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Friday, 13 July 1906

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I rise to support the amendment, which I hope will be agreed to. It has a great deal more importance than appears on the surface. For the first time in the history of a British Parliament, there is a deliberate proposal: to put the power of prohibiting trade outside Parliament. I see nothing inconsistent with the machinery providing for full and fair inquiry by a Justice with all the powers of a Court, thus guaranteeing a disinterested, impartial, and thorough sifting of all the facts concerning allegations of dumping. That will be an advantage, I have no doubt, because when we receive such evidence from the Justice, it will be practically the last word as to the substantiality of the facts alleged or otherwise. Therefore, I think that instead of leaving the matter for the final determination of a Justice, we ought to reserve to ourselves the right to determine whether goods shall be prohibited from entering the Commonwealth even though they may be subject to the Tariff impositions which Parliament has already provided for. We have established trading relations with other parts of the British Empire, and with the rest of the world, meeting differences in skill, advancement, numbers, or efficiency between our workmen and their competitors by the imposition of duties,. But it is now proposed to hand over to the Minister the right to arbitrarily prohibit importation, without -the necessity of consulting Parliament in the matter. This is the first time that the giving of such power to the Minister has been suggested. Parliament should not let this power leave its hands. If it does, it fritters away the sovereign control with which it is invested. I hope that the honorable member for Kooyong will press his amendment to a division.

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