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Thursday, 21 July 1921

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - BROCKMAN.That clause may have to be amended.

Senator Vardon - Who are the members ?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - The director is Mr. Stirling Taylor, and the Council consists of representatives elected by Chambers of Manufactures, Chambers of Commerce, primary producers, and other chief commercial interests of the Commonwealth who are good enough to advise from time to time on matters in their respective domains.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Senator Crawfordknows something about that.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - Yes. I understand the honorable senator is a member.

Senator Crawford - I was a member of the Council.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - But the honorable senator has not received any communications regarding meetings of the Council for some time.

Senator Wilson - It is a very lively Board.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - Yes. And we have to pay £1,500 a year to the gentleman who presides over it.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Are there any fees?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - I would not suggest that that is the reason why the Board has not been called together. The other functions are: -

The furnishing of reports on: (a) Prospects of trade in various countries; and (b) Best methods of meeting foreign competition in overseas markets, and particular methods adapted to the various countries where there is opportunity for expansion of trade.

These are two functions which could very well be left to the merchants of Australia when they require assistance of any value, because I am sure .they are likely to be more alert in their own interests than the Bureau of Commerce and Industry could possibly be. The fourth function is : -

To inform oversea inquirers as to the opportunities for establishing industries in the Commonweal th

What Board could be better informed on that point than the body it is proposed to create under this Bill, particularly as the proposed Board is to inquire into the profits made by manufacturers.

Senator Senior - Is it not more a trade than a Tariff Board?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - I think not. The proposed Board could very well deal with the various functions I have mentioned. Moreover, it would be the means of saving the Commonwealth taxpayers a considerable sum each year. The amalgamation of the two Boards could very easily be carried out, and the functions of both performed by the one body. I strongly recommend my amendment to the favorable consideration of honorable senators'.

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