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Tuesday, 8 November 1938

Mr PATERSON (Gippsland) .- Before coming to a decision as to what I shall do in respect of this amendment, I should like to have some more information as to what position might be reached in the event of an application being made to, say, a police magistrate, if a licence were refused, and as to what would be the extent of the magistrate's powers. For example, could a police magistrate restore a licence which had been cancelled, despite the fact that the exporter was completely unwilling to conform to the general export policy laid down by the board? The position, asI understand it, is that a licence would never be cancelled unless the exporter definitely refused to conform to the general principles laid down by the hoard in the interests of the industry as a whole, in which case recommendation would be made to the Minister by the board that the licence be cancelled, for the reason that the exporter would not conform to the general policy laid down by it. If the amendment were accepted, an appeal could be made to a police magistrate, who may know little or nothing about the industry, or the purpose for which the board was established, and he, using the powers which, presumably, he would have, might rule that the right to export be restored to a man who would not conform tothe policy to which all of his brother exporters were required to conform. 1 should like to know whether the appeal, would be merely to the magistrate to determine whether or not a man had been unjustly treated, in that, despite the fact that he was willing to conform to the general policy of the board, he had been refused a licence, or whether it would bo so broad as to enable the granting of a licence by the magistrate, over the head of the Minister, to a man who would not conform to the general export policy of the board. If I am not satisfied on this point, I cannot support the amendment. I appreciate what is in the mind of the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Frost), who desires to ensure that there shall be no possibility of victimization, but I can assure the honorable gentleman that to-day the Minister, on the recommendation of many other boards, has the same power as is given to him under this bill, and 1 have never heard in a great number of years of victimization of exporters in the exercise of those powers. I am afraid that if the amendment is agreed to in the form proposed the committee would be putting into the hands of police magistrates power to prevent the proposed board from carrying out the duties which Parliament in this bill is entrusting to it for the benefit of the apple and pear industry.

Silting adjourned from 6.15 to 8 p.m.

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