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Wednesday, 27 July 1921

Senator CRAWFORD (Queensland) . - I regard this clause as vital to the Bill. In considering the amendment I ask honorable senators to pay due regard to' the obligation which is imposed upon the Board by a subsequent clause, to. report comprehensively to the Minister each year concerning the operation of the Tariff and the development of industries. I cannot see how it .is possible for the Board to do that unless its members are free to. make such inquiries as they may deem to be necessary. If the clause be amended in the manner that is proposed, or if it be omitted, we shall divest the Board of every particle of independence, and practically reduce it to the level of a political body, which possibly will deal only with such matters as the Minister may consider desirable for party or other purposes to refer to it. By limiting the expenditure of the Board to such a small sum as £4,000 per annum, we have already shorn it of much of its usefulness; and if we amend the clause as now proposed we shall make it impossible for the Board to render useful service to the community.

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