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Tuesday, 29 July 1930


Senator BARNES (Victoria) (Assistant Minister) . - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The measure provides for a bounty of £2 on each household sewing machine head manufactured in Australia for" five years from 1st October, 1930. The bounty is linked up with- customs duties imposed as from 20th June, 1930, on household sewing machine heads, under Item 168b of the tariff. These duties are 10s. (British preferential), and 20s. (general tariff) per head. The bill is drawn on the same lines as other bounty acts, except in regard to the following matters that have particular relation to the circumstances concerning the manufacture of sewing machines: - (a) The total amount of bounty payable in any one financial year will not exceed £20,000 ; but, as usual, the unpaid balance of any financial year may be paid in any subsequent financial year, in addition to the maximum amount for that year; (b) the bounty of £2 per head will be reduced if the present effective customs duties of 10s. British and 20s. foreign on imported machine heads are increased to an extent equivalent to the increase in such duties; and (c) no bounty will be payable unless at least 95 per cent, of the factory or works cost of each Australian sewing machine head is due to the costs of material and parts made in Australia, and of labour employed in Australia.

In common with other bounty acts, provision is made for withholding the bounty in the event of the manufacturer not selling sewing machine heads at a reasonable price, or of his profits exceeding 10 per cent, per annum. Furthermore, the bill, provides that bounty will be withheld if reasonable conditions of employment a.nd rates of wages are not observed by the manufacturers in respect of employees engaged in the manufacture of the heads.

The magnitude of importations of sewing machines into Australia is not generally realized. The total imports have been from 45,000 to 50,000 each year for some time, and the present importations are slightly over 40,000 machines per annum, or 800 per week. These imports are valued at -

 

Until the 20th June, 1930, no duty Avas actually imposed on imported- heads ; but. since the 1921 tariff, deferred duties have been imposed on heads, namely, £2 10s. British preferential, £3 intermediate, and £3 10s. general tariff. These deferred duties have been postponed from time to time pending the establishment of a local industry for the manufacture of heads, and they now stand deferred until on and after the 1st January, 1931. In due course, if Australian manufacturers produce a sufficient number of sewing machine heads, the deferred duties will be made operative, and, in that event, the bounty of £2 per head provided by the bill will cease forthwith.

I now propose to refer to the events which led to the Government's decision to introduce this bill. In 1924 Bendigo Sewing Machines Limited started making complete household sewing machines at Bendigo, on the understanding that the Government of the day would soon, apply the deferred duties on heads already referred to. However, the Government did not make these duties operative, and, in May, 1925, the Bendigo company applied for a bounty of £2 10s. per head. The matter was referred in the usual manner to the Tariff Board for investigation, and, after a thorough inquiry, the Tariff Board recommended, in December, 1925, that a bounty be paid for three years at the following rates: -

 

The then Government, however, decided not to grant the bounty. The reason given for this decision was that the Bendigo company was then producing sewing machines at the rate of only 40 per week, or 2,000 per annum, whereas it had been the practice to expect a new industry to meet at least 40 per cent, of Australia's requirements before any tariff or bounty assistance would be given. In this case, of course, the Bendigo company was only producing 5 per cent, of the Commonwealth's requirements. At this stage I should like to remind honorable senators that, however necessary or feasible the condition, that 40 per cent of Australia's requirements should first be supplied by new industries, might have been from the early days of federation up to the end of the war period, such a condition, if applied today, would effectually preclude the establishment of almost any new industry in Australia. During the earlier years of the Commonwealth, there was not such a great disparity between Australian and foreign costs of production, and it was possible for a well-capitalized concern to suffer the initial losses frequently involved in producing 40 per cent, of the requirements of the Commonwealth of any particular article. When the necessary tariff protection had been given later the company could recover the earlier losses in a comparatively short time. To-day, however, that would seldom be possible, owing to the larger differences between Australian and foreign costs which now exist, and to the present reluctance of investors to face a long period of losses or absence of profits on their capital.

As already stated, the government of the day did not approve of assisting the Australian sewing machine industry either by making the deferred duties effective or by granting a bounty. The result was that the Bendigo Sewing Machines Limited failed, and went into liquidation in 1926, after producing 1,500 sewing machines.

I submit to the Senate that the failure of this company should not be taken as an indication that the successful production of sewing machines in Australia is impracticable. After all, it must be remembered that the Bendigo company's failure was the natural result, under Australian conditions, of having to manufacture sewing machine heads oh a freetrade basis in competition with similar heads produced in other parts of the world, with much lower labour costs and under advantageous conditions as to mass production. Inquiries made by the accountant of the Department of Trade and Customs have proved that the Bendigo machine was practically identical with the best make of imported machine of that time. In a considerable number of cases investigated, it was found that after constant use from threeand a half to five years the Bendigo machine had given almost complete satisfaction. This was a noteworthy achievement, considering the brief experience of the company in a project not previously tried in Australia, and the results suggest that there is no adequate reason why the major part of Australia's requirements for household sewing machines should not be made within the Commonwealth. The Wilson Sewing Machine Company of North Melbourne produced a few sewing machines in 1925, but it also closed down owing to lack of protection.

Some months ago, the present Government was urged to consider the best means of re-establishing this industry. After observing that a favorable report on the industry had been made by the Tariff Board in December, 1925, it directed a special departmental investigation in regard to the plans that had been drawn up for the re-establishment of a new company at Bendigo for making complete sewing machines. The investigation showed that the successful revival of the industry was well within the realm of practicability. The most skilled employees associated with the original company are still available. All production machinery, except a few obsolete machines that have been disposed of, is still held in Bendigo, and the persons behind the venture are men of good standing and financial resources. Furthermore, the Government was impressed with the assurances of those concerned that adequate capital could be obtained for re-commencing manufacture and meeting the initial difficulties of production and sales that are common to nearly every new enterprise.

The Government was also seised with the potential value of the sewing machine industry to the Commonwealth. When producing between 40 and 50 machines per. week, the original Bendigo company employed 60 hands, and this means that if Australia can make all the sewing machines she requires, constant employment will be found for nearly 1,000 workers in sewing machine factories.


Senator Sir George Pearce - Who estimates that that number will be employed ? Mr. Forde ?


Senator BARNES - An officer of the Trade and Customs Department. In addition, local manufacture will immediately create a demand for raw material of iron and wood for sewing machine stands and cabinets, respectively, and so provide further employment in the timber, furniture, iron and other industries. Further, the sound establishment of household sewing machines will most likely lead to the production of factory sewing machines, such as those used in the hoot industry. The manufacture of sewing machines does not require a large number of highly-skilled workmen, because practically all the parts of the machine are stamped out or otherwise made from master-gauges, dies, templates, &c. It is, of course, essential that gauges, dies, and templates should be exceedingly accurate, and should be maintained in that condition. This latter phase of the industry requires the employment of skilled engineers, and on this point the Bendigo company has satisfied the inquiries of the Government.

Accordingly, the Government decided to introduce the present bill. It is significant that, immediately following the announcement of the Government's policy in this regard, the Assistant Ministor for Trade and Customs (Mr. Forde) was interviewed by Mr. R. M. MacDougall, of Sydney, whose father, Mr. James MacDougall, started the steel wire industry in Australia, and was responsible for the establishment of the huge works of Rylands Brothers Limited at Newcastle, previously known as the Austral N"ail Company. Mr. MacDougall, senior, has been for the last four years president of the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures. Mr. R. M. MacDougall was works and sales manager and a director of the Austral Nail Company, and then of Rylands, Brothers Limited. He supervised the design and building of these companies' plants, and the training of the workmen and staff numbering between 800 and 3.000 men who were all Australians. Mr. R. M. MacDougall informed the Assistant Minister that he could obtain the necessary capital and would start a sewing machine factory in Sydney by the end of next November, if sufficient assistance is granted now. Mr. James MacDougall will be a director of the new company, and a substantial shareholder. Mr. MacDougall expects that his company's production will begin at the rate of 5,000 machines per annum and soon develop to 10,000 per annum. Already he has a suitable factory under offer. Fifty employees will be engaged at the start, probably 100 next January, and 200 the* following June. Both vibrator and rotary types of sewing machines will be made. The company will build most of its plant in Australia, and Mr. MacDougall has already taken over an efficient engineering shop, and made tentative arrangements with two of the largest distributors of Sydney for sales, subject to the quality of the machines being satisfactory.

It is also important to note that although all sewing machine heads are now imported local industries have already been established for the manufacture of the iron-work stands and cabinets. Some S,000 machine heads each year are thus fitted with Australian stands and cabinets, which are made in Sydney, and the quality and appearance of the Australian workmanship are exceptionally good. The bill will certainly stimulate the local production of cabinets and stands, as well as render possible the manufacture of the machine heads.

It is important to note that the duties on imported heads, imposed as from 20th June, 1930, namely, 10s. British preferential, and 20s. foreign tariff, will at once return additional revenue to the extent of £25,000 per annum on the present importations. That amount will, of course, be reduced as local manufacture progresses. However, it is not expected that more than 8,000 Australian machines will be made during the first twelve months of the bounty, nor more than 10,000 to 11,000 machines' during the second twelve months. Therefore, the duties that are already being collected will be more than sufficient to pay the bounty during the first two years. If production exceeds 10,000 machines per annum, the rate of bounty, namely, £2, will be automatically reduced, because the total sum available each year is limited to £20,000, plus any unexpended balance carried forward from previous years.

It may be noted that the Tariff Board's recommendations of 1925 have been departed from in two respects. The first departure is in regard to the duration of the bounty. The Tariff Board recommended three years, whereas the bill provides for a term of five years. In the second place, the Tariff Board recommended a reduction in the bounty of 10s. per head when the output of any manufacturer reached between 2,001 and 4,000 machines per annum, and a further reduction of 10s. per head when the annual output exceeded 4,000 machines. The Government has decided, however, to pay the full rate of bounty for five years, without any sliding-scale reductions. When the Tariff Board made its recommendations a factory was in actual operation in Australia. It had a regular staff, and was ready to start immediately on a campaign of quick expansion, so that it might reasonably have been expected to reach such a position in three years that the imposition of the deferred duties would then have been the best course to pursue. At present, however, there is no Australian company making sewing machine heads, and the projected companies at Sydney and Bendigo will have to start de novo, and meet the usual difficulties of any new project. Moreover, the Government is of opinion, after carefully investigating the effect of production on overhead costs, that the reduction of 10s. per head recommended by the Tariff Board for an output of between 2,001 and 4,000 machines per annum, was not justified by the actual trading results of the old Bendigo company. An output of 4,000 machines per annum represents only 80 a week, which is a mere bagatelle compared with the Australian demand of 800 per week. Moreover, it was found in 1925 that an output of only 80 machines a week, or 4,000 per annum, would represent, for the first two or three years at any rate, a total cost of production - direct costs of labour and materials, plus overhead and selling expenses - which would require the full measure of assistance proposed by the Government.

In any case, the interests of the Commonwealth are protected by other clauses in the bill. Should experience provethat the bounty of £2, plus the duties of 10s. British and 20s. foreign, are too high at the stage when local manufacturers have 'obtained a large share of the Australian market,' and will thus have experienced lower overhead costs, then the net profits, together with the bounty, would obviously exceed the limit of 10 per cent, mentioned in clause 11. In that event, so much of the bounty as may cause the net profits to exceed 10 per cent, would be withheld from, or refunded by, the manufacturer.

The Government is also of the opinion that any provision for lower rates of bounty would cramp the industry at the very time it would need capital and resources to develop along sound technical lines, and to meet the' intense competition that may be expected from the wellentrenched vested importing interests.

Finally, the investigations that have been made indicate that the Government's policy will result in the public obtaining good sewing machines at less than the present average selling prices. The original Bendigo machine was usually retailed at £15 for cash, and sometimes less, whereas nearly 70 per cent, of the imported machines sold in Australia are priced at £19 4s. for cash, and £24 on terms. Both the Sydney and Bendigo interests have undertaken to sell their complete machines at substantially less than £19 4s. for cash, or £24 on terms, and the Government is of opinion, after examining all the facts, that these undertakings can undoubtedly be carried out. It is not believed that the additional duties on imported sewing machine heads will be generally passed on to the public, as the difference between the landed cost and the selling price of most sewing machines is extremely large, sometimes as much a; 120 per cent. - and affords an ample margin for the trade to bear these slight increases in the duty. Furthermore, importers are not likely to increase their selling prices in the presence of competition from Australian machines which will be appreciably cheaper than 70 per cent, of the imported machines. Although, in respect of the 30 per cent, of imported machines, which are now retailed at from £14 to £17 cash, importers may 'find it necessary to pass on the import duties mentioned - and this will not be general - it is to ,be remembered, first, that the increase will l>e only an average nf 5 per cent, on such machines and, secondly, that the added price of 10s. British or 20s. foreign* is paid only once by each purchaser, seeing that each householder who buys a sewing machine finds it sufficient for a lifetime. Further, any extra cost which may be passed on to the public will be spread over the life of each machine and, therefore, will represent an increase so small that it could scarcely be calculated in the cost of the hundreds of articles made on the machine.

The Government believes that this bill deserves the favorable consideration of the Senate. Not only will it help to stem the flow of imports and create more employment in Australia, but the reestablishment of the factory at Bendigo will tend towards the decentralization of industries, and so provide a means of livelihood for young men in the country who would otherwise have to leave their homes to secure employment.

The bill is another attempt to foster an Australian industry and it should, therefore, have the support of those honorable senators who desire to build up industries in this country. The more self-contained we can make this country the better it will be for all of us. With the growth of our population an industry of this character will naturally expand. Australia now spends between £330,000 and £350,000 per annum in the purchase of sewing machines. That money should be kept in this country.

Until recently I did not know a great deal about sewing machines, but the other day I had occasion to buy one for a member of my family. I bought an Australian machine at a cost of £25. The cabinetwork is somewhat elaborate, which perhaps accounts for its comparatively high cost, but having had previous experience in my family of an Australian-made machine, I felt that I could not do better than buy another. If all Australians would buy Australian sewing machines the industry, which this bill seeks to stimulate, would expand. I commend the bill to the sympathetic consideration of honorable senators.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE (Western Australia) [3.40].: - Towards the end of his eloquent speech the Minister told us that he had recently bought an Aus tralian-made sewing machine for £25. At an early stage of his speech I had visions of sewing machines being much cheaper as a result of the passing of this measure. I imagined that the local factories which would be established with the aid of this bounty, and an additional duty on imported machines, would, before long, turn out sewing machines at a greatly reduced price. Evidently the Minister himself did not believe that that would be the case, or he would have waited another twelve months before buying another machine, and have saved £10.


Senator Barnes - And in the meantime my girl might have starved.


Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - I more than suspect that the honorable senator bought that sewing machine because he knew that this bill was about to be introduced, and that after its passage through Parliament his chance of getting a machine for even £25 would be much less. I can imagine that when Cabinet decided to introduce a bill providing for a bounty on sewing machine heads produced in Australia the honorable senator decided to purchase a new machine without delay.

We must not lose sight of the fact that this bounty is to be accompanied by a duty of at least 10s. on each imported sewing machine. Already this Government has placed some tall propositions before us in the way of bounties, but surely this bill is the limit. It is the "hottest" proposition that the Government has yet fathered. Some of the statements made here to-day have a familiar ring about them. I shall analyse them later.


Senator Dunn - Pitcairn Island is not far away.


Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - . I can understand Senator Dunn's mind wandering to-day; but I do not know why it should wander in the direction of Pitcairn Island. The machines which it is proposed to tax in this way are found in great numbers in the homes of the workers of this country. Many a woman left to battle for herself buys a sewing machine and takes in sewing work of various kinds. The sewing machine she buys represents the capital invested in her business. That capital the Government now proposes to tax. For the benefit of some company not yet formed we are asked to tax the households of Australia which require sewing machines. When I heard of this proposal, and recognized its extraordinary character, my mind went back to my school days when I learned "The Song of the Shirt". I wondered whether the Government intended to bring back those terrible times when the women of another century had to earn their living by the use of the needle. While we all hope that that day has passed for ever, it might be well if we were to recall to our mind the poem of Thomas Hood, to which I have referred -

With fingers weary and worn,

With eyelids heavy and red,

A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,

Plying her needle and thread;

Stitch! stitch! stitch!

In poverty, hunger, and dirt,

And still with a voice of dolorous pitch

She sang the " Song of the Shirt." ' " Work ! work ! work !

While the cock is crowing aloof!

And work - work - work,

Till the stars shine through the roof!

It's Oh! to be a slave.

Along with the barbarous Turk,

Where woman has never a soul to save,

If this is Christian work! " Work - work - work !

Till the brain begins to swim;

Work - work - work,

Till the eyes are heavy and dim!

Seam, and gusset, and band,

Band, and gusset, and seam,

Till over the buttons I fall asleep,

And sew them on in a dream!"

We have emerged from that barbarous period into a more Christian-like age, but still there are thousands of women who have to earn their living by the use of sewing machines, and, therefore, in order to bring Tom Hood's poem up to date and apply it to thisbounty bill, we have to add an additional verse somewhat on these lines -

Work, work, work,

My labour never flags;

And what of my wage?

A part of it goes

To pay for the sewing machine.

And now from my scanty store

Tis the Labour Government's scheme,

To add ten shillings more

To the cost of my sewing machine.

There are some peculiar features about this bill into which I should like to probe. [ am particularly interested in this industry, because some years ago, when the late Mr. Pratten was Minister for Trade and Customs, I happened to be in Bendigo, Victoria, when he paid a visit to the sewing machine factory then in existence in that city. He invited me to accompany him on his inspection of the factory. When we went through the establishment we were told all sorts of glowing stories as to what was going to happen if only those who were then engaged in manufacturing sewing machines could get a duty and a bounty. No one ever doubted the enthusiasm for, and belief in, the efficacy of protective duties or bounties that Mr. Pratten had. But he could not swallow all the stories we were told that day, and I remember his scepticism as to sewing machine manufacturing ever becoming, in this generation, at any rate, an industry that would be worth while Australia taking up. One of the faults and follies of our protective system is that we are trying to do everything in Australia. It seems to me, looking back over the past, that if we had concentrated on some of the main lines-iron and steel, timber, leather, and such like industries - giving them ample protection, and leaving out a number of little tiddly-winking industries, Australia would have been far better off to-day. Instead of following that policy, we seem to have concluded that Australia could produce anything and everything, and to have set about doing it by means of bounties and protective duties. There is not in existence to-day any company which is engaged in the manufacture of sewing machines. The company which regaled Mr. Pratten and myself with so many wonderful stories went out of existence, as it was bound to do, because it had started in an artificial industry. It was endeavouring, without a proper plant, and without sufficient capital, to compete in producing a line that cannot be produced successfully except by mass production methods. Sewing machines are produced all the world over by mass production methods. With this bounty and duty, it is proposed to set up a little tinpot industry to turn out two or three thousand sewing machines a year in competition with countries that turn them out by the million. If the bounty were double the amount proposed in the bill, and the duty twice as high as that which is proposed, the manufacturer of sewing machines could not succeed in Australia. If any country is to make sewing machines successfully it must have a big home market, and the machines must be turned out in enormous numbers by mass production methods. Australia has not reached that stage yet, and, as a consequence, to expect ' to establish the manufacture of sewing machines in Australia i3 like expecting an infant to compete with a giant. It cannot be done. 1 suggest that wc should leave this industry, along with a number of others, until we have a larger home market in Australia, which will permit of their being carried on by mass production methods. At any rate, that will be the only chance of successfully establishing the manufacture of sewing machines in Australia. Australia's attempt to do everything at once, and at an enormous cost, must end in failure. There is no company in existence engaged in the manufacture of sewing machines. Mention has been made of Bendigo, but why should Bendigo be chosen for the manufacture of sewing machines? It is an industry that largely depends on iron and steel. No iron or steel is produced at Bendigo. There is no coal there. The electric power from Yallourn is certainly available at Bendigo, but iron or steel are not produced Anywhere near Bendigo. If, therefore, a factory for the manufacture of serving machine heads is established at Bendigo, all the iron and steel will have to be conveyed from Newcastle by steamer and railways. The freight cm the water and on the rail, which will have to be paid, will make the raw material exceedingly costly. Prom the frequent repetition of the word " Bendigo " it would seem to be claimed that Bendigo is the only place in the Common.wealth where these machines can be successfully manufactured. But to my mind if the industry is ever to be successfully established in Australia, it must be located somewhere where it will have a chance of succeeding. It certainly cannot succeed at Bendigo. I could understand a factory being established in a district producing iron and steel, but I cannot for the life of me see why Bendigo should be selected any more than Goulburn or Canberra. We might as well try to pro-

Senator Sir George Pearce.duce sewing machines in Canberra as in Bendigo. The proposition looks too much like a company-promoting scheme. All sorts of things are to be done. Certain gentlemen are to guarantee that certain capital will be raised. I do not like that kind of thing, nor do I like Parliament being asked to lend itself to company-promoting of this character. If all the things can be done which it is said can be done, why are they not done ? If for £15 15s. we can produce a sewing machine equal to any produced outside Australia, there is no need for a duty or a bounty. Our machines could be sold in competition with overseas machines, because on the Minister's own statement the latter cost £19 4s. for cash and £25 on time payment. If the local machine could sell for £4 less than the imported machine, the margin should be sufficient to enable thousands of them to be sold, particularly if they are, as the Minister says, equal, if not superior, to the imported machine. I do not know why the Minister paid £25 for his machine. He has told us that it is Australian-made, but the vendors must have seen him coming when he went to buy it. Some very peculiar statements have been read out by him. One is that 1,000 workers will be employed in the industry. It sounds like one of Mr. Forde's prophecies. A little while ago Mr. Forde told us that there would be an increase of employment in the Commonwealth as the result of the new tariff duties. First of all, he started off with the prophecy that the new duties would give employment to 30,000 additional hands. A few weeks later, although in the meantime unemployment seemed to be growing, he said that the duties would give employment to an additional 60,000 hands. Still later on, when fresh schedules were brought down, he said that the additional employment afforded would be 100,000 hands. But about that time figures were made available by the Statistician, showing that while the tariff schedules were being imposed the rate of employment had increased from 12 per cent, to 14 per cent., and in the last quarter to no less than 18 per cent. I have, therefore, to take with a grain of salt the prophecy that 1,000 men will find employment as the result of this bounty bill. If the Minister believes in what he says, let him read again the statement he attributed to Mr. MacDougall. I do not know whether Mr. MacDougall is the gentleman who topped the score; but apparently he seems to know something about sewing machines. He says that, if this bounty is given and a duty is imposed, he will employ 50 men immediately - there is a big difference between 50 and 1,000 - but that, of course, it will take him a little time to get going. "With the caution that i3 characteristic of his race, Mr. MacDougall therefore declares that within three months he will have 100 men employed, and that, when the factory is in full going order, 200 men will be employed. We may be gullible; but I do not think we are quite so gullible as to swallow a proposition like this. In order to get something to guide the Senate, I read the report of the Tariff Board on the application for a bounty. I find that it is dated 1925. Apparently it is the latest report by the board on the subject, and it is a very skimpy one at that; but there are one or two things in. it which I shall read. One is -

The price at which the locally-made machines are sold is £15 15s. net cash, whereas some similar imported machines are sold as low as £12 10s. Some of the imported machines ure sold at higher prices than the locally-made machines. For instance, the " Singer " machine is sold on extended terms for £24 4s., and for cash at £1.9 4s. Whereas imported machines can be landed in any State at the same prices, locally-made machines have of necessity to pay freight to the different States.

The last few words interest me as a representative of Western Australia. This proposition means that Western. Australians who want sewing machines are to be mulcted in a duty at least 10s. each on imported machines, or if, in their patriotism, or because the duty has been increased, they buy local machines at £15 15s. at Bendigo, or possibly Sydney, they are to be called upon to pay steamer freight at the rates charged by the local shipping companies, which are higher than those charged on similar goods imported from New York, and possibly rail freight. The Minister expects that the duty will yield £25,000, and that the amount of bounty he will pay is £20,000. As he pointed out, the duty will pay for the bounty. Incidentally, the Government will make a little side profit of £5,000 on the transaction.

That is a splendid proposition from the point of view of Mr. MacDougall and the company, but it is not a very cheering prospect for the Western Australian constituencies, who will have to find their share of the £25,000, per annum, plus heavy freight on machines manufactured in the Eastern States. It certainly does not raise any enthusiasm in my breast-


Senator Daly - The constituents of Bendigo have not made any outcry about the fact that they have to bear their proportion of the £780,000 interest that has to be paid under the £34,000,000 migration agreement which greatly benefits Western Australia. All the benefits are not on the side of the eastern States.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE This proposal is decidedly one-sided and 1 cannot see that any benefit will accrue to my constituents from it. They will merely be told to " pay up and shut up ".


Senator Daly - Surely the constituents of Bendigo are entitled to say something about the interest they have to meet under the £34,000,000 agreement.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE.Bendigo enjoys the benefit of the whole of the protective policy of the Commonwealth which my constituents do not.


Senator Barnes - These machines will be supplied all over Australia at » uniform rate.


Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - The report of the Tariff Board states, "Whereas imported machines can be lauded in any State at the same prices, locally-made machines have of necessity to pay freight to the different States."


Senator BARNES - I understand that the Government has received an undertaking that a uniform price will apply throughout Australia.


Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - How can these people vouch for companies that have not yet been formed? That is merely propaganda from the prospectus of a sewing machine company. The honorable senator was wise in buying his sewing machine before the Australian companies were established. The report of the Tariff Board also says -

The present nominal capital of the Bendigo Sewing Machine Company Limited, as disclosed by its latest balance-sheet, is £50,000 divided into 5,000 shares of £10 each; of this, amount about £1,400 has actually been paid out. it must be recollected that the Tariff Board made those comments and recommendations in . 1925, when the Commonwealth was enjoying a period of great prosperity. Notwithstanding those prosperous times, the hoard recommended that the following scale of bounties should, be granted : -

 

At this time of bitter adversity and tremendous taxation, when there has been an enormous falling off in our industry, a general depression and unemployment, with credit unobtainable and finance disorganized, this Government, with unparalleled generosity declares, "We shall give a bounty of £2 on each machine manufactured in Australia, and impose a duty of 10s. on each British, and £1 on each foreign machine imported". I am against the bill, root and branch. It is premature, unjustified, and unsound. The speech of the Minister read like a company promoter's prospectus. It was full of vague generalities and promises, and parts of it were inconsistent with the remainder. Sections of it' appeared, to me to have been framed by that very competent investigator employed in the Department of Trade and Customs, whose phraseology I recognize, and others, apparently, are culled from a prospectus of the sewing machine company. No attempt was made to reconcile the two. It is claimed that the establishment of the industry would lead to the employment of thousands within a short time. Mr. MacDougall claimed that 200 would be employed if the bounty were granted ! I hope that the Senate will reject the bill. I speak very seriously when I say that this is not a time when we should carelessly throw money away on a minor industry such as this. There is no immediate demand for its establishment, and the acceptance of the measure would increase the prices of sewing machines, an essential article in every middle-class home. Thousands economize by using a sewing machine to make garments, instead of buying them ready made, and so assist to keep down the high cost of living. We do not desire to add a single penny to the cost of such a necessity. For that reason I shall vote against the bill.

Debate (on. motion by Senator Dunn) adjourned.







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