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Tuesday, 26 July 1921

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (Western Australia) . - I regret that I cannot support the amendment of' Senator Bolton. Under other provisions of the Bill quite a number of duties are prescribed as having to be discharged by the Board. I do ' not know whether those duties were put in as a sop to the gentlemen who wish to deal with the profiteer or whether they merely represent political " eye-wash." But I am quite sure that the law officers who advised the Government" upon this measure are well aware that many of the functions allocated to the Board cannot be performed by it, because they are entirely ultra vires of the Constitution, and have been so held by the Privy Council. I shall deal more fully with the clauses in which they are enumerated when we come to them. But because the facts are as I have stated, this Board will not have anything like one-third of the work which honorable senators think it will. Of that I am convinced. A good deal more than twothirds of the work which its members would have to perform if the Bill were effective cannot be undertaken if the measure proves to be defective from a constitutional stand-point. Consequently, I am of opinion that a salary of £1,250 per annum paid to permanent officials will be far more than adequate for the services which they will render. Payment for the actual work performed from time to time, at the rate of £5 5s. per sitting, would prove a much more satisfactory arrangement than would that proposed by Senator Bolton.

Senator Duncan - But if the functions of the Board which the honorable senator thinks areultra vires of the Constitution should prove otherwise, its members will have plenty to do.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - In that case the Board will be fully occupied. But if those functions are held to be ultra vires of the Constitution, the Board will not be fully occupied. For that reason I oppose the amendment.

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