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Friday, 13 July 1906


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) . - This part of the Bill prohibits only certain action in connexion with imported goods, yet the Minister is asking to have the power to prohibit the importation of goods.


Mr Glynn - The mischievous part of the provision is that it may allow the prohibition of the importation of a whole class of goods, no matter what alteration of conditions takes place.


Mr Higgins - If the unfair competition ceases, the prohibition may be at once rescinded.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - But why should goods which, in themselves, are harmless be forfeited if imported? It is not the nature of the goods which offends, but the fact df their sale under conditions which the Judge determines amount to unfair competition.


Mr Isaacs - Prohibition of importation may be the only way to stop the commission of the offence.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why should goods be forfeited because of a mere opinion ?


Mr Isaacs - They .can be forfeited only upon the determination of the Justice.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That will be merely a legal opinion. Persons will not send goods here if the Justice decides that their importation under certain conditions amounts to unfair competition.


Mr Isaacs - The Minister df Trade and Customs pointed out some time ago that he has, under the Customs Act, the power to prohibit importation, but that he would not use it in this connexion.


Sir William Lyne - I have refused to use it until I get a specific authority under this measure.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Another Minister might use the power.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is given to be used.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - No forfeiture takes place in Canada, the goods there being admitted subject to the payment of an increase in duty. I see no reason for ,'forfeiture, because the Justice can impose what conditions he likes as to entry. Surely that is sufficient.


Mr Isaacs - This is a reserve power which will be used only in case of willful defiance, when there is no other way to enforce the Justice's order.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I see no necessity for it. The Justice will determine the conditions under which goods may be imported, and the prohibition is not because of anything deleterious in the nature of the goods themselves. The Judge could fix conditions, however severe, under which the goods should be imported.


Mr Isaacs - Suppose that those conditions were not complied with ?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Then the goods would be shut out altogether. It is not right that the goods should be forfeited. There might be no objection to the goods themselves. In the cases in which the powers of forfeiture are exercised under the Customs Act, the goods are supposed to be deleterious or harmful. The articles with which we are now proposing to deal might be perfectly sound and desirable, and there would be no reason to object, 'to their introduction under certain conditions, which the Judge could make as drastic as he pleased.







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