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Thursday, 26 July 1906

Mr HUTCHISON (Hindmarsh) . - I am very glad that the honorable member for Dalleyhas been half converted to the principles which are held by the protectionists in this House. I intend to propose, by way of amendment to his amendment, the addition of the words, "in a Commonwealth Government dockyard." I desire to see the vessels which will be required to carry out the proposed contract constructed in a Government dockyard, for the reasons which prompted a Royal Commission in "Victoria to recommend the construction of railway locomotives in the Government workshops.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - But if we have not the power to construct a dockyard, what then ?

Mr HUTCHISON - If the members of the Opposition wouldonly assist the Labour Party, we should be able to get the power to establish a Government dockyardimmediately. I believe in consistency. Of course, there is not much consistency in the amendment which has been submitted by the honorable member for Dalley. We know that it was moved for a certain purpose -Mr. Wilks. - For what purpose?

Mr HUTCHISON - I do not care what the honorable member's purpose was, so long as the objective of his proposal is a good one. The honorable member for Corangamite has said that the steamers should be built in Australia if the work could be undertaken at a reasonable price.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Where does the honorable member propose to insert hisamendment ?

Mr HUTCHISON - I propose to add, after the word "Australia," the words " in a Commonwealth dockyard."

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have a prior amendment.

Mr HUTCHISON - Then the honor able member's proposal will be dealt with before my own. I agree with. the honorable member for Corangamite that if the construction of these vessels is to be undertaken in Australia, the work should be done at a reasonable price. In connexion with the construction of railway engines, our experience leads us to believe that if we trust to private enterprise to build the vessels, we shall have to pay through the nose for them. I extract from the report of the Royal Commission which investigated the cost of making railway locomotives at the Phoenix Foundry, Ballarat. and at the Newport workshops, the following statement : -

Taking as a basis the actual cost of the "AA" class engines, which had been completed about this time by the Phoenix Foundry Company, and which ran out at about £80 perton, Mr. Woodroffe estimated the cost of the thirty-nine "DD" class locomotives, if made by the Phoenix Foundry, at £191,138, which,as will appear, was almost exactly the amount at which the company tendered, two months afterwards, namely, £190,437. He concluded his report by remarking that " £80 per ton I think altogether too high. I should beglad to send in a tender for these to be made at the Newport workshops."

If honorable members will take the trouble to peruse that report, they will find that twenty locomotives were manufactured at the Newport workshops, at an average costof £3,945; as against the sum of £5,020 which was asked by the Phoenix Foundry Company, and£5,036 by the Austral Otis Engineering Company. If, under this amendment, we. are to pay for our steam-ships at the same rate as we have to pay for our locomotives when constructed by private firms, they will cost us far more than they would if they were

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I notice that the honorable member has not referred to the Fitzroy dock.

Mr HUTCHISON - I trust that we shall have a Government dockyard, conducted, not as the Fitzroy dock has been carried on,-


Mr HUTCHISON - Not as the Lands Department of New South Wales: has been administered-

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Which is a Government Department.

Mr HUTCHISON - And not as many other Government Departments have been conducted, but that it will be carried on upon lines similar to those on which the Newport workshops are conducted.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - In the way that Government institutions are conducted in South Australia?

Mr HUTCHISON - Exactly.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There is nothing like self-righteousrieos.

Mr HUTCHISON -The honorable member's interjection reminds me that in South Australia also private enterprise has done that which ought not to have been done. Some time ago it was decided by the Government of that State that a number of locomotive boilers should be constructed. Martin and Company, of Gawler, sent in a tender, but the Government -which. I am happy tosay, is not in power to-day - would not receive it. After the tenders had been opened, that comnany was allowed to amend its offer, and it secured the contract at a sum £8,000 in excess of that at which the Chief Mechanical Engineer 'of South Australia was prepared to carry out the work.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That was Government enterprise.

Mr HUTCHISON - The Government workshops did not secure the tender.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - But the Government of South Australia decided to accept the tender of Martin and Company.

Mr HUTCHISON - Their action in allowing that firm to amend its offer after

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member knows that he wishes to destroy the honorable member for Dalley's proposal. That is his only object.

Mr HUTCHISON - I. challenge the honorable member to show that my proposal is not wholly in accordance with the principles I have advocated here and elsewhere.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Quite so ; andit is because they are impracticable that the honorable member makes this proposal.

Mr HUTCHISON - What is the motive of the honorable member for Dalley in moving this amendment ? Has he moved it because he believes in it ?

Mr Wilks - Yes. .

Mr HUTCHISON - Is it in accordance with the honorable member's doctrine as a free-trader? Is it not the honorable member's doctrine that if engines, ships, or anything else, can be built cheaper in Japan than in Australia, they should be built there ? I am glad that, like his leader, the honorable member is running away from his principles.

Mr Wilks - It would not cost the country anything if my proposal were embodied in the contract.

Mr HUTCHISON - Nor would my proposal cost the country anything.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I hope that the honorable member for Dalley will run away from the definition of his principles given by the honorable member for Hindmarsh.

Mr HUTCHISON - The honorable member does not like it.

Mr Wilks - The honorable member could not get a pig in a fix, let alone anyone in this House.

Mr HUTCHISON - I have not sought to place any one in a fix. The honorable member for Dalley, unless he has decided to follow his leader - the right honorable member for East Sydney - who has also abandoned his free-trade principles--

Mr Ronald - If he ever held any.

Mr HUTCHISON - The right honorable member for East Sydney is abandoning his free-trade principles if, as the honorable member for Southern Melbourne remarks, he ever held them. If the honorable member for Dalley is anxious to throw in his lot with the protectionists, I shall give him a hearty welcome. So far, however, he has gone only half way ; I wish him to go on.

Mr Wilks - As a member of the Labour Party, the honorable member has never had any views on the fiscal question.

Mr HUTCHISON - I have always entertained a strong view with .regard to the fiscal question. Although my party chooses to sink the fiscal issue, it does not call upon me to do so.

Mr Wilks - The honorable member has to sink it.

Mr HUTCHISON - Our party has much more freedom than honorable members of the Opposition appear to have. Whenever their leader cracks the whip, they have to do exactly what he desires. On the other hand, the members of the Labour Party are not asked to do anything of the kind. Notwithstanding all that the Opposition have said about the "caucus," when the division on the honorable member for Barrier's amendment took place last night we found a section of the Labour Party on one side and another section on the other side of the House.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That was because a general election is pending.

Mr HUTCHISON - No; it was because the members of our party are not dominated by the caucus as the honorable member would have us believe. We have a freedom which the Opposition do not enjoy.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - During the last six months the honorable member's leader has been running away from Socialism as fast as he can.

Mr HUTCHISON - We were divided last night because we have a freedom which the Opposition- do not enjoy. . The honorable -.member for Dalley would not have been allowed to move his amendment, but that it was thought that it would place the Labour Party in an awkward position. I am sure, however, that if it be amended as I propose, the Labour Party will be delighted to support it.

Mr Wilks - Will the honorable member give us a guarantee that his party will, support it if it be amended as he proposes ?

Mr HUTCHISON - I cannot say how many members of my party would support it ; we are not bound by the caucus. My proposal has not been discussed by the caucus. I am free to vote as I please on any question which is not a plank in our platform. I am free to vote for or against the whole contract, and I claim that not only the honorable member for Dalley, but all those who think with him should agree to the addition which' I propose to make to the amendment, since it would! result in a great saving, and do much to further the interests of the community. I move) -

That the amendment be amended by adding the words " in a Commonwealth Government dockyard."

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