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Wednesday, 27 July 1921

Senator BENNY (South Australia) * - I cannot understand the attitude of the Government towards Senator Wilson's amendment. It seems to me that the Government, in a spirit of selfabnegation, desires to gradually .shed itself of its political powers one by one, until Ministers are \6ft with practically nothing but what they wear when they come into this chamber. Senator Wilson asks that the Government shall keep control of the Board, and Senator Russell says there will be so many details referred that that would be quite impossible. But these matters are all bunched together in subclause 2 of clause 15, paragraph d - " any other matter in any way affecting the en- couragement of -primary -or secondary industries -in relation to the 'Tariff." -It would be possible for the Minister, if he wished to 'refer a matter 'connected with the. sugar, the 'banana, the boot, or -any other industry, to refer the whole of that industry for the consideration pf the Board. In my opinion, Senator Wilson's amendment would prove a benefit, and I intend to support it.

SenatorSENIOR (South Australia) [3.52J. - I do not -agree with Senator Benny that .the amendment will in any way -strengthen the 'Bill. According to clause 15, there are a -number of matters which the Minister must refer to the Board for report, and then, in sub-clause 2, -there, is a further subdivision of matters all having relation to the Tariff, on which, the Board must report. In the clause under discussion, it is provided that the Board may act of its own volition, while clause 18 sets forth that the Board shall present an annual report covering the whole of their transactions. The effect of Senator Wilson's amendment is to deprive the Board of any power of initiative, and to provide that the motive force must come from the Minister. Whether the Board acts on its own volition, or at the Minister's request, the Minister will have to take the responsibility.

Senator Wilson - Not at all; if Parliament give the Board power to act on its own initiative, we cannot hold the Minister responsible.

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