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Tuesday, 21 August 1906

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - It is my intention to deal with several matters when we reach the Committee stage, and at present I shall confine myself to only one or two aspects of the Bill. It has been argued that this is a. Bill to prevent unfair competition; and in this connexion I may quote a circular which came into my possession yesterday. It is from an Adelaide firm representing the Colonial Oil Company, and is as follows: -

We beg to advise you that the Colonial Oil Company have decided to continue the rebate to retailers, and rebate will be paid accordingly on your purchases of American " White Rose " kerosene during the six months ending 31st December, 1906, and following six-monthly periods until further notice, provided you sign a declaration form stating that you have neither bought nor sold any other than American " White Rose " kerosene during each six-monthly period. As it is just possible you may have purchased kerosene other than " White Rose " since 30th June last, we beg to say that this will not disqualify you from claiming rebate on your purchases during the present six-monthly period, provided you do not continue to purchase any other kerosene after receiving this notification that the rebate to retailers is to be continued.

When this Bill was introduced the Colonial Oil Company apparently imagined that they would be brought under its provisions, and thereupon notice was given to customers that the rebates would be discontinued. During the discussion of the measure, however, the Colonial Oil Company appear to have altered their opinion, and, coming to the conclusion that the Bill will not affect them, they have boldly issued the circular which I have read.

Senator Millen - Is not that just the class of case the Bill was supposed to touch ?

Senator GUTHRIE - I think so; but we have seen legal senators taking opposite views on that question.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - The case of the Colonial Oil Company has not been mentioned before.

Senator GUTHRIE - That is so; but the whole question of rebates and monopoly of custom has been before, us. There is no doubt that this is a conditional rebate. The circular continues -

It is claimed that the discontinuance of the rebate to retailers does away with the retailers' profit on "White Rose" kerosene, and for this reason the Colonial Oil Company have decided to continue the rebate to retailers. The purchase of "Royal Daylight" kerosene, or any other oils of which the Colonial Oil Company are the sole importers, does not invalidate your claim for rebate on American "White Rose" kerosene.

Senator McGregor - Who constitute the Colonial Oil Company?

Senator GUTHRIE - The company is represented in Adelaide by Messrs. Wilkinson and Company.

Senator McGregor - Has the Colonial Oil Company anything to do with the Standard Oil Company P

Senator GUTHRIE - The Colonial Oil Company is virtually the Standard Oil Company.

Senator Higgs - Then " Colonial Oil Company " is a false description ?

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - What "do the rival oil people say?

Senator GUTHRIE - The British Imperial Oil Company says that this practice of the Colonial Oil Company amounts to undue competition.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Why does the British Imperial Oil Company not also give discounts?

Senator GUTHRIE - Because I understand it cannot afford to do so.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Does the British Imperial Oil Company want a higher price?

Senator GUTHRIE - The British'Tmperial Oil Company sells at the same price, and all it asks is that conditional bargains of the kind shall be made illegal.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Who gets the benefit? I should think the consumer:

Senator GUTHRIE - The BritishIm.perial Oil Company has issued the following circular: -

For some time past there has been considerable competition in Australia between the respective trading companies in kerosene, with the result that one company has adopted the principle of granting a conditional special rebate per gallon to customers who deal exclusively in their brands of kerosene. We would respectfully ask your support in suppressing the rebate system by introducing into the present Anti-Trust Bill a clause to prevent any company attempting to monopolize the trade by the granting of conditional rebates. We feel sure that practically every dealer in kerosene would prefer to have an open market, and would welcome an Act to suppress the granting of conditional rebates, which are detrimental to both retailers and consumers. We take this opportunity of enclosing a copy of the circular issued, and which we think speaks for itself.

Senator Drake - The honorable senator ought to move an amendment which would have the effect desired.

Senator GUTHRIE - I am not prepared to do that. The only position I take up is that in the oil trade there are these special rebates ; and the same practice is carried on iri the other large manufacturing industries throughout Australia. The Colonial Sugar Refining Company, I believe. adopt exactly the same principle, with the result - I do not grumble at it - that it has virtually shut Mauritius sugar out of the Australian market.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - That is all in the interest of local industry.

Senator GUTHRIE - In the case of sugar, the practice is in the interest of local industry. I desire now to deal with the matter referred to by Senator de Largie, who condemns the shipping companies for doing exactly what the Colonial Sugar Refining Company does, and what the oil manufacturers propose to do.

Senator de Largie - That does not make the practice right.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Does Senator Guthrie think' that the shipping combine is injurious?

Senator GUTHRIE - I shall deal with that point presently. What I desire to show now is the exact position in regard to freights or. the Australian coast. I have gone to some trouble to obtain figures, which were received in answer to advertisements inserted in the English newspapers, calling for tenders to carry the principal products of Australia along the British coasts. Although in Australia double or treble the rates of wages have to be paid, and the cost of all necessaries is relatively higher, the shipping combination in Australia is charging less freight, mile for mile, than is charged on the British coasts. I do not think that any honorable senator would attempt to compare ocean carriage with coastal carriage. In the case of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company there is protection against the outside world, and yet rebates are given. But in the case of the shipping industry, in which a large amount of capital is invested, and which is most important to Australia, affording, as it does, employment, directly and indirectly, to a large number of men, there is absolutely no protection - no subsidies, no bounties, or assistance in any way from any State.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Why should the industry have assistance?

Senator GUTHRIE - I am not saying that the industry should have assistance, but merely pointing out that it has had to rely on itself.

Senator de Largie - And it is very able and fit to do so.

Senator GUTHRIE - It has been said that outside the combination there is no competition;' but I can1 prove the contrary. In Western Australia the other day tenders were called for the carriage of mails along the southern coast, and that contract was obtained by the owner of the steamer Maitland, in competition with the combination.

Senator de Largie - Who is the owner of the Maitland*

Senator GUTHRIE - A private owner in Sydney. Then, from Fremantle, along the whole length of the north-west coast, there runs a line of steamers registered in Singapore.

Senator de Largie - That line is in the ring just as is the Adelaide company.

Senator GUTHRIE - The line of steamers of which I speak has nothing to do with the Shipping Federation.-

Senator de Largie - It works hand in hand with the Shipping Federation.

Senator GUTHRIE - It has nothing to do with the Shipping Federation, which, has taken the precaution to register under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. I do not say that the Shipping Federation has been ' compelled by law to take this step, but, if it did not, the GovernorGeneral would have power to compel it to register. At any rate, the federation has become an association for the purpose of fighting labour.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.

Senator GUTHRIE - There is a question which I should like to put to the Minister, and which he can answer when he makes his reply, because it may help some of us considerably in coming to a decision.

Senator Playford - I do not propose to reply. I think we have had quite enough discussion on this measure.

Senator GUTHRIE - I desire to get from the Minister some information in order to decide how I shall vote.

Senator Playford - What is the point?

Senator GUTHRIE - When a question is put, the Minister in charge of the Bill ought to be prepared to give a reply, especially when it comes from a supporter. The Oil Company is a corporation which has its head-quarters outside the Commonwealth, and with which, therefore, we cannot deal. It ships its oil to an agent in each State, who transacts all the business with the retailer, and the whole transaction takes place within the boundaries of that State. Can the provisions of the Bill reach the people within a State who are not transacting business outside its limits ? Or will it be an infringement upon State rights ?

Senator Playford - If the people are a corporation, we believe that we can deal with them in the State, but if they are individuals, we cannot deal with them.

Senator GUTHRIE - Suppose, for instance, that Burns, Philp, and Company, in Svdney, were agents for the British Imperial Oil Company, and the distributor's of its oil throughout New South Wales, would the provisions of the Bill reach the firm as agents for the company ?

Senator Playford - That is a legal question which I should not be expected to answer right off.

Senator GUTHRIE - It is a point of some importance, I think, because, otherwise, every provision of the Bill could be evaded by a corporation through merely appointing an agent in "each State to transact its business therein.

Senator Playford - The chances are that the agent would come under the first part of sub-clause 1 of clause 4 -

Any person who either as principal or as agent enters into any contract..

Senator Drake - That relates to trade amongst the States, but Senator Guthrie is talking about trade within a State.

Senator Playford - That is a legal question which I cannot be expected to answer now... I can get an answer from the Attorney-General, though.

Senator GUTHRIE - Before we are asked to give a vote, we should understand clearly how far-reaching the Bill may be. We ought to know whether the Bill would meet such a case as I have put, or whether it could be evaded by the agent. Reverting te the question of rebates, so far as my knowledge goes, the ship-owners have n loose federation.

Senator de Largie - .What does the honorable senator call a close one ?

Senator GUTHRIE - :Each company in the federation has, I believe, a distinct and separate existence, with its own offices, officers, and capital. That is why I used the term " loose federation.." There can be no doubt that it is a combine. I have had some connexion with the combine in relation to wages and working conditions. Prior to its formation each one of the six companies forming the combination was enjoying free competition, and trying to steal all the trade it possibly could from the others. Literally they were cutting one another's throats by competing against each other. Two or three boats would be leaving a port on the same day, and each would take about a third of a cargo, and at a rate of freight which did not pay the owners for the cost of handling it. If the boat of another company came into port three or four days later, when no boats were leaving, up would go the rate of freight to considerably higher than it is to-day. Unnecessary tonnage was run ; ships made trips with nothing like a fair loading; and wages fell by one stroke 30 per cent.

Senator de Largie - Wages were higher before the companies federated than they have been since.

Senator GUTHRIE - I admit that some time prior to the formation of the federation the wages were higher, but at its inception they were 20 per cent, lower than they are to-day.

Senator Henderson - How many years ago?

Senator GUTHRIE - In 1891, 1892, and 1893.

Senator Croft - The federation has only been in existence a few years.

Senator GUTHRIE - It has been in existence since 1894.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - I suppose that freights were lower.

Senator GUTHRIE - On some days freights were lower, and on other days they were higher.

Senator Henderson - The honorable senator is taking the most depressed years in Australia.

Senator GUTHRIE - At any rate, wages came down, and not one of the six companies paid a penny in the way of dividends to its shareholders. I feel sure that, so far as the steamers were concerned, the shareholders did not benefit one penny from low freights on certain* days and higher freights on other days. When he was before the Navigation Commission, Mr. Glassford, who is one of the leading produce merchants in Melbourne, and who spoke not only for himself, but for a majority of the produce shippers in Victoria, said that they hailed with satisfaction the formation of the combine, because they knew exactly now when boats would sail, what the freights would be, and that every one .would be on a level footing in that respect.

Senator de Largie - Probably he was afraid to say anything else, for fear of the manipulations of the ring.

Senator GUTHRIE - I would not say that. I believe that Mr. Glassford is just as independent as any man I know in Victoria to-day, and I do not doubt for a moment the evidence which he gave before 'the Royal Commission.

Senator de Largie - What did the merchants in Brisbane say?

Senator GUTHRIE - I am going to show what ground there was for the merchants in Brisbane making the complaints they did. In that city we had evidence given on each side. We had evidence similar to that given here by Mr. Glassford, as well as evidence to the effect that the shippers were being " bled " by this huge monopoly.

Senator de Largie - By a. witness who was a member of the shipping ring.

Senator GUTHRIE -- That evidence wag given by a witness who, I believe, was manager for a company which was agent, not only for ships in the combine, but for outside ships. What was the extent of the "bleeding" that took place? I have already stated that the figures I possess can be taken as authentic. The

English figures were got by calling for tenders, and the Australian rates are rates which are not charged to one firm, but which are charged to every shipper. For the first time to-day, I have heard that there are secret commissions. I am not aware that there are secret commissions in the Inter-State trade. There was no such evidence given before the Navigation Commission. I heard it stated that there were rebates.

Senator de Largie - And secret commissions.

Senator GUTHRIE - No; I heard that the same rebates were given to every firm which shipped all its goods by the company.

Senator de Largie - Mr. McPherson was the witness who said that secret commissions were given.

Senator GUTHRIE - No.

Senator de Largie - He read a letter from the secretary of the Chamber qf Commerce, who made that charge.

Senator GUTHRIE - He said that rebates, not secret commissions, were given to those who shipped all their goods by one company.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Is not that like the case of the Oil Company?

Senator GUTHRIE - Exactly.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - The Honorable senator is defending one and condemning the other.

Senator GUTHRIE - I have neither condemned one nor commended the other. What I have said so far has been that to the workers the combine has not been an evil,- I have tried to prove that when there was free competition the steamers reaped no benefit. I have instanced the case of Western Australia.

Senator de Largie - What trade is there outside the shipping ring?

Senator GUTHRIE - Only a "few months ago a combination of Broken Hill companies called for tenders for the carriage of coke to Port Pirie, and of ore and bullion to Sydney. The combine, which has a monopoly of the coastal trade, did not get the contract, which was for the carriage of 1,000,000 tons of ore per year. It was obtained by Scott, Fell and Company, of Sydney.

Senator Croft - There was a number of vessels running back empty from Port Pirie.

Senator GUTHRIE - Exactly. Again, between Melbourne and Launceston, the

Union Steam-ship Company is faced with opposition from outside the ring. Between Tasmania and Adelaide, there is also opposition from outside the ring.

Senator de Largie - What sort of opposition ?

Senator GUTHRIE - There are steamers running from Tasmania to Adelaide

Senator de Largie - What is the tonnage ?

Senator GUTHRIE - I cannot tell the honorable senator exactly now.

Senator de Largie - According to the figures given to the Navigation Commission, the tonnage was less than 10,000 tons, and that out of nearly '200,000 tons.

Senator O'Keefe - And by steamers which did' not carry passengers. '

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - What Senator Guthrie says is that it is a very large but only a partial monopoly.

Senator GUTHRIE - The coasting trade is open to any one who may choose to come in and compete for it. Again, for years the firm of J. and A. Brown have been running steamers independent of the monopoly, and, I believe, are doing a verygood business, too. Let me now compare the freights from London to Aberdeen, a distance of 430 miles, with the freights between Sydney and Melbourne, a distance of 576 miles. Flour is carried from London to Aberdeen in small lots at 12s. 6d. per ton, and from Sydney to Melbourne at 7 s. 6d. a ton, with 20 per cent rebate.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - What does the honorable senator mean by a small lot ?

Senator GUTHRIE - Perhaps 5 or 10 tons. On the Australian coast, the combine carries any quantity - from 1 ton to 10,000 tons - at 7s. 6d. per ton, with 20 per cent rebate.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - What is the freight from Adelaide to Melbourne?

Senator GUTHRIE - Flour is carried from Adelaide to Melbourne, a distance of 504 miles, at 7s. 6d. per ton, with 20 per cent, rebate, while from London to Cork, a distance of 536 miles, it is carried at 8s. 6d. per ton.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - I cannot understand the verv much higher freight between London and Aberdeen.

Senator GUTHRIE - The difference is exactly the same as exists between Adelaide and Fremantle.

Senator Playford - Why is the freight to Cork so low in comparison with that to Aberdeen ?

Senator GUTHRIE - Because there is not the back loading which is obtained from Aberdeen. From Fremantle to Adelaide, there is virtually no back loading.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - They have a great passenger traffic, though.

Senator GUTHRIE - Yes.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - But they have not much passenger traffic from Aberdeen to London.

Senator GUTHRIE - Have they not?

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Not with steamers.

Senator GUTHRIE - They carry a great many passengers and mostly on deck like cattle. On jute sacking and yarn, the freight from London to Aberdeen is 14.&. 6d. per ton, and from Svdney to Melbourne, 10s. a ton. On drapery goods and woollen goods in bulk, the freight from London to Aberdeen is 27s. 6d. per. ton:

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - What is the use of the honorable senator quoting those figures, if he does not give the rates of freight for the back loading, and what there is to be carried?

Senator GUTHRIE - I am giving the particulars from one port to another. Drapery and woollen .goods in bales are carried from London to Aberdeen at 27s. 6d. per ton. They are carried from Sydney to Melbourne for 10s. per ton, or 17s. 66. a ton less for a distance of 130 miles more. Wines and spirits in bulk are carried from London to Aberdeen for 20s. ; from Svdney to Melbourne for 12s. 6d. Wines and spirits, in case, are carried from London to Aberdeen for 27s. 6d. ; from' Melbourne to Sydney for 12s. 6d. Next, take freights from London to Leith, a distance of 404 miles, as compared with the voyage from Sydney to Brisbane, 510 miles, or 106 miles more. Flour is carried from London to Leith in 20-ton lots and upwards at 10s. 6d. per ton ; from Sydney to Brisbane for 7s. 6d. per ton, less 20 per cent, rebate.

Senator O'Keefe - Where does the rebate come in?

Senator GUTHRIE - The companies pay a' rebate, provided the exporter gives a monopoly of his carrying trade. Jute goods are carried from London to Leith for 12s. 6d. per ton; from Sydney to Brisbane for jos. Woollen goods are carried from London to Leith for 30s. ; from Sydney to Brisbane for 10s., or £1 per ton less, although the distance is 106 miles greater.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - There is something wrong with those figures.

Senator GUTHRIE - I challenge any one to find inaccuracies in them.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Where do they come from?

Senator GUTHRIE - I have compiled them myself from data that cannot be contradicted. Next, take the voyage from, London to Cork, a distance of 536 miles. Flour is carried from London to Cork for 3s. 6d. per ton. It is carried from Adelaide to Melbourne, a distance of 504 miles - 32 miles less - for 7s. 6d., less 20 per cent. Wheat is carried from London to Cork for 15s. 6d a ton; it is carried from Adelaide to Melbourne for 8s. a ton, less 20 per cent. Oilmen's stores are carried from London to Cork for 32s. 6d. ; from Adelaide to Melbourne for 10s. per ton, or 22s. 6d. per ton less. Horses are carried from London to Cork for 62 s. 6d. each ; from Adelaide to Melbourne, 35s. each.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - These figures only show that we do not need an Anti-Trust' Bill. '

Senator GUTHRIE - -They show that the accusations that have been made about' cruel freights have no ground whatever.

Senator de Largie - Why did- the honorable senator sit and listen while witnesses made those charges before the Navigation Commission?

Senator GUTHRIE - I had not this information in my possession at that time.

Senator O'Keefe - It shows that the shipping combine is not injurious.

Senator GUTHRIE - Exactly. It is difficult to get on the English coast line such distances as we have in Australia. I have therefore been obliged to stretch out a little, and take Norway and Sweden into the calculation in order to secure a comparison. From London to Christiana the distance is 656 miles. I compare that voyage with the distance from Adelaide to Melbourne, 504 miles - or 152 miles less. From London to Christiana flour in large parcels is carried at 7s. 6d. a ton; flour, irrespective of quantity, is carried from Melbourne to Adelaide at 7s. 6d. per ton, less 20 per cent.

Senator Playford - The honorable senator is giving us freights from England to Christiana. Let him tell us the freight on butter and other commodities to London.

Senator GUTHRIE - I cannot.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - What is the use of the figures, then?

Senator GUTHRIE - Horses are carried from London to Christiana for 63s. each ; they are carried from Adelaide to Melbourne for 35s. Fodder goes from London to Christiana for 10s. a ton ; it is carried from Adelaide to Melbourne for 10s. a ton. That is the only instance where freights are equal1 in this comparison. Drapery, cotton and woollen goods are carried from London to Christiana for 13s. 4d. per ton, plus 15 per cent. ; they are carried from Adelaide to Melbourne for 10s. a ton. There is no rebate in that case. Next, I wish to get a distance to compare with that between Adelaide and Fremantle. The distance from London to Belfast is 712 miles; from Adelaide to Fremantle it is 1,380 miles - nearly double the distance. It must be remembered at the same time that there is back loading from Belfast to London, whereas there is comparatively little from Fremantle to Adelaide. Drapery is carried from London to Belfast for 41s. iod. per ton ; from Adelaide to Fremantle for 20s. per ton, or nearly 22s. per ton less for double the distance.

Senator Pearce - I had some goods taken to Western Australia, and paid more than that.

Senator GUTHRIE - The honorable senator sent them through a middleman. Wines and spirits are carried from London to Belfast at 34s. 4d. per ton ; from Adelaide to Fremantle at 22s. 6d.

Senator Croft - Those stores are rarely carried from Adelaide to Fremantle; they come to Western Australia direct.

Senator GUTHRIE - Any quantity of goods are taken from Melbourne and Adelaide to Western Australia. Oilmen's stores are taken from London to Stockholm, 1,127 miles, for 20s. a ton; they are carried from Adelaide to Fremantle, 1,380 miles, for 20s. a ton, less 10 per cent, rebate. Fodder is carried from London to Stockholm for 29s. a ton; from Adelaide to Fremantle for 10s. a .ton, less 10 per cent, rebate. Unfortunately, I have left in my bag some figures which I intended to quote in regard to passenger fares on the English coast, and on the Australian coast. I shall quote them in Committee. I may, however, say this - that a better class of boats than are employed on the Australian coast is not to be found in any part of the world. In respect of accommodation, attendance, and catering the vessels on our coast are equal to any that I know of in any coasting trade in any part of the world, and the fares will compare favorably with those charged elsewhere. I had prepared these figures for another purpose, but I thought it just as well to give the Senate the benefit of them now. With regard to the Bill itself, I say frankly that I do not like it. But it has been stated that under our Constitution we have no power to nationalize monopolies. The very fact that an honorable senator has introduced a Bill for the purpose of enabling a referendum to be taken on that subject affords proof that in' the opinion of others, as well as myself, we have not that constitutional power at present. My opinion is, therefore, that it would be as well to adopt this as a tentative measure. I think there are brains enough in Australia, without going to America, to devise means to cope with our own situation. However, in my opinion, the true remedy for any monopoly that may spring up is nationalization. I wish to refer to one other matter before concluding. During the debate, a considerable amount of discussion has taken place regarding the boot industry. A desire has been ex -' pressed that a document quoted by Senator McGregor should be laid upon the table of the Senate. Inquiries have been made as to how that desire could be met, and I hope, Mr. President, that you will excuse me for re-reading the declaration quoted by Senator McGregor in order that any honorable senator who chooses may afterwards move that it be printed. It will then be in the possession of the Senate. I also intend to read some other declarations bearing upon the same question, and which also can be laid upon the table. The declaration quoted by Senator McGregor was as follows: -

I, William Marshall, of 30 Russell-street, Melbourne, formerly of Nott-street, Port Melbourne, shoe manufacturer, do hereby make oath and say that -

In the year nineteen hundred and one (1901) I entered into a contract with the United Shoe Machinery Company of America for the leasing of a consolidated hand method lasting machine. One of the conditions of the lease was that I had to pay them about seventy pounds (£70) cash when the machine was installed, and thereafter a royalty of fifty-two pounds (£52) per annum (this is as far as my memory serves me).

The United Shoe Machinery Company further protected themselves by insuring the machine for the sum of three hundred or three hundred and fifty pounds, for which I was conditioned under the lease to pay the insurance premiums.

On 17th September, 1901, my factory was totally destroyed by lire, and in the general destruction the lasting machine was ruined.

The United Machinery Company not only collected the insurance on the machine, but, acting under another condition of their "lease," demanded and took possession of the "remains" of the machine, and would not make any refund of the original payment (seventy pounds), nor would they rebate anything out of the insurance money, which they collected, and the premium for which I had paid.

As far as I remember, the machine was installed only about' two months prior to the happening of the fire. It had therefore hardly been used.

Wm. Marshall.

Declared before me this 19th day of July, in the year 1906.

C.   J. Ham, J. P.

Senator Millen - If the machines belonged to the company, why should they he expected to pay a portion of the insurance money to any one else?

Senator GUTHRIE - That is not the question.

Senator Millen - It is one of the complaints.

Senator GUTHRIE - No ; the complaint is that a royalty had been paid in advance, and that no allowance was made for that.

Senator Dobson - What was the value of the machine?

Senator GUTHRIE - It was insured for £300 or£350.

Senator Dobson - The value might have been more than that.

Senator GUTHRIE - It is not likely that, when the lessees had to pay the insurance premiums, the company would insure the machines for less than their value.

Senator Millen - Insurance companies would hardly allow insurance up to 100 per cent.

Senator GUTHRIE - Most of them do, and are glad to get business. Senator Pulsford said regarding the matter -

I am in a position to say that it was absolutely unjustifiable, and is not borne out by the facts.

Senator Millen - Whatis the honorable senator reading ?

Senator GUTHRIE - From a statement regarding Senator Pulsford's remarks.

Senator Millen - A statement of Senator Guthrie's own?

Senator GUTHRIE - Yes.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Prepared by himself?

Senator GUTHRIE - Not quite; on information received.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - From Marshall ?

Senator GUTHRIE - From Marshall and others.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - These affairs happened five years ago.

Senator GUTHRIE - Mr. Marshallis still living.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - He has forgotten all about it.

Senator GUTHRIE - No, he has not. He has made a declaration, dated19th July. I am making this statement from information which I have received, very much as the honorable senator himself sometimes makes statements.

Senator Millen - I wanted to know the authority.

Senator GUTHRIE - It is a statement of facts.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - They are not facts within the honorable senator's own knowledge.

Senator GUTHRIE - Exactly ; but I am giving them as true statements to the best of my belief. Senator Pulsford, in the course of his remarks, produced documents which were not true within his own knowledge, but which had been handed to him for the purposes of this debate. Amongst the documents was a receipt for £80. Senator Pulsford, however, knew no more whether that £80 was paid by Marshall than I know. I wish to point out that at the time Marshall's place was burnt there were in the factory, belonging to the United Shoe Machinery Company, two Goodyear welting machines, two stitching machines, two Ideal lasting machines, and one Copeland lasting machine; and for the installation of each of those machines in his factory Mr. Marshall had to pay at least £50. These machines after the fire were in fairly good order. They could have been repaired cheaply and sold for a considerable amount of money ; but the company absolutely refused to allow Mr. Marshall to deal with them. The company took possession ; and the £80 received was in respect of other machinery, and not in respect of the machinery in dispute.

Senator Millen - Does the honorable senator say that not a penny of the £80 was paid in respect of the special machine in dispute?

Senator GUTHRIE - I shall tell the honorable senator the exact circumstances directly.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Why should we investigate all these details?

Senator GUTHRIE - Senator McGregorhas been absolutely challenged to lay this document on the table ; and it is as well that Mr. Marshall's position should be made clear.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - What I thought was to be laid on the table was the first declaration made by Mr. Marshall, and then the declaration in reply.

Senator GUTHRIE - The£80 cheque was actually a refund of a totally different character from that which has been represented, and not a penny of it was in respect of the lasting machine. Senator Pulsford also read a declaration from Mr. Henry Best, taken before Mr. George. Walker,

Senator Millen - Is the honorable senator leaving Mr. Marshall's matter?

Senator GUTHRIE - No. This declaration was read by Senator Pulsford in reply to the declaration read by Senator McGregor, and is as follows: -

August 14, 1906.

Having seen in Herald of10th inst. a statement purporting to have been made by Mr. McGregor in the Australian Senate, speaking on the Anti-Trust Bill, that Henry Best, a boot manufacturer, had been deprived of machinery held by him under lease to the U.S.M. Coy. for- the reason that he had working beside them a non-royalty machine, I, Henry Best, of my own free will and accord, voluntarily make this statement, under oath, that the statement as reported is not according to fact. The U.S.M. Coy. have never taken any machine fromme,neither have they threatened to take machines because of my using non-royalty machines in my factory. (Signed) Henry Best.

Before me, William Geo. Walker, J. P. - 14th August, 1906.

Mr. Best,at the time of making the declaration, was lying in the Melbourne Hospital undergoing an operation; and the local manager for the United Shoe Machinery Company drove to the hospital and obtained his signature.

Senator Millen - Does the honorable senator say that the signature was obtained unfairly, or by undue influence?

Senator GUTHRIE - The signature was obtained at a time when Mr. Best was not absolutely in possession of his whole mental faculties.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Why does the honorable senator make a charge like this, when he personally does not know anything about the circumstance?

Senator GUTHRIE - I am simply stating the fact that Mr. Best was undergoing an operation, and that the manager of the United Shoe Machinery Company was the man who obtained the signature.

Senator Playford - Was the declaration true? That is the question.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - The fact that Mr. Best was in bed does not show that he was a lunatic, or not in possession of his senses.

Senator O'Keefe - What does Mr. Best say about the matter now?

Senator GUTHRIE - I have not seen Mr. Best.

Senator Mulcahy - Does the honorable senator not think he ought to have seen Mr. Best before throwing doubt on the statement?

Senator GUTHRIE - I am stating the conditions under which the signature was obtained!

Senator Millen - But the honorable senator has said that 'he does not think Mr. Best was in possession of his whole mental faculties at the time.

Senator GUTHRIE - I said that probably Mr. Best was not in possession of his whole mental faculties.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Why saythat?

Senator GUTHRIE - If the honorable senator were undergoing an operation in a hospital he probably would not be in possession of his whole mental faculties.

Senator Playford - Senator Guthrie ought not to have brought this matter before us unless he could prove that Mr. Best now denies the statement he previously made.

Senator GUTHRIE - This declaration has been made use of in the course of the debate, and I think I am justified in explaining how the signature was obtained.

Senator Playford - Not unless the honorable senator has reason to believe that the signature was got unfairly.

Senator GUTHRIE - Honorable senators have had sent to them a circular signed by a number of boot manufacturers in New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia, but we see that the number of " signatories is not anything like representative of the whole of the boot manufacturers in Australia. There are 140 boot and shoe manufacturers in Victoria, and out of that number only twenty signed the circular.

Senator Playford - Do not those signatories represent big houses?

Senator GUTHRIE - There are some representatives of big houses who have not signed the circular. There are 111 boot and shoe manufacturers in New South Wales, 105 in South Australia, six in Queensland, six in Tasmania, and six in Western Australia.

Senator Mulcahy - Are there in South Australia 105 establishments that can really be called boot manufactories?

Senator GUTHRIE - Yes, every one of them. I have here a declaration by one of the gentlemen! who signed the circular, showing that he did not understand clearly what he was signing at the time.

The PRESIDENT - Does the honorable senator really think that what he is stating is a reason for agreeing or object ing to the Bill, namely, that one of the signatories of the circular did not know what he was signing?

Senator GUTHRIE - I have already pointed out that the signatures on this circular do not represent anything like the number of people in the boot and shoe business. This circular was addressed to every member of the Senate, and has been used as an argument for the rejection of the Bill ; and I have here a sworn declaration bv the representative of the firm of J. Hunter and Sons, of Queen's-parade, Clifton Hill, Victoria, to the following effect : -

I, Andrew Hunter, of Hunter and Sons, of No. 113, Queen's Parade, Clifton Hill, in the colony of Victoria, boot manufacturers, do solemnly and sincerely declare that -

Having been shown a copy of the petition presented to the Senate on the 18th August, 1906, and purporting to be tendered by the boot and shoe manufacturers of Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia, and to which my signature is attached - I was greatly surprised to find on reading the petition carefully, that it does not contain the matter as represented. At the time I signed the petition I was too busy to read such a lengthy document, and simply took the explanation offered as to what it actually represented -

Senator Millen - There has been no petition presented to the Senate.

Senator GUTHRIE - This is a memorandum presented to the members of the Senate, and proceeds. - and I signed it understanding it to be a petition from the boot and shoe manufacturers to the United Shoe Machinery Company asking that they would place their machinery with the boot and shoe manufacturers on a more equitable, reasonable, and business-like footing, and to amend and strike out those objectionable clauses at present to be found in their leases. This was exactly the impression conveyed to me when I signed the petition.

And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true, and by virtue of the provisions of an Act of the Parliament of Victoria rendering persons making false declarations punishable for wilful and corrupt perjury.

Declared at Fitzroy, In the State of Victoria, this twentieth day of August, one thousand nine hundred and six.

Before me, R. D. Hooper, J. P.

A.   Hunter.

These declarations disclose facts which I think ought to be laid before honorable senators.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator promised before he sat down>, to deal further with the case of Mr. Marshall. I asked whether the honorable senator affirmed, or Mr. Marshall affirmed, that he had never received any allowance in respect of the particular machine.

Senator GUTHRIE - I said that Mr. Marshall had not received any allowance in regard to the particular machine, but that he had received the ,£80 in respect of other machines.

Senator Millen - My question was a simple one. Did Mr. Marshall receive any rebate or allowance from the company in respect of this particular machine?

Senator GUTHRIE - I believe not.

Senator Pulsford - The honorable senator " believes not."

Senator GUTHRIE - Mr. Marshall's own statement is that he received nothing.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - And the honorable senator has Mr. Marshall's receipt showing that he has received an allowance.

Senator GUTHRIE - Yes, for something else.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - No; absolutely in respect of the particular machine.

Senator GUTHRIE - I have not the number of Hansard here which would show the receipt, but we shall have ample opportunity to discuss the matter in Committee.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - We shall go into Committee on the Bill, and not on Mr. Marshall.

Senator GUTHRIE - It was Senator Symon who first introduced this matter into the debate.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - I am not responsible for introducing the case of Mr. Marshall.

Senator GUTHRIE - But the honorable and learned senator is responsible for introducing the subject of the company's business, and honorable senators have taken up the position that the United Shoe Machinery Company acted unjustly- - - that it leased the machines, and would not allow manufacturers to instal other machines. That has been denied.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - It has, and the man who is said to have denied it has made a declaration that the denial is not correct.

Senator GUTHRIE - There is plenty of proof, which we shall have another opportunity to consider. As to the Bill, I shall vote for the second reading, and agree to its passing, with some amendments, always regarding it merely as a tentative measure. I hope that before long we shall have a Bill to deal with any dangerous monopolies which may be in our midst, but I do not think the measure before us will be effective, though some good may come of it.

Motion (by Senator Croft) agreed to -

That the three statutory declarations read by Senator Guthrie be laid upon the table. s Motion (by Senator Pulsford) agreed to -

That the documents be printed.

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