Mernda Election. -:o: StR SYVINEY STOTT AT BROADFORD. An exceptionally large audience assembled in the Mechanics' Hall on Monday evening last to hear Mr. S. Stott, the selected candidate of the National Liberal Organization, express his views. Cr. J. E. Fenton, shire president, presided. Mr. Stott, on rising, met with a cordial cheer. The candidate referred to his earlier history. His father was a staunch supporter of George Higin- botham, and early in life he had listened to that fine liberal address the electors at Brighton. 11e (the candidate) had been associated with t Sir John Quick as far back as 1882 in Liberal and Democratic associations, and he had the goodwill of that great federalist and also the Hon. A. Deakin in this contest, and the full support of the National Liberal Organization. Mr. Stott read letters front Sir John Quick and the Hon. A. Deskin, both of whom expressed their pleasure at his entrance into the political arena. After these personal references Mr. Stott then delivered an excellent address. FINANCE AND PROTECTION. The position having been put before the electors you have now to consider the questions of policy, and undoubtedly the first question will be that of federal finance. As three-fourths of it the Customs duties have to be returned ic to the Stale, it is absolutely necessary to have fairly high Customs and Excise as duties. We cannot get away from that fact. The expenses of the Com- monwealth have been variously esti mated at from £250,000 to £500,000 per annum, but at present it is very hard to say what they will be. I am of in favor of the stritest economy being exercised in every direction, as all these new forms of Government will mean it, added taxation. I have always been to of an economical turn of mind, and it will be my duty if returned to oppose at anything in the nature of extravagance in administering the affairs of the Commonwealth. It is most undesirable that the Commonwealth should impose direct taxation but should rely on Customs and Excise duties only. That States therefore should have conserved to them the right of direct taxation. They will lose the right to. impose taxation through the Customs, and they should receive every consideration possible. There must be no direct taxation by the Commonwealth., and that being so a certain sum must be raised through the Customs, and this sum has been estimated at 8 or 81/2 millions of pounds, about £2 10s per head against £1 10s now. Not more than £4,000,000 can be raised by duties on luxuries, such as narcotics and stimulants. Now the question is what amount of taxation should there be through the Customs? The Free traders would like to have none at all, but they recognise the impossibility of this and they say, that there should be a round revenue taxation of about 15 per cent on all the articles imported. That is about the average now of duties in Victoria seeing that a large number of articles come in free, but the Free- traders say that every imported article should pay 15 per cent. The Common- wealth cannot he carried on without money, but if their proposal to tax everything all round were adopted the position would be intolerable. What about the industries that have been built up in Victoria under Protection? The Free trader's uniform duties would have the effect of destroying them altogether. And what would happen to farmers? Most of their necessities come into Victoria free of duty. Put on these uniform free trade duties and the many farming requisites now coming in free of duty would be taxed all round indiscriminately. If there were no duties and only direct taxation every industry already in existence would be ruined with. the accompani- ment of misery and starvation for large numbers of people. Farmers have re- ceived and are receiving considerable assistance from our protective system, and they recognise that it is far better to assist in creating a home market for their produce by encouraging the establishment of manufactures than to close up those manufactures and throw the people engaged in them out of employment. We hear a great deal of the condition of things in N.S.W., but I can tell you from personal experience that you can live here more cheaply and comfortable thank you can there. It is stated that it costs £2 15 6 more per annum in NS.W. to feed and clothe and lodge the average citizen than it does in the other States and I can well believe it. With her great territory N.S.W. has been able to raise £900,000 per annum from the sale of lands alone more than Victoria. N.S.W. is twice as old and four times the size of Victoria, and has greater natural gifts-coal and wool in abundance. She should therefore be much more prosperous than Victoria. The people of Victoria have been told that the people of N.S.W. are less taxed than the people of any other State, and are the freest in the world, but there are different ways of taxing people. In the past and under free trade the people of N.S.W. have been living on their capital, because the Government have been selling their land. N.S.W. has borrowed money year after year to pay off interest on debts, and the people have now to pay £2,800,000 in interest annually. N.S.W. is fairly prosperous-the city of Sydney is at any rate-but we know that the ocean going steamship com panies and the Empire's navy make Sydney harbor their headquarters for this part of the world and spend over £50,000 per annum in the city. If Protection has not been a bad thing for Victoria. what shall we say of it for Queensland also? In that State
20,000 hands are employed in manu- factoring and a great many of these people would lose their employment but for Protection. Farmers in N.S.W. have an object lesson in favor of Pro tection on their farms. In that Free- trade State farmers are using ma- chinery made in protected Victoria. In 1897 ploughs to the value of £32,000 were exported from Victoria into N.S.W.. In 1898 we sold them other agricultural implements made in Vic- toria of the value ef £27,00). Their purchases from the United Kingdom only amounted to £2,700. The more the farmer encourages manufacturing the more he encourages population and ie gets a home market for his produce and saves heavy freight and other charges. It is said that there is no necessity for a tax on wheat and other grain in Australia, but in times when our farmers have a surplus they have to sell their produce to consumers here at London prices, which are sometimes very low--that is, because thie export price rules the local market. In 1896 and 1897 less than four years ago 8,000,000 bushels of wheat were imported into Australia owing to bad seasons here. Why then should not our farmers be protected in times when they have bad seasons and cannot export? f.r the little they might have to sell they should not have to part with it at the low price of the imported grain, which would be brought hero in large quantities from foreign parts. Freetraders- want Australian agriculture to live in open competition with the labor conditions prevailing in Egypt, India and Russia. Arnd what do the Freetraders say is the remedy for this? Nothing but revenue duties. Mr. Moor, the delegate to Australia from South Africa the other day, said that Australians must expect keen competition with Argentine in the sale of our farming produce int South Africa. That South American country is with a temperature similar to our own is tilled by Japanese and- other cheap colored labor, and they send very large shipments of produce to south Africa in competition.with Australian produce. This touches our agricultural interests in a vital part. Victoria's Customs taxation is lower than that of Tasmania Queensland and West Australia,, and higher only than N.S.W. and South Australia. It is essential that the Commonwealth should for the present at any rate rely on- the tariff to bring in sufficient money to, meet its wants so as to enable it to return to the States their share of that income so that they can have suftilient money to pay interest on their debts. I ant not a prohibitionist and believe we can encourage the establishment of indus- tries without duties of a prohibitive character. There will be a levelling up of duties of some States and a levelling down in duties in others. There will have to be such a tariff as sill raise the large amount of money to be returned to the States, and it must be such, a tariff as will preserve the existing industries. It should ... a tariff as will encourage ... long as for a time it does not neces- sarily diminish revenue. We will now have absolute Freetrade between over 4,000,000 of Australians. This number of people means almost everything to the capitalist who may be willing to invest money in the develop- ment of our natural resources or the establishment of a new industry. What we want is a tariff providing for the taxation of luxuries, protection of indus- tries, and the free admission of raw material. UNIFORM SUFFRAGE. South Australia and West Australih have Woman's suffrage and it is de- sirable that there should be uniformity throughout Australia. I do not think it is necessary to say more than that I am in favor of uniform suffrage through out the Commonwealth but not in favor of women sitting in Parliament. DEFENCE. We are all agreed that a certain number of regular trained men are necessary for the manning of our forts and to keep our guns in order, and beyond that a certain number of citizen soldiers are necessary for the ordinary purposes of dfence on a peace footing. We must see that our troops are properly armed and that our defence are efficient to meet any attack. Still in doing this economy must be observed. COMMONWEALTH CAPITAL As you "know the seat of Government is to be determined by the Parliament. The permanent seat is to be in territory granted to or purchased by the Common- wealth aNd is to be in N.S.W. about 100 miles from Sydney. In his opinion Albury owas the most suitable and central locality. TIIE HIGII COURT. This will be the guardian and inter preter of the constitution. It will be an Australian Court for Australian miatters and appeals can be taken there from the Supreme Courts of tie hteates. FEDERAL POST OFFICE. SAll the Poe ind Telegraph Depart Sments of the various states are being taken over by the Commonwealthi and there will be uniform postal and tole. graph arrangements from one end of Australia to the other. There will be no two penny postage here sni penny epostage there but most likely a uniform cr gcae of one peasy on letters per half ounce. Tie Post Ulice Sarings Banks do no however go over the Common. wealth. ENCOURAGEMENT OF EXP3ORTS. There oueht to be a Central Federal r Agency in Europe to sre that propersteps are taken for marketing our produce especially our butter. Last year we ex ported I million pounds. A bonus of £50,000 was granted at the initiation by the Hon J. L. Dow and the magnifi Scent butter export trade which has been Sbuilt up and which has put money into the pockets of our farmers is all due to athe grant of that bonus. TIhe question of preferential duties in favor of Great tritian is receiving some attention and Canada has already granted a reduo. tion of duty on Blritish goods but has r received no concession in return. If r Australia is to grant a similar preference a then we should eXpect Great Britian
either to tax foreign products or it subsidise steamships to carry Australian produce free of charge from Australhasl I to the British market. The Witisht Government already subaiiaies the ecmpst; r Line of steamers to carry fruit free of charge for the West Indian growers. A sugkestion has been made that tlo British Government should put low duty on foreign and American meat and that the bhole of these duties should be paidout as an aid to Australian imtpo ts of meat which would eu'er free of duty. This could be applied to any other A'us tralian product. If such sums were available oe could hare a complete system of cold storage and refrigerated transport service. 'uoon there should be established suitable an i convenient depots or ware houses at enutres of pops ulation and seaports wbherr our products could be stored until sold in the i.dtish. market I he future of the perishable export trade has the mct important bearing on our future welfare. Great Britian should encourage the growth of wheat ant other cereals ua Au.toalia is view of tde fact that lwhen shete Insolvel in a European sar her antagunists mig;at be able to buy up all the available whiat in foreign counwries and so cripp,e her as regards food stuffs. If she encouraged the greater cultivation of wheat in Aus. tralia she would have a supply she could rely on. This would to of most material. assistance to us. Now, the question is, would our munufactures in Auslralia agree to our farmers gaining any advan. toge by having tree carrinage of their products to the British market in return for the admission here of British manu. factures at lower duties than they now pay? I am not a manufacturer and therefore cannot say but if I were to rep. resent you in the Federal Parliament it would bh mty duty to advocate preferon tial duties in return for subsidised. steamers to carry our produce to the British free of colt.. It would of course. be necessary to consider to what exltet the interesta of our manufacturers would. be likely to be cfthetd. They would in. any event be amply protected. against foreign competitions. We would also. have to consider the fact of theIexistance. of treaties between. Great Britian and the foreign powers, and their effect on thea qnuestiouol proferentlaL duties.. .l r. Stott also. spoke on. the subject of: Ilailways,. Old ago. Ieasioas, Aliens,. Agriculture,. Coinage,.. Tho Metric S ystiom, and theoPactfic Islauds, iMr. St't ausweredl several questions. satisfactorily which, were put by Messrs.. IW. lolwell, Pemberton, Mowat, and, Mr. 1 MP. M.c l(Kenazi e. .L,A., in respect to. 1 protection, the latter geoitlouau question. ing some of Sir. Srltt'a figures and, opposed the candidate's contentious. Air .sthtt gave his authori.ies for the state t ments, and his replies. were applautded, the muoetiug evideuty being with him. a A vote of thanks to. tihe chairaman, broughl tuie umeeoing to a close.