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Wednesday, 8 November 1905

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) - At the commencement of his speech Senator Gould complained that honorable senators on this side had not, so far, availed themselves of the opportunity to speak on the Bill. We heard the Bill introduced by the Minister of Defence, and we knew something of what was said about it in another place. We desired to hear what honorable senators opposite had to say against it. I listened to two or three speakers without gathering very much, but I anticipated' that before Senator Gould sat down he would have filed such an indictment against the Bill that there would really be something to reply to. It seems to me that what honorable senators who oppose the Bill are doing is this : They are creating a Bill clause by clause, which seems to be in some way distantly related to this Bill, and they are arguing against that Bill. They are creating a Bill in restraint of and calculated to hinder and ruin commerce, and, having done so, they proceed to point out how inadvisable it would be to pass it. If this Bill were what honorable senators opposite describe it to be, I should heartily join with them in throwing it out on the second reading. But I say that they are entirely misreading the Bill, and they have been assisted in so doing by the quotations they have given us this evening from Mr. Wade, the New South Wales Attorney-General. It seems to me that Mr. Wade not only upon this, but upon all questions, has constituted himself the cheap adviser to the Federation generally. Whenever any question is brought forward, whether involving States rights or not", one has only to pick up a Sydney newspaper to find that Mr._ Wade has offered an opinion upon the action of the Federal Parliament, and upon the action of the Federal Government. In fact, it seems to me that if we are to satisfy Mr. Wade we must appoint him Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, or else this Parliament must abdicate and as.k him to run the Commonwealth himself. We might then get legislation which, while it might not be acceptable to the people of the Commonwealth, would be entirely acceptable to Mr. Wade. I venture to say that I have never previously listened to such a travesty of a legal opinion as that which Mr. Wade purports to have given on this Bill. Senator Dobson was the first to quote this cheap advice. The honorable senator quoted a statement made by Mr. Wade that, in the case of goods coming in from a foreign country the product of non-union labour, the Minister could compel -a union label to be affixed to those goods as a trade description.

Senator Pulsford - So he could.

Senator PEARCE - Let us examine that statement. If the Minister had any such power it would be a power to direct a person to affix a misdescription to his goods. The only true description of such goods would be, in this connexion, that they were made by non-union labour. Do honorable senators who have advanced these arguments believe that the question whether goods are the product of union or nonunion labour will be taken into consideration at all under this Bill ?

Senator Dobson - Would any sane man believe that the honorable senator considered a union label a trade mark?

Senator PEARCE - I am not going to be led off the track. I am dealing now with the objections urged against this Bill by Mr. Wade and his admirers in this Parliament. Mr. Wade has said that under this Bill the Minister could exercise the power conferred on him to give effect to his views on union or non-union labour. As, I read this Bill, it provides that if a man applies a description to his goods, introduced to this country from a foreign country, that description shall be a true one.

Senator Millen - Is that all it provides ?

Senator PEARCE - The description is covered by the definition clause, and I take it to mean that the description shall be true as regards the nature, number, quantity, quality, purity, class, grade, measure, gauge, size, or weight of the goods. It must be accurate in these respects. Then if no description at all is applied to the goods the Minister is given power under the Bill to call upon the importer to fix a trade description " as prescribed." I point out that the regulations under which' a trade description will be prescribed must be in conformity with the Bill which contains the provisions for those regulations. That is to say, the Minister, in prescribing a trade description to be affixed to goods imported without any trade description, must act in conformity with clause 3 of this Bill.

Senator Millen - Has the honorable senator read clause 7 ?

Senator PEARCE - I shall come to clause 7 by-and-by. I prefer to deal with the question in my own way if the honorable senator will allow me. I am pointing out that where goods are imported without any trade description affixed, or with a description so scanty as to be liable to mislead, the Minister has power to prescribe a trade description, but that power is fettered and defined by tlie clause defining a trade description.

Senator Millen - And by clause 7.

Senator PEARCE - Clause 7 is the clause which gives the Minister power to prescribe a trade description.

Senator Millen - It gives him power to make a fresh trade 'description, quite apart from the definition clause.

Senator Mulcahy - The question is : What is a trade description?

Senator PEARCE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - The Bill defines a trade description. It sets out certain elements of a trade description, but no one will contend that every trade description shall include the whole of the matters referred to in the definition clause. For instance, no one will contend that the trade description of woollen goods shall set out the nature, number, quantity, quality, purity, class, grade, measure, gauge, size, and weight of the goods. Gauge has nothing whatever to do with woollen goods, but we must have in the definition clause words which will cover every class of goods. The word "quality" is required, for instance, to cover woollen goods, and the words "gauge" and "measure" to cover liquids, and so on.

Senator Mulcahy - If is impossible to fix a standard of quality in woollen goods. The greatest experts in the world have been unable to do so.

Senator PEARCE - If it is not possible for the Minister to fix a standard of quality he will not attempt to do so, but I can tell Senator Mulcahy what the Minister can, and I hope will, do under this Bill : If shoddy goods are imported with a trade description affixed to them, stating that they are woollen goods, the Minister will be able to decide that that is a false trade description. I am sure Senator Mulcahy would approve of that.

Senator MULCAHY (TASMANIA) - Yes; but the Minister would require to import the man who made the goods to tell him whether the description was false or not.

Senator PEARCE - I do not think so. An analysis will disclose the quantity of cotton in so-called woollen goods. It i.« remarkable that honorable senators opposite, in dealing with clause 3, have stopped short in reading certain portions of it. They have not read the definition of a false trade description. Why have they not dilated upon the iniquity of that provision?

Senator Dobson - We are all agreed that the practice of using false trade descriptions should be put down.

Senator PEARCE - In order to understand the effect of clause 3, it is necessary to read, not merely the definition of " trade description," but also the' definition of " false trade description" - " False trade description " means a trade description which, by reason of anything contained therein or omitted therefrom, is false or likely to mislead in a material respect as regards the goods to. which it is applied, and includes every alteration of a trade description, whether by way of addition, effacement, or otherwise, which makes the description false or likely to mislead in a material respect.

By the definition of "trade description" and " false trade description," the Minister is so hedged round that he could not use the power in the way in which certain honorable senators have endeavoured to make out that he could.

Senator Best - Wherever the power is used, he will be bound by those definitions.

Senator PEARCE - Yes. 'He will also be bound by those definitions in drawing up the regulations, otherwise the first prosecution under the measure might fail. I am free to admit that clause 7 is a very difficult one to deal with. I am not altogether satisfied with the provision, but I ask honorable senators to say how we are to make it entirely satisfactory, except by leaving, the prohibition of imports to be dealt with by regulations. It is quite patent that the clause has to be applied to a number of different sets of circumstances. If it is desired to have a clause which would be applicable to every set of circumstances which might arise, it would be necessary to have, not one clause, but seventy clauses. All that we can do is to lay down the main principle to be observed by the Government, and to leave the details to be prescribed by regulation. It will be out duty to amend or reject the regulations when presented.

Senator Lt Col Gould - How often do honorable senators look at the regulations? Hardly ever !

Senator PEARCE - The honorable and learned senator is entitled to speak for himself, but I can assure him that there are honorable senators who, having been interested in the passage of a Bill, have anxiously awaited the publication of the regulations.

Senator Lt Col Gould - Does not the honorable senator recognise that the regulations will take effect until a motion has been passed to the contrary?

Senator PEARCE - Not under this particular clause. The regulations made under the Public Service Act were keenly perused by some honorable senators, and, as the result of a discussion in the Senate, many substantial amendments have been made. It is beside the point to say that the regulations to be made under this Bill will not be keenly perused. It will be the duty of honorable senators to see that the regulations, when framed, are not of such a character as to hamper the trade of Australia. Senator Dobson, who is keenly concerned about the apple trade, seems, to think that it will be injured by this legislation. I differ from' the honorable and learned senator. According to his argument, the apple trade of Australia is going to be injured as the result of inspection, to say the least, and of grading, to say the most. According to honorable senators, the most that will happen under the Bill is that the export trade in apples will be made subject to a system of grading, and the least that will happen will be that it will be made subject to a system of inspection. I take it that the object of inspection is to prevent rotten or damaged fruit from being sent away, and that the purpose of grading is to place on the foreign markets fruit of uniform size, and perhaps uniform quality. If the argument of 'Senator Dobson 'has any force, it outfit to be confirmed by the results in those places where the system of inspection and grading has. been in operation. But, as a matter of fact, the results, have been beneficial to the apple trade amongst others. Although it is true that the system of grading has been voluntary, still in Victoria it is almost universally applied to apples.

Senator Macfarlane - It is applied to a verv small proportion of the apples exported.

Senator PEARCE - Almost all the apples which . are exported from Victoria *»re graded, and I speak on the authority of a friend who is employed by one of the biggest firms. Honorable senators spoke as if a whole shipment of apples were taken and inspected case by case. Nothing of the sort is done. A case is taken here and there, sometimes only one case is; taken at random, and if the fruit passes the test the brand is put on the whole shipment. The results which have accrued from this system have been so satisfactory that the Victorian apple trade has become a very valuable one, and an increased area has been put under apple cultivation.

Senator Dobson - Does the honorable senator think that the fruit-growers of Victoria should be subject to both Acts, and to both- inspectors?

Senator PEARCE - I feel sure that wherever a State has a system of grading or inspection in operation the Government will adopt the local test.

Senator Playford - I said so in my speech on the second reading of the Bill.

Senator PEARCE - Senator Dobson instanced a ca'se in which Messrs. Jones and Company said that some kinds of small apples sell in England because they suit a certain trade, but that if we adopted a grading system, and the apples were labelled or graded as "small," or "No. 3," or "No. 2," their sale would be spoilt.

Senator Dobson - I said that it would prejudice the buyer at once.

Senator PEARCE - The honorable and learned senator's argument is contradictory. In the first place he said that the buyer buys the small apples because they suit a certain trade, but in the second place he said that if the apples were branded as small the buyer would! not buy them.

Senator Dobson - No. I said he would be prejudiced immediately he saw the word "small" on the case.

Senator PEARCE - Surely The honorable senator knows that for dessert a reasonably small apple is more suitable than a large one, and brings a better price.

Senator Dobson - If the case were branded " Dessert apples, small," or "Des?sert apples, first class," I might agree with the honorable senator.

Senator PEARCE - The honorable and learned senator boasted that in the apple trade Tasmania has acquired her present position without adopting a system of grading, and that the grading is voluntarily done by the growers. It is not a singular fact that im Victoria the grading has ber come universal, although not compulsory, and that the Government brand is a guarantee? Any one 'has only to watch the London market to know that apples from South Australia and Victoria bring a higher price than apples from Tasmania.

Senator Macfarlane - - Because they are riper when the first shipment comes.

Senator PEARCE - The apples from South Australia and Victoria top the market, and Tasmanian apples are at the bottom.

Senator Macfarlane - Only for a very limited quantity.

Senator PEARCE - New Zealand - that country to which we go for so many successful experiments - has adopted an almost universal system of grading, with eminently satisfactory results. It is a singular fact that there is only one case in which it has not been adopted, and it bears the strongest possible testimony to the value of the system of Government grading. Why were rabbits excepted from compulsory grading? Because the land-owners did not want to encourage the growth' of the export trade, and by so doing possibly restrict the efforts being made to get rid of the pest by poison and other methods. It was urged in the New Zealand Parliament that if the rabbits were not excepted there would be a clamour against all efforts being made to rid the country of them.

Senator Millen - And without grading the export of rabbits has increased more rapidly than the export of sheep.

Senator PEARCE - The honorable senator is mistaken, because the export of rabbit's has decreased.

Senator Millen - Only during the .last two years.

Senator PEARCE - For that very reason, the land-owners, and their representatives in Parliament, opposed the Government grading of rabbits.

Senator Walker - Does the honorable senator wish rabbits to be graded when exported ?

Senator PEARCE - I do not care whether it is done or not. I am merely quoting the opinion which was held in New Zealand, where they have had the greatest experience of the Government grading of exports. At page 563 of the New Zealand Year-Book for 1904 the following' passage occurs : -

It must be admitted that with cheaper land and a closer proximity to the markets of the world, Argentina must necessarily be a very formidable rival to Australasia. The only way to keep command of the market is to ship nothing but first quality graded mutton and lamb.

Speaking of the dairying industry, it says -

The industry continues to flourish throughout New Zealand. The Government still spend large sums of money in teaching the art of butter making. . . . Graders are employed examining all butter and cheese for export, who brand each packet with its proper quality.

Then, dealing with the question of the export of poultry, it says, at page 566 -

The Agricultural Department intends to seek legislation to prevent the export of any poultry unless it has been graded by a Government official. This is a step in the right direction.

Is Senator Gould listening to that? Then again, at page 568, it says -

Our dairy produce is now second to none, which is largely due to the system of manufacture and Government grading. \n the face of there quotations, how can honorable senators opposite put forward the argument that even if the Government were to adopt the system of grading, which is one of the powers under this Bill - and it by no means follows that they will-

Senator Millen - If it is such a good thing, they ought to do so.

Senator PEARCE - I hope they will. But even if they do, the honorable senator's prophesies will have no foundation ; because the experience of New Zealand has proved that, so far from injuring industries, grading has benefited them, and has resulted in their expansion. So far as the apple trade is concerned, I ask Senator Dobson what injustices would result? He quoted a case where 900 cases of apples were rushed down to the wharf at the last moment and put on board. No time, he said, was left for grading. I say that if there is anything that is. calculated to injure the export trade of Australia, it is conduct of that kind. I will guarantee to say that our President, who knows something about this question, could tell us that that is not the way to ship apples if they are to be landed in good condition for the London market. As far as mv reading on the subject has gone, my information shows that they should be kept some time before being packed, and not rushed into the freezing chamber in such a hurried fashion. But let us see what injustice would be done in that case. No time was allowed for grading there. The Government brand would not be put on them as graded apples. All that would have to be done would be to put on the brand "ungraded," and then they would sell for what they really were.

Senator Mulcahy - It would depreciate their value.

Senator PEARCE - But does not the honorable senator see that the cause of the depreciation would be the want of business, aptitude on the part of the firm in not having the shipment ready ?

Senator Mulcahy - The honorable senator does not know the conditions of the trade.

Senator PEARCE - I say that in that particular case no injustice would be done, because a truetrade description could be put on the goods by explaining thatthey were ungraded ; in which case they would sell for what they were worth.

Senator Millen - What about clause 6, which says that notice shall be given?

Senator PEARCE - What is to prevent the shipper from giving notice? He knows that he has the goods, and he knows that he has the space. I take it that he could inform the Minister at the outset that he was going to send away so many apples.

Senator Millen - He does not know it at all; he gets a telegram, and acts upon it.

Senator PEARCE - It seems to me to be a complete reply to Senator Dobson's speech that the Bill does not compel the shipper to grade his fruit. It does nothing of the sort. It gives power to the Minister to carry the regulations to that extent ; but the Bill does not insist upon grading. What the Bill does is this : It says that if the shipper marks his goods as being graded, they shall be truly graded, and that a false description shall not be put upon them. That is to say, if he is going to send Australian apples to the English' market as graded Australian apples, they shall be so graded. And I say that that is in the interests of the shippers themselves. It is not in the interests of Australian shippers that some shall be allowed to send to the English market goods which profess to be of an uniform grade, leaving thebuyer to. discover that the cases' contain all grades, from thevery small to the very large. Senator Macfarlane has askedwhy we should feel called upon to assist the foreign buyer. " Why worry ourselves ?" he says. My reply' is - because that is the best way of assisting the Australian seller. If any one wants to injure the Australian seller, the best way is to " take in " the foreign buyer, as, for instance, by sending away leather loaded with barium. The leather export trade of Australia has practically been killed by the leather manufacturers themselves - not by all of them, but by a few - who. for the purpose of making more immediate gain, loaded their leather with barium. They placed their adulterated leather in the English market, and made more profit, but with the most unfortunate results for the trade.

Senator macfarlane -That leather was for local consumption.

Senator PEARCE - No. For years past the splendid reputation that Australian leather formerly had has been destroyed. These few importers not only destroyed the market for their own leather, but for all Australian leather. That is the trouble. Why do not honorable senators apply themselves to the question of whether this Bill meets such a case as that? It seems to me to be a flaw in the measure that it does not. I have looked through it carefully to ascertain whether it is possible by means of it to meet such cases, but I do not see that it is. In my opinion, where leather. is entered for export, power should be given to make an analysis of it, and if it is found that it is loaded with barium, its exportation should be prohibited. I commend that point to the Government, and ask the Minister in charge of the Bill to consult with those who are responsible for drafting it, and to see whether the evil to which I have called attention cannot be met. That seems to me to be the true answer to Senator Macfarlane's query as to why we shouldbe anxiousaboutit the foreign buyer. Coming to Senator Pulsford. he says that the merchants cannot give all the particulars laid down as necessary in the definition clause. But "before I go further I should like to have aquorum present. [Quorum formed."] I ask Senator Pulsford why he did not give us some instances. Take woollen goods. Does he mean tosay that the importers cannot determine whether goods are woollen or cotton? Take boots : Does he mean to say that importers cannot tell whetherthey are made of cardboard or leather? Take an adulterated food product. Does he mean to say thatthey cannot define the difference between adulterated and pure food? The honorable senator makes a sweeping statement, and expects us to accept it without analysis.

Senator Mulcahy - There is a great deal of difficulty.

Senator PEARCE - Will the honorable senator give us instances where the importer cannot give a true description of goods, instead of making general statements? Let him nail it down. Then Senator Pulsford - with the aptitude for, I was going to say, misrepresentation, for it almost amounts to that, in which he has become so proficient lately - says that the meaning of this clause is that a merchant importing any particular article would have to fill in all these particulars.

Senator Pulsford - I did not say anything of the sort.

Senator PEARCE - I took the honorable senator's statement down, and these were his words : " All these details of trade description will have to be filled in. Ridiculous."

Senator Keating - That is the whole of the argument of Mr. Wade.

Senator PEARCE - Of course it is ridiculous. Senator Pulsford knew it to be ridiculous. He quoted Mr. Wade as backing him up.

Senator Keating - The whole of Mr. Wade's opinion is based on that assumption. Mr. Wade asserts that importers have to give all these particulars.

Senator PEARCE - I say that any honorable senator who makes such a statement must put out of his mind altogether the well-known parliamentary idea of a definition clause. We all know that a definition clause has to be ample; that it has to cover the whole scope and ambit of what is aimed at in every one of the clauses, nut no one in his senses would take it to mean that under any particular regulation all these conditions have to be complied with.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator will admit that by regulation the Government could compel the importer to do it.

Senator PEARCE - By regulation a Government might commit political suicide, but I do not think that they would be such fools. I give Governments credit for having sufficient common-sense to make regulations which will work, and not such as will bt unworkable. If they do not. they will soon find themselves in Queer-street. I direct Senator Pulsford's attention to a fact that should have occurred to his own mind. Indeed, he may have had it in his mind, but he never mentioned it. He asked Senator Playford a question as to the ingredients which the tobacco manufacturers of

Australia were using in the manufacture of tobacco, and which were supplied to them duty free. Judging from the quantity of those ingredients used, I should say that if imported tobacco is made of the same material as local tobacco, it might be held to be a case of misdescription if it were entered as being manufactured from tobacco leaf. There is an instance in which it might be very necessary to compel importers to enumerate the ingredients of which they made their goods.

Senator Playford - Especially in patent medicines.

Senator PEARCE - Senator Gray asked what call there; had' been for the introduction of this Bill, and why the Government had pushed it forward. I think there are two words which supply the, answer, and those words are - Butter Commission. When the evidence given before that Commission was 'being published, the newspapers of Australia were filled with appeals to the Federal Parliament to pass a Bill such .as this. Appeals were also made to the States Parliaments to pass Pure Food Bills and Secret Commission Bills; and legislation of the kind was framed at the request of the Butter Commission.

Senator Keating - The matter was also brought up at the Hobart Conference.

Senator PEARCE - That is so, and Mr. Carruthers, who is Mr. Wade's commanderinchief, raised no particular objection.

Senator Millen - And the complaints were most pronounced in Victoria, where there is grading of butter.

Senator PEARCE - The trouble arose through the action, not only of Victorian exporters, but also of New .South Wales exporters.

Senator Keating - The Butter Commission originated in Victoria, and did most of its work here ; it) was only at the tail end of the investigation that it went to New South Wales.

Senator PEARCE - I am glad that Senator Millen made that interjection, because it only shows the necessity there is for Federal legislation. The Butter Commission was first appointed bv the Victorian Government, but it had not gone far in its investigation, when it found that the scope of its inquiries were Federal ; and it was at the request of the Butter Commission itself that it was converted into a Commonwealth body. Senator Millen has inferentially attempted to condemn the

Victorian grading system. We must not forget, however, that inferior butter was brought from Sydney to Melbourne, and there placed in boxes bearing the Victorian Government brand, and exported to England. Could there be any stronger tribute to the value of the grading system, or the value of the Victorian Government brand on the English market ? Senator Gray took up a. very peculiar position in this connexion : He condemned the Bill, lock, stock, and barrel, so far as it applies to the export trade, but blamed the Government because it does not apply to the Inter-State trade. Surely if an honorable senator believes that legislation of the kind will ruin our export trade, he should not ask to have it applied to the Inter-State trade. I must say that, in my opinion, it is a weakness in the Bill that it does not apply to our Inter-State trade.

Senator Walker - That is what Senator Gray pointed out.

Senator PEARCE - But if the Bill be bad. is it not fortunate that it does not apply to the Inter-State trade?

Senator Millen - But Senator Gray argued that if the Bill was a good one, it ought, mote particularly, to be applied to the Inter-State trade.

Senator PEARCE - Senator Gray objected to the Bill on the ground that there is no necessity for it. In my opinion the Bill is even more necessary in our InterState trade than in the foreign trade ; but I accept the present measure as an instalment. Senator Gray referred to the inquiries of ' a Select Committee in New South Wales into the reasons why people there will not buy Australian made articles. It has been found that a very good reason exists for a Bill of this kind, in. that boots are being imported, not only from other States, but, as Senator Gray forgot to mention, from England, and sold in New South Wales as American boots. At any rate, the Bill will prevent practices of that kind, so far as English goods are concerned, and if we had a measure covering the Inter-State trade, it would also prevent the other class of fraud. In my belief, if the boot manufacturers were alive to their own interests thev would sell Australian goods as Australian goods.

Senator Millen - Even after what the honorable senator has told us about leather?

Senator PEARCE - Yes, because the Australian manufacturer is not compelled to buy the inferior leather which is now sent to England, to the detriment of our export trade. Senator Gray reiterated the statement that Government assistance of any kind does not assist the dairying industry. As a matter of fact, Australia owes her dairying industry entirely to Government action. It was Government action that built up the industry, not only in Victoria, but in every other State.

Senator Millen - Not in New South Wales.

Senator PEARCE - -While in New South Wales there has never been a bonus, Senator Millen cannot deny that the dairy farmers there owe much of their success to the admirable assistance given by the Agricultural Bureau, in the shape of informative journals and experimental farms.

Senator Millen - There has been no direct Government assistance.

Senator PEARCE - Is what I have described not direct Government assistance? In New South Wales at the present time the State Government are doing more to assist the dairying industry than is being done by the Government of any other State; indeed, the New South Wales Government have gone to the length of importing stock, with a view to improving the dairy herds. Senator Gould empha-, sized at great length the protests of the Chambers of Commerce against this Bill, and argued that, as no one had petitioned in favour of it, we should therefore reject it. But are the consumers not to be considered? Are we to consider only the suppliers, who are in a minority? Personally, I consider the consumers first, and the suppliers afterwards.

Senator Millen - This Bill does not help consumers.

Senator PEARCE - Why should Senator Gould attempt to make capital out of the fact that the consumers have not loaded the table of the Senate with petitions ? But the consumers have no need to petition ; thev can judge by the tone of the debates that the Federal Parliament is in favour of this measure. In my opinion, the petitions from the Chambers of Commerce, and the opinion of Mr. Wade, are founded on an erroneous conception of the purpose and effect of this Bill. One has only to read the petitions in, order to see at once that they are practically a repetition of the arguments used in the leading articles of the conservative press of Australia.

Senator Best - How can the Chambers of Commerce be blamed in the light of the published statements of Mr. Wade? Nothing could be more misleading.

Senator PEARCE - We can hardly blame non-experts when we find a legal legislator falling into the error. The criticism of the Chambers of Commerce is, as I say, founded more on those leading articles than on the Bill itself. They have created for themselves a fictitious Bill, and they argue against a measure which does not exist. There are short-sighted individuals in the commercial community as elsewhere. We find people prepared to sacrifice the trade in which they make their living for the sake of a little immediate profit. The leather trade and the butter trade afford us illustrations of this fact. When the butter exporters put the inferior New South Wales butter into Governmentbranded boxes in Victoria, did they not know that they would thereby injure the butter trade of Australia? Of course they did ; but they went for the immediate profit. We have to recognise that the impelling force behind our competitive system is immediate profits, to the disregard of the ultimate effect of questionable practices ; and the kindest act we can do is to save those people from themselves. I do not take the guidance of the Chambers of Commerce in these matters, because, in the first place, they have been misdirected, and, in the second place, they are interested parties, who have shown a disposition to seek immediate gain even at the risk' of damaging trade. Our object should be to protect the consumers in Australia - to see that they are not sold shoddy goods instead of woollen goods, or cardboard boots instead of leather boots.

Senator Millen - How can we prevent that? Every pair of boots cannot be stamped.

Senator PEARCE - Such practices can be prevented by the Minister, under the power to make regulations. The stamp can be put on the samples imported.

Senator Millen - On the outside covering, which the purchaser does not see?

Senator PEARCE - An honorable senator, who is too ill to be present to-night, on one occasion showed us samples of children's imported boots which were absolutely made of cardboard. This was a fraud on the parents, and endangered the health of the children. We also' desire to prevent a buyer from getting ten ounces of glycerine in bottles .reputed to hold twelve ounces.

Senator Millen - This Bill will not help in that matter.

Senator PEARCE - Senator Gray suggested a very peculiar standard of commercial morality. He contended that, because such a practice was permissible in Eastern nations, similar liberty ought to be allowed to pur manufacturers, in order to enable the latter to compete; in short, that we ought to allow our manufacturers to cheat and be cheated.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator is doing Senator pray a gross injustice. That was not Senator Gray's meaning.

Senator PEARCE - Senator Gray pointed out that bottles which contained only ten ounces of glycerine were sold amongst Eastern nations 'as containing twelve ounces. I am now simply dealing with the cases actually quoted bv Senator Gray.

Senator Millen - But the honorable senator is not quoting Senator Gray fairly

Senator PEARCE - I am endeavouring to quote the honorable senator fairly, and I took a note of the cases as he cited them.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator cuts away the context altogether.

Senator PEARCE - Senator Gray said that Canada was producing hams which were labelled and sold as York hams on the markets of the world.

Senator O'Keefe - Senator Gray said that not one York ham in a thousand sold in London is a York ham, and he excused the practice.

Senator PEARCE - We want to protect our consumers.

Senator Mulcahy - What does the honorable senator propose to do?

Senator PEARCE - I am going to place the onus of risking a prosecution for false description on the importer. That is to say, if an importer knowingly imports hams from Canada, and labels them "York Hams," I propose to render him liable to -a prosecution for a false description.

Senator Millen - Suppose he puts the labels on them here, and after they have passed the Customs?

Senator PEARCE - That would be a matter for the States Government to deal with, and Senator Millen would be the first to raise an outcry if we endeavoured to trench upon the rights of the States in regard to it. We desire to prevent the importation, or I should say, perhaps, the return to Australia of Australian wine adulterated in France and sold here as French wine. We desire to prevent the importation of red lead under the title of cayenne pepper.

Senator Millen - How are we to prevent the importation of the wine? It may go home in bulk, and come out in bottles.

Senator PEARCE - I do not know that we can stop it ; but we can at any rate make the practice difficult and risky. We know that in these cases there is often collusion between the importer here and the manufacturer or adulterator abroad ; and if the importer knows that he is liable to be mulct in a penalty of f.200 for putting a false description on his goods, he may not be so anxious to do it. He may, perhaps, believe that it will pay him better to be honest. We are told that this Bill is going to injure the jam industry. I am reminded in this connexion of a little incident which occurred in Western Australia just prior to the establishment of Federation. A number of manufacturers in that State were strongly anti-Federal. They argued that their productions would be swamped by those of the manufacturers in the other States. One of the strongest of these antiFederalists was a manufacturer who had acquired some reputation as a maker of fig jam. Honorable senators may be aware that the fig grows luxuriantly in Western Australia, and very good fig jam is made in that State. This man contended that with Federation and Inter-State free-trade his jams would be swamped by cheap Victorian and South Australian fig jam.

Senator Millen - Then there were some protectionists in Western Australia?

Senator PEARCE - Yes ; all the manufacturers were protectionists at that time. The gentleman to whom I have referred had a most unfortunate experience. After he had appeared before a Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the question of Federation, and had recited his tale of woe, one of his employes prosecuted him for wages, and when the employe was asked what his duties were, he told the Bench that they were to cut up pie melons for the purpose of making fig jam. I do not know whether Victorian jam is made from vegetables or from fruit, but I do know that it has earned a very good name. I do not believe that Tasmanian jam would be injured in the slightest degree if it had to be sold as

Tasmanian jam made from fruit. I believe that the jam industry of Australia can compete with the jam industry of any other country, and when our jams are exported to the markets of the world, they should be labelled as Australian jams. We should not label them as French jams or as "Scotch marmalade." We should label them as Australian jam., and our manufacturers should sell them on their own reputations, and not on a borrowed reputation. I think that this Bill is necessary. It does not accomplish all I desire, but it goes a long way in that direction. I refuse to believe that the Government, by introducing it, are endeavouring to sneak in protection.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator has become very trusting of late.

Senator PEARCE - I remind honorable senators that a Bill of this character was introduuced by the Labour Government. Senator McGregor introduced in this Chamber a Fraudulent Trade Marks Bill, which was practically this Bill.

Senator Drake - That was a Bill of a previous Government.

Senator PEARCE - That is so; but it was adopted by the Watson Government, and, later on, by the Reid-McLean Government. Senator Symon announced that the Reid-McLean Government intended to take up that Bill also. So that, if this is an attempt to sneak in protection, an attempt was made by the Reid-McLean Government to sneak in protection.

Senator Millen - Surely the honorable senator does not say that the two Bills are the same

Senator PEARCE - I think they are practically the same. This Bill goes further, but I read in it the same provisions, slightly extended, as are contained in the Bill to which I have referred. I believe it will have a beneficial effect. It will minimize dishonest practices in connexion with our export trade, and secure for our products the reputation that, wherever the mark of the Commonwealth Government is found affixed to goods, that is a guarantee of their purity and quality. The effect will be that our producers will get higher prices for their products, and their products will also sell more readily in competition with those of other countries. On the other hand, the effect of such a measure will1 be to protect our consumers against the inferior and adulterated goods of other countries, sold here as reputed pure goods. As on the one hand it will serve to protect our producers, and on the other hand our consumers, I intend to support the second reading of the Bill.

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