1 October 1924

9th Parliament · 2nd Session

The Deputy President (Senator Newland) took the chair at8 p.m., and read prayers.

page 4908



Senator McDOUGALL:
for Senator Grant

asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -

  1. What in the area of the proposed City of Canberra? 2.Is it a fact that it has been decided that the leasing regulations recently approved with regard to the Canberra city area are to apply to only a portion of such area?
  2. If so, what is the size of the portion to which it is proposed to apply the said regulations?
  3. What are the reasons for the exclusion of any portion of the city area from the operation of these regulations?
Senator PEARCE:
Minister of Home and Territories · WESTERN AUSTRALIA · NAT

– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow: -

  1. The area of the City of Canberra has not been determined.
  2. Yes.
  3. Approximately 4,280 acres.
  4. The cityleases ordinance provides that the city area may be extended from time to time as required.

page 4908



Excess Production : Price in Capital. Cities.

Senator McDOUGALL:
for Senator Grant

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

If it is a fact that Australian consumers of sugar have to pay about £27 per ton, and that an excess of 80,000 tons will be available for export at about £20 per ton, will the Government consider some arrangement whereby this amount at £20 per ton can be made available to Australian consumers?

Senator WILSON:
Honorary Minister · SOUTH AUSTRALIA · NAT

– This is a matter for the Queensland Sugar Board, as all sugar produced up to the end of the 1924-25 season is owned and controlled by that board, which was expressly declared by the Prime Minister in June, 1923, to be free from Commonwealth Government control. The honorable senator’s suggestion will be brought under the board’s notice.

Senator WILSON:

– On the 12th September Senator Lynch asked the following questions upon notice: -

  1. Is there any reasonable prospect of having sugar delivered at the capital city of Perth under thesame conditions as those obtaining inthe case of the other capitals?
  2. Is the Minister awarewhether it costs 13s. per ton to convey sugar from Fremantle to Perth, and whether, as a result, the citizens of Western Australia have paid about £30,000 more than do the citizens of any otherstate under the agreement?
  3. Will the Minister again make representations to the Sugar Board, and point out the manifest unfairness of not putting the capital city of Perth, and theconsumers of sugar in Western Australia, on thesame footingas those of the other states.

I am now able to furnish the honorable senator with the following information : - 1, 2, and 3. The matter is wholly under the. control of the Sugar Board. The questions askedby the honorable senatorhave been referred to the chairman of that board, and replyhas been received that the matter will be placed before the board at its meeting next month.

page 4908



Expenditure on Scientific and Medical Research.

Senator PEARCE:

– On the 26th September Senator Millen asked me the following question: -

What is the amount of money expended by the Commonwealth Government in their Mandated Territories on scientific and medical research ?

I am now in a position to supply the following information: -

Mandated Territory of New Guinea -

Expenditure is still being incurred on items 2 and 3.

Mandated Territory of Nauru. - Nil.

In addition, to the sums expended from Commonwealth funds, the Administrations of the two Territories incur expenditure from their own revenues on various branches of research with which the Commonwealth is not associated, and of which particulars are not at present available.

page 4909


The following papers were presented : -

Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determi nations by the Arbitrator, &c. -

No. 53 of 1924 - Line Inspectors’ Association, Commonwealth of Australia.

No. 54 of 1924 - Meat Inspectors’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service.

Customs Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1924, No. 140.

Defence Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1924, No. 138.

Naval Defence Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules . 1924, No. 137.

Northern Territory - Ordinance No. 20 of 1924 - Registration.

Public Service Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1924, Nos. 141, 142, 143.

Treaties of Peace (Austria and Bulgaria) Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1924, Nos. 135, 136.

Treaty of Peace (Germany) Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1924, No. 133.

Treaty of Peace (Hungary) Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1924, No. 134.

page 4909



Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT

– (By leave.) - On the 26th September Senator Grant asked me, as the Minister representing the Minister for Works and Railways, a question with regard to the capacity of the Hume Reservoir. The reply supplied to me by the department was not so accurate in some respects as it might have been, and I now quote the resolution adopted by a recent conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers -

That the work of construction of the Hume dam of sufficient dimensions to provide for a reservoir of 2,000,000 acre feet proceed for a period not exceeding three years, and that the question of the ultimate capacity and completion of the reservoir be then the subject of a further conference of Ministers representing the four contracting governments. Provided that if the reservoir be increased above the capacity of 1,100,000 acre feet it be understood that the additional water shall be used for meeting the present allocation obligations under the River Murray agreement, and as a reserve for dry years, such reserve to be used at the discretion of the River Murray Commission.

It will be seen that the ultimate capacity of the reservoir will be finally determined following upon a further conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers to be held in three years’ time. In the meantime, subject to confirmation bythe four contracting governments, the work of construction of the dam will proceed on the basis of a 2,000,000 acre feet reservoir. This arrangement was decided upon in order to obviate the possibility of delay in the construction of the dam pending settlement of the question of the ultimate capacity of the reservoir.

page 4909


Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to-

That Standing Order No. 68 be suspended for the remainder of the present session for the purpose of enabling new business to be commenced after half-past 10 o’clock at night.

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Motion (by Senator Thompson) agreed to -

That the report from the Printing Committee, presented to the Senate on the 26th September, 1924, be adopted.

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Assent to the following bills reported : -

Papua Bill.

Service and Execution of Process Bill.

Tasmania Grant Bill.

Excise Tariff Bill.

Tariff Board Bill.

Quarantine Bill.

Boy Scouts Association Bill.

page 4909


Bill received from House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Wilson) read a first time.

page 4910


Bill received from House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Pearce) read a first time.

page 4910


Bill received from House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Pearce) read a first time.

page 4910


Reciprocal Tariff Agreement

Senator WILSON:
South AustraliaHonorary Minister · NAT

– (By leave.) - I move -

That whereas in pursuance of the provisions of paragraph (a) of sub-section (3.) of section 9 of the Customs Tariff 1921-1924 the Minister of State for Trade and Customs has referred to the Tariff Board the question whether, having regard to the reciprocal benefits which have been or will be granted to Australia by the Dominion of Canada, it is desirable in the interests of theCommonwealth that the British Preferential Tariff in the Customs Tariff 1921-1924 or the Intermediate Tariff in the Customs Tariff 1921-1924 (hereinafter respectively referred to as “ the British Preferential Tariff” and “the Intermediate Tariff”) should apply to the Dominion of Canada, and if so the extent to which it should so apply:

And whereas in pursuance of the provisions of paragraph (a) of sub-seetion (4.) of the said section the Minister of State for Trade and Customs has referred to the Tariff Board the question whether it is desirable in the interests of the Commonwealth that the British Preferential Tariff or the Intermediate Tariff, as the case may be (applied to the Dominion of Canada by means of a proclamation under the said section in pursuance of this resolution) should cease to apply to the Dominion of Canada or that the application to the Dominion of Canada of the British Preferential Tariff or the Intermediate Tariff should be varied from time to time to the extent which may be mutually agreed upon by the GovernorGeneral of theCommonwealth and the Government of the Dominion of Canada, or, after six months’ notice by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth to the Government of the Dominion of Canada to the extent which may be specified in the notice:

And whereas the Tariff Board has reported that it is desirable in the interests of the Commonwealth that the British Preferential Tariff and the Intermediate Tariff should apply to the Dominion of Canada to the extent specified in this resolution:

And whereas the Tariff Board has reported that it is desirable, in the interests of the Commonwealth, that the British Preferential Tariff or the Intermediate Tariff, as the case may be (applied to the Dominion of Canada by means of a proclamation under the said section pursuant to this resolution), should cease to apply to the Dominion of Canada or that the application to the Dominion of Canada of the British Preferential Tariff or the Intermediate Tariff, as the case may be, should be varied from time to time to the extent specified in this resolution:

Now therefore this Senate agrees -

That the application of the British Preferential Tariff and. the Intermediate Tariff in the Customs Tariff 1921-1924 to the Dominion of Canada is, to the extent specified in this resolution, desirable in the interests of the Commonwealth:

That the British Preferential Tariff and the Intermediate Tariff respectively shall apply to the Dominion of Canada to the extent that in lieu of the duties of Customs imposed by the Customs Tariff 1921-1924 on goods the produce or manufacture of the Dominion of Canada imported direct from that Dominion, there shall be imposed, on and after a time and date to be proclaimed, duties of Customs, as hereinafter set out, on the undermentioned goods the produce or manufacture of the Dominion of Canada imported direct from the said Dominion, namely: -

On goods described in the

First Schedule to this resolution the rates of duty shall be the rates of dutyfor the time being applicable to goods to which the British Preferential Tariff in the Customs Tariff 1921-1924 applies; and

  1. On the goods described in the Second Schedule to this resolution the rates” of duty shall be the rates of duty for the time being applicable to goods to which the Intermediate Tariff in the Customs Tariff 1921-1924 applies :

Provided that nothing in this resolution shall affect the right of the Commonwealth to impose or collect any duty chargeable under the Customs Tariff (Industries Preservation) Act 1921-1922; and

  1. That it is desirable that the British Preferential Tariff or the Intermediate Tariff, as the case maybe, should cease to apply to the Dominion of Canada or that the application to the Dominion of Canada of the British Preferential Tariff or the Intermediate Tariff should be varied from time to time to the extent which may be mutually agreed upon by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth and the Government of the Dominion of Canada, or, after six months’ notice by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth to the Government of the Dominion of Canada, to the extent which may be specified in the notice.

The First Schedule

Note. - Where the letters N.E.I. appear in any item, the item shall have the same meaning in this Schedule as it has in the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1921-1924. {:#subdebate-11-2} #### The Second Schedule Note. - Where the letters N.E.I. appear in any item, the item shall have the same meaning in this Schedule as it has in the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1921-1924. If honorable senators study the motion and the schedules they will find in them the whole of the information relating to the suggested agreement with Canada. That agreement, I think, it will be ad mitted, will be of very great value to Australia. Canada does an enormous trade with Australia, but Australia's trade with Canada is not very great. I think it will be realized, however, that it rests with us to showour business capabilities, and to take the fullest advantage of the opportunities that are presented. {: #subdebate-11-2-s0 .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON:
NAT -- On present figures that is correct. I think, however, that I shall be able to show conclusively that the door will now be opened wide for Australia to largely increase the trade that she does with Canada. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- Is it the desire of the Government to trade with outside nations? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- The desire of the Government is to trade within the Empire. We shall trade as much as possible within Australia, but it is necessary to find markets for our surplus products. Canada cannot grow many of the things that are grown in Australia. {: .speaker-KTD} ##### Senator McDougall: -- Canada sends to Australia many of the things that are grown here. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- If honorable senators go carefully through the schedule they will realize that Australia's products are not materially interfered with by this reciprocity agreement. The Commonwealth and the Dominion of Canada have recognized for many years past the desirability of a reciprocal tariff treaty, but, owing to the inequality of trade between the two countries, it has been found impossible up to the present to reach a base of agreement. The Australian Customs Tariff Act 1921-24 provides British preferential rates, intermediate and general, and gives authority for the Commonwealth Parliament to apply either the British preferential or the intermediate rates wholly or in part to any British dominion by proclamation and in accordance with a resolution of each House of the Parliament. Under this authority, it is now proposed to grant the British preferential rates to certain Canadian goods, and the intermediate rates to certain other lines. The schedule attached to the resolution shows first the goods on which we offer Canada the benefit of the British preference, and, secondly, the goods on which we offer the intermediate rates. In return for these concessions, Canada offers special concessions on Australia's primary products. A printed statement has been circulated amongst honorable senators showing in detail what Australia offers Canada and what Canada offers Australia. It may be mentioned here that the proposed agreement will be of greater immediate advantage to Canada than it will be to the Commonwealth, because Canada already does: a large export trade with Australia, and the goods it exports will immediately receive the benefit of this arrangement, whereas Australia does but a small export trade to Canada, and the full advantage of the agreement will not be realized by, us until the preference our goods obtain enables us to build up a larger export tradewith Canada. The position pointed out by **Senator Findley** just now is quite possible. Canada is quite secure under this agreement, because of the enormous trade she does with us. On the other hand, the trade we are likely to do with Canada is to a large extent a gamble. No one can estimate what advantage we shall obtain under the agreement. I shall quote the figures relating to Canada's purchasing power, but we shall not be in a proper position to estimate what this agreement will be worth to Australia until we see the loyalty displayed by the people of Canada in keeping to it, and in seeking to increase their trade with Australia. It must, however, be kept in mind that although Australia has hitherto done very little trade with Canada, she has a very large export trade, chiefly with the United Kingdom, in the goods on which she is to obtain liberal tariff concessions from Canada. For example, in 1922-3 our export trade in the products covered by the agreement amounted to £17,000,000. As this export trade is carried on in the world's markets, against the world's competition, it may be confidently expected that with the aid of the substantial preference that Canada is conceding, Australia will be successful in establishing a very extensive trade with the Dominion. Statistics show that the average trade, during the last five years, between the Commonwealth and the Dominion, is as follows: - The figures for the year 1922-3 show an even greater discrepancy between the imports and exports, namely: - The main object of the negotiations on the part of Australia was to open up new markets for our primary products. I am certain that honorable senators will realize how difficult it was , for me when I was in Canada, conferring with the Government there, to arrive at a reciprocal arrangement in the face of these figures. Australia was importing £5,000,000 worth of Canadian goods and Canada was only buying £361,000 worth of Australian goods, of which £200,000 represented wool, hides, and skin. Actually the only trade we were doing with Canada was in items for which Australia already has a tremendous world'smarket. Some of the Canadian people remarked that it was really a compliment to Australia that they bought a little of our wool. I replied that they only bought it because they wanted it very badly. No country buys goods from other countries from a sentimental point of view. It buys just what it suits it to buy. Our secondary industries have not yet reached that stage of development which would enable us to export the products of those industries to Canada, and concessions thereforeon those goods would be of practically no value to us. But we have a large and expanding surplus of primary products, especially of dried fruits, for which we must find wider markets, if the development of our land settlement schemes is not to receive a serious set-back, which will not only inflict hardship on the present settlers, but also prevent anymaterial extension of settlement in the future. Canada imports immense quantities of those products of which we have a surplus. In the year ending March, 1924, she imported nearly £900,000 worth of dried fruits, about £400,000 worth of canned fruits and vegetables, £650;000 worth of fresh meats, £80,000 worth of canned meats, £400,000 worth of eggs, and £240,000 worth of butter and cheese. On currants and raisins, fresh meats, butter and cheese the preference we are getting amounts to £14 a ton. On dried fruits other than raisins and currants the preference is 15 per cent. ad val. On canned fruits we receive a preference of £9 6s. 8d. a ton. From these examples it will be seen that the preferences are arranged on a generous scale, and it may be confidently expected that they will be of very material assistance in enabling Australian producers to tap the abundant markets which Canada offers. Some honorable senators may think that Canada is not extending a very large preference to Australia, but there are very few items on which she could give a preference that would be of benefit to us. She does not want our Australian wheat ;she is already a large exporter of wheat; and she exports many other lines of primary produce similar to those exported by Australia. On the other hand Canada naturally sought to obtain preference on her manufactured goods, and in arranging the concessions to Canada especial care was exercised to ensure that no Australian secondary industry would be detrimentally affected. The main item from the Canadian point of view is newsprint. When the present tariff was first introduced the rate was 5 per cent. British preferential, and 10 per cent. general. Under this tariff Canada paid 10 per cent., and did a very large trade with Australia. In the year 1920-21, Canada supplied Australia with 29,400 tons. In July, 1921, the item was amended by making the British preferential tariff free and the general tariff £3 per ton. This change had a most drastic effect on Canadian trade in newsprint. In 1920-21, Canada exported to Australia 29,400 tons. In the year ended May, 1924, the quantity had fallen to 2,000 tons, and at present practically no Canadian newsprint is being imported. In view of this position it will be readily recognized that from the Canadian point of view it was essential that Canada should receive preference on newsprint if any agreement was to be concluded. {: .speaker-JXZ} ##### Senator Duncan: -- Were all our importations of British manufacture? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- No. When in Canada, two or three deputations waited upon me in regard to newsprint, and expressed their dissatisfaction with the position. They said that although Australia's policy was preference within the Empire they were being severely dealt with in having to pay a duty of £3 per ton. {: .speaker-JXZ} ##### Senator Duncan: -- Did not our action increase importations from Great Britain? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- Yes, and from other countries which I shall mention., It is true that the preference has been of enormousbenefit to Great Britain. In 1920-21, Great Britain sent 5,800 tons, whilst for the twelve months ended May, 1924, the quantity increased to 60,000 tons. It is, of course, well known that Britain does not produce wood-pulp. All the pulp used in making paper in Great Britain comes from Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Germany. Many complaints have been received from Australian manufacturers, who point out that British manufacturers of newsprint import their raw materials from the continent, add to them 25 per cent. of British work or materials, and get the benefit of our British preferential tariff. They obtain not only the advantage of cheap raw material, but also the advantage of a reduced tariff. This matter has received the attention of Canadian manufacturers, who realize that cheap material is being imported into Great Britain from outside the Empire. As Canada is within the Empire, the manufacturers in that dominion should not be compelled to pay duty on newsprint imported into this country. The present preference on newsprint to Britain has been of very material Advantage to the northern countries of Europe. Not only have they supplied the pulp to Britain, but they have succeeded in maintaining fairly well their trade in newsprint with Australia. In 1920-21, Norway and Sweden sent us 34,700 tons, and in the twelve months ended May, 1924, 26,000 tons. While the preference has been of substantial benefit to Great Britain, it has been of advantage to manufacturers of newsprint in continental countries and has ruined Canada's trade with us in this article. {: .speaker-JXZ} ##### Senator Duncan: -- But our importations of newsprint from Great Britain have increased twelvefold. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- To a considerable extent. The concession of British preference will certainly enable Canada to regain her lost trade in newsprint with Australia, but there is reason to believe that Great Britain will still be able to retain a solid proportion of the trade. She will still receive the preference of £3 per ton against all countries except Canada. From Australia's stand-point this concession to Canada may result in a certain loss of revenue. No Australian industry is affected, and if at any time the manufacture of newsprint is undertaken in Australia, the right is reserved of imposing protective duties either by mutual agreement or upon giving six months' notice. Another item of considerable importance to Canada is that of motor chassis. In this item we are extending to Canada the intermediate rate of7½ per cent. as against the general tariff of 10 per cent. The advantage thus given to Canada will assist that country in competition with the United States of America. Here, too, Australian industries are unaffected by the concession, and it is also thought that British motor manufacturers will not be affected to any great extent. I interviewed the motor manufacturers in Canada, and I am sure that every honorable senator will be as surprised as I was to learn that under the present duty, Ford motor cars exported from the United States of America are coming into Australia at£1 14s. 8d. per car less than cars from Canada, which is really giving preference to a country outside the Empire. {: .speaker-JXZ} ##### Senator Duncan: -- How does that arise ? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- Owing to local values. I met a deputation at Ottawa, and I was convinced that there is nothing in the belief that Ford cars imported into Australia from America come through Canada. I inspected a new Ford factory in Canada, and also the plant belonging to the General Motors at Ottawa, where complete cars are manufactured. I was privileged to spend several days in visiting the factories, and in conversation with the manufacturers they showed that American manufacturers of Ford cars are in a more satisfactory position than are those in Canada. {: .speaker-JXZ} ##### Senator Duncan: -- Is not the proposed reduction only 2½ per cent.? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- Yes ; but it will be sufficient, to overcome the present position under which American manufacturers have an advantage of £1 14s. 8d. per car. The Canadians only asked to be put on an equal footing with car manufacturers outside the Empire. It is Australia's policy as outlined by the Prime Minister in Great Britain to give preference within the Empire. {: .speaker-KTD} ##### Senator McDougall: -- Our policy is to build cars in Australia. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- Before we are very much older, I trust that many cars will be built within the Commonwealth. The present position in relation to motor cars has created a feeling in Canada that Australia is not dealing fairly with the manufacturers in that Dominion. The proposed alteration in the tariff is to overcome that difficulty; and will be welcomed by manufacturers in Canada, and also by Australian people who, I believe, prefer to ride in a car manufactured within the Empire than one manufactured outside the Empire. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- That is nonsense. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- Then perhaps I had better speak only for myself. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- I speak as an Australian, and I would sooner ride in the cheapest car I could purchase, provided it was the best. {: .speaker-KTD} ##### Senator McDougall: -- Notwithstanding this, the Government purchased " flash " American cars. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- That is not so. There are two items on the list that concern Australian secondary industries, viz., corsets, goloshes and sand shoes. On these two lines we are only offering the intermediate tariff, as it is considered that the Australian industries will be adequately protected under those conditions. The wages in Canada are at least equal to those paid in Australia, and are considerably higher than those paid in the United Kingdom. If Australia can compete with the product of the United Kingdom under the British preferential tariff, there is no danger of competition from Canada under the intermediate tariff. Canada is giving preference on commodities for which there will be an ever-increasing demand in the Dominion ; therefore, the value of the preference to Australia should continue steadily to grow. Canada has not produced, and never will, produce dried fruits, while the demand for these fruits is bound to grow as the population increases. {: .speaker-JXZ} ##### Senator Duncan: -- Is Canada giving us preference on Australian manufactured goods exported to Canada? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- I do not think we are at present manufacturing *many* articles which are of use to the Canadian people. The necessity for finding overseas markets for our surplus products is so urgent that Australia must be prepared to pay a certain price in order to secure those markets. The proposed agreement is, therefore, on a give-and-take basis, with mutual advantages, and practically no disadvantages on either side. It is submitted in the interests of both countries, and in the hope that it will extend as the time goes by, and prove to be a further bond within the Empire. When in Canada I found that not only Ministers of the Crown, but commercial men generally, were desirous of arriving at a starting point. I did everything that I could to establish such a starting point, with a view to greater trade reciprocity between the two dominions, but I found that Canada wanted many things which we could not think of granting. I am, indeed, pleased that, notwithstanding the difficulties which have presented themselves, we have at last been able to arrive at what I consider is a satisfactory starting point. With the figures before them, showing that our imports from Canada represent a value of about £5,000,000 per annum, as against exports to Canada to the value of, approximately, £300,000, honorable senators may doubt that the agreement will prove advantageous to Australia. This agreement really opens the door. It still remains for Australia to do her part. Even under this agreement, we cannot afford to wait for trade to come to us. We must seek it, and, in particular, we must see that our goods are marketed in the best way. When in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, and other cities of Canada, I made it my business to purchase in the retail establishments packages of the different Australian fruits offered there for sale. In Montreal I met some merchants, who were good enough to give me their printed schedules and other information which they had at their disposal. I found that the same difficulty presented itself in Canada as in England, namely, that there was a great difference between the price paid to the producer and that charged to the consumer. When I found sultanas offered for sale at from 1s. 3d. to1s. 6d. a lb., currants at from 1s. to1s. 2d. a lb., and lexias at from 1s. to1s. 3d. a. lb., I thought that Canada, with a population of between 9,000,000 and 10,000,000 people, offered a wonderful market for the disposal of Australian fruits. {: .speaker-K09} ##### Senator Payne: -- Do they grow onions in Canada? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- Onions grow there in their season. Canada is a country the greater part of which for five or six months of the year is under snow. That gives to Australia a great opportunity. I am delighted that we have been able to arrive at a starting point, and I feel sure that when the agreement is reviewed in two or three years' time, both countries will be only too glad to renew and extend it. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- What will be the effect of the agreement on the paper industry, both as regards Australia as the purchaser, and Canada and England as the sellers ? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- I should say that its effect will be to make paper cheaper in Australia. At present we obtain from Canada only 2,000 tons of newsprint a year, and on that quantity she pays a duty of £3 a ton. With the reduction of the tariff, her paper trade with Australia should increase. I remind honorable senators that on the paper received from Great Britain, Australia imposes no duty, although a large percentage of the wood pulp from which it is manufactured comes from foreign countries. In face of that, I think that Canada can rightly claim equality within the Empire in relation to paper. {: .speaker-KTD} ##### Senator McDougall: -- Will the agreement make paper cheaper here ? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- Legitimate competition usually has the effect of cheapening an article. I consider that the effect of the agreement will be to make this paper cheaper here. Debate (on motion by **Senator Gardiner)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 4916 {:#debate-12} ### DAIRY PRODUCE EXPORT CHARGES BILL {:#subdebate-12-0} #### Second Reading **Senator WILSON** (South Australia- >Honorary Minister) [3.49]. - I move - > >That the bill be now read a second time. > >This is the bill of which I spoke last week as being complementary to the measure dealing with butter. It provides for a maximum export levy of1/8d. per lb. in the case of butter, and l-16d. per lb. in the case of cheese. I emphasize that in each case that is the maximum, and not the minimum, levy which may be imposed. When the new board is appointed, the necessary levy to meet the expenses of the board, advertising, and so on, will be made. The board is not likely to strike a higher levy than will be necessary for the conduct of its business. The maximum rate charged on last year's butter production would realize some £46,000, and on the production of cheese the maximum rate would produce £1,432, or a total of about £48,000. I do not think this amount will be required, but as the board will be charged with important; duties it is desir able that it should have sufficient revenues. Personally, I think it will be able to carry on with a lower levy, but I should not like to see the advertising end of the business cramped for the sake of the necessary money. {: #subdebate-12-0-s0 .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER:
New South Wales .- The bill, in my opinion, is another step taken by this Government to destroy the liberty of the people. Parliament, it appears, is surrendering its authority to boards. On other occasions, I have heard honorable senators speak with a good deal of respect for the opinion of the framers of the Constitution. Indeed, there was a time in Australian, as well as British history, and that time was not very long ago, when no government would dare to introduce legislation of this nature. Those days have gone. We are now living under different conditions. The Government knowing that if it loses the reins of office, a Labour Administration will take its place, is scheming and planning legislation to help its friends out of public revenues. That, I know, is a pretty strong statement to make. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- This levy will not come out of public revenues. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- It will. It is a tax on the dairy producers of Australia. Clause 3 reads : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. . A charge is imposed and shall be levied and paid on all dairy produce exported from the Commonwealth after a date to be fixed by proclamation. Is not that a levy on the community? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- No. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- It is a levy on the dairy producers of the Commonwealth . The clause states further: - {: type="1" start="2"} 0. . Subject to a lower rate being prescribed by the regulations - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. the rate of the charge in respect of butter shall be one-eighth of a penny for each pound of butter exported; and 1. the rate of the charge in respect of cheese shall be one-sixteenth of a penny for each pound of cheese exported. The Minister, I suppose, will declare that this is not an attempt to exploit the public. I say that it is designed to exploit the public in the interests of friends and supporters of the Government, in the interests of the rings and combines that control the butter trade of the world, and particularly the ring that controls the butter trade in England. The Minister, as we all know, has been to England and Canada. He now asks us to pass this legislation. Naturally, he would like to see it passed in a, hurry. I did not desire the adjournment of the debate, because I knew that course would not necessarily direct the attention of the people to what is happening. They know already that this is part and parcel of a great public swindle. This is the greatest outrage in legislation that has been attempted in this or any other Parliament in the British Empire. I said in my opening remarks that there was a time when people spoke, almost with bated breath, of the great men who framed the Constitution under which we are now governed. I propose to show what they had to say with regard to taxation. I know, **Mr. Deputy President,** that you, following the custom of the Chair, will not concern yourself with the constitutionality or otherwise of the present course of procedure so long as it is in accordance with our Standing Orders. I have no doubt that it does comply with our Standing Orders, but I am sure that the proposal is unconstitutional, because it proposes to discriminate in taxation, which, under the Constitution, should be uniform. Section 51 of the Constitution Act reads - The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to - {: type="i" start="i"} 0. Trade and commerce with other countries, and among the states; 1. Taxation; but so as not to discriminate between states or parts of states. This bill proposes to tax a certain industry. {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator Benny: -- The same argument might be applied to the land tax. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I agree with the honorable senator. {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator Benny: -- And yet it has been held by the High Court to be *intra vires* of the Constitution. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I think the High Court decided that the land tax was in order, provided that the whole of the lands of the Commonwealth were taxed. It. is imposed on the curve system, and does not become operative unless the unimproved value of the land exceeds £5,000. The Commonwealth could not tax, say, the squatter one-eighth of a penny in the £1, and allow the land of a wheat-grower tobe free of taxation. {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator Benny: -- But the honorable senator's objection to this bill might just as logically be applied to the land tax ? {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- Not at all. If there was a proposal to lax a squatter's land, and to allow a farmer's land to be free of taxation, it would be unconstitutional, because no section of the community can be singled out for taxation, as honorable senators will realize in the near future in connexion with this proposal. The Government, I repeat, is working in the interests of the combine that controls chiefly the butter trade of Great Britain. This scheme will crush out of existence another section of the butter trade that has built up a substantial connexion with the East. Every British community claims the right to control taxation and the expenditure of public money. By this means the people retain their liberty. What is the procedure in this and every other legislature under constitutional government ? Whenever a measure imposing taxation is introduced, I, as an elected representative of the people, may rise in my place and discuss practically any subject I choose on the well-known principle that there must be redress of grievances before Supply is granted to His Majesty. *Far* the same reason, the Treasurer in another place in his budget statement gives a most detailed explanation of the amount of money voted in the preceding year, of the amount expended, and likewise of the sum required by the Government for the ensuing year. This course is not adopted merely as a matter of form. It follows the definite course laid down under every well ordered system of constitutional government. What is the purpose of this bill ? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- To help the industry. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- In my opinion it is designed to help the London combine. The board to be appointed to control the export trade will not be required to submit a detailed statement of proposed expenditure each year. In this respect it will have powers greater than that enjoyed by ministries. It will have the power to raise thousands of pounds by taxation, without giving any explanation of the proposed expenditure. This is one of those " simple " measures about which we hear so much. It is really a sequel to the pernicious bill passed by the Senate last week. As I pointed out in the debate on that measure the aim of the Government is the socialization of the dairy produce export trade. The board to be appointed will be of the character of the economic council, referred to in one of the planks of the Labour platform. Though honorable senators . supporting the Government bitterly oppose the Labour platform, they are prepared to swallow this butter pill and confer on the board complete control of the dairy produce export trade. The bill is the outcome of a conflict between two trading interests, one dealing with the butter on the pool system, paying a certain amount down and the rest on the profits made, and the other cutting into the trade of that section, by paying directly the amount agreed upon, on the f.o.b. basis. Under this bill, the London combine will be in complete control of Australian butter marketed in Great Britain. What will be the position of that section of the butter trade which has built up a high reputation in the East for the "Daisy" brand of butter? When this bill becomes law, and when the board has been appointed, those people will not be able to export a pound of butter to the East, except with the consent of the board. Since it will be the duty of the board to feed the London market- I quote the Minister's own words - that body may decide that a certain quantity of butter is required in London and that the people who are interested in the trade with the East must not export to that market. They may be required to export to London or go out of the business altogether. This Government has gone further than any other government to break down liberty in Australia. Last week I was inclined to allow the measure to pass, so that honorable senators should find their own level upon it. I express distinct disapproval of it, andI shall call for a division whenever I have the opportunity to do so, even though I sit alone. In this measure the Government has departed from every principle of parliamentary practice. It has broken away from the procedure of the British Parliament since that Parliament adopted the practice of voting moneys forpublic expenditure. It proposes to create a butter board and to give to that board powers that the Constitution has not given to this Parliament. I ask honorable senators opposite, who slavishly follow the Government in any proposal that it makes, whether they would give to the Minister the power to levy an export tax upon wool? I think they would, but only because they would not know any better. Yet it is proposed to give to a butter board, the personnel of which is not known, the right to tax the butter producers to the extent of one-eighth of1d. upon every lb. of butter that is exported. This may be the result of an arrangement entered into between the Minister and the combine in London. I am referring in unambiguous terms to the combine, because I have the information that it is reaching out to secure the Australian butter in order to hold the London market. The Minister may be perfectly satisfied to allow these men, whose operations in butter run into millions of pounds, to secure control of our exported butter, and by a series of manipulations of the European markets, to benefit the subsidiary companies in which they are interested. I object to that kind of thing. A more objectionable feature, however, is that it is proposed to allow this board to raise practically an unlimited amount of revenue. What amount does the Minister estimate will be raised by means of this levy? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- About £47,000. That is the maximum. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- That is the maximum at present. Will the Minister accept an amendment providing that this taxation shall not exceed £50,000? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- If the honorable senator reads the bill I think he will find that that is the position now. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I think that that is not the position now. If the Minister can tell me the clause which makes that provision, I shall be pleased to read it. Clause 3 provides - (1.) A charge is imposed and shall be levied and paid on all dairy produce exported from the Commonwealth after a date to be fixed by Proclamation. (2.) Subject to a lower rate being prescribed by the regulations - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. the rate of the charge in respect of butter shall be one-eighth of a penny for each pound of butter exported; and 1. the rate of the charge in respect of cheese shall be one-sixteenth of a penny for each pound of cheese exported. (3.) All moneys payable under this section in respect of any dairy produce shall be paid to the Collector of Customs on or before the entry of that dairy produce for export. Tie charges may be reduced at any time. Is the Minister prepared to accept an amendment providing that the amount collected by the board shall not exceed £50,000 a year? Surely that is a fair proposal! What does legislation of this kind mean? A few days ago I gave figures showing that the value of the export of butter in ten years had increased by more than £10,000,000. What will happen if in the next few years the amount exported is doubled? Under this bill the board will collect double the amount that they can now collect. Our exports are growing at an extraordinarily rapid rate. At least, they were, until this blighting Government, by its legislation, injured everything it attempted to improve. {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator Benny: -- This measure will operate only until a date fixed by the Governor-General by proclamation; it can be revoked at any time. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- If it is dependent upon the will of the Executive Council, so much the worse. This bill, like many others, will be brought into force by proclamation. When that proclamation has been issued, it will remain in force from the date fixed. There is nothing in the bill empowering the Government to issue another proclamation terminating the measure. The Dairy Produce Export Control Bill will come into force only if an affirmative vote is given by those who will be affected by it, and it .will cease to operate in two years' time unless an affirmative vote is again given. Although this legislation is introduced in an underhand way, those persons who have even one grain of honesty left to them must be given satisfaction. This will give to the board the power to raise moneys, and the amount raised will increase as the production and export of butter increase. Parliament would decline to give equal power to the Treasurer, even though he is responsible to "his constituents, and with his colleagues can at any time be driven by Parliament -to the constituencies. There is nothing to limit the amount that may be raised "by the board. The only curb is that, if it is found that a greater amount lias been raised than is required, the charges may be reduced. We ought to be very thankful that the Government has not provided that the rate can be increased by proclamation. It is said that at the present time about £47,000 will be raised annually. In ten years' time, our exports will have grown to 'such an extent that under this measure it will be possible to raise a revenue of £100,000. What control will Parliament be able to exercise? Will the Minister put up for sale the positions on these boards? If he will do so, I can find two or three very good competitors for them. The Minister looks wise, as though he would say, " I do not care whether they are .put up for sale or not; I shall be the president of the board." {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- The honorable senator told us last week that I should be out of Parliament after the next election. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I fully expect that the Minister is providing a good comfortable position for himself when he is out of Parliament. The more keenly this legislation is analyzed, the more serious does it appear. It is the first step away from the practice by which means are provided for levying and collecting taxation. In this case, the board is to be given the power to collect of Id. on every lb. of butter that is exported. Let us see where that will lead us. At the present time, the best types of greasy wool are worth about 3s. 4d. a lb. The best quality butter is worth from ls. 6d. to 2s. a lb. Averaging the prices of all grades year in and year out, 1 lb. of wool is practically equal in value to 1 lb. of butter. But there is a vast difference in the methods of production. A pound of butter is produced with infinite labour and trouble. The dairyman rises early and works late. First of all there is the ploughing, the sowing, and the growing of crops for the feeding of his cows. Then there is the milking process, the separating process, the cartage of the cream to the factory, the manufacture pf the cream into butter, and the marketing of the butter. A greater amount of labour is involved in. that industry than there is in . any other primary industry for the return that is obtained. There is the weary moil and toil for seven days in the week and for *52* weeks in the year. Compare that with the production of wool. I see in this bill the beginnings of a menace to the wool industry. The wool produced annually in Australia amounts to probably 70,000,000,000 lb. For every pound of butter that is produced it is safe to say that there are more than 100 lb. of wool. The butter is produced with infinite care, labour, and trouble; but a minimum of trouble is involved in the production of wool. The sheep practically graze themselves. Occasionally they may have to be dipped, crutched, and kept clean; but there is not that infinite labour in the wool industry that is encountered in the production of butter. In the shearing season the sheep pass through the hands of a good shearer at the rate of more than 100 a day. Of these two industries the one in which the hardest work has to be done is to be taxed to the extent of1/8th of1d. per lb. of butter exported. The natural sequence of this legislation is that another government will probably appoint a board to control the export of wool, and that board will say to the squatters, " You shall not send away a bale of wool without a licence from us, and even if we give you a licence your agreement with the shipping company must be approved by us." If this Government taxes butter, the next may tax wool, and where will it end ? Every piece of legislation we pass is a guidance to future Parliaments. If the track be good, let it be blazed and followed, but if it be bad, the best thing to do is to get back to safe ground. It is peculiar that I, in opposition, should be seeking to persuade the Government not to embark on experimental legislation of this kind. It is no doubt a small matter and may not seem very dangerous, but I hope that the sensibilities of Ministers will be aroused and that they will see that the danger of the course they are adopting is that another government may treat wool as they are treating butter today. Of course it would not be a Labour Government. The Labour party approves of Government control of any industry that is exploiting the community, but it believes that an industry that is well able to manage itself and does nothing deterimental to the interests of the people as a whole should be free from government interference or control by boards. The dairying industry is now to be controlled by a board -we do not know who will compose it - and it will be authorized to impose taxation in increasing amounts. The rate per pound will not be increased, but if during the next few years we have a repetition of the seasons we have been enjoying in the last few years, the exportation of butter will be doubled. With a little extension of our irrigation systems and a little greater certainty of fodder supplies for our dairy cows, the dairying industry will develop enormously. Yet a board will be authorized to levy taxation on all butter sent out of Australia. This bill cannot be separated from the Dairy Produce Export Control Bill. I look upon the two measures as the worst legislation I have ever seen introduced into any parliament. They are nothing but a useless, senseless, and idiotic interference with trade that will benefit no one. The producer is left out of consideration altogether. The proprietary and cooperative butter factories, the Government, and the men who sell butter will be represented on the board of control; but the men who do the hard work, the men who produce the butter, attend to the cows, and get the cream to market are not given representation. They do not come within the category of friends of Ministers. Since **Mr. Bruce** and **Senator Wilson** have returned from Great Britain they have been doing nothing but passing legislation to benefit their new friends, the combines who are controlling trade in London and Europe. They had better make haste and benefit their friends as much as they can, while they have the opportunity to do so. Although the public press does very little to enable the feelings of the community to find expression, I have seen some excellent letters in the Sydney newspapers dealing with this legislation. Despite the press the public will get to hear of this legislation. Possibly those parties who are interested in the butter trade, and who are to be wiped out by this legislation, will make their voices heard in those places where the Government get most of their support; but Ministers can rest assured that what they are doing now will be made known to the people. I am strongly opposed to this bill,which delegates the raising of money to a board suite free of responsibility to Parliament. I regard it as the worst step ever taken by any government in the direction of breaking away from the path of constitutional government under which Australia has derived so many advantages. {: #subdebate-12-0-s1 .speaker-KTD} ##### Senator McDOUGALL:
New South Wales .- I shall be very brief in expressing my opposition to the bill. I realize that opposition is futile, because this measure must be passed as it is a corollary to the Dairy Produce Export Control Bill already agreed to. On the second reading of that bill, I expressed the opinion that it emanated not from the National party or the National Government, but from a section of the BrucePage Government, which is supported by a very small portion of the community. F said that it had been forced upon the Prime Minister, who had already expressed very openly his condemnation of such a policy. My remarks in this direction are borne out by a strong financial supporter of the National party in New South Wales, . who has, through the public press in Sydney, soundly condemned this legislation. I refer to **Sir Mark** Sheldon, a gentleman who was compensated for his loyalty to the Nationalist movement by being given two years' holiday in America. I recently asked what that holiday cost the people of Australia. At any rate, " **Sir Mark** Sheldon is a well-known business man. He is president of the Chamber of Commerce in New South Wales, and I believe he is the chairman of other institutions who are doing their best to foster Australian trade, and make Australia self-supporting. According to a Sydney newspaper, "the Dairy Produce Export Control Bill was the subject of severe condemnation by **Sir Mark** Sheldon, president of the Chamber of Commerce " - "The people urging the Federal Government to pass this measure," said **Sir Mark,** "evidently have overlooked some very important material facts. " The bill provides, an the first place, that it shall not come into effect until there has been a vote taken of the producers' interests. If there is a majority in favour of it. it can then come into force by proclamation. " Clause 14 of the bill hands over to a board control of the export and sale and distribution after export of all dairy produce; and it also provides that this board shall issue licences and conditions, and impose restrictions subject to the Minister for time being in control. This is practically reverting to the war control measures, which every one was so anxious to bo rid of, and it seems extraordinary to think that the very people who were loudest in their complaints against Government control are the ones now pressing for a measure of this sort. "This clause, as it now stands, compared with the War Precautions Act regulations, is a difference without a distinction." The great National party has always condemned government control of. the distribution of manufactured goods. It has always contended that private enterprise must, be allowed *to* undertake it. Yet a scheme is now proposed for the control of the exportation of butter that must eventually apply to the exportation of all goods, and we shall probably have half a dozen boards of incompetent men in control of the export of our produce. I use the word " incompetent " advisedly. People may be appointed to these boards without possessing the necessary knowledge of the industries they are to control. They may be chosen by favour. They will not be obliged to pass examinations such as clerks or typists in public departments have to pass before being appointed. Men may be appointed to these boards without any experience. **Sir Mark** Sheldon compares this scheme with the control exercised under the War Precautions Act regulations, but, as a matter of fact, there is a considerable difference between what is now proposed and what, was done during the war. The export of butter was then controlled by a board of men who understood their business. They had had practical experience. They gave their services free, which they were perfectly willing to do in time of war, and they made an excellent job of controlling the export of butter, yet now they are to be overlooked in the future control of that export. That is their re-' ward,' as it is that of many other men who rendered service to Australia during the war. They are to be booted to one side, while others who gave no service to the country during the war can be placed on. boards, and probably will be. **Sir Mark** Sheldon also said - >Another feature of this act is that it provides that the 'board shall control the contracts for the carriage overseas of any dairy produce. The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Sena, tor Newland). - The honorable senator is evidently quoting extracts referring to' another bill, and not to the measure with which the Senate is now dealing. I ask him to confine his remarks to the Dairy Produce Export Charges Bill. {: .speaker-KTD} ##### Senator McDOUGALL: -- Later on, **Sir Mark** Sheldon referred to the proposals" for financing the scheme. All parties have been interested in the method, proposed for financing the scheme. When I went over to Sydney last week-end,, many delegates to- the National party's conference were on the train. They were quite open in their remarks. They said they were entirely opposed to the scheme for financing the export of butter. They were also opposed to the scheme itself, but they were particularly opposed to the proposed method of financing it. Under the bill a levy of one-eighth of a penny per lb. on butter and one-sixteenth of a penny per lb. on cheese is to be imposed on all exportations. The gentlemen to whom I have referred objected strongly to this impost, and also to the Government encouraging a trade which will benefit the whole Commonwealth at the expense of the producers. They maintain that, as the whole Commonwealth will benefit, the Consolidated Revenue should meet the cost incurred. We are now confronted with at position which has arisen in consequence of legislation being hurriedly passed through both Houses of Parliament. Parliament has not had sufficient time in which to study bills,, or to see what effect they will have upon the community or upon the Consolidated Revenue. Bills are guillotined through another place, and criticism is stifled. If sufficient time were allowed, measures could be fully debated and constructive criticism offered, but members of both Houses are denied that right. When the Constitution Bill 'was under consideration some years ago, attention was directed to the possibility of the position which has now arisen by those intellectual giants, many of whom have since passed away. The only way in which an improvement can be effected is by making Australia a nation under the constitutional powers provided, and by encouraging our people to consume our own products and to use our own manufactures. No determined attempt is made in that direction. The Government now finance schemes submitted at the instigation of interested persons. Although I object to certain features of the measure, I do not oppose the principle involved, if it will be a means of providing employment and better food and improved accommodation for any of our people. It was never intended by the framers of the Constitution that any government should appoint boards with such extensive powers as are given to this board. The Government should be honest enough to say that they intend to handle this business. The first person to ex- port butter from Australia to the East was the captain of a sailing vessel, who, after a few years, when the trade assumed large proportions, left his ship and conducted a butter-exporting business without any assistance from any government. After his death the business was continued by the members of his family, and the brand which he exported was of such a satisfactory quality that the business which he established is now handling 90 per' cent, of the Eastern trade. Notwithstanding this, it is now provided that those controlling this and other similar businesses must obtain a licence before they can export, and must also contribute to a fund lo assist those who have not been able to successfully manage their businesses. Firms that have been able to carry on in this way deserve better treatment than is being meted out to them by this Government. **Sir Mark** Sheldon, who is very indignant concerning the manner in which this work is to be financed, said that he looked with horror on the decision of the National Government that this industry should be governed by a board which might be appointed by interested persons. No doubt it will be. I do not suggest that the Government are under the influence of a combine which is compelling them to act in this direction, but apparently the unseen hand is at work. I agree with **Sir Mark** Sheldon that not one of the members of the Government or one of their supporters believes in the proposal. I enter my protest against the action of the Government which, ostrich-like, is hiding its head in the sand, and acting in this way merely to satisfy those who provide money for the National party to carry on its propaganda.. {: #subdebate-12-0-s2 .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY:
Victoria -- Before the exportation of butter can be controlled, apparently two bills have to be passed by Parliament. On Friday last the Senate passed a measure providing for the appointment of a board, without which the bill would be valueless. The board to be appointed under another measure cannot function until this bill is passed. The Honorary Minister, in moving the second reading of this measure, said that the board, when appointed, would make a levy of *<L.* per lb. on all butter exported, but if I read the bill aright it will not be able to do anything of the kind. What power is given in this bill, or in the measure passed last week, by which the board can make a levy? Even if it had the power, what authority has it to collect a levy from any exporter or producer in any part of the Commonwealth ? I am satisfied that the Honorary Minister **(Senator Wilson)** cannot answer that query. The Minister for Home and Territories **(Senator Pearce),** last week said that the levy would be collected, not by the board, but at the Customs House by the imposition of an excise duty. The Minister for Home and Territories said on several occasions that in handling this business the Australian taxpayers would not have to contribute one penny. Does the Minister say that the duty thus imposed on the Customs officials will not mean additional labour and extra expense? I hope I am correctly stating the position. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- I am afraid the honorable senator is not. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- The Minister in charge of the bill has made one statement and the Minister for Home and Territories another. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- We are both right. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- The board will probably agree upon the levy which can be carried by the butter producers, and an excise duty will, no doubt, be imposed and collected at the Customs. {: .speaker-K2L} ##### Senator Reid: -- It could be collected on the weight exported. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- There is nothing in this bill to give the board power to collect the levy which it makes. {: .speaker-K2L} ##### Senator Reid: -- It will collect it from the money received for the butter. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- The Customs authorities will have a record of the butter exported. {: .speaker-K2L} ##### Senator Reid: -- And the board will have a record of the money received. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- Even supposing the board has that record, it will not have control over each butter producer's banking account. Take any factory which sends all its butter to market: Some of that butter will be for home consumption, and some for export. How will the board be able to determine the quantity consumed locally and that exported? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- That will not be difficult. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- That may, or may not, be so. The Minister has not explained in which way it will be done. The factories will not stipulate the quantity that they desire shall be consumed within Australia, or exported. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- The butter will not be exported unless they do. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- Then the factories are to have a free hand ? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- The bill that we passed last Friday did not provide that we should take any butter. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- Assuming that both bills become law, will the butter producers of Australia be able to please themselves whether their butter is to be consumed locally, or exported? In my opinion, they will not. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- The honorable senator is not correct. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- If the butter producers are able to please themselves in the matter, what is the use of the board ? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- The honorable senator is referring to a matter which does not come within the scope of this bill. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- I take it that the board will have absolute control over all the butter produced inAustralia. It should be the board's desire to do the best possible with that butter, in the interests of the butter producers of Australia. It can only do that by controlling the business, and being able to say whether the butter shall be consumed in Australia or exported to other countries. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- I assure the honorable senator that the board will have no control over the butter produced in Australia, apart from the exportable surplus. The **DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Newland).** - There is no mention of the board in this bill. I ask the honorable senator to confine himself to the. measure now before the Senate. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- Unless we pass this bill, the board which will be created by other legislation will not be able to function. In order to give effect to the wishes of a certain section of the people of Australia, the Government has found it necessary to introduce two bills. Those bills are interwoven, and can hardly be divorced. The DEPUTY PRESIDENT . - That is why I have allowed such latitude in the discussion of these bills.. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- You have allowed no latitude. The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- The Leader of the Opposition in this chamber has stated, by interjection, that I have allowed no latitude in the discussion of these measures. I ask him to withdraw that remark. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- I draw attention to clause 4, which reads - >The Governor-General may, after report to the Minister by the Dairy Produce Control Board constituted under the Dairy Produce Control Act 1924, make regulations prescribing lower rates of the charges imposed on butter and cheese exported from the Commonwealth. The two bills go together. I interjected that no latitude had been allowed; but if you, **Mr. Deputy President,** consider that remark to be offensive, I withdraw it. The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - The reremark is offensive, inasmuch as I have allowed Senators McDougall and Findley a good deal of latitude in their references to the board, for which provision is made in the bill passed last week. I have to ask that the discussion be confined, as far as possible, to the bill now before the Senate. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- It is impossible for one to speak on this bill without making at least passing reference to the board which is to be created under another piece of legislation. This bill says distinctly that there shall be a levy of1/8d. per lb. on butter exported, and that the amount collected shall go to the board to be Created under another measure. The two measures are inseparable. The board will be useless if this bill is not passed. Unless the board gets the money derived from the levy, which the Minister anticipates will be about £47,000 or £48,000, it will be unable to do any work whatever. What will be done with that large sum ? I understand that the expenses of the board will be paid from the fund, as well as publicity expenses. It may be that the amount will be sufficient. That I do not know; but if so large a sum of money is to be collected from the dairymen of Australia, in what way will they be advantaged ? The Minister says that this bill, which is the sequel to the one passed last week, is to help the dairying industry. I have conversed with persons directly interested in the butter business, but they have been unable to satisfy me in which way they will be benefited by these measures. The Minister said that the board would feed the market, and not glut it. By that means he hoped that higher prices would be obtained for our exportable surpluses. Whilst Australia produces butter in excess of her own needs, her exportable surplus amounts to about one-tenth of the total quantity of butter imported by overseas countries. If, as the Minister and those who think with him appear to believe, our exportable surpluses would increase the world's price for butter, there would be something in this bill, and the one we passed last week, but there are very good reasons to doubt that that will be the position. Those doubts exist in the minds of not only those not directly concerned, but those who know the business from A to Z. I should, therefore, like the Minister, before the bill passes the second-reading stage, to clear away the doubts which exist in respect to the way in which the levy will be imposed, the manner in which it will be collected, and whether it will mean an increased cost to the general community. The preparation of these two bills has, no doubt, caused much thought; nevertheless, both the Ministers who have spoken on them have expressed somewhat different views. I againask the Minister to explain the functions of the board, the necessity for the imposition of the levy, the manner in which it will be collectedwhether the butter producers will be circularized in respect to it - what power the board will have to recover should default in payment be made, and whether the work is to be undertaken at the Customs House. Question - That the bill be now read a second time - put. The Senate divided. AYES: 16 NOES: 6 Majority . . 10 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. *In committee:* Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to. Clause 3 - (1.) A charge is imposed and shall he levied and paid on all dairy produce exportedfrom the Commonwealth after a date to he fixed by Proclamation. (2.) Subject to a lower rate being prescribed by the regulations - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. the rate of the charge in respect of butter shall be one-eighth of a penny for each pound of butter exported; and 1. the rate of the charge in respect of cheese shall be one-sixteenth of a penny for eachpound of cheese exported. (3.) All moneys payable under this section in respect of any dairy produce shall be paid to the Collector of Customs on or before the entry of that dairy produce for export. {: #subdebate-12-0-s3 .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER:
New South Wales -- I move- >That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the clause by leaving out the words "one-eighth", paragraph (a), and inserting in lieu thereof the words " onesixteenth ". This will make the bill a little less objectionable. It is, as I have already said, a proposal to tax the dairy farmer and the dairy worker in the interests of the London combine. One-eighth of a 1d. per lb. may not seem very much, but spread over the total quantity of butter exported from Australia it represents, as the Minister told us this afternoon, about £47,000 ; and I suggest that it is a pretty heavy load for the dairy worker to bear. I realize, of course, that the Government will defeat the amendment. The Minister in charge of the bill has only to raise his hand and command the obedience of his own supporters. The dairy producers did not send me to the Senate, but I intend to watch their interests. I protest against this proposal to tax the dairy worker on every pound of butter exported from Australia. It is a scandal and an outrage to tax the hardest-worked primary producers in the Commonwealth. The proposal is a deliberate attack on the dairy workers and the dairymen of the Commonwealth for the benefit of the London combine. Because the Minister **(Senator Wilson)** has been to London, and, with **Mr. Bruce,** met the people who control the Australian butter trade in England, he has come to this Parliament with an agreement to tax the industry in Australia. **Senator Wilson** was guilty of an impertinence and an affront to honorable senators when he declined the invitation to reply to statements made in the second-reading debate. The last speaker had asked a number of questions, which should have been answered; but the Minister, for reasons best known to himself, was silent, acting, no doubt, on the principle - " Mum's the word; the least said soonest mended ; we are getting the plunder for our friends ; we want cash for the combine, and we must not talk about it on the floor of Parliament lest the dairy farmers hear about it." I notice **Senator Reid** is smiling. I challenge him to come with me to Queensland and debate this bill before any audience of dairymen. He and his friends supporting the Government are " buttoning " for the combine. {: .speaker-K2L} ##### Senator Reid: -- The dairy producers have asked for this, and they would like more. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- It will mean more money for the combine at the expense of the dairy workers of the Commonwealth. The board to be appointed will have more power even than Parliament, because it will have authority to tax the dairymen year after year without presenting any detailed statement of its requirements, or giving reasons for the expenditure. Can the Minister explain why a board of thirteen members should handle £47,000 a year? It will not be necessary to organize the export trade. Everything is already in order. I suppose the Minister thinks that, as the amount to be raised by the board is only the butter producers' money, why bother? Evidently that is the attitude also of supporters of the bill. {: .speaker-JZC} ##### Senator O'Loghlin: -- That is not true. The board will be appointed by the dairy producers. The honorable senator knows that as well as any one else in this chamber. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I am sorry to hear **Senator O'Loghlin** making a misstatement, because from my reading of the bill passed last week the men who do the work on the dairy farms will have no representation on the board. {: .speaker-K09} ##### Senator Payne: -- What ! {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I invite the Minister in charge of the bill, or any other honorable senator, to tell me what representation the dairy workers will have. I know there is a provision for representation of the owners of factories, and that there will be a representative of sellers of butter out of the Commonwealth on the board, but I say definitely that the dairy workers will not have representation on that body. If my statement is incorrect this surely is the place where the truth should be told. {: .speaker-KTH} ##### Senator McHugh: -- The statement is not wrong. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- Under this proposal money levied from the dairy farmers of Australia will be handed over to the Loudon combine. My amendment, if carried, will reduce the plunder somewhat. I know, of course, that it will be defeated. But I wish the dairy workers, who have to toil from early morning until after sunset, to know what is being done. {: .speaker-JZC} ##### Senator O'Loghlin: -- This scheme is in their interests. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- Honorable senators who talk in that way evidently have not read the bill. {: .speaker-JZC} ##### Senator O'Loghlin: -- It would appear that the honorable senator himself has not read it. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- No honorable senator can read the measure passed last week in conjunction with the bill now before the committee and say truthfully that the scheme is in the interests of the dairy producers. {: .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator Drake-Brockman: -- No one who reads the measures intelligently can come to any other conclusion. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I have not heard the honorable senator say anything in support of it. Is it because he fears that the dairy farmers in Western Australia will want to know the why and the wherefore of his support of these measures ? {: .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator Drake-Brockman: -- They would if I voted against the scheme. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- Why, when I make the charge that the London combine is fleecing the dairy farmers of the Commonwealth, do not honorable senators stand up in their places and refute it? {: .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator Drake-Brockman: -- Because the statement is so stupid that it is unworthy of notice. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- The silence of honorable senators opposite, and the manner in which they will vote on this clause, will prove that the Minister has them all " in the bag." {: .speaker-KLU} ##### Senator Sir Thomas Glasgow: -- Including members of the honorable senator's own party? {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I make no dis.tinction in connexion with this matter. The position, so far as I am concerned, is quite clear, and it will be my duty to make it clear to the dairy workers of the Commonwealth. I challenge any honorable senator to debate with me this bill and the measure passed last week, before an audience of dairy farmers in any part of the Commonwealth. They are going to be robbed just as effectively as *"ii* they were accosted by a highwayman and deprived of their cash. {: .speaker-K09} ##### Senator Payne: -- Is it not a fact that the dairy farmers appointed representatives to consider the scheme ? {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I have not the slightest doubt that certain companies have had an interest in it, but I repeat that the bill passed last week contains no provision for the representation on the board of the men who do the actual work on a dairy farm. {: .speaker-JZC} ##### Senator O'Loghlin: -- The honorable senator does not appear to have read the bill. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I know that I am speaking very plainly. If there is an answer to what I am saying, why is it not given in a speech on the floor of this chamber? My amendment, if carried, will, at all events, save the dairy farmer l-16th of a Id. on every 1 lb. of butter exported. Neither the Minister nor his followers, including his new-found supporters on this side of the committee, have shown why the board should have at its disposal such a large sum of money. Why is it proposed to take £47,000 out of the pockets of the dairy farmers? No explanation is given, because it is the wish of the Government that nothing should be said. Will it be required for sittings of the board and for the salaries of those employed to take charge of the export business ? Surely not, because this has already been done without any such expenditure by private enterprise. This £47,000, I remind the committee, will not. be extracted from the people of the Commonwealth as a whole, but from that section of 1he primary producers who work harder than any other people in Australia. This amount of money is to be taken from them,, and placed in the hands of the board, but no- one has the faintest idea how it will be used. It will be £50,000 next year, possibly £60,000 in 1926, and £70,000 in 1927. The supporters of the Minister are prepared to vote for the bill without knowing to what purposethe money will be devoted. The Minister is too cute to give any information to the committee ; if he said anything he would give the show away. His supporters are willing to tax the dairy-farmers. I admit that it is a small tax, only one-eighth of a penny per lb. I suppose we ought to be thankful that it is not one penny a lb. {: .speaker-KOZ} ##### Senator Hoare: -- The dairy-farmers may decide not to accept the scheme. A poll of the producers is to be taken on the bill passed last week; the onus is on them to accept or to reject it. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- That is quite true. If they are fully acquainted with the position they will reject it. I do not know how1s. of this £47,000 will be expended, and I want the Minister to give me that information. If it is necessary to raise £47,000 to finance the operations of this board, why should Parliament not be told , in what directions the money is to be expended ? If it were a tax of one-eighth of a penny a lb. on apples, Tasmanian senators would want to know the why and the wherefore of it. If it were a tax of one-eighth of a penny on bananas, Queensland senators would demand that information regarding the proposed expenditure should be supplied tothem. If it were a tax upon the gold that is being sent out of Australia, honorable senators from Western Australia would die in the last ditch before they would allow the bill to go through. {: .speaker-KMI} ##### Senator Graham: -- The industries of Western Australia are dying now. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- This is a bill that will take the butter off their bread. {: .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator Drake-Brockman: -- The gold production of Western Australia was taxed very severely, but I did not hear the honorable senator protest against it. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I do not think that **Senator Drake-Brockman** heard a protest made by any honorable senator from Western Australia. {: .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator Drake-Brockman: -- I protested vigorously. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I challenge the honorable senator to turn up the records of this chamber and to show any Western Australian grievance raised by him in regard to which he was not supported by me. During the four years that I have been associated with him, his chief business has been to representthe Government. He has not bothered about the troubles and the grievances of the people of Western Australia. Yet now he says he has not heard me protest against the manner in which the Western Australian gold-fields have been treated. That is his business. What has he done? He is almost a Minister now, and he could exert some influence upon the Government. {: .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator Drake-Brockman: -- The honorable senator makes a lot of noise, but he does not effect very much. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- The noise that is made by **Senator Drake-Brockman** has no effect whatever. {: #subdebate-12-0-s4 .speaker-KTD} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator McDougall:
NEW SOUTH WALES -- The honorable senator's time has expired. {: #subdebate-12-0-s5 .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON:
South AustraliaHonorary Minister · NAT -- I was rather astonished at the extravagance of the language used by **Senator' Gardiner.** He likened this action of the Government to robbery and burglary. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- I did. I also say it amounts to swindling and cheating. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- I hope that the honorable senator does not connect me with anything of that nature. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- If the honorable senator will tell me what this money is wanted for, I shall apologize. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- I intend to tell the honorable senator in my own way and in accordance with the Standing Orders. I draw his attention to the fact that during the last few days he has discussed the very items for which this levy will be made. The Dairy Produce Export Control Bill provides by clause 22 - The moneys paid into the fund shall be applied by the board as follows: - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. in payment of the expenses and other charges incurred by the board or for which the board may become liable in the course of its business; That covers the whole of the organization that may be necessary to deal with the exportable surplus of butter. At the present time I suppose there are from 30 to 40 different branches, each with a large staff, doing that work. In future it will have to be done by the board - {: type="a" start="b"} 0. in payment of the salaries and wages of officers and servants of the board; {: .speaker-JZC} ##### Senator O'Loghlin: -- It is all clearly set out in the bill. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- That is so- {: type="a" start="c"} 0. in payment of travelling allowances, fees, or other remuneration to members of the board or of the London agency (not being persons permanently employed in the service of the Government) ; and 1. in investment in any securities of, or guaranteed by, the Government of the Commonwealth or of any state, The honorable senator may remember that in that bill a clause was inserted providing that the board should keep proper books of account. Those books will have to be submitted to the Government annually, and must show every detail of the board's operations. They can be thoroughly scrutinized. The honorable senator has stated that this action is being taken in the interests of a combine on the other side of the world. I am astonished that he should make that statement. Any one who stops to think cannot fail to realize that in this matter we are endeavouring to get away from the combine. {: .speaker-JZC} ##### Senator O'Loghlin: -- Hear, hear! That is the object of the bill. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- Quite so. We are aiming to give the producers the opportunity to get that to which they are entitled. **Senator Findley** referred to the principal trouble that is experienced in England, when he mentioned the feeding of the market. Our difficulty has been that, being a land of feast or famine, we have been compelled to place our products upon the market as soon as they were produced, and to accept whatever price was offering. The combine has been able to step in, secure our butter, coolstore it, and very often make out of it a greater profit than was made by the man who produced it. {: .speaker-JZC} ##### Senator O'Loghlin: -- They have exploited the producers. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- Everybody connected with the industry in all the states has gone thoroughly into the matter. It is the ambition of the Government to place the industry on afair and a legitimate basis. Honorable senators have received telegrams expressing a desire to have a variety of things done. Many suggestions have been made which, if accepted, would carry the matter further than the Government feels that it can go. {: .speaker-JZD} ##### Senator Foll: -- I have received from the Queensland Government a lengthy telegram which states that the bill does not go far enough. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- I have had probably a dozen interviews on the subject, and I say definitely that this is an honest attempt to place the butter industry on a proper footing. **Senator Findley** has asked who will collect this money, and what will be the cost of collection. He also desires to know whether the taxpayers of Australia will have to bear the expense. I assure him that the whole of the money required will be provided by the levy, which will be collected by the Customs Department. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator Findley: -- The board will strike the levy, but the Customs Department will collect it. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- The Government has fixed the maximum amount that can be levied. If the board finds that it is able to do with less, honorable senators can rest assured that the Minister will be only too pleased to reduce the rate. I remind the honorable senator that the Customs Department would in any case continue to inspect the butter. It to-day collects a levy to provide funds for the Australian Dairy Council. . This is a bigger and a broader scheme for the development of the butter industry, and we believe that it meets the wishes of all who are connected with the trade. It is diametrically opposed to the wishes of the combine to which **Senator Gardiner** has referred. I assure him that the language that he used was quite unjustified. I have spent weeks in going into the matter. A great deal of time has been given to it also by other members of the Government. We have endeavoured to bring forward something that will meet the wishes of the majority of those who are personally interested in the industry. The result of our efforts is the bill that honorable senators now have before them. {: #subdebate-12-0-s6 .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY:
Victoria . The first statement of the Minister, that the levy would be struck by the board, was not correct. According to his last statement, the levy will be collected at the Customs House. The matter will probably begin and end there. I think it can be taken for granted that the board will not intimate to the exporters of butter that a levy of an eighth of a penny per lb. is to be imposed. The principal work will be done by the Customs House, and not by the board. {: #subdebate-12-0-s7 .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER:
New South Wales -- I am unable to thank the Minister for his explanation. 1 demanded to be told foi what purposes the money was required, and he replied by reading a clause of the Dairy Produce Export Control Bill. I am not speaking of a few shillings or a few pounds; an amount of £47,000 is' in question. That is the sum which the board is to be empowered to expend in its first year. Has the Minister any idea of the manner in which the board will incur the liabilities referred to in the clause that he read ? The officers and servants whose salaries and wages are to be defrayed from the levi will be appointed by the board, and will not be subject to the provisions of the Public Service Act. Why should they not be brought under that act? The Minister further stated that the expenses of the London agency would have to be paid out of this fund. Why should our dairy farmers be taxed to keep a London agency ? {: .speaker-JZD} ##### Senator Foll: -- Because they will derive a. benefit from it. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- Who will be the London agency ? {: .speaker-JZD} ##### Senator Foll: -- They .have to be appointed. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- Have we not already a sufficient number of agencies in London to do this work? Has not the butter industry been carried on for years without this additional expenditure of £47,000 annually? Why should men be taxed when they are not given the opportunity to say whether or not the measure shall be put in operation ? The Minister's explanation has left us as much in the dark as we were before he gave it. The fact remains that it is proposed to call into existence a most extravagant board to collect money from the dairy farmers. The more I debate the matter, the more firmly I believe this. During the weekend I have heard the other side of the case. I have learned who are at work, and what their business is, and, because of the knowledge so gained, I shall attack every clause of the bill, and take every opportunity to put before the committee my reasons ' for declaring that the dairy farmers should not be further taxed. The board is to be elected on the most peculiar franchise ever set out in an act of Parliament. Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria will each elect two members of the board; South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia will each elect one, and the sellers - whoever they are - will elect one. This board is to be given £47,000 to spend this year out of the earnings of the dairy producers. It does not seem a very large amount to honorable senators. It is only about one-third of what the " beef barons " of Queensland have been given to enable them to export their beef. But will any benefit accrue to the dairy farmers from this expenditure -which they did not have to meet last year? **Senator Wilson** thinks he has answered me satisfactorily when he declares that this money will be spent in paying the expenses of the board and the London agency. Why has it not been found necessary in previous years to have a board and a London agency, costing £47,000 a year? {: .speaker-KOJ} ##### Senator H Hays: -- The position has not been satisfactory. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- -I am glad to hear an honorable senator for Tasmania say that the position has nob been satisfactory. The more he talks about these matters, the more he will find it unsatisfactory for private enterprise to continue as it has been operating. But he will also find that worse than allowing private enterprise to continue in an unsatisfactory way is half-hearted interference with it, and the placing of loads on it that give no benefit in return. In this case the load on private enterprise is an expenditure of £47,000, which no honorable senator opposite has shown will be of direct benefit to the dairy farmers. The Minister's explanation that the money will be spent on travelling allowances, board expenses, and so forth, may be satisfactory to some people, but the dairy farmers would be more satisfied if they learned that benefit would accrue to them from the expenditure. Will it lead to an alteration of the present system of selling, and, if so, in what direction? The men who are paying the piper have the right to call the tune. The man in a. big way who will pay a few pounds a week in export charges on his butter is entitled to know how the money drawn, from him is to be expended. I do not think that the Minister will contend that the board will handle the sale of butter better than it is now handled by the people who are doing the business. Even the self-satisfied representatives of the dairying interests in Queensland who get " framed " and faked letters from the interested people in their state should insist on getting the information for which I am asking. {: .speaker-K2L} ##### Senator Reid: -- The letters are not faked. We are not afraid of this legislation. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I should think they would require this information in order to justify their support of a bill which affects so many of their constituents situated on the rich dairying lands of Queensland. The thing that strikes a visitor to that state is the number of milk cans awaiting transport at every little station. Looking at them, one has to imagine what they stand far. {: .speaker-JRW} ##### Senator Crawford: -- The owners of those milk cans stand for this bill. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- That is what I should like to know. Queensland will pay a big proportion of this £47,000, and yet we have not been told how. it is to be spent. The working dairyman who toils hard and is happy if at the end of the year he has paid his way, will want **Senator Crawford** to tell him where this money is to be spent. But all that **Senator Crawford** can tell him is that an agency which is to be established in London has to bc paid for. I can imagine the dairyman saying, "Well, **Senator Crawford,** put me on that agency." The dairy farmer, whether he be working in the salubrious climate of Queensland or in the colder climate of Victoria, or the south coast of New South Wales, will want to know where his share of the £47.000 is going. All that he knows is that at the end of the year he has not half enough to remunerate him for the work he and his family have done. If I have the opportunity to do so I shall tell him .that this money will be spent in the support of a London agency, which in turn will support the combine that now controls the whole butter market of Europe. The dairyman's part is to pay and not to reason why. This scheme has been launched so that the Government may not take the matter in hand and give the whole of the profits to the men who are doing the work. Now that an honorable senator on the other side has been good enough to induce Parliament to pass a bill compelling the people to vote, I shall take very good care to get the dairy farmers to ask at the next election what benefit they are deriving from the expenditure of this £47,000. The charge may be fixed at one-eighth of Id. now, but in time it may grow to *id.,* and the *id.* may grow to id., and the d. may grow to Id., swallowing up the whole of the dairyman's profits, meagre as they are. We are enjoying good seasons now, but the £47,000 would go a long way towards feeding cattle in a time of drought. It will not go very far in paying the expenses of the board. The worst feature of this proposal- is that it is class legislation. The tax is to be drawn from one class of the community only. When I first joined the Labour movement the argument used against it was that it was in favour of class legislation. Yet Parliament has now before it a proposal to tax a class without affording it an opportunity to resist the impost. The money will be raised by the Collector of Customs, but the board will spend it, and the dairy farmer, who foots the bill all the time, will have no representation on the board. I am delighted to have this opportunity to speak for the dairymen and point out what they are up against. Those who pose as their best friends have deserted them and left them to the tender mercy of the Collector of Customs. He will take their hard-won earnings from them for the purpose of. creating a London agency and a board of thirteen, which will incur considerable expenditure in travelling from one place to another, in furnishing an office, and in paying for various services. If the Government really wanted to help the dairy farmers it could spend the £47,000 in a better way by providing them with people to milk the cows and turn the separators, or by buying fodder for them in a bad season. In fact, there are hundreds of ways of spending the money to better advantage than by setting up a London agency. What right have the sellers in London to representation? Can the Minister tell me what fees the members of the board will draw, and whether he will limit their fees and travelling allowances ? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- Any one would imagine that' we were legislating for a team of burglars. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I should not insult burglars by comparing them with the Government. As far as I know, burglars are reputable and respectable men in comparison with the present Government. {: .speaker-KTD} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator McDougall: -- Order! The honorable senator's time has expired. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- It is just as well. Question - That the request be agreed to - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 7 NOES: 16 Majority . . . . 9 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the negative. Request negatived. {: #subdebate-12-0-s8 .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER:
New South Wales -- Will the Honorary Minister **(Senator Wilson)** accept a new sub-clause providingthat any cooperative factory or proprietary company purchasing butter or cheese shall not be permitted to charge the exporter a levy in excess of that provided in this clause? I am afraid that the co-operative factories or proprietary companies may collect from the producers, say,½d. a pound on butter and 1d. a pound on cheese, and the persons to whom they sell will be taxed to that extent. They will pay out to the Customs officials one-eighth of a1d. on butter and one-sixteenth of a1d. on cheese. A good deal has been said concerning the appointment of boards and the necessity to protect interests and, of course, private enterprise, but I have not heard of any one particularly desirous of protecting those who perform the arduous work in the industry. It appears to be the custom to regard the dairying industry as one which will continue to produce enormous wealth, as during the last tenyears it has without any interference on the part of the Government increased its production to an enormous extent. In spite of idiotic legislation - I do not mean the legislation passed in this chamber - that has been passed, the dairying industry is progressing. Can any honorable senator mention any other Australian industry which has had to pay taxation of this kind to the Treasury through the Customs? Before the sellers ofdairy produce can export a box of butter or a round of cheese they will be compelled under this bill to pay a levy of one-eighth of a1d.on butter and one-sixteenth of a1d. per pound on cheese. Why is it that those who work so hard in the industry have to pay this impost? Apparently they work so hard that they are unable to find time to confer with those who should protect their interests? In this instance they have to take the word of those who purchase their produce, and operating on this basis bills of this nature are foisted upon them. The dairying industry has been the Cinderella of our primary industries. The cows must be milked, whatever the climatic conditions may be. That being so, one naturally wonders why this industry should be singled out by the combines or by a Government which legislates in the interests of combines for such treatment. Why should this industry have this doubtful piece of legislation foisted upon it? It is so doubtful that the Government has not the courage to accept the responsibility of it, but leaves its acceptance to outsiders. A bill passes both Houses, and after it has received the assent of the representative of His Majesty the King it becomes law. But this legislation may become inoperative, because some persons, who cannot amend it, but who know more about the business than the King's representative or members of Parliament do not approve of its provisions. That is an extraordinary position in which to be placed. Who are these people who can render the work of Parliament on this measure nulland void? The bill does not give the information. It is apparent,' however, that, although individuals are not to be considered, certain interests are to be protected. Although it is proposed to encourage trade with Canada by lifting the barriers, we are making it still more difficult to export cheese by providing that on every 16 pounds of cheese exported, a levy of Id. shall be paid. What would be said if woollen manufacturers and bootmakers were informed that a similar tax was to be imposed upon the articles they manufacture for export? There would be an outcry. The Government has gone as far as it can towards impairing the prospects of this country by stopping its inward trade through the imposition of high tariff duties, and now it is trying to stop its outgoing trade. The excuse is that the levy represents only a small amount, it being onesixteenth of one penny per lb. of cheese. Were similar levies imposed 'on all our other primary products such as wool, beef, mutton, and hides, one can imagine that a large sum would be recovered. Take also our manufactured goods. The imposition of a similar tax on them would in a few years pay the whole of our war debt. This bill reveals that skill and intelligence which men who are out to fleece the community always employ. The press paragraphs and printed articles which we see so frequently are evidence that people who are out to make money are behind this legislation. I wonder what the people who are working on the farms will say concerning the imposition of a levy of *id.* per lb. in the case of butter, and one-sixteenth of Id. per lb. in the case of cheese. When in future a nian receives 11½d. instead of ls. per lb. for his butter, and asks the reason, he will probably be told by the manager of the factory that he is being let off lightly by having only -Jd. a lb. deducted. He will be told of the expenses incurred by the board and its London agencies. . If the man is acquainted with the legislation, and asks why *id.* instead of ?d. per lb. is deducted, he will probably be told that there are other expenses of which he knows nothing. He will be informed of the slump on the London market. There is always a slump on the London market at the season when the dairy farmer has to sell his cream. {: .speaker-KTD} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator McDougall: -- The honorable senator's time has expired. {: #subdebate-12-0-s9 .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY:
Victoria .- For the moment I see no reason to. hand over to a board the control of all our exportable cheese. I do not think that those engaged in the industry have yet captured the Australian market. {: .speaker-JRT} ##### Senator Cox: -- No cheese is imported into Australia. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- Cheese comes here from New Zealand, and from other countries. {: .speaker-KOZ} ##### Senator Hoare: -- Some from Holland. ' {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- Before the war, large quantities of cheese were imported into Australia, and I believe that that is still the case. The Australian market should be the best market, and until it is supplied I can see no necessity to hand over the control of exportable cheese to a board. {: .speaker-JYG} ##### Senator Elliott: -- Would the honorable senator raise the duty on cheese? How else' would he keép out the Dutch cheese ? {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- We are not dealing with duties in this bill. I said that until we captured the Australian market it did not seem necessary to encourage the exportation of cheese. We should first do all we can to make imported cheese unsaleable in Australia. {: .speaker-JRT} ##### Senator Cox: -- We can make cheese equal to that imported. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- I understand that a fair quantity of Dutch cheese is still imported into Australia, but we know that very little, if any, butter is imported. A duty of 2d. per lb. is imposed on butter. The Australian butter market has been captured by the Australian producer, but that, apparently, is not the case with cheese. Our export trade in cheese is small compared with the trade in butter. {: .speaker-KOJ} ##### Senator H Hays: -- We export more than we import. {: .speaker-KLU} ##### Sir Thomas Glasgow: -- The Gruyere cheese which we import is a luxury. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- A fair quantity of New Zealand cheese comes into Australia. That this is not a big proposition is shown by the fact that the Government has made a distinction between butter and cheese, the levy being one-eighth of a penny per lb. and one-sixteenth of a penny per lb. respectively. From the levy imposed on butter the Minister anticipates that about £47,000 will be received, but the levy on cheese is expected to produce only a little over £1,000. If cheese paid the same levy as butter, the amount which would be raised would still be so small that I do not think that it would be worth while seriously considering handing over the control of cheese to a board. What was the quantity of cheese exported by Australia and its value? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Australia's exportation of cheese last year amounted to 1,700 tons. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- Has there been any real demand on the part of the manufacturers of cheese for their export business to be handed over to a board? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- The cheese makers are also the butter makers. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- When the export of tinned butter was dealt with in another place, the butter exporters were not greatly . concerned. The Government agreed to allow them the same latitude as they had before the introduction of the bill. I do not see that there is any necessity for the imposition of a levy on cheese, but as the Government has a majority in this chamber, I have no doubt that its proposal will be agreed to. Clause agreed to. Clause 4 agreed to. Clause 5 - >This act shall continue in force until a date which the Governor-General may fix by Proclamation. {: #subdebate-12-0-s10 .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER:
New South Wales -- When I was speaking on this bill at an earlier stage an honorable senator, who is also a lawyer, interjected that this clause would enable the Government to cease the operation of the bill at any time by proclamation. I think that it means that when the other bill has passed all obstacles, the GovernorGeneral will issue a proclamation. I should like the Minister to say whether a proclamation could be issued at any other time which would have the effect of terminating this legislation. Strange as the legislation is, I am not disposed to take anything for granted. My reading of the bill is that the proclamation referred to is the proclamation which will be issued after the producers have signified their acceptance of the measure. That is a new principle which this Government has introduced in connexion with the legislation of the Commonwealth. Under the measure passed last week, the act is to remain in force for two years', when another vote of the dairy producers will be taken to decide whether it shall continue. I should like to know if the Executive Council could, under clause 5 of this bill, issue a proclamation repealing the act. {: #subdebate-12-0-s11 .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON:
Honorary Minister · South Australia · NAT .- I think the intention of the clause is clearly expressed. It states that the act shall continue in force until a date which the Governor-General shall fix by proclamation. The Governor-General is the Executive Council, and the latter expresses the will of Parliament. Parliament, through the Executive Council, could immediately abolish the board. {: #subdebate-12-0-s12 .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER:
New South Wales -- I am sorry that the Minister has given that definition of the clause. It is worse than anything we have had yet. We are told that Parliament, through the Executive Council, may issue a proclamation repealing the act. If the Minister's explanation is correct, which I very much doubt, the Executive Council could issue a proclamation abolishing the board, and it is quite conceivable that Parliament would have to be called together to reconstitute that body. There is danger in legislation of this nature. It is a kind of cross-purpose bill, interfering with the authority of Parliament and setting up a board superior in some respects to Parliament itself. It is understood that the vote of dairy producers, to decide whether the scheme shall become law, will be taken within the next six weeks. Evidently honorable senators do not realize how far they are going with this class of legislation, and perhaps they are wondering why I am complaining. As a matter of fact, I should not complain, because for the future, and when Labour is in power again, we shall have ample precedent for legislation along similar lines. I do not like legislation by proclamation. I remember what happened not many years ago, when two contradictory proclamations were issued by the Executive Council within 24 hours. I refer to the historic occasion when four members of the Ministry of the day resolved, at a meeting of the Executive Council, that the returning officers at a forthcoming general election should not put certain questions to electors on entering the polling booths. Within 24 hours, two other Ministers **(Mr. W. M. Hughes and Mr. Jensen),** with the Governor-General decided otherwise, and immediately 9,000 telegrams were sent to the returning officers throughout Australia giving them definite instructions to do so. Both meetings of the Executive Council were properly constituted. If the Minister's interpretation of the clause is correct, and if the Executive Council may, by proclamation, abolish the board, so much the worse for this class of legislation. It goes much further than I thought I would live to see any Government go. {: .speaker-JRT} ##### Senator Cox: -- Surely the honorable senator is not so conservative as to wish the law not to be flexible and capable of alteration ? {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I am not concerned about the flexibility of the law, but I am concerned about legislation which invests boards with such extraordinary powers. I wish power to remain in the hands of the people. I have never yet seen a board which did not act rather in its own interests than in the interests of the country. I did not believe it possible for any Government to pass legislation that could be wiped out by proclamation of the Governor-General, or in other words, the Executive Council, which, as I have shown, may consist of the Governor-General and two members of the Ministry. Let usimagine what may happen in the event of a dispute between the Prime Minister and **Dr. Earle** Page. Suppose that **Dr. Earle** Page's northern friends found that this scheme did not work so well as they anticipated. Suppose, further, that **Mr. Bruce** happened to be away on his long-promised Queensland tour. **Dr. Page,** with the assistance of, say, **Senator Wilson,** could, at a meeting of the Executive Council, have a' proclamation issued to wipe' this legislation out of existence. The measure is extraordinary, but the Minister's explanation is even more extraordinary. Clause agreed to. Title agreed to. Bill reported without request; report adopted. *Sitting suspended from, 6.30 to 8 p.m.* {: .page-start } page 4934 {:#debate-13} ### DRIED FRUITS EXPORT CONTROL BILL {:#subdebate-13-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-13-0-s0 .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON:
South AustraliaHonorary Minister · NAT -- I move - That the bill be now read a second time. In principle and in detail this measure is similar to the Dairy Produce Export Control Bill. When I moved the motion for the second reading of that bill I forecasted the introduction of this measure, and stated that it was the intention of the Government to make the provisions in each as nearly alike as possible. The board that it is proposed to constitute in this case will consist of seven members. That, it is thought, will meet the requirements of the industry, because fewer interests have to be considered than are encountered in the butter industry. The dried fruits industry is a very important one, and we are endeavouring to put it on a better footing than it has so far held. Last year the exports of dried fruits from Australia amounted to 43,097,500 lb., of which currants, sultanas, and lexias accounted for 42,706,700 lb. The bill relates only to the exportable surplus of dried fruits. To-day 5,000 growers are engaged in the dried fruits industry, 2,000 being returned soldiers. The growth of the industry has been responsible for the difficulties with which it is at present beset, because the marketing of the fruits has not progressed proportionately with the increase in the production. In 1914-5 the production totalled 10,230 tons, whilst in 1923-4 it was 40,000 tons. Up to1922 approximately 80 per cent. of the production was marketed and consumed in Australia, and only 20 per cent. was sold overseas. At the present time, however, it is necessary to find a market outside Australia for 80 per cent. of the production. {: .speaker-K2L} ##### Senator Reid: -- And a good job, too. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- I agree with the honorable senator. About 28,000 tons are being exported this year, and it is estimated that, in order to dispose of the coming crop, we shall have to find an outside market for approximately 32,000 tons. The present depressed condition of the industry is unquestionably due to the fall that took place in oversea prices. We were previously obtaining a wonderful price. Although the growers who sell outside the organization represent only 10 per cent. of the total number engaged in the industry they exercise a very marked effect upon the industry. The board will be in a position to completely control the export of fruit, and it should, therefore, obtain better returns for thegrowers. It will also play a very active part in the efforts to improve the methods of selling in London. It will provide for a continuity of supply, improve the grading and the packing of the fruit, effect economies in marketing and transport, and carry on extensive advertising. It will be authorized to establish a selling agencyin London. **Mr. Ashbolt,** who for five years has represented Tasmania in London, recently returned to Australia. Few men have taken a more live interest in the marketing of Australian products or displayed greater energy that **Mr. Ashbolt.** {: .speaker-K09} ##### Senator Payne: -- He also has very great ability. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- That is so. At Wembley no man rendered greater assistance to me than **Mr. Ashbolt,** and I was delighted to have such , a man who knew the conditions in London and upon whom I could lean. He has stated definitely that unless the methods of marketing are altered the present difficulties will continue. The Australian Dried Fruits' Association, and others interested in the industry,admit that the present disorganized system in London is disadvantageous to the producer in Australia. The board will have to re-arrange the selling methods. It will also have 'to go into the question of shipment. The agents who are to-day handling Australian dried fruits are general agents,who treat them as a side line. I do not think that we can afford to allow that to continue. The association will appoint to the board persons who are connected with the suppliers, and they will see that the very best results are secured for the association. The board's operations will not be confined to looking after the marketing of the fruit in London. It will also have to give a great deal of attention to the packing and the processing of the fruit in Australia. We have not nearly approached the highest stage of efficiency, but I am sure that a great deal can be done by a board whose special duty it will be to give assistance in that direction. The co-operation and assistance of the Customs Department will be at the disposal of the board. That department will have to fix a standard of quality and see that the grading is properly carried out. A week or two ago I stated that unless we had a proper system of grading we would never reach the highest stage of efficiency. There is a feeling that all this legislation that we have been introducing applies only to London. My belief is that it should apply to all trade outside Australia. At Colombo, on my return to Australia, I spent several hours with merchants who had made purchases from Australia. They were not anxious to give further orders, because in many cases the goods they received were not equal to the sample on which they had contracted to purchase. In order that the very best results may be achieved, this legislation must apply to Great Britain, the East, and every other country with which Australia trades. Many packing sheds have treated packing rather carelessly. They will not be entitled to any of the privileges that will be conferred by this bill unlessthe fruit passes the expert examination of the Customs Department. I again remind honorable senators that we are not dealing with the local trade. In justice to every state, and to the industry itself, only the highest grade of fruit should be exported. No state should be free to unload any of its fruits upon the oversea markets. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- I suppose that any district will be freeto unload inferior fruit on the consumers in Australia. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- The Australian is capable of looking after himself. We are endeavouring to guard the good name of Australia 12,000 miles away. We have laid down a standard for export, and the majority of the districts are exceedingly anxious to have it brought into operation. Soon after I investigated this matter a district whose fruit was being handled by a personal acquaintance of mine asked that,' on account of the abnormal season, permission should be given to export to London 300or 400 tons of currants. I signed the docket subject to an assurance being given that the fruit would go into the manufacturing trade in competition with currants from foreign countries, and not into the retail shops. The Australian Dried Fruits Association cabled its representative in England, and the reply it received was that the assurance could not be given. My friends are exceedingly hurt because I will not allow this fruit to be sent overseas. After the great advertisement Australian products had received- at the Wembley Exhibition in which the attention of the London consuming public was drawn to the excellent quality of Australian dried fruits, it would have been folly on my part to allow 300 or 400 tons of damp currants to go into the retail trade in London with every possibility of having become musty when passing through the tropics. It would have undone all the good done at Wembley. Therefore I was compelled to take the stand that I would not allow the shipment, and although my friends had previously been very anxious for the exercise of control over the export of dried fruits and for the establishment of a standard quality for marketing overseas, when it came to their turn to stand the test they thought that the control might be put off for another year. If we went on in that way we might as well put it off for ever. We have some standing in London in regard to the quality of our dried fruits, and we must be very careful as to what we put on the market there. Just at present' our surplus production of dried fruits is but a fraction of Great Britain's requirements. During the year 1923, Great Britain imported from all countries 2,667,191 cwt. of currants and raisins. Australia contributed only 333,458 cwt. of that quantity. These figures are sufficient to indicate that with proper organization, we can find a profitable market for any quantity of fruit we are likely to produce for years to come, and it is for that purpose this bill has been introduced. Twelve years ago California was virtually in the position that we are in to-day, but by means of organization and levies the dried fruit-producers of California have secured such a position on the world's markets that the growers obtain a reasonable price for their fruit, and the industry itself has been placed in a very happy position. I only ask that the same opportunity be afforded to the dried fruitproducers of Australia. I do not wish honorable senators to imagine for one moment that the carrying of this bill will finish the task. The success of the scheme will depend to a large extent upon the personnel of the board. A man may embark upon a business and make a fortune out of it, and yet the man who buys him out may become bankrupt in the same business. Thus I hope we shall be fortunate in the choice of the board. **Senator** Wilson. We can grow the quantity of fruit, and judging by the samples that I have in my office of fruit produced in other parts of the world, I have no hesitation in saying that we can hold our own so far as quality is' concerned. When the Australian Dried Fruits' Association had control of Australian dried fruits, it served a very useful purpose so long as Australia was consuming all that was produced. But we have got beyond that stage. We have now a quantity that must be exported and, as the Australian Dried Fruits' Association machinery stops at the- borders of the Commonwealth, we must provide' some other machinery that will control the feeding of markets on the other side of the world, otherwise the men engaged in the industry will suffer a very sad time. With proper organization this can be avoided. Australia so far is not supplying to Great Britain more than 333,458 cwt. of currants and raisins, although the annual consumption of that country is more than 2,677,000 cwt. This afternoon I told the Senate of the agreement which .has been arrived at between the Canadian and Australian Governments. Two dominions of the Empire are prepared to assist one another by preferential customs rates. Another step has been taken to bring about preference within the Empire. Before long Great Britain must come into the circle and do for Australia what Canada is prepared to do. We are not asking Great Britain to increase the duty on dried fruits, but to give Australia a greater margin of preference than she now enjoys. When we find that sultanas which are sold in London at £53 a ton are said to return only £20 a ton to the Australian producer, we realize that something must be" done to reduce the margin of £33 which is now absorbed in handling and selling" charges. We ought to be able to cut down that £33 I could almost say by half. Insurance and shipping charges ought to be considerably reduced when large tonnage is available, and when instead of having many people handling our produce we shall have one organization only to deal with it. The British duty is £2 a ton on currants and raisins, and £7 a ton on sultanas and lexias. Australia at present enjoys a preference of 6s. 8d. a ton on currants and raisins, and £1 3s. 4d. a ton on sultanas and lexias. It represents about 16 per cent. Honorable senators can realize what preference within the Empire by a reduction of the present rates of duty on Australian fruits would mean to the development of our dried fruit industry. That is what the present Government is endeavouring to obtain, and no doubt as time goes on the concession will be secured. This Government and whatever administration succeeds it will also, I hope, continue the efforts now being made to obtain for Australia that preference within the Empire to which it is entitled, and which will only be in keeping with the spirit manifested by Australia and Canada in entering into the reciprocal agreement that is now before the Senate for consideration. New Zealand admits sultanas and lexias free of duty, and imposes a rate of½d. per lb. on currants and raisins; but, knowing the frequently-expressed views of **Mr. Massey,** the Prime Minister of the Dominion, I hope that before very long an arrangement will be made to give a preference to Australia that will enable us to control the supply of dried fruits to New Zealand. Canada imposes a duty of two-thirds of a cent per lb. on Australian currants, sultanas and lexias, and a halfcent per lb. on currants, sultanas and lexias imported from countries to which the Canadian preferential tariff applies. The Commonwealth Government is very anxious to secure for Australia a substantial preference in both Canada and New Zealand on currants, sultanas, and lexias. During 1923 New Zealand imported 8,482,596 lb. of currants and raisins, of which quantity Australia supplied 3,457,898 lb. and the United States of America 4,088,231 lb. Imagine our next-door neighbour importing dried fruits from the United States of America when we are prepared to come to an arrangement which will make it practicable for us to supply the whole of its requirements in this respect. The advances to be made to the dried fruit exporters are on the principle laid down in the Dairy Produce Export Control Bill. Once the fruit is delivered and passed by the Customs Department it is held by the board, and the board may make an advance up to 80 per cent. against it. The price to be fixed upon will, of course, depend upon the London parity at the time. SenatorReid. - Will that 80 per cent. be advanced on the fruit held here, or must it first be exported? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- That is a matter for the board to decide. The control as proposed will enable the board to feed the London market with regular supplies. At present the fruit is rushed to the other side of the world and sold at whatever priceit will bring. {: .speaker-JYG} ##### Senator Elliott: -Willthisschemedo away with the Australian Dried Fruits' Association ? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- No. We have 2,000 returned soldiers on the land producing this fruit. We have explored all avenues of getting rid of their product, and have come to the conclusion that the system provided in this bill is the best means of assisting the industry. We have 80 per cent. of the product to export, and we shall relieve the Australian Dried Fruits' Association which, as I have already said, served a very useful purpose so long as we were consuming all that we were producing, of the responsibility of marketing that surplus. The disposal of the 20 per cent. which can be consumed locally will still remain the responsibility of the Australian Dried Fruits Association. {: .speaker-JZD} ##### Senator Foll: -- That is a pity. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- I cannot agree with my honorable friend. The Australian Dried Fruits' Association has had from ten to fifteen years' experience of organization in Australia. If we relieve it of the necessity of financing 80 per cent. of the product, surely with its experience it should be able to cope with the trade within Australia. {: .speaker-K8P} ##### Senator Thompson: -- It has done very well, indeed. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- It did very well until the industry grew beyond the wildest imagination of any one. {: .speaker-JZD} ##### Senator Foll: -- It made things pretty hot with the public when there was a shortage. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -Itmighteasily retaliate that other industries in Australia have done the same. Australian agencies on the other side of the world which are now trading in dried fruits will still have the assistance of the association. It is not the ambition of the Government or of the association to rob any one who is doing legitimate business overseas. All we want to do is to control the supply of the London market and other markets overseas. We want to see that we do net create a glut which will force the Australian grower to sell his produce for practically nothing. If we reach that objective we shall have made a tremendous step forward. Paragraphs have appeared in the press during the last few days to the effect that the people in Great Britain are showing a desire to purchase Australian products in larger quantities, and, according to cables I have received, the good work done at the . British Empire Exhibition is now bearing fruit. The export of dried fruits is to be controlled by a board, and I understand the Leader of the Opposition **(Senator Gardiner)** has a board of a different type which he intends to bring under the notice of the Senate. Those engaged in the dried-fruits industry in Australia are looking to the Commonwealth Parliament to assist them at this period. I believe that with the possibility of increased trade with Canada, and a more general knowledge of the. value of our products, business overseas will increase to a remarkable extent. As the principle in this measure is similar to that embodied in the Dairy Produce Exports Bill, which was fully discussed, I trust it will have a speedy passage. {: #subdebate-13-0-s1 .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER:
New South Wales -- I do not think there is any necessity for me to oppose this bill at length, particularly as the Minister **(Senator Wilson)** has expressed the desire that 'it should have a speedy passage. Persons engaged in nefarious practices are always anxious to complete their tasks as soon as possible, andthat is one reason why I intend to oppose the bill very briefly. I am reminded of one ofÆsop's fables in which a gentleman who had erected a dwelling adjoining a tannery found after he had been in occupation a little while that the odour of the tannery was most offensive and gave the proprietor of it notice to quit. The proprietor, however, gave a plausible excuse why he should remain, and when the time to quit arrived gave another excuse, and eventually the gentleman became so accustomed to the odour of the tannery that he allowed the tannery proprietor to remain. I regard this measure as smellful, obnoxious, and objectionable, and have come to the conclusion that the supporters of the Government have become so accustomed to bills of this character that they will accept anything. If you will permit me, **Mr. Deputy President,** I wishto bring under the notice of the Senate an inexpensive board which has a bearing on an interjection of the Honorary Minister **(Senator Crawford),** who, a few days ago, indignantly referred to me as an individual who purchased only in the cheapest market. I admitted that I did, and said that most other sensible people did likewise. The board I wish to bring before the Senate is an ordinary pine one bearing the following words: - >Packed by Angaston Fruit-growers Cooperative Society Limited, Angaston, South Australia. Sound, fresh, and clean. Printed in Sweden. That is sufficient to indicate that there are others in Australia who believe in purchasing in the cheapest market. {: .speaker-K2L} ##### Senator Reid: -- From what timber is it cut? {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I understand that these boards are cut and stamped in Sweden and come out in shooks ready to be nailed together in Australia. The only work done in Australia is the nailing. This board was handed to me by a storekeeper in New South Wales. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- What was it doing in that state ? {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -It was in the possession of an up-to-date storekeeper, who evidently realized that good dried fruit was produced in the honorable senator's state. When I was passing he directed my attention to the fact that the lettering on the board was done in Sweden, and he naturally seemed surprised that those engaged in an industry which is so highly protected, and upon which Commonwealth money has been lavished, should have work of this kind done outside Australia. He asked me why Parliament did not compel such societies to use cases made of Australian timber. {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator Benny: -- We should tighten up the tariff. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- The board I have submitted is proof that those engaged in the fruit-growing industry - in whose interests this Parliament has been legislating off and on for three months - are not anxious to support other Australian industries. We have advanced money on the last crop, and so long as this Government remains in office, I suppose assistance will be given in financing future crops. {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator Benny: -- Would the honorable senator be in favour of increasing the tariff on such importations? He is in favour of freetrade. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I know one who supports freetrade has to submit to a good deal of abuse, but those whom we are protecting by special legislation believe in freetrade in some instances and protection in others. Surely Huon pine, the Richmond River timber, or the Maryborough pine could be used for this particular purpose. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- I shall have to reprimand the Angaston Society for using imported boards. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I shall have much pleasure in presenting this exhibit to the Minister, who, I trust, will bring it before Cabinet. It is astounding to think taxpayers are compelled to contribute their good money towards making the dried fruits industry a success whilst those controlling that industry will not assist other Australian industries. I do not know whether this company exports dried fruits. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- It does. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- It deserves some credit for being sufficiently candid to use boards on which the words " Printed in Sweden " are so plainly stamped. SenatorCox. - If the storekeeper were loyal to Australia he would not purchase fruit in imported boxes. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- Those who purchase supplies do not know that the boxes are of foreign origin until a consignment is received. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Western Australian companies use boxes made of jarrah, which are eagerly sought after in England. {: .speaker-JRT} ##### Senator Cox: -- Most of the packers use Australian timber. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- They may. At any rate, some of the people engaged in this industry import the wood to make boxes in which the fruit is packed, which is an indication of the absurdity of legislating in this way. If we can manufacture superior boxes at a cheaper rate we should be able to export dried fruit at a lower price. Co-operation with Sweden and other European and Asiatic nations would make both them and Australia more wealthy, if we bought and sold where opportunity offered. {: .speaker-JRW} ##### Senator Crawford: -- Does that apply to cruisers also? {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- Certainly, it does, but not to the construction of cruisers. For the reason that if war came we could not. import cruisers, they should be made here.Matters of defence are different from ordinary trading concerns. The Minister gave us some figures relating to the dried fruit industry for the periods 1912-4, and 1920-22 to 1922-3. During the intervening ten year's the production increased by 80 per cent., and the exports by 16.22 per cent. Those are astonishing figures. During the three years, 1920-21 to 1922-3, the production increased by 90 per cent., and the exports by 35 per cent. I give those figures for the reason that I want honorable senators to see, probably ten years hence, that when they started tampering with this class of legislation, the dried fruit industry was in a prosperous condition. Not only was the increase during that period considerable, but it was profitable, notwithstanding that the Minister has said that the industry was in a particularly bad way. Let us consider the position in relation to raisins and currants. In 1912-3 our production was 12,573 tons. In 1913-4 it had increased to 13,688 tons, and in 1914-5 it was 10,279 tons. For the three years the average was 12,180 tons. During 1920-21, the production was 15,236 tons, increasing to 21,607 tons in 1921-2. with a still further increase to 29,134 tons in 1922-3. That gives an average for the three years of 21,992 tons per annum. Honorable senators will, therefore, see that we are dealing with a healthy and progressive industry, which has developed rapidly. Instead of helping the industry, I consider that to pass this bill will be to interfere with the ordinary trading business of people who are better able to conduct it than any board will be. Surely an increase of 80 per cent. in the production of raisins and currants, between the periods of 1912-4 and 1921-3, is satisfactory. Let us now look at the quantities exported. In 1911 we exported 278,989 lb. of raisins and currants, valued at £4,187. In 1912 our exports totalled 1,899,125 lb., valued at £31,780. In 1913 our exports were 2,390,513 lb., valued at £30,487. That was a satisfactory increase. During the year, 1920-1,we exported 17,810,706 lb. of raisins and currants, valued at £729,036. The next year our exports were 33,743,001 lb., and the value was £1,125,825. The following year 24,147,227 lb. of raisins and currants were exported, the value being £895,076. That gives an average of 25,234,000 lb., valued at £916,600, which is an extraordinary increase. One would think that the Government would leave a business like that alone. Taking the average for three years in a ten years' period, the quantity exported had increasedby 16.22 per cent., and their value by 40.40 per cent. Those figures indicate such a rapid growth of the industry that it should have been left alone. In committee, I shall be able to give some further figures dealing with this industry. The board which the Government considers will improve the dried fruit industry is to consist of seven members, one of whom is to be appointed by the GovernorGeneral. Three representatives are to be elected by the growers in New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia, and one by the growers of Western Australia. In this connexion I am glad to see that Western Australia, with onesixth of the population of New South Wales, is to have equal representation with that state, as is the case with their respective representation in this Senate. No representatives are to be elected by the growers of Queensland or Tasmania. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- Those states do not export dried fruits. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I suppose their turn will come when bananas, butter, and sugar are dealt with. Four states are to elect four of the representatives. There may be good reasons for that. Will New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia elect one representative each, or will the three representatives be elected by the growers of those states conjointly? I notice also that the board is to have extraordinary powers - powers even greater than those possessed by the GovernorGeneral. The bill provides that the Governor-General shall not appoint as the Government representative any person who has submitted himself for, and failed to secure, the election by the growers as a member of the. board. Does the Minister agree with that? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- Yes. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- Then the Minister is in favour of curtailing the powers of this Parliament and of the GovernorGeneral, to the extent that a man who has been rejected by the growers may not be selected by the Governor-General. The very reason for his rejection by the growers may make him a proper man to be on the hoard. I do not care what the reasons are, but a Government that will grant to the growers greater powers than are possessed by the Governor-General can, and will, do anything, and is worthy of the severest censure. Take the case of the New South Wales Parliament. Let us suppose that a man has stood for the Legislative Assembly and has been rejected by the electors. Does that stop him from being appointed to the Legislative Council by the Governor? Honorable senators know that that Council is composed, to a great extent, of men who have been rejected by the people for the other House. The good old Book tells us that when the devils entered into the herd of swine the swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea and were " choked in the sea." The bill provides that - >The board shall, with respect to any dried fruits placed under its control, have full authority to make such arrangements and give such directions as it thinks fit for the following matters: - > >The handling, marketing, and storage of the dried fruits; > >The shipment of the dried fruits on such terms and in such quantities as it thinks fit; > >The sale and disposal of dried fruits on such terms as it thinks fit; > >The insurance against loss of any such dried fruits either in the Commonwealth or in transit from the Commonwealth and until disposed of; and > >All such matters as are necessary for the due discharge of its functions in handling, distributing, and disposing of the dried fruits. Let us imagine that two honorable senators opposite have been engaged in the dried fruits business. Having given their best years to that business, and having developed the capacity for conducting it on proper lines, they, under this bill, would find that they could only export with the authority and approval of a board which knew much less about it than they did. The only reason I have for feeling sorry for having to attack the Government on these bills is that I give them such excellent ammunition for attacking what they believe to be part of the policy of the Labour party. They won the last election by declaring their opposition to the socialization of industry. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- This proposal is for the organization of industry. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- So is the socialization plank of the Labour party's platform, with the difference that we propose the socialization only of those industries that are exploiting the people. Following this measure, whether honorable senators like it or not, we shall have the socialization of everything that is exported from Australia. Under this proposal the board may put out of business men who have been in the industry all their lives. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- There is no desire to do that. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- Of course there is not. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- And we are not going to do it, either. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I know that the Minister's intentions are quite good, but I remind him that the path to the opposition is paved with good intentions. No doubt he really desires to assist the industry, but measures like this only assist the combines. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- That is not so. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- The Minister has just come back from London. I am afraid that when he was there the people engaged in the business got hold of this innocent abroad and filled him with their ideas of how it should be managed. Now he is endeavouring to translate their schemes into legislative action which is against the interests of the fruit-growers of Australia. Does the Minister really believe that the board will handle, market, and control the dried fruits industry better than those who have been in the business all their lives ? SenatorWilson.-Certainly I do. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- Then all I can say is that I admire the Minister's faith. And faith, I believe, has been defined as a condition of credulity which compels belief against the arguments of reason and logic. It is not reasonable to suppose that we shall have a board of even average intelligence, because it will be a composite body, and we know, from our experience of this Government, what an awful failure a composite body may be. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- I hope to be spared to hear the honorable senator admit that this scheme has proved the success that I predict it will be. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- There is to be a London agency. Are we to have in London separate agencies for fruit, butter, and cheese? Their functions, so I understand, will be advisory, and I suppose we shall get a great deal of advice of doubtful value. Why should we not be able to enlist the service of officials at Australia House, and induce them to take a real interest in Australian affairs? Perhaps it may be thought that to do useful business for Australia would detract from their dignity. I like to maintain the dignity of Australian representatives abroad, but I also like to increase their usefulness, and I am inclined to think that both dignity and usefulness would be enhanced by their employment in the direction I suggest. I notice that the board may appoint such officers as are necessary to assist it in carrying out its functions, and that officers so appointed "shall not be subject to the Public Service Act, and shall hold office during the pleasure of the board." Why should they not be subject to the Public Service Act? {: .speaker-K09} ##### Senator Payne: -- Surely the honorable senator does not regret the absence of red tape from the bill. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I should like to know what **Senator Payne** would say if, after having tried this experiment on fruit-growers of the river Murray district, similar legislation were enacted to deal with the marketing of Tasmanian apples. {: .speaker-K09} ##### Senator Payne: -- It might work very well indeed. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: **- Senator Payne,** with innate caution, suggests that it "might" pay very well. I am quite certain that it would pay the combine very well indeed. {: .speaker-K09} ##### Senator Payne: -- The growers. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- We know what the growers get- less than¼d. per lb. for fruit for drying purposes. If the money to be spent on this scheme were paid direct to' the growers, they would probably get double the present prices, and be able to manage their own business in their own way. I am a stickler for private enterprise until the time comes for the Commonwealth to take over control. I do not believe in these half-and-half measures. This scheme will not be in the best interests of the people, because it places too much power in the hands of business interests. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- I hope the honorable senator is not losing sight of the fact that the scheme will not become operative until it has been approved by a vote of the fruit-growers themselves. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I plead guilty to not knowing exactly what is the definition of a fruit-grower, and I am wondering if the Minister can enlighten me on the point. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- I am one of them. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -Ishouldlike to be enlightened on many other provisions of the bill. Clause 4 states that the member appointed as a Government representative on the board shall hold office during the pleasure of the GovernorGeneral. That is an interesting clause. Perhaps the Minister will also explain what is meant by the provision that the election of three representatives of the growers in New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia, and of the representative of the growers in Western Australia shall be carried out " in such manner as is prescribed," and why the members with commercial experience may be removed from office by the GovernorGeneral, upon the recommendation of the board. If this Senate were a board as is proposed under the bill, honorable senators supportingthe Government could rid themselves of my presence by recommending the Governor-General that my term of office be discontinued. What do honorable senators think of the provision that makes the tenure of office of a member of the board terminable at any moment ? {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator Benny: -- Does the honorable senator know that all our judges hold office *quamdiu se bene gesserit?* Thatis to say, so long as they are of good behaviour ? {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- Does **Senator Benny** say that the elected representatives of the people should hold office on such terms? {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator Benny: -- Yes. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I am glad the honorable senator is of that opinion. There will be only seven members, and if one acquaints the public of the swindles that are being carried on, his removal from the board will be recommended, and the Government will not have the time to investigate the matter for itself. If there is to be a board, let it be one that will be free from outside influence, and the members of which will not be afraid of losing their jobs. The weakest of parliamentarians is he who is afraid to speak or vote for fear that he will lose his seat. Honorable senators can imagine how much worse it will be with the members of a board of this kind. The Government is determined, however, to proceed with this legislation, and it has behind it a big majority that enables it to impose its will on Parliament. In the future **Senator Wilson** will regret this period of his life, when he was unable to freely express his opinions. He has always been a free lance. Now he is compelled to fall in behind his team. His one sorrow in later years will be that he helped to make such an inroad on the liberties of the people, that he trampled underfoot every right that they possessed to work and to trade. This legislation will put out of business men who have been trading for years. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- No. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- They will in future be controlled by a board. A combine in London will govern the exporting and the sale of Australian fruit, and put it on the market whenever it suits them, so that the subsidiary companies in which they are interested can draw all the profits while the Australian growers bear the whole of the expense. I shall oppose every objectionable feature in the bill. The public of Australia should not be subjected to this class of legislation. It interferes with trade. It, in effect, says to men who have built up big businesses, "You can no longer trade as free men; you must get a licence from a board." Seven men will control the dried fruits industry. If seven of the best men in Australia were placed in control they would not be able to make a success of it. I do not believe in handing over to boards the business of this country. The greater the interference the worse the trade. Ihave shown that the dried fruits industry has grown enormously during the last ten years. I am endeavouring to get honorable senators to see that they are responsible for preserving the freedom of the people of Australia. Legislation of this character makes an inroad on their natural rights, their natural freedom, and their natural liberty. {: #subdebate-13-0-s2 .speaker-K09} ##### Senator PAYNE:
Tasmania .- I am surprised that the honorable senator, in his earnest desire to give the Government a good trouncing, should shut his eyes to the. fact that the conditions relating to the marketing of Australian products are lo-day totally different from the conditions that existed prior to the war. The honorable senator knows as well as I do that our greatest difficulty lies in breaking down the commercial combines in England, which during the last few years have been working to the detriment of the Australian producers. This measure has only one object, and that is to endeavour to get past the combines in order that our growers shall reap an ' advantage. The honorable senator this afternoon dilated upon the fact that the currant and raisin crop had increased very greatly during the last ten years. He quoted the value of the crop to show that the industry had gone ahead by leaps and bounds -without any Government interference, but he absolutely failed to show the position in which the growers find themselves to-day because they are not able to market their fruit to the best advantage. The honorable senator's figures are valueless unless he can show that the increased production has meant an increased return per cwt. to the grower. The reverse is the case. The small margin of profit derived has been due to ineffective marketing. As I understand it, the bill proposes that a board shall be created. The honorable senator would like to see upon that board men who are at present in the Public Service. He surprised me when he suggested that expense could be obviated by utilizing the services of the officers in Australia House to carry on this work in London. Without casting any reflection upon public servants, it can be said that the average public servant has no commercial experience. He has not been trained along commercial lines. His duties are totally different from those of a commercial man. If it is desired to make a failure of the bill, by all means appoint public servants to the board. They would certainly do their best, but they have not had the experience necessary to carry on a scheme of this kind. The honorable senator suggested that we on this side do just as we arc bid. If I thought that this endeavour to help those engaged in the dried fruits industry was not likely to achieve the object desired, I should oppose it. I regard this measure as an experiment. As the growers are to be consulted before it becomes law, no objection can be raised to the bill on that account. They will be able to decide whether or not it is likely to be to their advantage. The expenditure ought not to be very heavy, in comparison with the total value of the crop. A very large percentage of the growers are returned soldiers. Their difficulties during the last few years have been so great that, unless they are assured of a reasonable margin of profit, they will have to cease their operations. I commend the bill to the favorable Consideration of honorable senators. I hope that honorable senators opposite will realize that there will be no co-operation with the combines in England or in Europe. An advisory board in London, composed of men who are actively engaged in commerce, may be able to devise some means whereby the fruit can be taken to the consumer as speedily as possible, without passing through the hands of so many middlemen. That will make a great difference to this industry, which is of considerable importance to Australia. I give my hearty support to the bill. With this, as with many other industries, the reason that the producers are in such a parlous condition is that the marketing conditions in the countries upon whom we rely for the consumption of our exported produce are altogether ineffective. {: #subdebate-13-0-s3 .speaker-KOZ} ##### Senator HOARE:
South Australia -- To be consistent, I must support the bill, since I supported that dealing with the control of the export butter trade. Objection has been -raised to it because the exporters of dried fruits will have to be licensed. The seller of almost any commodity must be licensed before he can dispose of his wares. I think that that is the right thing to do. -The Government can thus exercise over an individual a control which otherwise it would not be able to exercise. Even if the dried fruits industry were socialized, it would have to be controlled by some body. The feature of this bill to which I take exception is that providing for the creation of a board in London. There are in London six Agents-General and a High Commissioner. If they cannot do everything that is required, - they should make way for others who can. When we have all these Agents-General in London, why, in the- name of fortune, should we be compelled to appoint a board to carry out something of this description ? {: .speaker-JYG} ##### Senator Elliott: -- Would the honorable senator describe this' measure as socialization of industry? {: .speaker-KOZ} ##### Senator HOARE: -- It is the nearest approach to socialization of industry that I know of. Socialization of an industry, boiled down, simply means that the people who are engaged in the industry, and who understand it, shall control it. {: .speaker-JYG} ##### Senator Elliott: -- What becomes of the profits? {: .speaker-KOZ} ##### Senator HOARE: -- I suppose they are returned to the growers. Let us hope they are. That is what this bill is for. {: .speaker-JYG} ##### Senator Elliott: -- But that is not socialism. {: .speaker-KOZ} ##### Senator HOARE: -- The growers in the Murray Valley, whom this bill is supposed to help, have been put there by the South Australian and other governments. I know what has happened in South Australia. The Government placed these people on the land and told them to grow their fruit and all would be well. The result has been the very opposite. Men went on to the settlements in the hope of securing a crust of bread for themselves and their wives and families. But instead of the blocks keeping them, they have been compelled to seek work elsewhere in order to keep their blocks. If markets had been found for Australia's surplus production, on the lines suggested in this bill, in all probability they would have remained on the blocks and earned a good livelihood, as the Government intended them to do. When the Government placed them there it seemingly neglected its most important function, namely, to find a market for their produce. Steps should have been taken in this direction four or five years ago, and these people would have been able to place their dried fruits on the market without any trouble. One of the objections raised by an honorable senator *on* the side of the Senate on which I sit, was that the producers themselves would find the money, but get no return for it. I am under the impression that the assistance afforded to the growers by this measure will enable ' them to get an increased price for their dried fruits, so that whatever it costs them to place their product on the London market will be more than made up by the increased price secured. It has also been said that this Parliament should not endorse a scheme which may pan out a failure. If it does not turn out to be what we hope it will be, the fault will lie with the growers themselves, because they will have an opportunity to say whether' they accept or reject the scheme. If a majority of the growers declare that they are not satisfied with it, I am prepared to abide by their verdict and admit that I was wrong in supporting this bill. But I think I am right in supporting it, because it gives to the growers themselves an opportunity to say whether they accept or reject the scheme; and having given them the opportunity to vote on the question we can at least claim that we have taken the democratic course of throwing the onus for the adoption of the scheme on the right people. I trust that the scheme will meet with the success is deserves. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. *In committee.* Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to. Clause 4 - (1)For the purposes of this Act there shall be a Dried Fruits Control Board. {: type="1" start="7"} 0. Elected members of the board shall hold office for a period of two years. Amendment (by **Senator Wilson)** agreed to - >That after the word " years ", sub-clause (7), the words "and shall be eligible for reelection " be inserted. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clauses 5 to 7 agreed to. Clause 8 - >The members of the board, and the deputies of members of the board while acting as such, Shall receive such fees and expenses as are prescribed. {: #subdebate-13-0-s4 .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM:
Western Australia -- I see no reason why the fees to be paid to the members of the board should not be set out in the bill. In other bills creating boards the fees to be paid have been set out. There was a long and sometimes acrimonious debate in this chamber on the provisions of a bill fixing the salaries to be paid to the members of the commission to administer the Federal Capital Territory. We are pursuing a wrong policy in allowing any Government to prescribe the fees to be paid to members of a board. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Thefees must be prescribed in a regulation, which can be disallowed by Parliament. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM: -- No matter how zealous honorable senators may be, they cannot keep pace with all the statutory rules laid on the table. Most of them pass into the waste-paper basket without perusal. The Government should set out in a bill whatever salaries are to be paid to boards constituted as this one is proposed to be constituted. {: .speaker-JXZ} ##### Senator Duncan: -- It is hard, at this stage, to assess the value of the services the members of the board will render. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM: -Thehonorable senator might just as well say that it was hard for Parliament to assess the services which the commission to administer the Federal Capital Territory would render. {: .speaker-JXZ} ##### Senator Duncan: -- No; we knew what work the commissioners would undertake. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM: -- We did not; we were all buying a pig in a poke. No one knew who would be appointed as commissioners, and yet we fixed their remuneration. If we could do it for a commission of that nature what is to prevent us from doing the same in regard to the Dried Fruits Control Board? I f eel so strongly on the matter that in order to test the feeling of the committee I move - >That the words " are prescribed " be left out. If my amendment is agreed to it will compel the Government to bring down a clause providing what fees shall be paid to the chairman and members of the board. {: #subdebate-13-0-s5 .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON:
South AustraliaHonorary Minister · NAT . - I ask **Senator Needham** not to press his amendment. The board will be appointed by the industry itself and will not be likely to do anything unfair to those engaged in the industry. It will only act for a very short period. There are men whom Iwould pay £2,000 or £3,000 a year for their services. There are others who would be well paid at £1,000 a year. The money out of which the fees will be paid will belong to the producers themselves, and it is not for Parliament to take the responsibility of going behind the backs of producers and declaring what they should be prepared to pay for brains. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator Needham: -- It has already been done in the case of the Federal Capital Commission. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- It is a great mistake to try to get brains too cheaply. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator Needham: -- I am not suggesting that. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- One of the great difficulties of the overseas trade of Australia is the inadequate payment for experience and brains. I ask the honorable senator to allow the matter to be left to the board. In any case, the fees prescribed will have to come before Parliament. {: #subdebate-13-0-s6 .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM:
Western Australia -- One would imagine, by the reply of the Minister, that I was endeavouring to get cheap labour. I intended nothing of the sort. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- I did not desire to convey that impression. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM: -Brainsshould be well remunerated, and I should like to see this board have the services of the best brains in the community. That is why I consider we should be given the opportunity to learn what is proposed to be paid in the way of salaries and fees. If the matter is left to the Governor-General in Council the very best salaries may not be paid. **Senator Duncan** is wrong in suggesting that there is no analogy between the Dried Fruits Control Board and the Federal Capital Commission. There is every analogy between the two. The Government will have supervision over the board just as it will have over the commission, and in neither case does Parliament know what brains will be secured. {: .speaker-JXZ} ##### Senator Duncan: -- There is no analogy between the board and the commission. The money to be expended by the board will be raised by the producers themselves, whereas the money to be expended by the commission will be voted by Parliament. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM: -- I see no reason why we cannot set out in the bill the fees to be paid to the members of the board, just as we set out in another bill the salaries to be paid to the Federal Capital Commission. Amendment negatived. Clause agreed to. Clause 9 agreed to. Clause 10 - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. ) Subject to this act, meetings of the board shall he held at such times and places as the hoard from time to time determines. 1. At any meetings of the hoard three members shall form a quorum. {: #subdebate-13-0-s7 .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON:
South AustraliaHonorary Minister · NAT -- I move - >That after the word "places" the words within the Commonwealth" be inserted. When the Dairy Produce Exports Bill was before the Senate, a similar amendment submitted by **Senator McDougall** was inserted, and this amendment will make the two measures uniform. Amendment agreed to. Amendment (by **Senator Wilson)** agreed to - >That the word " any " in sub-clause 3 be left out, with a viewto insert in lieu thereof the word "all". {: #subdebate-13-0-s8 .speaker-KTD} ##### Senator McDOUGALL:
New South Wales -- Whenever a provision of this description has been before the committee I have objected to the principle under which the chairman is allowed to exercise a deliberative and a casting vote. When the members of a board are equally divided, the question should pass in the negative, as is the practice in this chamber. {: #subdebate-13-0-s9 .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM:
Western Australia -- If **Senator McDougall** submits an amendment to overcome the objection to which he has referred, I shall support him. The proposed board is to consist of seven members, and ifone should be absent, the voting might be equal, in which case the. chairman could record a casting vote. As that is not permissible in this' chamber, which is the highest deliberative assembly in the Commonwealth, the practice should not be permitted in connexion with boards of this description. {: #subdebate-13-0-s10 .speaker-JYG} ##### Senator ELLIOTT:
Victoria .- I have had a good deal of experience in preparing memorandums of articles of association for private companies, and I can assure honorable senators that, in 59 out of every 100, provision is made for the chairman of a board of directors to exercise both a deliberative and a casting vote. If there is an equality of voting power in the Senate, the question is decided in the negative; but, after all, in effect, that is merely giving a casting vote to the President, and directing him to vote always in the negative instead of allowing him to use his intelligence or discretion. Legislative questions can be reintroduced ; but in business it is necessary to have a definite constructive policy. If an opportunity is once missed, it may not recur. It would be foolish to suggest that the negatived policy should have preference on every occasion, and that the chairman, who is elected to that position in consequence of his extensive knowledge and superior ability, should be deprived of the right to exercise his choice. {: #subdebate-13-0-s11 .speaker-K8P} ##### Senator THOMPSON:
Queensland -- I merely wish to endorse what **Senator Elliott** has said concerning the custom in connexion with boards of directors and private companies. **Senator McDougall** need not have any fear because the chairman, unless there is any special reason to the contrary, records his casting vote so that matters will remain as they were. If there was any special reason why there should be a change in policy, the reason would be given. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clauses 11 and 12 agreed to. Clause 13- >For the purpose of enabling the boardeffectively to control the export and the sale and distribution after export of Australian dried fruits, the Governor-General may by proclamation prohibit the export from the Commonwealth of any dried fruits, except in accordance with a licence issued by the Minister, subject to such conditions and restrictions as recommended by the board and prescribed by the regulations. Amendment (by **Senator Wilson)** agreed to - >That the words " recommended by the board and prescribed by the regulations" be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof "are prescribed after recommendation to the Minister by the board." Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clauses 14 to 16 agreed to. Clause 17 (Saving as to existing contracts). {: #subdebate-13-0-s12 .speaker-KTD} ##### Senator McDOUGALL:
New South Wales -- Any contract made by private firms for the exportation of dried fruit during the period of control is to be subject to cancellation by the board. As there will be no competition in the carriage of this produce, the shipping com parties will not enter into contracts with private firms. Clause agreed to. Clause 18 agreed to. Clause 19 (Particular powers of board) . {: #subdebate-13-0-s13 .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM:
Western Australia -- This clause provides that the board shall have full authority to make such arrangements and give such directions as it thinks fit in the handling, marketing, and storage of dried fruit. No reference is made to the price at which dried fruit shall be sold for local consumption. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- This bill does not deal with local consumption. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM: -- It should. The board may be exporting the best dried fruit and leaving the residue for local consumption. The board should be given the power to regulate prices for home consumption. At present fruit is costly, and there are homes in which it is seldom found, owing to the excessive prices charged. As this industry' is being organized in the interests of the growers, some consideration should be shown to local consumers, particularly as fruit forms a very valuable diet for children. Will the Minister state if the bill can be so amended as to give the board power to provide that dried fruit for local consumption shall be sold at a reasonable price ? {: #subdebate-13-0-s14 .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON:
Honorary Minister · South Australia · NAT -- In my second-reading speech I stated definitely that the Government did not intend to fix prices for fruit. This bill gives assistance in the handling of the exportable surplus. The principle is the same in this bill as in the one dealing with butter, and the Government is firm concerning it. {: #subdebate-13-0-s15 .speaker-JZC} ##### Senator O'LOGHLIN:
South Australia -- Now that the Government has gone so far with socialistic measures, I hope that it will go still further and bring in a bill to deal with the fixing of prices within the Commonwealth. At the same time I agree with the Minister that, -as this bill deals with exports, it would not be possible to include in it any proposal for the fixing of prices in Australia. {: #subdebate-13-0-s16 .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY:
Victoria . -This board, when appointed, will exercise certain powers and perform certain duties. In his second-reading speech the Minister said that a standard had been laid down. What did he mean by that? Is the board to fixthe standard for exportable fruits? If that is intended, there is nothing in the bill to that effect. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- That is dealt with by Customs regulations. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- The Minister also said that the board would attend to the packing of the fruit, and would superintend its exportation. To export nothing but the. best fruit would be an advantage to the fruit-growers, and prove a good advertisement for Australia, but, in our desire to establish a good name for Australian fruits in the overseas markets, we should not fail to secure to the home consumer a similarly high standard of fruit. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Leave something for the State Parliaments to do. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- We should not leave to them work which this Parliament should do. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- This bill deals only with exports. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- We do not want to see inferior fruit left for consumption in Australia. The same supervision should be exercised over fruit for the local market as in the case of fruit for export. That would benefit those engaged in the industry and the people of Australia generally. i {: #subdebate-13-0-s17 .speaker-KTD} ##### Senator McDOUGALL:
New South Wales .- I ask the Minister if the powers contained in this clause are extensive enough to allow the board to control the cleaning, packing, and labelling of the exported fruit. Ifthere is not some improvement in the dried fruit that is to be exported, as compared with some which is exhibited for sale in Australia, our fruit will not be very successful in the markets of other countries. Some of the fruit displayed for sale on our Victorian railway stations, and which is bought freely by railway passengers, is dirty, and even maggoty. Honorable senators who have travelled from Melbourne to Sydney by train have seen these things for themselves. In the past Australia has suffered losses because of the unsatisfactory nature of the fruit in some instances. We cannot be too careful in the packing and labelling ofour fruit. The board should have control of the cleaning and packing of all fruit in tended for export. Clause agreed to. Clauses 20 to 23 agreed to. Clause 24 - >All moneys received by the Board in respect of the sale of dried fruits or otherwise howsoever (except moneys forming part of the fund) shall be paid by the Board into a separate account in the Commonwealth Bank. {: #subdebate-13-0-s18 .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON:
South AustraliaHonorary Minister · NAT -- I move - >That after the word " Bank," line 5, the words " or any other prescribed bank " be inserted. As honorable senators know, there are many places in Australia where there is no branch of the Commonwealth Bank. The business generally will be done through the Commonwealth Bank, but in many country towns it will have to be done through another institution. {: #subdebate-13-0-s19 .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM:
Western Australia -- I do not consider that the Minister's explanation is sufficient. Ft is true that there are many places in Australia where there is no branch of the Commonwealth Bank, but rather than adopt the Minister's amendment, I would prefer that the Commonwealth Bank Board should establish additional branches of the Commonwealth Bank throughout Australia. {: .speaker-JXZ} ##### Senator Duncan: -- That could not be done in a few weeks. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM: -- This measure will not be in operation for a few weeks, as a lot of machinery has to be put into operation before it is proclaimed. The clause should be amended to provide that it will be permissible to deal with a private bank only in places where there is no branch of the Commonwealth Bank. If the Minister's amendment is accepted, it will be possible for the business to be done with a private bank in a place where there is already a branch of the Commonwealth Bank, If the amendment provided that where there was no branch of the Commonwealth Bank the business could be done through a private bank, I could understand it, but in its present form, it will enable other banks to come into the business. I ask the committee to consider that aspect of the amendment. Amendment agreed to. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clause 25 - (l.) The Board may call upon any person to furnish, within such time as. is specified by the Board, such returns in relation to the dried fruits industry as are necessary for the purposes of carrying out this Act. (2.) Any person who, being called upon in pursuance of this section to furnish a return in relation to any matter within his knowledge or under his control, fails to furnish the return within the time specified shall be guilty of an offence. Penalty: One hundred pounds. {: #subdebate-13-0-s20 .speaker-KTD} ##### Senator McDOUGALL:
New South Wales .- I move- >That after the word " Penalty," line 12, the words " not exceeding " be inserted. In a previous bill the words "not exceeding £100 " were inserted in one of the penalty clauses, but not in another. The explanation given by the Minister was not satisfactory to me. {: #subdebate-13-0-s21 .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON:
South AustraliaHonorary Minister · NAT -- This matter is provided for in the Acts Interpretation Act. I ask the honorable senator not to press his amendment. {: #subdebate-13-0-s22 .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER:
New South Wales .- When **Senator McDougall** raised this question in connexion with another bill, he was told that, owing to the position in which the words were placed, different words were necessary in different clauses. I cannot understand why that should be. If a fine is to be a sum " not exceeding £100," we should say so. Similarly, if the fine is to be "£100," that should be clearly set out. In one place we say, "Penalty: £100," and in another part of the same bill we say, "Penalty: not exceeding £100." I am at a loss to understand the. reason for the difference. So far as is possible, we should interpret our legislation as we go along. If **Senator McDougall's** amendment was accepted, no one could possibly make a mistake, but a person administering the act might find difficulty in interpreting it as it stands. Probably **Senator Wilson** has heard the story of the justice of the peace who, when a man was brought before him on a charge of stealing potatoes, turned up his book of directions at " Ta," and went on to " Tu." Then, closing the book, he said to the defendant, "You are discharged. I see no penalty in this book for stealing taters. If it had been turnips, you would have got three months without the option." Our legislation has to be interpreted with a certain amount of wisdom in* order to ensure that justice shall be done. I am glad that **Senator McDougall** has submitted his amendment, because, even in the case of a judge, it would be pardonable if in cases where the penalty is stated in a definite amount, that penalty were imposed upon a defendant. Amendment negatived. Clause agreed to. Clauses 26 and 27 agreed to. Clause 28 verbally amended and agreed to. Clause 29 agreed to. Title agreed to. Bill reported with amendments. Standing and Sessional Orders suspended; report adopted. {: .page-start } page 4949 {:#debate-14} ### INCOME TAX COLLECTION BILL {:#subdebate-14-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-14-0-s0 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT .- I move- That the bill be now read a second time. We shall have several of these income tax bills to deal with. Honorable senators may wonder why the subjects which they embrace are not included in one measure, but if they will look at the Constitution Act they will find that there is a provision requiring that laws imposing taxation shall deal only with taxation. This accounts for the introduction of a number of measures of a similar character. This is a measure to amend the Income Tax Collection Act which was passed last year, to enable the Commonwealth to make arrangements with the states for the amalgamation of Commonwealth and state income tax staffs, with a view to Commonwealth and state taxes being collected by the one authority. The act provided for compensation being paid to Commonwealth officers retired as the result of the economy secured under the arrangements. This amending bill is introduced for two purposes only: - (1) To enable the Public Service Board to hold a special examination so that certain returned soldiers may have an opportunity to qualify for permanent appointment with a view to becoming eligible for compensation; (2) To enable compensation to be paid to officers whose services are dispensed with as the result of the decrease in Commonwealth taxation work, due to the amendment of the taxation laws during this session of Parliament. As regards the first amendment, honorable senators will remember that, when the Income Tax Collection Bill was before the House last year, I promised that returned soldiers who had not had an opportunity to qualify for permanent appointment, or who had failed to qualify owing to war disabilities, would be given an opportunity to pass the qualifying examination. I found, however, that there was no legal authority for holding such a special examination. Accordingly it became necessary to place this amendment of the Income Tax Collection Act before the House. If this new bill be approved, the' Public Service Board may hold a special examination for the classes of returned soldiers I have referred to. It is not proposed to make any appointments to the Service as the result of such an examination, but any returned soldier passing the examination will thereby become qualified for compensation under the Income Tax Collection Act. This is an act of justice which will place such men on an equality with those who had an opportunity previously to qualify. {: .speaker-JXZ} ##### Senator Duncan: -- So long as the examination is fair. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- It will be the same as previous examinations. As compensation was granted to officers who were retired as the result of the amalgamation of Commonwealth and state staffs, the Government thinks it only fair that compensation on similar lines should be paid to taxation officers whose services may be dispensed with when the Commonwealth taxation work is greatly reduced as a result of the increased exemption provided for in the amending taxation laws. Compensation is not to be paid where the officer is retired after the 31st December, 1925, nor is compensation to be paid if there is a suitable office in the Commonwealth Service to which the officer can be transferred. In considering this measure, it should be borne in mind that, under the agreement for the amalgamation of the staffs, the states hare the right to retire only Commonwealth officers if a reduction of staff is necessary owing to the diminution of work resulting from the amendment of the Commonwealth income tax laws. Where the reductions in staff resulted from economies due to the amalgamation of the staffs, proportionate numbers of state and Commonwealth officers were retired. . As honorable senators will 3ee, there is nothing very debatable in the measure, but in view of the lateness of the hour I shall have no objection to the adjournment of the debate. Debate (on motion by **Senator Gardiner)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 4950 {:#debate-15} ### ENTERTAINMENTS TAX ASSESSMENT BILL {:#subdebate-15-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-15-0-s0 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT -- I move- >That the bill be now read a second time. This bill expresses the proposal of the Government outlined in the . budget speech, . .that for the future, tax should -not be collected on payments for admission to entertainments where the Commissioner is satisfied that the whole of the net proceeds of the entertainments are or will be devoted to - (1.) the erection, maintenance or furnishing of halls for public purposes, or memorial halls for the use of soldiers or 'sailors who served in the great war, or (2.) for such purposes as are, in the opinion of the Commissioner of Taxation, either religious or public. It will be a condition of this exemption that the Commissioner must be satisfied that the entertainment is nob provided directly or indirectly for the financial benefit of any person connected with the promotion of the entertainment or of any person employed or engaged by that person for the purpose of the entertainment. Honorable senators must have met with cases where entertainments have been promoted professedly for religious or charitable purposes, but the balancesheets when produced have shown that certain persons have been making a very good' thing out of them at the expense of the charitable or religious body concerned . The Government considers that these objects for entertainments justify complete exemption from the tax, equal to those for which exemption at present exists under I section 12 of the principal act. The requirements of the bill that the Commissioner of Taxation shall be satisfied on ali the points upon which exemption is depen dent, is considered necessary for the effective and economical protection of the revenue, and desirable from the point of view of prompt administration of the act. The exemption proposed will not relieve promoters of such entertainments from the necessity to apply to the Taxation Department for exemption, because it will be necessary for the department to be satisfied that the' entertainment is ohe which falls within the exemption. Promoters of these entertainments, as in all other cases, will therefore continue to be liable to the penalties provided by the principal act for failure to register them with the department. It is intended to move in committee that clause 2, paragraph (ii.) be amended so as to exempt entertainments held for the benefit of the sick, accident, or funeral funds of friendly societies or. associations having similar funds for the benefit of members. The bill also amends section 13 of the principal act by adding one more reason why the Commissioner may relieve the promoter of an entertainment, coming under the act, from the liability to pay tax. Section 13 of the act reads as follows: - >Where the Commissioner is satisfied that- the whole of the net proceeds of an entertainment are devoted to philanthropic, religious, or charitable purposes, and that the whole of the expenses of the entertainment do not . exceed fifty per centum of the receipts, he shall repay to the proprietor the amount of the entertainments tax paid in respect of the entertainment. Provided that when the Commissioner is satisfied that owing to adverse climatic conditions the expenses of an entertainment for philanthropic, religious, or charitable purposes in respect of which payments for admission have been made exceed fifty per centum of the receipts the Commissioner shall repay to the proprietor the amount of the entertainments tax paid in respect of the entertainment. It will be noticed that that section limits the powei-3 of the Commissioner to grant relief from liability, because, if the fact that the expenses exceed 50 per cent, of the proceeds has been due to causes other than those mentioned in the section, although they may have been natural causes beyond the control of the promoters of the entertainment, and equity would justify relief from tax, no relief from the liability is possible. The inclusion in the bill of a further cause for relief is, therefore, considered by the Government to be fully justified by experience. Debate (on motion by **Senator Gardiner)** adjourned. Senate adjourned at 10.33 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 1 October 1924, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.