Resource Sheet 1

Letter to the editor

To show how Tasmania cannot compete with Victoria in dairying, I will only touch on butter and cheese, as these two main industries will be sufficient to demonstrate our position. In the western districts of Victoria… it is affirmed that 200 acres of native grass pasture will carry 100 milch cows. A dairy farm in Tasmania of 250 acres is considered a good one if it will carry 60 milch cows. Note the difference…

Should any reader question the capabilities of Victorian dairies to [be so profitable], I refer them to their very large export trade in butter, over 900 tons…being exported in one season. These facts go to prove her productiveness, and Tasmania’s inability to compete in production of butter and cheese.

JT Cramp, The Mercury, 7 May 1898.

Newspaper extracts

…intercolonial freetrade…will bring inestimable advantages to the people of the mineral West. Everything that the residents of these mining centres eat, wear, or use in any way is now subject to heavier Customs tariff than exists in the adjoining colonies, and they suffer accordingly. With the removal of Customs duty from mining machinery which we require to equip our mines our only industry must necessarily benefit, and by taking off the exorbitant tariff now existent on the articles of food that we have to import from the other colonies, every man, woman and child in the community will derive an advantage.

Zeehan and Dundas Herald, 26 July 1899.

John Bradley and Teddy Mulcahy say the woollen manufacturers are in favour of the Bill. Just so: the tariff against their chief competitors—the English woollen factors—will be twice as high as at present. Food will be cheap because of the pouring in to Tassie of South Australian wheat; cheap food for factory hands means low wages. Low wages and high prices for heavily protected woollen goods ought to suit the big manufacturers splendidly. It won’t suit the consumer for he will have to wear a high-priced colonial suit or go without a suit altogether. Of course we can blacken our hides with Tasmanian coal and use duty-free Newcastle [coal] for boiling our duty-free Victorian spuds and Sydney cabbage. Houp la!

Clipper, Hobart, 4 June 1898.

The fact that Tasmania derives so much a greater proportion of her revenue from Customs and excise duties than any of the other colonies appears to be quite overlooked… Tasmania will have to obtain from her people a considerably larger amount by direct taxation than will be the case in the other colonies… Can Tasmania afford to face State insolvency in order to join a federal union… Can this Colony afford to join in the federal finance scheme accepted by the Convention?

Tasmanian News, Hobart, 10 May 1898.

Costs and benefits chart

Construct a chart with the information requested below listing the costs and benefits of removing intercolonial tariffs.

The issue: the removal of intercolonial tariffs (excise and customs duties)

Whose views do the primary sources represent?

Costs (minuses or disadvantages)

What are the short-term and long-term costs?

Benefits (pluses or advantages)

What are the short-term and long-term benefits?