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Thursday, 14 July 1921


Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (Western Australia) . - Most honorable senators who have addressed themselves to the motion for the first reading of this Bill have delivered second-reading speeches upon it. I do not propose to follow . their example, although I may have something further to say upon Tariff matters when the motion for the second reading of this measure is under consideration. In my judgment, we are now being invited to put the cart before the horse. We ave asked to deal with the Tariff schedule, and later on we are to be invited to discuss a proposal for the establishment of a Tariff Board. I believe there are a good many honorable senators who would not . support the Tariff schedule in its present form if they thought therewas not subsequently to be a Board constituted for the purpose of controlling the Tariff, I believe, too, that there are a good many honorable senatorswho do not think that any such Board should be created. Consequently, we ought to decide whether a Tariff Board shall be appointed before being called upon to determine tie formof the Tariff itself. I therefore suggest to the Minister (Senator Russell) that this Bill should notbe proceeded with until we have been afforded an opportunity of dealing with the Tariff Board Bill. There is ample business upon the notice-paper to keep us occupied until the Tariff Board Bill has been dealt with elsewhere.


Senator Senior - Why keep the banana-growers in suspense?


Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - In the form in which it has been presented to another place, the Tariff Board Bill does not appeal to me. Considerable alterations will require to be made in it (before I shall be a party to it. Upon another occasion, when speaking in this Chamber, I protested strongly against the delegation of legislative powers to outside individuals and bodies.


Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not know that it is quite in order for an honorable senator to discuss a Bill which is before another Chamber, but if the honorable senator is stating what he believes to be contained in that measure, I disagree with him.


Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - I repeat that in speaking in this Chamber upon another occasion I expressed myself very strongly upon the subject of the unwisdom of delegating legislative powers to outside individuals and bodies. At the time, the Minister in charge of that measure pointed out to me that nothing of the sort was proposed, and he proceeded to set up the opinion of a junior official who was sitting behind him, against the opinions expressed by three or four legal members of the Senate. Presumably the junior official in question had drafted the Bill, and was under the impression that he had incorporated in it just what the Minister desired. I dared to say that he had done nothing of the kind, and to point out that we were delegating legislative authority to an outside person. Quite recently I was present in the High Court when mention was made of that particular measure, and when one of theJustices, in referring to it, stated most specifically that this Parliament had delegated its legislative authority to a Public Service Arbitrator, thereby supporting in almost my exact words the statement which I made in this chamber, and which, the Minister had contradicted upon the advice of the junior official who was sitting behind him. If the Tariff Board Bill, which is nowbefore another place, is submitted to us in its present form, we shall be invited to delegate our legislative authority to an outside body.







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