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Thursday, 4 July 1946


Mr HARRISON (WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES) . - -I consider that the matter that I now bring before -the House is very serious. I am one who believes that the prestige of this House and of honorable members is so- high that, if imputations are made against an honorable member, the matter should be thoroughly ventilated and, if possible, answered by the member concerned. That is why yesterday I asked questions on notice about the importation of Swiss watches. I asked' them because I had received most disconcerting information, as honorable members will realizeas I relate what I was told. It was represented' to me that the Government had agreed to give to ex-servicemen licences to import annually a quota of Swiss watches to the value of £2,700. As the object was to assist in the re-establishment of ex-servicemen the issue of the licences was commendable. However, it- was- stated' that a- member or members of this House; who could not be considered as legitimate importers of watches and had no base year on which a quota could be fixed, had been given licences to import a number of Swiss watch movements. I intend to read some of the questions I asked and the replies thereto in order that honorable .members may know the facts. The questions were directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, Mr. Forde. The first was-

Is it a fact that, in order to assist the rehabilitation of ex-servicemen, the Minister, on the 10th September, 1045, approved of a scheme whereby ex-servicemen, applying for permission to import Swiss watches might be granted licences on an annual basis, not exceeding in any case 1 per cent, (i.e., £2,700) of the total value of the base-year importations?

The House will see that if that question was answered in the affirmative, - ipso facto, the only persons to whom licences could be granted are those who had established quotas by their previous trading in Swiss watches. The Minister replied- -

Yes, the Minister did approve of the grant of quotas up to '£2,700 per annum to assist in rehabilitation of ex-servicemen.

The answer makes it perfectly clear that a quota based on 1 per cent, of the baseyear importations was to be granted to ex-servicemen. The House could not cavil at that because it is designed to help ex-servicemen to re-establish themselves by getting stock to resume their trade.


Mr Russell - He is an ex-serviceman.







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