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WHAT HAS TARIFF MEANT TO AUSTRALIA
Mr. Brace's Problem For Experts PROPOSED ECONOMIC BUREAU
(Delayed by Interruption to Lines.) '? ? CANBERRA Wednesday.
Widespread interest will be created throughout Australia by the Prime Minister's announcement in Parliamraent yesterday that five economists, business men and statisticans, have been examining for twelve months the effect upon Australia's' daily life of the tariff.
This was the only uright feature ot a dull day in 'Parliament. The judgment of the five experts on the workirig of our .fiscal policy will be eagerly awaited. Mr. Bruce made i- clear to an in terested house that this committee, which undertook the work at his sug gestion, has completed its work and is i now almost ready to .late its conclu-i sions. The 'committee, ??? ,7hich is . work ing purely as an unofficial 'and h'onorai7 body, consists of very well-known figures, in Australian life. Mr. Dyason is a prominent figure in Stock Exchange cir cles in Victoria; Mr. Wickens has made a reputation, as Commonwealth' Statis tician and will probably bs the director of the proposed Bureau of Economic Re search. Mr. Giblin is Statistician of Tasmania, and one of the keenest eco nomists, in Australia. Professor Brigden has bsen a lecturer in economics in Tasmanif for some years; and has taken a . prominent part in discussions, on the problem of industry and arbitration, and Professor Copland is similarly highly re garded as an economist in Victoria. QUESTION IN EFFECT The question put to these men by tlie Prime Minister; was, in effect, 'What has been the result of Australia's tariff policy? What effect has this pol icy had upon the development of Aus tralia's primary and secondary- indus tries, and to what degree has this pol icy been reflected in the added wealth of Australia?' Mr. Bruce informed tht House yester day, in introducing -nev Economic; Re search Bureau Bill, that, the men he questioned admitted that' the problem was one of the most difficult that had ever been placed before them Now they have completed their review ot the problem, it is said that ..the individual and collective views uiey ^express on the various points put before them,, will mak*- absorbing and u- many instances,' astounding reading. Last night it was otated In the lob bies that a rough draft .of their con clusions had been placed before the British Economic Delegation, and that this body suggested that the report Se publisher' by the Government and be dis tributed throughout the British Em pire. Mr. Bruce informed Pa.-ltement thai the Government has lecided to have the report published, but ue add-d that/this will not be for some weeks. It is a pity that the conclusions oi these men could not be known before Parliaments rises at, Easter. Many membsn. consider, however, that in the lecess there will be ample 'opportunity for students .of fiscal development to make a close study of the report, so that next session, when the broader issues of the fiscal police of this country must be closely exam ined, the whole problem can be ven tilated in Parliament. OPINION WIDELY DIVIDED It is undeniable that- both inside and outside Parliament there is still, a wide division of. opinion upon the tariff' in Parliament there are comparatively few Free Traders left, but there are many members who are Protectionists only of varying degree. Labor regards these men with suspicion just as i regards the ap pointment of Mr. Gullett as Minister for. Customs' as the first step by the Gov ernment in the direction of breaking down the tariff walls. ' '''.. -' Mr Bruce suggestea radical reforms in the tariff policy in ''his election speech last October. '. He said , then - that the Government would continue the policy'
ot protection to secondary industries in Australia in order in the first place to safeguard established ir. .ustries, and in the second i.lace to pro vide for- the progressive establishment of new industries. But Mr. Bruce went further when he said, 'In connection I with the problems which arise conse ! quent upon the expansion of our ex porting .industries .and the increase in our secondary industries the Government has been giving close jnsideration to ttie question of the application of the tariff policy in the future, so as to en sure that any action taken will be lor the real^ and permanent benefit of the people as a whole.' RESEARCH BUREAU PROJECT This statement has now been trans ferred into action by the introduction cf the Economic Rssear^n Bureau. At present the purpose of such a bureau appears vague, but this largely becauss it is an experiment in economic theory. Labor will atack the ;.-oposed bureau from*this standpoint, using as the basis of its argument the money already -^pent by the Government upon somewhat simi lar scientific or theoretic commissions and boards, which so far have produced little that can be said to) justify their creation. Undoubtedly the proposal of the Government is important, as was admitted in the lobbies last night by members representing till schools of tar iff thought. It was agreed, too, that . the proposal was a foreshadowing of other and more far-reaching endeavor to bring about fiscal reform. MR. RODGERS CRTX'ICAL Outstanding among the speeches on the Wine Overseas Marketing Bill was that delivered by Mr. Rodgers, always an incisive and forcible spea'-er. As an ex Minister for Customs Mr. Rodgers com mands attention on these subjects. Still he could hardly have expected to be taken seriously when he denounced the Bill as going three-quarters of the way towards Socialism. He .egarded the Bill, which is merely an extension of the . system of board control of marketing in augurated by the composite Government, as evidence that we .'.r- marching ran id'ly1 towards, the Labor goal of State Socialism. 'It is worse, than preference tc unionists.' he declared The sub stance of Mr. Rodgers' objection to the Bill was that it gave what amounted to legislative power to an outside bodv. The member for Wakefiald (Mr. Cnl lins) oainted a gloonv nic'ure of the ; distressful lot of the South Australian Rrape growers. He said t-herr wer-? num bers who were worse off than the coal miners and the timbsr work°rs in1 that they had worked for nothing for the past two years. ; ' . ' -' ' ' ? '? ; '.'. ?? - ' ?; ?? ' .;'??,.' ^ MR. KILLEN'G VIEWS. Mr. Killen (C.P.) declared the Bit! was an instalment of that orgqnisation so necessary to primary industries. Al though nbtra lover of bounties he said he regretted the reduction last session of the 'bounty on wine, accounting for this contradiction bv the tsndemess' ^? felt for the '. wine industry Crossin? swords with Mr. Rodgprs he was arrtlv reminded by the member for Wannon thatif this Bill were to interfere simil arly with the wonl industry It would be '-/horse of a different color.' Mr. Klflfn. who is a paladin of the pas- - trvral industry, dnnied this -with a great show of heat, which, however, did nos carry much conviction . ?'. '