Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Wednesday, 16 October 1901
Page: 6126

Mr POYNTON () - I shall not occupy a great deal of time. I wanted to read some of the speeches which have been delivered; but unfortunately that opportunity has not been granted to me. It is pleasant to observe that honorable members on the opposite side have been let off the chain. Last night we saw a conspiracy of silence which one did not expect to see in a Chamber like this. One would have thought that the Ministers would have been only too glad to have their proposals criticised. One might ask - What are they brought down for, if they are to be covered up in mystery, the gag applied and a robbery perpetrated under the guise of a Tariff saddled on this country without the people knowing anything of it ? The Prime Minister, in his speech last night, seemed to make a great effort for the purpose of proving that because the Tariff is less than the average of the Tariffs for the six States, we ought to be thankful, and ought to swallow this coated pill without any consideration. While he was speaking, I interjected once or twice, " But what about the incidence ?" The incidence is a matter which ought not to be considered ; it is a mere detail, which is not worthy of the House. He also stated, as other honorable members have done, that the advantage to be derivedfrom the release of Inter-State trade to the amount of £29,000,000 is more than equivalent to what is made up by the increased duties. A remarkable feature of this debate is that not one honorable member has defended the Tariff. They have gone away on the other issue altogether. We have seen a fight between the giants of the House on the question of free-trade or protection, but as to the Tariff not one word have we heard from the other side. Is it because they wish to conceal the truth from the people who have to pay the imposts that they do not want to go into details ?: What was the object last night when they tried to apply the gag and get the debate closed ? Was that the purpose for which we came here? It will come with a revelation, I think, to Australia to learn that the amount to be raised for all federal purposes has been sprung from £7,500,000 to £9,000,000, that a proposal is actually submitted to raise considerably more than was raised by Inter-State duties, the cost of the Federal Government, which is termed new expenditure, and the total of customs and excise on a fair year - an increase of considerable proportions. Not one Minister has yet defended the increase; not one Minister has attempted to justify the incidence of this taxation. Let us see what we gain by the abolition of Inter-State duties.. The amount which the people of New South. Wales had to pay prior to the imposition of uniform duties was £1 5s. 7d. per head, but under this Tariff they have to pay £2 7s. 9d. per head. Then it is said - " But look at what1 they get as a result of Inter-State free-trade." According to the figures which have been presented, £141,06.1 represents the total amount of the InterState duties for New South Wales. Working that out on the population basis, we find that 2s.1d. per head represents the total benefit which the people of that State derive from Inter-State free-trade. That leaves them with a balance of £1 0s.1d. in the shape of new taxation.

Sir George Turner () - They have all our markets.

Mr Thomson () - Victoria had all ours before, and we did not charge her for it.

Mr POYNTON () - I have heard it argued before in South Australia that if we went in for federation, instead of having 350,000 people to supply we should have. 4,000,000, so that that argument cuts both ways. In Victoria I find that the taxation per head under the old Tariff was £1 19s.,: whilst under the new Tariff it will be £2 3s. 61/2d.,showing an increase of 4s. 61/2d. Under the Inter-State remissions' amounting to £358,659, Victoria will benefit the extent of 5s. 11d. per head, and the new Tariff will therefore be lower by1s. 4d. per head than the old one. When I take my own State of South Australia, I find: that the taxation is to be increased from £1 14s. 8d. under the Tariff in 1899, to £1 17s.83/4d. under the Government proposals.

The people of that State will have taxation remitted in respect to Inter-State free-trade, to the extent of about 4s. l1d. per head, and there will thus be a balance of1s. 101/2d. per head in favour of the new Tariff. In working out the Queensland Tariff we arrive at somewhat different results. There the taxation will be reduced from £3 6s. 5d. to £2 14s. 61/2d. per head, or a decrease of l1s. 101/2d. As the abolition of Inter - State duties represents a reduction of another 5s. 6d. per head, the total decrease will be 17s. 41/2d. Applying the same rule to the Tasmanian Tariff, I find that there will be a balance of something like 17s. 9d. in favour of the new Tariff, after making deductions on account of the Inter-State free-trade. I do not wonder that there should be such indignation expressed in New South Wales with respect to the new Tariff.

Mr Wilks () - It is all indignation there now.

Mr Barton () - That is the only local manufacture.

Mr POYNTON () - Honorable members who had not previously studied the Tariff list of New South Wales must have been astonished to see that only some 49 articles were taxed, whilst under the new Tariff over 1,000 articles will have to pay duty. Therefore the new Tariff will be a very serious matter for the people of New South Wales. I now desire to show how this £9,000,000 of revenue is to be raised - how the difference between the £9,000,000 and the amount which was previously levied on the people of the various States through the Customs is to be made up. I have chosen the conditions in my own State for the purpose of malting a comparison. Any one who looks at the Tariff of South Australia will not say that it is a free-trade Tariff, but they will admit that some consideration has been shown for what may be termed the actual necessities of the people. It is in this consideration that the new Tariff is absolutely deficient. I am going to show how the revenue is to be raised under the new Tariff, and how the masses of the people will have to pay. No consideration has been given to the necessities of the people at all, but the Government have gone on the broad line that the greater the number of consumers the greater their right to tax the commodities on which they live. Take the case of molasses and golden syrup. Some people may look upon these articles as luxuries, and no doubt it is a laughing matter to the Prime Minister, with his £2,500 a year.

Mr Barton () - I like treacle as well as the honorable member.

Mr POYNTON () - This is one of the luxuries that goes into the homes of the poor people.

Mr Kingston () - Queensland will give us enough for a century.

Mr POYNTON () - Then what is the object of putting on the duty ?

Mr Kingston () - To give Queensland the pleasure of supplying us.

Mr POYNTON () - The object is to give the local manufacturer an opportunity of charging a higher price - in fact, the price has already been increased. The duty on these articles under the new Tariff will be 25 per cent. higher than under the old South Australian Tariff. Take another thing that goes into the homes of the poor - arrowroot.

Mr Kingston () - Queensland will give us all we want of that.

Mr POYNTON () - Then why put a duty upon it? The Government are showing their sympathy for the unfortunate users of arrowroot by putting a duty of £9 6s. 8d. per ton upon it. They are taxing the food of the babies, and they are taxing the poor man's puddings; and, in fact, they are levying duties upon those commodities that aremore frequently used in the homes of the poor than in the houses of the rich. The duty on arrowroot represents to the people of South Australia an increase of £9 6s. 8d. per ton, because arrowroot was on the free list in the South Australian Tariff.

Mr Watkins () - And what has the honorable member to put in the place of these duties ?

Mr POYNTON () - Does the honorable member justify these duties ?

Mr Watkins () - Not all of them, but I want to know what the honorable member would substitute for them.

Mr POYNTON () - Then we have candles, which are largely used by poor people. We know that the manufacturers of candles are making fortunes out of one penny per pound duty. But not satisfied with that they must increase the duty on this line.

Sir Johnforrest () - There is Inter-State free-trade.

Mr POYNTON () - The right honorable gentleman took care to protect his State for some time against Inter-State free-trade.

Sir John Forrest () - There was necessity to do so.

Mr POYNTON () - If the right honorable gentleman were to take a plebiscite in Western Australia at the present time he would not find many " ayes " for the Ministerial programme. During the campaign I heard people advocate " a free breakfast table." I was then candid enough to say that if a man contended that under the conditions of the Commonwealth, so long as certain amounts had to go back to the States, it was possible to have a "free breakfast table," he would be only playing the fool with the people. What we did expect, and what every taxpayer in the State had a right to expect, was that, at any rate, the extra revenue would not be raised on the lines such as those to which I am referring. An increase of 25 per cent, in the duty on coffee may be nothing to those who drink champagne, but it is something to those who regard coffee as a luxury. Then as to oatmeal, I may be told that that can be manufactured in the States.

Mr Kingston () - I should think so.

Mr POYNTON () - But is there any necessity for a duty of £9 6s. 8d. in order to encourage the manufacture of oatmeal in the States ?

Mr F E McLean () - Oatmeal was manufactured in Victoria with a lower duty.

Mr POYNTON () - Most decidedly it was. The proposed duty on rolled oats is £9 6s. 8d. a ton, and the effect of this in South Australia has been to increase the price of the 7-lb. bag from ls. 3d. to ls. 9d. Wheatmeal, pearl barley, and Scotch barley are in every-day use in every family in the Commonwealth ; and yet we find that there is a duty of £9 6s. 8d. per ton imposed on these lines. Even children's food is not allowed to go free, and we have a similar duty imposed on maizena. [House counted.] I asked for an adjournment of the debate, but the Government were not inclined to grant it, and when I attempt to deal in detail with the impositions on the commodities of the poor, my statements are found unpalatable and honorable members leave the chamber. The proposal to put a duty of £9 6s. 8d. on the lines I have mentioned is certainly unpalatable, and I guarantee that, when the division comes in connexion with these commodities, a number of honorable members will be found voting on this side of the House. They have not the moral courage, however, simply because they are sitting behind the Government, to get up and condemn the proposals. Surely the manufacture of preserved milk is an industry which could be established in Australia without penalizing, in many instances, people who are far away from the possibility of obtaining fresh milk. In many cases babies are recommended by medical men to have preserved milk, and yet we find a duty of 25 per cent, imposed on this commodity. Rice is another article which honorable members may say can be produced in Australia. We are very considerate about the man who makes the starch ; but is not rice a commodity that is largely used in the homes of the poor ? That is so ; yet there is an increase of duty on this commodity. We realize a very small percentage of money under this Tariff from luxuries, or from those articles which the rich will purchase. In South Australia we did consider that the blankets of the poor, at any rate, ought to come under a low Tariff; but the Government propose that the duties on blankets shall be increased from 15 to 20 per cent. In some of the other States blankets are on the free list, and I take South Australia as an illustration, because in this particular, that State is neither on the free-trade or the highly protective side. Then, again, surely coatings, vestings trousers, flannels, and flannelettes might have been more leniently treated. Flannelette was on the free list in South Australia, but under the Commonwealth Tariff it has to pay a duty of 20 per cent. We have also 20 per cent, on flannels, trouserings, coatings, and vestings. Here is another line that goes into the homes of the poor. South Australia, Victoria, Queensland, and New South Wales have hitherto had these articles on the free list, and they should have found a place under the free list of a Federal Tariff. Then we will take blue frocking, butter and cheese cloth, calico (white and grey), drills, duck, dungaree, jeans, moleskins, and oil baize. (House counted.) I would ask the Ministerif I can now have leave to continue my remarks to-morrow?

Mr Kingston () - No ; we previously mentioned the time we intended to sit.

Mr POYNTON () - I was showing the lines on the free list in, at any rate, four States, and was expressing the opinion that these lines might have found a place on the free list under the Federal Tariff.

Mr McCay () - Where is the money to come f rom ? That is the trouble.

Mr POYNTON () - Does the honorable and learned member want to increase taxation that comes out of the homes of the poor ?

Mr McCay () - No; but I want to know where the money is to come from.

Mr POYNTON () - Then the honorable and learned member will not support taxes on these goods ?

Mr Hume Cook () - Will the honorable member tell us how he is going to get the money out of the homes of the rich?

Mr McCay () - We have to yield, because we cannot help it.

Mr POYNTON () - The honorable and learned member has to yield because he sits behind the Government. He has not the courage to get up and challenge the Tariff in detail.

Mr McCay () - I have not had a chance yet.

Mr POYNTON () - Honorable members opposite would have applied the gag last night if they could, and that is what they are trying to do now - the whole lot of them. Material used in the homes of the poor, such as calicoes, moleskins, towellings, shirtings, sheetings, and similar things, are taxed, although they might have been included in the free list. I suppose they are taxed to encourage manufactures, according to honorable members opposite. We find also that the great mining industry is penalized throughout the whole of this Tariff. There is hardly on article that goes on to a mine that is not taxed heavier under this Tariff than under any previous Tariff in Australia. I wish especially to refer to one or two lines, and I am going to show what revenue the Government expect to raise from them presently. We have before us the estimates of revenue in detail, set out under different headings. I find that £120,000 is to be raised from sugar, which was previously on the free list in some of the States. Then we find upon the Tariff such articles as the Minister says can be manufactured here - lines chiefly used for children - arrowroot, tapioca, and sago. Prom these articles it is expected to raise £13,790. The Government estimate to receive £32,540 from cocoa. They also propose to tax dried fruits, as if the natural protection that is given to these articles in the way of the cost of carriage from abroad was not sufficient. From this source they expect to raise £152,445. If those goods can be manufactured here, what will become of the revenue? Then we find that on the little line of preserved milk, the Government estimate to receive £28,750. Preserved milk is an absolute necessity of life in many places. But there is not much consideration for the back-blocks on the part of this Government. Next, let us take the line of tea. The tea-drinkers of the Commonwealth are to have increased burdens placed upon them because they have entered into the Federation.

Mr L E Groom () - There will be a big reduction of the tea duties so far as concerns Queensland.

Mr POYNTON () - The honorable member speaks for his own State.

Mr L E Groom () - But the honorable member professes to be speaking for the Commonwealth.

Mr POYNTON () - I say that under this Tariff the commonest tea, that goes into the homes of the poor, will be raised in .price by at least 4d. per lb.

Mr McCay () - What ?

Mr Kingston () - Don't talk nonsense !

Mr POYNTON () - The honorable and learned member for Corinella seems astonished.

Mr McCay () - I am astonished at the honorable member.

Mr POYNTON () - I am just as much astonished that the honorable and learned member should take it in that way. What I say is, that the cost of this tea will be 4d., as against 3d. in South Australia.

Mr Kingston () - The honorable member is wrong.

Mr POYNTON () - No ; I am not wrong. Take the duty ad valorem, and the right honorable gentleman will see that I am correct. This money will be taken out of the pockets of the poor. There is no champagne and no silk about this business. The sum of £384,312 is the amount of revenue to be raised from this source. From rice, the Government estimate to raise £142,422. These are lines that might have been put upon the free list. There are increases of duty in a number of other lines. We know that usually, when the Government brings down a Tariff, it is not the duty of private members to propose increases on some lines, and decreases upon others. In fact, sir, if you were in the chair, I believe you would rule that it was out of order for any honorable member to do so. Now let us see how they propose to make up this revenue. Coming to the duty on blankets and rugs, we find that they estimate to collect £21,900, and from apparel and attire £72,600. Practically, they propose to raise as much by taxing the blankets and wearing apparel of the poor as they do from silks.

Mr Tudor () - Do not the rich use blankets 1

Mr POYNTON () - The honorable member knows very well that there are more beds to be covered, and that more blankets are required by the poor. I am astonished to hear such a remark coming from the honorable member, who ought to agree with me in regard to every line. I really believe he does think that blankets ought to Come in free as soon as possible.

Mr Tudor () - I shall go with the honorable member for letting them in free. My vote will be all right. I shall be in favour of reducing some duties and increasing others.

Mr Sydney Smith () - We cannot increase them.

Sir William Lyne () - Of course we can.

Mr Tudor () - I hope to have the honorable member for South Australia with me.

Mr POYNTON () - Cotton and linen piece goods surely constitute a line used among the poor. These articles were on the free list under the South Australian Tariff and under the Tariff of some other States, but under the Government proposals it is estimated that £338,000 will be raised from this source. Notwithstanding that the Prime Minister said last night that, judging by the experience of Western Australia, the mining industry should be able to obtain all the machinery that is required within the Commonwealth, I notice that the Government estimate to obtain £80,500 by a further tax upon mining requirements. Evidently they do not think that we shall be able to obtain locally all that we require in that direction. Now we come to kerosene.

Mr McCay () - I shall vote with the honorable member for striking out the proposed duty on kerosene.

Mr Conroy () - But that is a protective duty. There are some 300 men employed in the industry here.

Mr POYNTON () - The Government purpose raising £15 7,500 by means of a duty on kerosene. With the exception of mining machinery, there is not a line to which I have referred which does not go into the poor man's house. I notice that an increased duty on cement is proposed, although in New South Wales they can carry on the cement industry without it. For the sake of some very few men, however, the Government propose to tax that article and to raise £44,250 in that way. There is one item to which I desire to make special reference. I am surprised that the Ministry, as representing South Australia, in common with the rest of the Commonwealth, has not seen fit to remove timber from the list of dutiable articles. The Prime Minister seemed last night to look on this matter as immaterial. As a matter of fact, however, the Government, according to their Estimates, expect to raise £11 9, ISO from this source. What will be the effect of this proposal on the mining industry at Broken Hill?

Sir John Forrest () - We have plenty of timber in Western Australia that we can send to Broken Hill.

Mr POYNTON () - The right honorable gentleman should be aware of the fact that those who are able to speak with authority say that the great bulk of the timber used in the Broken Hill mines is Oregon, imported from America.

Sir John Forrest () - There is no reason why they should not use jarrah.

Mr V L Solomon () - Tt is not strong enough.

Sir John Forrest () - It is used in all the mines in Kalgoorlie.

Mr POYNTON () - It has been pointed out by those interested in Broken Hill mining that this is going to be a very serious matter to them. The Government propose also a duty on coke.

Mr Kingston () - Can we not produce that here 1

Mr POYNTON () - I suppose the honorable and learned member will say that we can make it here. Honorable members must know that ships come out here with coke as loading, and take back bullion and ore. In that way we get it very cheaply. A duty of 4s. per ton is now sought to be placed upon it. It is the last straw that breaks the camel's back. The Broken Hill mines, at the present time, have more than enough to contend with. Some of them are making calls, some of them are closing down, and others are considering a reduction in wages. This proposal is not going to help them.

Mr Kingston () - The Silverton Tramway Company should reduce its rates.

Mr POYNTON () - Now we come to that wonderful Victorian industry, the manufacture of barbed wire, which employs about one man and a boy, and the protection of which leads to an increase in the cost.

Mr Hume Cook () - It is not correct to say that it gives employment to only about a man and a boy.

Mr POYNTON () - I know what I am talking about. In South Australia barbed wire is a necessity, and is used very largely by people in the back country. How do the Government propose to help them? Wire netting, the manufacture of winch is more intricate than barbed wire, can come in free. The wire-netting industry in New South Wales can go on without protection, but, because of this barbed wire industry in Victoria, which gives employment at all events to a very limited number of workmen, there is to be an increase, which will mean £3 or £4 per ton to the user. The duty in Victoria was £3 per ton; New South Wales free. The price in 1 ton lots on 3rd October, 1901, in Sydney, was ±15 15s., and in Melbourne £18 10s. for 12-gauge per ton. The imports in 1900 were 2S2 tons, and the revenue ±'846. The Age having made an investigation, published on Srd November, 1900, an article showing that the weekly output of local factories was 27 tons, equal to 1,350 tons for a year of 50 weeks. The account, therefore, stands thus : - Imports, 282 tons - revenue of State at £3 per ton, £846 ; local product, 1,350 tons - price increase, £2 15s. per ton, equals £3,712 10s. ; added price to consumers, £4,558 10s. Of the total revenue yielded by the duty, the State only got £1 for every £4 7s. 6d obtained by manufacturers. The Age of 3rd November, 1900, also shows that two persons (one man an.d one boy) attending a machine, produce 3£ tons per week. As not all the machines used are of this modern type, reduce the average output per machine to 2 tons, and the result is, that thirteen men and thirteen boys are employed in the industry. The average wage in wireworks for males of all ages is 28s. 3d. per week, as is shown by the Chief Inspector of Factories' Report of 1901, Appendix C. The total wages per year of 50 weeks paid by manufacturers is, therefore, £1,863. The I manufacturers received from the State all labour for nothing, and a bonus of £1,849 as well, or £2 for every £1 expended in wages. If the factories were closed and every worker paid a life pension equal to his wages, the State would still save £1,849 a year. There is hardly a piece of that vast tract of country which I have represented in the South Australian Parliament for nearly eight years, that can do without the extensive use of barbed wire. The Minister for Trade and Customs knows that I am saying what is true.

Sir John Forrest () - What do they want barbed wire for 1

Mr POYNTON () - If the honorable member knew anything about the wild dog pest he would be aware that barbed wire is the only thing that will keep the dogs out of the sheep paddocks. There is not a mile of country from Port Augusta to the border of his own State - west of Streaky Bay, away to the south to Port Lincoln, and extending to the New South Wales border, and thence to Queensland - which can be used for sheep, except it is made secure by barbed wire. Yet the Government propose to increase the cost of this article by putting on a duty for the sake of two or three people, who in the course of their whole existence here have not had to put up with such hardships as fall to the lot of those in the back country of South Australia. I would ask, Mr. Speaker, that I have leave to continue my remarks to-morrow.

Mr Barton () - Under no circumstances whatever.

Mr POYNTON () - Well, I have not to thank the Government for anything. If the Prime Minister thinks that he is going to have this matter disposed of any sooner by adopting such an attitude, he makes a very great mistake. I have now to deal with some other lines. I find that under the Victorian Tariff, cocoa beans and cocoa butter were on the free list. We will see how the incidence of the Tariff works out on those lines. A duty of one penny and two pence per lb. respectively is now imposed. Then we had raw coffee on the free list. That now bears a duty of three pence a lb. lt is remarkable to find that a duty on hay and chaff is proposed. I will show later on the amount which the Government expect to derive from that source. But as a mere sop to the farmers who have to pay for everything else, this is put upon the list. Hay, chaff, and linseed, which will have to pay 2d. per cental, have hitherto been on the free list. Linseed cake and oil cake, which are to be charged ls. per cental, were also previously on the free list. Then I come to the duty upon matches. This duty has, . I presume, been imposed with a view to protecting the match industry in Victoria, which, I believe, has cost this State something like £10,000 per year for the benefit of a very limited number of hands. In the report of the; Chief Inspector of Factories for 1901, Appendix C, it is stated -

Up to 1894 annual importation of wax vestas was 290,000 gross average per annum, and revenue from duty of ls. per gross .£14,500. In 1894 Messrs. B. Bell & Co., of London, opened a match factory at Richmond. Imports and revenue gradually fell off, and were in 1900 58,300 gross, yielding £2,915. Supposing consumption has remained unchanged, Messrs. E. Bell & Co. produce locally 231,700 gross boxes. The price of wax matches wholesale in usual quantities in Sydney is 2s. per gross boxes. Messrs. B. Bell & Co. sell at 2s. lOd. for large contracts, and 2s. lid. for ordinary wholesale quantities. They, therefore, obtain lid. per gross boxes more than they could without the duty. In addition to legitimate profits they get per year 231,700 x lid. - £10,620 as a tax imposed] upon consumers. Total employment in industry- 8 males, averaging 18s. 8d. per week; 41 females, averaging 14s. lid. per week. Total work per year, according to Bell & Co. 's statement in Age - 46 weeks. Total wages paid in year £1,750.

Rice, sago, and tapioca, were on the free list in Victoria. Spices unground, green ginger, tapioca flour, potato flour, and straw were also free. Now a duty of os. per ton is to be imposed upon straw. It would be interesting to know how much revenue the Ministry expect to obtain from this one line. Then hatters' fur, mittens, flesh gloves, flannelettes, lace and veilings, cotton and linens, cotton and linen piece goods, sails, mantle trimmings, bonnet and hat trimmings and yarn are to be taxed. All these articles were on the free list in Victoria, but they are now to carry more or less duty. Then I come to the item " galvanized iron."

Mr Kingston () - That was in the South Australian Tariff.

Mr POYNTON () - One line was in that Tariff.

Mr Kingston () - The other was 30s. a ton there.

Mr POYNTON () - But it is not so here. Admitting that the Government wanted to encourage that line, there was no necessity to put such a heavy, duty as £1 a ton upon it. It does not require an immense amount of machinery or of expert knowledge to transform a sheet of iron into rolled iron. There are a number of other lines to which I could direct attention, if time permitted. A great deal of talk has been indulged in about the reaper and binder. I have heard this same argumenttrotted out in nearly every political speech, which has been made since we had a debate upon the fiscal issue. But I am assured on the very best authority that despite the enormous profits which are supposed to be madeout of reapers and binders, three firms in Melbourne which dealt in them have had to give up their business because of the cost attached to it. The expense in connexion with the fixing up of the machines, and with the keeping of them in repair for a certain time, was. so great that recently a new arrangement was. made with the manufacturers in America. This fact proves that if a ring existed at all, it existed in America. I do not wish honorable members to lose their trains, and I therefore ask for leave to continue my remarks.

Mr Kingston () - We cannot do that.

Mr POYNTON () - If I had been upon, the other side of the House it would have been quite convenient for the Ministry to doit. I challenge honorable members who are at present supporting the Government tovote for a number of the lines which I haveindicated. When we come to deal with the items in detail, if we have to sit here till the Christmas after next I shall fight those items line by line. It is all very well for the Government, with a majority sitting behind them like dumb sheep, to try and apply the gag as they did last night.

Mr Kingston () - It is idle to say that.

Mr POYNTON () - I repeat that the Ministry attempted to apply the gag last night. They even tried to snap a division. When the items come up for discussion, the Ministry will find that there are a number of honorable members on their side of the House* who will vote with the Opposition. A number of honorable members who sneer at the impositions placed on the poor, who seem to think that the Tariff is all right so long as revenue is obtained, and who have no consideration for the incidence of taxation, will then be found voting on this side of the House. This is the most iniquitous Tariff ever placed before the people of Australia. I am not speaking of it from a free-trade or protectionist point of view. But I do say that there ought to be some consideration shown in the adjustment of the incidence of taxation, so as to insure that the burden shall fall upon the backs of those who are least able to bear it.

Mr McCay () - Can the honorable member show us the way to do it?

Mr POYNTON () - The honorable and learned member has indicated one line upon which he is prepared to do it.

Mr McCay () - But we must have the money.

Mr POYNTON () - Does the honorable and learned member believe that a revenue of £9,000,000 is absolutely necessary ? I do not believe that it is. Under this Tariff it is proposed to hand back to some of the States more than they have hitherto been realizing under their own Tariffs, in conjunction with the Inter-State duties.

Mr McCay () - And some less.

Mr POYNTON () - Are we to penalize the whole of the people for the sake of these States ? Have they not other sources from which they can derive revenue? Are we, because Western Australia has shirked direct taxation, to penalize our people who have gonein for direct taxation? Take my own State, for instance, where we have a progressive land tax and an absentee tax.

Sir John Forrest () - You cannot afford to lose any revenue, anyhow.

Mr POYNTON () - What do we find that the Premier of that colony says, from the telegrams received to-day ? When he was asked yesterday to set a day apart for the discussion of this Tariff, he said he would not do that, but he advised those who asked him to see that public meetings were held everywhere to protest against the incidence of this taxation. That is the advice of the Premier of South Australia, and it will be carried out from one end of that State to the other.I say it is a most iniquitous way of raising revenue to tax the people because of their necessities, and that is what is proposed to be done under this Tariff in connexion with a great number of lines.

Mr McCay () - What is the alternative ?

Mr POYNTON () - The alternative is difficult to show now. Ministers should have considered the matter before they introduced the Tariff. The honorable and learned member knows how difficult it is to adjust the incidence of taxation when we are discussing Tariff proposals in detail. Does the honorable and learned member think it is a fair thing to put 20 per cent. on blankets, and 15 per cent. on silk ?

Mr Mauger () - Certainly. One is a protective duty, and the other is a revenue duty.

Mr POYNTON () - The honorable member only thinks of a few Victorians about Melbourne.

Mr McCay () - Does the honorable member know that the 15 per cent. duty on silk in Victoria was the result of violent exertion by free-traders?

Mr POYNTON () - Is it not a source from which we should expect to get some revenue? Is it not a bettor source from which to get revenue than to get it from the backs of the poor, and out of the mouths of babes and sucklings ? I do not intend to detain the House any longer to-night. I shall have opportunity later on of dealing with the Tariff in detail. I am not going to be bluffed out of it, though I may be bluffed out of it to-night. There are a number of lines I want to speak of. I want to speak, amongst other things, of the extravagance of the Ministry in their financial proposals. I want to know why they increased salaries that this House practically stopped, and why, by a subterfuge, they failed to carry out the directions of this House in the matter of paying allowances? Why have they since increased the salaries of the men to whom these allowances were paid? If their salaries were sufficient in June of this year, what has transpired since, other than the motion of the honorable member for Illawarra, to account for the increase in those salaries ? The Ministry climbed down over that motion, and yet in these Estimates there are marked increases, and a number of them in connexion with men whose emoluments in the shape of allowances were stopped. Is this House going to allow Ministers to defeat its decision when it has distinctly stated that no allowances were tobe given to these men ? Ministers have in somecases increased these salaries by as much as £100 without consultation with this House. I should like to know, also, why the return I asked for in connexion with travelling expenses has not been laid upon the table? It would have been very convenient to have had it here at this time. I want to know a lot of things in connexion with it, but at this time of the night I shall not go into the matter. I shall have an opportunity later on, and I mention these matters now so that Ministers will be in a position to explain these items away if they can.

Debate (on motion by Mr.Thomson) adjourned.