fifths, of the workers of Australia, shows, as compared with the figures for 1906-7, an increase of 54 per cent. A school-boy in finance must address himself to the question : How far is this increase of taxation to go? If we can bear, during succeeding years, this remarkable increase of taxation and expenditure, we are possibly the most wonderful country and the most wonderful people on earth.
– Hear, hear !
– The Minister of Defence may take consolation,, in his “Hear, hear!” in that matter. ° He is not the Treasurer, and his responsibilities, probably by reason of that, lie lightly upon him. But, apart from that jeer, it is a somewhat remarkable fact that, when in either House finance is dealt with seriously, the other side will never debate the position. They will go outside, so to speak, rather than face, not us, but the figures.
– The difficulty is that you will not tell us what part of the taxation you propose to reduce.
– That is your difficulty, not mine. Of course, nowadays, through legislation, and possibly a trend of thought, whenever a person is in any difficulty, financial or otherwise, he tries to put that difficulty” on to somebody else. We have had remarkable instances of it here in the form of legislation. Five or six times the Minister of Defence, showing that the “galled jade is wincing,” has thrown out that gibe to US, “What do you propose to do to lessen taxation ? What do you propose to do to lessen expenditure?” My retort again is, “ The responsibility is yours.” But I shall meet the Minister upon the ground which he suggests.
– We shouldered. the responsibility, and you object to what we have done, and now we want you to say what you think we ought to do.
– The Minister always displays his weakness by being too clever by half, and he is not going to take me off the track. It is a position which he and the Treasurer must face sooner or later, if not here, then outside. In the face of this alarming increase of expenditure and taxation, a Treasurer is not true to his responsibility who does not face the position, and who does not succeed in showing that, while the taxation and the expenditure are increasing, there are financial measures, or natural resources, which will enable political parties in these
Houses to face the position with equanimity. It may be that the Treasurer, in his brain, knows how he can go on; it may be that, in the exercise of that gigantic financial talent which he is known to possess, he may be able, at a moment which may be considered opportune to him, to reveal easily, with the wave of a magic wand, how the expenditure and the taxation may go on increasing. But I submit that the financing of no country is worked out by the wave of a magic wand. It is a matter of figures. There is no other country in the world which has ever stood the strain of increasing expenditure and taxation of this kind without sooner or later coming, if I may use the language of the boulevard, a severe financial cropper. The man who supports the Government, even the ordinary man in the street, is becoming alarmed at the position. When this statement was brought down from the Treasury in another place, in the face of these almost Himalayan figures, we ought to have had a clear and frank explanation from the Treasurer of what they meant - whether he was going to continue that strain, and, if so, how the country was to bear it.
– Do not get excited.
– Not at all. I am afraid that the honorable senator is not content, and may I say satisfied, almost jubilant, at the helpless financial position into which the Government are drifting.
– Oh, we are all right.
– I shall have something to say on the Budget-papers, and it is with some grim satisfaction from the party point of view that I have taken out these figures, because I think it is due to the Government, as well as to the people, that these things should be pointed out, if not rubbed in. There is another remarkable fact about this financial statement. It is a repetition of every financial statement which has been delivered by the other side. In a financial statement the Treasurer has never disclosed a surplus. It would be impossible, it would be almost treason, to infer that it could disclose a deficit.
– ls not that good finance ?
– No, it is absurd finance, because, never in the history of the States, or probably in the history of the Empire, has a Treasurer been able time after time to forecast his revenue and his expenditure down to the last farthing, and to say that there shall be no surplus or deficit. It is utterly childish to say that any financial statement, if submitted tocareful investigation by a competent authority, will not reveal something of a surplus, or something of a deficit. In framing his financial statement, the Treasurer ought to remember that’, because if his surplus is excessive, then, except for special circumstances, it is a sign that he is overtaxing, the people, while, if it reveals a deficit, it is a sign that his services are more exacting than he anticipated, and he is bound to give Parliament a full explanation of how he intends to provide for the deficit. But nosuch difficulty confronts, or has ever confronted, and if I may anticipate their future, ever will confront the other side with regard to either a surplus or a deficit, because, after the Treasurer has, with the aid of his officials, forecast the revenue and the expenditure, he is able to come down to Parliament and say, “ I have balanced the accounts to the last farthing.” I have no hesitation in saying that such a financial statement is on the face of it impossible, or ridiculous, or both. With such taxation as we have according to the Treasurer’s own statement, we are just able tobalance the revenue and the expenditure. That means that every call which the Government has for the financial year is provided for. If that be the point of view from which he presents his financial statement, and if it does not forecast the futurebeyond that, then he is unfit for his position, and unfit to deal with the immediate and pressing financial responsibility of the Commonwealth. It is ostrich finance for the Treasurer, under the present conditions and requirements of the Commonwealth, tobalance his accounts to the last farthing, to close his books, so to speak, and tolight the Parliament for the position in which he is. That is not finance as the Commonwealth needs it. There are many commitments which must be immediately faced, and some of them if not realized may imperil the existence of the Commonwealth. No Treasurer, who takes his duty seriously, can refuse todiscuss these questions. If these matters have occurred to the Treasurer of the Commonwealth he has certainly not taken Parliament into his confidence. What are the commitments which we must immediately face? The first is the transcontinental railway, connecting Port Augusta with Kalgoorlie, the first sod of which was happily laid during the recent Senate recess. That work must be gone on with rapidly. It cannot stop at the end of the year 1912. Will the Vice-President of the Executive Council seriously contend that the Treasurer’s statement gives us any idea of where the money is to come from to construct that railway? We have been informed, time and again, that it will cost between £4,000,000 and £5,000,000. We know that estimates of the cost of railway construction are frequently exceeded. As a matter of policy to which all parties are committed, that railway, once begun, must be carried out. The position in which the Treasurer is today is that he is spending every penny, and does not give even an indefinite idea of how he expects to find the money to carry out this important work. Is that a Treasurer’s statement? In my opinion, it is a conscious farce, and a wilful delusion of the people.
– Does the honorable senator think that the Treasurer should bring down a statement covering expenditure until doomsday?
- Senator Guthrie is seeking another refuge from this storm of criticism. I am not asking about doomsday, but about work which has to be done to-morrow. I may retort upon the honorable senator by asking whether he desires that the construction of this railway should be deferred until doomsday? I know that he wishes it to be carried out as rapidly as possible. Can he tell me where the money for its construction is to come from?
– There is plenty ot money for to-morrow.
– That is the reply of the spendthrift. The more the figures are examined, and the oftener honorable senators opposite interject, the more clear it becomes, either that the Treasurer does not understand the financial position, or that his supporters are content, with the spendthrift, to go on spending to-day and let to-morrow take care of- itself. If that be not so we are entitled to learn from the Treasurer, or his supporters, where the money for these works is _ to come from, and where, provision having been made for them, we shall find ourselves financially. In the Treasurer’s statement, and in the debate which took place in another place, no light was thrown upon these important questions.
– Would the honorable senator sooner go to the three-ball man and borrow, and let the day after tomorrow provide for the payment?
– Here is another honorable senator trying to get in out of the wet. He asks me whether 1 would borrow, and look to the day after to-morrow for payment? I am asking a question which was asked sixty or seventy years ago, and which, probably, will be asked sixty or seventy years hence, and I meet with a reply which is the usual reply from a Government, or their supporters, when their opponents are driving home their criticism. I will answer in, I think, the words of Sir Robert Peel, “ The doctor does not prescribe until he is called in.” The Opposition have, in both Houses, time and again, assisted the Government to make effective measures that, as introduced, were ludicrously defective. But on matters of finance we are not called upon to inform the Government as to the measures we should take.
-Colonel Cameron. - The honorable senator is assisting them now, by good advice.
– I do not think that I am called upon to go further than give the Government good advice. My speech may be more properly regarded as comment and warning.
– The honorable senator does not seriously contend that this is criticism?
– If Senator Henderson does not understand it as such, he must blame his Maker, and not me. It is not my fault if he has not sufficient understanding to discriminate between comment and criticism. It is the figures that are talking, and not I. A school boy, knowing the figures, would understand how much of what I say is comment, and how much is warning. Senator Blakey has asked me whether I would go to the three-ball man. That is one of those absurd and ridiculous expressions which contain nothing, and whose purpose it is to play down to the prejudices and passions of those people outside who do not understand anything but Socialistic finance.
– Borrowing is what trie honorable senator believed in, when he voted for the Naval Loan Bill.
– I do not know why a man should be asked to waste his breath in making the statement that 2 and 2 make 4. I spoke strongly, and voted in favour of the Naval Loan Bill, and, coming direct to the point, I can say, on my own responsibility, as a member of the Opposition, that I certainly should be prepared to borrow for future reproductive works.
– Is a navy a reproductive work?
– That is a matter of the past. My remarks were directed to developmental and reproductive expenditure upon railway ‘ construction. I have candidly answered the honorable member, and have said that for such expenditure as I have mentioned I should at once go to the money market. Will the honorable senator tell me that he does not approve of that method, and, if so, what method he thinks should be adopted to find the money to carry out these important undertakings? It shows more markedly than anything else the utter dearth of financial ability, or the utter recklessness with which they deal with finance, that when we on this side suggest alternative methods of finance, honorable senators opposite are silent, and neither the Vice-President of the Executive Council nor any of his supporters will definitely say where they expect to raise the money for the building of these railways, and the carrying out of the various commitments to which every political party in the Commonwealth is pledged. In the Northern Territory, we are committed to a railway by some route or another from Pine Creek to Oodnadatta. The estimates for that work are, roughly, from £10,000,000 to ,£12,000,000, and some say £14,000,000.
– Does the honorable senator say ,£14,000,000?
– I said quite plainly that that is the estimate made by some people.
– Who are “ some “ people ?
– Engineers, newspapers, and others. Leaving that on one side, the estimates of the cost of this work by persons of greater or less authority run from ,£7, 000,000 to £12,000,000. In the light of past experience, we know that we shall not be likely to build that railway for less than £4,000 a mile, and, at that rate, the total cost will be very nearly £5,000,000.
– That is a long way from ,£14,000,000.
– Let it be so. Let us put it at that figure, and then, with the cost of the railway from Pine
Creek” to Oodnadatta, we are faced with a probable expenditure of ,£10,000,000. We have to take into consideration OU[ commitments in connexion with the Federal Capital. What provision is being madeby the Government to meet all this expenditure? So far as revenue and taxation are concerned, a limit is already reached. Two of the greatest of our national undertakings which must be carried on at once, and vigorously, if they are to serve their purpose, are left, so to speak, in the air. The Treasurer has not vouchsafed a single definite statement as to where the money to carry them out is tocome from.
– We shall find the money.
– We know that when Caesar speaks, the whole world nods, but even Caesar should tell us how it is that when he speaks the world will nod. If Senator de Largie or the Treasurer knows where the money is to come from, why do they not take the people into their confidence? It will not be Senator de Largie or the Treasurer who will find the money. In the long run, it will have to be found by the taxpayers of Australia. It must be found immediately, and the Treasurer should condescend, now that these works have to be undertaken, to tell the people where the money is to come from. Honorable members opposite remain like dumb-driven cattle, and are unable to answer the question. This year these works will have to be proceeded with. The Commonwealth desires that they shall be proceeded with as rapidly as possible. But that course cannot be adopted without the expenditure of money, and the Treasurer has not told us where that money is to be obtained.
– He wishes to surprise the honorable senator some day.
– In matters of finance we ought not to wait for surprises. I believe I am justified in saying that the Treasurer neither knows nor cares very much where he is to obtain the money with’ which to carry out these undertakings. Our immediate commitments for the construction of railways alone amount to from ,£10,000,000 to £[12,000,000. Assuming that this money has to be raised by loan, it will mean an increased expenditure by way of interest of not less than £600,000 per annum. I believe that the Treasurer will be driven to the money market, and the sooner he confesses that fact the better. It is obvious that if he does not raise the money which is required by means of a loan, some new source of revenue will have to be tapped. The Budget-papers show very clearly that our taxation per capita is already the highest in the world. If there are new sources of taxation which the Government intend to tap, they ought to be disclosed to Parliament without delay. Yet the Treasurer has not ventured to shed one ray of light upon this aspect of the question. It is evident to everybody, either that we are in for increased taxation, or that the Government must reverse the whole of their policy and boldly ask for a loan. We want these railways to be completed within, at the most, four or five years. To say that £12,000,000 can be taken from the pockets of the taxpayers of Australia would be to announce a startling proposition, and one which the Government dare not make. Consequently, they must raise the money by the flotation of a loan. That is a difficulty which they cannot escape. Before leaving this aspect of the matter I would like to point out how our Public Service kas increased, both from the point of view of numbers and of salaries. The number of permanent officers taken over by the Commonwealth at the inception of Federation was 11,191, and the total salaries paid to them was £1,439,938. In 1903 the number of permanent public servants had increased to 11,374, and their total salaries to £1,521,051. In 1907 their number had increased to 11,763, and thensalaries to £1,694,641. In 1910, the number of permanent public officers in the employ of the Commonwealth was 13,987, and their salaries totalled £1,935, 797- On the 30th June of the present year the number of permanent Commonwealth public officers had still further increased to 17,051, and their salaries to £2,434,051. In other words, since the inception of Federation the number of permanent public officers in Commonwealth employ has increased from 11,191 to 17,051, or very nearly 50 per cent., whilst their salaries have increased from £1,439,938 to £2,434,051 - an increase of considerably more than 65 per cent. Seeing that our population has increased by only 1.9 per cent, per annum, the Treasurer ought to take heed of the warning that he must so manage our Public Service as to keep a tight hand upon its expansion.
– How many new Departments have been taken over by the Commonwealth ?
– Very few indeed.
– What about Quarantine and other Departments?
– I am prepared to make allowance for them.
– And increased facilities have been granted to the public.
– Allowing for all those things, the fact remains that the number of our public servants, and the salaries paid to them, have increased at an extremely rapid rate. Consequently, the Treasurer requires to keep a firm hand upon the further expansion of the Public Service.
– Was there not a need for its increase?
– I have never yet read a financial statement in which charges likely to be made against a Government were not defended upon the ground that a certain course of action was necessary. That is always the answer which is given, and especially does it apply to the expenditure in our Postal Department. But, whatever may be the cause, the need does exist for the exercise of caution, so far as an increase in the number and the salaries of our public servants are concerned.
– Is the honorable senator prepared to reduce their salaries?
– The honorable senator may call me in when I am in a position to prescribe. I notice, too, that there has been a remarkable increase in the number of temporary employes of the Commonwealth during the period that the present Government have been in office. In 1906 there were 1,766 temporary employes in the service of the Commonwealth, in 1908 the number had increased to 3,220, and in 1911 to 3,867. The total amount paid in salaries to these employes is rising with almost cyclonic rapidity. For instance, in 1905 the amount paid to them was £28,481, in 1908 it was £69,754, in 1909 it had risen to £103,505, and in 1911 it had still further increased to £111,416. That is to say, the number of temporary employes between 1905 and 1911 had more than doubled, whilst the salaries paid to them had increased from approximately £28,000 to £111,000 - an increase of about 400 per cent. Let the figures speak for themselves. They do not disclose a very satisfactory condition of affairs. If it should continue, something will have to burst, and come down heavily upon somebody.
– Another Black Thursday.
– I can use no better expression. This is Black Thursday finance.
– Is that the expression which the Government apply to their own policy?
– Exactly. When a similar difficulty confronted the French Parliament, and the King’s financial advisers sought him in reference to it, his reply was, “ Don’t trouble. It will last my time.” Thereupon his advisers inquired, “And after your time, Sire?” to which he answered, “ Oh, after that, the deluge.” The finances of the Government are typical of Black Thursday. Except for some reasons which we cannot yet discern, it must be evident that a Black Thursday is coming. Possibly the Government are saying to themselves, “ Never mind. We have had ?i good innings. It will last our time, and, after that, the deluge and Black Thursday.” But if such a catastrophe does happen, at least we shall be able to say in the future that the Opposition clearly and unmistakably warned the Government against what is almost a necessary consequence of this expenditure. What answer have we from the other side? When these figures are presented honorable senators simply say, “ Well, what tax would you take off?” and make a suggestion about Black Thursday. I shall now deal with another matter revealed in the Budget-papers. I refer to the Commonwealth note circulation. We are informed, on page 68, of the circulation of these notes on the last Wednesday of certain months in the year. In December, 1910, the total value of notes in circulation was £3,389,476. On the last Wednesday of January, 191 1, the notes in circulation amounted to £3,756,694; in February, 1911, the circulation was ,£4,114,517; in March, 1911, ,£4,548,361; in February, 3912, £[10,948,472; and in June, 1912, £9,448,952.. May I emphasize the fact that those figures are worse than fallacious. They are utterly misleading. They do not reveal and are not intended to reveal, the position of Treasury notes in circulation. The Treasurer, or his officers, either do not know, or will not inform the public, that there is a vast and material difference between the issue of notes and their circula tion. I do not intend to labour that point, but merely mention it. When we are gravely informed by these figures that the circulation of notes in January, 1911, was £3,756,694, whilst in June, 1912, the circulation was £9,448,952, one can only say that either the grossest ignorance is revealed by the Treasury, or that the Treasurer and his officials must think that the public of Australia consist more or less of gulls. How could the notes which, in January, 1 91 1, circulated only to the extent of .£3,750,000, have increased in the hands of the people to £9,448,000 in 191 2? It is impossible. What is meant by these figures is that, whilst in December, 1910 - which was the last day on which the banks were allowed to circulate their own notes - there were £3,750,000 worth in circulation, the Commonwealth notes in the hands of the banks at the later date amounted to over £[9,000,000. But the Treasurer and his officials do not tell the public that the whole of these notes have not gone into circulation. They are not being used by the public. It is fair comment, under the circumstances, to say that, owing to the stupid bungling connected with the issue of Commonwealth notes, the people will not take them. We were told over and over again, “ Once we issue notes with the credit of the Commonwealth behind them, they will circulate amongst the people like shelling peas.” But they are not circulating. I hope that next time the Budget-papers are presented to Parliament the Treasurer will insist on his officials giving us a fair and sound statement of the position of the note circulation. Until Parliament has that information, it cannot tell to what extent the people are using the notes, which is not synonymous with saying to what extent the banks have them in their coffers. The bank note circulation in Australia in 1902 was £3,305,135. In 1907, it was .£3,563,181; and in 1910, £3,389,476. That is to say that up to 1910 the amount of paper in circulation - the amount which the public would take or wanted - amounted to about three and one-third millions. Surely the Treasurer does not want us to believe that two years afterwards the notes in circulation amounted to between .£9,000,000 or £10,000,000. I am entitled to say that in information furnished in an official document like the Budget-papers, there ought to be no confusion. The Treasurer and his officers ought not to circulate such mislead-, ing figures.
– Does the honorable senator think that the Treasurer told his officers to put misleading figures in the Budget-papers ?
– I do not care whether he did or not. I simply say that the figures presented to us on this subject are a humbug and a delusion. On the face of them they are ridiculous. There are not £10,000,000 of notes in circulation in this country. Undoubtedly there is a great quantity in circulation. It is hard to find the exact figures. It is the duty of the officials of the Treasury to ascertain what the note circulation is. We know that today nearly £5,000,000 worth of those notes are lying in the bank tills. The public are not asking for them. We were led to believe, when the bank note issue was started with such a flourish of trumpets, that the notes would be scattered broadcast, and that every man in the country would, to use a common expression, have a “ Fisher flimsy “ in his pocket. But that delusion has been blown to pieces. The people are not hungering for these notes, which are, for the most part, simply lying in the banks.
– Would the honorable senator refuse to take an Australian note ?
– The fact remains that there are £5,000,000 worth of notes which the public either do not want or will not have, and which are lying in the bank tills to-day. Whether I would or would not take a Commonwealth note has nothing to do with the position. The only safe guide which Parliament can have in this matter is to watch carefully the amount of the notes which go into circulation amongst the people, and the amount of gold held in the Treasury against them. I wish to point out, by way of contrast to the amount of notes which the banks hold, the gold reserve held by the Treasury. In January, 191 1, the percentage of gold in the Treasury to notes in circulation was 32.8; in December, 1911, 48.7; in June, 1912, 45.1; on the last Monday in July, 1912, the percentage was 40.9. I am going to place these figures in contrast with other figures, and the inference that I will draw from the contrast will very probably reveal itself. I have dealt with the percentage of gold reserve to the issue of the notes under the Commonwealth. Before I take the percentage of the gold reserve to the paper issued by the banks, let me give the percentage of coin and bullion in the banks to their liabilities at call, which included something more than their notes.
– Go back to 1890.
– I am going back to 1902, if the honorable senator will be satisfied.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Does he want to go back to the state of affairs at a big crisis?
– I take it thai we had a lesson in 1890 and 1893.
– Anyhow, in 1890, the banks had a bigger gold reserve against their notes than ever the Treasurer has held.
– Senator Guthrie is more or less a godsend to me by his interjections. In 1890 and 1893, a good many of the private banks had not sufficient gold reserve against their reckless liabilities. After the financial crisis of 1893 and the reconstruction schemes that followed, the banks pursued a more cautious and conservative course. I have pointed out that the financial history of Australia shows that the banks had profited by that lesson. I will now give the percentage of gold to liabilities at call during the period from 1902 to 19 rr,- when the only paper notes in circulation were those of the banks, in order to show how they had profited by the lesson of 1893. In 1902, the private banks held 51.3 per cent, of gold; in 1903, 49.5 per cent.; in 1904, 49.9 per cent. ; in 1905, 53.8 per cent. ; in 1906, 51.2 per cent. ; in 1907, 47.1 per cent.; in 1908, 50.3 per cent.; in 1909, 52.2 per cent.; in 1910, 51. 1 per cent.; and, in 191 1, 50.7 per cent. It is evident that the banks during that period were kept up by a very strong gold reserve; and it is equally clear that the Treasurer has not learnt that lesson, and that he promises to deplete his gold reserve considerably below the amount which from 1902 to 1910 all the private banks thought it necessary to preserve in their gold rooms, so to speak. When’ the percentages and figures are analyzed, it will be seen that the lowest gold reserve held by the banks through that period was less than a point per cent, lower than the highest percentage which the Treasurer proposes already to preserve. The figure is significant, and also alarming, when we know that he proposes, as soon as he can get the sanction of the people, to preserve 25 per cent, of gold to paper, while his notes in circulation will be nearly trebled. I may interpolate here a somewhat significant fact. The Treasurer has announced that he intends, after a certain time, to go on with a gold reserve of 25 per cent. Now, the Government forced through a Bill giving him power to keep only a gold reserve of 25 per cent., and practically unlimited power to issue whatever paper he chose.
– Do you know that the Treasurer cannot issue more than the banks ask him to issue?
– The honorable senator must know very well that ‘the last Act only placed a restriction of 25 per cent”, of gold against any number of notes that the Treasurer might issue.
– He cannot issue them unless the banks take them. He can only issue them to the banks.
– I understand thoroughly the want of force in the objection which is thrown out by the Minister. It does not matter for a sound consideration of this important question whether the banks will or will not take the notes ; but it does matter very much to the people whether they will or will not take the notes and use them. And it becomes a serious question for the people when, in the case of any financial paralysis, with an overissue of paper and an under-reserve of gold, they hurl their notes for redemption at the Treasury in gold. That is the important point, but I was led off for a moment. The numberless interjections from the other side show how the criticism is going home. Although the Treasurer is empowered by an Act to reserve only 25 per cent, of gold against whatever notes he may issue, not circulate, he says, “ I am not going to act upon my authority ; I shall seek the consent of the people before I alter the administration laid down under the first Act.” I thought it was an inflexible principle of Democracy to get the consent of the people before you alter an Act, and to administer it according to their consent, but we have a democratic Treasurer - he would be insulted, I suppose, if I called him anything else - who first gets an Act altered by the will of his majority in Parliament, and then says, “ I will not put the Act in force until I get the consent of the people.” It is important that the Treasurer should consider whether, in the face of the high gold reserve which the banks kept during a period of, more or less, welcome and great prosperity, he is justified in diminishing the gold reserve by one-half. Further, when he finds that after he has issued about £[10,000,000 worth of paper money the people are taking less than £5,000,000 worth, and the balance is lying in the hands of the banks, surely that ought tobe a warning to him to reconsider the position created by depleting the gold reserve. And surely it is not out of place to point out here, in Parliament, as we must do to the people, the grave danger that must arise from an unlimited power to issue notes, and a discretionary power to hold against the notes a gold reserve of only 25 per cent. Then there is another important point. Assuming that the Treasurer gets the consent of the people, and a renewal of confidence, and that he administers the Australian note issue in conformity with the principles of the last Act; assuming further that the Act will come into operation during the last half of 1913, there will be a circulation of probably £[10,000,000 worth of notes, for which he need keep only 25 per cent, of gold. In other words, he will commence some time in 1913, if, by some misfortune to the country, he is retained in office, a course of administration with a further £[1,200,000 freed from the Treasury.
– That will be very handy.
– It will be very handy to play with. When you find about one-third of the gold in the control of the Treasurer, falling into his hands from a source like that, and by the means I have described, we have a right to know what he intends to do with that addition to the gold at his disposal. Does he look upon it as a source from which to pay the first call for the maternity bonus if he passes the Bill? Surely it was not beyond his intelligence to have anticipated that position, but on that matter he is absolutely silent. A great deal has been said, and possibly will be said, with regard to the note issue in the future, and one of its great defences has been that it has followed very closely the Canadian system. If the Treasurer, or his supporters, are comforting themselves in the thought that the Australian note issue is administered on the principle of the Canadian note issue, they are labouring under one of the greatest delusions.
– Nobody has ever said that.
– Who made such a defence?
– I did not say so, because I am rather too quick to be caught in that way. What I said was that one of the great defences has been-
– By whom?
– By the Sydney Bulletin, over and over again.
– It objected because it was not the same.
– What is the statement challenged ?
– My statement is that in no respect does the administration of the Australian note issue resemble the administration of the Canadian note issue.
– No one ever said anything of the kind.
– I mention this because I wish to point out one or two things which go to show that while the Canadian Government issue their notes to a large amount they are all the time very carefully building up their gold reserves.
– It is a pity the honorable senator is not as careful in his statements.
– I have made no statement which I am called upon to’ qualify or withdraw. Before the issue of our Australian notes newspapers, having some financial reputation, urged that we should follow the Canadian system.
– But we do not.
– It was suggested to us by financial authorities outside as a model, which we might follow, or upon which, in some respects, we might improve. Financial authorities inside, as well as outside Parliament, recommended that we should follow it. I wish to refer to some remarkable differences between the Canadian system and our system in relation to the gold reserve. I quote from an article by Mr. Eckhardt, comparing the Australian and Canadian note issues, and published in the Insurance and Banking Record for 21st August, 1 91 2. Referring to the Canadian note issue he says -
The true circulation is mainly that of bank notes.
He distinguishes between circulation and issue -
The effective circulation in April, 1912, of bank notes was 86,000,000 dollars.
I ask honorable senators to mark the words the effective circulation.” because the use of that term distinguishes clearly between circulation and issue. The writer is here dealing with the amount of notes in the possession of the public for redemption at the Treasury in gold at any time. He goes on to say that the Dominion notes circulation was 17,000,000 dollars. The bank note circulation still remains in Canada. The value of its circulation, according to Mr. Eckhardt, was 86,000,000 dollars, and the Dominion note circulation was 17,000,000 dollars. The banks hold large amounts of Dominion notes for clearing and for reserve purposes, but nearly the whole is represented by gold held in the Treasury. I deal with this matter as a warning, and almost an entreaty to the Treasurer to reconsider his proposal to diminish the gold reserve for our Australian notes -
Against the first 30,000,000 dollars an amount of 25 per cent, has to be held in specie, and over that amount dollar for dollar.
Assuming that this writer is correct his statement is that the Canadian Government issue a little over £6,000,000 of Dominion notes, and hold in reserve against them 25 per cent, in gold. The Government now propose to permit the Commonwealth Treasurer to issue what Australian notes he pleases, and to still remain content with a 25 per cent, gold reserve. With a bank note circulation side by side with the Dominion note which should strengthen the Treasurer’s position, the Canadian Treasurer will only permit an issue to the value of 30,000,000 dollars, or £6,000,000; with a gold reserve of 25 per cent. -
On the 30th April, 1912, there was held 92,816,758 dollars in specie against 113,169,722 dollars of Dominion notes.
In other words, the Dominion Government held a reserve of gold, or its equivalent, to the extent of 82 per cent, of the Dominion note issue. That should be a striking warning to our Treasurer to be very careful about his note issue and the gold reserve held against it. The experience of private banks in Australia, and the experience and practice of the Canadian Government should warn the Commonwealth Government of the necessity for an ample gold reserve.
– Can the honorable senator tell us what reserve in gold was held against the private bank issues he speaks of?
– That is not my business now. I am dealing with the Treasury note issue, and the gold reserve held against it, and I refer to the Canadian experience to suggest how our note issue should be dealt with.
– The honorable senator spoke of the reserve being in gold, or its equivalent. What was the equivalent to which he referred ?
– It is true that they often take State debentures, and so do the private banks, as reserves.
– What proportion of the reserve referred to was represented by State debentures?
– I did not go into that. I take it that what Mr. Eckhardt says is substantially correct, and that the Canadian Government held a reserve against their note issue of 82 per cent, in gold, or its equivalent.
– Seventy per cent, of that might be represented by debentures.
– The Minister of Defence may take what cold comfort he can from that, but he should not forget that the Commonwealth Treasurer proposes to content himself with a reserve of only 25 per cent.
– On the same basis the Commonwealth Treasurer may have a reserve of 100 per cent., because he has the right to issue debentures up to the full amount of the issue.
– The Canadian Treasurer issued less than one-third of the value of the notes issued by the banks, and then was not satisfied until he had a reserve of 82 per cent, of gold, or its equivalent.
– The Canadian system is entirely different from ours. /
– I hope the Commonwealth Treasurer will be driven to adopt it, or will, at least, be forced to adopt some of its safeguards. In dealing with the relation between Government paper and its gold reserves one cannot extend the warning too far.
– The honorable senator has cut his too short, because he does not know enough of what he is talking about.
– Tn this matter. I know all that I am talking about. I know what the figures mean. The honorable senator will pardon me for saying that I did not come into this Parliament as an uneducated boor. I know something about these things. I may be wrong in the inferences I draw, but T know something of the significance of figures in finance.
In spite of the jeers of the other side, I am of opinion that the figures I have givens are somewhat alarming. I wish now todeal with another aspect of the Budgetpapers having relation to our Tariff and our industries. We are frequently informed by individuals holding certain fiscal opinions that the Tariff has been more or less a failure, and is unsatisfactory in ita effect upon the industries of Australia. We are told that, by reason of its unscientific nature, Australian industries are in danger. We have heard something; about ‘’ strangled industries,” and the further criticism is often made to the effectthat the worker is not getting a sufficient return from those industries, which are adirect or indirect consequence of the operation of the Tariff. Quoting from the Commonwealth Statistician, I find that thevalue of land, buildings, plant, and machinery, in 1910, used in the factoriesof the Commonwealth was £29.511,639. In 1904, the value of land, buildings, plant and machinery was £23,242,262. These figures show an increase of £6,000,000, or, roughly speaking, 25 per cent. That is not wholly unsatisfactory. We have an increase of 25 per cent., whilst the population during the same period hasbeen increased by only 6 per cent, or 7 per cent.
– Then we may take it that the honorable senator is satisfied with the Tariff?
– Will the Minister of Defence tell us whether he is satisfied with it?
– I say that it is not entirely unsatisfactory. The value of the raw materials, and the output of the factories is significant in determining the progress of industry. I find that the value of the raw materials used in these factories in 1910 was £[72,722,642, and the value of the output was £120,770,674, showing an added value to the raw material after the processes of manufacture amounting to £[48,048,032.- The salaries and wages paid in 1910 represented £[23,874,959. We may take it as a fairly sound economic proposition that the return of capital and wages are paid entirely from the added value given to the raw materials after the various processes of manufacture. In other words, out of this £[48,000,000 worth of added value nearly £[24,000,000 is expended in wages. The balance represents interest on the capita] invested-
– And there is depreciation.
– If I am erring at all, I am erring against the legitimate view of the capitalist. From these figures, it is apparent that our factory workers are receiving at least10s. out of every pound’s worth of added value which is given to the raw material.
– Is that the honorable senator’s own estimate?
– It is the only deduction which can be made from the figures which I have quoted.
– What was the cost of the raw material?
– That is not material to the honorable senator’s argument. The point is, “ How much does the added value represent? “
– For the information of Senator Long, I repeat that £72,000,000 was the value of the raw material when it reached the factories. When it came out of them, its value was £120,000,000. It had consequently obtained an added value of £48,000,000. 1 venture to say there is no country in the world in which the worker receives 10s. upon every£1 of such added value. It is scarcely necessary to point out that the amount which the workers in our factories are receiving is slowly rising.
– They will want a bit more yet, and they will get it.
– No doubt.
– The honorable senator is endeavouring to point out that the worker does not get enough.
– I am merely putting forward the figures for any comment which may be made upon them. I repeat that there is no country in the world in which the factory workers obtain such a return from the money which is invested in industrial enterprise, and all the jeremiads which are so frequently heard on our public platforms, to the effect that the workers are being ground down, are an absolute fabrication, and constitute an appeal to the very lowest of prejudices.
– The workers do not intend to be ground down.
– Anybody who is familiar with the proceedings of this Parliament must know that the workers, or a certain section of them, under the inspiration and guidance of a particular class of politicians, are gradually being taught the gospel that the capitalists are their irreconcilable foes, and that between them there can be no peace. That gospel is frequently preached by honorable senators opposite in many trades halls.
– Does the capitalist invest his capital for the mere fun of doing so?
– The figures which I have quoted show that the worker receives 10s. out of every , £1 of increased value which is given to the raw material in our factories. It is very satisfactory to know that he is getting so much. I hope that things will be so managed in the future that he may obtain more and more. But in order that he may do so it is essential that harmonious relations should be established between himself and the capitalist, so that the latter may be induced to invest more sovereigns in his industry. The more this rational, peaceful method of working is introduced into Australia the better will it be for the worker. I do not think it is generally known to the worker that for every £1 which is invested in the industries of Australia he is receiving a return of 10s. Although I have occupied a longer time than I had intended in discussing this question, I desire, before closing my remarks, to deal with another aspect of our Tariff. I wish to consider it from the point of view of whether it is materially interfering with our industrial development. It is frequently stated outside of this Parliament that where the imports of a country exceed its exports there must necessarily be something wrong with its primary and secondary industries. I do not assent to that bare proposition, which needs to be accepted subject to many qualifications. I intend to show that the imports of a country may vastly exceed its exports and yet it may be impossible for anybody to argue that its industrial development is being retarded. Let me take our imports and exports for the three years 1909 to 1911. In 1909, our imports were valued at £51,000,000; in 19 10, their value was , £60,000,000; and, in 1911, it was , £66,000,000 - an increase of about 23 per cent. During the same years our exports were valued at , £65,000,000, £74,000,000 and £79,000,000 respectively - an increase of approximately 20 per cent. It will thus be seen that our imports and exports, from the stand-point of increase, were fairly balanced. This year there has been a turn of the tide as against our exports and in favour of our imports.
By reason of that fact it is argued with what might be called either fanatical hatred or gross ignorance that our industries must be at once attended to by some rough and drastic Tariff method. I do not subscribe to that proposition. Apart from Tariff arrangements, anybody might have anticipated that this year our imports would be greater than our exports, and that, under the continuance of conditions which have been very marked during the last year or eighteen months, our imports would exceed our exports, not by reason of our Tariff, but because of the action of the various Governments of Australia - both Commonwealth and State. There never was a period in the history of this country when the Commonwealth and State Governments were spending money so profusely amongst the masses as they are spending it to-day. The Commonwealth is spending out of revenue between £[15,000,000 and £16.000,000 annually, and the States are spending millions. Within the past eighteen months or two years the States have expended a sum of probably £[10,000,000 or £[1 2,000,000 out of loan moneys or revenues. That money was spent largely on public works. The amounts are increasing fast. The result is that money is plentiful in the pockets of the people. When that is the case, as Gladstone remarked more than once, imports rise; because, as he said, when the wine of prosperity is on the lips of the people they will buy more. Consequently, more imports are bound to come in, in spite of any Tariff, scientific or unscientific. Profuse expenditure of Government money is bound to result in increased imports. It indicates a dangerous confusion of ideas to argue that you must have a new Tariff under those circumstances, and to neglect the fact that it is the profuse expenditure of money which has necessarily led to the importation of goods. If an excess of imports over exports meant that the industries of a country were on the decline, Germany would be in a bad way. Her imports in 1911 amounted to £[477,000,000, and her exports to £[405,000,000. I believe that the same relation has existed for some time. But nobody in the Reichstag has argued that, because the imports largely exceeded the exports, the German Tariff was strangling industry. Germany is a highly protected country, and her industries are probably conducted more scientifically than any other industries in the world. The persons connected with the organization of those industries have not raised a note of alarm because Germany imported £[72,000,000 worth of goods more than she exported.. They did not say that their industries were being strangled by a set of ignorant Conservative Free Traders.
– Very much of the German balance goes to pay interest.
– That is probably the case.
– Surely the payment of interest does not increase imports !
– If I may venture an opinion on that point, I would say that a. country like this must pay interest on loans by the difference between exports and imports. If, in a new country like ours, the exports for a considerable time did not keep ahead of the imports, it would not be long before the Government would find itself in the difficult position of having to pay interest on money borrowed in the form of gold.
– Does the honorable senator indorse Senator Cameron’s remark that the payment of interest is made by imports?
– It may be so under some circumstances. A number of facts would have to be investigated in the case of Germany before it could be determined that the Tariff, which caused an excess of imports over exports, was ineffective. Take France, which is also a highly-organized manufacturing country. In 1910 the imports were £[364,000,000, and the exports £[324,000,000. The same relation has prevailed for a number of years. But no one says that French industries are being strangled because of an unscientific Tariff. I mention these things because they are unfortunately connected with Tariff matters, and because I wish to indicate that high imports are in no sense related to the unscientific character of a Tariff. The amount of a Tariff must depend upon considerations which are entirely different, and in no way connected with the economic phenomena of exports and imports.
– The honorable senator repudiates the platform of the Liberal party?
– I am doing nothing of the kind. What I have said I have said ; when it is- my part to justify my utterances I shall do so. All I can hope is that when my honorable friendsopposite have to deal with the same matter, they will be no more uncomfortable in their little happy home than we on this side are alleged to be. I can meet with confidence anything that I have said upon this matter in the past, and I have not the slightest feeling of trembling as to how I shall have to meet these utterances in the future. The object of my criticism has been to show that our taxation and commitments are enormous, and that we are afforded no light from the Treasury as to what is. to happen in the future. I have pointed out that our unexampled revenue is balanced by an overwhelming expenditure, which is pushed to the last farthing. The Treasurer’s Budget shows no indication as to how future commitments are to be met. Already the financial ship of the Government is waterlogged, even in prosperous spas. What would happen if a storm came. Honorable members opposite are apparently too reckless, or too indifferent, to explain. There is, at any rate, the indubitable fact; whether the inference is properly drawn is another matter. We are making no provision for the great commitments for public works that stand ahead of us. We are living from day to day. Our burden of taxation is one of the heaviest borne by any people on earth. Certainly we are a prosperous people, and we are also most patient and long suffering. But experience shows that it is useless for the Government to act upon the policy, “ This will last our time, and to-morrow things will be all right.” Remember that the remark of the French King, “ After me the deluge,” was made just before the beginning of a frightful revolution. If this taxation of ours is not checked, and if care and wisdom are not shown, we are preparing ourselves inevitably for a financial crisis which will react upon every class of the community, and upon none more severely than upon the workers, whose special servants the Government and their supporters profess to be.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [5.36].- There is not much inducement to speak at length on the Budget-papers, because of the way the matter has been dealt with in another place. But, at the same time, we cannot allow the occasion to pass without making some criticism with regard to the financial, affairs of the Commonwealth. Senator St. Ledger has pointed out the serious condition of affairs. We know perfectly well that the Government are increasing expenditure in a very marked degree. It is also true that there are certain commitments, involving large expenditure, which cannot be avoided. But when honorable senators on this side criticise the Government with regard to the expenditure being incurred, they are met with the remark, “What would you cut down?” There is but one reply, and that is that the Opposition are not in a position to point out definitely what commitments should be avoided. It is the duty of the Government to ascertain what revenue they are likely to derive, and what expenditure they can afford to incur in the future. It is all very well to say that this, that, and the other works are necessary to be carried out. That may be perfectly true. But there are many works necessary to be carried out sooner or later which the Government may not be in a position to carryout immediately. They must select and must deal with those works which the revenue will permit them to undertake. We might have a perfect orgy of extravagance. The Government might say that they would spend £50,000,000. But, if prudence is to prevail, expenditure must not be incurred which it is quite outside the power of the people to sustain. They must postpone such works until they can be conveniently undertaken. I feel quite sure that the members of the Government have experienced what the members of nearly every Government have experienced. I expect that they have recommended the carrying out of works in connexion with their Departments which they considered essential, and that, time and again, the Treasurer has put his pert through very many of their proposals, for the simple reason that he could not finance them. That is where Ministers have an advantage over honorable senators, because they know what works they can deal with; but if they intend to overtake all the works which are submitted to them, there can be only one result finally, and that is financial chaos. Australia is not now in the very happy position in which it was a little time back in regard to the power of obtaining money to carry out public works. It will be impossible for the present Government, or their successors, to carry out all necessary works out of the general revenue, unless they are going to destroy the source from which that money is obtained. They can only levy a certain amount of taxation, unless it is intended to crush the industries of the country and the workers. Our people are complaining to-day of the increased cost of living. Do not honorable senators perceive that the cost of living must increase year by year as the amount of taxation is increased? As a man gets a higher rate of wages, so he must be prepared to pay higher prices for the necessaries of life. We hear a great outcry about the enormous increase in rent. But will not honorable senators realize that, if it costs a man 25 per cent, more to erect a house, he must get a proportionately large increase in rent in order to make the investment pay? The tenant, of course, feels that pressure, and so it is with every industry in the country. Take the case of any tradesman. If the wages of the men who manufacture boots . are increased, naturally the cost of a pair must be greater to the user. As we increase our taxation, so we increase the cost of living to every man and woman in the country. Take, again, the Governments of the States. They are experiencing a difficulty in raising money by way of loan. Where they were able to raise money at 3 J- per cent., they find that they now have to pay 4 per cent. The Municipal Council of Sydney require £750,000 in order to meet certain commitments. They find that they cannot borrow the money at 4 per cent., although the security they offer may be looked upon as a first-class one; and the proposal is to issue a loan at a discount, which means that they will have to give more than 4 per cent, for the money.
– It will work out, probably, at 5 per cent.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD.- Very likely. It should be borne in mind that this difficulty is experienced within a few years of the time when there was no difficulty in raising money at 3! per cent.
– There is no import duty on money.
– I am not saying that there is an import duty on money, but pointing out that as the Government increase the cost of living and the amount of taxation, they will increase the difficulty of obtaining money for public works, because the money is being expended in the community, and has to earn a higher rate of interest year by year. Again, take the case of the banks. Settlers know perfectly well that, instead of being able to borrow with a fair amount of facility, there is a good deal of difficulty in obtaining a loan. They find that the value of the security is more closely scrutinized, and the amount of interest which has to be paid is higher, than it used to be.
– But is it not the same in every country in the world at the present time?
– Not in the same marked degree as in Australia to-day, although I know that, in other parts of the world, there are difficulties. Just as we see financial stringency, arising in other parts of the world, so the Government may depend upon it that it will react upon themselves. What is the prudent course for the Government to take when they find an increasing difficulty in raising money, and a higher rate of interest being demanded? It is to reduce the expenditure as far as they reasonably can.
– In what respect?
– In every respect where they find that a reduction can take place.
– If he wants a specific case, give him the steam laundry.
– There is the case of the steam laundry. But, putting that on one side, I represent that I am not in a position to criticise every item of expenditure proposed by the Government. I am not in the inside running, so I cannot tell what is the more important and what is the less important. It is the duty of the Opposition, however, to point out, if they can, that the expenditure is being increased at a rate altogether disproportionate to the increase in the population.
– Do you suggest that the contemplated expenditure is not placed fairly and squarely before honorable senators?
– I only suggest that honorable senators are not in a position to say definitely which items ought to be cut out or kept in.
– Nor are you.
– That is what I have pointed out. When we find that the Government are increasing the expenditure to a vast extent, it is our duty to issue a word of warning. We know to-day that they propose to expend during the current year upwards of £20,000,000, and that, in order to make ends meet, they are dependent to a great extent upon Trust Funds to the amount of a couple of million pounds.
– What would you have them do?
– Live reasonably within their means.
– That is what we are doing.
– No. The Government will spend this year over £2,000,000 more than they will raise, and what will they do in the following year? Do they intend to increase the expenditure at the same ratio?
– Do you know that the Trust Accounts were established for the purposes for which the money is being expended ?
– I know that they were established out of revenue derived 1 from the people in the years that are past, but there will be no opportunity for the Government to make any savings in the same way during the current year, or probably for several years to come.
– How would you avert this awful calamity?
– I am very much in the same position as Senator St. Ledger, who replied that he would be prepared to prescribe when he was called in. I feel called upon to issue a word of warning to honorable senators opposite about the position of the finances. I have recognised that there are large commitments which we cannot avoid meeting. We must provide the old-age and invalid pensions, which are responsible for a large expenditure, and also meet our large commitments in connexion with military and naval defence. It is proposed to spend money in other directions. We are committed, for instance, to an expenditure of about £4,000,000 on the construction of .a railway from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta. Is this money to be provided out of general revenue, or is it to be borrowed ? The other day we passed a Loan Bill authorizing certain amounts held by the Treasurer to be passed over to a fund for the purpose of constructing this railway. At any rate, it is the commencement of a loan policy. Is it intended to obtain money in the open market, or to try to screw more taxation out of the people in order to meet these large commitments as years go by ? Or is it intended to dawdle over the work, and make it last for years instead of completing it within a reasonable period? Again, in the Northern Territory, a railway is to be constructed from the north to the south. There will be other enormous expenditures in connexion with the administration of the Territory, which, for years, was a consistent source of loss to South Australia. We shall have to meet these losses until we are in a position to make the Territory selfsupporting. These are very serious matters when honorable senators look ahead, and consider what the future has in store for them.
– We would be serious if we had an empty purse.
– Honorable senators opposite are supporting a Government who are spending every penny of the current revenue, and the money which they have had in- hand from previous years, namely, £2,000,000, but who have not given the slightest indication of how they propose to provide for the future. We are aware that certain amounts are derived from Customs and Excise duties, land taxation, and coinage. These amounts, unless they are to be increased in a very marked degree, will not cover the same amount of extravagant expenditure as is going on today. Some Government will have to materially increase the taxation, or to materially decrease the expenditure.
– You cannot point to a single case of extravagant expenditure.
– I ask honorable senators whether they are going to increase the taxation in order to get the additional revenue which will be required? The Customs and Excise revenue is over £14,000,000. Those who desire very high protective duties are crying out that they do not want revenue duties. If their request be granted, that would decrease the revenue from this source at the expense of those who will have to pay much higher prices for goods than they have been in the habit of paying.
– Order ! I ask the gentlemen in the press gallery to kindly speak so that they cannot be heard all’ over the chamber, otherwise the gallery will have to be cleared.
– As the people are charged higher prices for the goods they need, so they become less able to bear additional taxation. If the Government intend to cut down the revenue from £14,000.000 to £12,000,000, and have these enormousdemands, they will have to look round and see where they can raise additional taxation. Is it to be obtained by an increase of the land tax, or by the imposition of an income tax?
– It is very simple.
– It is very simple indeed, they think, for “the have nots “ to take from “ the haves,” but they find out afterwards that the whole thing reacts upon themselves. If my honorable friends want the country to be prosperous, to give inducements to people to be “ haves “ and not to be “have nots,” I would remind them that taxation is not levied simply to bring the last sixpence out of the pocket of the taxpayer. If they destroy him by means of heavy taxation, they will destroy the country. It is the same old tale of killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Surely our taxation is sufficiently high. Last year we derived £1,400,000 from the land tax. By whom was it paid? By 14,000 taxpayers. Do my honorable friends intend to increase the land tax, or do they propose to take another course? Hitherto, we have had an exemption of , £5,000. Do my honorable friends mean to say that not only the State Governments, but the Commonwealth Government, are to operate within that amount ?
– Senator Stewart expressed the hope that before long there would be no exemption.
– I remember that Senator Stewart expressed a wish that there should be no exemption. The honorable senator believes that if a man owns land it should be taxed according to its value without any exemption. We have at present an exemption of . £5,000 of value. Do the Government propose that it should be reduced to , £3,000, to , £2,000, or wiped out altogether; or do they intend to increase the tax from 6d. to9d. or a1s. in the £1 ? Do the Government intend to impose an income tax ? We know that in most of the States income taxes are collected at the present moment. I do not desire that any one should escape his fair share of taxation to provide the means for carrying on the business of the country, but on the other hand I do not wish people to be taxed to such an extent that they will be unable to bear it. Supporters of Socialistic taxation and land nationalization say that while they will not take from the people the land they have acquired they will impose taxation upon it to such an extent as to make it worth nothing, and to make its owners glad to get rid of it. They should know that one form of robbery is as bad as another.
– Land never had as much value in Australia as it has to-day.
– The honorable senator said that by the imposition of the land tax we should burst up the big estates, and that the people would be enabled to acquire land cheaply, and now he says that land is dearer than ever it was.
– I did not say it is dearer, but that it never had as much value as it has to-day.
– The value of land is what can be got out of it, and if one is selling it what can be realized for it. In dealing with taxation we have a very serious problem in front of us. Honorable senators must bear in mind that the question cannot be considered from the point of view of the Commonwealth alone. The States are levying taxation as well as the Commonwealth, and they are increasing their expenditure very much in the same way as the Commonwealth Government are doing. We find that wherever we go Labour finance is the same. Members of the Labour party when in Opposition talk about the extravagance of their opponents, and point out how money might be saved, but when they get on to the Treasury bench in matters of expenditure they outHerod Herod.
– We do not need to pass loan Bills.
– The Government will have to pass loan Bills if they are to carry out the public works to which they are committed, and I remind them that unless we can persuade the people from whom we shall have to obtain the money that their interest and capital will be safe we shall have very great difficulty in getting the money when we require it’
– Capital was never so safe as it is now in Australia.
– Some of it is safe to be removed. I am not prepared to go into the details of expenditure, and my criticism must be very general, because I have not the material which I should have were I in the inside running.
– What does the honorable senator mean by that?
– I mean if I had the information possessed by members of the Cabinet. I should like to refer to the Commonwealth note issue. By it the Government have obtained the control of something like £9,500,000, although I am aware that a certain amount is kept in the Treasury as a stand-by. On the last Monday in July, 1912, the reserve was 40.92 per cent, of the issue, or .92 per cent, over the amount which the Treasurer stated would be the minimum reserve retained until after the next general election, when the people will have an opportunity to state their views as to what the gold reserve held against our note issue should be. At the end of July our note issue represented £9>389>599- If honorable senators will look at the returns they will find that the highest issue was reached in December, 1911, when our notes in circulation represented £10,156,358. The value of the issue has gradually been decreased until it is now £9,389,599- This shows that the Commonwealth Government cannot rely on large sums of money coming in in return for paper money issued to the banks. This is, therefore, a source of revenue which, though it has been important, and no doubt is looked to as important for the financing of some of our projects in the future, is diminishing in quantity. It is absolutely incorrect to say that we have this amount in circulation. We have issued paper money to that amount, but the paper money in circulation to-day throughout the Commonwealth represents considerably less than £4,000,000, and the tendency is to keep the proportion lower instead of increasing it. We must not forget that in obtaining this £9,500,000 the Government have taken the money out of the ordinary circulation of the country. We have extracted £I 0,000,000 in gold from the banks, and this amount may be regarded as having been withdrawn from the people because the banks have had so much less to lend to the community. Every new country is largely dependent for its prosperity on the amount which may be loaned to settlers for its development. If settlers can borrow money at 6 or 7 per cent., and make 9 per cent, or 10 per cent, from it the transaction is profitable, and they are naturally prepared to undertake expenditure. The Government have taken £10,000,000 from the banks which otherwise would have been available for loans to settlers throughout the Commonwealth. Where has this money gone? It has been taken from the ordinary channels of use, and the Government have utilized a certain amount of it in loans to the States, and in fixed deposits with the banks.
– Who are the Government ?
– The honorable senator will not draw me away from the point. The Government have got hold of £10,000,000, and have dealt with it in this way: They have bought New South Wales funded stock to the extent of £1,000,000, Victorian Government debentures to the extent ot £980,000, Western Australian debentures to the extent of £650,000, and Tasmanian debentures to the extent of £500,000. Then there are fixed deposits. The New South Wales Government have about £1,000,000, the Queensland Government have another amount, the Melbourne banks have £200,000, the Brisbane banks £200,000, and the Launceston banks £25,000. All this money might have been available for loans to the customers of the banks. Some of it may be expended upon railway construction and irrigation works. These are no doubt valuable and useful works, but they are works for which money might have been obtained elsewhere. The Government might have gone elsewhere and have introduced this money to carry out such works, and we should then have had the £10,000,000 which they have received from the banks available for loans to settlers in the development of the Commonwealth.
– At what cost would the money have been obtained from abroad ?
– At the ordinary cost of borrowed money. What have the Government done in this matter? They have filched from the people £10,000,000 on which they pay no interest at all. They said that they required £10,000,000, and that the best way to get it would be to take it from the banks. After they did so, they found that they might make a little profit from the money they had taken from the people, and they are charging interest for it to New South Wales and the other States. If this money had been borrowed from the British money-lenders, it would have made no difference, so far as the people to whom it has been loaned are concerned. I find that the interest charged by the Commonwealth Government runs from 3 to 4 per. cent.
– Would not the State Governments have had to pay as high a rate of interest if they had borrowed abroad, and would they not have received less than £100 for each £[100 they borrowed ?
– Does the honorable senator fail to realize that if we introduced this capital, and paid interest upon it, we should have more of our own money available for the purpose of carrying out these developmental works?
– I realize that to get £100 for £100 is better than to get £96 for £100.
– The honorable senator apparently fails to realize that if this £[10,000,000 had been introduced and expended on reproductive works, it would have been a good thing for the country, and the banks would still have had the £[10,000,000 secured by the Commonwealth Government to lend to small settlers to develop their holdings.
– The honorable senator was a member of a State Ministry in New South Wales who borrowed money for unreproductive works.
.- New South Wales, at the present moment, has a debt of something like £100, 000, 000, but a very considerable portion of it was incurred by the Labour Government in office in that State to-day.
– The honorable senator, as a member of a Government, went to the pawnbrokers.
– No doubt I was very wicked, but many have followed my example. Senator St. Ledger referred to the effect of the Tariff upon our industries. He mentioned the value of the raw material used in our factories, and the added value given to it by processes of manufacture. He showed that about one-half of the profits from the operations of our factories went into the pockets of the workers. Some honorable senators appeared to think that the workers should have received a great deal more. They appear to be oblivious of the fact that the £[72,700,000 worth of raw material used in the factories had to be paid for, and that it is hot unreasonable to reckon interest upon that money.
Again, the land, buildings, plant, and machinery of the factories are valued at upwards of £29,000,000, and something should be allowed for interest on money invested in that way. When we come to analyze these figures we find that the value of the raw material used in 19 10 was £[72,722,000, that fuel and light represented £[2,634,000, salaries and wages £23,874,000, and all other expenditure, interest and profits, £[21,538,000. It will be seen, therefore, that, after deducting all these items, there was left a sum of approximately £21,500,000, with which to meet “ all other expenditure, interest and profits.” Out of that £21,500,000, interest had to be paid on raw material, which was valued at £72,700,000. Then interest should be allowed on the £58,000,000, which had been expended in buildings, machinery and plant, to enable the raw material to be turned into a valuable commodity.
– But the expenditure of that £58,000,000 is spread over for ever and ever.
– If a nation borrows £58,000,000, interest must be reckoned upon it until the principal is repaid.
– Depreciation has to be allowed for each year.
– Let us assume that the interest rate is 6 per cent., and that the raw material is turned over in the course of three months. I do not think that it is. But assuming that it is, the capitalists would have to pay the equivalent of i£ per cent, upon the value of the raw material, namely, £[72,700,000. We also have to consider the amount which is represented by depreciation, and by the cost of renewals. Indeed, there are a great many charges for which allowance must be made which are not apparent at first sight. The percentage of cost on the total value of the raw material amounts to 60.22, that upon fuel and light to 2.18, salaries and wages represent 19.77, and all other expenditure, interest and profits, amount to 17.83. That 17.83 per cent, has to bear interest on the cost of the raw material used, and also on the cost of the plant and machinery, besides paying for losses and depreciation. So that, in the end, there does not appear to be such an unfair division of the profits as some honorable senators opposite have suggested. Of course, we are only too pleased to know that our industries are. prosperous. Irrespective of whether a Free Trade or a Protective Government is in power we desire to see them prosper.
– They were not prosperous under either a Free Trade or a Protectionist Government. Prosperity was a stranger to the land until the Labour party came into office.
– I do not wish to say very much more. I believe that the Government are to a great extent living in a fool’s paradise, that they are leading us into all sorts of expenditure and difficulties, and that as a result we shall find ourselves very much handicapped before many years have passed. The tightness of money and the increased cost of living are matters which have a very material bearing on the capacity of the people to stand taxation. We must always recollect that we may tax the people up to a certain point, but if we go beyond that point we shall destroy the very sources from which we obtain our revenue. It is only by wise and careful finance that these difficulties can be overcome, and continuous prosperity assured to the country. Of course, if the Government will not see - and there are none so blind as those who will not see - so much the worse for the Commonwealth. So much more difficult will be the task of their successors in restoring prosperity to Australia. When that time arrives we shall either have to decrease our expenditure or increase our revenue.
– We will find the money from the land tax.
.- We shall then find that the men who are so happy over this expenditure will be severely criticised because of the result of the seed which they have sown.
– To what expenditure would the honorable senator put an end ?
– I will tell the honorable senator when the party with which I am associated regains the Ministerial benches. When the Liberal party comes into power it will be very careful not to commit the country to large expenditures unless it can see its way to meet them.
. - I had not the good fortune to hear the opening remarks of Senator Gould, but I gather from what he said in his concluding observations that he is opposed to the tremendous weight of taxation which he says the people of the Commonwealth are bearing, and which I suppose has been imposed by the party in power. He also criticised the extravagance of the Government, but failed to indicate any particular expenditure which he would stop. I think he might have told us whether he desires the abolition of old-age pensions, for example. I suppose we shall soon discover whether he and his party are in favour of, or opposed to, the maternity allowance. Would he or his party diminish our expenditure on defence? I think we should have some indication of the policy of the Opposition.
– I recognise that those are two large commitments which we must meet.
– Would the honorable senator stop the expenditure on the Federal Capital?
– There is no expenditure being incurred there.
– Would he stop the expenditure upon the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway?
– That is not covered by these Estimates at all. It is covered by loan money.
– Then, what expenditure would the honorable senator stop? I desire to know, because I am not altogether satisfied with the conduct of the Government, and I have just been wondering whether there is anything in common between the Opposition and myself. Out of the mouths of its spokesmen, Senator Gould and Senator St. Ledger, the Opposition vehemently declaim against the heavy taxation which the people of the Commonwealth are called upon to bear. I admit, myself, that it is too heavy. Senator St. Ledger pointed out that, through the Customs alone, we are paying -£4 odd per capita. I say it is scandalous that such an amount should be collected from that source. But are honorable senators, on the Opposition side of the chamber, prepared to relieve the people of any portion of that taxation ?
– Give us the chance.
– Would the honorable senator cut out the revenueproducing duties of the Tariff? Why, half the Opposition* is composed of Free Traders.
– No fear.
– Well, it is composed of Revenue Tariffists. There is not a single member of the Opposition in either branch of the Legislature who would lay even his little finger on the Tariff.
– What isthe fiscal composition of the party to which the honorable senator belongs?
– It is not at all satisfactory. I am quite prepared to say that. If I thought the country had anything to hope for from the Opposition I should welcome their accession to power. But, instead of being any better than the Labour party, they would probably be infinitely worse. It may be possible to bring the present Government to a sense of their duty in regard to taxation and other matters, but in the case of the Opposition the task would be absolutely hopeless. They are beyond redemption. There is nothing on the earth, or under the earth, or above the earth, or within the whole universe, which would bring about a change in their ideas concerning taxation. They want to take all our taxation from the pockets of the poor. For what reason? In order that the skins of the rich may be saved. That portion of our taxation which comes from the rich in this country is infinitesimal.
– Then why does not the honorable senator’s party repeal it?
– That is what I wish to know.
– Give a baby bonus to the rich.
– I do not suppose that many of the rich will take the bonus. On the most extreme estimate, I do not suppose that it will cost more than £500,000 or , £600,000 a year, and we are giving a bigger bonus to the rich of this country than that. We are giving them £30,000,000 every year, which ought to pass into the public Treasury. That is what, the Labour Government knows, and will do nothing to remedy.
-How does that happen?
– Through the community-created values of land. We never hear from honorable senators about this huge army of pensioners who are receiving from the Commonwealth this £30,000,000 per annum. My complaint against the party in’ power is that it is doing nothing to change the situation. I fully expected that, during the present session, some attempt would be made to deal with land monopoly. Two or three years ago, we began a policy which, if continued, would have resulted in breaking the back of the greatest evil which afflicts Australia to-day. But, for some inscrutable reason, the Labour party has called a halt. A Convention was held in Hobart early in this year. The reformers at that Convention, who, apparently, desired to bring about a social revolution in Australia, nevertheless, when the question of reducing the land value exemption was mooted, turned it down. Not a single soul amongst that noble band of reformers would second the motion. The atmosphere, which, previous to the bringing forward of the motion, was almost at boiling point, suddenly fell to zero. The proposal was received almost in silence. That was one of the most ominous happenings in the history of Australia since the Labour party has taken a part in the public life of the country. How the land monopolists must have laughed when they read of this ! Sir George Reid used to describe the Labour party as a huge ferocious tiger which was going to eat up everything and everybody. Sir George Reid must now revise his view of the party. If he examines them closely, he will find that, instead of being a tiger, they bear a resemblance to a much more familiar animal.
– A lamb.
– Yes; they are like a lamb. I am saying these things because I believe that the Labour party is neglecting its duty. We are getting an enormous sum per head from Customs and Excise taxation.. But a Tariff has never been looked upon by the Labour party as a revenue-raising instrument. According to Labour ideas, a Tariff is an instrument for creating industries. If it does not create them, it ought to be amended and made to do so.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
– The Labour party is in the unique position of having a majority in both Houses of the Legislature and of being certain of a majority for a second period in one House. No reforming party of which I have ever heard has ever been placed in such a position of advantage. This position deserves the closest attention from every Labour man. We have been given a mandate by the people to carry out our own ideas with regard to taxation, land monopoly, and certain other questions. But, for some inscrutable reason, the army of reform has teased to march forward. I refer to this matter with deep regret. Our position as a party, from my point of view, is wholly indefensible. As I have already sai’d, we are deriving an immense revenue by means of the Tariff. The principle of our party is not to use the Tariff as a revenueraising machine, but to create industries. We should do anything rather than drag the great proportion of our revenue out of the very vitals of the poorest people of the Commonwealth. The revenue derived from Customs has risen step by step until now it amounts to the extraordinary sum of over £4 per head per annum. There is no country in the world known to me where the indirect taxation amounts to such a startling sum. In Great Britain, only 50 per cent, of the revenue is derived from indirect taxation. The remainder is taken from the pockets of the rich. In Australia, about 95 per cent, of the Commonwealth revenue is derived from indirect taxation.
– Surely that is not a fair comparison to make? The honorable senator is taking the whole of the revenue raised from the people of Great Britain, but is paying no regard to the revenue raised by the States in Australia.
– If I took the States into consideration, the case would look very much worse. Were it not for the fact that we are raising this huge sum from Customs, and giving a portion of the money to the States, they would be compelled to resort to further direct taxation. I do not advocate direct taxation simply for the sake of taxing. I mean by direct taxation land-values taxation, which really is not taxation at all. When we get into the Treasury the community-created values, we are not taxing the people ; we are taking something from land-owners which has not been created by them, but which hitherto has been, unfortunately, allowed to get into the wrong pockets.
– I suppose the honorable senator calls it robbery?
– I call the present system robbery, and my honorable friend is one of the robbers. He is a robber with the consent of the law. I wish to change the law.
– Would the honorable senator make his system start from the basis of present values?
– I do not wish to enter into details at this stage. I do not believe in getting land values merely for the sake of obtaining revenue, although that is a very important aspect of the question. I believe in getting them because such a thing as land monopoly would then be unknown in Australia, and the best lands of the continent would be made available to the people, instead of being locked up in the hands of private individuals, who wait until the people are compelled to buy them out at monopoly prices.
– Would the honorable senator have any exemption under, his scheme ?
– When the question comes up for consideration I will let the Senate know exactly what I think about exemptions. At present, I am drawing attention to the position. There is this difference between the Opposition and the Government : The Government are not beyond redemption; the Opposition are. Nothing that I could say would stimulate the Opposition to do the right thing. The present policy is exactly the policy of which they approve. They approve of taxing the poor first, and only appealing to the rich in the last extremity. The Labour party’s principle, however, is, or ought to be, to go to the rich first, and only in the last extremity to tax the poor. The present position is that we collect in Customs and Excise £4 per head from the people, or £14,000,000 per annum. An extremely large proportion of the Commonwealth revenue is coming from this source That is an improper state of affairs, and I sincerely hope that the Labour party will alter it while it has the opportunity.
– Have you no word for the new Protection at all?
– I shall come to that in good time, if the honorable senator will have a little patience. I am dealing now with the question of taxation, and I am trying to impress upon him and others that we are raising money in a way which is wholly inequitable. If I had been told twenty years ago that a Labour Government would do this, I should not have believed it to be possible. One of the ideals we had when I entered the movement was, if we got into power, to alter the incidence of taxation ; to remove the burden from the backs of the poor, who were ill able to carry it, and place it in much larger proportion on the shoulders of the strong, the rich, and the powerful.
– Would it not be just as well to make the poor rich?
– It is a very fine dream to make the poor rich, but one way of making them poor is by dragging the very vitals out of them in paying taxation. Let us look at the present position. Take an ordinary family of six persons. On an average, £4 is paid by every man, woman, and child to the Commonwealth in Customs and Excise. Of course, some people pay less, and probably I am one of them; some persons pay more, but on an average £4 per head per annum is contributed by every man, woman, and child. Take an ordinary man and wife- with four children, and if Senator Needham has not four children now, he is being encouraged in another place, and I hope that he will take full advantage of the opportunity which is now presented
– Which is denied to you.
– Yes, I am very sorry to say. The contribution of an average family of six persons to the Customs and Excise revenue is £24 per annum; that is nearly 10s. per week. Of course, I do not for an instant claim that every family pays that amount, but that is the payment on an average. Even if it is a little over the mark, I think that every honorable senator must see that, with this system of taxation, which begins first with the poor, the poorer the family is the more hardly it presses upon them. It is extorting from the families of the Commonwealth between 7s. and ros. every week of every year. That is an impost from which the people ought to be relieved by a Government which was ostensibly sent in here to look after their interests. I do not believe that the electors would grumble at this impost if they were called upon to pay it so as to create industries. But that is not the effect, because millions and millions of pounds’ worth of goods are imported which ought to be manufactured by Australian hands. The working men :md women of the Commonwealth would not object to this heavy tax upon their industry if the effect of it were to create other industries at which employment might be obtained, and which would have the result of developing the resources of this continent. But when the people understand, as I believe a large majority of them are beginning to do, that this grievous taxation has not only not the effect of creating new industries, but has the direct effect of putting a block in the way of their creation, I think they will say that there is something seriously wrong. Not only has it that effect, but it has another effect. It saves the skins of the rich. So long as this huge sum is being paid into the Commonwealth coffers by the working people, so long will it be unnecessary to tax the wealth in the community. There is the position, placed, I think, as fairly and squarely before honorable senators as I can put it. Looking at it from a Labour standpoint, it is an exceedingly unsatisfactory position. Here we have the families of the workers contributing from 7 s. 6d. to 10s. per week. Compare the taxation which a working family pays with that paid by the comparatively rich; Take a working man earning £3 a week. If we deduct the time lost by illness and one cause and another, the probability is that his wages, on an average, during the year do not amount to more than £2 10s. per week, or to about £130 per annum. Out of that sum the Commonwealth demands and gets £24, that is, over 20 per cent.
– The Commonwealth cannot get that sum from a man unless he drinks champagne and smokes good cigars, and all that sort of thing.
– Yes, it can. The revenue derived from champagne and cigars is comparatively small.
– If the honorable senator is taking the average amount paid per head per family, he ought to have taken the average income also.
– Why ?
– Because that is the only logical way in which one can institute a comparison.
– Not at all. I said at the beginning that I did not believe that every family paid this sum per annum, but that was the average payment. With regard to the rich contributing to the Customs revenue, no doubt they do, and, probably, taking family against family, they contribute considerably more than do the poor, because they use a comparatively larger quantity of articles which are taxable, and in that way, of course, there is more money paid per head of the rich than per head of the poor. But when we compare the contribution of the poor with their income, we find that they are taxed very much more heavily than are the rich. About one-fifth of the income of a man who gets £130 a year, and has a family of four, goes in Customs taxation. Suppose that a man had an income of £1,000 a year, and that the Commonwealth proposed to take 20 per cent, of it, would there not be a howl from Dan to Beersheba? Yet it would not be nearly such a severe tax as the present one, because a man with an income of £1,000 a year could much more easily afford to pay £200 than a man getting £130 a year could afford to pay £24, because, with the £800 which would be left, the former could struggle along very comfortably. He would not require to deny himself of any of the necessities, or even of any of the luxuries, of life.
– The average man who gets £130 a year does not pay £24 to Customs revenue.
– I did not say the average man, but the head of an average family of six persons. If the amount he contributes is £15, or even £10, it is far too much. I grant at once that my figures may not be absolutely correct, but I think it could be deduced from them that the payment made to the Customs and Excise revenue by an average family throughout the Commonwealth is very much greater than it ought to be. As I have said, a tax of even £10 a year on a man with an income of £130 is a very severe one.
– He ought to pay nothing, really.
– He ought to pay nothing. c-
– None of us ought to Pay-
– That is exactly what I hope. There ought to be no taxation, indeed, if the community-created values passed into the Treasury, instead of going into the coffers of private landowners, we should not have to pay any taxation. There would be sufficient to carry on the Government, without imposing a halfpenny of taxation. That would not be the principal advantage, although it would be an extremely great advantage. The resources of the Commonwealth would be open to the people. Of course, I know that members of the Opposition do not like the ideas to which I am trying to give utterance.
– We like to hear you enunciate them.
– Yes, but the honorable senator would not like to see them carried out.
– Your own party is not prepared to carry them out.
– I believe that the people of Australia will never have a fair run for their money until that policy is carried out. The policy which I am attempting to outline is a business one. The present one is a lopsided policy, whereby the people borrow huge sums and expend them in improving the lands of the wealthy, while a very large proportion of the advantage passes into the pockets of private individuals. In no business could such a principle be carried out. If it were attempted to be carried out, the only end of it would be bankruptcy for the individual who made the attempt. If this system is prolonged indefinitely, as I hope it will not be, Australia will get into a very critical position - a much more critical position than she is in at the present moment, although a large number of persons affect to believe that she is on the highway to ruin. I wish the Labour party to take this matter into its serious consideration. Having the power to do something, I think that it ought to be altered; I expect and hope that it will be altered. Of course, some honorable senators may say that we have not time during the present session, but that next session something will be done to .put the matter right. Heaven knows who will be in power next year. Senator Millen may be sitting where Senators McGregor, Findley, and Pearce are sitting to-night. If that is the case, nothing will be done to alter this state of affairs. The Opposition rail at the Government because of their expenditure, and the huge sums that are being extracted from the people, but I make, bold to say that if Senator Millen and his party were in power to-morrow, they would not make the slightest alteration in the present state of affairs. The Tariff would be continued just as it is now, and so would the existing system of taxation. Even the land value tax would not be interfered with, because being in the Government, Senator Millen would speedily discover that he wanted all the money he could lay his hands on. I do not know of a single item in the policy of the Labour party which the present Opposition would dare to alter if they got into power.
– Does the honorable senator not think that they would reduce the land tax?
– I have just said that I do not believe they would make the slightest alteration in the land tax, because they would need the money derived from it. They would blame the Labour party for it, of course. They would say, “ The Labour party started this expenditure, and we cannot stop it. It is they, and not we, who are to blame if anything is wrong.” We have now an opportunity to make an alteration in the existing system of taxation. I do not know whether honorable senators have ever read a famous piece of verse written by a gentleman named Fingall, on the subject of opportunity.
– He was a friend of Ossian, was he not?
– Whether he was or not his verse is excellent, and I commend the advice contained in it to every member of the Labour party. I am sorry that I do not remember the exact words, but the teaching of them is that opportunity calls at a man’s door only once in his life. No matter what he is doing then, whether eating or drinking, asleep or awake, if he does not rise at once and answer the call, opportunity is gone, and never returns. I say we have had opportunity. We have it now, although we are getting very near the eleventh hour. We can do a very great deal between now and when the elections will take place. We can alter the whole existing scheme of taxation- if we only put our hands to the plough. There is time to do it, and once it is done no Government will have the hardihood to attempt to alter it again. No member of the Senate can defend the existing system, yet it is continued by the Labour party. I will not say that it has. their approval, but if it had not, one would look for some alteration of it at their hands. -I wish to say a few words to give my ideas of taxation. I have said that we ought to get the land values first. If they are found not to be sufficient for the needs of the country we should carry out the principle with regard to taxation that is adopted in connexion with the raising of an army for the defence of the country. When we want soldiers, as Senator Cameron knows very well, we do not call upon the old, infirm, and decrepit, who, like myself, are not able either to fight or to run. We call upon the strong and the vigorous, upon men at the most virile period of their lives. Similarly, when we want money for the purpose of Government, we should call upon the strong. Who are the strong in this case ? Are they not the people who have plenty? They should be called upon in the first place to contribute to the cost of the government of the country, if taxation be found necessary for the purpose. If honorable senators will ask themselves the question, Why do we need a Government? they will soon discover that the reason is that life and property may be made as secure as it is possible for any earthly institution to bring about that re sult. If I am correct in that, our system of Government is neither more nor less than a huge scheme of insurance. Insurance companies compel those who do business with them to pay premiums according to their risks. A man who wishes to insure a house for £100, pays a very much smaller premium than a man who insures a house for £1,000. That is in accordance with common sense. The insurance companies do not say to the owner of a house worth £100 that he must pay £[5, and to the owner of a house worth £-1,000 that he must pay ,£1 for its insurance. They do not do anything so ridiculous. They make the owner of a house worth £1,000 pay in proportion to the risk, just as they do in the case of an owner of a house worth £100.
– Not quite so much as a rule.
– The proportion may not be exactly the same, but in any case the premium asked for the insurance of a house for £[1,000 is very much greater than the premium required for a risk of £[100. We should apply that principle to taxation. If a man has £10,000 a year, he should be taxed on that amount ; if he has £[1,000 a year, he should be taxed on that sum, and it is only in the last extremity that the very poor should be called on to pay taxation at all. Really, when our social system is analyzed, we find that the rich rest upon tha backs of the poor. If the poor do not pay in money they pay in sweat, and very often in blood, hunger, and hardship. Under the existing system of taxation we call upon them to pay not only in that way, but in hard cash as well. I wish now to deal with another aspect of the question, which is the scarcity of land in Australia at the present time. A number of Labour supporters have very naturally claimed that the Commonwealth Land Tax has been the means of inducing a number of landed proprietors to cut up their estates.
– Only to the value of £18,000,000.
– That might represent but a comparatively small area. What I wish to say in this connexion is, that long before the imposition of the Commonwealth Land Tax the cutting up of big estates had been begun throughout the Commonwealth. Strong inducements to this end were the good seasons, and the high prices obtainable for agricultural products. Farming during the last eight years has been a very profitable occupation.
I believe that the farmers of the Commonwealth are probably financially sounder than any other section of our people. That is largely due to the excellent seasons we have had, and the high prices prevailing. The cutting up of our big estates has been going on under the stimulus created by the good seasons and the high prices, altogether irrespective of our land value tax.
– It has increased at a very much greater rate since the imposition of the tax.
– I have no doubt that the imposition of the tax did administer a gentle stimulus to the movement.
– No; a, hard kick. It was more than a gentle stimulus.
– There is no kick about it. I wish there were. If I mistake not, Senator Ready secured his seat in the Senate as the result of the active interest he took in the question of land monopoly in Tasmania.
– That is so, and the land tax is smashing up the biggest monopoly we have in Tasmania.
– The honorable senator made a number of inquiries into the question, and published an excellent pamphlet on the subject, which I read with much interest and instruction. I have not the slightest doubt that the sensible people of Tasmania, and there are a few there, came to the conclusion that he would be the right man to send to the Federal Parliament. But when he comes here he is as ready to halt as any one I see around me. The honorable senator is afraid of his own policy.
– No, I should help to increase the tax to-morrow.
– The evil is so acute, and the injury it is doing the Commonwealth is so great that there should be no rest or no halt until the back of land monopoly in the Commonwealth is broken.
– Let the honorable senator move in that direction, and I shall support him.
– How can I move? The movement must be, I will not say by the Government, but by the Labour party. The party are as responsible for whatever is done as are the Government. The Government must do what the party determine to do. If the party do not want this done the Government need not do it. It does not rest with any single man to carry out this work, but if any move be made in that direction I can assure honorable senators that I shall do everything that I possibly can to assist. I believe it is the one reform which is absolutely necessary to place the affairs of Australia on a sound financial basis. There will never be any prosperity, in the true sense of the word, in this country until it is done. We know how the cost of living has gone up during the past few years. No sooner does a working man secure a shilling a day more wages than up goes everything he eats, drinks, and wears. How is that?
– It has baffled great intellects to account for it. If the honorable senator can throw any light on the subject it will be welcome.
– I shall throw this much light upon it : If there were no land monopoly in Australia, 1 am as sure as that I am now speaking to the Senate that the cost of living in the Commonwealth would be very materially reduced within a couple of years. Why? Because the best lands of the Commonwealth would be made available for cultivation. What is the state of affairs in Victoria to-day? It is one of the richest States of the Commonwealth, and what is its condition? Land monopoly is rampant throughout it, and its best areas are held by monopolists. Its population is only thirteen to the square mile, and six or seven persons out of those thirteen live in Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, and in the country townships. So that the rural population of Victoria, which is probably the richest portion of it, is not more than five or six to the square mile. If any honorable senator will look up the statistics of this State, he will find that the number of persons who are making a living on comparatively small areas is greater than the number of persons who are making a living upon big areas. If land monopoly were broken up, if, instead of having to pay anything from £20 to £100 an acre for land, it could be bought at from £5 to£15 per acre, we should witness a wonderful revolution. The number of settlers would largely increase and the cost of living would be reduced probably by 50 per cent. We should not then have to pay extortionate prices for meat, potatoes, cabbage, and even bread, because wheat and meat might then be grown upon huge areas which are now lying idle. If this land were made available for settlement at a reasonable figure, is it not apparent that a revolution would be effected in the cost of living, and that the nominal wages of the working man would he largely increased ?
– It is of nc use producing more if we export the best of ever thing that we produce to the other side of the world.
– The more we produce, the more we shall have to sell here. The honorable senator has touched upon a question which I do not propose to discuss at this stage.
– Would it not be more accurate to say that the more we produce the more we will send abroad? That is the history of production in this country.
– Probably. But I would remind honorable senators that every ton of wheat and meat which we export is paid for. This aspect of the question has cropped up incidentally, and I wish to say what I think about it. I know that a number of persons are so annoyed at out large exports and at the high prices which we are compelled to pay for wheat and meat, that they are inclined to favour the imposition of an export duty upon those commodities. I would do nothing of the kind. There is a better remedy than that. Let the community grow its own wheat and meat, and produce its own butter. There is nothing to prevent the people of Australia growing all the wheat they require for their own use.
– The honorable senator means the State?
– Exactly . Let us grow it for ourselves and not for export. I would not interfere with the private growers of wheat, who would be at liberty to sell their produce wherever it would command the best price. There are millions of acres lying idle which are waiting for the plough.
– Why does not the honorable senator put a bob or two into these empty acres?
– I have put a great many more bobs into empty acres than has the honorable senator, and I have not taken many bobs out of them. But I do not wish to discuss the private affairs ot any individual. I merely desire to outline a policy which would prove helpful to the people of Australia. There is nothing to prevent us growing all the food we require and distributing it amongst ourselves at cost price, whilst permitting the present producers to sell their produce where they can get the best price for it.
– They stored up grain in Rome, and it led to a revolution.
– I do not wish this debate to cover the whole globe. But the honorable senator has chosen to mention Rome, although he must know that this very land question was the principal cause of the downfall of Rome. If it i§ not tackled seriously and soon, it will be the downfall of a greater empire than Rome could pretend to be, namely, the British Empire. Land monopoly is eating the heart out of Great Britain. It is checking the progress of Australia. It has damned Ireland, and has compelled 5,000,000 of Irish people to exile themselves to every quarter of the globe.
– And it has driven Stewart and McGregor out of Scotland.
– Yes. That was a very bad thing for Scotland, but a most excellent thing for Australia. If it is not dealt with promptly, it will injure Australia very materially. -Of course, I know that the Commonwealth is young and strong, and hearthy, and that, no matter what mistakes its politicians may make, it will get over them just as a young child will survive the mistakes of its nurses and parents. But there is no reason why, in the light of all the knowledge we have gained from experience, we should make fatal mistakes in this country with our eyes open. We ought to deal with this land question, and we have the power to do so. We have a majority in both Houses of this Parliament.
– Would the honorable senator make the land tax is. in the £1 ?
– I told the Leader of the Opposition that I did not intend to enter into a discussion ot details on the present occasion. I wish to destroy land monopoly. If Senator Ready is with me in that, we can discuss details later.
– How would the honorable senator achieve his purpose?
– By getting the community-created values for the community.
– Senator Ready says that he is willing to impose a land tax up to is. in the £1. Will the honorable senator support him ?
– If Senator Ready was so ready to say what he is willing to do, I am not quite so ready. I am well aware that a number of Labour men throughout the Commonwealth claim that the land tax has’ done a great deal to break up land monopoly, which admittedly existed before the Land Tax Assessment Act was passed. I say that that is not the case. A gentle stimulus has, no doubt, been given to the movement by the operation of the tax, but since the Labour Convention sat in Hobart the land monopolist has taken heart again. He has begun to buck up. He sees that the tiger is not nearly so dangerous as he imagined him to be. Indeed, if he would take my advice he would not worry about placing Senator Millen, and his party, on the Ministerial benches. All he has to do, if he wishes to remain secure, is to keep the present Government in power. If he desires land monopoly to be attacked he will foolishly place Senator Millen, and his supporters, on the Government benches. The moment he does so, it will be found that the cry for more land value taxation, and against land monopoly, will proceed from the Opposition which is now the Government. The Government and the Labour party have the power to drive the wedge a little further home, and to give another gentle push to the land monopolist. Unfortunately, we cannot cut down the limit of the exemption, because the Hobart Convention decided that the exemption should not be interfered with. I am sure that every honorable member is a patriot, and would like to see the people of this country, happy, prosperous, and contented. We would like to see our population largely increased. I know that I would. I have said before that, until we have a very much larger population, we shall be continually subject to nightmare dreams of invasion. Until we have 20,000,000 inhabitants, until we can place 1,000,000 armed men in the field, and until we have a fleet of our own, and are dependent, not upon Great Britain, or any other Power, but upon our own strong right arm, we shall not enjoy security. That day will come all the sooner if we deal with land monopoly. It may come within twenty years, . if we go the right way about our business, because all the other portions of the earth are being rapidly filled up. America and South America are being quickly populated. Within a comparatively brief period I believe there will be a rush of people to this continent for the simple reason that other parts of the earth are being rapidly settled. The sooner we deal with this land question, the sooner we break up land monopoly, and place good land within the reach, not only of our own people, but of such immigrants as choose to come here, the sooner shall we get that population. Land hunger is as acute to-day as it was two years ago. A short time since two pieces of land were thrown open for settlement in Queensland, in a district called Goondiwindi, and there were 400 applicationsfor them, notwithstanding that the district is not a particularly good one. Another piece of land was thrown open at a place called Barcaldine, which is very good sheep country, and there were 300 applicants for it. In various parts of the State there have been from twenty to seventy applicants for some blocks of land. There has been a regular rush for land throughout Queensland.
– This year?
– This last year. The same fact holds good throughout the Commonwealth. There is probably as much land available in Queensland as there is in any other State, with the expection of Western Australia. Land monopoly has not the same grip in Queensland, although it is a most serious evil there, that it has in New SouthWales, Victoria, and Tasmania. Consequently the conditions which exist in Queensland must exist in the other States in an aggravated form. I say, deliberately, that there is a land hunger in Australia. If this is the case in our State it must be the same in other portions of Australia.
– Twice as much land is alienated in Queensland as in South Australia.
– Probably, and yet I find that a large proportion of the people of South Australia live either in Adelaide or within a few miles of it.
– One large estate in South Australia has been cut up in consequence of the land tax.
– Every large estate ought to be cut up, and that is the reason why I wish to impress upon the Government and our party the absolute necessity of making a move in this direction. I have already pointed out. what the effect would be if land monopoly were destroyed. It must be remembered that it is the best land, not the worst, which is monopolized. The land monopolist invariably picks out the eyes of the country. He gets the best soil, the best rainfall, the best water, the best of everything. Being a person of importance, he can usually get railways to come along where he has pitched his tent. So that he gets a number of advantages which his poorer competitor can never dream of obtaining. Honorable senators can see what happens when large estates are cut up, even under present conditions. I know one place where very recently not more than a dozen people were living. The estate has been cut up, and now hundreds of people are settled there. Within a few years there will be from four to five thousand inhabitants where, only two or three years ago, there were only about a dozen.
– More congestion.
– No; these people are living better than the dozen were formerly. The continent of Australia is rich enough to maintain a population of 100 millions at the very least. Victoria could carry a population of from 10,000,000 to 20,000,000 with the greatest ease. I am certain that Queensland could maintain 50,000,000. We have the natural wealth to do that. The Darling Downs alone could carry a population of from 5,000,000 to 10,000,000 without any difficulty. When you get population you can deal effectively with the natural disadvantages of Australia. You can impound water, you can go in for huge irrigation schemes, you can make the desert blossom as the rose. In fact, Australia would undergo an economic revolution such as has never been witnessed by any country in the world before. That is what is possible under a spirited policy.
– The honorable senator is better to-night than when he was talking about deserts of whirling sand !
– The desert of whirling sand is there still, and we are going to pour a lot of money into it. But I think this question of land monopoly is of greater consequence to the people of Australia than the building of any railway, or, indeed, than any other question with which we could grapple. We find in Australia at present a position which is most unhealthy from an economic and social point of view. We find half the people of the continent crowded into the cities. In the United States of America, when they had about the same population as Australia has to-day, only about 5 per cent. of the people were living in cities. I admit that conditions have largely altered since then. The organization of industries, the rapid development of industrialism, the invention of machinery, and so forth, have caused a greater proportion of people to live in cities than was the case at the time to which I have just referred. But the proportion in Australia is too great. To have 50 per cent. of the population living in cities is too much altogether. I do not know what the exact proportion is in South Australia, but I know that it is larger than in any other State of the Commonwealth. In Victoria, the proportion is about 50 per cent.
– What does the honorable senator call cities ?
– I am referring to such places as Melbourne, Adelaide, Ballarat, and so forth.
– The honorable senator does not confine himself to the capitals ?
– Certainly not. We find towns dotted here, there, and everywhere about the country. If there were no people settled in the country the towns could not exist
– For every man in the country we want two in the towns to manufacture for them.
– The honorable senator reminds me of what Lloyd-George said about a nobleman, that he wanted two men to carry his breakfast egg to him every morning. We certainly do not want two men in the towns to administer to the wants of one man in the country. I should rather put it the other way, and say that we should have one man in a town to administer to two men in the country.
– We want men to manufacture reaping machines and so on.
– One factory can turn out a large number of reaping machines in a year.
– By employing a large number of men.
– I think I have said enough on the land question, and will now deal shortly with another matter of very great importance to the people of Australia at present - that is, the question of Protection. Our present Tariff is not a Protectionist Tariff. It is a revenue Tariff. It is the very worst form of Tariff, from the point of view of any person who desires to put the business of the country on a fair and equitable footing. I have already pointed out that this kind of Tariff presses most hardly of all upon the very poor. The poorer a man is the more he has to pay in proportion to his earnings. Under this system we tax the poor first, and the rich last. I want to reverse the process, taxing the rich first, and the poor last.
– The. honorable senator voted for revenue duties when he had the opportunity..
– I may have voted for revenue duties in ignorance. I may have voted for duties which have been found to be more revenue producing than industry creating. But I have the light of past experience to guide me, and if the Government will put the Tariff into the melting pot again, I will do my level best to cut out every revenue producing duty in it, and to make it a Protective Tariff. I prefer a Free Trade Tariff to a revenue Tariff, most undoubtedly, because a Free Trade Tariff would involve direct taxation.
– The honorable senator would not vote for Free Trade when he had an opportunity.
– If I had to choose between Free Trade and Protection, undoubtedly I would vote for Protection, but if I had to choose between a revenue Tariff and Free Trade, I would vote for Free Trade. A revenue Tariff means a minimum of direct taxation. Indirect taxation through the Customs is a system of raising revenue which was invented by the representatives of the upper classes, so as to save the rich from contributing more than a minimum towards the cost of government. It is a beautiful device for compelling the poor of the country to pay the lion’s share of the taxation. The Government should take advantage of the first opportunity to remove the burden of taxation from the shoulders of the poor, and place it where it ought to be, on the broad, strong backs of the* rich. I believe in Protection for reasons of which I am not ashamed. I believe that every country - and more especially such a country as Australia is, where we have the raw material for every possible industry - ought to produce as nearly as she can everything which she requires.
– Would the honorable senator tax cotton goods?
– I would establish a cotton industry in Australia. This country is now the great wool-producing country of the world. Under proper conditions, and with Government assistance, she might be made a great cotton-producing country. We can grow cotton in Queensland as easily as weeds are grown in Victoria. All we want is a little Government encouragement, and the thing will be done.
– The honorable senator would not dare to vote for duties on the people’s cotton goods.
– I would not impose duties on cotton goods, but I would pay a bounty on the production of cotton until the industry was firmly established in the country. Then would be the time to impose import duties. In any case it ought to be the ambition of every Australian for his country that it should produce as nearly as possible everything we require within our own borders. I do not say that from a selfish point of view. I think it is good for any country to have a diversity of industrial interests. If your people are employed in only a few industries you have a lop-sided country. I want to give the young people of Australia an opportunity of exercising the brains that God or some other power has given them. We have some of the best inventive genius in this country. Our people are strong and rich in imagination.
– No doubt about that.
– The honorable senator is an excellent example of what I say. If he had not been a soldier he might have been a splendid writer of fiction. It is well known that there is a richness about the soil and the minds of the people in a new country that is not to be found in older lands.
– Older lands become mossgrown.
– They become old, withered, and lifeless. Young countries possess a mental and physical virility of which older countries are destitute. If our young people are to have opportunities of exercising their intellects, we must open up industries for them. Otherwise, their minds will stagnate, and become atrophied. We must: give them an opportunity to use whatever powers have been bestowed upon them, and we cannot do that if we import the things we require from abroad. From whatever point of view the question is looked at, if the national benefit is to be the chief object - and that is what, I think, ought to weigh most heavily with every legislator - every one of us ought to be a Protectionist, and more especially should those who sit on the Government side be Protectionists, because the keystone of the Labour movement is Protection. We say to the manufacturer here, “ You must work your hands only eight hours a day; pay them wages to be fixed by an Arbitration Court or a Wages Board ; and conform to certain conditions of employment.’ If we insist upon these conditions being carried out, we must make it possible for the manufacturer to do so, and how can we make it possible if we have no Tariff, or have such a Tariff that the foreign manufacturer can pour his goods into this country over the top of it? We might just as well say to a manufacturer on one side of Bourkestreet, “ You must pay *£2 10s. or £3 a week to your work people ; work them only eight hours a day; and conform to certain other conditions “ ; while, at the same time, allowing a manufacturer on the opposite side of the street to work his hands twelve hours a day, pay them £1 a week, and house them in any kind of building he likes. Distance is now a comparatively small matter. The invention of steam and the organization of our shipping companies have made transport in these days comparatively easy. So that cheap foreign labour, unless the Tariff wall be made sufficiently high, is bound to beat down the standard of living of the local worker unless something is done to prevent it. Either we should have a Protectionist Tariff, or, if that is not the policy of Australia - I believe it is - we ought to have a Free Trade Tariff. We should not allow a revenue Tariff to continue for a single moment longer than is absolutely necessary.
– Do you not -think that we ought to have a referendum before we alter the Tariff ?
– No. We got a mandate from the people to establish Protection. Our mandate on the question of Protection was just as unequivocal as was our mandate on the question of land-value taxation.
– Yes, but it was new Protection.
– I am not dealing with new Protection yet.
– Yes, but the demand was for new Protection.
– You cannot have the new without the old Protection. The old is the foundation. Your Protection begins at the Customs House.
– Unfortunately, we have the old Protection, and now we are seeking for the new Protection.
– We have the old Protection, but the wall is not high enough, and the goods of countries where workers are paid probably one-half of the wages paid in Australia, and work 50 per cent, longer hours, are pouring in here in huge quantities and competing with our labour. What we want to do in the first place is to make that wall high enough. I admit that that is a matter of experiment. We thought, many of us, when the Tariff was last revised that it would be effective in protecting our industries, but we find now that it is of little or no value. The goods come over the top of it in a surging volume, millions and millions of pounds worth of them every year.
– Are they not coming in return for our exports?
– Of course, they are.
– If we are self-contained, what are we going to do with our exports?
– The honorable senator thinks that if we did not import goods from abroad, we could not sell our wool.
– No; I did not say that. You said that you would have us selfcontained - producing everything we want - and yet continue to export wool. What are we going to get in return ?
– The honorable senator seems to be in a bit of a fix.
– No; I think you are.
– I can assure him. that I am not in any fix. We have now an example of a country in which the exports are very much in excess of the imports, and” that is the United States of America. I forget the exact figures, but it is a fact that the exports are, at least, double the imports.
– No; but they are greater by about ,£110,000,000 worth.
– Very well. Does any honorable senator imagine for a moment that the people of the United States of America, who produce these exports, are not paid for them? If we were sending £50,000,000 worth of butter, meat, and wheat to Europe to-morrow, and were noi getting a single import we would still be paid for our exports.
– “ But how “ the question was.
– Have we not a debt to pay off, private and public?
– Having paid that, what then?
– The honorable senator wants me to forecast what may happen a thousand years hence. I am not one whit afraid of what would happen if we were exporting largely and importing very little. Every pound of butter, every bale of wool, every leg of mutton, every shoulder of beef, every ounce of gold,. would be paid for. Even if our imports went down to a minimum to-morrow, our exports would be paid for in some fashion or other, so that honorable senators need not worry their heads over that matter. Every Labour man ought to be a Protectionist, that is the keynote of our policy in “Australia. We want to protect our people against the competition of the cheap or sweated labour of other countries. We have a Tariff. We fondly imagined that we had done the trick when we passed it, but we find now that the work has not been done. Goods are pouring in upon us. The sweated labour of Europe and Asia is competing with the labour of the Commonwealth, and we stand by idly trying to excuse ourselves for doing nothing, on the plea that while we have the power to fix Protection, we have not the power to see that a portion of it is passed on to the worker. 1 believe in the new Protection just as firmly as any member of the Labour party possibly can do. I am not a P ro.tectionist for the sake of the manufacturer. It is the working people of the Commonwealth whom I have in my mind’s eye when 1 think of Protection. I think of the hundreds of industries dotted throughout the Commonwealth, and the tens of thousands of industrious and intelligent men and women employed in them. I do not think of the few manufacturers at all, or, if I do, I think of the time when all our industries will be nationalized, or, if you like, socialized, and when production, instead of being, as it is, in the hands of private individuals, will be carried on by the States or by the Commonwealth. I can see that looming up in the future, but between that day and this there is the desert, if you like to call it, to be passe.d over. We are like the children of Israel ; we are wandering now in the desert, but the promised land is before us. The heights of Pisgah are making their appearance in the distance. If the Government only had the faith which animated Moses, and led the people right on, we would soon be within measurable distance of the promised land. Reading the Bible I find that Moses had great difficulty in keeping the Israelites up to the- mark. They wanted to go back to the flesh pots of Egypt, but it seems to me that our Moseses are in exactly the opposite position. It is they who want to go back to the flesh pots, and the poor children, who are supposed to be their followers, who desire to press on to the promised land.
– You are striking the rock.
– To make water flow, yes.
– Do you want any water ?
– No j but I wish that I had wind enough to persuade the honorable senator, and others, to accept what I believe to be the true faith, the result of which would be a great benefit to the working people of this Commonwealth. We want to establish industries here, and we hear a great deal about the cost of establishing them. I quite admit that there is not anything worth having which does not cost money, but I mentioned at the beginning that we are spending £30,000,000 a year in subsidizing men who do nothing for it. Would it not be very much better to spend that money, or a portion of it, in establishing industries in the Commonwealth than to allow it to drift away in the direction in which it is going? At the worst, would it not be better to use that money in establishing industries than in subsidizing people who have never done anything for the Commonwealth, but whose very existence is a menace to the welfare, the prosperity, and even the national existence of the Commonwealth? I put it on that low ground. I believe in the new Protection. The workman ought to get his fair share of that Protection, and the private capitalist, so long as you permit the system of private enterprise to continue, is entitled to his share.
– Does he not get a bit too much of it?
– I do not know what he is getting, but so long as as we allow him to continue he is entitled to fair wages for his work, just as much as the worker is entitled to consideration. When we decide that private enterprise is no longer to continue, that will end, but until we come ‘to that decision the man who puts his capital into a business is as much, entitled to his share out of it as is the worker who puts his labour into it.
– How would you determine what is a fair share?
– I am not going to say how I would determine anything. I believe, with honorable senators, that it would be very much better if the Commonwealth had the ‘power of fixing wages and conditions just as it has the power of fixing the protection to be given to a certainindustry ; but the people have refused us that power.
– They were misled by false prophets.
– That does not matter; they refused it. I believe that we shall get the power, but we have not got it yet, and, so far as I can see, there is no reason why we should wait to establish a thoroughly Protectionist policy until we have got that power. Honorable senators should remember that the workmen of Australia are in a position to defend themselves, if they care to take the trouble to do so. They are not like an army without weapons. They have their unions, organizations, and political power. They can compel the Governments of the various States to establish Wages Boards and Arbitration Courts.
– How are they going to compel the Legislative Councils?
– I admit that the Legislative Councils are a difficulty. I have said that it would be very much better if the Commonwealth had this power, and I believe the Commonwealth will get it. Still, the fact that we have not got it yet is no reason why we should wait to do what I have said. If, before we do something, we are to wait until something else eventuates, we shall never do anything. Protection begins at the Customs House. Until we have it there we cannot have it anywhere else. We cannot ask the manufacturers of Australia to pay high wages when they are themselves placed in competition with manufacturers who pay low wages. When we have made our Tariff so that the foreign manufacturer cannot get his goods into the Commonwealth, we shall then be in a position to say to our own manufacturers, “ You have effective Protection now, and we insist upon you giving your work-people and the public a fair share of the benefit you derive from that protection.”
– That is the cartbeforethehorse policy.
– I think, on the contrary, it is the horse-before-the-cart policy. The honorable senator might as well say that we should not have imposed the land tax for the purpose of breaking up large estates until we knew that the farmers and their labourers would be well paid for their labour on the land. We must do one thing at a time.
– We should do the right thing first.
– The right thing is to establish the industries; to have such a Tariff as will keep the foreign competitor out. When we have done that, we can insist upon such conditions as we think desirable; but until we do that, it is impossible for us to do so. If we do not do that, the manufacturer will say, “ I am competing with manufacturers who employ European labour that is paid only half what I am paying my labour,” and where; then, will be our answer ? If we establish an effective Tariff, there will be no escape for the local manufacturer. In the meantime our Tariff is not effective, as may be seen from the huge volume of goods that is coming into the country.
– The honorable senator has said nothing about the growth of our manufactures.
– They are growing very slowly indeed. I know that a year or two ago there was so much capital lying idle in the Commonwealth that there would not have been the slightest difficulty in getting hundreds of thousands of pounds to put into factories if their success had been assured by ample and effective Protection. But, as the Tariff stands, few people will put money into factories. All kinds of wild-cat companies have been floated recently, but we hardly ever hear of a new factory being established, because people will not put their money into such enterprises.
– The honorable senator is talking against the facts now.
– Mr. Knibbs is against the honorable senator there.
– I do not think so. Our factories are growing very slowly, and the plant and machinery of most of our woollen factories can hardly be called uptodate. If we had effective Protection, 1 believe that large companies would come here from Great Britain and Europe with their capital, up-to-date machinery, and trained workmen, and would establish themselves here.
– None of our woollen factories can now fulfil their orders.
– Possibly, on that account, some of our manufacturers say, “ We are fairly satisfied with things as they are.” No doubt they do not wish to be brought into competition with uptodate people.
– The Parramatta mill has been more than doubled in size as the result of the Protection at present enjoyed.
– More power toit. I do not know whether honorable senators are aware of it, but it is a fact that, at one stage of her history, Britain was in exactly the same position as Australia is in to-day. Britain was then a wool -exporting country, as we are now. Probably the Free Traders of that, period thought it was a mad idea to try and establish the manufacture of woollen goods in Britain. But there were Protectionists even then, and an export duty was put upon wool, and an import duty upon cloth.- The Government of the day introduced men and machinery from Holland, and established factories in England. These people taught the English to manufacture woollen goods, with the result that England has been for a very long period the great woollen manufacturer of the world. I do not see why Australia, in addition to being the greatest wool producer, should not also De the greatest woollen manufacturing country. In Tasmania we have water power which is unexcelled in any part of the_ Common.wealth, a comparatively moist climate, and all the conditions necessary for the successful establishment of large woollen factories. 1 believe that the home of .the factories of the Commonwealth will be found in Tasmania, where there is so much cheap power available. Why should we not export cloth instead of wool? Why should we not follow the example of Britain in the old days?
– Export cloth, does the honorable senator say?
– Yes, export cloth instead of wool. The honorable senator, no doubt, thinks that is .hopeless.
– I do not think that under the honorable senator’s scheme we could compete with other countries.
– My scheme may not be complete or a good one, but I see no reason why we should not within a reasonable period meet all our own needs in the way of woollen cloth, and also be exporters.
– I agree with the honorable senator absolutely.
– If I have Senator Rae in agreement with me everything is right. We have millions of cattle here, and hides without number. I hope that in the near future we shall have many more than we have at present. We make leather here. Why should we not also make boots, not only for home consumption, but for export ? We. can make as good boots in Australia as can be made anywhere.
– As cheaply as elsewhere?
– No, not at present.
– Then, how could we export?
– Did I not say that if land monopoly in Australia were destroyed the cost of living would be reduced, and if it were reduced would not that affect the cost of production? Every man will admit that Australian workmen are as efficient, if not more efficient, than are the workmen of any other country.’’ They- are better fed than are the workmen of Europe. I believe they can get through more work, man for man, than can the workpeople of any other country. With the. cost of living reduced, and a more vigorous community of workers, we should be able to turn out goods which could be sold in competition with those turned out even in the older countries of the world.
– Especially if we eliminate dividends.
– If we abolish private enterprise we can eliminate dividends, otherwise we cannot hope to do so.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould.- - Will not the State require any return for its investments?
– I am sure that Senator Gould does not run away with the idea that no provision would be made for depreciation and renewal, but dividends would, under State enterprise, be eliminated.
– The honorable senator proposes to create a new Utopia.
– I do not know what Senator Gould means by a new Utopia. Any man who surveys the. social situation in Australia may be satisfied’ that it is better than in any other country in the world, but every man will admit that there is room even here for considerable improvement. I am not a Utopian .by any means, but I desire to see poverty completely abolished in Australia. I wish to see every working man and woman, boy and girl, placed in the position in which human beings ought to be placed, with plenty to eat and wear, and all the comforts and joys of life. I do not wish to see reproduced here the conditions that exist in the Old Country, in Europe, and in America. In Britain one-third of the people are living constantly on the poverty line. No one desires to see that in’ Australia.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould., - Hurry up with the millenium 1
– I imagine that is what we are here for. Probably Senator Gould is living in a millenium now.
Senate. Lt.-Colonel Cameron.- How about a drought coming along?
– What did they do in Egypt to meet the extremity of a drought ? Would we not be in a better position to den I with a drought under such conditions as I have indicated than we are now? There is little provision made for drought now. Under a proper system of government droughts would affect us very little. I can understand that the honorable senators who are interjecting are very well off, and that the present system suits them down to the ground
– The honorable senator is not so badly off himself.
– I am content. Has Senator Vardon ever heard me- complain? So long at 1 have a shilling a day I am well off. A shilling a day is sufficient to give me all that I. require. Anything above that would be superfluity, so far as I am concerned. But this is not a personal matter. We know that, however weil off some of us may be, there are many people in the Commonwealth’ who are’ not well off.
– There are plenty on the verge of poverty.
– There are plenty further over the poverty line than they ought to be. Senator Cameron will agree with me when I say that we desire to have a vigorous, healthy, patriotic people :in Australia. The honorable senator, as a. cattle-breeder, ought to know that the basis of strength is fodder. He knows that if he starves his calves they will never come to anything. He must feed them and keep on feeding them. The important dime to feed them is when they are young. The same remark is applicable to our children. We must feed the children, and keep on feeding them, and we shall then make strong, hardy, virile, men and women of them.
– But is. per day will not enable us to do that.
– I do not advocate the expenditure of only is. per day in the case of other persons, although I am satisfied with it. Before people can be weil fed, they must be well paid. They must be kept in constant employment. Of course, if honorable senators do not care what happens, if .they invite the degeneracy which has overtaken the people of Europe, that is- their lookout. I hope that thecommon sense of the electors will not allow them to pursue a course of that kind. I believe the Labour party is here as a protest against legislation, which, if allowed to continue, would inevitably land Australia in the same muddle as that in which Great Britain finds herself to-day.
– The honorable senator is protesting that the- Labour party is not carrying out its protest.
– I am endeavouring to administer a gentle stimulus to the party.
– It is a stimulus without being gentle.
– I do not think I have exceeded the bounds of fair criticism,, and, in any case, it is only a family row.
– That is said tobe the worst kind of a row.
– I do not think that anything will happen, either to the Labour party or to myself. I have attempted to discuss matters of very great consequence to the people of the Commonwealth, and to the Labour party as well. That party is on its trial. If it fails to carry out reforms which are absolutely necessary in the interests of Australia, the people will have to employ some other weapon. We must recollect that, after all, political parties are merely a means to an end, and not the end itself. They are merely a tool in the hands of the people, and if the tool be not effective, the people will endeavour to secure another tool.
– The tool needs a little sharpening.
– Yes ; and I am sure that the honorable senator will assist me if anything of that kind is required. In any case, I have said quite enough. I bave got a few home truths off my chest, and, whether they do good or ill-
– The honorable senator’ is relieved.
– I am addressing myself to the members of the Labour party and not to the . Opposition. “Abandon, hope all ye who enter here “ might well be written over the door of the Opposition. But there is still balm in Gilead. There is still good in the Labour party, and within a very short period I believe more pace will be put on with a view to carrying out the policy which ought to be adopted in the interests of the people of this continent.
Debate (on motion by Senator Vardon)1 adjourned.
Senate adjourned at 9.45 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 25 September 1912, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1912/19120925_senate_4_66/>.