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Wednesday, 27 July 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - As I have already intimated, I do not favour these extreme penalties, which may be regarded as Piddingtonesque, having probably been lifted from the Act which brought into existence the Inter-State Commission. The functions ofthe Tariff Board will differ entirely from those of the Inter-State Commission.

Senator JOHN D MILLEN (TASMANIA) - That is a good job.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is. The scope of the Tariff Board's activities will be limited bythe operations of the Tariff. If asection of consumers or of primary producers are of opinion that certain duties are too high, and oppress them unduly by diminishing their purchasing power or hampering their avocation, it will be the duty of the Board to inquire into their complaint; and if it be alleged of a protected manufacturer that he is charging too much for his goods, he must either assist the Board by giving evidence before it, or risk an adverse report. If, on the other hand, a set of manufacturers consider certain duties not high enough, andallege that their industry is being destroyed by foreign competition, the Tariff Board mustinvestigate their complaint, and they would, as a matter of course, put before the Board all the information they could get to substantiate their case.

Senator Vardon - What the Committee is considering is a proposal to reduce the penalty provided for in clause 34.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - As this is my last opportunity to speak about the penalties provided for in the Bill, I rose to saythat the functions of the Tariff Board are dissimilar from those of the InterState Commission, from whose Act it seems to me that the penalties in the Bill have been copied, and I shall therefore support the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

SenatorELLIOTT (Victoria) [8.26].- I draw attention to the wording of subclause . 2, which provides that if at any time after a witness has given evidence before the Tariff Board he is " prejudiced in -his employment" whatever that may mean, his employer shall be regarded as guilty of an offence.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The clause practically says that the employer shall be deemed tobe guilty until he is proved to be innocent, which is contrary to British jurisprudence.

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