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Thursday, 14 June 1906
Page: 248

Mr SPEAKER - I have had occasion, twice or thrice, to ask the honorable and learned member to discontinue these frequent excited interjections, and to wait until he has an opportunity to say in a speech what he wishes to say.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The Consolidated Tobacco Company has, so far as I have been able to ascertain, a capital of 186,000,000 dollars, though it is difficult to follow through the long lists of companies which hang, together under different names. I have a report here which shows the nature of that trust, and I want those who say that there is no danger from it to listen to the list of companies associated with it, I believe that the actual capital of the trust would appear more than I have stated, if the attachment of certain other companies to it could be demonstrated. The Consolidated Tobacco Company was incorporated at Trenton, New Jersey, in 1:901, and is composed of the American Tobacco Company ; the American Snuff Company ; the Havana-American Company ; the American Cigar Company ; the Murai Brothers' Company of Japan; the Mustard Company of Shanghai, China; Black well's Bull Durham Tobacco Company; the S. Anargyros (Turkish cigarettes) ; the American Tobacco Company of Canada; the S. Jamatzy Company of Dresden ; the American Tobacco Company of Australia. I think that great injury is being done by the linking of the Australian companies to this trust, which, under the name of Kronheimer Limited, controls the tobacco manufacture, output, and sales of Australia. If honorable members care to go more fully into details concerning these immense companies than I am able to do to-night, they will see that it is about time that some law was passed to enable this Parliament and Government to deal with such monopolies.

Mr Frazer - Does the Minister think that the Bill will burst up the tobacco combine here?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I am not prepared to say that it will do .that, but the probabilities are that its provisions will enable such an investigation to take place in the courts that it will assume a different aspect.

Mr Frazer - A Royal Commission has recommended the nationalization of the tobacco industry here.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - This measure will not prevent the nationalization of the tobacco industry. If the measure fails to achieve its object, or even if it succeeds in doing so, it will be perfectly competent for this Parliament to nationalize the tobacco industry. In order to show the ex tent of the operations of the tobacco monopoly, I might inform honorable members that last year 2,045,394 lbs. of manufactured tobacco was imported into Australia, of which 1,319,728 lbs. came from the United States. Of unmanufactured tobacco, we imported last vear 5,371,534 lbs., of which 4,409,915 lbs. came from the United States. The total importations of tobacco, therefore, amounted to, approximately, 7,500,000 lbs. At one time, tobacco was grown to a considerable extent around about Tumut and the Upper Murray, but, at present, very little is being cultivated. I cannot ascertain the quantity that is produced now in comparison with that grown a few years ago, but I believe that the operations of the trust are proving injurious to the industry in Australia, and that they will utterly destroy it.

Mr Lee - Is not the local tobacco grower protected under the Tariff?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Yes , to some extent?, but what can the grower do against a large combine such as that now operating? The tobacco trust has been formed outside of Australia, and we are; powerless at present to deal with it, whereas if we pass this measure, we shall be able to exercise some restraining influence upon it.

Mr Cameron - What are our smokers going to do - will they not smoke tobacco?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Of course they will. It is not intended to put an end to the production of tobacco in Australia. If the tobacco trust receives a check and finds that it cannot with advantage introduce such large quantities of imported tobacco, both manufactured and unmanufactured, the local production of tobacco must increase.

Mr Cameron - But the people will not smoke the local article.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The honorable member has not the remotest idea of the extent to which local tobacco is consumed. I have heard it complained that the tobacco leaf grown in certain districts contains too much saltpetre, but I have been told that if care is taken in the selection of the tobacco, and of the proper land upon which to grow it, we can produce as good tobacco as can be grown in any part of the world.

Mr Cameron - Has the Minister smoked any locally-grown tobacco?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Yes , I have, and I am still alive to tell the tale. The tobacco monopoly is gradually extending, its operations, and I think that some such measure as that now introduced is necessary to enable us to cope with it.

Mr Cameron - How1 does the Minister propose to deal with the Standard Oil Trust ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - In a few minutes, I shall tell the honorable member how we propose to deal with the Standard Oil T'rust and also with the Steel Trust. The two trusts mentioned stand in exactly the same position towards Australia as does the American- Austral ian Tobacco Trust. They are beyond our control to a certain extent, because they have been organized in the United States. We shall, however, under the Bill, be able to prevent them front' bringing their manufactures here to unduly interfere with our own industries.

Mr Cameron - But we do not produce kerosene ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - We have produced it in New South Wales. A company with a very large capital - I think that the nominal capital amounts to £600.000 or £700,000 - is building a railway from near Clarence siding to shale deposits some miles distant at a cost of £80.000. The manager told me that if the company were protected he had not the slightest doubt as to the success of their venture, as they have enough shale to last them for any reasonable time. As many honorable members are aware, the Blue .Mountains cover one vast bed of shale, which I hope will be turned to some profitable account.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Would the Minister force the well oil up to the price of shale oil ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - If there is plenty of competition, I do not think the price will be forced up. Now I wish to deal with the Steel Trust. That gigantic combination has a capital of £400,000,000. In a report which I have before me it is stated : -

Tt controls through ownership of stock and "community of interest," many other important iron and steel industries, such as the Bethlehem Steel Co., the Cambria Steel Co., the American Bicycle Co., and the American Can Co., which added about $100,000,000 to the capital. By its "pools" and agreements with competing firms dealing in steel, steel plates, steel sheets, steel billets, wire rope, Sec, about $200,000,000 more is under control. This makes the Steel Trust master of nearly $2,000,000,000.

Until I investigated1 this matter, with a view to affording honorable members some information, I had no idea that this trust had behind it such an immense amount of money. On a previous occasion, I quoted figures showing the value of the iron, steel, machinery, and other manufactures of metal imported into the Commonwealth. Perhaps I may be permitted -to repeat them. In 1899 we imported iron and steel and manufactures of metal to the value of £6.061,157. In 1900 we imported £8,045,673 worth; in 1901, £8)377>788 worth; in 1902, £8,142,154 worth; in 1903, £7,209,259 worth; in 19,04, £6,989,876 worth, and in 1905, £7,140,825 worth.

Mr McCay - Do those returns embrace the value of all kinds of manufactures of iron ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Yes. From Canada we received imports valued at £97,520, and from the United States iron and steel products valued at £1,599,769.

Mr Wilks - And the balance came from Great Britain?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - No; it came principally from Belgium. The imports for 1905 are given in the following table: -

Imports of Steel and Iron (in all forms) during 1905.



Note.- As regards the following items, metals other than iron, via., copper, tin, zinc., &c, must necessarily form a part, but there are no means of distinguishing such : -

Electrical appliances, Machinery, Mixed metalware, Plated ware, Tin Plates, Metals, n.e.i.

Department of Trade and Customs, Melbourne, 5th June, 1906.

In connexion with the great American Steel Trust, of which the Massey-Harris Trust is an offshoot, it is fitting that I should mention that we imported last year £85,114 worth of harvesters, other dutiable agricultural implements to the value of £189,040, reapers and binders to the value of £14,549, and other implements free of duty, to the value of ,£43,455. Altogether we imported agricultural machinery to the value of £332,156, of which the United States sent us £228,243 worth, and Canada £39,324. The trust which is at present trying to grasp our trade and destroy our manufactures sent us agricultural machinery valued at upwards of £250,000. In order to show how the trust is operated, I should like to quote a declaration which was submitted to the Tariff Commission. The declaration is as follows: -

The avowed intention of one of the great American Trusts, viz., the International Harvester Trust, represented here under the name of the International Harvester Company, to wipe out the Australian agricultural implement manufacturer in Australia, is clearly shown in the sworn declaration by Mr. Edward Coxon, of Numurkah, which was put in evidence before the

Tariff Commission by Mr. H. V. McKay. Mr. Coxon declared as follows : -

1.   That about three months ago, in my office in

Numurkah, I was interviewed by Mr. Beale, one of the travelling representatives of the International Harvester Company of America, and that the following conversation took place : -

Mr. Bealesaid, " The International Harvester Company is determined to get hold of (he trade in harvesting machinery, and it's only a matter of a little time till we knock out all the local men."

I said, " You can't beat McKay." "Yes," he replied, "We'll beat McKay. We have unlimited money behind us, and even if we worked at a loss for three years, we are bound to beat him. Say that McKay's agent at Numurkah is getting the trade, we shall put on two men to beat him. If they don't succeed we shall put on three, or a dozen if need be. We don't care what money it costs, we shall secure the trade. McKay had an offer from us to buy him out, and he will live to regret the clay that he refused that offer. We are going to close him up."

2.   I was not at that time, and am not now, agent for H. V. McKay, who was the person alluded to.

And I make this solemn declaration, &c.

Mr Conroy - I could get a Domain dosser to make a declaration that that statement is a pure invention.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - That may be so, but I am sure honorable members will believe Mr. Coxon's statement. When I tell honorable members that this gigantic steel trust has £400,000,000 behind it they will not wonder that the agents who come here are well paid, and that the trust in endeavouring to sweep our manufacturers out of its road. What would happen if it were allowed to monopolize our trade? The farmers would have to pay through the nose. If it captures our trade and deals with it as it has done, in conjunction with Mr. McKay, in the past, and puts up the price of harvesters, we must look out for squalls, so far as the farmer ip concerned, and for destruction so far as our manufactures are concerned. Therefore, I think that it is high time that we took action, such as that contemplated in connexion with this measure.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Minister mentioned the total quantity of iron and steel imported - does he intend to stop all importations of iron and steel under the Bill?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - No; but I believe that if it had not been for the dread of the American steel trust on the part of those who were prepared to establish the iron and steel industry in our midst, we should have our own iron works by this time. Although we should probably have found it necessary to import some iron and steel, we should not have been called upon, to introduce manufactures of metal valued at £7,000,000 or £8,000,000, according to me year.

Mr Lee - Does the Minister intend to prevent that sort of thing under this Bill ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - If a trust comes under the provisions to which I have referred, either by1 reducing the wages, bydestroying our manufactures, or by generally injuring the public, this Bill will no doubt take effect.

Mr Lee - -If iron works are started in New South Wales, will the Minister stop the iron trust from dumping its goods here ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - If it injuriously interferes with and disorganizes the trade of Australia most certainly 1 shall. I think that we have been silently tolerating that sort of thing long enough, It is about time that we took steps to preserve our own country, which has already been devastated sufficiently through the want of a better Tariff. 1 do not agree with the leader of the Opposition that the cry of "Australia for the Australians " is an unpatriotic one. I beLieve in that cry. I wish to do all that I can to develop the industries of the Commonwealth. There is no nation in the world which has become great without the aid of a protective Tariff. But no Tariff, unless it were absolutely prohibitive, would prevent these wealthy trusts, with millions of capital behind them, from placing their goods upon the Australian market. They could ride through any Tariff that we might frame. I now wish to say a word ' or two in reference to the Colonial Sugar Refining Company. There are some honorable members who know more about that company than I do. Only the other day I had a long conversation with one of. its directors in Sydney, and I am assured that the company hold that it is now supplying the public with cheaper sugar than it did previously. I have asked for a certain statement in writing, showing how that can be the case, seeing that, as far as I can gather, the price of colonial sugar is within about 15s. per ton of the price of the imported article, which has to pay a dutv of £6 per ton.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does not the company pav duty upon its refined sugar?

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