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Wednesday, 16 October 1901
Page: 6102

Mr HUGHES () - The honorable gentleman who has just sat down has furnished this House with an amount of information that may be regarded as useful or not, according to the point from which one views it. I should be loath to say that it was original, but certainly I never heard it before. The honorable member took exception to certain statistics that had been put forward by the right honorable gentleman who moved the motion.

Mr A McLean () - The honorable member for Macquarie's statistics.

Mr HUGHES () - It can at least be said that he seems to have gleaned his statistics impartially from all sources, but I should be very glad to learn the source from which the honorable member for Gippsland has gleaned his information.

Mr A McLean () - Mulhall and Coghlan.

Mr HUGHES () - Then the honorable member has, in his research, displayed an amount of discrimination which I cannot help calling wise, in view of the circumstances. It would have been better, however, to have either given up this wild attempt to prove by figures what no man breathing can prove either in that way or in any other way, than to have merely taken out items here and there and so constructed a theory as ingenious as it is useless. Before attempting to deal with the honorable member's figures I desire to say that the Government in bringing down this Tariff seem to have regarded it as a kind of last and final effort on the part of human greatness. According to the Treasurer, this Tariff has been framed without any resort to guesswork - it has been worked out line by line, and nothing has been left to chance. It would appear that there is a great deal in what the Treasurer has said', because what he could have left to chance, for an unhappy community that is to be taxed to the extent of £9,500,000, I do not know. The chance of bankruptcy certainly does appear to be not an unlikely one, but certainly there is no other chance. The Ministry seem to be intensely satisfied with this Tariff, and they have every right to be satisfied, not with the Tariff, but with the reception it has met with in the State of Victoria, and certainly with the reception it has met with hitherto at the hands of those docile and unexceptionable gentlemen who sit behind the Ministry. Until the honorable member for Gippsland broke the silence, which was rather extraordinary and almost sepulchral, there was not one of the supporters of the Ministry who would infringe that iron rule of discipline which seems to bind them all in some unholy pact. It has been said that the party to which I belong is bound by an ironclad pledge, but, at any rate, we are never bound to sit down in mute approval of things which we have had no hand or part in drawing up. Here is a thing - the Tariff- - which no man saw before it was brought forward by the Minister for Trade and Customs, and which not one honorable member sitting behind the Ministry is prepared to accept in globo - not even 'the honorable member for Gippsland, who in his youth was a free-trader, and who now is not. The honorable member has fallen away from grace, and apparently as one grows older it becomes harder and harder, because of the temptations that accrue, to stand strong in the faith, I would not say of our fathers, but which reason and intelligence dictate. Even the honorable member, however, says there are some items in the Tariff to which he will have to object. I should like to know of some items, apart from those which are of importance to people who may be interested in manufactures, to which any reasonable man cannot object. Let us have even one item. The right honorable gentleman in charge of the Bill says we must have £9,500,000 of revenue. Really it is a pity that we did not know that before, because in New South Wales we had a great struggle, as everybody knows, and one gentleman stated during the Federal campaign that the additional expense would merely involve such an amount as we should pay for an ordinary dog - something like 2s. 6d. per head. That was stated by the versatile friend of the Prime Minister, who -like Biela's comet, came flashing across our vision, who came from God knows where, and disappeared, after the elections, to the -same place. He said that the extra taxation would amount to 2s. 6d. per annum. He said, " Are you so wretched and downtrodden in this State, that you cannot afford to keep another dog ? " The Prime Minister said we could manage with a £5,000,000 Tariff, and even those gentlemen who knew something of figures - which no one would accuse the right honorable gentleman of - never ventured beyond £7,000,000. And the Treasurer, who safe in the citadel of protection, could tell something of the truth, while having due regard for his own personal safety, did not venture beyond £8,500,000 ; but now we are told that it is absolutely necessary that we should have a revenue of £9,500,000.

Mr Kingston () - The honorable member is wrong ; the amount is under £9,000,000.

Mr HUGHES () - Well, to the man who is knocked down and run over by a tram, it is small satisfaction to be told that he is not to be run over by a cab afterwards. At any rate we are told now that the revenue required is £9,000,000, and making the best of it, that is a great burden. The Ministry are supremely satisfied with the position. At this juncture there is none of that uncertainty as to their policy that has distinguished them on other occasions. There is no - to-day " we are in favour of this," and to-morrow " we are in favour of that to-day " we think there is a great deal in what the honorable gentleman says," and to-morrow "there is nothing at all." Now they stand firm and implacable. They do not tremble at any thunders of figures or eloquence brought against them. They are secure in the consciousness of having wrought a great work - and it is a great work - and in the fact that they have a solid majority behind them. There is a sweet consolation to be derived from a majority that none but a politician, or perhaps a general on a field of battle, can possibly know. These gentlemen know that no matter what happens, they have a majority. It does not matter what truths or awkward facts are put forward, although one honorable member has kicked over the traces. If last evening they could, by a lucky stroke, have finished the debate at one sweep of the hand, all would have been well. Why should they go to any trouble t It was not a question of wasting the time of the country, because if Fate had decreed that they should be one or two votes short, I have no doubt that every honorable member on the Government side, with a tongue to wag, would have been stimulated by gentle persuasion at the hands of the Ministry, and we should have had such a cataract of statistics as would have been overwhelming. But Fate lias otherwise decided ; and I only wish to say that, in my opinion, it is very unfortunate that the people of New South Wales did not understand this earlier. Had they understood it, I do not think they would have been prepared to make the sacrifice. The Protectionist Associa tion of New South Wales - and this is a matter worthy of honorable members' consideration - rigidly refused during the campaign to call itself a Protectionist Association. It issued a placard to all men to come in whether they were protectionists or free-traders. " Here," said the association, " is a happy place in which all men may meet in common - no free-trade and no protection ; all may come in - ' will you walk into my parlour said the spider to the fly.'" And New South Wales, with that impetuosity which distinguishes her more than her sense, walked in. These gentlemen have brought down a Tariff, and I have not yet heard any defence of it. I have not yet heard even an explanation, but I heard something of the Tariff, lt is stated that this is a Tariff for protective purposes. Undeniably it is a Tariff for protective purposes. Undeniably the Minister avers that ; yet during the recent election, as well as during the referendum campaign, at least two or three of the Ministers declared that there could be no protection, and that there could be no free-trade. The Minister for Home Affairs, when he went round the country wooing the very coy elector, what did he say? He had not the spirit of prophesy, but he had ai inspiration, and a very useful one it was. He spoke of duties of from 1 0 per cent, to 1 per cent. Of course, his electorate is a very large one, which runs right down to the border, and goes a long way back, and in it there are both free-traders and protectionists - there are men who know not Jacob, and men who do - and as will be understood, -the Tariff, as placed before the electors by the Minister for Home Affairs, varied from a light and airy 10 percent, to a solid, substantial, and business-like 15 per cent., though he never ventured beyond the latter. Now, however, the honorable gentleman sits in company with the Ministry, with beams of modest satisfaction on his face, having taken part in imposing a Tariff which, in some cases, runs up to 35 per cent, and 40 per cent. I should like to know what explanation the honorable gentleman proposes to offer for such conduct as that, because an explanation is very necessary. We come now to consider a few of the statements that have been put forward in reference to this Tariff and the prosperity of protectionist countries. First, 1 should like to ask the Treasurer or the Minister for Trade and Customs whether lie really thinks this is the only

Tariff that will bring in the necessary revenue. If that be so, I do not hesitate to say that it is time an agitation was set on foot to amend the Constitution in regard to the financial, sections, so that a smaller Tariff may bring in what we require. But I deny altogether that this is the only possible Tariff. I do not think that the right honorable gentlemen who are mainly responsible, will say for a moment that this is the only possible Tariff, or that a Tariff lighter in its incidence, and equally revenue producing, would not effect the purpose in a better manner. I understand that this is not a Tariff in which guess-work, Or even intuition, has had any part, but that it is the result of laborious effort - that experts, starting from different stand-points, have arrived approximately at the same goal, proving conclusively that the Government are right. But where did the experts start from and where were they trying to go 1 It appears to me that, whatever place they may have started from, they were securely fastened by an iron ring and chain to their legs, and could not get any further than a very little way, at any rate, from the Victorian Tariff. They were told they could wander about, round and round like a bull in a paddock securely tethered by the nose, amusing themselves with the idea that they were free. They were, however, always pulled up when they endeavoured to strike out upon some new and acceptable path by the fact that nothing must be done to disturb the Victorian manufacturers. Now it appears that the right honorable gentlemen do not altogether agree that this is a Victorian Tariff. Everybody knows that it would never do to come down here with the Victorian Tariff, plain and simple, and lay it on the table of the House. The Government are supported by gentlemen, many of whom do not represent Victoria at all, and, therefore, some regard must be paid to their little feelings ; and besides more revenue was wanted. But I ask any fairminded man whether, on looking at the Tariff, he will not say it is based on the Tariff of Victoria? How can any man say so, and tell the people of New South Wales that they have not to make sacrifices ? The people of New South Wales make all the sacrifices. Why was the Tariff framed with more regard to Victoria's position than to the position of New South Wales ? Do honorable members not recognise that the industries under free-trade in New South Wales will be utterly ruined by the Tariff'1! Do honorable members not. realize that there has been developed a condition of things in New South Wales which enables the manufacturers there to buy their raw material, without let or hindrance or duty ? Yet it is proposed to impose such a Tariff as will crush those industries or place them at a disadvantage as compared with the industries which have developed under different conditions in Victoria. It is said that this is the best Tariff that can be framed. But have we not a right to consider these things de novo 1 The honorable member for Gippsland has tried to belittle the industries of New South Wales by saying that they consist of fellmongery, smelting, and wool-washing ; just as if a man who works in a smelting mill or at washing wool is not equal to a man who works at making hats or boots. Is he not a human being ? "If you prick us do we not bleed ?" Are they not entitled to some consideration? It would appear as though there were a halo round a certain number of industries which no person must touch, because, in some mysterious way, the mere fact of there being a hat or boot factory in. a country is at once a criterion and a cause of prosperity. . We shall see in a moment how this prosperous and happy paradise has existed during the past few years.

Mr Macdonald () -paterson. - New South Wales and Victoria - parochialism and provincialism !

Mr HUGHES () - This Tariff is, of course, an acceptable one to Victorian manufacturers. I have not heard any one else express approval of it. The Home Secretary, who was absolutely the most fervid man on the question of the Tariff in New South Wales during the election, has not ventured to say a word about it. Oftentimes he was ready enough to give the press of Australia the benefit of his wide experience on all matters, but now he is absolutely quiet. He has not even endeavoured to explain why it was that he was wrong when he said he was in favour of a 10 per cent. Tariff. If an explanation could be afforded to this unfortunate country of how it was that the honorable gentleman came to be wrong in such a way and at such a time, I am sure great satisfaction would be given to those people who have to pay so much through his mistake. Had the Home

Secretary said at the time of the election that the Tariff was going to be one of duties of 35 or 40 per cent., and never less than 15 per cent. I am thoroughly persuaded that he would have had a great deal of difficulty to get in. When I remember that even with this graduated Tariff of his - only working between 10 and 15 per cent. - he had a most miraculous escape from defeat, I shudder to think what would have happened to him if he had ventured towards the free-trade end of his electorate with another 5 per cent. Now, the people of New South Wales are subject to the effects of this Tariff, and obviously - we do not hear any one deny it - will cause commodities in that State to increase in price. I do not think any one can deny that. We have heard it said formerly that the foreigner pays the duty. We have heard it argued that protection reduces the price of commodities. It will, perhaps, be interesting if either the Treasurer or the Minister for Trade and Customs will explain how it is that if the foreigner pays the duty and protection reduces prices, the Government are going to get the revenue that they expect through the Custom-house. Obviously, however, it is only a joke about the foreigner paying the duty, to be used on the hustings. The foreigner is not such an idiot. According to some statements that have been made during this debate, we ought to follow the example of the foreigner. The foreigner everywhere is the person to whom we should look. He has the approval of protectionists. They point to the foreigner's country as an example. . The foreigner is an exceedingly smart person. Is it likely, under these circumstances, that he would pay the duty. Why should he ? There is no earthly reason why he should. There is every reason why he should not. And the facts are, of course, that he does not. Now, in New South Wales the price of commodities will rise. Who is going to pay the increase ? How are the people who do not benefit from this Tariff - and I shall inquire in a moment who will benefit from it - going to pay these increases ? Very likely the right honorable the Minister for Trade and Customs will tell us. Possibly we shall be told that they will share in the general prosperity. There are some shibboleths which have been in general use for many years amongst protectionists in Australia and in all protectionist countries. One is that a protectionist Tariff wil result in increased wages and decreased prices, and that while all men cannot be employed in manufactures they will all share in the general prosperity. I do not even try to offer honorable members an illustration ; but if it were possible to imagine that we here, in this Chamber, were the whole of Australia, and were agreed that ten of us were to be regarded as specially favoured, and we were to pay those ten half-a-crown each for their own benefit, I ask how in the name of Heaven those who paid the half-crown would share in the general prosperity ? Perhaps some of those gentlemen might ask us to "come upstairs and have a drink;" or perhaps if we had an office they would give us an order, or if we had a store they might buy something. But, after all, they would buy something out of the money we gave them, and there would be no such thing as sharing in the general prosperity. How are these unfortunate men who live in the district represented by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports - the wharf labourers - going to share in ' the general prosperity ? What general prosperity can they share in ? If we cut off the shipping, if we stop a vessel from coining here - and surely it is not alleged that we encourage shipping by such a Tariff - how will they share in the general prosperity ? My honorable friend the member for Gippsland says that the fact that a person is employed in ship-building makes him, so to speak, a burden on the whole country. The ship-building trade of America has fallen off to a minimum. They do not build ships there now. Their trade is carried largely in British or foreign bottoms. What is going to be done, then, if these poor people are going to pay a lot more, even in Victoria, for the necessaries of life ? The ideal of my honorable friend opposite is a free breakfast table - that those things that can be made in the country shall be taxed, and those things that cannot be so made shall come in free. Yet, with all the calmness and confidence in the world, he votes for a Tariff which taxes everything that any man can eat, or drink or wear. Is that a scientific protectionist Tariff? Is there any vestige of science or anything save class interest in it ? Is there any vestige of anything in it than playing into the hands of the Victorian manufacturer ? Not the Victorian worker, because there is no room for him under this Tariff. My honorable friend the member for

Mernda smiles. He may well smile. I am given to , understand that a. quotation was submitted to a Sydney firm, to-day showing that starch and oatmeal and cornflour had already had the added price caused by the increased' duties placed upon them. No wonder the honorable member can smile! Amusing?' If I could not do anything but smile under those circumstances, I would hang myself as high as Haman ! ' I should laugh outright !: Therefore, I forgive the honorable member forhis smile. How, I ask again, are these men who are not engaged in protected industries, to get any benefit from this Tariff? Is it proposed to raise their wages 1 In Victoria it has been necessary to bolster up this protective system by wages boards and by Factories and Shops Acts. In fact, Victoria has had to resort to those methods, which political economists and social reformers hold that every nation is compelled to resort to. In France and Germany, im England and New South Wales - everywherewe have had to resort to legislations which has had the effect of artificially restricting the power of the capitalist to do as he pleases. I am saying nothing against honorable members who represent Victoria, on that score. 1 know very well that they thoroughly agree with such legislation ; but I am pointing out that under no circumstances can anything be done under this Tariff for these unfortunate people who do not work in the protected industries. The Tariff increases their cost of living,, but does not provide them increased! wages. What do honorable members propose to do for them ? There cannot be wages: boards for every business, and in any case there is no power in this Billl to do anything of the sort. What is going to be done for the people of New South Wales ? Is it proposed in some way to provide them with employment or to increase their wages ? If so, are honorable members going to provide . the employers, with any means of increasing their wages ?: Obviously not ! The honorable member forGippsland has put forward a number of statements in regard to the comparativeprosperity of New South Wales and Victoria. Those comparisons, to a certain extent, I despair of being able to follow. On one or two points I shall be glad to dowhat I can. But first of all, I should like to say that if any honorable member can explain the principle upon which protection. rests and at the same time find any relation between it and the exclusion of coloured labour from this country, I should be glad to hear that explanation. An honorable member interjected this afternoon that freetraders supported the exclusion of coloured labour from Australia, and yet were in favour of allowing articles manufactured by coloured labour to come in. Such an interjection as that exposes at once a person's complete ignorance of the very basis upon which the interchange of commodities rests. It is very obvious that when I buy something I want to get as much as I can for my money. The idea at the basis of the free-trade and protectionist argument is simply this : That man, in his primitive state, applied himself to making everything he wanted, and supplying all his needs, He made his boots and hats ; he went out and caught his dinner, and he came home and cooked it. By-and-by a differentiation of trade arose, and one person perhaps made the weapons with which the other went out and caught the dinner. In these days we specialize industries still more. It is a fact that to-day every man buys as cheaply as he can, and puts his labour into the most productive channels. By that means he is able to get more for his labour than in any other way. To-day the cry in Victoria is that we want a protective Tariff against the outside world. A little while back, however, that was not the demand. The people of this State now want a Tariff to keep out the products of coloured labour. A little while ago they wanted to keep out the products of the people of New South Wales, their brothers, their long lost and very much valued brothers - especially at a juncture like this - their brothers who are going to foot the bill. There are very few brothers in real life who will do anything like that. When honorable members speak about keeping out the products of coloured labour, what do they mean by excluding the products of the United States of America, which, according to their own statements, are products made by higher-priced labour than our own ? Obviously this talk about excluding the products of coloured labour is only hustings clap-trap. Everybody who knows anything at all, knows that the person who is to be dreaded in this matter is the high-priced and not the low-priced labourer. The cheapest labourer is the higher priced, as every one knows. The shearer here gets £1 a 100 for shearing sheep, and he can compete with the shearer of the Argentine Republic or anywhere else - who does not get half as much - because he can. earn more in a day. Does not every one know that a bricklayer, either in New South Wales or Victoria, will do more in his day of eight hours than a bricklayer in England will do in his 91/2 hours per day? Do not honorable members realize that the stress is greater, and that when the stress is greater the rate is greater, and the productivity is increased? In a country where high-priced labour is in vogue, there must be the very latest machinery employed. In Victoria they have far from the latest machinery in use, and some honorable members are going to make the people in. this country pay because of that !

Mr Mauger () - In what line?

Mr HUGHES () - There is machinery employed in crushing quartz at Ballarat that does not crush one-fifth of the quantity that machines for a like purpose are doing in Western Australia or Johannesburg. The proof of the thing lies, of course, in the facts. In New South Wales we have the boot industry, established without protection, and the largest boot factories there do nob want it.

Mr Mauger () - I will tell the honorable member all about that directly.

Mr HUGHES () - The honorable member may say what he likes, but it will not alter the facts. Certain honorable members seem to have an idea, judging from what my honorable friend from Gippsland says, that the mere standing up and making statements will alter something. In New South Wales, under free-trade, the boot manufacturers have been able to develop the industry, and to pay decent wages without a wages board; and they do not want protection . I have a list here, which I may as well read now, showing how the Tariff bears upon the boot industry. Men's boots at 6s. per pair, invoice cost, work out at8s. 8d. with the ad valorem and specific duties. That is a Tariff equal to 441/2 per cent., and I find the Tariff on boots ranges from 441/2 per cent. to 663/4 per cent. I have here a direct statement, similar to that read last night by the right honorable the leader of the Opposition, setting forth that the boot manufacturers of New South Wales do not want protection, and that, as a matter of fact, what protection will do will be to stimulate the manufacture of shoddy articles. People will not have enough money ; their general expenditure will be reduced owing to the increased cost of commodities, and, therefore, they will not be able to buy as much as they did before. But people must have something to eat. Even under a protective Tariff there does not seem to be any way of doing without food. Therefore, the people will do without many other things, or else buy goods of less value. Something has been said about the effect of this Tariff on the iron industry. I should like to reecho the sentiments of the right honorable the leader of the Opposition, and say at once that if an industry wants assistance, the best way to encourage it is to offer a bonus to stimulate production. I should like to say, also, so far as taxing every user of iron in this country for the purpose of stimulating the manufacture of iron is concerned, that one decent-sized mill working here would be sufficient to supply the whole requirements of Australia. An honorable member spoke about the necessity for this Tariff, or one like it, to stimulate the production of coal. There is one mine in New South Wales, which, working ordinary shifts, is capable of supplying the whole of the factories of Australia. It is perfectly absurd to speak about the encouragement of industries in these circumstances. It is just as well to face the matter, and say that for the purpose of stimulating one industry - the iron industry - and giving employment to 500 or 600 people, honorable members are going to penalize the whole of the persons throughout the continent who use iron, which is a very absurd, useless, and expensive way of doing things. I say nothing aboutthe advantages of shipping, because some honorable members seem to regard it as an excellent thing when much shipping does not come here or go away from here. But if they realized that it is by trade and intercourse alone that we live - by exchange - they surely would not have this morbid objection to an interchange of commodities with other countries. Traders will not bring us goods here for nothing. We can pay them with our gold, or with our hats, or with what we will, but we must pay them somehow. Honorable members seem to have an idea that there is a magic way of doing this. The view entertained by some is that we should put our commodities upon a boat and get them out of Australia as soon as we can. They think that the more we get rid of, the better off we shall be Why not build another ark, and, plac ing all our wealth upon it, sail out into the Empyrean, and so by one stroke we may achieve a competence and place this country beyond the necessity of having a Tariff at all 1 These honorable members say that the more goods we send away the better it will be for us. If we send the whole lot away, obviously we shall be made men. What has been the effect of a protectionist policy in Victoria, in America, and, indeed, everywhere that it has been tried? The honorable member for Gippsland said, among other things, that there were more houses occupied in this country than in New South Wales. He forgot to mention that he quoted the statistics for the year 1891, when there was a boom on in Victoria, and when people were trying to get houses.

Mr A McLean () - They were taken from the latest work.

Mr HUGHES () - The honorable member omitted to say that after the boom there were so many empty houses that it was impossible to find a street in which all the dwellings were occupied.

Sir George Turner () - There are very few empty houses now in Melbourne or its suburbs.

Mr HUGHES () - Is it not a fact that houses used to be taken on wheels and carted from suburb to suburb, thus enjoying a kind of peripatetic existence? It is not a fact, however, that there are more waste lands in Victoria than there are in New South Wales. How the honorable member for Gippsland could make such a statement, knowing the circumstances, I cannot understand. Does he not realize that the whole of the western area in New South Wales is a waste, and a source of embarrassment and expense to the Government of that State ?

Mr A McLean () - It is all leased except 12 percent.

Mr HUGHES () - But it does not return anything like the cost of its upkeep. Does not the honorable member realize that that area constitutes more than a third of the total area of New South Wales ? Does he not understand that it has been droughtstricken during the past five years, and that in not one year have people had a decent season in the back country ? The Minister or Home Affairs knows that to be an absolute fact. He appointed the Western Lands Commission.

Mr Wilks () - Only last night the New South Wales Parliament passed special legislation to deal with that country.

Mr HUGHES () - What did that Western Lands Commission find ? That body has recommended that these lands should he leased almost for nothing, so that they may be kept from going absolutely to waste. Every man knows that the greater the area as compared with the population the more expensive is it to keep up that area. Therefore, instead of the area being an advantage, it is undoubtedly a disadvantage. If one State has to build railways for 500 or 600 miles, obviously, it is at a disadvantage as compared with another State which has only to build railways for 100 or 200 miles. The honorable member for Gippsland said nothing of the fact that Victoria enjoys a' regular rainfall, has an excellent soil, and the advantage of a market close at hand. I admit that this State has also had a pushing people, and that in spite of a number of disabilities they have done remarkably well. But what they have not done is to remain in this country, and after all, that is the great test. My honorable friend said that he would not deal with the last decade. Why not ? He took his figures from 1851 - from the period of the gold rush here - to the present time, hoping by that means not to stall off the inevitable because nothing can do that, but to lessen the result of of the inevitable. The honorable member said that the position of Victoria from 1851 to the present time pans out very well. Undoubtedly it does, period an unhealthy condition of things, such as boom times and the effect of the gold fever, &c, has been an important factor in producing that result. I would also point out that theyear 1851 was prior to the introduction of the policy of protection into Victoria Therefore my honorable friend was dealing with Victoria under a regime of free-trade. But during the last decade, what has protection done for Victoria ?

Mr Mauger () - It has saved us.

Mr HUGHES () - I will tell honorable members what it has done for New South Wales. We have never had a strikein that State but what it has been defeated, when it was defeated, by imported Victorian labour. I have in my handa most life-like and admirable view of the

Lucknow strike. It is containedin the Bulletin which is a protectionist organ. Even my honorable friends opposite will not deny that, and it is good to get hold of some fact that no man will deny. Here is a protectionist organ depicting the condition of things at Lucknow where men refused to submit to the intolerable indignity of being searched like felons. When they stood up for their rights; and when no men in New South Wales could be found base enough to take their places, the mine owners sent to Victoria. Here is a picture of a Victorian contingent, the basest and most ignoble contingent, taking the places of the Lucknow miners. There was another occasion on which the Victorians displayed their prosperity. There was a strike of shearers in Queensland a few years ago, and no men could be found in New South Wales contemptible enough to take their places. But from Victoria, men were brought over just as Japanese are brought under contract. They were yarded like bullocks, herded together as though they were maniacs or felons, and they worked for a smaller rate than shearers were accustomed to receive. These are facts, and no amount of argument will disprove them. How can the men of Victoria be prosperous ? Why should they leave Victoria ? Can we imagine Adam leaving Paradise ? Can we not picture the anguish with which he heard the gates of Paradise clang behind him, and saw those joys taken from him which he might never hope to gain again ? Would men leave a paradise in Victoria to go to a hell in New South Wales ? No, they go where they can get the most. Men have left here in such numbers, that even the Age has given up trying to account for it. I cannot conceive of any more lamentable or hopeless condition than that. They have gone from the place where the banks are overflowing with the deposits of the people, where the houses are palatial, where there are more dwellings than are to be found any where else, and where the land only carries four people to the square mile ! Does not the honorable memberfor Gippsland know that there are more than 300 to the square mile in Belgium ? Does he venture to call the population of Victoria dense? But, notwithstanding that the banks are overflowing, that money is falling but and waiting only to be picked up, men go away from Victoria. Idiots that they are ! They do not realize until it is too late what a place they are leaving. So they come back, do they ? Not one of them; they never come back. "We might say about Victoria what Dr. Johnson said about Scotland. When men were everlastingly prating about the glories of Scotland, he said, - "There is one view that strikes the Scotchman more than any other, and that is the broad high road to England." And so it is with these gentlemen, these men who speak of the great benefits and glories of' Victoria. They are everlastingly proceeding in an un. ending train to other countries. They volunteer for the war - any place is better than this. They go to Western Australia ; at least there is a chance of their earning an honest livelihood there. They go anywhere to get out. They even escape -from the gaols of this State to go to other places. My honorable friend, the member for Gippsland, said that in Great Britain under free-trade there are as many paupers as in any three other countries, and he mentioned, I think, France, Germany, and Russia. Will my honorable friend say that that is an indication of the relative prosperity of these countries ? Will he say that ? Will he say that, because there are as many paupers in England as in France, Germany, and Russia combined, it is a proof that the people of England are worse off than the people of those countries ?

Mr A McLean () - It is a proof that there is more destitution.

Mr HUGHES () - Is it a proof that they are worse off1?

Mr A McLean () - Those who are destitute are certainly worse off.

Mr HUGHES () - It obviously is not a proof of anything of the sort ; for let me say that, in England at any rate, they have the humanity to charge the maintenance of the poor to the State, while in Russia, Germany, and France, a man has freedom to die like a dog in the ditch. He has freedom ; the State never bothers him ; he may proceed along his course from the cradle to the grave, and, providing he does not commit a breach of the law - -and to die is not to commit a breach of the law in those countries - he can go along without interference.

Mr A McLean () - England only counts her poor on one day in the year ; and France reckons them throughout the whole of the year.

Mr HUGHES () - My honorable friend is pushed so hard for an illustration that no sooner do we corner him on one particular point than he retreats like a badger - I do not know whether a badger retreats, by the way, and I should be sorry to do the badger wrong - he retreats to Ms lair and takes up a fresh position. Let me tell the honorable member that in England and Wales, in 1801, under protection 12 per cent, of the total population were paupers. To-day, 2^- per cent, are paupers. That is the result of 100 years of progress in Great Britain. Let the honorable member compare the condition of things at any time in England with that existing in France, Germany, or Russia. The honorable member speaks of his experience, as if being perched on the top of the inaccessible heights of Gippsland were learning anything. A man might stop on the heights of the Matterhorn or of Kosciusko, or of Gippsland, for ever and learn nothing beyond the fact that to-day is wet, to-morrow is windy, and the next day is fine. But does the honorable member know that there are more Russians in the East End of London than in some of the large cities of Russia ? Does he not know that London teems with Germans, from the country where there are no paupers ; that London teems with French, and that Sohn is a den of Frenchmen1! Does he not realize that people go from all quarters of the world to this despised country where all the people are paupers? The honorable member speaks of the accumulation of wealth in England, and says that there is a greater gulf between the rich and the poor in that country than anywhere else; but does he not realize that that is absolutely untrue ? Does the honorable member not know that it is in America that the greatest differences between the rich and the poor are to be found ? I have here statistics which show the relative position with respect to wealth. I find that in Great Britain 152,000 families, or 2 per cent, of the population, own 66§ per cent, of all the wealth, and in the United States 24,000 families, that is 0-14 per cent., own 58^ per cent, of all the wealth. But why is it necessary to quote statistics or facts known te every man? Will any man deny that there is a greater gulf between rich and poor in America than there is in any other country, or ever has been in any other country, in the world since history ever was written ?

Sir William Lyne () - Nonsense ! The honorable member is talking rubbish.

Mr HUGHES () - The honorable member for Gippsland said that the exports and imports of a country are a mark of its prosperity, and that in Great Britain they imported more than they exported. I understood the honorable member to say that during the last 30 years they had imported more than they had exported by about £1,000,000,000.

Mr A McLean () - £2,111,000,000.

Mr HUGHES () - A million or two in such a colossal calculation is neither here nor there. Supposing they have done so, is that not indicative of their wealth ? Would not any honorable member say, if at the end of the year he had less in his pocket than he had at the beginning, that he was worse off, and if he had more would he not say he was better off? Why do people keep on pouring this wealth into England ? Why not pass a law to prevent them doing it? The honorable member furnished us with an answer. England levies tribute over the whole world. They pour this wealth in - why? Because England's interests extend everywhere where civilization is to be found. And she has established this position under a policy which my honorable friend said is symbolical, typical, and causative of ruin. Now, let us take the wages in these countries. My honorable friend was saying something about the rates of wages in different countries. I cannot find the statistics on the subject now, but I should like to say that the rate of wages of the miners in America is lower a great deal than the rate of wages of miners in England, and much lower than the rate of wages paid to the miners either in Victoria or New South Wales.

Sir William Lyne () - That is not so.

Mr HUGHES () - Who says so? Has the honorable gentleman been there lately ? Here is an honorable gentleman who has at length broken silence. I desire to ask the attention of honorable members particularly to this. When we asked the honorable gentleman for an explanation as to how it was that the 10 per cent. Tariff which he recommended was insufficient, he never said a word. When we asked him about something within his own knowledge and his own recollection, something which happened, not in America, Germany, or England, but in the Hume electorate, he said nothing. But when we do not ask him about something of which he knows absolutely nothing, he bursts out like an oracle with the interjection - " It is not true." I leave it to the judgment of honorable members whether a statement coming from such a source is worthy of my attention at all. When my honorable friend can explain how it was that he made his mistake about the 10 and 15 per cent., I will admit that he is better than Mulhall ; until then I am putting all I have on Mulhall. I say that the average rate of wages paid to the miner, according to the Northumberland representatives at the Berlin Conference of International miners, is 6s. 6d. a day, which is a tolerable wage. They do not work eight hours a day, as my honorable friend must know - because since he has taken upon himself to contradict one statement I assume that Mulhall is an open book to him. They do not work eight hours a day in Durham. They get a very decent wage, and they do not want to change. The rate of wages paid to artisans in England is not so high, monetarily speaking, as that paid in America ; but I think that on the whole the English artisan is as well off, and sometimes better off, than the American artisan. The stress is not so great in England. I do not deny that America offers vast opportunities. It would be strange indeed if such a country did not furnish admirable opportunities for pushing men; if it did not give an opportunity for the establishment of industries, and for the existence of decent conditions. But in spite of all its natural advantages, as a matter of solid fact, almost every strike that has taken place in the United States has inevitably failed. Why should men strike when they are well off ? The honorable member for Melbourne Ports knows something about working men's organizations, and so do I. Men never strike unless they want something.

Mr Mauger () - Does the honorable member know what they are striking for at the present time ?

Mr HUGHES () - Because they want something - better wages or better conditions.

Mr Mauger () - That is not it.

Mr HUGHES () - One would think that under the ideal conditions which are said to exist in America, men would not want to strike at all ; but we know that the most intolerable tyranny exists there, and that, owing to the action of trusts and other social forces the men have failed, in spite of their huge combinations, to gain the concessions they asked for. I want now to deal very briefly with the effect of the Tariff upon New South "Wales. I have been unable to discover from anything that I have heard that there is any assurance that industries will be established in New South Wales by the agency of this Tariff, or that there is any reason for regarding it as a permanent Tariff. In Victoria manufactories are already established ; but if manufacturers are to take advantage of this Tariff in New South Wales, they must invest their money there upon the chance of its being permanent. There is no more certainty, however, that this Tariff will be permanent than there was formerly that the State Tariffs would be permanent. Does anyone representing New South Wales, does even the Home Secretary, believe that the people of New South Wales will not make a strenuous effort to alter the Tariff at the next election? They will. Does any capitalist in New South Wales not realize that until it is seen whether the Tariff is to be permanent or not he cannot invest his. money. I think that no man would be so foolish as to invest his money on the mere off-chance of the Tariff continuing for two, three, or five years. The Ministry would have done well if it had annexed to the Tariff the condition that it should stand for the next ten years.

Mr Hume Cook () - Would honorable members opposite respect such a compact?

Mr HUGHES () - I have another condition - that before it is adopted it should be submitted to the people for acceptance. Ministerial supporters say that they have the people behind them. I say : Submit the Tariff to them by means of a plebiscite, and give them an opportunity to express their opinions. Let the farmer say how much he realizes the prospective benefits of the Tariff upon his industry. Let the people generally speak their opinions. If the Tariff is a good one, it should be permanent, and how can we insure permanency when we have no idea as to what the people think about it ? Give the farmer a chance. He is the backbone of the country. I do not know what the honorable member for Gippsland really thinks of the farmer; I can only suppose that he regards him as on the same level as the ship-builder and the smelter - a pariah and an outcast.

Mr A McLean () - I did not say so.

Mr HUGHES () - He is not a manufacturer ; the fact that he produces something isof no account, according to the doctrine of the honorable member. It is only the men who produce certain classes of things who count.

Mr A McLean () - I said that the farmers were not affected by the fiscal policy.

Mr Reid () - Then they do not benefit by it.

Mr HUGHES () - My honorable friend draws a distinction between a person who makes hats and a person who makes ships - one is a natural and the other an artificial industry. What, I ask, is the farmer ? Coming to the Tariff list, there is something about molasses which seems inseparable from a duty of 6s. per cwt. Then there is a duty on linseed oil cake. In New South Wales we had a factory which made cocoanut oil cake without the protection of a duty.

Sir William Lyne () - And it went bung.

Mr HUGHES () - My honorable friend does not occupy a very consistent position in respect to this Tariff, and I do not think we should regard anything he says upon it as worthy of consideration. He was in office in New South Wales for a period of eighteen months, and never touched the Tariff. He was so converted through association with! men sane and in their right minds, that, when he went before the people he had lost the old trick of saying things about protection, and could not get out anything more than 10 or 15 per cent. I believe that another temporary sojourn with the right class of men would effect a perfect cure, and that in three years he would come down to duties of 21/2 per cent., which may, for all effective purposes, be regarded as the correct thing. We have a duty of 20 per cent. upon tents. The honorable member for Gippsland said that in New South Wales 18,000 people lived in tents and wretched hovels. Where are they going to live 1 If a miner is a pioneer in this country is he to take round with him a great mansion from Toorak? All the work which is worth calling work in this country has been done by men who have lived in hovels. I was sorry to hear the honorable member cast a stigma on a class of men who have done the pioneering work.

Mr Mauger () - No, he did not.

Mr HUGHES () - Undoubtedly he said that 18,000 men in New South Wales lived in hovels, tents, and bark humpies.

Mr A McLean () - That is unfair.

Mr HUGHES () - Hansard is immutable, and is not affected even by the awkwardness of the situation.

Mr Reid () - All the wealth of Victoria came from men who worked in tents.

Mr HUGHES () - Here we have tanks taxed 3s. for every hundred gallons ; doors, bellows, casks, sashes and frames 20 per cent. ; axes and pick-handles 20 per cent. It is not necessary to go through the list. I am sure that if it were submitted to the farmers of this country they would accept it with tears of joy in their eyes as being the one chance of their lifetime. Submit it to the people ; give us in New South Wales, making the best of a bad job, an assurance that it is on for the next decade, and that we may at least invest our money with the knowledge that for ten years nothing can happen to it. Then whatever there is in the Tariff - I do not see anything in it of course - we shall be able to get the advantage of it ; but under present circumstances no capitalist in that State will dare to invest a penny. I have more pabulum here ; but I do not care to take up the time of honorable members. I have satisfied the purpose for which I rose, in pointing out that no effort has been made to justify the imposition of such a Tariff as this. The mere fact of our requiring a revenue, even such a revenue, is not by any means a sufficient argument why it should be raised in this particular fashion. There are honorable members on the other side who are thorough protectionists. I have here a leaflet by the honorable and learned member for Indi, who is a protectionist. He says a number of things, and as to farmers and protection, I would ask him if he were here whether he thinks that this Tariff will protect farmers, and if so in what way ? Will it protect the wheat grower, the butter producer, or the stock grower ? Will it protect any of these men ? Not one. We export all these things and we have to fight in the markets of the world for a price. Therefore, we can get no sort of protection for any of those things. The honorable and learned member says that a 15 per cent. Tariff, when various charges are added, comes to 26 per cent. He says that what a 15 per cent. Tariff means is that the retail purchaser pays 26 per cent. I understand why the honorable member for Melbourne Ports smiles ; for any one would smile in the circumstances in which he finds himself.

Mr Mauger () - What are those?

Mr HUGHES () - According to the honorable and learned member for Indi - 26 per cent. - I am not saying it is - is the retail charge on a 15 per cent. Tariff. I would like to know what it would be on a 40 per cent. Tariff. But 26 per cent. is sufficient for my purpose. You take from every earner of £2 a week in New South Wales from 2s. 6d. to 3s. a week. You are reducing his wagesby that amount. What are you going to do for him ? Do you propose to give him 3s. a week ? Do you propose to precipitate a strike in New South Wales ? The workers of that State are not going to live for less. Even if you do put on a Tariff they will have to get the money out of somebody, and they do not want wages boards to get it for them.

Mr Mauger () - They want an Arbitration Act, though.

Mr HUGHES () - We do want an Arbitration Act, because we do not care about strikes.

Mr Mauger () - What is the difference ?

Mr HUGHES () - It is a different thing. We do not say for a moment that we care to go out and stand out for six weeks, because we cannot stand out for that time. We say that a dispute is a bad thing. However, I am not going into that question now. What are you going to do for these people ? Nothing. You are quite satisfied, the Government are satisfied. I can understand the feeling of smug satisfaction which actuates the Government in these circumstances. They do not care forany criticism. They are secure behind the majority, and whatever may be said, matters little or nothing. When this debate is over they will proceed with their Tariff, and in committee something may happen, and something may not happen. But I am very sure that honorable members, docile and amiable as they are - I was going to say intelligent, but I cannot do that - will yet be found raising their voices indignantly enough at items in a Tariff which they are prepared to accept in globo. Indeed, under all circumstances their position, taking it all round, is a satisfactory one. But for us in New South Wales, and for those in theother States, too, there has been no reason advanced why such a Tariff as this should be put forward. It is a Tariff, I maintain, based on a Victorian foundation, and acceptable to thatgreat organwhich regulates affairs in this country.

Mr Mauger () - No fear !

Mr HUGHES () - No Government in this country, it appears to me, dare bring in a Tariff which is not acceptable to the proprietor of the Age. Therefore, I have no doubt that, although this Tariff was worked out correctly and experts were called in, one expert, who was not called in, was there and over-saw the thing, and put those final and effective touches upon it which make it so admirable a production, and commend it to the leading columns of that great and critical newspaper. I do not know that I need say any more. I could say more, but I do not think it advisable at this stage to do so. I am satisfied that no reason has been put forward why we should adopt the Tariff, or why this motion of censure should not be accepted. Last night the Prime Minister said some things about wages in New South Wales which are utterly at variance with the facts. I do not blame him, because he has no personal experience of these things. He said that the bakers in New South Wales are worse off than the bakers here. He must know, if he knows anything at all of that work, that precisely the same conditions - a 48 hour shift, and a 50s. rate - obtain thereas here.

Mr Mauger () - When did it start?

Mr HUGHES () - When did it start? Now there is a sensible question to ask. Supposing it started yesterday afternoon at 3 o'clock, what has that to do with it? I do not know when it started, but will the honorable member say it is not in existence ?

Mr Mauger () - No ; I know all about it.

Mr HUGHES () - I wish to call your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the fact that the Minister for Home Affairs and the honorable member for Melbourne Ports know everything, so that, in case you are in any difficulty at any time, I should recommend you to consult them. They know everything upon those things which are ordinarily within the sphere of human knowledge, and also upon those things which are outside of it. I am sure that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports knows nothing about it. I know, of course, as I ought to know all the circumstances, but the Prime Minister knows nothing at all about it. I do not blame the right honorable gentleman altogether, because the present rates of wages are not furnished in the statistics made up by the Government statistician of New SouthWales, and the rate mentioned by the right honorable member last night does not correctly state the position of affairs in that State.

Mr Barton () - I should like to know if anybody has any better information.

Mr HUGHES () - I think that the right honorable gentleman, when he was quoting statistics with reference to the State which he represents, might have sought his information from the Trades Council. He might have got some information there, but I notice that he never goes near the Trades Council except on certain jubilant occasions when banners are waving, and when votes are flying about. When information is required the right honorable gentleman does not go near the Trades Council.

Mr Barton () - I go there in particular when you extend me an invitation and drink my health.

Mr HUGHES () - Does the right honorable member wish to put that forward as a reason for not applying to the proper sources for information ?

Mr Barton () - I am only adding that to the false suggestions the honorable member has already made.

Mr HUGHES () - The right honorable gentleman is so imbued with his own superiority, that the mere ability to answer a question suffuses him with joy - he seems to beam like a kind of rejuvenated cherub. We are all supposed to be able to speak here, in some way or other. We have the faculty of speech, and wehave ordinary intelligence, and yet the right honorable gentleman seems to think that any person who is able to make any sort of a reply to any statement is specially favoured by Providence. What I say is this : That the right honorable gentleman, when he was speaking of the wages of workmen employed in New South Wales, had a very easy way before him of finding out what those wages were by applying to the official body. Instead of that, he gets statistics which are, at the very least, a year old, and very likely a great deal older, and he puts them forward without inquiry, without substantiation or corroboration, as depicting a state of affairs which, I am fortunately able to say, does not exist in New South Wales. I have nothing more to say. I am quite satisfied that nothing I can say will move this Government from their position, and if 1 were in their place it would not move me. If I had framed a Tariff that was acceptable, not to the members of this House, but to somebody outside of it, how should .1. be affected by criticisms coming from somebody whom I had not sought to please, or whom I had not cared to please. We were told that this Tariff was framed to suit the country, but no greater mistake was ever made. It was never framed for any such purpose. It was framed to suit a particular class of people - not to suit the people - of Victoria. If the people of Victoria - to say nothing of the other States - were given a chance to express their views, I have not a doubt as to what they would say, but if the manufacturers only are to have the chance to say anything, that will be another matter. If we give the people of the State of Victoria an opportunity of expressing their views I shall be quite satisfied. Let us have some finality in this matter. I challenge the Government to submit the Tariff to the people - to let the people have a chance. The Prime Minister smiles at the idea of a plebiscite as a ridiculous thing, and yet I hope to see the right honorable member in the future come round to the same view as I hold. I have seen him as much opposed to what he is now in favour of, as he is opposed to the plebiscite now. I have seen the passage of time change the opinions of many men. I have seen men opposed to every plank in the platform which I have always upheld, as time has gone on and circumstances have Changed, come round on the other tack and take the helm, assuming a genial enthusiasm for interests which had been quite foreign to their nature. When I see the right honorable member smile at the idea of a plebiscite I would tell him not to smile at it too much, because if Providence fixes him here long enough he will come round to our way of thinking. I have performed what I conceive to be my purpose by pointing out that the Tariff is neither a scientific protectionist one, nor a Tariff which can be properly regarded as one imposed for revenue purposes. It is a Tariff which cruelty oppresses a very large proportion of the people of this continent, which is unduly harsh, and for which there cannot be any sort of excuse except that there are some vested interests in one of tlie States which are so strong that it seems to be expedient for the Government to placate them. I have shown that the statement of my honorable friend with reference to the prosperity of protectionist countries is either mythical or is largely the work of exaggeration. I have not gone into details, as I might have done, but I have taken my stand on the broad test of a .nation's prosperity. I have preferred to rest my defence on the unalterable motive which actuates all men in every step that they take, namely, the pursuit of their own benefit and welfare in the speediest and most direct manner, and therefore I say that the flow of population is an unerring test of the condition of a country. My honorable friend lias spoken of other things, such as the education test, which would have been upon other occasions a matter for humorous comment, but I do not think that such a thing would be permissible now. The fact that there were 263 persons in New South Wales who, at the time of their marriage, were unable to read and write, as against only 128 in Victoria for the same period, throws no light upon the prosperity of the respective States. To regard any such feature as a test of the prosperity of the people is puerile. As to the number of houses occupied and the rates of wages paid in various countries, the facts .have been proved, both by what I have said myself and by what others have said before me. I have here the report of the Royal Commission on the Factories and Shops Act in Victoria, and without going into details, I may say that it is shown, in the evidence taken by the commission in Sydney, that the rates of wages paid to artisans and other workmen in New South Wales are at least as high as those paid in Victoria. Whether we take the clothing trade, tailoring, printing, butchering, iron-moulding, fellmongering, or baking, we have the same result, that wages are at least as high in New South Wales as they are elsewhere. I am perfectly sure that none of these subterfuges or excuses - none of these platform shibboleths by which people have been gulled in the past as to the merits of protection - will avail the Government so far as the people of New South Wales are concerned. Every protectionist in New South Wales realizes that this is a Tariff which, whatever it may do for Victoria and the other States, will not do New South Wales any good. I spoke on Saturday last to a protectionist, who is one of the most vehement and most powerful in his advocacy of that policy in the State of New South Wales, and who runs a newspaper that has as much influence outside the daily press as any newspaper in. the country, and he told me that this is a Tariff framed for no other purpose in the wide world than to placate the Victorian " ring " of manufacturers. On all sides I have heard the same opinion freely expressed by protectionists in New South Wales. They have only one opinion, and that is that this Tariff will not stimulate any industries in that State, but that it will press unduly in all parts of the continent. Further, the opinion is expressed that there does not appear any dispositionor any intention disclosed on the part of the Government to provide any means whereby the lessened purchasing and consuming power of the people is to be made up. It may be, as I have said, that we shall hear from some honorable members that the people of New South Wales will share in the general prosperity; but the experience in other countries, as it inevitably will be in New South Wales, is that, after a trial, the only thing they will be allowed to share is that of which they appear to have been given more than their allocated part - namely, the heaviest burden of taxation imposed on any people in any State of Australia.

Mr. MAUGER(Melbourne Ports).- I have listened with great attention to the honorable member for West Sydney, more especially as he and I, although disagreeing on this question, have many things in common. He is anxious that trades unionism should prosper, and that the working men of Australia should be in a good position. That I am also anxious for ; and we differ on the fiscal question for that very reason. I believe sincerely that working men are better off in America, Canada, and Victoria than they are in free- trade countries. I take my present stand for that reason, and for that reason solely ; beyond that I have not the faintest interest in the fiscal question. I have not the least connexion with any protected industry, and I have nothing whatever to gain personally by advocating the cause of protection.

Mr Hughes () - Neither have I anything to gain by advocating free-trade.

Mr MAUGER () - I do not infer that the honorable member has anything to gain by advocating free-trade; but remarks have been made in the House which bear the inference that I have something to gain by advocating protection, and it is only right that I should say at the very outset that my advocacy of this principle is purely because I conscientiously believe it to be the best. The honorable member for West Sydney said that I knew nothing about the bakers of New South Wales. I happen, however, to be in communication with a number of journeymen bakers in Sydney, and they have kept me posted up as to the developments which have taken place in connexion with their trade. I know that within the last two months a voluntary combination between employes and employers has been aiming at bringing about a better condition of things. I know that they have been forced into that voluntary combination on account of the terrible conditions of that particular trade in New South Wales. I have here sworn evidence to that effect. A journeyman baker of Sydney, in answer to the chairman of the Victorian Factories Commission, when that commission visited Sydney last month, gave evidence as follows : -

Is there any sweating in your trade ? - A tremendous lot. From nine to nineteen hours a day are the hours of labour. In a fair shop nine hours is the proper amount per night ; in the sweating shops, fifteen hours is about the average per week, and nineteen and twenty hours on Friday and Saturday. I speak as an employe, from practical knowledge.

Mr Hughes () - That is right.

Mr MAUGER () - The honorable member for West Sydney said that I know nothing about the baking trade in New South Wales ; now he admits that what 1 say is right. Which is right - what he said when he was speaking or what he says now ?

Mr Hughes () - The honorable member is now speaking from a report, and what I said was that he did not know from his personal knowledge.

Mr MAUGER () - Does the honorable member know from his own personal knowledge everything he has been talking about to-night? I am inclined to thinkthe honorable member has been indulging in a great many fairy tales, about matters of which he has no personal knowledge. I am acquainted with the baking trade and various other trades in New South Wales. I am in communication with members of those trades, about which I may know more than men on the spot. I have given the evidence of a journeyman baker, and now I will give an extract from the evidence of one of the largest employers -

What would you suggest as a remedy ? - If the employers were all compelled to pay the same rateof wages as is paid under the wages board in Melbourne,1s. 01/2d. an hour, and adopt the maximum number of hours, make the working hours 48 a week, and bring the standard rate of wages up to 50s. a week, it would compel every employer to fall into line, and cure the sweating for the employers and employes.

Mr Hughes () - - The honorable member knows that since then everything has been adjusted.

Mr MAUGER () -I know that since then there has been an effort on the part of employers and employed, in sheer despair, to form a voluntary combination, butI also know that both employers and employed are asking for an Arbitration Act, or for a wages board to give that voluntary combination the force of law, as is the case in Victoria.

Mr Hughes () - That is quite untrue.

Mr SPEAKER () - The honorable member for West Sydney must withdraw that statement.

Mr Hughes () - What I mean is that the information of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports is quite inaccurate. I may be permitted to point out, for the honorable member's information, that the employers and employed in the baking trade in Sydney have drawn up a scheme, whereby they can appoint referees and arbitrators, to whom all disputes occurring in the baking trade are to be submitted. Mr. Shadier, the chief baker in Sydney, told me on Friday afternoon that they do not want an Arbitration Act, because they have all the machinery necessary, and every baker in the metropolis is in the combination.

Mr SPEAKER () - The honorable member has not withdrawn his statement.

Mr Hughes () - I do withdraw it.

Mr MAUGER () - All that has occurred within the last two months. I have a letter from the Journeyman Bakers' Society, asking me to address a meeting in Sydney, with the object of bringing about the legalization of wages boards, because those employed in the trade have not the slightest faith in the permanency of the voluntary combination. Has the honorable member for West Sydney any faith in it ? Does he not know that voluntary combinations have always failed to bring about the conditions he is desirous of obtaining.

Mr Hughes () - What has this to do with protection ?

Mr MAUGER () - I did not introduce the subject, and I am only answering the honorable member, who asserted that I knew nothing about the baking trade. Apparently; I now know too much to please him. The honorable member said that the manufacturers of Sydney did not want any protection, and he quoted the right honorable member for East Sydney as to the boot manufacturers who have been named. I interjected when the honorable member was speaking that the boot manufacturer whose name he did not give, but from whom he read a letter, was a man who preferred to import. I am not going to mention the name of the gentleman I believe the letter came from, but I will say this - that that gentleman has always opposed trade unions and has always opposed manufacturing if he could import. He would not manufacture a single pair of boots to-day if he could help it. What do we find in relation to the manufacturers of Sydney? I hold in my hand a telegram from Sydney to the following effect -

McMurtrie, Hunter, although large manufacturers, are principally importers. Meeting boot manufacturers last Friday, seventy attending, only McMurtrie opposed Tariff.

Mr Hughes () - Whom is that from ?

Mr MAUGER () - Mr. H.Sparks.

Mr Hughes () - Who is he ?

Mr MAUGER () - I know more about the honorable member's city than he does himself, apparently. He is the secretary of the Protectionist Union, New South Wales.

Mr Hughes () - Oh !

Mr MAUGER () - The honorable member surely does not mean to say that the secretary of the Protectionist Union would forge that telegram ?

Mr Hughes () - Not at all. I was surprised that there was such an association in New South Wales.

Mr MAUGER () - The honorable member knows that he said himself in the course of his speech that the Protectionist Union of New South Wales sank its protectionist policy during the elections and went under the liberal flag. Yet he now says he did not know that there was such a union in New South Wales !

Mr Hughes () - I said that there was such an association during the campaign.

Mr MAUGER () - Then the honorable member did know that there was such a union, and was only pretending. As a matter of fact, the manufacturers evidently do want such protection as it is proposed to give to them.

Mr G B Edwards () - The consumers do not.

Mr MAUGER () - I will show the honorable member that the consumers in four out of five States do want it, even if they are not so far sighted as to see the necessity for it in the State from which he comes.

Mr Hughes () - Does the honorable member call 400,000 pairs of boots per annum a small output?

Mr MAUGER () - I did not say a word about a small output.

Mr Hughes () - But the honorable member said that these boot manufacturers are .importers.

Mr MAUGER () - I say they are also importers.

Mr Hughes () - They make 400,000 pairs of boots per annum.

Mr MAUGER () - That does not affect my argument. Will the honorable member say how many pairs they import ? Until he does, the comparison as to how many they make goes for nothing. I will give him further testimony in regard to the boot trade. I have here the evidence of John Wright, boot manufacturer. This is sworn evidence given before the Factories and Shops Commission -

How is it they can make boots in Victoria and import them here and still pay a higher rate of wages than is paid in New South Wales ?- Because the output of the factories is larger and more continuous. The Victorian manufacturer has the whole of his State to himself, no one can trespass on him, but in New South Wales we have not anything to ourselves. We get the imports of all the world ; the3' ship to us freely, and. the purchasers - the merchants and the shopkeepers here - are always in favour of the imported goods rather than those locally produced, that is one reason. Another reason is that a better class of goods, a more highly fashioned class of goods, is made in Victoria than is the New South Wales, and those goods are imported into New South Wales. We have not the chance to make them- our workmen are not trained to make them ; the material is not produced in New South Wales - if we want a specially good class of leather we send to Victoria for it.

I would ask the honorable member to read this evidence, and he will then find that instead of the Victorian factories in the boot line being behind those of New South Wales, the whole of the testimony goes to show that their machinery is more complex, more complete, and more up to date, and that the better class of goods is made in Victoria, whilst the manufacture of brown paper goods is carried on in free-trade New South Wales. Here is the evidence of a journeyman in the same trade, a representative unionist : -

What do you pay your clickers ? - From 20s. to £ 2. The foreman gets £2.

That is a very low wage ? - Very low.

Why is that ? - Because of the importations.

They pay higher in Victoria ? - But there i3 no importation there. 1 have carried on business the last four years for the benefit of my hands. I have lost money every year.

Mr Conroy () - Is that J. B. Wright ?

Mr MAUGER () - He is a representative bootmaker.

Mr Conroy () - Paid by the manufacturers to state that !

Mr MAUGER () - The honorable and learned member is always imputing motives. He imputes motives to the Prime Minister and he imputes motives to the unionists of New South Wales.

Mr McCay () - It is a sign that he does not play fair himself.