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Wednesday, 27 November 1935

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES (South Australia) . - I am afraid that the Assistant Minister (Senator Brennan) did not quite follow my argument. T do not think I said that a State government would appoint unworthy persons. My sole concern is to see that the provisions of the bill are so drafted as to ensure the appointment to the board of the proper persons. I also remind the Minister that honorable senators are quite entitled to express their opinion upon this important subject. In my opinion the form in which this clause was passed by the Senate was to be preferable to the amended clause now under consideration. I understand that it was not, at first, a Government amendment; that it was suggested by a private member of the House of Representatives and, after discussion, was accepted by the Ministry.

Senator Sir George Pearce - The honorable senator will admit, in the clause as it left the Senate, there was the possibility of a deadlock concerning the appointments.

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - The Leader of the Senate may be right. I have not had time to study, in sufficient detail, the various drafts of the clause to say what alterations have been made in the verbiage; but, as regards the appointment of a successor to any one of the four members representing publicly-owned abattoirs and freezing works, my objection is that this power is being taken away from the persons to whom it was given originally, and is being given to a State government. I put it to honorable senators that while the pig producers may appoint, as their representative, some one who is interested in homing pigeons, they are much more likely to appoint some one with a practical knowledge of the pigraising industry. Under the amendment which we are now considering the State Government has the right to nominate the successor of a member who may be removed from the board. I believe that it will nominate a suitable person but there should be no objection to a slight alteration of the verbiage to make it quite clear that the four persons appointed to the Board as representatives of publicly-owned abattoirs and freezing works shall, in fact, be persons connected with the meat industry.

Senator Sir George Pearce - That is provided for by paragraph g of sub-clause 2 and also by sub-clause 3.

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - I do not think so, because, as Senate Brennan has. pointed out, it is not stipulated that any one of those appointees must be definitely a producer of beef, mutton, lamb or pigs. There is, however, an internal safeguard with regard to other appointees of the board. Under paragraph g a State government may, and in accordance with the act, appoint a capable man who is not himself directly interested in the meat industry. An interesting situation might arise if one of the four representatives had been appointed by a State government for hostile purposes. I do not wish to overemphasize this possibility but I have heard nothing in the discussion this afternoon to cause me to alter my opinion that the form in which the Senate passed the bill was better than the amended form of which we are now asked to approve.

Amendments agreed to.

Resolution reported; report adopted.

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