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Wednesday, 14 October 1914


Senator STEWART - Yes ; but not,. I trust, from the Tariff. The only use I have for a Tariff is to create industries. I can easily understand the politician of the old school - an honorable gentleman who apparently finds himself altogether out of place in a modern gathering of politicians - clinging to the old idea that the best way to raise revenue is by means of a Tariff. Honorable senators ought to know that raising revenue in that fashion means dragging taxation out of the pockets of the poorest people in the country. That method of raising revenue was instituted by the rich with the direct intention of shifting the burden of taxation, or the cost of government, from their Own shoulders on to the shoulders of the working classes. That is the whole history of Tariff legislation. If the rich saw the benefit of raising money in that Way to carry on the government of the country, if they saw that by adopting this method they could avoid paying for the cost of government themselves, and compel the working people to pay it, now that the people of Australia have come into their own and are the real governors and rulers of this country, they will surely be stupid people indeed if they do not in turn remove this load of taxation from their own shoulders and place it upon the broad, strong backs of the rich.. My only interest in a Tariff is that it shall create industries.. I am not very sure whether the Government, and the party supporting the Government, are altogether sincere in this matter.


Senator Gardiner - Is the honorable senator speaking for himself?


Senator STEWART - I am speaking for myself now. I am on my feet, as the honorable senator can see, and I am supporting a Protective Tariff, as he can hear. What' I said was that I am not very sure that the Government and certain members of the party are as sincere as. I would desire in seeing a protective policy carried out. My reason for making that assertion is this: Whilst everybody is sensible of the fact that great expenditure is now being incurred, and must continue to: be incurred for a con siderable time, and that revenue is almost bound to decline, owing, not only to the war, but to the drought with which we are unfortunately afflicted, the Government have given no indication as to how they are to raise revenue to meet the added expenditure. I think, therefore, that I am fairly justified in coming to the conclusion that an attempt will be made to pass, not a really Protective Tariff, but a Tariff that will still yield a very considerable proportion of taxation. We in Australia are contributing more to the taxation of the country through our Customs and Excise than are the people of any other civilized country that I know of, with the exception of New Zealand. Our present Tariff is a purely revenue one, and it has altogether failed to establish industries. The figures of our imports tell that tale to a nicety. Last year we imported nearly £80,000,000 worth of goods, and I am informed by those who ought to know that a large portion of these goods could have been manufactured on Australian soil by Australian hands if our Tariff' had been sufficiently high to keep out the foreign article. I trust that when we come to consider the Tariff the only object we shall keep in view is the creation of industries. We hear a great deal about the money we have been sending to Germany in the past. That is what Protectionists have been crying out about all the time, but our voices have been like the voices of people crying in the wilderness. We have been buying pianos and' a hundred and one other commodities from Germany. We have been spending hundreds of thousands of pounds in. purchasing from that country commodities which we might very well have manufactured here. We have spent millions in buying from other countries goods which might have been, and could have been, produced here if our Tariff had been such as to keep the foreign goods outside. As I have said, we are paying more per head through Customs and Excise than are the people of almost any other country. Last year I think that the sum was about £3 10s. per head. In the United States of America - a very fair sample of a country which has instituted an effective system of Protection - the revenue from the Tariff is,. I think, about 25s. per head. That is what I would like to see the yield from the Australian Tariff reduced to.

When we arrive at that point, we will have a truly Protectionist Tariff. I know that some of my Free Trade friends may point out to me that, although there is high Protection in the United States of America, a great deal of poverty exists there. But my reply to that is that that poverty is not caused by Protection, but by something quite other than Protection. It is caused principally by the fact that the natural wealth of the country lias passed into the hands of a comparatively small number of people. But Protection has done something for the people of the United States of America. It has made them probably the most accomplished industrial unit in the world to-day. The American workman, with his up-to-date machinery, can turn out more commodities, perhaps, than any other workman. Protection has done that for America, if it has done nothing else. Therefore, let us imitate its example as regards making our Tariff effective from the industrial point of view. But let us keep clear of the other danger. I do not wish to labour the subject. I trust that when we have an opportunity of dealing with the Tariff we will make it effective from a Protectionist point of view, and the other question of revenue, I think, we shall be able to settle effectively also.


Senator Bakhap - You will acknowledge it is very important that we must have more money?


Senator STEWART - We must have money, and we know where bo look for it.


Senator Bakhap - That is good.


Senator STEWART - I wish to allay the honorable senator's fears. We know perfectly well where we can find money to carry on the Government without having recourse to a purely revenue Tariff.


Senator Bakhap - You will find me friendlier than ever if you know where there is such a lot of money to be had.


Senator STEWART - I said at the beginning of my remarks that I agreed with the honorable -senator when he stated that we ought to have in Australia, not 5,000,000 of people, but 25,000,000. That is the goal which every true Australian ought to set himself or herself. How is it that we are in such a condition as we find ourselves in to-day? If -Great Britain and the Allies unfortunately are beaten in the present great struggle, then, as some honorable senator has pointed out, Australia will not exist any more, as we know it. It will become probably a 'German dependency. How is that? How are we so completely bound up with the success or failure of Great Britain? Simply because there are only 5,000,000 people here; because we are neither able to put a fleet on the sea, nor an army on land. If we had a population of 25,000,000 we would be in a position to effectively defend ourselves, as far as I am able to see, against any possible invader. We are in duty bound, therefore, to strain every nerve to bring about that result as quickly as possible. One means of largely increasing our population I have already referred to, and that is the passing of a Protectionist Tariff. It has been calculated by persons who have taken some interest in the question that if we manufactured three-fourths of the goods now imported the number of additional people who would be employed in making those goods, and their dependants, -would nearly double the population of Australia. Surely that would be a substantial gain ! A policy by means of which it is possible to increase the population of the continent/ from 5,000,000 even to 7,000,000 is one to which I think every true Australian ought to give adhesion. The Tariff is one method by which, if it is made really Protectionist, we can largely increase the population. But, fortunately for ourselves, that is not the only string to our- bow. We have a more effective means of increasing the population if 'we only have the courage and the honesty 'to take advantage of it. Australia has a population of nearly 5,000,000 persons, and embraces an area of over 3,000,000 square miles, being nearly as large as the United States of -America. lt is capable, I believe, of maintaining a population equal to that which is now living in the latter country. There are over 100,000,000 persons in America to-day, and if we include the blacks as well as the whites, the total population probably is about 115., 000, 000 or 120,000,000. Australia is just as capable of maintaining a population of that number as is the United States of America. Of course, I have no hope that hi the immediate future we will reach the 100 millions point, but I do believe that, with a policy such as has been outlined - that is, ia really Protectionist policy, and a policy which will give the people access to the lands within a comparatively short period - our population will increase to 10,000,000, and 15,000,000, and 20,000,000. In 1910 the Labour party was so seized of the desirability of increasing the opportunities for land settlement, and of dealing with the question of land monopoly, that it passed a tax which was designed principally to break up the big estates, which, unfortunately for Australia, exist here in large numbers. The tax has been in operation for about four years, and while ithas yielded a few millions in revenue - between £5,000,000 and £6,000,000-I think I am safe in asserting that, as regards breaking up the big estates, it has been an absolute failure.


Senator O'LOGHLIN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Colonel O'Loghlin. - No, decidedly not.


Senator STEWART - It is very easy to say no, but I would advise the honorable senator to do what I have done, and that is to take up the Commissioner's reports for 1910, 1911-12, and 1912-13, and study them. If he goes through the figures which have been published he will find what every man will find for himself if he cares to examine the question, that, instead of aggregation having diminished since the passing of the Land Value Tax Bill, it has actually increased.


Senator O'LOGHLIN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Colonel O'Loghlin. - That is not the experience in our State.


Senator STEWART - I am telling the honorable senator the facts. I have here the figures for South Australia, which I may say I had checked by the Land Tax Commissioner. I will just give the result of the last year. In the Central Division the taxable area is less by 715,706 acres than it was in the previous year. In New South Wales the area is less by a little over 30,000 acres, while in Victoria the area is greater by 125,289 acres. In Queensland it is greater by 56,342 acres, in South Australia by 520,183 acres, in Western Australia by 136..206 acres, and in Tasmania by 222.571 acres.


Senator Bakhap - By 222,000 acres?


Senator STEWART - Yes, the taxable area in Tasmania and the other States is greater than it was a year ago.


Senator Bakhap - It shows the progress of Tasmania.


Senator STEWART - It shows that aggregation throughout the Commonwealth, instead of diminishing as a consequence of the land tax, is actually increasing.


Senator Bakhap - In spite of the land tax, it is increasing.


Senator STEWART - What I wish to point out is that aggregation is increasing.


Senator Ready - Nearly a million pounds' worth of land has been sold in Australia by payers of the Federal land tax since the tax was inaugurated.


Senator STEWART - I am not responsible for these facts. All that I wish to point out is that the land tax has failed to bring about the desired result. If the tax had been effective no increase of aggregation could possibly have taken place.


Senator Bakhap - Do you really believe that people can be taxed on to the land? They can be taxed off the land.


Senator STEWART - I do believe that people can be taxed on to the land, and I believe that they are kept off the land by the failure of the State Governments and the Commonwealth Government to impose effective land value taxation. The honorable senator knows a great deal more about this subject than persons might think to hear his interjections. Suppose, for a moment, that he owned a piece of land worth £10,000, that there was no land value tax, and that he could hold on to that area in the sure and certain hope that at the end of five or ten years "he could double his money. Would he not hang on to it? Of course he would. It would cost him nothing to do so. That is what is happening all over Australia to-day. But if an effective land tax were imposed, and if he had to pay £500 a year for the privilege of holding on to that 10,000 acres of land, he would think twice about sticking to it. In. short, he would either have to use the land himself or sell it to people who would use it. That is how land values taxation will have the result of putting people on the land.


Senator Bakhap - How is it that history teaches us that it has driven people off the land ?


Senator STEWART - The honorable senator talks about history. Let me give him a little modern history. I suppose that he knows something about the Dominion of New Zealand. He knows that between twenty and thirty years ago the people of New Zealand were leaving it just as the people of Tasmania are leaving it to-day.


Senator Bakhap - Where are the people going from Tasmania to-day?


Senator STEWART - I intend to complete what I began to say. After I have finished I will endeavour to inform the honorable senator where his constituents are going and where they ought to remain. Between twenty and thirty years ago New Zealand occupied the same unfortunate position as Tasmania occupies to-day. Every man and woman who could pay his or her passage out of the country left it. People who had the management of affairs in their hands began to feel uneasy, and to cast about for the reason of this. They very soon discovered it, because it was as plain as is the nose on a man's face. They saw that it was because the natural resources of the country were in the hands of a comparatively small number. The lands of the country were monopolized by a few. Those in authority set themselves to change that state of affairs, and they did so by the imposition of a land values tax. The almost immediate result of the passing of that measure in New Zealand was a large influx of population, and from that day to the present time the Dominion has not turned back. She has gone on prospering, adding to her population, and increasing her wealth in every direction, solely on account of the policy of breaking up the big estates which was adopted there.


Senator O'LOGHLIN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Colonel Sir AlbertGould. - What was the tax and what were 'the exemptions ?


Senator STEWART - I am not going to enter into details.


Senator O'LOGHLIN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Colonel Sir AlbertGould. - -The honorable senator is comparing the New Zealand tax with the tax levied by the Commonwealth.


Senator STEWART - I am telling the honorable senator what has been the result of the tax.


Senator Bakhap - Why has not the heavier tax produced a similar result here ?


Senator STEWART - Because it is not heavy enough.


Senator Ready - In the case of the middle-sized estates the tax in New Zealand is heavier than is the Commonwealth land tax.


Senator STEWART - And in the Dominion a system is in vogue which we have not adopted, but which we might adopt with very treat advantage. There every man values his own estate, and the Government reserve to themselves the right to purchase it at that valuation, with 10 per cent, added.


Senator Bakhap - Has not that provision been abandoned ?


Senator STEWART - I hope not. I trust that when we recast our land values taxation we shall include some such provision in our Act, because I am perfectly satisfied that the valuations throughout Australia are much lower than they ought to be. If I were a representative of Tasmania, and held the opinions which Senator Bakhap has voiced this afternoon, I would be ashamed of myself. Let us have a look at the tight little island which lies beyond Bass Strait. It contains only about 180,000 souls.


Senator Bakhap - The honorable senator's figures are wrong- It has a population of nearly 200,000.


Senator STEWART - I will give the island the benefit of a population of 200,000. I say that it ought to carry a population of 1,000,000, or even 2,000,000, and if it had not been governed by a lot of hoary, crusted Conservatives that would have been its position to-day.


Senator Bakhap - It has the second largest population per square mile of the Australian States.


Senator STEWART - That is not saying much. It must be recollected that there is a comparatively large area of good land in Tasmania. There are a large number of big estates in the island.


Senator Ready - And close to the railway.


Senator STEWART - Then Tasmania possesses an asset in its water power which is worth hundreds of thousands - probably millions - of pounds. Yet no use is being made of it. In the hands of intelligent people Tasmania would be the most prosperous State of the Union.


Senator Ready - Does the honorable senator know that the Tasmanian Labour Government are taking over that power?


Senator STEWART - I read the announcement with very great pleasure, and I trust that some good will come out of it. I believe that Tasmania, under proper conditions would be the great manufacturing State of the Commonwealth. If its lands were made available to the people we would not witness the spectacle of her sons and daughters leaving it for the mainland. They would be delighted to stay in their native State, and thousands and tens of thousands of men and women from the more tropical portions of Australia would be glad to throw in their lot with them.


Senator Ready - Tasmania has lost 46,000 of her native-born.


Senator STEWART -That is a disgrace to the Government of any community. With regard to land monopoly, I have made a broad assertion which is capable of proof, that the Commonwealth land tax has not only failed to stop the aggregation of large estates, but that it has not been successful in bringing land within the reach of small holders.


Senator Ready - We want to increase the dose.


Senator STEWART - Exactly. What is our object? I will tell honorable senators what I conceive our object ought to be. In Victoria there are holdings of 640 acres and under numbering 50,564. These holdings embrace an area of 9,1 47,159 acres.I should say that that area carries a population of between 300,000 and 400,000. In excess of 640 acres there are 9,676 holdings, embracing an area of 17,363,659 acres, so that honorable senators will see that a minority of the owners occupy a larger proportion of the land of Victoria than do the smaller owners.


Senator Bakhap - Land of what class? That is very pertinent to the consideration of this question.


Senator STEWART - I am informed that much of it is the best land in Victoria, and before going much further I shall quote something in this connexion which will probably carry some weight with the honorable senator. What do we want to do? We want to increase the number of people settled upon the lands of Australia. When we find that on areas of 640 acres and under such a large proportion of our rural population is maintained, is it not reasonable to assume that if this other huge area could be broken up into small holdings it would result in benefit to the community as a whole ?


Senator Bakhap - If the land is of the same character and class, but only then.


Senator STEWART - Before going further, let me quote a few sentences from a pamphlet issued by James W. Barrett, M.D. Senator Bakhap will, I am sure, attach more importance to anything he may say than to anything I may say.

Dr. Barrettsays ;

In the words of Professor Cherry, it will come as a matter of surprise to most of our readers to learn that the closely settled country, with its bountiful rainfall and boundless resources, is in many ways the least progressive part of Victoria. An anomalous state of affairs is found in a number of the richest districts. Taking the area under cultivation and the number of live stock kept, we find that during the last twelve years there has been an actual shrinkage in such districts as Warrnambool, Kyneton, Kilmore, and Lancefield. The land for miles round these centres is probably as rich as that in any part of the world. These districts should have closer settlement in all senses of the word. But, instead of the farm areas being reduced by subdivision, they are steadily growing larger by aggregation. Whenever a farm comes into the market it is bought up by the wealthiest neighbours. The evil is intensified because, as the land goes out of cultivation, the workmen leave the district and general stagnation ensues. As soon as the plough is laid aside the stock-carrying capacity of the district becomes stationary. Hence we can at once see why the richest agricultural centres in Victoria are the least progressive. Not one-tenth of the available land is under cultivation.

That is Professor Cherry. Here is Dr. Barrett's own comment -

As these lands have come under the operation of the State land tax, and in some cases possibly under the operation of the Federal land tax, it is quite evident that taxation is failing to effect the desired end.


Senator Bakhap - Then will not the honorable senator concede our position ?


Senator STEWART - Senator Bakhapimmediately comes to the conclusion that as the taxation which is at present imposed has failed to bring about the desired result, so any kind of taxation which might be imposed would also fail.


Senator Bakhap - Yes.


Senator STEWART - That is where I differ from the honorable senator. I say that the tax has failed because it is not high enough to accomplish its purpose. Just as the big guns of the Germans were able to reduce Antwerp with comparatively little trouble, whereas their smaller guns might have been aimed at that fortress for years on end without accomplishing any serious result, so I say the big estates in Australia might be reduced by an effective land value tax, though they remain almost untouched by the impost which is now levied upon them. My own opinion is that effective land value taxation is all that is necessary to accomplish the desired result.


Senator Bakhap - What, in the opinion of the honorable senator, is effective land value taxation ?


Senator STEWART - The present taxation is not effective, and if anything is to be accomplished it must be increased. I do not know to what extent it is necessary to increase the tax to bring about the desired result, but, by experimenting as we do in other relations of life, we could possibly find out. I am quite in favour of experimenting in this direction. Will Senator Bakhap assist us to do so ? I do not think any member of the Senate can say definitely what tax would exactly bring about the desired result, but I believe that every one of us is in favour of trying an experiment to see what amount of taxation would be effective.


Senator Mullan - And of going on until we make it effective.


Senator STEWART - -Yes.


Senator O'LOGHLIN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Colonel Sir AlbertGould. - What about exemptions?


Senator STEWART - I am not talking about exemptions. I have no standing here to-night to advocate any exemption other than that now provided for on the Labour platform. That platform provides for the exemption of land up to £5,000 in value. That is the policy of the Labour party at the present moment with respect to exemptions, but what its policy may be ten years hence I am unable to say. What the policy of the Fusion party may be one year hence Senator Gould could not tell me, and I do not propose now to assume the role of prophet. I have shown the position in Victoria. The State is languishing because of land monopoly. There are only 1,300,000 people in Victoria, and I "think I am well within the truth when I say that if every acre in the State were put to its best use, it could easily maintain a population of at least 10,000,000.


Senator Bakhap - It is not the lack of land, but the lack of water, that is the trouble here.


Senator STEWART - Even the water question might be dealt with effectively. We must begin at the beginning. We must begin by destroying land, monopoly. If the State of Victoria, or the Commonwealth, went in for huge irrigation schemes, while large estates are in the hands of their present owners, the people who would reap the harvest of our endeavours would be the present owners of the land. I say that, previous to any expenditure in that direction, we should, by means of effective land value taxation, secure to those who would actually occupy and use the land, as well as to the people generally, whatever advantage might accrue from public expenditure in the direction suggested by the honorable senator.


Senator Bakhap - Is Senator Stewart aware that in Tasmania there is an Act permitting the compulsory purchase of every estate that can be classed as a large estate ?


Senator STEWART - I may tell Senator Bakhap at once that I have always been an opponent of the re-purchase of land by the Government, for the reason that the moment the Government enter the land market, that moment values harden all round.


Senator Bakhap - If the Government desire to compel a man to sell, they should buy his property.


Senator STEWART - I am utterly opposed to anything in the way of the re-purchase by the Government of private estates. I think it is a bad policy, and one which can have no beneficial .result to the masses of the community. Now let us look at the state of affairs in. New South Wales. In 1912 there were 75,000 holdings in the State, covering an area of 12,000,000 acres. The population settled on that area was somewhere about 500,000. I have not the slightest doubt that that number might be doubled with very little difficulty. But there is another aspect of the land question in New South Wales which invites our attention. There are 22,000,000 acres of land in that State owned by 718 people; 12,000,000 acres are split up into 75,000 holdings, whilst 22,000,000 acres are held by 718 owners.


Senator Bakhap - In what part of the State is that land located ?


Senator STEWART - It is all over New South Wales. A very large proportion of the 22,000,000 acres comprises some of the finest territory in New South Wales. I suppose that is something new to Senator Bakhap ? This is a question which the honorable senator has never looked into, thought of, or studied.


Senator Bakhap - I took it in my stride years ago.


Senator STEWART - I was under the impression that a large proportion of the 22,000,000 acres was indifferent country, but I am informed, on the very best authority, that this area is composed largely of the best land in New South Wales, land in the possession of big squatters, and which was " peacocked " thirty or forty or fifty years ago.


Senator Bakhap - And the Federal Land Tax has done them no harm?


Senator STEWART - It has done them no harm whatever. We are languishing for population, and yet 718 people own 22,000,000 acres of the finest land in New South Wales. Will any man have - the assurance to stand up in the Senate and say that that is a state of affairs which is conducive to the prosperity or safety of this continent? I say that we want to see every acre of that land settled. How is that to be brought about? Is it by looking at it, and doing nothing, or by simply allowing things to drift, and taking no hand in their management? We shall never do it by that means. We must put our hands to this plough if we are to accomplish anything in the way of breaking up the big estates in Australia. The only way I know of by which anything can be done is the imposition of an effective land value tax.


Senator Bakhap - It would be useless to put a plough into some of that land.


Senator STEWART - I have done more ploughing, and more thinking about ploughing, than has the honorable senator. Evidently he never gave this branch of public affairs any consideration. Coming as the honorable senator does, from Tasmania, where land monopoly is driving the young men and women out of the country every month, I can readily understand the mental condition, in regard to this question, in which Senator Bakhap finds himself.


Senator Bakhap - There is no estate iu Tasmania as big as those to which the honorable senator has referred.


Senator STEWART - There are some large estates in Tasmania.


Senator Ready - Senator Bakhap is sticking up for his political friends.


Senator STEWART - I quite understand that. I have no desire to inflict figures upon honorable senators, but I have analyzed movements in land in Australia during the period that the land value tax has been in operation. In areas of from 1 to 10,000 acres, that is including the exemption, up to 15,000 acres, there has been a decrease during the four years of about 3/4 per cent. The percentage of taxable holdings in 1910-11, of 15,000 acres and under, was 75.954. In 1913-14 it was 74.887, or a decrease of about | per cent. That is a very small decrease indeed, and, at that rate, it would- take over 100 years to break up land monopoly in Australia.


Senator Bakhap - Does not the honorable senator recognise that in many cases the tax takes, at least, half the annual value of the property?


Senator STEWART - I do not recognise anything of the kind. I am pleased that the honorable senator has made that interjection, because I shall give him a few figures before I am finished which. I think, will convince the Senate, if it does not convince him, that what he has said is not correct. With regard to areas between 15,000 and 100,000 acres, there has been an actual increase of 1 per cent, during the last four years. In areas up to 200,000 acres there has been an increase of about £ per cent. ; in areas up to 300,000 acres there has been a very small decrease, amounting to .32, or about $ per cent. Up to .400,000 acres the area stands exactly where it did in 1910-11. From 500,000 to 1,120,000 acres there has been a decrease so slight as to be almost indiscernible. Taking the whole taxable area throughout the Commonwealth, there has been an actual increase of aggregation during the four years the land value tax has been in operation.


Senator Bakhap - Despite the heaviest land tax in the world.


Senator STEWART - The honorable senator knows, or ought to know if he does not, that land value taxation has nowhere been given a fair chance to prove its efficacy or otherwise. The honorable senator interjected that the tax in many cases takes at least half the annual value of the property. Let us take, for example, an estate which pays tax on £5,000 unimproved value. This means that the full unimproved value of the estate is £10,000. A very fair percentage to put upon that unimproved value is 5 per cent.


Senator Bakhap - What is the proportion the unimproved value bears to the capital value ? It may be a city property.


Senator STEWART - It may be a country property. The exemption is £5,000 unimproved value, consequently the total unimproved value of the estate is £10,000. Its improved value, even if a country property, may be £20,000 or £30,000. I believe that, on the average, the total improved value is about twice the unimproved value.


Senator Bakhap - In many of the large estates in Tasmania the unimproved value is as high as 80 per cent, of the total value.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.


Senator STEWART - The tax paid by the owner of that estate, of which the unimproved value is £10,000, is £24 6s. Id., the tax being calculated on £5,000 worth of unimproved value. Taking the total value of £10,000, the tax is equivalent to a little over a halfpenny in the pound. Assuming that the whole £10,000 is community-created value, and capitalizing it at 5 per cent., the owner has been presented by a grateful community with the equivalent of an annuity of £500. The very people to whom the community has been so generous are often the most pronounced opponents of what they are pleased to call doles in the way of old-age pensions or maternity allowances, but this individual, owning an estate of the unimproved value of £10,000, gets from the community per annum about as much as would pay twenty old-age pensioners 10s. a week. He has no more right to this community-created value than any other citizen of the Commonwealth. If the Senate were to vote me an annuity of £500 a year the whole community would be down on them like a ton of bricks. They would be accused of partisanship and corruption, and all the crimes in the calendar and out of it, but when this privileged land-owner gets an amount equal to an annuity of £500, not only have very few people anything to say in opposition to it, but a great many accuse the Labour party of theft and robbery when some attempt is made to get even a small proportion of it back from him. In the higher values the thing goes on in exactly the same ratio, and in the case of very large estates the .annual communitycreated value amounts to a fortune in itself. Take an estate of which the taxable unimproved value is £50,000. Adding the exemption, the total unimproved value is £55,000, and the communitycreated value, capitalizing that amount at 5 per cent., is equivalent to £2,750 a year, which has been presented to the owner of the land. For that large amount he returns under our Act £677, so that he is over £2,000 a year to the good. That £2,000 constitutes an unexplored area of taxation which the Federal Parliament is bound to enter upon if it means to finance the Commonwealth in anything like an honest fashion. A Commission was sent out here some years ago by the farmers of Scotland to discover what land was available for settlement. It was carted round the Commonwealth by the State Governments, and afforded every opportunity to get all the information possible in connexion with the land question, and it went home to Scotland and issued a report, of which the sum and substance was that all the available land in every State had already been alienated, and that there was no room in Australia for the Scottish settler.


Senator Ready - Did it not quote, in some instances, the number of applicants for some of the closer settlement blocks in Queensland?


Senator STEWART - Yes ; and it might be as well to place those figures again on record. Only a short time ago five grazing selections were thrown open near Barcaldine. There were over 900 applicants for them. Shortly afterwards three selections were thrown open, and no person was allowed to apply for more than one, yet there were 700 applicants for them. Again, one selection was thrown open, and for this there were about 500 applicants.


Senator Ready - Were these distinct persons ?


Senator STEWART - Yes ; each was a distinct and separate application. It is often said that a large number of these people are speculators. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that 800 out of the 900 applicants for the five selections were speculators - and that is a most extravagant estimate - it leaves 100 persons jostling each other for five pieces of country, or twenty men for every piece of land. This state of affairs in a country like Australia, and more especially in a young, sparsely peopled State with a huge area like Queensland, is not in the public interest, and that is the only interest that we have any right to consider. I began to treat this' subject by referring to the condition in which we find ourselves at the present moment. We are at the mercy of a foreign foe. There is nothing standing between Australia and ruin but the : power of the British Empire and her Allies. If Britain goes down where are we? We become the bond slaves of some foreign power. The duty of every Australian, whether he is a native of this country or whether he was born in Scotland, England, Ireland, Germany, France, Belgium, or Russia - the bounden duty of every man who has become an Australian in fact and in sentiment - is to see that nothing is allowed to stand in the way of Australia being placed in such a position that she will be able to provide for her own defence. The only way to bring that about is to free the lands so that the people may have access to them. Will the big monopolists defend the country? Of what value are the men who own £1,000,000 worth of land as regards the defence of the country? Who are its defenders at the present time ? Are they the big monopolists? No. The sons of the working men of this Continent are the people who are bearing the burden of defence.


Senator Shannon - Are not the sons of the others there, too?


Senator STEWART - They are, but not in sufficient numbers.


Senator Shannon - Are they not all there ?


Senator STEWART - If every one were there it would not make up a decent company.


Senator Shannon - Your insinuation was that the men would not go.


Senator STEWART - I did not insinuate anything of the kind. I said that the men are not there to go. This brings up a new aspect of the question with which it may be interesting to deal, just to show the honorable senator what a noble company the representatives of the land monopolists would make if they all went to the war.


Senator Shannon - So long as they go, what more could you wish?


Senator STEWART - Let us look facts squarely in the face. When this return was made up, there were 12,150 laud taxpayers in Australia. Suppose that every one of them went to the war, what could they do to defend Australia? They could fight as men, and I have no doubt that they would do so, but of what avail would they be?


Senator Shannon - They would help to make up the army.


Senator STEWART - When I mentioned that half the £1,400,000 paid intothe Treasury last year was paid by 247 taxpayers, would not they form a noble company? Just think of the hold they have on Australia, arid think, too, of the thousands of our young men whom we are sending away to Britain to risk their liberty and health and everything that is dear to them. For what purpose? Largely to save the property of these 247 taxpayers.


Senator Shannon - To save their property ?


Senator STEWART - If Germany conquers Australia these 247 individuals will suffer very much more than the average working man will do, for their property will be confiscated.


Senator Shannon - They will only lose their all.


Senator STEWART - They will be reduced from affluence to poverty, but the average working man will not lose very much. He may not have as much political power- as he has now. He may not be quite the free agent he is at present, but we know* perfectly well that there is. a strong socialistic element in Germany. We know that the condition of the working men there for a number of years hasbeen at least equal to that of the working men of England or of any other European country, notwithstanding that the Government has been largely a despotism. Every man knows that the worker has. much less to lose in a case of this kind than has a man of property.


Senator Bakhap - Is not freedom greater than any material possession?


Senator STEWART - Freedom is a. very fine thing. Freedom is the best thing in the world if you have corned beef and cabbage to keep it company, but without those articles I am not very sure that it is worth much. I arn as great a, lover of freedom as is any man. What I wish to bring out is that this condition of land monopoly is not favorable to the preservation of Australian independence. We want nien settled in this country; we want nien and women and families there, and not the- monopolists. No sentimental consideration as regards the land monopolist or other individual in the Commonwealth ought to stand in the way of the adoption of such a policy as will bring about the prosperity and safety of this* country. The lesson is here for every man to read. It is as plain as the nose on a man's face that what we want is population. It is also plain that what is standing in the way of population is 4and monopoly. Why, sir, the people of Australia cannot get land. Not very Jong ago I read of three pieces of land at Bathurst which were thrown open for selection. Fancy 2,000 applicants for three pieces of country! The thing is a perfect nightmare.


Senator Bakhap - Are you not aware that only a very small percentage of the lands is alienated at the present time?


Senator STEWART - I know almost every fact in connexion with the land question in Australia. I know that, nominally speaking, only a very small percentage of the lands is alienated. But the Scotch Commission condensed the whole question into one sentence. They said, " All the available land has been alienated."


Senator Bakhap - What does that mean ?


Senator STEWART - The Scotch farmers do not want to take up land 10, or 20, or 30 miles from a railway line.


Senator Bakhap - Did the original ^settlers have a railway line?


Senator STEWART - They had to put up with a great many difficulties.


Senator Bakhap - And the later settlers want no difficulties?


Senator STEWART - It ought to be our business to see that the settlers of the present day do not have to submit to the difficulties with which the pioneers had to contend. In Queensland there is a man who came out from Scotland between forty and fifty, years ago. He was a Highlander, and I believe that in the early days he used to plough a ridge in kilts - a very strange sight to be seen in Australia. Ultimately he got into Parliament, and on one occasion I heard him say, " Forty years ago I had to scrape a living for myself and family out of a barren ridge; there were hundreds of thousands of acres of the most fertile sands on the Darling Downs all round me, but I could not get a single rood of it."


Senator Bakhap - I am more opposed to land monopoly than is the honorablesenator, and that is why I have always advocated compulsory purchase, for it is 4he only effective remedy.


Senator STEWART - Compulsory purchase is no remedy at all. Let me read a little more for the benefit of the honorable senator. I wish he would read this report for himself, and I am sure that he would find it most interesting.


Senator Bakhap - I have read it.


Senator STEWART - The Commission says, " There are 127 resident taxpayers who hold land of unimproved values ranging from £100,001 to £1,200,000."


Senator Bakhap - And they are paying the land tax.


Senator STEWART - They are, and they ought to pay far more land tax.


Senator Bakhap - Oh, I understand.


Senator STEWART - Will the honorable senator say that it is in the public interest that one man should own £1,120,000 worth of land?


Senator Bakhap - If he has acquired lt equitably, according to the law of the land, it is right. Before we take his property in the land away we should buy it from him.


Senator STEWART - At present values ?


Senator Bakhap - At equitable values.


Senator STEWART - I am quite willing to buy the land at equitable value.


Senator Bakhap - You want to confiscate his value, and then ask him to sell.


Senator STEWART - After the communitycreated value has been diverted into the public Treasury, I would be quite willing to buy the land from the man, and give him full value for any improvements he has effected upon it.


Senator Bakhap - Will you define what the community has created for the individual ?


Senator STEWART - What the man creates by his own efforts, by his enterprise and industry, I would give to him.


Senator Bakhap - Who is to make the definition ?


Senator STEWART - Surely to goodness there is sufficient intelligence in this community to define what is communitycreated value and what is privatelycreated value! There is the position. As I pointed out before, we want more population. It is the duty of the Labour party and the people of Australia to expect the Labour party to do something of this kind. There is no hope in the Fusion party. That is why they were defeated at the last election. They thought to make capital out of the war. They fondly imagined that the people could not trust a number of disloyal men like myself, for instance, with the government of the country while the Empire was at war. But the people knew better; they said, "This is the party for us." The electors knowjust as well as I do that what we want here more than anything else is more population. They know, also, that unless we have cheap land to offer, not only to our people, but to people from overseas, neither will our own people go on the land, nor can we get persons from other countries to come here and settle on the land. The people of Australia know also that if we desire a larger population we must adopt a system of Protection.


Senator Bakhap - Nobody is querying that at present.


Senator STEWART - I am very glad that the honorable senator has been converted to Protection, and I hope that we shall live long enough to see him converted to the principle of land values taxation. I trust that the Government will bring down some policy in connexion with the question of land monopoly which will commend itself, not only to this Parliament, but to the country at large. There is one other matter upon which I desire to say a few words - I refer to the Northern Territory. The development of that Territory is undoubtedly in the hands of this Parliament. The Labour party have a most magnificent opportunity in that Territory of putting some of its ideals into operation. We hear a great deal about the cost of living and of the way in which it is mounting up. We hear that meat and every commodity which is required for the use of man and beast is continually increasing in price. We have a most excellent chance in the Northern Territory of providing the people of Australia with meat at cost price. All that we have to do is to establish sheep and cattle stations there, and to place them in charge of competent men. If that be done, I am quite certain that a sufficient number of sheep and cattle can be reared there every year to feed the people of Australia.


Senator O'LOGHLIN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Colonel O'Loghlin. - We must have the means of transporting them south.


Senator STEWART - We shall have the means of transporting them. We ought also to have our own abattoirs, our own freezing works, and our own shops. In every town of the Commonwealth we ought to retail meat just as we retail postage stamps. I notice that even in conservative Victoria it is proposed to retail milk through the agency of the municipalities. That is something. Now, let the Commonwealth Parliament give an object lesson to the world. In the Northern Territory we can grow all the meat we require. It may take us some years to do it, but it can be done, and the meat can be sold to the people of Australia at cost price. Then there will be no trouble about fixing prices. It will be easy to discover what the meat costs to produce and to sell, and the public should be called upon to pay that price. Let the private grower of meat find the best market that he can for it. I do not care if he gets 2s. 6d. per lb. for it. The higher the price he gets, the better will it be for the people of Australia. That is the one way by which this continual increase in the price of food commodities can be obviated. Let us grow our own meat and wheat. Possibly in the Northern Territory there are some good wheat areas. If so, let them be utilized for that purpose. Then the Defence Department is experiencing great difficulty in getting suitable horses. Persons who have animals to sell are running up all the old crocks they can muster, and are endeavouring to secure extortionate prices for them. Why should we remain at their mercy when in the Northern Territory there is tobe found some of the finest horse-breeding country in the world ?


Senator Lt Colonel O'Loghlin - In Central Australia.


Senator STEWART - In the Northern Territory, in the Barkly Tableland. I have not the slightest doubt that we can produce all the horses we require for military purposes. Indeed, we might even have some to dispose of. There is just one other matter to which I should like to refer. The Minister of Defence stated this afternoon that our defence scheme contains no provision for sending soldiers outside the Commonwealth. I say that that position was deliberately created by this Parliament. We designedly laid it down, when the Defence Bill was under consideration, that the men who form our Citizen Forces should not be compelled to serve outside the Commonwealth, the idea being that they should be used only for the defence of Australia on Australian territory. What the developments of the future may require it is not for me to say. I really do not know, but I do not think any attempt should be made to depart from the lines which have already been laid down. I do not believe that any member of the Australian Defence Force should be compelled to serve outside Australia unless he volunteers to do so. Of course, if a man volunteers to go elsewhere and fight, that is his business. There should be no compulsion, however, so far as the young men are concerned who form our present Defence Forces.


Senator O'LOGHLIN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Colonel O'Loghlin. - Not in the Pacific ?


Senator STEWART - I am not very sure about that. I think that we are reaching out far too much. We have a big enough territory in Australia, and if we confine ourselves to its development we shall be doing all that can reasonably be expected of us. But if we get islands here and there, we shall require a fleet as big as that of the French, German, and British Fleets combined to look after them. Like the land monopolist, we appear to be afflicted with the disease of earth hunger. My idea is that we should confine ourselves to the defence of Australia.


Senator O'LOGHLIN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Colonel O'Loghlin. - But our own defence may require us to operate in the Pacific.


Senator STEWART - I do not know. The honorable senator has set me off upon another line of thought. We are sending Expeditionary Forces to help the Allies, and, on the face of it, no man can raise any objection to that. But the fact is that we are depriving Australia at the present moment of all our most capable young men. When our three Expeditionary Forces have left our shores, who is to defend this country if it is assailed by an enemy? I know that the reply will be that no nation is likely to assail us at present. But we do not know what developments may take place. If any enemy has the slightest idea of invading this country, now is the time for him to do it, when our best men have gone from amongst us, when we have no rifles, when we have very little ammunition, and when we are, practically speaking, in an wholly undefended position. That is an aspect of the matter which we ought to consider. Of course, if I were to say that it is wrong for us to send away these young men-


Senator Henderson - The honorable senator and myself will have to shoulder a gun.


Senator STEWART - Yes.


Senator Shannon - Is not Australia at war ?


Senator STEWART - Yes, but that is no reason why we should denude ourselves of our best men for defence purposes.


Senator Shannon - If we are at war, ought we not to go where the war is?


Senator STEWART - I am not so sure about that. I think that we should keep our best men here in case of attack.


Senator Shannon - Who is going to attack us?


Senator STEWART - I do not know, nor does the honorable senator. No man can tell what developments may take place within the next month.


Senator Pearce - We are being attacked in Europe at present.


Senator STEWART - Of course I know that the Minister is obsessed with the military idea. But the military idea is not always the right one. Indeed, the professional military idea is almost invariably wrong. I suppose that Senator Pearce read an article that was published in the Age this morning. If he did, he must have seen that 100 years ago some strategist pointed out that in course of time fortifications would become absolutely useless. But, up to the fall of Antwerp, the professional military man stuck to the idea of fortifications. The German guns could have demolished the whole thing in forty hours.


Senator Mullan - The property owners capitulated.


Senator STEWART - It was the big German guns and shells which were responsible for its fall. I mention these matters to emphasize the statement I have made that no living man can tell what the developments of the next month will be in connexion with this war. I think that I have occupied the attention of the Senate long enough. In conclusion, let me impress upon the individual members of the Senate that their measure of responsibility in this matter is just as great as is that of the Government. If they say to the Government " march," the Government must march. We want more people in Australia, and we want them quickly. One way of getting them is to make the lands of the Commonwealth available to the people. The present land value tax is not doing that. The aggregation of estates is going on, just as if the tax did not exist. Small holdings are not increasing in number, and the situation all round is most unsatisfactory. I trust that before the session is ended something effective will be done in the direction I have suggested. The people of Australia will then owe the present Government and the present Parliament a debt of gratitude which it will be almost impossible for them to repay.







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