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Tuesday, 19 July 1921

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) . - I. would point out to Senator DrakeBrockman that either' this Bill' or the Tariff' Board Bill must' beu given ' precedence/ The* -latter 'measure' is already before the Senate-,, and. if- the proposed Board, be not constituted, 'the particular clause -which, we are- now- discussing, will not affect that.. Bill..

Senator Wilson - But < this Bill deals with, the Tariff Board..

Senator RUSSELL - I might* just as logically argue --that Senator- DrakevBrockman wishes us to create . a Tariff 'Board when there is no' Tariff -in- existence, . To my. mind, the Bill with, which we- are now dealing is ten times more important than is the measure dealing with the Tariff Board. Consequently, the honorable senator is asking me to give precedence to the Bill which is of least importance. If there be- anything in the Tariff Board Bill which will be affected by the clause under consideration, I do not mind postponing the clause until after the second reading of the Tariff Board Bill has been moved.

Senator Wilson - But the Government gave us a promise that we should be afforded an opportunity of dealing with that measure first.

Senator RUSSELL - I only obtained a copy of it this morning, and I did not move its second reading this afternoon because I first desired an opportunity to carefully read its provisions.

Senator Wilson - This clause defines a Board which may never come into ex- istence.

Senator RUSSELL - But the Tariff itself may never come into existence. The Government have deliberately determined to put the Customs Tariff Bill through first, because it is the more important measure. I am quite willing to postpone the consideration of any clause in it which refers to the Tariff Board. But no honorable senator asked that the consideration of this Bill should be postponed until we had reached clause 4. .

Senator Duncan - The request was made here upon the motion for the first reading of the measure.

Senator RUSSELL - There was no united appeal made to me.

Senator Drake-Brockman - There were a number of references made to the matter, and, in reply to them, an undertaking was given by the Leader of the Senate.

Senator Benny - Why not postpone the consideration of this clause?

Senator RUSSELL - Then I shall be met with the objection in regard to other clauses that there is no Tariff Board in existence. The Government intend to submit the Tariff Board Bill to the Senate, and, should it be rejected, the clauses in this measure which refer to it will "have to be reconsidered. But we have not yet a Tariff.

Senator Drake-Brockman - Nor have we a Tariff Board.

Senator RUSSELL - If the request had been made generally by honorable senators, I would probably have recognised the advisableness of deferring the consideration of the whole of these clauses. Wherever there is a vital principle involved I am prepared to postpone the consideration of any clause.

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