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Tuesday, 10 July 1906

Mr McCAY (Corinella) .- When speaking on the second reading of this measure I asked the Minister of Trade and Customs if he would give us the cases within his knowledge or within the knowledge of the Department in which dumping has taken place to the detriment of industries. So far as my memory serves me, the honorable gentleman replied that he would not give the information then, but would give it when he was replying to the debate on the second reading. Perhaps the honorable gentleman will tell me whether I am correct so far. The Minister did not give that information in replying to the second-reading debate.

Sir William Lyne - Yes; I did.

Mr McCAY - The honorable gentleman did not give us what he promised, namely, specific cases.

Sir William Lyne - I did not promise to give specific cases.

Mr McCAY - I shall presently quote exactly what is reported in Hansard on the subject. The Minister led honorable members to understand that in replying to the second-reading debate, he would give us instances of injur)' to Australian industries, by means of dumping - that he would give us instances of dumping1 that was taking place or had taken place. I was very much disappointed when the honorable gentleman replied to the second-reading debate to find that no such! instances were given. I pointed out to him that it would materially assist those who desired to see Australian industries progress if they were able to point to special instances in which injury was being done them by means of unfair competition. The Minister did not give the information ' he .promised then, and he has not given it now. I wish to say that I am no foe to a measure of this kind, but I pointed out on the second reading that I did not like the methods here proposed of providing against dumping. The Bill will improve by the amendments the Government have circulated, but, even as now drafted, it is not what it ought to be. When honorable members ask the Minister for information, he should not only be willing to give it, but it is his duty to give it. ' We are asked by the Minister of Trade and Customs to pass a Law on the subject of dumping, and he says that he has information which shows the justification for such a law, but that he will not give us that information. That is what it all boils, down to. I do not know what view of the circumstances is taken by honorable members in other parts of the House, but, so far as my limited experience goes, I have never before known a Minister to dare to take up such a position, with either supporters or opponents.

Mr Johnson - We knew that the honorable gentleman was bluffing all the time.

Mr McCAY - I do not say that. I credited the Minister's statement that he had the information of which he spoke, but I demand that it should be given to the Committee in order that we may be able to form an opinion upon it. At page 469 of Hansard, honorable members will find that on the 20th June, speaking on the second reading of the Bill, I said -

I believe that dumping, as. we understand it - that is, dumping at unremunerative prices, for the express purpose of destroying local competitors, and thereafter dumping at highly remunerative prices - is threatened in Australia, and that such a practice as that cannot be met by ordinary Tariff remedies. But I do not believe that it will occur in many cases. So far as I know it has not occurred at the present time. Perhaps the Minister will correct me if I am not as familiar with the facts of Australian commerce in this respect as. he is.

I must ask for the Minister's attention to this quotation.

Mr Isaacs - We are simply following what the honorable and learned gentleman is reading.

Mr McCAY - I' went on to say -

I will ask him whether there are any cases within his cognisance in which dumping has taken place to the substantial detriment of Australian industries.

Sir William Lyne - I think so, most certainly.

Mr McCAY - Then I said a little later -

Will the Minister be good enough to tell the House in what industries his experience leads him to suppose that dumping of the kind to which he objects is taking place.

Sir William Lyne - I shall reply to that question at the close of the debate.

Sir William Lyne - That does not say that I would give individual cases.

Mr McCAY - Has the Minister told usin what industries the dumping has takenplace? If he has, I should Like the honorable gentleman to refer me to the columns, of Hansard in which his statement to that effect is recorded.

Sir William Lyne - I replied to thequestion when we went into Committee.

Mr McCAY - I further said this-

I venture to say that if a member of theLabour Party had asked the same question that. I have asked, the Minister would have given an answer - and a much more definite one - than hehas condescended to give me."

Then the honorable gentleman indulged1 in. a little sarcasm, and said -

I said, " Yes, Mr. McCay."

The point is. that the honorable gentleman said " Yes," and he has not done it. Will the honorable gentleman, by a reference toHansard, show me when he informed honorable members, subsequent to the 20th. June, of the industries in which his experience leads him to suppose that dumping, has taken place? If the Minister will show me where he has done that, I shall say no more.

Sir William Lyne - Let the honorable and learned gentleman go on talking. I do not wish to stop him.

Mr McCAY - I desire that the Minister should give us that, information, and the moment that he says he will" give it. I shall assure him that I shall be prepared to postpone what more I have to say, in order to learn what the honorable gentleman's information is. I cannot understand the position the Minister is taking up.

Sir William Lyne - I cannot understand the honorable member.

Mr McCAY - The Minister's capacity for not understanding is unlimited.

Sir William Lyne - The honorablemember's capacity for misrepresenting isunlimited.

Mr McCAY - So far as I recollect, theMinister did not reply on- the second reading.

Sir William Lyne - Yes, I did; the honorable member is wrong- again.

Mr McCAY - Then I am wrong in that.

Sir William Lyne - And in everything else.

Mr McCAY - It appears now that theMinister did reply on the second reading, but that he did not name the industries in which dumping is taking place.

Sir William Lyne - And why? Because I was asked not 'to make a lengthy speech, owing to the late hour.

Mr McCAY - So far as I .am concerned, the Minister made a promise that he has not fulfilled, and we have come to a part of the Bill which deals with the subject-matter to which his promise relates.

Sir William Lyne - This is a professed supporter of the Bill !

Mr Hughes - I rise to a point of order. I understand that clause 12 is now before the Committee.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member does not say so !

Mr Hughes - I do say so, in spite of all I have been hearing. If we are allowed to discuss these matters on clause 12, shall we be allowed to transcend that liberty, and have a general discussion as to the advisability of dumping - as to whether dumping occurs, and in what particular industries, and how to prevent it? The topics with which the honorable member for Corinella is dealing are very interesting to me, and, as I 'hear of them for the first time, I very naturally want to know till about them, because my' fiscal predilections do not lead me to swallow all that is said, exactly as if it were jam on the end of a spoon. At the same time, I desire to know whether I shall be permitted to indulge in similar playful excursions, or whether this indulgence is to be confined to gentlemen on the other side, for the remainder of the afternoon.

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