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Thursday, 20 May 1920

Mr BRUCE (Flinders) .- When the Estimates were under consideration earlier in the week I dealt with the method adopted by the Department of Trade and Customs in calculating exchange for the purpose of determining the amount of duty to be paid. I then understood the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Laird Smith) to say that he would bring the matter under the notice of Cabinet. I ask the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) to expedite the matter and to give an assurance that the final decision of the Cabinet, as soon as arrived at, will be announced through the public press, so that it may be widely known throughout Australia. I make the request that the matter be treated as urgent, for the reason that every day opportunities are being lost by France and Italy to obtain trade in Australia, and that orders are going to neutral countries as well as to America and Japan. If this matter is going to be decided, I ask that it be decided quickly. Whether the Government intends to continue the present practice, or to improve matters by altering it, some decision should be come to, and made known as soon as possible.

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