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Tuesday, 10 July 1906


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I move -

That after the word "thereof," line 8, the words " but do not include goods imported from and the product of the United Kingdom " be inserted.

I think that the Minister will recognise the importance of that amendment, and I hope he will give it the favorable consideration which, in my opinion, it deserves.


Mr Mauger - Canada has passed special laws to protect herself against the dumping of goods from the United Kingdom.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I will deal with that matter when I .come to consider the Canadian legislation. It must be remembered that the provisions of this Bill are to operate in addition to the Customs duties which we have imposed, or may impose, on imports from foreign countries, Great Britain, and dependencies of the Empire. I do not think that the instances of dumping in Australia of exports from the United Kingdom are more than the instances of dumping of Australian goods in Great Britain, and the Minister has said nothing to shake that belief. There is, therefore, no serious reason for excluding British goods under the provisions of Part III. of the Bill. Harvesters, which seem always to be at the back of the Minister's mind, are not sent here from the United Kingdom. The first very important reason which I would urge in support of my amendment is the treatment which Australia and the other dependencies of the Empire have received from the mother-land. Great Britain gave us this great continent as a heritage. She has handed over to us and to our descendants a country which to-day is rich and prosperous, and gives every promise of increasing in prosperity and supporting an enormous population.


Sir William Lyne - But the English people will not give us preferential trade.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - They give us what is a much greater advantage - free entry for our goods into their markets.


Sir William Lyne - According to the honorable member's belief, we. should allow everything to be imported here free of duty.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - If we had any gratitude to the mother-land, we should do so as regards her products.


Mr Mauger - Has the fulness of time come ?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not know when the honorable member would consider that the fulness of time had come. We can only be certain that he will not be here then, though we hope that he will have preference in a better place.


Mr Mauger - Does the honorable member think that the fulness of time has come to reap the advantage of pauper labour?


Mr Fuller - That is a cry upon whichthe honorable member for Melbourne Ports has lived all his life.


Mr Johnson - When he speaks of " pauper," he means protected labour.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member, as a protectionist, has every opportunity, by the imposition of Customs duties, to get rid of the effect of the difference between the cost of labour in Australia and its cost in Great Britain. He has already exercised that privilege to the full, and intends to exercise it to excess.


Mr Mauger - He intends to exercise it reasonably.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Not only has Great Britain given us this Continent as a heritage, but, with surprising generosity, she has allowed us full rights of self-government If she had considered her self-interest alone, it would have instigated her to withhold from us the power to , tax her goods, and to frame our Constitution so as to provide for the free entry of British goods into Australia. She has given us the right to legislate, not only for our own advantage, but even to her injury. No doubt her statesmen anticipated that we, having been treated generously, would give a generous return. This measure will show that Great Britain cannot expect from this part of the Empire generosity such as she has herself displayed. The hand which has given all these things, and which we are attempting to smite, shelters us from our enemies. The people of Great Britain, who are comparatively poorer than those of Australia, have to dip deeper into their pockets, and pay more per head for defence, than we do, so that our shores and our commerce may be protected by the British Fleet.


Mr Mauger - Must we, because thev do that, allow them to dump their goods here ?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We, because they do that, should extend a little generosity to them. ,


Mr Mauger - Would the honorable member extend generosity to a Chinaman?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - If a Chinaman had been generous to me, I hope that I should be generous to him in return.


Mr Mauger - We are not talking about generosity.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am talking about generosity. There is much reason to do so.


Mr Johnson - There is too much antiBritish sentiment in this House.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - A little generosity may surely be expected in return for the great generosity extended to us. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports has had every opportunity to impose conditions regarding the terms, as to payment of duty, under which British goods will be admitted here, and has exercised it, to the full. The provisions of the Bill are additional to the Tariff, and allow for the absolute prohibition of importation, if the Minister so wills it.


Mr Isaacs - Not the Minister.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I understand that amendments are to be made in this part of the Bill.


Mr Isaacs - The proposal that a Justice of the High Court shall be appointed for this work has been practically adopted by the insertion of the interpretation of the word " Justice" in clause 12.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The amendments to which the Attorney-General refers will transfer the power of prohibition from the Minister to a Justice, but the Justice will be guided by the conditions which we lay down in the Bill. The second reason why my amendment should receive favorable consideration from the Government is that Ministers have declared themselves in favour of returning concessions for concessions.


Mr Wilks - They call' that preferential trade.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes. The principle of preferential trade is the return of concessions for concessions. Surely when Great Britain admits such large quantities of our produce freely-


Sir William Lyne - She takes only 5 per cent, of her food supplies from us.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We do not export food supplies only. She takes also our wool and our minerals.


Mr Bamford - She cannot do without them.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Neither could we do without some of the goods which she sends to Australia. I should like the Minister to say what proportion of our exports goes to Great Britain. Those goods are dumped on her shores, if we accept the Ministen' s definition of dumping. Is Great Britain to receive no consideration from this dependency, to which she has shown so much?


Mr Ewing - Millions of loyal Englishmen are opposed to dumping.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I give the; honorable member credit for knowing a little about business matters - I could not say so much for every honorable member - but is he aware that the Minister has defined dumping as the sending of surplus products to another market, to be sold there at whatever prices they will fetch, and often at lower prices than can be obtained for similar goods in the country of production ?


Sir William Lyne - I said " always," not " often."


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Minister said that sometimes dumped goods are sold at a profit.


Mr Ewing - Millions of loyal Englishmen are opposed to dumping, and a very strong party in England is adverse to it.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - If they are opposed to dumping in the sense in which the Minister of Trade and Customs uses the term, they must be opposed to the exportation of Australian surplus products to Great Britain, to the disturbance and disorganization of Home industries. The Vice-President of the Executive Council, who represents an electoral division in which there are many butter factories, knows that an association determines what quantity of butter is likely to be absorbed bv this market, and fixes the price for it, the balance being exported to Great Britain, to be sold there at what it will fetch. That, according to the definition of the -Minister of Trade and Customs, is dumping. Similarly, we send our fnuit to Great Britain - not that for which we can obtain a good market here, but the surplus, which could not be disposed Of here, and the offering for sale of which would depress local prices. Our surplus fruit is sold in Great Britain for whatever price can be obtained for it, and sometimes for considerably less than is obtained in our own market.


Sir William Lyne - No, no. Mr. DUGALD THOMSON.- I say yes.


Sir William Lyne - It is nearly always a higher price.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I say no ; on many occasions the price is considerably lower, and heavy losses have been made on shipments, not when goods were damaged, but when they were sound.


Sir William Lyne - When they were damaged.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Unfortunately, the Minister brings little study or knowledge to bear on the subject.


Sir William Lyne - I know just as much as does the honorable member, and a little more.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) -The Minister will see from the press reports that the same classes of apples, for instance, are quoted often at a higher rate iri Australia than in Great Britain.


Sir William Lyne - Very seldom.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I say that often the same classes of apples are quoted at a higher rate in Australia than that at which they are sold in London.


Mr Cameron - What about meat?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) -Yes, what about meat? Will the Minister tell me that the prices obtained in Australia for meat are not higher than those obtained in the London market?


Sir William Lyne - Not always, but sometimes.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The same price is obtained! so seldom that we may say it is never obtained.


Mr Kennedy - Does the honorable member say that the price of Australian meat is lower in London than in Australia ?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes, I say that the price in London is relativelv lower, when the cost of sendihir the meat there is deducted; and I make that statement on the highest authority, namely, that of the exporters.


Mr Kennedy - The honorable member is taking special cases. In Queensland the price of beef is considerably lower than in Victoria, and the relative cost of transport is greater.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am not taking any special cases.


Mr Kennedy - Take the whole of the Victorian export.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am saying - or rather I am interjecting - that in the majority of cases Australian meat sells at a lower rate in London than it does in Australia, when the price of sending the meat there is deducted.


Mr Mcwilliams - Fruit does so, quite repeatedly.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Fruit very often does so, at any rate.


Sir William Lyne - Very seldom.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Minister ought to be aware of the fact, and if he is not, his officers ought to be able to inform him. Would people be foolish enough to export if they could get as good, or a better price, in their own market? The very inference to draw from the fact that people expert is that they cannot get the same price in their own market - they export to keep up the price.


Sir William Lyne - They export because there is r.o demand for the produce here.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is just it ; and when they export, it shows that if they retained all the products here, they would get a worse price here than they do in Europe; otherwise they would sell all they produce here. If the Minister will agree to this amendment, I un-, dertake to prove my statement to the satisfaction of the Government.


Sir William Lyne - I am almost tempted to accept that offer.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Let the Minister do so. I. have no desire to discourage or interfere with such exports ; but how do they affect the English producer? The importation of Australian ibeef, lambs, and so forth, into England has, bit by bit, taken the trade out of the hands of the English grower. The importation of Australian fruit into England operates. in the same way, but not to the same degree, because it arrives there out of the English season, when there is not much English fruit to offer.


Mr Salmon - Does the honorable member say the same about butter?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes.


Mr Salmon - The Danes do not say that the importation of Australian butter takes the business away from the English producer, but that it takes the business away from them.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member can easily satisfy himself on that point.


Mr Salmon - I have done so.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Then the honorable member must have found that what he states is not altogether the case. If we have regard to the importation of Danish butter into England before Australian and New Zealand butter went there, the enoimous increase from the latter places is not nearly accounted for by any drop in Danish importations.


Mr Salmon - Is it accounted for by the drop in the English production?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Australian butter interferes with the importation of Danish butter, but it interferes to a greater degree, probably, with the English production, because it is sold at a lower price than is the Danish. How can the honorable member ask any Parliament to conceive that the large quantity of butter which Australia and New Zealand exports to England does not, in combination with the Danish importations, interfere with production in England ? Where was the butter obtained previously, if not from English and Irish producers ?


Mr Fowler - The English farmer has another tale to tell from that of the honorable member for Laanecoorie.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Of course. Great Britain does not interfere with these importations; but if the tenets of some men were to become those of the British people as a whole, there would be retaliation. This ungenerous treatment in return for the most kindly treatment, almost makes me a retaliationist. Great Britain might take a stand, and say, " We cannot any longer tolerate this ; we have treated you well in welcoming your productions freely to our markets, to the injury of our producing classes; and when you not only impose duties which, in some cases, are sufficiently high to prohibit, but, where you cannot exclude bv duties, you seek to exclude absolutely bv a Bill such as this, it is time we dealt with your goods in the same way." If that attitude were taken by Great Britain, we should Be brought to our knees immediately.


Sir William lyne ---Nonsense ; do not talk such rubbish !


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Minister of Trade and Customs is a great authority on rubbish; but if he cannot make a more intelligent interjection than that, I ask ' him to turn his mind to his Bill - a task which he has not attempted yet. What I say is that we should be brought to our knees immediately if we were to receive from Great Britain the treatment thai we mete out to her. To show that I am not without precedent in my proposal, I shall quote the legislation of Canada. In the Dominion there are provisions which are not called in the measure anti-dumping provisions, but which have been called so here.


Sir William Lyne - Mr. Fielding so describes the provisions.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Canadian Minister and some member of the Dominion Parliament may so describe the provisions. I am not finding fault with the description, and I am quite willing to call them anti-dumping provisions, if the Minister chooses. How does Canada deal with the question? The Dominion Act of Parliament is more a measure for the equalization of prices than anything else. The section of the Canadian Act which deals with this matter is as fellows: -

Whenever it appears to the satisfaction of the Minister of Customs, or of any officer of Customs authorized to collect Customs dues, that the export price, or the actual selling price to the importer in Canada, of any imported dutiable articles of a class or kind made or produced in Canada, is less than the fair market value thereof, as determined according to the basis of value for duty, provided in the Customs Act in respect of imported goods subjected to an ad valorem duty, such article shall, in addition to the duty otherwise established, be subject to a special duty of Customs equal to the difference between such fair market value and such selling price.

It will be seen that this aims at an equalization of prices, and even to that there is some limitation in the following : -

Provided, however, that the special Customs duty on any article shall not exceed one-half of the Customs duty otherwise established in respect of the article, except in regard to the articles mentioned in items 224 (pig-iron and cast scrap iron), 226 (iron or steel ingots, and other forms less finished than iron or steel bars, &c), and 23r (rolled iron or steel plates), in Schedule A to the Customs Tariff r8o7, the special duty of Customs on which shall not exceed 15 per cent, ad valorem, nor more than the difference between the selling price and the fair market value of the article.

The effect of these provisions is simply to equalize, by the duty, the prices of the imports, and even that is subject to some limitation. Canada does not attempt to exclude: she admits the goods, and only attempts to equalize prices. But what is Canada's treatment of Great Britain? Although, these duties are imposed, Canada charges Great Britain only two-thirds of the dutv which is charged to other nations.


Mr Isaacs - But Canada put up the duties first.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There is a distinction, in any case. I am merely stating the facts, and not. arguing whether Canada is right or wrong, or is too generous, or not sufficiently generous. I only desire to impress on the Minister the fact that Canada does to some degree recognise Great 'Britain in this connexion. Now we come to the New Zealand measure. We often hear New Zealand measures lauded by members of this Parliament, and frequently by members! of the. Government. It is evident, from the data which has been placed before us that the Government consulted the New Zealand measure before they drafted these anti-dumping clauses. The Government have not adopted the New Zealand provisions, and one reason for that may be that, while the Bill proposes to affect all goods, New Zealand only saw reason to deal with agricultural implements - that is, to deal with them if the occasion arose. I do not think that New Zealand has yet applied the provisions, and that is, I suppose, because there has' not been found any necessity to do so.


Mr Isaacs - But New Zealand passed the Act, and if we pass the Bill we may not find it necessary to put it into operation.


Mr Robinson - What ? With the present Minister of Trade and Customs in office !


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - If the Minister stands by the speech he has made, the Bill will be put into operation every day in the year.


Sir William Lyne - No, no.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We all know that there is the greatest difficulty in understanding what the Minister of Trade and Customs' does say. At any rate, all this is apart from the question before us. New Zealand has not considered her legislation any too liberal, at any rate to the mother country. What are the provisions of the New Zealand Act? It is provided ' that if a certain Board finds that implements have been unduly and improperly reduced in price by the importers, the price shall not be increased to the consumer by excluding competitors, but a bonus, up to one-third, may be granted to the New Zealand implement makers to sustain them through the unfair competition. What a difference there is in the treatment of Great Britain by New Zealand as compared with the treatment proposed in "the Bill ! Let the Minister listen to this - I do not know whether he has noticed it before.


Sir William Lyne - Oh. yes.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Then the Minister has read it, and deliberately rejected it. We will see what that provision is. The New Zealand Act in section 9 provides -

For the purpose of this Act, implements of British manufacture shall be deemed to be manufactured in New Zealand, ' and the importers of such implements shall be deemed to be manufacturers thereof in New Zealand.

It will be observed that not only does the New Zealand Act provide that implements of British manufacture shall be " deemed to be manufactured in New Zealand," but it makes the further provision that the importer of such implements shall be deemed to be a manufacturer in New Zealand. That means that if a bonus is given to prevent the destruction of industries by foreign importations, the importer of a British implement gets that bonus as well as does the New Zealand manufacturer.


Mr Skene - What does "British" include ?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am not making my amendment as wide as that, because it might be considered to embrace something which was not desirable.


Mr Higgins - How would the honorable member prove that the goods were really British?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - How is it proved in New Zealand? How are a great many things to be proved that this Bill deals with? There are far greater difficulties in the Bill than that. I think that my phrase, " Imported from and the product of the United Kingdom " is sufficiently clear to enable the Customs officers to get proof.


Mr Higgins - Germany sends cigars to Havanna and they are exported from that place as "Havanna cigars."


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Commerce Act, which the honorable member assisted to pass, presents the same difficulty. If the Customs Department cannot ascertain with sufficient clearness to satisfy itself that particular goods are the products of Great Britain, it is mot nearly so alert and capable as I suppose it to be. Will the honorable member for Northern Melbourne tell me this : Which is the greater difficulty, to say what is the ordinary cost of a product in English or foreign markets or to say whether the product is imported from Great Britain or from a foreign country ? I know which task I would rather undertake.


Mr Higgins - You can ascertain the value of goods from other people.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - You cannot find out the cost of production of cer tain manufactures from the productions of other manufacturers in the case of complicated articles of trade. In the New Zealand Act there is a generous recognition of the mother country. Whatever we may think of the New Zealand legislation, and of its nature and necessity, surely we must recognise, as New Zealand has done, the generosity of Great Britain, the support we get from the British Empire, and the protection it gives to us. New Zealand has recognised that within the four corners of an Act dealing with importations such as we are considering now.


Mr Skene - And British people emigrate to New Zealand.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Naturally ; they ought to be attracted to a country of that character. Any Briton ought to be. In a Bill such as this, where no need can be shown as regards British goods for such provisions as those which we are considering, we ought to recognise our debt to the mother country. Is the Government prepared to say deliberately in this measure that British goods shall be prevented from coming -here under the very same conditions as those under which we send goods to Great Britain ? Is the Minister of Trade and Customs prepared to say that there shall be no difference between the treatment of the mother country and that which is shown to foreign nations? Is he prepared to say that the policy of preference - of concession for concession - which this Government has supported, is so much empty sham, and that we shall take the first opportunity we get, not to assist Great Britain to send goods here, but to shut out British goods from our markets when there is no need for it ? It has not been shown that there has been any dumping of British goods into Australia, except that dumping which consists in the export of a surplus, and the obtaining of the best possible price in the market to which the goods are exported; which is the class of dumping that we carry on with the great bulk of our exported products. I will ask whether there is any evidence o'f an intention to carry the preferential trade policy of the Government into effect ; does the Government propose to follow the example set by preferentialists like the late Mr. Seddon of New Zealand ? He showed that he was not merely a citizen of a portion of the Empire, trying to benefit the people of that portion, no matter at what expense to the rest of the Empire; but that he was the citizen of a greater country, willing to take into account the advancement of every portion of it.


Mr Higgins - But suppose that one corner is trying to destroy another corner?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member has the best answer possible in the action of the late Premier of New Zealand. That gentleman saw no good reason to exclude British implements. Nay, he went further. He saw no reason why, if a bonus were given, it should not be granted to the importers of British implements as well' as to the manufacturers of :them in New Zealand. I have heard the honorable member laud New Zealand legislation ; and I am sure that he would not wish to be less generous to the mother country than our co-dependency of New Zealand has been. I do not believe that any clanger of dumping from Great Britain exists, and surely, that being the case, we may refrain from excluding British goods under such drastic, uncertain, and undesirable provisions as exist in this part of the Bill.







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