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Tuesday, 26 July 1921


Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) . - I had somewhat similar thoughts in mind when I discussed this measure with the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene). I would point out that this, the crucial clause of the Bill, has been divided, so far as concerns reference of matters by the Minister to the Board, into two portions; and that sub-clause 1 begins with the expression " The Minister shall refer to the Board," while sub-clause 2 begins " The Minister may refer to the Board." The difference - namely, the use of the word " shall " in one instance and of the word " may " in the other - is specifically provided at the desire of the Minister for Trade and Customs. The Minister is of opinion, so far as the matters dealt with in. sub-clause 1 are concerned, that the receipt of a report from the Board should precede Ministerial action. "With respect to those dealt with under subclause 2. however, the desire is that the Minister shall have discretion. Since the Minister knows the circumstances, and is familiar with the widely embracing and very technical work of his Department, I suggest that honorable senators defer in this instance to his expressed wishes.


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - But may not the whole procedure of Parliament be held up by the word ing of the clause where I desire to amend it?


Senator RUSSELL - Certainly not.


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The clause says, in effect, that the Minister shall not take any action in respect of all the matters covered by sub-clause 1 until he has received a report from the Board.


Senator RUSSELL - Otherwise, why have " a Board ? .


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why have a Parliament?


Senator RUSSELL - In ninety-nine cases out of one hundred the Minister does not take action to-day until he has re ceived a report and recommendation from officials of the Customs Department.







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