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Tuesday, 8 November 1938

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON (Barker) (Postmaster-General) . - I listened very carefully to the remarks of the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Blackburn), who is always heard with great attention and respect by honorable members on this side, particularly when he deals with the legal aspect of any subject. I feel, however, that he is under the impression that every fruit-grower will want to be licensed under this measure.

Mr Blackburn - No; I suggest that every grower who wishes to be licensed ought to he able to get a licence.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - I point out that only a small proportion of the growers will apply for licences under this legislation.

Mr Blackburn - Every grower who applies for a licence ought to have the right to get one, provided there is nothing against him.

Mr Frost - Ninety-five per cent, of the growers in Tasmania will want a licence; practically every grower in that State ships his own fruit.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - In any case, I cannot conceive of a board, consisting of sixteen representatives of whom eleven will represent the growers themselves, taking up the attitude which honorable members opposite suggest will be the natural outcome of entrusting anything to it. I am amazed at the stand taken up by the Opposition in respect of this clause. In the second-reading debate and in this committee, honorable members generally have eulogized the Government for bringing down this measure, many contending that this legislation should have been enacted years ago. Now. apparently, honorable members opposite wish to shear the board of the power to do the very things which they suggested it should have done. With few exceptions, honorable members opposite, including the honorable member for Bourke, who were in Opposition some years ago when a similar bill was put through this Parliament, will remember that, in the debate which took place on that occasion, the question of whether or not an exporter should be licensed was not raised. 1 cannot recall any discussion as to whether there should be a right of appeal on the part of any one who was refused a licence. . On this point, I refer honorable members to the Meat Export Control Act 1935, section 17 of which provides -

17.   - (1) For the purpose! of enabling the board effectively to control the export of Australian meat, meat products, and edible offal, the Governor-General may make regulations prohibiting Iiic export from the Commonwealth nf any meat, meat products, or edible offal except by persons who hold licences issued by the Minister or by any person thereto authorized in writing by the Minister, and subject to such conditions and restrictions as are prescribed after recommendation to the Minister by the board.

(2)   Any person who exports meat, meat products or edible offal from the Commonwealth in contravention of the regulations made in pursuance of this section (including thu prescribed conditions and restrictions) shall be guilty of an offence. Penalty: Five hundred pounds.

Sub-section 3 of the same section is the "killer"-

(3)   Where the Minister is satisfied, on report 'by the board, that any person, to whom a licence under this section has been granted, has contravened or failed to comply with the prescribed conditions and restrictions, the Minister may cancel the licence.

There is not a word in that section which did not receive the approval of certain honorable members opposite who represent districts in which the raising of lambs and beef cattle is carried on extensively. That section contains no suggestion that there should be any right of appeal from the terrible board which was set up under that legislation.

Mr Frost - How many sheep-raisers would want to export their own meat?

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - Quite a number. I am of opinion that, if there had been any appeal against this board, honorable members opposite would have been very vocal on the subject before now. But that board has functioned satisfactorily. The Wine Export Control Board provides another case in point. As a lifelong Rechabite I, as Minister, have signed dozens of licences authorizing persons to export wine, but I have not heard of one case of an appeal or complaint against any decision by the Minister, although there have been some cases in which things were done which should not have been done. No complaint has been made in this House concerning the operations of the Wine Export Control Board. Neither do I know of any complaint having arisen in respect of the boards dealing with the export of dried fruits, canned fruits and dairy produce. Evidently, honorable members opposite are forgetting the date; apparently, they think to-day is last Saturday, the 5th November.

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