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Tuesday, 9 August 1921

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) . - I thought that, as a commercial man, Senator Pratten would have had ample experience of commercial practice where it touches the Customs Department. Does he not perceive what would be the effect of his proposal? A new industry may he about to be launched having copra for its raw material. If Senator Pratten's amendment were agreed to it would he necessary for the Government to secure the passage of a Bill through Parliament in order to do what a by-law could bring about to-day. If Bills had to be introduced to authorize every alteration in the Tariff, the work of Parliament would be endless. And what would be the situation during a long parliamentary recess? Would everything be held up? Would a proposed new industry be compelled to await the calling together of Parliament?

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - By retaining the words " as prescribed," would not the Government and the Department have all the powers they now possess?

Senator RUSSELL - I do not know at the moment; but, if they had, what good purpose could be served by the requested amendment?

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Departmental bylaws would come before Parliament in (he shape of regulations.

Senator RUSSELL - Would Senator Pratten care to hold up a new industry, sometimes for three or four months?

Senator Keating - Such a situation would not arise. A regulation would operate until the meeting of Parliament, and up to the moment of its rejection, according to the present procedure.

Senator RUSSELL - If all departmental by-laws are made regulations it will be necessary to appoint DeputyGovernorsGeneral to share the burden of signing the documents. However, I shall undertake to look into the matter and to see if some compromise may not be arrived at. I suggest that the request be temporarily withdrawn, seeing that the same phrase arises in association with many other items yet to be dealt with.

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