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Thursday, 27 May 1926


Senator FOLL (Queensland) .- I have listened with a great deal of interest to the debate, and cannot help being impressed with the fact that, in the majority of instances, the fiscal views of honorable senators are largely governed by the particular item that may be under discussion. Many have at the outset strongly advocated protective duties, but before they have concluded their remarks have expressed the hope that certain duties would be reduced. I find myself in the same position, and I have come to the conclusion that, like many other honorable senators, I may regard myself as a scientific Protectionist. Necessarily one's views must be influenced by the position of certain primary or secondary industries. A perusal of the speeches delivered in this chamber and in another place would almost lead one to the conclusion that protection for secondary industries is opposed to the interests of primary producers. I think that, generally speaking, assistance given to our manufacturing enterprises has materially helped in the development of primary production.


Senator Thompson - Does the honorable senator think that protection has been of any assistance to the mining industry ?


Senator FOLL - My colleague from Queensland has an intimate knowledge of the mining industry. He has taken a great interest in the activities of the Mount Morgan Company, and for what he has done he has justly earned a great deal of commendation from people connected with mining. But I doubt if he will seriously contend that the position of that company, or of the mines in the Cloncurry district, is due entirely to protection. Three or four years ago, Cloncurry was a flourishing mining centre, but, owing to the serious reduction in the price of copper and the increase in the cost of production, its fortunes have declined. Many other mining ventures in Queensland are in the same unfortunate position for the same reasons.


Senator Thompson - My contention is that the tariff, which has had the effect of increasing the price of mining machinery, is not helping them.


Senator FOLL - If Senator Thompson will take the trouble to go to Mount Kembla, where thousands of miles of copper wire for the use of the Postal Department and for other purposes are being produced annually, he will realize what protection has done for the coppermining industry. I cite that as an illustration of the benefits of a protective policy, and to prove that assistance given through the tariff to either a primary or a secondary industry does not necessarily do an injury to the other.


Senator H Hays - If you assist the one and not the other, you do.


Senator FOLL - As a representative of Queensland in this Senate for the last nine years, I have voted in favour of assisting many industries. I suppose that in that time there has not been a single Australian industry of any magnitude that has not been helped by the Government. I believe in rendering reasonable assistance to industries that deserve it. The primary producer plays a great part in developing Australia, and he has been protected. Our secondary industries also are of importance to us, and some of them deserve assistance either through the Customs tariff or by means of a bounty, and they have been helped. . Bounties have been provided for the manufacture of wire netting, galvanized-iron sheets, and so on.


Senator Elliott - What about the sugar industry?


Senator FOLL - Those engaged in the great sugar industry of Queensland are not unmindful of the assistance they have received from this Parliament. If Senator Elliott were to visit the northern coast of Queensland, he would see the wonderful development that has taken place there through the establishment of the sugar industry, and he would not begrudge the protection that has been afforded to it. The sugar-growers do not complain when support is given to other industries.


Senator Elliott - No other industry has got prohibition.


Senator FOLL - I suppose there is no other industry that can properly be compared with the sugar industry. By establishing it in North Queensland- we have protected one of the most vulnerable points in Australia; and we have, at the same time, opened up some very rich country. If that land had not been devoted to sugar-growing, I think it would have remained undeveloped.


Senator Elliott - New settlers are not allowed to commence sugar-growing there now.


Senator FOLL - That statement shows that the honorable senator is not quite conversant with the facts. On account of the surplus production of sugar, the growers are obliged to pool their product, so that they shall all bear their proportion of the loss incurred in the export of our surplus sugar.


Senator Elliott - The honorable senator cannot have it both ways. If the surplus production has the result of preventing people from settling on the land there, it cannot be said that the industry is assisting to develop the country.


Senator FOLL - I suppose that, even if I were to enter into a serious discussion with Senator Elliott on this subject, I should not be able to alter his view, and I do not think he would be able to alter mine, so we had better agree to differ. Senator Elliott is a big enough Australian to realize that the sugar industry has had a great deal to do with developing North Queensland. He has no desire, I am sure, to prevent development in any industry except those that are established in Victoria. He does not belong to the class that is referred to sometimes as narrowminded Victorians. Probably he is the only Victorian representative in the Senate who is bursting with eagerness to get to Canberra, and representatives of the other States admire him for it.


Senator Cox - Probably he is the only Victorian senator who has been to Canberra.


Senator FOLL - I should not like to say that; but I am sure that he is a big enough Australian to realize the importance to the country of the Queensland sugar industry.


Senator Cox - From the honorable senator's remarks, one would think that Queensland was the only State in which sugar is grown.


Senator FOLL - A certain quantity of sugar is grown in New South Wales, and I know that we may, on that account, always look to the representatives of that State to assist in any move to improve the industry. I have no doubt that Senator Cox will agree that Queensland is the brightest jewel in the Imperial

Crown, and the greatest and richest Australian State. It has never come capinhand to the Commonwealth Government for assistance.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Newlands). - I must ask the honorable senator to confine his remarks to the bill.


Senator FOLL - I regret, Mr. Deputy President, that disorderly interjections have led me away from the beaten track, and also from the point I was striving to make. I agree with the view expressed by some honorable senators that it is stupid for us to impose duties on articles which are not manufactured in Australia, and the importation of which cannot adversely affect Australian industries. I agree with the policy of according ample protection to industries that are firmly established here, in order that their stability and prosperity may be assured, and that they may add to the production of the country. But I regret that under the first tariff schedule, and under all that have followed it, duties have been imposed on numerous articles which are not, and probably never will be, made in Australia, and which it would not pay us to establish factories to make. The motor industry is an illustration of this point. On account of the huge distances that have to be traversed in our out-back country, I am becoming more and more firmly convinced that in spite of our railway development, our people must depend more and more upon road transport, and the motor car, it can hardly be gainsaid, is of immense importance in that connexion. The sequence of unfortunate events in Great Britain recently illustrated how valuable motor transport may be to a nation.


Senator McLachlan - Coupled with good roads.


Senator FOLL - In many parts of Queensland there are no roads at all; but for probably nine months in the year the bush tracks are almost as perfect to travel on as the wood-blocked roads of city streets.


Senator Millen - That is stretching it, anyway.


Senator FOLL - If the honorable senator had ever travelled over the black-soil plains in Queensland in dry weather he would know that they are well nigh perfect, although I admit that in wet weather they become almost impassable.


Senator Thompson - I have travelled over them in a motor car at the rate of almost 45 miles per hour.

SenatorReid. - And I, at 60 miles per hour.


Senator FOLL - That is evidence of the accuracy of my statement. These roads are unquestionably quite suitable for motor transport in the dry season. Motor transport is most valuable not only to Queensland, but to every Australian State. In these days the motor car is used for business even more than for pleasure. There may be some justification in asking for a differentiation in the treatment of cars used for business purposes and those used solely for pleasure.


Senator Millen - There are very few people who do not use their cars for the dual purpose of business and pleasure.


Senator FOLL - I suppose that not more than5 per cent. of the motor cars in general use are used solely forpleasure. Our great distances and our lack of railway communication in many parts of Australia make motor travelling a necessity.


Senator Millen - At any rate, motor cars are a great convenience.


Senator FOLL - That is undoubtedly the case. The advent of the motor car has caused many subsidiary industries to spring up all over the Commonwealth. I refer to the spare parts, tire, petrol, and a hundred and one other businesses which are essential to meet the needs of motor car owners, who average a big mileage every year. But in spite of this, and of the fact that motor chassis are not made in Australia, a large sum is collected annually through Customs duties on motor cars.


Senator Millen - The figure, I think, runs into nearly £3,000,000 a year.


Senator FOLL - That is a considerable sum. The imposition of these duties does not protect any industries in Australia.


Senator Hoare - Oh yes, it does.


Senator FOLL - At any rate motor car manufacturing here is not assisted, for it is not done. Possibly Senator Hoare has in mind the manufacture of tires and tubes. I agree that those industries should be protected, as long as the manufactures are maintained at the present standard. I suppose the tire at present being produced here is of a better quality than has ever been made in our history.


Senator Hoare - Duty is imposed also to protect Australian motor body builders.


Senator FOLL - That' is so. In the State that my honorable friend represents there is a factory which produces motor bodies that are the equal of any produced in the world; and I believe they are made at a reasonable cost. First class motor bodies are also manufactured in my own State.


Senator Payne - One thing they can do in South Australia is build motor bodies.


Senator FOLL - That is one thing among many. I think it unfair, however, that high duties should be imposed on motor chassis, for I am doubtful if it will be a payable proposition for us to embark on their manufacture until we have two or three times our present population. During recent years a number of big oversea motor manufacturers have established assembling; works in Australia, and this has meant additional employment forour people.


Senator McLachlan - Is not that due to the duty?


Senator FOLL - I do not think the duty was a very important factor in assembling being undertaken here, neither do I think the position is affected by this schedule.


Senator McLachlan - The importers have been able to avoid some of the duty by having the assembling done here.


Senator FOLL - The principal work is still done overseas, and the cars are merely assembled in Australia. The users of motor vehicles are being taxed to the extent of over £2,000,000 a year. Senator Millen said that the amount was nearer £3,000,000 - although chassis are not being manufactured in Australia. Notwithstanding the fact that the use of motor cars is assisting in the development of the outback portions of the country, and motor users are providing a substantial proportion of our Customs revenue, the State authorities are also collecting a large sum in the form of registration and licencefees. The whole of this burden is borne by one section of the community.


Senator McLachlan - How much of the £2,000,000 odd is collected on chassis?


Senator FOLL - I cannot give the figures; but they could doubtless be obtained in detail from the Customs Department. Although the users of motor cars in Australia are contributing such large sums through the Customs Department, they are further imposed upon by having to pay taxation on every gallon of petrol they use. It is amusing to hear some honorable senators saying that certain industries are not sufficiently protected, and that others have received too much assistance. The Tasmanian representatives who have spoken commenced by complaining that the duties on most of the items are excessive; but concluded by asking for higher duties on dressed timber. Their attitude in this respect is most inconsistent. The Tariff Board was appointed not for the purpose of imposing duties, but to conduct thorough investigations into the operations of industries applying for further protection, and to report to Parliament. Honorable senators have been deluged with circulars concerning suggested reductions and increases in duties; but as those who have distributed these documents have had every opportunity of putting their case before the Tariff Board, there should not be any need for such communications. The amended schedule is, I believe, based on the recommendations of the Tariff Board, which has inquired into the operations of industries since the last schedule was adopted. It is futile for representatives of different industries to submit lengthy circulars to honorable senators when they have ample opportunities of putting their case before a properly constituted authority. The members of the Tariff Board have always been willing to listen to any representations I have desired to make concerning the duties imposed, and I am sure similar consideration is shown to others. We are not expected to blindly follow the recommendations of the Board, but as it is in an " exceptionally fortunate position in being able to ascertain all the facts and is composed of unbiased men, its recommendations are worthy of our most careful consideration. Senator Findley referred to the position of the woollen mills, and said, I think, that during the last few months the shares of woollen manufacturing companies had increased to a remarkable extent.


Senator Findley - That is not so. I said that the shares of many companies that had received protection under the new schedule, including woollen mills, had risen appreciably, and that shares in some companies, but not woollen manufacturing companies, had increased by 100 per cent.


Senator FOLL - I thought the honorable senator was referring particularly to woollen mills. The woollen mills producing blankets and flannels - not the worsted mills - have had a particularly uphill fight during the' last few years. Knitting mills have also been in a precarious way for a long time, and the experience of the Lincoln mills and one or two others has been most discouraging. The worsted mills, which are producing cloth, have been more fortunate, because there has been a much greater demand for their product than there has been for the blankets and flannels produced by the woollen mills. Vickers Limited, of Sydney, and the Globe Worsted Mills, owned by Mr. Wilkinson, are turning out a product which is quite equal to that produced in other countries. The products of the Ipswich mills, in Queensland, are the equal of goods produced anywhere. I agree with other honorable senators who have said that these industries should receive every assistance, and who have expressed the hope that it will not be long before our own mills will be producing practically the whole qf the material used in Australia. There is always a certain amount of prejudice in the minds of some people against the products of their own land, and that prejudice is probably more pronounced in Australia than in other countries. If given the opportunity, I do not think that there is any reason why Australian manufacturers should not produce an article equal to the best manufactured in other countries. Senator Thompson, referring to whisky, said that others might drink the Australian product, but that he was satisfied with Scotch. The local distilleries benefited by the mistakes made probably in the initial stages of the industry, and there is no reason why the Australian whisky should not have as good a reputation as the Scotch product.


Senator Thompson - Manufacturers in every part of the world have been trying without success to shift the Scotch whisky from its pedestal.


Senator FOLL - There should be plenty of room in Australia for both the Scotch and local product. Before I support an additional duty on imported whiskies, I should like the Minister (Senator Crawford) to explain why an increased duty is necessary when the Australian whisky is being sold at 3s. to 4s. a bottle cheaper than imported whiskies. I am not a connoisseur, and possibly if I sampled the different brands I should not be able to detect the difference. Reverting to the question of woollen manufacturing, I may say that Senator Thompson and I have been associated in an attempt to establish woollen mills in Queensland, and I hope that the day is not far distant when the objective we have in view will be achieved. Quite recently there has been formed iu Queensland a company known as the North Australian Worsted Mills, and and this company has almost completed the erection of a wooltop making plant at Charters Towers. But for the fact that the wooltops making industry is more or less protected, and that Australia produces the finest quality of wool in the world, the outlook for the town of Charters Towers, which in days gone by was probably one of the most nourishing mining centres of North Queensland, would have been very serious indeed.


Senator Thompson - The honorable senator might say that it was one of the most flourishing mining centres of Australia, because at one time it had a population of 33,000.


Senator FOLL - On account of the unfortunate decline in the mining industry the population of Charters Towers is very much depleted; it is not the city it was in the heyday of its prosperity. This woollen mill, which, naturally, has been well supported by the local townspeople, if it succeeds and develops as I believe it will, will give a renewal of life to a decadent mining town. Charters Towers is well adapted to the manufacture of wooltops, and woollen and worsted goods, because there is an ample supply of fresh water available. While I agree with those honorable senators who claim that Australia must depend upon its primary industries and upon land settlement for its greatest development, I think the history of the world teaches us that no country can become truly great unless it develops its secondary industries along with its primary industries. No one who has taken the trouble to watch the development of various nations in recent periods can deny the fact that the countries which have made the greatest development during the last century are those which have devoted the greatest attention to their secondary industries. Perhaps Germany has developed its secondary industries, under a policy of protection, to a greater extent than has any other. Prior to the war it occupied practically the premier position in the output of its manufactures. When the opportunity came along Japan quickly followed the example of Germany by developing its secondary industries. America is another highly protected country which has made rapid progress by the development of its secondary industries. Honorable senators have spoken of the relation of primary to secondary industries. The manufacture of butter is a secondary industry. If the producers of butter could sell the whole of their produce in Australia, and were not obliged to export any of it, they would be much better off than they are.


Senator Sir Thomas Glasgow - That remark would apply to any primary industry.


Senator FOLL - It would. Senator Glasgow, who has large interests in the beef-producing industry, knows that if we had in Australia another centre with a population of 1,000,000 the chances are that the troubles of our beef growers would be overcome. As a matter of fact, the development of secondary industries hand in hand with primary industries, must result in our overcoming many of the difficulties that are now encountered in disposing of our surplus primary production. .We know the position of our dried fruits industry. Prior to the war and before the coming about of the huge settlement on the River Murray, the people who were producing dried fruits in Australia were on an extraordinarily good wicket, inasmuch as the supply was not equal to the demand for their product. But when there was a rush of others to the industry, and the output of dried fruits greatly exceeded the local demand, the growers were unable to get rid of their surplus, and there was a slump in prices.


Senator McLachlan - That difficulty will cure itself.


Senator FOLL - It has not yet been cured, and the Commonwealth Government has been obliged to come to the assistance of the dried-fruits industry. No one begrudges the assistance given, because . we should all be pleased to see the settlement on the river Murray make progress. When it is claimed that primary production is the backbone of this country, we must also remember that secondary industries are its breastbone, and that both are necessary to make up the complete body. We have very little use in Australia for those narrow-minded fiscal bigots who in another place were ready with one stroke of the pen to wipe out every secondary industry because it costs a little more to produce some articles here than it does in another country. I thought the advocates of freetrade had disappeared many years ago. Unfortunately, there are a few of them still raising their heads; but happily very little regard is paid to them. As I said at the outset of my remarks, on account of the peculiar circumstances, of Australia, and particularly because of its long periods of dry weather, our tariff must be more or less elastic. SenatorReid has referred to the fact that although a duty on maize may be necessary at one particular period in order to protect the maize-growers of Australia, there are other times when it might be advisable in the interests of another section of primary producers to suspend that duty. For instance, Australia is subject to long periods of drought, when the woolgrowing industry in western Queensland suffers considerably, and sheep die by the thousand. If at such times the graziers could get cheap maize they could keep their stock alive. Therefore, occasionally it may be advisable to remove the duty on maize. But immediately that claim is made on behalf of the producers of wool, the maize-growers point out their side of the question. They claim that they have had bad times in. the past, and that when an opportunity is given to them to get a little more for their product it is not fair to them that maize should be allowed to come in free of duty to compete with their product and lower the price to the man out west, who has already done very well out of the big prices he has obtained for his wool. In the past governments have found it necessary to adopt a give-and-take fiscal policy, and for that reason Australia has framed a tariff which is more or less elastic, and has appointed tariff boards to advise Parliament just how it should act. As our existing industries develop, or as new industries spring up in our midst, I think it is a foregone conclusion that this Parliament will, almost every year, have before it for consideration a revised tariff schedule. Queensland is in the unique position of having a monopoly of the production of Australian softwoods. There is very little pine grown outside its borders. The Commonwealth Year-Book tells us that the percentage of forest land to the total area of Australia is almost the smallest of any country in the world. It is about third from the bottom of the list so far as percentage of forest land is concerned. For that reason, I do not think it is advisable for us to shut out the importations of softwoods and cut the timber out of our forests in order to supply the whole of our local requirements. To my mind, a policy of preserving our forests and adopting a scheme of re-afforestation will prove of more value to us in years to come than the imposition of a high rate of duty on sawn timber or timber in the log, which has the effect of considerably increasing the cost of building, making it almost impossible for a man on a small salary in Queensland, where houses are solely built of timber, to get a home for himself. Senator Thompson has pointed out that Queensland pine is expensive, not because of any duty or that the wages paid in the industry are high, but because about four-fifths of the pine forests now left uncut are the property of the Crown.


Senator McLachlan - Unoccupied Crown land?


Senator FOLL - Principally Government forests. The high cost of our softwoods is due to the fact that the Forestry Department has been used by the State Labour Government as a taxing machine. In the old days a royalty of so much per 100 super, feet on the stump was charged to timber-getters.


Senator Grant - How much is now charged ?


Senator FOLL - About 10s. or 12s. I cannot give the exact figures.


Senator Grant - But it is important to know what the royalty is.


Senator FOLL - It is probably four times what it was a few years ago. A minimum royalty is fixed, and a notice is published in the Government Gazette that a certain quantity of timber will be made available at auction on a given date. The quantity offering is never equal to the demand by the millers, and the result is that there is the keenest competition, which naturally forces up the royalties. Owing to the courtesy of Senator Thompson, I am now in a position to quote the royalties. In 1918 the royalty on first class pine in the central district amounted to 2s. 6d. per 100 super, feet. It rose to 5s. 9d. at the end of that year, and it was gradually increased until, in February last, it amounted to 12s. 6d - an increase of 400 per cent. since 1918. The royalty on hardwood increased 200 per cent. during the same period, that is from 2s. 6d. to 7s 6d. Houses in Queensland are almost wholly built of pine, and the State Labour Government, by increasing the royalties, has forced up the price of sawn timber. First class wood for lining and ceiling is now in the neighbourhood of £3 per 100 super, feet.


Senator Grant - What is the price of hardwood?


Senator FOLL - The honorable senator knows that a very small proportion of hardwood is used in the building of houses in Queensland. By using the Forestry Department purely as a taxing machine, the Labour Government in my State has placed a very unfair burden upon people who desire to build their own homes, and an even more unfortunate feature is that the ' exorbitant royalties levied have not been applied to any scheme of re-afforestation. The money has been paid into the Consolidated Revenue and then wasted on State cattle stations and butchers' shops, and similar State enterprises. Such high prices rule, for timber that it is almost impossible for the unfortunate workers to purchase houses.


Senator Lynch - Is there no Government housing scheme in Queensland 1


Senator FOLL - Under the Workers' Dwellings Act houses are built for those persons who can supply a portion of the total sum required. [Extension of time granted.] A house of four or five rooms that now costs £850 could have been built some years ago for £400.


Senator Payne - For £350.


Senator FOLL - Yes, easily.


Senator Ogden - But the increase is not entirely on account of the cost of the timber.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Newlands). - Order! These interjections are leading the honorable senator away from the subject-matter of the measure.


Senator FOLL - Owing to the royalties exacted by the State Government the worker has to pay a couple of hundred pounds more than he- would otherwise be charged for his house, and, allowing for repayments of interest and principal, his home costs him £300 or £400 more than it should. I have not received any request from Queensland for an alteration in the timber duties, but £ can see no justification for increasing them. When Senator Payne was discussing this subject, I suggested that in the interests of the local saw-millers aconcession might be made on timber imported undressed.


Senator Ogden - What kind of hardwood grows in Queensland?


Senator FOLL - We have a tremendous quantity of ironbark and stringybark. Only recently I had the unfortunate experience of investing in a hardwood proposition, and I am now poorer to the extent of a few hundred pounds; but I would not be so inconsiderate towards the workers of Queensland as to ask for an increased duty on timber.


Senator Needham - Why this sudden solicitude for the welfare of the Queensland workers?


Senator FOLL - I have always adopted that attitude towards the workers. I was returned to this chamber to represent them, and I claim that honorable senators on this side more truly represent the workers than some of the carping hypocrites who sit on the other side.


Senator Needham - I ask that that remark should be withdrawn.


Senator FOLL - I did not mention any honorable senator by name.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.-I ask the honorable senator to withdraw the remark.


Senator FOLL - I do so readily. It was prompted by the satire at which Senator Needham is an adept. Whatever I may think about the matter, I have withdrawn the words. One honorable senator said yesterday that on account of the high duty on various kinds of electrical equipment, serious injury is being done to certain secondary industries. 1 think that it was Senator Ogden who raised the subject, and in committee I should like him to specify the electrical equipment that carries a high duty and cannot be made in this country. It was my privilege this week, whilst conducting another investigation with other honorable senators, to visit the Metropolitan- Vickers Company's works in Melbourne, and last week to go through the English Electrical Company's establishment atRyde, Sydney. Although I do not question the accuracy of statements made yesterday by Senator Ogden, it is only reasonable that he should be asked to mention the type of electrical equipment that cannot be made in Australia and is being kept out on account of the high tariff. At the Metropolitan- Vickers Company to-day I saw workmen engaged in the interesting process of manufacturing switches.


Senator Ogden - House switches?

SenatorFOLL. - No; big switches up to 60,000 and 70,000 volts. The English Electrical Company, three or four years ago, erected immense works on the Parramattaroad, near Sydney, at a cost of many thousands of pounds, and installed a magnificent plant. That company was led to believe that it would enjoy a substantial measure of protection, and be able to secure the whole of the work in the manufacture of turbines, alternators, condensers, and other electrical machinery in Australia. We saw in these works last week a huge plant standing idle, owing, first of all, to the 44-hour week dispute, but also to the fact that it has been unable to get sufficient orders in Australia to keep the plant in full operation, although certain orders have been sent overseas. It is called the English Electric Company, but I am informed that 95 per cent. of the capital invested in it is Australian.


Senator McLachlan - Does the company manufacture the electrical machinery mentioned by the honorable senator?


Senator FOLL - Yes. It manufactures all descriptions of electrical appliances, including turbines, alternators, and con densers. At present it is installing a huge plant for the Pyrmont Electrical Supply Company. Only the forgings are being imported, and I understand that their manufacture calls for a special type of machinery which it would not pay to install. One planing machine cost over £15,000, and, in addition, there is a considerable amount of winding machinery. The company is now manufacturing twoway insulated fine-drawn wire. Under normal conditions it gives employment to many hundreds of men.


Senator Lynch - If the company was established under the protection of the 1920 tariff, why is it coming forward with the request for more protection?


Senator FOLL - I do not know what measure of protection it is asking for, but I am sure that Senator Lynch, who at all times desires to give every interest a fair deal, will be prepared to vote for a reasonable duty. I do not know whether this industry is asking for any additional duty. Our primary and secondary industries are interdependent, so it is desirable that they should be assisted in every possible way. I am not in favour of fostering any industry that is likely to handicap other interests, primary or secondary, but I am certainly in favour of granting fair protection to every Australian enterprise that is worth encouraging. Senator Lynch, I am sure, will agree that the home market is the best market for our primary producers. If, by encouraging our secondary industries we can provide a larger home market for our primary products, we shall be on the high road to national greatness. I hope the day will come when not a pound of Australian greasy wool will be exported. I should like to see every pound of it treated here, at all events, up to the wooltop stage, and that would be one-third of the way towards the manufactured cloth. During the war the Colonial Combing Spinning and Weaving Company made huge ' profits from the manufacture of wool-tops, for which there was a keen demand in Japan, and the wool-tops factory at Charters Towers, in North Queensland, also is looking to the East as a market for its output. Senator Ogden will probably tell us that we cannot do this. My reply is tl] at the wool manufacturing business is a 90 per cent, machine industry, and there is no reason why Australian operatives should not become as efficient in this field of enterprise as are the operatives in the Mother Country or elsewhere.


Senator Ogden - How can we balance our exchange if we do not export our wool, wheat, or other primary products?


Senator FOLL - I hope it will not be long before we are in a position to export, our manufactured products. And as for balancing our exchanges, I point out to the .honorable senator that, if we export our wool in a semi-manufactured state, we shall receive about three times as much for it as we get for the raw material, and the probabilities are that exchange will be in our favour. At present we export our greasy wool to Britain, France, Germany, the United States . of America, and J apan. We should take steps to manufacture it into wool-tops instead of sending it away as raw material.

Tlie DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Newlands) . - I understand that several honorable senators have an engagement this evening which they desire to attend, and, this being a convenient opportunity to suspend the sitting, I shall resume the chair at 8 o'clock.

Sitting suspended from 6.15 to 8 p.m.


Senator FOLL - I trust that the day is not far distant when not only wooltops but also yarn and cloth will be manufactured to a large extent in Australia. I believe in protecting from the competition of low-wage countries industries that are of value to the Cornwealth; but some of the industries that have been protected by tariff duties for a long while have failed to develop, and, therefore, do not deserve further consideration. As an illustration, I may mention the artificial flower-making industry. It may not be considered of very much importance; but many thousands of pounds are spent here annually in artificial flowers. "When the tariff schedule was before us some years ago, a firm in Sydney - known as the Flower Manufacturing Company- and several other companies in the Commonwealth were manufacturing artificial flowers. On behalf of these firms representations for a protective duty were doubtless made to the

Tariff Board, and, in consequence of its recommendation, the request was granted. Since that time, the Sydneyfirm has discontinued operations, and1 practically all the artificial flowers used in Australia at present are imported. The importers have been relieved of competition from locally-made flowers, but the duties are still enforced and the consumer has to suffer for it. It seems to me that, in the interests of the general public, that duty should be discontinued ; but unless representations are made by honorable members of this Parliament nothing is done in that direction. That single example indicates what I mean when I say that certain duties are retained which are not protecting industries; but are really only yielding revenue.


Senator Payne - They are anomalies. .


Senator FOLL - That is so. Occasions like this give honorable senators an opportunity of bringing them definitely under the notice of the Minister. The Tariff Board was appointed by Parliament for the specific purpose of investigating and reporting to the Minister what industries merited protection, and not to recommend the imposition of merely revenue-producing duties. I trust that, in committee, the Minister will give us some substantial reason for supporting the duty on whisky. At present I cannot see why it is necessary to retain it, seeing that locally-manufactured whisky is being sold at considerably less than imported whisky. I have an open mind on the matter, and if the Minister can justify the duty I shall vote in favour of it; but not otherwise. The decision in matters of this kind may safely be left to the natural intelligence of honorable senators, who may, of course, be influenced by the persuasive eloquence of the Minister. I sincerely hope that the imposition of the duties in 'this schedule will, as the Minister suggested, lead to the development of our industries and the progress of Australia.







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