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Tuesday, 8 November 1938

Mr ROSEVEAR (Dalley) .- This clause confers upon the board power to make regulations, and to deal with persons deemed to have infringed such regulations. The board will consist of representatives of all of the States. Doubtless, there will be considerable competition on behalf of local interests between the various States, and a division of opinion amongst the members of the board is to be expected. It is idle to assume that all the members of the board will hold similar views. The clause provides for certain contingencies when the board is not unanimous. A remarkable situation may arise in the fixing of quotas owing to differences of opinion amongst the members of the board. The board has power to make regulations to control the export of the commodities with which the bill deals.

Mr Archie Cameron - The board has not the power to make regulations.

Mr ROSEVEAR - It has the power to recommend the regulations to be promulgated. There is nothing in the bill to ensure that the decisions of the board shall be unanimous in inflicting penalties on exporters. In the event of there being a difference of opinion, I presume that the Minister will be bound to accept the decision of a simple majority. It is quite conceivable that there will be differences of opinion among exporters as to the authority to be exercised by the board; in that way conflict of opinion will arise. When an exporter is deemed by the board to have infringed the regulations the Minister may, on the recommendation of the board, suspend or cancel his licence, and so prevent him from carrying on his business. Although the board may not be unanimous in recommending a penalty, the Minister will have no option but to inflict such penalty. If the offender be an exporter, the position will be serious, but should he be a grower and also an exporter depending on the export market, he will be denied the right of any return from his business. There is no appeal against the decision of the board, because the clause clearly states that the hoard may make prohibitory recommendations to the Minister against an individual. An exporter can be registered only on the recommendation of the hoard. Should there be a division of opinion amongst the members of the hoard concerning a disqualification a similar difference of opinion may prevail to the detriment of the person when be lodges an appeal. The framers of this legislation apparently believe that there will bc occasions when the board is not unanimous in the matter of quotas. In such cases there can be an appeal to a court.

Mr Archie Cameron - No; an appeal can be made to an arbitrator. That is a different matter. An arbitrator has to decide on facts and a court has to decide on points of law.

Mr ROSEVEAR - Whether the authority be a court or an arbitrator is beside the point. The fact is that there is an appeal to an outside authority. There is no appeal to an arbitrator when a disqualification is involved. When the board is not unanimous on the subject of quotas, an appeal can be made to an arbitrator, whose decision the board must accept. If an exporter is also a grower it is much more important that he should retain his right to export. When an appeal is made to the board, that body will not be likely to reverse its decision. In respect of all offences against the law there is some form of appeal, but in this instance there is to be no appeal except to the authority which imposes the penalty. The honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Frost) has moved the following amendment : -

Any person who has applied for a licence under this section may, in the prescribed manner and subject to the conditions prescribed appeal to a police, stipendiary or special magistrate from the refusal or failure of the hoard to recommend that a licence be issued to him. Upon such appeal the police, stipendiary or special magistrate shall re-hear the application and decide upon the matter and the board shall give effect to any decision made by him in accordance with this subsection.

There ought to be some form of appeal. The honorable member for Franklin, who is closely associated with the industry, has shown that in many instances it is not the board which deals with offenders, but inspectors who report to the board. It has been alleged that there is a certain degree of victimization, and even if victimization is not actually practised, the possibility of it is always present. The board on the recommendation of an inspector, may deprive an exporter of his legitimate livelihood, but should the exporter be also a grower, he may have to dispose of his property. I trust that the Minister will accept the amendment moved by the honorable member for Franklin to provide the right of appeal, particularly as that right is provided in connexion with the most trivial offences involving small fines or short terms of imprisonment. There seems ample justification for a right of appeal from the decision of the board to some independent authority to be provided.

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