9 May 1924

9th Parliament · 2nd Session

The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.

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The following papers were- presented : -

Customs Act - Proclamation, dated 18th April, 1924, prohibiting exportation (except under certain conditions) of opium, and other drugs.

Excise Act - Regulations- amended - Statutory Rules 1924, No.57.

Meteorology - Report of Commonwealth Meteorologist for year 1922-1923.

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asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

  1. Whether the Government is considering the equity and advisability of removing the anti-dumping doty on’ wire netting of British manufacture imported into the Commonwealth.
  2. If net, will it do so at the earliest possible moment?
Honorary Minister · QUEENSLAND · NAT

– British wire netting, is only subject to dumping duty when it is sold at an export price which is less than the fair market value in the United Kingdom, and when the landed cost is below the price of Australian, netting, and, therefore, detrimental to an Australian industry. Parliament provided that when these conditions prevail,, dumping duty should be charged. No duty is charged if these conditions do not exist. The Government is prepared, to consider any new evidence that may be brought forward on the subject, but at present does not propose to make any alteration.

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Titles to Expropriated Plantations

Senator GRANT:

asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact, as reported in the Sydney press of the 11th April, that it has been d ecided to organize a Titles Office for New Guinea ?
  2. If so, who are the officers appointed?
  3. For what term, sod what are the salaries and allowances?
  4. Is it true that when the Expropriated Plantations were previously offered for Bale the Board was unable to give a regular- title to any property?
  5. As the sale value of the Plantations depends largely, upon the price. of copra, will the Government postpone any contemplated sales till the Central European nations are again normal buyers of this commodity?
Senator PEARCE:
Minister of Home and Territories · WESTERN AUSTRALIA · NAT

– The answers are -

  1. Yes. 2: Messrs. E. ‘T. Brown and R. A. Thomas,
  2. Mr. Brown: has- been appointed for a period of six months. His.salary is at the: rate of £1,000 per annum, plus a tropical allowance at the rate of £165 per annum, with travelling allowance while en route to and from Rabaul of 30s. per day on land- and 7s. 6d. per day at sea.

Mr. Thomas has been appointed for a period of six to nine months. His salary is at the rate of £750 per annum’ - no allowances.

  1. No. See Treaty of Peace Regulation No. 53.
  2. This matter will receive consideration.

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Senator GRANT:

asked the Minister representing the- Prima Minister, uponnotice -

  1. How many of the States have agreed to take the necessary steps tosecure a joint Electoral Roll, as provided for in the Commonwealth Electoral Act?
  2. What are the reasons, if any, that arestanding in the way of the other States cooperating in- this matter?
Senator PEARCE:

– The answers are -

  1. A joint roll is in operation in each of the following States: - Victoria, South. Australia, and Tasmania.
  2. No reasons are known why the remaining States should not adopt the joint system assoon as their’ Parliaments pass the necessary machinery legislation. Every effort has been - and -is being made by the Commonwealth to induce the States to take action- in the matter-

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SenatorREID (for Senator Foll) asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -

What is the present position of the case Commonwealth v. Kidman and Mayoh re construction of wooden ships-?

Senator PEARCE:

– The matter is still the subject of litigation. The Supreme* Court of New South Wales granted leaveto enforce the award as a judgment, but Messrs. Kidman and Mayoh obtained leave from the Supreme Court to appeal, to the Privy Council. The Commonwealth appealed to the High Court against the granting of such leave, and, on the 16th April, 1924, the High Court reserved judgment. The judgment hasnot yet been given.

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Second Reading

QueenslandHonorary Minister · NAT

– I move -

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The Senate is asked to. pass this Bill to validate the bounty paid, and to be paid, for fruits canned during the current season. It was not possible to- delay payment of the bounty until the Senate met, because the canning season commenced in December last, and is now over, except for the winter crop of pineapples, which will be canned in Queensland between June and September next. When the Government took office, the fruit industry was being helped by so-calledPools, which were set up by the late Government for the years 1920-21, 1921-22, and 1922-23. They were not Pools in reality, because the Government took all the risk by buying the fruit, and processing and selling it. The Pools were formed be- . cause the canning factories in Australia were not in a financial position to purchase and dispose of the soft fruits available. The reaction after the war made it impossible for canners to obtain the finance necessary to treat the crop ‘ of canning fruits. The Pools, when finally wound up, will probably show a loss of about £618,000 - £88,000 in 1921, £370,000 in 1922, and £160,000 in 1923- this being an average loss of £206,000 per annum. These losses are mainly due, firstly to the high cost of processing the fruit, and, secondly, to the slump in the British market during the 1921-22 season, and the very poor demand for canned fruits in Australia until the middle of last year. Under the Pools the loss was greater than the actual amount paid to the grower for the fruit. The 1922 fruits were sold in London for less than the actual cost of processing them. The cost of canning was 7s. 6d. per dozen, and the bulk of the fruit was sold in London for 7s. per dozen. When the Government took office, there was a total quantity of 1,950,000 dozen 30-oz.- tins of fruit on hand unsold. It was necessary to sell the lot, so that factories would have a clear market for new season’s fruit. The trade and all concerned said ‘ it was impossible to clear stocks before the 1924 season commenced, in December, 1923. The Government, however, reduced the price, and set up a publicity and advertising campaign.

The result is that all stocks, have been sold with the exception of 64,000 dozen of specially packed fruit now in London for sale during the progress of the British Empire Exhibition. Owing to the Government’s action, the Australian consumption of canned fruits has been increased from one to three tins per person per annum. The Government found that, under the so-called Pools, the position from day to day was getting worse, both from the standpoint of the taxpayer and the fruitgrower. It, therefore, faced the position boldly, and decided to give a bounty to the eanner on production, with an additional bounty on all high-quality fruits exported. The canners strongly opposed the bounty scheme, some even saying that they would close their factories rather than work under it. The Government, however, stood firm, with the result that 36 factories throughout Australia operated to their full capacity, and gave employment at good wages to a very large number of operatives. Excluding 4,845 tons of summer pineapples, which - have been canned under the bounty scheme, 20,500 tons of ‘ fruit have been dealt with - an increase , of 3,500 tons on last ‘ year. Pineapples were not in the Pool last year. The total cost to the taxpayer will be about £120,000, as against an average loss of £206,000 per annum during thelast three years. Under the bounty scheme, the Government takes no part in the trading side of the business. This is in accordance with its policy. It merely pays the bounty to thecanner, but protects the grower by compelling thecanner to pay him a fair price for the fruit, namely, £10 per ton for apricots and pears, £9 for clingstone peaches, £7 for freestone peaches, and £6 for pineapples. Rail freight is paid by thecanner.. The rates of bounty paid to the canner are -

It is admitted by all concerned, growers, canners and traders, that the canned fruit industry is, to-day, under the bounty scheme, on a more stable footing than ever before, and that its future is practically assured. At the present time great difficulty is found in supplying the oversea demand for Australian canned fruits. The bounty is paid to the canner provided that he pays the grower not less than the prices already mentioned, and that the fruit when canned is of good and merchantable quality. Stationed in each factory were Customs inspectors,, who rejected all unsuitable fresh fruit and all canned fruit that was of inferior quality. An additional bounty is provided for on apricots, pears, clingstone peaches, and pineapples that are exported. Export of these fruits is not allowed unless they are graded and packed in accordance with the Commerce Regulations. Last season the Customs organized an inspection staff to supervise the canning of fruits for export, with the result that the pack, which was sent to London during 1923, has been pronounced by the trade to be equal, if not superior, to the best Californian. Each factory was allotted a special quantity of fruit, .so that each fruit-grower, particularly the struggling orchardist, would find an outlet for his crop. Under all the circumstances the bounty scheme has worked in a very satisfactory manner. Fruit to the quantity of 25,600 tons has been dealt with, and a considerable portion of the pack has already been sold by canners. The Senate is, therefore, asked to pass the Bill to ratify the action taken by the Government in assisting the fruit industry at a critical period.

Debate (on motion by Senator Findley) adjourned.

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Bill reported from Committee without amendment; report adopted.

Senate adjourned at 11.18 a.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 9 May 1924, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.