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Wednesday, 11 November 1914

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - I have listened with great attention to the remarks of the honorable senator, and I must confess that as a result I am farther from yielding to his desire than ever I was. If we give priority to the claims of persons who advance money on bills of sale, the ordinary acute trader will have bills of sale upon almost every security with which he deals.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould -But a bill of sale has to be registered, so that its contents are known to every trader in the community. Consequently traders will not give credit where they deem it unsafe to do so.

Senator GARDINER - It will be generally conceded that most of our farmers are honest men.

Senator Bakhap - But if the storekeepers who keep many of them going, held liens over their stock or crops, would they not be the most suitable persons to bold such valid securities?

Senator GARDINER - I do not say that they would not. But I do contend that the adoption of the proposal which we are now discussing would inflict hardship upon borrowers.

Senator Keating - It must be remembered that invariably bills of sale have to be registered, and that fourteen days' notice of the intention to register has to be given.

Senator GARDINER - If we insert a provision of this kind, every business man who has been giving credit to our farmers will in future give them credit only upon condition that he obtains bills of sale over their securities. Thus we shall give a greater security to the men who hold these bills of sale than we shall to those who do not.

Senator Bakhap - We have the ulterior motive of protecting the debtor.

Senator GARDINER - The honorable senator desires to give to the secured creditor a privilege over the unsecured creditor. That would be the effect of the proposal under consideration. It would confer an advantage on the storekeeper who is cute enough to insist upon getting a bill of sale before he gives a man credit. I do not hesitate to say that there are many times when farmers would be hopelessly bankrupt if they were pushed, and yet these same individuals manfully meet their obligations when good times come again. I am not disposed to give the secured creditor any advantages over the unsecured creditor. I hope that the clause in its present form will be retained.

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