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Friday, 6 May 1921

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Repatriation) . - I ask the concurrence of the Senate to proceed to the immediate consideration of the House of Representatives message and to the taking of any action consequent upon its consideration(Leave granted.) In order to give effect to the resolutionI move -

That the Senate concurs in the resolution transmitted by message from the House of Representatives.

Honorable senators have before them a copy of the resolution with which our concurrence is sought. I do not propose to traverse the position which has arisen, and which has rendered it necessary in the opinion of the Government to take the action outlined in the resolution. We debated the matter so recently that it would be a useless consumption of time were we to again traverse the arguments used in the debate. On the last occasion when the matter was before the Senate, many honorable senators expressed the view that to proceed by regulation alone without some authorising approval on the part of Parliament would establish an undesirable precedent. In consequence of that objection, I gave the Senate the assurance that either by a Bill or by a resolution honorable senators would be given an opportunity to assent to whatever power the Government proposed to exercise in dealing with the matter. Having conferred with our legal advisers, and considered the whole of the circumstances, we have deemed it advisable to proceed by resolution. The resolution sets out clearly what it is that the Government desire to do. . The way in which it appears before the Senate is proof that it has been approved by another place.

I should like to say with regardto it that an alteration was made in the form in which it was originally introduced in another place. In paragraph a there did not at first appear the words "and not consigned for sale overseas." Before those words were inserted a doubt existed as to whether the resolution would not permit of some interference with the purchase and sale of wool in Australia. The insertion of the words referred to has, I think, made it quite clear that this will not be the case. It is only with exported wool that we are dealing, and in respect of exported wool one of two guarantees must be given. Under paragraph a of the resolution, buyers of wool purchased here for consignment direct to a factory overseas are asked 'to give an assurance that the Bawra price was paid. If that assurance were not given, it would defeat the whole purpose for which Bawra has been formed, and for which this resolution is submitted. If people could purchase here at below Bawra price and ship direct to their factories in England or other countries, such localpurchases effected at lower than Bawra price would tend to break down the effort made by Bawra to stabilize the market. On the other band, in respect of the other class of wool, which might be gathered up by purchasers here, and which they can buy at whatever price the vendor is willing to take, a guarantee must be given if it is consigned for sale overseas in foreign markets that it will not be sold for less than the Bawra price plus charges. That also is necessary if it is intended that Bawra shall be given the opportunity it desires to secure that the market shall not be broken down by an overplus of offerings.

I do not know that I need detain the Senate any longer in explanation of the matter, in view of the fact that we discussed it fully in the early portion of this week.I submit my motion withthe reminder that time is a very important feature in the settlement of this question. The next wool sales are listed for the 9th of this month, and it is obvious that if the proposal embodied in the resolution received from the House of Representatives is to become operative in time to be of any value for the next wool sales, it must be considered and decided by the Senate before the close of the present sitting.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - What is it intended to do with regard to the subsidiary industries ?

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