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Tuesday, 22 November 1910


Senator GIVENS (Queensland) .- In the course of the debate the Minister in charge of the Bill, Senator Findley, stated that amendments affecting this and other items of the schedule were not in print because they were only decided upon very recently - in fact, that amendments have been brought under the notice of the Government within the last hour or so. I interjected that that was accounted for by the fact that Melbourne people could get their grievances objection whatever to the Minister receiving deputations from people engaged in business up to the last minute, and if he finds that a mistake has been made or that an injustice is being perpetrated, I quite agree that he ought to rectify it. He adopts the proper course in doing so. But why should representations made from one State be attended to whilst representations made from other States receive no attention? Have other representations received equal consideration from the Minister? Nothing of the kind. We are told that this is a perfectly innocent measure intended merely for the rectification of departmental anomalies. In looking through it I find that it is a great deal more than that. In some cases it removes items from the free list and puts them where they will be subject to a duty of 25 per cent. That is a great deal more than the rectification of an anomaly. I have no objection to it. If a local industry was suffering hardship through importations being on the free list, it was quite the right thing for the Government to make this proposal.


Senator Findley - The goods were not on the free list, but people who were importing them were taking advantage of the free list.


Senator GIVENS - The goods to which I refer are to be taken out of the free list and put under a 25 per cent. item. I have, I say again, no objection to that. If any injury was being done to a local industry, attended to, while persons m distant Mates no matter where it was situated, the procould not. Senator Findley took umbrage'posal is quite right but why should a few at that statement, and alleged that it was totally unfair. I say that my statement was absolutely true, as proved by his own words that up to an hour or two before the time when he was speaking the Government listened to representations made by people in Melbourne, whilst people in Tasmania, Queensland, or Western Australia had no opportunities of making representations affecting them an hour ago. Furthermore, I point out that whilst it appears that the Government were willing to accept representations from outside people up to the last moment, they are absolutely unwilling to listen to - in fact, they resist - the demands made by representative people from other States.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Does the honorable senator know that one deputation that waited on the Minister asked for a reduction of duties?


Senator GIVENS - I do not know anything of the sort. I have absolutely no people be singled out for this treatment whilst others are allowed to go hungry without securing any rectification whatever of the anomalies that affect their industries? That is what I want to know. A deputation of fruit-growers made representations to the Government with regard to the anomaly that exists between preserved fruit in the form of jam and tinned fruit. Nearly every State in the group is interested in this matter. Yet the Government tell us that they cannot do anything. I venture to say that if a Victorian industry were suffering, the Government would jump at the chance of rectifying the anomaly in question.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Queensland is always to the front.


Senator GIVENS - Queensland is no more to the front in this matter than is any other State. There is no State in Australia to which so large and generous a measure of protection has been extended as

South Australia. The salt industry of South Australia enjoys a protection of 200 per cent. If there is any other industry that; gets an equal percentage of protection I should like the honorable senator to tell

Hie what it is. The wine and olive oil industries of the same State are also well protected. Good luck to South Australia. I do not grudge, her that protection. South Australia is also interested in the growing of fruits. So is Victoria. But there are two States which are especially interested in the fruit trade- Tasmania on account of her temperate fruits, and Queensland on account of her tropical fruits. Why should a Tasmanian, if he buys a ton of fruit and a ton of sugar, boils the two together in a copper to the consistency of a pulp, puts them into tins, and seals them up, get the advantage of a certain protective duty, whilst if he puts the same fruit through another process he gets no protection whatever ? Surely that is a gross anomaly. Then there is the case of bananas, cited by Senator Stewart. We have been told that the banana-growing industry mainly affects the Chinese. So it did for a long time, and while it was chiefly a 'Chinese industry I was not much concerned about getting a duty for it. But now it has come largely into the hands of Europeans. Further than that, if we are to refuse a protective duty to bananas because the trade is largely in the hands _ of Chinese, why should we give a protective duty to the Melbourne furniture industry, which is almost entirely in the hands of Chinese? When I first came to Melbourne, and did not know my way about as well as I do now, I went to a shop to buy some furniture. Under the Victorian law, furniture made by Chinese has to be branded as Chinese made. I went to a reputable house, and asked to be supplied with European-made furniture. But when I got it I found that one article, right away back in one of the drawers, was stamped as made by Chinese. There is no more reason why the industries that I have mentioned should not receive fair consideration than why the industry in which the Government are now so keenly interested should be picked out for special treatment. I have no objection to any Australian industry receiving consideration. I will vote for the highest duty being imposed for any industry conducted in this Commonwealth. But when I find that right up to the present hour the Government are open to receive representations' - and to be influenced by them - with regard to industries conducted in Mel bourne, I am entitled to ask why industries carried on in other States have not an equal right to that privilege? I shall continueto urge that argument until I receive somesatisfactory reply.


Senator Findley - In the one case we are dealing with an item included in theschedule, and in the other cases we should not be.


Senator GIVENS - Why are not the other items included in the schedule? Because those concerned in them have not the ear of the Minister down in Melbourne.







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