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Wednesday, 2 December 1936

Senator GRANT (Tasmania) .- The remarks which have been made this afternoon by representatives of the larger States strengthen my conviction that the States must make every effort to retain their constitutional rights.

Senator Collings - Is this a case of stone-walling?

Senator GRANT - Obviously, the larger States are not interested in their weaker partners.

Senator Guthrie - That is not correct.

Senator Hardy - What was the grant to Tasmania last year?

Senator GRANT - The necessity for that grant is evidence of Tasmania's disabilities under federation; it shows that, due principally to federal legislation, that State cannot live without assistance.

Senator Hardy - The grant was not based on disabilities.

Senator GRANT - I should be out of order were I to discuss that subject now. I am more than ever convinced that the blank cheque which we are asked to sign and give to the Commonwealth means the destruction of freedom of trade between the States. Should the Government of one of the larger States wish to prevent goods coming into its territory from another State, a Commonwealth Government, even against the wishes of the smaller State, could prevent their coming in.

Senator Sir Walter Massy-Greene - Does the honorable senator suggest that could be done under this amendment ?

Senator GRANT - Yes.

Senator Sir Walter Massy-Greene - Then the honorable senator does not understand it.

Senator GRANT - My opinion on a legal question may not be worth a great deal, but, in this instance, I have been fortified in my view by the opinions of some of the greatest constitutional authorities in Australia.

Senator Hardy - Does the honorable senator suggest that the proposals of the Government subvert section 99 of the Constitution ?

Senator GRANT - I say that, if the proposals of the Government be carried and the Constitution altered accordingly, freedom of trade between the States will disappear. The proposals mean the sacrificing of one of the constitutional rights of the States, and I, as a representative of Tasmania in the States' House ", shall vote against any alteration of the Constitution which would have that effect. I shall, therefore, vote against the third reading.

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