10th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. Sir John Newlands) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories inform the Senate who were responsible for the naming of the streets of Canberra as indicated on a plan now exhibited in King’s Hall, and by whom were they appointed; and will he state whether honorable senators will have an opportunity to discuss the very extraordinary result of their labours ?
– I shall ask the Minister to get the information desired by the honorable senator and forward it to him.
– With reference to the statement made by the Leader of the Government in the Senate on the 13th instant with regard to Tasmanian shipping communications, will the right honorable gentleman say whether it is the intention of the Government, irrespective of the state of the tide and weather conditions, to make it obligatory that the vessels of the shipping company carrying out the proposed now mail contract shall make their terminus a point on the river Tamar, in the vicinity of Rosevears, and not Launceston ; and if so, whether the Government’s decision is in conformity with the report of the Public Accounts Committee?
– The honorable senator’s question should have been directed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, but I shall see that the information he requires is obtained and supplied to him.
– When recently I asked whether it was the intention of the Government to build a railway line between Canberra and Jervis Bay, I was told that the Government had not considered the matter. I should like to know nowwhen the Government will give consideration to it?
– I regret that I cannot tell the honorable senator when the Government will do so.
Telephone Exchange, Maroubra - Mail-handling Appliances, Sydney General Post Office.
Senator REID presented the reports of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, together with minutes of evidence relating to -
Proposed erection of a telephone exchange at Maroubra, New South Wales; and
Proposed extension of the installation of mail-handling appliances at the General Post Office. Sydney.
The following papers were presented : -
Public Service Act - Fourth Report on the Commonwealth Public Service Board of Commissioners, dated 7th November, 1927.
Ordered to be printed.
Appointment - Department of Works and Railways - H. Anderson.
Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act - Report of the Repatriation Commission for the year ended 30th June, 1927.
Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1927, Nos. 115, 116, and 127.
– Has the Leader of the Government in the Senate the information for which I asked last night on the adjournment, relative to the setting aside of a site in the Federal Capital for a hall for the women’s organization ?
– I have not been able to get the information desired by the honorable senator, but as soon as it is available I shall forward it to him.
– On the 9th December, 1927, Senator Needham asked the Minister representing the Minister for Markets and Migration the following question : -
What was the amount expended by the committee controlling trade publicity in the United Kingdom for the years 1924-25, 1925-26 and 1926-27?
I am now in a position to furnish the following reply to the honorable senator’s question : -
The Australian Trade Publicity Committee did not come into existence until February, 1920. The following amounts have been expended by the committee: - 1925-26, £1,010 19s. 9d.; 1926-27,£ 57,647 2s. 6d.; 1927-28 (to the 3rd December, 1927), £32,13911s. 3d.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable seuator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The information will be obtained so far as is possible.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended, and bill (on motion by Senator Crawford) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The bill proposes (a) to increase the bounty on galvanized sheets by 20s. per ton, and (i) to provide a bounty on tractors graduated downwards from the maximum rate, according to the proportion to which imported materials enter into their cost. No bounty is payable if the proportion of imported materials exceeds 40 per cent.
In regard to galvanized sheets, the tariff duty is, per ton, British 20s., intermediate 55s., general 60s., and the bounty is 52s. The passing of this bill will make the bounty 72s. per ton. The general tariff rate of 60s. per ton practically shuts out imports other than British, So far the amounts paid in bounty are: -
The imports for the past five years have been : -
The value of imports in 1926-27 was £2,315,000. The competition to be met by the Australian manufacturer is wholly British, and it is, therefore, against this competition that further assistance is needed. The figures of the local production are as follow : -
The capacity of the local mills is from 28,000 to 30,000 tons yearly, or a little over 20 per cent. of the consumption, and the industry employs about 500 hands. It is evident that scope exists for a much larger industry. The output at present is practically confined to New South Wales, and forms about 50 per cent. of the requirements of that State. A condition attaching to the payment of the bounty is that locally-produced raw material must be used. The sheet bars for rolling the sheets of galvanized iron are supplied by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited. The Tariff Board has recommended an increase of 38s. per ton in bounty, which added to the present bounty of 52s., would make 90s. per ton, but, subject to this bill being passed, the present bounty will be increased by 20s. a ton, making it 72s. per ton. As the output has increased from 16,320 tons in 1923-24 to 26,121 tons in 1926-27, the Government thinks that the additional bounty of 20s. per ton should enable the industry to show an accelerated expansion.
In regard to tractors, the present act provides for bounties varying from £40 to £90 per tractor according to horse power. This bill will not alter these rates, but will make them the maximum rates for tractors wholly composed of Australian materials, and reduces the rates in proportion to the quantity of imported material used. For example, if imported materials form 10 per cent. of the complete cost of a tractor, the rate of bounty will be reduced by 10 per cent., and so on ; but the proportion of imported materials must not exceed 40 per cent. of the complete cost. In the original Iron and Steel Products Bounty Act payment of bounty on all goods covered by the act was subject to the condition that the materials used must be wholly Australian. The act, however, provided that, after inquiry by the Tariff Board, the Minister might allow the use of imported materials subject to a report to Parliament of his reasons for so doing. This provision clearly contemplated a case of emergency where Australian raw materials were not available or were not available in sufficient quantities. One of the manufacturers found it difficult to obtain a suitable internal combustion engine of Australian make without laying down a costly plant, which would not be a payable proposition. The position was further complicated by the opinion of our law authorities that an engine was not “ materials “ within the meaning of the act. The Minister was, therefore, prevented from permitting the inclusion of an imported engine in the tractor, and the effect of this was to prevent the manufacturer from obtaining a bounty after having spent a great deal of time and expense in perfecting a tractor specially adapted to Australian conditions, and in which the cost of Australian materials formed between 60 per cent. , and 70 per cent. of the total cost. One of the purposes of this bill is to remove that disability. So far the bounty paid on tractors under the original act has been : -
These figures show that the bounty owing to the conditions attached to its payment has not greatly encouraged the industry, but the indications are that “with the more liberal conditions now proposed its chances of success will be materially improved. The importations of tractors mostlv of American origin, increased from £423,000 in 1922-23 to £1,170,000 in 1926-27. Tractors are admitted free if of United Kingdom origin, or at 10 per cent. if of other origin.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.
Clause 4 (Restrictions on bounty on traction engines).
– Can the Minister supply honorable senators with the number of traction engines that have been manufactured in Australia within the last twelve mouths; also can he give the Senate any information as to whether the industry is prosperous or declining, and as to the position since the bounty has been in operation ?
– The value of the tractors manufactured last year, and on which bounty was paid; was between £4,000 and £5,000. The object of the bill now before the Senate is to encourage the local manufacture of tractors, which up to the present has scarcely passed the experimental stage. It is believed that by the encouragement that will be afforded by this bill the manufacture of tractors suitable to Australian conditions will be carried on in a fairly extensive way. There is one factory which is particularly well equipped for the manufacture of tractors, and which should benefit considerably by this bounty.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 5 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
[3.24]. - I move -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till a date and hour to be fixed by the President, which time of meeting shall be notified to each honorable senator by telegram or letter.
It appears, at present, that the Parliament will resume about the middle of February next.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
[3.25]. - I move -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
I should like to extend to you, Mr. President, the Chairman of Committees, and to honorable senators generally best wishes for a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. I also extend similar greetings to Hansard and to members of the staff generally. We are adjourning after what has really been the first session at Canberra, and I think that we may return to our respective homes feeling that we have been occupied usefully, and that legislation has been passed that will be of advantage to the Commonwealth. In the performance of our legislative duties in this new home we have found that the officers of the Senate ana Hansard have, as has always been the case, assisted us most materially. As Leader of the Government, and speaking on behalf of my fellow Ministers, I desire to extend to honorable senators on both sides our appreciation and thanks for the courtesy which they have invariably extended to us. Although we have at times been faced with strenuous opposition, and have had a little difficulty in convincing honorable senators opposite that they were wrong and we were right, the execution of our political duties has left us with our personal feelings unruffled, which is the spirit in which legislative proceedings should be conducted.
.- On behalf of honorable senators on your left, Mr. President, I heartily reciprocate the sentiments expressed by the right honorable the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce), and join -with him in wishing honorable senators “and their families a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. With the Minister I also extend our best wishes to the Chairman of the Committees (Senator Plain), the Clerk of the Senate (Mr. Monahan), the Clerk Assistant (Mr. U’Ren), and all the other officers of the Senate. As always, they have during this session been uniformly courteous, and have rendered valuable assistance to honorable senators in the discharge of their legislative duties. E sincerely hope that the rest which you, Mr. President, will have between now and the re-assembling of the Senate will restore you to your former good health. As for the Opposition, I can only say that my colleagues and I have done our best to assist the Government- in passing its not very voluminous legislative programme. If at times we have had sharp conflicts in debate, no ill-feeling has been engendered, and we shall enter upon the recess with the knowledge that we hav-j. discharged our duties to the best of our ability. As an Opposition, we have done what we could to place the Government on the straight path of rectitude, and to keep it there, and I hope that during the recess Ministers will profit by the good counsel which we have given them. Public life would not be worth while if we could not have our political differences in this chamber and continue as friends outside. I am glad to say that that has been my experience ever since I have been associated with this Parliament. Our thanks are due to all the officers of the Senate who, owing to the recent transfer of the Seat of Government from Melbourne to Canberra, have been working under unusual difficulties. They have carried out their duties to the entire satisfaction of all honorable senators. In closing, I join with the right honorable the Leader of the Senate in expressing the hope that all who are in any way connected with this Parliament will enjoy a merry Christmas. I trust, also, that when the new year makes its appearance on the threshold of time, it will be the harbinger of good things, and that it will mark a new era of progress, prosperity, and happiness for the people of Australia.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon.’ Sir John Newlands) . - Before putting the motion, I desire to thank the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Needham) for their kind expression of good wishes for me personally. I hope that, when I come back after the recess, I shall be restored to my usual good health. I am particularly grateful to members of the Ministry, the Leader of the Opposition, and honorable senators generally for their uniform kindness to me during this, the first session of the Federal Parliament in Canberra. I am conscious that at times they have beer most forbearing, and have overlooked my shortcomings. I have not always been quite so alert as I should have been had my health been more satisfactory; but I feel that I have not failed in any material degree in the discharge of my presidential duties. I desire particularly to thank both Mr. Monahan, the Clerk of the Senate, and Mr. U’Ren. the Clerk Assistant, for their valuable assistance at all times. They have ever been ready to place at my service their undoubted ability and knowledge, and have materially assisted me in many ways. With regard to the If Hansard staff, it will he sufficient if I say that during this, as in previous sessions, they have discharged their duties to our entire satisfaction. I feel also that I should express our thanks to the messengers of the Senate. Honorable senators are aware that there has been a considerable change in the personnel of the staff since the transfer to Canberra; but all have settled down satisfactorily to their duties, and are most attentive to the requirements of honorable senators generally. The Library staff, having found their feet, as it were, in their new quarters, are rendering useful service to honorable senators as they have always done. I feel that I should pay a tribute to tha Library officials for the expedition with which they transferred the immense library from Melbourne to Canberra, and the efficiency which they have displayed in placing it at the disposal of honorable senators. We should not, in the closing hours of this session, overlook the good work done by the chef and his kitchen staff, the stewards, and the dining-room officials, who have been most assiduous in attending to our requirements. We all appreciate very highly what they have done for us during the last two or three months. I know that they have been working under difficult conditions. Tho housekeeper and the cleaning staff likewise deserve a word of praise. Those of us who were privileged to be present at the opening of this Parliament House by His Royal Highness the Duke of York were amazed at the wonderfully good work which those officials had done. Visitors from other Parliaments who come here are astonished at the efficiency of the cleaning staff, to whom now I tender my thanks on behalf of the Senate. Last, but not least, we must not forget the electricians, engineers, and other employees who attend to the lighting, heating, cooling, and ventilation systems of the Parliament. They also are deserving of our highest praise for the manner in which they porform their duties. The willingness of all the staffs connected with the Senate has been most gratifying, and I tender my thanks to them all. I join with the Leader of the Senate and the Leader of the Opposition in expressing the wish that honorable senators will have a pleasant holiday, that the financial cloud which appears to be hanging over Australia, and unduly depressing many people, will soon pass away, and that prosperity will return to the Commonwealth.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 3.40 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 15 December 1927, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1927/19271215_senate_10_117/>.