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Thursday, 26 November 1931

Mr.FORDE (Capricornia - Minister for Trade and Customs) [2.42] - by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

There are four validating bills to be introduced; the othersbeing an excise validation bill, a primage duties validation bill, and a special duties validation bill. The bill now before us is to legalize the collection of duties under the customs tariff proposals of this Govrnment. The dates upon which they were introduced are specified in the bill itself. The vital clause of the bill is the final one.

Although the duties set forth in the tariff proposals have been passed by this House, they have not been passed in another place, and, unless the collections of the duties specified in the tariff proposals are validated, all payments in excess of the rates provided for under the 1921-28 customs tariff will have to be refunded. This would involve the return of many millions of pounds. If this bill is passed it will authorize, until the 29th February, 1932, the collection of the duties specified in the tariff proposals as amended by the House of Representatives. The passing of validation acts, in circumstances similar to the present, is a usual procedure, and has been adopted by many governments. In 1925, an act was passed validating for twelve months the customs proposals then before the House. In 1929 another act was put through in similar circumstances by the Bruce-Page Government, providing for the validation of customs collections for a period of three months. The same thing was done in respect of the excise tariff schedule. Three months has always been the minimum period for which such validating measures have provided.

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