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Wednesday, 7 March 1928

Senator HOARE (South Australia) . - In discussing this measure, we should remember that we are Australians, and no one should endeavour to bolster up what is of particular concern to his own State. If it is a good thing to protect an industry in Tasmania, it is equally a good thing to protect it in all other parts of

Australia. We should keep that in mind and try to do our best for Australia. We have been taught to be protectionists almost since the advent of federation. When the Constitution was being framed, there was no question of Liberalism versus Labour; the fight was then waged on the relative merits of freetrade and protection, and protection won. So long as Australia is a nation, it will adhere to that policy.

Senator Kingsmillreferred to the fact that the surplus production of sugar in Australia is exported at a loss. I can recall the occasion, 25 or 30 years ago, when the surplus production of lambs was first exported from South Australia. If my memory serves me rightly, the price in South Australia was 7d. a lb., and that which was obtained on the London market either 3£d. or 4d. a lb. Sugar is. not singular in that respect; the surplus production of many other Australian commodities can be purchased abroad more cheaply than within Australia. Some years ago it was proved that harvesters manufactured by Hugh V. McKay were sold in the Argentine for £10 per machine less than the retail price in Australia.

Senator Chapmanthis afternoon made the assertion that if Australia is to hold her own we must ensure the efficiency of our workmen, and that the way in which an employer can bring that about is by sacking half of those whom he employs.

Senator Ogden - That is not what he said.

Senator HOARE - He said that an Adelaide employer had sacked 20 of his 40 men, and that those who were left became so efficient, that they did more work than had formerly been done by the 40. If that argument is sound, he would probably increase his output still further by additional dismissals.

Senator Kingsmillstressed the increase in the cost of production. We who sit on this side admit that the cost of production in Australia is far too high, but we say that that has, been brought about by the rise which has occurred- in the prices of commodities. If those who are responsible for the increasing cost of commodities will agree to revert to the prices that ruled in 1914, we shall be with them, because the worker would then obtain the purchasing power of the sovereign which existed in that year instead of the 12s. 6d. of to-day.

Senator CRAWFORD - He gets a greater number of sovereigns to-day.

Senator HOARE - That may be so. But surely the Minister does not believe that a family man on a wage is better off to-day than he was in 1914 1

A continually increasing tariff strikes me as somewhat paradoxical. On the one hand, we build a tariff wall. around Australia, and urge our people to purchase only Australian-made goods ; while, on the other we make a breach in that wall to allow the entry of goods that we must import in consequence of our borrowing abroad. That is not a logical position for us to occupy. Protection should not increase the cost of any article that is manufactured in Australia, no matter how high it may be.

Senator Ogden - It should not, but it does.

Senator HOARE - Not many weeks ago I met a friend in Bourke-street, Melbourne. When I informed him that I was out to do a little shopping he asked me whether I' wanted anything in the woollen line. I replied ".Yes." He said, " Come along with me." I accompanied him, and he introduced me to a friend of his, who said, " We serve only shareholders ; you are a shareholder ? " I said, " Of course I am." I then obtained the goods that I required. I purchased for 5s. 6d. a piece of material the retail price of which in Bourke-street was 12s. 6d. Why should there be such a difference between the price charged at the mill and that which the purchaser has to pay ? If the services of Patterson, Laing and Bruce, and other big warehousemen in Flinders-lane, were dispensed with, the retail price of the Australian-made article would be very much less than it is.

Senator Payne - What would the honorable senator do with the unemployed if he did away with the middlemen ?

Senator HOARE - Australian goods would be worn to a much greater extent, and thus the avenues of employment would be widened. Senator Guthrie said on one occasion in Melbourne that a mill in which he was interested made certain woollen vests for 12s. 6d., and that h« was shown some of those vests in Bourkestreet for which the price charged was from 60s. to 75s. That is an illustration of the manner in which the wearer of those goods is exploited by unscrupulous individuals. If we are to build up Australian industry we must be fair in our dealings. Those who will not voluntarily deal fairly should have compulsion applied to them by legislative act.

I recognize the impossibility of applying the principle of protection to the uttermost. If we wish other countries to accept our surplus production, we must be prepared to take theirs in exchange. America has become one of the mightiest nations of the world by following the policy of protection. Every country, Great Britain included, has some form of protection. I saw in the newspapers recently the announcement that England proposed to place a duty of 33 per cent, on foreign motor cars. Before the outbreak of the last war, Germany had almost captured the commerce of the world. In every portion of Australia one could purchase articles that had been made in that country. If it and the United States were able to become great nations under a system of protection, surely we can achieve a like result, despite the fact that we have such a small population.

I am a protectionist because I want to see Australia grow and become a great nation. We can only build_up our industries by protecting them against the products of countries which employ cheap labour. For many years we have been increasing the duties on imported articles; but we cannot forever continue to do so. On each occasion we were told that further increases would not be asked for, because the increased duties- then proposed would result in a decrease of imports. That has not been the case. So long as we continue to borrow money abroad we cannot shut out imported goods. The remedy for excessive imports is to cease borrowing abroad.

Senator Ogden - In that case there would be no local money left for investment.

Senator HOARE - During the war more than £300,000,000 was raised in Australia.

Senator Sir GEORGE Pearce - Does not the honorable senator think that the rate of interest is a factor in the cost of production?

Senator HOARE - Yes.

Senator Sir George Pearce - If we borrow only in Australia the rate of interest will be increased.

Senator HOARE - That may be so, but the money received by way of interest will circulate in Australia instead of being sent abroad.

Senator Sir George Pearce - By increasing the rate of interest, we increase the cost of production.

Senator HOARE - We found sufficient money in Australia to meet our requirements in war time, and we could probably do so again.

Senator Sir George Pearce - That is why the purchasing power of the sovereign to-day is only about 12s. 6d.

Senator HOARE - That state of affairs is not peculiar to Australia.

Senator Sir George Pearce - The honorable senator is suggesting that we should continue to borrow money.

Senator HOARE - The United States of America, from which country Great Britain borrowed large sums of money, is probably the most prosperous country in the world to-day.

Senator Sir George Pearce - That country was a lender, not a borrower

Senator HOARE - That was not always the case.

Senator Chapmansaid that in some directions the tariff should be lowered. The honorable senator probably referred to the duty on agricultural machinery. I remind him that if protection is a good policy in connexion with one thing, it should be a good policy in connexion Avith other things. Senator Duncan, in referring to the boot factories which had been closed in Victoria, said that during the period he mentioned the importations of boots were small. Seeing that in six months the value of the boots imported into Victoria Avas £276,298 it is evident either that the tariff was not high enough or that greater profits could be made from imported boots.

Senator Payne - The imported articles were types of boots and shoes not made in Australia.

Senator HOARE - If the tariff had been high enough, they would- have been kept out. I cannot agree with Senator Kingsmill that, a policy of protection causes isolation. The example of the United States of America is sufficient to show that that is not so. By adopting a policy of protection that country has gone ahead and, is to-day probably the most prosperouscountry in the world.

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