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Wednesday, 16 October 1901
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Mr A MCLEAN () - I shall not endeavour to follow my honorable friend who has preceded me through the long and intricate maze of his discourse, which lasted something like four hours. I listened to him very carefully from beginning to end, and I also listened to the leader of the 'Opposition, who preceded him with a three hours' speech, and for the life of me I cannot find any tangible argument that I am called upon to answer. It is quite true that the honorable member for Macquarie has quoted a mass of -statistics, but they were quoted in such a way that I venture to say he did not find them in any book, but must have worked them out for his own purposes. I do not mean to -say that the statistics quoted are not correct, but they are not correctly applied. 'Has my honorable friend ever heard of commerce and manufacture and all that kind of thing being measured by the square mile? I have read a great many statistics, but this is the first occasion upon which I ever heard of statistics of that kind being compared by the square mile. When we come to deal with the -States where the area has almost every tiling te do with the number of population which the State is capable of supporting, the squaremile argument is conveniently dropped, although it is used in regard to such items as commerce, manufactures, and others, which have not the slightest reference or relevance to the area of the country in which they are carried on.

Mr Conroy () - What other test can be applied ?

Mr A McLEAN () - The plain and honest test of the rate of progress made by each nation as it stands, without that test being clouded with this issue of square miles. I shall endeavour to show the honorable member for Macquarie that there are honest and reliable statistics which give a true indication of the progress made by the various nations which we have heard quoted, from the time that England adopted the policy of free-trade down to the present. Concerning the Tariff, I think it right to say that it is not my intention to deal at this stage with its details. I think that the proper place for details to be dealt with is in committee. When we get into committee, my desire will be to so adjust the burdens of the people, that taxation will fall lightest upon those who receive the least benefit from the nature of the Tariff. Those who receive the greater part of "the benefit should pay the greater part of the taxes, so far as that object can be accomplished, having due regard to the admitted difficulty of the question, and to the necessities of the revenue of the Commonwealth. But the whole of the present discussion, as I understand it, is centred round the one question of whether this Tariff should be framed on an absolutely free-trade basis with revenue duties, or whether it should be a Tariff of revenue duties and as far as possible protective in its incidence. If I understood the honorable member for Macquarie, he endeavoured to show that the Prime Minister has not kept faith with the people of the Commonwealth and that he has not brought down such -a Tariff as he promised when upon the hustings. I carefully followed the speech of the Prime Minister at Maitland, and also his subsequent deliveries, and I must confess that I was never for one moment misled as to the nature of the Tariff which he intended to submit. The proof that honorable members opposite were not misled, is supplied by the fact that the moment the House met they took their seats upon the opposition benches. The protectionists of the House ranged themselves upon the side of the Government and the free-traders upon the other side, thus clearly showing that the latter were not misled, ls it fair then to tell honorable members at this late stage that the Government have not kept faith with the people, and that they led the Commonwealth to believe that they intended to bringdown a freetrade Tariff,, whereas' they have brought down a Tariff which is protective in its incidence? I say that it is not fail1. The newspapers throughout the length -and breadth of the Commonwealth indicated the nature of the Tariff which was to be introduced. I think that as nearly as possible the Tariff .follows upon the lines of the speeches delivered by the Prime Minister, of the interpretation which was placed upon those speeches by the various candidates who offered themselves for election, and by the public press 'throughout the length and breadth of the Commonwealth. I venture to say that if the Government had brought down a Tariff at variance with promises made at the hustings "the protectionists on this side would not follow them another hour. I feel perfectly sure of that, and the fact that we have not heard of the least defection from the Government following, since the Tariff was introduced, is the best proof we can possibly have that the Tariff follows the lines of the announcement that was made to the people of the Commonwealth by the head of the Government.

Mr Conroy () - Is the honorable member satisfied with it ?

Mr A McLEAN () - I do not think any person -would be absolutely satisfied with any Tariff as first submitted, because the matter is surrounded with -so many difficulties that it .is only by the most carefnl application of 'the energies of the members of the House to the Tariff, as proposed by the Government, that we can hope to produce any thing like a perfect Tariff. It would be unreasonable to expect that it should be perfect in all its incidence when first submitted. But I am satisfied of this :

That the Government have kept faith with the people of the Commonwealth in the general nature of the Tariff they have submitted for our consideration. That is enough for my purpose at present. We heard a great deal last night, and a great deal to-day, about the respective merits of free-trade and protection. We have heard a great deal of spurious sympathy evinced for the people of Victoria in their wretched condition, and in the miserable state to 'which protection has reduced them. Before I sit down, I shall show honorable members who used these arguments that, if they have any sympathy to spare, they will find better material to lavish it upon in their own State than they will find in the State of Victoria. I shall prove that by their own trusted statist, Mr. Coghlan. I shall prove the same thing by comparing Great Britain under a freetrade Tariff with the leading protectionist nations of the world.

Mr Malley () - Hear, hear. Four millions of paupers.

Mr Conroy () - I thought the honorable member said that commerce had nothing to do with this question.

Mr A McLEAN () - I said it had nothing to do with square miles of territory, but it has everything to do with the arguments, if the figures are submitted in a form in which we can compare them in a fair and rational manner. I have said we ought not to measure commerce by square miles of territory. To do that is to do what is simply absurd. We ought not to measure manufactures by square miles of territory. With a few exceptions, the whole of the manufactures of Victoria are congregated within a few miles of the Melbourne Postoffice.

Mr Conroy () - Hear, hear ; at the port.

Mr A McLEAN () - Would it be fair to measure the whole of the output by the number of square miles which they occupy ? It would be most unfair, and 1 shall not attempt to mislead honorable members by submitting any such figures for their consideration. I desire in the first place to give some little attention to the position of Great Britain under a free-trade policy. I shall endeavour to show that free-trade has been tried in Great Britain under the most favorable conditions that have existed in any part of the habitable globe, and that even, with all the advantages which England undoubtedly possessed for giving that policy the fairest possible trial, it has not enabled the nation to keep pace with the great protectionist nations of the earth. I shall not refer to the speeches or writings of any irresponsible persons or of any commissioner. I shall take the trusted statist of the nation. I shall not quote from any statist except Britain's own statist - Mulhall. I think we all trust him, and admit that his figures are as accurate as it is possible to make them, that he has spared no pains in their compilation, and that he does not compare the condition of England with the condition of other countries for the purpose of elaborating either the policy of free-trade or that of protection. He merely records facts as he finds them, after the most diligent and searching investigation. To take the position of England before she adopted her free-trade policy - I may say that I have not been able to find the statistics up to the very year in which she made the change. The latest year up to which I can get reliable statistics in the various branches of trade and production is 1840. That is sufficiently near for my purpose. Prior to 1840 we know that England had something like an unbroken record of three centuries of protection. What was the condition of England then as compared with the condition of the rest of the world at that period? Honorable members prove nothing when they say that England is more prosperous to-day than she was when she adopted free-trade. We all admit that. It would be unreasonable to expect that whilst the whole world was progressing rapidly, England alone should stand still like Joshua's sun and make no progress whatever. That would not be reasonable. We know that England has made progress. But what I do assert, and what I shall prove is that England did not progress at the same rate as have the great protectionist nations of the world since that period. In the year 1840 England had all the raw material that was necessary to carry on manufactures under the most favorable conditions possible at that time. For instance, take her supplies of coal and iron, which are the main factors in manufactures. In 1840 England had an output of 1,390,000 tons of iron; whilst France, Germany, and the United States, together, had an output of only 810,000 tons. So that England's output of iron was more than 50 per cent, greater than the total output of the other three great nations. Then we come to her coal supply, and we find that from 1821 to 1840- that is the period selected by Mulhall and not by me, and it is the latest date up to which I can get an account of her output for a number of years prior to her adoption of free-trade - from 1821 to 1840 the output of coal in Great Britain was 390,000,000 tons, whilst the output of coal for the other three nations, France, Germany, and the United States was only 102,000,000 tons, or very little more than one-fourth of the output of Great Britain alone. Then, in addition to that, Great Britain possessed this very great advantage over the other nations of the earth : She had the command of the greatest portion of the shipping of the world. She had a practical monopoly ofthe carrying trade of the other nations of the earth. So that she had not only the raw material at her own doors for manufactures, but she had also the shipping to carry those manufactures to other parts of the world, and to bring back their products at the least possible cost. At that time, in addition to those great advantages over other nations, she had completely outstripped them in the output of manufactures. In 1840, her manufactures were valued at £387,000,000, and the only nation that approached within measurable distance of her was France, whose total output for that year was £123,000,000 less than that of Great Britain. Germany and the United States were hopelessly behind.

Mr Conroy () - There was no Germany at that time.

Mr A McLEAN () - Mulhall takes the various States that make up the present German Empire. His comparisons are absolutely fair. The total manufacturing output ofthe United States in 1840 was valued at £96,000,000, or about one-fourth of the value of that of Great Britain. Great Britain adopted free-trade for the express purposeof becomingthe great workshopof the world. That was the very laudable ambition of British statesmen, and I regret that it has not been realized, and that their dream has been doomed to disappointment. In 1896, Great Britain had increased her manufacturing output to a value of £876,000,000, which was about two and a quarter times as great as that of 1840. France in the same period made the least progress among the protectionist nations of the world, but she increased her manufacturing output two and a third times, which was a little more than the rate of increase in Great Britain, though her population had not increased at anything like the same rate. It must be remembered, too, that France gave her attention largely to agriculture, the greatest industry of the human race,whilst Great Britain completely neglected agriculture, and concentrated the whole of her energies in promoting her manufactures. Germany more than doubled the rate of increase of Great Britain, however, her production in 1896 being four and two-thirds as much as that of1840, while the production of the United States in 1896 was twenty and three-fourths as much as their production in 1840.

Mr Cameron () - But the honorable member omits to tells us how greatly the population of the United States increased by immigration during that period.

Mr A McLEAN () - What caused her population to increase ? It was the great attractions which she offered to population.

Mr Joseph Cook () - Hear, hear. Her virgin country and resources !

Mr A McLEAN () - The United States made nine times as much progress in manufacturing as was made by Great Britain in the period to which I have referred, although for the greater part of that period they had been the most highly protected country under the sun.

Mr.V. L. Solomon. -The honorable member would not expect a grown man to advance at the same rate as a boy.

Mr A McLEAN () - I hope the honorable member will bear that in mind when we compare Victoria with New South Wales. I have shown that the great nations of the earth - France, Germany, and the United States - all increased their production at a greater rate than did Great Britain during the period to which I referred, although Great Britain concentrated all her energies upon manufacturing.

Mr Deakin () - And Great Britain had no such wars as the Franco-German war or the American civil war.

Mr A McLEAN () - Yes. At the same time she completely neglected her great agricultural resources, although the other nations devoted their attention to that branch of industry even more than to manufacturing. In this connexion it may be well to say that production - that is, primary production and agriculture - has been admitted by all the leading peoples of the earth to be the greatest industry of the human race. It has done more for the advancement of the race, and added more to the wealth of the world, than any other industry. Production, covers the whole range of human industry, may fairly be classed under two heads; primary production and manufacture. To show the amount of attention that is given to agriculture throughout the world, I may say that, leaving out of account China, India, Japan, and the other Eastern nations, that industry employs 80,000,000 peasants, and its annual output is represented by a total value of £4,000,000,000. That industry, however, Great Britain has been neglecting ever since she adopted free-trade. Before pursuing comparisons any further, I should like to point out that the moment England adopted free-trade the rate of increase of her population diminished to an alarming extent.

Mr Henry Willis () - What was the condition of her people in 1840?

Mr A McLEAN () - From 1810 to 1840, in the three decades preceding the advent offree-trade, the population of England increased at the rate of 434 per 1,000, whilst from 1840 to 1870, in the next three decades, the increase fell to 169 per 1,000. Ireland in 1840 was a great agricultural country, with a population little short of 8,250,000, while to-day her population is considerably under 4,000,000.

Mr Henry Wills () - Because of the immigration to the United States.

Mr A McLEAN () - That has been the result of free-trade in Ireland.

Sir Edward Braddon () - But what about the North of Ireland?

Mr A McLEAN () - I have shown from Mulhall's statistics, without distorting them, or altering them in any instance, but producing themjust as he produces them, that England has been hopelessly outstripped by other nations in the rate of increase of manufacturing output. I shall now draw attention to her agricultural industry.

Mr Henry Willis () - Give us the cause of that.

Mr A McLEAN () - The principal cause, in my opinion, is that she has adopted a mistaken fiscal policy.

Mr Henry Willis () - It is her technical education.

Mr A McLEAN () - I shall show the honorable member that the same cause operates in precisely the same way in his own State as compared with Victoria, which has been the subject of so much pity at the handsof honorable members on that side. In 1840 the United Kingdom had 22,000,000 acres under cultivation. According to the last statistics which I have read in the pages of Mulhall, it has fallen to 20,000,000 acres; but the figures. I have taken are for the year 1888. At that time her agriculture had fallen off from 22,000,000 acres to 21 , 000,000 acres. In France the area was increased from 55,000,000 acres to 61,000,000 acres during the same period. Germany increased hers by 14,000,000 acres in the same time, and the United States hers by 151,000,000acres. Yet we hear the progress of Great Britain compared with that of the United States. It is an insult to history, and to the intelligence of the people, to compare the progress of the two nations since Great Britain adopted the policy of free-trade. What is the reason why she could not keep up with other nations in the output of her manufactures or in her agricultural pursuits ? We can assume only one of two causes - either that she had adopted a mistaken policy, which had the effect of retarding production, or that her people were not so intelligent or so industrious as the people of protectionist nations. I refuse to believe the latter, because she proved, while working under the same policy as other nations; that she had completely outstripped them in the rate of progress. But we see that after her adoption of free-trade, stagnation commenced for the first time to set in, and that she fell hopelessly behind other nations in production.

Mr Conroy () - Does the honorable member really believe that?

Mr A McLEAN () - What does the honorable member mean?I am not taking an American statist, or a French statist, or a German statist - I am giving the English statist's figures for all the countries whose progress I have cited. I am perfectly sure that no intelligent person in England will deny their approximate accuracy.

Mr Conroy () - Not of the figures.

Mr A McLEAN () - Of course statistics cannot be absolutely accurate in every particular, but they are sufficiently accurate for our purpose.

Mr Henry Willis () - But they prove our case !

Mr A McLEAN () - If my honorable friend's case rests on the stagnation of production then I am quite willing to give him his case ; but I contend that it is by production, and by production alone, that nations are made great and prosperous. I contend that the nation which contents itself with trade - that is, with the distribution of wealth - without doing anything to increase or add to the mass of the wealth of the world, is a. mere parasite on the industry of the others, because it lives by reason of the black-mail which it can levy on products in course of transit between the producer and the consumer. Trade adds nothing to the wealth of the world, although it may enrich those merchants who are engaged in it. There is no doubt that in external trade England has outstripped all the other nations, and I regret to say that it has been anything but a profitable one, as I shall endeavour to show. The last speaker seemed to meto fall into a very serious error of judgment when he boasted of the total commerce of Great Britain being so much larger than that of other nations. He did not seem to notice that the figures he quoted had. reference to only the external commerce of the nation. Every economist whose opinion is worth having in these latter and more enlightened days admits that internal commerce is infinitely more profitable than external commerce.

Mr Conroy () - Then trade between two Presbyterians is better than trade between a Presbyterian and an Episcopalian ?

Mr A McLEAN () - I would be very sorry to contradict anything which my goodnatured friend asserts ; but he will see, if he gives the matter consideration, that trade should, and generally does, benefit both parties to the transaction. Internal trade has two parties to the transaction, therefore both are benefited. One-half of external trade belongs to the nation under review, and the other to some other nation. Therefore external trade is by no means as profitable as internal trade, and if you desire to get at the real condition of trade in any country, it is necessary to ascertain the amount of internal exchange between producer and consumer in that country.

Mr Barton () - Does it pay to "go halves" ?

Mr A McLEAN () - That is what my honorable friends opposite contend - that half aloaf is better than a whole loaf. I have heard it said that half a loaf is better than no bread; but it has been reserved for my free-trade friends to assert that half a loaf is better than a whole loaf.

Mr V L Solomon () - It depends upon whose hands it is in !

Mr A McLEAN () - If my honorable friends will endeavourto restrict their interjections to about three at a time, I shall endeavour to follow them.

Mr SPEAKER () - It is impossible for the speaker to proceed with his speech, and it is equally impossible forthe officialreporters to take down a report of the proceedings, unless interjections are restrained.

Mr A McLEAN () - This question of external trade is a very important one, and there is one thing which I have heard advocated by free-traders and free-trade journals that I hope there are not manyfreetraders in this House to subscribe to, and that is that the country which imports more than it exports is a gainer to the extent of the difference between the. imports and exports.

Mr Cameron () - Quite correct.

Mr A McLEAN () - Does my honorable friend agree with that ?

Mr Cameron () - I do certainly.

Mr A McLEAN () - Does the honorable gentleman apply that to his own private finances ?

Mr Cameron () - Yes.

Mr A McLEAN () - If my honorable friend earned £500 a year, and spent £600 a year, how long would it take him to make a fortune? Is it not a fair thing to say that a nation's exports represents a nation's sales, and that her imports represent her purchases ? Surely that will not be disputed.

Mr.F. E. McLean. - She pays for her imports with her exports.

Mr A McLEAN () - But the exports and imports do not balance each other in any one country in the world. There is always a balance either in favour of the exports or imports in every case, and the leader of the Opposition last night emphasized that point when he was quoting from some newspaper to show that every nation paid for its imports with its exports. That is only true to the extent of its exports. The country that imports more than it exports,has to adjust the balance by remitting gold to make up the difference.

Mr.F. E. McLean. - Which gold is included in her exports ?

Mr A McLEAN () - No ; it is nothingof the kind. If my honorable friend will read Mulhall or the statistician of his own State he will find that the gold is not included in the exports, and that is what makes the whole difference. My honorable friend will see that if the gold were included in the exports, then the imports and exports would in sill cases balance each other, because we all admit that, in these enlightened days, nations pay their debts.

Mr F E McLean () - Will the honorable member pardon me for reminding him that there may be a balance of indebtedness ?

Mr A McLEAN () - There may be, but a nation which increases its indebtedness is, if anything, in a worse position than the nation which sends away its gold to pay its debts promptly.

Mr F E McLean () - We cannot argue the question out on the basis of income and expenditure.

Mr A McLEAN () - It is nothing else. What is the nation made up of - it is an aggregation of individuals. If the majority of these individuals spend more than they earn in the year, they are losing money, and are on the downward grade, and if the aggregation of individuals who make up the nation do the same thing, and spend more than they earn in the year, that nation must also be on the downward grade. The nation which imports more than it exports, is the loser on her external trade to the extent of the difference between the two, because it must either send away gold that would represent the difference, or add to its previous indebtedness.

Mr Conroy () - What about the case of Great Britain. Surely she is the gainer.

Mr A McLEAN () - I am going to show how that argument affects Great Britain. Mulhall gives very significant figures on that head. From 1861 to 1886, that is 26 years, the exports of the whole world amounted to £29,419,000,000. The imports of the whole world for the same period amounted to £32,786,000,000 sterling. My honorable friend has therefore proof conclusive that gold is not counted either in the exports or imports.

Mr V L Solomon () - In the case of Western Australia, would not the honorable member reckon the export of £6,000,000 worth of gold per annum as amongst the exports ?

Mr A McLEAN () - Yes ; that is a legitimate output of the State. Gold in that case is an article of commerce, not, as in the case of these nations, simply coin interchanged to adjust the balance of their external trade. Whatever you take out of the earth is a product, and a nugget of gold is as much a product as a potato or anything else that is taken out of the soil.

Mr F E McLean () - Where is the difference if the gold is minted into coin ?

Mr A McLEAN () - Every nation has' only limited requirements in the way of coin, and it keeps just such coin as is necessary, but we are not speaking of the exchange of coin that is sent to adjust balances of indebtedness but of gold as an article of commerce. In these 26 years I have quoted the total imports of the world exceeded the exports by £3,367,000,000 sterling. Now how is that amount made up ? My honorable friends know that every article that figures as an import in one country must figure as an export in another country, and therefore the balance of imports over exports is represented by the cost of importing. I would advise my free-trade friends to lay this stubborn fact to heart when they speak about cheapening production and cheapening living by free-trade. How can they explain this difference of £3,367,000,000 between the value of the articles as exports and their value as imports ? The difference is made up of the middleman's profit, of the cost of freight and insurance, and the general expense of distribution. Now, of that enormous balance of imports over exports, what proportion does Great Britain represent? £2,111,000,000, or nearly double as much as all the rest of the world put together. Therefore, Great Britain lost on her external trade during these 26 years nearly double as much as all the other countries of the world put together. I may be asked how it is that Great Britain can, incur such a heavy loss on her external trade, and yet continue in a fairly prosperous condition? The reason is patent, but that reason would not apply to our case. In the case of Great Britain most of that money is paid into British pockets - that is to say, the commerce of the world is carried in British bottoms, and, therefore, the money expended in importing these goods from abroad is paid into the pockets of some British subjects. In addition to that, we know that Great Britain, for a very long time before she adopted free-trade, was a creditor of nations. Every year a very large amount o£ money was due to Great Britain in the shape of interest on her foreign loans, and she could afford to spend the money in importing goods without becoming materially impoverished. But let Australia or any other nation without these advantages try the same experiment. Let Australia import largely in excess of her exports, and we shall see where she will be landed in a very few years.

An Honorable Member. - We have seen.

Mr A McLEAN () - We have seen in "Victoria, and I am very glad the honorable member has reminded me of that incident. From the beginning of 1883 to the end of 1892, Victoria imported £62,000,000 worth of goods more than she exported. What was the result 1 We know that the most serious financial crisis occurred at the end of that time that the colony of Victoria has ever experienced. That was the time when the banks were closed, and other financial institutions came crumbling down. Many people say that the terrible depression of 1892 was caused by reckless speculation during the boom period. But a little reflection will show that there is not much in that contention. Whatever money was lost - and no doubt a good deal was lost by individuals - in those reckless transactions, the money was gained by some other persons, and was not destroyed in any shape or form. This may have displaced capital greatly, and shifted its location from one person to another, but that could not in itself make the country materially poorer than it was before. But the solid fact that we bought £62,000,000 worth more goods than we were able to sell during those ten years, would account, and does account for the terrible financial crisis which followed. If the contention of my honorable friend be correct, Victoria should have been £62,000,000 richer at the end of the ten years than she was at the commencement; but, unfortunately, we found from our bitter experience, that that was not the case.

Mr Cameron () - How much of that was borrowed money?

Mr A McLEAN () - A great deal was borrowed money, but that does not affect the question.

Mr Cameron () - Victoria did not borrow the goods, but she borrowed the money.

Mr A McLEAN () - We borrowed money, and brought it out in tho shape of goods ; 17z and not only that, but we lived extravagantly. People were making money, or thought they were, and spent it freely ; but they got commodities - the money was spent in imports,

Mr Cameron () - That was not trade.

Mr A McLEAN () - It was trade.

Mr Cameron () - No.

Mr A McLEAN () - Then I do not know what the honorable member calls trade. These were imports.

Mr Cameron () - Trade is not borrowing money or goods ; trade is the exchange of commodities.

Mr A McLEAN () - The exchange of goods is trade, and borrowing money is a transaction separate and apart. But the honorable member must know that when the States borrow money they do not get that money in the shape of coin, but in goods ; and Victoria did the same. During the 26 years that Great Britain lost £2,111,000,000 on her external trade, what was the condition of the trade of the "United States 1 In that same period the United States exported £141,000,000 worth more than was imported. According to my honorable friends, the United States should be that much poorer on the transaction ; but, unfortunately for that theory, the result shows that the United States is very much wealthier on account of the great excess of exports over imports. The honorable member for Macquarie, who, in quoting statistics regarding the incomes of the United Kingdom and the United States, measured them by the square mile, and so clouded the issue, may, perhaps, be interested to hear the figures as given by Mulhall. The total income of the United Kingdom in 1S96, according to Mulhall, was £1,421,000,000 sterling. The total income of the United States for the same year was £3,178,000,000; or about two and one-fourth times greater than that of Great Britain, although the. population of the United States, in round numbers, is only about 70 per cent, larger. It will therefore be seen, taking the total income of the two nations, that per inhabitant the income of the United States is infinitely lai-ger than that of the United Kindom. Revenue, I admit, is not much to be relied, on as an indication of wealth. Countries collect what is necessary for their requirements, and some countries may need a great deal more than others, without being I actually wealthier. But taking the figures. for what they are worth, we find that in 1889 the total revenue of the United Kingdom was £88,500,000 ; that of France for the same year, was £121,800,000 ; and of Germany, £154,700,000. Then we find that the gold reserve of England was £31,800,000; of France, £78,500,000 ; of Germany, £43,500,000; and of Russia, £122,200,000. It is fair to say, however, that I do not attach much importance to these latter statistics, for reasons that I have pointed out. We heard a great deal about the flourishing condition of the people of Great Britain as compared with that of people in protectionist countries. Mulhall gives a table showing the increase in the total expenditure of different countries from 1840 to 1888, a period of 48 years. The total expenditure of Great Britain per inhabitant during that period increased by 20 per cent. The expenditure per> inhabitant of France for the same period increased at the rate of 147 per cent., that of Germany by 260 per cent., and that of the United States by 230 per cent. Why does Great Britain lag so terribly in the rear of the protectionist nations in the increase in her rate of expenditure 1 When honorable members speak of the present position of Great Britain, and compare it with her condition under protection, they should, as I pointed out before, compare her rate of progress. No one denies that Great Britain has made substantial progress. Long may she Continue to progress ! I am sure that is the earnest wish of every true subject of the Empire. But when we are dealing with an important question such as this, affecting the future policy of the Commonwealth, it is necessary that we should pull the mask off and show the results of the different fiscal systems as they have affected the other nations of the earth, in order that we may judge which is the most likely to benefit the people of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Mr Glynn () - The cost of living in Paris is nearly double what it is in London.

Mr A McLEAN () - -But is the cost of living in France equal to the cost of living in England ?

Mr Glynn () - I can show the honorable member a French paper in which a comparison is made.

Mr A McLEAN () - I have compared all the nations of Europe in respect of the cost of living, and, speaking, from memory, I found that the cost of living in Great Britain was something like 50 per cent, greater than the cost in the other countries of Europe. Compare that with America. I will give my honorable and learned friend the figures.

Mr Thomson () - Is that the cost of, or the expenditure on, living ?

Mr A McLEAN () - The expenditure on living.

Sir Edward Braddon () - People can afford to spend more in Great Britain.