Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Thursday, 9 August 1906

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator must not refer to debates of this session in another place.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I shall refer to what was, stated " elsewhere."

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator cannot get over the difficulty by that subterfuge. The standing order provides that -

No senator shall allude to any debate of the current session in the House of Representatives, or toany measure impending therein.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Very well, I shall not allude to what was said in another place. I desire to make a very important correction on behalf of South Australia. It has been stated that the harvester industry in South Australia has been crushed out by importations. It has been stated that it has been practically monopolized in that State by the American article. Isay that these statements are without a shadowof foundation.

Senator Playford - I never heard of them.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - That may be so. but it has been so stated and in most emphatic terms. I propose to submit to honorable senators the figures on thesubject, and to show that if there has been an interference in South Australia, with the local manufacturers of harvesters, it has. been an interferenceby the harvester manufacturers of Victoria. I am not complaining of that at all. I do not think that anyone has a right to complain of it. So long as we are a Federation, and the barriersbetween the States have 'been removed, trade must flow freely, and the manufacturers of the various States must take their chance of fair competition. But I think it important that these figures which I have taken some trouble to ascertain should be given. This is a. statement approximately of the number of stripper harvesters sold in South Australia between 1000 and 1905.

Senator Best - The honorable senator proposes to refer to sales of imported as. well as of locally-manufactured harvesters ?'

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Yes, I shall give the whole of the particularsas furnished to me. In 1900,in South Australia, the International Harvester Company sold no harvesters; the Massey-Harris Company none; McKay, of Victoria, sold 20. He was the only person who sold harvesters in South Australia that year. In that year nonewere sold in that State by Nicholson and Morrow, of Victoria ; by Robinson and Company, of Victoria; by May Brothers and Company, of South Australia; by James Martin and Company, of South Australia; or Hawke and Company, of South; Australia. In 1901, the International Harvester Company sold none ; the MasseyHarris Company none. McKay, of Victoria, increased his sales to 70. Nicholson; and Morrow, of Victoria, sold 36 ; Robinson and Company of Victoria, 10; and the South Australian manufacturers sold none. In 1902, the International Harvester Company sold none; the MasseyHarris Company 52 ; McKay, of Victoria, 100; Nicholson and Morrow, of Victoria, 1 2 ; Robinson and Company, of Victoria, 25. In this year for the first time theSouth Australian manufacturers began to sell, and May Brothers and Company, of that State, sold 20. Martin and Company 5, and Hawke and Company 5; so that half the harvesters sold in South Australia in1902 were sold by McKay. In1903 the International Harvester Companysold none, the Massey-Harris Company 129.. McKay 175, Nicholson and Morrow none,

Robinson and Company 75, May Brothers of South Australia, 55, Martin and Company 20, and Hawke and Company 20. In 1904 the International Harvester Company sold 25, the Massey-Harris Company 464, McKay, of Victoria,. 360, Nicholson and Morrow 35, Robinson and Company 150, May Brothers, of South Australia, 200, Martin and Company 40, and Hawke and Company 30. In 1905 the International Harvester Company sold 100, the MasseyHarris Company 199, McKay, of Victoria, 250, Nicholson and Morrow 45, Robinson and Company 100, May Brothers and Company, of South Australia, 75, Martin and Company 35, and Hawke and Company 35. The total sales in South Australia from 1900 to 1905 were - International Harvester Company, 125; the Massey-Harris Company, 844; McKay, of Victoria, 975 ; Nicholson and Morrow, 328; Robinson and Company,360; May Brothers and Company, of South Australia, 350: Martin and Company, 100; and Hawke and Company, 90. This gives a total of 2,972 harvesters sold, and of that number those sold by Victorian manufacturers totalled 1,463. That is just about one-half the total number. The total number sold by the importers was 969. and by South Australian manufacturers 504.

Senator Guthrie - The increased sales of locally-manufactured harvesters took place after the discovery that the importers were under-valuing their machines for Customs purposes.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - No.

Senator Guthrie - Yes, in 1904 and 1905.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - That did not affect the sales of the machines.

Senator Guthrie - It increased the local production of them. That is shown by the honorable senator's figures.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I am pointing out that the figures I have been able to obtain show that the statement that the imported harvesters had crushed out the manufacture of harvesters in South Australia is not justified.

Senator Guthrie - The Government of which the honorable and learned senator was a member increased the valuation of the imported harvesters, on which the importers were expected to pay Customs duties.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The honorable senator is referring to something which has no bearing on the matter to which I am directing the attention of the Senate. I amnot saying whether the valuation of the imported harvesters for Customs purposes, was increased or reduced, but that it is wrong to make a statement of the kind to which I have referred in the absence of any facts to justify it. If that statement is the ground upon which a measure of this kind is introduced In the interests of Mr. McKays all I have to say is that, so far from proving it, the approximate figures, so far as I have been able to check them, disprove that statement.

Senator Trenwith - How were the figures obtained ?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I obtained them, after the best inquiry I could make, from the International Harvester people, the Massey-Harris people, and so on. Honorable senators may check them if they please.

Senator Trenwith - I am not disputing them.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I understand that. No one complains that a man should do well for himself. If Mr. McKay desires absolute prohibition in respect of these machines, and is able to secure it, small blame to him; but the point is that he is the gentleman whohas been supplying the great bulk of the harvesters sold in South Australia. They have not been supplied by the importers, but by Victorian manufacturers, whoseenterprise and activity, and, if my honorable friends like, whose skill has succeeded to that extent in capturing the market.

Senator Trenwith - They commenced to make the articles first.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I do not know whether they did or did not.

Senator McGregor - The honorable senator's figures show that they did.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - No ; my figures show that theyfirst began to sell them in South Australia.

Senator Trenwith - As a matter of fact, in the first years which the honorable senator quoted, no harvesters were made in South Australia.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I should think that at the time no harvesters were made in South Australia, but that is immaterial. I am not quoting these figures with the view of suggesting sympathy or any thing of that kind. That is not the point on which we are engaged. The manufacturers of South Australia must take their chance, because, whilst we may seek to prohibit importations, which is undoubtedly the object of the second part of the Bill, that will not benefit them if the injury to their factories arises from the keener competition of a better article made in Victoria.

Senator McGregor - Did the honorable senator ever hear one manufacturer in South Australia complain of the manufacturers in Victoria or anywhere in Australia? Never.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I am very glad to hear that statement, and it is what I should expect from the manufacturers of South Australia. I am glad that they stand out in startling contrast to the attitude, and, for the matter of that, the conduct of the chiefmanufacturer of these harvesters in Victoria.

Senator Guthrie - They were the first to complain about the imported harvesters being dumped upon them.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I shall leave my honorable friend to get reconciled with Senator McGregor.

Senator Guthrie - I was the first to ventilate their complaint.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - My honorable friend is always first and generally last. Whilst we are asked to pander -I hope that we shall not - to the motive or cause, or operative reason for this Bill attributable to Victoria, let us also think of whether, even if we rectify anything, if there is a grievance in relation to harvesters, we may be doing a very grave injury in other directions.

Senator Walker - To the consumer, for instance?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Ishall deal with the consumer in a moment. It has been brought under my notice lately - and I am convinced that the grievance which will arise under the Bill is just - that it will not merely strike the importation of harvesters, but will strike the importation and the use of machinery used largely in the boot trade, which cannot be otherwise acquired. That ought to make us pause before we pass a measure of this kind. It may be like a boomerang. It may hit one object, but it may come back, and do damage in another direction. I am no authority on the matter, but I have gone into a statement of the position, and, so far as Icanjudge. it is a true one. There are in existence now agreements with boot manufacturers, probably in Victoria, but certainly in South Australia, for the use, upon royalty or licence, of machinery made in America, which the owners will not sell, and which they willonly let, so to speak, on licence.

Senator Millen - These agreements are in existence in New South Wales too.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I have no doubt that that is so, if my honorable friend makes the statement.

Senator McGregor - And in Western

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - These machines belong, I shall assume, to a body of: persons, or company, who would constitute a combine 'or a commercial trust under this measure. But that is one of the trusts or combines as far as I am aware, which come within the definition that the Minister gave of what might be a good and beneficial trust. They acquire patents. It is their business to be on the look-out for improvements in bootmaking machinery, to examine whatever patents are offered to them, to reject those which are useless or not of much value, and to accept those which are of value. It is their business to encourage men to exercise their brains in the way of making improvements in machinery, and appliances in connexion with that particular department of trade and manufacture. And by reason of that their machinery is, I am told the very best in the world.

Senator Playford - If it is patented machinery, that gives a monopoly in itself.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I am not talking about patenting. If that is a combine, in this Bill there is a provision that no person, either as principal or agent, is to enter into any contract or to continue to be a member of, or engage in any combination in relation to trade or commerce with other countries or among the States with intent to restrain trade or commerce to the detriment of the public; and every agreement of that character which is open to be attacked on that ground is declared to be null and void.

Senator Best - The honorable senator must assume that there will be a reasonable amount of common-sense exercised in administering the law.

Senator Trenwith - It will not apply to existing agreements.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - It will, because the word "continues" is used.

Senator Trenwith - That refers to the case of a man who continues to be a member of a trust.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Clause 4 leads as follows: -

1.   Any person who, either as principal or as agent, makes or enters into any contract, or is or continues to be a member of or engages in any combination, ' in relation to trade or commerce with other countries or among the States - is guilty of an offence.

Penalty : Five hundred pounds.

2.   Every contract made or entered into in contravention of this section shall be absolutely illegal and void.

Senator Trenwith - " Entered into in contravention of this section."

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - A man will engage in the combination if he become a party to it.

Senator Trenwith - Could he enter into an agreement in contravention of a section before it had become law ?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The clause will apply to a man who continues an agreement into which he has entered beforehand.

Senator Trenwith - No.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - My honorable friend will have an opportunity of dealing with that point if the Bill should get into Committee. I am putting now the view which I take of the effect of this clause and other provisions. In my opinion, they would, if passed, bring into peril those boot and shoe manufacturers who, under an existing agreement, have that machinery, or who hereafter introduce it into their factories. The result would be that we should have to follow up this legislation with a Bill which, when an - agreement became void, would confiscate the machinery, the honest property of somebody else, or else we should ruin the boot manufacturer who had the machinery on his premises. No one can deny, as the Minister of Defence said, that there are good combines and bad combines. Therefore, if the Bill does not discriminate so far as mere restraint of trade is concerned, it ought not to be placed upon the statutebook.

Senator Playford - It must be proved that the combination, is to the detriment of the public.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I am coming to that point in a moment. I have referred honorable senators to specific matters which might have been alluded to. Is there any reason for the Bill because of any lessened prosperity of the Commonwealth? Is there one particle of evidence on which the Senate can be asked to pass the Bill because of injury detrimental to the public? According to statistics we have seen in Victoria, which islargely. honorably, and profitably associated with manufacture, perhaps, to a greater extent than any of the other States, the prosperity is absolutely unparalleled. So far as I am aware, there never has been anything like the prosperity indicatedby the figures which the Government Statist of this State published in the Melbourne press yesterday. The earning power per head of the people of the State is the greatest in the world. In Canada it is£16 5s., the United States£14 14s., the United Kingdom£7 18s. 6d., and Victoria . £27 19s. 6d.

Senator Pearce - And yet, according to special articles in the press, people are starving in this city.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - My honorable friend knows perfectly well that that is a subject upon which a great deal may be said, but it does not affect the point to which I am directing his attention. He will admit that it is a remarkable fact that the prosperity of Victoria is absolutely unprecedented. The prosperity of the whole of Australia, we know, is unprecedented, but I am proud to think that the prosperity of Victoria isof the character which these figures indicate. Where is there anything in that to justify the introduction of this Bill?

Senator Playford - The honorable senator wants some injury to be done before he will bring in a Bill to deal with it.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I do notwant some injury to be done.

Senator Trenwith - We are very prosperous, and we could be more prosperous if we had wiser legislation.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - That I admit, and I hope thatmy honorable friend will join with me in repealing some provisions of Commonwealth laws which are exceedingly unwise.

Senator Trenwith - And to make some wise ones.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I am content with my honorable friend's admission that there is unwise legislation.

Senator Trenwith - There is not sufficient wise legislation.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Let me now refer to the returns which were published the other day in the Victorian Gazette. It is a most remarkable fact that during the last three or four years, in almost every department of metal -work and machinery, there has been an increase. This Bill is directed to the supposed buttressing up of, or preventing destruction coming upon, the manufacturers of agricultural implements. It is a remarkable thing that contemporaneously with its introduction we find an increase-- ;a substantial increase from vear to vear - in the number pf hands employed, an expansion of that very business which, if we believe the heading of the Bill, is threatened with destruction.

Senator Guthrie - Yes ; but why take the figures for Victoria?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I am giving the figures for Victoria because they are up-to-date.

Senator Guthrie - Why not give us the figures for the Commonwealth ?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The honorable senator can give the figures for the Commonwealth. I prefer to deal with one thing at a time. In the agricultural implement-making business of Victoria the number of hands employed was 789 in 1902, 1,114 in 1903, 1,496 in 1904, and 1,624 in 1905 - a gradual increase to more than double the number of hands employed in the first-mentioned year. Surely that indicates expansion, prosperity, and not that diminution in this particular branch of manufacture that we have been led to believe had taken place.

Senator Trenwith - Has it struck the honorable and learned senator that the first year which he mentioned was a year of failure in wheat-growing throughout Australia? I refer to .1902.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I do not know, but I will accept what my honorable friend says. That remark is, of course, applicable all round. A statement was made some time last year, when the agitation about harvesters began, that Mr. McKay had had to dismiss 150 employes. But he dismissed them because the harvesters were all sold for that season. And so it is with other elements that are applicable to the fluctuations of trade. I do not know whether mv honorable friend Senator Trenwith 's statement is right or not. But all such considerations affect the fluctuations of production. When production fluctuates we ought not to say immedi ately, " Oh, that is owing to the importation of harvesters, ploughs, and harrows from America and England." Instead of there being any specific injury which is sought to be cured by this Bill, no instance of the kind has been given. On the contrary, there is general prosperity in all branches of trade and production, and there is a particular expansion in that very business of agricultural implement manufacturing which is said to be the immediate occasion for the introduction of this Bill.

Senator Best - What has the honorable senator been quoting from?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - From the Victorian Government Gazette of Tuesday, July, 24. The figures are signed by the Government Statist. I have also an abstract which appeared in the press of a report bv Mr. Harrison Ord, which shows a great increase in the registered factories in Victoria. He goes back as far as 1886, when there were 1,949 registered factories with 39,506 employes. Without troubling the Senate with the intermediate years, I come down to T905, when there were 4,623 registered factories, and 63.270 employes. There was a steady increase each year under Federation. The number of registered factories in 1901 was 4,238. The number had increased last year by 400 additional factories. The hands employed were 56,945 in 1901, and 63,270 in 1905.

Senator McGregor - Is not that immense progress in five years in a new country like this !

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I think it is magnificent progress for Victoria, with her diminishing population - for Victoria had already reached the zenith of manufacturing enterprise before Federation. It is a magnificent result, especially when we find that New South Wales and the other States are also going ahead in manufacturing progress, and that Victoria has to face their competition. It is satisfactory and substantial progress, of which this State ought to be extremely proud.

Senator Drake - Especially compared with the condition of some of the other States.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Quite so. Looking at the facts which have been brought before the Senate, I say that this Bill has been introduced absolutely without any cause. If that were all, it would not justify what my honorable friend the Minister argued that it is desired to lay in a stock of physic against the patient's getting ill. It would have been a sort of explanation of the position to say, " Oh, the Commonwealth Parliament has not much to do that is of importance, and may as well occupy itself upon a Bill of this kind, as, perhaps, adjourn, or be engaged upon something more mischievous." But I complain that this Bill is not merely inoffensive and useless, but that it will have a tendency to throw trade and commerce into the law Courts.

Senator de Largie - Surely the honorable senator does not object to that !

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - If I were looking at this matter from a lawyer's point of view only, I should say that it offers a splendid vista of prosperity for the legal profession. From the point of view of a citizen I look upon it with regret, though from the point of view of the profession it might be regarded with rejoicing. I deplore it. We .ought, in dealing with trade and commerce, to keep them as far as possible from the law, and as : fat as possible within the ambit of 'arrangements that are consistent with the methods of conducting them which have generally prevailed throughout the Commonwealth. We have no instance of combines and trusts here. They may or may not exist ; at any rate, there is none that is mischievious. Happy is the country of which that can be said ! If we desire to facilitate the admission of the free air of competition, which we are told has been interfered with, or can be interfered with, I say Jet us do it by some means' by which we shall not run the risk of throwing every business of any magnitude into the law-courts. It reminds me of that old and well-known book, Gulliver's Travels. Honorable senators will recollect that when Gulliver got amongst the Lilliputians he found himself bound, or attempted to be bound, hand and- foot with pack thread and other like ligaments. It is a singular thing, but my recollection is that the land of Lilliput is described by Swift as lying north-west of the island of Van Diemens Land ! And so we have in this Bill the great trade and commerce of this vast continent attempted to be laid by the heels and bound hand and foot by a lot of puny ligaments. I put that argument, because, not merely does the Bill invoke the law courts in every line and every clause, but when you have done that your efforts will fail, because I predict that you will never be able to carry- it out. I do not wish to say anything about the Government being sincere or not sincere in bringing in this Bill. But if there is any sincerity in its purpose, I do say that there will be failure in its performance.

Senator McGregor - Why should the honorable senator frighten people about the Bill if it will not hurt them?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - It is because it will frighten them that I object to it. They need not go to their lawyers to learn how to avoid it. Even my honorable friend would have wisdom enough to advise them that they could easily get through a Bill of this kind. But if you put such a measure on the statute-book, you cause litigation, you cause difficulty and trouble, and you interfere with the operations of trade. My honorable friend appears to have very little appreciation of the sensitiveness of trade. This Bill professes to remove restraints, whereas it creates a great many more than it removes. Before referring to the clauses of the Bill, I should like to say that monopolies are not, of course, to be confused with a greatly extended or greatly expanded business. An individual with considerable capital, with capacity, power of production, and other advantages, may so manage his own business as to bring it to such a pitch of pertfection and power that it may amount to a practical monopoly.

Senator Fraser - That is often the case.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Are honorable senators going to interfere with that kind of thing- - to prevent that expansion which is the very life-blood of trade and commerce ?

Senator Best - Certainly not.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I am glad to hear that, but I will point out how this Bill does interfere in that respect. Here I should like to pay my tribute to a speech recently delivered by Mr. Harper. I will not say where it was delivered, in obedience to your ruling, Mr. President, but I will say that I read it, and read it with attention, and that it is in itself one of the most statesmanlike speeches delivered by a man of experience and knowledge of trade in this country, that it has ever been my lot to look through. The foundation of all legislation, of this kind rests upon the feeling that anything in the nature of restraint of trade is obnoxious. The Bill has no object whatever unless it professes to prevent that. The phrase " restraint of trade" is used in t'he Bill. It is a term that is commonly understood. It occurs certainly in the earlier clauses, beginning with clause 4. But the real effect, as far as I can gather from the rest of the clauses, will be to restrain trade in Australia. We have had laid before us - and we are indebted to the Government for them - a number of papers giving information as to what has been clone in other countries. There is no legislation in any country that at all approaches this Bill. In the ordinary law of England there is the great doctrine that any contracts which are in restraint of trade are void as against public policv. It needs no Bill or measure of this character to establish that proposition; and that is the law in Australia, as well as in England. It is the same law which existed so long ago as the time of Queen Elizabeth, when monopolies - that is, true monopolies - were granted bv the Sovereign, giving the exclusive right to sell, and thus leading to the raising of prices. These monopolies were put a stop to, because the people of England were sp roused in consequence of the injustice caused by their exactions that they were on the brink of revolution. The Queen's Ministers were approached, with the result that a number of the monopolies were swept away. The same principle underlies the legislation in America ; and on this point I shall read not more than one or two passages, though I invite honorable senators' attention to the principles which are laid down in the laws which have beam passed in that country. The law in the States of Arkansas, as shown in the 'circulated paper No. 14. is directed to combinations which tend to lessen free competition in the importation, production, or sale of goods. That is the cardinal idea which runs through the whole of the legislation in America. If those combinations lessen free competition, or result in regulating or fixing prices, they are deemed to be conspiracies, punishable by imprisonment or fine. At page 9 of the very interesting digest of cases which has been furnished to us. honorable senators will, find the law shortly stated to the same effect - the keynote is combinations tending to lessen free competition or importation. At page 7 in the digest of cases there is one headed The United States v. the Chesapeake Ohio

Fuel Company,and the Court in giving judgment said -

The important question is not whether the performance of the contract so far has resulted in actual injury to trade, but whether the contract confers power to regulate and restrain trade, upon those charges with its performance. . . It looks to individual competition, rather than to combinations, for the benefits which are to follow and flow from commerce between the States, and, in the exercise of its constitutional power, has prohibited all combinations which restrain trade. It is for Congress to determine whether the policy it has adopted shall be maintained as the one which will best promote the interests of the country, or whether it shall abandon that policy, and place the Inter-State commerce of the country_ in the hands of combinations. But until Congress takes that course, as long as this Act remains upon the statutebooks, it is the duty of the Courts to condemn every contract which necessarily in its performance involves a restraint of trade, although it may not extend to the point of a monopoly of all that trade.

What I desire to make clear to honorable senators is that the principle which ought to underlie this legislation, and which does underlie the legislation of other countries, is that there must not be anything that will operate in restraint of trade. Any restraint of trade is obnoxious to the law of England, and obnoxious to good sense and the interests of trade and commerce, as well as to the best interests of the people. If there is anything in the, nature of restraint of trade it ought to be wiped away. and free play of competition allowed.

Senator Dobson - Is not fixing prices restraining trade?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - That depends.

Senator Dobson - There is an authority which says that, whether the combinations are reasonable or not, they are illegal.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - If the honorable and learned senator thinks that fixing prices is in restraint of trade he- wi 1 act on that opinion.

Senator Best - There are several cases in which the Courts say so.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - There are not, as Senator Best will find. I have looked into the cases with some care.

Senator de Largie - It is not fair competition

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Why not ? What we have to look to is the consumer. If prices were fixed at a rate that allowed no profit - if goods were given to the consumer without any profit - surely the honorable senator would not suggest that that was in restraint of trade.

Senator de Largie - l t might be.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - It might or it might not be; but, at any rate, it would not be so in the sense in which the phrase is used in this particular legislation.

Senator Trenwith - But it might be done with a view to 'Crushing another company.

Senator Playford - If a case went to Court, the Judge would have to decide what was restraint of trade.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The Minister shunts the whole matter on to the Court. This is a Bill to open the doors of the Court.- so that the commerce and trade of the country shall become a matter of litigation. It may be right to have such legislation; but all I desire to call attention to at present is that the Bill goes altogether beyond legislation elsewhere. The sections of the Sherman Act are not given in full in the documents which have been circulated, but they are stated sufficiently, and I have taken an opportunity to look at the Act itself. The important fact is recognised that in America the means of transport, which are a great aid to combinations, are in the hands of private companies. Of course, that state of things does not exist in Australia ; and there is not here the opportunity for those abatements and differentiations of rates which are most facile means of creating monopolies and combines in the United States. After passing that by, the compiler of the digest says -

While the Inter-State Commerce Act has no relation to trusts or combinations engaged in the manufacture, production, and sale of merchandise (its provisions relating only to the rights, liabilities, and duties of common carriers), this later statute (Sherman Anti-trust law) is of universal application, its purpose being to prohibit every contract or combination in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States or with foreign nations, whether made by carriers, manufacturers, producers, or shippers.

That is all. We have only to look at our own Bill to see that it goes altogether beyond the American legislation, and introduces a number of complications, which, if the object had been the same as in the United States, would tend to defeat it. The digest goes on to say that every contract in the form of a trust or otherwise - it does not matter what it is called - or con spiracy in restraint of trade or commerce, is illegal. That has nothing to do with the intent to interfere with other manufacturers, or anything of that kind, but deals simply with combinations in restraint of trade, or of commerce amongst the several States. Every combination which has that for its object is void, according to the law of England, and the American Statutes, going further than the ordinary common law, says that it shall be a misdemeanour. It makes that which, without this positive law, would be void and unenforcible by civil action, a criminal offence. That is the extent to' which it goes, with various incidental provisions.

Senator Playford - There is liability to heavy fine, as well as imprisonment.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Exactly; it is a criminal offence punishable by fine and imprisonment. The Sherman Act is simply directed against restraint of trade, and combinations in restraint of trade. What is the case in Canada and New Zealand? , In Canada, the Act, which is referred to in the digest, was passed in 1904, but in 1897 there was a general Tariff Act passed, containing a most excellent principle. If the Bill before us had proceeded on die same lines, I should have given it my unhesitating support. Section 18 of the Canadian Act of 1897 provides - -

Whenever the Governor-General in Council has reason to believe that with regard to any article of commerce there exists a trust, combination, association, or agreement of any kind amongst the manufacturers of such article, or dealers therein -

Honorable senators will see that this does not deal with importation, which is left untouched.

Senator Trenwith - They do not require that in Canada; they have a Tariff sufficient.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Now we have it ! This, then, is a specific Act for prohibition, because the Tariff is not high enough. We are having a Tariff fight - I am not complaining of the interjection of the honorable senator-

Senator Trenwith - The honorable senator is placing on the interjection . a construction that it does not properly bear. I say that in Canada they do not require a Trust Act to deal with importations, because thev have none.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - They have a great deal ; but my honorable friend's interjection, if "it means anything - and I do not think I atn going too far when I say this - means that this Bill is practically an addendum to the Tariff, for the purpose of prohibition. I pause to say that, if that be the case, the Bill is before this Parliament under false pretences, and that it ought not to be passed if it is' intended as an addendum to the Tariff, and not merely as a Bill to promote freedom of trade.

Senator Trenwith - That does not do justice to mv interjection.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I have no wish to do any injustice to the honorable senator, but I think that is a statement which is a perfectly just inference from what he said. If the honorable senator does not think so, he will be able to explain later. I continue the quotation from the Canadian Act -

Whenever the Governor in Council has reason to believe that with regard to any article of commerce there exists any trust, combination, association, or agreement of any kind among manufacturers of such articles or dealers therein, to unduly enhance the price of such articles, or in any other way to unduly promote the advantage of the manufacturers or dealers at the expense of the consumers -

Senator Best - We had a similar provision in a draft Bill in 1902.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - In the Victorian Parliament?

Senator Best - No, in the Commonwealth Parliament, if I remember rightly.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I do not remember it, but I will say that that is a perfectly legitimate thing to do. This law has regard for the interest of the consumer, and I venture to say that it is the interest of the consumer that should be paramount in matters of this kind. That, at any rate, is the Canadian law, but that provision is unfortunately not abstracted in the papers submitted to honorable senators. An amendment of the Canadian Tariff Act was passed in 1904, with the object of dealing with what, in this Bill, is called "dumping." I should say that this term appears here for the first time in any Act of Parliament as far as I am aware. I certainly never saw it in an Act of Parliament before. The compilers of the digest submitted to honorable senators refer to the Canadian Act of 1904, as one dealing with " dumping." The Canadian Act does not use that term, and the way in which it deals with it is totally different from that adopted here. The Canadian Act deals with the matter in a sensible way. What is it that we desire to prevent? Surely we do not desire to prevent the consumer getting the benefit of the importation of cheap goods? If a man secures a bargain in England by the purchase cheaply of articles of good1 quality, and imports them to Australia, surely the consumers are entitled to the advantage of that purchase .if it is offered them? Why should the importation of those goods be prohibited, I should like to know? The Canadian people have not said that such importations shall be prohibited. It iswith them merely a question of Customs duties. What the Canadians have said is that if bargains are obtained in the mother country or in America, 'and are imported into Canada, the value of goods for the purpose of Customs duty must not be taken to be the bargain value, but must be taken to be the actual value in the place of export. That is perfectly legitimate for the purpose of duty.

Senator Best - Is that section 18 ?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - No, that is in the Canadian Act of 1904, which is cited in the digest as against dumping. What is our provision against dumping? It is to exclude the goods altogether. A more monstrous thing was never suggested, and there is, no precedent to be found for such a course in any of the Acts recommended for our consideration and guidance. Section 19 of the Canadian Act of 1904 provides that -

Whenever it appears to the satisfaction of the Minister of Customs, or of any officer of Customs authorized to collect Customs duty, that the export price or the actual selling price to the importer in Canada of any imported dutiable article of .1 class or kind made or produced in Canada is less than the fair market value thereof, as determined according to the basis of value for duty provided in the Customs Act in respect of imported goods subject to an ad valorem duty, such article shall in addition to the duty otherwise established, be subject to a special duty for Customs equal to the difference between such fair market value and such selling price : Provided, however, that the special Customs duty on any article shall not exceed one half of the Customs duty, otherwise established in respect of the article - except in regard to certain articles enumerated in a schedule attached to the Act. Honorable senators will see that in this Bill we are being asked to prohibit the importation of these cheap goods, which might be for the benefit of the consumer. Why should we penalize him? Why should he be punished simply because goods are being imported cheaply ? It seems to me, and I think honorable senators will say the same, that in theBill the Government are in this respect proceeding on an altogether fallacious basis. Then I come to the New Zealand Act, and what does it provide? It proceeds in this matter on the same basis as the Canadian Act. It does not prohibit the importation of any goods. Of course, honorable senators are aware that it is limited in its operation to agricultural implements and so on, but it does not prohibit their importation. It does not say thatharvesters shall not be imported into New Zealand, but it says that if they are imported, and that by their importation substantial injury is done to the local industry, a bonus up to a limit of 33 per cent. may be allowed to the local manufacturer in order to compensate him for the injury. As honorable senators will see, the consumer is protected, under the New Zealand Act. I never knew, and I challenge any honorable senator to produce, a law from any civilized country which prohibits the importation of goods which, are bargains, so to speak, and which are sought to be sold cheaply in the country to which they are imported. Yet that is what we are asked to do in this lovely Bill !

Senator de Largie - Every effectual protectionist duty is such a law.

Senator Drake - Is prohibition?

Senator de Largie - Yes.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - It is not anything of the kind. But we are not dealing with the question of the Tariff, and I am objecting now to the introduction, under cover of promoting free competition and destroying monopoly, of a Bill intended to bring about prohibition, and prohibition, honorable senators must remember, which does not injure the exporters front the oversea country, but which injures and punishes the consumer, whether rich or poor, in this country. Human nature likes a bargain, and why should the consumers of thiscountry be deprived of bargains in the shape of cheap goods simply because some local trader has a big stock of them, not necessarily locally manufactured at all, and chooses to send in a complaint to the Minister, and get this complicated law put into operation to keep them out ?

Senator de Largie - Because their cheapness may lead to a destruction of trade.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I shall come to the destruction of trade, and the honorable senator will see how little there is in that.

Senator McGregor - That is the only case in which the provision would be effective.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I shall endeavour to satisfy my honorable friend on that point. At any rate, this Bill is aimed at the prevention of this free importation, and I say that that is the real object of the measure. In respect to the demolishing of restraints of trade the measure is a perfect sham. It pretends to remove restraints with one hand, and at the same time fastens them on to a greater extent with the other. It attempts to attain two diametrically opposite objects. It seeks, on one hand, to create a means of prohibiting the import of cheap foreign goods, and on the other hand to prevent any trust or individual unduly raising the price of necessary commodities against the people. In considering the clauses of this Bill it is well that we should' remember that our power in this respect is limited. Honorable senators will recollect that we have no power to deal with trade which is confined in its operations to any one State. Our only power in this matter is to deal with trade and commerce between the States and with foreign countries. Clauses 5 and 8 are certainly couched in a form of words which makes it extremely doubtful if an attempt might not be made under this measure to interfere with trade which is absolutely confined within a particular State. Clause 5 provides that -

Any foreign corporation -

And, by-the-bye, I do not know how we are going to get at a foreign corporation.

Senator Playford - We shall get at them when they send their goods here.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - It is an utter impossibility to get at a. foreign corporation under this Bill -

Any foreign corporation or trading or financial corporation formed within the Commonwealth -

And that may be a State corporation - which either as principal or agent makes or enters into any contract or engages or continues in any combination -

Senator Playford - Only with a certain object.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I do not care what the object is. I am sure that Senator Playford has not applied his mind to this particular matter. The question I am raising is whether the Bill does not, in terms, extend to corporations engaged in trade within the limits of a particular State. Clause 8 uses the same Ian guage, and will, in my view, have the same effect. It provides that -

Any foreign corporation or trading or financial corporation formed within the Commonwealth, which monopolizes or attempts to monopolize or combines or conspires with any person to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce within the Commonwealth -

That is not an exercise of the power we possess, a power which is exceedingly well defined in the digest of cases to which I think we may all refer with advantage. I can refer honorable senators to statements appearing on pages 6 and 7 of that digest which show clearly what the scope of our power is ire dealing with these matters. I quote from a judgment of the Supreme Court of the United States -

If, therefore, an agreement or combination directly restrains not alone the manufacturer -

That is not enough. The- restraint of manufacture alone does not come within the power of the Commonwealth - but the purchase, sale, or exchange of the manufactured commodity among the several States, it is brought within the provisions of the Statute.

On the same page it will be found that the learned Judges said -

We conclude that the plain language of the grant to Congress of power to regulate commerce among the several States includes power to legislate upon the subject of those contracts in respect to Inter-State or foreign commerce which directly affect and regulate that commerce.

A little lower down on the same page I find this -

The question is- as to the effect of such combination upon the trade in the article, and if that effect be to destroy competition, and thus advance the price, the combination is one in restraint of trade.

Although the jurisdiction of Congress over commerce among the States is full and complete, it is not questioned that it has none over that which is wholly within a State, and therefore none over combinations or agreements, so far as they relate to a restraint of such trade or commerce.

Again, in connexion with the Coal Trust case, at page 7 will be found a. passage which I have already read, and une sentence of which I shall read again -

Hut until Congress takes that course, as long as this Act remains upon the statute-books, it is the duty of the Courts to condemn every contract which necessarily in its performance in- volves a restraint of trade, although it may not extend to the point of a monopoly of all' that trade.

And, again, the Supreme Court of Ihe United States says -

To the extent that the present decree includes in its scope the enjoining of defendants thus situated from combining in regard to contracts for selling pipe in their own State, it is modified and limited to that portion of the combination or agreement which is Inter-State in its character.

If the Bill should get into Committee, these two clauses will, therefore, require very grave consideration so as to prevent the possibility of their being construed, or being supposed to apply, to trades or manufactures limited in their operation within the boundaries of the State. I wish now to direct attention to the clauses under the head of " Repression of Monopolies " to show what they mean, and how thev are to be carried out. In the first place, honorable senators will see that the object goes far beyond the legislation to which I have referred. The first clause says -

Any person who either as principal or as agent, makes or enters into any contract, or is or continues to be a member of or engages in any combination in relation to trade or commerce with other countries or among the States -

That is intended to meet combinations and trusts, and persons engaged in them," or entering into contracts with them in Australia. It goes on to say-

(a)   with intent to restrain trade or commerce to the detriment of the public -

Why should it say " with intent " ?

Senator Trenwith - Because that is made a criminal offence punishable by a fine of ^500.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - What is the . good of putting in the words " with intent " ?

Senator Trenwith - Surely it is necessary to provide that intent shall be proved if we are going to punish people criminally.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - It mav be.

Senator Playford - And if a man did it innocently he would not be punished.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - How is it proposed to prove this intent? It never could be proved.

Senator Trenwith - Then people never would be punished.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Exactly.

____ 4_

Senator Playford - It will only frighten them.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I have endeavoured to show honorable senators that the objects of the Bill are, in my view, a sham ; but if they are a reality, the intention never could be carried out.

Senator Playford - There will be no trouble.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I happen to know what the trouble is in these matters.

Senator Trenwith - It would be very difficult to prove a case.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Why should the words " with intent " be put into our Bill when the Sherman Act in America does not contain them?

Senator Dobson - We ought to use the words " shall have the effect of restraining."

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - All I wish to point out is that the whole of the Bill is perfectly crude, ill-considered, and absurd. .

Senator Trenwith - The Bill provides two ways of dealing with the cases. Under another clause, the authorities can annul the agreement by injunction. Where it is intended to punish, it will be necessary to prove intent.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - My honorable friend says that the authorities can annul the agreement by injunction.

Senator Best - If I remember aright the expression, " with intent " was specially inserted by the other House.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The better way would be to strike out the whole clause.

Senator Best - No, only the words *' with intent."

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - My honorable friends are asked to enact that an Australian may enter into an arrangement in relation to trade or commerce - with intent to destroy or injure by means of unfair competition any Australian industry.

Do they imagine, or has there ever been a suspicion, that an Australian would enter into an arrangement to destroy an Australian industry?

Senator McGregor - Yes, any number of them.

Senator SirJOSIAH SYMON - My honorable friend lives in a strange kind of atmosphere, and knows people different from those with whom I am in the habit of coming into contact. I cannot conceive how such an absurd thing could be put into the Bill. Under the next clause, any foreign corporation, or trading or financial corporation formed within the Commonwealth is to be left free, so. far as regards the punishment which is the essence of the Sherman Act, unless this intent can be proved.

Senator Trenwith - The authorities could annul the contractby injunction.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The contract would be annulled under the provision, and not by injunction.

Senator Trenwith - If intent be proved.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - All that could happen would be that the contract would be annulled. But let us see the other pit-fall. Not merely has the intent to be proved, but clause 6 says -

For the purposes of the last two preceding sections, unfair competition means competition which is unfair in the circumstances.

Who is to determine that? There are certain instances given, and one of them is -

If the defendant is a Commercial Trust.

As the Minister of Defence said, we might have a beneficial commercial trust. But if we did, then, simply because it was a trust, the arrangement into which it entered, or its existence, would establish that the competition was unfair. Is that a just or a reasonable provision to put into a Bill of this description? Then clause 6 goes on tosay -

If the competition would probably or does in fact result in an inadequate remuneration for labour in the Australian industry.

Of course that is what I call the pretence of protecting labour. What would have to be proved ? According to clause 3 - " Inadequate remuneration for labour " includes inadequate pay or excessive hours or any terms or conditions of labour or employment unduly disadvantageous to workers.

Before we could reach the person whom it was desired to get at, it would be necessary to prove an intent to destroy, and that it was by means of unfair competition, and unfair competition would have to be proved - because it is not assumed - by usurping the functions of Arbitration Courts, Wages, and Factories Boards. It would also involve an intrusion into the State domain, and a determination by the Court at the instance of the person who said that his business was injured by unfair competition. An inquiry into all these things - as to whether or not the allegation was made out, that the employes would be likely to be subject to inadequate remuneration - opens up a vista of difficulties, which would render it impossible of effect, and the investigation would have to , take place in a Law Court. So whenever any provision in this part of the measure was sought to be brought into force, the operations of the importer or person who had entered into an agreement would be paralyzed, and. trade to that extent would be stopped, while the investigation was going on. And of course every manufacturer or trader who chose to say that a particular importation or arrangement or combine was likely to injure him, would endeavour to make out that the employes were inadequately remunerated within the large scope of the definition of "inadequate remuneration" in clause 3.

Senator McGregor - According to the honorablesenator's statement that could not be done, so that it does not matter.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - That is just what the man would try to do. My honorable friend may let Mr. McKay alone for trying to get within the provision. Again, what is meant by the word " service " in clause 7 ? It says -

Any person who monopolizes or attempts to monopolize, or combines or conspires with any other person to monopolize, any part of the trade or commerce with other countries or among the States, withintent to control, to the detriment of the public, the supply or price of any service.

Does that mean labour? . I do not know what it means.

SenatorPearce. -Woulditmeana shipping service?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I think it isperfectly clear that, for one thing, the trade unions would come under the provision.

Senator Pearce - They would be proved to be beneficent trusts.

Senator Millen - That would not keep them outside the operation of the measure.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I should think that the word "service" would mean labour.

Senator Dobson - It means transportation.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Is it limited to transportation?

Senator Dobson - I do not say that it is limited, but that is its meaning in the American cases.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Where?

Senator Dobson - All through the American cases the honorable senator will find that it means that.

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON.Probably it would include transportation, but it would also include everything in the nature of service. At any rate, we shall have an opportunity of considering the point when we get into Committee. It is a singular thing that in the United States there seem to have been very few proceedings under the Acts to which attention has been called. If this is an abstract of all the cases which have taken place, as I presume it is, certainly, so far as the United States is concerned, we find that only one case occurred in 1891, 1895, 1897, 1898, 1900, 1903, and 1904.

Senator Pearce - Are not these quoted as specimen cases?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Of course, that may have been intended, but it does not appear to be so, because at the bottom of the page there is given a reference to five other cases. If it is meant to be a compilation of all the American cases on the subject, with the enumeration at. the foot, then the number is very limited.

Senator Pearce - I think that the law books in the Library show that there have been a great number of cases.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I hope that that is so. There is not the same opportunity for litigation in America as there would be under this measure, because' it would be open to any one who wished to disturb trade to initiate a proceeding of this kind. Therefore, the probability is that there will be a greater crop of that kind than there is in America. To come briefly to the second part of the Bill, I point out that here, for the first time in our legislation, the term "dumping" is used. I can understand legislation to prevent the raising of prices, but I cannot understand legislation to prevent the lowering of prices. The person who benefits in the latter case is the consumer. The objection which this Bill is supposed to meet in Part III. is in regard to the importation of goods to bring down prices.

Senator Trenwith - Is it not a fact that prices have been brought down in order to raise them afterwards? Does not every one remember that in the old days coaches used to be run for nothing in order to secure a monopoly, and then raise prices ?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - But we are talking about general importations. It is improper, in my opinion, to seek to stop importations simply because they may have the effect of making the manufacturers reduce their prices.

Senator Playford - Because they may have the effect of ruining manufacturers.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Then attain the object through the Tariff if you object to importation. Why should we have a Bill of this kind brought in to prohibit importations, when .the right way of doing that is by altering the Tariff? Let us confine ourselves to one method of doing it. We have no right, to prevent the importation of goods which cheapen prices to the consumer. What is the use of laying before the Senate a quantity of information with regard to what has been done in other countries if it is not to guide us?

Senator Trenwith - Other Acts may guide us without our copying them.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - They do not guide us at all, because we are proceeding upon a totally different principle.

Senator Trenwith - The facts show that other legislation has been too weak. We are guided to that extent.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The information which has been circulated has been put before us to justify this Bill. My objection is that it does not justify the Bill at all. It merely throws Bust in the eyes of the Senate. Let us discard these other examples altogether if we are not to be guided by them. The New Zealand Act is founded upon the principle of regulating importations and encouraging free competition. So is the Canadian Act. There is also a provision in the New Zealand Act which, I think, we might well have followed. It exempts British manufacturers from the operation of the law. Surely, if we are going in for imperialism and preferential trade, it should not be mere lip service. Why should we not introduce a provision of that kind into this Bill ?

Senator Trenwith - One thing at a time.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - My honorable friend is an. advocate of preferential trade, and he should agree with me that in legislating in this direction we have an opportunity to show our affection for the mother country, and our desire for reciprocal trade. I am an advocate of reciprocal trade, too, and shall make an effort in this direction in Committee. I wish to call the attention of honorable senators to the extraordinary way in which these anti-dumping provisions are to be enforced. In the first place there is to be a complaint in writing to the ComptrollerGeneral. When he receives that complaint he is not to act unless he has reason to believe the following things: - In the first place, he must be satisfied that there is a person importing with intent to destroy or injure any Australian industry. In the second place, he has to be satisfied that it is an Australian industry that is being injured. It is not every Australian industry that is protected. He has to satisfy himself that the Australian industry affected is one which is advantageous to the Commonwealth, having due regard to the interests of producers, workers, and consumers. It has to be an industry in which, in the opinion of the Comptroller-General, the majority of the workers receive adequate remuneration for their labour, and are not subjected to unfair terms and conditions. He has judicially to inquire into all this. That is the preliminary investigation that has to take place. Before the matter passes through this labyrinth, the importer will probably be ruined. In addition to all that, the Comptroller-General has to be satisfied that the Australian industry is being, injured by unfair competition. If honorable senators look to what is unfair competition they find that* that also is covered by a very elaborate set of provisions. The conditions set out in sub-clause 2 of clause 18 have to be fulfilled. The competition is deemed to be unfair if it - would probably or does in fact result in an inadequate remuneration for labour in the Australian industry.

Senator Playford - The ComptrollerGeneral would not act unless he was satisfied.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Does my honorable friend think that these provisions are simple ?

Senator Playford - No, they are not simple.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Then my honorable friend agrees that they are exceedingly complex. The ComptrollerGeneral has to be satisfied that the competition - would probably or does in fact result increating any substantial disorganization in Australian industries or throwing workers out of employment.

He has also to be satisfied that the imported goods have been purchased abroad - at prices greatly below their ordinary cost of production where produced or market price where purchased.

He has to be satisfied, further, that the imported goods - are being sold in Australia at a price which is less than gives the person importing or selling them a fair profit upon their foreign market value or their fair selling value if sold in the country of production.

He has to satisfy himself of one or all these things before he is entitled to certify under clause 19 - which, by the way, applies as well to single individuals as to combinations. Having ascertained all that, the Comptroller-General has to certify to the Minister a number of things. He has to certify -

(a)   The imported goods; (b) The Australian industry and goods; [c) The importer; (d) The grounds of unfairness in the competition; (e) The name, address, and occupation of any person (not being an officer of the Public Service) upon whose information he may have acted.

It is hard, it seems to me, upon the individual trader who is kept in suspense all this time, his goods being heldup, and it is hard on the consumer who is kept out of his cheap bargain. In the next place, this process having been gone through, the importer is to have an opportunity of showing cause. The Minister may then refer the matter to. a Justice who has to decide.

Senator Trenwith - Where is the provision for holding up the goods all this time ?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Under clause 20 the goods are not allowed to be imported unless the importer gives a bond. The importer is not allowed to deal with the goods from the date of the Gazette notice until the publication of the determination of the justice.

Senator Mulcahy - Otherwise, what would be the good of the restriction ?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - No good at all. It is provided that the goods, which are the subject of the investigation, shall not be imported, but must be kept in bond. Within, what time could the ComptrollerGeneral investigate the question of the conditions of the industry? How long a time do honorable senators think the Comptroller-General ought to have to investigate whether the conditions of remuneration are just?

Senator Playford - The importer could alwaysget his goodsby giving a bond.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - What right is there to impose such a condition on a free subject of the Commonwealth? Suppose the importer is not able to give a bond? It is a small satisfaction to the importer that he may give a bond, when he is refused the power to import, and placed in the position of a culprit. Then, this provision would prevent the circulation of the goods amongst the Australian people.

Senator Playford - Let the importer give a bond.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - What right is there to demand a bond, or to prevent the free circulation of the goods? The importer is not doing any wrong, and the people of Australia are entitled to have the goods circulated.

Senator Trenwith - The inference of the honorable senator was that, possibly, an innocent person might have his goods " held up " ; and obviously an innocent person would be willing to give a bond.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Obviously, he ought not to be called upon to give a bond. On what principle can we demand a bond from a person who is importing goods? I cannot regard a man as guilty under the circumstances. This portion of the Bill, I understand, deals with what is called " dumping."

Senator Playford - Do I understand that the honorable senator is in favour of dumping ? "Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON.- What I understand is that the Government are endeavouring to prevent the importation of cheap goods.

Senator Playford - Which would unfairly compete with our own manufactures.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - That is another matter altogether. This portion of the Bill, I understand, is designed to prevent the importation of cheap goods.

Senator Trenwith - The honorable senator may believe that to be so, but that certainly is not the object.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The Government are seeking to stop the importation of cheap goods.

Senator Playford - Which unfairly compete with the goods of our own manufacturers.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - But goods which it is desired to import may be held up on complaint being made by anybody who chooses, to the ComptrollerGeneral., An importer, knowing that a rival was about to import a large stock of cheap goods, might in this way be able to put a " spoke " in his rival's " wheel." The goods would then be held in bond, and, in the meantime, the trader who had made complaint would be getting rid of his goods, and the other man might be ruined. Anything more unjust or unfair never was proposed. The next step is that the Ministermayrefer the matter to a Justice; and the reference has to be notified in the Gazette. The question to be decided by the Justice is the extraordinary one whether the goods are being imported with the intent alleged, and, if so, whether the importation should be prohibited - it is a matter of opinion - either absolutely or subject to any specific conditions, restrictions, or limitations.

Senator Mulcahy - That provision very badly requires explanation.

Senator Playford - A Justice will be capable of determining that question all right.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I. deeply regret that the duty of interfering with, or regulating, matters of trade should have been imposed upon a Justice of the High Court. These are not the sort of questions that ought, in my humble opinion, to be referred to a Justice. Under the Bill the Justice is asked to determine whether the industry is one which comes within the category I have mentioned, and whether a majority of the workers receive adequate remuneration. Such questions are proper, it may. be for a conciliation and arbitration tribunal, or a Wages Board, but are notsuch as, in the first instance, ought to be submitted to a Justice of the High Court. In matters relating to trade the tribunal ought to be one associated with trade.

Senator Pearce - The difficulty is to get an impartial tribunal.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I think honorable, members, on looking at these clauses, will agree with me that, for many obvious reasons, the Justices of the High Court should not be brought into an atmosphere of this kind. This is not a proper subject for judicial investigation ; it is infinitely better that matters of trade should be dealt with as matters of trade. Such a question as whether or not goods should be imported would be far better settledby those conversant with the practical bearing of the principles of trade and commerce. It appears to me that the provisions relating to dumping are extremely complex, and have been very little considered.

Senator Playford - They have been very carefully considered.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The provisions appear to me to have been put in such a form that, while they will not carry out the object which I attribute to the "Government in introducing the measure, they may have the effect of inflictingvery serious injury on innocent persons. Then, in my opinion, it is scarcely the way to refer to the highest tribunal in this country to provide that the Justice shall proceed1 to " expeditiously " and "carefully" investigate and determine the matter. I think that, at any rate, we might have left those terms out.

Senator de Largie - The Judges might prefer that somebody elseshould take the work.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - That point is not dealt with in the language which I have quoted. I am merely pointing out that it is very unusual, when imposing a jurisdiction on any particular tribunal, whether it be the highest or the lowest, to say. that it shall " expeditiously " and " carefully " do its duty.

Senator Pearce - That, I suppose, is to reassure the importers.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I do not know what is the object, but, at any rate, it is not the sort of phraseology I like to see. I feel very strongly that the Bill, which purports to be conceived from the stand-point of freeing trade from restraints, and securing and enlarging free competition, will by no means have that effect, but will introduce restraints infinitely greater than those it professes to remove. I am of opinion that the Bill will do incalculable mischief, so far as regards the free flow of trade and commerce in this country. For those reasons I prefer to consider what further course I shall myself take. I should like the Government to withdraw or postpone the Bill for the purpose of reconsidering its provisions. It would be desirable,. I think, to have a postponement until we have had an opportunity to carefully consider the evidence taken and the reports by the Tariff Commission on the one subjectwhich notoriously has brought about the introduction of the Bill. It has not, in my opinion, been considered as fully in its details as it might have been, and, while, in words, it recognises free competition, .it, in effect, hampers and defeats free competition. The Bill professes to secure freedom from all restraint of trade, while it involves trade in fresh meshes. No destruction of industries has been established, and nothing in the nature of predatory assault has, been suggested, which it is necessary to repel under the provisions of such a Bill. I am as anxious to encourage industries as anybody could possibly be in a legitimate and fair way but when I find the natural industries of Australia enjoying a period of unexampled prosperity - when I find the manufacturing industries of Victoria enjoying similar prosperity - I say, with all emphasis, that we ought to leave well alone. We may meddle only to mar.

Debate '(on motion by Senator McGregor) adjourned.

Suggest corrections