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Friday, 21 May 1926

Senator GRAHAM - We shall see. I propose to submit you to personal inspection.

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon T Givens - Order! The honorable senator will please address the Chair.

Senator GRAHAM - To begin with, I do not smoke a pipe that is made in Japan, nor do I use matches that are not Australian made. During the last few months I have made it my business to inspect a number of representative Australian manufacturing industries. Has Senator Guthrie done likewise?

Senator Guthrie - I am wearing nothing but Australian-made clothes, at all events.

Senator GRAHAM - Recently I visited Bryant and May's match factory in Melbourne. That establishment uses an enormous quantity of Queensland wood, which is submitted to a special process for the purpose of match production.

Senator Sir Henry Barwell - Protection for that industry is not an economic proposition.

Senator GRAHAM - Well, I believe in doing all I can to encourage Australian industries, and I am a protectionist up to the hilt. All our industries should be safeguarded against unfair outside competition. Certainly the match industry should be protected against competition from Japan or any other country where sweated labour conditions obtain. I challenge honorable senators opposite, to produce their matches. Here are mine. Is Senator Guthrie prepared to submit his matches to inspection? As one who has been in close association with Australian industrial conditions for the past 42£ years, I am glad to be able to say that many Australian manufacturing concerns are to-day a pattern foi' the outside world. Our workmen in those factories are working under model conditions. Employees of Bryant and May's match factory, for example, might easily be mistaken for employees in some professional occupations. The girls who work- there are looked after admirably by the management. They are furnished with two suits a year, and these are laundered and repaired at the expense of the management. They are also .provided with a fine dining-room, and every morning at 11 o'clock they have cool drinks or ice cream in the summer time, and tea or coffee in the winter. There is also a large hall in which at frequent intervals concerts and dances are arranged by the management, and at these the whole of the managerial staff and employees mingle in social intercourse.

Senator Sir HENRY BARWELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - This is all very nice, but from an economic standpoint the industry is wasteful.

Senator GRAHAM - These improved conditions would be impossible without protection, and from what I have 'seen' I am prepared to protect every Australian industry against unfair, competition from outside.

Senator Sir Henry Barwell - In other words, the honorable senator is a prohibitionist.

Senator GRAHAM - Very nearly.

Senator Reid - But a freetrader 'so far as Western. Australia is concerned.

Senator GRAHAM - Never mind. I am prepared to speak for myself on any issue that concerns Western Australia.

Senator Drake-Brockman - How does the honorable senator's policy affect the gold-mining industry of Western Australia ?

Senator GRAHAM - The gold mining in Western Australia would be in a better position if the Government provided the bonus for which we have asked. But lot me continue. About a fortnight ago, when I was in Sydney, I visited Bond's hosiery factory. Again I found that the employees were working under conditions second to none in the world. I was. informed that, whilst the protection afforded was sufficient to enable them to meet foreign competition in the better grades of silk stockings, they were at a disadvantage in the manufacture of the cheaper or second-grade articles, so more protection will be necessary, and I shall be prepared to vote for it. After inspecting their silk department I visited the cotton tweed mills, and was agreeably surprised at the quality of the articles being produced there.

Senator Ogden - Where do they get their raw material?

Senator GRAHAM - I was informed that 80 per cent, of it comes from Queensland.

Senator McLachlan - How does the quality compare with overseas products?

Senator GRAHAM - Most favorably.

Senator Duncan - It is a fine industry.

Senator GRAHAM - Yes; and those who have visited the factory must admit that persons who expend large sums of money on machinery to produce articles of such a high quality should be fully protected. I understand that if Bond's receive the necessary protection they are prepared to establish mills in every city of the Commonwealth.

Senator Drake-Brockman - What protection do they want?

Senator GRAHAM - I cannot say. The information I have just given the. Senate was supplied to me by the manager.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -brockman. - T. would be prepared to do the same if imports were prohibited.

Senator GRAHAM - I am speaking of adequate protection, and not prohibition. In their cotton mills, calicos of a very high standard are being produced; but I do not know if the supply is sufficient to meet the demand. They have the nucleus of a calico-manufacturing plant which is really wonderful, and is producing material which compares more than favorably with the English article. The unbleached calico they are manufacturing does not contain a large quantity of lime, such as is found in the imported article. The Australian calico, when washed, really becomes thicker, whereas the English article, which contains much lime, becomes so thin after washing that there is hardly any of it left.

Senator Ogden - Will not the higher tariff be responsible for increasing the price of miners' dungarees?

Senator GRAHAM - Not necessarily. I have also visited the Lincoln Mills, referred to by Senator Guthrie, and it is a shame that much of the valuable plant installed there should be lying idle. The quality of the silk stockings, blankets, rugs, and other articles manufactured is of a very high standard. When in Sydney, I also visited the Australasian Glass Works, in which thousands of men are employed turning out a product of a very high quality. A glass-blower of 24 year3 of age, who was brought from Belgium - which is the home of glass manufacturing - was receiving, on an average, £S os. a week, and evidently he earns that amount or he would not receive it. Any one visiting the works and noting the. conditions under which the men are employed, particularly in the vicinity of the furnaces, must admit that they earn every penny they receive, even if it is £20 a week. It has been proved on many occasions that wc have men in Australia who are quite capable of producing goods of a similar quality to those manufactured in other countries where industries have been established for many years. Even if we obtain the assistance of expert artisans from Great Britain, no objection should be offered, because we have sprung from British stock. If we have not in Australia men who have a knowledge of a new class of manufacture we are undertaking, we must import experts to guide our operatives until they become experienced .

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -brockman. - How many men are employed in the Australasian Glass Works in Sydney ? ,

Senator GRAHAM - About 2,000. It is a very large concern.

Senator Drake-Brockman - How many specialists have been imported?

Senator GRAHAM - Quite a number. J. have mentioned a few of the industries I am prepared to support, and while I claim to be a good Australian, and wear and use Australian products, I should like to give the Senate a little information concerning the "make-up" of Senator Guthrie. The tweed used in the suit he is wearing, and which he claims to be all-Australian, evidently came from the Geelong Woollen Mills.

Senator Guthrie - The returned soldiers' mill.

Senator GRAHAM - In making a coat, as honorable senators are aware, canvas is used. The canvas is not made in Australia, but in Belgium or Holland. The hair cloth used in the shoulders of the honorable senator's coat is. not made in Australia - it cannot be made here - but in France. The figured silesia used in the sleeve lining is not manufactured in Australia, butin Manchester, as also is the silesia used in making the pockets. The padding in the shoulders of the coat - it is always used to make a man look the man he is not - is not made in Australia, but in Manchester, The holland used as a lining across the back of the trousers is made in Belfast, and the buttons in Italy. Where does this "all-Australian suit" come in?

Senator Guthrie - Buttons are made in Australia.

Senator GRAHAM - Those on the garment to which the honorable senator referred were made in Italy. The machine silk with which the edges of his coat are stitched is made in England. These and the trouser fittings are not manufactured in Australia, and are not likely to be for some years to come. It is interesting to listen to the utterances of those who profess to wear wholly Australian-made clothes, but in most cases only the. tweed of which the suit is made is of Australian manufacture. The only way in which Australian industries can flourish is by affording them sufficient protection, and also by increasing the population so that our products can be easily disposed of. As far as the tariff generally is concerned, the members of the party, to which I belong are free to vote as they desire ; I intend to support the imposition of high duties.

Senator Drake-Brockman - What became of the glass works at Subiaco ?

Senator GRAHAM - They went into liquidation, I think, but a new company has been formed, and is installing additional plant.

Senator Drake-Brockman - It was forced out of existence owing to the intensive competition of the glassmanufacturing establishment which the honorable senator mentioned.

Senator GRAHAM - That is quite likely. In Western Australia we have practically no secondary industries, and we, therefore, have to rely largely on the production of those in the eastern States. ' Adjoining the glass works in Sydney there is a large deposit of white sand of the finest quality, which I believe is sufficient to meet their requirements for the next 100 years. I ask leave to continue my remarks on the next day of sitting.

Leave granted ; debate adjourned.

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