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Thursday, 21 July 1921

The PRESIDENT - I do not think it is necessary that the issue should be argued at greater length, because it appears to me quite clear. Whether the Bureau of Commerce and Industry has statutory authority for its existence or not is entirely beside the question. It makes no difference whether it has or has not. The only consideration by which the Chairman and myself are bound to be guided, in deciding whether any amendment is or is not in order, is whether it is relevant to the Bill which the Senate or the Committee is considering. If it is relevant, no other power exists to prevent the Senate or the Committee from dealing with it. That, therefore, is the only point which I have to decide. ' Honorable senators are quite right in pointing out that the. duties of the proposed Tariff Board are fully defined, and clearly set out in clause- 15. of the Bill. Every one of them has some separate and distinct relation to theworking of the Tariff, and the duties of the. Board are limited by and confined to the provisions of. that clause. As I understand, the duties and functions of the Bureau of Commerce and Industry, they have nothing to do with the Tariff. They are to organize matters in order to insure the smooth working and carrying out of the various operations of trade, commerce, and industry in Australia generally. They have nothing to do with the Tariff, or with the Tariff Board. They constitute an entirely different and separate matter, and, therefore, cannot possibly be relevant to this Bill. Whatever may be my opinion, or the opinionof the Senate, with regard to the Bureau of Commerce and Industry, this is not the proper occasion on which to express it. I rule that the proposed amendment is not relevant to the Bill, and must, therefore, support the Chairman's ruling.

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