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Thursday, 21 July 1921

Senator JOHN D MILLEN (TASMANIA) . - I have listened with a good deal of interest to this debate, and I certainly agree with the suggestion which has been put forward by (Senator Fairbairn. Possibly that may prove a way out of the difficulty in which we find ourselves. Having formulated a Tariff, it is amazing that we should be asked to assume that it may lead to such pernicious practices as will warrant the appointment of a Board to supervise its working. That is an argument which ought to be sufficient to make every honorable senator a; Free Trader. Under the Customs Act 1901, a Customs Department has been constituted with all its ramifications, and now we are asking one of these officers to educate this Parliament. If it beessential that a Board should 'be appointed to act as a guide to the Customs Department in certain matters, that Board, to an extent, will supersede theDepartment. When we begin to talk in that way, we shall' be faced with a large- expenditure. Personally, I am opposed to this Bill lock, stock, and barrel. As, however, a majority of the Senate are in favour of it, we can only endeavour to make it as perfect as possible, and to insure that it shall operate in as economical a manner as possible. If we appoint a Customs officer as its chairman, let us provide that the remaining members of the Board shall be drawn from this Parliament - one from each House.

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