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Wednesday, 4 May 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - In seconding the amendment of Senator Gardiner, I do so first and mainly for the reason that I am opposed, , now that the war is over, to Government enactment, in any direction, by regulation, if that can possibly be avoided. I support the amendment, further, for the reason that if a regulation is gazetted under the Customs Act, it can only be promulgated in the event of the export of wool being deemed to be harmful to Australia. I fail to see how the export of wool, just at present, canbe harmful to this country. Should a regulation be gazetted without resort to a special enactment, I foresee the subject-matter undergoing a test in the High Court. I further support the amendment, because a regulation may inflict an injustice upon the small farmer. The position in which he will find himself, should the policy of the Government be effected, will be this: During the period of wool control, after the wool was appraised, the owner got his money. But if the policy of the Government is carried out without some protection being granted to the small farmerowner, his' wool will be appraised, but he will get no money. It may be that the latter will be heavily pressed for money. The sum of £50 in cash now would be of considerably more benefit than £100 for exactly the same wool in the course of twelve months or more. There are other interests to be protected. I refer to the interests of the fellmongers, wool scourers, wool-top and tweed manufacturers. I do not think that harsh restrictions should be placed either on the export of skins or of skin wool.

Since I have been speaking oh - this subject, I have received a communication from the Victorian Wool Buyers' Association which, in effect, advocates a scheme to hold up all the Bawra wool. Instead of the debate in both Houses oh this subject, I would have preferred that a Committee be appointed in order to get full information as to the exact position concerning the number of bales that are actually in stock, ' and for sale, freight charges, commission, storage, and other miscellaneous items which have to be charged against the gross value of the wool produced. On this point I fail to see extreme urgency at all. I do not think-

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask your ruling, Mr. President, on the point whether Senator Pratten is not now making a second speech on the main question, rather than confining himself to Senator Gardiner's amendment. He is now urging the appointment of a Committee of the two Houses to inquire into the whole problem. I submit that he is not in order.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Speaking to the point of order, I wish to say that my remarks were intended to show that it would be better, so far as the legislative authority of this Parliament is concerned, to bring in a Bill under which all these matters could be discussed, rather than to do as proposed by regulation.

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon T Givens - Senator Pratten, as Senator Millen has pointed out, now only has the right to discuss the amendment moved by Senator Gardiner, because he has already spoken on the main question, and on the amendment moved by Senator Guthrie.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have spoken only once.

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